Someday you’ll be on your own

Right now my wife and I are in total awe and wonder of our precious 5 months old daughter. Our daily life is filled with rainbows and colors. I love it when I see my wife’s doing her very best to attend to her needs – despite the ongoing sleepless nights, diaper blowouts, and spit up messes – it was utterly amazing seeing the two most important people in my life so close to each other. I just wonder what the crawling and teething days would be like! Nonetheless, I’m excited to see our child’s growth progress.

Yet, for all of the craziness, this stage is pretty great. I love when my baby girl snuggles her little warm body so close to mine. I love the endless cuddles, in which she feels safe in my arms. I feel as if I can protect her from everything wrong in the world simply by picking her up and wrapping my arms around her.

She’s at a stage where she gives grins out for everything and everyone. She doesn’t know hate. I love that innocence and that her smile can light up a room. I want to hold onto that innocence and love for as long as possible. It isn’t just the grins that get me. Right now she has the best belly laughs when I tickle her or play peek-a-boo. She squeals with such delight when I raise her over my head and we play “airplane” or “wonder girl.” She hangs on my every word and wiggles excitedly when I sing a song or just talking to her. She is discovering so much and I love seeing her little mind work things out. I love when her eyes light up in excitement and she looks at me to celebrate her victory of figuring out something new, like when she did her first “roll over.” For now, we are her world and she is ours. There are often times she reaches her arms out for me and my wife is convinced her inner monologue is saying, “papa, papa, papa, papa!” Until I pick her up and hold her.

Yet, I know there is a day when the incessant papa or mama will morph to daddy or mommy and then dad or mom and then “ugh, daaaad/moooom.” There will be a day when my songs and stories and games won’t elicit the same giggles and shouts of glee. In fact, some of my jokes and stories will likely elicit groans and eye rolls during the teenage years (I know). There will come a day when the endless cuddles will only come every so often and then maybe not at all. There will come a day when I will no longer be her world. When someone else will become her world in a completely different way. And that’s okay. That’s what she’s supposed to do. She’s supposed to go out into the world and explore and learn and grow and love. But, it doesn’t mean it will be easy. Along the way she will learn things like hate and prejudice. She will learn that not all people are good. She won’t give out her smiles so readily. And at that point, I can’t fix everything so easily for her. I won’t be able to shield her away from the bad, just help her overcome it.

Someday, I’ll stop picking her up because she’ll be too big. Someday she won’t need me like she needs me (us) now. Someday she will keep discovering the world without us alongside her. Someday I won’t know everything about her inside and out because someday we may not be able to see or talk to each other every single day. But, even though that someday is inevitable. Even though that someday is hard to imagine for us, there is something about that someday that will always be true. Something I want to tell my baby, so she doesn’t forget it – ever. 

My Dearest Sophie,

Someday, I may not physically pick you up, but I’ll always be there to emotionally pick you up. To support you, love you, encourage you. Even on the days when you may not think you need me, I’ll be here, in case you decide you do. I’ll always have a hand to hold or arms to hug you. Just in case you decide you need me to be that source of comfort and love. I can always give you that, even when you’re all grown up and on your own. Because, no matter how old, no matter how big, no matter where you are – you’ll never stop being my baby.

                                                                                                          – Daddy

We really don’t need that much in life to be happy

 

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We really don’t need that much in life to be happy.

This may be counter to what we are sold by the advertising masses. However, the truth is there are literally millions around the world that are living pretty happy and contented lives with little in the way of physical possessions.

Many of these people may have enforced constraints. These could include a lack of well-paid employment options or families abroad they themselves work and send money to.

However, some have also identified their own version of enough and live contentedly within self-made constraints. Working just enough to cover their needs and then making time for family, friends and adventures.

Whatever the case, these people live a life filled with less stuff. It can be done.

The Problem with Chasing More
The danger in chasing more and more is that it’s never enough. Just a little more money and we’ll be happy we tell ourselves. A new car on loan will make us more complete we kid ourselves. Keeping up with keeping up is a path to ruin.

More stuff can mean our lives become cluttered. We lose freedom, we lose agility. We can start to feel stifled and even trapped by all this stuff.

Packing Lightly
Beyond our most basic needs of food, water, shelter, health, family and friends, how much more do we really need to be happy?

There are plenty of other things that can add value to our lives. Books, music, a creative outlet and so on. None of this needs to turn into large houses full of stuff we rarely use. None of this needs to turn into large debt that we never escape.

We can decide to pack lightly for life’s journey instead.

Just enough of our most cherished possessions can outweigh an abundance of stuff we collect but never really get much value from.

