04 3 / 2012
I received an email last week from someone who I wasn’t expecting to hear from for a long while or ever, I suppose. Gmail had marked this email as important and while I had an idea of why (because of the sender), I was still curious if there was more to it. While people will insist that this is Gmail’s idea of a gimmick and what right do they have to tell me whether and how my emails are important, this statement fit. It fit because the words in this email, in the message of the email were important. And I just remember seeing that and smiling to myself. Who would’ve thought??
12 2 / 2012
Life is so great that we only get a tiny moment to enjoy everything we see. And that moment is right now. And that moment is counting down. And that moment is always, always fleeting.
You will never be as young as you are right now.
So whether you’re enjoying your first toothpicked turkey cold cuts and marveling at apples from South Africa, dreaming of strange and distant relatives from thousands of years ago, or staring into the blackness of deep, deep space, just remember how lucky we all are to be here right now.
If you feel that sense of wonder and beauty in all the tiny joys in life, then you’re part of an international band of old souls and optimists, smiling on sidewalks, dancing at weddings and flipping to the other side of the pillow. Let’s all high five, keep thinking wild thoughts, dreaming big dreams, and laughing loud laughs.
- Neil Pasricha, The Book of Awesome
09 2 / 2012
I wrote this entry a few weeks ago as I was finishing my grad school applications. As I was working on them, this came to mind…
There are times when I want to hop on a train, take a seat by the window, pop in my headphones, pick some pretty acoustic music as the soundtrack for my journey, all with no clear intention of where I want to go or where I’m headed.
Life is a journey, some say. And a train can be used as a metaphor for life. You hop on a train, sometimes knowing the final destination and other times, not. Sometimes, you take a detour, or have to get off in order to connect to another train, another part of your journey. One train leads you to another, as you drive along, you make a number of stops and each time, you have an opportunity to get out and get back on. Sometimes you end up on the wrong train, headed into the unknown and have to find your way back.
This whole thought about being on a train came about yesterday afternoon when I was sitting at home in the kitchen, checking my application status for grad school, sipping a cup of coffee and listening to music by the likes of Ellie Goulding and Justin Nozuka. As I watched the snow fall and settle on the ground, I thought about what it might be like to be on a train, driving through the countryside and watching the snow fall upon hills and fields. This is something I’ve seen before, during my study abroad in England. I also reflected on my own life, what I’ve done, where I am now and where I want to be.
Thinking about my own life in comparision to a journey on a train, I suppose I’ve been on several different trains. This leads me to think of having different trains of thoughts (note the train metaphor haha). I started out wanting to study medicine and be a doctor. That soon changed to me pursuing English and History, two of my academic strengths, something I knew I was good at. However, I had always had an interest in both these subjects and so this transformed into something I really enjoyed academically and personally. Then before I knew it, the four years of my undergrad had flown by and I was left yet again trying to figure out my life. During those four years, I had transferred universities, jumping from one train to a second one, then taking a stop in jolly good England for a semester abroad.
This train, this journey I’m on now, I think I have figured out what it is I want to do. It’s just a matter of trying to get there.
Like a train, sometimes I struggle and grow weary and lose gumption to continue to truge along like a train. I’ve tried to figure out how I can take this shiny B.A. Honours degree and do something meaningful with my life. And I think it’s something I’ve known all along, it’s just a matter of taking this and transforming it into something I can pursue as a career, not only as work, but as something I am truly passionate about and enjoy.
There are times when I have come close to derailing. My first year of university was tough and probably one of the darkest times of my life, dealing with my dad passing away and adjusting to life as a university student, living away from home. Sometimes I’ve wondering whether I’m headed in the right direction, whether I’m getting to where I want to be. I think we all reach that point, some kind of breaking point.
