Learning from hardship

Thanksgiving weekend is typically a time when students go home to mooch free food off of lonely parents and to be thankful that they do not have to spend yet another weekend in their run-down, low-budget houses.

However, for Laurier graduate Josh Martin, author of Simple(ton) Living, there is a lot more to be thankful for this year.

Oct. 15 marked the one-year anniversary since Josh’s stem cell transplant after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of chronic myelogenous leukemia.

Martin tells The Cord, “I’m excited about the milestone, it’s been a long ride with bumps along the way, but I’m happy to have made it.”
This time last year, Martin was sitting in a hospital room in isolation, eating less than appealing food, wondering whether or not the transplant would be successful.

This year, he is not only hospital-free, but he gets to enjoy a turkey dinner with his family and friends.

While he could be at home worrying about the cancer returning, Martin states, “I’m taking action in my life, doing what I want to do, because time is short and fragile and I can’t let the worry consume me.”

Living through his cancer wasn’t easy, but it has given him strength and courage he never knew he had.

“The experience has motivated me to be a little more bold with plans, such as writing the book, putting myself out there, sharing my personal stories and going through the risk of a doing a project like that.”

And for Martin, it was a positive risk to take. Simple(ton) Living not only appeals to those in need of a laugh, it also appeals to students who may have forgotten to take the time to balance their lives in order to effectively enjoy the time they have.

Split into four sections, Simple(ton) Living contains over 50 lessons to show students that with a little bit of courage, a positive attitude, the ability to laugh at yourself and keep everything within balance, you can have the life that you want to.

Throughout its four sections – balancing time, consumption, self and relationships – Martin recounts his own personal stories and adventures while tying them into lessons which the reader can take away for his or her own usage.

Martin told The Cord about the section he thinks is the most important: “Balancing relationships.”

“I learned a lot of lessons while at Laurier, and although I was living the life of a starving student, they were the best years of my life.

“I learned the importance of friends over money and how to avoid the trap of pursuing material things. Friends and family are the priority.”

Dealing with such a personal matter makes it a very enjoyable read, as you feel like you are experiencing the adventures, or misadventures, with Martin as they happen.

Designed in a way to teach you about balancing your priorities, this is a must-have handbook for the starving student.

Tips and advice fill the pages, making it an interactive learning experience.

It teaches you the importance of family and friends, all the while propagating the message that money isn’t everything; it’s what you do with your time that matters, not how many things you can acquire.

As for being a starving student, Martin states that “it’s important to strike a balance with your life, studying and getting through exams but it’s also important to make the most of the time you have there with friends, as those are the relationships and memories that will stick with you.”