Valentina

#OneStoryAtATime

#beirutmarathon2017 #run #lifechanger #LifeIsaMarathon , not a race ūüôā

(Wondering why my last series of posts & those to come are entitled in people’s names? Feel free to visit this: https://wegrowthroughothers.wordpress.com/2017/08/31/life-is-a-marathon-not-a-race/ )
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Our Sunday 24km long-run; yes, at 18km we were supposed to be tired, but seeing the above, you start understanding the motivation we get from each other .. It’s like Magic #foreal

I Miss you my people ‚̧

I have a lot more people to tell you about in my marathon undertaking, especially these 2 weeks!

Mini-confession:

I had a kinda weird week to be honest, feeling a little off, a little sleepless, and a little swamped or overwhelmed with life, those have-to-dos of life that often overwhelm us till we forget to look at the bigger picture of life, the bigger purpose of why we are here Рthe people around us.

A piece of my mind tonight, as i cozy up in a newly-discovered little tea place, which i only discovered last week for my new thing,

Colouring ūüôā They say it’s a therapy you know? For me, doing it last Wednesday just calmed me down, it slowed down my whirlwind..of life. Loved it.

Piece of my mind tonight:

Never underestimate your existence in someone’s Life.

It takes 1 word to change someone’s day or perspective, just like it takes 1 person in one’s life to inspire, to help accomplish a work in progress, a path, a project, a dream ..

1 can be a really big number in 1 Life ūüėČ

 

And here’s an example Why: Valentina

So i joined the marathon and the 542 Team this past July; one thing this really changed drastically in my life, is the use of social media.

I’m not a fan, or wasn’t until this happened.

With our every Sunday long-run,  distances become longer but photos taken of us onto the marathon association become more numerous, catching us at every angle and smile!

So, we been posting lots online, which actually multiplied the number of friend requests i received..honestly, because i also encourage lots of members not on our team on those long runs – genuinely because it keeps me going – i practically know everyone by now and it’s been contagious!

Okay  so, with this social media Рstampede hehe well, i got a friend request from a certain Valentina..

(PS: i usually prefer to respect the privacy of my subjects hence i omit certain details in photos or typing).

For some reason, looking at the friend request aroused my curiosity, partly perhaps because the name was Italian (non-Lebanese) and partly because i felt something was behind this friend request, #cantexplain.

So , I messaged her, asking if we knew each other or if we had met..

She replied with her story that she is also registered in the Beirut Marathon, that she runs, etc..

We had found common grounds across borders, only because of this 1 undertaking i took on this past summer,

which at the time seemed more for personal reasons rather than being there for others; nonetheless, here we were.

We became facebook friends, but now…very good friends is more like it because well, the messages we are exchanging, the sharing of friends we are having as she meets my running buddies and teammates through our photos first and then through adding them on facebook and chatting with them herself ..have just been WOW ¬†and #surreal.

Have a look at few thing she shared with me, those things that kick-started a genuine, beautiful friendship:

Valentina is Italian; she has had this dream for so long, and that is:

Visiting Lebanon, the land and country she’s madly in love with, and running the Beirut marathon.

She is no runner, or was not, until this year, as she explains, she went completely “crazy”-determined and planned on making her dream a reality.

She has had challenges, physical ones mostly, as she’s had to re-adjust her eating habits a lot, as well as her watch her nutrition and monitor the intake of carbs, proteins, etc..

Also, she was running alone.

Today, my people, truly it has been beyond beautiful to see her messages, her sharings, her postings, her messages, all of which just make HER and US here see,

You can make a difference in 1’s life, with the littlest to the largest things you help them in.

Our support was only online, minimal, you might add probably useless for a physical-effort which you’d expect to need to complete 28 and 30km.. and more in time.

Yet,

my whole team, our idea, our runs, our photos, now include her, at heart, until she’s here in October, when we already planned team hikes and outings for her to see the beauty in Lebanon and have memories.

More so, my running buddy, up in the photo, Abbas .. he will surely have a post about him for you to read through, but for now, i must tell you:

this week, he called me over the moon.

