Who you meet

There’s a quote from the movie “Love and Other Drugs” that meant a lot to me the first time I ever heard it and it still means a lot to me now. It goes like this,

“You meet thousands of people and none of them really touch you. And then you meet one person and your life is changed forever.” 

I’m writing this because I know that the person whom I’m writing about is going to read it. And I actually hope he does because this is meant for him. So, here it is.

I know that a lot of people may disagree with the idea of ‘love at first sight.’ To be completely honest, I still don’t exactly understand the mechanics behind it. People usually tend to call it ‘lust at first sight’ instead because how do you really know that you love someone whom you’ve never met before?

Well, I’m not sure if it was love at the first moment I saw him, but it sure as hell was something. It was something that, little did I know at the time, would change my life forever.

The first time I saw him, I was drawn to him. It was like I knew that something was going to happen between us. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I felt like I was supposed to meet him.

Living in New York City, people try not to make eye contact with others. Yet, we encounter hundreds of thousands of people each day just getting from one subway stop to another. How are you supposed to know who is going to impact your life or not?

Usually, it’s a small percentage. We often make it a point to reach our destination without a single encounter unless it’s with someone we’re already with. It’s funny how that happens in big cities. There are millions of people who are going about their lives, trying to avoid making eye contact with one another.

I always go back to that day when I first saw him and I try to ask myself, ‘What exactly was it was that made me look up from staring at the ground that day?‘ When I saw him, I just knew that he was going to be someone important in my life. Again, at the time, I hadn’t realized the magnitude of what our relationship would become. Little did I know how affected I would be him. And little did I know that he would become such a significant part of my young adult life.

But with that quote from “Love and Other Drugs,” I didn’t know that meeting that one person wouldn’t necessarily mean that you would spend the rest of your life with them. Some people come into your life to play a key role only for a brief period of time. Not all relationships were built to last.

I thought [and still think] that our relationship was short-lived. I wasn’t done getting to know him yet. I wasn’t done letting him get to know me. I still don’t know if it’s done or when it will end or if it will begin again. I’m not waiting, but I’m never sure.

Life works in an odd way in that sense – Not knowing who will leave you, who will come back, and who you’ll meet along the way. But when you know, you know. You just feel it. And that’s an important instinct to trust.

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The Re-Return

I am no stranger to the on-again-off-again relationship. Up until recently, I’ve been dealing with the same scenario for almost two years. Even now that I’ve “ended it” once again, I still question myself and wonder if I’m going to dig myself into the same hole that I have been attempting to crawl out of for the past two years.

I’m a serial re-returner. Even outside of my aforementioned on-again-off-again relationship, I tend to follow the same pattern of revisiting old memories, summoning ghosts from my past, and resuming old habits. As they say, old habits die hard.
 
When my ex-boyfriend and I broke up for the umpteenth time back this past June, I did what any typical broken-hearted girl would do. I went into an extremely deep and depressing period of Netflix binge-watching. You may be wondering what was my choice poison – Well, it was Grey’s Anatomy. Classic, I know.
 
I’ve never actually gotten through a majority of the seasons. I usually stop myself at some point halfway through once I’ve realized that I’ve had enough of suffering in silence. However, there was one quote in a particular episode that struck me, when Meredith Grey was narrating. She asks the question, 
“What’s worse? New wounds, which are so horribly painful or old wounds that should have healed years ago, but never did?” 

This question really resonated with me and it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time as I was wallowing what may be my 8th or 9th cycle of post break-up depression. Right then and there, I noticed, I was doing it again. I was re-returning. I was re-returning by going back to a show that I typically use as my routine pick-me-up whenever I’m sad. I was re-returning by thinking of my ex-boyfriend again. And it always follows the same pattern.

I’m a slave to the familiar. A clinger. I tend to hold onto things and people as tightly as possible, dismissing the reality of hindsight bias, which is when you look back at a particular situation and say to yourself, “It wasn’t all that bad” (even though it really was at the time).
 
So, I had to ask myself Meredith Grey’s question of 
“What’s worse? New wounds, which are so horribly painful or old wounds that should have healed years ago, but never did?” 
To be quite frank, I honestly don’t know because apparently I always lean towards feeling the pain of old wounds that I never allow to fully heal.
 
