Four months to 40. The more I say it, the closer it seems. Also, it’s rather narcissistic, but hey what’s a blog for if not to lay bare your soul? So in case you missed it, do go and check out my other two posts in this series:

*Shift your perspective (AKA) Six months to 40

*Five months to 40

Earlier this week, on Facebook, I asked my friends this question:

Four months to 40 and gratitude for 2017

And the answers were wonderful in their sheer variety.

At the end of this post is my list of things that I am proud of having done in 2017. (But hey, don’t skip to the end just yet. Take your time, read this post when you are relaxed, reflect on it and let me know if you took anything away from it. You don’t have to comment right away and you don’t even have to comment at all. But stop for a few minutes and completely give yourself to the reading of this piece. I will try and make it worthwhile.)

In exactly 4 months, I will enter a new decade or will complete a very eventful one, depending on how you look at it. In that sense, every moment is a twin, isn’t it? It’s a beginning and an end, in itself. The only difference is I cannot change the past while I can try not to make the same mistakes in the future. Otherwise, the person is the same. The terrain is different, that’s all.

Now that the ‘wisdom-giving’ bit is over, time to move on to the real stuff. Although, to be honest, I am in a bit of a quandary, because everything seems at once important and negligible at the moment. To make it simpler, I’ll talk about some core concepts that dominated this past year:

Let’s start with the most basic thing: Being online.

In the past year, I’ve become more conscious how much I am present online. It’s ironic given that my blogs and my work are all online, meaning I cannot really avoid it completely.

But what I can control is the amount of time I spend online in addition to my blogging and my work. And that means social media. It means having to reduce reading articles late into the night, listening to podcasts into the wee hours or watching YouTube videos on loop, either to learn something or just to while away the time.Β And it can be an addictive loop, or a habit that is just too hard to break.

Or is it? Validation is a terrible trap to fall into, especially on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where, by definition, the prettiest of pictures will get you the highest number of likes. And I confess I was getting drawn into it, especially with Facebook in the first half of the year and Instagram in the latter half. Until something happened.

Enter three key factors: health, sleep and mindfulness. Working on my body, even if that meant just daily walking, helped me focus on health. Going to bed by 10 pm on most nights helped shift my body clock to an earlier wake up routine, which did wonders for my mood and my physical stamina. Mindfully approaching every moment, be it on social media or in offline interactions, helped me understand perspectives and gave me an insight into other people’s points of view.

Shifting the perspective towards social media and gadget time in the last few months have changed how I approach being online. Being a blogger does not mean that one has to be available 24 X 7 online. It also doesn’t mean you have to put your finger in every pie.

Once I let go of the constraints that social media placed on me and embraced it as a useful tool, I began to enjoy it. How this happened was due to the concept of time blocking that I implemented regularly. Short, 15-minute bursts of time on a social media channel with a clear intent on why I was there in the first place: this helped me a lot.

2017 was the year for a lot of things and two of the best things that happened were: personal growth and finding peace. This didn’t come without its share of heartbreaks but it came with a lot of understanding and compassion.

And now, we come to the list of things I am proud of for the year gone by as a blogger, parent and person:

You’ll notice that most of these are not tangible achievements in the true sense of the word, meaning they aren’t material things. But I think it’s important to celebrate every little win that makes life better.

As 2018 approaches, I am calm, happy and fulfilled. Without some of the hard knocks of 2017 and the wonderful highs, life wouldn’t have been half as interesting or useful.

Thank you for being part of my journey, as readers, fellow bloggers and friends. I hope 2018 is everything you wish it to be.

(Featured image courtesy: Shutterstock)



I’d like to invite you all to share your own blog posts on my link up below. The theme should be on gratitude for 2017 or a look back at the lessons from 2017 or something you’re proud of having done this year.

How to participate:

  1. Link back to this post on your blog
  2. Write a new post on the topics mentioned above and link up below. (no word limit)
  3. Read and visit at least 3 others on the link up.

