Do I really have to ask you again? [Part 1]

I asked my sister to help me run an errand last week out of pure laziness. When I got back from work, I was pleasantly surprised with my package having been picked up and dinner ready.

There is nothing quite as satisfying as asking something of someone and having them exceed all expectations you had for them. Rarely does this happen, but when it does–it’s a glorious day.

More than anything it seems like we’re easily annoyed by all the little things. When your significant other is late for dinner, when your roommate eats your last pizza pocket, when someone doesn’t clean up after themselves around the house–when they aren’t really “listening” to the things you have to say. Being with others in general is not only a constant state of change but also filled with what feels like many unfulfilled expectations.

In moments of temporary resentment we resort to criticizing as an immediate response. Lucky for us, there are “new and improved” ways to respond to these situations with family and friends.

Acknowledge it. Move on.

Sometimes life happens and the trade off between being resentful and letting go–letting go is just freeing oneself of disappointment. Do whatever works for you. This isn’t a lesson of calming exercises as much as it is realizing real life experiences of upset and anger. It’s a human tendency to dwell on feelings of hurt and disappointment. Prolonged resentment is what makes our lives at home seem dissatisfying at times. This is one of the few cases where over-thinking benefits no one as it prolongs pain and damages relationships.

Start. Empower. Inspire.

The times we want to nag roommates or family to do certain chores–criticize them for their lazy choices–realize it isn’t going to prompt anyone to take initiative next time around. It isn’t often that negative emotions, extreme or not, inspire others to make changes–let alone fulfill unmet expectations.

Have empathy.

Have empathy for the person you want to criticize. Chances are you’ve neglected promises to do house chores as well. Rationalize the situation without using accusations and demanding language to create a defensive atmosphere. In this way, we get the point across without harboring resentment. Of course this takes much more control on our part but the results are certainly worth it. I’m sure you’d feel much more inclined to help someone who got their point across without demanding that you HAVE to do something but by using more appreciative words.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

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Everybody Else Has Their Lives Figured Out (But Me)

How silly of us to be hurting ourselves on the regular basis. We do this by misguiding ourselves to only consider the successes of others. Which of course, makes us look back upon ourselves and wonder why the heck we’re so seemingly terrible at what we’re doing. It constantly makes me wonder whether it’s merely a matter of confidence after all these years. The expectations we’ve placed upon ourselves and our lives don’t always match those we’ve laid out for others –it’s tempting to measure success at first glance.

The most important aspect has nothing to do with how we measure success like you might think. However, it has much more to do with the fact that we’re allowing the successes of other’s control our personal accomplishments in life. Just like originality can come from two writers blogging about the same topic and expressing it in completely different styles, what appears to be the same dream shared by two people can still be your very own. As the saying goes… the grass is always greener on the other side. And how blatantly obvious this must sound to all of us. So obvious it is horrifying that we continue to live out our lives based on what everyone else has achieved.

Sometimes blood, sweat and tears is all we see in ourselves –allowing it to diminish the value of our successes. At the same time we neglect the blood, sweat and tears of others. Even if you cannot directly relate to the falls of others, it is crucial to understand that everybody hasn’t got everything figured out and you are most definitely not inferior to anyone.

This doesn’t apply to only one type of success, whether it be career, family or love. Many of us might only spot the families having dinner together on Christmas Eve and it makes us question how our own families should function. But how different we all are when expressing love. Perhaps on Valentine’s Day you find yourself single and at a movie where the theater is filled with couples –do you then ponder the idea of why you are not as sought after as your best friend? In reality, things are rarely what they seem like at first glance and there is no single way for someone to have their life figured out. Stop looking to others for the answer because they don’t have one either. We might even discover that the best way about having our lives figured out is to actively place the focus on self progression rather than everyone else.

I get it though. Some of us are unaware, others just feel like the secret to having perfect lives has been outed to everyone but themselves. Doesn’t it also seem like the people that have it all figured out can always achieve things that appear so out of reach for you? Self-reflection can do us worlds of good but every supposed success of others doesn’t need to equate to re-evaluation of your self worth. While you are able to understand the mistakes of others, there is certainly no reason to think they are not capable of accepting yours.

