35 things I learned in 35 years

  1. You have a voice, use it—write, sing, speak, blog, film, type, draw, cook, text, call—don’t let anyone else tell your story.
  2. Embrace ambiguity with open arms.
  3. Make time for yourself.  The world can wait.
  4. Cards Against Humanity. Yes, you do want to go there.  Let it loose. Let people take a peek into your twisted mind. 
  5. Get out of your comfort zone as much as you can. 
  6. Bottoms up.  You don’t have to drink to have fun, but knowing how to drink will prepare you for social interactions.
  7. Driving.  It may be more than just a vehicle that gets you from point A to point B.  In fact, it may get you to point C (wherever that may be) if you grab the handle and push the pedal.
  8. Learn how to perfect giving hugs.  There’s no other present you can give that people don’t mind being returned. 
  9. I am trilingual, but I honestly believe that a happy stomach, giddy laughter, and an ah ha moment speaks louder than any language.
  10. FOMO (Fear of missing out) happens.  Our everyday decisions creates missed opportunities—but who is to say that the decision you’ve made for yourself isn’t an opportunity in itself?
  11. Online exploration needs to be done.  I don’t care if you’re single, taken, young, or old—make a new friend via the virtual sphere.  You’ll learn more not only about yourself, but of society’s needs and wants, and you’ll have more questions than answers –but it’ll get you thinking, and that’s all that matters.
  12. I will never be Japanese enough, and I need to accept that.
  13. Don’t be afraid to stray away from what you have been asked to do.  If you have a reasoning for your actions, people will either accept your perspective, or deny it.  I’ve been lucky with my teachers who welcomed my different takes on assignments. I may be off a bit, but at least I’m still me ☺ (Thank you Miss Ramon & Miss Fernandez).
  14. We all have privilege, some more than others.  It’s what you acknowledge, understand, and do with it that matters.
  15. Introverts: Be with extroverts that can pull out the extrovert in you.  Extroverts: Be with introverts that can invite you to reflect on your self-awareness.
  16. Saying no is not equivalent to quitting.  Saying no means you are self-aware and you are empowered to step away before you over commit yourself. 
  17. Never stop dreaming.  Dreams do come true. What would you do next, now that your dream came true?
  18. Job searching is similar to finding a partner.  You lay out what you can do for each other and hope that you are a match.  
  19. Someone must’ve thought of doing a sociological case study on Denny’s. If not, someone should get on it. 
  20. I’ve learned so much watching Felicity and One Tree Hill.
  21. There is something nostalgic about hearing a foreigner sing a song in your native language.  (Referring to のどじまんザワールド)
  22. The best learning happens when you don’t even realize it.
  23. Instead of asking Where are you from? ask What is your story? [Many gratitude to Ruth E. Van Reken]
  24. Being laid off is not the end of the world.  In fact, it’s the opening to a new world.
  25. Learn to pick your battles.  We can’t win it all, and not everyone deserves your time and energy. 
  26. Words. It does an emotion good.
  27. Keep a pair of chopsticks in your car.  You never know when it’ll come in handy. 
  28. Transparency is the state I strive to be. 
  29. The concept of ‘lollipop moments’ have shifted my views on leadership.  [Thank you, Drew!]
  30. I’m thankful for everyone who has weaved the threads in my life – teachers, friends, family, fictional characters in stories/movies/songs/musicals/ photography, strangers, online profiles – you have shaped me one way or another for better or worse.
  31. I will always be a student and with that, an educator.  Let’s continue the reciprocal journey of learning; I insist, after you. 
  32. Gut feeling is reason enough to make a decision.  Trust it.
  33. Walking away from toxicity is the strongest thing you can do.  It’s easier to stay sometimes than deal with the uncertainty or others’ opinions.
  34. Sometimes what you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all. (it’s that moment when everything aligns: mind, body, feelings, and thoughts.) [spiral learning at its best.]
  35. The power is within me to control my world. It takes mindful practice but as Buddha says, “Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.”

The Most Powerful Tool

undefinedToday, err, yesterday was Boss’s Day. I’ve been fortunate to have amazing bosses that enabled me to grow. All this time I’ve been looking for the right tool, right gadget, right app, right person, right coach to help me get out of my funk and it was within a meditation session where it all clicked. The most powerful tool we all have is the ability to practice practice. Let me share what I mean. Read the following passage with intention:

Now gently relax your attention. We can’t force our thoughts to disappear because it’s the nature of the mind to think. Active Monkey Mind. Our minds goes from thought to thought. It hardly sits still.  Our goal is to observe the thought, not to judge it. Let it jump from thought to thought. Idea to idea. Notice the busyness. And when you feel swept away by thought, pull yourself back. Be gentle without frustration. When there are thoughts, you’re not doing anything wrong. All it means is you’re human. Simply come back as you notice with patience and self-compassion. This is the correct way to practice. 

Let there be sound. Let there be thoughts. Let there be discomfort. Let there be emotions. Let everything be. When we learn to observe our experience, without making it right or wrong, that’s when we’re mastering practice.

meditation from Calm app narrated by Tamara Levitt

My coach kept repeating the word compassion and in my head I knew I had compassion already but what I came to realize is that I was lacking compassion for myself. I (you too) need self-compassion to build ourselves up. Creating space within ourselves, free of judgment a place where we can respond with our frustrations with kindness and care. We need to notice what’s happening. Counter them with love. Offer love and compassion to ourselves. Be your own friend. Give yourself permission to be kind, patient, non-judgmental, and aware of yourself.  

