Gratitude

Even though Canada had their Thanksgiving over a month ago, I still subscribe to the U.S. schedule. As such, it’s only fitting that I talk about gratitude this week. Gratitude is something I have only lately learned to practice (as in, the last year or so), and now it has become both my best friend and my worst enemy. Gratitude, as defined by Webster’s, is as follows: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. So let’s start with that.

I never used to be consciously thankful. I would, of course, say please and thank you during interactions and I would profusely thank a friend or family member when they came through for me, but I never actively practiced being grateful every day, and for things that weren’t dependant on other people doing something that served me.

However, recently I heard the notion that when you are being truly grateful for something, there’s just no space for any negative emotions at that moment. I like to think of it this way – when you’re being grateful, you’re starting from the bottom and exceeding your expectations. If I say I’m grateful for my healthy hair, I’m simply being grateful I have hair at all, and that it is healthy. Anything above that is like sprinkles on the sundae. On the other hand, if you’re happy or pleased with something, it’s like going from the top down. If I say I like my hair, that opens me up to being jealous of someone else’s hair or finding small flaws with my own because even though I’m happy with it, I am not grateful for it, so there’s always room for improvement in the mind.

In any case, gratitude is something that has eluded me lately as I’ve gotten increasingly overwhelmed with work, family, other obligations, friends, and my own loneliness. And on top of any personal anxiety I feel, there’s also the fact that the last two mass shootings in the states were in places mere steps away from loved ones, the area I spent my most formative university years has been scorched by fires, and now when I travel to San Francisco each week for work, the city is choked with smoke.

So it’s been hard to feel grateful. As a response to all the strife above, I find myself becoming unappreciative, bitter, and looking at these as excuses to believe I deserve more. More family. More time with friends. More time with my boyfriend. More attention. More money. More time. More hobbies. More direction. More of an identity. Just more. Nothing feels satisfying right now and it’s a horrible, lost, and lonely feeling.

But when I step back and take a look at all of these through a lens of gratitude, I realize that’s not really fair. Not fair to myself, nor to anybody else I’ve been dumping this stuff on recently. Because there is a lot I should be grateful for and all of those things deserve credit as well.

I am grateful for the fact that no one I know was killed in either shooting. I’m grateful my university didn’t burn down in the fire. I’m grateful that my family is always there for me and always makes me laugh. I’m grateful that I have friends all over the world. I’m grateful that I’m physically healthy. I’m grateful for quiet nights with my boyfriend. I’m grateful I have a job that allows me to learn and pays me really well. And I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’m offered each year.

This may sound like I’m just saying we should simply “look on the bright side” but I’m not. I’m saying, no matter how much shit you have going on or how much you’re affected by the state of the world, there is always, ALWAYS something to be truly thankful for. Something as simple as a really good meal, or something as life-altering as getting that new job you were after. It can be so easy to fall into the spiral of wanting more or telling yourself you’ll be happy “as soon as I get ____”. But if we think that way all the time, we never escape. There will always, ALWAYS be more money to be earned, more time to be spent, or more joy to be found. So if you can’t even find it within yourself to be grateful for what you have right now, then when will you?

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Grateful for my family (dad was in the Philippines but I’m grateful for him too!); And grateful for Kiki’s purple hair because how can you even look at hair that bright and not smile a little?

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Moving to Canada: Finale

As of last month, I hit my one-year mark of living in Calgary, Canada. This is the official conclusion to my moving to Canada series that has slowed down over the course of the year. I’ve spent a whole year residing here, picking up new hobbies, making new friends, and exploring. What did I learn?

