The 10 Most Successful Men On Earth

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Photo credit: Dwin Formaran | IG: @thedwinformaran

When we think of success, we often think of larger, wider, brighter things that are constantly seemingly out of reach. We envision stack after stack of dollar bills, glossy skyscrapers, mansions with heated pools, hundreds of paparazzi and a seven-digit pool of Instagram followers. More and more, the ways in which we measure success have been close to society’s norms but far from the truth. We have been blindly programmed to keep on dreaming with our eyes instead of dreaming with our hearts. And aren’t dreams an occurrence that takes place after we close our eyes, anyways?

If you Google “The most successful man on earth”, the first result will be a bulleted enumeration of names that are familiar to almost everyone: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Walt Disney. Below you will find a link that invites you to see more of the article from which the enumeration was taken from. You will then be redirected to a page where you will see a larger list of people with their full names, their birth-death years and a brief description of their achievements, all cataloged under the area of industry or expertise they are/were best known for.

Now, don’t get me wrong; these people are undeniably notable, and they have achieved and invented a lot of things which have helped the world and a lot of people in many ways. This isn’t a hate mail addressed to them. They do deserve recognition, and they do deserve applause. But where it becomes worrisome is when we live our lives with the superconscious attempt to achieve as much as they have achieved, or to get as close as we can get to wherever they got to. Where it becomes ugly is when we start to view success as something that we need to work really, really hard for — when we begin to spend our days feeling somehow empty and defeated just because we do not look anything like Mark Zuckerberg’s chequing account or Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat stories.

Life is not a race, and it is definitely not a contest. Sometimes, the small things are actually the big ones, and the best things in life aren’t even things. So if you think you are not successful, have a look at this rather unorthodox list of the ten most successful men on earth…

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Photo credit: Alfred Marcial | IG: @alfredmarcial

  1. The Man Who Has Loved

It is one of the oldest stories in the world, and probably too old that it has transformed into a succinct cliche: “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. It’s true! If you, at any point in your existence in this world, have felt that warm, cozy, almost-indescribable feeling in your chest when you look at someone deeply in the eyes, then consider yourself not just lucky, but successful. When we were younger, fairytales and rom-coms made us all believe that falling in love was easy. And then we grow up and learn that it doesn’t happen to everyone. True love takes courage, trust and, most importantly, friendship, and it only happens a couple of times throughout a lifetime. If you’ve ever experienced it, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Appreciates Nature

The more you live, the sooner you realize that there’s no better place to be than right next to nature. Sunsets are more than just about days slipping into nights; they are a reminder. Blue skies are more than just nice sunny days; they are an enlightenment. Waterfalls and oceans aren’t just liquid grazing solid; they are an awakening. If you are someone who can sit still in peace as you appreciate a magnificent view of mountains, beaches, canyons and fields, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Truly Knows His Value

The modern world dictates that we need to do this and that because if we don’t, we are deemed failures. We as a society have become restless – always looking for ways to please people, always obsessing over more Likes, more Followers, more Retweets. Life has become less about genuine connection and more about virtual recognition. Most people nowadays turn to social media for affirmation, for attention and for valuation. If you are someone who is confident and mature enough to know your own value in this world without seeking validation in all the superficial corners of the Internet, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Can Be Moved (Literally)

There’s a reason why we do not have wires and cords attached to us: because we are human beings. And as humans, we are capable of change. We are allowed to grow, to get to know ourselves in our own ways, and to take on new life challenges that will later on help us become better individuals. We are not meant to stagnate in the same space for the rest of our lives. We are adaptable, versatile beings who are biologically designed to overcome struggles, drastic changes and overwhelming circumstances. If you are someone who welcomes change and challenges with brave and open arms, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Can Be Moved (Figuratively)

Another reason why we do not have wires and cords attached to us: we aren’t robots. We are allowed to feel. We are allowed to cry, to laugh, to smile, to frown, to feel like we’re on top of the world one minute and in the deepest, darkest depths of hell the next. We are emotionally mobile creatures. If you are someone who can encounter a piece of art (a painting, a film, a writing, a song, et cetera) and be greatly moved by it, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Knows Kindness