Having one TV in a home can be enough, rather than one in each room.

Having a closet with 30 items in that we constantly wear and use, rather than 100s of items that take up space but rarely see the light of day.

Instead of chasing more stuff we can make space for more living. We can make space for passion projects and hobbies that are important to us. We can make room for more quality time with our loved ones. This is the sort of more we should be chasing.

We can decide to live lightly. Making the most of what we have, not focused on what we don’t have. As we journey through life, we can decide that travelling with enough is all we really need and live accordingly. 

Photo credits: Google photos

“Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different.” – Indra Nooyi

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It’s easy to get hooked in our modern world. Meaning many times each day we feel resistance when conversations, outcomes, projects and meetings don’t go the way we hoped they would go or as we had planned. Perhaps someone who works for you delivered an underwhelming performance, or you disagree on strategy with your boss or manager, or a friend/family member holds views that are very different from yours – regardless of the scenario, the feeling we experience is similar.

Some common emotional responses when things don’t go our way are we feel wronged, invalidated, frustrated or at times angry, and likely our responses (conversations and actions) reflect that. This only compounds the feelings we are experiencing and creates a mirror reaction in the person or people with which we are engaged.

At times, we may feel as if the person or people who triggered us did it intentionally or on purpose -which rarely ends up being the case. Most people wake up each day with a desire to do good and be good in this world.

We live in a world composed of 7 plus billion unique people each with his/her own idea of what “do good” and “be good” means – none of which are more right or more wrong than the other – just different. It is true that at times we harm each other with words and actions, disappoint each other, miss expectations or plainly act as a jerk. And it’s also true that most times these choices are not premeditated – the intent of the action is not to harm, disrupt or divide.

There is a different choice each one of us has when we feel hooked or triggered and that choice is to assume positive intent. This doesn’t mean ignore your feelings of displeasure. Rather, address them from a different place – one that starts with assuming the others involved started with a positive intent that just didn’t land. Extend the benefit of the doubt.

Next time you feel hooked or triggered experiment with making a choice to acknowledge that it was positive intent that created the situation and can get you out of it as well. The choice is yours.

Photo credits: Google photos

 

CONTRARY TO POPULAR NOTIONS: My Personal Views on Widely-accepted Relationship “TRUTHS”

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FOREWORD: This is the second installment of my aim to share my personal views on some areas pertaining to Love. Should you happen to like this post after reading it, you may also would want to read later on about my initial post published here seven days ago entitled, “Love Isn’t Always the Answer”.  Further, the views and opinions expressed here are all personal and non-assertive or indicative in any way. Furthermore, I tried to keep my views simple as possible despite the complexities of the “relationship truths” presented herein. Be that as it may, I wish you good and happy reading!

Let’s begin…

Love conquers all.

To put it simply, love does NOT conquer all. All is a lot. It’s literally everything. To say that love conquers all is hyperbolic and misleading. It’s also a dangerous belief to hold onto because it engenders a kind of hopeful laziness. People who cling to the notion that everything will work out as long as they love their significant other tend to overlook the reality that maintaining a strong, loving relationship takes a lot of hard work. You can’t just count on your love to shield you from all the ups and downs you’ll face as a couple.

To say that love conquers all is hyperbolic and misleading.

All you need is love.

To state the obvious, you definitely need food, shelter, oxygen and water — all requirements of living and breathing that are not love. Beyond that, you also probably need some sense of personal fulfillment outside of your romantic relationship. Maybe your career brings you happiness, or you’re passionate about a certain hobby. Whatever the case, it’s wise not to rely entirely on love to reach inner peace. You’re way too complex to need just one thing.

True love is unconditional.

Nope. Sorry. Some couples fall madly in love and then, unexpectedly, fall out of love. When people separate, it isn’t because the love that once existed between them wasn’t true. A breakup doesn’t render a former love suddenly meaningless, but it does signify that it was conditional on some factors that happened to shift — a phenomenon we’re all susceptible to simply because so many things are beyond our control. True love is definitely conditional — on timing, careers, health, desires, sudden changes and so much more.

When it’s right, you’ll know it.

You actually might have no idea you’ve hit the romantic jackpot on your first, second, third or one-hundredth date. Yes, some couples fall in love at first sight. But others aren’t as quick to figure things out, and that’s okay. Love that grows over time isn’t any less real or worthy of note than the kind that sprouts between two people within seconds of meeting. Don’t expect to know in your gut that something’s right from the start. If you rule out every person you don’t feel a spark with automatically, you’ll end up dismissing some good candidates. Sometimes, you have to give things time. Love can blossom when you least expect it to and you might not know it when you see it.