Making friends, especially in a smaller city is HARD. Like BRUTALLY HARD. The thing is, in cities like LA, or New York, there are SO many people that aren’t from the surrounding area, that state, or even the country so you bond with other people that didn’t grow up there over your same ‘otherness’. In Calgary though, it’s smaller, so more people you meet are from the surrounding area or provinces. As such, there is a tribal knowledge that is tough to break into. This isn’t a dig at Calgary, I’m sure this would happen in any city of similar size. Everyone has gone to school together, or lived and worked there for years and they have all these little things that just don’t make sense to an outsider. Jokes about different parts of the city, a restaurant that used to be where that bar is, different sets of hobbies, etc. It’s one of those cities that you can walk around pretty much anywhere and bump into someone you know (to be clear, I am not a fan of this. I adore the anonymity in big cities). To truly fit in, would take a long while. I have done a good job I think, making friends, but more often than not, I still feel like I’m on the outside.

I also am having way more of an identity crisis than I bargained for. Before moving up here, I was pretty indifferent to being American. Honestly, I was a little embarrassed due to our incessant antics around the world. But since moving, I’ve become way more patriotic. It’s difficult to put my finger on exactly why, though. Since Americans and Canadians look and dress pretty much the same, I am often assumed to be Canadian and this irks me. Part of it is because I can’t help but compare the two countries since they are so similar but so different at the same time. The other part is because I think I’ve realized how much being an American is integral to my personality and the way I am, and I am intensely reluctant to give up that part of myself.

There is a certain comfort in things that are American versus Canadian for me. Like how everybody is so rude on the road in America. That might sound like a terrible thing, but I miss it. I miss talking about the audacity of American politics with people who don’t see the situation as an elaborate media joke. I miss the sheer amount of things to do in U.S. cities like Chicago and LA. Pop up shops, concerts, art shows – they never skip major U.S. cities, but they definitely skip Canadian ones. I miss the fact that everything is instantly at your fingertips in the states whereas in Canada the mail takes for fucking ever. I miss the intensity of ambition that is ever present in American cities whereas Canada is more laidback (I’d like to point out that this is most likely due to the fact that they have amazing benefits no matter your socioeconomic status so there’s not as much worry). But the point is I MISS IT. And right now, I’m not willing to let that part of me go.

So this is the struggle of identity I face now. How do I keep my American identity while still successfully assimilating in Canada? Is it even possible? Or must I say sorry to everything and sell my soul to the oil industry?

The thing is, Canada is great in many ways. Since being up there, I’ve learned a ton of new hobbies – skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking and I’ve learned to enjoy the outdoors a lot more. I’ve also really enjoyed being closer to my boyfriend, discovering cool parts of Calgary, and learning how to set up a life from almost nothing.

And maybe I only feel this way because I’ve truly only been halfway in this whole time. Due to my job, I’ve spent nearly the same amount of time outside of Canada as I have in it. How can I really be a good judge of the place when I’ve never worked there and only developed the bare minimum of a social life since I’m gone all the time? A terrible one probably.

But this is all I’ve got right now. I’ve tried my hardest to make the most of the situation, but I’m at a loss of how to continue this way. I have no roots in Calgary, but also not enough time there to plant any. In the same vein, turns out it is ridiculously hard to get a job in Canada as an American, and what’s more, is that Calgary doesn’t exactly align with my career interests.

But all of that aside, let’s say I got an amazing job in the city, and joined a bunch of things to meet people. The risk in the back of my mind is the feeling that I’d have to give some part of my identity up to be 100% happy up there versus clinging on to my familiar self and perhaps only ever being able to achieve 70% happiness. When is the proper time to allow yourself to change?

So many questions, so little answers. To help cope with this feeling of being in between, of being lost, I’ve dedicated a large amount of mental space to taking things one day at a time. Right now, I’m not moving anywhere different, and I don’t have another job on the table. So why drive myself nuts? The best I can do is navigate each day and ask myself what I can do to make myself as amazing as possible no matter where I am.

To catch up on my entire Canada series, you can start here.

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The outdoors are a major perk of Canada living

What do you want to want?

I just finished reading ‘Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Harari and that is one of the major questions he leaves the reader with at the end of his novel. In the context of the book, there is a lot to unpack with this statement, but I want to focus on it on an individual level.

