#Adulting

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Urban Diction14600480154411ary defines ‘adulting’ as “to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.”

I think I, along with so many other millennials, started feeling like I was #adulting like 7 years ago. For me that was when I first started grad school and was truly living by myself, hundreds of miles away from, you know, the actual adults in my life. Back then #adulting involved everything from making coffee to cooking my own spaghetti or Ramen noodles or Mac n Cheese or pizza (pre-made of course), to “building” my own Ikea furniture. It included getting my car serviced by myself, learning to do my taxes by myself, and killing cockroaches all by myself (fine, the one time it happened, I trapped it under a cup, waited till my neighbor got home and then introduced myself to him for the first time before asking him to kill it for me). All of these things of course were promptly displayed on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr for the world to see with the hashtag – you guessed it – #Adulting! And meanwhile no one actually told me that hey. This is not #adulting. You are a woman-child. Doing your own laundry and knowing to separate your colors from your whites so you don’t end up with pink underwear is not #adulting. You are clueless, millennial.

None of that stuff was paid for by me, for one thing. Everything was either from my parents or thanks to my loan, or a freebie of some sort. Even the part-time job I had at the time paid for silly little everyday crap. It boggles my mind how I ever thought I was this big bad adult in the big bad world. My grasp on this ‘real world’ was weak at best, and my view of myself as some sort of responsible adult was through some of the rosiest colored glasses I could find. Honestly. I say this now in hindsight and get annoyed with millennials that are currently in their early twenties tweeting about “Cooking! #adulting” because it’s easy to do. But back then I was the same, with all the changes and all the drama of being a single, twenty-something, working (cue Indian aunties asking my mom when she’s getting me married) woman with a car, rent and disposable income, it was so easy to “feel” like a grown up. Like shit, I had real problems. Right? No worthwhile man on the horizon, Indian aunties turning up the heat (notice how it’s never your actual parents but random Indian aunties?), my biological clock ticking away, making me seriously consider freezing my eggs. This must be what #adulting is supposed to feel like. It seemed like a logical conclusion to draw.

But no. You know what it truly is? A quick glance at my fellow millennials’ lives as well as my own has unearthed the following scenarios which are proof that we have finally, as we approach our thirties, begun our #adulting journeys (but have a long way to go still):

  • Putting years of travel plans on hold and focusing on a new bundle of joy
  • Being so goddamn exhausted at 9pm everyday that you can barely drag yourself into your bed because even though you’ve been home all day, you have not had a single second to sit down without your newborn baby needing you for something
  • Coming back home exhausted from work only to be put on daddy duty because mommy is exhausted from being with the baby all day
  • Experiencing a career setback which significantly delays life plans but remaining strong and moving forward for the sake of your family
  • Accepting a brand new family through your marriage and learning the intricate complexities of managing two sets of parents and siblings in a sane manner
  • Buying a house – it does not get more adult than that!
  • Standing up for yourself and knowing your worth at your place of employment (this has always been so difficult for us as early careerists to do)
  • Letting the other person have the win from time to time and compromising your ego for the good of the relationship
  • Accepting that some people, no matter how close they may have been to you in the past, will not have the courage to fight for your friendship if their new life circumstances make it difficult for your friendship to continue
  • Ruthlessly removing toxic people from your life who do nothing but drain all that is positive within you
  • Having the courage to say no to a loved one, even though you know how much it will hurt
  • Speaking your mind without fear of judgement or rejection (this is not me, I have to work on this big time, but I am lucky to know some amazing people that have this down to a science.. man I envy them)
  • Spending more time listening to and taking care of your parents’ needs because they are aging and they need you more than ever
  • Understanding that you are not invincible and really starting to take care of your health

It’s not an exhaustive list, and I know it sounds preachy, but these are just real-life situations that either I have dealt with, or have watched my loved ones deal with as we approach our thirties. And even though the struggle is so real that sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in quicksand doing the worst possible thing, struggling, and thus sinking, I have hope that we are not total idiots. The scenarios above prove that while we are nothing like our Generation X parents who were actually #adulting by their early to mid-twenties, we are only like five years behind. Possibly 10. Once we catch up, with our apps and our voice activation commands and our #saltbae #mannequinchallenge #ootd #mcm #wcw selves, #adulting will be a piece of cake.

