2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Why? A Tribute to Connecticut Tragedy

A normal school day

Playing with friends in the yard

Drawing animals

And learning the art

 

Out of the blue a strange man approached

He took out a rifle and many were shot

No batting an eyelid or blinking an eye

Innocent children were not ready to die

 

Brave teachers attempted to stop the mad man

But no one could halt his malevolent plan

Many dead bodies lie around the school

The last gunshot sound takes out the fool

 

The gunman is lifeless too little too late

The sirens finally get to the gate

Why, but why did they have to die?

The town prepares to say their goodbye

 

The parents are weeping

The screams feel the air

How did this happen? This isn’t fair!

 

Their worst nightmares come true

No parent should bury a child

No one can comprehend

The gravity of what has transpired

 

This should be the time for authority figures

To step to the mark and make some hard decisions

No twenty year old should be carrying a gun

Tougher laws are a must or we’re back at square one

 

In light of the tragedy affecting so many souls

Isn’t it time to impose stronger gun controls?

 

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Parenthood – a job not for the faint-hearted

Parenthood as a concept can only be fully understood by adults once they embark on this scary yet breathtakingly exciting journey.

The woman, as the nature intended, goes through the pregnancy fearing childbirth and managing the symptoms, like morning (or as it should be known in most cases ‘all day’) sickness, increased or loss of appetite, gaining weight, enduring back, leg and other pains, whilst trying to envisage what lies ahead.  At the same time, her partner attempts to assist, in most cases, in any way possible whilst also enduring unknown emotions and not being able to grasp just how their lives will change in a matter of months.

Once the baby is born, the woman understands that childbirth was not as scary in comparison as caring for a completely helpless little soul, especially with the first child. Nappies (or, as they are also referred to, diapers), wipes,  lots of mess and total lack of sleep become part of the daily routine.  Getting out of the house becomes a coordinated military mission. Catching up with friends and family requires advance notice and lots of planning.

A year goes by and the parents, in their rare moments of sanity, ponder on just how different things have become.  Priorities have shifted, social life has taken a beating and any thought of sleep now brings back distant memories of feeling rested.  However, in the same year valuable skills have been acquired on how to look after a child, including feeding, bathing, playing and teaching.  Each new day brings parents increased awareness that caring for a child bears enormous responsibility of not just bringing up a human being, but making all possible attempts in shaping their offspring into a good, kind, well-mannered and well-educated member of our society.  However, with all the responsibility suddenly being placed on the shoulders of the parents, there is also an amazing gratification of experiencing unfamiliar feelings such as unconditional love.  A smiling or peacefully sleeping baby seems to bring total happiness to all members of the household.

As kids grow up, nappies, milk and toilet training are replaced by homework, children’s weekend activities, play-dates with their friends (and respective parents of those friends regardless whether they are liked or not), school concerts and finding answers to never-ending questions.  A mother, who was previously longing to hear ‘mum’ from her little one now gets rather annoyed after the 27th time of hearing it in less than a minute.  Asking the same mother whether she gets any sleep would most likely trigger the response of “Sleep? What sleep? Oh…sleep is overrated anyway”.  It has been said that “the older the child, the larger the problems”.  And so the journey continues…

Being a parent myself, I can categorically say that having children has changed my life perception completely, reorganised my priorities and the things I consider important.  However, it was a change for the better. I love my kids, I cherish my not so long ago acquired status of a mother and would not change it for the world. Like many other parents, I have a long and tiresome road ahead of me with lots of road blocks.  It is the biggest job of my life but I am up for the challenge.

If you are considering having children in the near future, brace yourself for a ride of your life but enjoy every moment along the way. As Democritus stated: “raising children is an uncertain thing; success is reached only after a life of battle and worry”.

