Advice

The Unknown and my Comfort Zone

Recently, or more like for the past few year’s I have been wondering why some people can just take a leap or jump the gun if you will, and others, like me, can’t so much as put a step forward in the direction we want our lives to go in.

The relationship I have with the unknown is a strange one – its not simple, but I also over complicate it. There was a point in time where the unknown terrified me, I would be paralyzed with fear just thinking about it. But then, there came a time where the unknown for once was relieving. I did not have to plan, make a decision or move forward. But the problem I am facing now is that I have made myself too comfortable in the unknown.

I have a knack for adapting to situations. Its not that I love change, but I can install myself in different situations or adapt to them rather quickly. Which sounds great on a job resume but not so great when it comes to your actual life.

You see, the problem is that I have made myself a little too comfortable in this unknown. I quite enjoy it. But what I have come to realize is that I have most likely overstayed my welcome, and this thought keeps creeping into my brain no matter how much I try to avoid it.

I have reached a point where I feel stuck, like I didn’t actually make use of the unknown and now I am being punished with thoughts of self-doubt and high levels of anxiety. Am I the only one who has ever felt this? Perhaps.

But being stuck in a situation is something every single person faces. Its one of those universal experiences that we all share without actually realizing that we do.

I hate this feeling of being stuck – it quite literally drives me crazy but at the same time, this is the card I have been dealt. It is not the worse card, but its not a fun one either.

I wish I had a solution for you all, but in truth I feel slightly demoralized by this unknown. What I have come to learn is that there are many seasons in our lives, and perhaps this is one of them. Perhaps we are in a season of unknown, being stuck and not feeling our best. Its okay to accept this feeling and feel it for a bit, that’s what I will be doing if you want to join me.

The Journey of Belonging

From a young age, I knew that I did not fit in. I did, however, do a lot of things to fit in. I jumped on the bandwagon far too many times, obsessed over the current celebrity trend even if I didn’t like them, I begged my parents for the trendy clothes and made myself small so I can fit in. Acting like someone else and trying so badly to fit, backfired.


From a young age, I did not let myself be who I was because I thought that no one would like me – I was young and now I see that there are more nuances to it than that, but at the very core of it all I was desperate to fit in and to feel like I belonged. This mostly stemmed from a need to be seen, to be accepted and to be understood. All things I was not doing for myself, so naturally I went out into the world to find people who could see me, accept me, and understand me. Eventually, I reached a point where I still was not fitting in or feeling like I belonged anywhere or with any group of people. Even with the moments that I felt like I “belonged”, there was still a part of me that felt missing or empty.


The journey we go on to fit in or find out where we belong is not just about finding our place in the world. Nor is it about finding a purpose bigger than ourselves or joining a community, those components of our lives are tied to this but for today we are just going to put them aside. The journey of belonging or fitting in is about finding your path to accepting yourself. The journey we embark on makes us think that we need to go out and find who we are in other people or places. We never draw attention to the real truth which is, that finding who we are and where we belong starts with accepting ourselves as we are.


We go on with our lives trying to pretend we can find pieces of ourselves in different places or with different people. I did this for a long time, but there came a point where the communities I had fit into had gone, ended, or transformed into something or someplace I no longer belonged or fit into. What was I left with then? In the moments where I have had no one but myself and I was not fitting in or belonging to anything, I kind of felt relieved. I felt relieved that for a second, I didn’t have to compartmentalize who I was to fit in with the different groups and communities I had joined. I was in a situation where I could just be me, and nothing was expected from me other than just being myself.

We all want to fit in and belong somewhere, but what’s screaming out at us is not the need to belong, it’s the desire or the want for us to be accepted because we have not accepted ourselves for who we are. It’s a desire to be seen, wanted and appreciated because we have never let ourselves be that source of fulfillment, we always think that the acceptance we crave needs to come from outside sources.

When I sat down with myself and honestly evaluated what was wrong with my life, I reached the same conclusion as I had the previous times. I had never accepted who I was.

I realized that what I wanted from this journey of belonging and fitting in was to be accepted for who I was by others, but that is not how you satisfy that need to be seen, heard or understood. The only way we can give attention to that part of our life is by leaning into ourselves and understanding why we don’t see ourselves and why we can’t accept ourselves. If you feel like you have been searching for somewhere to go or be and have had no luck in the process, maybe its time for you to take a look at what is driving your journey to belong and fit in.

Listening To Your Heart

I recently finished reading Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly and I wish this book was being turned into a movie. It made me reflect so much and the book has such a good message that I think everyone needs to hear.

Still tied to the classic tale of Cinderella, Stepsister explores the story of Cinderella’s stepsisters, Isabelle and Octavia after Cinderella got married to the prince. Not only does the book give us insight into what happens after the fairy tale ends but in true classic redemption style it explores what happens to characters that are categorized as “bad” or the “villains” of a story. But as we all know, villains are not born as villains, they become villains. Isabelle, one of the villains in Cinderella, discovers that the person she has become stems from the category she has been placed in by society.

