2016 Reflection: I’m really grateful and happy

As we are two weeks away from the end of 2016 and the start of a new year, have you had the chance to sit back and think about what made you happy this year, what made you sad, what did you achieve and what did you fail to achieve?

2016 was a rollercoaster. There were bumpy, tough patches and there were moments when I was so happy to be live at that time and place.  It’s easy to focus on the hard times but I’ll choose to focus on the good – because I have the power to choose optimism. I made mistakes, a lot of them,  and learned something from them. I had times when I reaffirmed my determination that I’m working hard towards the right path for me. There were times when I questioned myself and felt unworthy to be where I was. Yet, I must remember that those feelings of “not enough” were the result of my choices to put myself into unfamiliar settings and situations to push myself to grow. So instead, I should be proud of myself out of my comfort zone. Overall, I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had this year and the people part of my life this year. Thanks 2016!

My life definitely is not perfect but I don’t need my life to perfect. Personally, most avoidable unhappiness in my life stems from pressure I exert on myself to do better and achieve targets I set for myself. I set goals that were too high and then felt guilty about failing to achieve them. I tried to do too many things at once. In other words, I get to determine whether I am or am not happy.

I’m still ambitious with my goals but I am also really content with where I am right here right now. Ada, someone I really look up for her balance between career ambition and living life to its fullest, perfectly expresses this when she said, “working hard makes having fun that much more fun, and sad times are necessary for good times.” (Credits to Ada!). I can be happy looking forward to spending the afternoon with my friends tomorrow because we’ve locked ourselves in our houses studying for finals the last while and now have a cause to celebrate. If it weren’t for finals, what would I celebrate?

I am happy that I get to do what I love – learn- and I get to learn as my full-time job as a university student. I learned this from Laura from alittlebitoflacquer: Change “I have to” to “I get to”. Studying, or doing to work, or doing other activities that can tedious at times are privileges not right and it’s up to us to be thankful.

Now, you tell me: what are simple pleasures that make you happy?

 

 

Yesterday and today were perfect days. Nothing extraordinary happened but it was the simple things that made me happy

  • I got to spend time with my volunteer program client which is just a pleasure to work with and always inspires me to work harder towards advocating for changes through Vision Health Volunteers.
  • I got to be in the lab to conduct research yesterday and today, which always makes me happy because I enjoy interacting with subjects and being a science nerd.
  • I got to go to the gym today (for free because yay Christmas time) and get in a good run. It feels SO good to run after sitting for hours studying.
  • I joined a hockey team for next semester! I’m looking forward to getting back in the sports team environment that I’ve missed from my old hockey days. And I’m looking forward to meeting new people- yipee!
  • I get to test out a e-course in January on perfectionism.
  • I got to be listen to and take in interesting conversation with fun people over  delicious Malayasian and Singaporean food today.
  • I got to enjoy the lovely presence of a good friend from high school who is now across the ocean in S. Korea via phone call. ( at 2 am because dealing with time difference is a challenge).
  • While on phone, I cleaned my room which makes me feel like I have my life organized and ready to take on 2017!
  • I got to pick up my adorable cousins, uncle and aunt from the airport last night and play with the wee ones and chat with my uncle and aunt. Family is one of the precious things to me in life and I’m thankful to be able to spend time with my family.
  • I also get to blog right now. I keep saying that my blog needs a sharped, my posts need to be more profound and well-composed, etc. But really, I should just focus on writing and producing to create content for those of you that read the Blog Squad blogs!

 

I feel guilty when I have fun sometimes

Have you ever felt guilty about having fun? Lately, I haven’t been able to have fun because after I’ve relaxing, I feel guilty!

The truth: It’s important to live life right now and not always wait for “someday” to start living. 

I’m trying to convince myself this all the time but I honestly don’t always convince myself. I like to look at the next step ahead and work towards getting there. I bet lots of you goal-driven busybees are like that too!  It’s good to be motivated to work, to create, to be out and about. Don’t reject the ambitious streak in you because it’s taking you places and it’s taking you where you want to go.

Just watch that you’re not telling yourself “someday”, “later”, or “down the road” too often. Why?

  1. There will always excuses . You’ll _____ when you’re less busy with school during the break, but oh you want to spend time going out during your break, maybe after you graduate but your job keeps you busy, and oh you’re too busy with your kids.
  2. If you’re in for a lot of schooling e.g. medicine, it gets busier as you go along not easier. You think you’re too busy now. It gets busier in medical school, even busier residency, much busier when you’re an attending…
  3. Later may never come. During December of 1st year, one of my best friends was diagnosed with a tumour and the possibility of such a sweet young person dying young drastically changed my outlook on life. We’re young but we can die tomorrow. Cancers, diseases, accidents, and more can happen to any of us any time. This sounded dark but that’s the truth.
  4. You can’t rewind time. You can’t always make up for lost time in the future. Your grandpa’s birthday may seem low-priority if you only think about getting to your goal of becoming, say, an architect. But years later, you can’t go back in time if you think you should have spent more time with your grandfather.
  5. Are you taking care of your own health right now? 

You’ve been working hard and will continue to work hard. If you’re been working yourself to the bone, this is for you:

Right where you are in life, not just at some elusive point in the future, 

You deserve to be happy. 

You deserve to relax sometimes. 

Don’t feel guilty about taking an evening off to meet up with your old high school classmates. Focus on enjoying the company of your best friend the entire time you’re hanging out. Waiting for the perfect time to date is something I hear about often but there is no perfect time. As long as dating is something you want to do and feel ready to do, spending time building a relationship is not a waste of time.  Having hobbies outside of your career goal is totally fine. Painting, writing, cleaning your house if that’s what makes you happy, beading bracelets with your neighbor, –  things that don’t add value to your resume can still be valuable to you as a person. They may help you with your personal growth, or just nourish your soul.