It is absolutely scary to think that kindness is fast becoming a sort of an “endangered” virtue. It is also something that people think can be translated to a couple of nickels and dimes given to a street beggar every other week. Kindness is more than just the act of giving someone something of your possession; it is about empathy and compassion. When somebody is down, miserable and lonely, and you (despite your hectic schedule) decide to be there for them to comfort them, support them and encourage them? That’s kindness. If you’ve ever been there for someone during tough times, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Is Present

These days, it is too common to see people everywhere looking down at their smartphones and tablets that in the mega rare instance that you see someone who’s not, you think apocalypse just arrived and you have less than ten seconds to have your final look at everything around you before you vanish into the vast unknown. It’s nuts! Genuine eye-to-eye conversations have now turned into mouths speaking to each other with eyes staring directly down at separate screens. Most people just aren’t present in the present anymore. They are somewhere else all the time, scrolling, sharing, liking and commenting. If you are someone who knows the value of a moment enough to put your phone away and see someone clearly in front of you as you speak, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Isn’t Friendless

Friendship is one of those words that have gained traction but lost meaning. In reality, friendship, just like love, is a rare thing. Companionship happens a lot, and so does affiliation. But real, long-lasting friendships are rare. Friends are the people whom you can count on especially in times of emotional distress, and they are also whom you can count on in times of complete fun and randomness. Friends offer a type of love and care that you cannot feel from other people, and they are often the people who have seen you in your best and your worst. So if you have a solid circle of people whom you call friends (regardless of how big or small that circle is), congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Does What He Loves

Life is too short to do something that you do not enjoy doing. However, life is also not that simple. There are bills to pay, and not everyone gets the chance or the opportunity to do exactly what they love to do in a professional setting. A lot of people who love dancing work in banks; some who are passionate about painting work in sawmills; others who are very talented at singing work in hotels as housekeeping attendants. The list goes on. But let’s take a moment to appreciate the guy who changes from slacks to sweatpants to join dance rehearsals after his 5-PM end-of-shift at the bank. Let us appreciate the girl who vacuums floors and washes sheets at hotels so she can afford singing lessons. Let us appreciate the people who keep on painting despite their already-tired hands from working so hard in sawmills. If you are someone who may not be loving what you’re doing professionally but still finds ways to do what you love, congratulations!

  1. The Man Who Has Connected To Another Man (Or Woman) In A Genuine, Penetrating, Effervescent Way

This is probably one of the greatest successes one can experience in his lifetime: to feel a great connection between you and somebody else. If you come to think about it, this life we live is full of complications. There are more than seven billion people on this planet, and we are all just trying to live our lives the way we know how to live them. And we do get moments of joy and clarity, but there will always be nights when we hit our beds after a long day at school or at work and feel that something is missing; that something isn’t right. So when we happen to cross paths with someone who just “gets us”, someone who lights up our day just by existing, someone who literally finishes our sentences and someone who speaks to us without saying a word, we hold on to them. Because we know that genuine connections don’t happen everyday. If you are someone who knows somebody whom you feel that electric chemistry with, CONGRATULATIONS!

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Pre-Birthday Thoughts

My Symphony: Gucci Bag / Reema Major 

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Almost 23.

At this point, it is safe to say that I have reached the equilibrium of my post-adolescent years (a.k.a. my early 20’s). I think that for the longest time, life for me was an unnecessary emotional struggle (90% of which was self-inflicted). I don’t know, maybe it is kind of normal for a pubescent creature to be melodramatic and somehow masochistic. But I feel like I’ve gone through enough bullshit in my life that now I am almost immune to it. Needless to say, life has been easier for me lately simply because I have managed to develop a mental process where I eliminate toxic people, excess things and rotten thoughts slash memories from my entire system. It’s been great!

