Sonrisa

You can say that what happens around you doesn’t affect you a bit, but we’re all affected somehow by every experience, every person we interact with, every word we hear and see, every soundbite we watch on TV. We are all affected somehow. Whether the effect is positive or negative, it doesn’t matter. How many people have we run into who changed the course of our lives? Some people beautify the landscapes of our lives, while others ruin it. Then there are those who don’t influence it much. Until they’re gone and we realize how subtle their contributions actually were.
If there’s something I learned in my life is never to get attached. To people, to places, to lifestyles. Don’t get attached, because life can change in a second. And don’t be too picky about making plans because plans are perfect until the time comes for you to execute them.
Sometimes Kid President’s words make sense especially when he says that sometimes you need to give yourself a high-five just for getting out of bed. Go through the motions and focus on making it through the day, from sunrise to sunset, and be grateful to God when you do.
It’s very easy for us to live in our own bubbles, heads hung over our smartphone screens, shutting out the world around us. It’s very easy to imagine that our personal problems are the biggest problems on Earth. Whether to it’s trying to figure out where today’s dinner is going to come from, or whether you have wi-fi coverage where you are; whether it’s a third world problem or a first world problem…it’s very easy to think we’ve got it worse than others.
But everybody’s got problems, everybody’s worried about something, everybody’s got secrets. So don’t go wishing you’re living someone else’s life just because they appear to have no problems. Appearances can be deceiving. It’s like the Swahili saying that crudely translates to “Walls have hidden many secrets”.
You know they say that, “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” We realize that maybe our problems are manageable. Maybe our problems are unique to us because we’ve got the tool to handle them. Maybe we’re the only ones who can make turn a difficulty into a triumph.
And finally, take a lesson from the page of that poor, barefoot, five-year-old African boy in the dirty tattered clothes who, even though he doesn’t have much, he’s still got a reason to wear a sonrisa on his face…maybe because as long as the sun rises, he still got a reason to smile.

P.S. Image used for illustrative purposes only

5 ways you’re procrastinating without knowing it

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Procrastination is one of those insidious problems many of us struggle with yet we don’t always recognize it as procrastination because it takes many forms. So this post might not be useful enough to tell you how to fix procrastination, but at least it’ll help you with recognizing it.

1) You complain. A lot. About all the work you have to do.Maybe you make a quick trip to the library (since you have a lot of work to do) and end up running into a couple of people on the way, but you feel this urge to stop and complain to each one of them, rant out about the extent of your misery because of all the things you have to do…It’s pretty obvious that if you had spent less time complaining and more time actually working, you would get a lot of things done. But no. Complaining is the path of least resistance, which is what procrastination is all about…

2) Organizing. This one’s incredible because it fools you into thinking you’re actually making important progress when you’re not. You sit down to work and then you look at your cluttered table and think that you’d be more efficient if you cleaned up a bit. Which might be true to some extent. But then while you’re cleaning you recognize that it would be better if all your papers were organized. But since you don’t have folders, paper trays and magazine file boxes maybe you can just run to the store to get them. And you end up strolling in the stationary store instead of actually working….

3) Googling/Youtubing things for ‘research’ (and other forms of distraction). We all know the internet is the black hole of the new era; its gravity can get so strong that it prevents us from escaping. One website links to another and another and another….and four hours later you snap out of it and wonder where all the time has gone. And maybe it all started innocently with a short video explaining the basics of the Lattice Boltzmann method and somehow you end up watching a video explaining, “How to make visheti”.

4) Talking about visheti’s, hunger is a very efficient procrastination technique. It especially works for people who are stress eaters. The stress triggers the hunger so they can think of nothing else but food.

5) Non-urgent items on your to-do list. Some of these are pesky items that have been on your to-do list for the past six months. But because you have something really important that you have to do right now and maybe because it’s a little bit unpleasant, it seems easier to just take care of the other pesky items around it so that you feel a sense of accomplishment with your to-do list shorter.

So which procrastination technique are you guilty of most of the time? Leave your comments below.

Get Happy Yourself

Sometimes in the midst of the whirlwind of having a child around it is easy to forget about yourself. You become the parent, the nurse, the teacher, the caretaker, but you forget that you’re also you, the person. A friend of mine once brought up the discussion of how some people in our parents’ generation lost touch with their closest friends once they got married and had children. Which was all good and fine until those children grew up, flew out of the nest, and a vacuum formed, because their closest friends were no longer around to provide the support system they needed. Interesting enough in one of the anecdotes provided in the discussion, someone said that they wished their parents had kept in touch with their friends because now they were stressing her out and blaming her for not always being there.

So it got me thinking about how people in our generation seem to be walking down the same path. The moment they get married (sometimes the moment they get engaged) they disappear from social circles and no longer respond to any communications. Which nobody would blame you if you have a child who is younger than five. But when the children are in school, or when there are no children, what is their excuse?

Having some me-time is important. Remembering you’re an individual is important. And sometimes the individual in you needs a friend to counter the stress that children can bring about, and those friends don’t need to be your friends from uni. They could be other mothers from your children’s school or they could be neighbors. The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. You’ll find people to connect with the moment you learn to reach out. And if you think you’re being selfish about having ‘me-time’ with your friends then think about it this way, studies have shown that how happy you are dramatically improves the psychological well-being of your children. In other words, happiness is contagious, and yeah…

they’re watching you.

Cherish the Empty Space

Empty space can be so symbolic. While a lot of people might think of the empty space as a symbol of failure, a gap that needs to be filled, it doesn’t have to be that way. Take the writer staring at an empty page, or the artist with every part of his studio filled except for one tiny portion. Our first instinct is to fill that page and paint that portrait to hang on the wall. Our first instinct is to fill that space.

But why can’t we let it be?

Just appreciate the emptiness. Let it symbolically represent all the boundless opportunities that could have been and that could be. Because the moment that space is filled, it’s easy to feel a sense of achievement. It’s easy to get too comfortable and glue yourself to that new comfort zone. Let that empty space be motivational. Let it lure you into taking that one more step to whatever it is you seek. In other words, just let it be.

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