I think about my life as a train and the people who have come into my life and those who have left. There are people who have hopped on the Avi Express and have stayed with me on this journey, have always been there for me and believe in me. I’ve had so much fun with these people and I treasure them. Then there are people who have left, people who I was definitely meant to meet, but only for a short period of time. It’s happened because we’ve grown apart after things like high school and university, people who have passed away and of course, men who I have cared for, had feelings for and things just haven’t worked out. Although they’re no longer on this journey with me, there’s still a part of them that remains in one car of the train, one of memories, both good times and bad times.
With that, I leave you with a song by Justin Nozuka called Golden Train: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2IoMOQkBx4.
15 1 / 2012
So I just wrote this kickass, passionate entry and of course when I went to post it, Tumblr decided that there was an ’HTTP error’. SERIOUSLY TUMBLR. I am not impressed. Anyways since there’s no way I’d be able to write everything out again word for word and do justice to my lost entry, here’s the gist of what I was writing about…
Sometimes, life is a competition. I get that and in this world, especially now, it’s every man (or women) for him or herself. Thing is, I’m the kind of person who, because of how I was brought up, my interest in development, helping others, my volunteer experiences and also the studies and career I plan on pursuing, ends up putting others before myself. I’m the kind of friend who is there to lend a helping hand, be a shoulder to cry on, help with whatever it is that needs to be done. When it’s come to guys and love and all that jazz, it’s led to me being taken advantage of and I’ve learned to be cautious about that. But I need to work on putting myself first, I do. I’m allowed to be selfish sometimes.
I just have moments where I just don’t get why things are so competitive. It’s not even that I’m not competitive, I can be fiercely competitive when I need to be and I will go after what I want. A few months ago though, I experienced this with a friend and have recently been experiencing the same thing with another friend. Things have felt like such a competition!! It can be frustrating. Whether it’s been who contacts people first to organize a plan, to who is in charge of whatever, to who comes up with whatever idea…like really, why does it have to be that way?? It just seems silly. I realized that part of this competitive feeling may stem from the fact that both of these individuals and I are quite similar and while that can be great (because you get along), sometimes putting two similar things together can lead to competition.
With these people, I think part of it has had to do with a need for attention. Some people need to be the centre of attention, no matter if it starts out differently. I only have so much patience for these kind of people because it can start driving you crazy when it’s all ‘me, me, me’. Seriously. No matter how wonderful the person is, if there’s a part of them that thrives on their need for attention, it can be so draining for people whose voices are drowned out in the sea of attention.
A few months ago, I remember having a few moments where I felt so tired and DEFEATED for a number of reasons. Part of this had to do with me losing a friend, someone who had taught me and helped me to speak my mind more, say what I feel, believe in myself, trust my gut feeling. And I think through losing him (because they basically went MIA and left me here thinking ‘WTH’), maybe I lost a part of myself. I’ve gained so much from my volunteer experience in Tanzania though, I just need to work on rebuilding back whatever’s been lost.
Maybe I put myself in this position. For example, I love photography and as such, love taking pictures and videos, but sometimes I’d like a break, especially from doing this for other people. I like to step out from behind the lens and be in pictures. I LOVE being in pictures and it has nothing to do with attention! We all want to document our lives and while picture taking can turn into something excessive, I’ve grown out of that stage, and I just honestly want to not only document my life, but be part of it, be in it.
From last year in Varadero, Cuba. On the left, me taking a walk along the beach and on the right, a beautiful sunset one evening. Taken with the Olympus Pen-1.
I also wish people would realize that I’d like do things on my own, even if it’s in the group, if that makes any sense. Maybe that’s part of it. I feel like people don’t listen to me, no matter if I speak up. I feel this need to be heard. And again, it can be tricky with these people who are your friends, because you fear that if you confront them, it’ll make things awkward.
I’ve also learned that ‘three’s a crowd’ can be tricky. Because of the amount of travelling I’ve done, mainly volunteer work, I don’t think I’m as close with friends at home as before and they in turn have become closer with one another. That’s left me in situations where inside jokes are exchanged and there’s laughter and I’m left without the faintest idea of what is going on, with the feeling of being alone in a crowded room. It’s a bit awkward. And I think especially when coming back from experiences like I have, I’ve really learned to value friendships and relationships. I just wonder if people value mine.
