Out of Town Visitors

This past weekend my uncle and aunt came to visit. It was great seeing them, they’d both had a very tough year. My uncle survived multiple heart attacks, strokes and ultimately a heart transplant. It was a miracle that he could make the journey to come visit us. Though they only came for a short visit, their ‘trial’ run as they called it, it was difficult to say goodbye to them as they left to head home.

The last time I had seen my aunt and uncle was at my wedding, almost 6 years prior. Both of them were vibrant and so full of life. The thought of not seeing them again never crossed my mind. I don’t think it crossed any of our minds.

It’s crazy how we sometimes take those closest to us for granted. We naively assume that they will be around forever. We fail to think of a time when the annual birthday phone calls will stop, or not hearing someone’s voice again. But life is a fickle thing, and it is unrealistic for us to expect anything from life.

Life is short and we need to relish in every interaction that we have with loved ones. Not waste time on petty arguments or disagreements. We need to focus on the bigger picture, and in this case, the bigger picture being the underlying love.

My aunt and uncle asked both my sister and I repeatedly why we didn’t come to visit them. My answer was unclear. Why didn’t we go to see them? Yes I have had unfavorable interactions with people who live close to them, but that didn’t deter me from visiting my aunt and uncle. The thought of visiting them crossed my mind on more than one occasion, but I never bought my flight ticket. Instead I opted to visit warmer climates, seeing monuments that weren’t of any significance in my life. I should have prioritized seeing them.

What if I was too late? What’s the point of taking the time to attend someone’s funeral if you failed to make the effort to see them while they were alive. Fortunately, I have the opportunity to see them again. To converse with them and create memories. To prioritize what is important in my life. I am grateful for having the opportunity.

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Choosing Not To be Offended

In life, people are going to do things that hurt or offend you. Whether their actions are intentional or not, as recipients we are often left with a choice. Are we going to be offended by their actions or no? Personally, I often opt for the latter. I proactively make the decision to give people the benefit of the doubt, and try to understand their perspective.

Recently, I engaged in a discussion on Facebook regarding racism, and whether the actions of a group of university students was racist.

Perhaps I should take a step back and explain the situation. A group of university students attended an “around the world” themed party, whereby they dressed as people from different cultures, mainly from the Asian subcontinent. As expected at a university party, the students indulged in alcohol, and their actions may/may not have been respectful to the countries that they were representing.

Personally, I don’t believe their actions were racist. I think their actions were in poor taste. But I also believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they weren’t educated on the customs of the countries they were representing, but I don’t think they tried to go out of their way to offend people.

They are students. I vividly remember the growing pains of being one. Mentally, I grew into a very different person in university. It was where I started finding my way on this crazy place we call earth. And I don’t support using harsh words for a group of students who made an error in judgement.

Being called a racist isn’t a something one would forget. Yes they offended people, but to call them a name that puts them on the same platform as members of the KKK, in my opinion is not acceptable.

I don’t know the students personally, but I don’t think they actively went out to cause harm. Perhaps as grown adults, we can use this as a teaching opportunity. What are the university leaders doing to teach culture diversity, and educate their students? What are we doing as a society to be inclusive and learn about our neighbors backgrounds?

We don’t grow as a society by isolating a group of people by calling them names. We grow by helping them understand why their actions were offensive to a group of people.

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Thanksgiving Envy!

Today is Thanksgiving in the US. It is officially the only day of the year where I wish I was an American. Not because I think the US is the greatest country on the planet, because I don’t. But because Americans get two paid days of vacation. It’s the only time of the year where you can walk up to your manager and say “sorry boss man, I have to legally take today and tomorrow off, the government is making me”.

Yes its true that I don’t agree with the holiday itself. I don’t support how the Native Indian population was treated, but I support an overworked population getting two days off to breathe and spend time with loved ones. We as a society, unless your brown (we travel in packs), don’t spend enough time with loves ones, creating lasting memories. The majority of the US population is too overworked and underpaid to spend time with the people they are breaking their bones to provide for. When you think about it, It’s a pretty sad reality! Working 12 hour shifts to provide for a family that you barely get to see. The only connection being that the same blood travels through your veins. Thanksgiving is an important holiday where people are afforded the opportunity to spend time together and share in stomach cramping laughter!

I could do with two days off to connect with family and friends! Recently, I’ve been working very long hours. By the time I reach home in the evenings I am exhausted and want to sit in silence. I log in to my brothers Netflix account (because I’m cheap) and put on the first thing I see.

To my American neighbours, enjoy this holiday for the envious green monster north of the border.

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Love

Today I had an eye-opening conversation with a colleague of mine regarding love, and  what it means to truly love. He talked about not understanding the meaning of true love until having his first born child. He was so overwhelmed with the indescribable emotions. He couldn’t find the words to explain the emotion but you could see it on his face and in his expression. It looked like bliss.

Standing there watching him, I couldn’t help but question who I am as a person. Do I love anyone that much in my life? Do I even love myself that much? I questioned if I am a broken person. Not having children myself, I couldn’t relate to what he was talking about. I was filled with self-doubt and convinced that I lack the ability to be completely selfless.

