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Posts tagged ‘Health’

“None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

Peace be upon you!

With the holy month of Ramadan fast approaching, I thought what better way to come back to my happy place, my blog, than to write the special post I share annually around the same time? Sadly, I wasn’t able to do so last year, and the fact that I couldn’t, took its toll on me for quite a while back then. The previous year, my post was about forgiveness. It is the most highly viewed and shared post on my blog thus far! It came from the bottom of my heart and helped me realize how important forgiveness is in our lives! Whether it be forgiving ourselves, those who wronged us in the past, those who wrong us now, those who will wrong us in the future or those who, indirectly, led others to wrong us. I also reflected on the fact that we all must seek forgiveness ourselves, whether from those we wronged or from God, the Almighty! There is no greater peace of mind than laying your head on your pillow at night knowing that you did your best to make amends with others and that you don’t carry as much as a grain of salt of bitterness towards anyone! It’s something I remind myself of every day and strive to attain even on the toughest of days. May God grant us all peace of mind, pureness of heart and the capacity to forgive others so that He may forgive us when we most need it! Ameen.

This year I would like to reflect on Prophet Muhammad’s authentic hadith:

Anas (RA) relates that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم (peace be upon him) said: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

By no means am I a scholar, and so I am not referring to the above mentioned hadith from a scholarly perspective. But rather, how someone like me, a regular person who continues to strive to better herself and attain further knowledge of her own religion, can benefit from it!

This hadith is so concise yet exceptionally profound! It is not saying that a person is deemed a non-believer for failing to hold in his heart the aforementioned love for others. It rather states that their belief is somewhat deficient. It guides us as to how people are supposed to relate to each other in this life. It also negates ugly emotions such as envy, wishing ill upon others and hatred while establishing the vision of a society based on mutual love, care and respect! It incorporates so many deep meanings in one sentence! Sobhan Allah (Glory be to God).

Over the past few years, as well as this year in particular, I have come to notice that many people do not take this precious advice to heart! Although growing up I would hear my parents’ generation speaking about how different people are “now”, how inconsiderate those around us have become, how the ties that used to bind people back in the day no longer do so, I don’t think I have truly witnessed all that in essence till fairly recently! See, back then they’d be referring to someone who didn’t call for a few days after knowing that someone is ill. Or someone who, although they knew that X’s children had finals, they still so inconsiderately chose to host a dinner party the preceding weekend. Or someone who couldn’t even bother to fake a smile at Y’s wedding just because they had wished that their own daughter got married first! Not to minimize how detrimental such actions can be on a relationship, particularly one of kinship, but all those ghastly things fade in comparison to what I have witnessed in, say, the past decade!

It’s almost like people have seeds of bitterness, envy and hatred slowly but surely growing in their hearts with each passing generation! The saddest part? The recipients of all this negativity are more often than not really good people, arguably the best amongst the bunch, often times! We’re talking people wishing that someone would fall ill with a more severe illness than theirs just because they couldn’t bother to call and check on them. Someone feeling so bitter about someone’s promotion or raise that they’d try to sabotage their image at work to make themselves feel and look better amongst their peers. Someone knowing that they can help a friend in need of assistance by making a simple phone call or helping them research a solution to their problem but cannot find it in their hearts to do so. Someone being able to lend a shoulder to someone in turmoil but feeling like they are not obliged to do so, therefore why go “the extra mile”? Someone breaking marriages and friendships just to prove a point, which may or may not be substantial. Someone being outright mean to a child just because they are jealous of their parent. It has become ridiculous! I witness such actions first hand at least several times a week (sometimes several times a day) and it breaks my heart for our ummah! Why? Why put yourself and others through so much? For what? So what if someone has a higher salary than you? I’m sure they deserve it! So what if X is more healthy than you? Maybe you’re happier! So what if Y’s child got married before yours? Maybe your child’s marriage will be a better one! So what if Z shines at work? Let that motivate you to work harder! You see, we do not have to bring each other down, wish ill upon each other nor ruin each other to attain what we want in this life. If anything, the only thing we should be trying to strive for and accumulate in this life is good deeds! That’s it. None of us are taking anything else with us to our grave! Focus on the ultimate goal, raise your children to be pious and humble, make a difference in this life by helping others and your message will be complete. It’s really as simple as that!

So, what are some things we can do to remind ourselves to act in accordance with our Prophet’s cherished words? Well, first and foremost, we need to void our hearts of any ill feelings towards others. This may prove to be challenging at times, but even if you feel like the person you are baring ill feelings towards doesn’t deserve it, think about yourself! Would you rather follow God’s and the Prophet’s teachings or hold on to a grudge or envy that could poison your life from the inside out? It’s OK to be upset about something or from someone, but we all need to figure out a way to deal with and disperse those feelings and channel them in a positive manner. One thing that I discovered, perhaps a year or two ago, works beautifully for me is that when I am feeling upset or angry and I decide to fast, I usually feel remarkably calmer and better afterwards! No matter how enraged, hurt or betrayed I feel waking up, all those feelings melt away from my heart as well as my mind as the day passes by. It’s like a full-body cleanse, sobhan Allah (Glory be to God)!

Another important point is that in loving for our brother what we love for ourselves, the one thing that should be at the very top of our priority list is to wish for everyone to be guided to the righteous path! It’s a simple yet fundamental thought. You see, we all have the same ultimate goal, yet we often lose sight of that in the middle of all what life puts us through on a daily basis! Making du’a (supplication) for others is an action that would take no more than a few seconds of your time, yet can completely change both your life and theirs! How so?

The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم  (peace be upon him) said, “The supplication of a Muslim for his brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Every time he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: `Ameen! May it be for you, too’.” [Sahîh Muslim].

So, that person that gives you a hard time at work? Make du’a for them rather than thinking of ways to get back at them. That person who didn’t help you when they were the only ones you thought could? Make du’a for them and sit back and watch how God will extend you the best of helping hands! That person who forgets everything you’ve done for them when no one else did? Make du’a for them and watch as God plants seeds of love for you in huge masses of people’s hearts! And if you can’t bring yourself to do any of that? Say no more than “hasby Allah wa ne’ma al wakeel” (Allah is Sufficient for Me, and He is the Best Trustee) … that’s it! By saying that, you declare that you are leaving the matter in God’s hands and are entrusting Him to solve it with his infinite wisdom. Is there anything better than that? Don’t bring yourself down to the level of making du’a against someone, targeting their children, health, wealth, relationship with his/her spouse, etc. It’s not worth it! Wallahi, it’s not worth it!

What else can you do to put the first hadith in practice? How about treating others the way you wish to be treated? Does that show love for them? I’m pretty sure that no one wants others to treat them badly, so, yes!

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever wishes to be kept away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise should have death overtake him while he believes in Allah and the Last Day and should treat people the way he wants them to treat him.” [Sahîh Muslim]

You see, Islam is a just and peaceful religion. You want justice for yourself? Grant it to others first. You want forgiveness? Forgive before you seek it for yourself. You want good health? Do not wish illness upon anyone. You want authentic friends? Be authentic and sincere towards them first. Give before you take. Sow before you reap. You cannot have the fruits of a tree before first planting it, can you? Well, the same goes for everything in this life. If we all follow the precious teaching of our phenomenal Prophet, wallahi there will be no ummah out there better than ours! Sobhan Allah (Glory be to Allah).

