One way in which I try to have a positive impact on the world is by smiling. Which I know seems like a very cliche but there is a lot of thought behind it. We never know what a person is going through and a genuine smile truly brightens someone’s day. Do we realize that all of us are coming from very different lives with different experiences and thoughts and emotions and desires? The person you saw last week, you may never see them again. You don’t know if they just broke up with their significant other or lost a parent or maybe even had a near to death experience. Well, life is not usually that dramatic, and these things seemingly don’t happen that often but the point still stands. Genuinely smiling at someone makes them feel so seen and heard. You are validating their existence and their presence. As a stranger who you would probably never meet again and also have no advantage out of doing this, a genuine smile is the best gift you can give. And that one smile may be it. It may be what gave them the encouragement to choose life or to give it one more chance or they realized there is still some good left in the world. And you never know who they are or what they are capable of. They may be the ones creating the next “big thing” or maybe as simple as helping another person with the directions. Either way, you are still affecting the world for the better. It is a chain reaction and you never know what the output could be. I mean, if a mere butterfly flapping its wings can cause something as powerful as a hurricane, I don’t see what’s not possible
The English alphabet has 26 letters. Letters. They are just a few lines put together and some have curves.
Letters form words, words form sentences and sentences form paragraphs. The letters used to write the most magnificent poem are the same letters used to write a suicide note. These random letters put together in some way make us feel so many emotions. Envy, disgust, love, hatred, happiness, bliss, and literally every emotion you can think of but one thing never changes. It’s the same 26 letters. The possibilities it has are endless. We can choose what we want to do with it. Choose the wrong combination and create a very different outcome, a different emotion, a different reaction, a different ending.
It is the same set of letters that make you cry and laugh, it can hurt you, it can cheer you. It is the same number of letters that take to say “I love you” and “I hate you”, 3 words, 8 letters.
Notice how each pair of words have the same number of letters.
Coincidence? I think not.
They are two sides to the same coin.
It is because one is irrelevant without the other. There is no light without darkness, there is no good without evil, there is no love without hate. You cant appreciate peace until you experience chaos. You can’t always give, you need to take too. Gaining is meaningless if you haven’t known loss. You wouldn’t know how it feels to be whole if you don’t know how it feels to be empty. And even the devil was once an angel.
Back to my original point. It is the same number of letters that take to say “I love you” and “I hate you”. 3 words, 8 letters; that is all it takes.
It’s been a while since I’ve written something and I have come with new wisdom. 2020 has been a rollercoaster for all of us. I would like to share what I learned as a 16-year-old. On my birthday I was absolutely terrified of being 16. I was literally balling my eyes out. I was not looking forward to it. I felt like I grew up and this was it, and I was so afraid of the potential of making mistakes just because I had turned 16. Now looking back it seems so silly. Because the thing is whether we like it or not, the tiniest of actions will influence the course of the rest of our life and you cannot control it. So many factors play a role in where you are today: a delayed bus, an extra cup of coffee, the number of minutes you took to brush your teeth. This is chaos theory. Mathematics. Every choice you have made has led you to the most wonderful moments in your life but also the worst moments in your life. Butterflies will keep flapping their wings and causing hurricanes. While you exist, every moment and movement matters. Even if you are standing still. So all you can do is do your best and hope that things turn out well.
I also started feeling like the things that an average teenager enjoyed and their priorities were immature and cringe which to a certain extent is true but I realized that we have our whole lives to be mature and not do cringe things. And the time we have right now is so priceless. I really took advantage of my time last year. I realized that in a few years I’ll be off to college and I’ll be an adult. Even though I may not act anywhere near to an adult but that title is scary. I started to hold on to things a little longer, hugged a little tighter, smiled a little bigger, laughed a little louder, talked a little longer, forgave a little quicker, and held on to hands a little firmer not wanting to let go. You are only a teenager for around 6,570 days and most of that time is spent in school and homework and procrastination. If we put together all the time we spend in school it will add up to years. We also spend time sleeping and showering and eating and in the end, we end up with only 2,555 days to be a teenager. So do what you want to do. I’m not telling you to abandon everything else but just always keep in the back of your mind how short it’s going to be. But just because I said this does not mean that you’ll never have fun ever again or it won’t be your “peak”. For some people, the time as a teenager is the worst time in their lives. I feel like any age can be your “peak”. It all depends on your mindset and what you want and whether you are willing to work for it. Every chapter in life has something to offer and appreciate. Yes, there may be factors that you cannot control but all you can do is make the most out of it and believe that things happen for a reason.
Even the darkest days lead to something beautiful or so I’ve heard. I read this analogy for life in a book. It said that life is like a video game and it gets harder and harder but it’s okay because you get stronger and more skilled. So if you feel like you are failing it’s probably because you are leveling up.
I also learned to only hope and never expect. When you expect you are already assuming that things will play out a certain way and when it does not happen you are hurt. So it’s best to hope for the best but not expect the best.
