The meaning of life: smiling moments.

Everyone asks the age old question some time or another, usually more than once during their lifetime. Even Garfield has asked this question in his comic! “What is the meaning of life?” What indeed is our purpose? What do we have to do so that our life is “meaningful”? The answer varies depending on our unique lives and right now, I feel as though I have figured mine out. It may change, but as of right now, my meaning of life is to create those smiling moments. 

Let me explain a bit about those smiling moments. Today, I hung out with a friend for her birthday. We’ve been best friends since elementary school. We’ve had our ups and downs, but it’s always her that I would go to in my most difficult times. Our friendship’s survived time and distance going to different high schools and if this isn’t true friendship, I don’t know what is. When I got her text after we went our separate ways about how she felt today, I had a smiling moment. Knowing that I made her day better and that I had helped her in some way, I felt so content. Those smiling moments when I know of the impact I had on people. Those smiling moments when I feel as though I’ve done something worthwhile in their life that I could just die in that moment and not regret it. A good moment. I’ve had a few of these smiling moments recently and it’s what keeps me going. When I feel as though I have no place on this Earth and I’m drowning myself in my mistakes in life, one little smiling moment convinces me that I can’t just let myself go down that path. Busy and stressed with school, it’s easy to disappear into a mental war with myself. Hanging out with friends and making them smile is like opening the cloudy sky with a rainbow. There is hope. I’m not a failure. I want to keep being a light to those around me. Everyone is in a war with life; whether with themselves or people or dilemmas etc. The least I can do is to try and help bring them that rainbow and be there for them. Whenever I get a smiling moment, life just feels so “right”. 

There are times to cry together, laugh together, love together. Life is one crazy drama. And like how my friends have always been there for me, it warms my heart knowing they feel the same way too. Like an overflowing bucket of love, smiling moments are worth all the time and effort put into that relationship. Nothing extravagant is free and easy in life. But neither is it impossible to feel as though the all the troubles in life was worth it. To live and strive to make those smiling moments happen makes life meaningful. 

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A need to escape and a bunch of random mumble jumble

Recently, I’ve been getting little to no sleep and staying up studying, doing all the pre-readings that no one else reads, or just busying myself. I go to sleep thinking what it would feel like if I passed away in my sleep. Due to the lack of sleep and the stress I have from school and from myself, my migraines are back. I kind of just accept them but they can be a real pain in the butt. The good news is that they’re not as intense and constant as they were the last time thank God. Otherwise, I really think I would have to withdraw from school and start finding a way to start selling those polymer clay things I make. But honestly, I worry about the headaches. I don’t think I’ll be able to survive the rest of my life with them..and to think of things that may be even more stressful to come. Oy, I don’t know what to do. As I do whenever I feel stressed out or defeated, I withdraw.

This time, I chose to withdraw from reality and immerse myself into music; to be more specific, c-pop. Chinese pop. Ask me a few months ago and that would be the last on my list of favourite music genres, well maybe second to last in front of heavy metal. It just didn’t sound “right” and would be kind of annoying. And I guess as a kid I was just trying to fit in with the norm of English music. I don’t know why but I’ve become so addicted to listening to Chinese music…it weirds me out too. Well, I AM asian…but what drew me in first was Leehom Wang. He mixed Western with Eastern styles into what he calls “chinked out” music. Maybe because I’m a Chinese Canadian, but this type of music really hit the right spot with a Western feel with Chinese lyrics. I then explored a bit with some R&B type of Chinese songs. It didn’t hurt that the singers were hot too! My understanding of Chinese has also improved as I try to figure out what the lyrics mean. I feel as though the inner part of me is using this to try to understand myself, finding my identity as a Chinese Canadian student pharmacist. I really don’t feel as though I fit in anywhere. 

I’ve been told that I’m antisocial. It’s pretty subjective I guess. I’m viewed as “quiet” to people who don’t know me or don’t take the time to know me. My best friends and family know me as the crazy bubbly girl who’s thoughts get pretty wonky. Thus all these weird blog posts eh. But as I’m trying to win this mind game against myself for the want to escape and withdraw, I purposely set up hang outs with my friends. And no, I’m not antisocial, thank you very much. My parents were against it but I need to do it for my own sanity and well-being. So today I just ended up shopping with a friend and let me tell you, retail therapy DOES work. Same with ice cream. I can’t wait for more hangouts this coming week!

However, life wasn’t so awesome today before the hangout, since life is like a Yo-Yo. You know that feeling when you feel so defeated? Not only are you harboring a tornado inside from your emotions from relationships and conflicts but now you also get mocked by your results. I got my midterm mark back and this is the first time I did below average and I feel so disappointed in myself. Almost as if I failed the test. I failed myself. I failed my parents. Funny thing is that there always seems to be a very fine line between wanting to do better and just wanting to give up. Being someone who never gives up and would do anything to prove it to myself that I can do better, of course I won’t give up. But I doubt myself. I feel so overwhelmed with everything and I’m so tired fighting against myself…I just want to escape. The date with my friend today, ice cream, and shopping really helped and I feel like that little bit of energy and support is just enough for me to keep going.

Like the little engine that could, I think I can go through this and if I think I can, I can…something like that?  

Trick or Eat?!