I said what’s up, he said,

i am on cloud 9; i am walking in my hometown tonight near the sea when i started thinking how You Joy, how our team, and how Valentina have dropped into my life like in a parachute, like angels who came down just for me, to make me happier and fill my life…”

I was speechless on the end of the line.

He rocked my world. I had rocked his. Together, we also each rocked Valentina’s world. Also, Valentina rocked my world. She made me believe in bonds being formed cross border as genuinely and as beautiully. We know her now more than anything, we really do because as i am discovering, in

#Running, you have only one personality, the Real You and all those who run, are happy, they are truly giving, caring, alert to other’s abilities and needs.

And that’s just been 2 months in all this undertaking.

Cannot wait for more. Yes, runs are getting tougher, but so are our bonds and mental support, truly, has proved to be 70-75% of the run v/s 25-30% for physical readiness and fitness..

 

I hope this inspires you  the way it did me.

Please be safe, you re 1 person, but a whole lot in some one else’s life, your son, ¬†daughter’s, either parents’, your friend’s, your teammate’s…

With all my love,

Joy

Sept. 16, 2017 at 9.29pm

(going to sleep early tonight for our 5am 26km run tomorrow Sunday!!)

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A Visitor, Not a Permanent Resident: Please, Light Up

“There will be times when your soul seems nothing but tired and your mind tries to pull you back into the darkness you have fought so diligently to be free of.

It is normal, and it is okay.

Being genuinely happy and at peace does not mean being in a consistent state of elation.

Don’t beat yourself up because you don’t wake up with a radiating smile every single day.

Understand that being vulnerable to negative emotions is a part of being human, and it in no way makes you weak or pathetic .

Continue to be patient and kind with yourself ,

Continue to fight through those draining moments and do not allow them to persist longer than they should.

You are in complete control;

sadness is simply a visitor within your mental space, not a permanent resident.

Chat with it, understand it, master it, and most importantly, know when to say goodbye.

You will make up the next morning and everything will make sense. It will all be wonderful. Believe that!”

I read this a while back my beautiful people. I honestly can’t remember when , where, who, or how, but it came up back today and i felt a lot of us out there need it. TrulyūüĆą.

I have a new undertaking i’m dying to tell¬†you about, my people.

It is literally changing my life, my every single day.

And so, telling you about it, i am sure you can relate it to your lives. Here’s a sneak peak (foto), stay tuned for more i promise in a new post for just “us time”.

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All my love,

PS: Be happy, but let yourself be sad too ..because sadness, well, it brings people TogetheR in its own way, by revealing vulnerabilty, humility (tears), emotion, affection, care, love …

Joy ‚ô•ÔłŹ

Someone Like You in this World..Exists

Genuine Exchanges We All Need: There is still someone like you in this world, yup;)

Hello there:)

Miss you my people, sorry i have been less in touch than i’d love to, just taking care of some professional mishaps, but all will be well, it always has to end well, or it’s not the end, right?;)

I hope this post adds some food for thought into your Sunday chill zone:)

PS: I f you can read on, i have a music recommendation/a loveliest band i watched perform: Epic!

Sometimes, i think to myself, this society i am now part of, is not the same as it used to be. It often feels like I’m the only genuine person, looking for genuine fun, for genuine feelings, for a simple good time, a mutual sharing, caring, and exchange..A simple life and good moments to share with others with no nasty motives, when i am not working to make a living and provide ourselves and families.

I keep putting myself out there in the world, i do, really.

Most of us are putting in the effort to socialize; However,¬†it seems like everyone is after something: your money, your power, your position, your connections..you name it, we all fell on (a) “wrong” person(s) in our life, haven’t we?

We don’t feel as comfortable anymore putting ourselves out there. You bet we won’t.

But ..my reality tonight shows: majority of others in this life, think the same as you do. You just need to ask the question and you will get an answer:)

Tonight.. I met a very dear person, a dear friend called M.B.who has settled in the UAE for 4 years or even more now, as far as i can recall us corresponding; he is visiting Lebanon for a week-lucky us!