We all know, in theory, what we want. Or at least, what we’re supposed to want. We want money, fame, success, recognition, love, sex, etc. But these desires are programmed into us by society and our communities. On some level, we do get choose which of these is most important to us and how to go about achieving it, but the goal ends up being how we make peace with each of these wants, not question if these wants are what will make us most content.

Perhaps we do a little of this already. Sex is an easy one to dissect. Maybe we know having sex with a stranger would feel good in the moment but the next morning we would feel negatively so we abstain. We know that we pursue sex because it’s physically pleasurable and from an evolutionary standpoint, we’re programmed to want it for reproduction. However, have we ever stopped to wonder if our lives would improve or worsen if we didn’t want sex?

Personally, I had never considered this question before Harari’s final chapter. I had never thought about which pursuit of desires would make me the happiest or most content, I had only thought about how to achieve the things I already supposedly crave.

There is no answer to this question, at least not at present, but I think it might be an important one to consider for each individual person. If you could start from scratch and program your own desires, what do you think would make you the most satisfied? Would it be the pursuit of new technologies? Creation? Destruction? Relationships?

The things I currently want and pursue are healthy relationships, recognition of accomplishments, and fortune. But logically I know that at least two out of these three are merely fleeting examples of contentment in my life. No matter how much money I get, I would have to learn to be satisfied with what I’ve got at some point, and no matter how many people congratulate me on what I’ve achieved, I will never reach everyone. Even relationships can be steeped in turmoil and there’s no guarantee the misery of pursuing people won’t outweigh the reward. If however, I figured out what I should want to want, then life would be simple right?

So what, then, is a suitable thing to want? I’m open for suggestions.

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Peyto Lake, Alberta, Canada

I’m Back

Kiki has been babysitting my blog for over three months now, but I’ve finally pulled myself together enough to take it back.

I stepped back from this space for two reasons –

  1. I didn’t really feel like I was adding to the internet sphere on this blog anymore. I had been writing about anything and everything and I felt like too much of my content was the same old stuff that everyone else writes about.
  2. I was going through some intense self-reflection and personal stuff and was feeling super down and I could barely do my normal work and keep myself healthy so this blog was one of the first things I dropped.

But now I have returned! I decided that I love to write and that I do have something to contribute to the internet. However, I also decided to take a step back and figure out what I should focus on. Up until now, I just wrote about whatever struck my fancy that week, but I want this blog to have a purpose. I’ve decided that the purpose is self-reflection/ self-improvement.

Sounds boring, I know, but if I take a look back at my best posts, the ones that got the best feedback and the ones I thought were the best written, they are the ones where I talk about things I’ve gone through and what I’ve learned from those events.

I realized that many people are too scared, or confused to turn a lens back in on themselves and to learn from their mistakes or shortcomings to improve their lives, so I will take one for the team and put myself under the microscope to share life and lifestyle lessons.

And for those of you that will miss Kiki’s far wittier prose, she does have a YouTube channel where she makes her own words come to life, and I also have a feeling it won’t be long before she’s a guest writer here again.

Thanks to everyone that has continued to visit this space after so long.

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I’m Sorry Dua Lipa; I Hath Failed You

You heard it here first folks, I have broken almost every rule on my list in the past week. But honestly, what did anyone expect from me trying to enact life changes the week before midterms? So let’s unpack this.

Rule #1: No eating after 10 pm.

This one was the first to go. Ya boi has got night classes, man, and sometimes I don’t get home until nearly 10 pm and I’ve got the munchies. I’m working on packing healthy snacks to eat during class so I’m not hungry afterwards, but sometimes I just need a proper big dinner.

Rule #2: Go to bed by midnight.

Not staying up past midnight flew out the window. Being awake past midnight is one thing- I’ve had chronic insomnia for as long as I can remember- but being out of bed until past midnight is what I was trying to avoid. But my roommates were watching the Prince of Egypt downstairs and I just couldn’t resist. Plus I had heaps of work that needed doing on most other nights of the past week and the next few days so that didn’t help at all.

