So I hit 25 years this year. The last year has been phenomenal. I have achieved two of the three things I wanted to do. I will elaborate.
1) Pass my qualifying exam - After a particularly uninspired academic stint at IITM, I was glad that Prof. Krishna Vasudevan inspired me in the final stages of my studies to consider a PhD. IT was then that I decided that academics shall never take a back seat. I have performed exceedingly well in my stint at Purdue so far and have cleared my qualifying exam in the very first attempt. A small but well deserved pat on the back to myself.
2) Physical fitness had not been on my priority list till I came to the US. But after I came here, I realised how much fun I was missing out on. Prasanth, my roommate, introduced me to the wonderful sport of badminton and I became decently proficient with practice and some amazing training from my Malaysian and Indonesian friends. It was after this that I discovered the joy of running. It is liberating. It is simple. It is joy. I love it and it has given me something to indulge in when depressed over my pathetic love life(next point). I just recently finished running a half-marathon in 1 hour and 54 minutes. It was an exhilarating experience and I am very proud of myself for having trained with discipline for the last 2 months.
3) Sandya - Psychologist/advisor/friend, told me that the reason I was still single and without a single experience of romantic love was, to paraphrase, " You have never spent time around those you had feelings for. Never given romance a chance in your life because you were afraid of feeling like an idiot." So I tried, but this is one thing where the result is totally not in your hands. In other words, I failed. It was illuminating to see what was happening to me, but to be fair to Sandya and to myself, I did feel like an idiot. This is one thing I have no idea what to do about. So I have conveniently decided to ignore this aspect for the rest of my PhD and concentrate on my research. Perhaps, like they say, you really cannot do too much. Also, I was over-ambitious.
For the next year, these are my objectives:
1) At least one publication. Work hard on research.
2) Work on improving running time and concentrate on building upper body strength - biceps and triceps.
3) Concentrate on work and avoid those periods of unproductive self-pity for not having found that special someone. Or even having found a special someone in 25 years.
Lots of other things in life have worked out great for me and I am truly grateful to the forces that are for that. It is best to stop denial and start accepting the truth. Keep improving! Keep fighting!