14 Advantages of Listening or Reasons why we should shut up more

 Huh, what did you say? is my answer when my son is telling me something. Mama always advises me to listen more to my boys because she knows I am a chatterbox. The temptation to talk more is great so I made a list of 14 advantages of listening to make you and me shut up more.

  1. You learn more. – This is an important skill as a student, as an adult and as a parent/carer. The advice from the elders is rich with wisdom.There is information overload on the internet and with the right choices of videos on YouTube, audio on Podcasts and even the songs you listen to – GREAT IDEAS can be learned that you can apply in your life.

 

  1. You can help someone in distress just by listening. It is a way of showing one’s love. You don’t have to provide a solution to their problems. Just being there and listen can improve their well-being. It is a bonus when after the conversation, a solution may come up.

Photo by Ben White

two women crying
This is too much for me to handle…
  1. You are being proactive in preventing someone getting angry.

One of the things that can stir your anger is the person not listening to you.

Parent to a child: You were not listening to me!!! ( blah blah)

Child to parent: You don’t care, you are not listening to me! ( blah blah)

Partner to partner: I TOLD you about it but you were not listening to me! ( blah blah)

Boss to subordinates: I instructed you to do this but you were not listening! ( blah blah)

Subordinates to Boss: (grumble, grumble..) If only our boss will just listen! ( blah blah)

If you just paid attention in the first place, these people will not be MAD.period.

  1. You understand more other people.

WHY DO THEY BEHAVE THAT WAY? is the common question one is asking when you encounter persons different from you. Listening opens your mind to the reason why they speak, act, think and decide like that.  You can adapt well when you run into them.

  1. There are fewer chances of saying something foolish.

In my lifetime, I said things better left unsaid. It was TACTLESS. Looking back, I cringe every time it crosses my mind. I couldn’t take it back.

When you listen more, it creates an opportunity to stop yourself from saying things you will regret. Your future self will thank you for that.

 Photo by Abigail Keenan

woman covering her face
What was I thinking? I shouldn’t have said THAT!
  1. It is for your own safety.

Worst case scenario… There is a fire in the building. The staff said to go to the left side of the building.. you turned right. Holy moly.

Another worst-case scenario: The instruction was to cut the blue wire, you chose red. BOOM. The end.

  1. Improving your listening skills is necessary to pass an English test.

Do you need a visa or prefer to pursue higher education overseas? One of the requirements is to pass the IELTS  or the International English Language Testing System. Part of the exam is the listening test. No matter how good you are in reading, writing and speaking, if you fail the listening test, you need to repeat the assessment.

Photo by Tim Gouw

I need to get a grip on myself. What did he say: flashlight or torch?
  1. You can be efficiently assertive to get what you want.

Listening to the sales persons about the advantages and amazing deals they have to offer, you are in a position to negotiate better and grab a great bargain.

  1. As a leader, you can offer better service because you know what the community wants.

Listening to the needs of the community is one of the effective ways of giving the service that they will appreciate and enjoy. The provision matches the necessities of the people.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

happy audience
Happy constituents are the people whose voices were heard.
  1. It promotes creativity.

Brainstorming in a group can trigger ideas that will create a masterpiece. As long as there are open-mindedness and respect in the group, the possibilities are endless.

 Photo by Climate KIC

group of people in a meeting
Based on our references, your idea is the best one!
  1. It inspires you to be the BEST YOU.

Listening to inspirational or motivational audio or videos can spark something inside you to GET BETTER. Maybe, you reached the point you got tired of being in the dump both literally and metaphorically. Listening to something uplifting can change your attitude towards life in general.

Photo by Ross Findon

 

  1. It gives you the chance to THINK MORE or REFLECT.

It is quite hard to think effectively when you are blabbering at the same time. Thinking out loud can lead you into deep waters. Listening to the opinions especially during meetings can make you compare the best suggestion that makes sense. Your own beliefs may be challenged and your mind may reconsider.

  1. You need to listen so that others will LISTEN TO YOU TOO.

Have you wondered why the people around you are not LISTENING to what you say? Maybe you are chatting, nagging, harassing or gossiping so much that you are no longer listening to them.

They got tired of your criticisms and became numb. Their reason is WHY BOTHER? Mum never listened anyway. She is always RIGHT.

Photo by Paul

cat on the table
My human doesn’t know how to stop talking. She even forgot my FOOD.
  1. Making a habit to listen cultivates your skill in picking up the ideas NOT BEING SAID.

You know you could hear alarm bells when the person says “ I’M FINE.”

You can distinguish the feelings of the person who says “GREAT!”  with a cheerful countenance compared to someone who mentions “GREAT!” but continuously mumbling and rolling their eyes.

Body language and the tone of voice are just added hints to the person’s sentiments at the moment. A know-how in listening can equip you with the right questions to ask and advice to say if they want it.

Photo by Stefan Steinbauer

hippopotamus
How many times do I have to tell you I’m FIIIIINE!!

To sum it up, I believe that listening is an important skill that should be taught at home and school. To impress someone in a gathering, the focus is too much on speaking… how do you come across? In fact,  a listener can leave a huge impact because he/she was patient enough to make time to pay attention.

I am a work in progress in refining my talent in listening.(Note: I talk a lot.)  I could already see the difference in my life when my option was to listen. There is JOY in it. I should have shut up more when I was younger.

 

I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening. -Larry King

 

 

 

13 Reasons Why the Person didn’t Answer your Greeting (Awkward)

Why do some people don’t acknowledge your existence when you greet them? Here are my 13 reasons why your greeting was unanswered.

  1. The person has a lot in his or her mind that day.

Do not be disheartened. Maybe the individual was just worried and already got lost in his or her own thoughts to be bothered with.

Possible issues they are considering:

sick family member

financial difficulties

stressful relationships

  1. The person saw you but it didn’t register in his/her mind.

The individual might be daydreaming at that time. You might see their eyes looking or even staring at you but their minds are in a faraway place like:

  • Last movie they saw and how cute the character was
  • Dreaming of eating something delicious
  • Winning the lottery and what to do with it

Photo by Alexander Solodukhin

woman thinking with a book
Yes, I guess it was the BUTLER who did it!
  1. The person has limited vision or hearing.

They may not see you from afar or even heard your greeting. Greet them at arms-length just to be sure.

