Category Archives: Raves and Rants

Calling All Bloggers: The Million-Dollar Question

Let me tell you the story of the Daily Post emails. Ah, the good ol’ Daily Post emails. Everyday, there it is waiting for me in my inbox giving me a prompt to consider writing about and acting as a constant reminder to tend to my blog. Oh so helpful and inspiring, but unfortunately oh so easily overlooked.

Despite that, sometimes an email pings its way into my inbox and, guilt ridden at my complete negligence towards the Daily Post, I decide to allow them to indulge me. This time, it definitely worked.

Today’s prompt was simple enough: “Why do you blog?”

Just five minutes before that email, I was already toying with the idea of putting together some kind of come back blog to make up for my lack of writing. Do I have any excuses? Many. Can I justify my sudden disappearance? Easily. Do I even feel bad at the hole I have left in my little blog safe haven? Not as much as I should. But I also know that when life gets crazy, it’s easy to take a step back, refocus and change priorities.

These days, I have been overcome by to-do lists, never-ending planning and tasks that make me feel like I’m constantly falling behind (what else is new?). But that prompt came at the perfect time – to remind me that this blog and my writing is not just another thing on my priority waitlist. It never was and it never should be.

Why do I blog?

From before I can remember, I’ve always been passionate about writing and I knew one way to do more of it was to start up a blog as some sort of outlet for the millions of thoughts inside my head. Like every other opinionated, thought provoked, life-experiencing person, I knew I had something to say and I wanted to be heard.

Still, it wasn’t just about raving and ranting. It was about inspiring. I wanted to be able to inspire people, as so many others had done for me. But I also wanted to be able to inspire myself. Starting up a blog was my perfect excuse to face my experiences, speed bumps, hardships, triumphs, opportunities and success head on. And as much as it would do me some good to confront my own self-reflections, I knew how easily others would be able to relate too.

But let’s be frank, I didn’t have some extraordinary story on how I overcame a life challenging hardship. I didn’t create something no one in the world thought to do before. I’m STILL not a good enough cook to run a food blog (although I am obsessed with them! Props to all the foodies out there!). And I definitely am not an exceptional photographer to showcase my captivating snapshots of moments frozen in time.

Simply enough, I know life. I know that it has ups and it has downs. I know that it has speed bumps that sometimes feel like mountains too steep and too rough to climb. I know that it has lights at the end of tunnels. I know that leaps of faith sometimes don’t work, and sometimes they actually do. And I know that the scariest part through it all is feeling like we’re going at it alone.

So my blog was created!

Lead by my optimist and hopeless romantic, I wanted to be the hand to hold; the light bulb moment; the voice in your head; the quote you use to define what you feel; or simply enough, the comforting moment you realize we’re all in the same boat.

That’s why I blog. Because I love it. Because I love to write. Because I love to inspire – myself and everyone else willing to listen. It’s worked for me thus far, and I just needed to remember that.

Thank you, Daily Post. I owe this one to you.

: : : It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us… : : :

–A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens–

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Filed under Food For Thought, Out of the Box, Raves and Rants

Patience is a Virtue … or a Torture Method

"Inner Strength" by Rosie Hardy

Yup, I’ve finally confirmed it. It’s not just me. It seems a big concept on everyone’s minds these days is patience.

Ah, patience, patience, patience. I have contemplated writing about this topic for ages now. But, I’m pretty sure the post would have been an extreme vent session on my new found and deep-set frustration with patience. And ending a post with “I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU,” doesn’t exactly scream motivational. So obviously, in a quest to embrace the optimist in me, I decided against it.

But here I am again, patience on my mind, and the constant “be patient” references on my friends’ Facebook statuses are prodding at me, basically nagging me to write this post. So, I’m giving in. Gather around my patience weary friends. Let’s tackle this subject once and for all.

I’ve always considered myself an extremely patient person. And by definition, my favorite reference was Dr. Seuss’ description of the “Waiting Place,” from one of my all-time favorite children’s books, “Oh! The Places You’ll Go.”

The Waiting Place … for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

I love Dr. Seuss. And I don’t mean to rain on his description but anyone who’s ever come face to face in a headstrong battle against patience knows that it’s about much more than just waiting.

