Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: My Year in Review



Happy New Year to all of you! I sincerely hope that this year is all that you hope for and much, much more!

Yes, I know that it's technically still the 31st, but for years, I always send my wishes out on NYE, so why should this year be any different?

This is my favourite holiday of the year; I know it sounds like such a cliche, but I love the fresh start that's represented, the chance to celebrate with friends and family, and the general excitement in the air.


(This is also of my favourite pictures to share this time of year.)

It's crazy to believe how busy this year has been. With all that's happened, I thought it'd be nice to do a year in review post ! 

1) 2015 was my first full year in the 'real world': (Read: my first full year out of full time education since I was around one). It's hard for me sometimes to believe that I graduated more than a year ago. Yes, I do miss all the learning that goes on in an institution that's dedicated to 'formal' learning, but I've been pleasantly surprised by all the learning that goes on on this side. 

2) 2015 is the first year since 2008 that I've had a regular workout routine: And I'm pretty pleased with how dedicated I've been! I don't need to go on about how much of a difference this had made to me, since I've talked about it in previous posts. Let's just say I'm very happy with all the results!

3) Career transition: In the course of 2015, I went from working an awesome internship in Des Moines, to a desk job in Nairobi, to working as an independent marketing consultant for my own clients! It's hard to believe that all this has been just within a year...

4) Aunthood: Yes, you read that right. I got an awesome triple promotion this year, and am the proud aunt to a nephew and two nieces; one in the U.S., one in the U.K., and one in India!

5) Moving back to Kenya: This one has DEFINITELY had its fair share of ups and downs! I moved back to Kenya in March, right before my 23rd birthday. While the transition hasn't been the easiest, I've learnt a lot by coming back, and I've met a lot of cool people along the way!

6) My first year away from my Sewanee family: It's hard to believe I've gone a whole year without seeing my best friends from Sewanee! However, I think I am INCREDIBLY fortunate in that the distance hasn't made us distant at all. In fact, I think my friendships with these amazing people have been stronger than ever! (And I am planning to get my group of girlfriends to visit Kenya sometime soon... hint hint!)

7) Writing: My blog has definitely taken off in a big way this year; if I haven't said it before, thank you all for the support! At the beginning of the year, I'd set some targets in terms of analytics, but I've been stunned by how far I've surpassed those targets! Along with increased reach, I've also gotten a lot of feedback on my writing, and all of this has meant so much. I can't describe how it feels when someone you don't even know very well tells you that you inspire them. Thank you! I also got an article published in one of Kenya's national newspapers this year, so that was pretty exciting.

8) Reconnecting: From May to December is the longest time my best friend and I have gotten to spend together since we were in high school!! This has definitely been an amazing source of support for me, and has eased my transition to Kenya in more ways than I could ever explain. Thank you Cheenar! (For those of you who haven't met her yet, Cheenar is an absolutely amazing and inspirational woman, and I'm trying my best to convince her to write for the Kenyan Nomad this year!)

9) Growth: It's hard to describe how much I've learnt during 2015. The year definitely hasn't been the easiest, but if I had to go back and change anything, I don't think I would. I look at the person I was just a year ago, and I'm very happy with all the changes, internal and external, that I've gone through!

10) Family: Last but not least; it's been awesome living with my parents as a 'real adult'!

Thank you all for being an integral part of my journey this year. Happy New Year! 



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Winding Down: A Family Vacation

First of all, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! Apologies for silence this month; but also, THANK YOU! Thank you to all of you for being such a great audience this year. My readership in 2015 has been the highest ever- especially so in December, which is crazy because I've only published one post this month so far! So thank you, for reading, and keeping up with the Kenyan Nomad, and all the wonderful feedback you've given me this year.

As we count down to my favourite holiday of the year, I wanted to share some snippets from my recent family vacation. My parents and I headed to the Rift Valley from the 20th to the 24th, and I decided to completely unplug! My phone was on airplane mode most of the time, I absolutely didn't check my messages, emails or Facebook at all, and I got to spend some time actually reading! I didn't manage to fit in as much as I would've liked, but I did read 'The Pilgrimage' by Paulo Coelho and 'Social Intelligence' by Daniel Goleman.

There were so many things I loved about this vacation (and we're not just talking about the food here). I got to spend lots of fun time with my parents, do some long distance driving in Kenya, took some long walks that should really be part of my routine in the city (and got some gorgeous pictures on these that I'll be sharing below, went for two blissful spa treatments, and (this is going to sound crazy for those of you who know me) went swimming for the first time in FIVE years. I know, I can't believe it either. Me being me, I jumped right in and did more laps than I ought to, so I was a little sore at the end of the day, but the amazing massage at the spa helped lots. Plus, I got to go to bed before 9 for the first time in ages!

My least favourite part of this vacation? Discovering that I'm apparently some sort of mosquito magnet. Seriously, if I'm in a room with nine other people and a bunch of mosquitoes, I'll be the only one covered in red bumps the next day. Discrimination or attraction? You tell me?

Anyway, I'm definitely rested and rejuvenated and looking forward to the end of 2015 and what 2016 will bring. I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking!



















Pic by Nimrod Levy

Pic by Nimrod Levy






Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Dropping Dependency


Pic courtesy of Unsplash

Since I moved back to Kenya, I've been amazed at the variety of conversations I've been having about important things that just never came up before. There's a class I attend Saturday afternoons (class might be stretching it... it's more of a forum for people of my generation to talk about stuff that needs to be talked about), and the theme of one particular Saturday's session was 'Dropping Dependency'. What we spoke about really resonated with me- so naturally, I decided to write about it.

I've had this post on my mind for quite a while, but I wanted to be in the right frame of mind when I finally wrote and published it, and today, inspiration struck. 

I think it's okay to depend on others sometimes- depend on objects, depend on people, depend on achievements. But I also think that there is a difference between depending on others, and being dependent. This may just be my interpretation, but I feel like the former involves leaning on others at times when it is necessary to do so, but being able to function by yourself, while the latter implies needing these other objects, people and achievements constantly. 

I'm guilty of being dependent. I think that in my case, I try not to depend on other people; but I'm dependent nevertheless. 