I will not see you from a distance so forgive me in advance if I don’t greet back. My friend once told me I have a serious face. Please bear with me. I am a work in progress in having a cheerful face. *giggling*

  1. They are snobbish.

Some believe that they are better than the rest of humanity. They do not want to mingle with human beings they consider inferior.

Photo by Saúl Venegas

eyeglasses on the sand
I can’t find my eyeglasses!Someone said hi and I don’t know who it was!
  1. The person forgot who you are.

Ouch. Sometimes, you meet interesting people at parties and other social events. When you try to greet them at a random place, they might be deliberating in their minds where they met you. If they see you as a stranger, it might be a wake-up call to improve your social skills.

  1. The person just doesn’t like you.

You may encounter people who totally hate your guts. You are not doing anything wrong to them and yet every cell of their being is disgusted by your mere presence. Strolling in their space makes them cringe.

Photo by Bill Jones, Jr.

WHO ARE YOU?(brain working overtime)
  1. The person is shy.

Some individuals are anxious when meeting new people. What others take for granted like greeting someone, can be a huge deal for them. The chance to interact was lost because he/she was reluctant to respond.

  1. The individual was in a really awful mood.

Others may have a terrific poker face when angry. Some do not want people near them when they are furious because the closest person may become the poor victim of their wrath. They decided not to greet you.

Photo by Luke Braswell

woman in black
I am going to explode in 5…4…3…2… (seething inside)

 

  1. The person can’t think straight because of medication.

You are not in the mood to greet somebody when you feel numb, nauseous or dizzy. It is the last thing on your mind.

  1. Someone does not want to make a mistake.

Awkward moment: You said hello but realized the person was greeting somebody behind you.

Other people want to make sure they are the ones receiving the greeting not the ones near them. However, the opportunity was lost in a blink of an eye.

Photo by Eric Didier

woman looking
Did that man say hi to me or what?!Weird.

 

  1. The person just looks straight ahead.

They are not snooty. Some walk so fast, they don’t even have time to look left or right. The person was on a mission. You cannot bother him/her no matter what.

  1. The person’s height can affect their view.

I know someone who is 6’4 feet (193.04cm) in height and is a friendly guy. Sometimes he sees me and smiles, sometimes he doesn’t. My height is  5 feet (152.4cm)  so I usually get lost in a crowd of tall people.

One time I was in the shop and had to turn right in the corner but almost got my face flat on a guy’s broad chest. It was embarrassing for both of us because he had to dodge me. I could have bumped on him and landed on my bottom. *giggling again*

Photo by mauro mora

fast-paced crowd
I didn’t see you coming.

13.     Sad to say, maybe the reason is YOU.

Was your voice loud enough to be heard?

Where you too far to be recognized?

Do you tell every time each person your dramas in life?

Could the reason be your social skills? Do you stay near the walls every social event or continuously tap on your phone during parties? Your face can be forgotten in a gathering.

Does your body language show sadness, aloofness or even an arrogant aura?

Do you talk a lot to the point the listener is bored to death?

Sometimes, we need to focus on ourselves so we can have personal growth.

Photo by Andre Hunter

angry face
Ha! I bet my problem is worse than yours!

 

Give the man/woman the benefit of the doubt if they didn’t answer your gesture. Do not take it seriously. If they didn’t return your greeting and lovely smile, it’s okay. Yes, it might be awkward on your part but just keep smiling and saying hello to others. Friendships start that way.

I think that anybody that smiles automatically looks better. – Diane Lane

 

Photo by Vladislav Klapin

hello sign

 

 

 

 

Songs that will make you feel good, guaranteed!

One of these songs is bound to perk you up, make you feel alive, have FAITH and believe in yourself.  I play these songs especially when I want to feel good.

I included the songs I grew up with listening on the radio, cassette tapes and CDs. Presently, I appreciate some of the songs at Spotify app, Freegal music app, and YouTube. My apologies if the songs are not the latest ones. Enjoy the VIDEOS!

WOMEN RULE songs

When you hear these songs, it creates a feeling that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH.

This list boosts your confidence. The main idea of most of the songs is even if the person committed a mistake, there is an option to move on, learn from the experience and come out a better version of oneself.

Due to possible copyright issues, I cannot write the lyrics of the songs that convey the main message. I could write the title of the song and the singer though.

  1. Fighter – Christina Aguilera
  2. Beautiful – Christina Aguilera
  3. Fight Song – Rachel Platten
  4. Brave – Sara Bareilles
  5. Roar -Katy Perry
  6. Firework – Katy Perry
  7. Part of me -Katy Perry
  8. Let it Go – Idina Menzel
  9. Stronger( What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
  10. Strong Enough – Cher
  11. R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Aretha Franklin
  12. Stronger – Britney Spears
  13. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
  14. Titanium – David Guetta ft. Sia
  15. Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CevxZvSJLk8

Official music video for Katy Perry’s “Roar” brought to you in Junglescope directed by Grady Hall & Mark Kudsi

Music video by Cher performing “Strong Enough”. ©1999 Warner Bros. Records.

Alicia Keys’ official music video for Girl On Fire

POSITIVE VIBES songs

Start the day right by listening to songs that brainwash you with positivity.

As a mum, there are times there are so many things inside your head that you have to PLAN, DECIDE AND OVERCOME.  The list will help you relax.

  1. Happy -Pharell Williams
  2. With a Smile – Eraserheads
  3. Undefeated – Daughtry
  4. Drag me Down – One Direction
  5. Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves
  6. Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake
  7. Tonight Again -Guy Sebastian
  8. Don’t Worry be Happy – Guy Sebastian
  9. Count on Me – Bruno Mars
  10. Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
  11. Beautiful Day – U2
  12. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
  13. Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing – Tori Kelly
  14. I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
  15. Feel this Moment – PitBull ft. Christina Aguilera
  16. Don’t Worry Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
  17. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright – Bob Marley

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPUmE-tne5U

Official video of Katrina & The Waves performing Walking On Sunshine from the album Walking On Sunshine.

YouTube video by blaxter47 published on  June 16, 2006

PharellWilliamsVevo Published on January 8, 2014

If you want to FEEL COOL WHILE CLEANING THE HOUSE songs 

  1. Gonna Fly Now ( Rocky Theme Song)

Cleaning the house becomes awesome because the song takes you to the feeling of Rocky punching the air and jumping joyfully after conquering his doubts and fears.

  1. I Get Around  or Surfin  USA– The Beach Boys

Listening gives you the sensation of surfing at the beach while vacuuming.