 

 

 

Strangers

Image Source: http://www.more.com/entertainment/humor/could-you-chat-10-strangers-day-week

 

When I was younger, I was told time and time again NOT to talk to strangers. They had the evil ability to kidnap little girls and take them away from their mommies and daddies forever. As I get older I am starting to realize something else about strangers as well. They sometimes provide me with the most eye-opening perspectives on life. Probably because these people don’t have anything to lose/gain by talking to me and are probably giving me unbiased, non-judgmental advice without actually realizing it. And they have no agenda since they don’t actually know me.

Like yesterday. I spent 30 minutes in an Uber, where my initial plan was to eat my Milano dark chocolate cookies and drink my tea in blissfully peaceful silence. Instead, when the man starting talking to me, I found myself grudgingly drawn into a conversation around yoga and meditation. The guy had never tried it before so I was telling him about how it has helped me a lot during every phase of my life. Somehow that diverted into a conversation about how his life is currently terrible (we didn’t discuss details) and that the only solace he gets is driving around for Uber. How talking to strangers is his peace and escape from the reality of people he does not want to interact with in his own life.

It made me feel sad for him. I even sat back and judged him a little initially. But then I realized, sometimes that is what we all need. While I wouldn’t trade the support I have from my loved ones for anything in this world, I do understand the need to remove myself from my everyday life and people so that I may gain a different perspective. I felt myself reaching out to this stranger and offering him comfort in the form of encouragement. Encouragement to try yoga so that it may bring him some peace from whatever emotional turmoil he is trying to escape. I also did a quick internal check and secretly thanked my stars that my current life phase can be classified as happy. It made me think about another stranger-related incident that happened to me a few weeks ago.

I was walking Leo when I came across this older gentleman in a wheelchair. This man wanted to pet Leo and kept trying to reach down but was hindered by his wheelchair so I tried bringing Leo to him. Leo however, was terrified of the wheelchair and kept backing away from him, which I could tell was painful for the man. So I coaxed Leo closer to him until he knew it was safe and let the man play with him. Oh my god.. the smile on his face had me blinking back tears and pretending to tie my shoe. He then looked at me and said, “They’re the greatest cure, aren’t they?” And my heart just broke.

I’ve been seeing this man pretty frequently around the neighborhood. I don’t see him with anyone else which leads me to believe he might be living alone. He is usually quiet and seems to love dogs but rarely gets to pet them possibly because the dogs are nervous/too excited around the wheelchair, or owners feel they’d be disrespecting him if they let their dogs jump around his equipment, I’m not sure.

It definitely makes me reevaluate the nonsensical non issues that exist in my own life. If I stopped being selfish for one second and really reflected, I’d see that I really do have it all: an unbreakable network of loved ones, the use of my arms and legs, the ability to vote, drive, read, write, love, dance, sing and do whatever my heart desires really. I don’t always realize this though. It is too easy to get sucked into the downward spiral of materialistic wants and petty human trivialities, isn’t it?

Lucky I have strangers to remind me when I start to lose sight of what is important in this life.

 

Mom.

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I don’t know what it’s like to be a mom. But I do know what it’s like to be a daughter to one of the most amazing mothers in the world. I am, of course, highly biased in my opinion here, but so are the rest of you. I know I’m lucky. Incredibly lucky. So many out there have lost their moms. I cannot imagine the unbearable void. So many have moms that have left them, or don’t really care for them. That must be even worse, in some ways. So many have never even known their mothers. So yes, I know I’m extremely lucky.

This post is dedicated to her. The woman behind my values, my confidence, my love of life and others. The woman who has raised me to be an independent, ambitious, caring young lady who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. The woman who has sacrificed everything from a few hours of sleep to a good hair day, just to be an amazing mother to my brother and I. The woman who continues to support me no matter how much I fail, urging me to never give up on my dreams. The woman who’ll call me a billion times and then my friends if she can’t get in touch with me for one day. The woman who will uproot hell and Earth to right a wrong in my life.

