Tracks

One of my best friends got married to her boyfriend of five years this past weekend. It was a profound milestone in her and her husband’s lives. Moreover, it was a huge milestone in my life as well because I have been there throughout the entirety of their relationship, from the very first time they met to this very day. To witness their relationship grow into what it is now is truly a remarkable thing.

As more and more of my friends are moving further along with their lives and taking those next steps of life-changing decisions such as getting engaged, getting married, and relocating, it really puts things into perspective for my life. As happy as I am for my friends, it also brings me great sadness to know that things will never be the same again.

Last night, I was looking through old photos, reminiscing on memories, and replaying those moments in my head. I tried hard to soak up as much of what I remember as I could, but I know that living in the past is no way to live.

I’ve never been one to settle for less than I want or deserve and I’ve always wanted more in my life. I’m not sure if that makes me greedy or ambitious, but as I look back at my life decisions, I’m starting to question whether or not I should have just stopped on one of those tracks and taken my life in another direction; a more stable direction.

When I decided to take a job in New York City, pack up, and leave, I imagined an endless amount of opportunities and adventures. To no surprise, I received exactly that. I’ve had amazing times in this city throughout the past three years. I have encountered many unbelievable experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I just stayed in New Jersey. And for that, I am grateful. But at the same time, it’s hard not to picture what my life could have been like if I had made different choices. It makes me wonder what would have happened if I had stayed put and grew with certain people instead of left them behind.

Of course, I’ll never know now. Even if I try to go back and re-live certain situations, it will never work out the way it would have if I had just ran with it during that time. I have already grown and I can’t unlearn the things I have learned. I can only hope for new doors to open and to finally find the person that stops me on my tracks in order to create a new one together.

It’s a special bond you create when you grow with certain people, not only romantic relationships, but in friendships. As I realize and greatly appreciate the people who have stayed by my side throughout all my years of ups and downs, I am thankful to have never left them behind even during those times where I was straying too far.

As you get older, life seems to be moving quicker. It’s important to make sure you don’t let go of the people who have helped you get you to where you are now.

The Motivation of Love

Nothing motivates a person more than love.

When I look at the great men and women in literature, art, music, etc., I notice one defining commonality between all of them – And that is the inspiration of a lost or found love. When I think back to my personal experiences, I recall all of the profound moments in my life; the milestones; the life-changing moves that I have made to become who I am today. And similarly, these moments happened in the midst of the beginning or the end of a romantic relationship.

Although it may work in different ways for some people, love significantly changes you. It leaves a mark on your soul to the point where you will be forever different from that moment on. Something happens inside; something that can make or break you.

When I look at my friends’ relationships and how it has changed them, I’m taken back by how much of an impact one person can make on your entire life.

Then, when I look at myself and I realize how much of an impression the relationships from my past have made on me.

As I am experiencing yet another failed relationship, I am able to see the things that I have done in reaction to this heartbreak. Though there were many times of weakness, I also notice the strength I have found to take that pain and turn it into something else, something great like writing, running, friendships, work, etc.

It’s amazing how much one person can influence your life. In the same light, it’s terrifying how strong of a hold that love can have on you; to make you do things that you never thought you were capable of.

I feel the changes happening once again in my life and I look forward to seeing how this shapes my future self.

Seeing how far I have come now, I can only hope that I become a better version of myself. Maybe (hopefully) one day, I’ll end up with the person that completes me after I have already completed myself. Maybe that’s what all this heart break is for; to prepare us for the big one – that big love.

And so, I’d like to thank my lost loves for shaping the person I am today. Without them, I wouldn’t have accomplished the things I have accomplished. I wouldn’t have been able to grow.

“Word is Bond”

I often think a lot about words versus actions. I go back and forth, debating which is more important. Lately, my loved ones have been enlightening me on the importance of actions and I know that they’re right.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “The more you say, the less”? Well, in my interpretation, it means that talking too much is useless. Words mean nothing if you don’t put them into actions. Take this from someone who does a lot of talking. I often have a lot to say and when I don’t say, I write (Thank God for this blog).

Another phrase that you may or may not be familiar with is, “Word is bond”. This is a phrase that I often hold true. Unfortunately, not many people have this same mindset.

