🍁November🍁

November Update

I feel very sheepish about posting half-baked ideas, particularly the ones that I am still labouring to process. However, I am a practicing imperfectionist, who is learning to embrace the idea that: if I wait for all my ideas and research to be perfect, then I may have missed the most valuable element: time. Or, in the words of Alex Hormozi, whose work ethic I revere: “By the time you have complete information, the opportunity has closed.

So here I am, squirming to post these raw, unrefined thoughts but posting them nonetheless. 🥂 To stepping outside of our comfort zone.

November came and went in the blink of an eye. I am still trudging through my “third-life crisis”, trying to discern which axioms to best live my life by. While I have been holding tightly onto the people who love me and remind me of the essence of who they know me to be, I also know that I have strayed into the company of vague acquaintances and surfaced conversations. My excuse is that: after long hours of working, learning, and deliberating about the directions for the next stage of my life, sometimes my mind just needs a break, an escape. While I am not too proud of those nights out, nor the company that I had kept, I think they just might be necessary to preserve my sanity for the moment.

Besides my struggle to equilibrate between Romanticism and Pragmaticism (as per my October update), I have also been vacillating between living in the present and planning for the future. Specifically:

How Does One Hope for the Future and Live in the Present Simultaneously?

There are countless wisdom and philosophies about the only path to pure and absolute happiness in living in the present,
and just as much teachings about striving for the future. Here’s what I mean:

Present

True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.

Eckhart Tolle

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.

Henry David Thoreau

Future

We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.

Franklin D. Roosevelt


Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Albert Einstein


Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.

Thich Nhat Hanh


Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.

Nelson Mandela

If these two concepts weren’t dichotomic, then perhaps I wouldn’t be having such a hard time.

Anyways! Here are some photos for those of you who are more visually inclined:

November in Pictures

Whistler getaway with mom&dad💙
Went blonde again after some years
Celebrating beautiful girl friends💙

That’s it from me! Thank you for reading, and for being part of this journey with me💙 Until next time!

How to Reassess Your Stagnant Beliefs and Make Your Life Extraordinary?

“This is how humans are: We question all our beliefs, except for the ones that we truly believe in, and those we never think to question.”

― Orson Scott Card

I recently came across this quote that has left my spirit rather restless.
When it comes to beliefs that I feel unapologetically convicted about, my confirmation bias tends to take over, rendering my judgements unreliable. How does one rectify one’s obstinate—and perhaps what ought to be obsolete—beliefs, to improve oneself?

Exhibit A of a Stagnant Belief of mine: My Romantic Ideologies.

I am a romantic, who pretends not to be. My personalities swing like pendulums between idealism and pragmatism. There are my hopes and dreams for people, for my relationships, for the future, and then there are my crude understanding of the reality. Whenever I hear stories about how relationships fail to work, I am reminded of the obsolescence of romanticism. Since I’ve read the quote above a few weeks ago, I have been seriously considering abandoning my romantic ideologies, I just haven’t quite figured out how yet.

And if I may be a hundred percent transparent, a huge part of me preemptively mourns and weeps for the loss of that romantic part of me. After all, if I am no longer a romantic, would I still be me?

Extraordinary accomplishments come from doing ordinary things for extraordinary periods of time.

– Alex Hormozi

This was another quote I came across recently that has really resonated with me. It has succinctly captured a powerful concept that I couldn’t quite articulate well myself; it is the notion that: both the quality AND quantity we invest into our goals define how successful we will be at it. Alex Hormozi said that doing 100 repetition of anything well, will result in noticeable improvements, however incremental it may be. It is not any one workout that we do is impressive, rather, the culmination of workouts that we day in and day out, devote ourselves to, that make a difference.

Have I devoted enough time and energy into the goals that I vehemently care about? Have you? If not, what we some of the accountability measures we can implement to ensure that we are doing our due diligence to be better, rather than waiting passively, praying and hoping that our desired goals would miraculously manifest themselves?

Showing up for myself💪

Temptations

Friday night—lights dimmed, music loud, slightly inebriated, you saw him walking towards you. “Hey” he leaned in, his voice a rich baritone. “Can I buy you a drink?”

