Your cells change whether you want them or not. If you choose to ignore them, the change will not ignore you.
You see this with people who work out. Fortunately, life is not all about healthy living or weights. The reps happen passively.
The music you listen to—the movies you consume. The friends you entertain. The things you say to yourself.
“Everything you say is an affirmation. What are you affirming?”
“Man is what he believes” — Anton Chekhov
You were born alone; you’ll die alone. There are sadness and truth in that sentence. The sadness that comes with realizing that one day you’ll leave the people you care about — and who care for you. That sooner or later, you’ll be dying in a bed, old (hopefully). Or in a split second, your body or some piece of human technology (e.g., car) would fail to perform as intended.
We default to this sadness because we’re more open to dangers than joys. If you’re running away from a nasty tiger, you don’t exactly have time to monitor the new pear trees on your escape route. …
Mornings are cold, quiet, and lonely.
When my alarm rings at 4.30 am, I talk myself into not going back to bed. It’s warm. It’s cozy. Non-judgemental. It only wants the best for me at that point in time.
And that’s the problem. What’s best for you now may not be best for you tomorrow. And tomorrow becomes today.
This is how we end up making shitty decisions: we make them today thinking we’ll fix them before tomorrow. Then tomorrow comes. We’re shocked nothing’s changed.
Guess what? Today was tomorrow. Cycle. Forever.
When I think of how much my morning sucks, I remember that every time something has sucked and I avoided it, I always regretted it. …
I know you’re going through a tough time. Most people don’t understand you, and your attempts to explain meets either puzzled looks or hurried nods. They don’t really care — even when they say they do. You know it. You’ve tried to believe that this was the only way; that life was meant to be survived. But each time, like today, your heart tells you something isn’t right that this isn’t what you were born to experience. That you deserve better.
We’re sitting on the same bench, watching the sea finger our toes — back and forth, back and forth. Everyone is running on this beach: children, parents, angry bankers, happy business owners, sad teachers. Everyone. Except us. We sit there staring into the sea, the beautiful expanse of colorless glass right across the horizon. …
I wore my pants without underwear. I was 10 years old. All the clothes my parents bought as I moved to dorm life? Lost. I wore the same yellow-white shirt for weeks.
“I’ll give you clothes to wear; in return, you’ll give me your fish on Fish days.”
I agreed with James’s deal. I didn’t have fish for the rest of the term.
Then I lost his clothes.
“I’ll give you more clothes, but you’ll have to give me your bread as well in the morning.”
So, I drink diluted mint tea for the rest of the year.
I still lose things to this day. Not clothes: time, trust, faith. …
My first therapist was an immigrant. She wasn’t from an African country but she knew what it felt like to live in a place where once you opened your mouth, questions about your origins flooded.
Apart from the great job she did to help me see habits I was blind to, there was something about the way she gave me feedback that made me think she really got me.
Of course, she was trained. Most therapists are supposed to be able to do that.
I think because I knew she was an immigrant, I felt somewhat safe.
Somewhat heard. Somewhat understood. …
The difficulty is in the mind. It all happens in there. The moment you sit and stretch out your fingers, alarms go off.
Have ideas ready, they said. Brainstorm headlines. Reach out to friends, Quora, or just see what works.
Good writing is the product of good thinking; someone said that. If we can’t write, then maybe we can’t think?
Is it even possible to not think? Probably not.
But it is possible to not think well.
Cortisol levels fueled by deadlines, random events, or our attempts to anticipate life’s dilemmas. …
I could see the spittle leaving her mouth and the veins on the side of her face. My heart thumped. I found it hard to breathe. Her arms moved from side to side. Something in my ear drowned her voice. I could hear the sound. I registered it was English.
But something was off.
Glue between my lips. I had to think about air and let my nostrils feel the gas pour in from outside. Sweat trickled down. I thought of movement. I willed my throat and the dryness seeped further. …
When I was eleven, as a gift to my brother and me, my father bought our first gaming console — a PlayStation One.
The only game we had was Jackie Chan Stuntmaster. We couldn’t afford the memory card at the time so, if we shut it down, we had to start from the beginning.
Finishing that game was my ultimate goal in life. It was my measurement of success.
That definition has changed.
At some point, success for me has meant just making it through the week without crashing or standing my ground in a difficult conversation.
To know what you should be learning to be successful, you must first define success on your terms. …