Fly with it

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Have you ever loved to do something? I mean beyond a sense of “its good for me” or “it’s a popular practise”. No matter how common or rare it is. Just you. Your passion for it. And stolen moments between work and school when you dedicate time to it. I wonder what it is for you? For me, it is to speak and write.

As broad as that is, I have always loved taking inspiration from the world and writing it down and talking about it. Sadly, like most of you I lead a full life and sometimes I stray away from my passions into days of books and other baggage. But then there are periods like the current situation outside creates when I get time to go back to these interests. And that is when I truly come out of my shell. I find that we’re all not good at many things. Things we fail at miserably perhaps. You could just be terrible at a course but then do incredible workouts at the gym. You could be bad at working out at the gym but then go home and make an incredible covers for songs. I fail at both singing and working out and then I come home and write down what I learn in hopes of learning something from my days.

I learnt from reading some books over and over again that words when moulded and brought together in the right ways can touch hearts, change minds, and move worlds. And that’s what I want to do when I write or speak. I think we all try to add to the world with our passions. And it shows. When a musician puts their heart and soul into the music. When the teacher breaks down a concept to its foundations. When a doctor works a 48 hour shift. How do you do things that most people can’t unless you truly find peace and joy in the act? You don’t.

And now to why I wrote this post. I want to ask something of you. When you find this, fly with it. Don’t stay grounded with your interests. Experiment. Take risks. Look stupid. Give it time. For every post I publish, I add another five to my drafts. Simply because I like writing doesn’t make me good at it. But it does make me want to be better at it. So I try again and again. Because the day I give up on this, I lose a great part of what makes me, me.

So I ask of you. No matter what, stick with it. And fly with it.

Overnight

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Why is it that sometimes, despite having the time and resources to make something work, we fail horribly at it? Why do we watch opportunities slip us by in promise of reaching for them the next time they come around? And why does it all have to boil down to the last night of effort?

These were just a few of the thoughts on my head after a midterm I wrote earlier today. With about a week to study for a course that many consider difficult, I told myself I had enough time. I did have enough time. But, thanks to me, things went sideways nonetheless. I messed up nonetheless. And here I sit with a couple messy months behind me, and a thoroughly unpredictable one in front of me.

Thinking back, I think we all start out good. Fresh start and all. New year. New semester. New lecture. Doesn’t matter. We like the feeling of knowing that this moment right now can be when I start to work towards a better tomorrow. I like to think of those moments as something I’ll remember a few years from now as – “That night at 8:23pm I began working towards my goal and I haven’t stopped till now. That night at 8:23pm I changed my life.” Countless times I’ve pictured myself in the future reminiscing about the moment when I changed my life for the better. And here I sit. In the present, waiting for myself to make that change.

It’s an interesting thought – the idea of changing your life overnight, isn’t it? Don’t pretend like you’ve never considered it. The thought that one sleepless night can change your future. You suddenly get hit by motivation, start working and change everything. Sadly, that doesn’t happen. And speaking from personal experience, I’ll tell you exactly why.

If you’re at that point where you “need” to change your life overnight, you’ve definitely not been doing the right things for a while now. So at this point, you’re not being average at life. You’re being poor at it. And one night of work isn’t going to change that. It won’t push you over to the “excelling at life” side of the aisle. That takes more than a night. Could take a year or two. So perhaps, a better goal would be to “start” changing your life. And then change it a little bit more every night. Consistently. Eventually, I’m sure you’ll find yourself where you want to be. And even if you don’t, you know what they say about the journey being the destination. You’ll be fine.

Lastly, if you ever get thinking about the whole overnight life changing shtick, just go to bed. You’ll find its a better use of your time.

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Help wanted

There is so much to do. So much that’s coming in the next few weeks. On evenings like the one I’m having right now, the sea of tasks ahead can seem daunting. And if there’s one thing I know for sure, I can’t go it alone.

When I was kid, circumstances made me feel like I would go most of life alone. It’s a terrible feeling. Knowing that no matter what the end is like, you might have to make the journey alone. That you would have to console yourself in hard times, heal yourself in rough patches and pick yourself up at every fall. I know its probably not impossible. I’ve seen John Wick. Unfortunately, I am not a man of focus, commitment and sheer will.

I am a man who just finished a large pizza and has a pile of work he ignored because he was too busy enjoying himself a bit too much over Reading Week. To be fair, I did “read” several chapters from a very good book that was not at all about Heat & Mass Transfer or Control Systems. So, here I sit on a Sunday night blogging about everything that’s wrong. But, believe it or not, this is helping me. I write about things that bother me or stress me out; I always have. Somehow, I feel that if I can put my doubts and fear into words, I gain a certain power over them (doesn’t have to make sense to you).

But the most incredible thing is that I didn’t think to do this. Not until a friend (much wiser than I) told me I should.

That’s what I needed. Help. And I think that’s what we all need if we want to make it out safe and sound to the other side. I think we need to make our peace with the fact that we will need to ask for help every now and then. To that end, I am lucky enough to have a few people who have never let me down. People who always respond when I need them to. Folks that tell me they believe in me. And I think that’s the only reason I am where I am. Mind you, I haven’t achieved much in life yet but I’m still here and I’m still kicking.

Bottom line. We all need help sometimes and I’m glad to have people around who have risen to the occasion every single time. I hope I have the strength to do the same for them.

