Courage and Happiness

2015 may have been an uneventful year compared to 2014 but if there was one thing that this year taught me, it’s courage.

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To walk away

From people who drag me down emotionally.

From people who think it’s perfectly ok for them to come and go into my life at their own convenience.  No distance, time zone or priority will keep them from making you a part of their lives IF they so want to. It’s a decision.

When I walked away from people who I thought makes me happy, I became happier. It is possible.

To love oneself

It’s so hard to love oneself when you know how imperfect you are; how you wish you’re prettier, skinnier, smarter, richer and all those comparatives that leave you feeling inadequate. But try. Hard.

We need to love ourselves because that overrated Jerry Maguire movie line,‘You complete me’, needs to be eradicated from every person’s head (men and women alike). That is one Hollywood b******t at its finest and we all need to forget because we DON’T need another person to COMPLETE us. We NEED someone to COMPLEMENT us.

To look at the weighing scale

It’s unbelievable how a normal weighing scale can scare the bejesus out of us. To check our weight takes a lot of courage and acceptance that we have indeed gone heavier. If you’re ok with the new weight, then good for you. But if you’re not, do something about it.

Loving oneself means eating properly. Losing weight in the process is but a consequence of good eating decisions. It boosts our confidence and consequently makes us happy. Imagine wearing the jeans you’ve had since 2007. That is an achievement.

To ask and say something

As talkative as I am, cat gets my tongue each time I want to ask a guy, ‘So, what does this whole thing mean?’ Women out there, ask! For your sanity.  It takes a lot of courage to open your mouth and ask but believe me, it feels liberating. No regrets. No what ifs. And if you’re lucky, you’ll remain in touch with them. I am!

Though there was a moment this year that I stopped myself from asking. Only because I realized just in time, I don’t like him as much as I did five years ago.

To be on your own

You don’t know how spending time alone will make you happy until you’ve tried it.

As much as I love traveling and spending time with friends, traveling solo gives a different kind of happiness. Conquer your fears of feeling stupid wandering the streets alone or eating alone. It’s not easy. But when you give yourself a chance, you’ll find yourself looking forward to your next travel. I did.

I conquered Hanoi last year and I did Baguio last November. So many stories, so little time. I’ll post my itinerary and more tips on traveling to this beloved northern province.

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In the meantime, while it’s customary to wish a ‘Prosperous New Year’, I wish for everyone to ‘Be Happy in 2016’! :)

 

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Virtual Religiosity and Morality


Disclaimer:
Post may be offensive to the overly sensitive. This isn’t about dissing any religion or belief. It’s an observation of how people currently perceive religion and morality.

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I really flip over when I see reposts of those photos that say ‘Type Amen if you love Jesus, keep scrolling if you love Satan’ and countless other variations that mean to make you guilty as hell for scrolling away.

Seriously. Ridiculous.

I cannot believe that the God we have regarded in such high esteem is so ridiculously shallow that people not liking or typing ‘Amen’ is equivalent to loving the fallen angel.

Can we all please give this God that Christians believe in more credit than we’re giving Him? That simply typing ‘Amen’ or liking that photo will score you points in heaven? Or that being a follower of a certain religion guarantees you this heaven that people are aspiring for? C’mon! Work for it!

Those ‘godly’ posts have a cousin.

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Photo courtesy of wanna-joke.com

Liking photos depicting hunger and poverty doesn’t feed or help them. But maybe, if you get off your phone and try to see what’s happening around you, you’ll notice the old man begging for alms. Rather that, buy him food. Talk to him. You’ll soon realize he gave more than you did. He made you realize that however crappy you think your life is, you have it way better than him. And sometimes you realize why you have been so discontented when you have so much to be grateful for.

Helping isn’t about magnitude but attitude. It doesn’t need to be a grand display of kindness; it simply needs to be sincere.  Extending help in however little way, without expecting for anything in return is noble. But when politicians do these huge feeding programs (which technically is from our own pockets too), I cannot help but question the sincerity  because it might as well be laying the foundation for the next election. Yes, I am that cynical with people in the government.

I hate making sweeping statements but a good chunk of them has a sense of entitlement over public funds with nary a trace of decency in their wickedly evil ‘dark’ bones. That was an intentional swipe at these families of corrupt (and subtly corrupt) politicians who have been ruling this country with yellow, red, white, and orange (let’s just say the whole range of Crayola) propaganda.

