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. 🍃

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5 Reasons Why I Do Not Believe In #RelationshipGoals

My Symphony: Despicable Dogs (Washed Out Remix) / Small Black 

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It’s 2016. Now more than ever, our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds are filled with lots and lots of memes ranging from a trivial Leonardo DiCaprio non-Oscar win to the weekly “It’s Monday” comics featuring faces of grumpy cats and less-than-excited beavers who allegedly dread coming back to school/work after a weekend of drunk dancing at the club.

Another thing that has made its way to the social media stardom recently is the hashtag “relationshipgoals” or, as people are typically visually familiar with, #relationshipgoals . And while having goals in life is undeniably essential and even attractive to a degree, relationship goals are a completely different story. In fact, these relationship goals of yours may be the very reason you are still internally unhappy (regardless of your relationship status). I personally think that relationship goals are exponentially nonsensical and downright useless. Here’s why:

Reason #1: A relationship is an experience to partake, not a job to get hired for. 

Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way: at the end of the day, a relationship isn’t exactly something that makes for a palpable goal. It’s not like a job interview that you can train for, prepare for and eventually ace. Relationships are foremost experiences, and they are on-going. You don’t just dream of a holiday in Maldives with your Special Someone and call that your goal. Because that would just be totally short-lived and sad.

What about after your Maldives vacation? What happens next? Does your goal end there? Will you then be super contented with your white sand beach getaway and go, “Wow, my hashtag goals just happened. I knew Dylan’s the right one for me, I just knew it!”?

Being with someone is more than just the vacations you take. There is a fine line between having an actual relationship and having a mere summer fling. So if you feel that crippling sensation of discontentment in your body each time you scroll down Instagram and see the strangers you follow post their 29th photo in Bora Bora, then you should probably reassess the label you and your partner wear around your necks.

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Reason #2: Your #RelationshipGoals are giving you anxiety, and you don’t even know it. 

Maybe you are already committed to someone at the moment, or maybe you have been single af your whole life. Either way, each time you share that photo of “The Cutest Couple To Ever Walk On Earth”, you are unconsciously allowing yourself to succumb into a severe case of insecurity-induced anxiety.

I’m not here to throw shade at you for admiring other couples out there, but I am here to remind you of your worth. So listen, here’s the thing: so what if you and your lover are not master chefs who go to the gym eight days a week and eat salad instead of popcorn when binge watching Netflix? So what if the man you love doesn’t have six-pack abs or if the lady you are with doesn’t skip bonding with her friends to play DOTA 2 with you? You need to remember that everyone’s different, and there should not be one exclusive model of what a relationship should look like.

It shouldn’t look like anything! Hell, it can even be faceless. Learn to focus more on what it feels like for you, rather than what it should look like for you…

Reason #3: Such goals take you away from the present moment and put you in a pretend place. 

You are with who you are with right now for a reason. You fell in love with that person because that one fateful night (or day), you looked into his eyes and felt like you could get lost in them. You were there, in the present moment, as he held your hand in the cab on your way to grab dessert at your favorite local bakery. You felt every centimeter of his lips as you kissed him goodnight. And then you both broke away from the kiss, stared into each other’s souls, and smiled. And it was magical. You wanna know why it was magical?

Because it was real. And you were both there, right as everything was unfolding. You were the players in your own love story, not mere spectators or some highly-sarcastic romance novel critics.

I don’t know if you’ve already noticed, but relationships are only made possible when two people are present. The minute either one of you goes off into some daydream that highlights a perfect world for yet another perfect love, that’s when your relationship gets taken for granted. You are not obliged to be like other couples. You are not supposed to be where they’ve been, to see what they’ve seen or to hear what they’ve heard. None of us is sitting in our sturdy futons rooting for you and your hubby to look just like Brangelina.

You are who you are. Your relationship is what it is. And you should be very proud of that, because you are writing your own story.

Come back into your own reality ASAP. You belong nowhere else but there. For you and for your lover, it is the only place where magic can happen.

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Reason #4: RelationshipGoals photos/videos/articles are aggressively deceiving. 

Nothing screams “LIES!” louder than #RelationshipGoals posts all over social media. I’m not saying that these posts aren’t real or didn’t actually happen in real life. What I’m saying here is that these posts do not determine how real or successful anyone’s relationship is.

We have to remember that these posts feature the highlights of other people’s lives. What’s sad is that there are lots of people who see these highlights and compare them to their regular day-to-day living. When you do this, you are basically comparing someone else’s annual 2-week vacation to your normal Monday morning at the office. Of course you’re gonna be jealous and of course you’re gonna wanna do what they are doing in those photos and videos! Because I mean, who loves Mondays, really? Nobody. 

