Small habits that can change your life goals.

 

Today I decided to share with you some habits that I have adopted not too long ago and that have considerably changed my outlook on life. These behavioral changes might have crossed your mind from time to time. You may even have adopted them on the short term, however have you tried on implementing them on the long run?

Well I have and for some time now I have been feeling at ease. Not only because I am religiously abiding by them, nope. But because with it came a sense of peace and acceptance of who I am and where my life is leading me. Such changes led me to re-inspect my life and the person that I am becoming irrelevant of my surroundings’ approval or not. One word of advice; we are the generation that is always blooming compared to our parents’ generation. Hence we should not let past generations keep us from going further.

Now to the subject matter in hand, the following is for you;

Less social media when you are out socially . Focus on the present and not past and future digital content on your phone.

Read Everyday . I am old fashioned and I love reading books. So should you. Reading expands the mind and enriches your vocabulary. Try it. And no, articles on some shady websites are not considered reading material.

Make your health a priority . By eating healthy and working out daily. The world (pollution) has changed and we no longer have the strong immune system our grandparents bragged about. Make time for your health.

Learn from people you admire . And that I say literally. When you are with the person you admire, pay close attention to his/her body language, communication skills and get motivated by that person’s positive push and accomplishments. If he/she succeeded, why can’t you?

Plan your day the night before . What works for me is writing down on a piece of paper next day’s tasks. Ticking them off one by one along the day motivates me to further end the day with everything I set my mind, to be done.

Take action, even when it’s scary . Nothing is scary in life. Being scared is a state of mind. Have faith in your self and bare in mind that you need to work a lot to make it happen in this world.

It is okay to be introvert . You don’t need to always be out there surrounded with people to make a statement. Sometimes it is okay to shy away from your friends. I happen to have a lot of those me, myself and I times and I quite honestly love them. These are the moments that are productive for your inner peaceful self.

Invest your time in the arts . Art, music, dance soothes the eye, the mind and the body. Try once in a while listening to an old record, going to an art exhibit or take some steps with the melody on the record player. Let me know what state of mind you will be afterwards.

You are your number one priority . Not your family nor your friends. You are. Never forget that.

We are already in March within the new year. Last year passed far too quickly. I vouched not to let 2017 pass quicker without putting myself on my top priority list. This behavioral decision might come as a shock to some people who always relied on my compassion and patience. This time round however, my adopted habits are staying on the long run and as an arabic saying goes “eza mich 3ajebkon, balto el ba7er” .

Thank you!

If you decide to do it – Don’t be AFRAID.

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This blog post goes out to all of you who are indecisive in taking the next big step in your life.

I know the struggle.

You want to spread your wings and fly away towards new horizons. Those, you have been dreaming for the last couple of months, if not years.

You want to become independent from the gripping hands of your surrounding.

You just want to get away from all the negativity and discouragement the ones around you have inflicted upon your person.

What’s worse in this dilemma is when your closed ones are those that will pull you further down instead of just giving you that extra push to let go and grasp your future.

Hereby I am writing to you, as I have experienced it first hand, why and how you should let go of their pettiness and jealousy and just throw yourself into oblivion.

  • Every one has a goal in life (those who don’t, well seriously, jump off a cliff). Your goal is yours. It is your baby and only you will work it, manage it, excel in it so as to succeed in it. No one will as they are not you. And thankfully will never be you.
  • A purpose in life is part of the cycle of life. You are put into this world to achieve something. Never underestimate your goal, never put others’ feelings about your purpose before your gut feeling.
  • Speaking of which, gut feeling is important. Gut feeling never lies nor unbalances you. It sets you straight towards attaining your goal and sometimes even better, abstain from certain decisions for better ones.
  • Critics are everywhere. And thank God for them. Never take them seriously, sometimes their reaction, behavior and opinion is what will let you remodel your purpose to excellency.
  • Jealousy? Well let’s face it, when a person is remotely jealous from another person’s vision, it is because he cannot relate. You will be surprised to notice that this same person has nothing going on with his own life, no goals, no achievements no nothing, hence that negative reaction. Logical right? (take a min and remember + think what I just said).
  • Always compare yourself to a successful friend, acquaintance or a family member. Their success will pave your way into the right direction.
  • Surround yourself with positive energy. If the household is pulling you down, grab your things and go work outside, in a coffeeshop or a co-work venue. You will surely be more focused, meet new people and get that pumped up energy into realizing you goal.
  • You don’t have your family support, fuck it! Haven’t you heard of the “friends become your chosen family” saying? Well now you have.
  • You have to, need to shine and make an impact in this life. Remember you are leaving a legacy behind , regardless its size. You are proving that the sky is your limit.
  • Most importantly, time is key. Stop delaying. Start.