I don’t believe that people change. People never change. You are who you are, and that’s probably who you’ve always been and who you always will be. That is my main belief system. And looking at myself right now, I am proud to say that I am still the direction-less kiddo you all knew from college. The truth is, I do not know what I want (generally speaking). And I am happy about that. Not knowing everything that you want only means being open to possibilities. Larger, wider, brighter possibilities. Not knowing comes with a sense of calmness. It comes with a pinch of excitement and mystery. It is quite beautiful, actually.

I grew up in an environment where everyone around me seemed to know every specific detail of what they wanted from life. At some point, I was also kind of pressured to know what the fuck I wanted to do with my life after college, and “stressful” is not a good enough adjective to describe what I went through with all that. But, see, the thing is, I have always been this way. I’ve always never known what I want from life, from the world, from the people around me. I rely more on my feelings and my gut instinct when it comes to my short-term decision-making (because I only ever really make decisions for the short term). The minute I consult my brain about what to do, I get into this repetitive tip-toeing from one thought to another, and it is never productive. This is why I thrive more on taking life one day at a time as opposed to carefully planning out every single detail five, ten or twenty years too early. That’s just not how I roll.

When I turned 22 last year, I was bulldozed with a lot of overwhelming questions about my grand plan for my future. And I know at least half of those people were probably genuinely concerned about me and my well-being, but I mean, let’s be real here: the other half just wanted to make me feel like shit. And they tried to make me feel that way! But they failed (hashtag LOL). To everyone who was so aggressive towards me on my birthday last year, and asked so many personal questions that didn’t need to be asked whatsoever (and also to anyone who is planning to sit me down and give me another pep talk about the great mother effing future this year), here is a piece of my mind regarding the matter:

Ladies and gentlemen, the biggest deception of life in the modern society is the greatness of the future and the fleetingness of our youth. Because the reality is, the future isn’t that great. Maybe it is kind of peachy, but it can never be as good, and as fabulous, and as spectacular as the here and now.  Why, you ask? Simple. Because it isn’t even here yet. It may or may not happen. That’s why it’s called the future. NO ONE KNOWS. And our youth? It is not at all fleeting. It is actually decently lengthy, and the only reason it doesn’t feel that way is because you jamokes have decided that for some reason, turning twenty means you have to go out there and start “adult-ing”. And I’m just sitting here eating my fries thinking Nah-uh! Adult-ing is so overrated and so overhyped. There is absolutely nothing special, impressive or even remotely satisfying about it. In modern day terminology, adult-ing refers to relatively young people complainingly taking on tasks that are supposed to be deemed “adult-like”, “responsible” and “mature”. But the fact of the matter is that, just because you are paying a couple of bills and not living with your parents, doesn’t mean you need to consciously label yourself as an adult. It honestly just metaphorically makes your youth go by faster. It’s a not-so-healthy state of mind which you blindly put yourself in. I swear to god, this world will judge you for being 22 and not successful. But that is a whole ‘nother blog entry because first of all, success is different for every single person. And second of all, screw society. So, for the love of perky coconut trees in the Bahamas and Mary Kate Olsen’s luscious locks, enjoy your youth and don’t let anyone take that away from you. Youth is not the one that’s fleeting, but your resistance to society’s pointless yiddie yaddah yaddah’s. 

Amen.

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.”

Pre-graduation Thoughts

My Symphonies:  “Svefn-g-englar” by Sigur Ros; “Girl Out West” by Speck Mountain

PicMonkey Collage

You know, those stars up there, they might not even exist. I mean, it takes so long for the light to travel here that the stars themselves, they could be gone by now. You know? It´s just weird, but they are like a message from back in time. The universe is bigger than we can imagine. I guess it just kind of puts things in perspective. All the stuff that we think is so important when in reality, it’s not. It’s nothing. Our planet, nevermind, our species, you and me, we´re nothing. We´re like a blip in time. We can´t worry. We just have to lie back and enjoy the ride.