Living in New York City yields a lot of opportunity for disappointment. There are always distractions and no one can ever really commit to one plan because frankly, there are just too many options. A Saturday night can start off as a regular dinner at a Thai Restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen and end up as drunken karaoke and disco dancing in Williamsburg. You just never know where the night could go. People in the city are always running around, partially committing to several things, and attempting to cross off every item on their agenda.

Yet, when it comes down to meaningful promises, you have to be more careful.

The promises you make to the people you love and the promises you make to yourself are the ones that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

With the New Year just around the corner, I’ve begun brainstorming the list of goals I want to achieve as some of you may also have done. I know that if I write this, I am more inclined to fulfilling it because as they say, word is bond. I’ll never make a promise to myself that I cannot keep and I try desperately to do the same with the people I care about as well.

So my goal for 2015 is to try to say less and do more for the sake of my loved ones and for myself.

After all, in the end, “It’s what you do to the people you say you love. That’s what matters. That’s the only thing that matters”The Last Kiss

A Quick Guide to Celebrating the New Year

As we are reaching the home stretch of another year, our eyes begin to widen and twinkle with hopes for a New Year. Out with the old and in with the new, many of us might say. But what makes New Year’s so special? Why do we celebrate and drink the night away long after the hour of midnight just to wake up with the same familiar headache as the previous year?

Many of us, including myself, get very nostalgic during this time of year. We reflect on the events that have happened in the months past. We hold onto the good memories as we attempt to forget the bad ones. We remember the friends who have come and gone. We carefully evaluate the seasons of change.  We think back on the defining moments. Then, we try to construct a plan for how to make the next year even better than the last. We write resolutions and make promises to ourselves and to each other that we often know we cannot keep. Why do we do this?

We do this because New Year’s is our opportunity at a clean slate, a fresh start. So here are a few tips for mentally preparing for that flip of the calendar:

Celebrate with the people that you truly care about

Getting sh*t-faced in a beat-bumping, crowded club with a thousand strangers is fun…once in a while. Try to spend your time with the people who are truly worth your time. If you’re somewhere that you don’t want to be, you’ll always look back and think about the people who weren’t with you rather than those who were. These are the moments you can’t get back. Celebrate with your real friends and the loved ones that matter.

Don’t set unrealistic expectations for the night (or the year)

Just remember that you can’t control everything. Things don’t always go as planned. You might not be able to meet up with your friends across town. You might lose your credit card. You might not get that magical midnight kiss. Go with the flow, enjoy the night as it comes, and be understanding that your “perfect night” doesn’t always look like a scene from the movies. The best moments are the ones that are unplanned. Setting unrealistic expectations just sets us up for failure. Have fun and embrace spontaneity.

 Don’t dwell on the past

The past is there for you to remember, not to dwell on. The past is the past. As cliché as it may sound, a New Year means a new you. Take what you have learned from the past and apply it to the present. Don’t get hurt all over again by the same person. Don’t let ghosts from the past haunt you. Sure, there were tough times, heartbreaks, and moments when you felt defeated, but you have the opportunity to move forward. Don’t dwell.

We celebrate New Year’s because we are celebrating life. We celebrate the unpredictable moments. We celebrate making it past all of the struggles, the sad moments, and the disappointments. We celebrate new relationships, new jobs, new places to travel, and more. We can never know exactly how far we can go until we’ve gone there. In light of a New Year, we look back at how far we have come and we celebrate the opportunity to go even further.

As we scramble to make plans with our friends and anxiously await that momentous countdown to midnight, we prepare ourselves for the unknown. Put on your party hats, search for that fabulous sequin dress, and get your bottle of champagne ready, 2015 here we come!

On Giving and Receiving Advice in Difficult Situations

When we are faced with difficult situations where we are simply unable to make a decision on our own, we turn to those who know us best for advice, whether it be a friend or family member. Even then, when we receive advice, we often still can’t arrive at a concrete solution. Why is this? Why do we turn to the advice of others when we don’t even take it into consideration a majority of the time. We often completely dismiss it or argue with them from every angle. It’s difficult to see things from an outside perspective when you’re in the situation yourself. Of course, it’s easier to give advice than to receive it. When you’re the one giving advice, the answer almost always seems clear.