You have to remind yourself that you, too, have your own highlight reel. You do have your weekends and you do have your annual 2-week paid leave. You will have weddings to attend, high school reunions to be a part of and concerts to watch, eventually. Needless to say, NOBODY (and I mean nobody) sips on Grey Goose cocktails in a private jet plane on the way to Cancun every single fucking day of his or her life.

Ponder that.

  1. The cocktails are eventually gonna run out.
  2. The person is probably gonna get shit-faced hammered by the end of the day if he doesn’t stop drinking the beverage.
  3. The trip is obviously gonna end as the jet plane reaches the destination (Cancun or whatever).
  4. And, most obviously, nobody in the history of mankind has ever reached Cancun via a private jet plane, and took the flight back to his origin right after, just so he could keep on posting photos and Snaps of him in the plane.

Bottomline: It doesn’t matter how awesome and rich someone is. NOBODY LIVES THE ENTIRETY OF LIFE VIA A HIGHLIGHT REEL.

Even the sun goes down when it’s time for it to go down (i.e., 5:30PM Philippine Time).

The relationship goals posts you see aren’t to be compared to your life. These are people either on vacation or a boredom-induced photoshoot with the help of VSCO filters. It ain’t got nothing to do with you or your love life.

Reason #5: By obsessing over your #RelationshipGoals, you are sabotaging your future with your partner 

It is already bad enough that we live in a society that enjoys constantly dictating how we should act, where we should live, and even what we should wear; now we’re voluntarily dictating our relationships how they should be?! It is pure madness.

I am not a relationship expert, nor am I a life specialist, but I do know this: when you truly love someone, you aren’t gonna need a guideline or an instruction book on how to do your relationship. When it’s real, things should just flow, naturally. Un-premeditated. Un-rehearsed. Unexpected. One of the things I dislike the most about these hashtag relationshipgoals is that they take away from young couples nowadays the spontaneity and the surprise factor that come with every relationship, with every human to human connection. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be in a relationship where I have no fucking clue how it’s gonna end up ten years later, or even how it’s gonna end up five minutes later. I think that it is important to experience the rawness of a genuine relationship. The candidness of every kiss. Those moments when you wake up right next to the person and see his face light up as he sees your face light up. Those moments when you see someone for what he truly is, without any filter, without any inhibitions. Just you and the person, in this crazy mad world that we all live in.

The World According To Kenn Tenorio and 77 Pieces of Advice On Life, Love and Everything in Between, Coming From the Old People

My Symphonies:

  • Drag / Day Wave
  • Nothing At All /Day Wave
  • Lanterns / Birds of Tokyo
  • Taking Over / Joe Goddard

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We are here, you and me, right now, in this wonderful and chaotic place called Earth. And there are so many of us. Sooo many. So far, the general approximation is 7.2 billion and counting. Can you imagine that? There are more than 7 billion people breathing in this oblate spheroid at the moment. And each day, an average of 353,000 babies are born into this world to join our humanity. On the other hand, roughly 160,000 people die everyday. Every.Day. Isn’t that crazy? The statistics alone are enough to disturb us, scare us and maybe move us in some way, whether positively or negatively.

But lucky for us, we aren’t just here to make up those statistics. We are alive, and each of us has his own story to tell. We aren’t just here so that one day we can either give birth or pass away in order for the statistics to remain interesting. We are here for a reason, regardless of what that reason really is, or if you even believe there is one.

So 7.2 billion. To me, that’s a lot. I mean, I go to SM City Bacolod (which is a relatively tiny mall in my tiny hometown) and I go ballistic over the number of people that make up the crowd there, especially on Sundays. I literally sometimes get excessively infuriated by crowds. There are just times when you’re like “What in the eff is happening right now? Like WHY ARE THERE SOOO MANY PEOPLE?!?!!” And usually I just rush to run whatever errands I need to run in that mall and then I go for the nearest exit. And it really fascinates me how I can be so overwhelmed and stressed out sometimes by the number of people strolling in a nearby local mall, but when I take a look at the bigger picture, it’s nothing compared to the total of people that comprise the human race at the moment… 7.2 billion people.

… 7.2 billion people, yet we are so far away. So far away from each other, so far away from other people’s lives, other people’s cultures, other people’s griefs and joys. But when you think about it, we are one. We are one yet we are separated, scattered. We have gotten so used to life being a cycle that can be lived by following some rules and standards. We have become so accustomed to this process of waking up and surviving each day, trying to make ends meet, or trying to become better than we were yesterday, or competing with others, or gearing towards being successful. Life has become more of a marathon – a race – where money and success is what globally matters. We pass by people on the streets never really acknowledging that they, too, are humans just like us. That they, too, have lives and stories and friends and lovers and bittersweet pasts. For me, it is safe to say that we are the most selfish generation to date. And there are so many things that serve as distractions and deception these days. Technology hasn’t been a big help, either. I mean, don’t get me wrong – technology is great. It really is. I think it’s fetch. Super fetch. But technology has gotten to a point where it is so much of a convenience that it is becoming an inconvenience. I think you know what I mean. If not, here’s a basic example: Ever felt the need to sleep but you just find yourself at 4AM still scrolling away at your Facebook or Instagram feed? Exactly.

