Our Common Ground: Hope

It is in situations like this that we find beauty in the things that we used to take for granted — in things that were once present and constant. The irony of it all is that we, human beings, become so used to our surroundings that we tend to fail at appreciating the beauty that behold us. This pandemic is a huge reminder that we should give importance to the little things in our life because everything could be taken away from us in one fell swoop.

This situation made me realize how much I miss Makati; its streets that are usually packed with cars, the sidewalks that are filled with people rushing to work, the coffee shops that have long lines, the malls that I was so used to roam around during lunch breaks with my boyfriend and a lot more.

But amidst this pandemic, I know that there is hope. A desperate feeling within our hearts — our hearts that are eager to do something, to go places, and to start anew. An invisible contract within our souls to start living a better life because it is never too late to start over.

Eureka! Moment #2: Book Shields

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I am not really a fan of e-books and audio books because of the following reasons:

  1. I love the scent of physical books.
  2. I enjoy flipping through a book’s pages.
  3. For e-books, I honestly get a migraine when I’m reading from my phone. Don’t get me wrong, I do e-copies of books sometimes, especially when a certain book that I want to read is not available in the Philippines. I just prefer physical copies.
  4. As for audio books, I just don’t get the hang of it yet. I tried, and it’s just not working for me. I usually end up falling asleep. It’s just not the same as “reading.”

As a reader who prefers to read physical books, I always bring a book with me wherever I go. You know, just in case I get some free time or I get bored. Through the years, I have come to the realization that my books get easily damaged inside my bag (e.g., it gets a few dents or folds) and it frustrates me sometimes because no matter how I put it inside my back, it always ends up getting damaged. Continue reading

My Usual Friday Night

How does my usual Friday night look like, you say? I try to relieve my stresses from the past work week by spending all night in my bedroom, reading a book (and sometimes drinking milk or tea). I just like the peacefulness I get when I’m locked inside my room with no one to bother me — free from the toxicity of the house.

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On the days where I don’t feel like reading at all (yes, it happens and I feel guilty about it), I watch random rom-coms or my favorite Netflix series (e.g., Riverdale).

Last year, I was suffering from a very bad reading slump because the book I was reading (Timeline by Michael Crichton) felt really dragging + I am so hooked to Friends and other Netflix shows! I am sort of disappointed with Timeline, though, because I feel like it has so much to offer. After reading half of the book, I decided to just put it down for a while because I really have a lot of books on my TBR.

Currently, I’m reading the second book in the Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown and I’m almost halfway through it. As usual, the fast-paced writing style of Dan Brown kept me up at night. I’m so excited to read all the books in this series.

This post has been more like an update re: my reading status, the reading slump was also the reason why I have nothing to write for my Stuff I’ve Been Reading Lately series. I’ll make up to it next month, I promise.

Eureka! Moment #1: Fujifilm X-A3

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I am launching a new series on my blog called Eureka! Moment. I got this idea from our weekly stand-up meetings in the office where we were supposed to share something that we recently discovered — a new book, an old place that we do not know of, a new song, events, etc. I think they came up with this idea to help us improve our communication skills. It didn’t push through, though, because projects kept coming our way and so we decided that it is more effective for the team if we talked about tasks assigned to each of us instead of sharing random things.

I took note of the topic because I thought it was such a an excellent idea to share little discoveries in everyone’s life. I also like the idea that discoveries need not to be discovered for the first time in history nor it does it mean big, scientific or technological stuff but little things that you find out that you never knew could help keep you going, or things that can make you smile, or simply just things that interest you.

With that, I am launching Eureka! Moment on my blog not only to improve my writing style/skills, but also to constantly remind myself that there are little things in life that I still don’t know of — things that are still yet to be discovered and found out by me which can turn out to be a favorite thing, song, book, or just favorite anything.

So before I share my first discovery, here are some ground rules everyone should keep in mind while reading Eureka! Moment:

  1. I am aware of the possibility that some of you may already know of my discoveries, but I don’t need anyone pointing that out. This series is about me discovering things that I am not aware of in the past — events that have transcribed in the earlier years, books that were published long ago (that I am only reading just now), songs that aren’t really new, places that I never knew existed, etc.
  2. I also don’t need anyone telling me how lame or little these discoveries are, nor how it doesn’t make that big an impact to the world. People discover a lot of things everyday and not everything they discover make an impact immediately nor it will make an impact in 5 to 10 year’s time. In a similar note, not all discoveries need to make a huge impact. Sometimes, it only needs to make an impact to one or few people.

