Searching for Meaning and Aiming for Progress

Meaning-Progress

It’s hard to keep my eyes open on the bus every morning. I work the night shift and it’s taxing. I crave sleep and the comfort of my room, sometimes food as well. Today, I got up from my seat on the bus in an effort to stay awake. I settled between two people in front of the back doors, and with every stop, the bus got more crowded, people moved closer to me, and claustrophobia kicked in:

“Look at all these people,” I thought. “They have germs. We’re all breathing the same air. Is it just me or is it getting warmer in here because we’re all breathing the same air?  I think I can smell everybody’s B.O….” 

I exited the bus before I had to.

Saved from rush hour, I thought about the day I will reclaim the privilege of sleeping at night. It’s not the worst thing ever, but this job sure is difficult. I’m trying to rebuild financial stability after five years of not having any ground, you know? Trying to figure out the course of my life while collecting a steady paycheque. Thinking about my future has got me so stressed out, I wish I would stop worrying somehow.

Without difficult, lonely, or desperate moments, self-improvement can’t happen. Life-changing events crash into our lives and wreak havoc as quickly as a dangerous storm, but unfortunately, it may take months or years to rebuild. We have to remain patient, because nature takes its time, and life is only natural.

Here’s a great quote about patience and work:

If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favour freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without ploughing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
—Frederick Douglass, 1857

So please, just keep working on yourself. One day, we will see the fruits of our labor.

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Staying Thankful While Depressed

happiness

Bad days happen, and sometimes so do bad weeks. But even as I’ve had such a day, I can still think about the many blessings in my life and the very fact that I live in a country where several opportunities are available to me, with even better ones can be created at my discretion.

We should all be thankful for at least one thing in our lives. See if you can find something, big or small, that you are happy about. It’s a simple practice that can help ease your mind immediately after a negative experience or a terrible day.

One of my favorite TedxTalks is by Iskra Lawrence where she mentions a mental list of gratitude she pulls out whenever she starts feeling down about herself. I now use this method myself in the exact same situations Iskra discusses in the video.

Gratitude is a great act of self-care, especially when we feel so sorry for ourselves for whatever reason. Gratitude lifts our moods by changing our perspective on life just a little. We have to soothe ourselves with habitual practices that will eventually separate us from misery.

break

It’s the midnight hour and I’m reflecting on the day I just had. It was a shit day–I literally got shit on by a pigeon! And you know what? The entire week wasn’t all that good either: I started growing tired of my new job, despite only being 3 weeks in. My feet hurt so much from constantly standing at work in an unsuitable pair of shoes (that’ll have to be worn until I can afford a proper pair). Missed some familial events, and I haven’t saved a cent from my first paycheck. The latter triggered a depressive episode that lasted the entire weekend because I feel stuck in a perpetual cycle of never having enough money just to live. It seems like any efforts to break from this level of poverty are in vain. Spending every earning of my first paycheck on debts and rent caused me to give up my goal of having my own place, making more than enough money to live, and ever going back to school. I feel as though my goals aren’t worth working towards.

Sigh.

But writing tends to heal my wounds. I can move on if I can let it out in writing. Fact of the matter is, I’m a dreamer. I dream of my lovely home I’ll share with my hubby and kids. I dream of the loyal dog I’ll have by my side, and I dream of falling in Love–in deep, flaming hot, true Love. I believe in magic: I see the beauty in many things, which is often hard for many people to do. I stop and notice the little details, like the heart of a cherry blossom growing on a bush, or the butterfly fluttering in the field. I love to take in such details. I read and watch everything fairy tale related. That’s who I am. I don’t want to lose myself to such lethargy. So, maybe I’ll just keep aiming for my goals. I mean, it’s best for me to remember that life is never working against me, but rather for me.

I hope you remember that too.