My friends, the most important thing that I have learnt about achieving a long lost dream, is the effect of the reaction of your closed ones to it. I let discouragement and negativity affect me for a long time. But no more. Pursue your goals everyone. No one fails. because even if the outcome is not spectacular, but good, you know that the mere fact of daring and putting yourself out there is the most spectacular achievement of them all.

Love you all ❤

The Friends from the past; a blast!

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“There is something about childhood friends that you just cant replace” Lisa Whelchdel

If you are at university , even in high school, then this post’s timing couldn’t have been perfect. Mark my words when I say that, flash forward ten years, you will come to realize that good friends were, are and will forever remain the ones you spent most of your childhood days with.

Your childhood friends are those;

you have spent all your recess time with,

you hung every Friday after noons together at the mall,

you went to the movies, grabbed a bite, gossiped over your crushes,

all these and more will forge a place in your heart and will forever remain your most cherished memories of your past.

Come university years, many of you will separate and your path will diverge. Your dreams will take you to distant lands, different educational systems and rare, rare are those who will remain in contact with one other.

Within the confines of your new environment you will meet people that will share the same interests as you. The physicality, the distance, will play an important role in the separation of your childhood friends. Maybe not the first semester, but later on. Trust me (again).

I am sharing this with you because I experience this first hand (twice).

Georges was my best friend in high school. He was like a brother to me and always there for me. The true definition of a best friend. At university we separated and each went to its own. Thankfully the rise of social media brought us back together (online only). However, after 16 years of separation we finally made it and met over coffee. I did not know what to expect, yet I found my old friend. Same old Georges + married + wiser + as witty as before. I realized that after two decade of separation (HEY! I’m rounding the years here) we turned out to share more similarities in thoughts and how we viewed life and society in particular.

I really enjoyed my time with him and I anticipate our next get together before the distance separates us again.

An old friend of mine, whom I met a couple of months back (after 6 years of separation) told me something that struck in my mind “Your good friends are always going to be those that were in your life during your late teens. Those that no matter the separation, once met for coffee, will make you feel as if it were yesterday you last saw each other. And you will pick up the pieces and forge a stronger bond ..as if nothing ever happened”.

To you my friends, the day will come and when you go and catch up with your high school bestie, remember this; she/he will always be there anytime anywhere and any way imaginable.

xo

ps: do not misundertand me ; the friendships forged later on in life are genuine as well. However, those will never understand you fully, deeply as they were never there when your roots were being built.

pps: same goes to those childhood friends that were always there all those years; you grew up together only to be set apart unexpectedly suddenly…

 

“I’m engaged, I can’t talk to you”

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I am never going to understand Arab mentality and the dos and donts of the society I come from. Over the many years I have spent in Beirut, Lebanon and the many men I dated and had long term relationships with, I have never quite understood the few silent agreements between couples, especially those engaged to be married within the year.

Apparently there is a hidden rule that states that once you are engaged, you, automatically, will have to stop interacting with humans from the opposite sex. Yes! Shocker!!

Yesterday I was catching up with a very close friend of mine. From the moment we took seats, I felt she wasn’t herself. Born in Canada, but raised in Lebanon, Saria inherited the Western values vs the Middle Eastern ones.

Here is her story.