  1. Staying Alive – The Bee Gees

As if you are wearing the coolest sunglasses while showing off your 70s wardrobe when this song is your background music.

  1. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

I like Bruno Mars. period.

  1. Man, I Feel Like a Woman – Shania Twain

It is a country song that celebrates You.

YouTube Video by RHINO Published on August 3, 2010

Stayin’ Alive” is a disco song by the group Bee Gees from the Saturday Night Fever motion picture soundtrack.

ShaniaTwainVevo Published on October 8, 2009

If you want to FEEL GOOD WHILE TRYING TO FINISH A TASK PLAYLIST

When it is that time when you feel sad for no reason or when the chores are overwhelming but you have to finish it and when your mind has to be awake, choose a song from the list.

  1. Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon
  2. I’m So Excited – The Pointer Sisters
  3. Let’s Get Ridiculous – Red Foo
  4. Born This Way – Lady Gaga
  5. What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction
  6. The Twist – Chubby Checker
  7. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  8. Dancing Queen – Abba
  9. Express Yourself – Madonna
  10. Girls Just Want to Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
  11. Wake Me Up Before You Go – George Michael
  12. Foot Loose – Kenny Loggins
  13. Livin La Vida Loca – Ricky Martin
  14. On the Floor – Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull
  15. Geronimo – Sheppard
  16. Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO
  17. Gangnam Style – Psy
  18. Take on Me – a-Ha
  19. It’s Raining Men – Geri Halliwell
  20. Dancing in the Street – David Bowie and Mick Jagger

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh8eb_ACLl8

YouTube video by easylyricsorg3609 Published on December 30, 2010

© 1974 Polar Music International AB Published by Universal/Union Songs AB

Music video by WALK THE MOON performing Shut Up and Dance. (C) 2014 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

If you are in the MOOD FOR LOUD MUSIC AND ROCKSTAR MODE while doing the Headbanging dance move (and vacuuming, dusting, washing…)

I didn’t focus on the lyrics of the songs in this playlist. Some of the lyrics don’t make sense at all. In spite of that, the songs will make you feel good if you want to hear electric guitars, loud drums, and powerful vocals. I don’t even agree with some of the lines of the songs but when I hear the music, it takes me back to my youth when I don’t care. *giggling*

  1. Feels Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
  2. Grace Kelly – Mika
  3. Raise Your Glass – Pink
  4. Livin on a Prayer – Jon Bon Jovi
  5. It’s My Life – Jon Bon Jovi
  6. Don’t Stop Believin – Journey
  7. Under Pressure – Queen or Under Pressure – David Bowie or both
  8. Sweet Child of Mine – Guns and Roses
  9. Zombie – The Cranberries
  10. Bring Me to Life – Evanescence
  11. All the Small Things – Blink 182

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoDh_gHDvkk

YouTube video by QueenHouse85 Published on Mar 19, 2013

Music video by Bon Jovi performing Livin’ On A Prayer. (C) 1986 The Island Def Jam Music Group

journeyVEVO Published on Oct 19, 2010 
Journey’s official live video for ‘Don’t Stop Believin” performed in Houston

If you want to AWAKEN the Sexy Diva in YOU ( Yes, you are sexy. You just need to be reminded.)

  1. She’s so high –Tal Bachman
  2. Venus – Shocking Blue
  3. Crazy in Love – Beyonce
  4. I Never Loved You Anyway – The Corrs
  5. Vogue – Madonna
  6. Can’t Get You Out of My Head – Kylie Minogue
  7. Don’t Cha – The Pussycat Dolls
  8. Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
  9. Only Girl (In the World) – Rihanna
  10. Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison
  11. She’s A Lady – Tom Jones
  12. (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life– Jennifer Warnes, Bill Medley
  13. I’m Every Woman – Whitney Houston

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPwtJ89jes4&list=RDYPwtJ89jes4

Official HD Promo Video for Kylie Minogue’s fantastic single ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’. Published on Jan 23, 2015

© 2011 WMG. The official music video for ‘Just The Way You Are’ by Bruno Mars from doo-wops and hooligans -Directed by Ethan Lader Inspired by the artwork of Erika Iris Simmons

whitneyhoustonVEVO Published on Nov 14, 2009

 If you want to take it Slow but still uplifting SONGS

  1. Lazy Song by Bruno Mars
  2. Amazed by Lone Star
  3. Climb Every Mountain ( Sound of Music soundtrack)
  4. Hero by Mariah Carey
  5. Somewhere over the Rainbow – by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole

 

If you prefer songs that inspire FAITH IN GOD when everything doesn’t make sense

  1. The Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) – by Johnny Mathis
  2. God Will Make a Way – Don Moen
  3. Shine Jesus Shine – Graham Kendrick
  4. Lead Me Lord – Gary Valenciano
  5. You Raise Me Up – Josh Groban
  6. Amazing Grace – Susan Doyle
  7. Lift Up Your Hands – Basil Valdez
  8. Give Thanks ( With A Grateful Heart) – Don Moen
  9. Take Me Out of the Dark -Gary Valenciano
  10. When You Believe – Whitney Houston ft. Mariah Carey
  11. I Will Follow Him – Sister Act 1 Movie Finale or I Will Follow Him – Peggy March

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rSWXf2Y4z0

DonMoenTV Published on Feb 14, 2016 

YouTube Video by TheGoddess461 Published on Apr 4, 2011

 YouTube video by vinzpaul747   Published on Jul 13, 2009

I hope that scanning through the lists, you may discover a song that will truly make you FEEL GOOD about yourself, the day you will face and about LIFE.  Have faith.

What are you waiting for? Search up the songs on YouTube, Google or even Spotify. Take care.

Share this post with someone who copes with stress through music.

How to Cope when you miss someone

There are instances when you see an object like a picture,

smell a familiar aroma,

hear a song,

taste a particular food or

touch an item like a soft blanket made you MISS SOMEONE SO MUCH.  Time stood still and tears rolled down your cheeks.

It was just an ordinary day doing your normal routine at home then it HIT YOU- BAM, right on your chest. You thought you were already capable of managing your emotions. Oh no. You realized you were wrong.

Years have passed. Then an item suddenly TRIGGERED something inside you. You burst into tears.

It is quite depressing when the person you suddenly remembered had already passed away. It is impossible to see him/her in person. There is nothing you can do but reminisce the memories you had together. You may

smile

cry

laugh

be annoyed with yourself especially if there were words left unsaid.

Each person copes differently when they miss someone they love.