For all of you in this battle, I think you deserve to know what you’re up against.

It’s about persistence. It’s about tolerance. It’s about being thrust into a dark tunnel with empty promises of finding the light at the end of it when it’s nowhere to be seen. It’s about a brutal game of tug-of-war that forces you to dig your heels deeper and deeper into slippery mud and leaves your hands bruised with lashes of rope burn.

It’s about keeping yourself up when you’re being pushed down. And that, my friends, is not an easy battle.

Now, I know I just turned this concept into a war zone, but it’s true what they say: you have to pick your battles, and I guarantee that one with patience is almost always worth taking. I truly believe that despite our frustrations with patience, it really is a love hate relationship. You struggle with it, but you have to trust it, because it teaches you about strength through exposing your weaknesses; it reminds you of what you want; and it doesn’t allow you to settle for less than you deserve. It reminds you that good things come to those who wait; those who endure. And it graces you with a world of happiness when you finally overcome its exhausting trials.

There’s a reason why I gave in so quickly and decided to write this post now. Because I, too was in a battle against patience, and I finally won. I finally did it. And as banged up and bruised as I may have been, I will admit boldly that I would do it over and over again if I knew it would lead me to be where I am now. Nothing feels better than that new found strength that builds itself onto your spine; or the shower of kisses you get on your rope-burned hands; or the battle wounds that no longer ache you or repulse you, but remind you of the fight you put up…and won.

So yes, be patient. Battle with it. Learn from it. And welcome the prizes that await you with open arms when you finally succeed.

: : : Just because I’m hurting doesn’t mean I’m hurt. Doesn’t mean I didn’t get what I deserved. No better and no worse. I just got lost. Every river that I tried to cross. Every door I ever tried was locked. Oh and I’m just waiting ’til the shine wears off : : :

— Lost, Coldplay —

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Filed under Growing Up, Mind, Body, Soul, Raves and Rants

Because There’s More to Competition Than Getting First Place

Of the 101 things I’m passionate about, competitive swimming has always been one of them. Since I was three and my parents enrolled me in my first swimming class—and probably after I realized that, yes, you really can swim without floaties—swimming became one of the biggest parts of my life. I devoted almost every ounce of free time to training and competing for years and all throughout university. So it’s no wonder that I became infatuated with the commitment of the training, the determination to be ahead and the thrill of the very moment the buzzer signals you to dive into the freezing water and swim your heart out.

Other than the fact that I absolutely love the sport until now, the more I begin to look at the world through the lenses of experience, the more I realize just how much I learned from swimming competitively.

When I was around 10, there was no mercy in training. When you joined the team, you were basically signing a consent form to allow the coaches to scrutinize, alter and reprogram your every move. We were drilled down to the bone on every aspect of each stroke: how pointy your toes should be, which finger entered the water first and how many breaths you take. There was not a single detail overlooked or any ounce of potential that wasn’t squeezed out of you. Competition meant competition and even at 10, we all knew what that meant.

On the day of the competition, we would all nag the coaches for a bit of last minute advice; anything to repeat in our minds right before the race. But aside from the advice on how hard to kick or how strong our arms had to be, the one piece of advice I remember most was:

“Don’t look at the other swimmers in the other lanes. Focus on yourself.”

Have you had the “aha” moment yet?

Since I finished university, I’ve outwardly called myself the aimless graduate and have perfected my answer to the redundantly asked question, “what are you doing now?” (Apparently, when you tell people you’re taking some time off to “find yourself,” or even worse “live out your childhood dream,” you don’t exactly get the most approving looks in the world). I was always the one people expected so much from, complained that sky’s not the limit because there IS no limit and pushed on ambitions that would give me the added satisfaction of laughing in everyone’s face who said I was too much of a dreamer.

So somewhere along the lines I decided to set my own expectations and go after them, even if that meant slowing down to refocus.

I’ve heard her called a quitter for leaving and aimless wanderer. But not all who wander are aimless, especially those who seek truth beyond tradition, beyond definition, beyond the image. – Mona Lisa Smile

(Image via Lauren Withrow)

But as an ambitious, trained competitor, focusing on yourself is always easier said than done. Just like in those damned races when I was 10, it was so hard not to look at the other lanes, compare yourself to the other swimmers and try to base THEIR progress as the reason to push yourself harder and swim faster.