Her very close friend who immigrated to the USA a few years back was in Beirut for the holidays. Both friends have kept in touch(whatsapp/fb messenger/instagram all that jazz) throughout the 9 years of his leaving and it was his first time back to visit friends and family. One itch however, he got engaged to his long time on-off girlfriend in the states and was here to officialize the union.

Don’t get me wrong, we are, oh-so-happy for the chap.

What we are appalled by is the fact that, although a few days before his arrival and anticipated reunion with his close friend (Saria) through a whatsapp message, Mister X shifts 180 degrees on Lebanese soil. We give him a few days, even a week (we are generous) to catch up with his family, close, far, in between. On the second week, we decide to get in touch and set a date for the meet up. Busy one day, sudden appointment the next day, and many “I will let you know, we will play it by the ear” (Lebanese style) came the day of his departure!

No wait, let me be specific, I rephrase that, ….came the morning of his departure.

Saria is no naive girl. Trust me. She knew something was wrong the moment she heard his voice on the phone. She knew that the person by the end of the receiver is no longer her friend. She knew all of that but for the sake of the 10+ years of friendship, gave X the benefit of doubt. All came tumbling down when he decided to give her 20min of his precious on his way to the airport (btw her house is a dot on that highway leading there, so two birds in one stone, you know the shizzle…). It all took for her such suggestion of a pop-up meeting to explode on the phone. He did what any lame boy would do and twisted everything to look innocently guilty. You know that “you are right, I was a jerk” blabla.. and they resumed their phone call on that.

As you know a story is not quite one without the cherry on the top moment. And her cherry came in the form of a block on Facebook and Instagram jointly in the same hour that it took him to get to the airport, on his plane and off to Washington DC. Pathetic. Loser.

Am I Right or Right??

Well when it comes to anything Lebanese related (friendship, relationship and social) I am not the least surprised at most of the experiences endured by my friends. From what I witnessed, my friend was more shocked than angry. This was a guy who left his family, friends and country for a better life abroad. In his lonely times, he connected through social media with his friends back home (among them Saria). I know Saria and I know the kind of person she is when she puts all her energy into her friends & family. And I know for a fact that this guy went through a depression, away from everyone (it’s normal) and that Saria was there, amidst the hour gap, conversing, cheering. Well being the definition of a very good friend.

Moreover, I very well know how of a coward Lebanese men are when they get engaged. I mean you got engaged, that does not mean that you have turned gay (my respect to the gay community) or are a cheater if you are hanging out with friends from the opposite sex. I mean if you have had feelings for that specific friend then ok you move away when in a serious relationship. Fine I’ll give you that, ok (although..well…). But just cutting and throwing away friendships like that, no no!!

How do you define these men?

Cowards?

Immature?

Full of low self esteem?

Not Trustworthy?

Have relationship issues?

Have life issues?

Well I would tick all the above and more.

If you have a friend who has cut you off because of the change of his relationship status, then know this, its not you, its definitely him/her and the above mentioned traits (and more).

You are better off with that sort of drama because if one thing is for sure, these people are going to be facing many issues when interacting with society as a whole.

Last but not least, congrats on your union!!

xo

 

 

Exes; those that cant be tamed.

disclaimer: Remember that ex you couldn’t live without? Well look at you, living and shit!!

Ex, is a word we are all too familiar with because, yeah, we all have a minimum of one in our drawer (if you don’t have an ex, then girl, have you been living under a rock?). Kitchen Drawer? Closet? Cabinet? Hell any restrained rectangular shaped space would do, as long as it doesn’t open by mistake (that cabinet holding all those old tupperware would do). So within these space you would toss an ex or two and try never to slide the door open, and if, God forbid, those damn sized tups’ burst the door open, shut it back firmly and tightly. You do not need an old junk when you have collected new gadgets in the cabinet next door. Why am I comparing exes to in-animated object? Well do I need to remind you what they talk behind our back to their home boys? Guess not, so tups they shall remain. And between us, sometimes they do deserve that adjective…

So I am writing about this topic because as a woman I relate to those who are weak when their ex tries to catch up with them out of the blue on a Tuesday afternoon, season being winter at best (you know in winter everyone is relatively in a hibernating mode and seeks his selfish comfort). I am reaching out to those women who are in doubt of themselves when an ex pops back in the picture. I am reaching to the women who I am warning not to cave back in. I admit and its human nature, I caved in and so did you. And we most probably learnt our lesson I know I did. 110%.