Say for example, a friend turns to you immediately after getting into a fight with his or her significant other. From an outside perspective, you can easily dissect the argument. You point out the errors in communication (or lack thereof), tell them that they should/should not have said something, or advise them to react differently for future circumstances. As you are giving them with this advice, I can assure you that their immediate reaction is: They are 100% disagreeing with you in silence. That little person inside their brain is sitting there with arms crossed, and shaking their head left to right.

If you’re the person receiving this advice, you’re thoughts begin to populate and you silently respond in various ways:

“But she doesn’t even understand what happened”

“She doesn’t even know him”

“She’s not the one in the relationship”

Your defensive barriers begin to climb higher and higher and eventually, you completely tune out from everything they are saying.

Then, do we even bother asking? We ask because we care about the opinions of those that matter to us. We ask because deep down, we know that they can see things much clearer than we ever could when we’re in the heat of the moment. We ask because we often know the answer, but hope to hear something different. We ask because, even though we don’t want to admit it, they are usually right.

I’m a big fan of Elite Daily and I quite often read articles on topics such as relationships and dating immediately after I get into a fight with my boyfriend. And immediately after reading them, I get even more frustrated and angry on the opinions of these internet strangers. I often respond in one of the various ways that I provided above. But the thing about giving and receiving advice is this- It is always coming from an outside perspective. No matter what, at the end of the day, no one can know the inner workings of any difficult situation whether it be your best friend, your sister, or your husband. They can only tell you things from their point of view.

So, all you can really  do is to try to put yourself in that outside perspective and ask yourself, “What would I do if I was watching this happen live?”

Again, this is always easier said than done, but if all of us tried removing ourselves from the situation, then there would be a significant drop in errors in communication. Sometimes, we just have to take a step back and remove ourselves from the situation and see it for what it is. Often times, we are too emotionally invested to see things clearly. To remove the fog from the glass, try a different window. Hopefully then, a solution will come.

What’s it Worth

The other night, I had a dinner  with a friend whom I’ve know for well over ten years. We talked a great deal about how far we’ve come since we were younger. We talked about how much change has happened since the last time we saw each other. There’s something special about re-connecting with a friend who has been around for a majority of your life. They know you before you became the person you are today. They’ve seen you evolve, struggle, and overcome obstacles through a long period of time. At the end of the day, those are the people that you really need in your life – The ones who will stay with you even when you are at your worst.

We both grew up in the same town and went to the same schools. Now, we both work in a similar job field in New York City. We related on our current lifestyles and the choices that we’ve made since we graduated college. We related on the fact that the life we lead seems so much more difficult than those who are still back home. Everything about New York City is just more difficult.

After several hours of catching up, I finally arrived at the question, “Why did we ask for this?”

She replied, “Because we want more. We’re always hungry.”

I don’t regret the decisions that I’ve made since I graduated college. Frankly, I don’t regret any of the decisions that I’ve made in my life because they’ve lead me to where I am now (although I may not know exactly where that is)

Anyone who truly knows me knows that I am notorious for jumping into things prematurely. I just get too excited like a puppy asking for food. I haven’t quite been fully trained on how to wait. I have never had the patience. However, I am a very committed person. The problem with this is that once I’ve committed to something, it’s very rare that I back out. I will stick around to make it work even though the timing was never right in the first place.

I’ve always wondered why things were so hard for me in the beginning of any endeavor. I have the “Why wait?” mentality, but this mentality doesn’t apply in all cases. And I never learn. I re-encounter familiar situations time and time again, anxiously waiting for the day that things will work out from the get-go. But I’m doing everything backwards – Expecting great results without setting aside the time and preparation that’s needed beforehand. I must be a fan of self-destruction because many of my difficult situations that I’m placed in can be easily avoided if I had just been patient.

I know that I’m not the kind of person to settle for a life that is just easier, but it always makes me wonder if it’s all worth it.

It’s just good to know that at the end of the day, there are people in my life that can tell me it’s all worth it.

