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Saving a Date: Why I Choose to Keep It at 120

Why is it that people almost always correlate “adulthood” with distancing from one’s family? It seems to be a badge of honor for “grown-up” children to say that they are now living on their own (or with their partner), can’t attend family events because of personal or work reasons, or hardly ever talk with their parents and siblings? And why does it seem to be a badge of honor for parents, too, to say that they don’t give advice to their kids anymore because they now have a mind of their own, let them live on their own, or hardly ever talk with their children because they have their own lives now?

I accept all family dynamics and individuals in all forms and sizes, but what’s bothering me is the lack of appreciation for the “Other,” meaning, for whatever else does not fit into your truth. There is nothing wrong with being a 30-year-old living with your parents, not having savings, or not finding your path just yet. There is nothing wrong, too, with parents wanting to keep the camaraderie alive by going on weekends together with their “grown-up” children, or with controlling their children (I personally do not agree with this, but you will see below why I don’t push my truth so impulsively). On the same note, there is nothing wrong with an 18-year-old wanting to live with his girlfriend, wanting to take time off school to find oneself, or to choose to work early without getting into university.

My whole point is, we human beings tend to be so judging without intending to. We tend to believe that our truth is the ultimate truth, and anything that falls outside of it is “uncivilized,” “backward,” or point-blank “wrong.”

There is absolutely nothing wrong with living by one’s truth. I personally strive to live day-by-day grounded on my truths, but I’m telling you it is hard work in the midst of this world of overinformation and overabundance of rules.

So to make my life a life worth living for me, I’ve said my goodbyes directly and indirectly to people who choose to run their lives around themselves alone. I’ve chosen to block people from my life who find satisfaction in stroking their superiority-founded truths at the cost of others’ freedom, integrity, and happiness. I am being judgmental right here– and I accept that– for I accept, too, that life is so fragile and short. Every learning curve causes a lot of pain and self-doubt, and now I’ve chosen to only welcome people who are willing to go through the fire with me so we can both come out better based on our personal standards.

And you know what, I’ve never been happier saying goodbye to these people. Nothing has changed, except of course that now, I invite less people on get-togethers. Happier times well-spent with people I love.

On my way back to the Philippines, I’ve made a list of people whom I would love to be with all the time. These are the people whom I would not second-guess being in a party or outing with. And these are the people whom I will not be afraid to say and do what I want to say and do. I ran through the list again and again and asked myself if I am truly happy being with these people. I’ve crossed out some people, and added some more.

My total list came to just 120. Imagine, I currently have 1,000+ contacts, and I truly enjoy sharing my life with only 12% of these contacts.

Life shouldn’t be THAT complicated, really!

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The kind of happiness that you gain by surrounding yourself with people whom you love and love you in return 🙂 With my lovely cousins! Photo courtesy of Ate Aidni.

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Status What? (Part 1)

Sometimes I feel like some people make things look more difficult than they really are. When you ask people across professions–lawyers, accountants, doctors, entrepreneurs, students–there will always be this “really difficult thingy that only x and y and never z can ever do.” This kind of thinking, whether intentional or not, brings about a culture that not only causes people to lose their ambitions, but also causes them to settle in “okay” but “financially safe” situations.

My second to the youngest brother loves drawing and design and wants to become an architect. But meeting architecture students and professionals, he suddenly wants to change his mind. “Too much math,” “Too much work on plates,” “Two hours of sleep a day,” “No social life” were all he heard from them. For a tween who is not that good in math, who loves sports and who likes to go out with friends on a Saturday night, who will not be threatened by these? With his youthful yet fearful heart, the only way he can get back on track is to meet someone whom he admires who says otherwise. What stood as a firm decision now all boiled down to a game of chance.

When I look back, I see myself in similar situations but one thing stands out– and it took me four years to figure it out. Upon graduation, I knew straightaway I would struggle in a 9-5 office job. Although my job gives me the opportunity to travel and live in places I would never have imagined myself to be in, at the end of the day, I have to go back to my cubicle, finish my research, and do other office-related tasks. The set up of a chair, desk, artificial lighting and air-conditioning mentally and emotionally suffocates me. My mind always wanders what it’s like outside.

All mixed up, all intertwined

 

But I have to endure, I fool myself into thinking. I train myself into believing that I need to be in research because I love writing. That I need to be in one with communities so I can help them. But in the field, without a law degree to boot or a big fund to support them, every day seems like a storyline without an ending. Stories of suffering I have to put in one ear, and put in my heart. Nothing to ever put out other than, “I feel for you.”

