There is a first time for everything. Sadly, this first time that I’ll be addressing begins on a major downer.
In general, I try to keep everything in my family life relatively private. As important as my family and my friends are to me, they’re not a part of my blog. On top of that, nobody really wants their lives to be publicized unless if they have a social media platform or if they’re the Kardashians, but this event comes with such an important lesson for me. Just last Thursday afternoon, I was searching for my mother to ask her a question, and I finally found her sitting on the floor and speaking on the phone…in tears. Before I could ask her about the matter, my dad pulled me out of the room and explained everything: we lost one of our closest and dearest family friends to cancer that same morning.
This is the first time that I’ve ever experienced a passing of someone really close in my family’s social circle. Honestly, I cannot say that I am just as affected by this loss as my parents just because they were much more closer emotionally, hence why I do not have a separate post dedicated to this woman along with confidential reasons. But nevertheless, she was such a beautiful, empowering and compassionate supporter in my life who aged incredibly well and has always been there to help my family in our toughest times. Our families have known each other since I was in middle school whilst I endured my darkest days, and she’s seen me evolve into who I am today. She never loved me more or less no matter what mental state I was in nor whether I was a size 12 or a size 0; in fact, whenever I would see her on a car ride or a brief encounter when we’d just so happen to be in the same place, I received nothing but kindness from her.
This goes to show that cancer is such an interesting pathogen. The only positive outcome that results from cancer is that it teaches. In this case, it taught me that life is a gift. You have to learn how to use your energy in ways that will benefit you as often as possible. I look back now and regret implementing so much of my time and effort in such wasteful activities and petty thoughts about myself and others around me without actually going out and making a difference in my life or anyone else’s.
With that being said, I’m going to challenge myself to do something that will change me every single day from now on–something that I normally wouldn’t do because I’d be afraid to. Of course, I can’t be Superman and save millions of people, but I can save someone else’s life and my own. I don’t know what I’m going to call this challenge but I’ll definitely look into some ideas of what I can do so that I can share them with all of you in hopes that I’ll become a better blogger, a better person, and possibly inspire you to do the same.
If there is one thing I want you to take away from this post, it’s not the recipe. It’s the importance of gratitude. Please do not take anything–and I really mean it–for granted. Everything in your life is there for a reason, whether the good, bad or the ugly, and it will impact you in some way. Life is a f*cking hard roller coaster with bumps, loops and hills all along the way. But you can choose to be scared and fear for your life, or you can choose to enjoy the thrill and let it take your breath away.
To wrap everything up, in remembrance of this woman: I am so proud of you, and I am so grateful for my family and I to have had such a treasure like you. Your daughter is set for absolutely wonderful things ahead of her, as her father is as well. You will never be forgotten.
On another note, this has always been one of my top five favorite recipes to make for lunch or dinner. It is the classic take on a Thai stir-fry with Japanese eggplants, tofu, and a deliciously flavorful Asian sauce. In my opinion, this recipe is not nearly as oily but still extremely flavorful, if not more.
RECIPE (serves 3-4)
- 6 Japanese eggplants
- 1 block organic and non-GMO firm tofu; extra firm also works
- 3 TBSP vegan oyster sauce
- 2 1/2 TBSP low-sodium tamari sauce or soy sauce if not gluten free
- 2 TBSP vegan fish sauce; you can also substitute for a vegan teriyaki sauce or ponzu sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Crushed red pepper to garnish
- Opt: onions, garlic, basil, bell peppers, ginger, etc.
- Heat a non-stick wok pan on medium-high heat. Spray lightly with nonstick spray, coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil.
- Drain your block of tofu and squeeze out as much of the water as possible.
- Slice your eggplants evenly, whether in cubes, circles or strips. Depending on how large the eggplant pieces are, cooking time will vary.
- When the wok pan is hot enough, mix the eggplant and tofu with all of the sauces and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir-fry everything until the eggplant is completely cooked.
- Serve with brown rice and sprinkle crushed red pepper if more spiciness is desired.
Please keep your comments respectful, relevant and thoughtful.
What challenges are you willing to try to better yourself? How do you believe you will carry on with your life in the most positive way?