New Year, New You

It’s 2015, and every first of January I find myself reminiscing and reflecting on the year that just passed. 2014 was a year of many firsts, and although my memory is a bit hazy, I remember that my overarching goal last year was to be more adventurous – and yes, I’ve lived up to it. Many changes are emerging, both to my life and the lives of those around me. And if I’ve learned anything through my dabs at behavioural economics, it’s that humans adapt to change quickly. I’m adapting every single day and embracing the new things with an open mind because after all…the best is yet to come.

Stand-Out Moments of 2014

  • Making new friends and solidifying bonds on residence, through many late night rendezvous with my roommates
  • Taking responsibility as a don, whether it’s learning about mental illness or cleaning up puke for the first time
  • Students saying “thank you” after a successful Career/Alumni Expo I organized with fellow dons
  • Taking on an extremely rigorous course in my last semester and rising to the challenge with a 4.0 finish, learning so much about teamwork and capability along the way
  • Going to Harvard Business School for a Private Equity conference with a close friend
  • Volunteering to help the National Squash Association as a consultant to design an international student operating model, and meeting the deliverables in a 3-month engagement during the academic semester
  • Graduating with distinguished honours and receiving the Gordon Cressy Award for Student Leadership
  • Studying HARD for an entire month and passing the CFA Level I Exam with a 70%+ score
  • Flying out to Europe for 3 weeks for my Grad Trip, saw the big landmarks I’ve only read about in books, paraglided in Austria, explored the Alps on my own, made my first LV purchase at its flagship store, and made new friends from Australia, Mexico, South Africa, and New Zealand
  • PASSED MY G (Fully Licensed!)
  • Going to China for 3 weeks with my family and reuniting with loved ones
  • Getting a condo in Toronto and planning out all the interior decor – numerous trips to Ikea
  • Starting a NEW JOB and meeting a whole new crew of people who have been immensely supportive and fun
  • Exploring so much more of the city with free time on the weekends (finally!) – including the ROM, Aquarium, Raptor’s Game, St. Lawrence Market, Beaches, Uptown, Comedy Bars, Skating Rinks, and countless cafes & restaurants
  • Taking a leap of faith and meeting someone new
  • Taking hip hop dance classes

Wow, that took a long time to write…as I’m recollecting my thoughts I’m getting lost in my memories. It all sounds like smooth sailing, but inevitably there were low points in the year too. There were people who came and then went away, friendships that diminished over time, uncertainty about how every single of my endeavours would turn out, doubts about my new job and whether I was the “right fit”, and fears about loneliness and finding myself in the big city. But I chose to be happy. To seek out the things and people who will make me happy, and to never cease doing so. In believing this, my goal for 2015 is to not become complacent, and never take things for granted.

Yes, I have accomplished things in the past, but I should keep striving in the future. I will work hard to excel at work and earn the respect of my colleagues, to find opportunities to give back to the community and current students, and become someone whom my friends and family can depend on. My new focus is altruism and personal development, and in doing so I hope to find my true passions and hobbies that will shape my character. The road is long, and life is short. I am a change seeker, and I hope to become a stronger person physically and mentally as I face new decisions in the near future.

Happy 2015!

Book Review: The 100-Year Old Man

The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

By: Jonas Jonasson

I recently finished reading this book, which intrigued me initially by its title and ‘bestseller’ status. I haven’t read fiction in a long while, and decided to give it a try. Overall, I thought it was a good book – not stellar or extraordinary by any means, but certainly not boring.

To sum it up, this novel is about an elderly gentleman named Allan Karlsson who decided to sneak out of the Old People’s Home on his 100th birthday. He aimlessly goes on an unexpected adventure, accidentally stealing a suitcase from a member of a gang, and meeting misfits who join him along the way. As they escape from the gang, and afterwards the police (after committing a few accidental murders), we get a glimpse of Allan’s earlier life. He was an explosives specialist who contributed to the discovery of the Atomic Bomb, and dined with many presidents and political leaders in countries around the world in the early 20th century.

It’s a combination of satire, history, and hope – because the novel is so full of impossible situations where the underdog comes out on top. The characters represent what society views as negatives – the elderly (Allan), the unintelligent (Amanda and Herbert), gang leaders (Pike), hot dog stand owners with no degrees (Benny), among many others. But upon inspection, they are all more than what meets the eye, as we start to dig deeper into their pasts. Allan’s nonchalance and love for vodka is quite amusing, but his interactions with political figures are telling, and from his point of view you start to realize how political ideology has divided the human race. If everyone had his easy-going and unbiased attitude towards life, wouldn’t there be a lot more peace on Earth? The book also questions the concept of morality: in what context is something right or wrong? Many events that occur in his lifetime are in the shades of gray.

It’s a calming book that lets you sit back and examine your own life philosophy. Are you going to define your life, or let your life define you? Despite our weaknesses and the obstacles we face in life, it’s never too late to step out of that window and go on an adventure.

100 Happy Days

100 Happy Days

Yesterday I embarked on a personal challenge that I used to think was over-publicized on social media and rather cheesy, to be honest. 100 Happy Days (http://100happydays.com/)

The purpose? To post one picture of something that makes you happy every day for 100 days, with the hope that you’ll realize the small moments in life that make it all worthwhile (with the perk of getting a photobook at the end of it all). Supposedly a positive thing, I’ve seen too many people making their daily photos ‘perfect’ and glorifying the fact that they’re happy when in fact the only thing they seek is the acceptance and ‘likes’ of social media. An unintended subconscious consequence that I hope I don’t fall prey to during the next 99 days (although taking photos have never been my forte…unless you count selfies. :P).

Through my Instagram, I hope to share raw, candid pictures of my daily life and the small things that make me smile. I’m avoiding posting on FB or Twitter to be somewhat discrete – but 100 days from now I’m looking forward to looking back…and being reminded of the very reasons that I should be grateful for everything life has given me. At the end of it all, that cozy, nostalgic, heartwarming feeling will be worth it.

100 New Things

After starting my challenge, I came up with another great idea. Remember the age-old saying of ‘you learn something new every day’? It may be more true than than you’d think in real life. In pursuit of knowledge, why don’t we post one new thing that we learn every day…for 100 days? Perhaps it’ll make us study harder, seek to find more answers, and become smarter individuals. Instead of pictures, let’s post quotes, lessons, discoveries, facts, and milestones. Let’s see what happens! #100NewThings