We are so caught up in our own little world that we forget to live. We are all just so busy. Gosh, do you even see how busy people are these days? And the most depressing part about being busy for me is that it is actually being globally viewed as a form of an asset, or an appealing attribute. Busy people wear their busy-ness like a golden medal even on their off-day. As if being busy makes you better than someone who lives a less hectic lifestyle. You greet someone and ask how they’ve been, and then he or she instantly feels the need to say things like “I’ve been so busy lately, it’s driving me crazy. But, you know, I’ve been well”. I know I already talked deeply about this back in 2012 in my article called We Are Very Busy People, but I just have to say something just to reiterate the general idea: being so busy is absolutely unnecessary. People think it’s necessary, but it isn’t. It isn’t even attractive, for me at least.

I am just feeling so strongly about this because I know that when it comes to the way the world works and the way that society operates, the numbers are not in my favor. I sit on the minority side of this topic. Even my closest friends and family know this. But they are exactly the reason why I always feel so compelled to share my insights to the world and to a lot of people. The more I grow up, the more I realize that I will never be understood and accepted the way that I truly need to be understood and accepted. And the more I realize that I will never be understood and accepted enough, the more I am empowered to keep on living this life the way that I know I want to.

People have called me a lot of things: a spoiled brat, a directionless immature slut, a lost puppy, a loose air, an un-contained chaos and a disaster waiting to happen. And I’m not angry at anyone for calling me any of those names. Had I been in their shoes and had I grown up with their thinking, I would call me those things too. But see, I’m not them. I am me. And in this world full of outside factors just wanting you to do what everyone else is doing, I know how important it is for me to keep it real. To wake up each day reminding myself of who I am, so I can consciously stay that way.

So life is pretty much a battle for me these days, simply because it is a constant struggle between following my heart and following what is “normal”, “right” and “rational”. To be completely honest, I am very solid in my ultimate life goal of becoming a ‘beach bum’ one day. It really is my only goal in life. I can write a whole book about this, but the basic, most straightforward explanation behind this is this: I love the beach, and I love sunsets, and I love tropical drinks and people whose best talents include meaningful conversations and appreciating the little things in life. I just love it. So why would I wanna live a life that I do not love?

But it’s not that simple. Contrary to popular belief, living the simple life is actually the toughest goal to achieve, especially if you come from a middle or upper-class family. Upper-class children are born into wealth and are therefore used to luxury and excess and most of them don’t even have an idea of what “simple” really means. Middle-class children, on the other hand, are mostly the most driven children on this planet. They aren’t poor, but they don’t have a lot of riches, either. So the general notion is that they wonder what it’s like to be on the greener side of the fence, to be rich, to have it all – they wonder what it’s like to have unlimited credit cards and unlimited yacht parties somewhere in France or Italy every summer. But that’s the thing: Middle-class people always wonder what it’s like to be “up there”, but they never wonder what it’s like to be “down there”. To live simply. To wake up not to jobs and a list of people to impress, but simply to wake up to the sunrise, the clouds, the birds and the trees. To breathe the fresh air in and look up to be reminded that you are whole no matter what.

That being said, becoming a beach bum requires a lot of work from me. But hey, I’m on it. Every single day that I affirm to myself that I am still the me that I know, gets me one step closer to my goal. I’ll be honest, I wanna leave everything behind sometimes. Just drop everything and continue on to the life that I want to live. For my own. For myself alone. If it were just completely up to me right now, I would literally pack my things right now and go on a really cheap tour to nowhere and let life happen to me. I think that’s where most people go wrong. They always feel like they should do things – a lot of things – so that their lives can matter. But what they don’t realize is that your life DOES matter. And it always will, whether or not you kill yourself over the obligations and goal-chasing that you think you need. You don’t need shit. You don’t always have to be the one that makes the waves. Sometimes you just gotta ride the waves and take time to enjoy the beauty that is our planet. Nature. Love. Poetry.