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I Love You, World!

Ahhhhh, the joy of a Saturday morning coffee cup.
morning-coffee

Morning coffee. Image credit: Love This Pic.

Now let me start with a bit of a background as to why mornings are a bit more awesome with a coffee cup, lots of sunshine, and a laptop glare.

With a coffee cup in my hand, I know I have access to water, a coffee maker, electricity, coffee cup and grinds to keep me going. Oh, and the filter which is kind of a bonus. I am able to enjoy the sunshine while I work despite the traffic and on-going construction outside my door– there is no war, no strife that should hinder me from pursuing my dreams. Armed with ideas and the dedication to keep going, I have access to a laptop and the internet which help me record, update, revise, market, and to go through all the steps again.

With a coffee cup in my hand, I know I have access to water, a coffee maker, electricity, coffee cup and grinds to keep me going. Oh, and the filter which is kind of a bonus. I am able to enjoy the sunshine while I work despite the traffic and on-going construction outside my door– there is no war, no strife that should hinder me from pursuing my dreams. Armed with ideas and the dedication to keep going, I have access to a laptop and the internet which help me record, update, revise, market, and to go through all the steps again.I’m saying this because lately I’ve seen so many economically successful people who can eat three times (or more) a day, afford to send their kids to private schools, watch movies during the weekends, buy smartphones and sometimes even get to travel to where they want, and still get jealous of others’ successes, find it’s not enough, and keep on comparing themselves to what others have.

I’m saying this because lately I’ve seen so many economically successful people who can eat three times (or more) a day, afford to send their kids to private schools, watch movies during the weekends, buy smartphones and sometimes even get to travel to where they want, and still get jealous of others’ successes, find it’s not enough, and keep on comparing themselves to what others have.We now live in a world where we are spoilt so much, that information is just at the tip of our fingers, anything that we want to eat can either be bought in a grocery or online store, and anything and everything we want is basically right in front of us. But what happens is people complain on the lack of stocks of Pharrell’s Superstar Adidas shoes, or of their mom serving fried hotdogs for breakfast when they are on a low fat diet. People tend to take for granted what they have and continue to focus on what they don’t have, which further explains as to why there is so much unhappiness and competition in this world we are living in.

We now live in a world where we are spoilt so much, that information is just at the tip of our fingers, anything that we want to eat can either be bought in a grocery or online store, and anything and everything we want is basically right in front of us. But what happens is people complain on the lack of stocks of Pharrell’s Superstar Adidas shoes, or of their mom serving fried hotdogs for breakfast when they are on a low fat diet. People tend to take for granted what they have and continue to focus on what they don’t have, which further explains as to why there is so much unhappiness and competition in this world we are living in.

In truth, it would be really, really nice and awesome to live, wherever and however our place is in this day and time– it is just up to us to see the beauty of life. What is more awesome than waking up and retiring at night seeing how nature changes as each day passes by? Or having awesome people around you whom you can count on, through the good and the bad?Although it is unfortunate that money defines almost all– or all– of our transactions, I believe that as long as we have love and kindness everything else will follow. If we become a slave to money or power our eyes and hearts become blinded by the true beauty of life. This for me is what extreme poverty means, and there is no other cure to it other than looking within.

Although it is unfortunate that money defines almost all– or all– of our transactions, I believe that as long as we have love and kindness everything else will follow. If we become a slave to money or power our eyes and hearts become blinded by the true beauty of life. This for me is what extreme poverty means, and there is no other cure to it other than looking within.

Have you told your Mom, Dad, sibling, friend, partner, how much you love them lately? 

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Being Late and Being Torn

I’ve found a way to make it work but the lure of chocolates, ice cream, anime fantasies and rock music have swayed me towards an ideal that others would have otherwise dismissed as illogical.

Where do I start?

The grass, while green,

Has always been better on the other side.

The mind, swaying

And the body wants to settle.

The heart, made of gold

Doesn’t fit with the hardened soul

Conviction, without action

Is like loving for the wrong reasons.

Although dilemmas are definitely unavoidable in the midst of chaos, uncertainty and confusion, intention makes all the difference as to how uncertainties are dealt with. Being stuck in traffic and being late for your appointment because all along you thought it was a Tuesday non-rush hour and so you left home thirty minutes later than you would have, is a far better excuse than saying you were sick, you had an accident, or some other more “acceptable” excuse. For one, it’s too obvious when you go on lying. Two, it makes you look stupid. And all these for your ego at the cost of relationships, friendships and states of mind disfigured and sometimes never patched up again.