– Jasper Herman, 90210

I can’t seem to unwrap my mind around the fact that graduation is in one month, exactly. I’ve been going back and forth with the list every pre-graduating student mentally makes when he’s nearing the end of a tunnel. Although, I think the list I have come up with so far isn’t entirely helping me clear up my mind about the big future plan— that blueprint for the brighter tomorrow, as some put it. Instead, my list ended up as a thread of reminiscence, rhetorical questions, apostrophes, metaphors, realizations and declarations.

It would be a baloney for me to deny the fact that I am stressing out. Because it is true. I’ve been pulling my hair out and punching myself in the throat over the past fourteen weeks (figuratively speaking, of course). It’s actually painful to constantly analyze my life and my emotions in the context of  pre-graduation blues. Wait, did I just say “blues”? Okay so yes, I did. I mean, that’s me. The last month in each chapter of my student life is always dreadful. Yes, I get all giddy and excited about moving on to the next step along with my unicorn friends and octopus fathers-in-law (reference to my make-believe companions in life). But at the same time, I tend to turn into this massive tumbleweed of extreme emotions: I begin to detach myself from my classmates, hate everybody, hold my middle finger up even to the innocent inhabitants of the earth and cry without any conscious reason.

I’m used to this, though. I just keep my focus on the good things that come with my hormonal student-life hostility. What are these good things, you may ask. Well, these are the priceless things in my list. My very own pre-graduation list:

Kenn’s Pre-grad List:

1. People in the city are simply richer, smarter, busier and fancier- but not necessarily happier. Three weeks ago, I decided to have a long walk on both Burrard and Robson. Now I love this place not because I am a Starbucks-addicted young tycoon who thinks the restaurants and boutiques on these streets are “beyond comparison”. No. That’s not the case. I love Burrard and Robson streets because of the distinct unforgettable memories I made there last summer. I was telling one of my classmates, Audrey, that sometimes I miss those streets so much I can hardly stand it. Her response? “Then go be there.” Sounded quite reasonable to me, so I ecstatically hopped in the train towards Burrard station. It was a sunny little winter day. I was there standing inside the vehicle, listening to “Cold Dessert” by Kings of Leon, ready to revisit a fresh past on downtown’s streets. When the ride was over, something cinematic happened. The moment I got off the train, everything literally became a blur of fast-moving black-and-gray images. More than a hundred people crowded the station– some getting in and some getting out of the train. I found myself feeling light-headed and out of balance as I marched towards the escalator. I took a deep breath, removed my earphones and let my eyes flutter open. I saw a little boy wearing a turquoise jacket getting dragged by his mom up the stairs. I looked around to see dozens and dozens of people mostly in suits, blazers and work uniforms- all in a rush, many on their phones discussing matters that sounded urgent. Not a single smile from any one of them. Not even a glimmer of content. I looked down and saw the little boy in turquoise again and I saw the only colorful thing in the entire motion picture, holding tightly on the hands of his mother as they get overtaken by the soldiers of the city. In that moment, I felt so strongly, that this isn’t who I am. This isn’t even who I want to be. Marching with a hundred people who are so used to such life, who are so conditioned to the society and who are all going somewhere to be productive? It made me feel so alone. I was the only one, apart from the boy, who had nowhere specific to go. I was the only one without a calculated purpose that day, the only one without a homework to submit, or a project to finish, or a deal to close. I was the only one in that march who wasn’t marching. I was instead gliding, floating and dreaming– fascinated once again by the humans of my time.

PicMonkey Collage1

2. I have 921, 758 deaths and only five lives. Sometimes I just stare at the blank tv screen and I see a meditated photograph of the ocean. I would then look out the window and realize how much I miss feeling alive. Truthfully, I feel most alive when and only when 1. I am having a walk on the beach with the view of the sunset, 2. I am laughing hysterically with friends and family, 3. I am gazing at the night sky on a starry night, 4. I am bonding with my pet cat and 5. I am sitting on an old tree’s branch eating fresh mangoes right next to someone special. I know these moments so well because these moments contribute greatly to the person I am today. These are the moments that shape me and continue to nourish me through my years. These are the moments that remind me of what’s important to me, of what I love the most about breathing. These moments are my lifetime vaccines against futility, convolution and adversity. These moments are what I am made of.

