Because 2017 is over.

It’s funny isn’t it?

It’s 37 degrees in Poughkeepsie right now.

And walking to the car this morning, I’m just like, WOW.

IT’S SO WARM OUT.

Did 37 degrees always feel this good??

So one thing that I’ve noticed is that when I am hyper-focused on some sort of work thing, my body goes into this weird state.

Like I will sweat a little more. Pit stains, for sure.

And my sweat will be a little stinky.

Which is weird because as an Azn, I just generally don’t have BO. (Or at least no one’s told me about it, yet. I do have very polite friends.)

But when I’m in that state, I start to stink a little bit.

And and my face will get a little oily. Like, I’ll be a little more susceptible to breakouts.

(I have this massive pimple under my right ear lobe right now. Which frankly, is a godsend. Because if that thing was anywhere else on my face, I’m not sure I would be able to leave the house for a week. Or if I did, I’d have extremely insecure posture and body language while galavanting through town. But it’s under this shadow under my ear lobe so who is gonna notice that there besides me. And I guess all you people now. It’s huge, you can’t miss it.)

And my pee also gets like more viscous and yellow. You know like, my body is definitely ejecting the byproduct of some intense chemical process.

And I wonder about that chemical process like, what is it. Do you any of you guys know about this?

Like is it just stress? Is it just cortisol? Cuz that would kind of suck.

But it doesn’t happen when I’m like generally stressed. And I am often generally stressed for this reason or that. (Much of it self-induced, lol.)

It pretty much only happens when I’m hyperfocused.

Like if I’m shooting video, it happens.

And when I’m editing video, it happens.

And I will sniff my armpit, and I will be like, whew, I stink!!! (And then I sniff it again. IDK, I kinda like it. Just smelling like an animal. Like I’m a beast. A disgusting smelly beast.)

It doesn’t really happen when I write these days.

Writing is pretty relaxing for me at this point.

Although some pieces are a little stressful sometimes. Like yesterday’s piece was a little stressful because it was a piece that I’d been meaning to write for a while. And so I had like everything in my head already, and sort of got in the way of myself. I actually wrote like 1000 words Friday and Saturday and then Monday morning I came back to it and I was like, ugh, and started over.

There are just days like that. It’s always hard for me to write straightforward like that, when I have to write.

I do my best work I think when I just have a vague idea of something and just sit down and write.

And let the process of writing figure things out for me.

So that’s what I did today.

I just sat down and started writing. Because I needed that.

I mean, it’s been a pretty stressful week.

You feel it, don’t you?

Like, it’s always the second week of a new year that hits me the hardest.

That glow of just coming back from that holiday vibe has well worn off. The honeymoon of new beginnings trampled by the daily struggle of just life.

Like, stuff got REAL.

And it got real REAL FAST.

I’m excited though because this year is so different from last year. Like, last year was really really hard in the beginning. I had no idea what I was doing and I was starting from square one basically across the board. Essentially just rebooting myself and rebuilding my entire life from scratch.

From sleeping and eating to exercising and running to writing and making videos to re-connecting with friends and re-building relationships after having been gone for a couple years.

Literally everything was starting from zero. So building that up was just, man.

It was hard, looking back.

It was really intense.

And so in contrast to that, this year is super chill.

Like just insanely chill.

Because everything is there now.

I just have to keep on keeping on. (I sorta hate that phrase, but it’s sorta perfect in this situation.)

I worked in finance for a little bit.

And so I still sorta think about things in terms of finance still.

Like you know that saying.

“An overnight success story 3 years in the making.”

That saying makes a lot of sense to me.

But really, that to me is just compounding interest.

A little bit here, a little bit there, over time, consistently, and suddenly, you have escape velocity.

That’s pretty much how I think about my 2018.

Just keep chugging along.

Keep depositing those checks at the bank.

(With a smidge thrown into the old crypto-account. You know. We gotta get rich, baby.)

Like, you gotta keep faith in the magic of compounding interest.

And really, all that means is just that I’ll keep doing me.

Because, thanks to all the work last year, I sort know a lot more concretely who me is.

(And really, aren’t you, as a person, simply the culmination of all the things that you do?)

That’s a big difference from last year.

And also why last year was so hard I think.

Just because I was still figuring out who me was. It wasn’t as solidified yet. And the foundation wasn’t there.

