Dear nams

letters to my younger-self

Perception is Everything

The glass should always be half full.

Know that nothing is nearly as bad as it could be.

If you find yourself unhappy with your situation – whether you hate your job, your non-existent boyfriend, or if life has just bogged you down – remember that you are the only one that can change your reality.

No one can help you but yourself. And, after all is said and done, your perception is your reality.

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When all else fails, remember:

If there is a solution to a problem, then don’t sweat it.
If the problem cannot be solved, then, really don’t sweat it.

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Be Selective

Don’t settle.

With the number of people that walk in and out of your life without rhyme or reason, it is difficult to build long lasting relationships. Finding people you naturally gel with is tough, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Recently, I stumbled upon the realization that I have been in and out of hopeless relationships for the past ten years with dudes that seemed okay, but weren’t exactly what I needed. And let me tell you, it is exhausting. Meeting people, getting to know them, getting attached to them, and letting go of them is the most draining experience out there – especially when done consequtively. I was addicted to guys that were unhealthy – both noncommittal and emotionally unavailable – none of whom had any regard for my feelings. What’s worse is that I identified myself by these relationships. I was able to recognize when things just didn’t seem right, but I convinced myself that I was okay with these situations and with these type of people. 

I was not at all selective with the people I allowed into my life, and that’s a dangerous thing because:  what feels good momentarily, can lead to destructive behaviour down the road.  

I’ve developed some intense defense mechanisms a long the way. I have a terrible habit of rejecting people before they can reject me, which has only facilitated unhealthy relationships into my adult years. As if that wasn’t frustrating enough, I can’t help but think that if I was a little more selective with those that I invested my time in, I wouldn’t spend all this time and energy on reversing bad habits.  

 

Broaden your Skills

Take the time to expand your skill set.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be an analytical genius, or the worlds greatest multitasker – But you’ll be one step closer to being a well-rounded person.

Dabble in things here and there – you may not not necessarily excel in everything that you expose yourself to, but doing so will allow you to discover what you actually like, and what you really can’t stand. I thought the idea of Geocaching was ridiculous. I tried it, and I still think it’s ridiculous. But atleast I tried it! And now, my opinion on the activity itself holds a lot more weight. On the flip side – who knows, you may discover what you are truly passionate about!

I really wish I took the time to broaden my skills growing up. I may not have become a Jack of All Trades by now, but it would have been nice to know how to rollerblade, or swim… I’d love to be able to network over a round of Golf, but it would be far too embarassing to risk it.

Broaden your skill set. You’ll never know when it will come in handy.

Trust me – you don’t want to be snorkeling in the US Virgin Islands with a pool noodle… Especially if you’re the only adult amongst a group of children using it.

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Feel your Fears; do ’em Anyways

Never allow your fears to dictate you.

Feet planted firmly on the ground, my heart racing in the worst of ways. Palms drenched with cold sweats and whining at seven hundred words per minute. This is nothing new for me, though. It’s actually a common occurrence.

My fear of heights is truly more of a paralysis. At a young age, I would have referred to this fear as debilitating. I would be clenching the backseat of our Firebird when driving over suspended highways. I’d force family members to stay barred behind gates with me, watching everyone having the best of times on any Roller Coaster imaginable. I hated to travel because the idea of flying did not sit well with me at all.

But, as I grew older, I recziplineognized that I’d hate to allow this irrational fear to stop me from having once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Once I started to realize this, I made a concious effort to shove myself out of my comfort zone.

Within the past few years, I have done things that I never would have imagined myself doing as a kid. I’ve climbed all 1776 stairs up the CN Tower (with hesitation, of course), and I’ve ziplined through rainforrests in Puerto Rico (complaining the entire time). I’ve sat alone in the air for 13 hours straight making my way to Tokyo (with the help of a few Rye and Gingers), and I’ve been able to walk on the Great Wall of China (though I was convinced I would collapse gwocat any moment).

I’m not saying that I’ve conquered my fear of heights, by any means. I still get anxious at the thought of it. My palms still sweat and me knees will lock up, but I really do try to talk myself out of it. I’d be really disappointed if I was limited in all I do because of an irrational fear.  

At the end of the day, there is nothing more satisfying than challenging yourself, and pushing your own limits.

Give it a shot, sometime.

 

 

 

Be Rational

Quit acting on bursts of emotions – whether you’re angry, jealous or full of resentment. It will only lead to more chaos.

Sleep it off, and assess the situation with a fresh pair of eyes. Things will always make more sense after you sleep it off.

Trust me on this one…

Adapt

Be prepared for your life to change – always. The world around us is not stagnant. Everything we surround ourselves with is changing all the time, including those we think we know the most. Realize that the relationships we thought would last a lifetime will eventually end. Know this, but never let these curve balls paralyze you with fear or anxiety. Instead of pacing back and forth in your comfort zone – adapt.

Adapt to life.

Top 5 No-No’s at a Company Party

Pull it together!

Though it may seem like a good idea at the time, try not to be the life of the party at every party. Especially if it is a Company Holiday Party.