Now, to begin with introducing you to my newest discovery:

I’ve been taking photos of random things since 2010 — not that I’m an expert or a pro, though, because I’m no photographer, but I do like the idea of capturing a moment. For me, photos are forever — they capture moments, places, and events that you will never experience or see ever again or can never go back to.

So I consider cameras as one of the most beautiful gadgets ever invented; they are the ultimate collector. We assimilate everything we see, so the idea of being able to capture the things that you love in a single photo and being able to keep it seems so magical.

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I never really got my own camera as I never really intended nor planned on leveling up on my “photography skills” (if that’s what everyone likes to call it) since I don’t really have much skills in editing and all that shiz.

So most of my Instagram posts until 2019 are mostly taken using my phone, until last December, my boyfriend suggested that I buy my own camera for the following reasons: 1.) So that I can learn how to use a real camera 2.) Have the quality of my photos more enhanced 3.) So that I can take my Instagram game and blogging game to the next level.

He already had a model in mind — it’s part of the Fujifilm X series and it’s very budget-friendly given that it’s really cheaper compared to others that have the same specs.

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So far, I’m still learning how to take that IG-worthy shot. And though I had to give up my Instax Mini 9 for this, I’m so happy I finally have my own real camera.

My Skin Care Routine

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When I first met most of my friends from college, and from work, the one question that almost everyone of them asked was: “What do you put on your face?” or “How do you take care of your skin?”

Before, I only use toner at the end of each day because I always thought that why do I need to put a lot of those products on my face when my skin’s really not acne-prone, anyway? That’s where I’m wrong. Some two or three years ago, I came to the realization that despite not having pimples, I have a mildly dry skin. So I started researching about what products to use, which brand works, etc. Continue reading

2020, Here I Come

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Like many other years that have passed, 2019 has been full of challenges, laughter, tears, surprises, and so much more. So what truly made it different from all the past years?

For me it goes like: This year was full of firsts. It’s been a year of surprises and going-aways and basically trying my best to live my life as best as possible. Continue reading

On Becoming a Better Writer

Now, I am, by no means, the best writer in the world nor do I claim to be — I don’t think I am even half there. There are still so much room for improvement, learning, and more practice.

Writing, for me, is not only a hobby that I cannot let go of but my way of pouring out my thoughts and feelings. I find it therapeutic; the way it helps me clear my mind and make me feel like someone is listening even though I am only facing this blank, white page that will soon be filled with my words. Continue reading

25 Things To Learn at 25

What is 25 supposed to feel like, anyway? Do you have to feel perfectly at peace with yourself? Do you have to be successful? Do you have to feel like you’ve got everything under control or that you have everything figured out? Honestly, I don’t have the answers either. Our mid-twenties are supposed to be the time for exploring everything — finding yourself, going beyond your limits, and the likes. Yet, here I am, spending most of my time feeling confused and stressed out.

There are days when I spend the whole day feeling pressured about the future – how each day and year leads closer and closer to my 30s and I’m still not where I thought I would be as an individual and that thought scares the shit out of me.

But hey, it’s my 25th year of existence, and though I am far from having everything figured out, in this post, instead of dwelling into the black hole, I will focus on the lessons that I picked up along the way (and have yet to apply in my daily life). Some of it may not be as important to others as it is important to me, but we all have different challenges in life, right? So, here goes:

