Odd co-incidences

Some call it, “God Winks” while others call it “cosmic choreography”; but regardless of the names we use to connote these mysterious co-incidences, most will admit that these are the best moments in life.

There is not a definitive term that has been coined specifically for events such as these, no one knows who or what is involved in allowing situations to naturally occur without the attempt of anything we have done ourselves. It happens to all of us, once we let go and agree to follow the path that has been made known to us. As W. H Murray (Scottish expeditions) explains, “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too”.

Thus, the only work that one does in these events, is commit oneself to the task at hand in “faith” or “fate” trusting some unknown voice that only we can hear that tells us to go ahead and do what seems unreasonable to others; yet it all makes sense to us. It isn’t easy though. Trusting something beyond ourselves is a far more complex decision than sticking with the logical world, where everything makes realistic sense. No one chooses to quit their job in pursuit of a hobby or a desire; yet that’s what Will Smith did in “Pursuit of Happiness” and that’s also what Jill Goldsmith did. She was a public defender who decided to quit her job and become a television writer for shows like Ally McBeal, Law and Order, and NYPD Blue. For both characters, both had to give up the comforts of what they knew and lived an uncomfortable life. As for Jill, she went for six months of unemployment, close to being broke, before she found herself in a “cosmic choreographic” situation. Hers happened at a chocolate factory. As she was waiting in line, a random stranger walked up behind her. The stranger agreed that Jill should go in front as they must have walked in at the same time. Jill thanked the stranger and explained that retrieving her chocolate even ten seconds earlier would make a huge difference in her happiness as she was very depressed. It turned out that who Jill was talking to was the writer and executive producer of the NYPD Blue series. The story unfold from there as the stranger wanted to hear about why she was depressed and she explained the part where she left her lawyer job in hopes of becoming a writer.

Life is truly interesting and fascinating to say the least. Life is a story that is yet to be told, but first we have to live out this awe-inspiring story so that we can tell it and re-tell it, as it is our personal story. When we allow the still small voice to direct us, the stories plots and climaxes become more interesting. Unfortunately, for this story to be this Hollywood motion picture, we have to stay in the dark until the movie is made.  In the end though, all the roads of our lives merge to form a superhighway, where everything makes sense, where all that we have learned along the way finds a place.

Change: “Proceed cautiously”

Life changes all too often and it’s mostly when one is unaware. There is never a banner that reads, “checkpoint” or “you are proceeding to the next level, proceed with caution”. Changes come up unexpectedly. I’m not saying that changes aren’t good- they are, even when it’s not in our favors. Changes help us to grow, make progress, and it teaches us different skills, like how to adapt or be more responsible. Yet, no one likes change. For me, I’m bittersweet towards it. I don’t want to remain stagnant and I don’t like when things get boring, yet at times there is fearfulness deep inside because I don’t know what’s coming.

Now, I live alone in my very own apartment. I make the rules about everything. I make the big decisions and the small ones. I do the chores and I am the only one who has the keys to my door. It feels great… outright exonerating! But how did I get here? It happened in the span of a few months, if not weeks. My new job suddenly forced me to consider the options of staying with family or moving closer to work. Second, I was offered an apartment at a very low cost, if I moved in right away. But the ultimate boost, which left me with only one option was when I was told to leave home. Was I scared? Not really. I had lived on my own before. I had prepared myself emotionally and financially because I knew that the day would come for me to leave. In truth, I was waiting for this change to happen. So this change did not catch me off guard. I wasn’t knocked off my feet, but simply rolled with it.

But change don’t always happen that way, does it? Most times we aren’t prepared. Times like when you learn that you’re pregnant but didn’t plan for it. Or getting kicked out at a young age and have no clue about what it’s like to live on your own. Or what about when a certain illness strike you or a close family member, the one where your sustenance comes from? How do you cope then? These are the changes that are so frightening and leaves that awful feeling of fear deep inside your stomach. When your thoughts can only focus on the circumstance, when sleep cannot come because your mind is uneasy. Change has come and all you have to do is to deal with it. There isn’t a way to turn back the hands of time, walk backwards so you can change the present into the past. There isn’t even a way to jump over your current present, such that your future can become your present. All that’s left is for you to deal with it, cope with it, live with it for the moment or forever. What then?