Here I was, slowing down to refocus myself to a new path I was setting, and it became more and more difficult to follow that path when every single person around me was finishing that second degree, getting married or landing amazing jobs in big-named companies (friends who are reading this, don’t take this the wrong way! I am extremely happy for each and every one of you I promise!).

I struggled. I couldn’t bring myself to do what I wanted and I couldn’t bring myself to try and catch up. And just like in swimming competitions, that tends to slow you down. Obviously, of all the things I learned from swimming, not looking at the swimmers in the other lanes wasn’t my strong suit. But the reason the coaches kept telling us to focus on ourselves was because the most important person to compete with is YOU. If you could outdo YOUR limitations, if you could beat YOUR time, if you could bring yourself one step closer to goals YOU had set for yourself based on YOUR own capabilities, why did anyone else have to matter? In swimming, you would get just as high an award for beating your own time as you would if you managed to land first place. I’m starting to realize, life’s not that different.

So why is it we’re all fighting for first place now? I called myself aimless for so long and the funny part is I’m not the only one. We’re all whole bunch of aimless floaters cramming into the same boat because everyone’s too busy basing what to do next on other people.

What ever happened to doing what WE want to do and following OUR own goals and dreams? My 10 year old self reminded me of that so I’m finally doing it now. Are you?

: : : Now my eyes are wide open now that everything’s stolen and I’m here to get it back from you. See, I ain’t wasting no more time. I gotta take back what’s mine. What else am I supposed to do? : : :

— Under My Bed, Meiko —

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To My Dear Friend Risk

Dear Risk,
Or as I like to call you, leap of faith.

(via Flickr: Claire Bear.)

You came up in conversation the other day with a friend, and I have to be honest, it wasn’t pretty. She’s worried about me, you see…worried for me and this twisted bond you and I share. She tried to convince me that you were a bad influence on me, always leading me to some kind of hurtful outcome. But, for some reason, I found myself defending you. I mean…I’ve always been the type to take the road less traveled; to not want to settle; to hunt down that so much more, even if it meant giving up comfort and security for a shot of over reaching to greater happiness. It seemed like all that was reason enough for you to be the greatest friend. I know we’ve been through so much together, but for some reason I can’t shake off that conversation. And so it got me thinking…

It’s always a game of blind trust with you isn’t it? You nudge me to put aside logic and reason, expect me to close my eyes, and give in to your realm of unpredictable outcomes. But you, my friend, are a world of riches and ruins driven by the concepts of chance and fate, convincing me constantly that it’s ok to gamble. I have yet to decide whether you’re even a good friend to me. You intercept me at my crossroads, fill my head with “what if’s” and “no regrets,” and in no time, I am holding your hand, blindly trusting again.

I guess you could say it’s my fault. After all, you’re character is really of no mystery to anyone. They say you’re inconsistent, maybe even dangerous; that you will, more often than not, lead to some kind of unpleasant or unwelcome outcome. They say it’s foolish to get carried away in the momentary freedom you make me feel when I let go of inhibitions and walk in your footsteps; that it’s better to play it safe than to follow your lead. But for some reason I can’t stop trusting you. I keep thinking maybe…just maybe if I follow you off of that cliff one last time, you’ll lead me to the greener grass on the other side. But it’s times when you lead me into thunderstorms that make me weary of relying on you. Times when you convince me to jump, but never guarantee me a safety net. Times when you leave me to free-fall into a dark abyss where you eventually hurl me into your cousin, experience. No…it’s really no fun at all.

You should know that, quite frankly, our friendship is on very thin ice. I try to give you the benefit of the doubt, understand you and see the good you can give. But this is all beginning to feel a little one-sided. So, as you’ve noticed, I’ve taken a few steps back from you. I need my space. But you don’t seem to understand because here you are again! Knocking at my door, dangling another opportunity that you swear I shouldn’t miss.