We met tonight to watch an amazing band called Arnabeat perform at a beautiful pub, with 2 of his people: H. and M-A. That beautiful group of people showed me that even complete strangers can be/think/feel exactly like you do, wanting the same things you want in life: good people, good food, good stories, and so, a good time- all we need is be open, genuine, and exchange a bit of yourself Рothers will follow suit and tara!

The truth is, I have been in Lebanon for almost 1.5 years since i came back from the UK. Since, it has honestly been challenging to understand how people/the society has changed. The customs, values perhaps are still the same, but people have made it a bit tougher to deal with each other, in the sense, to be transparent and honest about their intentions towards you or your friendship..

In any society or nation of this world, when things get tough, i.e. the national economy and growth stifle, or when¬†politicians’ intentions are no longer centered on the people, new laws are ambiguous, or when¬†making a decent¬†living becomes a heavier burden..people feel it first.

Out of survival instinct, aka Dr. Steve Peter’s Chimp Paradox, it seems¬†we shut down the generous side of us, the genuine giving character and social character because we feel everyone/everything around us is taking a piece of us,¬†or is a potential threat to our wealth, health, and welfare. It makes sense right?

However, tonight, meeting this adorable group of new people has shown me that despite life’s uneasiness, every one of us still values and indulges in intimate, genuine bonds of social interaction and friendship.

Simply put then,¬†We all love good company and a good vibe on a weekend night out, don’t we?

So, you are not alone in your thinking; you are not alone in feeling the fear to put yourself out there; you are not alone in appreciating a good friend, a genuine exchange and getting to know new people.

Others appreciate them, but our world has just made it more difficult for people like you, me, and those with you on this journey, to be as genuine. So stick to what you value, and you will see how other will fall into your circle, appreciating, loving your attitude and thus revealing their exact same attitude to you because deep down, we long to be heard and appreciated by others, we really do.

We are all connected.

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We are all still¬†looking for this now-rare “race” of people, this extinct species capable of carrying this¬†positive vibe to the dinner table, this easiness to initiate conversations, exchange hilarious life incidents, or just this¬†dancing-the-night away attitude, for the sake of a good time and a good, well-deserved laugh after a week(s) of hard work.

When we left tonight, this new group of people I spent the eve with were no longer strangers, but they also shared how “rare people like you are in this world these days¬†[Joy].”

This was meant as a compliment and it touched me deeply; however, it is also at the same time not entirely true because my evening with them revealed there are still other people like Me in this world ūüôā We value the same interactions and simplicity in chats and fun!

I mean, who does not like to be at a dinner table and listen to jokes or funny stories and exchange his/hers? Who prefers to listen to nagging and whining and heart-breaking stories or to look at artificial people showing off all night?

Who does not like to make new friends? to share what they do and know with someone interested to listen?

Who does not like to feel a sense of security and trust amplified? Who does not enjoy exploring other people’s stories (hardship lessons or achievements’),¬†hobbies, passions, and find someone whose hobby complements his or hers and can take it to further heights?

There is someone, many actually, like you in this world; they share these heart-felt needs to bond with people over simple fun, simple exchanges, simple goodness.

We just need to find each other, and the only way to do that, is you to open up, show a piece of your genuine self, not being scared, and see how magically others open up.

You are not the only human who appreciates this, or that, many others are like you, but the adversity in this world and the challenges to build a life amid current national and international developments is pushing you to lose  yourself, your giving,transparent self, and to bury yourself in your own cocoon, where you think nothing bad can happen there, when in reality, you yourself would be degrading, losing yourself, your goodness, kindness, your communication skills that make you a human being, a compassionate creature by nature.

Very truly yours,

Joy

March 12, 2017

She Got Engaged; I Learned to Be Her Second Line of Defense

My childhood best friend, E.G., got engaged 8 months ago today.

My post comes 8 months overdue, but it comes on an evening I found all my thoughts drifting towards her, her photos on social media with her partner, contemplating the life she’s built for herself.

My sister, Sadness, and I were dining together earlier this evening, when she told me,

Joy, you you, you have a way with words..no matter what you tell me, it does not surprise me because I know your words got you this, that, and there, they can get you anywhere.

So here I am using the thing i am apparently best at, to express my love, my heartfelt pride, and my happiness, to someone… SO DEAR, to my heart.