Sadly, some people entertain suicidal ideations, while others go right out and commit suicide. Some people choose unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking alcohol, smoking, or simply becoming numb, nonchalant and apathetic towards life and their current circumstances. I can’t say which one is worse. But I do know that none of these choices help us to get over the circumstances.

I recall the very first time I was kicked out, at seventeen years old, and I remember feeling this invisible cloud that was hovering over my head. I didn’t have a mother or a father to run to for refuge. I knew that my future looked great but I couldn’t figure out how I was going to overcome this obstacle in my present. I didn’t have any resource or experience to make it through this time. The only thing I knew how to do was pray. I cried to God and I told him I needed a place to stay as I was about to start university soon. Right after, I followed my heart and a week before school started I got a place on campus; a place that was filled to capacity had an opening for me! For the next five years of my life, that one drastic change enabled me to grow into a responsible adult, capable of thriving in new environments. This change turned out to be a positive. Would I want to go through the exact situation again at seventeen? No!

I remember how I felt about going off to Mexico alone at twenty-two. That same knot was present in my stomach. I felt the thrill of going to a new country, excited that I was going to live with a Mexican family for two months, but scared because I didn’t know what would happen. I had to find my own way to the family’s house. How would I tell the cab driver where I was going, with the little Spanish I spoke? But when I arrived, everything went smoothly. I figured it all out and truthfully, there was nothing to worry or feel scared about.

Now, I realize that I’ve only dealt with a few “minor” circumstances, nothing to turn my whole world upside down. No unexpected deaths, no child births, no traumatic illnesses. Neither did any natural disaster came and shook my house down, nor was there any car crashes that disfigured my face/body. People’s circumstances varies according to the lesson they are intended to learn. And as much I could not put myself in those people’s shoes, the idea is that change is something we all face at some point in life or another. So far, I’ve learned to cope with my “minor” change/obstacle and I expect that they will serve a lesson when I have to endure other major changes. The greatest feeling though, is when one can look back and feel a sense of accomplishment because one is standing at a safe and stable place. So the only problem with these changes is that, they happen too unexpectedly. Since we have to go through it whether or not we want to, it would at least be nice if there was a big Flag that read, “Change is coming! Be cautious”

What Worriers we are!

When the bible said, “If God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers … he will care for you”. What did the bible really mean? I interpret it as; we should never worry about anything, neither the smallest nor the largest. God has to ensure our safety or satisfy our needs, whenever we have them. This is my view of the scripture and since its God’s word, and His words aren’t empty, then it has to do as it says, God’s duty it to ensure that I don’t have to worry.

Speaking about worrying, last night after my shift was over I decided to use the gym at work. I wanted to get my 20 minutes work-out in and get out so I could go home. I was very happy with the fact that I motivated myself to work-out and burn some sweat. It was about the time I wanted to leave so I hurried to the door, already foreseeing myself driving and being home. But the door was locked! I literally could not get out as I did not have my work keys anymore. Moreover, the locks must have been changed as the door was never able to be locked before. My mind was growing frantic, as it entertained thoughts about having to sleep in the gym overnight. But I adjusted my frame-of-mind because I spoke the same words written in Matthew 6, “Don’t worry about these things…your heavenly Father already knows all your needs”. I know without a doubt that I would be rescued, it was just a matter of time.  Time, I didn’t want to waste though so I banged on the door repeatedly for someone to hear me; no one heard. I stood there and waited while twirling my hair, wondering should I be shouting like this? Or should I act professional? Do I have to wait for another 15 minutes when others will be ending their shifts and may wish to use the gym too? I banged and shouted even more. But I heard the bible verses in my mind again, “don’t worry…” So, I decided to get calmer and listen. It was then I heard someone’s keys, and I shouted, “Hello!!” And there a manger came to my rescue! God provided like He said He would and I must have waited for a maximum of 2 to 5 minutes.

God provides. Nothing is too hard for God. I could have easily worked up fear and anger within my heart but I refused to allow the negative thoughts to seep through and had an effect on the outcome. Such a simple lesson to learn, but when it comes down to the moment, it is often the most difficult to practice in our daily lives. In the spotlight, we are nothing but big worriers. We worry about tomorrow, the day after that, the week after this one, and the next year. We worry about our finances, we worry about being lonely, we worry about the outcomes of our children; everything becomes problematic and often we don’t try to do anything about it. We just enjoy the thing God says not to do.