Here’s why: Upon entry at your place of employment, you will hear long-winded whispers about you as you walk by. You will feel eyes full of judgement on you at all times. You will convince yourself that these things are occuring on each floor of your building between the hours of 9 to 5, even if they’re not. You’ll end up chaining yourself to your desk, because if you don’t make any sudden movements people may not remember you… You will refrain from socializing with colleagues until you fall off the radar – and who knows how long that will take!

1. Don’t take shots with your supervisor – even if it is her birthday.

2. Don’t own the dance floor – Your co-workers don’t know that you’re a dance-machine, nor can they handle your moves.

3. Do not get in the photobooth to take What-Seemed-to-be-Outrageously-Hilarious photos with your date: They will likely end up on facebook.

4. Do not get HR to take 10+ photos of you and your date – especially if he works for the same company…

5. No matter how cozy that lobby chair looks, do not nap in it before you make your exit. Not even if your jacket seems like it would make the perfect blanket. 

Please, keep me in mind when someone hands you their spare drink tickets at the next Office Holiday Party.  You won’t regret it.

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Health Matters

Our bodies are our vessels. Treat them well.

Growing up, I was sickly kid. Developing Asthma at a very young age, I can recall spending almost every other weekend in the hospital.  

It was so debiliating: I wasn’t able to laugh for extended periods of time without using my inhaler. I was never allowed to play outside if the lawn had just been mowed. I couldn’t run. On occassion, I’d have to sit down in the mall to plug in my portable compressure. I was picked last for any school sports activities imagineable – always – without fail.  

I knew my limitations, and I accepted them. And these patterns followed me into adulthood.

But, as I get older, I am starting to recognize that my body is losing its elasticity. It can’t handle what it used to. Now, I go out on a Saturday night and my body is still feeling the effects of it by Wednesday. Recognizing that kind of deterioration in any capacity is scary.  

I make a conscious effort to be healthy. I force myself to drink my greens (I’ve actually started to consume the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables!), I try to drink 8 cups of water a day, and I drag myself out of bed at 5:30am to work on my cardiovascular capacity.  It’s hard work, and the transition is too new to assess, but I really do feel great. I feel like my moods have stabilized, I feel energized, I feel stronger. Here’s to hoping that this is not just the honeymoon stage.

If your body can’t keep up with you now, how will it fair 10 years down the road?

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Know your Worth

Never allow someone to negate your intrinsic value.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have always been one to allow people to walk all over me. Whether they were coworkers, or boyfriends (sometimes they were both) or even Joe Smith, the Customer Service representative at Bell, I’ve struggled with standing up for myself.  

Suffering from a severe case of naivety and an equally bad People-Pleasing-Syndrome, I allowed people to talk to me and treat me however they pleased. I don’t think I was truly cognizant of it up until a year ago, when I was recounting my weekend with a colleague…

On an idle Friday night, in an outright tantrum, Mackenzie decided with absolute conviction that he no longer wanted to be with me. To use the word “heartbroken” is an understatement. I couldn’t understand where any of this was coming from, and it really made my question my ability to genuinely be with another human being. After a sleepless night, we decided to discuss it face to face (opposed to WhatsApp, his frequent platform for break-ups), at which point he took the opportunity to apologize. With little explanation, he told me he hadn’t meant what he said. He didn’t know what had come over him, and he was wasn’t feeling well, which is why he resorted to calling it off. He was literally staring at me, telling me that he broke up with me because he felt sick… Yes friends, you read correctly.

In actually saying these words out loud, I recognized how disposable I was. I allowed someone to discard me and pick me right back up on their own whim. It was an unhealthy situation – and in allowing someone to treat me as such, I was chipping away at my own self-worth. Not to mention, I was encouraging this behaviour, and it truly set the precedent for the remainder of the relationship.

Have enough self respect to recognize when you are being disrespected. Never allow someone to invalidate your feelings simply because they don’t align with anyone elses’ – it’s dehumanizing. Lastly, quit belittling yourself… You’re better than that.

Keep it Real

Humble yourself from time to time.

The world does not revolve around you. It will never revolve around you. Keep that in mind.

Give yourself a reality check every so often, because you truly are an insignificant spec in the grand scheme of things. The luxuries that we complain about are laughable, embarassing even. But sometimes, our bubbles are often so congested that it’s difficult to recognize that there is life outside of ourselbayves.

I remember sailing throughout Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, literally uttering the words “this is life.” Not only was the sight itself breathtaking, but knowing that the formations I saw before me had been there for millions of years moved me. To see something that existed long before my time, and that will continue to exist long after I’m gone made me feel so insignificant, so humble – and that’s exactly what I needed. Experiences like this is what it’s all really about – far from the guy who never texted you back, or the data plan which is reaching new height$. There is so much out there that is actually happening – focus on that.

The next time you find yourself cursing the Heaven’s about how awful life has been to you, ask yourself – how much will this actually matter in the grand scheme of things? Five years from now, will you remember the guy that cut you off on the DVP and ruined your entire morning? Probably not.

Enjoy the bigger picture. There are greater fish to fry, and larger slices of cake to be had. Don’t cloud your headspace with things that realistically don’t matter.

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