So, say yes to new experiences. Say yes to broadening your social and professional network. Say yes to doing what you enjoy. Say yes to spending time with the people that are important to you. Say yes to  discovering more about the world and about the people around you and about yourself. Say yes to a morning hike, a music festival, a movie night, a volunteer opportunity because you’re genuinely interested and not to build your resume, to reconnecting with your cousin, to having a heart to heart with your mom, to writing a blog if that what you’ve always wanted to do.

You’ll be glad when you look back and see that you kept a balance in your life. You’l l be happy and achieved your coveted goal. And you’ll also be glad that you had an amazing time along the way.

As much you look forward to your next destination, enjoy the journey of life along the way.

Love,

Shanna

I’m going to meet Scott Young!!!

I am so excited that I’m going to meet someone I deeply admire! Scott Young is an author and blogger who writes about productivity and self-mastery. I’ve subscribed to his blog for quite some time now and now I’m going to meet him on my birthday. If you’re interested in learning how to learn and career development, check out Scott’s blog at http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/

Now if I could also meet Cal Newport, Leo B from ZenHabits, LadyKayMD, Andrea Tooley, Cassey Ho and … (this list goes on and on )

As my birthday is coming quickly around the corner, my friends have been asking me what I want and what I want to do to celebrate. I’ve often replied, “Nothing.” My ideal birthday doesn’t involve any gifts or fancy night out. I really don’t need any things. In fact, I believe that I need to live with less. Things don’t make me happy. Having more things can make me unhappy because things can become clutter and once I have things, I’ll want more things. Once I want things, the wanting never stops. So for my birthday, I don’t want material items or money being wasted. My ideal birthday would involve:

  • Spending time with those that I care about. Perhaps over a meal,  or casually chatting over snacks at home, or teasing each other and laughing and the laughter becoming white puffs  in the chilly autumn air, or doing laundry together with my mom. That’s what I like.
  • Spending time quietly to reflect on the last year of my life that has gone by. Perhaps while all cozy with a notebook and pen or while sweating it out on a nice long run in the early morning.
  • Time writing writing and writing
  • Relaxing because I know that all my studying and homework is already be (mostly) done
  • As much I love people, I feel like I haven’t had much time to myself nowadays. I’m thankful that I’m constantly surrounded by a bright, cheerful, caring, loyal and supportive crowd of family and friends but I need a break to stop and think about who I’ve been this past year and what kind of person I want to be to this world for the next year.

A preview of this upcoming week: (sorry for all the abbreviations.)

  • LEAP Launch Party and Orientation at the Arts Club Theatre on Granville Island tomorrow. I have to get to sleep after I’m done writing this!
  • Time with my favourite
  • Study time with my best friend (Best Friends Forever!! )
  • Lots and lots of studying and prepping for meetings etc
  • A light workout
  • Lunch with my Big
  • Physics quiz.
  • LEAP first session at BMO Theatre Centre, which means that I have to miss RD crew appreciation that evening. That’s too bad because I really want to see the crew. I could stop by after LEAP but that would be pretty late and I should probably go home instead.
  • Volunteering as a sighted guide for VocalEye AGM meeting downtown.
  • Math quiz
  • Research meeting at HVEM
  • One of those brutal 9-5 non-stop Fridays… sigh. But I love Chem lab so I’ll have something to look forward to.
  • Need to prep for REX meeting

Then it’ll be next weekend. I think this week is going to fly by.

Hope you all are going to amazing weekends!

Shanna

Molly Burke & Retinitis Pigmentosa

I was inspired to get involved with volunteering with individuals with vision loss when I heard Molly Burke speak in person at a Microsoft coding workshop. This Youtube video that she made is closest to the speech she made. I highly suggest you watch it to learn about growing up and living with vision loss.

Change of Perspective

I’ve been following Serena Bonneville on her blog “Change of Perspective” since she first started it in 2013. Some of her writing is hilarious while other writing is deeply reflective. She constantly refers to old movies. Most of all, her outlook on life is incredibly optimistic. Her personal strength and grateful attitude amazes and inspires me.

This was a quote from Serena that rung with me: “Regardless of how it ends, a life spent fighting cancer really sucks; but it makes life spent before the fight all the more meaningful. Every happy moment magnified, every grudge forgotten and the love, unconditional.”

Oh yeah… she was diagnosed with leukemia when she started her blog and is currently receiving chemotherapy treatment. Does that suddenly jolt you awake?

She’s only a year or two older than me. She used to play soccer, was elected a leader in her school community and did well in school. The closeness of all this strikes me. The more I read, the more I got to get a glimpse of what Serena was going through. My perspective had also changed. I keep reading now because the way she’s handling things so well yet also admitting weakness that her body is physically struggling is inspiring.

So I highly recommend you check out her blog breedingoptimism.blogspot.ca

Another inspiring blogger writes at http://kieranmcghie.blogspot.ca/   although Kieran hasn’t written a new post in a while. 

Here is the message that I hear from those who shared their stories online: we all should appreciate our happiness now and when hardships happen, fight with all we have.

“But when you’re sick, you fight through it all, because you have to; because when you reach the end, it won’t be a miracle, it will be a triumph.” Serena

Cute and funny video set to one of my favourite running songs: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

Do you know of any other inspiring young fighters, not limited to cancer?  Comment below.