Why are we like that? When God says no, we say yes. Is it because we think we’re smarter than God? Or we think He doesn’t know how we’re feeling? Does God see how frustrating it is for me to be a single mother coming from work with three children waiting for me? If God sees that I need a husband, why doesn’t He send one. That’s how we speak about God “behind His back”.   When I get like that I go to God in “prayer” and I shout at Him, sometimes I cry and sometimes I display my anger to God. I remind God what He says and I tell God that I’m starting to worry as I can’t wait anymore. The last time I did that, God did provide exactly what I wanted. Yes, I had to wait. Yes I had to preoccupy myself with other things to ease my mind from worrying. Yes, I had to constantly remind myself that God knows what He’s doing, He is in charge and I had to ask myself, “Am I not okay in spite the fact that I lack the thing I need?” And of course the answer is yes! God is still providing until He actually provides the thing we need! Ha, what an amazing God.

All in all, I know God doesn’t want us to worry, not for anything. He will provide the simplest thing we need and even those things we perceive as difficult and out of our reach. He just knows. And should He allow us to wait; it has to be for our own good. In fact, when I received my personal request from God, I started to wonder what life would have been like had he provide it for me a year before.  It just wasn’t what I would have wanted and so God also has to ensure that it is the right time for us. So, why don’t we just leave everything to God? Pray and do only those things we can and just leave the rest to Him!

Relationship Woes

There are some people who can never be out of a relationship. They tend to have steady long-term relationships and they are the ones you’re certain will get married sooner or later. But, there are those of us who can never hold a relationship down. The sooner we get into a relationship is the sooner we get out of it. We are the ones who may never get married.  I used to think I was just picking the wrong guy, but now I’m starting to wonder, could it be me who is the problem?

John and I dated for exactly three months. We had a great relationship in the beginning; it was filled with my favourite word, fun. He had a lot of energy and we did all those interesting date-like events: movies, dinner, and going for walks. Somewhere before the three month point he wouldn’t call as much. I would be the one to initiate the calls. And by the three month point, my calls didn’t seem to go through. Of course, for me, that symbolized the end of another relationship. And I moved on. I’m left livid of course because I feel disrespected and I wasted my time with another idiot.

Other times, I find that I’m the one who is just not into the guy and I also don’t answer the calls as frequent as I would. The guy becomes less appealing to me in conversations on the phone or in person. I’m not impressed by the clothes he wears and I don’t feel engaged in our interactions. When I talk to him, the conversations become mundane for me, and I’m wondering how I can end this call without being rude.  When it gets to that point, I save myself the hassle by impolitely refusing to answer his calls, and of course, like me, he gets the picture.

I wonder if it’s karma though, I’m basically sowing what I reap. Because I know my relationships have all been short-lived, I’ve come to dislike dating all together. In my last few years however, I’ve made it a duty to change my approach. I’ve been putting more efforts in all my relationships; and not just with guys only. What I’ve found was a startling difference.

Jason and I were together for six months! I invested my time and energy to build our relationship. I took the time to meet his friends and family. I went out of my way to clean his apartment and to make dinner for him on weekends. There were things I didn’t want to do, but for the sake of the relationship I did it anyway. Although our relationship ended, and I was broken-hearted, what I learnt was that it’s better to put my whole heart in the relationship than not. It added more depth and meaning to both of our lives.

Now, when I analyse myself and currently building what seems like another wonderful relationship; I feel scared. Not because I’m worrying that it might end, I’m used to that, but because this might last longer than three or six months. I’m with a guy who is actually taking everything seriously. He seems committed to building our relationship and he is leaving me no choice but to do the same. I feel that I have to call him before he calls me or I have to cook for him because he drove all that way to see me. It’s not the feeling of obligation necessarily, but rather of desire.  I feel appreciated when I do those nice things because his response is encouraging. Although we’re at the beginning phases of our relationship, it feels like I’ve already achieved what I’ve spent three months building with other guys.

But while the interactions have all been nothing short of amazing, like he is everything I imagined in a guy; I’m starting to feel afraid. What if he really is the one I’m going to marry?  Will that mean I can never date again? I will never be in another three-month relationship. I can never dump another guy and get a new one. I will actually have to commit to this one relationship for the rest of my life. Other women find this to be a relief in their lives, but I’m feeling jitters in my stomach. I’m not so sure I want this kind of commitment. Where will the excitement go? What if the fun ends? What If I’m tired of waking up with the same guy on my bed? What if he snores too loud and I can’t get rid of him because it’s his room and his bed too. What should I do then?