The moment I saw myself/my mind without judgement it dawned on me how powerful it is to practice simply being. I don’t know about you but I suffer from information overload, mental constipation, analysis paralysis, you name it. Whatever it is that I was trying to find, I found it. I had the answer all along.

When I allowed myself to be aware of my thoughts, I found compassion. I found the balance I longed for: the alignment of neuroscience, self, mind, and body.

The best tool is one you can use alone, is free, and can use to solve every problem possible. The power of you/me. This is it. It enables wellness and accountability. It allows me show up, fully. My negative emotions are not all or nothing: I’m the sum of all my emotions, thoughts, and awareness.

Watch this video: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Tx8DEUsvQ4oWgKxk6

Enter PL huh? Practice, practice, practice. (Gordon, Barbara, Thomas, & Whidbey Institute: it came full circle yet again.) [PL is a whole other topic I’ll touch on another day].

Next step? Master the practice.

Urgency

I need to talk to him. I’ve been so close to picking up my phone and texting, but then I remember that voice in my head that tells me, after you’ve accomplished your goals. I need to use this urgency as a motivator. I’m disconnecting from him not because I can’t stand him but because I can’t stand myself. I get the urge to connect with him to excuse myself from getting anything accomplished. I’ve got to stop that. I need to use the time that I’m not talking to him to accomplish my goals. It’s hard to unlearn the urge to want to instantly connect with someone you care about. Someone who makes you smile. (so thankful I still have a photo to reflect back to). I’m trying to build a new habit of not to connect with him so that I can eventually connect with him to summarize all of my accomplishments. I can do this. It’s not going to be easy, but life isn’t easy and I sure as hell am not a quitter. I’m going to accomplish this. I can and I will. It’s urgent that I do.

My feelings

After getting a couple of hours of sleep in and looking at the emotion wheel, the following is what I’m feeling in no particular order.

  • upset
  • disappointed
  • funk
  • incomplete
  • insignificant
  • panicky
  • jumpy
  • unsure
  • trapped
  • unsettled
  • disgraced
  • depreciated
  • put away
  • abandoned
  • shunned
  • demeaned
  • protective

The little positivity I have within me is serene, cool, and collected. I found a new group to fit into and lifted two others during the day. I’d say that’s a win. I’m hoping the colorful water beads will make a difference in my mood, as well as getting rid of the pile of papers I have on my desk. Baby steps. Next up, trying to hone in on job titles, then Linkedin headline and summary, then resume, then job search, then interviews, then the big move. oh, and somewhere in between, reading books, working on side project, watching shows, and feeling accomplished and ready to take on year 35.

Information Overload

Do you love apps like OneTab and the bookmarks feature? Do you suffer from fear of forgetting the ‘amazing’ site/tool/link/resource you once found and continuously save [categorized in folders, of course] into the abyss of the bookmark manager?

I use chrome extensions like Tab Count to monitor my excessive tab opening (I’ve had 96 tabs open once) and Bookmarks Clean Up to reflect on my behavior. According to the latter app, I currently have 697 bookmarks. 697. In my defense, my bookmarking started way back in the day when I was still in college, roughly 12 years ago. I’m not saying that’s not cray cray though, because it is.

It’s crazy because if you know me, I’d probably be able to find this ‘amazing’ bookmarked site again if I searched for it. I may even find something far better. So why save all of these bookmarks?!

I’ve come to a realization that my mind can only take in one site at a time. It’s simple to accumulate multiple open tabs in one setting, but I’m no robot, and I can’t scan through all those tabs at any given time. I’m making an effort to be productive and clean up my act.

Simplicity makes you see things you haven’t seen before. I suggest you try it some time. or at least pause and see how many bookmarks you currently have saved. You might learn a thing or two about yourself.

Sleepless After-Thoughts

Didn’t get much sleep which is no surprise. My mind tried to make sense of my reality while I was simply trying to dream. I failed miserably.

As I recall last night’s behavior of unfollowing certain Instagram accounts, I came to a realization that I may have lived in an illusion, and not something sustainable.

Maybe it was a high and I was close to overdosing from too much “multidimensional perfectionism.” It’s a term I just read about this morning explaining how we millennials seek therapy more often than other generations simply because we crash at the thought of falling short of our high expectations.

I can agree to that notion, where I think I was too focused on how to perfect this thought of us and everything that embodies that as a couple. But now that that’s gone, I’m in withdrawal mode.

I mentioned yesterday that he and I both need to fill our cups. I need to start with filling my void. A void that I tried to have him fill, but it wasn’t his to fill in the first place.

I’ve got a long journey ahead. Lots of reading, reflection, and then sharing.

All this time, I wanted to create a space where I can share what I learned and get his insights, wisdom, and reactions. Little did I know, I had the medium to do it all along.

It’s nice to step back and see the void. Let’s see what comes of it and see where I’ll be when I do fill that void.

You ready for the journey? Glad you are, but I need to get some sleep first.