So why am I still here somehow trying to do some of the things that are expected of me? Simple. I love my friends and I love my family. When it comes down to it, their presence in my life matters to me. And even though they do not exactly share the same perspective on life, I love them to bits and pieces, and I just don’t want them to think that they failed as a parent, or a brother, or a friend to me just because I have life goals that to them seem silly. I need to take this process slowly because not everyone has the instant capability to connect with me about this on a soul-level. The general assumption would be that I am a hipster, which is what I am most irked by. Just because I love the beach and hate society doesn’t mean I’m a hipster. Ok, people? But if you really are THAT obsessed with labels, knock yourselves out. Call me whatever.

So in the mean time, while I’m waiting for that perfect time and that adequate amount of strength to reach my ultimate life goal, I’ve decided to do a research on old people. There’s really something about old people that has always intrigued me. If there’s a specific group of people that I openly label under some category, it would be the elderly. And nope, it’s so not under a derogatory light in any way, whatsoever. Here’s the deal. I love old people. If you come to think of it, they are the only ones around here that have lived long enough to know shit that we don’t. That’s just the most basic logic. With age comes wisdom. Generally speaking. And in one way or another, I do believe that old people are the most trustworthy of all of the age groups. Both them and little children.

So I’ve been reading a lot of articles and watching a lot of interviews about the elderly, specifically about their thoughts on life, love and the way that our world works. I happened to come across really interesting findings, so I decided to compile herein quotes I’ve gotten from my research. Fellas, I now present to you… The Top 77 Pieces of Life Advice From The Elderly:

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77  Pieces of Advice On Life, Love and Everything in Between

(from the elderly’s point of view)

1.“Invest in moments and experiences, not in things or properties. It’s not like you can be in your death bed someday and go “why is my condo unit in The Century not here with me right now?! I need it. I’m dying”. Invest in moments and experiences. Because moments and experiences become memories. And memories will never leave you, even when you’re old or dying. It’s the one thing that will be with you until your last second of consciousness, I believe.”

2.“Don’t look at the calendar. Just keep celebrating every day.”

3.“I make myself go out every day, even if it’s only to walk around the block. The key to staying young is to keep moving. Besides, later on in life, you will only wish you went out and moved more often”.

4. “Exercise, to me, is totally unnecessary. I think it’s mostly overrated. Stay active, and try to do it through experiences that you will remember someday, not some workout routine that you’ve memorized like the back of your hands.”

5. Have as many sex as possible. When you grow old, it is your sex drive and sexual capability that leave you, so take advantage of it while it’s still yours to have.”

6. “Fall in love, get married. Sex is to be encouraged.”

7.“Even if you feel hatred, keep it to yourself. Don’t hurt other people for any reason.”

8.“Don’t ever give up on love.”

9. “Nobody else controls you.”

10.”Travel while you’re young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.”

11.“If you are embarrassed to be dating someone, you should not be dating them.”

12.“Do one thing each day that is just for you.”

13.“Forgive.”

14.“Find your passion and live it.”

15.“Most time things will figure themselves out.”

16.“Have a pet. Life gets lonely sometimes. Pets are reminders of how we’re all living things.”

17.“Take time to mourn what you’ve lost.”

18.“Keep going and never give up.”

19.“Life is fun. It’s all up to the person. Be satisfied. You don’t have to be ‘happy’ all the time, you need to be satisfied.”

20.“Love people. Find something to like about the person—it’s there—because we’re all just people.”

21.“Get a great education. That is something that no one can take away from you.”

22.“If you’re positive you can get through it OK. When you think negatively, you’re putting poison on your body. Just smile. They say laughter is the best medicine there is.”

23.“For years I would not take any medicines at all. I don’t think they do much, and lots of times the doctor is using you as a guinea pig.”

24.“Just go ahead and do your thing no matter what.”

25.“Have lots of people in the house and lots of different kinds of people—young, old, black, white, people from all over the world. People have always energized me.”

26.“I attribute my longevity to a great extent to walking, not being in the back of the car strapped down.”

27.“We all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. I believe that we can keep that attitude as adults, too. It’s best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime.”

28.“My inspiration is Robert Browning’s poem ‘Abt Vogler.’ My father used to read it to me. It encourages us to make big art, not small scribbles. It says to try to draw a circle so huge that there is no way we can finish it while we are alive. All we see is an arch; the rest is beyond our vision but it is there in the distance.”

29.“Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it.”

30.“Science alone can’t help or cure people.”

31.“This is some advice for the ladies. Don’t marry an older man, marry a younger one.”

32.“I try not to worry. I just try to live.”

33.“I don’t eat very much, but I always eat a fruit, a vegetable, and a little meat, and always make sure that I get sardine and salmon at least once or twice a week.”

34.“Try not to eat anything that’s healthy. It’s true. I eat whatever I want. The secret to longevity is ice cream.”

35.“Quit while you’re ahead.”

36.“[Humor is] a life force, a way of surviving the difficulties of living.”

