How To Survive The Age of Social Media

The thing is, it can be difficult to live in this modern world if you’re not strong enough. Wherever you look, there’s something or someone to remind you that you are not good enough; that where you are in life at the moment isn’t up to par compared to your peers; that you may be losing at life because your most recent photo in social media did not get at least 300 Likes; that you must be depressed or “anti-social” just because you don’t subscribe to celebrity news and gossip; that maybe you’re a failure because twelve months have already passed and you still haven’t traveled anywhere; that perhaps you’re disgustingly impoverished because the last photo of coffee you posted on your feed was already six weeks ago and it wasn’t even from Starbucks.

There are so many trivial things that somehow contribute to our anxiety and our feelings of defeat, disappointment, and guilt within ourselves. For a lot of people, living in this social-media-driven world can be so stressful that it literally puts them in a state of panic, sometimes without them really even noticing.

The unfortunate truth is, if you’re not a vlogger, a social media influencer, a celebrity, or somebody born rich, being on social media can give more stress than inspiration or recreation.

So how does one survive “the age of social media”? This goes not only to the older generations but also to the millennials themselves. So here it is:

You survive by looking at a former college classmate’s epic photo in Mykonos and reminding yourself that as much as sipping cocktails in Greece sounds like a lot of fun, you do not absolutely need to be there;

You survive by developing an attitude of being happy for someone else’s happiness and successes instead of being envious.

You survive by inspiring yourself, instead of comparing yourself.

You survive by skipping the Messenger chat and directly calling up a friend to invite him to lunch.

You survive by taking hundreds of photographs of you and your loved ones on a trip, and having those photos printed out to be filed in an album, even if you only do this once in a while.

You survive by putting down your phone when your parents are talking to you, and actually listening to them.

You survive by taking out the headphones on a solo trip and starting conversations with other travelers.

You survive by going to a concert, or a play, or a music festival, and actually living in the moment, hearing every word spoken or sung, seeing every movement, breathing in deeply and closing your eyes when a gust of wind comes.

You survive by being on the beach to watch the sunset and, even just for a moment, actually seeing it through your eyes and not through the lenses of your phone camera.

You survive by looking at someone straight in the eyes when they are talking to you.

You survive by going for a jog or a walk and actually being present in the moment; by allowing real thoughts and raw emotions come to you while you’re on the move.

You survive by spending less time looking down, and more time looking ahead, looking up, looking sidewards, backwards; just any direction other than down.

You survive by waking up every morning literally counting your blessings, out loud; by being grateful for what it is that you have, and who it is that you are.

You survive by acknowledging that you are the only person you should be comparing yourself to; that you must constantly seek ways to be not just better, but the best version of you.

You survive by giving yourself permission to breathe through the obstacles and breathe in the victories.

Speaking of victories, there are many tiny victories within your day, no matter how terribly you think your day is going — There is victory in you waking up, there is victory in you being able to taste and swallow your meal (and the mere fact that you even have a meal to taste and swallow), there is victory in you having limbs that allow you to walk and lungs that allow you to breathe. And there is victory in the fact that you are reading this right now, with your eyes, which allow you to see beautiful things, places and people.

And so you survive by reminding yourself that happiness isn’t just a destination but a journey; that success isn’t a race but a dance; that having money and fame doesn’t always equal having a good life.

You survive, quite simply, by being nothing and no one else but yourself.

That fabulous, alive, amazing self. 🍃

Learn How To Love Living Slowly

Learn how to love living slowly, even though we live in a world that wants us to go fast; Even though we as a species have been raised to view Slow as something that’s generally bad. We’ve been made to believe that Slow is a terrible thing: Slow connotes incapacity, insubstantiality, incompetency. We’ve been conditioned to think that Slow is synonymous to Broken. It reminds us of something rusty, something that’s been left in the dark for way too long, something that needs to “get it together and hurry the fuck up”. 

But we must learn how to love living slowly.

Living slowly means literally stopping to smell the flowers. It means being able to afford the time to close your eyes as you chew that first bite of doughnut at breakfast. It means knowing that there isn’t a need to chug your cup of coffee in 30 seconds, and knowing that the world isn’t gonna end if you take five minutes every night to look up at the stars. 

