A look back

Umesh
Umesh
Dec 29, 2019 · 10 min read

I always felt time go past very quickly. Usually, when I am reminded of an incident, it seems as if it had happened fairly recently. Only to realize that few weeks or months have gone past already since. Time is a measurement, devised by humans to keep track of events. So at the brink of two-thousand twenties, I wish to take a look back at the past 10 years. Mainly because I want to put in to words, what I am incredibly grateful for. Also, watch this.

I could categorize what I want to be grateful of into; People, Events or Achievements and Possessions. But instead, let’s go through the years.


2009

This is the year where I started my professional career. I want to be grateful for my friend from school who informed me about this vacancy. I wasn’t looking for a job, but I went for the interview and got it. That job as many first jobs, was hard. It broke me and made me who I professionally am today. I want to be grateful for the tough manager I had and the supportive mentors that I had there. I learnt lot about corporate culture and developed a good work ethic.

2010

Well, this is the year where we realized that we are in love with each other. Now she is my wife of ~6 years, and in this year, our years of close friendship turned into a romantic relationship. Where can I start to be grateful for this amazing woman? Most of the aspects of the man I am today is because of the support, guidance and love this woman give to me. An amazing human being on her own, who has been beside and ahead of me as a moral compass in my adult life. I am grateful for her.

2011

In this year many events happened. I don’t know if I can write about all of them in one post. But all of these events certainly changed my life for sure.

I left my first job I got two years ago. I landed a better job. On the week I was supposed to start at the new place, my father passed away. It was a sudden death from a stroke, so it threw me and everyone around our family out of balance to which till this day we are struggling to find a balance with. As the eldest of the family, I had to get many things done and little time to mourn my father’s loss. To this day, I don’t think I have properly mourn my father’s death. The many things I am today is because of my father. He taught me to be resilient, to be ingenious and always demanded growth from me. He shared experiences and his view of life with me, which to this day I learn from. As with any human, he was not perfect, but his life, his choices is still teaching me what to do, and what not to do. Most importantly he was a father, being supportive in my growth even after his passing. I can write about my father a lot, but may be later. Here is my gratitude to you my dear father.

The year had more in store for me. I returned back to my new job. After one week of working, I got laid off. The company went bust and as a new employee, I was among the first to be laid off. Jobless, I graduated from my Bachelors degree. It was a good day, I got to share it with my loved ones.

After going through many job interviews, I was able to land a job at the company that I work now. Back then it was called differently, but I got this opportunity because of the support of people I knew from the job I got laid off from. Colombo is small, so via networking, I got to know about this job. If not for this person, many of the achievement in my life and professional career won’t be there. So I am grateful for this person, for letting me know about the vacancy. I went through the interview and landed the job. I applied my work ethic there, and look at me now, 8+ years of service in the same organization.


2012

This year came along with new challenges. I had to get my hands-on with the family business. All while doing my job at Colombo. I wasn’t exposed to the day-to-day operations of the family business, neither did any one of our family. So it was great learning navigating through the operations. Which tightened my relationship with a very close friend of mine. This guy ended up being my best-man and to this day I find his companionship, friendship, guidance and intellect close to the heart and mind. For that I am grateful for him.

I met many of my close friends via Twitter. Interacting with different people over the years had given me valuable life lessons. These close friends (you know who you are) are now near and dear to my heart and I cannot imagine where I will be if not for these friends I met via twitter. For that I am grateful for the internet, social media and the people I met over those platform.

I had my first overseas travel in 2012. For work, I got the chance to travel to Hong Kong. Travelling widened my perspective of life and the world. It taught me lessons on other cultures and societies. Travelling and commuting always fascinated me. Transportation brings a group of individuals together which always is a good recipe for learning. My work enabled me to travel more over the years, into many more places. This also made me who I am today, so I want to be grateful for the people who gave me these opportunities, and placing their confidence in me to experience and grow.

2013

The year went on. I continued to travel a lot. Both overseas and within Sri Lanka. My life was busy. What I remember most is not staying at one place and having time to rest. My love for photography was growing more and more. I participated in lot of public events and experienced new things. We were getting ready for our wedding, so the preparation for the events also made us very busy. My life was evolving and it is not to say there wasn’t any highlights, but I want to be grateful of good health for making it all possible. Because we tend to forget that we can do everything in life, only if we are healthy both in mind and body.

2014

Another eventful year. The year started with me starting an MBA. The MBA challenged and changed me in multiple ways. Not only from education, but it gave me the opportunity to multi task, meet new people, understand more about the world. Among the advises I heard on the MBA inauguration day was not to start the MBA if you are just married or if you are having a child.

Well, it was too late. I got married to the love of my life, my life companion, the same year. Marriage life certainly is different. Not in a bad way, but in a good way that kept on challenging and growing me. Being closer to another family also helped me to learn new things. The extended family welcomed with me open arms, and I found solace in them. They taught me new lessons, and showed a new perspective to life. For this, I am grateful for my extended family for the love and affection they give me.

Work kept me travelling to overseas destinations. I had my first visit to Europe. It was Germany. Worked kept on going, the MBA kept on moving forward, married life kept on going. This brought a lot of new challenges too. All wasn’t all good and rosy, many trials and tribulations tested me and the people around me. Looking back at it, maybe there were different ways to handle those situations. But hopefully, it gave me the lessons necessary to avoid them in future. I am grateful for these trails that tested me, because mistakes teach you better.