37.“When you laugh at yourself, you prevent others from laughing at you.”

38.“I think [people] have to be curious. They have to be interested in life outside their little aches and pains. They have to be excited about seeing new things, meeting new people, watching a new play—just passionate about life.”

39.“I don’t care what you’re passionate about: maybe saving Dixie cup covers. But if you do it passionately, you’re alive.”

40.“Age is not a disease.”

41.“Keep an open mind, and things seem less strange.”

42.“Always listen to the other person. You’ll learn something. Try to sit back, because you will learn a lot more listening to others than telling them what you know.”

43.“You have to love what you do. if you find a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.”

44.“Take naps every day.”

45.“You get one family, so stick with them. But it depends if these hardships are financial or emotional or other types. Stick it out. Some days are worse than others, and you have to be ok with that. The night is darkest before dawn.”

46.“I try to take the time to look at and appreciate the smaller things that make this life beautiful. When I do that, time slows.”

47.“Do something interesting every day; otherwise you disintegrate.”

48.“Learning new things makes you happy and keeps your mind active.”

49.“Sleep well, try not to worry, and enjoy good dreams.”

50.“Be lovable. I’ve lived a long life because there are so many people who love me.”

51.“I take a drink of Scotch every day. And I feel great afterward.”

52. “I don’t like stress. I can’t stand arguing. If anybody is fussing, I’m gone. I like to be around positive people, people who lift you up not bring you down.”

53.“Mind your own business, and don’t eat junk food.”

54.“Laughter keeps you healthy. You can survive by seeing the humor in everything. Thumb your nose at sadness; turn the tables on tragedy. You can’t laugh and be angry, you can’t laugh and feel sad, you can’t laugh and feel envious.”

55.“Have a good wife, two scotches a night, and be easygoing.”

56.“It is very important to have a widespread curiosity about life.”

57.“Take one day at a time, and go along with the tide.”

58.“You have to be lucky, but I made the best of things when bad things happened. I also ate prunes every single day.”

59.“Do what you have to do. Don’t analyze it, just do it.”

60. “Take it easy, enjoy life, what will be will be. Sleep well, have a Bailey’s Irish Cream before bed if you have a cold—you will wake up fine the next morning.”

61. “I wish I hadn’t spent so much time worrying.”

62. “In relationships, sweat the small stuff. how you respond if your partner interrupts you while you’re doing something is very diagnostic of how good the relationship’s going to be. If you’re actively involved in reading the paper or doing something, and your partner wants to show you something of interest to him or her, whether you respond dismissively or you briefly stop what you’re doing and engage with your partner is very diagnostic of positivity in the relationship.”

63. “People who share core values typically have better marriages.”

64. “Communicate with your partner as often as possible.”

65. “Towards the end of life, what’s really important to people is to be able to see how their life mattered, how it was meaningful, how there was a story to it that wraps up in a good way.”

66.”Your life is not as serious as you think it is”

67.”When you meet someone for the first time, realise that you know nothing about them. You see race, gender, age, clothes. Forget it. You know nothing. Those biased assumptions that pop into your head because of the way your brain likes categories, are limiting your life, and others’ lives.”

68.”Remember that life is like a bank account: You don’t want to spend everything you have right away, but you don’t want to be a miser and save every penny. Yes, you’re only young once, but, with any luck, you’ll also be old at some point. Plan on a career, but don’t let it overcome the rest of your life. Take care of yourself, but don’t make it an obsession. Focus on your kids, but leave room in your life for yourself. Save enough money so that you’ll have enough for the future and for emergencies, but spend enough now to avoid looking back with regret.”

69.”Books. Read them. All the cliches apply (sunblock, flossing, travel). But don’t stop reading books, lots and lots and lots of books. Crappy ones, disturbing ones, difficult ones, fun ones. You can only live your one tiny life, but with books, you can live thousands more”

70.”Don’t marry young. Live your life. Go places. Do things. If you have the means or not. Pack a bag and go wherever you can afford to go. While you have no dependants, don’t buy stuff. Any stuff. See the world. Look through travel magazines and pick a spot. GO!” 

71.”Don’t chase with your hormones. Attractive people, because of their attractiveness, are seriously overrated. Choose the woman or man for your life by the quality of their character, the warmth of their heart, the kindness in their soul. Really, even if she or he is not the hottest, seek the company of others whose company you really enjoy. The person you marry may be the person who keeps you out of a nursing home. Bodies age and fade, but a deep and abiding love lasts a lifetime”

72.”People will always remember how you made them feel”

73.”Stuff is just stuff. Hoard time instead”

74.”Floss regularly, dental problems are awful”

75.”Collect experiences. I don’t have many regrets, but I do wish I would have travelled more when I was younger”

76.”A friend will come running if you call them at 2am; everyone else is an acquaintance”

77. “Work less. And try to live more.”

