From the 2018 me

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I have so many mixed feelings about 2018. This year has been a roller coaster of all the emotions across the human spectrum and I can only say I rode through it all.

What are some big lessons from this year? I learned about death – how it feels to have someone die and have you be left in this world. I learned how to handle grief, or at least how to handle it sometimes. I learned how to find my self-worth and self-respect after losing it. I learned how to forgive myself and others who hurt me. I learned how to pick myself up from the bottom of the pit. I learned how to love someone again.

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A surprise stroke.

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My dad had a stroke recently and even though it was a minor stroke, the whole ordeal has been greatly concerning for my family and I. This is because I don’t think my dad takes the repercussions very seriously and also because I just have no idea on what to do if my dad has another stroke or experiences permanent damage.

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Happy weight

 

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So I’ve gained 15 lbs in the last 2 months and when I tell people this, they roll their eyes and tell me, “You’re tiny!” “I can’t tell!” “Don’t worry!” but hey the fact still remains. I’ve gained 15 lbs in a relatively short amount of time and I really think this is just the tipping point. I think I am going to lose control. 15 lbs is just the beginning…

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On saying goodbye to friends

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With my best friend’s birthday just happening this week, I’ve been thinking about friendship and how it changes over the years.

What do I mean by that? I mean that sometimes friends leave you, sometimes you leave your friends, and sometimes you are still friends but everything is both different and the same at the same time (how is that possible?)

For example, this year I’ve had several friends leave me. I’ve had a friend pass away from cancer – a devastating event. I had a friend leave me probably because it was hard for her to be with me – I remind her of painful memories. And I had another friend who left because of a lack of communication that led to unresolved conflicts and built up resentment. All of this is sad, and I would love to say that somehow we made it through but the truth is that we didn’t.

What are some things I’ve realized about friendship over the years? The first realization is that friends don’t always talk or see each other. This may not be a surprise for some of you, but for me it was difficult to comprehend because I am super extroverted. I didn’t understand why my best friends wouldn’t want to message each other daily or hang out every weekend. I felt lonely, as if we weren’t as close as before. It took me awhile to understand that everybody needs some alone time. Most people need more than me and I had to respect that.

The second realization was when everyone started to get busy and I felt a disappointment in my expectations. I was busy too, but sometimes it felt like I made more effort to see my friends than they did. I would transit 2 hours by myself just to go for a catch-up dinner, but I wouldn’t be as confident to say they would do the same for me. I now admit that not everybody will make time for me or they’ll do other things for me and it doesn’t mean they don’t care about me.

The third realization is about letting go. In my world, everything can be fixed if you talk about it. Not everybody is a mind reader and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt that they don’t know what they’re doing is upsetting you, so if you talk about it, you’ll be able to understand and say or do things differently. Some people disagree and think it’s not genuine this way, that “trying” to make it work means it’s not working. And some people I think have already let go of you, so they are not interested in talking or working out anything.

That is probably the most difficult realization for me – not everyone wants to be my friend forever. That sounds kinda stupid, but if you put a lot of time into building your relationships with others, it’s sad to see it fall apart. Sometimes it’s no one’s fault.

I know I’m not the perfect friend and no one can be there for you all the time. I know friends and even lovers will disappoint each other, anger each other, make each other cry, but I do still believe that if you want things to work with someone, you will find a way to understand each other and I am willing to do the work for anyone who is willing to do the same for me. All relationships require some kind of work, whether it feels like work or not.

I have some amazing friends who have been with me for 14 years or more. I have some not-so-close friends surprise me. I have friends with all sorts of issues of their own, but when I meet up with them and they tell me stuff like, “You seem so happy now, I am happy for you”.

It makes me realize that there are more people who care about you than you’d think. There are friends who worry but don’t know what to say, friends who want to help but don’t know how to, friends who think about you and care about you.

Yes, friends change over time because people change. Situations change too and your friendships may not be operating in the same ways anymore, but I argue that the very essence of your friendship remains the same. It’s not always about having the same interests or living close by. You are friends because you brighten up each other’s life, whether that be being able to make each other laugh or relax, or sharing pain together.

