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.
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!
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.
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!
In living, we often face the good and the bad. The pretty and the ugly. But it just seems easier to look the other way. Because to tell yourself that you must work to remove the bad from your life means doing something about it.
Too vague for you? I agree. Let’s get down in the mud.
Have you ever had a friend who on regular intervals makes you feel terrible about things? In fact, it has gone on for so long that it now feels natural to have them come up to you and comment on something. Do they say something that is hurtful and then justify it in their own twisted way?
Have you ever done something you know you shouldn’t do because it isn’t right? An activity, a habit or even your behaviour towards someone? It might make you feel better, superior even. But in your. heart, you know it’s wrong but no else is affected so it’s your call to make.
These are just two instances but I guarantee you, there are countless more that affect us all everyday. In fact, as I write this today, my mind flashes by everything I ignore to make things painless. It is only natural to not do things that are uncomfortable or even painful. Why take the rocky, twisty road up the jagged mountain when the straight grassy path to the gardens lies just beside it? Simply, because in your heart you know that rocky path is the right way to go. We might not want to confront a friend on their behaviour or want to fix our wrongs but in a way, we allow the worst to keep happening for the sake of convenience.
This is not a call to action to fix your life. Perhaps I am writing this to myself more than anyone else who reads it. But we can’t deny that in the end, we all need to face the music. Our inaction and our ignorance build up. Taking that easier road every time will inevitably lead both you and me to face that ugly monster we birthed by looking the other way every single time.
It will not be easy. It’s never easy. But it is important and it must be done. We can live with the discomfort long enough, that it begins to feel all natural. Or we can workout the kinks, crack the back and see the brighter tomorrow we’re all missing out on.