Appreciate what other people willingly do for you

I am trying to keep this blog as light and positive as possible, but I think it’s important for me to share some realistic life experiences of mine as well. I hope that you’ll think that, even if this post isn’t as uplifting and inspirational as what I usually try to post, that you’ll be able to learn something else from it as well.

So, as you may, or may not, know, I am now moved into my new apartment shared with 4 other girls. You might think, “oh, it’s an all girls suite, it must be super clean.” Well… that’s where you’re wrong. Girls can be just as messy as boys, and I’ve learned that from the past 2 years of living with others. So let’s stop this gender discrimination and look at the truth, shall we?

I have actually been to an all boys suite before, and it was much, MUCH cleaner than ours. They cleaned up the stove after cooking, did the dishes together, cleared the table, put everything back where it belonged. To be honest, I was a little surprised, but also proud of them. And that’s when I realized that gender really has nothing to do with cleanliness.

It’s the effort that someone is willing to put in to keep their living space clean.

After 3 weeks of trying to put up with the mess and dirt in my apartment, thinking things like, “oh, I’m not living here permanently, only for a year, so I shouldn’t stress too much over these things and focus on my studies,” but for a neat-freak like me, I can’t seem to focus when the place is filthy.

So I got down one day and scrubbed down the bathroom, and kitchen. Of course, when I clean, it’s because I want to, and I actually find cleaning very satisfying after I finish, and it helps to clear my mind when I’m stressed about schoolwork, but sometimes I just feel really unappreciated and I feel like I’m the only one who ever cares about taking care of the space I’m living in.

I spent half an hour cleaning the kitchen, and it looks great now, but it saddens me that after a couple weeks, it’ll probably return to dirty state it was originally in, and no one will clean it except me… again.

No one ever thanked me for cleaning anything… it’s like they expected someone else to clean up their mess. Even when they saw me cleaning, they didn’t say a word, or offer to help. They just went back to their rooms and shut the door.

Someone even went as far as to stick a note to the fridge saying, “please take turns keeping the kitchen clean!” without even bothering to clean the kitchen. If you want someone else to help keep the place clean, at least do something yourself before you stick a note up telling others what to do! Remember that phrase, “practice what you preach?”

I don’t do things for other people because I expect a thank you, but at the same time, I am not another person’s own personal maid. If you don’t want to thank me in words, that’s completely fine with me. I just want you to show your gratitude by at least trying to put in a little effort to keep the area I just cleaned, clean.

I am cleaning this place for myself, not for others, and so that is why I will continue to clean, even if it is unfair, and even if I’m the only one who’s bothering to do it.

Sometimes it just sucks when you do something nice for others, and they don’t even notice or care…

Please everyone, take the time to appreciate the things people silently and willingly do for you, because not everyone is willing to do that, and one day, they might not be there for you anymore.

If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company.

If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company.

– Jean-Paul Sartre

I came across this quote as I was reading the comments to someone’s post who said they were feeling lonely in college, and I couldn’t help but think it was such a coincidence that I was thinking that earlier as well, and how true this quote is.

The first week at my new university was pretty brutal, and I couldn’t stop comparing myself to everyone around me, who seemed to all have friends and someone to sit beside and talk to in class. For me, I came to this school by myself, and so I was completely alone. I started getting sad and lonely.

At first, I went to orientation, openly talked to random people in class, but it turned out to be really hard to keep in contact after, especially since all the lectures are so big. After I talked to them, I’d never see them again after that, and so it was hard for me to make new friends and hold onto them.

Then one day, I just suddenly thought to myself: what’s the rush? Why was I so intent on finding friends? Friendship is something that takes time. If they’re not your friend right now, maybe they’re not meant to be, maybe they are. You never know. Besides, I was here for my education, not to make a billion friends in the first month.

And so after realizing this, my time alone didn’t feel so depressing anymore. After I threw away that need to desperately find a friend, or to always be with someone, I found that being alone wasn’t so bad. Of course, this doesn’t mean I will be giving up on making friends; they will come eventually, when the time is right.

So to anyone out there who is currently feeling lonely in college or university. Don’t take it so seriously. Find something to do on your own time to keep you busy until clubs start having their first meeting. Watch tv, cook, play guitar, piano, whatever. When the clubs start, I bet, you and me both, will find people with the same interests as us. Join lots of clubs that interest you, and get involved in the community. That way, I’m sure you’ll end up finding some of friends.

New Experiences

For me, I live in a smaller town that only has popular chains of stores, and more westernized types of shops, and so I haven’t experienced much of, what I would call, the “outside” world. I realized this when I went to university.

In university, my closest friends were all from bigger cities with a nice variety of different cultures, like Waterloo, Toronto, and Markham. They shared their knowledge and experiences with me and that’s when I started learning a lot about what there was available in bigger cities.

They took me to new places like Korean BBQ, Karaoke, The Face Shop, ChaTime, 4am pizza; places I’ve never been to before, and I experienced a lot of new things. It was a very memorable time for me because I got to learn about all these new things and experience them with people who were close to me, and so they became memories that I really treasure.

