Listen

My routine has gone out the window. In the past few months, we’ve gone through so many changes it’s hard to keep track.

In March, we began preparing the sale of the house. A lot goes into that process. Clean up. Painting. Fixing the lighting. Getting the house in tip top shape for the buyers. Once we decided to sell, simultaneously, we began searching for a house. That also takes up a lot of time. Research, going to look at places, putting in bids, losing, starting all over again.

That all finished near the end of April, I think. Then we moved out of the house at the end of April. For two months, my entire routine was gone. Then we Continue reading “Listen”

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Transform

We have the power to completely reinvent ourselves. The mind is more capable than we give it credit for.

So many things on my mind. I’ve had many moments in the past few days where I thought this would be great to include in the blog. One of the instances is louder in my mind than any other right now.

I never have good opening lines. It takes me time to warm up while I’m writing. To get into the mood of writing. I feel my posts end well. I love with finishing lines. The conclusion should be strong.

I wanted to start this post in a certain way but the pressure I’m putting on myself isn’t allowing me to write. I’m removing that pressure and instead simply going to start typing. Here goes.

The other night we were sitting around the dinner table. Another one of those nights where we sat at the dinner table for 3-4 hours. Eliz is out of town with her mom. We invited her dad over for dinner. Had a few drinks and a great meal. Then as we started to talk one story my mom told was eye opening.

Here’s something I never really thought about. My cousins came here when they were younger than I was. One was born in Canada. The other was 2 and the oldest was 5 or 6. Schools sometimes have “Grandparents’ Days.” It’s exactly as it sounds. A day to invite your grandparents into school with you. Refugee kids usually don’t Continue reading “Transform”

Struggle

It’s been too long since I’ve written. I keep meaning to write but get side tracked. Many things have happened since I last wrote. I received my first comments on the blog from someone I don’t personally know. It was an incredible feeling to know my experiences may have helped someone in their lives. I moved to Waterloo, to my in-laws house. Eliz left for Cyprus to book our wedding venue. I moved in back to Mississauga to my parents house for the next 3 weeks, until Eliz gets back. The condo we sold didn’t close. The buyers backed out and now the condo is back on the market. All of this in 6 days. It’s safe to say I’ve been ‘busy.’

I’m not going to make the “I was too busy” excuse. I’ve had my opportunity to write but I’ve spend the time doing something else. Talking to Eliz, hanging out with family, going to play basketball, sleeping. I needed to do all those things. It’s been a stressful couple of days. The house not closing was a curve ball.

While all of this is going on I think I remained relatively happy. I’ve been working hard on it. Catching myself when Continue reading “Struggle”

Turkish Bath Mitten

Let me give you the setting of this post. I just took a 30-minute hot bath. My legs were hurting today and I thought the heat would help. Worked like a charm. After the hot bath, I used a Turkish Bath Mitten to scrub dead skin off my body and took a freezing cold shower.

As I sit here, I’m wearing my swimming shorts and a tank top shirt. I’m ready for summer to arrive. Also,  I didn’t want the boys to feel constricted this late in the night. I say late but its 11:41 on Saturday night.

When the hell did I get so old?

Saturday night, and I’m here writing a blog. Not just that, I’m calling it ‘late’ in the night. It was only a few years ago where around this time we would call the Taxi to go out. Now that I say that I realize how old I am. When I was going out we didn’t Uber to the club. Uber didn’t exist 5 years ago. Don’t quote me on that, maybe it did, but I wasn’t aware of it.

Anyway, I’ve really been meaning to write. I can’t seem to make time for myself. I just told Eliz how important it is to make some time for yourself. Even if it is on Saturday night. I don’t know why I’ve been putting off writing. Maybe it’s for the same reason I’ve been putting off taking pictures for Invictus Beard. Telling myself “Now is not a good time.”

I go through phases in life. I’m either all in on something or I’m procrastinating. I’m realizing Continue reading “Turkish Bath Mitten”

Option 2

I look forward to writing these blogs. I think about it throughout the day. What I will discuss. What will stick out most that happened throughout the day.

Today, I discussed the blog with my friends. They said it’s refreshing to read about someone’s journey, while they are still in it. At least that’s what I took from the conversation.

I told Eliz yesterday, this is the good old days we’ll look back on. A lot of things are changing in our lives. It’s extremely important to stop and appreciate it.

I watched The Office series and on the last episode one character says, “I wish you know when you’re in the good old days before they’re gone.”, or something along those lines.  It’s a powerful quote. I’m a futuristic person. I think about my future and what I want out of life. Sometimes this can be a hindrance.

Oftentimes, I forget to appreciate the daily grind. J. Cole is my favourite artist and he said, “There’s beauty in the struggle.”

I’m starting to understand these quotes more clearly.

The other night, I placed my first large order for beard oil to sell on Amazon and my online store, Invictus Beard. I felt an incredible rush when I clicked the button to purchase the order.