  1. Cry and Grieve.

Some people take time to recover from a loss of a loved one. When they are caught in the moment of heartache, they give in.  Crying may not change what already has taken place but it is a good release of painful thoughts. Crying is one way of healing.

  1. Visit the cemetery with a loved one.

One approach of letting go and accepting the fact is a visit to the cemetery.  Looking at the tombstone is a reminder that the loved one is already gone and is in a better place. Lighting a candle, giving flowers and saying a prayer with family/friends are ways of showing we remember and we love them.

Photo by David Monje

one lighted candle in the dark
May you rest in peace.
  1. Do an activity which they did together when the person was still alive.

This is a make or break option. Let us say what they did together was go for a walk at the beach. The person may feel good (memories shared) or unhappy about it (can’t do it again with him/her). 

  1. Go out with family or friends.

When you feel that sadness is creeping in on you, then one choice is to go out with family or friends. Talking with a trustworthy person and having a drink at the same time release your inhibitions. The atmosphere is conducive to an honest and open communication. Whatever is bothering you at the moment is heard and another person’s point of view may change your day for the better.

Photo by Greg Raines

Two women on top of a car
Thank you for being here. I feel so much better.
  1. Pray in the church.

November 1 is All Saints Day which is a special day for Catholics. Most Catholics go to church to pray for the souls of the departed. Sometimes, missing someone takes away the belief that everything will be okay. Praying strengthens our faith that everything will be alright.  The song of Don Moen sums it up – God will make a way.

  1. Be busy with an activity that makes you happy. Divert your thinking.

Other people are good at diverting their thinking when they miss someone they love. Instead  of moping around, they will rather:

  1. Watch a show that entertains them.
  2. Improve their garden.
  3. Shop until they drop
  4. Eat out.
  5. Enjoy nature.
  6. Walk with a pet.
  7. Sing until their voice becomes hoarse.
  8. Dance like mad.
  9. Cook as if they are feeding a hundred guests.
  10. Write their thoughts.
  11. Renovate the house.
  12. Travel to a place they have never been.
  13. Read an inspirational book.
  14. Listen to a motivational speaker.
  15. Create something like art.

Photo by Vincent van Zalinge

lady bug
Appreciating the beauty of nature
  1. Enjoy the company of loved ones who are still alive.

Other folks redirect their emotions to the people surrounding them. They will make time, especially with the older family members. They will try to catch up for the lost time. It is a wake-up call for them to say their I LOVE YOUs.

Photo by Nathália Bariani

two elderly persons sitting on a bench
Do you still remember the good old days when we…?
  1. Time to reinvent oneself for the better.

Missing someone you love stirs in you the will to improve yourself.  One thing that you CAN DO is create a NEW YOU. New look ranges from losing weight, new hair color or hairstyle or change of attire. It could also be personal development like studying a new course or changing your attitude.

Photo by Miriam Miles

tortoise
No matter how slow, keep moving forward.
  1. Help someone.

Rather than focus on their own melancholy, some individuals go out and help other people who are experiencing worse. It gives them satisfaction to be of service. At the end of the day, when they suddenly feel again a pang of emptiness due to someone’s absence, there is instant joy filling their hearts because they were able to make a difference in someone’s life.

Photo by Larm Rmah 

happy children
Happy even if they do not have enough
  1. Opening oneself to opportunities to love again

It is devastating to miss the presence of the love of your life. Some were able to cope alone while others found love again. Their hearts are overflowing with love so you see them happy with someone new.

It is normal to be sad when we miss someone. For me, the feeling of unhappiness should be acknowledged. Sadness runs deep, especially if there were issues left unsettled with the person who passed away. Being consumed with regrets will do you no good.

Make time for grieving and weeping if you have to. Then, move on. Move on until you can laugh again.

It must not be a reason to be miserable all the time. There are still people around you who need your love. That is the good news.

Give more hugs and kisses to the people who matter to you. Express more love and appreciation to family and friends. All of us do not know when our time is up.

Focus on the present. You are alive  which means you have TIME to

Love

Celebrate

Sparkle

NOW.

So when Death comes knocking at your door,  your ABSENCE will be truly felt by family, friends, co-workers and even acquaintances. You are a person worth MISSING SO MUCH.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Try and See What Happens

person on a lonely road

Did you try something because it is your choice or you have to? The consequences might be good or bad. The effects may be short-term or even a lifetime. Here are the 10 things I tried.

  1. I tried to say what was on my mind.

To say or not to say, that is the question. When you decide to express it, how you say it becomes important. I learned this the hard way.

  1. It feels so good to release what really is bothering you.
  2. You hurt someone close to you.
  3. You were able to correct someone’s assumption of you.
  4. Relationships become better or worse.
  5. You were able to say something that changed the way people think and behave.

No matter how good your intention is in stating it, if the delivery is too emotional, the communication is totally lost.  Both of you become defensive and listening with an open mind is impossible.

Photo by Michelle Phillips

Seriously… you said WHAT?!
  1. I tried to DIET and Exercise.

These are the two words every middle-aged mum will have to DO AND CONQUER.  Being a middle-aged mum, I know I am not getting any younger anymore and lifestyle changes are necessary.

Let us start with DIET. Articles I read stated that healthy eating means everything in moderation. You don’t have to starve or deprive yourself of food you really love. It is a healthy lifestyle that you can keep up without screaming at yourself that you had ENOUGH!

Photo by Markus Spiske

strawberry,raspberry and blueberry on a plate
Are you kidding me? Is this it?!

I posted on my blog an article about cravings. Craving for a comfort food during an emotional turmoil is a  weakness of many (including me). It really takes discipline to stop stress-eating.  I believe there is always a way. I am still in the process of finding the way.

There is a long list of benefits of exercise but remaining CONSISTENT in doing it is a struggle. I was able to do it and lost weight before my wedding. I gained it back after giving birth to three boys. Experts say do what you love and for me, dancing is one of them. Let’s see what happens in the future with this type of exercise. I SALUTE you if you can shed off the kilos permanently!

Photo by Chris Arock

woman touching her head
Mantra:  I can do this. No orders of cappuccino and a slice of cake.
  1. I tried to write a blog.

I have never taken a writing course or journalism but decided to try and start a blog.

The question WHAT IF is no longer in my head. This website is good for one year. I am writing to express my thoughts and feelings. Through this, I can

make someone happy,

let a reader ponder an idea,

share a concept or two and

even change me for the better.