God, I think back to the sheer magnitude of things my mother has done for me. I’m talking staying up all night making a costume for me, or making every single thing I like to eat when I visit, or checking up on me constantly when she knows I’m having a horrible episode in my life, or magically producing the exact type of outfit I just had to have as an annoying teenager, or holding me as I cried over the stupidest little thing, or nursing me back to health through every sickness, or giving me the best advice of my life like..every..single..time.

It’s an amazing feeling, and one I’ve only fully come to appreciate in my twenties. It’s like having my own personal life coach, guardian angel, best friend, doctor, stylist, nutritionist, therapist and partner in crime, rolled into one incredible human being and only belongs to me. That does all of this for me. And doesn’t even ask for anything in return.

Yes, I realize how truly lucky I am to have her.  I know not everyone is so lucky. So today I cherish her and hope she knows how much I love her. I only hope that one day I could be as amazing a mother as her.

Happy Mother’s Day!

No Excuses

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So I’ve been feeling a little lost lately. Like I have no direction in life, no real roots anywhere, no familiarity with this new place I’ve been calling home since the end of December. Not surprising I guess, since a large portion of every week is spent in a different state altogether. It’s not really that though. While I was always aware that this move to Chicago was a bold, potentially risky step, it is also completely in alignment with what makes me..well..me. The ambition, the drive to succeed, the will to conquer everything I set my mind to, is as much a part of me as my very soul. And technically speaking, my life has never been more stable. Yet I am a little muddled in my thoughts, and lack clarity when it comes to what my next steps in life are. I’ve felt that uneasiness for a little while now but haven’t really been able to put a finger on an actual issue. It’s like my gut has been quietly poking at me to sit up and take notice, but I’ve frankly just been too caught up with busting my butt at an extremely challenging job, or struggling to balance a crazy travel schedule, or dealing with the wonderful familial pressures of being a 27..almost 28-year old unmarried Indian girl (don’t even get me started there).

It wasn’t until just today, as I sat in absolute silence, watching the Chicago rain and drinking some soothing tea that I actually had a chance to think about what I’m feeling. I don’t ever really get a chance to sit by myself and contemplate anymore. Day-to-day life is too hectic, too busy, too demanding on what little alone time I used to enjoy. I realized I’ve given up two extremely important activities that have always acted as incredible healers of my mind, body and soul: yoga, and dance. And I realized I’ve been making excuses for why I can’t pursue both anymore. The excuses are pretty legit – I travel Mon-Thurs and am beyond exhausted at the end of each work day to the point where I just fall into bed – but I need to work harder to fit in some yoga time if I can. Especially since I know it’s absolutely worth it. I’ve never been happier, healthier, or calmer than when I was practicing. Dance will be a little more difficult, but surely not impossible.

The point is, not making any excuses for doing what it takes to take care of myself. I look around and see other people religiously working out or following their passions and I tend to brush it off thinking “They have the time. They don’t spend 80% of their week in another state.” I can’t keep doing that. I know what I’m like without yoga and dance. I’m a shell of my real self. A robot, going through the required activities of the day and nothing more. And I know I’m not as happy as I could be. It’s time to spend more time taking care of myself.

No excuses.

Cinderella and the Cheating Prince Charming

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There was once a little girl who watched every Disney movie that came out, from Cinderella to Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast to the Lion King, and whole-heartedly believed in the power of true love, soulmates, Prince Charming, and the triumph of good over evil. As a teenager she devoured movies like The Notebook and Serendipity, convinced that her Noah was sure to come along and sweep her off her feet in her teens, that they’d date into their twenties, and they’d get married and live happily ever after in their mid-twenties.

Life had other plans for her though.

While fall in love she did, no Disney movie really prepared her for an important life lesson in reality: gut-wrenching, earth-shattering heart break. No one warned her that girls and boys develop rather differently and are taught very different things at very different points in their lives. That they mature at different speeds. Her lessons in calculus and literature did not include a ‘How to Pull Yourself Out of Self-Esteem Depleting, Nauseating Heartbreak Agony’ textbook that probably would have saved her a crapload of tears, Heavenly Hash ice cream binge sessions, and general overall discomfort, to say the least.