What makes you think I’ll trust you again? Another leap of faith, after you left me for dead last time? No, no…we’re not playing by your rules this time. We’re playing by mine. Yes, that means precautions. Yes, that means rules. Yes, that means no one gets hurt…all the things you seem to love overlooking.

Let’s get one thing straight…I’m not happy with you. In fact, it’s probably best we part ways right here, right now! But I’m willing to give you one last chance. I’ll jump. But this time, you better make sure you catch me.

: : : So what if it hurts me? So what if I breakdown? So what if this world just throws me off the edge, my feet run out of ground? I gotta find my place. I want to hear my sound. Don’t care about all the pain in front of me, cause I’m just trying to be happy : : :

— Happy, Leona Lewis —

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The Weather on Cloud 9

There’s something about the whole concept of “Cloud 9” that makes it seem like eternal bliss up there. Like there is no other possible high than being in the midst of a timeless infatuation. But needless to say—and excuse the horrible cliché—every cloud has its rainy days.

Via The Ballerina Project.

Where, you might ask, did these woes come from after my last post of utter happiness? Well the other day I was talking to a good friend about my recent inauguration into the Cloud 9 Club, and at the time I absolutely loved her reaction. She told me,

“You did it. You figured it out. You finally passed the stage of not knowing.”

Ahh, the stage of not knowing. It just so happens that this particular friend and I spent countless nights in the past complaining about the frustrations of not knowing where we’d end up in our futures…or the seemingly more important question, who we’d end up with. For a fraction of a second it really felt like I had figured it all out.

Where’s the sudden setback? I just realized that I am STILL at that stage of not knowing.

You see, Cloud 9 is a mysterious realm all on its own and with it comes a whole new set of emotions. And whereas I’ve always prided myself in supporting a strong and perhaps slightly obstinate personality, I found that along with following impulse comes a lot of vulnerability.

Yes! Vulnerability! Because you’re finally at a point in your life where you realize you have officially let all your walls down, let in the tides of change and picked a direction for your life. But how many of us really know where that leads?

Suddenly the whole concept of “leap of faith” doesn’t sound so appealing and you find yourself in a constant search of reassurance.

I guess tonight, I went in search for that reassurance and fell a little short on the expected Disney magic. But as the science of life constantly attempts to remind us, a pinch of vulnerability mixed with a spoonful of expectations always threatens to lead to disappointment.

Now as a devoted hopeless romantic, I know I must be committing the ultimate sin of prancing all over the invincible Cloud 9 concept. But seriously, damn you Disney for not telling us what happens AFTER Happily Ever After.

So the weather on Cloud 9 tonight? Quite stormy.

: : : Hello, hello, I’m at a place called Vertigo. It’s everything I wish I didn’t know. Except you give me something I can feel : : :

— Vertigo, U2 —

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20-Somethings: Proud Dreamers, Believers and Forestallers of the Future

“You need not be sorry for her. She was one of the kind that likes to grow up. In the end she grew up of her own free will a day quicker than the other girls.” – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

I must be the millionth person to bring up the 20-somethings debate that everyone is raving about recently (no seriously… Google it and take a look at how many hits you get. It’s insane). At the heart of this debate is Robin Marantz Henig’s article, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” from the New York Times Magazine. For those of you who haven’t read it, the article basically questions why it seems to be taking our generation so long to grow up. As Henig so boldly put it, “The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course, as young people remain untethered to romantic partners, or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, traveling, avoiding commitments, competing ferociously for unpaid internships, forestalling the beginning of adult life.”

With four months ‘til graduation I can’t help but feel—as I’m sure many other have felt—like Henig is talking to me. I am the walking stereotype of Henig’s concerns. What seems to be the plan for me now is that, after graduation, I’ll most probably be back home working at a temporary shortstop that may or may not kick off my so-called career and living with my parents in my childhood bedroom—we’re talking still sleeping in bunk beds next to my pink Barbie dollhouse. If there is any indication of stalling adulthood…this is it.

But in the midst of reading article after article on this ongoing debate, I came across a great blog called 20-Nothings, which also tackled this issue and asked us forestallers of the future to chime in with our thoughts—At twenty-[blank], I feel [blank]. So here goes…

At 22, I feel like, for the first time, I don’t have control over every aspect of my life as I’m staring a new beginning right in the eyes…and you know what? It’s liberating.

