let us grow

hole in wall

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Nelson Mandela

There was a time . . .

When life was simple, choices slim.

When decisions were easy, schedules flexed.

When writing was endless, thoughts abounding.

And then times changed.

At the end of last year, I wrote this post about growth. I talked about the good and bad things that shape the “times of our lives.” I talked about how we have a choice: When good times come, will we take them for granted, or will we appreciate them? When bad times come, will we moan and groan and complain about them, or will we stand up to them and learn from them?

We have a choice.

I said then that I hoped it would be a growing year for all of us, and I still do. It has definitely been a year of growth for me. This year I’ve faced numerous personal demons, applied to and been rejected by journalism graduate school, realized I don’t want to study journalism after all, turned 29, run my first half marathon, grown my blog, discovered I am a poet, worked numerous odd jobs, and much, much more. And while some of these challenges may seem minimal compared to the trials of living abroad, they are struggles nonetheless that have shaped the person that I am and the future I am creating. It hasn’t all been easy, but it’s all been worth it. After all, if you’re not growing, what are you doing?
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“Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation . . . even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.” Leonardo da Vinci

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” — Nelson Mandela

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And as for these changed times? Let’s just say it’ll be one to two posts per week from here on out. I’ve realized I can’t pump quality blog posts out at a higher rate than that unless I become a blogger full-time. And, unfortunately, I don’t see that happening any time soon — unless any of you want to start paying to read my writing? Haha. Didn’t think so!! ;)

Happy December, Everyone!

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Image: Pinterest

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36 thoughts on “let us grow

  1. Wicked post Jess. Sorry I don’t have anything more profound to say. But you’re the wordsmith, not me…

    • Jessica says:

      Ahh, you don’t give yourself enough credit, Sean. Your written words are excellent, not to mention funny! But thank you! It is always lovely to hear from you. :)

  2. Mabel Kwong says:

    As we grow older, we learn a lot and yes, our attitudes change – for the better most of the time I hope! Not too sure if I’ve said this on your blog before (maybe elsewhere), but there’s a saying that goes, “You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind”. Life always throws unexpected curve balls at us; we have to stand up, adapt and go with the flow to learn the most valuable lessons.

    Good on you for taking all the challenges that came your way head on! It’s been a challenging year for me too. Funny how I was thinking about writing a post on this soon. Looking forward to more of your blog in the next year. And maybe I’ll see you in person soon :)

    *I initially posted a comment here but somehow it didn’t go through. Had to type my comment out again*

    • Jessica says:

      I think the way in which our perspectives change depends on the person and the attitude we choose to take. Some of this is genetic, too — some people are programmed towards melancholy, etc. — but… Unfortunately, I’m not sure I think *most* people choose to find the good in the bad in their lives. If that were the case, I would hope this world would be a much more positive place!

      I’m looking forward to continuing to follow your blog, too, Mabel! I know I’m behind right now on a post or two. I just got a new part-time job and things have been crazy. And yes, I hope to meet you in person, too!

      And sorry about your comment not appearing. I’ll have to check my spam mail. Sometimes it catches comments from friends!

  3. Rajiv says:

    Wow. Wonderful post and picture

  4. Vincent Mars says:

    I think that if you measure yourself you’ll notice that you have grown a little in height too. ;)

  5. Lucky Wreck says:

    As always, your posts make my heart happy!

    I applied to, and got rejected from Speech Pathology Grad school only to realize that’s not really what I wanted to do either :) I keep finding new ways I relate to what you write about, and it’s very nice :)

  6. You’re sounding good Jessie. I enjoyed your comments and find them spot on as usual. Like the picture as well. Interesting!

  7. Happy happy December 2013 for you too Jess! You’ve made my 2013 a little better by sharing your good times and difficult times, your poetry and your personal thoughts. Thank you!

