Enough Time

Yesterday I read an article by Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief at The Huffington Post Media Group entitled “There’s Enough Time in Your Life for Everything Important”. A quote from the article which I absolutely love is by Brian Andreas: “Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” Yes our culture is obsessed with time. I planned every minute of every day to try to get the most out of my day. In my mind and I’m sure in the minds of others, being productive was most important. Always designate time towards tasks that support long term goals so that you’re always prepared for that big break. I attended to my schedule weekly, constantly making adjustments to scrape off minutes wherever I could. I constantly craved more hours in the day and sacrificed personal relationships for the sake of getting more done. A lot has changed this year though…thankfully in part to Martin. If I haven’t said it before, I’m saying it now, I’m loving my life even more right now. Work has been given less time in my day and family, love and rest have been given greater priority and I couldn’t be happier. I am thinking alot clearer now and placing less pressure on myself to get things done as if I’ll be scolded for it. I have one deadline for Monday with the University for the submission of grades. After Monday, I’ll be at such a slow pace I hope I don’t feel lost…lol. Arianna said her mother was a towering example of the joys of slowing down. She believed that rushing through life was a sure way to miss the gifts that come only when you give 100 percent of yourself to a task, a conversation, a dinner, a relationship, a moment. I can honestly say that one’s definition of success will determine their attitude towards time and how they prioritize things in their life. As long as success is defined by who works the longest hours, who goes the longest without a vacation, who sleeps the least, who responds to an email at midnight or five in the morning we’re never going to be able to enjoy the benefits of time affluence.

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Food and Discipline

In a previous post, I made mention of my limitations with my food options. For health reasons, I must stay away from dairy, gluten(wheat/flour), soy, nuts, grains, caffeine and sugar. I’ll be honest, I have not been 100% strict with the caffeine and sugar. In comparison to the average person, my sugar intake is quite low and my caffeine intake has been restricted to one cup of organic earl grey tea a day. The past two days were extremely frustrating for me…I craved so many of the things I couldn’t eat. Around 5PM yesterday, I gave in to the temptation and Martin bought me a frozen dessert made from coconut milk. Everything except the 20g of sugar per serving in this dessert was fine, even the coconut milk was a huge plus. Being disciplined with food, especially sweet treats is a difficult challenge for most people. I pretty much avoid all the cakes, ice cream, pastries, chocolates and snacks that we should avoid and most fruits because of the sugar. The reality is that the world is addicted to sugar. I’ve read numerous articles and watched several videos that discuss the fact that most individuals consume way more than the recommended daily intake of sugar and that sugar may be even more addictive or just as addictive as cocaine. Due to the effect sugar has on my body, it’s not something I can consume often, so this frozen treat can probably happen once a month, if at all that often. I found a recipe online for home made coconut milk ice cream which I will be trying in the near future, so I’ll let you know how that turns out. While I’ve been forced to be discipline with my diet, there are many people out there who struggle with simple things like bread and coffee, I myself have struggled with coffee in the past. I’ve replaced bread with rice cakes and coffee can be replaced with Chicory Root. Being disciplined with food is no easy task and it’s helpful when you have a solid support system, so I’m thankful I now have a partner who is supportive and willing to adopt some of my quirky eating habits to so that I can be healthy and he can also benefit.

What Successful People Did

As you browse online content, you’ll find countless articles and info-graphics on activities and habits of successful people. They usually tend to be early risers, exceptionally well organised, keep journals and to-do lists, exude joy, express gratitude, continuously learn, make time for family and friends and so on. While it’s easy to see some of these traits in people we most often view as successful, I often wonder how they were when starting out, when things were tough, finances were low and their goals seemed out of their grasp. While I do have a few of these traits naturally there are some that I try to instill as part of my character. Unfortunately, I sometimes become consumed with adopting these traits that I lose sight of my goals. While it’s great to know all the traits of successful people, I love listening to their stories when they were struggling as I’m better able to relate to that. On that journey to accomplishing our heart’s greatest desires, it’s important that we allow the struggles and disappointments to help us grow. Success is more of a journey rather than accomplishing a fixed set of goals and while I understand the theoretical aspect of this, my life experiences are weaving this understanding into my every being so that I’m constantly reminded of it. People who are now considered successful have gone through their tough times and are where they are now because of many different character traits. Figure out what works for you and what makes you happy and remember to be kind to yourself while pursuing your goals and the Universe will act likewise in return.

