Connection

Follow your dreams. Trust your struggles. What’s done is done. Go with the flow.

Have you ever been given advice so repeatedly that it loses its meaning, so casually that at some point it just doesn’t fit your situation anymore? We call these platitudes—remarks or statements with a moral content that have been used too often to remain interesting or thoughtful.

I was in grade school when my grandmother passed away, yet I vividly remember the moments I shared with her. She was from Hong Kong; I was born and raised in the Philippines. She spoke Cantonese; I speak Fukien. We hardly had a deep conversation about life or anything under the sun, but despite the language barrier that we had, there was one thing I never doubted: her unconditional love for me.

She never spoke of how important I was to her, but she prepared my favorite French toast every morning that she was in Manila. She never told me how proud she was of me, but all our family members, our friends, and our neighbors even, were immediately apprised by her whenever I received an award in school. She never told me she loved me, but I can still feel it from the affection I receive from her friends whenever I visit Hong Kong.

In our busy world today, we are often too absorbed by our social environment. We watch movies and relate them to our lives. We use Instagram to show off how wonderful life is for us—and more often than not, we feel a bit insecure when we view snapshots of the great lives our friends seem to be experiencing. We forget the value of living a meaningful life—that it isn’t just about the fancy restaurants we eat in or the exclusive parties to which we get invited; that it’s also about living in the moment, and spending time with loved ones.

As I relax in a coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon, I see a couple at a table not far away from me. The guy is playing “Clash of Clans” on his iPhone while the girl is engrossed in social media. They are lost in their own little worlds.

How long has it been since we showed someone true concern? How long has it been since we spent quality time with the people we love?

Let’s aim to genuinely connect. Because in the end, it’s not the words that are said that matter most, but the genuineness and sincerity we show to the people close to our hearts. No matter how little I understood the words my grandmother spoke, she was the person who communicated so much love to me. And of the many people I have met in my years on earth, she is the one person I will never forget.

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