Link up closes on December 30th, so do link up before then



Also linking up this post with Shantala over at ChattyBlogs and

ElgeeWrites for Bloggers’ Comment junction πŸ™‚

Yes! Linky within a linky. It’s so lovely!

30 thoughts on “Four months to 40 & gratitude for 2017

  1. Lots of important (and quite a few interesting) lessons there, Shailaja. I’m starting to enjoy these introspective posts in general, and you do it so well. You have a way of leading us in gently and then speaking to us about it. Almost a ‘motherly’ or is that God-Motherly feel to it.
    Good luck, and I’m sure 2018 will be awesome for you.

  2. Wonderful post Shailaja! All your accomplishments are inspiring to say the least. Hats off for the ‘yell free’ part. It is indeed difficult as a parent. Hope 2018 proves to be as positive and wonderful.

  3. There’s so much to love in this post Shailaja. You’ve done an amazing job not just blogging but also offline in terms of your wellbeing. It’s nice to see the gratitude especially as it hasn’t all been easy. Hope 2018 is wonderful to you.

  4. So happy to read your list of achievements, Mam. You deserve this and so much more. I was irritated after spending most of my time on Social Media. Though I still spend a fair amount of time doing the same, I think I have reduced a lot. It has helped me remain calm. 2017 was spectacular for me and I’m stepping into 2018 with a grateful heart. Happy 2018, Mam.

  5. It makes me so happy to see such a long list of achievements, no of it is surprising though. You are brilliant and made so that you can achieve great things and inspire us along the way, just like this post inspired me to blog again.

    Very interesting what you say about the duality of a moment, 2017 was the year I learned the same lesson about perspective -Don’t judge the person judge the action – a small change in the perspective of how I looked at things made so many things easier, simple. That is my mantra for next year, so hopefully this year most of my goal were unfulfilled and incomplete looking forward to the next year with freshly tinted rose glasses.

  6. Wow, Shailaja, you have done so much in 2017. What an inspiration you are! I am sure 2018 would be awesome too. The challenges are there to help us to grow, right? I can’t say I had a good year. I can’t say I had a bad year either. At this point am a little disappointed in me, but I have decided not to be flustered by such thoughts and to move on and do what I can. Wishing you a fantastic new year, dear Shailaja. πŸ™‚

  7. OMG you definitely are an inspiration and there is a lot to learn from you. I am gonna be back to stalk you and your blog more.

    BTW, Thanks for the mention.

  8. You are always such an inspiration! Loved reading this post and it is such a great reminder to be grateful to all the big and small achievements. I was feeling very anxious at the start of this month but reflecting back and seeing how I’ve grown through the year made me feel at peace and smile through both the ups and downs!

  9. 2017 seems like a mixed bag for you .. professionally good, healthwise, not so good. But, lets leave it all behind and look forward to 2018. Entering the 40s eh? I just past the milestone 3 years back. Let me tell you, it is a much better place. There is no racing to reach anywhere. Take a step back and relax. As the kid becomes less dependent, homely life is more stable, now is the time to do what you really want to do. My best wishes for the birthday and next year.

  10. I am sure 2017 has given you the strength and determination to pursue your dreams and move on with a positive note. I am extremely happy to have found a blogger like you this year. I entered 30 this year and that is overwhelming for me. Reading blogs like yours is like reading life experiences of real people who have accomplished and how they did it. It is to show the struggle is real. It gives me immense courage and I am happy to look up to you and take away some lessons. Oh, the best part is creating and enjoying my moments and redefining life. *Hugs* Shailaja.

    I will be very glad to link up with your post before the end of this year.

    Special note: I am loving the humor in your posts now. ?

  11. Thanks, Shantala πŸ™‚ I believe it’s important to stay positive even in the face of overwhelming odds. My depression taught me that and if I survived that, I can survive anything else.

    Wishing you all the best for 2018 too and a lovely, healthy year ahead.

    Yay! So glad to hear about Pinterest πŸ™‚ Let me know if you need any help.

  12. Thank you Vishal. So much more to grow on the personal level but I am happier now than I was a few years ago πŸ™‚ So that’s progress.