I don’t know what the outcome will be but it sure felt good to click that button. It felt good to Continue reading “Option 2”

Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentines Day. More importantly, it is the one year anniversary of one of the best nights of my life.

Last year at this time, I was surrounded by family and close friends to celebrate our engagement. It was an incredible night and it was a complete surprise for us. I’ll never forget it.

The weather today was a lot nicer than last year. Today reminded me of spring. When I was walking Niko I thought about how soon the flowers would bloom and I remembered instances where I would stop and smell the flowers.

There are rose bushes in my parents community and I would always stop to smell them on my way to the car or something. It was something I just did. It’s great to take that time to be able to do that and now I feel as though I am making sure to take that time to appreciate little things.

I appreciate last year’s surprise engagement party. I think about it often. It was amazing to see my friends and family there. Ever since I cut down on the amount of TV I watch, I am able to appreciate other things more. I feel as though I am finally starting to realize what is most important to me.

In one of the books I read I was given an exercise. Basically, envision you are attending a funeral, then I was hit with a curve ball when it stated the funeral was my own.

I took this exercise to heart and wrote down what I would want my family to say. What I want my friends to say. What I’d like my employer, and coworkers to say. Maybe even my clients.

As I wrote down what I hoped they would say about me, it made me realize what the most important things are to me. Ever since then, I have been trying to work to become that man that’s in that coffin. I’m trying to do my best to make sure they say those things about me. Things I want to ‘hear’ from them.

I have a great tight knit group of friends. I think I took it for granted until we played summer league basketball. It was really easy for us to put a team together. Some people struggle to be able to get 6-7 other guys on their team.

We are always there for each other and in a way I think we take it for granted and we shouldn’t. Many people in the world don’t have these relationships. Mainly because they grow apart from their friends. Schedules are overbooked. Nobody has time to meet up. Nobody has time to have a conversation. Nobody has time to stop and smell the roses.

I’m not saying stop and smell your friends.

I’m just saying appreciate them. Life is short. We all have to make time for what is most important. I’m trying to make a habit of committing to things when I’m excited about something. If there is a deposit to be paid, I will pay it immediately. This way, I’ll have to go through on it. I’m too cheap to lose that deposit. Otherwise, I may start to doubt the decision and end up never doing it.

I’m going to be more like this when it comes to my relationship with friends. Oftentimes, I don’t see them as much as I’d like. I make excuses because I’m too lazy to do anything. Or too cheap. What’s more important? The memories I’ll make with my friends or $60-70?

I’ve really been focusing in on my relationship with family too. This is so crucial as I start to get older. Now I have to make time to go to my parents house. I have to make time to message my sister who lives in another country. I have to make time to FaceTime with her. I think I do a pretty good job when it comes to this.

More than ever, I try to talk about important things with my dad. It isn’t just about sports all the time. Same goes for my mom. Although, she would always push for that herself but now I’m more receptive, at least I hope. It took a long time for me to understand how to communicate with my mom and dad. I think I’m finally starting to solve it. I still suck at it at times but I find I’m catching myself more. I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone. If we disagree on something, instead of shutting down, I’m trying to ramp up the conversation.

My sister and I have always had a great relationship but as I mentioned in an earlier post, things are changing. I need to make time to have conversations with her. Especially now that she is about to be a mom and her time will become even more limited. It’s great that she is in the country for the next 6 months. I’ll have to work that much harder when she’s back in Bahrain and a mother. For now, she needs to go on walks, and I need to take Niko out, so as they say, two birds.

Like anyone else, I have cousins I am close to and others that I don’t get along with as much. This is an area I’ve been trying to work on too. Reaching out and speaking to those relatives isn’t always easy. I don’t think I do a good enough job of it. Technology is definitely advanced enough that I can speak to my cousins in Turkey more often but I don’t. I make excuses. I fool myself into thinking I don’t have the time or some other bullshit excuse. As Richard Feyman said “The first principle is you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool”. I love quotes. I think that’s a great one.

You may be thinking I didn’t mention Eliz too much in this post but I feel she is the one person that I communicate with the best. I can be so open with her and let her know everything that’s on my mind. She’s probably the reason I have begun to think deeper. Have deeper conversations. It’s my practice with her that is making me better at this type of thing with others. She’s always encouraging me to have the most uncomfortable discussions. I now think this is extremely important in business and in personal life.

What I’m trying to say is, all too often, we let life pass us by without stopping to appreciate the things that may seem small. The things we take for granted. Our family. Our friends. Our relationships at work. We all can do a better job of stopping to smell the flowers.

 

 

2000 Years Later

As I write this, I’m sitting on the plane headed back from Vancouver to Toronto.

I missed Niko and Eliz. My sister and mom landed in Toronto a few hours ago from Turkey. My pregnant sister. I’m so excited for my sister to bring my nephew into this world. Can’t wait to be an uncle.

I just finished watching the documentary Before The Flood. Right before watching the documentary I was reading an essay.