Sure we have strong tendencies to think “everybody else has their lives figured out (but me)”. Sure on our bad days it appears unfair that the rest of the world is seemingly living in a cloud of bliss filled with cats and rainbows. But I’m most certain, with a little reminder, we can come to terms with the fact that everybody else does not have their lives all figured out. Rest assured that if the above logic all applied and everybody did have their lives figured out –that would mean your life is all figured out as well.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

Why You Should Travel

Photo Source

Let me start off by saying that I’ve always been the scrimping-to-save-every-last-penny type of person.

That being said, I’m no stranger to being told that I should travel and do the things I want while I’m young and have the chance.

I’m working on a happy medium here.

Day after day, we are bombarded with the idea of quitting our jobs now in order to pursue a life of carefree travels  –why we should travel. For whatever reason, those that are only taking their annual 3-week vacations are deemed to be restricting themselves to unfulfilled lives.

From the very beginning we’ve had misconceptions over what the ideal career would look like. Having the most fulfilling jobs that are best fit for each individual never meant that it wouldn’t come with pain and frustration. The concept of ‘loving every moment’ of our work is simply too abstract for our complex lives.

Feeling hesitant to pack up your bags and jump into an unknown world doesn’t mean you’re fearful of living on a budget or even clinging onto a stable life for fear of change. You see, life isn’t defined by whether you leave your cubicle to travel; it’s a matter of bringing Paris, New York and Rome all to a warm and fuzzy place you call home.

The only time we can truly grasp onto is now. We scrimp every last penny to go on what we’ve labelled once-in-a-lifetime trips. On these days or even weeks if we’re lucky, we neglect all our e-mails and even the internet because we’ve come to understand that perhaps we’ll never visit this geographical spot again.

Now allow me to suggest that you were never able to go on this once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Instead you were home with the people you love the most. Certainly being with these people is once-in-a-lifetime.

Why is it that we don’t jump upon these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to spend time with the ones we supposedly care about the most? Instead, many of us can be found purging on television shows and internet fads as if being home makes time a limitless commodity.

We’ve forgotten that home –like Paris, New York and Rome –is also, once-in-a-lifetime.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

Hoarding Memories

Does it make sense when I say: I really want change for improvement in life but continue to be a nostalgic hoarder of objects that remind me of the past? These days, I tend to consider myself as someone open to change and new things in my life. That wasn’t always the case. I remember leaving my first home of 10 years for a newer, more beautiful home. While I was incredibly excited about my new room, a part of me was devastated. I wanted to keep a grasp of the feeling of familiarity that my first home gave me so much that I vowed (as the naive ten-year-old I was) to one day move back there.

None of those thoughts ever made me realize that it was the people, friends, family –loved ones –that made empty objects seem like they held more significance than they deserved.

Like the little overpriced restaurant at the street corner of my former home, it still holds an unexplained amount of significance. I lived in the area during my earliest, most blurry phase of my life and bought meals from the restaurant on what seemed to me as the rare special occasion and once before the school year began. This would make me illogically obsessed with the idea of going back every September. As if not having done so meant unfinished family business or a sign of something misplaced in my little cycle of life. It become a part of my history, my family’s history too if you will.

When I took walks in the summer I often found myself spending extra hours just to visit the place I once called home. The driveway seemed much narrower than the one that remains in my collection of vague memories and different flowers had been planted in place of my favourite daffodils. But my family wasn’t there. Suddenly the hoarding of such memories and giving them great significance meant nothing. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to visit again or stop feeling an odd connection with the place. Walking by the elementary school near the home was a similar story. The hopscotch lines are now covered by the perfect, impeccable pavement. Even the tree I used to climb had been chopped down and thus, remains no evidence the memories I have hoarded over the past decade ever existed.

This isn’t a sad story though. Being too attached to the memories despite having the people who created them with me turned the spotlight away from more significant things that are currently forming me new memories (likely better).

Despite the old box of picture books being of little use today and my refusal to give them away because of the memories, there is no turning back to the time when I most enjoyed them. When I am reminded of the memories I hoarded for so many years, I see a person that lacked the optimism to face a better future ahead. Time is unforgiving and waits for no one.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

Turning 20

Turning 20, in this day and age, I suppose… can be considered more or less a monumental sign. While the 19th birthday introduced many to an already known world of legally drinking, smoking and two years away from Vegas –20 is a more welcoming number. Maybe even the ‘Quarter-Life Crisis‘ if you will. Despite what might appear to be the beginning of a hectic school year, there are still a good number of things on the list to do.