3. Are we humans, or are we dancers? I say I’m both. Everytime  a teacher or a classmate tells me I am hardworking, my insides manage a skeptical grin. Some tell me I can’t seem to relax, slow down, lay back and breathe. It has even been an issue brought up in my Singing and Voice classes. And it’s true in the literal sense, too. I mean I do have a verbal diarrhea every now and again, and I constantly feel grumpy and stressed out. But if you could read my mind, you’d know that my internal struggle towards a bigger energy is so disturbing and so indescribable that my dour appearance is but a poor mirror of it. I choose not to open up about my real thoughts in class simply because I do not trust myself with them. I am scared of my own thoughts, yet at the same time I embrace them; so much so that I am not willing to share them to people I know are less likely to understand. Sometimes, when I say in class, “I can’t seem to slow down”, it actually means I can’t seem to stop deliberately over-analyzing life in general and whether or not I will have the courage to fight against the conventional standards and live the simple life I know I want and need. My speech is quick, my facial reactions unplanned, my emotions rushed and my visible presence aloof and indifferent. This is why I write. It is only in writing that I am able to entertain my thoughts one at a time. More importantly, it is only through this medium of communication that I get to encounter life at a fairly rational level- the rest is chaos. It is official. Writing is the only thing that keeps me sane.

4. I am a man of no plans. Contrary to popular belief, the story of my life is written in real time. I have no concrete agenda when it comes to “success” as viewed by the society. Questions like “So what are you doing after graduation?”, “Got any work yet?”, “What kind of actor do you want to be?”, “Are you moving downtown by then?”, “So you’re saying you will work here for eight months. Where will you go after?”, “Are you planning to be a part of a web series or something? Like, what’s your strategy?” are all laughable to me. Not in an insulting way. It’s just that a big part of me finds humor in my lack of direction in life. I know that it is crucial to at least know what you want. But I already know that. And I know who I am. And if life takes me on a different spin tomorrow or thirty years from now, there will be no regrets. I may be a giant ball of question mark, but I get to know the world in a way I never would had I been born to live and die as a sturdy period or a loud exclamation point.

5. Life is a free verse prose-narrative written by a three-year old starfish with a brain tumor. Why are some people white, and some black? Why do some people believe in God while others in the Big Bang Theory? Why are some people so easy to get along with while there are some who are so intensely annoying you just want to grab them by their nipples and give them axe kicks? Why are there people who were born rich and famous while others have to technically excrete blood and sweat to get on even just a slightly higher ground? Why are there people with ten fingers while some with eleven, or nine? Why are there class valedictorians who end up waiting tables and dumb high school slutbags who now own a villa somewhere in Greece? Why are there people who haven’t smoked a single cigarette in their lives who have lung cancer, and others who do all sorts of smoking and drug abuse and manage to live without complications until the age of 92? Why are there so many innocents stuck in jail cells and so many criminals planning on their next dirty deed as we speak? Why does the six-month old baby die? Why does Burundi suffer so much financially while Dubai just carefreely throws itself away at 828-meter tall buildings and dancing fountains with camels on parade on a year-round sunny season? Why is the earth so big only five percent of its total oceanic area is explored? Why do some people dislike beer while others drink it eight times a day like water? Why are gummy bears so freaking irresistible? Why are there deserving people who have empty hands and lazy-ass hipsters who are given so much in one way or another? Why are there no stars in Surrey? Why do birds suddenly appear? — It is obvious. Life has no rhyme nor reason to it. We desperately turn to Religion, Science, Literature, Government Laws and Societal standards to try and make sense of the universe, but that’s the thing the majority do not understand. The universe is way bigger than we can imagine. Yes, you may be able to explain why birds suddenly appear or why there are black and white people through Physics and Anthropology, but you will never be able to rationalize the why’s in the full sense of the word. Why as in “how come?”, why as in “to what extent?”, why as in “for what possible reason?” Why?.. as in “WTF?!”