What's an important factor in dropping dependency? Establishing strong personal boundaries, which tend to also be a byproduct of healthy self-esteem. The higher the insecurities, the looser people's emotional boundaries, and often enough, the higher their dependency is. What do strong personal boundaries look like? Being able to take responsibility for your own actions and emotions, but not the actions and emotions of others. 

What are some examples of this?
  • Letting bad things that happen to other people affect you adversely. There's a difference between being empathetic and letting others' negative experiences influence you so much that you can't function. In this case, you are taking responsibility for others' actions and emotions.
  • Having a bad day, and expecting those around you to tread softly because you're angry or upset, instead of dealing with your emotions productively. Here. you're expecting others to take responsibility for your emotions and actions. 
  • Letting yourself feel guilty because you haven't lived up to someone's expectations. The other person is demanding responsibility from you for emotions that aren't yours. 
The list really could go on, but I think you get the gist. Often, people who have personal boundary issues in romantic relationships are the same people who had boundary issues in their families when they were younger.  Yes, it is important to establish boundaries, even with the people who we love the most! People with stable boundaries can often find it hard to maintain relationships with people who don't have them; they are not able to provide the excitement that people with loose emotional boundaries often thrive on. 

Dependency and personal boundaries are correlated. People who have weak personal boundaries tend to be highly dependent, while we find that people who are highly dependent have a desperate need for love and affection, leading to the removal of their personal boundaries. 

We all fall somewhere on the spectrum from being perpetual victims (constantly make others take responsibility for their actions and emotions) to being perpetual saviors (constantly take responsibility for the actions and emotions of others). Most of us are more one type than the other, but what we are also changes based on the situations and people we are presented with. 

How do we recognise if we have personal boundary issues? Guilt can be a powerful indicator. Do you have people who make you feel guilty for something you didn't feel guilty about in the first place? You need to realise that you can't always meet other people's expectations or influence their feelings. Have you ever felt guilt about taking something out on someone else that wasn't their fault in the slightest? 

If there's a boundary issue in a relationship, you'll probably be afraid of the repercussions of making a change in that relationship. Compromise in such a relationship will not be because the parties want it, but it'll be out of obligation. Actions will not be without expectations. 

Luckily, once you start to think about these issues, you'll probably recognise them manifesting in different parts of your life and be able to take measures to establish stronger personal boundaries; I know I'm lucky that I did! 


Pic courtesy of Unsplash


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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fashion, Food and Furniture: A Night with Panesar Kenya

Pic by Catherine Muchira 

Now, part of being a nomad does involve socialising, although this probably hasn't been all too evident in my recent posts! The evening of Thursday, the 5th of November found me attending an invite-only event entitled 'Fashion, Food & Furniture' at the Rouge Deck, hosted by Panesar Interiors. I was allowed a plus one, and decided to make my best friend tag along with me.

I must admit, when I first received the invite, I was a little curious to see how the 3 themes were meant to fit together, but everything flowed seamlessly on the day of the event! I must admit, I was quite impressed.

The Fashion

Pic by Official Photographer

The clothes on display were designed and created by Njema Helena, a company that was formed by a mother and daughters team in honour of their late daughter and sister, who passed away from cancer a few years ago.

The designs were absolutely beautiful, and I loved the modern take on traditional African prints. There were a few models wearing the designs, and they all looked gorgeous! I really couldn't pick my favourite.

The Food

Pic by yours truly 
As if the fashion and furniture weren't appealing enough, the food was amazing too (and if I'm not mistaken, catered by the Rouge Deck)! There were canapes served throughout the night; smoked salmon, duck spring rolls, cucumber rolls, and a few others. There were three cocktails being served at the event: mojitos, rum cocktails, and cosmos. Surprisingly enough (given my love for mojitos), my favourite turned out to be the rum cocktail! Must try get my hands on the recipe at some point...

While the food and cocktails were really good, I think the dessert absolutely won the day. While I tend to crave savoury rather than sweet things, I do appreciate good desserts. The chocolate mousse pictured above was HEAVENLY, and especially so because of the crumbly, salty topping. My mouth is actually watering right now- Pavlovian reaction much?

The Furniture 

Pic by Official Photographer

Pic by Official Photographer

Before the event, I deliberately avoided doing any research on Panesar, as I wanted the evening to inform my opinion. In a very typically Kenyan fashion, Panesar is a family-owned company, and is now being run by a third generation of Panesars. Unlike most other family-owned companies, however, it was evident that the current generation is very much enjoying what they're doing!

As we entered the event, we were showed how some of their sofas are made, and there were pieces at various stages of production that we could look at. I was excited to find that they do bespoke furniture and interior design, which explained some of the furniture we saw.

As a writer, I predictably fell in love with one of the desks on display (unfortunately, while lusting after this piece, I forgot to take a picture). It was easy enough to picture myself sitting on it for hours and writing... productivity wouldn't be hard with that one!

The second desk pictured above was actually designed based upon a lady's shoe; anyone notice the red underneath?

All in all, the designs were gorgeous, and I was impressed by the passion and knowledgeability of the staff, from the designers to the owners. The event was a lovely networking event, and I'm glad I got the invite (thanks Darshani)! Would I recommend Panesars to someone looking for a unique statement piece? Yes, definitely!

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Age of Unkindness


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
-Martin Luther King Jr.

Pic courtesy of Unsplash



If there's anything that I've learnt from this past week, it's that we as humans have almost lost our capacity for kindness and empathy, and have become inclined to pessimism. When I talk about the loss of kindness and empathy, I'm not even talking about those who were responsible for the horrible events that transpired last week, from a number of places in the world, not just Lebanon and France. No, I'm talking about the rest of us; those who were directly or indirectly affected, those who learnt about the attacks through some media, those of us on the other side.

People who changed their profile pictures on Facebook were attacked for doing so; those who didn't were criticised. We said, yes, great that you're supporting Paris; but where were you when all these other atrocities happened? We continued to judge even when we may have been guilty of the same transgressions. Why is it that we judge ourselves based on our intentions, but others based on their behaviour? 

I don't know why you chose to change your profile picture for Paris, but not for Beirut. Maybe you have family in Paris, maybe you didn't know about Beirut until social media spread the word. Maybe you were actually volunteering in Beirut, and your profile picture change was just a way to display solidarity in case you couldn't physically help? Whatever your reasons were, I have none to be unkind to you for your choices. You and I react to tragedy differently; there are billions of people in this world, and no reason to expect them to think and act the same way. Yes, we can expect each other to act like sensible, kind humans, but there's no reason to be spoiling for a fight when we don't even know each other. 