One important point, is the fact that sometimes we put our brothers and sisters last preceded by so many things that shouldn’t really take precedence. Part of our duty towards God, our beloved Prophet and our ummah at large is to ALWAYS help a brother or sister in need, always. If you run a business and you are placed in a position of having to choose between doing the right thing for an employee of yours while incurring miniscule loss or making a “business decision” and lose a good employee’s faith in your establishment, go for the first choice. If you have the chance to either help out a neighbor and perhaps have to cancel a trip that you planned for quite some time or go on the trip but leave your neighbor in distress with no one to help them, go for the first choice. If you have to make a choice between siding with a colleague who is only asking for their rights or siding with your boss who is being unreasonable, go for the first choice. If you have the choice between turning your cheek to someone who wronged you or retaliating, go for the first choice. And always remember, whatever you do, you are doing for Allah. And whatever you do, you’re doing according to who you really are on the inside and not what the person in front of you actually deserves. And whatever you do, you do out of love … love for God, love for goodness, love for the ummah, love for yourself and love for our lovely religion!

white-flower

My final thought involves seeing one’s faults and imperfections and focusing on them rather than those of others! More often than not I wonder whether people are truly oblivious to their faults or are they faking that? If you do not extend a helping hand to someone, why be mesmerized when others behave the same way towards you? You comment about other people backbiting you yet you spy on others or cheat them. You love to criticize how X raises her children while your own children have clearly not been raised well. You love to put others down yet wonder why others may want to call you out on such behavior. Your friends love you and always want to help you but you only befriend them when you need something, otherwise they are useless to you. You criticize someone else’s hijab (veil) while you wear yours well but lie all the time. You criticize how someone doesn’t pray sunnah while you pray, fast and memorize the Qur’an yet you are full of bitterness towards those around you and you constantly hurt them. You are in a position of responsibility yet don’t do the right thing because it’s often the harder choice, however, when you have an issue you want others to immediately come to your aide! It’s truly baffling! Al hamdulillah, I am blessed to know my flaws well and am thankful that Allah gives me the chance day after day to work on them. I am humbled by the experience gained from the never-ending journey of self-improvement.

May Allah aide and guide us all. May He expel all envy, bitterness and hatred from our hearts and replace them with love, compassion, positivity and humility. May He help us see our own faults before we see those of others and give us the courage, means and opportunity to work on them so that we may attain the ultimate goal, in sha’ Allah (God willing). May He help us help others always, even when we’re at our lowest point. And may our ummah wake up and go back to basics of religion before sweating the small stuff.

To everyone out there who did not wish me or my loved ones what they wish for themselves over the years, I forgive you! To everyone who did not come through for me or my loved ones, particularly this year, I forgive you! To everyone who could’ve made the right decision but chose the wrong one because it was easier, I forgive you! To everyone who could’ve made a true difference but chose not to, I forgive you! To everyone who envied, backbit, carried bitterness in their hearts or hurt me or my loved ones, I forgive you! I forgive you for my own sake more than anything. Those who acknowledged their mistakes, whether or not they made up for them, I forgive and respect you. Most importantly of all, I am making du’a for each and every one of you, myself included. May Allah help us to uphold and truly live by His teachings as well as those of Prophet Muhammad. May He guide us all to the straight path and ease our journey to the hereafter. May He surround us with brothers and sisters who help us to become the best version possible of ourselves and take our hands and guide us to Jannah (paradise). May He help us learn from our negative experiences in life, including the ones we put ourselves in, and enjoy the positive ones. May He help us remain silent when others wrong us, not out of weakness or fear, but out of respect for oneself and in following the true teachings of our religion. May Allah always be there for us and may we be deserving of His protection and love. Ameen.

Ramadan mubarak, may Allah accept all our fasts, prayers, recitations and good deeds, ameen 🙂

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30 Days Till 30 … Day 29: Farewell My Twenties…

Alas, the moment is near. In a little over 24 hours my twenties will be over, forever! It’s an event I face with mixed emotions. I am overly excited and overwhelmed at the same time. Excited to start a new, more mature and, potentially, more exhilarating phase of my life. Overwhelmed with the feeling that I am turning the page on my twenties, which have been much more eventful than I had ever imagined them to be. It feels like leaving behind a very close friend or companion, knowing for a fact that you will never, ever see them again! I am not sad, heartbroken or depressed like I’ve heard occurs with many at this point. If anything, I am humbled, thankful and grateful … on many levels.

My twenties were rough and tough but were also gentle and kind. They were eventful yet quiet. They were heartbreaking yet heartwarming. They were full of tears and smiles. They included the lowest points of my life so far and the greatest. During my twenties I lost some of the people closest to my heart to illness, death and life yet I also met some of the people who will forever remain in my heart no matter what. I have lost some people who I thought were friends yet I made the best real, lifelong friends. The tides of my twenties were high and rough when they came down crashing upon me, yet when they settled, the waters were calm and glistened beautifully in the sunlight!

I come out of this decade stronger, disciplined, well-taught, independent, confident, intellectual, knowledgeable, firm, responsible, mature, willing, optimistic, with a clearer vision of who I am and what I want and, most importantly to me, with my feet planted firm on the ground and my head held up high! During numerous points I thought my twenties were going to break me. I even had points where I had not even the slightest hope of seeing my thirties! However, God chose to keep and protect me. He chose to give me a second, third and fourth chance at life. Time and time again He would come to my aid, lift me up and give me a reason to start over.

The most beautiful outcome of this decade is my beautiful children, without the slightest doubt. I love them more than anything in this world and would do anything to see them happy and well. I intend to spend the rest of my life living up to their expectations of me, being there for them, supporting them and being the stepping stone they need towards leading their own lives. I intend to do everything I can to give them everything my parents gave me and much more. I intend to do my best to see them better than I ever even aspired to be! My children are my life from day one and nothing on this Earth can change that.

I am thankful for every illness I had, every mishap that occurred, every bad relationship I had, every friend that betrayed me, every person that stood in my way, every obstacle I faced and every person who tried to bring me down, for all those circumstances made me stronger and taught me lessons I could have never learned otherwise in life. I am thankful for every healthy day, every right decision I made, every successful relationship I had, every friend that stood by my side, every person who helped me advance in life one way or another, every obstacle I overcame and every person who has ever encouraged me, for all those circumstances made me realize how blessed and loved I truly am.

To every person who has had a major impact on my life, thank you for being part of it. To all my school colleagues, friends and teachers. To all my university colleagues, friends and professors. To all my professional colleagues, friends and managers. To all my entrepreneurial clients, collaborators and supporters. To all the doctors and nurses who have helped me in the past and continue to do so today. To all my friends, family and neighbors. And of course, to all my blog followers who return day after day to encourage me. I love you all and thank you for being such wonderful individuals. I am humbled by the experience of meeting you and learning so much from each and every one of you.