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Life journey

Horrid nightmares

Living on edge

Going through childhood and wishing you were dead

 

Begging for mercy

Not seeing the light

Eventually finding the courage to fight

 

Years go by

You move on in life

You seek to belong and that special someone

 

But hope is short-lived

Mistakes are made

Heartbreaks compile

You see no escape

 

As you continue your mundane existence

Pretending to smile and keep the appearances

You stop and acknowledge your heart is hollow

You scream out loud and there’s no one to follow

 

And just as you almost give up in your fight

You open your eyes and you can see the light

 

A gentle smile

Warmth from within

Promise of love

But you are not giving in

 

You fight with yourself as you are scared of love

Until realising it is a gift from above

For all that you’ve suffered and all that you’ve lost

You are given a chance better than most

 

You heart is ready and willing to love

No struggle at all – it fits like a glove

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Think before you speak

How many times have you said something without thinking and regretted saying it the minute those words came out of your mouth?  Most of us have done it plenty of times to know that unpleasant feeling that overtakes your inner soul and makes you gasp for air as you have upset another human being with your inability to stop and think before speaking. This is even worse if such other is someone dear to you, a close friend, a partner or a family member.

Why do we say things without thinking? I could name many reasons, including being tired, in a hurry, anxious about something unrelated, trying to find a quick solution, running late, but there are plenty more.

So how do you prevent circumstances where you end up regretting what you have said.  The most obvious solution is to think before you speak.  As a Russian proverb states: “a word is not a sparrow, once it flies out, you cannot catch it.”  However, this is easier said than done.  We say things in the heat of the moment.  We often do not pause to think even though we should.

Is there a solution to our impulsiveness? Pause for a second, breeze in and take a leaf out of the stories of Winnie the Pooh, as even Winnie says “a little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference”.   This is in no way a discouragement from being honest with others, just a reminder to consider the contents of what you are about to say and how it may affect the other person.

In the worst case scenario, if it is too late and you have blurted out something you did not mean to say or, if you had given it any consideration, should not have said, make sure you apologize and explain yourself.  Take responsibility for your words and acknowledge your mistake. As for the future – learn your lesson, as only fools make the same mistake twice.

Remember the words of Confucius – “Consideration for others is the basic of a good life, a good society”.

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Integrity – is yours intact?

The word ‘integrity’ is often thrown around and talked about, yet not many have considered its true meaning.

As it is first and foremost a concept derived from ethics, integrity is defined as honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s action.  When referring to some else’s integrity, we often judge other’s bahaviour as compared to their proclaimed values, moral stance, beliefs and principles.

Assessment of integrity of another is a very subjective concept as we base our judgement as against our own set of values and beliefs.  Is someone reliable and trustworthy?  Are they of high moral standing? Do they usually say the truth?  The answers are processed in our head as a comparison with our own moral standing and beliefs.

Integrity is valued in both personal and business relationship.  Being upfront with your team when there is an issue, addressing problems head on instead of just gossiping about issues or even replacing a toilet paper roll on an empty dispenser not to cause inconvenience to any co-worker are just some examples of integrity in the workplace.

So is your integrity intact? Are you honest with others? Do people trust you and consider you as a person with strong beliefs? Would people consider you of good character? Remember the old saying: “treat others like you would like to be treated”.  If we all adhere to that line of thinking, more people would be exhibiting integrity and daily interaction with others will become a much more pleasant experience.

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” – Marcus Aurelius

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What women want or are you a gentleman?

There have been books written about a theory that men are apparently from Mars and women are from Venus and a Hollywood movie made about understanding women and their wants in life.

Women in most countries are still fighting and struggling to reach top positions in the corporate arena.  Although, in saying that, there are more and more women occupying top positions in companies and even countries around the globe.  Australian Prime Minister is a woman and so is the United States Secretary of State.

So what is it that women want in our era of independence, high social status and financial stability exhibited by many women in the Western countries?  Obviously, the answer will be different depending on the country of residence of a particular woman in question, as well as her social and financial status.  However, if you were to assume that we are discussing an average educated woman living in a Western country, you may be surprised with the answers.

Most career women of today between the ages of 30 and 40 are craving one thing – less time away from home.  They want more time to spend with the family and the loved ones, but often the option of ‘work-life balance’ is more an illusion than a reality and makes juggling family and career a struggle.  The fact that, as proven by statistical analysis, our working day is much longer today than it was half a century ago is not helping the cause.

After decades of feminism movement and fighting for female rights, a large number of women today have desire for more simple things in life, like having an option not to work and to look after the family, which is impossible in most cases due to the financial restraints.  Strangely enough, many women are now wanting what was the norm 60 or more years ago and what they fought so hard to eradicate: doors being opened for them in cars and buildings, men buying flowers for no reason, men paying for a coffee or a meal after a date regardless of whether a woman can afford it and men being the strong one allowing the female to let her guard down.  We have battled so hard to promote our rights and to allow females equal treatment with men, that somewhere over the years we have beaten the concept of what constitutes a gentleman out of most males, not for the lack of trying, but for many being scared to appear chauvinistic.