Among other things, I could be hitting up a club (because apparently this is a popular pastime nowadays) and be suffocated by a mixture of Victoria Secret perfumes and Axe sprays while sweating up a storm next to a friend that is more-or-less well intentioned for “trying to show me a good time”. Maybe I will even receive that same perfume I caught a scent of at the club as a gift and realize that thanks to the big end-of-summer sale, every other person I walk by is wearing it too. None of the above seems to be quite appealing and regardless of what I end up spending my day doing, it is always assumed that there will be people present. After all, isn’t it the presence of other people in your life that make it that much more worthwhile? I suppose to make any birthday appear to be a monumental sign in one’s life, there must be the significant people around to legitimize it.

I learned that happiness is better shared –like passing around a plate of cookies. Despite the stress that fast diminishing cookies present in a group setting versus when alone, sometimes nothing is more overwhelming than pressure to be loud when greeting everyone during the occasion. The younger version of us will recall loud, screaming friends running around at birthday parties. As we age, some of us derive more value from the quiet introspection of our days. Although there is certainly nothing wrong with spending special days and celebrations with the people you love.

There will be no doubt that on my 20th birthday I will consider what the next few years will look like. Right now, I can picture sitting alone in front of a laptop screen while the rest of the world is fast asleep or more times where I will end up embracing the qualities of a hermit and decide to stay at home rather than move out of the house to meet people (Logic: Pajamas > People). I will look outside to the yard and question the idea of sitting outside upon damp furniture after endless days of rain in Vancouver.

Right now, I will personally admit to myself that it was rather illogical of me to have spent so much of my time in the past considering the stages of my life that has yet to happen. It is rather liberating to think without the social structure. As the evening is wearing on and my teenage years coming to an end, I might think about where I’ll be after graduating from a business school at the age of 21. I can only imagine that given the same circumstances, I would be in the exact same place with or without my degree. Besides the couple extra dollars –how would I be making use of that piece of fancy paper in a $100 dollar frame? When I consider the reactions of my peers also living in this ‘jobless generation’, I imagine many of them will consider the pursuit of yet another degree in graduate school to be a time stall (which to be fair, could be the case). Maybe one day I’ll tell them I’d also like to travel the world and wake up to a new country every 6 months where I can play a part in improving their local education system. Nothing is wrong with trying to figure out what a happy future may mean. The hours will still slip away like water in my palms but the skies will be clear like they are tonight.

A midst all the pondering of people that are no longer in my life, the favourite necklace that was lost on a walk and amazing work experiences, I want to think about today. In fact, I will. I will have thoughts about today and my future choices: Family, close friends, my major(s), job applications, getting over my chocolate addiction, cats and even the creaky furniture I have yet to attend to. After that, I might consider this entire process to be unoriginal. It isn’t like no one else has done this before their birthday prior to me. Of the 365 potentially beautiful days of my year, I, like the rest of you, have and will in the next 365 grow as a person and move to various stages of my life. And as much as I like to collect cat things, there is nothing more amazing than adding to your very own collection of what I call pint-sized epiphanies on a daily basis. For some, all the pint-sized epiphanies are fit together like puzzle pieces before they leave the familiar behind or before they go to sleep. For me, this is before my birthday.

Funny to think but this year I won’t be spending my 20th birthday alone. With all this talk about turning 20 and having chosen to designate my time to writing this, I’ve been able to spend it with all of you. I hope your pint-sized epiphanies will come together as mine have tonight.