Albert Einstein once said, 
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” 
Even as I am quoting this universal genius, I am already aware that I’ve quoted him in past writing which proves that I am, in fact, an insane person for continuously repeating my own history by going back to old habits.
 
I wonder, what makes us so afraid of creating new wounds? Old wounds aren’t any less painful than new ones. If anything, old wounds are actually more painful in the sense that re-opening them continues to make the scar worse until you are so far damaged that you’re actually incapable of creating new wounds. 
 
Re-opening old wounds, re-returning to those things and people who have hurt us, increases our risk for paralysis and that just terrifies me to my core.
 
If you ever observe children as they are running or playing, they don’t have that fear of getting hurt. They just do what they please and risk the pain because they are resilient and they can heal quicker than us adults can.
 
I’m afraid that I have re-opened too many old wounds to the point where I really am afraid of creating new ones. I’m afraid that I’m becoming that broken, cynical, scarred person that I once dreaded becoming.
 
Adulthood is nothing like I had expected it to be. I never imagined that the plans I had set out for myself wouldn’t go as I anticipated. I never imagined that the people I cared so deeply about would hurt me so much. I never imagined that I would even allow people to hurt me so badly.
 
But, I did. And I still am.
 
They say that time heals all wounds. Well, I’ve learned that time alone doesn’t do that phrase justice. You, as an individual, also have to make a conscious effort to protect yourself by leaving old wounds alone and allowing time to take its course.

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.

Return from the Philippines

I arrived home from my trip to the Philippines late Thursday night. To say that this trip was amazing is the understatement of the year. This trip was necessary. It was emotional, joyous, and difficult. It was worth every penny spent. I couldn’t even say that you could truly put a price on experiences like these. I want to begin my recap, but I honestly don’t even know where to start. I haven’t even fully re-adjusted to my life back home to be able to discuss how much this trip meant to me. But, since I’ve caught a bit of the writing bug on this late Sunday night, I can’t let it pass, so here I go:

On the first day of our arrival in the Philippines, my parents, sister and I were greeted by a mass of our relatives. I had never met my Dad’s side of the family in-person before, but it felt like I’ve known them my entire life. We had lunch together that day and there was no denying that this family was my blood. Everyone was happy, with large smiles on their face to be able to share this first meal with us. That day, I still couldn’t believe that I was physically there.

Throughout the duration of our trip, we traveled to several places; Tagaytay, Batangas, Taytay Rizal, Zambales. We saw many different parts of the Philippines, ate an extraordinary amount of food, did a lot of shopping, and bonded as a family. I find it impossible to fully explain every detail of my trip in this short blog post, but I can say that in the mere two weeks that I was there, I was able to discover a whole new part of my family and myself.

The thing that I love the most about travel is being able to see a side of yourself in a place that you’ve never been before; being faced with unfamiliar situations is a significant part of life. It helps you realize things you never knew before. It helps you learn. It helps you grow.

Now that I’m back home, I’m honestly heartbroken, sad, and missing the time spent with my family. I’m the opposite of homesick. I want to be there instead of here. I’ve realized many things upon returning back from my trip and the main thing is that my family is the most important thing in my life.

Now that I’m back home, I’m realizing that I’m not okay with my life here. I’m not fulfilled, not even content. The only thing that has seemed to bring me true happiness recently is being with my family and enjoying their company. To feel love that powerful scares me. It makes me wonder if I can ever find that kind of love anywhere else in life.

I went home by myself because I have to go back to work on Monday. My parents and sister stayed in the Philippines for an extra week. Being apart from my family while they are still there makes me feel like a piece of me is missing. I don’t even want to dare think of how my life would be without them, but I do and just being separated from them hurts.

I think that throughout my entire life, I’d been looking for a kind of love like this; unconditional love. Aside from family and God, I’m scared that I will never find someone else to love me the way my family does. I don’t think I could even love myself the way my family does. Being back home just reminds me of that.

The trip has enlightened me a great deal. I know they say you can’t find someone to love you until you truly love yourself and I think that was the problem all along for me.

I’m thankful for this trip. I hope to go back to the Philippines soon. But until then, I’m going to keep working on myself.

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.

Think.

I’m sure that most of you have heard the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”

Well, most of the time, we do. Actually, it could be safe to say that some of us always do. It’s human nature though. Sometimes, we just can’t help it.