So when I look back on my short-lived relationships, I’m thinking that this may have been my mechanism for getting out of what could become a long-term commitment. Though the separations leave me upset, I normally bounce back in no time and regain excitement from the next new guy. Now, I realized, it was never the guys who were at fault, it was me all along. I have been undeniably feeding my own fears of commitment all these years. And I’m wondering will I do the same in this ecstatic new relationship I’m in?

Oops, I did it again

Three months exactly, and he didn’t see it coming. I gave him an ultimatum and now it’s over. Is it my fault? Well it usually is. I don’t know how my subconscious mind detects timeframes. What I do is make changes that the guy just cannot live up to and expect him to change himself. Is it that I think I should get whatever I want, whenever I want? Do I think I somehow possess superpowers, so that any frog from the pond will magically change into a prince? When will I get it? At twenty-seven years old, you’d think I would learn.

All these years I’ve been dating frogs and it seems I haven’t grasped any of the lessons. I replay the same dating situations over and over again. How could I expect John to suddenly sleep elsewhere when all along he sleeps in my home when he visits? Why do I think he is now going to spend his Sundays in church with me when Sunday is the only day he gets to sleep in? After he received the ultimatum he said, “It seems like I’m being punished for all the other guys”. He found it hard to adjust to a life with me; because it would mean that his life would have had to change. He already travelled over two hours to visit me, “how much more will I have to sacrifice?” he said. I don’t blame him. I can’t tell him that I’m going to marry him when I don’t know that. So, truthfully I think John made the right choice to stay in his comfort zone. Frogs like the pond, why would they move into a castle?

I want a prince, not a frog. Why then do I keep walking to the pond hoping to find a prince? If church is so important to me, for God’s sake why don’t I just pick a guy that already goes to church? If marrying an intelligent and educated man is so important to me, why do I keep picking the ignorant? The decision seems easy but I don’t often get the details about the guy’s life until the three month point, and that’s when I realized, he wasn’t the prince I thought he was. It’s not my intension to date frogs or to change them, it’s just that while hoping for a prince and thinking I found one, I realized, he’s nothing but a frog.

At three months though, I never cling to the frog when I realize that’s what he is. I throw them back in the pond and I move on. The mistake I make is that I always find a different pond to look. So it is my fault, not John’s. John was wonderful, better than any other guy I met. Sure there were a few things that I disliked, but all together he was ideal. My only requirement was that he needed to commit to God and commit to going to church. And knowing what I know about him, he would have gone to church with me and enjoyed it. But when you add the fact that he doesn’t live in the same country as I do and it was getting expensive to see me, choosing to be with me would just be too much. John wasn’t just a frog, he was closer to being a prince and although we ended it, I’m wondering if a divine presence could work things out, for I now know that I do not possess any superpowers.

When I do start searching again, I will use my own intelligence and do more of an in-depth examination of the man; to be sure he is not another frog. Now, I know my prince is not going to magically appear, I’m going to have to find him in a castle and not the usual ponds I like to frequent.

Highway Troubles, A look in the Spirit

There is a popular jargon which goes, “life is like a highway” but in the life of a Christian our spiritual life can also be contrasted to this saying. I taught myself how to drive on the highway but it came with many wrong turns, frustrations, and constant advice. I would have loved to have a personal navigator sitting in the passenger seat every time I needed to go somewhere; but would I have felt confident as fast as I did? I doubt it. In fact the first time I took the highway and made a wrong turn, late at night, I learned my lesson; or when I went in the Express lane when I shouldn’t have; I never made that mistake again. I was cautious when it came to signs and I was proactive. I commend myself greatly though, because there are many people out there that can drive but fear prevents them from taking the highway. Instead they drive the one hour instead of the thirty minutes it would typically take to get to their destinations.

On my first 20 trials on the highway, I had to get direction going to my destination and back. When I did not get direction and I thought I could do it on my own, I’ve found myself in countless places. There were times that I found myself headed towards the airport when my destination was work- and I don’t work at the airport. Most recently I was headed east of the city and I wanted to try taking the DVP (Don valleyParkway), but I went south instead; and found myself downtown. I arrived at my destination after two hours of travel!