A decade ago we would have given our bone marrow to our partner. A decade ago, we were ready to be tied down and faithful to his (sorry) ass. We were patient and caring to his mood swings and depressive state of mind. We were taking care of his every whim. We put our 200% into the relationship only to be given the boot because he was not ready to settle down. Picket fences and all that shebang. We grabbed our hearts in our own hands, a few teardrops here and there for a couple of weeks and we moved on. Apparently, men (boys, to be more precise) do not move on as easily as we thought they did. When he came back, we gave him the benefit of doubt and rekindled the relation. Only to have the same problems resurface and ended with another break up in our hands. Not the fairy tale wedding we were imagining, nope. Flash forward ten years, give or take, and you have EX trying to infiltrate your life again. Apparently you turned out to be the one who actually did M.O.V.E  O.N. and you’re happy and you know it (clap your hands!!!). Ok, sorry I’m being too merry about this, I just felt like tuning, its the season to be jolly, lalalala you know!! (ok apparently you don’t, i’ll stop).

When a person becomes an EX, that word not just labels him, it defines the boundaries and sets the tone for any further relationship. An EX is a person that was once close to your heart. A person you shared everything with baring in mind of a possible future together. However, the WE became EX and your roads diverged. For the better, trust me. When an ex pops back and tries to cave you back in, try not to remember the good things. Remember the bad things. Remember why things never worked out. Remember the tears. Remember the broken promises. Remember the lies. Remember the drama. Do not set yourself good enough for the promises. Do not be content with his just words. Do not fall for the petty act. Do not fall again because of your pure heart. Do not fall because you think that he is the only one out there for you. Do not fall for the comfort of the relationship. Do not fall back into his comfort zone. Do not fall back because you are scared of any future uncertainties. Do not fall back into his arms because of the society’s pressure. NO!! You deserve better. No. You deserve the best. And the best is not hidden in that EX. It is hidden in your future. And that kind of future awaits you. That kind of Love is out there. Do not settle for less. Trust me (again).

There is a french saying that goes like this “Chasse le Naturel, Il retourne au galop” (shoo away human nature, it comes back naturally)and that is what happens slowly yet surely.

Now let’s toast to those who put their clingy exes in the in-animated tupperware closet and drink a couple of bubbly to the every woman in us!

Chin (up) chin (up)!

xo

 

 

From Bentley to Uber; an upgrade!

I was 18 years old when I started taking driving lessons with my father’s driver. I was not to keen to learn ‘manual’ and opted for the easy ‘automatic’ because like most Lebanese drivers I wanted to buy my license. However to clear my conscious (and that of the driver/teacher) we decided that I would get my license only after he didn’t feel threaten for his life on our daily lesson. And the day came and I graduated from “Anto’s Driving Academy” with flying honors and started cruising in the city in my mom’s car (to the rather arched eyes of hers).

Flash forward 13 years, after three car change and a promise of a Bentley Continental GT as my wedding gift, I made the drastic decision of selling my car as I was moving out of the country for good. For someone who has, all her life, been used to being chauffeured around and driven herself from a place to another, the mere thought of being car-less brought a panic attack onto my pampered ass.

Abroad we are all use public transportation whereas in Beirut we do not acknowledge them, which is understandable when looking at those filthy buses roaming the roads of the capital. Thankfully, the ‘service’ has upgraded itself from the famous 1980s Mercedes. But then again, we think twice before riding one (rather I do).

I learnt a lot from letting go of my comfort (place/toy/zone) and here is what I have come to realize:

We are way too attached to material things. We think that we will not be able to survive without them in our life. That they are what keep us going everyday. Slight wake up call guys! We can do without them and there are alternatives to ease us around (Uber? Private cab?).

