Give without expecting the golden rule to return the favour. Serve without the need for appreciation. Let your work be inspired by sincerity and not just the drive to succeed. Take time to hear people out, and not just the ones who speak your language. When you fall in love, let it be unexpected.

Sometimes, you find beauty in what is ugly on the surface. You can find treasure if you take the time to look deeper. God doesn't judge you based on what people think of you. So don't let yourself judge others because they don't look as polished on the outside.

It's not the easy road. But it's simple and it's honest.

I live in a city where everyone looks good. I look around me and people look fabulous all the time. The lawyers that stop by starbucks for their coffee three times a day seem to have it made. The fashionistas I see on the street on a day to day basis sure seem to have it all together. But I wonder, if I could take the person out of the environment, what would they be like? Who would you be without the perfect body and fabulous wardrobe? Who would you be without your swanky downtown office and power suits? Who would you be if we stripped away the exterior and looked inside your heart?

I know one thing. It would be cool to look amazing everyday, have a respectable job, and have the world think I'm wonderful. But I know that the day the facade cracks, the world will leave me out to dry and find the next best thing to devote their attentions to.

Let me not end without saying that if you have it made and life is good, then that's great and I'm happy for you. But I don't respect you any more than the man on the street to whom life hasn't been quite as wonderful.

Find yourself and don't let go. If I am misrepresented. If they disapprove of what I'm doing. If I never amount to anything. It doesn't matter. Because I know who I am.

As for me, I want to live a simple life. Unassuming. Unpretentious. Not without difficulties, but joyful amidst them. And full of love.

Benita Joy