For example, you fall in love with an apartment that you end up buying, but later find out that it has plumbing issues, the floorboards are crooked, and the bathroom has mold. You probably should have looked into this before signing the paperwork, but you were so blinded by your obsession with the great location, the floor plan layout, and the fact that the building has an elevator with a doorman. It’s hard to think about the negatives when all you see are the positives.

Now, I’m not encouraging anyone to be pessimistic, but I’m starting to think that maybe we should be a little more careful with the decisions that we make in our lives as we get older.

It’s much easier when you were a kid. You had the freedom to make silly decisions because silly decisions were all you had. The consequences weren’t as dire because your parents were usually the ruling hand (aside from teachers) The worst thing that could happen to you is your parents take away your toys and you’re left to sulk in silence. How terrible, right?

As we get older, the consequences that we receive come from all types of outside factors that could change the course of our lives forever.

I recently read a Medium article that my sister shared with me called, “I have 46 Thanksgiving dinners left with my family. After that, I’ll be Dead” It really dawned on me about how little time we have left on this earth. It suggested that we really start appreciating the people in our lives and the time we spend with our family, to stop worrying about the bullshit, and to be present in the memories that we are making.

As we get older, the more important decisions could come down to, “Should I switch job industries?” or “Should I fly out to spend Thanksgiving with my family or just stay here with my friends?”

These are the decisions that could change our lives forever. But I warn you, take a few minutes to step back and really think about what you’re doing because some decisions can’t be made undone.

What if the reason you were changing job industries was because there was another realm of business that “seemed” like it was doing better. Or what if you chose to spend your Thanksgiving with your friends because it would have been too much of a hassle to go home during a holiday?

At the moment, it seems like a minuscule decision, but these are the decisions that could breed the largest consequences.

What if you did change job industries and that business tanked? What if you missed Thanksgiving with your family and that was the last time you could have seen one of your relatives because he or she passed a few weeks later?

Sometimes, certain choices seem more appealing at the time, but as you get older, you can’t judge a book by its cover. You can’t make split second decisions the way that you used to because you don’t have the same time as you did when you were 17. You never know what could happen. Some people come into your life and you want to put all of your cards down on the table for them, but in the end, you wind up alone because they never wanted the same things that you did. You have to look at the signs. You have to read through all the pages. You have to make the decisions that will be better for you in the long run.

I’m not discouraging anyone from taking risks or fulfilling their dreams. That’s not what I’m writing about at all. I’m just encouraging you to think.

It’s true that we become more afraid as we grow older. When we were kids, we would run as fast as we could without the fear of falling or getting hurt. Now, we’re so much more cautious with our hearts. But we must protect our hearts as we get older. That’s why we need to make more conscious decisions with the less and less time we have left on this earth.

Hold Onto What You Love

This will be the first time that I’m writing about running in quite some time, so pardon me if I’m a bit rusty.

Somewhere along the journey of my path to “finding myself”, I lost my connection to running. I’ve had a disconnect from this part of my life ever since I got promoted to a new job within my company back in November of 2013.

I used to work directly with Runner’s World Magazine, where I had hands on experience working with the people who really made the magazine come to life. In my first year and a half of working at Runner’s World, I was fully immersed in all things running. I ran my first half marathon, my second half marathon, and eventually my first full marathon all within the very first year of working at my company. It was surreal. It was a dream come true.

However, somewhere along the way, my priorities shifted. After I got promoted, running became more of a sideline task. It became an “if I have time” item on my to-do list. Ever since that happened, I’ve felt more lost than I’ve ever been in my whole life.

Throughout my life, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing out a list of goals that I want to accomplish in the beginning of every new year. One of my goals for 2014 was to run another half marathon and full marathon. So far, I’ve gone through all of 2014 without running a single race, not even a 5K.

I signed up for the San Francisco Marathon back in January/February. By doing that, I planted the idea in my head that I was going to complete my goal of running a marathon this year.

Later in March, my friend and I decided to spontaneously book a trip to Australia (which was actually another goal on my 2014 list – to travel to a foreign country)

As the weeks went by and the San Francisco Marathon was getting closer and closer, I ended up backing out of running it. I had to sacrifice the race to save money for my trip to Australia. I had booked my flight to be exactly one week after the day of the marathon – A wonderful idea that was on my part…not.