I do not want to start naming names because the list will soon grow so huge and I am bound to forget mentioning someone and that’s the last thing I want to do. But to all my sisters out there, the women who support me every day and show me their love every way they can. To the women who have always held me up high and never once lost faith in me. To the women who love me from the bottom of their hearts just as much I love them. To the women who sacrifice every single day for the sake of their families and loved ones. You, ladies, are my rock! Without you, I would not be the woman I am today. No one has had as great an impact on my personal growth as you wonderful women. I am sure you know who you are and I pray to God, every single day, that He protects and keeps you and your families and loved ones. I pray that God grants you all your wishes and deepest desires, that He helps you out of your calamities and that He rewards you greatly for instilling happiness in my heart as well as those of others I am sure. You are all fabulous and I know that you will all receive your hearts’ desire, whether in this life or the next, because you deserve it.

I am grateful that coincidence has led my parents here on birthday and they will be celebrating this important milestone with me. I could not have asked for better parents. They have always been there for us, supported us and held our hands until my brother and I crossed to safety. My dad is the hardest working man I know and may possibly ever know! He has done everything he can to give us the life he never had. My mother has the tenderest heart and has always been my best friend and adviser and I hers. She sacrificed so much, much more than I could ever iterate, for our happiness as a family. She is truly a remarkable woman and my only regret is that I am thousands of miles away from her and cannot give back a tiny portion of what she has given us all her life. I wish my brother were here. I wish my deceased loved ones were here. I wish my lovely friends were here. But all those people are in my heart and I know that they will make my day special no matter where they are. I love them all with all my heart and I wish the living happiness, peace of mind, lots of love, success and everything else their hearts desire. I wish the dead peace, forgiveness and that their graves are pieces of heaven that they are enjoying right now.

Like I said, I wish if some people who are no longer present in my life were here to wish me happiness on the days to come. But it is God’s wisdom that he has either taken them out of my life or out of life as we know it altogether. To my maternal grandparents, I love you and I miss you every day. My children will grow to know how much you meant to me, to us all. I hope you are resting in peace. To my paternal grandparents, I miss you although I have never met grandpa and hope that you are resting in peace. To uncle Hamdy and my dear cousin Karim, your deaths cut me deep and I miss your humor, kindness and sweetness. My children would have loved to meet you. I hope you are resting in peace. To oncle Mohamed, I only saw you a few times but you mean so much to my husband and thus to me, you are missed. To each and every person who has ever meant something to me one day, I wish you all the happiness and success in this world and the next.

Finally, I’d like to thank my husband for stealing me away for the better half of my twenties. Our family is a beautiful one, one that is unique and cannot be replaced nor replicated. Thank you for working so hard to provide for us. Thank you for being someone our children can look up to. And thank you for always trying your best.

My dear twenties, you have been such a loyal companion and we have been through so much together … I shall never forget you! I now leave you behind but the memories we have, the lessons learned, the experiences we had shall live on forever. With time, I promise to hold on to your highlights and let go of anything else. I could not have asked for a better companion the past decade and can only wish that my thirties will learn something from you. You will be missed but remembered fondly. I pass you on to someone else, knowing in my heart and mind that you will help them the way you did me. Thank you for taking me in years ago as a fragile, shy little girl and now letting me out a much, much better version of myself … a strong, confident woman. I love you and always will, my loyalest of friends 🙂

Bring it on thirties … I am armed and ready 😀

Courtesy: Google Images!

Courtesy: Google Images!

30 Days Till 30 … Day 28: If You Are In Your Twenties …

In 72 hours, I will finally be 30 years old. As I leave my twenties behind, I am excited to begin a new phase of my life. However, I take it upon myself to always let others learn from my own experience in life, no matter how small it is. Everything that happens in one’s life happens for a reason and I don’t believe that the reason is always private, on the contrary, I believe that most of the time whatever happens is meant to help you help someone else as well! So, if you are in your twenties, here is what I would have to say to you:

  • Don’t be afraid to live life! All too often we are worried about what others would think, what others would do, what others would say … don’t! Live your life to the fullest and don’t be scared to try new things. You don’t want to just exist, you want to live and there is no better age to do so. I wish I wasn’t so shy for the most part of my twenties, but I intend to fully rectify that in my 30s, it’s never too late 😉

  • Better late than never but never late is better! Always be punctual. Always be there for others when they need you not when it best suits you. Always apologize when you are supposed to. Always be supportive when your shoulder is needed. Always be at the front lines, no matter where you are going or what you are doing, get there on time and be there till the end.
  • Be kind. Always, always be kind. Even if the person on the receiving end doesn’t deserve it in your opinion, be kind.
  • Forgive. I am one who is unable to forget, I find it important to learn from all the experiences where I was hurt or wronged, but I do forgive even if I find it close to impossible. The trick is to do it for yourself, not for the person in question. One day, you will need God to forgive you for all your sins so it is a good idea to pay it forward and forgive others first.