I am not referring to any one girl in particular but to a significant proportion of the female population. It is my firm belief that as children we are sometimes fed some really idealistic, fantastical BS about life, love and relationships. I wish someone had taught me that while my prince may be charming at first, he has the potential to cheat, lie, be abusive, and/or walk out on me, and that if any of these do happen, that I am a strong, independent, amazing young woman with fantastic potential and that I will survive magnificently without him. And that another man will always be able to take his place as long as I let him.

These are lessons we as women in our late twenties have learnt the hard way, but I can’t help but wonder how much better our lives would have been without all the unnecessary drama and crying associated with desperately broken hearts. It just seems like such a waste of time and energy to me, looking at the whole thing retrospectively.

I am absolutely not blaming men but society in general for this though. I won’t pretend to understand the male psyche or some of the decision-making mechanisms that drive men. I understand they are wired differently and that most of them do mature at a slower rate. No joke – the amount of guys that at the age of 23-25 that were running around wreaking havoc in our lives that are now desperate to settle down at the ages of 27-30+ is astonishing to me. So no, I’m not complaining about men really. I guess I’m a little concerned that my daughter may have to deal with some of the crap I had to, and I sincerely DO NOT want her to go through that.

Could someone create a Disney movie with a cheating Prince Charming that Cinderella dumps because she’s this amazing, empowered young woman? And then she follows her lifelong passion of healing people and becomes a pediatric neurologist or something? I don’t know. It might get a little heavy for the children haha.

Nomad on the move, once again.

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It’s funny how the unfamiliar suddenly starts to feel familiar when it’s time for you to leave. With two weeks left of my time in the tiniest state in America, I almost don’t mind that there are literally four bars here. At least we don’t have to pay tax!  Or that we don’t have a real airport. Woo shopping! I will actually miss my cosy little Trolley Square apartment, and the riverfront, where Leo took his first outdoor poop – by far one of the happiest days of my life – or my work family, who has supported me throughout some serious shit that went down this past year.

Of all the places I’ve moved to in life so far, Delaware has been the loneliest. Probably because I only gave myself a year here. And probably because I don’t have the socially supportive structure of an environment like college/graduate school to provide that avenue for me to nurture relationships in. In my short time here I think I made four close friends. Max. For someone as social as me, that is one difficult pill to swallow. Yet it has been eye-opening. It has allowed me to focus on myself, forced me to step outside my comfort zone and befriend individuals with very different lifestyles and passions than me. It was there for me when I was alone. And it has taught me to stand up to my demons on my own. I am grateful to Delaware. Truly.

Now when it’s time to move to one of my favorite cities ever, I find myself hesitating. Will it live up to my expectations? Will I live up to its expectations? Will it take another year before I begin making meaningful relationships? Will I even feel like I’m living there given the nature of my job? So many questions.

As I head toward my thirties and the relationships I retain become increasingly important I find myself asking the obvious question: where do I finally settle? Which relationships make it to the final round in Prutha’s life?

As usual, only time will tell. Meanwhile, this nomad is on the move once again.

Demons

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We all have demons.

You know, those hideously stressful fears that threaten to overwhelm us and suck the life out of us if given the chance. That fear of dying alone, never meeting ‘the one’, being betrayed, never making it into that university, never getting that scholarship, freezing up during an important public speaking event, choking at bat, cracking under pressure, letting your team down, being a terrible mother, losing friends, being hated and misunderstood by the world, being too short, tall, thin, fat…and I could go on. The point is, we all have our demons. It doesn’t make one of us more special than the other, because we’re all dealing with certain negative aspects of our lives that are perfectly suited to be our individual demons.

Some are ancient demons. We’ve been dealing with them since we were little and maybe have developed some kind of a coping mechanism to keep them from completely taking over. Some used to exist as itty-bitty, insignificant little things, but have now taken on a very ugly and dangerous form, threatening to affect important life decisions and day-to-day activities. Some were passed down to us by our parents, with no instruction manual on how to really deal with them. But the point is, we all have them. We all experience their wrath during the lowest points of our lives, or when we have little to no support available to us.

I am no stranger to demons. Although I am lucky to have had a positive, nurturing childhood with lots of love and support from my family my friends (not everyone is so lucky, I know), I have definitely had my share of ‘rock bottom’ situations through my twenties. And I know I haven’t seen the last of those either. However I am a big believer in gathering every kind of ammunition available to me other there and launching a full frontal attack on those good-for-nothings every chance I get. To me, it doesn’t matter that I may have faced this same demon before. All I care about is proving to myself, time and time again, that I have the strength and willpower to beat it every single time. Without that assurance it would be easy to succumb, and then I’d be in big trouble.