Perhaps the Internet is the worst place to be when the world is affected by tragedy. Because it seems as though it manages to bring out people's worst. We're quick to sit behind the safety of our screens and judge away, but reluctant to reach out and actually have sensible conversation with the people around us. I read many comments and posts going on about the 'evils of Islam' based on those who carried out the terrorist attacks. Well, what about the Muslim man who gave his life in Lebanon to stop a suicide bomber, and managed to save hundreds? Could his selfless actions really be classified as evil?

A mistake we all need to stop making is to judge the majority based on the actions of a minority. 

Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking...
-Leo Tolstoy 

Watching the news nowadays is one of the most depressing things I can think of doing. I don't know if it's the Pisces in me, or the fact that I tend to put myself in others' shoes, but constantly being bombarded by news of death, chaos and terror makes me weary. Yes, these things are happening, and they're happening worldwide. But what about the positive side of humanity? Who is tasked with representing that, sharing it with everyone, showing us that hope is not lost? 

I still firmly believe that there's a lot of good in the world. I've experienced it, and if I think about it, it reminds me that I live in a beautiful world. Imperfect, yes, but beautiful nonetheless. It's easy to get caught up in all the bad stuff, but we need to be able to shift our ways of thinking. I know kindness and positivity and love can achieve a lot more than hate and judgement and pessimism ever can. At a time when it seems like all we hear about is the bad side of stuff, we should be flooding our lives, our words, even our social media accounts with love and positivity. 

Please keep in mind that I'm not saying we should ignore the negatives, or bash those responsible over the head with bunches of flowers. There's a difference between being hopeful and being ignorant. 

As we start this week off, I'm thinking of and praying for all those who lost their lives in these recent tragedies, and for those who were left behind or adversely affected. But I'm also celebrating the lives of those who survived, thankful for the heroes that emerged, and hopeful about our future on this Earth. I hope you are, too.

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to give feedback in the comments, like and share the Facebook post below, or retweet it to your followers!



In light of recent tragic events, we must ask ourselves if we're losing our capacity for kindness and empathy.
Posted by The Kenyan Nomad on Monday, 16 November 2015


Friday, November 13, 2015

When I Go

One can argue that one of the things that unites us as people is the inevitability of death. Yet, despite knowing that this end will come for all of us sooner or later and we have no way of controlling it, we refuse to make the most out of today. Sure, we don't want to actually live like we're going to die tomorrow; no work would ever get done that way. But at the same time, we sometimes act like we're going to live forever. Why is that, I wonder?

Photo courtesy of Death to Stock
 
I won't move to that new country just yet; you see, I'll have all the time after I'm gone.

That holiday my kids have been dying to go on? We'll go, definitely, after they're gone.

I have a friend in Hong Kong I've been meaning to call and catch up with; but no rush, I can do it after she's gone.

That person I've been wanting to ask out? Why rush it, I have all the time in the world.

There's a song I've been wanting to write for years now, but hey. I'll do it after I'm gone.

I had a teacher who really pushed me to go get my MBA; I've been meaning to call and thank him, but not today. No, I'll do it after he's gone.

After I leave this place, I'll be sure to travel to places I've never been. I'll make time for all my friends and family, I'll tell that stranger on the street that she looks beautiful. I'll go check out that new Thai restaurant two blocks away; I've been too busy to go, you know. Oh, I'll definitely adopt some dogs from the local shelter; been meaning to do that for a while, just never got around to it. I make sure to enjoy my job and current situation, and stop anticipating the future. I guess I'll finally realise that I have 24 hours in a day.

I'll have all the time in the world you see, after I'm gone.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Space to Create




Pic courtesy of Death to Stock


This weekend, I found a writing prompt in my drafts, and it talked about how we found the space to create. I have no idea where it came from, but to whoever was responsible for sending it my way; thank you!

Our lives have become so busy; sometimes unnecessarily so! Nowadays, we seem incapable of enjoying the simplest of things without the obsessive need to document them. When is the last time you enjoyed a sunset without taking a picture of it? Rather than enjoying and experiencing our own lives, we have become observers.

Let's remember that there's nothing wrong with being observers; but it's important to realise when to stop observing and start experiencing, and if we can, to do them both simultaneously. I'd really rather not look back on my own life 60 years from now and realise I spent all my time collecting memories instead of making them. As a writer who also enjoys photography, this is something I definitely need to be careful about.

In between all the hustle and bustle, how do we find the space and stillness needed to create, to translate our observation and experience into something we can share? A lot of my inspiration to write comes in the times when my mind is undistracted and allowed to roam free; like when I'm in the shower, or the moments at night before I fall asleep. However, inspiration also comes at busy times; a conversation with a stranger, a class, a movie that makes me think. 



I think for me, the important issue is being able to translate these moments of inspiration into actual creation. I've heard it said that 'we don't have enough time', but I like to think of the fact that I have the same 24 hours a day that people like Einstein, Tolkien and Richard Branson did. The space to create is not just a physical place; it's a time, a mood, an uninterrupted expression.

As a writer, I unfortunately don't have the flexibility to sit down and write whenever the mood strikes, so I find it helpful to reflect on my ideas, and what inspired me, and to find a time to sit down uninterrupted to put my ideas down on a page. At the end of the day, I just need to be dedicated about it.

Creation isn't necessarily related just to art; how do YOU find the space you need to create? 





Friday, November 6, 2015

Dropping the Past

Courtesy of Unsplash


How many of us are holding onto things from the past that we no longer need? We all have baggage that we carry around from the past; indeed, our past is part of what makes us uniquely us. We all have a combination unique experiences, memoires, hard times that we've faced and triumphs we've celebrated that we share with no other person on the planet.

However, isn't it true that while our past guides us and informs us, at times it may also prevent us from moving forward? 

Sometimes, our past prevents us from viewing the world from a fresh and exciting lens; instead, we look at it from a weary and suspicious one. Your past can make you afraid of confronting your future and of enjoying your present.

Think about it this way; haven't we all at some point or another had a difficult relationship? With family, with friends, with lovers, with coworkers? And sometimes, when forming new relationships, don't we tend to be pessimistic about the outcomes based on these previous relationships?