  • Be charitable. Yes, you are young and you have your life ahead of you. But only God knows how long that life will be! Make a difference in someone’s life, alleviate someone’s pain, help educate or feed someone. You will not only feel great, but your act of kindness may change someone’s life completely.
  • Spend time with your family, not just your friends. Our parents do so much for us, throughout their lives. Spending time with them when they know you have other alternatives close to your heart will make a world of a difference to them. Be kind to them, respect them and don’t make fun of them. No matter how hard they are to deal with, no matter how “uncool” you feel they are, you wouldn’t be here if it were not for them and, most likely, the life you have and the friends you have and the income you have wouldn’t have been the same if it weren’t for them … whether directly or indirectly.
  • Be frugal. Don’t be cheap, but plan your spending. Even if you have a wonderful job that pays you well. Markets fall and rise, jobs are lost every day, a medical emergency can happen any time … there are a multitude of reasons to encourage you to be smart with regards to your spending. The smarter you are with your money when you are younger, the more likely you’ll live comfortably and have money to spare when you get older.
  • Have fun whenever you can! It doesn’t have to be by going on a cruise (although there is absolutely nothing wrong with that if you can afford it) but make sure you have fun every chance you get. It can be by watching a fun movie, spending time with new and exciting people, visiting exotic lands or just doodling something. I don’t care what it is, try to make fun an integral part of your life, not only is it uplifting, it’s also necessary for surviving the ups and downs of this life.
  • Fall in love. Like head over heals, crazy, blind love! I truly believe that it is better to have loved and lost than not have loved at all. Sure, in that case it will hurt like hell, every single time you think about it … but if you have never loved, truly, deeply, madly loved then you have not lived. Life is completely different when you are in love and we all deserve to feel that way once in a lifetime. If you end up with the love of your life, hold on dearly to them and never ever let them go, that kind of love only happens once in a lifetime so don’t blow it.
  • Graduate from university or college. If you can help it, DO NOT, under any circumstance, drop out of school. Even if you are not big on studying, think about the future rewards of taking such a step. A good education is your weapon in this life! If you want to become a better person, have a great career, have prospects in life, have doors open for you, have the confidence to walk through life, have the strength not to let life break you, have the power to hold your head up high … it’s all attainable through education. If you have to drop out of school for any reason, read, read, read.
  • Read! Reading broadens your horizons, increases your knowledge, strengthens your language, enriches your imagination, fortifies your self-development and changes your world. Reading is the one and only activity I would encourage you to make happen even if you are the laziest person to walk this Earth.
  • Take care of your health. No, I don’t mean go on a fad diet once you gain two pounds, I mean be healthy in general. Eat healthy, breathe healthy, sleep healthy, think healthy and talk healthy! Your figure isn’t all that matters about you, your overall health is mega important and it influences your emotional and psychological well-being so be as healthy as you can. And remember, being too thin is just as bad as being obese.
  • Love yourself. Forget about what society tells you you should look, behave, smell and dress like. You are bigger than that and you aren’t a copy of every other boy or girl walking on the street. You are a unique being and you should love yourself as such. Do not let society and the media make you a copy when you were born an original.
  • Work on your self-confidence. The teens and twenties are a ship wreck when it comes to self-esteem and self-confidence. However, if you do your best to accept yourself the way you are and stop trying to change everything about you to please others or conform to society, you will be the happiest person in the world. Not only will you be content, you will learn to love yourself and that will project on everything you do and say. Thus, drawing back positive energy and leading others to see you as the awesome being  you really are.
  • Do not regret your mistakes! I know this is a tough one but it’s one of the greatest services you can do for yourself. As badly as many mistakes hurt and as deep and painful as some scars they leave behind are, you wouldn’t be the wonderful person you are if it weren’t for your mistakes. You may have fallen in love with that heartless person but you came out of the relationship stronger and more alive because you have awoken those beautiful, beautiful feelings in the process. You may have turned down that fantastic job but you gained your self-respect in the process. Your friends may have turned their backs on you but you now know who your true friends are. No matter what the mistake was, no matter how serious, no matter how big, no matter how deep the cut is, you learned something, something that you could not have learned as clearly or directly from another experience. So never regret your mistakes, learn from them and be thankful you made them.
  • Don’t trust to easily. Your trust is a gift that needs to be earned, no one is entitled to it! Whether it’s a family member, a friend or a loved one. Just because you feel a certain way about someone doesn’t mean they automatically deserve your trust. In fact, the more important someone is to you, the harder they should work to earn your trust because the more likely it is that if they betray your trust you will be deeply cut.
  • Quality not quantity. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have, it’s how supportive and true the ones you do have are. It doesn’t matter how much you make at that job, it’s how much self-development and use it is to others that matters. It doesn’t matter how much money you have in your pocket, it’s how you use it to make yourself and those less fortunate happy. It doesn’t matter what gadgets you have, it’s how you use them to be able to spend more quality time with the people you love that matters.
  • Use the right criteria to select a partner for life. His good looks and muscles don’t make him a great husband nor exceptional father. Hell, they aren’t even there to stay!

  • Don’t have children if you are not ready. Most people love children and it is one of their dreams to have their own. But unless you yourself are mature and responsible enough and willing to start sacrificing a lot for your child’s sake, don’t have children just yet. Children aren’t a doll that you’ll just throw in a nanny’s or daycare’s arms once you are bored with them … they are real, live human beings who love and need you more than anything else in the world. If you are going to let them down, don’t have them just yet.
  • Be alone! Another weird one, but if you are like myself then you need emotion to live. Such a character can lead to you being involved with someone for the sake of love, you want to love and be loved and simply and truly cannot live without such passion. You need to learn to be happy as an individual before you commit to a relationship! That’s the only way your relationship will work and will help you both grow as a couple and as individuals, otherwise, your partner will override you and that’s surely not what you want to end up happening.
  • If you can, travel. It doesn’t have to be on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be planned. It doesn’t have to have a purpose. Just travel, have fun, experience new things and live! Traveling is fabulous, it’s an experience like no other especially if you plan it your own way.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. It doesn’t matter how young you are, as long as you have something useful to say, say it. A 20-year-old can be more mature, experienced or even knowledgeable than a 50-year-old! You have the right, just like everyone else around you, to speak your mind.
  • Take risks. Whether it be by bungee-jumping or taking that semester abroad. When you take risks, the most beautiful things happen. You also break through your fears, which is something I highly encourage.
  • Start up your own little project or business. I don’t care whether it’s a lemonade stand or a full-blown consulting company. Try being your own boss, doing something you love and putting your dreams into action. I ran my own business for four years and they were very exciting, instructive and highly self-developmental. Planting your feet in the ground and standing firm even when others try to take you down yields a fantastic feeling of inner-strength. Helping others and making a difference in their lives yields a terrific feeling of contentment.
  • Don’t be prejudiced. You don’t know much about the world, really. And if you are prejudiced against others I guarantee you that others will be prejudiced against you as well even if you never know it. We are all so different yet so similar at the same time. Treat others the way you would like to be treated and you will see the same happen to you.
  • Be silly! Don’t be too shy to be silly sometimes. Be sure you are being silly rather than stupid though! Being stupid is something that should never, ever happen. But being silly and care-free is sometimes what one needs to feel free and alive.
  • Try and try again. You are at the age where anything is possible. You can achieve anything you want … just be diligent and don’t give up just yet.
  • Work hard, really hard. The harder you work when you are young, the faster you will learn and grow. That will help your future old self more than you can ever imagine.
  • Know what you want in life. Don’t let others tell you what you should want, have your own dreams and goals and make them happen.
  • Don’t let others bring you down. Whether it’s that fake friend, that bitter woman whose husband you once rejected, that poisonous partner or that hateful relative … don’t let anyone have so much control over you and your feelings as to dictate your well-being and self-worth.
  • Don’t relinquish control of your life. No matter who it is you are in love with, how important that person is, how strong the tie between you is … your life is yours and yours alone and you are in full control when it comes to it. Never, ever give anyone the keys to your well-being.
  • Make yourself happy. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a relationship or not, you are your number one supporter. Even if you have the most wonderful partner in the world, it’s unhealthy to have your happiness depend on him/her. People who let that happen almost always end up with a broken heart and/or a broken spirit.
  • Fight your own battles, don’t ever let anyone else do so for you.
  • Always have hope, the best is yet to come.
  • If it happened, it happened for a reason. Whether or not you know the wisdom behind it, have faith in God and know that it was best for you to happen.

  • Stand strong and keep your head held up high. You matter, you are doing your best and you will prevail.
  • Care about the things and people that matter … the rest is just trash that should not have any impact on you.
  • What people do and say reflects upon their own character, it says nothing about you.
  • If someone insults you on purpose, it’s either because they are jealous, haven’t been raised well or have failed to be like you.
  • Don’t badmouth anyone, no matter what they did to you. Sometimes people grow apart for one reason or another but it doesn’t give us license to forget what we once had.
  • Do things that matter. Don’t spend your twenties having fun and playing. Do things that count and matter from time to time, you’ll thank  yourself later.
  • Play sports … or just move!
  • The TV, video games and other gadgets are only your friends if you use them right. Otherwise, they are bad as weed, crack and cocaine!
  • Pleasing everyone is impossible, so stop trying!
  • Showing others the exit door to your life is OK, in fact, it’s encouraged. Don’t be obsessed about keeping relationships and don’t feel guilty for changing the dynamics of a once strong relationship. Sometimes, people are meant to be a lesson that you move on from … it’s OK.

