Reason #96 to Keep Living: Patience


It’s difficult to know what to say, when I haven’t said anything in so long.

This has been a special kind of year. It was the year I completed my master’s degree and worked as a Teaching Assistant at a university. It was the year this Teaching Assistant position led me to apply to teachers college, which I will now be attending in the fall. It was the year I finished the edited draft of my novel. It was the year I got my first car, and my first dog.

It was a big year, and it was an exhausting year. I didn’t write much on here, keeping up with the reasons to keep living (although there were many!), because I didn’t even have enough time in the day to exercise, eat, or sleep properly. And, if you’ve read any of these posts, you’ll know that I regard exercising, eating, and sleeping as some of the most important activities in keeping up mental health. Continue reading

Reason #94 to Keep Living: Rest

sunset city

You may have noticed, I didn’t write my scheduled blog post. You may have noticed, I’ve been a little absent. I haven’t been cruising the internet as much, haven’t been rushing for quick and easy publications. I’ve been biding my time. I’ve been resting.

To be honest, this series had begun to feel a little monotonous. Less than ten reasons to keep living from the end, I was wondering why I started writing these posts in the first place. The process of blog posting was weighing on me, becoming cliche and robotic. How could I tell you, again, to keep living? Were there any reasons left?

So I took a break. I rested. It’s summer, and this is the free time I thought I would use to dig into my side projects, blog posts included. I would read books, I would exercise, I would write things — so many things! — and I would somehow, amidst all of this, keep up two part-time jobs, a continually growing list of social engagements, volunteer as prose reader and assistant editor for literary journals, and co-organize a reading series.

I’ve done most of it, a satisfying amount, but there is always more, and more, and more. My blog posts weren’t getting enough attention. They were feeling empty, thrown together in an evening, published halfheartedly. Like an un-watered plant, withering, I wasn’t properly taking care of them. Continue reading

Reason #93 to Keep Living: Health Care


Something easily taken for granted, something for which we must always be grateful: health care.

It’s dangerously easy to forget that health care is a privilege when you’ve had it for so long. And although I’ve complained about the health care system in Canada and Ontario before, both mental health care specifically and Canadian health care compared with Japanese health care, I am, in the end, pretty spoiled when it comes to receiving medical attention.

These medical resources, especially these “free” medical resources, are invaluable. Use them, no matter how tedious they may seem. Make phone calls, write emails, get on waiting lists, show up for your appointments. Get your money’s worth, speak your mind, and take care of yourself.

Please! Take care of yourself.

Read the original post of 101 Reasons to Keep Living to discover the genesis of this project, or catch up on any posts you might have missed here

My Visit to a Japanese Hospital

person using black blood pressure monitor

Photo by on

Visiting the hospital can be frightening under the most comfortable of circumstances. Visiting the hospital in a foreign country, while having to speak a foreign language, can be downright terrifying.

I’ll never forget my friend who had to go to the hospital in Barcelona because of kidney troubles. “We’re going to give you a surgery,” the doctor told her (in English). After she protested and refused, the doctor consulted an English translator and corrected himself: “We’re going to give you an X-ray.”

This, mind you, was in Spain, where there is a lot more English floating around than here in Japan. In fact, the English and Spanish languages aren’t that vastly different to begin with. English and Japanese, on the other hand… Well, good luck.

I first knew I had to go to the hospital in Japan when I started having symptoms of what could have been post-surgery complications. I won’t get into the grimy details, but a minor, laparoscopic surgery before leaving Canada made me wary of my body in ways I hadn’t been before. Now I knew it was better to be safe than sorry, so I started my research on what hospital to visit in Japan. Continue reading

Reason #55 to Keep Living: Making Space in a Crowded Mind


Although I’m a detailed person when it comes to my schedule, my teaching, and, most importantly, my writing, I have never liked the act of organizing. Making phone calls, memorizing dates, and attending to trivialities puts my mind in a state of foggy uproar.

Unfortunately, if you are familiar with the Canadian health care system (I live in Ontario, and this is the system I am talking about—it could differ from province to province), you will know how agonizingly slow and complicated getting appointments can be. There is the receptionist for the family doc, the receptionist for the surgeon; there are referrals and booking times and addresses and phone numbers. Oh, so many phone numbers. Don’t talk to me anymore about phone numbers… Continue reading