We only acknowledge BMW, Audi and Mercedes in this country. These cars bring status. As a previous owner of one of this brand, I admit that was my sole reason behind owning one, although the gift came unexpectedly one spring day 6 years ago. I realize now that this is so over rated given the number of people who can afford one if their credit history permits them through the bank. + you cannot buy class through material things (thats a proven fact. Look around you!).

The country’s infrastructure is not too well developed to be parading with the latest model of any given high end car. I know too well how many times I had to change a tire because a nail had ruptured it. It is only these past couple of years that I came to realize how much money is thrown on unnecessary luxury when we can all do well without (what if you owned a Honda?). Here it is wise to mention that with each passing year, the price of your car depreciates. My 51K straight from the dealership merely brought me back 13K. Talk about fairness (and another panic attack).

Too much traffic. Yes. Too much due to unnecessary cars on the roads. Carpooling anyone? Or has that concept not reached the shores of Lebanon? I guess it hasn’t yet.

Now that I am back for a couple of months I am happy that I do not own a car. Why? well for the simple fact that I got my sanity back from this stressful sport. I gotten used to being driven around in Canada, (hey!!) subway station everyone. Buses too. More importantly I walk walk and walk. Just a few days ago, I walked under the rain to get to my appointment. 40min walk daily > what better way to keep your blood flowing. And I realized once again how shallow and Lebanesey I was by driving from X to Y instead of just walking the 15min trajectory (and instead of drowning in traffic for 30+min). If those reports of 500K tourists visiting Lebanon in a few weeks true, I wish you luck my fellow people.

Btw did I tell you how addicted I have become to Uber? Yeah that too.

Good Week to you all 😉

 

BookReview: Honour by Elif Shafak

It hasn’t been long since I started reading novels from Middle Eastern authors, among whom Turkish writer, Elif Shafak, my first read being “The Bastard of Istanbul”.

“Honour” is my second read from the author and to be honest I was not 100% sure I wanted to tackle a subject that is controversial; honor killing. However, I slid the book among a couple of other, bought it, got it home and left it on my bookshelf for a few weeks before grabbing it for a night read a few days ago. Contrary to other books, I felt I was pushing myself to read the first couple of chapters before the plot started to unfold and the story behind the characters started to interest me.

“Honour” is the life of a Turkish/ Kurdish family who immigrated to London in the 1970s. The book is divided into different time span and space. We have a remote Kurdish village in Turkey around the 1940’s, London during the 1970’s. And at last, 1990’s London within the confines of a prison cell and the home of one of the characters, Esma.

The story is summarized as such:

Pembe and Adem Torpak leave Turkey for London. There they make new lives for their family. Yet the traditions and beliefs of their home come with them – carried in the blood of their children, Iskender and Esma. Trapped by past mistakes, the Torpak children find their lives torn apart and transformed by a brutal and chilling crime. Set in Turkey and London in the 1970s, Honour explores pain and loss, loyalty and betrayal, the clash of tradition and modernity, as well as the love and heartbreak that can tear a family apart.

The book narrates the murder of the mother figure of the Torpak family by her eldest son, Iskender, who in turn is paying for his crime in a prison cell and voicing his story through written letters (1990’s). If you have noticed I unconsciously wrote murder and not honour killing because that is what I believe it should be labelled. I, being firmly opposed to any kind of violence when diplomacy is an available option.

“Honour” further paints the level of intolerance of western countries towards immigrants. Something that is not far-fetched from modern day society. Moreover, it shows the resistance of full integration and clash of values between the immigrants and their adoptive country.

This book affected me. Born and raised in the Middle East, I have seen the importance of the role of the Arab man in society and especially within his family. I have seen the acceptance of the Arab women of their limited role as well. This model of upbringing clashed with my own upbringing which was a blend of Middle Eastern and western values (having lived in Canada during my childhood and stayed in the UK during my adulthood).

And like any story the end plot surprises the reader with a final twist. I am not going to say more. Grab the book and have a good read!

Yours truly,

Bookish Bookworm.. xo