Friendships and lessons in life

We all know that having friends is important. Having good friends is like having gold. True, deep, meaningful friendships, not the assortment that are acquaintances.

Look at the friends that you have around you. Do they support you during good times and bad, uplift you, push you to improve, be a better person, ground you, keeping it real? Do they accept you for who you really are, which include all your qualities, good and bad? Do they respect you, value your time and what is important to you?

Some friendships are forged through trials by fire, shared experiences. While most are developed through time, I believe that some of us are linked during this lifetime through mysterious cosmic wonder. I am thankful for the friends that I have and thank God for them.

Here are some things that I would like to share with you; words of advice I wish I knew of during my young adult years. As a woman, I have learnt that:
• true friends stay close no matter the distance
• true friends do not throw you under the bus for their own selfish benefit or reason
• other single women are often the most untrustworthy when giving relationship advice, especially when you are newly dating
• everyone make mistakes but you should think hard whether that friendship is worth repairing or salvaging
• you may come around to forgive someone’s mistakes or transgressions but you do not forget them, especially when you are the one betrayed
• you should never be too proud to admit to your own mistakes and learn from them
• you continue to make new friends throughout your life – from childhood, high school, college, work, through circle of friends
• friendship is a two-way street; do your part to nurture it
• there is diversity in your circle of friends; value and accept them for who and what they are
• men can be great friends, until they become your ex (there are a few exceptions men can stay on as good friends. Usually after a lengthy period of time – years – has passed)
• you should listen to your parents and seek their advice – they have insights and experience you could learn from
• you should listen to your intuitions, develop a way to keep it in tune and pay attention to it
• it is better to pause and reflect instead of reacting strongly in the heat of the moment
• you should say what you mean and mean what you say, as often as possible
• having ‘alone time’ is often a good way to enjoy your own company
• loving yourself is important. Make time to say to yourself, “I love you” and learn to praise yourself while standing naked in front of the mirror
• being single by choice is your right; enjoy it
• there is joy in giving without expectations…until the receiver abuses your generosity and trust
• singing out loud or dancing alone to your favorite songs are enjoyable ways of self expression
• reading ‘chick lit’ or watching ‘chick flicks’ are not guilty pleasures, just fun
• life is a journey; learn to take in the good with the bad

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Friendships and lessons in life

A patriot activist?

Over the past two days, my friends and I participated in the Bersih rally to show our support and solidarity with fellow Malaysians. It was my first time participating in a rally and the camaraderie was peaceful, jovial and vibrant. We chanted, sang along and echoed more chants to join our voices with fellow patriots as we walked along the roads to and from Dataran Merdeka. As I viewed various photos of the event on social media, particularly the aerial photos, I could identify the routes we had walked, points where we had either stood or sat down to listen to the speeches, rest or watch activities unfold.

I am grateful for being able to leave the rally on both days safe. Safe in the sense that we were not pick-pocketed, not hurt in a mob crush, not beaten by the police, not injured by tear gas or water cannons. I was fearful at first, prepared for the worst during the first day, bringing a home-made gas mask, bottles of water, towel, umbrella, raincoat, a change of clothes, snacks, pen and paper. On the second day, my knapsack was considerably lighter, my fears lessened and I felt more courage and conviction to continue supporting the rally with my presence.

The most memorable part was on late Sunday night, sitting on a road median right under the LRT track, feeling the ground vibrate as the train passed by over head as the crowd roared in unison. The feeling of connection that we were united in our need to have a better future in this country had never been more palpable. We were citizens living in the moment, and as a group, we sent a clear message to the delusional corrupt current leaders in power.

As for further actions to realize the removal of a corrupt government and having clean, true democratic elections in the future, I look forward with great hope. I registered to vote earlier this year and am going to do my part in the next election. I urge those who have not yet registered to do so, and that when the time comes, we shall exercise the right to vote in government representatives that shall serve the interests of the people , to be accountable for their actions, and strive for the success of a country so rich in resources and is full of greater potential.

Right now a rendition of “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper is playing on the radio and I think of the sea of yellow clad crowds; the true colors of my country are showing loud and proud, and I am ever hopeful for the waves of change towards a brighter future for my country.

A patriot activist?

Reading I

I recently started reading “Sea of Poppies” by Amitav Ghosh and a bookmark fell out from its inside cover, presumably tucked in by a kind cashier of a book shop. It said, “No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting ~ Mary Wortley Montagu”. This made me smile and made me think that surely the same applies to music, as I listened to the radio while reading my book.

I am sure many of you have come across the quote “Reading is the cheapest way to travel”. This is resonates with me as I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction, and I enjoy reading travel guides to places in my travel bucket list. I enjoy reading books where my mind is transported to another world, delving into the life of the story. Reading has been a way for me to escape the realities of life, to dream and to learn. I read about 3 books a month on average, mostly fiction and prefer the genres of fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thrillers and romance.

With fantasy novels, I have come to the point where if I come across a series, I would normally wait until I have the complete trilogy or series on hand before I start reading them. It is painful to wait for the next book to be published; I am like a pathetic addict in withdrawal if I am unable to complete a trilogy or series as I simply need to know how the story concludes.

As I wait anxiously for George RR Martin to publish the next book in his well-known series, along with Samantha Shannon and Anne Bishop for their next novels, I have just finished the latest book by Lee Child from his entire Jack Reacher series. Jack Reacher is my new fictional heartthrob and hero – tall, muscular, cerebral and ultra sexy. It is most unfortunate that Tom Cruise has bought the movie rights to Lee Childs’s books and starred as the main character in the first movie; have heard that he will also star in the next movie from the series. That diminutive bland aging actor has seriously ruined my favorite dream men by playing Jack Reacher and the vampire Lestat. I gag at the sight of him and cannot comprehend his appeal.

OK, enough bitching and moaning! Back to my adventure in exotic India on board a ship full of interesting characters…

Reading I