Rule #3: Rise by 10 am.

Rising by 10 am was going fine until I had some icky icky dreams one night and I stayed in bed until well past noon because the dreams made me too sad to get up. Not something too unexpected when you’re on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, (which are the kind of meds that I’ve been on for about two and half years now), but unpleasant nonetheless. It’s not super common for me, but it’s something I’ll need to consider moving forward.

Rule #4: No caffeine after 4 pm.

This one has actually been okay, since I’ve been so anxious for the past week that I’ve not wanted to put much in the way of stimulants in my body. I’ve replaced a lot of my tea breaks during the day with herbal tea just because I’ve been so jittery I highly doubt caffeine was going to do me any good.

Rule #5: You must eat one (1) healthy meal per day.

Uh. So technically I’ve kept up with this one, but considering some of what I’ve been eating for my other two meals, I’m not sure if it counts.

Rule #6: No use of the following phrases:
-I hate myself
-I want to die
-I’m going to kill myself

I’m not going to count how many times I dropped the ball on this one, but I will say that I’ve become so much more conscious of when I say these things and I usually stop myself or chastise myself for saying them.

Rule #7: Just because you screw up once doesn’t mean you should give up.

I’m! Still! Trying! Am I coming in at below a 50%? Yes! But am I giving up? No! It’s midterms, I’m sure I’m going to struggle big time with these, but I’m not giving up. I want to prove to myself that I can get this on lock so that someday soon I can add things about working out and meditating to the list and work on that stuff and really be one of those annoying healthy-living self-improvement hoes.

P.S: Dua Lipa only had three rules she was trying to follow, so considering I had more than twice as many I think I’m doing okay.

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Pictured:My rapidly crumbling resolve

Call Me Dua Lipa, ‘Cause I Got Some New Rules

Unlike Dua Lipa, however, my rules aren’t a fun and sexy mantra I can repeat to myself so I can get over him. (There is no him.) (I’m gay.) I’ve just made a list of rules for my life to try to abide by so I can be a little healthier and a little more positive. You can’t just wake up one day and be a workout-nut vegan who wakes up and does yoga at 6 am every day, you gotta start small, and this is my start.

Rule #1: No eating after 10 pm.

I don’t have issues with my weight, but eating at night messes up your digestive schedule. Moreover, it makes my tummy feel funny in the morning, so no more midnight snacking for me.

Rule #2: Go to bed by midnight.

No matter what work I have or what I’m doing, I have to stop and go to bed at midnight, otherwise I lose any semblance of a healthy schedule. This also helps with #1, because when I stay up too late I get hungry, and when I’m hungry I can’t sleep.

Rule #3: Rise by 10 am.

I know 10:00 in the morning is pretty late for most humans, but when the majority of my responsibilities occur in the afternoon and evening, it can be hard for me to find motivation to wake up in the mornings. But when I do, I feel so much better and end up having a much more productive day.

Rule #4: No caffeine after 4 pm.

Honestly, the time for this one is a bit superfluous. I know nothing about how long it takes for the body to process caffeine, but 4 pm sounded good. Hopefully, if I cut my caffeine intake (mostly coming from black and green tea) I can have an easier time sleeping at my new midnight-bedtime.

Rule #5: You must eat one (1) healthy meal per day.

Like #3, this one isn’t much, but as a student, even this can be a lot. Someday soon I would love for this rule to become “you are only allowed one (1) cheat meal per day”, but for now that’s just not practical. I need to ease myself into this whole healthy-living thing, and that means baby steps. If I try all at once to be 100% healthy 100% of the time, I’m not gonna have a good time. Most likely I’d become overwhelmed by my inability to do it and give up completely.

