Turning 30

Turning 30

 “Everything I know I learned after I was thirty”.

Georges Clemenceau

My Last Decade in bullet points (30 before 30):

  • Finding a lifelong partner
  • Visiting a Caribbean island
  • Cooking a 4-course meal
  • Snorkeling
  • Owning a decent camera and learning photography
  • Binge-watching a TV show
  • Landing in Armenia and seeing Mt. Ararat
  • Obtaining a Master’s degree in psychology
  • Catching a fish
  • Watching a sunset over the ocean
  • Meeting people outside of my comfort zone
  • Learning self-respect
  • Swimming with dolphins
  • Petting a shark
  • Voting, twice
  • Redecorating my home
  • Doing my own therapy hours
  • Going on a road trip
  • Standing up for myself
  • Learning to meditate
  • Going back to France for over 6 months
  • Planning for the future
  • Making time for friends
  • Finding my own “style”
  • Getting a temporary tattoo
  • Creating new traditions
  • Loving endlessly
  • Watching a thunderstorm from above the clouds
  • Finding my favorite book
  • Forgiving

Ironically, none of these things were planned in advance. I never had a “map” of how things should have been for me, or a list of things to do before 30. Thankfully so, because it wouldn’t have gone as planned anyway and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Today, I believe that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Although I am still working on the person I want to become, overtime, I have reached a new level of compassion, love and understanding that I started continually nurturing. Here are a few things that I’ve learned in my short journey on this earth (yes, before 30!) that I wanted to share with you.

 Life has a mind of its own.

Very little things in life go as planned. The probability of all the factors outside of our control aligning to satisfy our needs and wills is not always as high as we attribute it to be. Keeping that in mind, we are left with dreams, hopes and a determination to move forward with our goals. When obstacles appear, what has always helped me was time. Time to breathe, to rethink ideas through, and find alternative ways. The only thing that we need to develop when life gets in the way is patience. Thankfully, things will get in the way of every plan, every idea and every “perfect” solution. After all, that’s one of the ways to get creative and get out of our comfort zone.

Age is just a number – How do you really feel?

We don’t deeply change physically or mentally overnight. We don’t wake up one day feeling “20” or “50”. Numbers are just a way to measure our developmental growth. For me, birthdays have become a way to celebrate milestones, new experiences acquired throughout the year. It’s also a way to plan new goals, to create new relationships and become a better self. So at the end of my birthday, I always ask myself how I feel and what I want the upcoming year to look. If I’m sad or anxious, I ask myself why and what can I do to change?

Always push yourself towards growth.

Growing older is the perfect example of the glass half-full half-empty. We could focus on the negative, as we age and experience anxiety regarding the cycle of life slowly ending or we could look at it as one of the best way of experiencing growth. Aging also means accumulating experience, knowledge and possibilities. Every day that goes by is full of new potential. As we age, our knowledge can lead us to wiser decisions, deeper self- understanding and a greater sense of connection with others. It’s during the process of aging that we understand how important it is to be connected to family members, friends and community. There is always room to grow, no matter how old we become. As of right now, I won’t be planning much. I will live in the present and enjoy my cake, blow my candles and make a wish, hoping that next year, I’ll be a little bit wiser!

When Was The Last Time That You Did Something For The First Time?

When Was The Last Time That You Did Something For The First Time?

People are very open-minded about new things – as long as they are exactly like the old ones. 

Charles Kettering

Saying that we all have busy lives in an understatement. Most people juggle between jobs, school, and never ending family duties without even noticing how time flies. Before realizing it, 5 years have passed by and you don’t remember much of it. A couple of birthdays, Christmas and summer parties, a cousin’s wedding, another’s graduation, that’s how much most of us can recall from our last 5 years. What happened to the rest of the time? Countless evenings, many weekends with friends, family gatherings, favorite TV show finales, sushi date nights, random road trips, funny pictures… Yes, those memories existed. At one point, they even made us very happy. Now, they are buried under a thick layer of daily routines.

Let’s take a second and ask ourselves: when was the last time that we did something for the first time? Whether it was traveling, trying a new restaurant, talking to a stranger, when was the last time that we did something completely new? If you remember it and it wasn’t that long ago, you are lucky! You might be more adventurous than most of us are.

In 2019, I want to challenge myself to do something new every day. I want to take the time to look around me and find 10 ways to replace what I have always done the same way: cooking new food, exploring the city at night, listening to a new genre of music, watching foreign movies, wearing different colors… and the list can go on. New things don’t have to be expensive. They are accessible to all of us, we just need to be aware of what can be done differently to break our daily routine. As my best friend would say, let’s get out of the “cage of normality” for whatever comes out of it will always be dull.

So tomorrow, skip your usual TV show for something new that you have always wanted to do. Find a new itinerary to drive back home after work. Switch the usual radio station for something that your ears are not used to. Meat eaters, try to be vegetarian for a day. Perhaps you can research seasonal fruits and vegetables that you have never tried before. Coffee lovers, try some exotic teas. Do it not because you have to, but because you took the time to think about it and want to. The opportunities are endless and that’s what makes it possible and much fun. Doing things differently will give you the opportunity at the end of the year to say, “yes, I’ve tried it! And quite honestly, you should too.”

I am a Survivor

I am a Survivor

“Armenia is dying, but it will survive. The little blood that is left is precious blood that will give birth to a heroic generation. A nation that does not want to die, does not die”.
Anatole France (1916)

As I was debating whether or not I wanted to make this third blog entry an informational article about the Armenian Genocide, I felt overwhelmed between what I thought people should know about that part of history and how I felt as an Armenian, writing about it a hundred years later. It took me weeks until I finally figured out what I wanted to tell you about my history and the history of many generations before me.
Today, as I’m writing these words, I do not feel sad. I do not feel angry. For a long time, I used to feel pain. I used to feel confused. I used to feel hurt. Hearing terrifying stories from my grandparents, seeing atrocities through films and photos made me so angry, yet very powerless for a sixteen year old who grew up in a household where genocide was almost a synonym for Armenians. As we enter the centennial of the Armenian genocide, it is time to focus on how far we have come.

Today, I feel hopeful. For the first time in years, I feel very powerful. I finally realized that my voice counts. Of course, my voice won’t heal the pain of parents and grandparents who grew up as orphans, nor restore the lands that Armenians lost during their deportation. My voice counts because it exists. A hundred years later, I AM HERE.

Anatole France was right. “A nation that does not want to die, does not die.” I have never felt more alive and ready to share my heritage with the upcoming generations. A hundred years later, Armenians not only exist, but they’ve flourished. For every bit of history they share with the world, the world listens and acknowledges.

I was in college when one of my classmates asked me why there were more Armenians around the world than in Armenia itself. I told him what I believed was the truth: “because my grandparents survived”. The confusion on his face encouraged me to elaborate more: “If my grandparents didn’t survive the genocide, I wouldn’t be here today. I carry that survivor gene, as do all Armenians in the world.” That’s what I had in mind when I started writing this article. I AM A SURVIVOR. I’m not a victim of the genocide, I am a fighter. They tried to exterminate all Armenians hoping that with enough time, nobody would remember them.

As Anatole France predicted, “The little blood that is left is precious blood that will give birth to a heroic generation”. I am part of that heroic generation, as will be my children. That’s the story that I want them to remember.

This April 24th, we will march together, again, so that people can see us, hear us, and realize that no matter how much time has passed, we are still here, we still care, and most importantly, we are still Armenian.

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