So I had to rely on a lot of external pressures to keep myself going in the right direction.

Like how I had that rule where I would write something every day.

And committing to NYC Marathon qualification was the running analog to that.

I re-joined my intramural soccer team and promised myself I would never miss a game.

(Which is sort of crazy when I think back to it. We had games on Tuesdays. So I had would take the train into the city in the afternoon, which is like a 3 hour commute door-to-door, maybe a little more. Then I would go and play like a 45 min. soccer game. And then take the train back home and get back at like 1AM. Sure, I would try and like schedule other things so it wasn’t like a purely special trip just to play soccer. Like meet up with people or get a haircut. But doing it every week, at some point, you end up making a lot of special trips. It was totally worth it, though.)

So I had to sort of write these rules for myself to keep going.

And in a lot of ways, as a result, I was constantly forcing the issue.

Like I brought my camera with me all the time and just shot stuff just to shoot stuff, to make stories out of nothing even when I wasn’t feeling it.

Even when my gut was sort of saying, you know this is kind of dumb.

But it was 2017, so I had to plow through anyway.

It was 2017, I had no choice.

2018 feels a little different.

I feel like I have a choice now.

Where I get to pick and choose my opportunities a little more.

Because, also, I feel like I can trust my gut and natural instincts a little more.

Now that I’ve sort of like, re-wired my brain and re-composed my body (and mind) into this person that I want to be.

And I’ve sorta gotten used to it. The habits are sort of ingrained now.

So I can sort of let my subconscious take the reins a bit more.

The muscle memory is starting to kick in.

That sense of automatic.

And so this is really the year of me.

I’m going to focus on me a lot more.

Last year, I made a point to say yes to everything.

This year, I’m gonna have to make a point to say no.

I call it, Me First.

You know, like America First.

😀

Anyway, it’s 37 degrees out in Poughkeepsie today.

So, speaking of stress, I feel like I have no excuse to not go for a run today.

And that’s the crazy thing about running like.

I ran close to 500 miles last year.

And yet, every time, I still get super stressed before every run.

It’s worse after you haven’t run in like a week.

One week is like that cutoff point where I feel like I start losing all my hard work, whether it’s running or the gym.

(It’s mostly mental at 1 week. It’s at 3 weeks when you really start to significantly deteriorate. You see this in soccer. I know because I follow Arsenal and our players always get injured. But if a player is out for 2 weeks, they can come almost straight back into the team as a starter again. But if they’re out for 3 weeks or more, then they need 2 weeks of conditioning just to get match fit again. 3 weeks, baby. That’s when you start to lose it all.)

But yeah, it’s sorta crazy like.

I ran so much last year and I still hate it so much.

(It’s very different from hitting the gym. Because the gym sucked in the beginning. But now it’s pretty kewl. There is something so primally satisfying about lifting over 400 lbs off the ground. Like Simba in the Lion King when he’s learning to rawr.)

But yeah, I just hate it so, so much.

Anyway, time to go for a run.

<3

Top photo: Random fun one today. This was our math team up in Rochester for the Mathcounts state finals back in 8th grade. Well, Willie was in 7th grade. Kid was/is real smart.

Top row, left to right: Willie’s dad and mom. My sister, Nina. My dad. Pawan’s brother, Varun (who is also a DONUTS reader and a regular runner in 2017), and then Pawan and Varun’s dad who was also our team coach.

Bottom row (AKA the dream team): Willie, me (my mom still cut my hair at that point, but you probably can’t tell, right? :x), Chris, Pawan, and Sharukh.

We had killed it at regionals, sweeping first place like it was nothing with Pawan, Willie, and me getting 1st, 2nd, and 4th place overall individually.

And then, exceeding all expectations, we made the podium at the state finals, grabbing third.

Which is really crazy because our school (which is super tiny to begin with with like 150 kids in our graduating class) had never entered the competition before.

This was our first run at it, an initiative led by Pawan’s dad, who basically coached us at his house a couple nights a week. It was really a rag-tag setup. But we had tons of heart. (And I guess brains.)

After math practice, Pawan’s dad would grill us the best grilled cheese sandwiches in town and then we’d play ping pong. I just remember Pawan’s grandma, who was living at his house at the time, watching these crazy Bollywood movies.

Just a wild ride.

A wild, wild ride.

Pawan really carried us in the finals.

A truly all-star performance.

Love that guy.