Rule #6: No use of the following phrases:
-I hate myself
-I want to die
-I’m going to kill myself
These are all things I say, always joking, in response to kind of anything and everything. It’s a popular form of self-deprecating humor amongst the kids these days, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but for me it had a similar effect on me that the “not a real whatever” language has, which you can read all about in my article “I Think I’m Becoming Positive” from two weeks ago. I don’t mean any of it, but saying it has an effect on my perspective nonetheless. And if there’s one thing I learned from 1984, it’s that the language we use determines the thoughts we have.

Rule #7: Just because you screw up once doesn’t mean you should give up.

I have this bad habit where, once I fall out of a routine that I’m trying to make a habit, I declare the whole thing a failure and I give up completely. Gotta stop that. I’m gonna break these rules, I’ve come to terms with that. #2 will probably be the first to go, to be honest. I get wrapped up in doing stuff and end up awake until 3 am. I know that and that’s fine, so long as I keep trying to keep in with my rules. If I can make midnight my usual and 3 am a special occasion, I’ll call it a success.

So am I going to become a workout-nut vegan who gets up at 6 am everyday to do yoga? Probably not. That’s ridiculous. But if I start getting up at 10, then I can bump it to 9, and what the heck maybe one day I’ll get up at 7:30. Baby steps to building a routine that’s good for my brain and good for my body, so that I can be in peak physical and mental health in order to enact my plot to overthrow the government and tear down the white-supremacist patriarchal power structure of the world.

EDIT: In the day it’s been since I first drafted this, I got home late, was starving and ate after 10 pm. BUT IT’S OKAY.

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I Think I’m Becoming Positive

I would never have said that I was a particularly negative person. And yet- my perspectives on myself and what I spend my time doing have, as of late, been negative. I joke that I’m not a real writer, not a real filmmaker, not a real artist, whatever. Lately, I think it’s been getting to me.

I’m not a real writer, so why finish my novel?
I’m not a real filmmaker, so why struggle to make films?
I’m not a real artist, so why call what I do “art”?

I wouldn’t say it hit me all at once, but I kind of came to realize that my attitude was affecting my work. I always prided myself on not being someone who takes themselves too seriously, and to an extent that remains true. I have no intention of becoming some hum-drum that only talks about how messed up the world is. That’s completely unproductive and thoroughly annoying.

But I think I ought to give myself a little more credit than I do. I’ve made half a dozen or so short films, and worked dozens of hours on sets. So yeah, I’m a real filmmaker. I’ve written hundreds of pages of this damn book and I’m so close to finishing a draft that I can taste it. So yeah, I’m a real writer. Writing and filmmaking are art forms, so hell yeah, I’m an artist.

I think I’m becoming one of those ~positive people~. And not in the way that I have been, which is where I make jokes when things are terrible. (The more terrible things are, the more jokes I make. I can draw a graph, if that would help.) And definitely not in the *everything will be okay* way because that’s impractical and dangerously reductive. I mean genuinely positive. Like, I think I know what I want to do with my life? And maybe… how to do it? I know it’ll be hard but I feel like I… can handle it?

Halfway through film school and I finally feel like I really know where I am and where I want to be. Maybe it’s a passing thing, and tomorrow I’ll wake up feeling lost again. But if anything, that makes writing this down now all the more important, so when I start to doubt myself again I can look back at this and remember that yes, I do know what I want to do, and yes, I am doing it right now. Literally, right now. I’m sitting in class as I write this. (Maybe if I were really doing this right I’d be paying attention.)

But for the first time in a long time, maybe ever, I feel so confident and so right with what I’m doing. I want to tell stories, and I know how to tell them. And it’s a good feeling. I hope that you can find that same sense of purpose, dear reader, in something important to you, whatever that may be.

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Not pictured: Me
Pictured: my sister, looking cool on a bench in Greece while I sacrifice proper exposure for that JJ Abrams Lens Flare

The Importance of Being Earnest

Linked below you shall find the entirety hit Chinese soap opera 最特别的爱 (The Most Special Love). Linked in the description of that video are the individual episodes, the first two of which are subtitled. Maybe by the time you’re reading this the last episode will be subtitled too. Maybe not.