Chaos versus Order

Have you ever had one of those days that just ends up being magnificent without having planned a single event? As if the day couldn’t have gone any better than if you actually did plan it.

Have you ever noticed that those days end up being magnificent because of the fact that you didn’t plan anything?

Some of my best and most memorable days were the unplanned ones. The days when something great would happen and I didn’t expect it at all. They were great because I wasn’t trying to control anything or think ahead of what should happen next.

Yesterday, me and my sister’s band, Until Love, played at our favorite open mic spot called Pete’s Candy Store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We’ve been singing there for a few months now and have made many friendships through continuously going and connecting with other singers and musicians.

There is a certain degree of intimacy that we lose with people after we’re done with school. Friendships often tend to die out if you don’t make an effort to incorporate them into your ever-changing life. We’re less inclined to reach out to people as we become busier.

I’ve always agreed that the best way to really get to know someone is through forced togetherness. And I’m not referring to the notion of physically tying someone down and holding them hostage against their will. I’m referring to the notion of being around someone all the time and just naturally becoming closer to them because they are in your immediate environment. When we see the same people, we often develop a specific relationship with them. It may necessarily be a positive one, but a certain type of relationship develops. You get to know their mannerisms, the things that bother them, the way they react to situations, etc.

Yesterday, my sister and I hung out with friends that we’ve gradually become closer to in the past few months through our involvement with music. On top of that, we became friends with people who were visiting from another state. We had amazing conversations with these people whom we had just met and it ended up being the most fun I’ve had in quite some time.

One of the topics that we came across while conversing with our new friends was the idea of chaos versus order and how the world goes through a natural cycle of destruction and rebuilding. It, then, got me thinking about the cycles that we go through as humans. In our lives, we need chaos and order. They go hand in hand and you can’t have one without the other.

This unplanned day, although not to be termed chaotic, was somewhat chaotic in the sense that there was no order, no plan.

Sometimes, we need to shake things up in our lives to avoid stagnancy. We need to step outside of our comfort zone for the possibility that something truly magnificent can come out of it.

After all, life is about taking risks. You should do one thing every day that scares you.

New Born

I’ve never been too keen on the idea of being alone. I’m blessed to say that I’ve had a strong support system throughout my entire life. I’m not the type of person who was a part of a large group of friends who does everything together. I was never in a sorority. My Facebook page isn’t bombarded with pictures of thirty girls stacking on top of each other to get into one picture. I have strong ties with a select number of people, and those ties are ones that I know can never be broken. I’ve been so dependent on these people every time things in my life have gone awry. I’ve always known that someone was going to be there for me; to listen to my complaints, to pick up my broken pieces.

Now, I’ve reached a point where these people aren’t so readily available to come to my rescue because they have other things in their lives that take priority. I didn’t like the feeling of it. For the first time in my life, I’m learning to adapt to self-soothing. I kind of feel like a new-born baby who’s crying, but no one is picking them up. Eventually, that new-born is just going stop crying. Well, I’ve learned to stop crying. I guess I can say I’m officially entering a new level of maturity?

It’s weird to admit, but I’m starting to be okay with knowing that there isn’t always going to be someone to catch me when I fall…and that’s the part that scares me. I’m okay with being alone.

When to Call it Quits

As a public confession, I have to admit that I haven’t been a very good friend lately. To my friends who are actually reading this, I’d like to say I’m sorry.

It’s understandable that as we get older, our priorities change. As we acquire more responsibilities, we lack the down time to see or even speak to our friends as frequently as we did when we were in school. We become busy and too involved in our own lives.

Throughout the many changes that I’ve been adjusting to in the past few weeks, months, and even year, I’ve been putting my friends on the back burner. I’ve been rescheduling on set plans or even completely dodging them. And it’s because I’ve been focusing all of my attention on performing well in my job, adjusting to a new living situation, and avoiding a mental breakdown.

The question I ask myself though, is at what point do we give up on making an effort to keep our friends in our lives? Is it when we start our career? Or get into a relationship? Move away? Get married? Have a family?

And how much time will pass until our friends stop responding to our efforts?

I guess it depends on the person.