I may not be the best writer but if I was able to touch someone’s life with the words I wrote, then I can say, I am glad I TRIED TO WRITE A BLOG. If I couldn’t maintain this website in the future, I can still say to myself, at least I became a mum blogger once in my lifetime! Thank you for reading.

Photo by Parker Byrd

typing on a laptop
Learning blogging as I go along.

 

  1. I tried to be a POSITIVE THINKER.

My line of thought was something might go wrong. I am Mrs. Worrier.

However, my thinking changed when I read the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. It never occurred to me that one day the person who would improve my way of thinking is an Australian. Never in my wildest imagination that one day, my family and I will migrate to Australia.

Worrying is a part of a mum’s life but gradually having a positive mindset improves your coping skills. Pessimism will creep in when you are at your lowest point. It is crucial to be surrounded with people who remind you to stay positive. A person cheering that you will overcome the issue can boost your morale.

Photo by Jessica Bristow

thankful sign

  1. I tried to talk to a STRANGER while waiting.

There was a time when there was no wi-fi or smartphones and all you have to do is wait with other human beings. I tried to strike a conversation while waiting in line at the bus stop, in the hospital, in the restaurant and at school.

I tried to say:

“ What’s the time?”

“ It is so warm today, isn’t it?”

“ Hello, your face looks familiar. Do you live..”

“ Are you a Filipino?” and other conversation starters.  If the person has a short answer then the person is not in the mood to talk. If the person looks you in the eye and says more than you ask for then it’s a good start.

I had different experiences chatting with strangers.

Stranger 1:  The person wanted someone to talk to and was glad to have a company. I had a chat with an old woman on the bus and we were both going to the same hospital.She was battling cancer and she doesn’t know if she will still live the following year. We ended up hugging each other. It was my purpose to be her listening seatmate that day. I wished her well.

Stranger 2: The elderly mum gave advice on how to raise sons. I was waiting for my order and she sat in front of me. She told me it’s her 75th birthday and her son’s 50th birthday on that day and waiting for her salon appointment. She commented, “ Have TIME for your sons. Let them be active in sports so that their minds will not think of silly things.”

Stranger 3: The man told me about buying a house. We were renting that time. I didn’t see that guy anymore but while conversing with him, he made me realize that we had to save money if we decide to give a down payment when purchasing our first home.

Stranger 4: We talked to a stranger in the shops. He and his family became our friends since 2010.

For me, it is not a coincidence meeting random individuals. There is a reason.

Photo by Tobias Zils

people on the street
You’ll never know whom you’re going to meet that will change you.
  1. I tried to LISTEN.

An acquaintance once suggested to me to try to listen to my husband for 10 minutes without interrupting him and see what happens. I am a chatter-box and my husband is a listener. Even when we were dating, he was a man-of-few-words type of guy (or maybe he was just shy to interrupt haha).

After having two sons, I DID. (What?! You might say.)

I set the timer for 10 minutes and I gave my best not to interrupt him. At first, he didn’t know what to say because from the beginning he was the listener. He started telling me things that happened way back in his childhood. I tried to keep my mouth shut. It was hard because I am the type of person reacting within a few minutes in the discussion. After 10 minutes or more, his voice became hoarse due to non-stop talking.

Wow, what a revelation. I learned things about him he didn’t even mention in our first years of being married. Give guys the chance to talk and stop interrupting.Be patient.

Photo by rawpixel.com

woman listening to a man
Note to self: Listen more.
  1. I tried to VOLUNTEER.

It is quite scary for me when I volunteer for a task. However, one good thing I learned when volunteering is it broadens your mind. There are various people you meet whether it is in the church, school or community.

You learn through experience tasks like public speaking, serving other people and communicating with individuals with multi-cultural backgrounds. Volunteering improves your cultural awareness because it makes you see the other side of life that you usually are not exposed to. You understand more other people’s dilemma.

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny

woman and a boy talking
Connecting and reaching out NOT through social media
  1. I tried to pass the driving test.

We didn’t get to the bus stop on time and so the bus left without us. I felt like I was in a Hollywood movie screaming with outstretched arms “ NOOOOOO!” Getting an Australian driver’s license became a major goal for me.

Written exam- done and dusted! On the other hand, the driving test was a nerve-racking experience for me. I failed the first one because I drove 60kph in a 50kph speed limit road and other mistakes which if I was the examiner, I will not give a passing mark to myself.

I failed the second try and I cried while we were leaving the transportation office. The car windows were open and the guy standing on the footpath saw me. Looking back, I saw his reaction seeing me weep. He looked angry while staring at my husband. I guess he could be thinking “You jerk, why are you making the woman cry?”

Passing the driving test on my third try felt like winning the lottery. At last, I have the option not to ride the bus! When the examiner announced I passed the test, I hugged her because I couldn’t contain my joy! After 8 driving lessons and advice from my patient husband, I did it.

Lesson learned: Try and try until you succeed. Yes, it is a cliché but it is so true.

Photo by Alex Harvey

 old woman staring at you
It’s about time you passed that driving test! I thought I would never live to see it.
  1. I tried to study a course.

Trying to study while taking care of a family will test your GRIT as a mum. From what I wrote from my previous blog 10 things to think about before enrolling an online course, studying pushed me to my limits and out of my comfort zone.

Time management and setting priorities were life skills that helped me finish the course. It was not easy but I did it. Cheers to all middle-aged mums out there who are continuously studying and improving their craft. Keep up the good work!

Photo by Stefan Cosma

focus sign

  1. I tried to LOVE.

It has been the common plot of a love story in movies. A guy likes a girl but the girl likes another guy. The guy the girl loves is in love with someone else. It is the same story of unrequited love.

I remembered my classmate. She assumed that our male classmate was courting her because he visited her on weekends. She was so ecstatic telling me that he invited her to his hometown and will be introduced to his parents. To my surprise, the next time we met, she told me in between sobs that he introduced to her his girlfriend during the fiesta.

When you love somebody, it is not a guarantee that you will not get hurt. You will because there is too much emotional investment in it. You become vulnerable and gullible. However, it didn’t hinder me loving someone because it is a risk I had to take.

I am glad I did try to love or else I wouldn’t have three wonderful boys calling me mum.

How about you, my dear reader. Is there something that YOU DO WANT TO TRY? As long as it is not life-threatening or not breaking any laws, what is stopping you?

The question for you is WHY NOT?