Living slowly allows you space to be grateful for a present that’s been given to you, or be apologetic for when a Sorry is in order. It allows you space to sing to your favorite songs or do a little dance even when you’re running late for an appointment. It allows you space for more warm embraces, more cuddles by the fireplace, more laughter around the dinner table.

Living slowly gives you the opportunity to love and be loved in return. You are not rushing through anything when you are living slowly, and so it gives you the chance to actually get to know somebody, and to get to know yourself. 

When you live slowly, you get the text from a friend and you respond; your grandma calls and you pick up; your cat brushes his forehead against your ankle and you pick him up — even when it’s almost midnight and you just want to hit the bed. 

When you live slowly, you learn to appreciate silence. You become accustomed to the beauty of pauses in music, or a blank canvas, or that empty blue space in the sky as it clears up after a rainy day. When you live slowly, you get to be grateful. You get to be self-aware. You get to be thoughtful in your words and in your actions. 

And sure, Fast is successful, Fast is sharp, Fast is fierce. Fast is revolutionary. 

But Slow… Slow is happy. Slow is gentle. Slow is affectionate. Slow is genuine. 

Slow. Much like the speed at which our hearts beat when we are with the presence of loved ones. 

Slow. Much like the sliding of the fingers down a lover’s upper arm during a tender kiss.

Slow. Much like the way a light dress flows as it descends a palace staircase. 

Slow. Much like jazz music — something that doesn’t demand attention but is always worthy of it; something that typically plays in the background, something whose purpose was never to yell but to whisper, carefully and intelligently; something that is easy to listen to and difficult to forget. 

Stop going too fast. You’re not gonna get left behind. You’re not missing out on anything. You’re not losing at life.

In fact, slow down if you do not want to get left behind. 

Slow down if you do not want to miss out on anything. 

Slow down if you do not want to lose at life. 

Prisoner

As I was lying down on my bed, legs up against the headboard with my back flat on the mattress and my eyes glued to the ceiling, I remembered two things:

1. This position is good for my overall health. My mother told me this releases stress by immediately encouraging blood flow to my upper body and my brain. And if I have enough time or patience to stay in this position for 15 minutes or more, there’s even the chance that my anxious thoughts and negative emotions would entirely dissipate.

2. I am and have always been the only person who truly knows what it’s like to be me. From the earliest moment of consciousness one fateful day during my childhood, all the way up to this very nanosecond, I have been the only one who fully feels, thinks, and acts the way that I do. My voice is the only voice my vocal cords have ever known; my eyes are the only eyes through which I’ve ever seen; my mind is the only mind with which I’ve ever thought, analyzed, overthought; my skin is the only skin under which every single inch of me has ever existed.

And this scared me for a bit. The panic started to creep in. It’s scary to realize that I am literally stuck inside my own body, and that I have to live the rest of my life stuck with my own thoughts and emotions. Just mine and nobody else’s. Forever. I will never know what it’s truly like to be my sibling — what does he think of at night when he lies awake for hours, unable to sleep? Or my bestfriend — what does he see when he looks at himself in the mirror? Or my father — what thoughts does he have each time I talk or act a little too feminine for his liking? Or the barista at the local café across the street — how does she hear her own voice inside her head? Is it raspy? Does she think it’s way too high-pitched? Is she one of those people who hate listening to their own voices? Or Angelina Jolie — what ideas come to her while she’s sitting on the potty at 10AM?

I will never truly know. And even if they all told me the answers to those questions, those are just answers that will be processed in my head by my own brain, through my own ears, taking into account my own experiences. I would still be the me that I’ve always been, regardless of how descriptive and in-depth their answers to my questions would be.

However, as I was capping off the yoga-ish position on my bed at exactly 15 minutes, I decided that I also find this truth comforting: I am trapped inside my own self, my own physical body. And I am also stuck inside my own head, only truly knowing what it’s like to have my own thoughts, desires and understanding. I figured, if my eternal biological prison was myself, that it would be best for me to try and make it the brightest, kindest, healthiest, most decorative prison my mind, heart, and body would ever know. I figured it isn’t too bad that I am stuck as me. This way, I get to choose what and whom I let in, what and whom I let out.