Wishing Well

I wish there was a way for me to live in a different world where people’s dreams and ambitions are not exaggerated by society’s expectations. Oops. Here I go again. Six fucking years of writing in this blog and I still have this undying hate towards the norms. But I’ve gotten better, though. I used to really want to change the world and to make a difference. But if you come to think about it, you can only do so much. At the end of the day you are who you are. Sure, you can try to bust your ass in an attempt to be significant, to leave a mark, to be remembered. But Augustus Waters is right – the marks people leave are too often scars.

We’re all just screwing each other up in this mad world, aren’t we?

And here I am. Blunt like I have never been blunt before. All I’m saying is that I wish…

I wish.

To The Starving Artist

I am really proud of all of the artists out there who keep on doing what they’re doing despite the financial instability that usually comes with the Artist Life. For those artists who have been lucky enough to make it big “up there”, I am happy for all of you, and I think that [some of you] really deserve the financial success you have in your lives today. However (and this is me speaking from the very depths of my heart), I am way prouder and happier for those artists who are not “up there” but are still practicing their art – not for the sake of money or social status, but for the sake of art itself.

That’s what I love about art, actually. When it comes down to it, there is no “up there” in the artist world. Because when you really consider the essential things (the truly essential things) like honesty, pain, love, chaos and beauty, you will realize that when it comes to art, “up there” doesn’t exist – only “in here” does. Because that’s what an artist does – to speak from what’s within him, to write, or sing, or play, or draw, or act, or paint, or dance whatever truth it is that he has in his heart; to communicate to the world the naked reality that society constantly and blindly rejects; to find in his soul and in his heart the fiasco that makes this world go ’round and the beauty that occasionally makes it still and smile.

So it doesn’t matter where you are in life right now. The point is you are alive. I don’t care if you are a bassist playing in a next-to-nonexistent local band in a rural area in a third world country; I don’t care if you are a frustrated writer who has tried a million times but never gets published; I don’t care if you are an ambitious actor who waits tables and mops floors just so you can afford that theatre workshop; I don’t care if you are a painter whose works have only been seen by his immediate family and friends; And I definitely do not care that you are not “up there”. Because let me tell you something: you don’t have to be rich and famous for your art to matter. 

Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep dancing, keep playing, keep singing, keep painting, whatever. Just do not stop. Because as an artist, you can never find your success in any pay cheque, bank statement, Twitter and Facebook followers or your boss’ mouth; you can only find it in your heart. That, my fellow artist, is your success. That, my friend, is your ticket to a life not only survived, but lived.

Undress Me

My Symphony: Hello, I’m In Delaware by Dallas Green

Clothes

“When I had nothing to lose, I had everything. When I stopped being who I am, I found myself.”
― Paulo CoelhoEleven Minutes

Nine months ago, I donated 106 clothing items to the less fortunate (my first clothing donation during my stay here in Canada). After two years of breathing Vancouver’s air, I finally decided it was time I made some space for new things to come.

I’ve always had so many clothes. As a child, each birthday celebration, each Christmas Eve, each New Year’s Eve and each graduation and awards ceremony meant a new set of t-shirts, pants, briefs, tank tops, socks, shoes and what not. Even on those days when someone who loved me just felt like giving me a little something, it would almost always be something I could put on. So I guess, growing up, I’ve gotten so used to having other people give me the things I wear and I consequently haven’t really been doing the shopping for myself as much. I may own many clothes, but I’ve never been a shopper let alone a fashionista. Everytime someone asks where I buy my stuff, I often do not know the answer and it’s simply because my situation in relation to the question is always N/A (not applicable).

Quantity had also been a very deceiving part of my childhood. I don’t know why, but I’ve always been such a keeper in the most literal sense of the word. I guess the reason why I was so fond of keeping every little thing everyone gave me was because I, apart from being excessively sentimental, was somehow tricked by numbers. I always thought more was more. Everytime I looked into my “memory boxes”, my “high school scrapbooks” and my “gifts locker”, the sight of how much I had never failed to satisfy my emotional hunger for confirmation and validation. I always got a strange elation whenever I saw a dog tag given by an ex-lover or an apology letter written by a friend hiding somewhere in my desk clutter. All those wrist bands, all those pocket pictures, those magic pens, those Science projects, perfume bottles and friendship handkerchiefs – all of it – are a proof that I do delight in my own life’s history. I admit that this is simply the way I am, and that I do not have to change how I treat the material things people give me. But only I know the real meaning behind the difficulty I feel towards letting go of these…these… things. Because to me they have always meant more than just that.