  • If you have a significant other and/or children, treat them right. You never know if you will wake up tomorrow or not to show them how much you love and appreciate them.
  • Be spiritual. It’s not uncool, it’s not silly, it’s anything but! Having a connection with God will always help you in more ways than one. If you do not connect with the higher being that is God, you will always feel lost.

30 Days Till 30 … Day 27: What Should Growing Up Really Mean?

All too often, the two are used interchangeably while there is a huge difference between growing up and maturing! Growing up, simply put, means aging. The process of growing in age from day to day, month to month or year to year. Growing up, in itself, does not necessarily mean than an individual has added to their knowledge, aspirations, goals, perceptions, character, personality or anything else! Maturing, on the other hand, signifies personal growth and development in body and mind.

Courtesy: Quotes For You

Courtesy: Quotes For You

Yes, growing up should, in theory, imply maturity as well but I have found the case to be different on numerous occasions. And they weren’t just random occasions here and there, there’s a substantial number out there, which is actually very sad to see. I have seen 20-year-olds who are more mature than 50-year-olds. I have seen uneducated people who are more mature than highly-educated ones. I have seen single people who never traveled more mature than mothers who have traveled and live abroad. I have even seen the same individual become less mature with time! If you think about it, it’s really fascinating that such a phenomenon exists, defying all logic.

So, what should growing up really mean? Well, it should be synonymous with maturing. But what does being mature entail? In my opinion, it’s the little things that show how mature you are. Like how you deal with certain situations, how you perceive certain things, how you interpret certain events in life, etc. Here are a few points that I use to ascertain maturity, whether in myself or others. It is by no means comprehensive, and I do tweak it when applying it to one individual versus another but, as a framework, it works beautifully every time!

1- Know where you stand in life. Have defined dreams and goals that you can work towards attaining.

2- Know your worth and know that it is not defined by what others think.

3- How do you treat those who have done something unforgivable? An immature person will tell them off. A mature person will show them the exit door from his life.

4- How do you react to unpleasant situations? An immature person will either lash out or whine. A mature person will either let it pass or respond accordingly without blowing things out of proportion or overreacting.

5- How do you treat those who wronged you? An immature person will either throw false blame or lash out. A mature person will be patient and try to understand why what happened did happen and either explain things to make them clear or let the whole thing go.

6- Know yourself. What you want or don’t want. What you care about or don’t care about. What is important to you and what isn’t.

7- Know when to let go. Whether it’s of the past, a current situation or relationship, an unattainable dream or a friend. Knowing when to let go is a sign that you are mature, know what you want and are in control of your life. Knowing who to keep in your life and who not to keep is a sign that you are aware of your surroundings and have enough self-confidence to not fear loss.

8- Do you make up your mind on issues that matter or do you let the media and other outlets make up your mind for you? Do you hate a certain group because you believe they are terrorists although you have never done any research on the subject? Do you believe that all women of a certain race are gold diggers although you  have never met one yourself? Do you believe that all members of a political party are idiots although you’ve never had a political discussion with one of them?

9- Know the worth of others in your life. Are your friends important enough to keep or can you lose them over disagreements such as those concerning politics or religious issues? Is your partner important enough to you or can you lose him/her over a dumb argument? If others have chosen to have you in their lives and you don’t appreciate that then it tells a great deal about you.

10- How do you spend your money? Do you save a certain sum? Do you blow it all off on stuff you want rather than need? Do you pay off debt first and then indulge or does it not matter? Dealing wisely with finances is one of the strongest signs of maturity.

11- How do you spend your free time? Do you read books or play video games? Do you go running or do drugs? Do you travel or do you lay on a couch and watch mindless TV? Not everything you do with your free time has to be intellectual. But it should be useful and add to your personal growth one way or another, no matter how small.

12- How much control do you relinquish to others? An immature person is easily swayed by what others tell them or even impost on them. A mature person knows that they are in control of their own lives and only those important to them have an advisory role in their lives, no less and no more. They are in full control and never relinquish any of it to another soul.

13- Do you express your feelings or do you bottle them in out of embarrassment. It’s some people’s nature to bottle in feelings, and that is fine, but if you do so out of embarrassment then it’s a sign of incomplete maturity. You should be secure enough to know that you are entitled to your feelings and that there is nothing wrong with expressing them openly.

14- How do you treat the weak and less fortunate? Do you lend a helping hand or make fun of them? Do you understand that their struggle is much more profound than yours or do you ridicule what they have to face on a daily basis in life? Do you understand how substantial your kindness towards them is, if even by smiling at them, or do you treat them as if they were invisible?

15- How do you use your knowledge? Do you try to pass it on to someone else if you could or do you just keep it for yourself? Do you use it for good or evil? Do you help others using your knowledge or not use it at all?

16- How do you treat those who you will not benefit from financially, socially or professionally? The bus driver, janitor, cab driver, waitress, doorman, nurse, etc. If you treat them the way you wish to be treated then you are mature. If you treat them as if they would not make a difference in this world if they just happened to disappear than you are immature and, sorry to add, a selfish child who needs a lesson in respect!

17- How do you treat your parents? I don’t care if you are 17 or 67, your parents are your parents. They sacrificed a lot, dedicated their lives to raising you, tried to give you what they never were able to have. They deserve your respect, gratitude and support.

18- Are you charitable or not? It doesn’t have to be through giving money. In Islam, even a smile is charity. You can help others by being there for them, listening to them, lending a helping hand, removing harm from the road, counseling, advising, giving food, giving shelter, helping someone find a job, etc. There are a multitude of ways to give back. Only a mature person realizes the importance of such an act and knows that we are not on this Earth forever so doing good is a must.

19- How do you deal with loss? Whether it be someone who died, someone who shut you out or someone that you let go of. The way you deal with loss could be through regret, guilt or anger if you are immature. If you are mature it could be with patience, understanding and forgiveness.

20- How do you perceive calamities? Are they another way the world is against you or are they a wake up call? Are they one more unlucky event in your highly unlucky life or are they an opportunity to repent or get closer to God? Are they something bad that always happens to you in particular of all people or are they a way for you to become a better person?

21- Be able to make yourself happy! Don’t always depend on others regarding your happiness. I know it’s easier said than done but I used to depend on the people I love for happiness, throughout the years I have trained myself to have my happiness depend on me rather than others. Of course, I am not 100% in control yet, and may never be, but at least no one has the whole set of keys to my heart’s happiness anymore.

Courtesy: FacebookQuotes4U.com

Courtesy: FacebookQuotes4U.com

22- Do you give credit where credit is due no matter how you feel about the individual in question? Giving credit to or showing gratitude for someone that you actually dislike or even detest takes a lot of courage, strength and maturity.