God help us all next year. Like if you agree. <<insert sarcasm here>> ;)

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(Dis)connected

Having grown up in a country where families are separated by the need to work abroad to earn more money, I love how technology makes this world a little smaller. It makes families today connect easier via social  media and other apps where all you need is an internet connection and you can talk for hours on  end.

On the flipside, people who are co-located seem to be farther apart because people have become virtually connected but physically disconnected. Ever been with friends during dinner and everyone is so busy taking pictures of food? And if you’re sharing and  start eating when the ‘photo op’ is not yet over, you actually have to put back that shrimp you took into its original place, otherwise you won’t hear the end of it. Seriously.

But wait there’s more! And so food photo op is finally over and you can actually start eating. Or so you thought. Now comes the part where people zone out and start uploading the photos to (anti)social media.That is what the hashtag ATM is all about. Back then, this only means Automated Teller Machine. In the 21st century, it means At The Moment; as though there is an unspoken urgency to post whatever it is we are doing or eating.

But people have data plans too! Photo courtesy of my brother. He snapped this photo from our favorite cheap gourmet resto, Kanto Freestyle Breakfast.

But people have data plans too! Photo courtesy of my brother. He snapped this photo from our favorite cheap gourmet resto, Kanto Freestyle Breakfast.

As if that is not enough, amidst all the conversation and laughter going around, there will be people who cannot seem to part with  their mobile phones even for a while. I understand checking your phone every so often, but to be on your phone more than you are actually engaged in the conversation, that is just rude.  I don’t know how doing this has become acceptable in this modern society.

Do not get me wrong. I love virtual connection as much as I love being physically connected. The internet has made it easy for me to talk to my sister and her family who lives in the UK and with relatives and friends who are living in various parts of the US, Europe and Asia. I love posting statuses and photos too! Of mundane things or some political issues that I feel strongly about. What I am driving at is: never be so busy capturing the moment that people actually lose you in the moment.

The same technology that has connected people from different continents has disconnected people who are just within few feet of each other. I just hope that people realize that it is blatant rudeness to be on your phone more than the company you’re with.  It’s like talking to someone but your eyes keep darting in different directions like you would rather be somewhere else. If that is how you feel, I think it’s more decent to excuse yourself entirely and be with those people you’re chatting with. Because it’s bad enough that you seem disinterested, it’s worse that you think this is the new norm; that this is acceptable behavior. It is not.

The best gifts are indeed free. Your time. Your undivided attention. Bear that in mind.

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Looking Back on Mother’s Day

We had a very simple childhood. The only place we’ve ever been to as children were Sunday lunches at Goldilocks and play time at Fiesta Carnival after. And the occasional trip to Luneta Park and lunch at the resto where the crew were deaf mute.

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We never had a birthday party like most kids do; but we grew up ok. Our birthdays are usually with our extended family at home with the usual pansit canton, cake, and other very simple food that were otherwise very special to us. Because cake is a luxury back then.

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It’s the same place every Sunday because our little salon will be slow on this day. So when customers actually walk in, we get really sad (that’s putting it mildly; we get really peeved! :) ) because it means we can’t go out or lesser time at the carnival.

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It’s the simplicity of our childhood that I appreciate the little comfort that we now enjoy. That’s because Nanay has the uncanny financial skills (a secondary school undergraduate as she is) that she (with my Tatay, of course) was able to send us to good schools no matter how hard up we were.

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If only for that, we are ever grateful. We are who we are because of you. So thank you. Ours is not a perfect relationship, but does one actually exist? We’re very proud of you and how you’ve managed to get us through rough times with your resilience and business sense. Happy Mother’s Day, Nanay! ❤

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Sunset: The Cliché I Love

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Sunsets are probably one of the most cliché subjects to photograph but it will always be my favorite. Sunsets have a way of giving things perspective.

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That no matter how good or bad your day has been, it’s bound to end. One can only hope that tomorrow will be just as good or a tad better.

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Just like anything in this world, sunset is fleeting. That no matter how much we want to hold on to it, we can only have it for as long. Maybe that is part of its charm; its fleetingness.

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As fleeting as the sunset is, timing is essential. You have to be at the right place to experience it, otherwise, you miss the chance.

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Sunset teaches us to cherish the simple things and be hopeful that tomorrow we’ll see it again.

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