How do we allow someone else to dictate who we can or will become? Why do we let people determine who we will be? Why do we listen to them?

The thing about society is that the constraints it imposes on people are so ingrained in everything we do and engage with that if we break from those constraints we are shunned and cast aside by society. How do we unlearn something so ingrained in us? We begin by listening to the parts of the heart that we have quieted so much. Often what we want most and who we truly are, are buried deep down in the depths of our hearts because it was a way to protect ourselves.

This is not a way to live a life, and it surely was not what Isabelle or Octavia wanted anymore. Isabelle had a magical fairy queen appear to her with a place to start, but unfortunately, that isn’t something we all have access to. 

Please allow me and this post to be the magical fairy queen that you need. Take a moment to just be and listen to yourself. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling and open yourself up to what you want most in your life. You might find this hard because we have suppressed it so much. But take a moment or even a few days to reflect on what you have been pushing down because it did not conform with what people expect from you. Or, it might come to your mind right away no matter how hard you have tried to push it away.

When those feelings, dreams and goals come to your mind I want you to take a moment and envision who the person with those goals and dreams is. That is who you truly are and who you want to become.

Now from here, I can only tell you to be vulnerable and brave enough to follow that version of yourself and those goals. You need to face why you are the way you are now, and you have to realize that who you are from now on is entirely up to you. It’s time to deal with the things that have broken and shattered your heart and the walls you have put up to protect yourself. Because they haven’t protected you, they have hindered you from succeeding.

Those broken pieces can be fixed and all of the mess that you will go through is beautiful and so true to you.

I challenge you to start listening to your heart and work on reworking your life. You are under no obligation to stay in the mold of society and you do not need to abide by societal norms of what is expected from you.

As always, this is easier said than done. But I do recommend reading the book for a bit of inspiration, and motivation to become who you are and to listen to your heart.

I leave you with one last, abbreviated, quote from the book: “There is magic in this sad, hard world. A Magic stronger than fate, stronger than chance. [..] It is magic of a frail and fallible creature, one capable of both unspeakable cruelty and immense kindness. It lives inside every human being ready to redeem us. To transform us. To save us. If we can only find the courage to listen to it. It is the magic of the human heart.”

Thanks for reading. Stay safe! x

Decide

Decide

The other morning, I looked at my vision board and was a bit shocked to see what was on it. I left it in its place even when the world went to shit because I was too lazy to get rid of it – I’m glad I did. My vision board was meant to be a place to visualize my goals, but I unknowingly turned it into a vision of who I wanted to become.

That morning, half-asleep and dreading the day I ahead I got up and went to look at my vision board closely. Something in me jumped a bit and I felt my eyes get misty. I had not realized what was truly in the vision board. This entire situation had made me forget who I wanted to be. Yes, my goals and plans were thrown out the window just like everyone else. But everyday, I wake up and I have a choice. I can choose to be the person I envisioned myself becoming on that vision board or I can pretend that becoming that version of myself died with the rest of my goals a few months ago.

Seeing as how you are reading this, I choose the former. I looked at my vision board and decided that if I wanted to become that person my heart longed for me to be, then I had to make some decisions. I decided to get up, change from my pj’s into actual clothes (not my second set of pj’s), put my hair in a bun and write this blog post. If I am being honest it had taken me all day to write this, and many hours staring at a blank page. But what matters most is that I decided to get up and do something that would make be who I wanted to be.

Deciding is hard, but we make decisions based on fear, rejection, and hatred all the time. So why not make a decision that will benefit you? Trust me, it takes only one small decision to change your entire day. Make the decision to get up and go for a walk (if permitted), cook yourself a healthy breakfast, read for a bit, wake up later, etc.

Start making decisions that will benefit you, its hard and difficult but even the smallest positive decision can change your entire day and eventually your entire life.

Leadership

The concept or idea of what it means to be a leader has developed in a strange way. When we talk about leadership in a generalized way, we almost forget that the people we consider leaders are human. We forget that the way they present themselves to the public might not be who they are, but this has somehow led to a stereotypical idea of what a leader should be. If I may say so, this idea we have created about what a leader should be is contradictory, cold and distant. Stereotypically speaking, a leader is someone outspoken, assertive, intelligent and calculative. That’s it. Of course, there are many more adjectives to describe a leader, but they mostly fall into this category that makes the person seem less human. How on earth did we create this idea of a leader? Why did we create this idea of a leader?

I have been told time and time again that certain qualities that I have need to be toned down. If I want to be a leader, I need to be more calculative. I need to be more assertive, but not bossy because people don’t like a bossy woman. I need to stop letting my emotions get in the way of my decisions, even though I don’t consider myself a very emotional person. I have been told that to be a leader I need to give up who I am and enter into this mould that has been created where there is only one way to be a leader. 

Recently I took a leadership test and one of the leadership styles was empathy. For my entire life, everyone has told me that if I am too empathetic, or if I care too much and can’t approach situations with the appropriate amount of distance and in an analytical way, then I should just stop trying to do anything. Because it seemed that the only way to be a leader was to be objective, calculative and analytical – when I am none of that in real life, they are in no way my strong suits. No one ever encouraged me to take my qualities and my empathy and use it for good.

