Three years ago, I read a book titled The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life, written by Piero Ferrucci, an Italian psychotherapist and philosopher. In its introduction, Ferrucci describes the world as being in the midst of a “global cooling,” essentially defined as the chilling of human relations.

At the time, I didn’t know why, but the phrase stuck with me. I read the book at a time when I had only just begun to try and make sense of the world — in particular, why despite so much progress in so many aspects of…

COVID-19 is shining a spotlight on the way we live and we are blinded by it.

People walking through London Underground
People walking through London Underground
Photo by Anna Dziubinska from StockSnap

At 16 weeks into quarantine, it can be difficult to remember what life was like pre-COVID-19.

For some of us, the days go by a lot slower in what many call “the new normal.” For others, the pandemic means more time with family and less late nights at the office. But for most of us — whether we realize it or not — it means giving more thought to others’ well-being than ever before. Not just that of our families and friends, but of our neighbourhoods, cities, and countries at large.

The pandemic is perhaps one of the most explicit…

What Twitter’s latest trend says about our willingness to connect

Photo by Gleren Meneghin on Unsplash

If you’ve been on Twitter recently, chances are you’ve seen the latest trend to take the platform by storm: texting your “number neighbour.”

It’s a simple yet ingenious concept. All you have to do is text your “number neighbour” — the person who has the phone number one digit away from your’s — and see what happens.

As far as the criteria for going viral on the Internet go, this trend checks all the boxes. It’s extremely easy to do, it’s even easier to share with others, and every person has their own, unique experience.

I don’t want to focus…

What does online grocery shopping mean for our social capital?

Photo by Mein Deal on Unsplash

Walking through Toronto’s Union Station a couple of weeks ago, it was hard to not notice the floor-to-ceiling advertisements plastered on windows and walls for Loblaws’ ‘Click & Collect’ grocery service. With promises to save time and deliver only the freshest products straight to your door, the PC Express app presents a tempting substitute for the traditional brick-and-mortar grocery shopping experience.

Two days later, I receive a flyer in the mail from Metro with the same guarantee. The company’s online store allows you to “save time without sacrificing freshness or quality.” …

Photo by Jonas Humbel on Unsplash.

For a naturally introspective person, I’ve come to realize that birthdays are particularly full of rewinding and playing back memories — almost as if someone has documented my life and just handed me the highlights reel. As I turn 20 years old today and leave one decade to enter the next, I thought it would be appropriate to take a moment to reflect on what turned out to be the most thought-provoking and insightful year of my existence so far.

In sharing some of my takeaways from the past 365 days, I hope you’re encouraged to recognize that self-reflection isn’t…

Making the time you spend with others really matter

Photo by from Pexels.

Becoming a young adult is, in my experience, a time of intense self-questioning, reflection, and doubt. In most parts of the world, a human being’s time until the age of 18 is largely determined by the government through mandated education.

After high school, a level of autonomy is introduced that hasn’t been dealt with before. With great power comes great responsibility, and with great responsibility comes a level of uncertainty as to how to best manage it. Which parts of my life do I value and wish to prioritize? Which areas…

As technology makes itself comfortable, timeless methods of communication take a back seat.

A birthday wish from a good friend of mine. I tear up every time I read it.

“If our apartment was on fire, and you could save only one thing, what would it be?”

This was the question my brother asked me a few days ago from a survey he had seen. Almost instantly, I replied: “my memory box.”

My memory box is a large blue storage container that holds my most cherished possessions since I was a kid — birthday cards from family and friends, arts and crafts from elementary school, and yearbooks with heartwarming messages written in a different time.

The box may be heavy, but I sure as heck would try my absolute best…

An anecdotal reflection on living mindfully and with gratitude

Photo by Rani George on Unsplash.

Last week, I was working intensely in my room when my mom came in and suggested that I eat something. I had got home from work a couple of hours ago, and my brain probably needed the energy.

Focused on my work, I mindlessly agreed and asked her to let me concentrate on what I was doing. She quickly apologized and let me know that she’d bring me something in a couple of minutes.

After she left, I put down my pencil and stopped to reflect on what had just happened…

It’s not you, it’s me (looking for a better answer).

If you were to ask the person closest to you, “What do you want in life?,” I’d be willing to bet $2 (please, I’m in university, what more did you expect?) that their answer will be “to be happy.” After all, if it’s Beyoncé’s answer, that basically means it’s right. But it really is a unique question in that its answer can be predicted despite not knowing anything about the individual being questioned. For the most part, we’re all striving for happiness.

It speaks to the universal and strong grip that the concept of happiness has on the human species…

In case you haven’t noticed, human beings are obsessed with being busy. If we’re not at work or in class, we’re doing our homework, playing sports, going to events, partying with friends, attending meetings, making dinner, watching Netflix, singing, dancing, reading…the list goes on.

Even if we’re in a situation where there doesn’t immediately seem like there’s much else we can do, we manage to squeeze things in. When you’re on the bus, you can’t just be on the bus — you’re texting, listening to music, playing Candy Crush, watching Buzzfeed videos, listening to a podcast, or reading a book…

Prachir Pasricha

Passionate about human relations in our modern world. Author, “Global Cooling (The Not-So-Good Kind),” 2021/2022.

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