As I’ve gone through these waves of change, I’ve done a fantastic job of shutting my friends out of my life. I can only blame myself for not reaching out to them when I was having a hard time. I tried to be strong and deal with it on my own. Because it was too frustrating for me to explain what’s been going on when all I really wanted was for them to be by my side to get through it all.

Like any relationship, friendship involves reciprocity. It only works when both sides are making conscious efforts. And like any relationship, friendships can involve break-ups.

It’s natural that people grow apart, but when do you call it quits? As sad as it is, not all relationships or friendships have a happy ending.

I guess all we can do is try our best to hold on until someone gives up.

To my friends who have already given up on me, I do miss you and I’m still thinking of you…

Shedding Dead Weight

This morning for breakfast, I had a large, soothing cup of green tea, whole wheat toast with Nutella, and a bowl of plain oatmeal with an added teaspoon of honey. This all came with a small side of cynicism.

I had one of those weekends where you make poor decisions because you’re just in the mood to have fun. Unfortunately for me, I am always left with a handful of regret when looking back in hindsight bias.

What I am referring to is alcohol and lack of sleep. This combination of things really take a toll on your body, especially when you are training for a marathon (and half-marathon)

In reference to my “Saying Goodbye to Alcohol” post, I always end up feeling a strong sense of guilt immediately after drinking (I really hope everyone on WordPress, or anyone publicly reading this, doesn’t think I’m a raging alcoholic- I’m absolutely not) I think subconsciously, I’m trying to get my last few drinks and weekends of fun out of the way before April 1st hits. (I wasn’t kidding when I said that I’m swearing off alcohol starting April 1st)

On Friday night, I went out for what was supposed to be a “chill night”. I’d really call it “an embarrassment towards my lack of tolerance for vodka shots, beer, and mixed alcoholic beverages. To highlight certain events of the night: I had my face planted to a table from the hours of 12AM through 3AM, I found a shot glass stuffed in my purse, I proposed to my friend from college, and ended the night eating meatball sandwiches at 4AM. This may sound awesome, but it most certainly was not any sort of awesome when I woke up the following morning. It must have slipped my mind that I always do my long runs on Saturday mornings.

Alas, I did do a semi-long run. It was definitely no where near the amount of mileage that I was anticipating to run this weekend. An hour and a half and less then 10 miles later, the nausea started to kick in which is quite shocking for how fast I ran.

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I had some slight relief of guilt knowing that I was motivated enough to even peel myself out of bed.

After my long run on Saturday afternoon, I met with a friend for burgers/frolicking around Union Square for several hours. By 9:30PM, I felt my body slowly breaking down and switching into off-mode. Once I arrived back to my apartment Uptown, I was ready to call it a night until I received a text from a high school friend telling me that he was in the city. Immediately, I felt obligated to meet up with him- It’s always such a rare occasion when my friends come to visit the city.

I restarted myself from sleep mode and forced myself to meet at him and our other friends at a bar on the West Side. I arrived to the bar around 12AM. After 45 minutes of waiting for them to get there, I was in an awful mood. I had a long headache-of-a-night prior, a long day with a semi-long run and hours of walking around Union Square, and somehow had what was left of my energy to make an effort to meet up with them. Once they arrived, all I wanted to do was throw my anger in their face, and that’s exactly what I did. I gulped down my last sip of the beer that I didn’t even want, released my anger, got in a cab and left.

When I woke up this morning and thought about the money that I wasted on two cab rides and a beer that I didn’t want, all of my rage came back burning inside the pit of my stomach. Naturally, I went to the gym to relieve my stress.

You would think that going to the gym would just make all of your rage magically disappear, but instead, I just got progressively angrier as I was frantically hurling myself back and forth on the elliptical. Ironically, I ended up having one of the best workouts in a very long time. Afterwards, my rage finally left me and I experienced a sense of euphoria.

What I meant when I titled this post, “Shedding Dead Weight”, was that I am going to stop trying to please all of my friends and accommodate for everyone by going out drinking. I should have picked an earlier date for my “no drinking” policy. Alas, the epiphany that I experienced was that I realized that I need to get serious about my life, my routine, my marathon training, my money, and my real friends.

So I end this post with this lovely e-card:

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The time for play is over. I need to hit my 20-mile long run soon.