 Photo by Martin Shreder

Do what is great sign

 

Just Dance 2016

guy dancing on the street

The boys excitedly handed out a  second-hand Just Dance 2016 game to me one Sunday afternoon. We tried to play the game out of curiosity. As a mother, here are my ten thoughts about the game.

  1. It is a game that hit me with the reality about the status of my weight.

I love to dance but the moves made me feel my toned fats were too heavy. I was trying to catch my breath after a more than 3-minute song! It was the day I discovered how badly I needed to lose weight. Talking about an in denial mum!

Photo by Carlos Bretón

bear
It is time to take a stand and LOSE THIS BELLY FAT!
  1. It gave me the opportunity to play a game with the boys.

I have driven for years but the boys kept giving me advice on how to drive in a Mario Kart game.

“Keep your hands still mummy.” Of course, I always fall off the cliff in that game!

Just Dance gave me the chance to shine and receive my 3 or 4 or 5 stars just following the dance steps! I no longer hear the bits of wisdom coming from the boys this time.

  1. It is an alternative to gym exercise.

It takes dedication to go to the gym, run on the treadmill and use the gym equipment until the muscles hurt.  I had the option to sweat at the comfort of my home with Just Dance video game. Fit and healthy me soon! Fingers crossed.

  1. Learning the modern dance moves made me feel young.

It really looks cool doing those moves. So this is the kind of dance they are doing now! So what if I am doing it wrong? Dancing with the boys rubbed in me their youthful energy.

  1. I discovered new songs I like to dance to.  

Gibberish by Max

Animals by Martin Garrix

Blame by Calvin Harris featuring John Newman

I can still appreciate songs of today. My playlist is not limited anymore to the songs of my generation.

  1. It is a game that makes the boys move and dance.

I try to limit the video game time of the boys. I just see them sit around staring at the monitor or television. With this game, it is like inserting exercise in their schedule!

  1. I felt good after dancing the playlist.

I could have eaten a brownie or devouring my favorite chips. NO. I used my 30 minutes to dance. It was the right decision.Raising my heartbeat and sweating away my fats felt sensational.

Based on my experience, you must have a dance buddy to push you to dance and exercise or else, excuses will start rolling in.

  1. It is another way to do family bonding time.

Weekends come by so fast. One way of spending quality time indoors is to play this game.  It was fun teasing or challenging the boys to dance a particular song we know the steps are suited for girls. My son remarked “Seriously!” after dancing to Born this Way by Lady Gaga.

Furthermore, you will encounter songs that are easy or difficult to dance with. The good news is if you keep on dancing the same song over and over with family, you will get used to it even if you have two left feet. Watching ourselves and laughing about it is time well spent.

Photo by Simon Noh 

sign: NO MUSIC,NO LIFE.

  1. We could sing while waiting for our turn to dance.

While the song is playing, the lyrics are shown at the bottom left corner of the screen.  When we are not sure what the word we heard was, we just look at the lyrics and sing our hearts out.

  1. The little technophobe in me is gradually slipping away.

Oh sure, just press x or the circle then go up.  Trying to learn how to turn on and off and reading the options was a bit too much for me. Learning how to manipulate technology is one step away from feeling obsolete.

 

My family gave me Just Dance 2017 for my birthday. Hopefully, I could dance away the food I ate during winter time. Spring is here and it is time for new beginnings and new YOU! Are you with me?

 

15 Sneaky Reasons why we buy things we don’t need and their Solutions

shopping

Are you one of those individuals that buy something you do not need? I have a list of 15 tricky reasons and noteworthy solutions. Be aware of it.  You might be in denial at the moment. Awareness is the first step to finding a solution.

  1. It is on sale or better yet is half-price!

This is my weakness. When I see an item that is on sale, I feel my hands have a mind of their own. My weak right hand ( not really)  reaches out for the item which at that moment I do not even need.

Example: half-priced chocolate

I tried to ignore the chocolates and came home empty-handed. After dinner, I had a craving. I opened the pantry and lo and behold, no chocolates!  I opened the can of Milo and ate one spoonful of it. To my dismay, the boys saw me and I unintentionally introduced them to the path of eating a spoonful of powdered Milo. Guilty as charged! (Mugshot front view, mugshot side view). What have I done!

If you are not a chocolate lover, maybe your weakness is:

Photo by Jeremy Wong

SHOES! Are you pumped up?!

a. half-priced shoes?

b. on sale bags?

c. slashed prices of clothes?

d. super cheap home decor?

e. all of the above?

I am truly excited for you if you have found a bargain you need. However, if you have tons of clothes in the wardrobe still with tag prices, piles of shoes almost not worn at all, branded bags in the cabinet only used twice a year, then ask yourself, do you need it now?

Solution: “Do you really need it?” Your mind says “Yes! Yes!”  Bring along a disciplined and logical friend with you so he/she can stop you from what you’re going to do. Avoid junk mail and online updates of sales at all costs. If you can.

Photo by Evelyn Mostrom

I got your back, my friend.
  1. You don’t feel good.

Have you experienced those days when the moment you wake up, everything was set to make you have a bad mood? It is mid-day and your mind was racing with the idea “Oh, I hope this day ends soon.”  The day is over and you feel lousy. The shops are still open. Ha! You were just telling yourself, “I will just look around.” Nope. Before you went home, you bought something. It felt good, right? After a few days, you convince yourself, why did I buy that?

Solution: Be mindful of what you are doing when it’s a rotten day. What is your option that will make you feel good that is free and will not bust your budget? When the day is awful, I talk to a trustworthy loved one who is willing to listen to my dramas.

Photo by Kris Atomic

Guess what happened next sis? It will blow your mind …blah blah
  1. You are bored.

You do not want to stay home so you made up your mind to go window-shopping. Oh, the shopping center is begging you to come in and look around! Suddenly, your eyes fancy that item which for the sake of buying, you buy it. The promise of just window-shopping was thrown out of the window. The end

Solution: Stay at home if you do not have a goal or list of important things to buy. Sometimes,  I already have a list and yet still end up buying items, not on the list. What more if you do not have an objective for being there? Bored? What can you do for free at home?besides the shopping center? I watch movies/episodes and eat popcorn with the family.

Watching DRAGON BALL SUPER with the boys ( episodes you have to wait weekly)

 

  1. You are competitive.

Did you see the latest branded bag of the friend of a friend? Your chest quickly felt a pang of envy while observing her bag in a party. You whispered to yourself “I can afford that too.”  On you go to the Direct Factory Outlet of the brand you desperately want to have.