Just kidding it’s a web series I made for class. But you should watch it anyway, whether or not you speak Mandarin. Heaven knows I don’t.

What’s important to note is that this was nothing close to what was required for class. The standard for this project was a slideshow with a voice-over, maybe a filmed conversation if you were feeling fancy, and usually, it was clear in those projects that people were reading off of a script.

But when the first term of my sophomore year of university rolled around, and I cracked open that Fresh Textbook for my Chinese 104 class, I saw that “Relationships & Breakups” was one of the units we’d be covering. I joked to my classmate that we should make a soap opera in Chinese for our final project. She said she was all in.

From then on, my course was set, no turning back.

There would be no reading of lines from a script while photos of my summer vacation slid across the screen- no, we were going to do this and we were going to do it right.

Go big, or go home.

Script memorization, makeup, lights, microphones, and a two camera setup, and that was just the first episode. By the second episode we completely re-arranged my living room to vaguely resemble a hospital room, and by the third we had a cast of over half a dozen people, plus several crew members.

There was no reason for this. In fact, it was a lot of work, on top of an already over-full schedule. Not to mention the fact that it pissed off my classmates by raising the bar. (But my professor loved it, so who cares.)

But I had an idea. An idea that I thought was, if not particularly good, at least funny. I wanted to do it. And we have precious few opportunities to do the things we want to do in this life; it seemed wrong to pass it up.

So I did it. I put my all into it. I blocked out my weekends, stayed up late syncing audio, stood outside in nearly a hundred degree heat in a black shirt, long pants, and two sports bras because it was the only way I could make myself look convincingly masculine.

Why? Because anything worth doing is worth doing right. If I was going to do this, however stupid it may be, I wasn’t going to half-ass it. I said soap opera, and I meant it. So what if it didn’t help my grade? So what if it took ages? So what if it was utterly ridiculous? I did that. I set my mind to something and I did it, and I made it fun. That feat alone is something to be proud of.

If you’re going to do something, don’t just do it for the grade or because someone asked you. If you don’t care about it you may as well not even bother. But even if it’s something that’s basically pointless, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it your best shot. At least then you might learn something, and won’t be asking “what if I’d tried harder, what if I’d done better” etc.

I took a boring project and made it into something that I could be passionate about so that I could do it in earnest and with pride instead of out of obligation. I try to do this with everything in my life, but honestly nothing is as special as “The Most Special Love”.

Am I Motivational Yet?

Me again, the Moussetis with the least amount of serotonin. Fun fact about me: I am, always have been, and always will be, that horse girl. You know the type. My childhood bedroom is absolutely plastered with horse posters, and I rode every week for over a decade. So like, I’m legit. I’m even going back to volunteer at my old barn soon in the hopes of riding at least once before school sets in.

So there’s this rule in horseback riding that I always really struggled with. Conceptually, it was simple, but in practice, I could never really get it down. The rule is as such:

Look where you want to go, not where you’re afraid to go.

I know it sounds like something you’d see written in brush script over a sunset on a poster in a high school counselors office. But it’s actually crucial to safe riding. Horses, you see, are clever beasts, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Above all they are empathetic to a fault, which means if you’re scared, they know, and since you’re the one meant to be in charge, it makes them scared.

Something else to consider is that horses generally can feel where you’re looking. On the one hand, this is great for sport. Proper jumping technique states that you should start looking at your next obstacle the moment your horse leaves the ground in front of your current one. That way you know where you’re going, and so does your horse.

But it’s a two-way street. If there’s a commotion, for example, that catches your attention and distracts you from what you’re doing, it will carry over to your horse. And horses, bless their hearts, are prey animals, and evolved to really favor flight over fight in stressful situations. (Which, as someone who has had to fight horses on multiple occasions, I am actually extremely grateful for.) So now both you and your horse are distracted, and your horse is likely to spook.

