Can we learn lifestyle tips from this mosquito that has a deadly sting? With a little reflection, a wee bit of awareness and just a pinch of honesty we can learn anything and everything from anything and everything! Truly!
Here are some lifestyle tips that I learned from a bout of dengue. No, I wasn’t directly affected. This dear mosquito preferred my spouse as the target. But blessed me with some pragmatic sane insights into the kind of lives we are constantly leading.
Are the eternal pings and rings taking the zing out of our lives?
The phone pings at the oddest of hours. It is programmed to do so.
And we get up at 2 a.m. to check that message or read that mail. We all do it. All of us – including myself.
Our friends post puzzles, riddles, images and quotes on Whatsapp. The bank sends us the credit and the debit balance of our accounts at – oh my dear God – at 3.30 a.m.
We, being ordinary human beings will shake and wake ourselves out of our deep slumber to read that mini statement.
People can call us at any time anywhere for the most trivial and frivolous of reasons. So now instead of dealing with all those irritating pings we now have endless rings to deal with.
Never mind if you are eating your dinner with your charming spouse. Oh! Never mind the fact that she went out of the way to rustle up something special for dinner just for you. Ignore the fact that her charming smile changed into a scowl within two seconds. Turn your back on the fact that your child is clamoring for your attention and has been waiting for you for the past hour.
We will pick that god damned phone first because it is ringing, screaming and shrieking for attention – and never mind that beautiful ringtone!
This simple hand-held device called a smartphone does wield a lot of control over our lives, doesn’t it?
So much so that we forget our real world …… so engrossed and absorbed and distracted are we in our virtual chat world!
Lifestyle tips that we can glean if we ask ourselves some hard-hitting questions first:
Isn’t the quality of our sleep and peace of mind more important than these messages and emails?
Shouldn’t our family be the top priority when we return home from work each day?
Why do we frown and get irritated when we get a personal call when we are working in our office?
We don’t do the same when we get a call from our professional world at home, do we? Why?
Are we not already spending the better part of the day every day checking our emails, messages, and social media accounts?
Why do we find it so difficult to disconnect from the virtual world?
Why do we immediately justify ourselves and become defensive when we are faced with such hard hitting questions?
Why do we become so nervous and frantic if we cannot locate our misplaced phones within 15 minutes?
Why should people know everything the minute it happens to us?
Why do we succumb to the urge of being connected to others at all times….. even during a crisis?
Is it because we are unable even to think for ourselves and take some crucial risk involving decisions on our own?
What I learned during this crisis:
The medical reports came at 10 p.m. in the night, and hospitalization became mandatory. We did not want to create a nervous frenzy amongst our family members. We wanted to deal with this calmly and coolly. We realized that we needed to calm ourselves first to do so. The suddenness of the crisis needed some time to sink in.
Arranging for funds was the next thing on our priority. Speaking to the consulting doctor and learning more about dengue was imperative because we were clueless about the symptoms and recovery period.
We did not want to get confused or irritated by other people’s well-meaning but impractical advice. We could do this only because we did not have to deal with nervous calls from anxious family members every half an hour.
Lifestyle tips that I learned: We chose not to call anyone with the information. We need to overcome our tendency to connect to others immediately. 24 x 7 connectivity can ruin other people’s sleep and peace of mind. More importantly- the prime focus should be on dealing with the crisis instead of connecting with others.
We did inform our family members after a couple of days. Yes, all of them were very decent and thoughtful enough to call us twice in a day and offer us their moral support. Often my spouse would be sleeping deeply when the phone rang at the most normal of hours. Quite obviously he would get extremely annoyed when it happened very frequently.
At my end, I simply put my phone on silent and moved the WhatsApp icon to the lower end of my phone so that I could not see the number of messages that I had not yet read.
Lifestyle tips that I learned: We need to master the art of controlling our smartphones. Let the messages ping. Let the phone ring. There is a beautiful feature called silent and mute mode on the phone. Try it. It works beautifully. We can always return the calls and reply to the messages at our convenience. We need to overcome the tendency to respond instantly.
For the first time in a very long long time, we spent a ‘real memorable’ time together in a starkly sterilized spic and span hospital room catching up on things that we never had the time to discuss on ordinary days.
Finance, insecurities, fears, dreams, our child’s career graph…. et al…….we just chatted and chatted whenever both of us were awake, had the energy and were in the mood to do so. For the first time in my married life of over 25 years- my spouse may be understood or at least listened attentively to my worries and fears.
Lifestyle tips that I learned: Only if we disconnect will we learn to connect to one another on a real life basis.
Often we distract ourselves from our problems and challenges and insecurities by immersing ourselves and taking refuge in the charm and beauty of the virtual world.
But our problems will not simply disappear if we ignore them or refuse to acknowledge them. We need to confront the harsh reality and find solutions for our problems.
Let us not blame our beautiful smartphones for our follies. They are great gadgets designed to cater to all our conveniences and whims and fancies. If we find it so difficult to entertain ourselves without the TV or our laptops or our smartphones – only we are to blame. If we helpless and clueless and lost without Whatsapp or Facebook or other social media – only we are to blame. If we rely on external forms of entertainment to keep ourselves occupied during our free time all the time – only we are to blame.
Instead of doing what we like, if we have ended up liking what we are doing…… only we are to blame.
For at the end of the day – no matter how many lifestyle tips anyone gives anyone the choice of leading our lives our way is ours and ours alone.