Lies, layered with white, do not produce better lies—or until you think it does. But when you say it does, you are lying to yourself, aren’t you?
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Kintsugi (金継ぎ) or Kintsukuroi (金繕い), the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery. Image credit: Wikipedia.

Although torn and broken, the art makes it known that breakage is a part of history and so should be accepted and taken in context as a catalyst for growth in the midst of change. The scars could be taken as remnants of weakness, or of strength. Our ideas of “strength” and “weakness” are therefore relative and so it’s how we see life and make it known to us. It might sound corny but it’s amazing how interconnected this world is that even a small piece of pot can make a difference as to how we see life.

It’s all a matter of perspective. Although there are so many things out of our control, if we choose to see life as to how we want it to be, it is how it will be.
***

I could tell that my writing has definitely gone rusty after a long, long time of not putting in much effort and time into practicing. The words are coming slow, the “heavy notch” remains as I write, and the ideas do not flow as easily as they would have. I know it will take time to have that bit of an edge again and even though I’m not a good writer, at least I know I’m giving words and ideas a bit of justice 🙂

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After a Year: The Cycle of Life

The only reason why I checked my dusty blog today is because I wanted to write for someone dear to me who came into my life four months ago. And WOW, much to my surprise, it’s been the exact day last year since my last post! 
 
It’s interesting to know how much one year can do: how meeting the king of jerks and a**holes can turn into meeting the sweetest and most open-minded person I’ve ever known; how ultimatums can turn into your last laugh; and how your worst year can turn into your best thus far. 
 
But the road that led me to where I stand now is so worthwhile that I can’t help but thank the Past for leading me to the Present. Life, as in any other element in what we see, feel, hear, is both a microcosm and a macrocosm of something else. Everything is so interconnected that if we look at life this way, we could say that there are no absolutes and it’s as if life is anything but wrapped up in emotions and thus just a big web of permeable consciousness, living and existing for, within and among each other. If we look back and take all our joys and pains, it’s as if they are in existence for each other, with each running on a continuum of Having and Nothing before getting to the other side of its own world, which in turn is a bigger part of the world where it belongs to, until the cycle never ends. 
 
I’m saying this because if there is one thing I have realized during this part of my journey, it would have to be:

.

— That we occupy this little space in the Universe and so if we go on believing that the world revolves around us, we are bound to frustrate ourselves in the end with always wanting to achieve, collect, flaunt and compare. The world is such a big place and yup, no matter how much money you make, the Sky has the most elegant and brightest diamonds of all.
 
And this led me to my first post after a year. Surprised at the timing but knowing it came with a purpose. Thankful because after thousands of detours I was led this way, and one in which I was led into this person I was talking about. I may not know what to say after a year, but at this point, all I know is I’more than content and ever more trusting to the hand of Time. 


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Dreaming and Living

Chasing dreams is but normal for humans. It is natural for us to aim for something higher, bigger and otherwise unachievable at the moment of thought. Chasing one’s dreams is not all cotton puffs and rainbows though. Expect challenges and be ready for them. But when we have achieved this dream, are we truly satisfied? Once, we all have dreamed of finishing college; but did it stop there? Haven’t we dreamt also of finding a good job? Then aimed for a better one again?
Chasing dreams goes side-by-side with human development; but the question is, when does the chasing stop? When does dreaming truly give way to living? Is it possible to live without dreaming?

As Rabindranath Tagore says:

dfa01-rabindranath

“I have on my table a violin string. 
It is free to move in any direction I like. 
If I twist one end, it responds; it is free.
But it is not free to sing. 
So I take it and fix it into my violin. 
I bind it and when it is bound, 
it is free for the first time to sing.” Image Credit: Amazing Bharat.

Many times, we need to be twisted and bound to truly realize who we really are, and what our place is in this world. In this lifetime. If we do not give ourselves the chance to be moulded in many different ways, how can we be strong enough to face what lies ahead?
We always hear that life is too short and that we should always seize the moment. But life is not all about achieving, of being the best, of toppling down others and being the most popular and bowed down upon. Life, after all, is about finding contentment and fulfilment… of finding peace and true happiness. Achievements give us merits on Earth, at this lifetime; but, never shape us as who we truly are. In another life, in another place and time, all these merits will all but be forgotten; and all that will be left are the memories; our shoulders offered to a friend in times of need; our time and energy for someone who needs them the most; our time and genuine concern to listen…
Which brings us to the next question,
How do you want to be remembered in this lifetime?