You caught a whiff of his cologne, musky sandalwood. Your favourite. You can feel the tinge of excitement in your chest, the very first telltale sign of a thrilling love adventure. “Sure,” you said, fervently containing your wandering mind.

He put his hand on your waist as he ordered a drink from the bartender. You took a closer look at him: fresh haircut, smooth complexion, understated designer pieces, crisp blazer without so much as a hairline wrinkle. You smiled, attempting to mask how much you appreciated his attention to detail, and taste in the finer things. But most importantly, how he fixed his gaze on you, how attentively he listened, how enamored he seemed—how special he made you feel.

One, then two, then three drinks later, your friends have already gone home. But the conversation was so scintillating, you couldn’t bring yourself to leave. So you stayed. You talked about investment, about travel, about exercise, about books, about all the things that enchant your heart. Before you know it, the bar was about to close.

“Wanna come over to my place for a couple more drinks? I am just a few minutes away.” he asked unassumingly and earnestly.

Your heart skipped a beat, partially at how fondly you have grown of him, partially at the impasse you are now faced with. “Do I go? What will I tell my husband?” What up to then had only been a fleeting flirtatious encounter has suddenly developed into something with potential. “It’s just a couple more drinks. There’s nothing wrong with making new friends as long as I don’t cross the line,” you nonchalantly convinced yourself, muffling out the voice in your head that was screaming, “YOU ARE PLAYING WITH FIRE!”

Chocolate, Vanilla, Choose.

Recently I have learned an acronym “MBA”, which stands for Married But Available, that has unsettled me in unexpected ways. The concept in and of itself is repulsive to me. Being a hopeless romantic myself, raised in a family wherein my parents are engrossed (yes, engrossed, tunnel-visioned, head-over-heels, the whole nine yards) in each other, I am reluctant to imagine marital dynamic in any other fashion.

That said, I am not naive and oblivious to the realities of life. I understand that what my parents have is precious and rare, that in fact, most marriages are not like that. I also understand how easy it is to acquiesce to temptation. How, it is not about choosing to hurt the person you are married to, rather, it is just not choosing them. I’d like to believe that most people are not malicious nor cruel. If they cheat on their spouses, their intention was most likely to follow their heart, to indulge in the heat and to chase thrill of the moment.

What unsettled me was how easy it is to forgo these socially constructed moral guidelines, and how capable we are of unintentionally hurting the people that we care deeply about, just by chasing the desires of our heart.

Do you ever face temptations? Or are you unfazed by them?

Choose Someone Who Chooses You

This is another ‘fluff’ post on LOVE, because I unabashedly enjoy capturing the abstract, intangible feelings, and etching them into words.

In a world cloaked in a myriad of temptations, staying in a committed relationship requires relentless and adamant effort on both parties to choose each other. Every text soliciting your attention, every invitation beseeching your presence, every exciting possibility enticing your imagination, every palatable spark wetting your ravenous appetite for adventures—is an occasion in which you will have to decide whether you are going to choose your partner, or not. Since—so often— love is a slippery steep slope (hence the phrase “fall in love” instead of “walk in love”), who knows what a quick rendezvous could lead to?

Fall in love with someone who is both your safe place and biggest adventure.

Bianca Sparacino

Over the years, I have developed special “tunnel vision goggles” that I put on whenever I am in a committed relationship. What I struggled with, was when I wasn’t chosen the same way. Whenever that happened, I’d find myself entertaining an occasional ‘friendly’ dinner, accepting a ‘friendly’ afternoon stroll, or things alike. I have never cheated. But I guess at that juncture of the relationship, cheating was already besides the point. The point would have been: When two people stop choosing each other, the relationship is on its way out.

So, perhaps that’s the first telltale sign of falling out of love, of the demise of a relationship—when two people stop choosing each other all the time. Because, if one’s only faithful 99% of the time, are they still faithful?

What do YOU think the first telltale sign of falling out of love is?

Briefly Gorgeous

Caution: You are about to enter a raw, unrefined, fragmented, still-being-processed post. It may induce great confusion and even frustration. Proceed at your own risk.
I am posting it this way because life is not neat and tidy, neither is how I feel right now.