What I’m alluding to is that the highway can be a really scary place and its worse when you’re not a risk taker. Tonight I fascinated myself because I was taking the Collector’s but then I read a sign that one lane was blocked so I decided to go into the Express Lane knowing that I should be able to get off easily at my exit. I later read a sign that the exit that I needed to take was closed and of course months ago I would have been crying because I would be going on a wild goose chase to get home. At the hour of 11pm I didn’t have time to roam the city when I needed to get to work early the following morning. Lucky me, I followed my heart and continued driving in the Express lane on the 401 W and found an exit that I had gotten lost on. I knew that road would take me home safely because I tried it before and it worked. I was not scared or worried because I knew what I was doing. I did not need to call anyone for direction advice because I knew the roads or the ropes.

Our spiritual life can be like that. While we’re new to the highway it comes with fear, challenges, and struggles. It’s a really scary place when you think of it. All kinds of scary vehicles are on the road with you and they all just want to get to their own destinations. The issue is that you have a specific destination and you have to know it. You can’t pick someone on the highway and follow behind them thinking that that person’s path will take you where you need to go.

At first when you start out you need advice to get you from point A to point B. But it’s amazing because after a while we grow up. We take the highway so many times that we understand how to plan our trip, when to go in which lane and at what time. We become savvy at paying closer attention to the signs because we realize that those signs actually are crucial in the journey. First you need to pay attention to those signs that dictates the road you turn on and so forth, but then there are other signs that tell me where the problems are and those are also important to follow. Construction can cause you to take a different lane.

God also gives us signs that we need to watch for. We’ve been in the Christian walk for a long time and as Paul says we are no longer babes that desire milk but we need to eat strong food. We can’t be depending on someone else for life’s directions, there are times when we need to mature and help ourselves. Be the big people we are. And we can’t be following someone else’s path because that is not our own. We also need to be quick with our decision making. The Christian life really is like a highway. When we overcome and pass every test and jump over every struggle we face, it is a joy and a testament. We are ready to do more for God, we’re wiser to help others, and better equip to get to heaven someday.

He says he wishes he was a Christian… (the counterargument)

He says he wishes he was a Christian… for the few benefits that comes with Christianity: “the feeling of belonging and being part of something bigger than (himself)”, and “because (he has) apparent riches waiting on (him) in the afterlife”. Or is he critizing Christianity because he only sees it from the outsider perspective looking in?

If I must begin to enlighten you about Christianity, it might be too complex for you to grasp. It entails having faith for starters. Faith, is a concept the bible defines as, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). This alludes to the fact that no man can come to Christ lest he has faith. That is, faith to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Messiah, died for our sins, went to hell to take the keys of death, so that death cannot hold us bondage, has risen from the dead, and will come again to save our souls. Sorry, that might be too much to grasp but that’s where Faith comes in.

The Second complicated aspect of Christianity is that, it is not about the carnal nature (that is the skin and bone, fleshy body) that you see in and around you; rather it’s about the Spirit. On this point, the bible says “those that are in the flesh cannot please God… and if you do not have the Spirit of Christ you are not of his” (Rom 8:8-9). In essence, you can’t let your carnal nature dictates and do those things you wish; such as “hav(ing) dirty sex with a hot girl or indulge in some recreational drugs or get drunk as a skunk”. Those things are not of God. While you may believe that blaming things on the devil is irresponsible, you have to believe that if it is not of God then it has to be of the devil.  Christians do not carelessly “blame the devil when (we) display aspects of (our) sociopathic and destructive nature”; but when we are tempted we know that, temptation does not come from God. 

“For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death”. (St James 1: 13-15)

The Third complex issue about Christianity pertains to the Spiritual war that is going on. Some say it is the war between good and evil. This war resulted in Lucipher (Satan) being kicked out of heaven and continues to reside on earth. Since then he has tempted both Adam and Eve by deceiving them. He did this by turning the truth into a lie. Lucipher continues to do this today. We are being deceived in our minds about all that God had said was true; which is causing God to be angry at us: “For the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness to men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom 1:18).

Romans 1:19- 23

“… what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,  because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools…”

As a result God has given them up to uncleanness, the lusts of their hearts, to dishonour their bodies, and vile passions, and even the women has exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Thus, if you understood the world of the spirit then you will understand that there is a war going on. This Spiritual war is happening in your mind, when we wrestle against good and evil every day.