Envy is such a negative feeling to have. I met people having credit card problems because of all the shoes, bags and clothes they bought all in the name of keeping up with their so-called friends.

Solution: If the feeling of envy is your trigger, you will never be happy. Release it. There is freedom to it.

  1. You want it because it is interesting.

The item is so cute. The product will be an excellent collection of yours. It will be a hot topic of your party. Only you have it among friends and acquaintances. It is a unique item to behold for many years to come (what you believe) or just days to be realistic. After a month, it will start to collect dust or will be stored in a container to be forgotten.

Photo by Kukuh Himawan Samudro

store with different items
I got to have this! It is so cute!

Solution: I know the feeling of happiness for buying it but is it worth it when it is time to see your credit card bill? For me, a novelty item is valuable if you use it every day.

  1. You buy it out of curiosity.

Food lovers will relate to this. You are not that hungry but you saw a particular food that made you curious what could be its taste. As if the food is tempting you, “ Buy me, taste me, know what I taste like.”  After 5 minutes of swallowing your saliva while staring at the food, you buy it. Good for you if you discovered food worth eating again and again. Good luck when your verdict is never again will I buy this!

Photo by Mink Mingle

Mmmm.. That looks interesting to eat.

Solution:  Do not go to the shopping center hungry. Have your meals or snacks at home and then go shopping. Otherwise, you will spend more money with food than what you actually planned to. I am a food lover and to all food lovers out there, we can do this!

  1. You feel you deserve a reward.

You have worked hard for quite some time now.  Your quick eye saw the item and decided then and there, you deserve to be compensated with all the sacrifices you have done. Even if it is not on the budget, you purchase it. Even if you are spending money way beyond what you have, you still do it because you feel you need a gift for yourself.

Photo by Jakub Gorajek

YEAH! Traveling around the world! Wow, driving our brand new car!
After 2 years: UH, OH.

Solution:  It is so much rewarding when the gift to yourself will not give you sleepless nights and anxiety throughout the year. Choose a present that will give you joy, not temporary thrill. Live within your means.

  1. You are addicted to purchasing items.

Do you have that uncontrollable urge that you have to buy something no matter what?  Do you have the overwhelming desire to click online purchases or tap on your reliable smartphone items you do not necessarily need at the time? The items you are scanning are not priorities of your budget.

Photo by Luke Porter

OMG! It is so cheap! I must have it now!

Solution: Better get some help (personal and professional) from a sensible person or else you will end up in a huge pile of debt.

  1. You were deprived of the item in your childhood.

Parents who grew up in a deprived childhood will relate to this. Growing up poor, you didn’t experience the luxuries of life. Fast forward to the present and you have a family now. Your child wants a toy which triggered your emotions about your own childhood.  The toy is not in the family budget but still, you see yourself paying for it at the cashier.

Photo by Darren Bockman

toy train
I didn’t have that toy when I was young.

Solution: There is power with the word No especially with children. As a parent, I choose my battles. There were times I said yes and there were times I said no.  My son once stated, “Mum, when you say I will think about it, it means no.”  He knows me well.

  1. You want to be popular or a show-off.

Some people want to be popular and be topics of conversations. It is part of their need as an individual to bask in their glory, to be in the spotlight and display the item as their status symbol. I am happy for them if they can afford it.

Photo by NeONBRAND

man with a bike
Looking cool with my awesome bike

Solution:  Do not take the risk of going beyond what you can afford just for fame’s sake. There will always be new acquaintances who can buy better stuff than you.  Self-respect will remain popular across cultures.

  1. A friend, acquaintance or a store assistant convinced you to buy it.

Based on my experience, I do not know why the staff at the grocery store approaches me first and offers me a free taste of the food they are selling. Maybe, I have the aura of I-will-buy-anything-just-let-me-taste-it-first type of person. There are other people in the store but almost always, they approach or talk to me first rather than the other humans roaming around.

The boys had a free taste too and they always answered “Yes, we like it. Let’s buy it.” The case is closed. Give me what you are selling.

Conversations with friends and acquaintances can also trigger you buying their highly recommended purchases. They might need it in their lives but do you need it too?

Solution: Just say “ No, thank you” and move on.

  1. You got hooked on a tv ad or infomercial.

The power of sales talk conquered your views from a bystander to a buyer. Even at the comfort of your home, you might start calling on the phone and order the items from the infomercials or tv ads.

Even my sons were persuaded by it. “Mum, look at this! Buy it and you will have flat and toned abs!”

Good for you if you discovered an item that will help you in your everyday life or even your health issues. However, if it is not what you need, it might just end up still inside the package box and stored somewhere in a corner.

Solution: If you are that type of person that cannot control himself/herself buying on the spot without thinking of the consequences, turn off the tv or smart phone and do something productive to divert your thinking.

  1. You got so much extra money.

Spend. Spend.Spend. The debit card is having a workout.

Photo by Heidi Sandstrom.

shopping
So much shopping to do!

Solution: Please give me your money. I will spend it with the things I need.  Kidding aside, donating to charity or setting up a foundation to assist the less fortunate is money working for the common good.

  1. You love to hoard things.

Are you that kind of person who keeps buying things because you believe that you will need the items someday? The loved ones living with you are fed up with the things you keep buying. You don’t need them yet so you stock them somewhere you will soon forget and boxes occupy most of your home space. Good luck looking for it when you need it.

During the peak of popularity of garage sales for me way back in 2010-2011, I was a hoarder and loved buying cheap second-hand goods. I ended up having more than what I bargained for – lots of clutter.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

different boxes
Where did I put that item I bought? Hmm

Solution: STOP buying it. Remove the mess.  I am a work in progress with removing the clutter but I am getting there… soon or maybe in a distant future. It felt good to see more space at home. True story!

  1. You want someone you love to be happy.

“Love is an ocean of emotions entirely surrounded by expenses.” –Thomas Dewar

You know deep inside, when you buy that particular item, the person you love will be ecstatic or delighted to have it at long last. Even if you don’t need it, you will sacrifice your own needs and wants and grab the item and pay before you change your mind!

Buying an expensive but reasonable gift for someone you love is great on rare occasions and within your means. Still, it is not a guarantee that the person will appreciate it.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

man and woman sitting on the grass
Having a belly laugh together is time well spent.

