Now is the time to….

I braced myself some months ago for this. I imagined how I would feel. I feigned the emotions, the dramatic pauses and gazes over the shoulder. That dramatic bid of my last goodbye. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. I’d be brave, anticipate and embrace. But at that point of time, the prowess of my vivid imagination never felt quite as strikingly real until the moment of truth arrived – when I walked through the gates at the airport, strapped on the seat belt, put on my headphones and cried.

My emotions, fears and anxiety have been somewhat belittled by the assumption that I used to live in this city for 14 years. You don’t quite understand why I would feel lost and lonely. You think of me as some social butterfly, picking up ” new friends” along the bar counter of fallen drunkards – that I’d just rekindle the friendships I’ve left behind, know what I want instantly, apply for jobs, get one and go on my merry way.

You have no idea how much has changed in 3 years. How much I’ve changed. To reiterate the redundant – same city, different reality. I’m basically starting over again with new eyes, new passion and interests, getting reacquainted, learning my ways around the streets from the faded lines of my palm, which once knew the city by heart. The last time I felt this lost was 3 years ago. It was what propelled me to leave – saved by the spurt of spontaneity, agonized by the pangs of irony.

I believe that some things are innate and in a streak of serendipity, random words strung along can resonate like a forceful strike of a gong. Like advice from an old friend; we know what to do, we just need to be told sometimes, to be reminded and coaxed. Its that tune you’ve been humming for a while now, yearning to recall the lyrics of the song.

I was rummaging through the storage room  yesterday for my personal belongings that was packed in some 3 years ago, buried under old school jumpers odd socks and shrunk singlets, I dusted off the covers of a book titled “Now is the time – 170 ways to seize the moment” by Patrick Lindsay. I picked up the book, sat back and sighed its sentiments, words plucked right from my bubble of thought. I sifted through and picked 10 out of 170 ways to seize the moment. 10 of which serves as a healthy reminder that now is the time.

Now is the time to….

….take the first step. The longest journey, or project, starts with a first step. When it’s too hard to picture the whole journey, break it down into smaller ones. Keep reducing until the first step seems attainable. Then take it. The others will follow.

….embrace your problems. Take a different view of the challenges in your life; as opportunities to become a stronger person. See them as stepping stones on your journey. Use them to strengthen your resolve, to gain wisdom and compassion. Enjoy the satisfaction of overcoming them and pushing your personal boundaries.

….take the wide view. Look as a photographer does. Use all your lenses and change your position from close up to wide angle, from ariel to x-ray. Take in the small things but zoom out to see the full picture. Look beyond the obvious. Relish the complexities and the relationships.

….act. When you know the right path, take it. Too often we wait for the perfect moment. And we miss the opportunity. Use your senses, back your judgement. Decisiveness offers many rewards.

….live the present. In theory it sounds so simple. But it’s not so easy in practice. Try living the questions in your life, and waiting for the answers to reveal themselves. Don’t be consumed by things that may happen, rather, enjoy things that are actually happening. Your time is precious. Spend it wisely.

….accentuate your uniqueness. Don’t dwell on the negatives in your life. Don’t allow yourself to be swamped by the crowd. Look for the things that set you apart. Embrace them, foster them. Give yourself credit for them. Hone them, improve them. Use them to your advantage.

….see the funny side. Look for the humour, however dire the situation. It will break the tension. It will clear your mind. It will bring perspective and enhance understanding. It can keep violence at bay and soothe the wounded. Life is too short not to laugh.

….believe in yourself. If you don’t, don’t expect others to. Live up to your own expectations, not down to your doubts. When you know you’re capable, give yourself a chance to succeed by losing the fear of failure. Your horizons are often self-determined. Make sure they are as broad as your dreams.

….look for hidden opportunities. The difference between opportunity and obstacle is often just our point of view. Always keep an open mind, even in the darkest situations. A change in our vantage point can reveal rich possibilities.

….hold on to love. You’ll know when it’s worth fighting for, when it’s lighting your life, when you never feel alone. Savour it, treasure it. And fight as hard as you can to keep it.

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