being alive.

Thank the Lord Saturday has rolled around.

For most part of the week in a second year radiography course thats working us all unnecessarily hard, the weekend appears as an oasis in a desert.

And also the weekend means work, and I do enjoy some casual interaction with customers (okay maybe I enjoy the pay packet a little more) as a good break from x rays of clogged up lungs and atherosclerosed vessels.

But today, I just wasn’t feelin’ it. It’s been yet another rough week, and not even the sight and smell of sweet, juicy Clingstone peaches could cheer me up.(in case you have’t read previous posts, i’ve recently started working at a green grocer, and i’ve found a new favourite specie of peach.)

I guess the lethargy I so carefully tried to conceal must have eventually seeped out a little onto my face, because a young customer, a cheery girl of probably no older than 17 stood to ask me how I was.

“Yeah.. i’m doin’ alright, how about you?”

“Well, i’m Alive!” 

And her reply was accompanied with a 100,000,000 kilowatt smile that just radiated optimism and energy and exuberance and all that positive vibes.

Heck, her smile was pretty much enough to blind away a spirit of discontentment and tiredness, which was what I probably hauled around with me.

…And it probably was no coincidence that she was decked out in a yellow ‘little miss sunshine’ tee as well.

Just being alive…

This made me pause to reconsider.

Such a simple, yet powerful reason generated her happiness today- 

by just being able to healthily ventilate clean, unpolluted air with her lungs, 

by being ambulant, 

by being able to biologically metabolise glucose, proteins and fats, plus all sorts of complex physiological compounds required for maintaining life- 

by being able to emotionally and intellectually connect with stimuli all around us, to understand and form relationships with other beings of the same species.

By just being alive, is a good reason in itself for not just the young customer, but for ALL of us to smile.

(And for that young girl, being able to purchase about 3 kilos worth of sugar bananas with her mum probably also contributed to part of that happiness. Because banaynays)

You are alive! Healthy and kicking.(which is what I hope for all of you). 

Take a look outside, wherever you are. Perhaps you’re faced with a hot, sunny summer’s day, or a cool, dark night sky flecked with stars. 

Maybe you’re looking at an autumn foliage, coated with moisture falling from the sky, or a front yard caked with inches of pure, white frost.

Aren’t we fortunate to be able to see these things, to hear the voices of our loved ones, to enjoy edible delicacies and the things we love to do.

Regardless of where you are at life right now, be it battling illness, struggling emotionally or feeling overwhelmed, stressed and fatigued- 

take a moment (and a deep breath) to just appreciate the fact that life in itself is a real miracle, and for you to be reading this right about now was no simple accident or feat.

You are a valuable and purposeful human being. We have much to smile about, even at the lowest of the valleys we may find ourselves trapped in.

And most of all, you are alive.

You are capable of so much more

T’was a sweltering hot summer- 

Actually pardon me,  autumn day I should say (global warming has probably angered Melbourne), and university studies was the usual mixture of uninformatively long, convoluted powerpoint slides, blank faces and an unnecessary 5 hour gap in between classes.

And because I like to procrastinate but have an pet peeve of wasting time, I was out of the humid lecture theatre in a flash and on the next bus to the gym (running away from studies on the treadmill really)

Today was leg day, and I can’t describe that sinking feeling when it hit me that i’d left my gloves at home. 

Hello calluses :))

Despite that, it was a good session today, and I had finally FINALLY stepped out of the squat and deadlift plateau and bumped the weight up just that little bit more to hit a new personal best.

Standing on those thick rubber mats printed with your basic “train insane” and “go hard or go home” in the gym reminded me of a sentence that a coursemate of mine commented after witnessing a girl balancing two boxes of pasta on her left arm, a bottle of coke and a smoothie on her right all while simultaneously pulling a door open with her adidas ultraboost foot- 

Human beings are much more capable than they think they are.

And he’s right, especially under stress.

Most may think stress is counterintuitive to productivity, but sometimes, I think otherwise. 

Stress doesn’t feel good, but its like a force that stretch the boundaries, testing tenacity and resilience. 

And if you are nerdy like me or are doing a medical related course, the beneficial effects of stress can already be physiologically seen in the cardiac muscle cells, the more stretching and stress exerted upon the cardiac cells when blood flows in, the stronger the force of contraction.

learn from the cardiac cells.

The body and mind are amazing things that function in harmony together to adapt to this testing, and to thus react with more strength, agility and flexibility.

I certainly didn’t come to this gym expecting to push my weight today, but all I knew was how stressed out I already was mentally, and it felt good to just translate that into physical stress and kinetic energy. 

Physics and biology aside, 

You are so much more capable than you can imagine, be it lifting weights, at your job, at your school. Perhaps its a public speaking presentation, or an operation, an interview or an exam.

Don’t be afraid to test your limits, channel your negative fears into a challenge for yourself. Sure there may be failure, we are after all only a biological blob of cells- however we are a blob of very highly physiologically and physically organised, adaptive and spiritually sound cells. We are made with a God like image, and our bodies are amazing, functional things, capable of achieving great lengths.

…and don’t forget to recoil after you’re done with testing your tenacity. Take a break, reward yourself, or pick yourself up after you fall and try again.

You are capable of doing so.