When my leadership style result was empathy, I was taken aback. Because for my entire life I have been told that that quality in me was never going to get me far and that I could never lead. Leading with your heart isn’t a bad thing, and it should be never be understood as such. There are times where we need our minds to think predominantly but leading with your heart is not a weakness. The ability to feel the pain and the suffering and understand the motives behind why people do things is a gift that the world needs more of.

What I have come to learn is that leadership isn’t about how well you can check off the boxes of a predetermined idea that has been cemented in our brains by society. Leadership is about leading as you are, with what you got and being vulnerable and having courage while doing so. I highly suggest you check out Brenee Brown for more information on leadership.

The strongest type of leader you can be is when you are leading with who you are, and not who you think you should be. Lead with your strengths, but also with your weaknesses. Lead with your heart and your emotions, but also your brain. Lead with who you are at your core and the impact you will have on others, and the examples you will set for those around you will be life changing for your community and the world.   If you need some examples or inspiration turn to your local community organizations, your schoolteachers, your bosses, managers, parents, friends, and so many others! Turn to the people who are on the ground every day making sure that people are encouraged, that they are cared for and that they will excel in their individual lives. Those are the leaders we need more of in the world, not the ones who perpetuate this idea that you need to be a certain way to be a leader.

Mindset

What is a mindset?  A mindset is the attitudes, beliefs and ideas that shape the lens we use to see the world and ourselves. Understanding the roots and core of our mindsets is the starting point to creating a life we want to live or to change the life we currently live. But before we can start rebuilding or fixing our mindset’s foundation, we need to acknowledge where we currently are at without mindset and decide which direction, we want it to go in. 

Often, people say that their mindsets can never change because that’s how they were raised or because of the current environment they have found themselves in. But I would like to offer a different perspective to that argument. As we are creatures of our environments, we naturally are also creatures of habit. The habits we create and follow, are directly linked to the environments we are in.  But in some circumstances, we can change the environment we are in by changing the habits we create.  By changing the habits, we follow, we can change the environment around us and our mindset.

Here are two examples of mindsets that every single person will find themselves in at one point or another. The goal, well for me at least during certain moments in time, was to go from a negative mindset to a positive mindset. Truthfully, we are humans and our lives are beyond complicated, which is why we are most likely going to be in between a positive and negative mindset. This in-between can be known as the grey zone and its where most of our lives happen. What matters about being in the grey area is that we are actively working towards a positive mindset, not all the time because again we are humans and life is tough, but if you try then you have already made a tremendous difference in your life.

Now, the first category is a negative mindset. These are the type of mindsets that tend to make us hard on ourselves, we become pessimistic and negative, we forget what and who we love, admire and want to become. It’s essentially an unhealthy mindset that leads us to create habits that do not in any way benefit our life. From what I have the experience, the world becomes tinted in black and grey and it feels like I have a personal storm cloud over my head. That isn’t a healthy way to live a life, but in all honesty, it’s a way a lot of us will view life. Now, this isn’t meant to make you feel bad about your life. Please remember that every single person on this planet experiences this mindset for one reason or another and it sucks but there are ways to move past it. But in all honesty, it’s hard and it requires a tremendous amount of work, but you can always get out of it.

In my opinion, creating a positive mindset is about creating a mind where you can take life’s problems and process them effectively to deal with them in a way that will solve the problem for good, or at least attempt to. It’s a mindset where you actively choose to work through problems in a healthy way, seek opportunities, acknowledge the present and find the solutions. A positive mindset does not necessarily mean that your life will be all sunshine and rainbows, it’s just that you’re seeing things in a more positive nature, or at least in a way that allows you to find solutions to your problems.

I understand that this seems difficult, or at the very least, confusing. Life is confusing. I do not want to sit here and guarantee you that your life will flip from bad to good in a day. I still have to work through this every day and it does not necessarily get easier. But the thing that I noticed the most when I am consciously working towards a healthier and positive mindset is that I am excited to see what happens next, I see a challenge and I don’t want to crawl back into bed; I want to get up and tackle it. 

Working on your mindset means you are choosing to see the world through your perspective, not what was created and infused in you. You are choosing to give every day a chance, but more importantly, to give yourself a chance every day. You are choosing to acknowledge a problem and not lament over it for days on end, but to find the solution to it, or at least try to control how you can react to it. There is so much agency and autonomy within us that we forget so often because we get caught up in our heads and these negative mindsets. We are preconditioned to assume the worse and come to a defence, it’s the human nature in us. But we also know that part of our lives can be determined by the habits we create. This is why in the upcoming posts I want to dive a little deeper into positive mindsets and how we can actively work to get started on that path and keep it up. I have found that by creating a habit of gratitude, discipline and shifting our thinking, we can change our mindset from a negative one to a positive one.

