From back-to-back tuition and extra classes to long working hours, I have never had time to peacefully sit and relax with my family for almost a decade. The thing is, we get so busy in our lives, hustling and yearning for great things, that we often forget to be grateful for the important things in life, like our families. We forget to express our love for them and we forget to ask them crucial things like how they have been.

Honestly, I always thought that I knew my loved ones more than anyone else. However, I learned many new things about them when I took a sabbatical and spent more than a month with them on a vacation. This includes the significance of being surrounded by my family’s warmth and love.

Typically, as soon as the weekends come near, I either go out with friends or organize a vacation with my parents- that’s how it has been for years. However, last month, I, along with my parents, visited my sister and brother-in-law in Australia, and it changed my life and perception towards a lot of things.

It’s not like we didn’t go out during our vacation, we sure did.  But this was purely ‘family time’, no matter when or where we were – weekends, weekdays, mornings, evenings and nights. I was surrounded by individuals who have been with me through thick and thin and it made me feel so safe and happy.

We went out, drank and had lots of meaningful conversations which made me realize what has been missing from my life.

Later, in the third week of our vacation, we received the shocking news of my chachu’s sudden demise. Even after trying for days, we couldn’t return due to a lack of flights at the time. While it broke our hearts that we couldn’t be there on this unfortunate occasion, it also made me realize that what I had at that moment – my family’s existence around me – was something I should be grateful and thankful for because there are many people who visit their families once in months or even in a year and have to live their best moments in that short time with their loved ones.

On numerous random occasions, I saw my parents drinking their morning chai and happily talking about little things, my niece giggling as her squishy toy made sounds and my sisters and brothers-in-law laughing over tiny things – and, it made my hearts and eyes full.

Even while doing simple things like watching television together, I realized how I have been losing on making memories with them for all these years.

We laughed, got sick and cried it out all within a month, and I learned the importance of being with my family during these bittersweet instances. I’m glad that I took this much-needed time from my busy life, away from the hustle-bustle, and soaked in the love and warmth – which I never realized was missing from my life.

I felt full and happy – even if we just sat and had coffee together.

I have come to a realization that people get so busy with their daily lives that they forget to take a break and just unwind and that’s exactly what happened to me. I realized that I had been stressing over unimportant things and all I had to do was be with the people who love me unconditionally. I only had to be around them.

While I realize that it might not be possible for everyone to have a month to be with their families, I would urge every person reading this article to sit with their family or call them today for a few minutes and just cherish those moments.