  1. Hobbies are worth the time and investment — May it be reading, sports, writing, etc. If it matters to you, it’s worth it.
  2. Don’t let others convince you that your interests are a waste of time — Don’t let others’ opinion of what you enjoy doing get in your head. We all have different interests.
  3. Cut toxic people out of your life — You have a lot of problems already, you don’t need other people adding up to that stress.
  4. Your health matters (physical and mental) — Yes, work is important and it is your source of income but taking a break once in a while is okay.
  5. Skin care is important — One thing I’ve learned in the past year is that skin care is just as important as breathing. Take care of your body, and everything else follows.
  6. Drink lots of water — This is a problem I’ve been struggling with for the longest time, and I just needed to keep reminding myself that being hydrated is part of my skin care.
  7. Make time (or even exceptions) for the people and things that matter — If they matter to you, going out of your way just to make time for them is worth it, regardless of the consequences.
  8. Stop focusing on what others think of you — This is still a work in progress for me, but I’ll get the hang of it.
  9. Save for your future — Splurging every once in a while is okay, but always always always save up for your future. It’s all for you, anyway.
  10. Be kind, always — It may be hard to be kind when everyone around you seems to be testing your patience, but brush them off and be kind anyways.
  11. Never sell yourself short — Never settle for something or someone just because everyone thinks it’s the best for you. You’re the one who should know what’s best for you.
  12. Take risks — Never be afraid to take risks, it’s always better to say “at least I tried,” than forever wondering what could’ve been if you took the risk.
  13. Take a moment of rest — Staying in doesn’t make you boring. Sleep the whole day to make up for a stressful week. Just rest.
  14. It’s totally okay not to like what everyone else likes — You don’t have to like that popular movie series, or book series, or that new restaurant that everyone’s talking about, or travelling. If you’re not into it, don’t force yourself to like it.
  15. You don’t have to be following the footsteps of the person who came before you — You are your own person. You can’t keep competing with someone who came before you — they’re no longer in the picture for a reason. And you replaced them for a reason, too. So, focus on yourself.
  16. You are never an option — If someone makes you think that you are an option, get rid of them.
  17. It is never wrong to love with all your heart — Now, this is too personal but I need to stop overthinking things and just unleash the love that I’ve long been holding back.
  18. You are important — Never neglect your importance in this world, because if you can’t appreciate yourself, who else will?
  19. Your thoughts, ideas, and feelings matter — Never let anyone invalidate whatever it is that you think or feel towards something.
  20. Let things be – if it’s meant for you, it’s meant for you.
  21. Don’t stress over every damn thing — This needs to be emphasized. You don’t have control over everything, so stop worrying about every damn thing. Yes, I’m talking to you, self.
  22. You don’t have to apologize for what you feel — Your feelings matter. No explanations needed.
  23. Take care of yourself — You need to take care of yourself the way you take care of the people and things that matter to you. You should be your first priority.
  24. Crying doesn’t make you weak — Sometimes you just have to let things out. Your anger, your frustration — everything, and crying helps release all that.
  25. Celebrate the little things — Everyone has their own share of problems, but the key to being happy is that you should not spend all your time dwelling on those problems. Celebrate your little victories, it still a victory, no matter how small.

I hope these 25 things helps you, too, to be more positive and to see the light in the dark because life will always be unfair to all of us, but that’s what makes it fair all the same.

Feelings Lately

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been two months since I last written something here. With that said, I can totally say that a lot has happened since then. There are so many things that dawned on me during the two months that I was away from this haven. What brought me back is that I really miss writing my heart out. Only here am I able to be fully transparent about everything that is currently running through my head without anyone trying to shut out whatever it is that I am feeling.

In just a few weeks I’ll be turning 25, and I have honestly been questioning my whole existence. There are so many things I want to do, to try, to explore — there are so many things out there to enjoy and discover. Yet, here I am. I feel like I wasted 25 years being stuck in the same place and I just can’t figure out how to break away from this mess.

These days, my life has been really confusing and I’ve been overthinking everything – from what will happen today or later this afternoon to what will happen next week or even in the future. It’s just— I’ve never felt this lost before. They say that if the people around you is causing you too much stress and negativity, get rid of them. But honestly, how can I do that when the most toxic people in my life are the ones who are supposed to support me? It’s frustrating when they think they’re protecting me or that they’re helping me be a better person when in reality, they don’t realize that they’re holding me off of the things that will help me grow and improve.

It’s actually hard when these supposedly important people in your life doesn’t understand you, but it’s harder when they insist what they know or what they think is right for you, as if they own you – as if you’re their robot and you have to do everything they say. All my life I keep going by the rules – their rules – yet, all they remember and all that matters to them are those little mistakes that I’ve made along the way. It gets frustrating and tiring and I don’t think anyone would even understand what I’m trying to say, but I’m writing this down anyway. It just feels like I have no one to talk to about certain things that’s been bothering me, and knowing myself, I’ll go crazy if I don’t let these feelings and thoughts out.

To That Girl

Dear self,

You have to believe that everything will turn out okay in the end — that whatever it is you are going through right now will eventually lead you to the happiness that you crave so much.

There may be times when you are losing hope — times when you feel like giving up is the easiest thing to do, but you have to stay strong and keep reminding yourself that you’ve already come this far just to give up everything you’ve worked for.

Always keep in mind that when you feel tired, it’s okay to take a rest. Then, stand up and take a deep breath and keep going. Remind yourself where you want to be, why you’re doing what you’re doing, and believe in yourself.

You can do it. Don’t listen to other people’s opinions of you, but rather, listen to your heart and know what calms it down and hold on to that because in the end, your happiness is what matters the most.