E.G is¬†the most delicate human being you’ll ever meet, like a beautiful butterfly- literally.

She’s the most kind heart-ed being. She carries the¬†innocence of a child; do not get me wrong though, life has taught her lots of things.

Her choice to get engaged comes from a fully grown lady, a lady I admire and cherish with all of my heart. I may have failed to show her this through actions, physical gestures, and social media “likes” and “hearts”.

But … deep down is where it all matters, isn’t it? All the feelings, all the thought, all what you wish someone?

I admire her, partly because she has the courage to love; a courage I sometimes doubt I have or know how to use. Do you?

I may have the courage to fight for my career, for my professional and personal growth and development, my survival from a dramatic accident¬†and chronic¬†injuries, but she…

She fought and lost many battles at love,

but she also won – a lot more than she ever lost, in my eyes at least.

Love breaks, in ways we each grew familiar with in our own ways, don’t you think?

Her story is a fairy tale, but there’s a catch:

to date, I do not know exactly how to feel having someone as dear be engaged. Some of you may think, it’s the cycle of life, nothing changes, it’s the normal thing that should have happened…

But, for those of you who like me, may think a bit further of this big step for someone like E.G.,who has had her share of right and wrong relationships, then I feel differently, and at one point I felt like I “had fallen out of her life”.

For instance, I keep feeling I should have done something: I should have been there, at the proposal, after the proposal; I should have brought that gift, or sent that card I never sent but i blame life for diverting our paths or putting in new people I barely know.. or maybe I even blame myself for having decided to travel for two years to pursue a masters, knowing she had something potentially serious going on, yet i couldn’t keep¬†in touch in the same way we were..

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Life did put us on different paths, and sometimes, I think maybe I should have taken that extra mile every time i had the chance or time to stay in her life the same way we use to be, maybe then she wouldn’t feel disappointed of me or our friendship, or wonder where did we stop being that close in daily life.

But tonight, I see that those phone chats we share now and then, those occasional Sunday brunches, and those flawless memories we share from our childhood and in our innocent hearts still have us registered as the friends we use to be, exactly, and it’s all just more in my head.

As the day passed by today, I had a different take on life;

A little context for how i was inspired to post tonight:

I have been on a short unexpected period “off” work and this past week, I’ve been enjoying the little things, like

My mum, being with her to pray, to shop, to prepare lunch at home.. like

My Dad, his cuddling knowing that he is a stiff, solid Man;

my sister coming back from work, with the same drained and beaten look on her face only i am there to console her, listen to her, feed her, or just listen to her learning about low people, unprofessional and undeserving managers..

my workout, runs, and training at the gym and outdoors as they reminded me of how good i feel about myself once i accomplish those little training milestones.

Tonight, I finally realize I did not “fall out of E.G.’s¬†life”, but out into her second line of defense

All relationships evolve, romances above all.

From a young married couple in their 20s and 30s, to their 80s or 70s, love alone or the flame does not survive, it’s rather the entire package, the respect, the admiration, the caring, the taking care of each other, the dreams and plans you see with your significant other, the interests you share or different tastes you experience because of each other..

[PS: For those of you with a richer experience on love than mine, please feel free to share your lesson in the comments sections: I for one would learn so much from you, really.]

So, if that is true and the package is the key, then i know with her getting engaged, life shifted my positions, in her life.

I need to allow life to make these changes, else i’d ruin its plans for my loved ones; i see now how i fell right into E.G.’s second line of defense.

I am no longer in the front row, enjoying a close up view, but rather sat on that balcony, where she owns the stage, she is its star, and she knows I am there and will be, whenever she signals it:)

Try not to jump into conclusions or allow your doubts or fear of losing a close one push you to move out of their life because they sure want you in it. At least, this is my lesson from E.G.

Being in second line of defense is in fact, key and crucial. If you are not there, who would protect her heart, which is initially inside, closer to your line than the first, cause who builds a fortress and sits outside of it? You’re that second line, that inner circle, not that outer layer. Enjoy it, see it, feel it, and act like it.

Keep your warm memories of you two, cherish the other’s adventures and love stories, be there for them as much as you can. As you do your best to do all these, ¬†your dear one sees it or must see it one day – at least what i believe today, in this situation, with these thoughts, at my age of 27.

I know I count and I know how happy it makes me to see her so grown up; exactly my age she is.. but way ahead of me in the courage she has to love.

E.G., may the odds be forever in your favour. I love you.

Truly yours,

Joy

Feb.23, 2017 at 2.38am

Chill zone: gratefulness & my first mini-publication!

Hey you:) ūüôā¬†I had a long, really long day.¬†How was yours?

I’m dead sleepy yet still have some work to be done, but decided to check in here and share a little piece of news.

It reminded me to feel good about myself, and to always be a joy to others, family and friends despite the tiredness especially after a working day.

They are our blessing.

I’ve taken on a new job only beginning this week in Economic Research.

Today was Day 3.

I do not have my own online account created yet or my new business email, hopefully expected tomorrow, but

I did put together and published today,

my very first academic, economic, and professional report here: 

EDL Bleeding Clogged by Drowning Oil Prices

I will not share this yet on my academic blog, even though i am very proud of my work, until we fix/open my research account where my works would be written under my name, as professionally must be, naturally :).

That’s about it really tonight; i was genuinely¬†excited and thought i’d put it out, sharing myself with you here for a few minutes.

Always look for things or people who reflect a small or big effort you have put in. Be grateful for them. 

These often make us realize how much we can be Givers in this life, even if we feel down on some days or higher on life on others. 

Sincerely yours,

Joy

Nov. 16, 2016; 10.45pm

 

 

 

Wake up Call

Hello my people,

I rushed to work early this morning, planning on staying ahead (on top) of any upcoming tasks/meetings/lessons etc., but then,

a short WatsAp message from a very very dear friend and mentor shared in the pic below, shook me up as in really woke me up to what i am/was doing in this life for the past year appprox.

I need you to read this as well, we are more alike than we can ever imagine, so this reminder may be yours as well as mine:

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He was my wake up call, for the upcoming year at least;

the reason today, i will come back to life:

I found my next plan in life, after a long time of ‘settling back home’ and into my new career path, and i have just taken my first ACTION towards it,¬†as we speak.

I was scared of sharing my “plan” in life now, with others, i did only yesterday with my sister, but here i am today, having received my sign/this message..

I am aiming for the USA now, for another Masters and/or PhD in Public Policy, one of the most renowned universities and this here will hold me accountable to you- i need to tell you where I am when i am there. How about that?

This is huge to me at least, BIG. In my head, it’s a NO NO, you’ll never make it- you haven’t the money, the connections, the knowledge even – imagine how much i am doubting myself here!¬†

But now, i am not scared, every human being has a way of getting around things or going where they want to be, even if it’s to the same place i or you want to be.. so be it, I am doing this my way and the world has enough place for the all of Us, YES.

We all have dreams, and secret wishes, and aspirations, ambitions, tons of things we feel we will never reach, not in this life we say, no i can’t, it’s too far-fetched, others won’t let me, i am no genius, why would i make it…¬†

STOP, STOP! STOP these thoughts.

I share my urgent message here with you:

  1. How easy is it for us to dwell on the status quo especially in our professional life? – to me, VERY Easy to be honest, true, personal, current story.

2. How easily do we lose track of what we’re doing, forget the bigger picture, and find all our time, nights in , nights out, our energy, and focus, is being spent, surprisingly willingly, on a place or job or position we know we will not hold forever, or for the number of years or months to come – I have been ‘settling’, thinking I’m doing what i need to do for the past 7 months. I hate that i now realized this, but it’s okay. ¬†IT’S NEVER EVER TOO LATE TO WAKE UP, TO DO THINGS THAT MATTER.

3.¬†Why do we invest so much time on the wrong things and much less on the things that we KNOW¬†will take us to where we want to be, to out utmost potential, to the best that we know we can be? –

the only person standing in front of your dreams, and/or making your current reality or transition rather seem that it is the permanent is YOU. 

yes, i have heard and read this far too many times, but today, i live and breathe it. today, may 23rd 2016 like never before.

I cannot¬†emphasize¬†it more this¬†morning, I needed to “wake up”, to see that what i am doing now, i am grateful for yes indeed i am, but:

it’s a “stepping stone”, and a stepping stone is not supposed to pull me/us down; rather, it’s a step-push-UP for us, to reach for the higher grapes up on the vine.

 

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I went on a beautiful hike yesterday, only me and this nature. Perspective is what i gained, what counts and what does not, what i need to do, take a step back from my routine and then  lean into the actions i need to be the best that i can be Рwhich is ALOT i am that confident.

I love you my people, for always listening, and sharing your thoughts through my good day email chain, or our  email correspondences, face to face, or my social media accounts.

You change my life and make my days, every day. I am thankful, forever.

Truly yours,

Joy.

May 23, 2016; 9am

How to know you’re Blessed

Hello there! Couldn’t stay away for too long this time:$

Oh well, truth be told, it’s getting late on my side of the world [as in 1.30 am late), yet i am sleepless for some reason..

Playing a playlist of Zen music in attempts to fall asleep but…too high on life, hehe ūüôā Those who know me know me i.e. in real life would definitely say YES to that (A);

I reckon even My People  would agree too, those who are on my Good Day mailing list

(this last by the way started as a humble chain of kindness, few names on there, yet apparently now turning into a beautiful ‘secret society’ as some of the most genuine friends among¬†My People¬†referred to it¬†it this week:)

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So here i am sat with Fluffy, resorting to you on our beautifully-shared platform, to share a piece of where my mind wanders.

Lesson of the week:

Blessings come in words, actions, thoughts, and/or signs (silent or loud- all the same), we just got to keep an eye for them! Life is beautiful, absolutely beautiful to have a heart beat:))

You know you are blessed, when even before the week is over, even before it has been 7 days since u invested in 1 act of kindness and mindfulness, you are overwhelmed with messages of kindness, appreciation, self-fulfillment… and life opens up, it just lights up

i.e. when you feel so loved simply because you “touched” another life , another.

..even from those people you thought of as: grumpy, irritated, uptight…let alone those already sweet and explicit and straight forward in expressing their emotions in life.

  1. I sent out my usual Good Day Email this morning; that was it today:
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Woke up feeling particularly grateful today, really beautiful feeling:) couldn’t keep it to myself so sharing it with you¬†My People. Let’s have Faith in life and its ways – no matter what i going on right now in ur day, week, or life. There’s always someone watching out for you, in action, prayer, or thought-always..and these do count: I ave reaped their effects and it’s surreal but¬†actually¬†real.¬†

The ripple effect on my people toady in particular, felt special, amazing, in the lines of a powerful, loaded blessing like this:

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We all know how challenging it can get to ditch the bad mood you woke up in, don’t we?

And the below too, partly in Arabic  Рthe official language here in Lebanon:

(last Arabic word = “today”)

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2. In my post yesterday (here), i did tell you how i “invested” in my people..in the smallest of ways this week and the past one;

So have a look at how my week went by, and tell me if they make any one, even the grumpiest person ever, feel good about themselves and propped up, for real, or not:

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(Arabic translation: Thank you from the bottom of my heart; I am completely speechless, Thank you so very much.)

3. I had not added anyone to my Good Day mailing list for months.. ¬†Knowing i have a vow since April 2015 to add 1 person every day, yup, i was frustrated deep down as to why i have no one new on there for a while now. I did not force it though.’coincidentally’- NOT, only a week ago, look what happened:

In the first 3 days of the week only, I had already added: S.G., J.S., J.A, M.A, S.B…& counting and their reactions …. !!!

PS:

Someone very special is finally visiting Lebanon again tomorrow ad i cannot wait to see them! I think that counts as legit driver of insomnia, right?:$;)

My people, my beautiful circle, my strength, and the only ones who keep me going here on this blog and in life:

Time flies,

days pass by,

we may not pass from here again,

let’s spread love, kindness, and

share all we would love to say to someone while we are still at it, this life, this health we now have – even if we think it’s not really a good “health” or “life”..

 

With all my love,

Joy

May 13, 2016 at 1.48am