Now let’s play this out. If you’ve never had the distinct pleasure of riding a spooked horse, it goes a little something like this. First the horse startles, and sometimes that’s the end of it. You both take a moment to calm down and then you carry on. But other times, it gets worse, and your horse can take off. At this point your own fight or flight response kicks in, and that’s where our look-where-you-want-to-be concept becomes of the utmost importance. Because now it’s on you. Your horse is out of control, and you and everyone in your vicinity is in danger. What are you going to do? Look at the group of little girls learning how to lead a pony? Or at the stern woman cooling down a warmblood that looks like he costs more than most cars? Because if you’re looking at them, you can bet that your horse is too, and that’s the direction you’ll end up going.

So you look for where you need to go. You look for an empty space to let your horse run out or you look for a wall to stop them. ‘Cause wherever you look, that’s where you’re gonna end up. The same goes for looking down, if not more so, because looking down is the biggest no-no of them all in equine sports.

Alright, time to apply this to reality. You are the rider, your horse is your life, and everything else is… everything else. If you want your life to head in the right direction, you gotta look in the right direction, right? If you look at the problem, or the disaster, you’ll focus on it, get distracted by it, and end up running right into it. Instead, be aware of it, but only in your peripheral. Your focus needs to stay on where you want to go, so you can guide yourself there. And it doesn’t always work; sometimes that horse is gonna run wherever that horse is gonna run, and there’s nothing you can do about it. The only thing you can predict about life is that it’s unpredictable.

But even if something does go wrong, (you know, like tumbling off your horse and into the dirt) it’s better to fail knowing that you did everything you could rather than wondering if just maybe, if I’d done just this one little thing, it could have worked out. (In this metaphor, the ground is just a metaphor for just failing at something, not dying or anything. That’s a whole other matter.)

And that’s the principle. You look where you want to go, not where you’re scared to go, and that’s how you can guide your life in the right direction. Does it always work? No. But is it better than the alternative? So I’ve heard. Like I said, I’ve struggled with this concept, both in the literal and the metaphorical sense. I’ve hit the dirt my fair share, but that’s a risk we knowingly take when we set out on any endeavor worthwhile.

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Major throwback pic here

Vacations are More than Relaxation

Long time no see, huh? For the last three weeks I was on vacation in Italy and Greece, and unlike in the past, I did not post while I was away. I even have some posts pre-written that were planned to be released while I was away but for some reason, I never felt the sense of urgency to actually post them while I was traveling. This time, I decided to treat this vacation as a vacation from all things – I did not work, I did not workout (apart from a couple runs), and I did not indulge my normal blogging schedule.

I was able to completely focus on my vacation and actually relax. I have kept such a rigid schedule the past couple years and I think I finally needed a vacation from all of my normal commitments, even the self-imposed ones. For the past year, I was consistently adding more and more commitments to my life whether they were social, self-improvement initiatives, or work-related. And after this trip, I realized that many of them are draining my life, more than adding to it.

Vacations, in general, are always great for me to take a step back and remind myself of what is actually important to me, but this time it was more than that. In a rare change of pace, this last trip was a trip more about the people than the places. I got to see one of my absolute best friends, as well as spend a Greece trip with my family like we used to. Spending so much quality time with people that are so important to me made me rethink my priorities a bit. I’m still working through this whole thought process but the basic idea is that I’d like to flip my thinking about how to plan my life.

I won’t go into it too much here because I still haven’t thought through it all, but the short story is that this vacation was more rejuvenating than most for my perspective and while I apologize for missing three Wednesdays, I don’t regret it at all. In fact, I’ve actually been thinking on going on a longer hiatus from my blog, and leaving it to someone else, but more on that later.

I’ve rambled a bit now, but this post only had one intention, and that was to explain my absence from the blogosphere to the few hundred of you that read my posts every week and to reiterate the point to our overworked populations that sometimes it’s ok to go completely off the grid and just feed your soul (although I definitely fed my stomach as well). I will return next week with some regular content, until then, let me know if you’d like more explanation on my change in perspectives and I’ll be happy to accommodate.