Solution: There are other ways of proving your love. The best one is giving your precious time and undivided attention to loved ones.  In addition, show love by helping with the laundry, doing the dishes, hugs, kisses, eating home-cooked meals at picnics and not looking at updates on your phone constantly while talking to them are my suggestions.

 

To sum up, if you become aware of your personal trigger, then you begin to be conscious of your actions, possibly get help or control your desire. We all purchase things for all the wrong reasons. My intention for you, my dear reader, is to take charge of your emotions and your purchases. We can handle it.

I now live on a road where they don’t deliver junk mail. Hence, no temptations for me this time.

Photo by Martin Sattler

man with a flashlight
A way will be made.

 

Alternatively, what are your own solutions that made you buy only what you need?

Leave a comment below. I love to learn from my readers.

Share this article with someone you know who loves to go shopping.

 

 

 

Open Colleges:Ten things to think about before enrolling an online course based from my experience as a mother

laptop and notebook on a table

 

I will give you my Top Ten things to think about before enrolling an online course.  These are based on my experience as a middle-aged mother. I enrolled at Open Colleges.

1.There are various ways to pay.

There are options like paying in full or monthly payments. I chose to pay the full amount because, in the long run, it will be cheaper.

white light covering the hair
Downloading tons of information

2. Starting to study is the hard part.

Studying all over again made my head hurt literally. Imagine, reading, writing and submitting assessments again! The good news was my middle-aged working mind gained momentum after a month.

3.It takes discipline to make time to study.

The family is watching television or enjoying a movie marathon. There I was sitting in the lounge desperately telling myself to stand up and go to your laptop. Submit the tasks!

The temptation to procrastinate is great. Sometimes, I gave in to the temptation and had a marvelous bonding time with family. Other times, I suffered the consequences of sleep deprivation. Your choice.

tired mother with two boys

4.I felt isolated.

There is a study buddy online where I could connect with other students near my area. I didn’t choose that. I rather surf the internet than connecting to someone whose profile picture is blank.

It took a heavy toll on me. I grew up in a traditional classroom where I could talk to real people. I missed that. I studied in front of a laptop while my boys were at school and my husband was at work. I had to leave the house just to relax and talk to people.

5. Sometimes, staying in front of the computer for hours is necessary.

In the real world of mothers, everything changes when a child gets sick or the husband had to stay longer at work. The only option was to do all the tasks for submission in one weekend. That means sitting all day in front of the computer. Managing time is essential.

macbook and phone
I need to send this NOW.

6. I learned a lot.

Submitting assessments made me read books and surf the internet for reliable information.  What made it difficult was to find the right answer to the question which means skimming and scanning websites. Through it all, it opened my mind to issues  I didn’t know existed. It broadened my understanding.

stepping on a see through floor
Going beyond

7. It pushed me to my limits and let me out of my comfort zone.

There were times I wanted to give up. What made me held on was I already paid the tuition fee in full haha!  On the serious side, I have a strong belief in this When I start something, I want to finish it. No excuses.

8. Feedbacks from instructors during the last assessment were nail-biting.

I had a lovely opportunity chatting with the instructors for questions and comments during my study. All of them were kind and accommodating.  However, the last assessments caused me sleepless nights. Were they good enough?

lots of balloons in the sky
I DID IT!

 9. It gave a feeling of accomplishment.

When I read the word PASS with my final assessments, I jumped for joy! Yes! I finally finished my course! After all the hard work and dedication to do it, I finally made it. It was an achievement itself taking care of a family and studying online at the same time.

10. Finish your course as soon as you can because sometimes the curriculum changes.

At the middle of my studies, the curriculum suddenly changed. If you do not want to have more assessments or retake exams, better finish it in one year.

 

Homesickness: the toxic feeling that makes you forget to appreciate what you have

woman bowing down

Homesickness trigger scenario: I locked the door. The morning rush is over. My husband went to work and the boys are at school. The chores are all staring at me. Clean me! Wash me! Iron me! As if all the appliances are screaming at me for attention. What to do? What to do?

I saw myself sitting in the hallway trying to stop myself from crying. I felt hopeless. I couldn’t think straight. My mind is telling me Snap out of it! You are better than this! Why are you so sad? There are more people who are suffering more than you so stop crying!

I didn’t. Cries turned into loud sobs. It was the moment that I do not like thinking about. It creates a feeling of despair, a sudden rush of sadness and feeling of isolation. I was homesick.

person alone in the desert
I felt isolated.

There are times when homesickness is triggered by someone or something. It sometimes hit me without preparation. I saw an old couple holding hands while crossing the street. It reminded me of my parents in the Philippines. I saw a plane while I was hanging clothes in the backyard. I felt lonely because I wanted to ride a plane and visit my loved ones.  I craved for the food I could only buy in the Philippines.

I sometimes envy the mums going to school who have their mothers assisting them with a pram or a toddler.  They have with them their mums for support and guidance. I am a middle-aged mum who understands more now why mama and papa were behaving that way in the past. It was so easy back then to be stubborn and believe that my way was better. Listening to them is important to me now. We talk over the phone or have a video chat. Sometimes it is enough to get me by.

However, there are moments that I badly need a hug or a kiss from mama. Living overseas is both joy and a challenge as a mother. I cannot be tough all the time. I sometimes break down. This is where the tricky part comes in. What do I say to myself?

covered face behind a window

Just keep crying Shirin. Let it all out. Cry… cry… You have a loving family who supports you. You have friends who accept you for who you are. You have food in the pantry. You have clothes and shelter. Life in Australia gave you the chance to experience events you only dreamt of before.

After finishing a bucket of tissues later, I realized that I forgot to appreciate what I have in the first place. Why am I focusing on the loneliness when I could focus on the life I have now. I do not have issues that are life threatening. I am alive which is GOOD! I should be mentally aware when this toxic feeling suddenly comes again.

lady with raised hands at the beach
 JOY

When the feeling suddenly comes, positive self-talk is essential.  Today, I choose joy! Yes… I am feeling sad right now but being miserable today is doing more harm than good! I believe there is a way of going out of this. I can handle this!

However, don’t get me wrong. I believe a good cry can also do wonders for my health and sanity. It gives me a feeling of release. It gives me a new perspective. Okay, I already cried. Now what?

Homesickness is a toxic feeling every migrant, overseas worker, traveler, and refugee will feel. Wherever you are, I feel you. I am with you in this battle. My intention is for you to be able to have coping strategies for it. Mine is positive self-talk. How about you?