    • Jessica says:

      Aww, Professor, that means THE WORLD to me!!! All I ever wanted to do was to do something positive for the world with my writing. And if I’ve made your 2013 a little bit better, that means I’ve accomplished my goal! Here’s to even more openness and grit and laughter in the new year! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  8. I like that quote by da Vinci. What do you suppose he would have said about an overactive mind?

    • Jessica says:

      I like the DaVinci quote, too, Lucas… As for an overactive mind? I think he’d say, “Rock on!” Someone who already thinks too much doesn’t have to worry about doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku as they age in order to stay sharp. At least that’s what I’d hope!

  9. movableteacher says:

    Reblogged this on Madrid Journal.

  10. Dalo 2013 says:

    A great use of quotes, they fit perfect with your message. A year of change and challenges is a pretty good year to have if you have grown from the lessons, and you’ve had your share of them. As with me, I will be happy to have 2013 in the rear-view mirror but also pretty happy with the chaos and changes that it brought as well. Wish you a great holiday and look forward to more in 2014. Cheers!

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Randall! The same to you! And yes, you have a very good point which I’ve been meaning to hone in on in a future post. We really have to *choose* to learn from our hardships. Positive growth comes from a positive state of mind. Cheers to you, too!!

  11. Aussa Lorens says:

    In a lot of ways I feel like you just wrote about the last year of my life as well. Looking forward to this new one… and also on the lookout for anyone willing to pay me a full time salary for blogging, hmmmmmm

    • Jessica says:

      I know, Aussa! Wouldn’t that be great? My dream would be to get paid to read, write, and exercise… HA! And I’m so glad you could relate to this post. It is lovely to meet you! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and I look forward to getting to know you better in the new year!!

  12. 1stpeaksteve says:

    I am crawling towards 2014 but I do feel that the ground work has been laid for a larger pay off. At least I am employed and that always helps! Ha ha!

    But even with the dump truck of problems following me, like you; I realize that I have a lot of positives too. The blog and the great people I have found (You are one for sure!), family, friends, health…Things are good and these are only challenges.

    Be happy…at least you can get into your car if the other is parked to close! Ha ha!

    • Jessica says:

      Haha! That’s a good point, Steve! I could NEVER let myself become overweight — it’s just not in my mental genetic makeup. And I’m glad to hear that you’re aware of the positives in your life… To be honest, I have been SO stressed about finances since I moved home from Hong Kong, and that is one thing I hope to change in 2014. So, yes, be glad you have a good job!!… And, yeah, we’ve both (read “all”) got bad stuff following us, but it isn’t everything unless we allow it to be. I hope you have a really great Christmas!! I’m glad to have found you through this blogging world, too! :)

      • 1stpeaksteve says:

        I never said it was a good job! It is at this point..a job! That is a long story in itself. I do think though that some bad things are finally coming to an end. A tiny portion is a director who is protecting a manager on another shift. I feel bad for the guy. He has problems but so do we all. BUT! It is a business and if you are not doing your job then you need to go. This guy is really not doing his job and he makes everyone miserable. Worse, he does not want to improve or change his actions.

        Well, have a good holiday season!

      • Jessica says:

        Ugh. Well there is good and bad to every situation and job. Nothing is perfect. I agree that we all ought to be pulling our own weight in our jobs, and doing our best… But… Yeah, a job is a job and better than no job. My current job is mostly motivation for finding another better job…

        Hope you had s great Christmas and have a fun New Years tonight, friend!

  13. 2013 has been a challenging year for me too. Nevertheless it has been one of the most eventful years of my life.

    Befriending you was one of the best things to have happened to me in 2013. Thank you Jess, for being such a wonderful person. :) Looking forward to one more year of reading. :)

    Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Haap Haap Happy new year. :)

    • Jessica says:

      Aww you are so sweet! Meeting you through this blogging world has meant a lot to me, too!! I hope someday to meet you and Subh in person. Hope you had a great New Years. Can’t wait to read more of your work and see how we both continue to grow this next year!

  14. Subhan Zein says:

    I love the quote by Leonardo Da Vinci. Thank you for sharing. Blessings and love to you ♥

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