Roller Coasters VS. Ferris Wheels

My Symphony: Cartwheels / The Reindeer Section

I always preferred roller coasters to Ferris wheels.

I always thought it was better to go spiraling up and down at an irrational speed than to repetitively go around on a stabilized circular motion at an intermittent pace.

I always looked to roller coasters whenever I felt like life was boring me, or whenever I felt like people were boring me. I loved the feeling of an exciting danger and hated the idea of a stagnant safety.

I remember being in Enchanted Kingdom with my brothers and my cousins back in 2011. We went on the Ferris wheel, and there was a moment where we were stranded for about nine minutes at the top. It was hell for me. I felt so nauseous, and all I really wanted to do was get off. In fact, I was so nauseous that I almost vomited. But I was stronger than that, I thought, so I just closed my eyes, took a deep breath, swallowed my puke (yep), and promised myself never to go on the Ferris wheel ever again.

A huge part of my life had been spent obsessing over living on the edge at all times. Everyone who knows me can attest to this. I was not always this “chill”. In fact, I was the exact opposite of chill and everything else that “chill” entails. I was a daredevil, a relentless adrenaline junkie who couldn’t stop craving for adventure, even when it meant I had to look for it in all the wrong places.

And so I went on the roller coasters of life. I was way up, and then I was way down, all in a literal blink of an eye. I was screaming, and I was laughing, and I was cursing so loudly. And then in like five seconds, I was back to reality. I went from being on cloud nine to robotically forcing a can of Mountain Dew and a handful of cotton candy down my throat.

It was all amazing. It was all really, really exciting. I felt so daring, and so alive, and so invincible during all those years of my life – those roller coaster years. But it all changed. Not quickly. Not at all. It was such a gradual change of heart, that made me miss that Ferris wheel. I started to miss that feeling of starting and stopping, and then starting again, very slowly. And I started to miss being at the top for a moment, from where I could see all the lights before me, and from where I could hear the faint sound of the world around me. I missed how the Ferris wheel felt more like real life. I missed how it was slow and steady, but peaceful and romantic at the same time. It was like I just slowly stopped craving for danger and one morning I just woke up and I was okay with being still.

The meaningless acquaintances and the short-lived pleasures just didn’t satisfy me anymore. My skin somehow became numb and my soul started to take over. It wanted to be the one to feel this time. It wanted what I wasn’t giving it. It wanted authenticity, and calm, and a gentle yet powerful love. And then it hit me: the pain that comes with dangerous adventures just wasn’t worth it anymore. It hit me that excitement doesn’t have to be risky, and that stability doesn’t have to mean boredom.

I look at all the relationships I’ve had in my life – those that survived and those that didn’t – and I see a great connection to my musings; I see that in this life, you have to be able to have fun with the people you surround yourself with even in the absence of a daring adventure. Because adventure is easy. This is what I’ve come to realize. It’s super easy! All the resorts, and clubs, and destinations, and music festivals, and trains, and buses, and yachts, and everything else that involves noise, and music, and booze and fun… It’s all easy. And it’s all good. It’s all great, peachy stuff that give color to life.

But age is a very linear journey, and none of us is getting any younger. So eventually, the question shifts from “What gives life color?” to “What gives life substance?”. You eventually begin to assess your life and who’s all in it, and see who can stand you when you’re hungry and sleep-deprived. You eventually take a pause and see who makes you feel like you’re on cloud nine without even leaving your house, or your room. You begin to realize who’s there just for the party, and who’s there to stay until the morning after to help you clean up the mess. And you will finally understand, that the high you get from going on roller coaster rides is absolutely nothing compared to the high you get when you simply look into someone’s eyes and feel like you could get lost in them.

XOXO,
KENN

P.S. I’m definitely gonna re-read this write-up when I’m 55 and probably laugh at how serious I was. But it will be all good. 