Finally, I’d like to add that if you believe that you are immature, don’t pretend to be otherwise because others will very easily see through you. It’s better to admit it to yourself and work on it. And if you happen to be married or are in a relationship where having children is a possibility, please do not bring children into this world until you yourself have grown up and matured! That’s not for your sake or that of society even, it’s for that child’s sake. The more mature you are, the more you will be able to guide your child and be there for them and protect them. So please, put that in mind before  you do the closest person to your heart the gravest injustice.

30 Days Till 30 … Day 23: Shout-Out — Part I

Today I would like to take the opportunity to thank all my new and existing followers for their tremendous support and encouragement. Your beautiful comments and emails put a huge smile on my face every single day.

Today and tomorrow’s posts are dedicated to all of you. I have not had the chance to check out everyone’s blog as thoroughly as I’d like but plan to make time to do so after I am done with my “30 Days Till 30” posts. Please allow me to introduce you to each other and let the world know about your fascinating blogs. I am blessed to have followers from all walks of life, with so many diverse interests and passions. You are all amazing!

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My number one fan: Charlotte Wise

This blog belongs to the BEST photographer in the United Kingdom! Seriously, if you don’t believe me then go check out her website (http://www.soulimages.co.uk) or find her on Facebook. Not only is she a talented photographer, she has passion and fine artistic taste. Charlotte loves what she does and sacrificed a lot to make her business happen and that’s what distinguishes here from many others. She gets 100% positive feedback, all her customers are more than satisfied. She’s such a sweet soul in real life too who loves and cares for all her friends and family. If I could be half the woman she is, I’d be more than happy!

Here’s what she had to say about herself and her venture; “I’ve always loved to take pictures, and at long last am able to turn this into something I can now offer to others. Nothing makes my heart soar more than capturing the essence of something, either a person in a portrait session or the beauty and feel of an event such as a wedding. I am always on the lookout for that special moment, and at the ready with my trusty camera to capture it and hold it down long enough to transform into a memory, a window into your life that you can keep and treasure forever. Less is more in my world, and the more natural and quirkier the environment the better. We’ll create informal, natural, sweet, crazy and wonderful images to carry through the years! I am reaching the big 3-0 soon and live in Harrogate ‘oop north’ with my gorgeous husband and truly scrumptious baby girl. I love to travel and so would happily roam the country (and beyond!) to capture these memories for you. Please contact me for a chat or search through the galleries to get a feel of the type of thing I do. There is also my blog which details both professional and personal escapades, as well as my facebook business page to have a roam through. I can’t wait to hear from you soon!”

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Daniel Gonzalez

In his own words, Daniel introduces himself to us; ” Hey! I’m an entrepreneurial, inspirational, and dancing kinda guy. Gonzo is my nickname…My real name is Daniel Gonzalez <- Make the connection? I strongly believe that everyone deserves a dose of inspiration in their lives. Wouldn’t you agree? My inspiration is in motivational quotes. I also get inspired when I dance. Did I mention that I dance? Yea I dance… =D One of my dreams is to be able to travel the world and teach all kinds of dancing in multiple countries! I also aspire to inspire at least one person (like yourself) everyday to be a better YOU!”. There’s more to his story. You can find his inspirational blog here.

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BreakRoomStories

In their own words, BRS founders introduce themselves to us; “Break Room Stories (BRS) bringing you waiter stories and more since 2012. More specifically our site is a waiter blog intended to give anyone in the food service industry the opportunity to share the most ridiculous story you have. Funny, gross, horrible, embarrassing  it’s all fair game. We post stories about everything from the most intense waiter rants and bartender pet peeves to a little staff on staff action and host nightmares. The more unique, hilarious, shocking, or ridiculous the better. BRS was founded by a notorious group of individuals who have worked or currently work in the food service industry. We all come from various walks of life but the one thing we have in common … was the tendency to get a little chatty in the Break Room of our respective establishments. If it happened to one of us we all heard about it. It was after years of abuse and story after story that we decided to get the rest of the serving community together to see what trouble other servers were getting themselves into.” There’s much more on there about their mission. You can find their hilarious blog here.

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TheGirl

In her own words, she introduces herself to us; “I created The Reporter and The Girl blog to journey among life’s most uncertain and abysmal path when forming love-lust-hate relationships. I’m in my mid–twenties and have moved back to New York City after 6 years of term papers, tailgate parties, and three day weekends, on all 4 corners of the United States and abroad. Now that I am semi-permanently stationed in the Empire State and in my white-collar/blue jeans career; I thought that I could venture out and make a romantic connection.” She uses her own life to write a chapter based story and post it for all of us to follow, learn from and comment on. You can find her artistic blog here.

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thomasmaxwell12

In his own words, he introduces himself to us; “Hey! I’m a pretty outgoing and spontaneous kinda guy, one of the reason I got my nickname “Simple Tom”. My real name is Thomas Maxwell though :P I’m a firm believer that you can be anything and everything that you want to be. I believe that you should have the opportunity and ability to be able to achieve those things in your life. I absolutely love helping people in anyway that I can. Whether is sponsoring kids in Africa, or buying someone a coffee. My goal is to make you smile or even inspire you in anyway I can :P  And one of my BIGGEST DREAMS is to build a well in every single country in Africa. I have a huge passion for children and Africa! Its something that rocks me to the core every time I think about building these wells and then visiting them :)“. There’s much more on there about him and what he does, he also happens to be Daniel Gonzalez’s (above) mentor! You can find his blog here.

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Jordan Latour

In his own words, Jordan introduces himself to us; “Hey there, thanks for checking out my blog! Now, what can I tell you about myself..Well, I am a IT Professional by trade, now earning an residual income online. I’m from the small city of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada; which is frequently called “The center of the great lakes” – because of it’s geographical location directly in the middle of the great lakes. It’s a great place to grow up, and it’s still a place I call home. I took Computer Networking in College and got a job in as Network Specialist at a local government agency. When I’m not working with technology, you can find me playing musical instruments like the guitar (primarily), drums, and keyboards. I love educating myself about what is going on in the world, and tend to ask big questions about the universe, time, and reality.” Jordan’s blog is very interesting and full of useful tips. You can find it here.

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Alex

In his own words, Alex introduces himself to us; “I have been practicing meditation for five months now and I am also trying to evolve spiritually. With that in mind. I am hoping I can teach other people how to do it and how to understand what it is you would like to do with your life. I am currently 21 years young. My birth country is Latvia. I have one sister, uncle, grandmother and my mom. I grew up without a father and was always surrounded by girls, which I sometimes believe is the reason of my emotional state. I grew up as a very gifted child, ever since my childhood I never really fit in anywhere, mostly because of my own mistakes and stupidity, and as the years went by that stupidity only seemed to grow bigger and bigger. At the age of 13, I already knew what it is like to get drunk, what it’s like to search for scraps around the town and turn them in for money so me and my friends could buy junk food and alcohol. It’s very common for children that age to start drinking and smoking in my country. I put a lot of stress on my whole family during that time, at the age of 14 I was continuing to drink and party but I also dropped out of school to be with my computer all the time. I will never forget the day when I clicked on a link inside of an old-school chat program called “mIRC”, it was a link that lead to a website dedicated to hackers, but it was very much new and only in the early stages, but for some reason I instantly got attached to it and for the next 4 years I spent most of my time online learning how to hack, learning English and getting to know the internet in a way that most people don’t. But what is funny about this story is that, I very much believe if I didn’t look at the chat program at the time I did, this blog, nor my past would exist. It was a 1 in a 1000000 chance, and I took it.” Alex’s blog is very emotional and he speaks a great deal about his struggles in life and how he overcame them. The blog is called “Blissful Blog”, you can find it here.