*Disclaimer:These are my opinions and experiences and they do not apply to everyone’s situation or circumstances. I am not a professional, please seek out professional help if you need any.*

We Will Get Through This

If two weeks ago you had asked me what the most important things in my life are, I would have answered: school, work and my family. Things are not what they were two weeks ago, and my view of life has changed so much and I expect it to keep changing.

What is important to me now is my health, my family and friends. In this moment, absolutely nothing else matters and I can barely remember what I thought about before the pandemic.

Not leaving my house for more than a week (I still go for walks) has got me thinking about a lot of things. I, like everyone else in the world have been facing tough and unprecedented realities. I have confronted the idea of my own mortality and I have come to realize that the direction my life was heading was not the way I wanted it to go in. I have been confronting my privilege, my ungratefulness and the demons I have created in my mind.

This pandemic has shifted so much in my life and in the world. It has brought out the worse and the best in people and I truly don’t know how to process it all. It has brought out the worse and the best in me.

I wake up scared and have a hard time falling asleep because I’m scared to see what will happen tomorrow. I have members of my family who are working in hospitals and I worry for their health every minute of the day. I am worried about what the new realities will be once this will be all over – which I hope is soon. There is so much changing and so much will continue to change. I can’t put it into words, but I will say that things will not go back to what they were before the pandemic, too much has changed.

But somethings have not changed, and some things will never change so long as we hold onto to what makes us human. As long as we continue to love ourselves and others, to help and give what we can, and care about each other, I know that the fundamental things in life will not change.

What I have come to remember – because I think I forgot that these things were the fundamentals in life – is that love, kindness and courage are the most important things in life. Hold on to love and kindness and have courage.

You are not alone in this dark time; we are all in this together. Stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

I needed to get a few things off my chest, and it did not feel right continuing the blog without addressing Covid-19. Since I know many people are probably social distancing, self-isolation or quarantining, I wanted to reach out and tell you that you are not alone. Every single person on this planet will be or has been affected by this pandemic. You are all in my thoughts and I am sending you all light and love during this time. Thank you to everyone from nurses, grocery store workers, janitorial staff, doctors, government officials and workers, etc. for keeping us going and fighting this. Thank you.

If you’re staying at home right now, keep your chin up. Wash your hands and listen to your government and health related authorities, we will all get through this.

Learning Over Knowing

Our society has created this notion that we should know everything, and reprimands us when we don’t know everything. There is more emphasis put on knowing things than learning.

All around us, people expect that we know everything, and we expect others to know everything as well. We expect our leaders to know what’s best for us. We expect our teachers to have all the answers.  We expect our parents to know what to do in every possible situation. But the part that affects us the most, and that affects our own personal growth is the idea that we expect ourselves to know everything. I am sure that we have all been in those situations where we think to ourselves, “why didn’t I know that? I should have known that”. Society has created this expectation and this pressure that makes us blame ourselves for not knowing something. Why does this pressure exist? Why do we get reprimanded by society for not knowing? One could point to the idea of “cancel culture”, and although I do disagree with that concept, it’s the underlying idea that’s what I want to examine. The concept underlying cancel culture is the idea of being politically incorrect. If there is one thing that the millennial and Gen Z will be known for its our emphasis and significance that we put on being politically correct. Please do not take this as me saying we shouldn’t be politically correct; I do believe we should. But what I have a problem with is the thing behind it that says that if you say something politically incorrect then that’s it, you have been “excommunicated” from society. Truthfully, that is not the type of society I want to live in. If someone says something wrong (within reason and limits), why don’t we educate them instead? If I say or do something wrong I would rather someone tell me, help me understand and acknowledge what I did wrong and what can be done to fix it or what can I learn from it. But our society praises the fact that we know. We get this high from knowing more than other people and calling out those who don’t know. That is not healthy and nor is it how we should be continuing to live.

Essentially, we have developed a culture where you are expected to know everything. But how does one even come to know anything? We have to learn it. Not knowing has become synonymous with the idea that we are lazy, uneducated or simply don’t care, when in reality we just might not know. We do not need to have all the answers, we are not meant to have all the answers. Our lives are meant to be able learning and uncovering things and trying to understand what the heck is going on – we should not have to know everything from day one.

We need to change how society views the idea of learning, learning is about communication and re-adjusting what you thought was possible. Learning is about questioning, exploring and taking time with concepts and ideas. We can’t know everything, and we shouldn’t be shamed for not knowing everything. Its time that society changes how we react and act with people, we need to change the culture to one of learning and turn away from a culture of knowing. A culture of knowing only destroys great ideas and innovations, while a culture of learning can spark that. Life should be about learning, and society needs to one that emphasizes learning experiences rather than knowing everything.

Self-Love

Why am I so obsessed with love when I have never been in love?