Destiny Is In The Details

“Destiny Is In The Details”

a narrative written in prose by Kenn Edward Tenorio

~-~

I always thought it was silly, almost preposterous,

how one soul can go on its course thinking, believing,

that somewhere out there lives a better half,

a perfectly carved out rock that flawlessly fits its cracks,

its holes;

that somewhere out there plays a song so harmonious

and intricate it almost defies your heart’s

undulating legatos and rugged staccatos.

I always thought it was impossible, of course,

for another set of eyes to meet mine and see

the calm sunset in them, let alone the storms of

love and passion that dwell in them.

Could it be, I always asked myself, that a person,

brave as he or she may seem, is destined for another, 

for a soul that was once unseen, but will 

eventually be eternally felt? A presence

like no other — like that of the wind that comes

at the perfect time to dance with the chimes 

just when you are about to sleep;

or that of the waves that crash into the shore

as we walk hand in hand along the horizon. 

They say destiny decides who touches your life,

but only your heart decides

who touches your soul.

Is my heart on gallons of coffee, then?

Because when it found you, when it finally found you,

it decided to do way more than simply touch my soul.

Your heart touches the core of my soul,

and then it tickles, it awakens it,

it uplifts it.

Your heart does to my soul what spring does

to the trees, what butterflies do to the flowers,

what flowers do to a garden.

So maybe I was silly, almost preposterous,

to think that a soul like yours was merely

a soul that was out there to be discovered;

Your soul deserves more than just discovery —

Your soul deserves nurturing,

it deserves gold, silver and platinum,

and a diamond full of joy, friendship and truth;

It deserves a home; that which not only complements it

but also encourages it; a home that provides,

that shelters, that caresses, that speaks the words

no poet can ever speak, and creates the movements

no dancer can ever perform.

Most importantly, your soul is a soul

that deserves to be chosen,

It is the soul I choose to laugh with 

on a sunny summer morning,

and the same soul that I choose to

lean on my shoulder, or cry on my chest,

on a snowy winter afternoon.

It is the soul whose whispers of affection

I choose to crescendo into unadulterated 

screams of love. 

It is the soul whose baby steps I choose

to cultivate and help turn into leaps of faith,

into grand gestures of passion.

You are my soulmate,

my destiny,

and today,

just like all the other days before and after this,

I choose you…

And there goes your golden heart, 

it’s beating,

I can hear it,

I can feel it;

It chooses me, too. 

 

Young, Dumb and Enlightened

My Symphony: Letting Go / William Black feat. Park Avenue

It’s kind of interesting and almost a bit scary how we twenty-somethings talk about Quarter-life Crisis like we are damn sure we are only a quarter through the rest of our lives. I mean, does it ever cross our minds that maybe we are farther down the road than we would ever be willing to believe? I think it’s the term “quarter” that is to blame here. It is quite misleading. I think that a lot of us live each day with the subconscious mentality that we have about a hundred years to live. If this was a guaranteed reality, if we were for sure going to have 100 years to live, then the whole concept of quarter-life crisis and our passive choice to succumb to the repercussions of it would be greatly justified.

But what if this wasn’t the case? What if we were already halfway through our lives? What if we only had 20, 25, 28 more years to live? What if right now marked the exact halfway point of our journey, and we had no other choice but to accommodate the reality that 50 years was all we were given on this planet?

It sort of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

This has been on my mind in the past couple of weeks, and I can’t help but share my thoughts with you guys. This isn’t any form of jab at the younger generation, nor is this a snide commentary about millennials because god knows I do love millennials, and I do admire a lot of things about the new generation of earthlings. This is simply a reminder — perhaps an unsolicited one, but a gentle reminder nonetheless:

We do not have a specific amount of years, or months, or days to live. It is the most obvious of truths, but also the one that is the most overlooked or forgotten. The world can be tough and life can be challenging, but if we look at age 50 as the new age 100 and at least partially entertain the possibility that we are already halfway through life (HALFway through! That’s huuuge! That’s a huuge deal!) I think it will have at least a little impact on how we treat the world, how we treat others and, most especially, how we treat ourselves.

