Posts Tagged With: family

Does Anyone Really Care?

The other day I read a quote that has stuck with me ever since.

Here’s the result of what I took from it.

During the journey of life, everyone goes through tough times. Everyone hurts. Everyone struggles. Everyone experiences some form of pain or loneliness. The reasons behind these feelings and their intensity differ, depending on the person and the situation. But these are all factors in the human experience.

There are times in your life when you’ll feel like no one really cares about you. You’ll feel lonely, like no one understands you.

During those times, it’s easy to internalize those feelings; to start thinking that you’re worthless, that it’s your fault no one cares about you, that you aren’t worthy of being loved. It’s easy to imagine these things about yourself, because in your mind, you have the proof: no one even notices when you’re struggling.

But the truth is, the actions (or apparent inaction) of others has nothing to do with you. The reality is that other people’s lives don’t revolve around you, as much as we all like to think they do. Most people have so much going on in their own lives that their world revolves around themselves. They have so much packed into their heads that they can’t see beyond their own to-do lists. Their thoughts are continually focused on the future – that person they have to meet, the deadline looming over them, the bills they have to pay, or the thousand other trivial thoughts popping up to no end.

For those of us trying to remove ourselves from that trap of non-stop thinking by learning to live in the moment, it can be hard to connect with these people on a deeper level. They are simply “too busy.” They have no available space in their minds for making personal connections, and certainly no time to spare.

My experience in trying to connect with someone trapped in the “too busy” mindset has usually resulted in feeling either neglected or guilty; neglect because they don’t seem to show a genuine interest in my well-being, or guilt for loading more problems onto their already overflowing plate by sharing my struggles with them.

However, I’ve learned some important things over the last few months through this experience.

“Things are not always as they seem.”

It’s a saying I’ve been familiar with for a long time, but am only just realizing the value of now. Just because someone appears to be too busy to care about you, it doesn’t mean they don’t. You can never truly know how someone else is feeling or what they’re thinking. People’s words and actions are not always representative of their true feelings. So, while someone seems indifferent to your suffering, or appears to not even have noticed that you are lonely or hurting, they may actually love you with all their heart.

For me, that’s the hardest part to remember. It’s easy to make assumptions based on the actions of others, but these assumptions will likely lead you to nothing but pain, often because they aren’t correct.

So, next time you feel invisible, remember that the friends and family you are expecting attention and validation from, also have their own lives. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. They, too, are struggling through this wild ride we call life. Maybe they haven’t yet broken free from the anxiety-inducing task list running through their head. Maybe they don’t know how. Maybe they haven’t even realized that it’s a possibility. Maybe they don’t believe it is.

I guess in the end, we’re all just doing our best. I’m no expert on living in the moment, but I’m trying to live a life of peace.

For me, that means living with a mind free of clutter.

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Categories: My 500 Words, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Korean Christmas, Round Two

It’s the Sunday afternoon before Christmas.

In my head, I’m curled up in a blanket by the fire, sipping hot chocolate while I watch a marathon of Christmas movies with my family. It’s gently snowing outside, and the Christmas tree lights are sparkling, dancing across my living room.

In reality, I’m sitting in a coffee shop, sipping on a beautifully-designed latte, while Avril Lavigne plays in the background. There are so many people out and about today that it’s obvious Christmas is just around the corner. It’s December 21st. There are decorated Christmas trees in every coffee shop and in many of the stores that line the busy streets. English Christmas music blasts from those same stores, Mariah Carey declaring to the world that all she wants for Christmas is YOU!!

This is hands-down one of my favourite Christmas songs ever. When it comes on the radio when I’m driving home from an afternoon of Christmas shopping back in Canada, I can’t help but screech out with excitement and start singing and dancing just like Mariah Carey herself. Sometimes, I get so into it that I almost forget that I am, in fact, not Mariah Carey. When the song ends, and I’m forced to come back to reality, this fact dawns on me. My moment of glory is always short-lived, but no less enjoyable.

Today, though, hearing it is only another reminder that I’m not home. I’m here, in Korea, thousands of miles from home. Across the world, in fact. It would be hard to get much further away at this point.

This is one of the things I dislike most about living abroad. Outside of Canada, I’ve only ever lived for an extended period of time in Korea, but this will be the second Christmas season I’ve spent away from home. I have a feeling that it probably wouldn’t really matter where I was, though, because wherever it was, it just wouldn’t be home.

This sounds silly in many ways. I actually feel guilty saying it out loud sometimes. Maybe that’s why I’m sitting here writing it instead. It’s hard to have this conversation with people who don’t feel the same way about this holiday. Those kind of conversations tend to go something like this:

Me: “I really miss my family. I wish I was going home for Christmas.” Waaaaaaaaaaa.

Them: “Meh. Christmas is just a day anyway. It’s overrated.”

Or sometimes, like this:

Them: “Sorry………..” (with looks of sympathy).

Or, better yet:

Me: “I’m so sad I’ll be missing Christmas this year. I really wish I could be home to see everyone.”

Them: “Are you serious? You get to travel! You’re so lucky! What are you whining about!?”

I have to admit that these people have a good point. I agree that I am extremely lucky to be able to live abroad, to travel, and to gain new experiences. I know how fortunate I am to be here. There’s no question about whether or not I’m grateful for this opportunity.

In my experience, however, knowing this doesn’t seem to make the holidays away from home any easier. Having lived away from home for two years now, I’ve realized two things about myself; that I’m very much a family-oriented person, and that Christmas is an important time of year for me. I can tell myself a hundred times (and have!) to make the best of it, but it never seems to be that easy.

Of course, Christmas, and all the hype that goes along with it, isn’t for everyone. For some, Christmas means little more than a day off work. (Great! Finally a day to relax!) For me though, it means so much more.

I can listen to Mariah Carey’s Christmas CD on repeat (and if I’m being honest, I probably will!) but it won’t change the fact that the most important part of Christmas, for me, is still missing.

Categories: My 500 Words, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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Allison Burney

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