Are you okay?

You ever have one of those days when everyone but you feels cold. You see people bundled up trying to avoid the searching fingers of the wind and for some reason, it just doesn’t affect you all that much. It was one of those days.

I was waiting for a friend who hadn’t shown up and I drifted outside to what looked like an incredible winter night. A light snow was settling. Not the muddy and sludgy kind, but a soft one. I walked around for a while till I decided to sit down on a nearby bench. With nothing to do and nobody to talk to, my mind went through the usual train of thoughts.

“Need to clean the room. Should probably call mom soon. I am NOT ready for this midterm season. This is nice weather. Should I pizza delivered tonight?” I’m not proud of them all, but they’re what I got. So, there I was just cruising those waves when I saw a girl walk by. I knew her from somewhere and waved, and she waved right back. We had a brief interaction. I was waiting for a friend and she was on her way to the gym. She left and I sat there, waiting for my friend who was in big trouble.

A couple minutes later, I noticed someone sitting down next to me. It was the girl from earlier. I had no clue why she was back but she said, “Hey, you doing okay?” I was, but I wasn’t sure why she asked. She went on, “I just saw you sitting all by yourself in cold weather on a bench and I guess I just wanted to make sure you were doing okay. Anything you wanna talk about?”

And she was right. I was exhibiting almost every sign of someone going through a rough patch who clearly needed someone to talk to. And there she was, doing the right thing. This had never occurred to me and I assured her I was fine, and I’d probably head inside to kick my friends butt over the phone. I was doing good. But what if I hadn’t been? And what if no one had stopped by?

We all go through the trials of life. Surviving the pressures of school, work, family, health and relationships. It is only to be expected that at some point one will need a shoulder to rely on. I could have been a student depressed by his grades, sad at being away from home and tired of life. And that girl could have just walked on without a second thought. Lucky for me, I wasn’t. And kind of her, she didn’t.

It doesn’t talk being a detective to notice people around you. And there’s a fair bunch who have no intention of talking about their losses and failures. But some of them do. A call for help isn’t always out loud, and so many go unheard. We’ve all heard stories about people taking that final leap. And if sitting down and just listening to someone could prevent something like that, is there really any reason not to?

What made you smile?

Since my last post, I’ve started typing out so many posts I thought would add to this blog, but sadly none reached an end. I suppose, I just didn’t know how to put those ideas or thoughts into words. But with this one, I have no doubts. This one is personal.

Moments ago, I saw to the end of a book I have started and re-started over the past years, without the end in sight. There are countless distractions and I, sad to say, cannot help but stray from the pages. I start strong. I always have. Swallowing up a few chapters, like they were nothing. But one thing leads to another and the book goes on the shelf, to join the rest of them.

I don’t know what was different today. Maybe the phone was on silent. Or maybe the world outside just decided to stay still until I reached the final lines. But I did it. I turned to that last page. I read those final words. And I shut that book. I looked up to a mirror to find myself, throwing on a smile I hadn’t seen for quite some time. But it was one, I was familiar with. It was the same expression of pure joy that I put on every time I finished a book when I was a kid.

Things change. Times change. Hell, even mountains grow shorter. But, my love for a good book will never diminish, even if I’m too busy to pick up one and remind myself of this fact. As a kid, reading a book was the one thing that came naturally to me. It didn’t feel like a chore or even a healthy habit. It felt like the only stable part of an unstable life. Reading made me forget how bad things were, and while the other children napped, I went on magical adventures. And it made my day. Everyday.

Now, for the climax of this babble. WHAT MADE YOU SMILE?

What did you do that took your mind away? Was it a sport? Was it dance? Was it watching birds? You know what, it doesn’t matter. The only thing that does is when did you last do it? Have you given this activity a part of your precious time in your busy life? Or do you think of it as a happy past that you’ve outgrown?

I have relived mine this fine Saturday evening and I am still smiling. In fact, I think I’m going to start another book before I hit the sack. But you, my friend, have something to do. I don’t know what, but I know you need it in your life. God knows I need it in mine.

Missing Blogger

In my last post, I wrote a post about being calm even though I had two midterms on the same day. And then I stopped blogging for almost two months. Despite the message this blog sends out over the first two sentences, I’ve just been busy. Life catches up at the worst of times and you fail to stay committed to things you care about. But I’m home now and I feel like writing.

So let’s do a recap.

I was halfway through my semester when I last posted giving midterm after midterm. Nothing relieves stress like knowing that you are only in the first midterm season and the second one is well on its way. My midterms went as they always do. Not as good as I wanted them to but enough to allow me to kick off my shoes and relax afterwards.

Air Quality and Hydrology projects gave me great insight into what these fields might hold for me if I do decide to go one of those ways. The Air Quality project was about preparing an Emissions Summary and Dispersion Modelling (ESDM) report for an actual facility. With a combination of AutoCAD, air modelling software, meteorological data processing and a whole bunch of complicated words, this project was perhaps the most challenging of them all. But completing this project gave me immense satisfaction. Not from a job well done, but from a job done. While not effective, this ideology helps one keep up with the pace.

I ended up dropping Economics. While I am to be blamed about not giving it the attention it deserves, I found that course a wee bit overkill. I will have to take it later on and this might even result in an extra semester but I knew that this course would only hold me back. All in all, some regrets about not sticking with it, but I’m only human. Kudos to my peers who stuck with it. You’re the real heroes. 

I got offered an 8-month work term at Coca-Cola Bottling Ltd in Brampton as a manufacturing development co-op student. Now, this is neither the finest job out there and nor do I fail to notice the presence of the word “bottling” in the company name. But, neither of those are important to me. It’s my chance to build relationships, develop competencies and give it my everything from day one. So, looking forward to that.

But apart from academia, I learnt things about myself that were very wrong. I learnt that I judge people too fast. And this cost me a friend and a broken moral compass. I suppose we all like to think we’re doing the right thing when we’re doing it. We find what reasons we can to justify our actions. But, that doesn’t make them right. Nonetheless, I messed up and I’ve spent every day since working on myself.

That’s pretty much it. Exams. Grades. My first work term. And a lesson to never forget. If I had powers to go back in time, I’d chuck them down the drain. This semester and the good and bad in it was for the best. I’ve made my peace with that.

Merry Christmas!