With the right person, everything will be easy.

It’s never easy. Actually, it’s pretty easy in the way beginning, when you’re so love drunk that you let things slide and all you want to do is stare at each other with your googly eyes and make passionate love. But let’s get real. That lustful stage doesn’t last for anyone. There are many wonderful things to look forward to once the passion-blindness fades — comfort, for instance, and a bottomless reserve of inside jokes and treasured memories — but staying together isn’t easy. The right relationship will be worth the effort you have to put into it. Just don’t expect it to be a breeze, no matter how obsessed with each other you are.

The right relationship will be worth the effort you have to put into it.

Never settle for anyone other than “the one.”

Especially for the ladies, please, I beg of you: settle! Fate isn’t a matchmaker, so don’t count on it to guide you towards that one special person. There are a lot of people you’re capable of building a life with. You just have to find one of those people. But don’t expect any of them to be perfectly suited to you. Plan to settle in some ways — for someone slightly less wealthy or handsome or flexible or handy around the house than you’d hoped for. There’s nothing shameful about adjusting your expectations to align with reality, but there is something kind of sad about a person who waits around for a fairytale ending that isn’t scripted.

Timing is everything.

Timing is definitely something, but it isn’t everything. Because when it comes to love, nothing is everything. The path each couple takes is informed by countless competing factors. Every togetherness is a complex narrative and while some might be marked by a major theme, such as timing, there are always critical subplots and unprecedented twists to consider too.

People don’t change.

They do! They definitely do! This can work out for the better of your relationship, or it can be your relationship’s undoing. Regardless, people definitely change over the years, and if you can’t find a way to evolve together, it’s probably advisable to go your separate ways.

True love is all that matters.

Let’s not be ridiculous. There is so much else in life that matters. So many world issues have absolutely nothing to do with love. However much you hate politics or sports or mathematics, those things matter. The drudgery of day-to-day domestic life matters, too. Basically, everything matters, including love.

P.S.: That would be all for now. If you have any thoughts about the notions presented, please feel free to express them in the comments below.

Photo credits: Google photos/teamsquatchinusa.com

 

Continue to Live and Love in BIG WAYS in your current world.

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With age comes the choice of moral responsibility.

How do you want to live your life? What will make you happy? How do you want to be treated? What do you want to leave behind? These were the questions I grew up with. They are phrased and asked in such a simplistic way that simple answers like “I want to take walks after dinner with my wife” or “I want everyone to have equal rights and opportunities” feel pretty logical. The fact that it’s not that easy is my reminder that it’s okay not to have answers to questions that don’t quite fit.

The main question I have been asking myself lately is, what choice do you want to make? Each day, each hour, we have choices to make. What to wear, what to say, where to go, who to meet, and what to dedicate our time to. It’s a constant puzzle of making a choice, finding out if it feels good or bad, then choosing again. Sometimes it really comes together, and other times nothing quite fits correctly. The reminder to take a step back, re-examine the puzzle, and try again is all we can do.

Whether you’re figuring out the best method to get every member of the family work harmoniously together, the next strategy in enjoining camaraderie in the workplace, how to pay for dinner tonight, or what your city/local council really does, etc., they are all choices. It can feel overwhelming to digest them all at once. Much like the brain hole that is social media, we are constantly scrolling through a list of self-reflections while literally scrolling through snippets of horrific news, filtered photos, and a constant stream of culture, history and events. And with every choice comes a million more choices.

That’s not the scary part. This is: The part where I have to make choices, for myself. Do I allow myself to turn my brain off and watch a movie whose sole purpose is to entertain me? Do I take a different commute to work without a book or headphones and engage with strangers? What social justice organization do I want to learn more about and donate to? Can I really afford that? Is it normal to not want to talk to anyone all day? What should I wear to the party? How much news can I absorb and still get up and fight whatever powers there’d be that are deemed responsible?

I certainly don’t have the right answers, because there may not be just one. I can confidently say I want to choose to do more, learn more, love more, lead more, inspire more and engage more. I want to stand up to and break down inequality and injustice. I want to woo the love of my life and fall in love with her all over again. I want to adore my job and feel pride in what I create. I want to go camping and dive from a cliff and ride in a helicopter and go to rallies and get a cat and learn guitar and do something that made someone’s day a little better, so on and so forth. I want to do it all. Yet I want to feel comfortable knowing the fact that I CAN’T DO IT ALL.