I’ve always been very passionate and very determined. I knew exactly what I wanted to do and when I wanted to do it and have done a pretty good job up until now. So where’s the hold back? Henig says that “The 20s are a black box, and there is a lot churning in there.” She says we stall falling into a stable lifestyle because we want to explore our options; see what else life has to offer other than a paycheck and the responsibilities that shadow over it. But I don’t think that it’s all about exploring options so much as it is about running after our dreams. Is that so wrong? To want to feed off a passion and pursue it to the fullest without becoming a mindless drone to the corporate world?

Maybe I just sound like another disillusioned 20-something trying to hold on to a childhood desire. But if that’s the case, so be it. Since I was 8, I knew I wanted to be a full time writer. Whether it would be writing a book, covering news stories, indulging in features or even keeping up this very blog, that deep-set ambition hasn’t changed no matter where my interests led me. After much thought about what I should do after graduation, I have finally decided to do just that. Write. In any possible way; write. With any opportunity that allows me to express myself and my passions; write. And if it takes living in my childhood bedroom with the old swimming trophies and stuffed animals to do it, so be it.

Through college and boarding school for high school, I’ve lived alone since I was 15. If anything, I’m not stalling growing up at all. In fact, I think I grew up too fast. After intense studying, part time jobs and chasing opportunities that would advance my career as society so bluntly expects of us, can you blame me for wanting to slow down a little?

If there’s anything I’ve learned from this whole growing up process and trying to fall into the expectations of family and life itself, it’s that I finally have my own set of expectations. And being 20-something is the perfect time to act on that. After all, isn’t that what growing up is all about? Being able to make decisions you feel are best for yourself?

Now in Henig’s defense, her article was extremely well-crafted and very thorough. If anything, it hit the nail right on the head. We really do need to figure out a way to take on responsibilities and some of us really are too lazy to do anything about it. But I guess I just don’t want to do it at the expense of my dreams, where I think the real debate lies.

Do I want to get married? Of course! I love the idea of sharing this new beginning with someone who can support my crazy ambitions. Do I want to fall into a job that pays well and can support me financially? Who doesn’t? But to me adulthood isn’t about making sacrifices just so we can fall into the mundane pace of society’s norms and responsibilities. It’s about finally having the experience, the state-of-mind and the ability to fit your passions into that mix. And that’s exactly what I plan to do.

: : : It’s only half past the point of no return. The tip of the iceberg; the sun before the burn; the thunder before the lightning; the breath before the phrase. Have you ever felt this way? : : :

— Glitter in the Air, Pink —

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Parking Lot Goodbyes

It was barely three days ago…I stood in the parking lot of my dorms with the people I cared most about. My bags were already in the trunk and the moment came long before I wished it…I looked at each of them and for the first time…ever…I wasn’t sure when I’d see them again or if we’d keep in touch like we promised we would. I didn’t want anyone else but them. They were the people you have lunch with every day despite the busy schedules; the people you get mad at just because you didn’t see them enough that week; the people you fill your weekend plans with; the people who knew every detail of you. These were the people who made up my home away from home…and suddenly I had to say goodbye.

For those of you who know me you’ve probably heard this sob story a million times. For those who don’t might think this is typical…but what can I say? The heart feels what it wants to feel and unfortunately, I cant help but feel like I wish I hugged them a little longer…held them a little closer…wished hard enough that they would stay with me forever.

What is the big deal about saying goodbye anyway? Is it really losing the people you cared most about? Because suddenly I realized that it’s not just the goodbye that tears me up inside. It’s saying hello again…opening up again…coordinating minds and coordinating time and finding someone else who can be as in sync with you as your friends before that. It’s finding people who will love your quirks…finding people who you can’t get enough of. God, who are these strangers?

Call me stubborn…but I’m not ready to open up to anyone else. I won’t give up those faces in the parking lot.

: : : And the tears come streaming down your face when you lose something you can’t replace; when you love someone but it goes to waste. Could it be worse? : : :

— Fix You, Coldplay —

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