I’ve never experienced love in its romantic form. Or perhaps because the closest I’ve ever come to love is the endless stream of rom coms I indulge myself with. Except, here’s the thing, I don’t believe in anything the rom coms say because its never happened. If I lived according to a rom coms idea of what love is then I am short of a childhood crush turned into pre-adolescent relationship, a cute first love that sticks with me forever and an epic love story that ends horribly but ultimately helps me find myself. I have never experienced any of those things. So why am I still obsessed with the idea of love? Its not that I’m necessarily waiting here for my perfect person to pop up and sweep me off my feet, because as we have established – that will never happen.

I think were so obsessed with love because in all of us, no matter where or who we are we all have felt it. Whether that be in a romantic relationship, with friends, family, brief moments, or jus anything. As much as we divide ourselves, we can’t separate the fact that human beings were made to love. We love because its inherent in us – its in our genes, our instincts, our way of existing, our way of surviving this horrible world. Love is always there and has always been there. Through the worse of anything in our lives, what keeps us going? Love.

I think a part of me acknowledges how inherent and essential love is to the human experience. We all want to be loved, to be seen and to give love. But another part of me, this part of me created by society that wants someone to just see me. I want someone to know me better than myself. I want someone to feel butterflies even after they see me for the millionth time. I want someone to go through this shit hell of a life. I want someone to just get me and know how I am, and never ever try to change me. What I have come to discover is I want all these things because I never understood that the only person who can fulfill those needs for me, is me.

There’s a part of me that wants to be seen by myself. I want to get excited by my own mind, ideas and passions. I want to find my inner strength and lean on it to get myself through this shit life. I want to accept myself for who I am and not pick apart everything about myself. What we seek in others is really what we seek in ourselves. We are so obsessed with the idea of love because we haven’t figured out how to give it to ourselves. As much as the concept of self-love is something I preach, its not something I act on.

The love I have been searching for isn’t supposed to come from other people – its supposed to come from me. I am meant to love who I am. I am meant to see who I am and stand up for her. I am meant to thrive and to be happy with who I am. I am meant to accept who I am. Self-love isn’t about candles and the face masks, although I love those things, but they aren’t self-love.

Self-love is working through all the shit that we have distracted ourselves from facing. Self-love is accepting the body we have and admiring what it can do for us. Self- love is stepping into the best version of ourselves for our own sake. Self-love is accepting our quirks, our aches, our truths and our past. Self-love is accepting where we are but actively working to get where we want to go, not where society thinks we should go.

We are obsessed with the idea of love because we have never given ourselves the chance to love ourselves. We have never taken the time to practice self-love and to truly learn what it means to love who we are. Self-love will look differently for everyone, but I think it’s time we start loving who we are and start filling in those gaps that truthfully will never get filled by another person. Its time for that to change – here’s to a lifetime of self-love.

The End of a Chapter

After much journaling, self-care and just a boatload of reflection, I have slowly come to understand why I am so terrified of what’s to come. Not only what’s to come in 2021, but just for the rest of my life. As I have probably mentioned before, I am nearing the end of my bachelor’s degree and it is not sitting well with me.

It’s not just that I am finishing my education, it feels as though I am finishing a much bigger chapter of my life. My young adulthood is wrapping up, my childhood is officially ending and what is to come feels like a dark empty hole.

But over the past few months, I have been wondering why I am feeling this way. Why was I so scared of the unknown? Why was I freaking out about having a plan? What was I going to do after this? I have always told myself that at the end of the day I could rely on myself – that I would always be there, and I would always get through the ups and downs of life. But for some reason, that thought has not been comforting enough these past few months. After a lot of reflection, I came to understand why I was so scared of moving on, into the next chapter of my life and I would like to share it with you all.

I was and still am the type of person who has made academics an integral part of their life. When people are asked to describe me, one of the first things that come up is how studious I am. Since high school, I have prioritized and applied myself academically. Mostly because I did love learning, and by extension of that I loved school. But seeing as how I am coming to the end of that path, it scared me to think that I wouldn’t be in that environment anymore. I am very much someone who grows through learning, and it feels like if I take away to school then I am not going to learn, and then I am never going to grow and then someone that will equate to me being stuck in the same spot forever. Now a part of me knows this is not how life works, but the irrational part of my brain has been repeating this over and over in my head. I also became scared that once I was out of school, I would somehow lose an integral part of my personality. As if the only thing that makes me who I am is school – which could not be further from the truth.

With the help of journaling, talking with my friends and honestly reflecting late at night I came to realize a few things I think people need to remember more often.

One, you are not the work you do, the job you have or the career you have found yourself in. Let me explain. Those things are a part of you, they are a small building block of who you are and perhaps they take over a good chunk of your life, but they are not the end-all-be-all of who you are. You are so much more than the titles assigned by society; your personality is not your job or what you produce. For a long time, I believed that once you took away school, you took away who I was because I loved some of the things I was learning in school. I felt that by taking away school, you were taking away my passion for politics, history and helping others. But those aspects, or passions of mine are not linked to school. Did I discover them through school? Yes, but that in no way means once I leave school those parts of my personality leave with it. They are a fundamental part of who I am, and for that, they will always be a part of me. All this to say that the work you do, the function you have is not an accurate portrayal of who you truly are. You are so much more than what you do.