I think it’s really important to explore what’s out there in the world, which is why I am always open to new ideas and doing things that I’ve never done before. I’m not very brave when it comes to scary things, but I still push myself to do it because I don’t want to have any regrets. Sometimes, things only happen once in your life, and if you don’t take up the opportunity then, you’ll never get it again, and so I am always up for anything, as long as I get to do it with those who are close to me.

Trying new things is my way of showing love and respect to the people who are close to me, because even if I’ve never done it before, or am scared to try, at least I’m making the effort and going out of my comfort zone to do it. I also do it for myself, because completing something that I was nervous or scared to do, feels like a great accomplishment to me and at the end, it really makes me feel like I can do anything. Then in the future, I might be able to share my experience with someone else who is doing it for the first time.

Sometimes I actually find things that I enjoy, that I never thought I’d like, just by trying it once. For instance, before, I used to despise spicy food, and never wanted to eat it, but when I’m eating it with friends and family, suddenly it becomes more tasty, and I actually found that it’s pretty fun to eat because of everyone’s reactions. I still can’t eat really spicy foods, but compared to 3 years ago, I am much better!

So really, I guess what I’m trying to say, is that you should always treasure your first experiences and others’ first experiences, because you can really only experience something for the first time, once in your life.

For my friends, who have eaten Korean BBQ many times in their life, or gone to street food vendors a lot, I really appreciate that they wanted me to enjoy the experience and always looked out for me when I was trying things for the first time. They always said, “Emily! This is really good, you should try it!” and even if it was a small gesture, it actually made me really happy inside that they were thinking of me and wanted me to have the best first experience ever.

It’s your friends, family, and people around you that make first experiences memorable, so instead of trying out that new restaurant by yourself, or watching that new movie by yourself, I feel like instead… you should invite a friend! There’s nothing better than being able to share your new experience with someone else, who might even have a mutual feeling, and laughing about it with them.

 

Take the time to enjoy the company around you while you still can,
Emily

“Your memory is a monster; you forget—it doesn’t. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you—and summons them to your recall with will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you.”
– John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

“I consider tha…

“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order.”
– Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet (Ch. 2)

“When you’re 10…

“When you’re 10, they call you a prodigy. When you’re 15, they call you a genius. Once you hit 20, you’re just an ordinary person.”
– Haruka Nanase, Free! (Ep. 1)

I watched this show a couple weeks ago, so this quote must have really made an impact on me if I remember it even after all those weeks.

It’s true though… if you’re good at something when you’re young, people think you’re a genius. But if your skill does not continue to develop at that quick pace, you’ll slowly end up becoming an ordinary person with age… why is that? I feel like if you’re talented in something, even if you’re not the best, it’s still a talent that not everyone can achieve. Age doesn’t mean anything. It just means that you might’ve been denied the opportunity to enhance it when you were young. I say, better late than never.

I’m almost 20 now, in about a year or so, and I’m starting to feel like I’ve started becoming more ordinary too. Looking back on past pictures and videos, I used to be really smart, really musical, good at baking, etc. Or at least that’s what everyone used to say to me. Now that I’m almost 20, it’s like it’s expected of me to be good at baking, or too be great at something.

I’ve never been one to follow through with everyone’s expectations, though. They set the bar too high, it only results in disappointment. I’m going to continue learning, and improving, at my own speed – my own pace – and I am completely content with that.

The “Wikipedia” Game

I’ve always secretly took pride in my useless talent to search for things on the internet through Google. For some reason, this is one of the things that I never lose confidence in or give up halfway through. I am motivated until the end, and always intent on finding what I’m looking for, and I usually do find it.

Anyways, this reminded me of a game that a friend introduced to me while we were sitting in a business lecture. He called it, the Wikipedia Game. Basically what it is, is a competition to see who can reach a certain page first, starting from another completely unrelated page. So you both decide on a page to start on (like Starfish) and a page to end on (like cookies). But the catch is that you can only try to get to the last page through links on the page. That means the search bar and address bar are completely off limits. Too make it even more fun, you should also ban the use of ctrl+f.

I’ve only ever played this game once, but I do remember it being so fun. The surprise I feel when I actually do end up getting to the page, reminds me value of hard work and motivation, and it actually encourages me to believe in my own abilities a little more.

To prove that it’s not impossible, I’ll demonstrate the path I took to get from Starfish to Cookies, that cost my friend the game.

Starfish >> Fish >> “as food [fish(food)]” >> culinary >> cooking >> baking >> cookies

And voila!

I’m sure there are quicker ways, but this is just a demonstration. The pages we picked were actually a little on the easy side since starfish and cookies are not too far apart (I mean, you might even be able to end up on the cookies page by getting to animal crackers, or something like that!) so to make this game even more challenging, you could pick 2 words like worm and fridge.

I hope you’ll enjoy this game as much as I did, and it might even help you pass the time in those long, endless lectures (like it did for me, haha!)