Another scenario; maybe your past hasn't been the most ideal. You had a difficult childhood, a career that always seemed like it took more out of you than it gave you, no real friends to confide in and a family life that was less than fulfilling. Finally, things start looking up. Maybe you get a new job, you finally start to have real conversations to make peace with your past, and you meet people you realise will be with you for a while to come, for better or for worse. How many of us in such a situation would start to self-sabotage, would start to think we don't deserve this happiness, that it couldn't possibly be real? How many of  us, in such a situation, tend to focus on one negative over twenty positives? Stop and think about it for a second; your experiences in your past are wrongly influencing your experiences in the future.

How do we get around letting the past drag us down? Don't give your feelings more importance than they deserve. This may sound weird, but remember that cognitive biases are a very real thing that influence us every single day!

Forgiveness is important. Not just forgiving others for what they might have done (or not done), but forgiving yourself, too. Loving yourself and being kind to yourself are the first steps in allowing others to do so too.

Don't completely forget about the past; appreciate it. Be grateful for it. Appreciate the good times as well as the bad times, because they've all come together in a uniquely beautiful way to teach you in a way that only you could benefit from.




Sunday, October 25, 2015

Out of the Box



I spent my first 18 years immersed in an educational (and social) system that did little to encourage creativity. What subjects did I take for A levels? Economics, Chemistry, and Further Maths. That's not to say that I didn't do well in these classes, or that I didn't enjoy them, because I did. Heck, I loved Economics, and that's what I got my degree in, despite having the opportunity to change my mind (and the wisdom to know that it would be okay to).

It was expected that our degrees and the careers we chose would follow certain paths that all those before us chose; thinking outside the box wasn't really encouraged. This wasn't just a problem localised at my school; indeed, it was a problem that was facing a larger community in Nairobi. Looking at my secondary school graduating class, I can't think of anyone who chose to pursue further education in something like art, creative writing, or philosophy. That's not to say that no one was interested in these fields; rather, if present, this interest wasn't cultivated or encouraged, and as far as I know, if people expressed desire to pursue their passions, they were told to pick something more 'realistic'.

How many brilliant creative minds have we shut down because we forced them to pursue maths, sciences, or similar fields? Because art is not a 'real' field? 

I'm very fortunate that I'm still writing at this age. While we didn't do much writing for school, I did choose to pursue it personally, from quite a young age. Was this encouraged by my educators and peers? No, not really. Would my writing be at a different level if it had been? Maybe, but I don't think there's much value to be derived from regret; rather, it's best to move forward and see how we can change.

When I came back to Kenya this year, I had somewhat restricted myself to similar in-the-box thinking. I know that I want to be an entrepreneur eventually, but I also know that to be ready for that, I'd like to have more experience and skills. However, what I wrongly assumed is that those experience and skills would be gained at a typical 'desk job', and so that's what I went and found.

There was nothing wrong with the job itself, but I realised that it wasn't the best fit for me. I was trying to make myself conform to a standard I had no business conforming to in the first place. I was trying to live someone else's reality, a reality that I'd been raised to think was right for me.

It took me a while to make the decision, but I quit. In typical Roshni fashion, I did a lot of thinking about this decision, consulted a lot of people, and tried to listen to my head, which told me that change could always come later. Why rush it now? In the end, I did what was right for me, what I probably should have done in the first place; followed my heart now.

Why is it that we force ourselves into these boxes now, so that we can enjoy ourselves later? Here's something we need to realise (to a certain degree of course); later never comes. The excuses we make now can easily become the excuses we make tomorrow that prevent us from stepping forth confidently in the direction of our dreams. If we keep living for tomorrow, how will we ever enjoy today?

So what am I doing now? I'm working (full time) as a consultant. Primarily for a company in the U.K., but also on some independent projects. The work I'm doing is challenging, but I love it! I can officially call myself an intrapreneur. I have creative freedom, the opportunity to learn a lot, and autonomy over what I do. I have the opportunity to learn from a fantastic and hard-working entrepreneur. I now have the time and the flexibility to do more writing and to travel; two things that are very important to me, that I had told myself I would do 'later'. I already feel like I'm growing by leaps and bounds. Will things change in the future? Most probably; change is constant. But for now, I can confidently say that I'm in the right place, at the right moment, doing the right things. 

What have the past few weeks taught me? It's okay to stand up for yourself, to step out of the box society says you should be in - it's okay to follow your heart.



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Beauty, Now

This might be the longest that I've gone (in recent times) without writing. Well, not completely without writing, because then I wouldn't be me, would I? A more accurate thing to say would be 'without writing for an audience'. A larger part of that is due to changes that have been occurring in other parts of my life, and inevitably, everything ties back to my writing. More of that in another post though; today, I really want to talk about beauty. And wonder. And the joy of novelty.

Courtesy of Unsplash

When (and where) my parents were growing up, pizza wasn't really a thing. Difficult to fathom for someone like me; pizza is VERY much a thing in my life. Today at tea time (it's really good to be back in Kenya...), I asked my father if he remembered the first time he'd had pizza. He shrugged noncommittally, and said that he didn't. 

Of course, that led me to wonder what it would be like if he (or I) were to try pizza for the first time ever now. Suffice to say, I'd probably be the more excited of the two. 

Has anybody ever asked you what it would be like if you could watch your favourite movie again for the first time? Imagine the joy, the wonder, the discovery, the gradual (or sudden?) knowledge; YES, I love this! 

Now substitute 'movie' with basically anything around us. A smile, A sunset. Your favourite food. Your partner. Falling in love. The depth of sadness. When did we as a society get so desensitised by all around us that we forgot to celebrate the beauty of simple things? 

Two years ago, one of my best friends told me "You make a big deal out of things others take for granted." At that time I felt a little ridiculous, but now I realise she was referring to my tendency to get excited about little things like a cup of tea.

There's more than enough in the world to depress us, to dissuade us, to leave us feeling that life is pointless. But it takes only a little bit of seeking of the world within us and around us to realise that we are surrounded by wondrous beauty and sheer magnitude. Honestly, who could feel pointless then? 