I believe that while it may be the ‘luck of the draw’ when it comes to the kind/intensity/severity of the demons we inherit, how we deal with them is COMPLETELY in our power. I’ve seen what positivity and unyielding willpower can do in absolutely hopeless situations, and I’m a huge believer in staying positive even if it only keeps my head above water. At least I am still breathing.

Life of a Nomad

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It is no secret that for the last five years of my life, I have been a little bit of a nomad. I have moved multiple times, started life from scratch, knowing literally no one in the city, and I’d like to believe that I’ve thrived. It hasn’t been easy though. In fact, if I wasn’t such an eternal optimist with sometimes highly unrealistic expectations out of people and life, I probably would be depressed or have gone back to Toronto by now. Life hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing in the past five years. I think it would even be safe to say it has been the MOST challenging in my 27 years of living.

The exciting aspect of moving and traveling often overshadows the very real obstacles that you need to face living this kind of a life. I look at my medical school friends who’ve had ridiculous rotations all over the country and I wonder how they do it. I mean it definitely helps to know people and be in a program where you’re essentially forced to work with other people of similar ages and career goals so I imagine it might be a little easier, but still.

It’s difficult to watch your childhood friends lead completely different lives that don’t involve you in any way. It’s a reality and I expected it, but it’s never an easy pill to swallow. If you have great friends like I do, it is definitely easy to pick up where you left off every time you visit but when you’re away, it’s never easy to see life back home continue without you. Meanwhile, you’re in a foreign place where you know no one or have started to form brand new relationships which of course come with that risk of betrayal. By the time you start to get close to these individuals, your nomad tendencies kick in and you’re out of there.

I made some unbelievable friendships in Tampa. But I started my life there knowing no one. It was a pretty lonely existence until I happened to meet the most wonderful people who became like my family. Leaving them was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve done, but that’s just how life is. Delaware has been interesting, to say the least. Being single here and setting up my own furniture, dealing with apartment flooding, and moving to a new place all by myself made me come to the reluctant realization that…maybe I do need a man in my life. Not a very happy realization for Ms. Independent Woman Prutha haha.

Despite all this hardship though, I must say I have LOVED this part of my life. I’ve learnt lessons about friendships, relationships and people like never before. I’ve failed so many times, yet have been pleasantly surprised to find that I have a lot of fight in me, and quite frankly, an innate stubbornness that never allows me to quit. I’ve met amazing people. I’ve lost amazing people. I’ve fought inner demons that only I know about. It’s been a ridiculously wild ride. But I am proud to say I haven’t left a place without making my mark. I’ve learnt that no matter how shit life seems at a point, it can definitely be shittier and that I’m lucky. And while the most heart-breaking part of being a nomad is leaving people behind, I have also made some absolutely fantastic friendships all over the country which I would not have made if I hadn’t lived like this.

One day I’ll stop moving, I know that. But when I do it gives me some comfort knowing I will have formed amazing bonds with amazing people, and that not everyone gets to be so lucky.

A Moment of Clarity

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I don’t know if it’s the weather, or if it’s some silly girly dramatic reason, but I’ve been feeling a little bit down the past couple of days. It’s pretty rare for me to wallow in any kind of self-pity so I think it just makes everything a little bit worse, since I’m not used to it. Without realizing, I’ve been projecting this mood on people around me. I find myself not smiling or saying hi to strangers in the hospital, looking at the floor or at my phone as I’m passing people in the hallway, or just sighing…a lot.

Yesterday was no different. As I slowly trudged towards my car, irritated at the biting cold and exhausted from a crazy day at work, I completely walked past a man I had once briefly spoken to in the hallway, just to be polite. Of course in my rotten mood I wasn’t about to try to talk to ANYONE, let alone a stranger I’d conversed with once. As I passed him I heard him exclaim: “Hi sweetheart!!!” I cringed silently. Oh mannnn, I’m going to have to turn around, plaster a smile to my face and say hi. Right now. When it’s 5:30pm and I’m freezing and I just want to get into my car.

