Anoop Judge | Author · Writing Instructor · Former T.V. Host​

2020\’s over; Here\’s how to survive 2021!

2020 was a challenging year that many would want to bury so deep in their memories that they could forget it. Little wonder that on New Year’s eve people were celebrating the coming of 2021 as a return to ‘normal’ life.

And yet, the start of 2021 has shown us that monsters still lurk beneath the bed and that when the clock struck midnight on 31, the problems of 2020 did not just fade away.

Cheryl Fulton, an associate professor in the professional counseling program at Texas State University, noted that holding out for a better future “not only robs you of living fully now but may also rob your future present when it doesn’t live up to its promise.”

The Positive Place: Three weeks into Quarantine

Thirty-two days into the pandemic, and I’m homesick for my frothy macchiato coffee latte. For my favorite barista—a pierced, tattooed young man with a military haircut, and the build of a Navy seal. For movies at my preferred theater in Livermore and how I would slump down in my seat with my buttered popcorn and a glass of Riva Ranch. I flick channels on the T.V. remote to get a glimpse of other people’s worlds to soothe my own. The over walked dog twitches next to me on the well-worn burnt orange sofa.

Last week, the adrenalin kept me going but now the harsh reality sets in. The last package of ground chicken is defrosting on the kitchen counter downstairs. We will need haircuts. Netflix is not coming on. Oh God, I think. I’m trapped in this house without a means to watch the last episode of Tiger King. My frantic gaze falls on the 2020 wall calendar with the events of April still not crossed out—the violin recital for my nephew, the parent-teacher meeting at my daughter’s school, my cousin’s wedding in Cabo, Mexico.

News from the trenches: A week of coronavirus isolation

March 16

After a blast of cheery emails and messages on WhatsApp, Twitter, FB, Instagram, and Tumblr on how many people have recovered from coronavirus, what meditation apps to download, where to buy hand sanitizer, and where not to go for empty shelves of toilet paper rolls, a short simple notification shows up on Nextdoor:

“I can’t stop eating!”

Six days later, and the post is still trending. I want to hold up an emphatically guilty hand. A long-time believer in the intermittent fasting way of life, I usually have no problem fasting for sixteen hours straight. Now, I’m eating for sixteen hours straight!

 Why can I not stop binging? Could I have been exposed to a mutated version??

Cheers to 2020 and another chance for us to get it right!

”For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” – T.S. Eliot

A New Year brings infinite new possibilities. A clean slate.  A reason to erase past mistakes and start afresh. We all know that resolutions don\’t always stick. But for a shot at real happiness, try penning a set of personal commandments (an idea borrowed from best-selling author Gretchen Rubin.)

I would suggest writing them down and keeping them handy. This may make you laugh, but I have mine scribbled on a post-it note stuck to a long-expired Bed & Bath coupon. Anytime I\’m stuck in traffic, listening to Zayn’s \’Trampoline’ repeat itself for the fourth time in a sixty-minute window, I find myself pulling out my handy-dandy list and ruminating on what\’s important.

Here\’s my list . . . to help you get started on your own:

Does Hypnotherapy Work?

Imagine you’re seated in a big, deep, velvet-upholstered antique purple armchair. You look out the window across the street where the wind is blowing in gusts, whipping dead leaves around the parked cars, shaking store signs and rocking the streetlights high on their poles. You sit back in the chair and lift your feet to make yourself comfortable. Your eyelids grow heavy and your body slumps into the chair, eyes wide open, gazing into nowhere as you hear the gong: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Your subconscious takes over and suddenly you’re in a tropical paradise, basking in the sunshine, lying on your stomach in a teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini on a white sandy beach. You’re relaxed, filled with happiness and peace. A soft lilting voice penetrates the trance-like state you’re in, “Anoop, your mind is at peace like a lake with no ripples. Feel the warmth of your bed cocoon you into a restful state of mind.”

My Adventures at Jindal Nature Cure. . .

My ride picks me up from Bangalore airport, and we traverse congested roads bustling with cars, cattle, people and more people. After an hour, we arrive at closed iron gates leading to a compound behind which is a tall, sterile-looking, concrete building.  Spider webs reflecting the light from a street lamp create a silver weave on a sign that is covered with a thick film of dust but still readable: \”surrender your cell phone here.  It will be returned to you when you depart.\” The iron-grill gate closes behind me with a clang, and I jump, feeling as if I may have entered a jail of my own free will.

I walk a little further and see an avenue of leafy trees under a blue sky and people walking briskly with a smile on their faces.  Nobody\’s commandeered my phone yet, even though large, conspicuous signs stating, \”Cell-phone use strictly prohibited.  You can use your cell phone only in your accommodation\” abound.  I breathe in fresh air, soaking in the green outdoor environment.  I see ripples on the transparent, turquoise waters of the (man-made) lake separating a traffic-laden highway from this oasis of tranquility, and I feel myself beginning to relax.  

Anoop Judge is a blogger and an author, who’s lived in the San Francisco-Bay Area for the past 27 years. As an Indian-American writer, her goal is to discuss the diaspora of Indian people in the context of twenty-first century America.