an ode to my favorite personal brand, current reads, and new year resolution

Currently Reading: When to Jump by Mike Lewis

An ode:

Here’s me using my favorite social influencer as an example of well, reality we forget to realize is under our nose! @thegreylayers

Picture this: a young, late 20s woman, quit her typical workforce/corporate gig a couple of years ago to enter a saturated market based on pop culture trends, consumerism, and often an invisible idea of “inspiration” (whatever that is). Current status: CEO of her own personal brand and living her best life.

I struggle with some of the messages she writes, BUT I think that’s also why I also love and can’t get enough of her feed. I’m so disturbed sometimes it hits a nerve. A nerve that at this time, I can’t change. Reading rants intending to inspire people to “let it go”, travel, explore, denounce status quo, essentially go against the grain— it’s often too easy to be said than done (especially to the extent she does, sometimes jetsetting multiple countries in limited dates, sometimes first class).. when I read phrases like that they often make me roll my eyes when it’s meant to speak to me. She appears to live this lavish life of jewels, designer things, world travel, and a free spirit. I would define her nothing short of lavish and it irks me when the reality of my mundane life working for the richest man in the world making a grain of sand compared to the ocean of his profits kicks in. Done wrong, this kind of life rubbed in your face can often come off as privilege.

As I go through my quarter life crisis, I’m distributed that I can’t take phrases like “let it go” or “travel” or “explore” so literally because, well, money. But if you pay attention to what is behind the photos of people like @thegreylayers, I’ve come to know someone my age who figured out young that if you’re smart and deliberate about all your choices, what you let into your life, where and what you invest your money in, what you choose to affect your overall well being— anything if not everything you want is possible. And when you do it correctly and share your real story instead of a pretend version people expect you to tell— people will know and it is a blessing, and not a right nor a privilege— to live that lavish life and tell people to try it too.

Here’s what I learned. Be deliberate to bless yourself. Everything comes down to your choices— from the things you spend your money on, where you spend your time, the things you read, follow in IG/Twitter— it all becomes the energy you attract!

Don’t let the world create you as school systems from a young age and generations before us subconsciously tell us— or become victim to marketing and societal messaging— create your own world of defined “lavish”. Today at least, for me that means determining what I buy second hand or brand new for my apartment. Saying no to having a closet with higher end things so I can afford to pay the credit card bill that paid for our European family vacation. My deliberate choices may not mean I have the same sacrifices nor the same gains my inspirational Instagram heroine gets to call lavish— and I hope that one day that changes for me. But in no way am I discontent where I stand, or would I be ashamed to take about my struggles, and still call myself satisfied. I’m satisfied knowing there’s so much more coming as I intend to continue to be disturbed when someone challenges what I think is impossible based on my situation, challenging me to be deliberate about well, my life.

Someone told me long ago I had to go to college to make money, get “a good paying job with benefits”… to do that I had to use money I didn’t have and expect to pay it back with a future I couldn’t guarantee. Now I’m working hard and sleeping little but no regrets because I love my career and trajectory. But I’m also indebted to Sally Mae and there’s probably a reason I’m telling my Lyft drivers I can’t wait to retire when I’m only 27 years old. Maybe reminders to let it go, explore, and challenge ourselves are just what we all need to be a little disturbed and get us to be more of ourselves every day.

In 2019 my resolution is to challenge myself and others who believe that you need to be driven by where the money is. Instead, be moved to know that money will come where you are driven.

Lastly, I’ve wanted for a long time to write a post about the world “successful.” Two years ago someone told me they were really happy for me for being “successful”. I laughed because then and now I still don’t know what my end game is. Based on where I spend my 9-5, it’s funny how many people use this word to describe me— a person. Let’s leave calling people “successful” in 2018. Success is a status for feats and things, not people— there is no singular right or wrong way to define the end goal.

(Written at SEATAC airport waiting for my delayed flight home.)

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good energy is not overrated

On my drive earlier today while crossing an intersection, I heard a pedestrian sarcastically say to me “yeah keep on driving” as he and his family approached a corner. As a pedestrian about 90% of the time, I know that it’s my priority to not assume right of way, but safety first. I had the unfortunate experience of hearing his sarcastic comments and after he said it I could feel my blood pressure wanting to rise. My mind was already in rationalization mode ready to explain myself and my right of way. My middle finger was burning (kidding). I literally took a deep breath and stopped myself. I realized I wasn’t upset just because he was judging my driving, I was upset because he chose to use his words to be rude and spread bad energy directly toward me by being snarky and passing judgement on my driving.

Despite right of way (which I had because they weren’t actually at the corner yet), I should have considered his family. I was not in the wrong, but I wasn’t being kind as most Seattle drivers are in giving right of way even to even jaywalking pedestrians who are in no rush to cross… also, his kids could have gone rogue.

To be honest he probably hated me because I drive a bimmer.

Moments like these remind me why I revitalize myself through taking advantage of regenerating good energy every day.