I have a deep-rooted fear of being completely vulnerable to another individual, and have platinum walls up at all times. I question people’s motivations, and don’t always believe peoples sincerity. I know I’m a cynic and take ownership of that. I have a handful of people who I believe love me unconditionally. But I question if I have the same loyalty towards them. Maybe I do and am judging myself harshly, but I don’t know if I can name a single person who I love unconditionally.

I’m envious of people who can so easily express their love to another person. It comes second nature to them. My husband says that I express love in other ways. Clearly he sees something that I don’t!

When people tell me they love me, I have a hard time saying it back. My 3 year old nephew tells me he loves me all the time. However, when I say it back it feels forced. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I almost feel like I’m exposing an area of weakness, that I want to keep hidden. I don’t want people to know how deeply I care because then they can use it against me.

Maybe that’s why I have the wall up, for fear of being hurt. Maybe my husband is right and I do love, I love so deep that if I let people see, they can use it as ammo to hurt me.

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Truth Be Told

When I got sick last year, it changed me as a person. It made me a cynical person. I am, was, a person who would go out of her way to help people. I found joy in it, and I genuinely wanted to make the lives of the people I cared about easier. Now, that person feels like a lifetime away, and if I am being honest, if I saw her today I would call her a naive fool.

Throughout the duration of my illness, I felt very lonely. I was fighting a battle, and no one co20150426_234045278_iOSuld help me. It was me against this thing that was attacking me from the inside. I was physically and mentally exhausted. I had people visit me daily to inquire a out my health and to keep me company. But I can count these people on one hand. For someone, such as myself who has a large circle, it was truly disheartening.  I became skeptical of the people in my life. It was my rude awakening.
I spent a year trying to run away from my negative thoughts. I took up hair and make up lessons and became a certified artist. If I looked good on the outside, surely that would translate into me becoming a happier person on the inside. That was a lie. I only felt
more empty and alone. I took up a project management class, and tried to cross a few more items off of my bucket list, but that only made me feel more sad. Who did I have to share these great milestones with? People who weren’t there for me when I was at my lowest point?

I was sad, I am sad and I don’t know how to overcome this deep disappointment. This may be a terrible example, but you know when you’ve finished making a lavish meal and the kitchen is a disaster. You’re exhausted after cooking, but you have to clean up your mess, its frustrating, but you get through it. All you have left are these great memories of the exceptional tasting meal that you’ve created. I have the exact opposite of that feeling. I went through this horrid experience that taught me how strong I can be, but all I remember is who wasn’t there for me.
Its a sad feeling, and i’m hoping that with time, I learn how to overcome it.
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The Journey or the Destination

Sometimes I think that happiness is an over rated myth that we blindly chase. It’s an illusion that pushes us to believe that if we behave a particular way, or attain certain goals that we will attain the pinnacle of happiness, and remain in the grips of its ecstasy forever. Perhaps this is our downfall as human beings. We think that our “positive” behaviors and actions will result in the outcome of happiness, and we shamelessly waste our lives trying to chase it, when we need to let the universe bring it to us.

Recently, I became very ill and spent many days in the hospital being poked and jabbed with needles, attached to an oxygen supply 24/7 and seeing an array of doctors. At the time, I was afraid and didn’t think I would be coming home. My body had become very weak, and mentally, I was very drained. I have always been an independent person, and for the first time in my life, I couldn’t perform basic tasks for myself.

However, in retrospect…well maybe I shouldn’t say retrospect because I am still undergoing treatment, but getting sick was the biggest blessing the universe has given me. Getting sick forced me to see my flaws and shortfalls. I learned that I am a control freak who cares too much about the small details in life, and I need to learn to let go and enjoy life. Coming home from the hospital, my incredible husband had to carry the complete weight of the household. Not only was he making me three meals a day, he was cleaning the entire house. I would become frustrated because he wasn’t cleaning it “correctly”. How does one correctly clean a house? And more importantly, how stupid was I being that I was seeing a “shortfall” and becoming upset? I was missing this opportunity of happiness that the universe was giving me. Without any complaints, my husband was taking on the huge responsibility of running a household, and he was doing a great job. I had a partner who stepped up to the plate when he needed to. He didn’t shy away from the responsibility, or try to put the burden on someone else.  Had I failed to open my eyes, and see the gift that was in front of me, I would have missed out on the opportunity to be happy and thank him.

I had become so calculated with my life. I thought that if I secured a particular job, or achieved a certain goal that would be happy. When in reality, that wouldn’t have made me happy. I would constantly be looking over the next hurdle to become happy. In the process of charging through life to be happy, I would have missed the opportunity to experience the happiness in my life. Being sick, the universe stopped me in my tracks and taught me to open my eyes to what happiness really is.

Happiness. What does it really mean?  Happiness means enjoying the process of growth as a person. It means taking time for yourself to reflect on how your life is amazing. It is appreciating the little things and not worrying about the details. At least that’s what happiness is to me.

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