I must sound insecure and I guess this is one of my insecurities coming out. We all have insecurities and I’m certain many of us feel this way. But I know that life is how it is; without competition, we wouldn’t get anywhere. At the same time, we can all get things, whatever that is, without it being at the expense of others and what they want.
With that, I end with a resolution to speak my mind more, go for what I want, go with my gut feeling and trust it, take chances and risks and get out there and show the world what Miss Avi has to offer, without compromise.
31 12 / 2011
What a year! It has been a rollercoaster ride filled with ups and downs, joy and heartbreak, challenges and adventures and of course, smiles, tears and laughter. As I look back, I think about everything that has happened and smile because of all I have to be grateful for. Some things have changed this past year, but only for the better. I think this sums up quite nicely what everyone should try and do in their lives each and every day. Here’s to friends, old and new, family and incredible people I have met along the way as we ring in 2012. Cheers everyone!!
24 9 / 2011
"Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do somehing else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn’t. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted."
16 9 / 2011
Taking chances. Taking risks. Jumping into things without inhibition. Being daring.
This is something I’ve been working on my whole life. Granted, growing up I definitely got out there and did some crazy things, though when compared to others, seemed tame. And I know, why compare, as long, as long as you feel as though you jumped out of your comfort zone and truly did something crazy. And by crazy, I don’t necessarily crazy stupid haha, there’s a fine line between being being crazy and I mean, yeah, we should be a bit ridiculous, but I think to a certain extent. There’s that saying, all or nothing, I can see why people live by it, but I’m sure many of us need the teensiest bit of security in knowing that if we mess up, hey, it’s life and we’re going to be fine.
I met up with a friend last week, she’s going to be on my youth development project to Tanzania (TWO WEEKS!) so it was cool meeting up with her and it’s neat how similar we are. We got to talking about the craziest things we’d ever done and it had me thinking for a while. I said one of the craziest things I had ever done was climb Table Mountain which, for people who don’t know, is this beaaaautiful mountain, definitely a cultural landmark in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s stunning. Aptly named for being shaped like a table, there are moments where the the clouds will hover over the mountain like a tablecloth. You can take a cable car or climb it. Some friends and I climbed it one Sunday afternoon, took us four and a half hours to hike and we did get lost in the mountains at one point, but my gosh, what an experience. Definitely a crazy one and so worth it. This is from the flat I was staying in:
Apart from that, any other ‘crazy’ things I thought of just didn’t seem all that crazy. It’s not even that I’m not an outgoing or daring person, believe me I am and I’ve made it a point of throwing myself into the unknown as much as possible to challenge myself and grow.
This past week though, I did two of the craziest things I’ve ever done. Both involved emails in which I basically went after what I wanted in one (possible meet up with a friend, the one from my previous entry, since we’ll be in the same continent soon!) and in the second, basically told the same friend what I needed (this friend and I been trying to plan a Skype date for a while now, we both obviously want to and said we need to, and it just hasn’t happened. A bit frustrating) and how we needed to make things happen and soon.
I wouldn’t say I’m not a confrontational person, in fact, I’ve definitely learned to say what I feel, and not be afraid to do that and hold back, though obviously having some discretion, but still. But I’m also an understanding person and maybe at times too understanding. It felt good sending those emails. And sure, it may not seem all that crazy. But when it comes to feelings and words and expressing how you feel, it can get a bit crazy. It can get a bit messy and you wait, holding your breath, wondering what they’ll say. But at the end of the day, if you don’t try, you don’t know and you’ll regret it, no matter the outcome. The best thing is to know you took a chance and had the courage to go after what you want.
I’d put some quote here pertaining to this, but there’s so many out there, I’m sure you’ll stumble across them in your life. But I came across this poster one day which I love. Ladies and gents, I present the Holstee Manifesto: