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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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

“Balance” your life: How on earth?

Hello my Beautiful people!

I was coming in to tell you about proudly Completing my First Student Guidance Job with an Arts Student, Rowanne this week. Also wanted to tell you about my Week 1 Lessons at my new workplace and my second professional publication released at my new job in Economic Research (here), again not through my own account yet as i await for it to be set up,

but then i came across an Oct.30th Draft Post that never saw the light for some hesitation on my end. So i won’t edit anything in it, here it follows for you:

 

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That is 1 of my friends, R.K., in Pakistan, 4 days ago via my social media.

We ¬†are all lost, most of the time, or chasing a new adventure or struggle to find the time for “me time”, are we not?

Have you ever thought, what if  i had this, did that, or had that..then i would be happy, free, etc..? 

I visited a Tibetan Monk few weeks ago. My new realization and thus a deep questioning of my own life was:

I did not have a healthy “balance” in my life.

Oh really, what a realisation Joy! For heaven’s sake, can anyone tell me please what does that mean? How can i get it?¬†

Julia Roberts speaks of it in her Eat, Pray, Love gorgeous movie, alright

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But ..

I tried googling it, researching it, praying for it РI still felt miserable, as helpless and clueless. I deteriorated. I was not well seeking it.

I wrote my friend(s).. I listened, read what they said, but i was not convinced, i did not debate them, just settled for the words.

Simply, I normally overworked.

(In this 21st century, and the growing global changes between the UK and Europe and the geopolitical giants..who would not be scared over their position and future?)

Most days of the week at 27,¬†I was being more and more of an “autistic” person as my sister Sadness puts it, in the sense that truly, i just felt i lacked the strength to deal with people, let alone the discomfort I felt when i forced myself to “go out”, after long days at work.

I love life, my blog shows that thanks to my circles’ testimonies too, but indeed, on those nights I did force myself to be out there meeting or hanging with some friends, I¬†fell asleep in the middle of a movie, and a dinner too just earlier this week.

Work takes up most of my time, so in my head, i had no time for anything else even if i wanted to.

Any of this familiar to you?

The Question we need to answer as often:

Imagine you’re at a dinner or was invited out for drinks or coffee with colleagues/friends and someone asks you:

Besides work, what do you do, or have enjoyed doing lately?

Would you have an answer, or would you have a boring reply?

My people, finding your balance cannot  be studied, researched, or investigated internally or externally. Just live it up, as my friend E.H. told me; that is, live up to your life.

Make time or a space for yourself. How? I tried doing that these past two weeks:

1) I went on my ¬†run ¬†but this time literally told myself, “you will walk instead, just walk it out, it’s not a fight”:¬†

When i got to the empty field that evening, i told myself: it’s not a challenge tonight, you’re tired.¬†You’re here to walk, just breathe right and take it easy, no pressure.

That night, i broke my own record by running extra miles. It was my best run in months – when you take it easy, cease to “fight”¬†and fight everything/everyone in life, things come to you.

2) I went on a random gathering, referred to me by my friend. It was a “Writer’s Meet up”¬†encouraging¬†Creative Writing.

I knew no one, I have no books or poems published, only my blog, and above all, knew not what to expect. I got there, did not know how to approach the couples or small groups of people already sat and the seemingly-long engaged in conversations for the past hour.

With a small nudge, I chatted, genuinely;

RESULT: I met someone with the same interests in Academics, Research, and in Teaching. What were the odds?

We were both in a place for creative writers, when we both worked in academics, but we loved writing and going there opened up a new friendship, something we can both give and take on, right? Who knows how things could take up from there, to open better doors for the both of us professionally and socially/personally? 

3) I read a book, but this time, wrote down & acted upon 1 message it preached, time-management. 

Last Sunday Oct. 23, 2016 was the first start of a new habit: managing time for the upcoming 6 days of my week. 

You see, time is abstract enough without our interpretation of it, so the number of hours you have during the week at work, makes your agenda “look” pretty packed.

It is indeed, but by writing down dates with yourself on some evenings, like inserting your yoga class, tea evening alone or with a friend, your movie night every Monday, your gym every other day, and so forth, you are committing to the activity you have on there, as if you gave your word to that friend, parent, or manager to meet them.

As i am learning, this should make you feel more accountable towards yourself, if you’re writing it all in your agenda.

Week 1 post-the new habit, i completely failed to plan the entire week and planned only Monday-Tuesday, which by the way, also turned out completely outside of the planned. It’s all okay, today’s another Sunday¬†so i try again ūüėČ

Give and dedicate time for yourself, i.e. time where you choose what you’d like to do with that, not anything or anyone else imposes on you what to do. It empowers you.Gives you an ‘interesting’ answer to the above-asked..

Listening

I sat with a special friend this Friday night, T.A., and another friend, E.R.1 week ago.They¬†showed me what “listening” looks like.

All night, they shared their mind once, then all they did was listen to me and my insights.

I didn’t know why they looked so absorbed in what i have to say. Honestly.

Her eyes absorbed every word i was saying. His rapt attention intimidated me at one point. I was comfortable talking, but perhaps even a little self-absorbed/greedy for taking all the time to talk, but when i apologized, all she said was,

“i love listening to you & all¬†you ¬†say, every time. To me, you are perfect”.

He said,

your talks are lovely to hear and learn and think about.

Always rest reassured, be a listener when you need to, and be a talker, with those who need it. Both work like magic with the right people.

Be proud of things you did or said and save these compliments

My friend, E.H., last week too, and special others, had given me yet a third life sign – lesson:

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All friends in this post taught Me how to listen, to my students, to my friends, even how to listen to those who do not talk or express emotions as explicitly as others, depict that, and just be their voice, by understanding them.

They¬†also taught me to speak up, without hesitation; speak up things that worry me, that make me happy, things i’d love to change in my society, life, family, or country, and to speak up humbly about my lessons learned above all.

Things kept to your own self, end up buried deep inside where no one can ever find them in you, not even those who understand you (or might ever).

What’s there for you to lose? people are judging you anyway, so we may as well give them some truth to judge us upon!

Trust me though, most of the times, they will end up not “judging” you, but they’ll be intrigued by you& your stories

because they too are humans and will relate to things you, unlike them, had the courage to bring to the table ūüėČ ¬†

Very Truly Yours,

Joy

Nov.20, 2016 (original draft i chickened out on posting then: Oct.30, 2016)