2015

Looking back, this year appears to be like an on-ramp that initiated multiple sequences of events that resulted in the next stage of my life. I am a believer that we cannot completely control every aspect of our lives. That said, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. I am incredibly grateful for these events that are seemingly unrelated, prepared me and put me into a perfect position to reap the benefits.

By the end of 2015, I had grown more. Plans were in motion for me to relocate from Sri Lanka to The Netherlands. I am still surprised when I look back at this time period. I think this feeling will continue to exist, because the more I know, the more I realize how rare and special all of those events and opportunities are. For which I want to be grateful to luck or fate or whatever one may want to call it.

2016

The year started. It was a huge decision to relocate so plans were in motion. I was supported by many both personally and professionally to start a life from scratch in a whole new world. But we both continued to soldier on. I was travelling and was continuing the MBA. The MBA was coming close to an end but this last bit became the toughest. I nearly bunked the whole thing, but with all the support from my wife and my teachers I was able to complete it. This reminds me of all the times that I have failed or nearly failed. I want to be grateful for the people who believed in me to give another chance to me.

So finally by mid year, we moved to The Netherlands. It was the beginning of a new chapter of our lives. We had to distance ourselves from our beloved ones; family, friends and acquaintances. But we loved the novelty of the whole experience. We embraced it with open arms and continued on. The experiences kept us happy and engaged. I want to be grateful of all the people; family, friends and acquaintances that understood, helped and supported us during this time of transition. We tried to keep touch with everyone back in Sri Lanka, but as time showed, some relationships grew strong and some weakened.

2017

It was a new life in a new country. There was a lot to learn. Which showed us many new things of the First World. “The world moves” differently and people generally had a different point of view than people from south Asia. We started to learn Dutch. We enrolled in a class that proved to be not only a language class but a class that gave many life lessons. We started to get the benefit of living in EU and started to travel. We did our first Ski trip at Austria, visited Paris and few places in Italy later in the year. Friends from SL came to visit us at NL, and we made lots of fond memories and closer friendships at Berlin and Prague. Another benefit was the opportunity to see many artists that we love, perform live. Seeing John Mayer and Linkin Park live were highlights. Here, I want to acknowledge how incredibly privileged we are. And for that privilege, I am grateful.

We wanted to move to a new place. We rented a place that was kaal. Which meant we had to furnish the whole place from the flooring to getting pots and pans. That was certainly a whole new experience on it’s own. Even though it was a challenge, we were glad that we were finally able to make-out a home of own liking. This home away from our original home started to become more lovely.

2018

We traveled more. Friends from SL came and we went to Paris again and then to Belgium and Luxembourg. Experienced more things and continued to face challenges that Netherlands threw at us. Living alone got harder and harder. We missed the support system and the companionship we had apart from having each other. It tested our relationship and opened our eyes more on mental health. We always wanted a pet to ourselves, so to remedy many of our turmoils we got a pup. We realized that we have to settle more into the life at NL. Some things, we could adjust to, but some things were too hard to change. I missed having a car. Those who know me know I love cars and all things associated with it. So I ended up leasing a car.

We went to Sri Lanka to join our siblings and their partners in their weddings. Our families grew bigger. We learnt accept things as they are, and revel on things and people we loved. Even though it was a very tightly packed visit to Sri Lanka, we were able to spend time with what we missed the most, family, friends, the beautiful country and it’s food.

2019

We are coming to the end of this post. The 10th year, before a new era begins. This year grew me more in my professional career. We both enjoyed by travelling more. We traveled to Curaçao, south of Spain and Austria (to see my first F1 race). We started a small home based business called Rasa Kitchen and did a pop up store on King’s Day. As with any new business venture, this taught us more than actually making money. It is having a rough start now but hopefully in the future we would be able to continue with it.

Certainly the honeymoon period of living in NL is coming to end. The novelty I mentioned earlier is nearly gone. I feel like we are getting into a more normal Dutch life. For example, facing the bureaucracy and noticing stupidity in the First World. All this and many more things are giving us more perspectives hopefully that will prepare us for what is in store in future.

And again, I am constantly reminded of the immensely privileged position I am in. And for that I am grateful and I am doing my best every day to share it with the rest of the world. I believe that if I have the luxury to do so, why not?

Even though life is continuing to teach us hard lessons, I think we have learnt to accept more things as they are. I was a control freak at the start of this decade and wanted to have things done in my way. Although I think I am not completely over it, I have learnt to choose my battles. And that is because of hindsight. Even writing this, made me go back through my memories and scroll through pages of Facebook, Twitter hashtags, Instagram, etc. And I am grateful for this hindsight that teaches us.

And that the end. I am not a writer but I wanted to put this down for future use. Apologies for any mistakes in grammar, spellings or sentence structure.

Until next time I want to write at length, bye.

At Austria when we were there for the Formula 1 #AustrianGP
At Austria when we were there for the Formula 1 #AustrianGP

Umesh

Written by

Umesh

i am not a bot... https://t.co/cLM2AKHZ5N

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade