Overcome

I used to think that you could only really have something meaningful to write if you went through some kind of trial or tragedy. I used to think that the best writing came from pain and struggle. Some of the songs, books, poems that truly impacted me were written in sadness (or so I interpreted it).

It’s been a while since I’ve been genuinely happy. And I can say, now, that I actually am – which is such a relief.

I realize, now, that great creations do not come solely from hardships. Instead, there are products of overcoming and overpowering those hardships.

It’s funny how the things you consume change as you change.

Your mental state affects how you treat your body, the kind of music you listen to, the people you surround yourself with, even the activities you participate in.

It’s funny how we work sometimes – When we’re sad, we sometimes want to expand on that sadness and continue on that path. The act of “self-destruction” or so it’s called.

But on the lateral side of that, we can amplify positive emotions as well – When we’re happy, we want to keep being happy. We couldn’t imagine not feeling good or not feeling alive.

In life, things happen and we have to deal with those things. It may take time, but eventually, we do have to move on so that, eventually, we can be okay again. And when that time comes, you couldn’t be more relieved that you got through it and found that happy place.

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What Matters Most

I write a lot about growing up. That’s because ever since I was little, I’ve always been in such a rush to be older. I remember following my sister and her friends around when I was a kid and I just couldn’t wait to be old enough to hang out with them. Now that I’m older, it’s funny how it works in reverse. As you get older, you want to gain all those years back that you wanted to skip ahead to.

I spend a lot of my time around people of different age groups and it always fascinates me to talk to them about their experiences and hear their opinions on life. And regardless of age, everyone always experiences things at different stages of their lives. Some of us are wise beyond our years and some of us continue to resist maturity.

Now that I am where I am, I’d finally like to slow down and take advantage of the time that I have while I have it.

When you’re younger, it seems like things take so much longer to happen – Getting your license, being able to legally drink, graduating college, finding a job, etc. But once you’ve crossed all of those things off your list, there’s a realization that you start running out of things that you have to wait for in order to happen.

What I’ve learned throughout my twenties so far is that I’m much more capable of distinguishing between the things are a big deal and the things that are not. I’m able to recognize what really matters in life and what I shouldn’t get so worked up about.

After I turned 25, I can’t emphasize enough how much of a significant shift there was in my mindset. After losing love, losing jobs, losing friends, I’m less upset about the losses and more grateful for the gains and the people who are still sticking by my side. I’m realizing that my family is one of the most important of things in my life. I’m realizing that you shouldn’t fight so hard for people who won’t fight for you. I’m realizing that the time you are given is precious and it shouldn’t be wasted on people or things that do not fill you up with joy.

Recently, I keep thinking back to the time when I was in the hospital at the age of 20 and diagnosed with Chrohn’s Disease due to my own self-induced stress. I look back and wonder how and why I allowed myself to get stressed over things that I can hardly even remember to this day.

There’s a certain peace that comes with age and maturity that I’ve truly come to appreciate – And that peace lies within knowing yourself and what you want out of your life. I can now say with full honesty that I’m discovering the kind of person I want to be and the kind of life I want to lead. I thank God for that and I thank the people who are closest to me for supporting all of the decisions I have made leading up to this day.

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.

Something’s Missing

My whole life, I’ve always felt like a part of me was missing – Like there was a piece that I had to find to make me feel whole inside. I’ve searched for this piece through various hobbies, friends, relationships, jobs, and so on.

To this day, I haven’t found one thing that brought continuous fulfillment to sustain my happiness. It was always temporary. A fleeting moment.

I always make lists for myself just so I can cross things off and say I’ve done them. In my eyes, that was my definition of accomplishment. And I figured that accomplishment would bring me happiness. Creating goals and then meeting them was always the idea I had of finding happiness. Of course I always felt that instant moment of satisfaction, but I can’t apply that same moment of satisfaction to my current state of mind.

I made my list – I graduated high school, graduated college, got an internship, had a long-term boyfriend, got a job after college, moved to New York City. I did all of the things that I set my mind on and now where did that leave me?

I’ve gone through countless boyfriends, jobs, apartments, etc. and none of them brought me enough happiness to carry me through my bad days.

Some people may say that happiness is a series of happenings, but I beg to differ.

I’m fully aware and confident in the fact that true happiness comes from within; that you must feel happy with yourself whether you have the things you have or you don’t.

I recently went through a breakup (or ten) with someone that I had been dating for several months. The breakup itself lasted almost 2 entire months. The reason being is that I couldn’t stand the fact of not having him around. I couldn’t imagine the possibility of being happy if we weren’t together. This is never the type of person that I wanted to become.

How could I, or anyone else, define their happiness through another person? If we do, then we clearly don’t have any control over our lives.

Over and over again, I ask myself, “Why can’t I just be happy with myself? Alone.”

To this day, I still can’t answer the question.

I don’t think it can be taught or explained. I don’t think that anyone else can show you. You simply have to experience it for yourself. I just wonder how many more shitty mistakes I’ll have to make before reaching some sort of epiphany.

New Year, New You

In an effort to avoid bombarding readers with an additional “Happy New Year!” post on New Year’s Eve, I’m going to publish this post early since it’s something that has already been on my mind for the past few months.

I caught up with a close friend last night, and we talked for hours about various topics about life. When we arrived at the topic of what our plans were for New Year’s Eve, we both began to look back on how much has changed in our lives this past year.

We’re approaching the end of 2013 and are about to begin another new year full of new experiences and memories that we’ll eventually reflect on as we, once again, approach the end of the year.

Although a new year may not seem so monumental to some people, it’s quite monumental to me. It’s a time to sit down and look back on all of the things have happened in the span of a year; the gains, the losses; the heartbreaks, the accomplishments; the failures. I always look forward to a new year and view it as an opportunity to learn and grow from the year(s) prior. I pin point the highlights, whether they be good or bad.

It’s always nice to have someone who has been there with you throughout the year; to help recall on the memories that we tend to block out; the hard times. It’s funny when we remember the hard times. Looking back, it never seems as bad as it actually was when we were in the heat of the moment. Remembering the hard times is what reassures me that I’ll get through life’s obstacles and come out of them being a stronger person, with a better perspective on life. It allows me to focus on the things that I want to change about myself.

I don’t write in my journal as much I did prior to buying my iPad, but I do still use it as another tool (other than my friends) to help me recall memories and events from past years. One major thing that I still use it for is to see if I actually accomplished the things I set out to do in the upcoming year.

I’ve developed this tradition with myself (ever since I’ve had my journal) where I list out realistic goals that I want to accomplish in that year. I’m proud to say that I typically accomplish the goals that I set out for myself. It’s because I’m the kind of person that believes that word is bond. Aside from making promises to other people, the most important promises we make are the ones we make to ourselves. If we can’t hold true to the things we set out for ourselves, how can we ever expect to hold true to the things that we tell other people?

It may seem selfish, but it’s absolutely necessary to work on yourself first before getting involved with someone or something that may take up a significant amount of our time. We should try to be the best version of ourselves, always. And this is why I’ve heavily overused the phrase, “New Year, New You” this past month as I’ve reflected on 2013 (A phrase that is a re-occurring theme for a majority of the January issues within my company’s magazine titles)

New Year, New You.

2014 is another new year where we have the opportunity to become whoever we want to be; to utilize the experiences that happened in the past year and learn from them.

Here’s to 2014.

My First Medium Post: Food and Happiness

The day has come

Two days ago, I finally received my invitation to write on Medium.

A friend of mine had told me about this new writing platform several months ago, and ever since then, I have been striving towards being able to write for them.

Yesterday, I posted my very first entry titled, “Food and Happiness, How our food choices affect our mind and body”

Below is the full text. I hope that you all enjoy this read!

Link: “Food and Happiness”

Growing up as a kid, I’ve always had a hearty appetite. I come from a Filipino ethnic background, which played a significant role in my eating habits. The Filipino food culture revolves around two main food groups: Protein and Carbohydrates (and to be more specific: Meat and Rice)

My parents raised me to never be picky. I always finished the food that was put on my plate and was immediately encouraged to take second servings afterwards. Unfortunately, this transformed into a habit that has translated into my early adulthood, up to present day.

As a runner, the nutrients that I consume are detrimental towards my performance. The food choices I make before and after a race, or even just a light workout, is a tremendous factor in the results that I both see and feel in my body.

Humans, and animals alike, need specific nutrients to fuel their daily activities. A lion’s diet is completely different from that of a squirrel. In turn, a long distance runner’s diet is completely different from that of a competitive bodybuilder’s.

The similarity, however, lies within the affects that these diets have on us.

You may have heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.”

Well, it’s true.

We are a product of the food that we consume. Our body and mind reacts a certain way to these nutrients . When you eat things that are unhealthy, your performance is going to dwindle and your level of happiness is going to decline. This is a constant struggle for me.

You would naturally assume that someone who exercises frequently is also a relatively healthy eater.

This is not true.

For a lot of people, running or exercising frequently is motivated by their food choices. For example, when I binge on a large dinner consisting primarily of carbohydrates such as rice or pasta, I know that I need to run an excessive amount of miles the next day in order to counterbalance. However, the root of the problem stems from the predisposition that I think I can eat whatever I want because I run so much.

This is a distorted mindset.

It’s a constant struggle for me between the foods that I want to eat and the foods that I should eat. Sometimes after a run, I just want to eat everything, but the kitchen sink. Whenever that happens though, I just end up feeling worse about myself and having the urge to make up for it the next day. There’s no balance. And in life, balance is the key to happiness.

We (especially me) need to keep that in mind for the next time we decide to go on an eating rampage. In the long run, what we eat affects how we feel, both in the mind and the body.

By: Lindsey Lazarte