Cheers, to vulnerability.

August 24, 2022

I retraced my footsteps back to exactly a year ago today, ordering the exact same drink, sitting on the exact same bench, and finished reading this book that I had started more than a year ago. Much has changed since then, though I am still fascinated by the idea of how one single act has the butterfly effect of changing the entire trajectory of one’s day, one’s year, and even one’s life.

I guess in the grand scheme of things, a year is short. But because life is what happens in the little moments, I am often caught in this paradoxical situation of focusing on the big picture while savouring the minute details.

A year ago today, I had recently broke up with my ex, to whom I was briefly engaged. I started dating casually and one of the people I was seeing suggested that we read On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous together. So I did. I brought the book with me to other dates. Is it ironic that one of the dates that the book went on with me outlasted the person I was reading the book with?

While I am not a subscriber to “Everything Happens for a Reason”, I do think that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Some action-reaction, cause-and-effect, and the general proclivity of the atoms and molecules render us here. Though, this would also mean that free-will, may or may not be, just an illusion? Like I said, this post is written raw and unrefined. I will continue to ruminate on it.

Thank you for reading my irresponsible, scattered thoughts. I’ll be back with more eloquence next time!

We all fall prey to nonsense at times,
and sometimes, we are fool enough to even love it.

Our Warring Self vs. Loving Self

The beauty of the world which is so soon to perish, has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder

Virginia Woolf

Within most of us, there is a lovingself, and a warringself. While our loving-self endows us with bottomless source of love, our warring-self shelters our hearts from the sometimes abrasive and hostile world. Undeniably, both of them serve a critical purpose in life. However, in order to not sever and wound the people we love, we need to be able to discern when to let our loving-self surface.

Hardened by reality, it is common for us to forget how to lay down our warring selves—especially when we are with those who are closest to us. We sometimes find ourselves in heated conversations with fingers pointing, guns blazing, occupying as much physical space as possible, only to camouflage how small we actually feel inside.

“Why can’t you just see that I am hurting?” We scream loudly and hopelessly in our heads. But only in our heads.

So HOW do we stop our warring, raging-self before we irrevocably damage the relationship? HOW do we summon our loving-self amid such blinding emotions?

It only takes a split second—a willful, courageous split second—to picture your loved ones as their child-selves: benevolent and hurt. Hurt. Because after all, anger, frustration, and resentment, are all byproduct of hurt and fear. If we can take a moment to see beyond the warring-self of our loved ones, then we could change the trajectory of the conversation, and even the entire dynamic of the relationship.

No, it is not easy. But nothing worth fighting for comes easy, does it?

4 Steps to Get Them to Commit to You

Are you in a serious relationship and wanting to move forward with your partner but they are not quite ready to fully commit to you? Then this post might offer you some insight!

Step 1. Find Yourself a Self-regulating Routine

Find at least one self-regulating routine that settles your thoughts, harbours your heart, shelters you while you process and heal. Diligently practice this routine until it is securely locked in, such that you can access this safe space for solace at will.

Step 2. Silence the Noises Around You

All our lives, we are surrounded by explicit and implicit social pressure to comport ourselves a certain way. It is important to silence the noises around you so you can discern whether your desire for settling down, for marriage, is truly what you want, instead of what you should want. Allow yourself to marinate in the discomfort of visualizing what it may be like in a myriad of scenarios.

With crude honesty, picture yourself in your old age, what do you see yourself doing? Are you salsa dancing with other old folks, laughing to your heart’s content? Are you meandering in and out of the streets of foreign cities, savouring the sweetness of exotic air? Are you held by your significant other, recounting the adventures you’ve had whilst planning for new ones? Are you surrounded by your children, who are probably adults now, organizing your next family vacation?

What do you see yourself doing? If the thought of having a family and a lifelong partner by your side brought a smile to your face, more so than the other scenarios, then proceed to Step 3. If not, then enjoy your relationship for what is it and what it isn’t. Life is too short to adhere to abstract societal expectations that don’t align with your own dreams.

Step 3. Have a Safe Conversation with Your Partner

First of all, a SAFE conversation means: no ultimatums, no judgement, no condemnation, no contempt, no guilt-tripping, no gaslighting, no threats.

