On Life’s Big Leaps and the 100 Unsexy Steps Behind Them

It’s almost cliché by now, “Follow your dreams!” “Take the risk!,” “Quit your day job and travel the world.” The prevalence of these messages has been rising along with the popularity of social media. You can’t swing a dead cat without finding a Pinterest-esque mug without one of these inspirational quotes. I think it’s terrible advice and yet…

And yet… here I am, doing exactly just that.

Continue reading “On Life’s Big Leaps and the 100 Unsexy Steps Behind Them”

5 Life Choices I’m Glad I Made

1) Live off-campus while attending college/not borrow massive student loans

College is not cheap. I graduated from UCLA in 2013 and earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations. I can honestly say that it is the single most expensive piece of paper I own, and in order to afford said diploma, I did two things: lived off-campus and worked two jobs while attending school.

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Secrets of Adulthood

I’m currently reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, where she shares a list of lessons she has learned with difficulty while growing up. It’s a tad bit silly, yet contains a lot of truths.

Inspired by her list, I decided to create my own!

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A Happy List

It’s June tomorrow (!!!), and last night I found myself reflecting on how 2015 has been so far. This year has been mostly clear skies and smooth sailing for me, and I’m making a conscious effort of to constantly practice gratitude for how great my life is. Below is a short compilation of things that make me happy and give me heart boners:

  1. Devouring a perfectly ripe avocado. Translation: finding the sweet spot between “Don’t eat yet!” and “Too late!”
  2. Landing a parking meter that still has considerable amount of time left before it expires.
  3. Listening to “Stay a Little Longer” by Brothers Osborne on mad repeat.
  4. Genuine smiles and big hugs.
  5. Discovering new and delicious brunch eateries near my neighborhood.
  6. Handwritten notes and cards, for any or even no occasion at all.
  7. When my FitBit vibrates and congratulates me for logging in 10,000 steps for the day.
  8. Finding cash still intact in my jeans pockets after it’s been laundered.
  9. Successfully parallel parking on the first attempt.
  10. Receiving as unlimited wet kisses from my dogs no matter how long I’ve been separated from them.
  11. Unexpected compliments. Compliments beyond looks.
  12. Guys who consistently open doors (especially car doors) for me and not just on the first date.
  13. Clicking the “Confirm Order” button on Expedia when booking a flight.
  14. Kind and sweet text messages that add value to my day and expect no reply in return.
  15. Shopping for succulents and fresh flowers.
  16. Being assigned the first row of a roller coaster ride.

What are some of your heart boners?

Congruency

A few days ago, I came across a photo on the Internet that I feel best sums up what it really means to live a congruent life. The picture states:

Make a list of things that make you happy.

Make a list of things you do every day.

Compare the lists.

Adjust accordingly.

I truly believe that the happiest people are the most congruent, the individuals whose thoughts and actions are in perfect alignment. Every day, the constantly strive to marry what they say with what they do. When they set their alarms at 6:00am to exercise, they make it happen even when they don’t feel like it.

I think the quote above can also be applied to the relationships in our lives. This past weekend, I reunited with an old high school friend who vented to me his frustrations about being surrounded by toxic people in his life. The pressures and stresses of regularly dealing with unreliable and unmotivated individuals truly weighed him down. He sighed, “You have friends now that you’ve known for more than a decade. That friendship and bond you have with your best friends Justine and Nikki and the Vaklas… I don’t have that in my life.”

After our meeting, I reflected on our conversation and couldn’t help but feel extreme gratitude for the deep relationships and friendships I have in my life. At this point in my life, I can say with certainty that there is absolutely nobody in my life who I don’t want in it, and it has taken me 24 years to realize that it is one of the most hard-earned prizes of adulthood

A majority of people live their lives settling for shallow relationships and connections with other people they know do not contribute to their growth, emotional vampires who suck life and joy and bring pain and heartache instead. I believe that cutting ties with toxic people in our lives is simple, but not easy. Just like the quote above, I think one of the most efficient strategies is to create two lists:

1) Make a list of standards that we admire in others and aspire to, standards that add value in our lives

2) Make a list of people that we surround ourselves with

The ultimate goal of list #2 is to be in alignment with list #1. If individuals on list #2 do not possess qualities and traits listed on list #1, have the courage to take the leap and cut ties with them. Disconnecting ourselves from toxic people is never easy, but postponing or making excuses out of fear implies that we’re not functioning adults capable of making our own decisions regarding who can and can’t be  part of our lives. We are more powerful than that.