A quote I saw last year, said: “I may have lost the battle but I won the war”. This reminds me to think of the bigger picture. Why are you doing the things that you do? Ask yourself whether what you are doing now helps what you want to do 10 years from now. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a solid tangible thing. Sometimes it may be a feeling. It may be I want to be happy and content or I want to travel, I want to get into this school, I want this certain job or I want to work on this new idea. It can be anything. This quote also reminds me of how in the grand scheme of things the small mistakes or “battles” will not make or break your life, it is the big wins or the big losses that make an impact. So if you make the big decisions right then these small ones will eventually fade away.
This is where it gets tricky. On one side you want to live in the moment and experience and enjoy life and on the other side, you want to plan ahead and do things for the future. What is the solution to this? I don’t know yet. I wish I did but I’m not that wise. But I think it’s a balance each of us has to find and there may be slip-ups but as long as you come back it’s going to be fine.
Cleansing – The first rule is to cleanse every morning and night. At least at night because our skin renews itself when we sleep and we don’t want our skin to work with old dirty cells because if they do we start seeing acne. Not cleansing at night is one of the primary reasons why we get acne. If your a person who wears makeup then at least take off your makeup before you go to sleep. Sleeping with makeup on is so very harmful to our skin.
Exfoliating – The second rule is to exfoliate your skin two times a week preferably at night because that’s when our skin renews itself and any product that you apply to your skin after exfoliation will soak in much deeper into your skin, therefore, increasing its effectiveness. Exfoliating during the morning can irritate your skin due to environmental factors. You don’t necessarily have to buy an exfoliator for this, you can make your own by just adding a teaspoon of sugar into your cleanser. The sugar acts as a physical exfoliant. Brown sugar is a better option to use for this purpose because it acts not only as a physical exfoliant but also as a chemical exfoliant as it contains glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is the holy grail of exfoliation.
Using an antioxidant – Use an antioxidant-rich cream or serum. Antioxidants are vitamins a, b and c. It helps our skin to fight against free radicals. Free radicals are environmental aggressors which are hard on our skin and body. So by using antioxidant-rich products and eating foods rich in antioxidants we prevent free radicals from attacking our body and skin.
Sunscreen – This is so important. Sunscreens act as a shield against the harmful UV rays which penetrate every time your skin is exposed to the sun. Our skin has three layers, the first one is the epidermis, the second one is the dermis and the third one is the hypodermis. UVB(ultraviolet-B rays) are the short high-energy wavelengths that hit the uppermost layer of the epidermis and when this layer is irritated this is what causes the redness and swelling of what appears to be a sunburn. This is what causes freckling, age spots, or any kind of skin pigmentation. UVA (ultraviolet-A) reaches the hypodermis and it affects the DNA of the cells of the dermis. When this is attacked, it causes the wrinkling of your skin, and sagging and also skin cancer is a real thing so we should be using sunscreen even if you are not worried about your skin’s appearance.
Drinking water – This is the most important rule and is not only for your skin. Drinking water helps every part of your body. Water flushes out all the toxins from our body and therefore keeps our skin and body healthy. You can also use hydrating products in the form of toners, serums, or moisturizers. An ingredient to be looking for in hydrating products is hyaluronic acid. I’ve written a whole blog on this acid so check it out.
VITAMIN A / RETINOID
Vitamin A and retinoid is basically the same thing. In the bottom layers of the skin where the cells are produced in the dermis layer, it will regenerate new cells and this will push out the old ones to the surface. Our skin sheds normally after a period of 30 days. What a retinoid does is that it reduces the number of days that takes the skin to shed. For a retinoid, it takes 14-21 days to increase cell turnover. Beginners should first use retinol which can be found in stores, unlike retinoid which has to be prescribed by a dermatologist. Retinol is less stronger than retinoid. Our skin will take time to adapt to the retinol. Retinoid or vitamin a is the strongest of the three vitamins a, b and c. Start using retinol only after the age of 20.
VITAMIN B3 / NIACINAMIDE
Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 is one of the best forms of B vitamins for your skin. Niacinamide helps support skin clarity, improve the appearance of large pores, tames oiliness, known to support skin hydration, evens out skin tone and promote collagen for firm youthful skin. Niacinamide is a stable ingredient so you don’t have to worry about mixing it with other ingredients. Foods rich in niacinamide are yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, beans, and cereal grains, etc.
VITAMIN C / ASCORBIC ACID
Vitamin c helps lighten, tighten and brighten the skin. Vitamin a b and c are all antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight our body and skin from free radicals. Free radicals are environmental aggressors which are hard on the skin and body. Eating vitamin c rich food like citrus fruits can help increase vitamin c in the body and skin. Also, vitamin c boosts your immunity system. In addition to its antioxidant properties, vitamin c regulates the synthesis of the structural protein collagen. Thus increasing collagen helps in the repair of damaged skin. Collagen helps the skin cells to renew and repair themselves, it also helps to keep the skin moist.
Things to remember
Don’t use all these vitamins together. Use one vitamin each day and make sure to wear sunscreen on top. Vitamin c and sunscreen together form a greater protection additive which will completely protect the skin. You get the most out of your sunscreen when you pair it with vitamin c. Niacinamide is a stable ingredient so you don’t have to worry about mixing it with other products but vitamin a and c cannot be used with all kinds of products. Make sure that you research the possibility of any harmful reactions from the products that you use and use it accordingly. Mixing products wrongly can cause really bad effects on your skin.