There is one want that women may not admit to but always discuss behind closed doors and that is wanting males to express themselves emotionally on regular basis.  This is where you roll your eyes and remind the rest of the readers that men and women are from different planets.  But all jokes aside, they say that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, well a way to a woman’s heart is definitely through her ears, as woman love and strive on compliments.

The moral of the story is that women living in any century will always appreciate men who are gentlemen and can verbally express themselves well and who are not scared to show affection without being sleazy, which is an art form in itself.

Are you a gentleman? Can you make a genuine compliment to a woman standing next to you? Please do not be scared to show it to all around you starting today. If you do, you will come much closer to understanding (and more importantly fulfilling) the women’s needs and wants.

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Finding happiness

Struggling through life, you look for the feeling of being happy.  This concept has a different meaning for every person.  Having a great and fulfilling career, a close family, enjoying time with your children…and of course meeting and creating life with a special someone.

Life is always full of surprises and you never know what cards you will be dealt at a particular point in life. You go through hardship and tough times, which is the perfect time to learn to love yourself. Then one day it will all come together as you start to blossom and feel complete.  Not to say that you need a partner to fulfil you.  Quite the opposite.  A person cannot appreciate and enjoy companionship fully until such person can be whole on his or her own accord.  There is a saying that you should learn to love yourself first and not look for someone to complete you.  This is very true and resonates on all levels.

It would be a perfect world if we could all find that someone who makes you feel butterflies in your stomach and makes you smile for no reason all day every day.  Unfortunately, many people go through life and never come close to experiencing such feelings.  Often it is because we do not learn to have an open mind and to give everyone that crosses your path a chance in one way or the other.  Sometimes, it is just the circumstances and the choices made that prevent us from finding true happiness and most importantly true love.

If you are one of the lucky ones and you manage to find ‘the magic’ – hold on to it tight with both hands and never let it go.  We only live once, there is no draft to rewrite and there is often only one chance to make something work.

So firstly, learn to love yourself. Once you achieve that – open your heart, open your mind and one day you may be blessed with meeting someone who will blow your away and make you realise just how much you can feel and how much you are willing to give to another, who is not related to you by blood.  Start today or you are risking letting your happiness pass you by.

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Life reflection

I felt numb
I felt lost
Where’s my life gone?
At what cost?
All my dreams had shattered
And I was in the dark
Gone all things that mattered
All that’s left was ash and bark
But I have spirit 
I have drive
I will find a way to strive
I will rise from downfall
I will love and conquer all

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The kindness of others

Lots of people will cross your path in life.  Some will bring you happy memories, some will teach you lessons, and some will do random acts of kindness that will strike you at your core.

The last category of human race is what brings hope to all of us and makes us want to lead by their example.  Friends and acquaintances that arrive at your door step with food when you have no power, or rally around you and help you pack and unpack when you need to move houses and you are seriously ill, or help you with picking kids up from school when you cannot leave work early, or mowing your lawn as it is just an extension of theirs, or those who appear out of nowhere with flowers, chocolates and ice-cream when you are feeling down to cheer you up.   There are also some who will selflessly help the sick, the elderly and any others needing help for no reason but to improve the quality of life of the less fortunate.

We have all experienced the kindness of others.  However, how many of you have done it for no other reason but just to be a good human, a good neighbour or a good friend? World would be a much happier place if we all tried to do small acts of kindness for the people around us without any expectation of reciprocation.

The population of the world combines many religions and beliefs.  What is often forgotten is being a good person comes before anything else.  If you are kind to others, you, without often realising it, enrich your own existence.  Good deeds do not have to be grand.  Smiling and saying hello, getting up in public transport to give your seat to an elderly person or a pregnant woman, helping a friend in need, listening to someone who needs to get things off their chest, bringing dinner to a sick friend…all those things do not require much effort.  I am thankful and grateful to each and everyone who has aided me in life and who has inspired me to better myself.

So what is your positive contribution to the universe today?

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