You are friends because you care about each other, and even if you are no longer friends, it doesn’t mean you no longer care about them either. It doesn’t mean your happy memories in the past don’t mean anything. They were all a part of building the you of today.

I thank everyone who has been a part of my life so far, whether they are still in it or not. If you have been my friend before, then I hope you letting go of me has also given you even more happiness than you’ve given me.

Sincerely, Loewe

I’ve been sleep talking.

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So I never knew I did this but I have now been informed that I mumble things when I am asleep or when I am about to fall asleep. This can be truly horrifying for anyone who is sleeping in the same room as me, depending on what I say in the middle of the night in complete darkness. Most of it is gibberish or I fade off, but this is apparently some of the stuff I’ve said so far:

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Gratitude – it’s a skill you need.

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My family doesn’t celebrate thanksgiving, but I would like to celebrate gratitude because I was lacking quite a lot of it last year.

I always thought gratitude was being thankful, and while that certainly is true, I never really thought about gratitude as a skill. By this I mean that you can actually practice gratitude and get better at it.

What are some benefits of practicing gratitude?

  1. Gratitude helps make new relationships and improve old ones. Acknowledging and appreciating someone’s existence and efforts is definitely a nice thing. Even saying “thank you” to strangers or acquaintances can open a new opportunity for an ongoing relationship.
  2. Gratitude improves your physical health. Grateful people are more likely to take better care of his or her health, exercise more often, and seek regular medical check-ups.
  3. Gratitude improves your mental health. It reduces negative emotions such as envy, regret and frustration. It increases happiness and reduces depression.
  4. Gratitude improves your EQ. Grateful people are more likely to have higher empathy towards other people even if they are not treated kindly in return.
  5. Gratitude improves your sleep. Who doesn’t want more of that?
  6. Gratitude improves your self-esteem. Apparently, if you practice gratitude, it reduces tendencies to compare yourself to others. Grateful people are able to appreciate others’ successes and happiness, so don’t be the guy who doesn’t.
  7. Gratitude improves mental strength. This is more related to trauma (e.g. wars, terrorist attack, death). It reduces your stress and is a major driver in building resilience even in the worst of times, which can be a dark place if you are alone.

So there! 7 reasons (with research to support it) on why gratitude is such an important skill to your own well-being. And I think the most overlooked thing in all this is that gratitude is FREE, doesn’t have to take too much time, and anyone is capable of doing it – we just don’t sometimes.

You can practice gratitude in whatever way works for you. You can take a few moments out of your day – when you wake up, before you go to bed – just to think about things and people you are grateful for. You can have a gratitude log – one sentence a day can be enough. You can have a list and update it whenever you want and look back on it.

Gratitude literally sounds like the simplest way to improve your life satisfaction at a slow and steady pace. It might not get you what you think you want right away (that job promotion, the perfect partner, millions of dollars) but it opens the door for new opportunities and perspectives that make you a happier person and let’s face it – the happier you are, the better you treat others, the better you treat yourself, and the better life treats you back as a butterfly effect of everything.

If you were looking for an exit sign out of your own pity party, this is it. Be grateful, try to be if you aren’t. Practice gratitude and watch your happiness increase over time. This is your time here on this earth and things aren’t always gonna be easy and wonderful but equip yourself with the foundation and the tools to appreciate the people and the things in your life that will ultimately help you through your toughest times.

Sincerely, Loewe 

Coming from a good place

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One of my favourite quotes is “living well is the best revenge.

People who hate you? You know what they hate more than just you? A happy you.

This quote resurfaced for me once more when I heard and read some hurtful things about me from other people. Thankfully, I wasn’t hurt and I think that’s all because I am in a very happy and good place right now.

To me, those words and the people it came from didn’t matter to me – they even sounded a little silly. When I thought about it some more, I realized that I felt sad for them, even. It was a weird realization, but I think it boils down to this:

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