I turned around slowly.

He is this tiny, older, African American man with a round face and a silver-foiled front tooth who does some kind of maintenance work for the hospital, as far as I remember from our one previous conversation. His face was completely lit up and I couldn’t help but crack a genuine smile myself.

“Hi sweetheart! How are you? I’m so happy to see you after so long! God must have been on vacation when he made you! How’s the puppy? How’s dance? How’s….” And he went on, asking me about things in my life that I enjoy talking about. Dance. My puppy, Leo. My job. Another man happened to walk by at this point and he called him over. “Remember I told you about that model/dancer who completely brightens your day when you see her?! That’s her!!”

You get the picture.

I walked out of that encounter with my very own space heater in my heart. It carried me all the way to my car, keeping me toasty warm. I wanted to kick myself for a) not remembering his name or anything about his life and b) walking around like life was so terrible. It’s not. It never is. I’m lucky to have been born into privilege, with food, water, clothing and shelter for every single day of my life. I really have no right to complain about a single thing.

It always amazes me the way these little reminders pop up when you’re feeling ungrateful. Whatever higher power is out there sure has an interesting way of reminding you though. 🙂

The Art of Forgiveness

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I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked how I can forgive so easily. Yet the question continues to take me by surprise because of how easy I find it to forgive. And how difficult it is for some people to do the same.

People are not inherently evil. At least not the people I have let into my life. It’s usually not super difficult to separate the superficial, unaltruistic jerkfaces who inevitably come into all our lives, from the trustworthy, good people. We all have at least a faint idea of the ‘hyenas’ out there, and if you are anything like me, you are pretty good at keeping these lovely individuals at a polite distance and not divulging any incriminating information that could be used to ruin lives. The others, we put into our ‘close’ or ‘good’ friend pile, allowing them access to our hearts, and consequently setting ourselves up for heartbreak/betrayal/a metaphorical slap in the face, and so on. I am a pretty strong believer in forgiving these silly beings, no matter how badly they have hurt me.

Why, you ask?

Because if they put you in that same category of friend/lover/spouse/partner/whatever else that you do them, chances are they feel terrible about the whole thing. Chances are it took them an enormous amount of courage to even say anything that they knew would hurt you. Chances are.. they’re just as afraid of losing you as you are them.

Consider this. There’s a couple. They’ve been together for like, 10 years, since high school. They’ve both finished school and are settled in their respective jobs, have cars, maybe their own apartment, whatever. The girl’s friends are all excitedly reminding her that you know, their 10-year anniversary is coming up, and that he’s pretty well positioned in his life to pop the question. A week before the anniversary he tells her he’s leaving her. Maybe it’s for another woman, who he met at work. Maybe it’s for no one. But he’s leaving. She’s furious, hurt, feels betrayed, hollow… Her perfect life has come to a grinding halt. And she hates him. Oh she hates him so much.

Most normal human beings may see just the 10 years she’s given him, the fact that he just up and left for another woman, may chide him for looking for ‘greener pastures’, question his moral compass, and scores of other issues. But do we know the whole story? Rather, do we know his story? Maybe he has been thinking about this for a long time now. Maybe he has been struggling with himself, forcing himself to keep trying for the sake of their love; maybe he can’t even look at himself in the mirror without hating himself for hurting her so much, maybe he doesn’t want to string her along while he is battling his own indecisiveness. Whatever it is, chances are he didn’t just pull a complete 180 and warp into a different person. And chances are he feels like absolute shit about doing this.

I’ve always felt uneasy giving someone too much hell for a mistake or a slipup. Sure, I’ve gotten upset and/or angry, but I haven’t quite mastered the delicate art of holding a gigantic grudge. I just don’t think good people are capable of intentionally hurting me.  In fact, I commend their courage to stand up and hurt me in the first place, because I know how difficult it must have been (if it was intentional). J Also, that gross feeling of hating someone that tends to sit at the pit of your stomach 24/7 is just uncomfortable and unnecessary.

Anyway.

It is my humble opinion that forgiveness is an art. You don’t have to go about it the same way as everyone else, it can take any shape or form, and not everyone is a natural at it. But it is possible to master as long as you’re willing to try.