Make conscious efforts to be introspective and reevaluate how to be the best version of me if someone expresses that maybe I’m not. When I’m angry, irritated, frustrated or annoyed, or receive criticism, I stop myself first to understand. It occurred to me that the root of complaining, and many arguments for any matter, is somewhere among an unwillingness to understand, ungratefulness, miscommunication or misinterpretation. I think how could I be wrong based on what I am being judged for or is being argued? How can I be better based on what they are saying? How can I stop the spread of negativity in this moment both to myself and others based on what I choose to say or not say? Do or not do?

Do you stop to pause in moments like this?

I do my best to make conscious efforts to compliment people if they have something I like. Or do something that is worthy of appreciation. Accomplish something, surprise me, or wow me. And I hope they know I only say it if I mean it. It has nothing at all to do with validation. I find myself even stopping to learn how much investment, time, skill or talent goes into something someone else does or makes and through that understanding grow a new meaning of appreciation.  I remember how both surprising and amazing that blush feels whenever I’m on the receiving end of a compliment and I hope it comes off the same to those I give it to. It’s the one thing we literally have infinite funds to give to others and it costs nothing. Do you feel like you give and receive that enough?

I’m a firm believer that we need more moments of deep breaths before we bitch and moan and more moments of celebrating good things simply for being good.

Small compliments are ordinary but the positivity that it brings to those around is pretty freakin fantastic if you ask me and I want to live in a world where we lift up our neighbors just because we can.

Good energy is not overrated.

reincarnation of my blog

When I first started writing my thoughts formally, the purpose was to simply share things I believed were thought provoking through the lense of my learning. Intended to come out of course, in a much more sophisticated way than my Xanga days.

Let’s try this again…

Wisdomify

Intriguing how many of the things these wise old folks say, you know, those who try to pass one some worldly wisdom to us young kids about what they learned from “back in their day”… I realize their words somehow become truer as my own time goes on.

In the grand scheme of life, I’m still a young gal. But I find that the more things I do, experiences I have– whether they be day by day, through travel, bigger things like moving out, getting a new job/promotion, (and others alike)– the more I move forward, the more I surprise myself and want to simplify. There’s the saying “you’ll only know it if you try”– I always thought that meant I would like something if I tried it. I think now it means that sometimes you won’t… and that’s okay. Sometimes even better proving yourself wrong.

Simplify.

Humblify. (made this one up)

I’ve been going through a bit of irony lately, where I can remember the time when all I wanted to do was grow up. I wanted to move out to my own place, I wanted to always spend New Years Eve with “friends”– partying or something… I feel myself wanting to be closer to my family. Maybe it has to do with money and responsibilities. Maybe it has to do with being afraid that real adulthood is actually pretty terrifying. Is this the quarter-life crisis hormones?

All alone she was living in a world without an end or beginning

Babygirl was living life for the feeling’~

There are many things I can say about the beauty of travel. One way to put it (according to Daranna Gidel, thanks Mavis!) is that “You lose sight of things.. and when you travel, everything balances out.” I’m grateful for a reflective 25th birthday celebration spent in an ever-so interesting, exotic country where my boundaries, patience, friendships, responsibilities, self respect and self worth were tested.. where I could open my eyes and see how much more grand this earth is in comparison to my life.. and how humbling that is. There is so much more out there and I am ready for the adventures to feed my curiosity.

As I move forward in what seems will be the next half, third, or hopefully quarter of my life, I’m not the type to pass up an opportunity to be optimistic and hopeful. Henry Ford said “If you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” Well, this is my year of believing in myself so hard that I’m going to make it. It’s my year of understanding while there are so many things I cannot change, I must take advantage of the things I can. In my personal case, it will be my career, my journey to independence and adulthood, responsibilities, love. It’s my year of believing that in order to get to where my dreams reside, I owe no one my time nor an explanation except myself. It’s my year of accepting that picture-perfect doesn’t always exist and that everyone finds “perfect” in their own way, and I need to find my way and own it. It’s my year of self improving, that the person who others see on the outside of me is also the person I am on the inside.

Often times, friends use the phrase “you are the nicest person I’ve ever met.” While this is thrown around usually without thought, each time it comes to me I take it to heart. I think to myself, wow I can name someone I know who is way nicer or more patient or more thoughtful and selfless than I am. One of my goals this year is to truly live up to this phrase. To be more patient, generous, selfless (and more). In an effort to do so, if any of my friends and family members are reading, I ask you to be active and not passive in our friendship; if there is something you feel is a flaw or weakness of mine that can be improved, kindly (and I mean kindly!) let me know. I’m a firm believer that people are only the way they are (negatively) because no one told them otherwise. I invite you to challenge me to be the best version of myself by offering your constructive criticism and thoughts and words of wisdom. Whereas often times it is hard to listen to our flaws, I would rather endure the pain than inflict it upon someone else. In return I offer my honesty and thoughtfulness, as long as it is welcomed, as a friend to you too.

The secret to success is in the routine you do everyday.. I am thinking about this every day and taking these mantras and viewpoints quite literally. (#PoliticallyCorrect being my pet peeve!).. which me luck!

