The unexpected thing that saved me in 2016

29 Dec
2016

This year truly tested me.

It started with a massive high – we had pulled off a remarkable Management Buyout in 2015, closed the year with the best sales ever and entered Jan 2016 with spirits and energy at the highest levels possible.

And then it struck!

Feb-Mar 2016

The investment scenario had turned upside down. Funding dried up.

We were running out of money. And we had to ensure the company wasnt jeopardized because of the decisions I had taken. So we decided to go back to first principles of business and also conserve all the cash that we could.

Which meant taking some really hard decisions.

I felt responsible for all of it – for every job lost, for every benefit withdrawn, for every insecure face I encountered, for all the times I tried to pep things up but felt I was lying to my own self.

I WAS responsible for all of it – the low morale, the skepticism, the “you brought this onto us” look.

Admitting this, even publicly, wasn’t going to be enough.

I began to record my feelings. Everyday to work, I spoke to myself – expressly freely what I felt. It helped relieve the emotions, but it wasn’t enough

I had to get myself back. In order to get nearbuy back.

On one such recording sessions, I asked myself, “fuck, how is it that I fucked up so bad? So so bad? I was happy a month back, and now I struggle to find a reason to be so. As if I have forgotten what it felt like to be at peace”

And I thought…

Would it help to go back to that world? That moment when I was truly at peace with myself. What is it that I used to tell myself then? Maybe that would help?

So I spent the next week, wading through my content from the past. Blogposts, Quora, Linkedin, Facebook, Emails, Notes.

And it helped a lot. I found patterns. In my thoughts, my emotions, my words.

Patterns that I figured might help me get back on track.

And one of the content stayed with me.

My resolution for 2016, one of which was 

Record at least 10 cover songs in my voice

 

I wondered why I had resolved to sing?

I wasnt a good singer. And was extremely shy of singing in front of public.

In the tough period of Feb-Mar, I couldnt remember what drove me to sign up for singing as a 2016 resolution.

So I decided to give it a shot, almost desperate for a solution.

 

And magic happened

 

I sang

And sang

and sang

Horrible at first

Tolerable by now

But I didnt care

I made it a ritual. Everyday after lunch, I used to walk on the office lawns, earplugs and sing to myself.

Invariably I would end up crying everytime, as I sang

The emotions didnt stop.

The healing didnt either.

I would look forward to driving, because then I could sing.

I would record what I felt were my best renditions.

Share it, not for feedback, but as as sign that I was coming back.

All I wanted to do everyday was to sing

 

In a month, I knew that this tough phase, while real, will not consume me. I will not allow it to consume me.

By April, I had myself back.

The act of singing, feeling my entire body emote to the melody, the lyrics, rhythm – made me go back to my original self.

The self that wanted to be free, to find meaning in my actions, to feel happy with my judgement, to stand by my thoughts.

The act of singing made me connect with my own self, more than writing, or photography.

 

Over the past 10 months, I have sang more than 500 songs.

The act of singing saved me in 2016

 

The year has been the hardest I have ever faced. It taught me the importance of making people feel secure, the importance of will, the power of faith and perseverance

and above all, it taught me that the only person who can ever know you well, is your own self.

I became my best friend

Nowadays, we hang out together, singing :)

 

 

5 Responses to The unexpected thing that saved me in 2016

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rajasekar murugan

December 29th, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Amazing self-discovery.
All the best

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rajasekar murugan

December 29th, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Amazing self-discovery.
All the best for future endeavors

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Saurabh

January 8th, 2017 at 10:23 am

What an honest post Ankur. And reading it brought out a lot of my emotions too. Singing truly can be a great friend – and it’s not about how good one is at it. Songs have a way to connect with your inner self – be it through music, or lyrics or the “feel” of the voice/guitar/keys/drums/whatever.

Glad you made it through bud! Look forward to listening to some of the 500 songs!

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ankur

January 8th, 2017 at 10:26 am

Thanks man. You now know that you played a part in this :))

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Ayush

January 12th, 2017 at 12:34 am

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