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Saturday, September 19, 2015

10 Books You Should Read in Your Early Twenties



Your twenties are time for exploration and growth, and for most of us, a time that we use to 'set the stage' for the rest of our lives. I firmly believe that reading is very important for this process, and should be encouraged when children are young to instill a habit that will benefit them greatly. I've always believed that if you don't read, you can't grow, and I know many others do, too.

Because of this, I made a list of books that are (almost) vital reading for those of us who're looking to learn and grow and find out more about themselves. Of course, they can be read and enjoyed by people of most ages, but I think many of them have greater impact when read while in transitionary phases, like the early twenties are for most people.

Disclaimer: I haven't read some of the books on the list, but they come highly recommended, and I plan to get my hands on them soon!

So go ahead, grab one of these, make yourself a cup of tea (or grab a glass of wine), settle down in a comfortable spot, and enjoy!

1) Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

In a world where women are now being seen as equal to men, they still face many disadvantages that can get in the way of them having satisfying careers. Many times, women are made to feel that they have to choose between their careers and their families, and should they choose the latter exclusively, the former usually suffers if they go back to it. An ambitious woman is still a bitch, while an ambitious man is praised. Written by the COO of Facebook, Lean In talks about all these issues and more in a way that's funny, thoughtful, and that stays with you after you've put the book down.

I definitely think that this is a book that should be read by everyone, not just women, and especially so leaders who need to know how to really bring equality into the workplace.


2) Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

In a culture that celebrates unlikely, rags-to-riches kinds of success stories, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on a journey to understand where success really comes from, and talks about the little things that worked in favour of those outliers we look up to; people like Bill Gates and the Beatles, for example. Most of the time, when looking at their success, we tend to ignore their backstories; where they're from, and the experiences they have had that set them ahead of the rest.


3) The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

This is an absolutely wonderful philosophical book that can be savoured in parts, devoured whole, and returned to time and time again. Gibran talks about everything from marriage to children to friends to work, and his simple truths are definitely ones that we can all relate to.

One of my favourite quotes from the book:

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.


4) Discover Your Destiny by Robin Sharma

A powerful fable that encourages us to reach within our depths and discover our true destinies. There's no doubt about the fact that Robin Sharma is one of the greatest minds of our time, and he's definitely an author none of us should skip. In this book, Sharma shows us how to live up to our potential and get to know ourselves in an inspirational and not at all aggressive manner. No matter who you are and where you are, I can guarantee that you will walk away from this book feeling inspired.

Often his writing contains simple truths like the one below that remind us to dig deep and do better:


Things are never as bad as they seem. The situations that cause us sorrow are the same ones that introduce us to the strength, power and wisdom that we truly are.
  

 5) Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Our culture celebrates the extravert, at the expense of a large segment of the population. For example, 'open-plan' offices definitely don't work in favour of those who're more introverted. Most, if not all of us, are not all the way introverted or extraverted, but rather, fall somewhere in between. While I'm an extravert, most people would be surprised by how much introversion is in me, and I never had a chance to fully appreciate that part of myself before I read this book.

I've written about Cain's work before, and it's still something I would highly recommend for everyone; whether you're trying to understand part of yourself that you haven't really explored before, whether you're an introvert who's trying to learn to make the best out of a society that doesn't celebrate introversion or whether you're the friend, teacher, parent or employer of an introvert.

 
6) What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles

This isn't really a book to read as much as it is a book to work through, but I think it's definitely the most comprehensive manual out there for people who're trying to figure out their career. A new edition is published every year, and I first learnt about it on the recommendation of my career counsellor and a dear friend, who worked through this book when SHE graduated from college.

The book is filled with practical advice and exercises that encourage us to get to know ourselves better and figure out what, exactly, we want to do and would be best at, and how to get there. Are you about to graduate (or recently graduated) and trying to figure out where you want to work? Or someone who's already working but not quite satisfied with what you're doing? Are you looking to change your career and try something new? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book is definitely for you.


7) Thrive by Arianna Huffington

This is ones of those that I haven't yet read, but it comes recommended by Dana Brillante-Peller, who wrote about it on her blog, Pellerini. Another blogger, Carly Ferguson, who blogs over at FitLiving, includes it in her list of 5 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List. Please go check out both these posts; they definitely convinced me!


8) Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson is one of those names that practically EVERYBODY knows. He has reached such stunning heights of success that most of us do not even dare dream about. Luckily for us, he gifted the world with an autobiography that allows us to dig deeper into his life and his philosophy, and serves as a guide to those of us who need one. Especially for those of us with more entrepreneurial tendencies than most, Branson's autobiography is a must read.

Side note: I would ABSOLUTELY love to meet him in person. You know those interview questions that ask which living or dead person we would have to dinner if we could? Richard Branson is probably at the top of my list.


9) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

This is a self-help book that remains as relevant today as it was more than 20 years ago. The title is pretty self-explanatory, so I can only add that this book is definitely very helpful if you want to learn how to better control your life and achieve more out of it.


10) Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht

This is another one that I haven't read yet, recommended by Ana Luiza Douthwaite who blogs at Northwest Blonde. Targeted mostly toward a female audience who're starting off their careers (or looking to improve it), it does a great job in teaching you to leave your mark.

Do you have any other recommendations? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dropping Inhibitions

Picture courtesy of www.unsplash.com
What is an inhibition? To prevent you the trouble of googling a definition, I'll show you the ones I got: "a feeling that makes one self-conscious and unable to act in a relaxed and natural way" and "a voluntary or involuntary restraint on direct expression of an instinct". If you really think about it, these two definitions make perfect sense (thanks Google), and you really start to wonder how many times you have been held back by inhibitions.

I'll give an example that many of us might have encountered at some point or another. A crowded room, music playing cheerily in the background, people laughing and weaving in an out of crowds. Suddenly you see a face you think you recognise, but can't seem to place. What you really want to do it go say hi- but something holds you back.

We encounter inhibitions in more situations than just weekend parties. How many times have we been held back because of fear of failure, or rejection, or embarrassment? Like it or not, inhibitions may be holding us back in many ways; professionally, socially and personally.

By trying to fit in and be 'normal', we are kept from being ourselves. Giving in to our inhibitions can leave us with a feeling of inadequacy that lingers long after a specific incident has passed. If you're good at something and you know it, inhibitions can get in the way of allowing you to excel. By giving in to your inhibitions, you get conditioned to avoid these sorts of 'negative' situations, and may not realise how much you're missing out on!