Superhero Mothers

This week did not go according to plan. My cousin became ill and was admitted to the hospital and I decided to be of assistance and look after her 2 year old daughter, Faith. Her other two children stayed with their dad and grandmom. Unfortunately Faith is yet to master the art of sleeping straight through the night. I took her on Tuesday night as her mom was admitted to the hospital that day. She was off to bed around 10PM on Tuesday night and around 1:30AM on Wednesday morning, she woke up, ready to play, watch television, eat popcorn and go swimming…yes swimming. She stayed up until 4AM and was back up at 5:30AM. I’m not sure how most mothers do it but I do give them praise for it. I dropped her off to daycare that morning and drove straight back home…I was a wreck. My plan to make it to work before 12PM proved to be futile and I spent the entire day at home. I usually take Faith for the day to give her mom some time to run errands and do chores, or just give her time for herself but since she turned one, she hasn’t really spent the night with me. Sadly on Wednesday, I wrote no blog posts. I woke up after my morning rest, got some chores done, ran some errands, visited her mom in the hospital then I picked her up by 6PM. Having her with me makes me feel somewhat like a mom. I’m actually happy driving home from work in traffic to pick her up and I usually prefer to stay in office late to avoid the traffic. Yesterday afternoon was really great. I picked her up, took her to the supermarket to get some essentials, visited the pharmacy for her children’s toothpaste, then we were home. How mother’s manage all of their work and home responsibilities is beyond me but they’re definitely superheros in my eyes. One day I will embark on the journey and be blessed by the God of my Heart to bring life into this world but until that day comes, I will have all the practice I need being an Aunt.

Being True to You

I don’t follow reality television but it’s hard to not be aware of who the Kardashians are. Last Friday, one member of the show, Bruce Jenner, sat down with Diane Sawyer for an interview to discuss his transition from a man to a woman. Homosexual, Bisexual and Transgender issues are always starting points for conflict but that’s not the angle I’m coming from. Speaking to Diane Sawyer, Bruce Jenner said he always believed he was born with ‘the soul of a woman’, and this is the last time he would appear as ‘Bruce’ before becoming ‘her’. Now whether this is right or wrong is none of my concern but one thing I do understand from all of this, is that it can drain your spirit if you can’t be yourself. So many times we pretend to be someone else for so many reasons. Either because we believe it’s the societal norm, to make or parents and family happy, to be accepted by those around us or to make relationships work. Bruce Jenner has been living a life where he could not be his true self for the past 65 years and I can only imagine how crippling that can be. I know personally what it’s like to be be living a life to make someone else happy and forgetting who you truly want to be. I have found great joy in getting back to my true self and regaining sight of the things I want to accomplish in life, instead of living by someone else’s standards and ideals. One of the most beautiful things about life is that we each have our own and we can live it how ever we see fit. While something may have worked for someone else, it’s not guaranteed to work for you. There is not blueprint for life, for relationships, for parenting. Referring to Pythagoras’ quote ” Man know thyself; then thou shalt know the Universe and God”. Instead of trying to be who society or some else tells you to be, figure out who you truly are and everything will fall into place.  

Sacrifice and Compromise

Lately, I’m reminded that in relationships there must be some sacrifice and compromise for it to work. How much should one compromise in a relationship, I’m still trying to figure that one out. A close friend of mine told me a few months ago, that I compromise too much of myself to make friendships and relationships work. I think compromise and sacrifice are great once the other person can be thankful for what their partner is willing to give up to make them happy. My last serious relationship ended in 2009 to one of my best friends and I’m really glad we have maintained a great friendship after the break up. Having spent the past six years focusing on myself, compromise can be somewhat of a challenge. I’ve invested so much in my education and career that I believe I need to grab at every opportunity that comes my way, even at the expense of my health and time with loved ones. I recently had the opportunity to work with a start-up here in Trinidad and Tobago and sadly, I turned down the opportunity. I looked at my current schedule and I knew it would be impossible to manage. I’m making great headway with a web based application and my lecturing duties are extremely important to me and I’m also finding it easier to make time to spend with loved ones. To risk losing the things that I have working for me now may not be a sensible compromise. It’s impossible to grab at every opportunity that comes your way and it’s understandable if you feel you need to. I wish that start-up all the success in the world even though I cannot be a part of it. One old saying that I always remember is “One bird in the hand is worth two in the bushes“.

A Gentler Approach

Oh how do I love my Aunt Bernadette. She is my father’s eldest sister and I often describe her as the epitome of female perfection. The respect I have for her as a person far surpasses the respect I have for my mother and father combined, not that I love my parents any less. I’ve always admired her approach when dealing with me and people in general. She has never raised her voice or her hand at me, yet she can easily influence my decision making. My parents on the other hand, have both raised theirs hands and voices at me and yet I have disobeyed them on numerous occasions. I recall noticing this about her as a teenager and I often wondered, how does she do it. I would look at other family members and friends who would often use aggression, obscene language or try to instill fear in someone else to get what they want from a person, whereas she would find kind words and even a bit of scripture to get her point across. This lady has amazed me all my life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and even her approach to dealing with it has been inspiring. I would admit that growing up I was a bit more aggressive than I am now but after having noticed how my Aunt Bernadette got the things she needed and wanted in life by taking a gentler approach, I was determined to try it myself. I am no where close to being like her but I constantly aim for it. People and circumstances constantly test me to see how much I really want to change but it helps to focus my mind on her when I’m tempted to act otherwise. While there may be many people who have found a more aggressive approach to work for them and they have gotten what they wanted, it’s important to consider the psychological consequences of the person who is the recipient of such aggressive behavior. The emotional and mental abuse passed on to someone can affect so many aspects of that persons life and the people around them. Whenever I call my Aunt Bernadette for advice on anything, I can guarantee that she’ll be honest, give her opinion about both sides of the situation and always suggest I pray about it.  Aunt Bernadette, I love you dearly, please continue to be an inspiration to me and for many others who look up to you.