However, as you state, you now understand the difference between “living and existing”, do you? While there is a difference between the above, there is also a difference in “living” and living for Christ. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own…and they will hear My voice” (John 10:14-16). So while you’re watching the other “little sheep follow the script” and living for Christ, why don’t you continue to “live”.

To conclude, as a Christian we also take responsibility of our lives, contrary to what you think. We acknowledge that it is not ours and that is why we need to live for Christ. We are the sheep and we know our Shepphard’s voice. So whenever He calls we learn how to pick up our crosses and follow him. We understand that our body is a living temple of God for the 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 states, “…do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”. Therefore as Christians, our responsibility is to glorify God with our heart, our mind, and with our spirit.

My Revolutionary Road II

When I look back at my life over the last year I find that my life is carrying me on the same revolutionary road I talked about in the prequel to this article. Now that I have a job, it seems that there are these expectations I need to meet, “otherwise why do I have a job?” society is subconsciously saying.

Within the first month of working, I hear my co-workers badgering me, “With all that money you’re making, why don’t you have a car?” And my friends suddenly worried, “get a car, it’ll be convenient and easier”. I can’t help but think, there are so many people without a car why can’t I be one of them. Moreover, it’s not that I was completely against having a car, it’s just that I didn’t want to purchase one so soon. I wanted to do the rare thing, save!

Six months passed, I still don’t have a car. I wanted to purchase other important things that I also needed, and to get them out of the way. So when I have a car insurance that I’ll be paying til the day I die, I won’t have to feel pressured with all the bills I’m accumilating. I guess this is a clear sign that I am an adult, bills and debt are accruing! I have my own little apartment, so I have managed to create a monthly rental bill for myself. Recently someone jokingly said to me, “Buy a T.V!” My first thought was, “Why is everyone so concerned about me buying stuff?”  Apparently there are a few things we North Americans have to have: a house, a phone, a computer and a car. Within another 2-5 years, I will have to get a house because someone will remind me that I don’t have one. Why is society so bent on all of us having the same things? And normally people have all of these materialistic things, but never have money. Like every North American I also need those things we coined “necessities” because I find that it’s difficult without them. I’m glad that I went to work for 6 months without a car, because I did what most people wouldn’t have done.

Those people who tend to have those “things”, you can never ask them for money, because they never have any. There money is tangled up in all those debt they created. I’m doing well though, I actually plan and save for the future. I choose to do what’s best, not what people think is important to do. I’m learning to become financially responsible. The one debt I have is my student loan and I’m trying to keep it that way. Not because I live in North America means I need to have hundreds of debt.

Although I’m walking on the same road as society, I’m walking cautiously. Avoiding all the mistakes that too many people make- buying everything all at once and then realizing they can’t handle it, living pay cheque to pay cheque. I just don’t want to struggle financially. It seems harder with children and a family though. And I’m really thankful I don’t have that. I don’t have the additional bills that so many people have.  Every day, every year I’m learning and living something new.

This stage of my life is becoming interesting and exciting. I’m accumulating those materialistic necessities all on my own and I’m happy, because like I said, I chose to do it cautiously.

Gate Keepers in your path

In life, there are some people whose role it is to block another from getting ahead. They stand in your way, even when there is absolutely nothing at stake for them. These people, I refer to as the gatekeepers of life.

A few days ago, I was out with a reporter who was collecting information about the tornado that hit the region of Vaughan. We noticed that the house that she intended to visit had a whole lot of construction going on; expectantly considering that was one of the house that the tornado damaged. The workers were completely blocking the drive way, but since Josie, the reporter, was not completely certain whether that was the exact house, she had to ask the construction workers for help. She kindly let them know that, she was a reporter and wanted to meet with the owner of the house. “Excuse me, does this house belong to Sarah?” The first man shrugged his shoulders as he sauntered away. “Would I be able to pass?” There was no response because the man was already out of sight. A second man walked out of nowhere, “Ma’am you might get hurt, you can’t walk here”. The reporter repeated her initial question to this man hoping that he might have some answers. But he had no idea who the owners were. “Would you be able to see if the owners are home?” The second man went to ring the door bell. Immediately both the reporter and the owner recognized each other and exchanged contact so they would be able to communicate on a later date.

Those ineffectual construction workers never had to make the connecting as difficult as it was. Although the men were just doing their jobs and had nothing to do with the owner, the situation could have been resolved without the unnecessary hassle they placed on it. And even though it was not the responsibility of the construction workers to connect strangers to the owner, a child could have figured out what the right thing to do was.