Think about this scenario for a second; you've been working really hard at your job, and you know you've been doing really well too. You think that you may deserve a raise, but feel inhibited, and neglect to ask your boss. Think about these sorts of situations happening on a regular, almost daily basis, and you may begin to understand why you've learned to hold back and prevent yourself from getting where you deserve.

How do we overcome inhibitions? It's important to realise that you need to break free, and you need to want to break free. Expose yourself to things and situations that scare you (there we go again with fear being a good thing), and learn not to step back at the moment that you most want to. Don't escape the negative feelings; instead, deal with them, think about them, and ask yourself what they're telling you about yourself. Step forth, and free yourselves!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Let Your Fear Take You Higher



I think it's a very small portion of the population who can claim that they're not afraid. For people like me, who're in a transitional phase of their life, fear can be something that we learn to deal with on an everyday basis. I had addressed the issue of fear in a shorter blog post last year, but definitely felt like it was time to talk about it again.

Where does fear come from? I think that if we dig deep enough, this fear comes from being lost, from being disconnected with our purpose(s), from uncertainty. As I've mentioned many times before, so many of us get stuck in 'the rat race'. We end up doing things that we think we're supposed to be doing, while really being afraid to dig deep and explore our dreams and fears, and this ends up leading to unhappiness and a sense of not being fulfilled.

Why is it that so many of us are afraid to dream? And if we do dream, why are we afraid to follow through? Why is it that dreamers, those who have courage to follow their dreams, those who are very happy with their lives are the exceptions rather than the rule?

I think that part of the reason this is the case is that we have created a society that is so afraid of failure, that people would rather not try at all, lest they end up failing. When children are growing up, they are not afraid of showing their ambition, but as they grow, they are told to tone down this ambition, to stop dreaming so much. There are some lucky few who don't let society and educational systems diminish their abilities to dream and to believe in themselves, and I wish we could all be more like them. I've heard it said that a young Serena Williams was asked which tennis player she'd like to be like, and she responded by saying that she'd like other people to be like her. Incredible insight and ambition, and quite obviously, a determination to follow through!

Leaving aside the people who're afraid to dream, and who somehow may be able to convince themselves that they're happy where they are, I think it's even more depressing to think about the people who DO dream, but don't follow their dreams. Saying that they lack the courage to follow their dreams is but a small part of the equation, and I wouldn't like to phrase it that way, since it puts the blame on these people. Rather, I think the problem is that society and educational systems don't do much to help instill this courage in people when they need it.

Of course, this isn't always the case. I know, and I'm sure you all do too, about many, many wonderful people and educators who believe in their fellow community members and those under their tutelage. These people do everything they can to encourage and support, but sadly, sometimes it's hard being the only one in a system doing the encouraging and supporting. When one person is telling you that you can while everything and everyone else is showing you that you shouldn't, why would you believe them? If someone tells you that you can dream and also follow your dreams and be happy and successful, yet you see so many around you who're so discouraged, why would you believe them?

Thankfully, those who dream and are afraid to follow their dreams have a little bit of an advantage: their fear.This fear that they feel can be incredibly motivational. If you're afraid, it means you know there's more for you out there. It means that there's a part of you that knows you can do it. You can use this fear, channel it into making it work for you, into supporting others who may be dreamers afraid to follow through. I was rereading a Robin Sharma book last night, and one sentence really struck home with me. I read it, and was so overwhelmed by it that I actually had to put the book down.

"The very fact that you have a desire or a dream means that you have the corresponding capacity to realize it."
-The monk who sold his Ferrari

I'm afraid too. Why shouldn't I be? But I choose to look at this fear as something I will conquer, something that will teach me more about myself, something that will actually propel me in the direction of my dreams.

If you're afraid, recognise that that's not a bad place to be. Let your fear take you higher.


Monday, August 31, 2015

10 Great Ways to Adjust to a New City

Cityscape unsplash.com

Most of us, at some point or another, have moved cities in the past. However, most of us are also witness to the fact that adjusting to these moves gets much harder after graduation! If you've just moved to a new city (or an old city you haven't lived in for a while), or are planning to, I hope these tips are useful to you:

1) Before you move, network!
Get in touch with family, friends, friends of friends, fellow alumni, old neighbours, and whoever you may be able to. If these people live in the city you're moving to, they could become great friends (if they aren't already). If they lived there in the past, but have now moved away, don't be afraid to ask for tips! Knowing about where to shop, the best neighbourhoods to live in, fun things to do, etc, before you move to the city, can save you valuable time settling in!

2) Get help with your move! 
I speak from personal experience when I say that taking along a friend or family member to help with the move and initial settling down can be very helpful. It's even better if this person can stay a few extra days and explore your new home with you!

City unsplash.com


3) Make sure to stay in touch with family and friends from home. 
Moving to a new place doesn't mean losing touch with those who're far away, and staying in touch with these people means that they're still an important part of your life! Again, I speak from personal experience; sometimes, distance works wonders in making these relationships even closer.

4) If you've already found a job in your new city, ask your co-workers for tips . 
Maybe they know about the amazing restaurant down the street that has half off on Wednesdays that you happened to miss. Or the concert that you should definitely check out. Either way, many of these people have probably been in your situation before, and understand what it's like to move to a new place where you don't know as many people as you'd like. Maintaining good relationships with your coworkers is also a great way to make friends!

5) Look for networks you could join. 
For example, when I was in Iowa, I started attending meetings of the American Marketing Association. I didn't stay long enough to join, but I definitely got to meet some new people, and learn new things! Most big cities have young professional networks, and some that are more specialised that welcome new members.

6) Get to know your neighbours. 
When I was in university, most of my best friends were people I lived close to freshman year. We may not be in dorms anymore, but getting to know the people you live around can be very helpful; not only will you probably make good friends, but you'll know that you can rely on them if you need to (and vice versa)!

7) Sign up for a class you've always wanted to take. 
New city, new start right? If you feel that in your old place, it would have been kind of weird if the straight-laced software engineer wanted to take up creative writing, now's the time to go for it!! You're in a new place, and have a chance to do things that you've always wanted to, but never got to because you were in a comfort zone of sorts.