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H!

In her own words, she introduces herself to us; “Me… most of the time I think I come from another planet and I was send here to do something GREAT… I don’t know exactly what yet, as I lost the instructions, but I promise when I find out you will all KNOW!!! This blog is about why everything I believe and do is great….at least for me and my cats! I love cats, I love running, I love being fit, living well, and have lots of fun! Nothing strange … so far !!!” Her blog is called “Fun Girls Live Better” and it is, well, fun to read! You can find her blog here.

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Matt George

In his own words, Matt introduces himself to us; “My name is Matthew George. I have had a life long love of photography since I was twelve years old. My father built me a black and white darkroom in the basement of our house when I was in high school. From that I was able to experiment and hone my photography skills. I use traditional film and digital Nikons. Two unique pieces of camera equipment I have  used to photograph is an Apple iPhone and Polaroid SX-70 camera. Most of my photography consists of photojournalism and nature genres. I have an Associates degree of Applied Science in Photography from Antonelli Institute of Art & Photography, as well as a BA and MA in Business from American InterContinental University. I hold a single subject Visual Arts teaching credential from National University to teach in high school as well as a multiple subject teaching credential to teach elementary school. Here are some of the content standards for teaching Visual Arts in California. I currently am employed by JUSD as a photography and art teacher at Rubidoux High School. I am married to the most beautiful woman, have a wonderful son and precious daughter, and blessed to enjoy lots of quality time with my family.” Matt’s photography is absolutely beautiful. You can find out more about him and his talent here and here.

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Valeriu D.G. Barbu

In his own words, he introduces himself to us; “Valeriu DG Barbu, poet, writer, playwright Romanian origin, settled in Rome, Italy about he… can speak others, not himself … Literary Blog created by Ms. MARIANA FULGER, while it was impossible to send own the posts. Public express a thank alive. The blog contains a part of my literary workshop, posts and articles an extraordinary man, Valeriu Cuşner, who has closely followed my writing. Gratitude to my books editor, Mr. Constantin Lămureanu by “Anxiety Metaphysical Publishing House” Constantza, that published my six volumes. Gratitude to all those who was with me in various ways. unto you all good reading, lasting joy and be healthy …” His blog can be found here.

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Jun E Caniel

“Jun E Caniel is a line of limited edition apparel and accessories made from eco-friendly and/or recycled materials. High quality products feature designs inspired by the original artwork of Tiya and Jay Caniel. Jun E Caniel was created to encourage artistic expression and social activism, under the belief that global change can be brought about by altering others thoughts through key words and phrases. Uplifting and positive phrases and graphics are featured as a means of inspiration to others.” They have a wide selection of eco-friendly fashion items. You can find their website here.

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jseeber

In his own words, Joe introduces himself to us; “My name is Joe, and I am currently 27 years old, living in Whistler, BC, Canada,  for snowboarding.  My whole life I’ve been drawn to excitement and adventure.  I go where ever my heart leads and don’t think twice about it.  I have this habit of once I find my calling, I become obsessed with it, and I’ll follow it to wherever it may lead. I’m originally from a small town called Elliot Lake, Ontario but moved to a bigger town called Sault Ste Marie, Ontario in my early teens. My whole family is from the Soo and it’s where I call my other home. When I’m not snowboarding you can find me in the gym working out or at the local martial arts facility practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I love reading, I mostly read personal development books, I’m on a strict regiment of always improving myself as a person and offering as much value to the world … JoeSeeber.com is a website about winning at life so that you can win at life. The majority of my posts will be based on being Physically, Mentally and Finacially Wealthy because I believe you need to have a healthy balance of all 3 in order to truly succeed at life.”

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katy

In her own words, she introduces herself to us; “hullo. I’m Katy. that’s Katy with a Y. my middle name is Anne. that’s Anne with an E. I am 16 years old. I have mouse brown hair and coffee colored eyes. I am 5″3. or something. I have a birthmark on the right side of my face that I named Ivan when I was little. my shoe size is 7 1/2 to 8. I play music of all kinds, and too many instruments to name. but I named them all anyway. I’m fairly certain you could classify me as ADD. doctor who makes me heart happy. so does hot tea, ballet slippers, books, and soggy chalk. sometimes I like to pretend I’m a vegetarian. I write music for anything from solo piano to full symphony. some people call me an introvert. but it’s debatable, I suppose. it’s not that I don’t like people, it’s just that I don’t like being around them 50% of the time. don’t take it personally. one time I had a goldfish that died the day after I got it, and I gave it a funeral anyway because I like to think that I’m caring. I’m in a one-man-band (thus consisting of only me) called Paper Theory, and if you check it out, I really will love you forever and always. if I had to dye my hair, I’d dye it red. I do love red hair. I really love fluffy animals, and just animals in general, but specifically hedgehogs. I plan to befriend one before I die. this is where I came from. I love Jesus more than anything else in the whole wide world. also, I like to sing to myself. A lot. so that’s me. Katy Anne Maisano. [KAY-tee ANN my-ZAHN-oh]” Katy’s blog is so charming and fun. You can find it here.

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chrisman2college

In their own words, they introduce themselves to us; “We are a group of (mostly) college students who all graduated from the class of 2011 at William Chrisman High School. We have decided we’re going to stay in touch throughout college/life, as most high school friendships crumble at the sight of a new chapter of life. This is our brave attempt at avoiding this norm.” There is so much on there about each of the friends and what they are trying to do is simply fantastic! You can find their blog here.

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lesleycarter

In her own words, she introduces herself to us; “Traveling and adventure have encompassed my life; from white-water rafting, skydiving, paragliding, bungee jumping, rock climbing, biplane flying, dog sledding, base jumping, kayaking, surfing, boogie boarding, rappelling, and caving, I’ve tried every “bucketlist” item I could imagine. Rock climbing and a trapeze act were even part of my wedding day in Jamaica. I’ve been to 34 countries and I envision 100 more. Following my dreams of traveling and experiencing life to the fullest has taught me that the world is full of endless possibilities. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Advanced English, a Bachelor of Education degree in Secondary Education, a Masters in Literacy, 8 years of teaching, and a vast imagination, I  decided to put my writing and editing skills to the test. Bucket List Publications is the accumulation of all of my wildest dreams come true. If you’re an online travel agency, airline, in-flight magazine, destination magazine, tourism board, or any of the like, then I would love to speak with you. Please send me an email about who you are and what you’re looking for and I will be happy to talk with you more about how we can work together.” You can check out Lesley’s super adventurous blog here.