Halloween is fast approaching and there are tons of YouTube videos popping up all over the place with costumes, makeup, and haunted house ideas. Kids of all ages, even friends of mine who are legal adults, are making their costumes in preparation for the poplar Trick or Treating fun. There’s so much excitement about all the candy, costumes, decor, and did I mention candy? However, I’ve never been big on Halloween, being the scaredy cat I am. Therefore, it was intriguing to find a new activity to do this year for Halloween: Trick or Eat! I read an article last week in my community newspaper that there were people on Welfare surviving on $600 a month and surviving on only $26 for food a week after paying all the bills and other necessities. Here’s a follow-up article for people who participated in the Welfare Food Challenge of having only $26 a week for food: http://www.vancourier.com/news/welfare-food-challenge-participants-hungry-and-stressed-1.375579 . Earlier this school year, I also joined the World Vision club on campus. Yesterday, they had a post on Facebook about Trick or Eat. Instead of asking for candy, why not ask for food and money donations for people who are in living in poverty and are famished in this cold weather? There are people living with even less than $26 for food per week. I know that personally I don’t fully understand what they’re going through but I can only imagine how hard it would be for them, especially those with children. I am unable to go door to door and trick or eat due to prior commitments, but I hope to make a difference through their online fundraiser. If you would like to donate to World Vision’s Trick or Eat Fundraiser for the Meal Exchange program, a $1 donation can provide 1 meal through a local food bank. You can help me fight against hunger and donate through my page at http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?SID=3947474&LangPref=en-CA and sponsor my efforts. Any help will be greatly appreciated! Our campus World Vision club’s goal is to raise $500. Thank you in advance for your support! If you would like to join the campaign, there is more information on the website as well. 

Mystical fog

Today it was uber foggy. Walking on campus, I couldn’t see past a building’s distance in front of me and it just looked like everyone walking far away was walking into the fog and disappearing. It was beautiful. Fog is beautiful. It’s a cold blanket settling into the city. The bright leaves of fall become mysterious with layers of trees that get faded the further it is, covered by more fog. Fog seems almost magical to me. You walk into the fog thinking that it’s going to just get murkier and foggier but it clears up so that you seem to have a bubble of clear-ness around you. 

Normally, I feel as though it’s the opposite effect. It’s a foggy dreamworld bubble I’m in while everything else is going on as normal around me. Maybe that’s why I’m so intrigued by this foggy weather we’ve been getting lately. Well, thinking about it another way, this crazy fog is just like our timelines. We can’t see past the fog, whether it be the future or obstacles in our way that we can’t see or think past. Those hurdles we create from our insecurities fog our vision and we can’t become the beautiful landscape we were meant to be. Learn to look past the fog but also appreciate the mysteriousness. We can’t figure everything about life out, otherwise there wouldn’t be any meaning to life! I just hope that there’ll be another foggy day when I need it, it makes the cold that much more bearable and instills a quiet awe of nature. 

Frosted windows

As my mom and I stepped out the door to the car this morning, we panicked since the windows were all frosted up and we were running a tad late. I remember all those cold winter days when we would be late for class due to all the frost that had built up on the windows of the car requiring us to scrape it off holding cards in our frozen fingers. Luckily, it wasn’t that cold yet and it was merely water that was not yet frozen. However, I had almost hoped for the frost to be icy and hard. Frost is quite a beautiful act of nature. The warm layer of condensation that accumulates on the car that had just been back from a long drive freezes into intricate patterns of snowflakes. A cold covering over the car, a hard exterior. Similarly, I feel as though my winter blues create a cold wall of frost around me, covering all that could be remotely warm.

As I grow older, I feel as though my exterior becomes more and more like a frosted window. Careful of the people around me, especially who I let into my life and who I allow to see the inside me beyond the frost. It gets quite cold and lonely I must say, but I can’t help it. I’ve experienced and seen what happens when you give too much of yourself and nothing is returned or you get hurt. It feels like I’ve lost my childhood innocence. It’s hard. I don’t want to have frosted windows all the time but sometimes its just so cold and the walls come up. It’s much easier being alone and dwelling in self pity than trying to put up a fake happy front. I used to live for everyone else’s expectations but it’s just so tiring to play that role when the expectations just get higher and higher. However, as a future pharmacist, the walls have got to come down as I’ll be dealing with patients everyday that I have to care for and provide help for. Defrosting daily is a tough and tedious task but it’s something that I need, something that I know has to be done.

And like the crazy weather which can change from sun to snow in a few hours, the walls can come up and down at any moment, with certain people and certain things that happen. Sometimes those can’t be controlled but other times, I feel as though my brain is the control center of keeping those walls up. It’s easy for me to think “I’m lonely” “I got no one” “My life sucks” “Why me?!” while pushing everyone away. It’s also just as easy for me to reach out to a friend and tear down those walls or do something that can help release my emotions and break open the gates. The walls can only be as strong or as weak as we build them to be. As cliche as it sounds, you can always look on the bright side. No one is a perfect optimist or a perfect pessimist. Some people may be more of one than another, but our mind is a powerful weapon. Our emotions are based on our thoughts. Depending on how we see a situation, the walls can come up in response or be non-existent. I find that many times, little things can easily cause my mind to slide into an avalanche of thoughts about how life sucks and all my regrets and mistakes come crashing down on me, building unpenetrable walls leading to a flood of tears on the inside. It could be seeing something that triggers a memory or hearing an emotional song or feeling down after bad exam. However, my friend recently reminded me that one’s emotional states is controlled by the mind. We can make ourselves as depressed as we want and we can also make ourselves happy if we wanted to. Instead of thinking about the cold thoughts, thinking about sunny thoughts like the joys of the days or things you’re thankful for can defrost those windows. It’s not an easy task but is definitely a doable task. Thinking positive really does help. Put down those walls, turn up the temperature, and don’t let frost cover that beautiful car.