Car driving on dust road unsplash.com


8) Remember to be open to new experiences and new people. 
I'll say it again; you're in an entirely new place, and it wouldn't be fair to expect it to be like the place you moved from. Be open and ready for experiences you wouldn't have encountered before, and be willing to meet people who may differ from the people you usually socialise with. Go ahead and have some fun with life!

9) Don't be afraid to go out on your own. 
Whether this is a new city where you know a few people, or a new city where you don't know anyone at all, one of the best ways to get settled in is to go out exploring on your own. So go ahead and make reservations for one at that fun Italian restaurant you drove by, or sign up for a nature walk by yourself. One thing though: remember to be careful and do your research! Let's just say that you don't want your adventure alone to take you to any unsavoury neighbourhoods.

Alley unsplash.com


10) Push yourself. 
You're going to have to be more active about doing things. As the new person in town, you're going to have to make the effort to go out and meet people, to learn about your city, to get comfortable. Don't wait for things and people to happen to you; go out there and familiarise yourself with your new home!

Do you have any tips for adjusting to a new city? Leave them in the comments below!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Incredible Human Project

A few weeks ago, I got back in touch with a fellow Sewanee alum, Will Harper. I had read an article he posted on LinkedIn, and was impressed by the work he was doing. The things he's writing about are important, and more people need to read them. A few posts ago, I spoke about knowing people who're fortunate to have found work that they're passionate about; Will is definitely one of them. I'll let him do the rest of the introducing, and I hope that you go over to his website to learn more!


Will Harper
Two years ago, I began a research project to understand the psychology and philosophy of human experience and the means and characteristics of its greatest expression. In trying to understand what people want in general, I discovered what I want in particular and now am running straight for it. I have left two jobs, am in the midst of moving for the fourth time and am rapidly draining my bank account as I launch a new business. I couldn't be happier.

I went to college at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Sewanee did what any great educational experience does: it harnessed my open heart and curiosity and turned them inward on my rather unaware, adolescent mind. It enabled me to see the world from a higher altitude.

After graduating, I moved to Mexico City, where I became a management consultant, working on problem-solving SWAT teams in big multinational corporations in Latin America. The learning curve was steep and the work was fascinating and intense. Living in another country stretched me more than I would have guessed. The constant challenge to learn to do everything in a slightly different way transmutes our many "should bes" into "could bes." Truly seeing that other ways aren't wrong, but merely different is among the most important of life's lessons.

After four years in Mexico, I moved to Chicago to attend the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. While there, I became aware of my own aimlessness. I had plenty of opportunities for post-business school life, but no clear way to evaluate different cities, industries, workloads and levels of prestige. I realized that I didn't know what I wanted. I looked around at my classmates and saw the same lack of direction. We were ambitious achievers, but were focused on our resumes rather than our lives as a whole. 

I formed a five person research team and we spent 6 months studying the psychology of happiness with the goal of helping our classmates understand how to incorporate fulfillment into their approach to life. The research was personally transformative. When we presented to standing room only crowds on two different dates, I realized that I had uncovered work that was deeply fulfilling for me and valuable to those around me in a way that the many spreadsheets I had created in my twenties hadn't seemed to be. 

I have spent the last two years deepening my understanding of how we can live full, rich lives and how, in organizations, we can do so in community. We all want to have an impact and to be happy; we want to do good and feel good. This is fueled by a compelling purpose and our outlook on life. I am excited to be sharing these lessons as widely as possible, through writing, talks, workshops, coaching and consulting. I would be honored to have you as a reader and to hear your stories and reflections on happiness. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

10 Ways to Have an Awesome Monday

Stomping Grounds Cafe, Ames, Iowa

Mondays seem to be the most dreaded of days, at least according to the people I know! But what if we somehow found ways to make Mondays work for us? Imagine being around people who're absolutely excited about their day, who treat their Mondays like they're Fridays. Now imagine being one of those people!

1) Get enough sleep the night before: 
By making sure you get enough sleep, you'll start your Monday morning feeling refreshed. This in turn will mean that you're more energised and productive during the day, and less likely to feel stressed during the day.

2) Start your day off with some exercise: 
You don't necessarily have to run 10 miles before breakfast, but even 10 minutes of mild stretching or yoga will do! Exercise in any form is a great stress reliever; it helps increase the production of endorphins, boosts self-confidence, relaxes you, and enables you to focus on the moment. If you're doing it right, it can be a meditative experience! Plus, the long-term health benefits aren't too bad either. Of course, some more exercise in the evening, if possible, is a great way to wind down the day and leave you feeling good about your Monday!

3) Dress up:
Monday is a great day to take a little extra time to look your best. I'm sure many of us are familiar with that feel-good that comes from knowing we're looking good. Is this a little vain? Maybe, but that doesn't make it wrong!

4) Get in a good breakfast: 
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and still, it's the meal that most of us tend to skip during the day. It's easy enough to grab a cup of coffee and get out the door, but sitting down for something nutritional in the morning can go a long way! Aside from the health benefits of regularly eating breakfast, your morning meal will start you off with the energy required to tackle your workday.

5) Clean out your clutter at work and identify any pending work on Friday: 
It's a perfectly human tendency to tend to relax toward the end of the week. But if you set aside sometime every Friday to clean up the clutter at your desk and to identify and prioritise pending work, you'll save that time and energy doing so Monday morning; leaving you ready to start your day on a productive, energetic note!

6) Minimise distractions when you're at your most productive: 
You hopefully already know the time of the day when you're most productive. Block this time out on your schedule; avoid scheduling meetings at this time, send your calls to voicemail, and set your phone on silent. Not only will you be able to get a lot done, but at the end of the day you'll feel great about having accomplished so much on a Monday.

7) Take a few short breaks between tasks: 
By scheduling a few short breaks during your day, you'll keep yourself from feeling lethargic and losing concentration on the task at hand. Spend this time walking a little bit if you have a desk job, or read something funny and/or inspirational.

8) Leave your work at work:
This one's pretty important! Learn to compartmentalise, and your future self will thank you for it. When winding up your work day, make sure to leave your work there, and tell yourself you'll deal with the rest tomorrow. If you've had a productive day, you shouldn't have any guilt about this at all since you'll have already done so much! This may be harder to do for some professionals, like entrepreneurs, but trust me on this; finding a good work-life balance will do you wonders, even if you're absolutely in love with your job!