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메간

In her own words, she introduces herself to us; “I struggle daily with myself.  It seems a constant battle just finding the courage to go about another day, in hopes that my anxiety and fears will be minimal at best.  I don’t know how it began or even if there ever was a beginning.  In some ways, I know that it has always been a part of me.  It was only until recently that this monster was given a name and I was finally able to breathe, knowing that there is something legitimately wrong with me.  For those of you who also struggle with this monster, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is no small matter and finding some validation is relief at last.” The blog is so touching, emotional and courageous just like its author. You can find it here.

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Dave Hunter – Reaching Utopia

In his own words, he introduces himself to us: “My name is David W. Hunter born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in 1988. I am experienced in web development, digital advertising, visual effects, recording/producing/composing/creating music and technology in general. I’ve lived in many different towns and cities in both Ontario and British Columbia and currently reside back in the Sault. I took computer programming in college and worked with various companies involving web development, IT and digital advertising. To be honest, working these standard 9-5 jobs was a great learning experience and I am glad to have done it. They taught me that I certainly don’t want to grind at a 9-5 just to build up a pension and finally relax. Why should I have to devote all my valuable time and energy into making someone else rich and giving up 8 hours every single day of the week. Why should I have to stay in town because I have to go to an office building monday through friday? The reason is because that’s what we are trained to believe. We are told that we HAVE to go to college/university to get a good job and work there until we’re 60 years old so that we can have enough money to live afterwards. Personally I want to wake up at whichever time I choose and do or go wherever I decide. I want to travel and enjoy any opportunity that interests me without being held back financially or by a responsibility to my J.O.B. The most important thing though, is that I want to do this NOW, not later when I’m 60+ and might not want to or am not capable of doing everything anymore.” There is so much more on there about Dave and his diverse posts are very captivating. You can find his blog here.

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Inside My Glitching Mind

The author doesn’t tell us much about himself except for the fact that his name is Alexey Markovich, he’s 35 and lives in Belgorod, Russia. His blog is about “Philosophy, Psychology, Memetics, Photography, Surrealism”. I have read several of his posts and I find them very artistic and insightful. You can find his blog here.

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To be continued tomorrow …

30 Days Till 30 … Day 14: I Love Me!

If you have been following my blog for a while now, you will know that I made a resolution at the beginning of this year. My resolution was to start taking better care of myself! It was not intended solely for my own benefit, but for that of all those I am responsible for as well. I had decided to start simple by promising to allocate some “me time” every single night, from then on, to allow myself to unwind and recharge in preparation for the challenges that lay ahead the following day. It could range from a few minutes one day to a couple of hours in the other, nothing carved in stone. I had promised to report back on the matter and let you know of my progress. I imagine today to be as good a day as any to do so and to also reflect on the countless benefits of putting yourselves at the top of  your own priority lists.

It’s been three short months yet I have already benefited so much from following through on my resolution! I have to admit though, that for the past couple of weeks I fell off the band wagon. I had a ton of important things to take care of and there just weren’t enough hours in the day. Don’t you just love it when tax season hits while you are swamped at work, your kids are ill and you have some studying to do?! I am still all over the place but I started to go back to having at least 15 minutes to myself before going to bed every night.

Putting myself at the top of my own priority list feels great! My entire life, I’ve been putting my loved ones first. I would spend twenty-four hours a day listening to them, taking care of what they needed, watching whatever they wanted to watch, doing whatever they wanted to do and running errands all over the place. It’s true what they say; mothers are chauffeurs, cooks, counselors, personal assistants, nurses, waitresses, teachers, event planners, alarm clocks, handymen, security officers and much more … all bundled up into one tired bundle. We work 24/7, don’t get any days off and are always on call. We’re not allowed to get ill and if we do, we can’t take sick leave. Now, if you’re a working mother, a single mother or a working single mother (*gasp*) then that’s a completely different story! Those women are like no other, truly.

We never learned to slow down. We watched our mothers go at turbo speed and they watched their mothers do the same who, in turn, watched their mothers do it too. One generation after the other until it was set in our minds that this is what we are supposed to do and if the mere thought of doing things differently even crossed our minds, we’d immediately feel guilty! Doing something for yourself or something that you liked essentially means that you are selfishly neglecting your duties and your family. I believe this notion applies even if you are not a mother, just being the female head of the household (sometimes the daughter, sister or aunt is more so than the mother herself) puts you in this position.

Reclaiming that power and listening to my most intrinsic needs, with the help of the relentless advice coming from those who truly love and care about me, made all the difference in the world. I feel empowered rather than selfish. I feel important rather than less significant than those I love. I feel great rather than guilty. I believe that I deserve whatever little time I can allocate to myself. I am a slave to my family and work all day and those few minutes would not make any difference to them but make a world of a difference to me.

I now wake up happier than before. I used to wake up dreading the day ahead, feeling emotionally and physically drained before even setting my feet on the ground because of the burdens I would be carrying on my shoulders from the day before. I now go to bed with a big smile on my face and lightness in my heart and wake up feeling refreshed. When I indulge in something that I like or want to do, no matter how small, it helps me unwind and unload some of the heaviness I’ve been carrying around all day. It also prevents me from thinking about my to-do list until the very last second and from carrying those thoughts over into my restless sleep and the morning after. It serves as a break, just like when you are told to leave your work behind when you head home, it’s the same thing. Creating this time for myself also makes me feel appreciated. We are so used to waiting to be appreciated by others that we seldom think about self-appreciation and it’s benefits. It still feels great to be complemented by my husband, children or friends but that doesn’t mean I can’t reward myself as well. It feels like giving yourself a pat on the back and a big hug for a job well done all day.

Not only that, I noticed that I am calmer, more patient and able to focus better than before. It actually feels healthier doing this, I’m not sure why exactly but I imagine it’s for a number of co-dependent reasons. People I deal with on a daily basis noted that I am less stressed and more inclined to do things with a smile rather than a “oh my God, one more thing to add to the never-ending list” attitude. I now have the patience to repeat things over and over to my children, to see them fight and not erupt in their faces and to deal with their bickering and whining without having my own spirit broken in the process. I am more capable of offering to take on more tasks when it comes to the ones shared between my husband and I and do them efficiently. I am also able to push myself farther on the professional front. Whenever we have a family night or one-on-one time with my husband or even when all four of us go out on the weekend I am not painstakingly tired and feel all beaten up any more (for the most part at least). On the contrary, I’m excited, ready to go and even come up with new ideas for things we can do and places we can visit. Hence, everyone is happier and I am better able to meet their needs while not letting that take away from me at the same time.

Even if I have to sacrifice a few minutes of sleep, the benefits I reap make me feel like it was totally worth it and I don’t even want to make up for this, supposedly, lost time. I can safely say that scheduling “me time” on a daily basis is helping me maintain my sanity and emotional well-being and is giving me the drive to start another day looking forward to it instead of completely dreading it. I cannot thank my husband enough for being understanding and even reminding me to take that little time off whenever he sees me submerged in other tasks till the very last moment of the day. I cannot thank my sweet friends for relentlessly reminding me, for years, that I should take this step. Charlotte W., Dina S., Yasmina H. and Randa E., thank you for caring so much … you were right, a little self-love goes a long, long way 🙂

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