Have a safe and honest conversation with your partner about what you are looking for in your relationship. Keep an open mind to actually hear what your partner has to say. Allow your partner the time and space to process because they most likely haven’t had as much time to think about this topic as you have. Agree upon a time to reconvene and finish the conversation if your partner needs more time.

When you reconvene, RESPECT your partner’s decision, even if it isn’t what you want.

If they come back, wanting to commit to you on their own accord, because the thought of not having you in their life hurt more than any other alternative, then congratulations to your happily ever after!

If they come back, not wanting to commit to a lifetime with you, know that it has nothing to do with your worth or theirs, and then proceed to Step 4.

Step 4. Let Go

Acceptance is a small, quiet room. You cannot change anyone else but yourself. Let your partner go. Repeat Step 1 until you no longer feel the void that your partner has left behind. Muster up some courage. Begin again.

Hope this helps!

His face had softened: as if just being a moment with her had relaxed him, allowed him to be someone different. I guess this is what marriage is, or was, or could be. You drop the mask. You allow the fatigue in. You lean across and kiss the years because they’re the things that matter.

How Do You Know If You Are Cherished?

Every human being needs to know what they’re fighting for. And he fought for her.

A Man Called Ove

One of the things I’ve decided to never settle for, is being cherished in a relationship. But being cherished is so subjective, so fluid, so abstract, how can I put it into concrete terms such that my partner can understand? While this may seem like a trite thought exercise, it has actually forced me to be brazenly honest about what is important to me.

1. Allocation of Resources

In this world where everything is a finite resource, be it: time, money, energy or affection, when the other person is willingly (NOT at your behest) offering you the best of their resources, that would be indicative of how important you are, how cherished you are.

For instance,

  • Do you get the best of their time, or what is left of it?
  • Do they spend time reading what you read, learning about what captivates your mind in order to better understand you, to grow with you?
  • When they can only afford one materialistic item, do they buy something for themselves or do they buy something for you?
  • Does your relationship feel like a quid pro quo wherein you have to protect and defend your own rights?

2. Loving You for You

  • Do you feel safe enough to be unapologetically you, knowing that you won’t be judged?
  • Are you loved because of your imperfections not despite of them?

3. Surrendering Their Ego

  • Are they willing to lay down their ego and have a vulnerable conversation with you?
  • Do they apologize even when they are not wrong, because no amount of ego is worth hurting you?
  • When push comes to shove, do they choose to take care of themselves or do they choose you?

By now you may think I am an unrealistic, hopeless romantic. To be fair, if it wasn’t because I have witnessed the aforementioned unfettered love from my own parents, as well as from a few other close friends, I may not have believed such love exists, either. Alas, what has been seen cannot be unseen—to cherish and be deeply cherished is a non-negotiable.

Friends that know you need some TLC🤍

Disenchanted

Ships in the night⛵️

Have You Ever Wondered Why

people write so much about falling in love and/or being heartbroken but not so much about falling out of love?

“There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love. Sibyl Vane seemed to him to be absurdly melodramatic. Her tears and sobs annoyed him.” — Oscar Wilde

Grow Together | Grow Apart

People either grow together or grow apart.

Growing apart is easy. Entropy is scientifically proven to be the natural proclivity of things, of life. So unless we intentionally invest in time and energy to move towards an organized outcome/goal, most states of affairs fall apart, relationships as well. Relationships especially.

“Sorry I missed your call; I was in a meeting,” she texted after having intentionally screened the call to avoid a phone conversation.

“Sorry, I can’t come out tonight. I am caught up at work,” he lied, as he poured himself a drink.

“Ugh. I’m so sorry but can we reschedule? My niece asked if I could help her with work this weekend,” she said apologetically, making sure that she weaved her niece into the lie so it sounded more believable, and less refutable.

Because growing together requires commitment, intentionality, hard work, whereas growing apart only requires the withdrawal of effort.

Because in Chocolate, Vanilla, Choose, not choosing is also a choice.

The family I chose🤍

“So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest, a little boy and his bear will always be playing.”