Happy Tuesday, everyone.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

Your Back-To-School To Do List

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The cash registers at school supplies stores around the country are singing “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!” as school is due to start in just about 2 weeks. Whether you are heading back to school or helping someone prepare, here are some of my suggestions:

  1. Get excited for the season of rain and pumpkin spice!
  2. Realize that ‘Freshman 15’ is a myth. If you make an effort to not consume cafeteria food everyday and keep your consumption patterns relatively the same you’re probably going to only gain 5 pounds! Doesn’t sound very reassuring? Take advantage of the gym facilities around campus –after all, you’ve already paid for those services in your student fees.
  3. Wear your lightweight summer clothes as often as possible. This is all part of enjoying what is left of summer to the fullest. Perhaps where you are living the sun doesn’t seem like it will be going away anytime soon but you’ll miss it once its gone.
  4. Hustle for your textbooks. Talk to people that have taken the same classes before and make sure you need the books first and be cautious of the market prices. The last thing you want to do is buy all your textbooks from the campus bookstore when you’re living off student loans. Which brings me to my next point…
  5. Make sure you have all your funds lined up in time to pay tuition. Visit the financial aid office in case you missed a potential scholarship/bursary you can apply for as well. The worst feeling is the idea of a missed opportunity.
  6. Spend one afternoon going through your boxes to dig out the old school supplies that can still be used and go frolicking in the school supply aisles of colourful binders, boring lined paper and crayons you no longer use but still want to buy.
  7. Draft your budget for the year. Seriously. You overspent last year.
  8. Every summer you make plans to go places, meet people and discover different hobbies. Well, what have you accomplished this summer? Make an effort to get out of your room as much as you can in attempt to rid the evidence that you spent most of the summer aimlessly browsing Facebook, scrolling through Tumblr and sending out snapchats.
  9. Don’t sign-up for any new credit cards on campus. It might be tempting to do so with all the free swag they give out along with signing up but you’ll be thankful at the end of each month when you have one less bill to pay.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

In Light of Mother’s Day: The Greatest Love

mothers-day

Note: This is a re-post as it was unintentionally deleted previously.

When I was a young child my only wish was to grow up. I would never have to be told what to do again. I’d be able to buy that stuffed toy bear I desperately wanted, play on the swings for an extra hour or even have 10 more cookies than my mother would allow…

In the journey of growing up, I tried my best in everything I thought to be meaningful in hopes of one day being successful and fulfilling my childhood dreams. School, volunteering, music, sports, studying… At this time, I believed by doing so I could prevent myself from growing old with regrets. During this time I neglected spending time interacting with my mother.

It was not until I grew old enough to be considered an adult in this society and met mothers my own age, did I finally understand the many sacrifices she’s made for me. In reality, when she stayed up all night to make sure I finished that Science project in ninth grade, she didn’t have the intentions of forcing anything upon me. And while I fell sick often as a child, she was more sick with worry than I ever was physically ill. All this time she supported me by providing me with more opportunities to pursue more interests, passions and dreams.

But what about her own interests, passions, and dreams?

When my mother was young, she was an avid baker, had a love for history and story-telling and was an exceptional student. I hear from my Uncle that if it weren’t for giving birth to me, my mother would never had left the well-deserved position in a firm she loved so much. At this time my mother would hush him and insist all this did not matter. After all, this was decades ago.

At this point in my life, the one thing I didn’t want to happen to my mother was for her to miss out on more of her own opportunities.

I decided to take the initiative to sign her up so she could instruct a baking class on the weekends. I told her I was certainly more than old enough to take care of myself and it was time for her to pursue her own interests, passions and dreams. To which she replied laughing, “I know I look young but how could you mistaken me to your age?”

From when I was first born, growing up, and even now… all my mother has done is spend all her time on supporting me in everything I did. This day, I hoped to help her revive the opportunities she lost by choosing to take care of me these last few decades.

Seeing her come home from the baking classes some weeks later, I noticed how exhausted she was. All this time I believed that she agreed to go to these classes because she wanted to relive her dreams from the past. Little did I know these efforts were actually for me.

“You shouldn’t be doing this if you’re going to be so exhausted!”

“But you were thoughtful enough to plan this all for me.”

“Because I thought this was your dream.”

“My dream is for you to live happy.”

Although my mother has said so before, it never hit home until recently. I never realized that her single greatest dream was for me to live well, for me to be happy for the rest of my life.

So, today I want to do a little more for myself. A little more to better myself.

Because now I know that living my life to its fullest is not only the best route I can take for myself, but also the path to fulfilling her dream.

I love you, Mom. Everyday should be Mother’s Day.

– itsfruitcakeweather.