In another perspective, I dedicate this year to love and be myself unapologetically– you see, people are always telling me to do that, to love myself and I always thought it was a bunch of bologna.  But what it means to me today, is that I need to love myself and care for myself before I worry about others. I need to forgive myself for mistakes, past decisions and commit to them because they make up a part of me, but use the lessons and regrets that have resulted to be better the next round. And more importantly, to love myself means that while I embrace that I will always be a hopeful romantic who wears my heart on my sleeve, and constantly believes in a happy ending, I cannot look for myself and my purpose in someone else. I can only do things that are beneficial to things I believe in, what is best for me, and things that make me proud and hope that this attracts the right people to be in my circle, whoever, wherever and whenever that is. This is my year of looking at myself with new eyes and falling in love with who I see as I change before my eyes.

Back to the note of travel.. There are so many people who exist on this earth who never leave their hometown, their home province, let alone try to venture outside of their home country. I am not one of those people. The thoughts above are the result of my self reflection during my time spent away from my comfort zone.. my head is always in the clouds and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think my outlook on the way the world works would be so much different had I not been born a dreamer and optimist. There is just something humbling about knowing that life exists entirely different from your own culture and it opened me. Perhaps more thoughts on travel reflections to follow..

Sometimes I feel as though I have been lit with a flame that grew so big it burned me. A blessing and a curse, when the extraordinary is allowing the flame to grow knowing it will keep you warm even if it burns you along the way.

paz, amor, novos começos,
-MichTrace

Themes

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

– Albert Einstein

More to follow.

Nike says

I think that often times when we are dissatisfied or discontent with the way something is going, we convince ourselves that “if things were different” then something wouldn’t be the way it is. And it’s this rationalization itself holds us back. I wonder, how will we know our own extent and potential if we talk ourselves out of it first?
Personally, I’m afraid and full of small anxieties 90% of the time. But more than fear, I’m in wonder of what could be.. shouldn’t that excite me enough to keep going?
There is a TED Talk available on podcast about a man being a professional amateur and he said:
It is easier to act yourself into a way of thinking than it is to think yourself into a way of acting. 
It may be safe to say that the only time you should quit, is to quit [over] thinking!

and start doing,

and keep going. 

Baby, we’re trippin’ on silly things

It’s time, since I owe it to myself, to write an overdue yet final post about my recent experience and perspective of love. This post is dedicated to my friends who have been my rock.. Never let the things you want allow you to forget that which you have.

I think falling in love is terrifying. It is full of uncertainty and doubt and compromise and cost and energy and emotion. It’s sacrifice and giving of yourself in ways you can’t imagine you would. It’s getting consumed and allowing yourself to get lost by choice.. even though you have a map, it’s choosing to go off the road.. but that’s what makes it worth it.. I think anything in life that scares you is worth exploring. I feel extremely grateful to have lost myself not to have found myself, but to lose the parts of me I didn’t realize I never really needed.

 

A switch of view..

 

What was our love? Our love was fast growing. Unexpected. It fell into our laps and was a swipe of fate (literally). Our love was a fairy tale, like something out of the movies where the damsel fall is broken by his catch (that really happened). Our love was difficult, it was lonely at times yet compromising in a truly comforting way. You gave in many times when I needed and and then, that was all I could ask for. Our love, it was filled with dreams and stories and insights. Our love was stable. I had trust in you. Our love was continuous, like the Skype dates that led right into the good morning wake up greetings. Our love was simplistic like laughter and singing and being silly in the car. Our love was expensive like the plane tickets purchased for weekend getaways and date nights in dapper outfits. To say our love wasn’t romantic would be a lie– it may have been what unicorns ate for breakfast. But our love was also complicated like driving down a highway where the exits are unlabeled and decisions only led to more uncertainty. We were driving blind but it was desire that kept us adding fuel to the tank. Our love was like making a promise we weren’t sure we could keep but sounded nice and looked good on our calendars. Our love went from compromise to crying eyes and stubbornness.. and from there our love became the snooze button, where we beg for “five more minutes” and avoid the reality of differences that would hit us when we wake.. ; )

 

I call what we had “our love” and by that, I mean what we had between us that no one else knew. To me, that was love. There was a before us, and there will be an after us, yet no one BUT us will know what’s was between us.. and to me, that intimacy is our love.. in its secret hidden dimension where only you and I existed. Isn’t that extraordinary in itself? 

 

Though I will always hold a place in my heart for you, I’m happily and optimistically moving forward. I want you to understand that as long as you are happy and healthy that’s all I want and need to know about you. For us, it’s best to accept that ignorance is bliss. I don’t want anything you did before us or choose to do after us to affect how I perceive what we had together.. and I can only hope that you don’t do anything that dishonors me. I see you in so many things I do, and the thought of you makes me sad for a moment but mostly, I smile. I’ll always speak highly of you. I’ll always remember the good when it was good, the strength you brought out in me and the best I brought out in you. I’ll always believe you were right for me, even if only for that time.. Because there are many types of love, but never the same love twice. I’ll always be grateful for you giving me the chance to learn more about you, about life, about myself, and most of all, the opportunity to love.