Those gatekeepers are often more potent on the phone. We always get those receptionist who feel that they need to block everyone from getting through to the manager. They will twist their hair and do their nails as they have you wait; because they really don’t care about your needs. Sure, it also has to do with the way your tone is and your phone etiquette, but if you don’t play your cards right, you won’t get the help you need. This is precisely where I got the term from- those receptionist or admins are the real gatekeepers. And knowing that life has many of them, we all have to know how to get around them?

Leslie Buterin, in her blog: Cold calling, Mistakes you must not make with Gate Keepers, suggests that you “Think about the gatekeeper as a professional who truly wants a mutually satisfactory outcome for all parties; change your language and tone and address her in a way that gives her place and position as the executive that she truly is; and watch in awe and wonder as the one you thought of as a pit bull transforms into your strongest ally”. To do this, you should attempt to refer to the administrator by her first name, be respectful and don’t utter rude comments.

We live in a world where we will always need help and we get this from people, some known and others unknown. Everyone wants to be respected and appreciated and when there is a lack, no one wants to help us. No one wants to help a meany. Therefore, we have to keep in mind, when faced with an assumed gate keeper, that at times it’s not really that. It’s someone that wants to be seen and feel kindness. My intention is to see everyone as my friend and treat them with equal importance. That way they get their appreciation from me and I get what I want, a mutually satisfactory outcome.

Adulthood, when does it happen?

The law explicitly states that an adult is someone who has reached the age of majority; usually around age 18 to 21 depending on the jurisdiction. Upon that time, a person has the ability to exercise their right to vote, to get married, obtain a driver’s license, drink alcoholic beverages or sign legally binding contracts. But often, in spite this age of majority and our new adult privileges, we don’t always feel like adults much less act like one. So, when exactly do we accept this coming of age?

For years, I have been over 18 and I cannot, for the life of me give up my childish tendencies. I tend to whine like a child, complain like a child, skip to places like a child, grin and make funny faces like a child, hug the elders in my family by wrapping my whole arm around them like a child, and on occasions ask for piggy back rides like a child. For the past 5 years, I’ve been telling my friends that one day I’m going to grow up and accept being an adult. Their response to me usually is, “yea, right!”. Sometimes I wonder when this physical maturity will kick in completely.

After turning 25, and still observing the child in me, I started to become a little worried. Is it possible that I may have inherited my mother’s playful side on a more pronounced level? I unspokenly made a vow to myself that I was going to start acting more like an adult. Since then, I find myself breaking my unspoken covenant time and time again. I told myself that maybe my immature behavior might very well be a part of who I am. In fact, it is me who often cheer myself up with my at times silly, cheery, charismatic and childish personality; and it is this very same personality that cheer up a lot of my at times distressed friends. Upon relinquishing my attempt to break my covenant, I surprised myself the other day.

It was unlike any other day because I made a decision on the spur of the moment, to rent a car. Although I talked to friends about my irrational decision, they said nothing to deter me. Instead, one friend spontaneously agreed to come along for the ride. It left me even more convinced and excited about driving my Nissan Versa 2009 around the city.

For one day, this car was going to be mine. Admittedly, throughout the day, I forgot I had the keys so there were times when I walked to the passenger’s seat forgetting that I was the driver. When I did remember though, I smiled inside. This whole experience gave me a feeling of empowerment and control over my life, something I haven’t really felt before. It was always difficult to see myself in my very own car mainly because I link owning a car with being an adult, and at this point, I still haven’t felt like one. Having the car for one day enabled my mind to mentally visualize myself not just in my own car, but my own house, having my own children- and in essence taking on the responsibilities of adulthood. Balter and Tamis-LeMonda agrees, in their book, (Child psychology: a handbook for contemporary issues), that “responsibility is the key to an adult status because it has such strong connotations of self-sufficiency and self-reliance”.

I suppose becoming an adult is not just having the law acknowledging so, or family members emphatically insisting that you ‘become one!’ Instead, it’s more the amount of adult-like experiences you have. The more your mind is cognitive of doing adult things the more you feel like one. As for me, I’m mentally ready to take on larger ownerships and bigger responsibilities (like my own full-time job and my own Jeep Liberty). Until then, I’ll be well on my way to accepting adulthood.