Not running the San Francisco Marathon was devastating. I was heartbroken. I was completely disappointed with myself because I’ve never set my sights for a goal that I couldn’t eventually accomplish.

After a series of discouraging events prior to my trip to Australia, I was feeling defeated. I’ve always been a very lucky person. Things have always somehow worked out for me without ever having to put in too much effort.

This year did not follow that pattern.

But, in a bizarre turn of events, my year began looking up ever since I returned from my trip, reassuring me that things really do eventually work out…with time.

Therefore, I’m proud to announce that I will be running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon on November 2nd, giving me hope that although I was down, I am not out.

I’ve began training again for the first time in over a year and I have never felt more alive. There’s something about running that makes me feel balanced. There’s something about it that makes me feel like I have meaning in my life. I may be wrong, but I think that’s called passion.

So my advice to you is this: If you have found something or someone that makes you feel completely alive, makes you feel completely lost if you don’t have it, makes you wake up in the morning feeling like you can conquer the world, then PLEASE by all means, hold onto it.

It’s very rare to find something or someone that you truly care about and life is just too short to roam the earth feeling lost.

Never Forget

I’ve been working in New York City for almost two and a half years now.

I started working here on June 4th, 2012.

I moved into the city on December 1st, 2012.

I moved out of the City on May 31st, 2014.

With all the changes that have happened in my life and the lives of others over these past few years, the city seems to always remain the same. However, there are still certain days that have an impact on me and at this point, will most likely continue to have an impact on me for the rest of my life; those significant days that bring crashing waves of memories because it changed your life.

As I commuted into the city this morning to go to work, there was a difference that I felt.

Today is the 13th anniversary of the day that New York City’s twin towers were attacked. I was in my sixth grade English class at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Edison, New Jersey when it happened. The impact of this event never hit as close to home as it has in my recent years since I’ve had an attachment to New York City.

When I entered Penn Station this morning, there was a memorial ceremony taking place in remembrance of 9/11. I was going to continue on my way to work, but I stopped to watch for a few minutes and my suddenly eyes began tearing.

I had no idea what came over me, but a wave of emotions took over and I was completely filled with sadness. As I got on the subway, I started thinking back on my life in New York City and how much it has changed me. I started thinking of all the past and present struggles in my life. I thought about why in the world I even chose to work in such an overwhelming place. As I looked around at the people who were next to me on the subway, I wondered if they were thinking the same thing.

I never thought that I would end up here. To be honest, I hated the idea of even being in the city when I was younger. I hated the smell, hated the crowds, hated the speed of everything.

Not until I started working here did I embrace this lifestyle.

This morning, I thought about how strong of a city New York really is and moreover, how strong the people inhabiting this city are. I thought about the impact that it has on millions of people.

I remembered why I fell in love with this city, with all of its seductive qualities; its chaos.

Then, realized why I became so sad this morning. I started to think about how close to home 9/11 really does hit me now and how close to home it hits to not only the people who live or work here, but to those who are outside of New York City; It hits not only just the United States, but the entire world.

New York City is made up of an endless combination of human beings. There are people living and working here who have come from every corner of the Earth. In the few years that I have been here, I’ve been moved by so many people who all have a unique story and attachment to New York City. To me, this place, this concrete jungle is my home. It’s no surprise that when I traveled all the way to Australia, I introduced myself as being from New York City instead of my actual hometown in New Jersey.

Everyone has some sort of attachment to this place. For some reason, it attracts all types of people and we will never fully understand why. It’s dirty, loud, and overall stressful to be in. But I do love it.

I’ve fallen in love a few times before – three to be exact. But the one love that has changed me the most is the love I have for New York City.

I know it’s a little melodramatic and exaggerated to say, but I fell truly, madly, and deeply in love with this place.

I watch television shows like Friends, Sex and the City, and How I Met Your Mother and I can fully understand and relate to everything that they reference.

To my friends who haven’t experienced the city the way I have, who haven’t worked or lived here, believe me when I say that you can never fully understand. There’s just something about being in New York City constantly; something that keeps us on our toes and wanting more. But, it’s definitely not for everyone.

So, on this day, when I think about the attack that happened on 9/11, I’m overcome with emotion. Because how dare someone attack something I love so much?

There will always be days that I will never forget. The day I started working here. The day I moved in. The day I moved out. And today.

Today is one of those days.