We all have dreams, and we all want success. But now is the time to realize that there is no exclusive model of what success looks like. At the end of the day, dreams can be made of sunsets and hugs or poetry and laughter, and success can be as simple and as priceless as being irrevocably at peace with the person that you are, in the world that you live, and with the people that you’re with.

Hey, I don’t know much; I’m only 24 years old. But I don’t need to live til 60 to know that we don’t all have 100 years, let alone forever, to live.

Wise men always say, that when you’re young, it feels like there is an unlimited amount of days, and years, and decades. And then you grow old and find that all of your yesterdays were as short as they were sweet. The hourglass is going, and your main duty is to make sure you have lived your life as fully as possible by the time all the sand hits the bottom vessel.

#InnerPeaceIsTheNewSuccess
#Quarterlifecrisis

To My Friends Who Are Still Trapped In Toxic Relationships

My Symphony: Skeletons / Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Love is not a prison. Maybe at this point in your life it sometimes feels like it is, but it shouldn’t be. It’s not a prison. It shouldn’t look like one, it shouldn’t sound like one, and it certainly shouldn’t operate like one. You should be able to hang out with your friends, with your family, with your co-workers, even with the sidewalk fishball vendor you’ve gotten to know well over conversations about politics and religion on the corner of your street as you wait for the bus every morning. You need to understand that you are not behind bars. You can go outside and live. You are allowed to watch the sunset from breathtaking horizons with your loved ones. Your hands are not tied, your feet are not chained, your life is not limited by four rusty corners. You can breathe, and whenever you do, you should be able to breathe deeply and freely.

Love is not a game. You shouldn’t be tossing and turning at night debating with yourself about where you stand in someone’s life. You shouldn’t be losing sleep wondering if you are worth loving, because you are. And that person making you question that is nothing short of garbage, and you need to throw him or her out of your life as forcefully as you can. All of the mind games just need to stop. You are not a toy and your soul is not a punching bag. You should be looking at someone in the eyes and not feel like you’re staring at a stranger. You should be able to look inside them and feel like you’re home. You should be able to hold them without fearing that they’re going to let go first, because they won’t… because they never did… because they never will.

Love is not a test. You do not have to pass anything. This isn’t an examination where you have to burn the midnight oil to make sure you don’t fail. There is nothing to fail at, only bits of lessons you can learn, only glimpses of perfection you can sometimes miss. You shouldn’t ever feel like you have to prove something, or that you have to improve something – about yourself, about your life, about the world that you live in. You shouldn’t ever feel like you’re walking around eggshells in fear of “fucking things up”, because “fucking things up” should be a thing so un-thought of that you have started to forget what it even means to fuck things up. And in the slim instance that you do fuck things up, you should be so engulfed in the realness and the greatness of what you have with that person that you are confident enough that love itself can straighten out what is crooked; that even though you know a genuine apology cannot fix everything, it is a magnificent start.

Love is not a contest. You are not trying to be better than anyone; You are not racing to the finish against anyone. It is not a competition, nor is it a race. When you look at yourself in the mirror, you should see how beautiful you are, even when you never explicitly acknowledge that. You shouldn’t feel less than what and who you are because of the relationship that you are in. You should never, ever, be compared to anyone in his or her past or present life. You shouldn’t feel insecure about how you look, or ever doubt that you are worth it, or ever fear being incomplete without your partner’s validation, because you know you were whole long before you even met this garbage person.

You should be looked at like a Vincent van Gogh art piece, listened to like a Beethoven symphony, embraced like the warm waves in the Pacific Ocean, and kissed like the first drop of rain after a long, dry summer.

If there was anything I wish could be learned the easy way, it’s that you are amazing, just the way you are. We all have doubts about ourselves, we all have insecurities about ourselves, and we all have imperfections we wish we didn’t have. We’re just humans. But when the time comes that you do share your life with someone, it has to be with a person who builds you up, who makes you feel better not just about yourself but about life in general. It should be with someone who brings the sunshine in any rainy day.

So get up. Get out. And start living the life you deserve, with the people who deserve you.

Truthfully,

Kenn Edward Tenorio ❤