45 Things I Learned... 9

Monday, January 23, 2023

The 1975 civil war that tore Lebanon to pieces impacted us Lebanese in ways we still discover to date. I was born a few years after the "skirmishes" turned into blood baths and feudal and atrocious vendettas. I am the eldest of 5 siblings and am goal-oriented. Moreover, I draw excellent working plans, just like my father 😁 Being an empath with a vivid imagination and a highly sensitive woman, my intuition, or what I call my "nose" -it's big so it's good it's somehow useful 🤪-, never let me down in envisioning what the future would bring. I'm no psychic. My brain just connects things pretty fast and I can sense what is going to be the outcome. To come back to treats, throughout my life, my parents awarded and gifted me mostly books to celebrate my achievements or just because they knew that present would please me. I wasn't interested in bling bling, i.e. jewelry or clothing, maybe because it wouldn't teach me anything of value to me. Books, on the other hand, were and still are the most precious gift one can get me and they are one of my 3 life essentials. It was common for me to be valedictorian at school and acclaimed for it. This set the bar considerably high. Especially to someone with my personality: I was constantly aiming at perfecting whatever I did. There was no room whatsoever to rest on my previous performances or to be lazy. What horror would that have been! Staying on top required relentless efforts and I pushed myself for myself. I was my first and last competitor. Others didn't fit into that equation. I didn't care what they were doing. I was focused on my path and just wanted to be the best I could be. And the only way to do so was to keep falling forward. Over and over again...

It wasn't till I was an adult and working on my own that I realized that cutting myself some slack wasn't the end of the world. Sure, I had been already traveling around the world at each opportunity I got, to the dismay of my dad, who kept reminding me that I needed to look at life more seriously. But I couldn't help it. I still don't take life too seriously. And I didn't care about saving money or accumulating assets. Not that dad would have wanted me to. He just knew that I'm terribly independent and it would only be beneficial to a crazy cookie like me to put aside a safety cushion for dire times that might come. But like the cicada in the fable of La Fontaine, I enjoyed the dancing late into the night, the music concerts and festivals, and road trips on a whim with no preset destination. On some summer nights, I used to crawl out of bed at 3 am to go climb a small hill and wait for the sunrise with a book. At the same time, my structured and cartesian mind needed to have some sort of frame to fall back on or to transgress, depending on the mood du jour. It was my internal military discipline that lead me to be draconian with myself first, before being strict with others. The past few years have been tumultuous and forced most of us to re-evaluate where we stood and what we wanted. I knew then, that the crack that had been there all those years was finally splitting that hard shell around my heart. And I started allowing myself to think with my heart and feel with my brain. I gave myself more time. This in itself is a feat for someone who was born impatient and rushed around to do as much as humanly possible in my waking hours. I started taking care of my body that I had mistreated all those years by letting it rest when it signaled to me it was tired, by feeling much less guilty when I needed to sleep those 5 hours at night, and by helping it heal, physically and spiritually.

Since my teenage years, I believe that life is too short to regret anything and that everything is a learning curve. I am happy about my evolution. I have tremendously learned. I am glad my support system, which comprises my nuclear family and my very close friends, supported me in my darker moments and assisted me in my growth. It is thanks to them, especially my baby sister and my best friend, that I am kinder to myself and that I indulge in laughing at some silly series on TV that I would have considered a waste of time when I had more "urgent" things to do on my priorities' list, make myself that dish that I crave because I, too, deserve the care I give to others, reward myself with a day at the spa or any kind of gift just because I feel like it and not because there was a special occasion for that. I deserve to pamper myself, albeit I have decided that I will not stop working hard or dreaming big. I will just remember to keep enjoying the waves along the way 🥳 I have earned that privilege!

Some quotes on treating oneself:

Make time for yourself - Anonymous

Treat yourself well as it nurtures your spirit and allows for more of it to shine through - Steve & Barbara Rother

Always remember that life is precious, you are precious, and treat yourself accordingly - Dr. Libby

Treat yourself; treat yourself; treat yourself - Navaas Roshan

Self-care is giving the world the best of you instead of what's left of you - Katie Reed

The greatest gift you can give yourself is a little bit of your own attention - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort - Deborah Day

And since I finished writing this post early enough today, I'm off to enjoy the last rays of sunshine 😊 Hasta la vista!

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