6. Even the stars die. I have been and always will be in awe at the massiveness of life both in the visible and the invisible sense. I am 19 years old, Filipino, unemployed, still living with parents and brothers, a writer with a recurring existential crisis, passive-aggressive, a self-confessed literary activist, and one the most unstable human beings you’ll ever meet. This is me. I can say a million other things about me in here, but that’s not the point. My living condition, my financial status, my emotional progress and my favorite past time are nothing compared to the dangers and beauty of the universe. I do not live each day towards a bigger goal. I do not wake up each morning to build a tower I can stand on so I can look down on those whose towers had crumbled down, or those who haven’t built one yet. I do not breathe to have a better tomorrow. I instead live each day with literally millions of wonders, as I lay down on the sand facing the ocean, knowing that right now is the better tomorrow. Just me. And the universe. Together as one.

We Are Very Busy People

My Symphonies:
Very Busy People by The Limousines 
In The End by Linkin Park | The Future by The Limousines

We’ll end up numb from playing video games and we’ll get sick of having sex. And we’ll get fat from eating candy as we drink ourselves to death. We’ll stay up late making mix tapes, photoshopping pictures of ourselves, while we masturbate to these pixelated videos of strangers fucking themselves. There’s crusty socks and stacks of pizza boxes leading trails straight to the bed. And when we’re done sleeping we’ll stay busy dreaming of the things that we do not have yet. Well there’s a long list of chores and shit to do
before we play. Oh, let’s just piss away the day… We are very busy people. — The Limousines

We all know Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Elvis Presley, Whitney Huston, Albert Einstein, Britanny Murphy, Amy Winehouse, Audrey Hepburn, Bettie Page, John F. Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt and William Shakespeare. These are people who had goals and visions, struggled to reach them and eventually went through their own ups and downs in life. These are people who, just like us, had dreams about the future and had passions. Different they may be in terms of their fields of interest and expertise, levels of success and gravity of influence in the world, they’re all similar in one sense: the fact that they’re all deceased. 

A little more than a couple of months ago, I watched this movie called Art Of Getting By (2011, starring Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts). I am not a film critic nor am I one of those hardcore over-educated people in the film industry who have the ability to say what is and what isn’t a great movie, but I am a human being, and I have access to a lot of emotions and experiences that enable me to watch something and be greatly moved by it. This being said, I found that the movie really makes so much sense. If you’ve watched the movie intently, you may remember the very first lines in the very first scene. It goes like this:

George Zinavoy (voice over):

Since the dawn of recorded history, something like a hundred and ten billion human beings have been born in to this world, and not a single one of them made it. There are 6.8 billion people on the planet. Roughly 60 million of them die every year. 60 million people! That comes out to about a hundred and sixty thousand per day! 

I read this quote once when i was a kid: “We live alone, we die alone. Everything else is just an illusion”. It used to keep me up at night. WE ALL DIE ALONE! So why am i supposed to spend my life working, sweating, struggling… for an illusion? Because no amount of friends, no girl, no assignments about conjugating the pluperfect or determining the square root of the hypotenuse is going to help me avoid my fate. 

I have better things to do with my time.

From the beginning of this line up to very end of the movie credits, I was there lying down the couch, fully aware that what I just watched will definitely make a profound impact on my life and on how I perceive it. Despite the fact that I seemed to be in a total shock after I watched the movie, I also have the knowledge that this issue of life’s nature has always been at the back of my mind. It has stayed there since I was little. For approximately a decade now, I have long wondered what our real purpose here on earth is. Why are we here? Why do we live? For what? What is it that we breathe and wake up every morning for? These questions have been bugling my mind for quite a while, yet none of them have been answered. As I go on living, it starts to appear that those answers are not something I should look for, but something I should discover. You know, there is a fine line between search and discovery. I just haven’t seen that line yet. But I have clues, and hopefully these little puzzle pieces can help me figure all this out. I shall begin scribbling my discovery herein…

