Sunday, 15 January 2012

Word of the Day: No

This post is a bit of a rant, so proceed at your own risk.

Learning new things is part of evolution. We go from being helpless babies, to learning to standing on our own two feet, to growing into ourselves (or at least, versions of ourselves), to becoming adults with a whole mixed bag of responsibilities. When we allow ourselves to learn about who we are and about the world around us, we inadvertently become better as human beings. At least that's my take on it.

Part of my personal evolution (besides the obvious natural progression), is an effort to train myself in certain aspects. For instance, I had to learn to focus on tasks. When I was younger, I would spend a lot of time taking on various responsibilities, and could only dedicate small amounts of myself to each of them. I would bite off more than I could chew. I didn't think this was very productive, nor was it fair to the tasks I had taken on. As a result, I had to learn to manage time better in order to focus on these tasks. It's not a skill I came wired with. I had to train myself.

Lately, I've been working on something I've struggled with my entire life: Learning to say one simple word more often—No.

I can't tell you the number of times that word has haunted me. It has lived in the bottom of my throat; at the tip of my tongue; I've felt it roll from my brain to my mouth, and I've even breathed it out. Silently. But, for the life of me, I've very rarely been able to let this simple, two-lettered word move past my lips.

And I'm not sure why. More often than not, I let myself get talked into doing things I don't want to do. I end up spending more time focusing on other people's problems instead of my own, and I constantly worry about what people will think, should I choose to say no. And as a result of all this, most people have come to expect me to say 'yes' to things... all the time. Even when I don't feel like it. And I think that's no one's fault but my own.

So I've been making a conscious effort. You know, to say 'no' to things more often? It's been tough, I tell you, but so worth it. At first I was wracked with guilt. And for what? I'm not too sure. Catholic guilt (if it exists), perhaps? I would say no to things, then spend time coming up with explanations as to why I said it. Then I'd feel guilty. Surely "so and so" deserved to know why I wouldn't be her wing woman that Friday night?

But the truth of the matter is that saying no is a right. At least I'm fortunate enough to live in a country where that's the case. I have to remind myself that I can do it. Should do it more often. Shouldn't feel guilty when I do do it.

A confession? I've had to practice saying this word in front of the mirror. And it's worked. Saying this word (more than I used to, anyway), has freed up so much time for my own pursuits. And the sad reality is that it's upset quite a few people. But I wonder — should I care that I've upset people who are OK with me putting them ahead of myself all the time? I don't think so. At least I don't think so anymore.

So yes. If you hear me say no, please don't take it personally. If I do it, I probably mean it. It has taken a lot of effort on my part, and I probably won't change my mind.

Time is precious, and I'm (finally) learning to appreciate mine.


Images courtesy of Google Images

Sunday, 1 January 2012

2012: Give It Your All

Happy New Year, everyone! Here's wishing you and yours all the very best that 2012 has to offer. May you always have reasons to smile, and may your lives be filled with all the goodness and love that this world has to offer!

I spent quite some time thinking about my first blog post for 2012. I wasn't sure about whether to do a wrap up of the year that was, or to write a post in anticipation of the year that will be. As you can see, I went with the latter choice.

One of my resolutions this year is to live life in forward motion. To let go of the past and to try to be absolutely present in the now. It might sound pretty obvious to you, because why would anyone live their life any other way, right? But you'll see from past posts that I spend far too much time reflecting on what was. I think about moments that shaped and brought me to where I am at a given time. And I believe it's good to do that once in a while, but for the most part, because the past cannot be changed, it's important to keep focusing on what's ahead. And to do it with hope and optimism.

With any luck, 2012 will be marked as a year where I make significant changes in my life. I'm looking forward to accomplishing more goals (personally and with my career). If 2011 taught me anything it's that I am the only person responsible for my happiness. Since moving back from Korea I've spent so much time worrying about my career, that I've lost track of other aspects of my life that are also important —my health, giving back to the community and personal growth. My goal is to get back on top of all those things this year.

Over this past holiday season one of my dear aunts reminded me that every day is an opportunity to do good and to be better. She is in her mid-70s and she wakes up every day with a purpose — to live her life to the fullest, knowing that when she goes to bed at night, she can say with confidence, "I gave it my all." And that's what I want to do, because that's all I can do. Give it my all.

So my wish for you, dear readers, is that you wake up every morning and do the things that make you happy. Find your bliss and revel in it. We don't need to be reminded that life is short. Money will come and money will go, no matter how much we try to control it. People will enter into our lives, and some will stay forever, while others will take off without notice. But we have to move forward. Life doesn't come with a 'pause' or 'reset' button, so we have to keep looking forward and give it our all.

Lots of love,

Images courtesy of Google Images
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