Thank you for your birthday wishes :)
If you did not wish me, it is totally fine! I am writing to you nevertheless to stay in touch, share the biggest lessons I learned last year, ask for my birthday wish, and most importantly, check in to ask if you are keeping healthy.
Last year, I finally took advantage of the remote workplace lifestyle and moved to Hawaii. Life has been full of chill, and contentment since then. Not because of the warm ocean, and cool waterfalls (although they certainly helped). But the biggest thing Hawaii taught me was the power of waking up early. Since I was working in California time (which is 3 hours ahead), my work hours in Hawaii were from 6 am to 2 pm. This came with multiple benefits. First, I found it easier to focus and maintain deep work time during the initial hours. Second, having to wake up early forced me to sleep early and not waste time on the phone, television, or Youtube. Lastly, and perhaps the biggest benefit of all, was the huge chunk of time I had for myself after work. From 2:30 pm until sunset, I explored my surroundings and indulged in my hobbies. It almost felt like cheating. I was living two days in one! This habit has been so addictive that even after moving back to California, whenever possible, I work from 6 am to 2 pm. If you haven’t been an early bird yet, give it a shot!
Each day, when I was swimming after work in Hawaii, I couldn’t help but wonder about the immense privilege I was experiencing. At that time, thousands of people were dying from COVID every day. In most cities in India, hospitals were full and were turning away patients in critical condition. Amidst all this, there I was- chasing rainbows, and green flash sunsets. Activities that usually give me pleasure, gave me guilt instead. Every hour spent on the beach felt like an hour wasted not helping those in need. To be honest, I still haven’t done much to mitigate the health crises, apart from occasionally supporting COVID relief efforts. And I still haven’t learned to deal with the dichotomy of privilege and guilt. If you have any tips to share about how can I best use my privilege to help mitigate the health crises and/or manage the guilt from my privilege, please let me know.
Every year, I have been asking for a wish for my birthday. Last year, I asked that you not miss your routine physical health checkup. This year too, my wish is related to your health. I wish that you drink sufficient water every day. Staying hydrated has numerous benefits like regulating body temperature, maintaining electrolyte balance, etc. But last year, I learned another important reason to do so. On a colorful Thursday evening, while feeling perfectly fine, and not having any alcohol in my body, I fainted and dropped in the middle of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Thankfully, I got help very very quickly and I was fine in no time. I later got diagnosed with Vasovagal syncope, a fairly common fainting disorder. My doctor told me one of the best ways to prevent it is - you guessed it - to stay hydrated. Harvard Health suggests most people need about four to six cups of water each day but this can vary a lot (more details are in the link). So please rely on your doctor’s advice for the exact amount.
How are you doing? And how are your loved ones? I would really appreciate a “hi, I am doing great!” or a slightly longer update if you find the time.
I hope the previous year brought as much joy to you as it did to me, and if not, I hope this year will compensate for it! Thank you again for preserving our relationship. It means a lot to me. I hope to hear from you soon. As I said, a simple “hi” will do.
After a post-work swim. Big Island, Hawaii.