I am living barely the last two years of my teenage life. I am now 18 years old, living with my family, busting my ass in college and hoping that one day I’ll get to where I [think] I’ve been wanting to be. I am not the best student or the best brother, or the best son, but I can say that I have been working hard in my own respects. I managed to be the most well-behaved student in pre-school, I was in the school paper in elementary, I was able to be the top student in one fateful part of my high school, withstand the teen drama and win several writing and speech competitions, I was brave enough to venture the unfamiliar grounds of The University of the Philippines in college, and I am good enough to try my best and survive an even more unfamiliar journey of moving to Canada. It has been one hell of rollercoaster ride, and everytime I look back, I do not only see the successes and the failures. I also see what’s between those two extreme experiences and I begin to scratch my head out of amazement and curiosity. Because what’s between those two extremes is a never-ending cycle of pain, grief, laughter, anxiety, love, hate, fear, hardships, joy, sorrow, and some sh*t load of sacrifices. Today I take a look at where I am now and I can’t help but wonder what all of those sacrifices were for.

Take a walk downtown or just roam around your city and you’ll see what I mean. Businessmen hastily driving to work or for a meeting, assorted bunch of employees impatiently marching down the sidewalks in an effort to keep the job they either don’t want or just need, strangers grabbing tall cups of coffee for another long day of who-knows-what, university students rushing their way to the library, cramming for exams and dashing for deadlines, professors leaving their homes and their families for another ten hours of teaching, young mothers pushing and pulling strollers at the park, homeless unfortunates doing what they can just to get through the day alive, nurses and surgeons waging wars and battling in their hospital uniforms to save lives, dancers and snowboarders fracturing knees and breaking ankles in their passions’ expense, athletes excreting blood and sweat for that life-long dream of winning the Olympics, aspiring actors and artists willing to starve and struggle as long as they do what they love to do, hardworking parents working 9 to 5 just to send their kids to a good school, writers burning the midnight oil finishing the final draft of their manuscripts with the hope of finally getting published, cute little one-year olds learning their first steps and politicians putting masks on as part of their propaganda of “saving the day”. We are all very busy people. We spend our entire lives doing so much things– so much that there comes a point where we lose track of what we’ve REALLY been doing. More importantly, we lose track of the reasons WHY we’ve been doing those things on the first place.

Purpose. This is such a strong word. Right now, I can confidently say that it is stronger a word than love and hate. Love and hate are just emotions, but purpose– it’s a revelation; a veiled one at that. So what’s our purpose? Even now, as I am writing this, I do not know what my real purpose is. Why do I even write? Why do I bother to spend an hour or two writing here? What is all of this for? Money? Nope, I do not get paid to do this. Fame? I don’t think so, very few people know I even have a blog. Passion? I don’t even freaking know what my passion is. And I doubt anybody does. We are all lost in this world, and we don’t even know it. We go around acting like we have it all figured out, but let’s admit it. At the end of the day, when we are lying down our own comfy mattresses, or when we hit the shower after a long day at school or at work, we all do nothing else but wonder. Most of the time we are unconscious of what it is that we want to know, but other times, we know deep in our guts that we have no idea what the hell we are doing in this place.

If we’re just gonna die one day, why do we bother to live on the first place? Why do we stay up til three or four in the morning trying to get it together? Why do we bump and grind trying to make ends meet? Why do we work so hard for something we will only leave behind after our death? Why do we cry and why do we laugh despite our blunt knowledge that one day those tears and laughter will simply be rotten emotions buried six or seven feet under the ground? Why do we fight and fall in love? What is that for, if a time will come when none of the people in our lives right now will be there in the bend? Why do we bother spending billions and billions of minutes converting oxygen to carbon dioxide? What do we really get from what we do?

I do not know. And I’m guessing I never will.