Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Pieces of Happiness

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What makes you happy? That is a question which can sometime be more difficult to answer than it seems. There are many aspects of achieving happiness in terms of finding your own true personal, social and professional calling. Some of us go through life in situations, hang around with people and work jobs which do not make us content at all. Quite often these things go unquestioned because that is how it has always been. Well I’m here to say shake things up! Make a change if your think you’re in a rut or are feeling the drag of the 9 to 5. Here is what you can do first. It’s simple. Write a list of activities or things which really make you happy. This can be anything from the most simple to a deeper passion. The goal should be to find 20 things. After a few trust me it will get a little harder. We have a tendency to focus on the negative more often than the positive. Now go make that list!

Examples of my own(in no particular order):
-travelling in any shape or form
-eating a bowl of noodles on the street
-stimulating conversation
-relaxing with a beer
-riding my motorbike
-writing
-playing silly games
-thinking too much
-reading
-drinking my tea
-meeting new people and hearing their story

These are just a few examples without going too deep. But dig deep even if you think it is silly, you are the only one seeing it so be truthful to yourself for once. The goal of this exercise is to help you flush out the things which make you truly happy and point you towards careers, people and activities which will make you the happiest. Wherever you are in the world or whatever you do the prime motivation behind all your actions should be backed your own personal happiness and the happiness of others in mind.

If someone asks you if your job makes you happy and the answer is not an immediate and resounding ‘yeah! It’s exactly what I want to be doing!’ Then there is a problem. Now look back to your list and it should not be hard to find a trend of things which you enjoy. Start thinking of how you can turn that into a job which allows you to get up each morning with the certainty of what you are doing is your passion. But don’t get caught up in thinking that what you’re good at and what you enjoy are the same thing. They’re not! I’m not saying go quit your job and get all new friends. I just want to give you some perspective on what makes you happy and how to combine these things to your life. We spend a large majority of our lives at work, so you owe it to yourself to do something rewarding even if it means taking a pay cut. People get trapped in cubicle lifestyles where life starts making decisions for you. Make your world your own.

My passion is travel. I enjoy working with kids. They make me laugh. I teach kindergarten so I get to colour, be silly, sing(even though I can’t) and be a kid everyday. Being a kid rocks so therefore so does my job. As a result, I combined my two passions and found a job working at an international school abroad. Last year I was able to go to eight different countries and loved almost every minute of it. I worked for what I got, I made it happen. If you want something it is up to you to find the motivation to make it come true. No one is going to do it for you. Don’t wait for the lottery, because chances are your number isn’t going to come up. Instead make your own lottery where you pull all the numbers and always win. This your life so love it. No more I can’ts and I don’ts. Find your passions, your happy spots. Be true to yourself and people around you will love you more for it. Have a goal and start today.

Musings on Returning to Paradise China

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A motorbike skids past the front end of a blue taxi. Homemade engines of trucks chug up tiny hills. The ocean wind blows cool in the humid sun. Waves crash like towers on the side of a beach. The beep of the horns and unidentifiable smells rise up from the streets. Orange ladies sweeping the road with brooms fit for witches. A store clerks sloths under a fan, a mans betel soaked teeth squirt red, enchanting umbrella ladies click by in their heels and friendly smiles of curiosity cut through the heat in the air. The banana lady, a bowl of breakfast noodles and some familiar faces. Palm trees and rats. Surprising rains and fresh fruit. Open drains and sand in my feet. The hum of my motorbike and click of the door. I’m home.

These are the general sights of unpredictability and calm i have come to love while living in China. I live in Sanya on Hainan Island, at the most southern point of all China. Most people living outside of China have never heard of this island paradise. However, it has shaped the last year of my life and will continue to mould my future. A hidden gem and emerging international destination. It is bittersweet being back after an excellent holiday in Canada with many amazing people I had been missing. A whirlwind tour that could never disappoint.

But here i am back on the island of Hainan. I always have to remind myself that i do in fact live here. On this beautiful piece of Chinese Island. A world a way from my Canadian home, wondering what this year may bring. Who will i meet and where my legs will take me. It’s almost like being given a clean slate, where anything is possible. My motivations have changed and my goals are larger. This year is everything that i want to make or take from it. That is the most exciting part. I am in complete control.

By being lucidly involved in each day, being motivated and having grand goals you are able to create a reality that is your own. The more honest you are with yourself then the more you can achieve and the happier you will be. If you cant be honest to yourself, then your missing the boat. Create the identity which represents the inner you. The one that is calling out to live. The one you’ve been hiding behind. Make your world tick a mile a minute. Time shouldn’t drag, even though it is your enemy. So as I look ahead to another year of the unknown, I blink with a smile. I open my eyes and sigh with a relief that I am exactly where I want to be. Luck is only a small part of it and i don’t really believe in that sort of thing. I believe ‘luck’ is what you make of it. This is your life. Only you can make it spin the full circle. Kick down the doors of doubt and wake up knowing you’ve already arrived.

Saying ‘YES’

Mongolian Camping The more you say ‘yes’ to life the more you will get out of it. A pretty simple concept. But one which seems more difficult when people are forced to put it into practice. We are propositioned with a myriad of different opportunities each day. However, it is up to the individual to sift through the mess in order to find the best possible situations to involve themselves in. Advertisements are one of the first and most prevalent things we may struggle with. Buy this brand of clothes, go on that vacation, eat here, shop there, new cellphone, more stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff. The number one thing for myself when it comes to my money is that I should be buying memories not things. This means spending money on things which leads to future positive memories. A plane ticket and a tent is an example of where money is spent to buy memories. No one can take the memories you make on a trip or adventure away from you. If you can avoid the advertisements which bombard you each day then you come closer to saying yes to more memorable ways of passing your time.

By saying ‘yes’ you never know where you will end up. This summer I went to Mongolia on a self-guided motorbike trip. Was I nervous? Yes of course. However, it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Throughout the journey I kept saying yes to strange and unknown situations. One day i found myself helping a local nomad with his chores which resulted in milking all of his goats in the middle of nowhere. Not all of the decisions ended up being the correct ones, but that is part of it. That is where amazing new memories come from. By making mistakes it is how we grow and become better people. Not that helping a man milk his goats was a bad decision, it was simply a result of agreeing to be apart of situations that are outside our comfort zone. Today people are too afraid of failure and looking foolish. But better that you tried and failed than not have tried at all.

Next time someone asks you to do something which makes you a bit nervous or is something you would not normally do, try and say yes. I’m not saying to jump off bridges or participate in activities which you know are dangerous, but just trying something new. ‘Yes’ is a powerful word if you know how to use it right. Your life is what you make of it. You can spend each night inside watching TV or actually get out there and make things happen. Get together with a friend, go for a bike ride or take a language class. Do something that makes your life more rewarding. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Life is exciting so say ‘yes’ to the right moments!

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