Today, I am once again donating my clothes. This time, the gesture is aimed at those who have been affected by the super typhoon that hit my home country, the Philippines, about a week ago. And right now, I am sitting here and going, “Wait a minute… I didn’t count my clothes today like I did nine months ago.”

Exactly. Why did I even count those 106 clothing items on the first place?

Simple, really. I have detachment issues. Just like most people do, particularly when it comes to the things they wear.

Let’s all be honest about this: donating our clothes, no matter how we genuinely want to give them to those who are in need, is something that leaves us aching in one way or another during the process. Unless you donate clothes that are evidently old and worn out or clothes that don’t fit you anymore, this is not an entirely easy gesture, and  it often speaks about the typical human mentality and its fondness of materialism.

It is everywhere in social media – my friends and family, and some of the other people whom I know to a certain degree, have all donated their clothes to the victims of the typhoon Haiyan. It’s all over Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even YouTube – pictures (and videos) of clothes folded together inside boxes and plastic bags, all captioned with something along the lines of “Donating my clothes to those hardly hit by typhoon Haiyan. Let’s all help in any way that we can”.

Initially, my reaction to this would be something like “Uggh is it really necessary for you to take a picture when you donate something?” or “Wow, that’s very genuine of you. *sarcasm implied*”. But this is just my surface-level personality talking. Because when I really think about it and really consider all the other things, I see that the taking of pictures and the posting of tweets and statuses and videos about donating isn’t a question of how genuine people are in their donations, but a question of how attached they are to the things they’ve donated.

Clothes are a very personal commodity to us humans in the modern world. Everyday, we hear things like “I really like that shirt of yours”, or “You always look good in that blue dress”, or “OMG can I borrow that leather jacket you wore at our high school after-prom party?” What we wear, over a given amount of time, become a big part of who we are. Sometimes, it’s how people recognize us. Other times, it’s how they perceive us to be. There are even circumstances where our clothes speak of our personality or mood at a given moment. I mean, right? These are things we literally live inside of. Not everyone will admit this, but each of us has at least one clothing item which we hold very close to our heart. These things are very intimate to us because they are things that somehow contribute to our characteristics, distinctive qualities and, ultimately, our uniqueness. This is why I do not blame those people who take a picture (or pictures) of their clothing donations, or even those who count their donations. It is human nature. It doesn’t necessarily make a person less sincere; it’s often really just that un-communicated value for really significant things that you are about to say goodbye to. It’s not something that’s conscious to us. You can never see a clothing donation caption that says “Holy shit, I’m gonna miss my Ralph Lauren shirt so much, but I just have to do this because this is the right thing to do. And I am a grown-ass man, so I will not cry, but I still feel very attached. But yeah. It doesn’t really matter. All I’m saying is, I love you, Ralph Lauren shirt, but I’m letting you go.” Like, no. You just never see that. But in some ways, this kind of inner monologue will always be there, even when you don’t acknowledge it. How do I know? Because humans, in general, are materialistic beings.

I feel like I’m about to go into another topic here, but yeah. This much is true. It is something that cannot be denied. We have been conditioned to the rules and the ways of the modern world, and unfortunately for our souls, this also means that we have subconsciously grown very (very) attached to things. 

When I was looking inside my cabinet this afternoon, I did not bother sorting out my clothes anymore. I did not bother to think about which ones I’m comfortable giving away, which ones are old enough to give away, which ones are too new to give away and which ones are never gonna be given away. I didn’t have the heart to do that anymore. I honestly just pulled out everything until my entire wardrobe was almost empty. Some of these clothes, I haven’t even worn yet. With tags and all. And I like to think that I’m now completely confident to say that I am no longer a materialistic being, but that would mean I’m lying.

But I’m on my way. I am on my way to shedding off my materialistic ways, and this is the first step. It’s not gonna be an overnight process, oh hell no. But it’s do-able. And it’s definitely preferable, especially for someone like me who has been overly materialistic and sentimental for a good 18 years of his life.  This time is the right time for change.

When I think about all those people who are caught in the middle of disaster right now, not just in the Philippines but all over the world, I can’t help but realize that what matters in times when the very core of humanity is shaken isn’t how much money we have in the bank, or how many properties we own, or how many clothes we have in our closet. Because when natural catastrophe strikes, it strikes like a double bitch raised to the seventh power. This is why I love nature so much. Not only is it beautiful, it is also a constant reminder that we do not own this place. And this epiphany has to come with the great recognition that we humans have been too obsessed with things. And that has to change. We should grow attached to people, to relationships, to nature, to ideas, to adventures, to life, to love, and not just things. 

I rest my case (for now).