The second thing I came to realize was that a job or career cannot be the only source of joy I have in life. I have always been the type of person who wanted a big career, and I was prepared to put all my eggs into that basket for the sake of what exactly? I have no idea — I was just told that in life I need to get a good job. You do not need to have the perfect career to have a happy life. But it is worth mentioning that a job you do not like, will certainly not make your life better. I was caught between these two ideas and I feared either one of them. So, I decided on a happy compromise, which is forewarned has never been tested outside my brain so might not pan out (will keep you updated on that). But one thing I came to realize about myself was that I did not care so much about the actual job title that I held, but what I did care about was two things. I want my job to help people in some way, really it could in a lot of ways but at the core, I want to help people in any way I can. And second, I need to learn in my job. I cannot have a job with no learning or a small learning curve. I thrive in new experiences that require me to learn new things, but once the learning ends, I start hating the work I am doing. I don’t even care if my job is not related to the field I studied in – but to be happy in a job, I know from past experiences, that I need to be helping people and continuously learning throughout the job.

Understanding how I felt about the next chapter of my life was not easy. It took months for me to realize that I thought school was who I was, but that could not be further from the truth. It also took months for me to realize that the uncertainty I was feeling about the next chapter of my life, and getting a job, stemmed from the fact that I did not know what I wanted. And truth be told, I still have no idea what I want to do. But I know that when I am evaluating job posting or going to interviews, I will think to myself, will I be able to help someone with this job? Is there room to learn and grow? And just having that foundation calms me down a bit.

What I hope you take away from this, is that you are not the work you do nor are you the career you choose. You are so much more than that. It took me a long time to come to these realizations of what I potentially could want from life and what I was scared of leaving behind, I encourage you to take a few moments to reflect on where you’re at. Always remember that you can start over, and that a new chapter of your life can begin today if you need it to. New chapters don’t only start when we end a big moment, they start every single day.

The Next Right Thing

It was a typical Wednesday night and I of course found myself mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest and pinning random quotes, future dream kitchens and how I want my future library to look (yes, this is truly one of my life goals). But somehow, I noticed this really pretty green square and my eyes drifted to the quote and it said, “do the next right thing”.  I had to stop for a moment and reflect. The quote hit me like a ton of bricks, and it has been in my minever since. I can’t stop thinking about it – why has no one told me to just try and do the next right thing?

Well, it is a bit complicated because as I am sure we all understand, sometimes we don’t know what the next right thing is. We don’t know what we are supposed to do or even how we are supposed to go about it. The idea of doing the next right thing suddenly became overwhelming.

Here’s the thing — you don’t need to do the next major thing. You just need to do the NEXT right thing and oftentimes the next thing is a small action. So that’s what I started doing, I started thinking of it in smaller bite-size pieces.

At that moment, I decided that the next right thing would be to set my alarm for the next morning, and then I eventually went to bed. Making that decision was not a massive choice, it wasn’t scary or aunting. But I did it because I knew that if I int I would have a rushed morning and that would set off a chain reaction of grumpiness for the entire day. Sometimes doing the next right thing is just one small action that could make a difference in your life. 

Thursday morning, I woke up with this idea still stuck in my head and throughout the day I decided that I would continue with it. I just kept thinking to myself, what is the next right thing? After getting up, the next right thing was to make myself a healthy breakfast, then it was to get ready for my zoom class and then it was that I would work out in the afternoon. But please don’t get the impression that I did everything right that day. I knew that one of the next right things was to attend my shorter zoom class, but I didn’t. I wanted to share that with you all because you should understand that doing the next right thing is not easy, and its habits we have to develop.

Oftentimes, it is the habit that we least want to keep up because it forces us to make choices that would otherwise make us uncomfortable. Doing the next right thing every day requires you to look in the mirror and deciding that today will be a day where you try to do your best, be your best and overall do the next right thing. Is this easy? No, but it can turn into a life-changing mindset.

But remember that you can start small. You don’t have to embark on this crazy idea of what the next right thing is – it could just be that the next right thing is making a healthy breakfast, going for a walk or just calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. The next right thing is not as daunting and big of a deal as we make it seem it just takes a shift in mindset and an ounce of courage.

Just think, at this moment, what is the next right thing you can do?

Follow Your Heart

If you are anything like me, you will find yourself in a position of feeling lost, confused, and just generally stuck. But recently, I have been having to make a lot of decisions about what is coming next, and I have spoken about it already here on the blog, but I think it is worth bringing up again.

Earlier today, I was watching a Disney Christmas commercial, and while sobbing my way through it (it gets you in the feels), a quote was said that resonated with me on a deep level. The quote was “if you don’t know where you are heading, follow your heart”. Maybe it was the emotions, or perhaps it was just what I needed to hear, regardless, it made me cry even more.

When I heard that, I felt something in me change – something unlocked inside of me that I had spent so much time trying to ignore and push away. For so long, my heart has been trying to tell me what I wanted to do, what my next step would on this journey that is my life, but I shoved it aside. I shoved it aside because it did not seem like something I could do — after all, I had never seen it done before.