    Wishing you a lovely 2018 too!

  13. Shailaja, three cheers to you for professional achievements and making the internal change at the personal level. This is growing manifold on the personal level. 2017 has been a decently good year for me and I cannot complain. It helped me to see perspective and I am a work-in-progress, like I often call myself. Here’s wishing 2018 to be a rocking year.

  14. 2017 seems to have been a great year for you, Shy, though not without some challenges, I know. But your positivity and optimism is inspirational. It gives me strength and hope, and for that I can never thank you enough. I hope 2018 brings you even more success and unparalleled joy.

    P.S. I am going through some Pinterest tutorials – specifically for food blogs – but I had to start with yours, and it’s immensely helpful. Thank you!

  15. 40? Didn’t you like turn 20 yesterday? πŸ˜‰

    This post of your gives me so much hope and makes me feel so happy, Shy. You know that 2017 hasn’t particularly been a very good year for me. The only thing that I can take away from this year is that finally I learnt to calm down and let go of trying to be the perfect daughter/wife. It was very tough, but I did get there.

    You sure are rocking the social media thing and you are doing it so professionally that soon you will be able to take classes for it. I know I’ll join πŸ™‚

    40 will make you look more younger and hopefully will keep you more healthier!


  16. An eventful year 2017. I am glad you set out and achieved so many great things. Going easy on the SM is not so easy for a blogger. You’ve done great with your blog, winning laurels, starting the newsletter and so much besides. Health of course is something which influences all we do, so it’s good that you are consciously practicing a healthy lifestyle. Entering the 40’s are we? Hmm, age is just a number or is it? Hehe, don’t worry, you’ll rock it even bigger! Love and hugs.

  17. Aww thank you, Raj πŸ™‚ Life is simple, isn’t it? We end up complicating it in so many silly ways. At least I do. Now learning to let go, bit by bit.

    Ha ha, yeah, 40 is calling and no, you should not mention my skin. You haven’t seen the craters on it of late! Yeah, 40 is definitely coming πŸ˜‰

  18. Thank you so much, Rachna. I am ending the year on a very peaceful note and am content with where I am as a blogger, parent and person. 2017 has been rough to begin with but became better in the second half. So overall, no complaints.

    Eagerly looking forward to your gratitude post and thank you for promising to link up πŸ™‚ Wish you a lovely 2018!

  19. You are totally rocking the social media thing. You even got an award for it ? loved reading your list. It shows how simple life is and achieving mental peace isn’t all about money and success. Woaa you are going to hit the big O… I mean O of 4. You look way younger than that. Should I mention your peachy skin again. ?

  20. I am so happy for you, my friend. That you have been through struggles and troubles, some of them I am aware of, and come up on top with positivity is inspirational. As long as you are happy and satisfied, it is worth it. I haven’t looked back at the year yet but I guess when I do my gratitude post this month end, I will look back at the year.

    Will surely link up then. Good luck and keep rocking in 2018! πŸ™‚

  21. Oh please do, Naba! I would love to read it. Dont forget to link up here πŸ™‚

    As for 2017, it has been a very fulfilling year despite the setbacks. So I have no complaints. Positive affirmations are everything.

  22. You have done so much in 2017, Shailaja. Writing this post must have been so therapeutic, no? Positive reaffirmations always do good to the soul. Maybe I should do a post too on things that went well in 2017. Always good to look back and what can be a better time than this πŸ™‚

  23. You ought to be proud of yourself, Tulika πŸ™‚ You, more than anyone I know, does so much and so quietly behind the scenes. Please do link up. Would love to read it πŸ™‚ Thank you for being my first WordPress comment on both blogs this week πŸ˜€

  24. If you can say you’re feeling calm and fulfilled at the end of a year, it has definitely been a good one. Not many people can say that. I remember you asking that question on Facebook and I didn’t find anything to write about. I’ll probably have to think really hard. It takes a lot to make me proud of myself :-). But I certainly have found happiness in many many ways, so that counts for something. Shall be back to link up.

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