Life Lessons

Dear Beautiful Girl

This is your warning…

Watch your thoughts – they become words.
Watch your words – they become actions.
Watch your actions – they become habits.
Watch your habits – they become your character.
Watch your character – they become your destiny.

Recently, I came across this thought provoking poem, and I not only wanted to share it with my friends but I wanted to start a series of blogs on the workings of my own body and mind. So, here is a precursor of what is to come….

No matter the differences, there are always unifying commonalities among all of us. When you are sad, don’t you cry? Or, when you feel lonely, don’t you usually yearn for companionship?

The foundation of life is all the same; the only difference is someone’s purpose. We are constantly striving for a sense of meaning or a sense of balance. Isn’t it ironic that life is created in extremes of opposites – love vs hate, happiness vs sadness, success vs failure, etc.

From my experience, I have discovered that there are three types of people (1.) the extremist – the ones that are constantly on one side of the spectrum. These people are constantly fighting the “in between” (2.) the middle-ist – the people that are just content with falling in between the situations of life. These people are the ones that I have always envied. How is it possible that someone can be content between “success” and “failure”? If I can mimic this behavior, I would definitely not have ulcers, that’s for sure. And, finally there are those that create their own niche of behavior. Basically, I created this group as a default category.

So, what type of person are you? Are you an extremist or middle-ist? Can you define your purpose for life? For success, or even love? As perplexing as life is, I want to think out loud and explore the phases of my own life starting with my first entry the next few weeks on the first sentence of the poem – “Watch your thoughts – they become your words.”

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Now or Never

How do you know if where you are now is where you will be tomorrow? You don’t. Whether it is on a professional or personal level, you don’t know what will happen in the future. What you do know is the decisions that you made in the past and the way you live your life today will determine how happy you are and how content you are in the moment.

The Past
Everyone makes mistakes. The only difference between those that still succeed and those that don’t is the way people react to their past. Successful Susie learns from her past, vows not to make the same mistake twice, and focuses on the now. On the contrary, Failing Freddy dwells on the things he can’t control like his past mistakes and wonders why his career and/or relationship is at a stand-still.

The time you spend dwelling on your past is time you won’t ever be getting back. You can’t change the past. So, why are you wasting your time thinking about what you know has already happened? You made a mistake – cry a river, build a bridge, and get over it. It was a learning moment, but you still have the “now” to redeem yourself and your professional worth. Mastering this technique is easier said than done, but it is possible. You become successful when you accept the imperfections of yourself and the people around you. And, you will be genuinely happy when you accept the complexity of life and cease the moment of now.

The Future
Similarly, emerging professionals have a tendency of spending the majority of their time thinking about the future. Not that there is anything wrong with planning ahead or envisioning future success, but there is a fine line between setting a goal and driving yourself crazy thinking about “what if” scenarios. What if I don’t get a raise? What if this relationship doesn’t work out? What if I’m not good enough? What if I make a mistake? What if…? What if…? What if…?

By allowing yourself to focus on the now, you avoid the snowball effect of this kind of endless questioning. If you transferred all that effort toward the things you can control now, you would be maximizing your time and energy toward something that will reap immediate results. There are some things you can’t control; the future is one of them. The faster your accept this fact, the faster you will see movement in your career.


How I loved in 2011…

With every year that goes by I learn how to love in a different way. The people that have come and gone and those that I will meet in the New Year allow me to explore my capacity to love others in more ways than one.

To be continued…


Save the best for last….

I never really noticed this before, but as I was sharing dessert with a newly acquainted friend a few weeks ago, I noticed that we both stopped eating it at the very last bite of our triple berry pie. We both insisted on the other to indulge in the last piece, but it just sat there waiting for the waitress to take it away. At the time, I didn’t see the significance of this but the more I thought about it the more I realized that this wasn’t the first time that I witnessed the last bite go to waste. It wasn’t as if I desperately wanted it, but it just sat there waiting for someone to enjoy it. I’m sure my friend felt the same way. So, why is it that when we are offered the last piece, we usually turn it away?

I knew I was having a deep-sentimental-blog moment, but I just couldn’t figure out what it was. I mean after all, it was just dessert. As I shared my thoughts with a friend, ironically sharing dessert, he made an interesting point – perhaps we approach the last piece of dessert the way we approach life. No matter how big or small, our automatic response is to refuse it. We have been so culturally accustomed to being applauded for “giving” that we find ourselves giving too much to the point that the enjoyment is lost for everyone. If it isn’t you, then it should be someone else that takes advantage of what is in front of them. Who cares what other people think – it is you that has to live the consequences. You can take the risk now and dwell on any regret later. It is the “now” that we should be living. Later should not be an option.

Maybe that was my epiphany that rainy night. I need to start living in the now, and stop letting opportunities in front of me pass me by. I should really enjoy every last piece, or better yet I shouldn’t take a no for an answer and encourage the other person to enjoy it all the way through. I mean, someone has to succeed through a promotion, take the gamble on true love, and see every life opportunity through the very end. Why not let it be you? This is what distinguishes ordinary from extraordinary. So go on, take the last bite because if you don’t… from now on, I will.