9) Spend some time with your family and friends: 
Even if many of your loved ones live far from you, modern technology means that you can still have quality time together! Time with your loved ones is a great thing to look forward to, and a wonderful pick-me-up (at any time during the week)!

10) Treat yourself: 
You deserve to indulge yourself once in a while; be it by getting a chai from your favourite cafe, buying a good book, or wine and dinner with your best friends. Find something that you can do for yourself at the start of every week, and you'll be looking forward to Mondays in no time!

Happy Monday, dear readers! What are some tips you have to improve Mondays?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

SMA Awareness Month

Louisa, 24.12.11-19.05.12
Many of you may not know that August is SMA Awareness Month. In fact, many of you might not even know what SMA is. I certainly didn't; until I lost a niece to it. Louisa passed away at the tender age of 5 months, and is very much loved and missed by her family.

SMA stands for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a disease that is the number one genetic cause of death for infants. It robs people of physical strength by affecting the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord and leads to progressive muscle wasting. While it does not affect the minds of those who have this disease, it hinders the ability to do many everyday things; eating, breathing, walking, speaking and swallowing. 1 in 50 Americans are carriers of the defective gene that is responsible for SMA. If two carriers have children, each child has a 1 in 4 chance of being affected.

While there is no treatment or cure available for SMA, this is one of the very important reasons for raising awareness about the disease.

More than the obvious suffering that infants go through because of SMA, it's the families who suffer. How can anyone adequately put into words what it's like to lose a child? And yet, that's a reality that parents of babies with SMA have to deal with on a very regular basis. They know that the time they have with their angels is limited, and they have to live a life cherishing each and every moment in ways that none of us can possibly imagine.

What can we do about SMA, you may ask? There are organisations doing wonderful jobs of raising awareness and funds for SMA research, like http://www.curesma.org/ and https://thegsf.org/
There are many ways to get involved, from donating, to hosting events, to volunteering at events, and many more. Hopefully, a cure will be found soon!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Come On, We Can Get Up and Go!

You, yes you… you might be wondering how you got up from bed this morning or why would you bother putting on a cheery ringtone to wake up… if that would make any difference!

Here it comes
Monday comes and goes and goes and comes. You have put yourself in the position you want, in other words, getting out of bed and heading to job you are in, it was all you, baby. You should either be proud of that or start making a change, if that is what you are aiming for.
Let’s go over some key reminders on why we are able to do what we do!

Nothing last forever
Whether you have the Winter blues or you are just on the end of your rope, remember nothing lasts forever. Whatever is driving you up the wall, it too shall pass. If you are on the flip side and are generally happy, take some time to remember that too. Why?

Appreciate it all
Yup, this is why. No matter if you are on the rocky side of life or signing constant mash-ups from Glee without a care in the world, appreciate everything you've got. Without entering in religions, just ‘Say a lil prayer’! Be grateful to your friends, family and most of all yourself. You’ll be happy you did since it tends to give out a whole vibe to the day.

It was better before yet it is still getting better and better 
This one is a deep thought phrase. Food for thought, as they say. For example, something I struggle with money. I’ve been fully supporting myself for many years now and as a young adult, it can be something quite challenging. Whether it is due to changing jobs or apartments and even the few cases of moving from city to city, it has been a challenge that I've been having for the past few years already. Now, when things got real tight, I would think to myself about all the times I did have enough. And from that moment, my next reaction was to get mad at myself because I didn't have enough at that moment.

Gradually and slowly, this train of thought turned into reminding myself that I have survived worse times and that it always got better, one way or another. And each time I find myself slipping, or already in negative, I raise up thinking that I have enough to maintain myself and best of all, I do work hard every day to overcome this situation once and for all.

So, it was better at some point, however, each day that you work hard for what you want, it is getting better… gradually and slowly, better each and every day.

C is for You

You are strong(er than you think).
Seriously, you are. Let’s go back into my yearbook again. A few years ago I had to face a few situations that torn me apart and torn me all around. It damaged me so hard hat I snapped. My constant train of thoughts were that I wasn't able to survive, they drove me down to the ground to places that I thought I wasn't ever going to get out off. Constantly crying on the floor, bawling my eyes out for the whole world to hear repeating to myself that this was going to break me.
A year passed and I still wasn't okay, but I was better than I thought. Gradually and slowly, I showed myself that I was stronger, braver, wiser, whatever word you want to put in here, thank I thought. It took me more years to recover, to get back up and still get some off days. Be that as it may, I look around at what I’ve got and see how far I’ve become every day. Making sure I remind myself that I am strong and that my past won’t break me. Making sure that what I have right now is what I want and that it will continue getting better because it is up to me.

Someone help! 
Even though it is always good to be self reassured on how strong you are, it is always okay to ask for help. It takes guts to ask and it comes in different forms. For me, that same situation stated above took various paths for me to get better. It started by calling a friend and sobbing next to them and continued to sitting down with a therapist to go over all the details of many heartbreaking situations. I had made myself keep inside of me what was wrong for so long that the thought of opening up was painful itself. Years later, it has helped more than you can imagine. As for you, no matter what you are going through or went through, take time and courage to ask for help. It will always do you good.

Discover other options 
There were many points in my life where I was just looking at one option without realizing I had plenty to choose from. In other words, we get so set in our ways that we forget what is around us. And what is around us is the fact that there are many options, many choices, many opportunities, many things we can do and consider in order to get a weight off your shoulders. Being guilty of still thinking this way sometimes, I try my best to remember that I’ve got many other paths I can go down and that they are worth a try. After all, any road is a good road as long as you get to where you want to be.

Keep Flyinh high with #GoDoFly

There are always going to be better things in front of us than behind us
Paraphrasing a C.S Lewis quote right here, it is a quote that I hold dear to my heart when nothing or no one else can bring me comfort. Surprising me every time I realize its true, it seems to be a keeper in my book. As far as it goes for me, years later from having to struggle with one of the hardest parts in my life, I’m living in a city that I love, sheltered with friends that love and support me and starting to work in a field that I am passionate about.
I survived, I got help, I figured it out, I worked hard, I believed, I did.
There are always better things along our way. For all of us.
So, come on, get on up and be part of us. It is always going get better.
Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments down below.
The Always Believer


Ariadna Arredondo

The Always Believer

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