Learning that I can’t fix everything feels like life’s cruelest lesson. I CAN’T single-handedly end the culture of abuse and injustice. I CAN, however, make choices that educate others on consent and upholding pride and dignity in every individual. I CAN’T fix a friend’s broken heart. But I CAN bring them a bottle of wine and listen. I CAN’T expect others to help me with my choices. Yet, I CAN surround myself with people who respect my choices and learn with me.

Maybe, despite my age, I haven’t figured out how to truly be an adult, but I am slowly getting better at feeling ok with not knowing. And while I have been told I should be better at asking for help, I don’t think it is help I am looking for. How do you even begin to ask for help when people are struggling to sustain their daily lives? How do you complain about debt when you live in a world full of violence and injustice? The “help” is reading about a scholarship a student just received. Or seeing my family or friends huddled in a room sharing funny stories. It’s getting daily emails of positive ways to lift up an organization, or organizing a local fundraiser. What helps me make good choices is seeing the good choices of those around me and those who inspire the hell out of me. It’s seeing how choices affect others and learning how to make better ones in the future.

What helps is stepping back from the puzzle and taking it one piece at a time.

So maybe that’s it. Maybe it took me nearly 1,000 words to say that life has thus far taught me one critical lesson: In every turn, make better choices.

Photo credits: Google photos

There is no such thing as a “Blank Page”

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Sometimes a blank page is so welcoming… a gift! You get to create the story fresh, the way you want it!

As a blogger or a person fond of writing, I know that there is no such thing as a blank page. You start, crumble, delete, erase and start over again until you get it right… sometimes it isn’t even right but it is the way you want it. Often, at least in my case, it goes against the grain of other people’s views and opinions. At that point you have a choice… cave in or write your article! I’ve always chosen to write about my views and opinions.

So much like life… no blank pages, just taking the pages you already have and creating the story of your life out of the story of your life. You can cave in and live a life less than you want or go against the grain and really live with no regrets.

Let us not forget that every day is chapter one. The incredible thing is we can change the story and even the table of contents any time we want. It is simply a decision, which isn’t so simple sometimes. But absolutely necessary if you want the book of your life to be yours and not something someone else wrote!

Are you living your book, or are you allowing someone else to be the author of your life?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

 Photo credits: Google photos

“YOU” Version 2.0 (A New Year’s Message)

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Each and every one of us has questions to consider with the start of this new year: How do we move past the difficulties we experienced during the year behind us? What do we hope to accomplish moving forward? How do we admit that we are not perfect, that we have made mistakes and (here’s the hard part) ― forget them and move on!

Every person has an inner struggle and battle to be the best version of themselves that they believe is possible, challenging themselves to exceed beyond expectations and satisfy others. However, is it possible to be perfect? Perfection rests on the individual; challenging yourself to such a high bar puts immense pressure on us, rather than just focusing on being the best version of ourselves.

Being perfect assumes we have infinite time on our hands, when in fact our time is limited. We spend so much time every day trying to be perfect; we brush our hair and teeth to make sure we’re well-groomed, pick our best outfits to impress both young and old people, and we spend time worrying about everything we did or said that day, hoping people didn’t perceive it the wrong way. We focus on the little things rather than the bigger picture, but the truth of the matter is that time controls us, so rather than waste our precious time, we should make use of our time being the best we can be and seeing the bigger picture. This is where Salvador Dali, a surrealist artist who is renown for his perception of time in his paintings of clocks, emphasizes this issue when he states, “Have no fear of perfection ― you’ll never reach it.”

As Dali rightly points out, there is no such thing as perfection, and searching for that form of perfection can haunt us and prevent us from moving forward. We spend precious time trying to be this ideal and perfect version of ourselves, rather than taking the time and being “us.” Thus, if perfection is nothing more than an illusion, something that is unattainable, then why do we continue to beat ourselves up for it when we fall short? This is where we need to stop and draw the lines.

 

Thus, would it not be better instead to take the time to funnel our energy into just being a better version of ourselves? Isn’t THAT what the new year is about?

So, the question remains, if we’re not perfect, then who are we? The answer is simple. You are YOU. We are each unique and different in our own way. By putting the pressure of perfection aside and focusing on who we are and who we want to be we become the best versions of ourselves and the sooner we can realize that, the sooner we can change our perception.

The good news is that every one of us is capable of this, and with the new year, every one of us is entitled to change the way we think about ourselves.

My wish in this new year is that we can begin this year with a clean slate, in which each of us forgives ourselves and our past mistakes, so that we each can become a better (not perfect) version of ourselves.

Happy New Year!!!

Photo credits: Google photos (Salvador Dali painting)