Control.

For the first time in my life, I feel I’m in control. This epiphany of mine could be naivete from my mid-twenties, or it really is a turning point in my young adulthood. Either way, I like it.

I’ve spent my entire life going through the motions – church, family, school, friends, and work. I’ve accepted ultimatums and embraced obligations. And, very rarely did I ever make decisions based on what I wanted or felt that I needed. People use to call it selflessness. I call it being out of control. Up until now, I’ve been surrounded by people that I couldn’t get away from. From high school to college, then from graduate school to internships, I had no control over who I was going to spend my time with or what I’d be doing. The only thing I knew for certain was that I needed to please others, and so the vicious cycle began…

Effortlessly, I would spend my days following the footsteps of others and never asking questions. I developed the mentality of a true military brat – “It is what it is.” But here I am today feeling in control. I can finally say that the time that I invest in now are the things that I know will soon be rewarded by the satisfaction of my own choice. So the truth of the matter is, this foreign feeling of control is not only invigorating but extremely addicting.

Control is the theme of my life right now. I pick and choose what I do, when I do it, and the way I want to do it. I’m sure this feeling doesn’t last forever. Nothing ever does, but until then this is my life, and I plan to do exactly what life intended me to do – live.


Give it time…

Mending a broken heart? Give it time. Mourning the lost of a love one? Give it time. Just got laid off? Give it time.

Time is the cure-all remedy for life. Time is reliable; it is unchanging, and when you think life is spinning out of control it is the one thing that you can count on to anchor you back to reality. Even when you want time to speed up or slow down, time is constant. It is kind of like your voice of reason – it knows what is best for you. Whether it be resolute, unwavering trust or just something constant in your life when everything else around you seems to be changing. Time is, without fail something that will keep you grounded and after a few days, weeks, months, or years you become wiser, healthier, and more appreciative of life challenges.

So recently, I’ve been complaining to the people around me that there just isn’t enough time in one day. In 24-hours, I want to dedicate 12 hours to sleep, 2 hours to commute, 10 hours to work, 5 hours to personal time, 3 hours to social time, and 4 hours to my family, including Baxter (my puppy). That is 36 hours – I am 12 hours short of accomplishing what I would call an “Ideal Yuri Day.” So, what is my compromise? 7 hours of sleep, 2 hours in commute, 10 hours of work, 3 hours of personal time, barely no social time, and 2 hours left for the family. Of course this a rough estimate, but you get the point…

After a few days of pondering my issue with time, I’ve come to a few conclusions. First, time is not the enemy. It is a constant 24-hours that forces you to move on with your life, get the rest that you need, and prioritize according to what is important. Second, time will never change. So, you shouldn’t expect time to accommodate to you. You should accommodate to it. Again, it reminds you that certain aspects of life is worth the wait and requires the extra attention, whether it be your sleep, your family, or your friends. The third conclusion I will credit to a good friend of mine (CP), if you find yourself too busy for your friends and your family, then you are simply too busy. The final point is pretty self explanatory; you can take it literally, or you can replace the “friends and family” with something that has suffered from neglect. Finally, time is a gift. It is a gift that can be given to a friend that needs time to grieve, to grow, and to prosper in his/her endeavors. It is the gift you can give yourself to enjoy the little things in life – spa treatments, retail therapy, or even just sleep. So, the next time you complain that 24-hours just isn’t long enough… think about all the things you’ve already accomplished and all the things that you can accomplish in the next 24-hours. At least, I know I will.


Road Rage.

Everyday on my commute to and from work, I am reminded of how irrational and selfish people can be when it comes to achieving their own goal and/or objective. Every morning it is the same thing. People honk, flip the bird, and cut people off. Never once have I been able to drive on I-5 without seeing some driver do something idiotic or just plain rude. I’ve justified some of their behavior, but recently I’ve started to run out of reasons for people to be mean. After all, aren’t we all trying to achieve the same thing? We just want to get from Point A to Point B without having an accident. As simple as that is, people just don’t seem to get it.

People are so caught up doing their own thing that they don’t realize that in order to get to where they want to go it is imperative that they let others get to their destination as well. Everyday I drive to work drinking my tall, non-fat, white chocolate mocha, no whip while listening to my Adele CD. And, everyday my goal is the same. I want to merge without someone honking, cruise without someone tailgating, and let the car next to me merge into my lane. As selfless as that may seem, I wasn’t always like this. In fact, it wasn’t until this year that I finally came to the realization that my commute just seems much more pleasant when I am acknowledged for my effort to make the commute much more enjoyable for everyone. It isn’t like I get to work any later. Like I said before, we all have a common goal. We all want to get to places and the truth of the matter is, we will all get there. So, there is no need to be impatient. With time and diligence we will all get to our final destination; it is a matter of how enjoyable you let the ride be. Who cares if someone wants to merge in front of you? Let em. It doesn’t change the fact that you know where you are going. So, the next time you want to road rage – just remember in the broad scheme of things – it doesn’t matter. Your commute is similar to life – you’ll find yourself in traffic at times, but if you stay focused and calm, you’ll eventually end up to you want to be.