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When its my turn…

About a week ago, I turned 22. We all say things like “Where did the time go?” and “Time flies”. Because it really does. I, for one, vividly remember a scene nearly 13 years ago when I first entered boarding school. Or a scene four years ago when I started at the University of Guelph. And as I look back and think about those days, one thought jumps out at me.

They were easier times.

As I get older, the pile of things I need to know about or be careful about or be responsible for just keeps on rising. Everyday, I learn that now I am old enough to start bring responsible about something new. And its scary.

See, I was raised by two incredible people who never let me realize just how hard they worked. I never realized all the “adult” things they had to take care of before coming home in the evening and having dinner or watching TV with us. I never realized that as they laughed at one of my jokes or even just helped me with my homework, their heads probably swam with a hundred other things that they had to take care of. Honestly, it scares me that someday I’ll have to do it. That eventually or maybe even suddenly, that mantle will be passed on to the next generation. And then it’ll be our turn. Will I be as good at it as they are? This thought is on my mind night and day. Times like birthdays or New Years remind me about how quickly its all passing by. And how very soon we’ll find ourselves filling shoes that seem too big for us right now.

I usually try and answer things in my posts but today I am typing just to get all of these scary thoughts out of head and onto my screen. Maybe some of you reading this have gone through this or are going through this. I don’t know how it’s going to be, honestly. But I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes.

What lies ahead

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Today, I kicked off another semester of school. After 8 months of work, going back to school felt a little strange. I don’t think I’m gonna be free after 4pm anymore, to be honest. First days are always light though.

Today, I had five 80 minute lectures starting at 8:30 in the morning and ending at 7 in the evening. And one of the classes is all the way across campus. The lightness is real.

People tell me every semester feels hard when you’re in it but this one feels like it’ll be a real test. A test that’ll involve late nights, missed meals, late submissions and total waste of a gym membership. This semester also comes with a lot of firsts. I have only two final exams so that’s nice. But of course, that means my semester is filled to the top with weekly submissions and overlapping midterms.

I have honestly no idea what is going to happen. This is one part of being an international student that just plain sucks. I’m taking six courses in a race to graduate on time, but that finish line is a ways off. Another 8 month work term and two more semesters (at least) stand in the way of me getting my undergrad. *sigh*

But enough doom and gloom.

The final plan: Keep moving. Take things one step at a time. Survive.

If you’re kicking off a semester too, I’m rooting for you guys. Cheers!

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What really counts

Today as I walked past a house, I saw an old man carrying a big bag full of flyers and sticking them into mailboxes as he went. Honestly, I didn’t know the process could be done so incredibly fast and with such efficiency.

As I walked past him, I couldn’t help but admire this man. It was nothing to do with his work or his age at which he was accomplishing it. It was the skill and efficiency he employed. It was absolutely remarkable. And that brings me to the point of this little post.

Working hard or efficiently has absolutely nothing to do with what you’re doing. One cannot say that he cannot be efficient because he is doing a simple or an ordinary task. The root of efficiency, I have learned, is simply doing something long enough to recognize possible obstacles, and to weed them proactively to get the job done.

As I work for my current coop work term, I act as an intern. And often a lot of work I do has nothing to do with engineering or is just a basic task. But if I do it enough I’m able to figure out better ways to do it. And in the end, I’m better for it.

There is a Latin quote, “Sic Parvis Magna” and it loosely translates to “greatness from small beginnings”. If you’ve ever played Unchartered 4, you probably know of this quote, but hear what I make of it in the context of this post.

Most of us start small. We kick our work lives off with internships, summer jobs or small temp positions. We even kick off semesters with a few classes that are obvious and boring. And a lot of times, we choose not to give our everything because we think of our actions as small or mere transitions to greater and bigger things. But greater and bigger things are built of so many small things. And how are we to ever reach the top of the mountain if we start lazy and hope to pick up our momentum somewhere down a road that only gets harder?

In a single sentence now.

No matter how small the task or your beginning, give it your absolute everything. Everyday. And that’s what really counts.

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What You Send Out

I am glad to have some truly incredible people in my life. Spending time with them or even catching up on the phone makes things better all of a sudden. Bad days lose their negativity when we crack up over an inside joke. Burdens seem smaller by just sharing them. And I’m glad I picked up the phone when they called. These people despite how good or bad their days have been, simply choose to only send out the right kind of thoughts.

But there are some, that often send out energies of discord and deprecation when they communicate. Such emotions take no time in completely filling us up. Sometimes, it only takes a small moment of negative emotion to completely ruin what was shaping up to be a great day. Our entire focus can shift from all that’s good to the one thing that isn’t in an instance. And we’ve all tried to go back and be cheerful again, but the thread is severed. The best you can do is a flimsy knot to cover up what once was.

I have known people from both spectrums. I am also sure that there are people who know me from both spectrums. No one is expected to be perfect. And no one can be blamed for maybe lashing out on a bad day. We are all human.

But perhaps it is possible to try and control what we send out.

As words. As body language. As thoughts even.

You will have bad days. Or bad moments. But try and resolve them within. I don’t ask you to internally suppress emotional pain or stress. Instead, feelings like anger at your coworkers or the ones towards the guy who got the last parking spot, or even at the project that seems to be going horribly; All these taxing scenarios bring out negative energy within you. You can’t change that. But you can choose what you send out into the world. You can choose to not let your bad day/moment and it’s energy affect that next person you talk to. Something as simple as taking deep breaths can help.

I would recommend just thinking about the times someone took out their anger & stress on you and how terrible it can feel. Let’s be different.

Wishing you all happy thoughts!