This is a Hate Rant

My Symphony: The Way Home by Sleep Dealer

love_hate_by_Notokhelena

Taken from my personal journal, dated Sept. 11th, 2012

I walk along the road right in front of my house every morning, and I see little kids playing, sledding, running and laughing, and they all look like they have life all figured out. They all look like they don’t have any problems or any greater wants and needs other than fun, love and friendship. And so everyday, I would take a moment to observe these kids and I would think to myself, “These kids will grow up someday. And someday, these kids will have the same problems that I have now. They will get hurt, and they will change, and they will go their separate ways, and they will have their hearts broken.”

I always thought life was so much simpler and easier when I was little. Probably the biggest problem I had as a kid was the fact that I didn’t really have a lot of playmates. But that wasn’t really that big of a problem. I would just sit alone in my room and talk to my toys, or lie in my bed and pretend that I was floating through great numbers of clouds. But growing up? Growing up has made things a whole lot convoluted – growing up has fucked me over. It has scared the living daylights out of me.

The last time I remember I was genuinely happy was when I was ten and playing with sand and stones at a construction site. I was just this pure, genuine, blissful entity. I didn’t know much about politics, the government, society and all that comes with it. But I was always smiling.

I don’t know what happened. Oh, I remember! Life happened.

I look at myself in the mirror and each time, I am just disgusted of who I’ve become. But no, not really. I actually think that I am a way better person now than I was for the past 18 years.

If I could tell my young self one thing, it is to “go fuck yourself!” Every time I remember the awful things I’ve done to my friends, my family and my lovers, I just can’t help but regret how evil and shallow I was. I regret being a disloyal, self-absorbed friend. I regret breaking so many people’s trust and friendship. I regret the fact that I’ve never really been genuinely in love with anyone in my past, but acted like I was. I regret not being appreciative of the love and the care that my friends and family gave me. I just do. I regret all of it. Because now? Now I know what it’s like to be taken for granted. I know what it’s like to hurt so much that I can’t even sleep at night without having thoughts of how I’m so worthless and of how I deserve every bit of heartache that I’m feeling right now. Shit!

So… hate. What is it that I hate?

I hate people who come and go just like that! I hate how you can talk to someone for hours and the next thing you know he’s just ignoring you like you’re an insignificant piece of shit. I hate people who are so caught up in their past that the people in their present suffer because of it. I hate people who don’t think they deserve to be loved. Like, seriously, what is that?! I think that’s bullshit! It’s bullshit because there are actually people, like me, who believe in you! People who actually care about you. And you just shrug us all off your shoulders because you think no one can be trusted? Because you think we’re all the same? Because you think people are temporary? Well let me tell you one thing – you’re the one who’s temporary! Gawd, I just hate this. I hate people who are selfish about their feelings – people who just can’t seem to let anyone love them, and just love them back. I hate it because it sucks! It sucks that you feel so connected to someone but then all of a sudden fear, and ego, and society, and whatever crap it is, come into the picture and destroy what could’ve been a genuine human-to-human relationship.

I think that the way the majority view life is simply disgusting. People always say “Oh! That’s life. It’s normal. People leave, new ones come. And you move on!” Well I think that’s just ridiculous. Because I know that I am someone who actually learned to value people – friends and family, especially. I have learned that true love and true friendship don’t happen everyday. They’re rare. And I learned all this the hard way.

Now I know why people are so sad and lonely. People are sad and lonely because they are a bunch of cowards! They are alone because they are so focused on money, career, success, fame, or that feeling of being “cool and awesome and accomplished”. But fuck that! Even if I die young and unaccomplished, I will die happy because I at least managed to actually be honest to myself and to people about my feelings and of who I am.

I am convinced that this is me – this is who I am. I write a lot, I read a lot, I think a lot. I am moody, I am emotional, I am melodramatic. I have a messy, un-styled wavy black hair, I don’t do sports, I don’t have ripped muscles, I don’t like action movies, I indulge in a lot of over-feeling and over-analyzing, I drink too much coffee in the morning, I don’t own a mansion by the ocean, I tend to come across as weird and quirky but in a creepy way, I despise the taste of beer, I am erratic, restless and yes, maybe I care about things and people a little too much and too often. And I can be many other different things, but I do know what I’m not: I am not numb, and I am not insensitive. And I may not be everything, but at least when I tell someone I’m a friend I actually mean it. And if you think that that’s not enough – that I’m not enough – then that’s just too damn bad for you.

I was that person before, and I hated him. As a matter of fact I still do.

So to all the people whom I’ve considered friends but decided that I’m just another speck of dust on the floor, I don’t know where you are, or what’s going through your minds right now, but I think that you should be ashamed of yourselves. You really should.

Life’s too short for me to waste my time with selfish little self-absorbed assholes.