I am not one to listen to my heart, but there is something about this pandemic that has been forcing me to reconsider that line of thinking. In the past nine months, I have not stopped having this internal argument in my mind about what I should or should not do. For nine months, I have been actively avoiding my heart, caving in and just listening to it, realizing that indeed it was telling me what I wanted and then listening to it. So why have I suddenly forgotten that process in the last few weeks? It’s because I got scared. I got scared of what could be, of who I could become and of what would happen if I failed. But this required me once again (I do this weekly) to reconsider my relationship with failure. And the conclusion I have reached is that if you follow your heart, and live an authentic life, true to yourself, then you can never fail. We only start to fail when we ignore what we want because the goal seems too challenging, scary or unachievable.

I think this has to be said along with this is that following your heart is not easy; it has never been easy; it never will be easy. You will have to consistently choose to challenge yourself over sticking in your comfort zone, courage over fear and be vulnerable.

So why is it even worth it? Why should I follow my heart? Because at the end of it all, the only way you can live an authentic, loving and joy-filled life is if you start following your heart and going after what you want. It is the only way to live a life that will make you truly happy at the end of it – follow your heart and enjoy the ride.

My Relationship With Risk

I was always scared of taking risks. I couldn’t understand why people would choose uncertainty over predictability. However, my relationship with risk has changed dramatically – but it took a lot of work to unlearn and reverse a lot of what I was thinking.

Recently, I have been put in a situation much like everyone else in 2020, where I need to make some big decisions. The problem is, I was making those decisions based on fear, uncertainty and what could happen if I failed. I began making decisions that would force me to settle for something I knew deep down I never wanted.

I often found myself questioning is this what you want? Is it what you want right now? Are you heading in a direction to fulfills you and make you happy? Suffice it to say all those came back as a big no.

Being as I was less busy, I had a lot of time to reflect on where I was at in life, decisions I had made in the past, and what I wanted from the future. After about eight months of constant reflection, I realized that I wasn’t scared of failing; I didn’t believe in myself.

For some reason that I still do not fully understand, I didn’t believe in myself. I did not think that I could take a risk and turn it into some sort of success. Or that I could take the risk, fail, and come back swinging if you will. I did not think I was good enough to live a life that would bring me joy. I did not think I was worth enough in this life to be a part of it. What was happening was that I was tying my self-worth to how big, showy and amazing my life could appear to others. I believed that if others couldn’t see me living this great and amazing life then what was the point?

 Here is the point: life is not meant to be lived for other people. The risks you take in life are for you, or maybe for the ones you love. But they should never rest on what the rest of the world thinks of you. You deserve to take risks and live a life that makes you happy just by the sheer fact that you exist. You are here to live for yourself and yourself only. You exist to be happy, to spread joy and love. But to also live a life aligned with your values, your truth and whatever sets your soul on fire.

And one of the only ways you can do that is if you believe in yourself and you take that risk, knowing that you will be there to celebrate the success or catch yourself if you fall. You are worth the risk; you are worth it more than you know.

How the Pandemic Changed the Direction of my Life

As we are slowly approaching eight months of living in a pandemic, I could not help but lie awake the other night for over 2 hours thinking about just how much has changed in my life during these eight months.

The beginning of this pandemic brought a lot of anxiety and uncertainty, which forced me to rethink a lot of my habits. From filtering out the news I watched or read, to how I interacted with people or even just kept myself sane, I am sure you and I both have had to adapt in so many ways.

I find myself at a standstill because one chapter of my life is quickly coming to a close and I was not ready for it before this pandemic, but now I am truly terrified of it ending. In just two and a half months, I will graduate from university with my bachelor’s degree in political science.

Why am I so scared to graduate?

Well, for one thing, I don’t know who I am without school and by taking that part of my life away, I feel as if I am left with an empty shell and a meaningless life. I have built my entire life around grades, assignments and just academics in general because I was convinced that it would guarantee me a stable and easy future.

But instead, I am stuck in a pandemic with little to no idea of what comes next. Over the years, I have learned how to embrace the blank canvas that might be presented to us, but this one seems too large that even the thought of it becomes overwhelming.

My entire life lies ahead of me, and not having even a smidge of a plan seems reckless and dumb of me. What I try to remind myself, with a heavy dose of compassion, is that what comes next is not a death sentence – it is merely a new beginning, a new chapter. And I should remember how fortunate I am that to even get a blank slate.

I think the pandemic reminded a lot of us or is continuously reminding us, that we cannot plan everything. No matter who you are, something about your life was upended overnight and there was nothing we could do about it.

This pandemic has forced me to rethink the entire direction of my life. But it has also taught me that what we plan is not necessarily what will happen to us. We can spend our entire life planning for what comes next, but there are so many things out of our control that can deter the path we have so carefully curated for ourselves. I am also learning that this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just something that happens.