Seneca’s letter to his mom after he was exiled. He discusses how his mom should not feel sad for him because he has all that he needs. He then goes onto discuss how ‘wretched men’, as Seneca calls them, need extravagant things to be happy. Money, expensive robes, extravagant feasts.

One portion that really resonated with me is when he wrote, “Men cut down forests and kill animals so they can eat.” This was written by Seneca the Younger. It was written during the time he was alive. Seneca was alive 5 B.c. to 65 AD.

It’s 2000 years later. 2000!

So what does that mean? I was reading about Seneca and then I finished watching Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary. Nearly 2000 years after Seneca’s work was written.

If you haven’t seen the documentary it discusses climate change. How rapidly the worlds heat is rising. It discusses how we all have a part to play. How we can make choses to leave the world in a better place than we found it.

Now I think about my nephew. I think about my own kids that I hope to have one day. Are they going to snowboard when they’re older? What about my grandchildren, will they ever see snow?

That’s a very real question we need to ask ourselves. We continue to turn a blind eye. I tell some of my closest friends to watch documentaries about the effects of our choices on the planet. Simple things such as what we eat and I am ridiculed. Granted, we ridicule each other about everything but on this subject I wish we could all agree.

I don’t eat meat. I understand wholeheartedly that you need to be the change you want to see in the world. I can’t ask someone else to stop eating hamburgers if I eat it. I can’t be a hypocrite.

Beef agriculture is ruining our planet. It is the reason we cut down so many trees. It is bad for our planet. It is bad for us. I’ve never heard a doctor tell anyone that is feeling ill to eat more beef. Many sicknesses are caused by eating beef and we continue to do it. It’s bad for us. It’s bad for our planet.

Are we so stuck in our ways that we can’t make this simple change? I’ve been vegetarian now for 7-8 months. I have more energy than I’ve ever had. After dinner I don’t feel like going on the couch for the rest of the night. In fact I feel incredibly alert.

My nephew may never get a chance see a coral reef.

I was going to discuss my trip to Vancouver and how it went but after reading the quote Seneca wrote and watching the documentary it all seems so futile.

Climate change is the reason the world is falling apart. There are ways to fix it and we need to help by doing our part.

I can only do what I can control. It is the same for us all.

I can’t say I’m perfect but I am continually trying to get better. Eating more vegetables has helped me get better. How? More energy, clearer mind, healthier body, amongst other things.

Maybe this is what I needed to do to be able to have the courage to start an online store. Maybe I needed to do this so I had the energy to be able to read books without falling asleep after 10 minutes. I’ve been making many realizations about myself and about the world. Industries are ruining our planet. Industries are ruining our bodies, our minds.

I visit some establishments that offer soda for cheaper than water. How is that possible? This drink that has so much sugar that if you were to ingest the amount of sugar in it without anything else you would vomit uncontrollably for hours? Yet it’s cheaper than water?

That’s the world we live in. Not a lot of things make sense when you really start to think about it.

I want to leave this world in a better place than I found it. I want my kids to experience things. Be one with nature. If I learned one thing from Seneca it’s that life is limited. Time is fleeting. I don’t want to wait to do the things I want. I want to see the world. Before it’s ruined.

I’m a hopeful person. An optimist. However, I read that it doesn’t matter if you’re a pessimist and think there is no solution or you are an optimist and hope everything is going to be okay. Unless someone takes action then there is no difference.

So, I’ve been taking action lately. I’ve been going to the gym in the morning. Writing in a journal afterwards, just for 5 minutes. Reading before I have to start work. Meditating.  It’s a struggle everyday. Everyday you have to tell yourself you can do this. You can take action. Then it’s a struggle to actually do it. It is much easier to sit on the couch. Eat a burger. Watch sports all night. Then go to sleep at 12 and wake up at just in time to get to work.

I used to do this. I thought I was happy. “I work from home so I can sleep in until 8:45”. That’s great but what I was I doing with my time?

I wasn’t doing anything worth telling my kids about. Then I would be upset when I didn’t lose weight. I would be angry when I looked in the mirror or the scale. I would be frustrated with myself for not starting a business of my own. I would be annoyed that potential prospects weren’t taking my calls or signing on to Bazinga.

Was I really doing the work? Was I being smart with my time? Hindsight is 20/20. Simple answer is no. I was not doing the right things.

It’s great to realize this now. Age 25.

I’ve always told everyone that I’m an environmentalist. Now more than ever actually. Simply by not eating meat I am playing a part. I can do more and I will. I was mad to see a tax on gas at the beginning of this year but now I’m proud of the Canadian government once again. For another reason. They did it for our world. Carbon tax is needed. Just like tax on cigarettes.

I’ve wanted a Tesla ever since I saw the first model of the car. I’m not a car person whatsoever but I love technology. Elon Musk is a genius. If he can do it, why can’t I? That’s where my mind is with a lot of things nowadays.

First though, I need to finish my product packaging. One step at a time.