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The truth of the matter… April 10, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, friends, personal life, random thoughts.

In a world where celebrity equals talent, and where make-believe is called reality, it is most important to have real love, truth and stability in your life. This is a phrase attributed to film and television producer Bernie Brillstein and published in a Starbucks coffee cup as “The Way I See It # 291“.

Wknd Apr 5 2008 075
Photo credit: Raul on Flickr. – (Taken on Granville Island, Vancouver, B.C.)

This has also been the way I was raised by my parents. Mom and Dad are both lawyers (although Mom went on to do a PhD in political science and is now a fairly well-known specialist in intergovernmental relations and federalism). They raised five boys and in the process, they trained each one of us to work hard in four realms: art, science, humanitarianism and sports. But they also wanted us to know that however successful we became, no matter how popular our success made us, we should always remember that popularity and celebrity was irrelevant if we didn’t have real love. And they worked really hard at keeping us well grounded, giving us stability and imbuing a sense of truth, honor and self-worth that has remained with me in my adulthood.

I was (as have always been) the black sheep in the family in that I always wanted to do something different to my brothers. Yes, I know how to play basketball, but I didn’t want to be a competitive basketball player, so I asked Mom and Dad if I could instead play volleyball. Their answer? “Of course, sweetie … but you are still subjected to the same high standards… you should try your hardest to be the best you can“. These words, of course, let me to play highly competitive junior volleyball. I also play piano, but I didn’t want to do it at the high level my brothers do it. So I asked Mom and Dad if I could instead dance and do theatre. Their answer? “But of course, son… just remember the rule about high standards“. And off I went, to do competitive dancing and being a stage actor in plays inside and outside high school.

However, no matter how tired my parents were, no matter how many things they had to do and regardless of the fact that they had to take care of four other boys, my parents always had the patience, time and care to tend to my wounds whenever I fell on the volleyball court, or console me when I lost a dance competition. They never stumped my curiosity and accepted that one day I wanted to be a librarian (devouring dozens of books on library science), another day I wanted to be a criminologist (they even took me to the police academy to get a glimpse at the realities of crime-fighting), another day I wanted to be an interior designer (they bought me every supply I needed to design my first floor plan layout), and the list went on and on.

This brings me to the Bernstein phrase. I love it when people read my research papers and quote me. I am honored that I’m considered an expert in the environmental field that I’ve chosen. I am humbled by the fact that my popularity has increased in several other realms. But regardless of how popular (or not) I am, I know that I will always have truth, love and stability in my life, because I am surrounded by so many wonderful old and new friends (including many of you out there who read my blog), and by the love of my family.

This past couple of weeks have been very trying and I have been angry and upset at bureaucracy and incompetence. But after having talked to some of my friends, my brothers and my parents, I realize that sometimes, you just got to be patient and take things one day at a time. In recognizing this, I also was able to see once again how loved I am and how lucky I am that I have the people I have in my life. Celebrity would never get me this far. It’s been the love I have in my life that has gotten me as far as I am right now. For all that love, I am very thankful.


1. Rebecca - April 10, 2008

Nothing beats having love in your life, in any form. Just a year ago we were a single income family, I got laid off, then we had other issues with immigration etc. It seemed like every hammer was hitting us at the same time and through it all, we stayed strong together and managed to climb back up from being so low. I often say it feels like some days it’s just “John and Rebecca vs The World” and honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way.

2. Maktaaq - April 10, 2008

“…They trained each one of us to work hard in four realms: art, science, humanitarianism and sports.”

This is a great idea for raising kids. I like that art and humanitarianism was included.

3. ian in hamburg - April 10, 2008

Thanks for that quote, Raul – I’m going to use it on my sidebar for a while.

4. Maura Rodgers - April 10, 2008

“all you need is love, love, love is all you need…”

Loving who you are, loving what you do, loving where you are and who you spend your days with makes all the difference in one’s life and the lives we touch.

5. Raul - April 10, 2008

Thank you everyone for commenting… (and other commenters, feel free to still chime in!)

@ Rebecca – I can totally relate to how you feel, but I know for a fact that you both are also very loved (and you have one another) and I hope you know you have a friend in me too 😀

@ Maktaaq – Thanks for the kind words. My parents figured that just doing science and sports wasn’t going to cut it. They didn’t want geeky sporty drones, they wanted wholesome men. And I think they did a fairly decent job… my brothers are simply outstanding individuals whom I’d die for any day.

@ Ian – I am glad you like it 🙂

@ Maura – Very true indeed! Even though I am single, I love spending my days with my good friends ( and whenever I’m in a ‘situationship’, I love spending time with my situationship 😉 )

6. Phaedra - April 11, 2008

I love the term ‘situationship’. Raul, you are one heck of a gem, and I am glad that you are in my life 🙂

7. Raul - April 11, 2008

Thank you Phaedra 🙂 I am glad you are in mine too! My view of the world has been broadened thanks to your insights.

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