Even though the pandemic has led me to a dead-end, I think it also presented me with a new option – one that was never fully visible to me before. Things in life have a way of changing the direction we are heading in, and maybe this pandemic did just that for me. If it has done the same for you, then please remember that things will work out the way they are supposed to work out. Hold on tight and have a bit of faith.

Connection

How do we connect with people? I have been thinking about human connection a lot lately and how much it has changed. We lost the ability of physical intimacy, dropping by our friends or family member’s house just for a short visit, and late-night food runs with our friends.

People say that technology radically changed the way we communicate and connect. But I don’t think anyone predicted that there would be a pandemic that would force us to physically distance from one another. Life in this pandemic has severely altered how we as humans can connect. For a good chunk of this time, the way I viewed this shift in connection was that it was gone and I was not sure if or when we would get it back.

But over the last few weeks, I think I have proven myself wrong. Yes, connection has changed dramatically, but it hasn’t gone away and it probably never will because humans are social.

Connection has changed in that the small interactions and conversations we would have throughout our days are gone. Normally, it wouldn’t matter because connection would come in some other form. Through this pandemic, I have noticed that those small snippets of my day brought me joy. And not having those small works conversations in the office, or the chit chat with the barista or even the random conversation with someone on the street has left me feeling a little less connected to other people and the world in general. However, even though I lost those small moments of connection, I find the connection I am experiencing now is more profound, deep and true. Not only myself but those around me are making an extra effort to reach out and have the scary, vulnerable and raw conversations we used to be to busy to have.

So yes, connection in a lot of ways has halted to a stop. But in other ways, true and authentic connection has increased. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my chit chats with the barista and having a good laugh with people I only know from class. But if we want to keep connecting with others, we have to adapt. If it means more face times, zoom calls or phone calls, then so be it! What I have come to realize is that connecting with people never stops or fully goes away, but it changes or shifts dramatically without our consent. The only way to keep it and to have it mean something is if we lean into the new way of connecting.

Connection comes in weird waves and it changes without notice. The only way we can satisfy that need we have as humans is to change along with it. Connection does not go away if we keep trying to connect with people.

Coping with a New Reality

Coping with a new reality is hard. There are days when I wake up and I do not want to do anything; I just want to give up on the world and life. But then there are days when I wake up and I have energy, but I do not know where to put it so instead I do nothing all day. I want to remind you all that either or any way you are passing your days during this time, is perfectly okay.

There are some days where I think I have accepted this new normal, but there are other days where I cannot believe we are living through this.
I miss certain aspects of my “normal” life that I do not have anymore. I miss going to school and sitting in a classroom. I miss going for coffee with my friends, going to work and taking the metro. I miss things that I never thought I would miss. I feel as if so much has been taken away from me and from the world and it truly hurts to think about it for too long.

I have found there are a few things we can do to try and cope or get used to this new reality. It’s hard for everyone. Suddenly we can’t do what we used to, we can’t go places and some of us are not even allowed to leave the house. But life is all about adapting to situations that are out of our control, which is what I am trying to do and what I wanted to share with you all.

One of the ways I am trying to adapt to the new reality I am living in is by keeping a structure or routine in my days. It is not as rigid or structured as it used to be, but it still gives me something to do at a specific time. For example, I have kept my morning routine, but I have adapted it a bit because I have a lot of extra time now that I didn’t have before. My morning routine now allows me to read in the morning, to take my time doing my makeup if I even feel like it that day. I took my morning routine from before the pandemic and adapted it to my current situation. Keeping a routine and structure gives me the stuff to do in the morning and encourages me to get the day going but also at a more relaxed pace that I couldn’t enjoy before all of this.

Another way I am trying to adapt to my new reality is by trying new hobbies or finally getting around to things I always said I did not have time to do. This is not a call for you to be the most productive person ever and start a business if you want to go ahead, but this is just to add a little distraction and fun into my day. At the beginning of the year, I said I wanted to learn how to do calligraphy. I bought the books and then pens, but of course, as of mid-January they just sat there collecting dust. When this all began, I dusted it off and just started doing a little bit every day for pure fun. Allow yourself to engage with something you consider fun.

Lastly, I have been adapting to this reality by not looking at what I can’t do anymore. I know at the beginning of this post I listed all the things I can’t do anymore but to cope with this new reality, I have been looking at what I can do now that I could not before. Do keep in mind, if you have the opportunity to focus like this, it is a privilege. I can now talk to my friends so much more then I did before because we all have the time. I can hang out with my family and watch movies. I can read more and write more. I can watch Netflix without stressing, all things I could not do before. If you are lucky enough to be in this situation, then embrace it. Embrace the now and what you can do today and do not focus on what will happen in the future, just focus on what your reality is like today.

Coping with the new reality is hard and honestly, it takes a lot of time. If you can do so, try keeping some sort of routine form before the pandemic and adapt it to the time you have now. Second, try something new and try to have moments of fun throughout your week. Lastly, focus on what you can do now that you did not have time to do before or just didn’t allow yourself to do.

This new reality will take time but keep going and try everything under the sun to make the days better for you.