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.

Small Changes

We often tend to only focus on the changes that happen within our own lives. What we don’t realize is that the changes that happen in the lives of others affect us too – especially those who are a part of our daily lives.

I’ve touched upon the subject of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable ( . Change is never an easy process. We have to adjust and readjust until we feel normal again.

Ever since I moved to the Columbus Circle area from Harlem, I’ve had to make many adjustments; getting used to a different subway line, going to a different supermarket, running in a different location. After about a month, I finally had everything down pact. I found myself getting familiar with the cashier at the CVS around the corner from my apartment and recognizing people who live on my street. My life felt balanced again. And despite the chaos of our wildly opposite schedules, my roommates and I have even developed a weekly routine of going to our favorite local bar several times a week. We’ve formed relationships with our bartenders and have actually become quite good friends with them.

Then, something strange happened yesterday.

After making a slight alteration to our normal routine of going straight to our favorite bar, my roommate and I deviated from the plan and decided to stop somewhere else first. It was exciting to do something different, but it was only a matter of time before we decided to leave and go to our regular bar.

Once we arrived, we found two available seats and made ourselves right at home. We said hello to our Bartender-friend, who we always talk to and I noticed that the other one wasn’t there. I waited until it was brought into conversation and when it was finally mentioned, I learned that he no longer works there.

Here comes the strange part…

I was legitimately upset. I found myself becoming very uncomfortable at the thought of getting used to a new person. And then it dawned on me; this actually affected my life.

This morning as I was walking to work, I came to realize that this small change is only a freckle in my life, but for him it was a complete change in lifestyle.

It’s hard to think about how much one person is currently going through. We really only stop to think about how it affects us. Regardless, these changes that affect our lives also affect the people around us. Even something as small as getting used to a new bartender…

The Science of Success

It may be ridiculous to say, but I’ve been inspired by a book that I haven’t even read yet. I’ve been intending on reading “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell ever since I first picked it up at the Barnes & Noble store where I worked while I was in college.

When I read the back of the book, I was instantly fascinated and intrigued to learn about the science of success. Is there a methodology? A pattern? Or just pure dumb luck and timing? Without ever having read the book, I can only hope that my theories align with that of Malcolm Gladwell’s.

Based on personal experience, I can proclaim the theory that the science of success is based on a compilation of factors that include Methodology, Pattern, and timing. Here is why:

Below, I provide you with a breakdown of the series of events that caused the interpretation of my own success.

I.) Methodology –

I’m a firm believer in destiny. However, I also believe that destiny is determined by our actions and the decisions that we make on a daily basis. Essentially, we are in control of our own destiny. Similar to the movie, “Back to the Future”, I think that alternate lives can be created depending solely on a single choice or occurrence. Our approach to the methodology in our daily lives such as the courses that we take in college going all the way back to our decision between playing a sport or playing an instrument determines the kind of life we’ll lead. Of course, this is not set in stone, but it sure does map out some sort of direction.

In all honesty, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I first entered college. I didn’t even figure it out until the very end of my sophomore year, in which case, I still had to apply to get into my major.

My methodology?

First, I asked myself, “What do I like?”

What do I care enough about to the point where I’d voluntarily sit through numerous days of hour long classes and actually enjoy it? What have I been doing with my life up until this day?

At first, my answers seemed silly to me.

It was simple. I liked to run. I liked to write. I liked showcasing my love for these things. I wanted to be in an environment that supported my love for these things.

I chose Exercise Science, concentrated in Sport Management, because I could be in a field where I was able to be involved in the realm of Sports and Exercise, without actively participating as an athlete. I wanted to be behind the scenes.

Entering my Senior year, I knew that I was required to apply for an internship in order to graduate.

Similar to when I first entered college, I had no idea where I wanted to intern when I reached my Senior year of college. I didn’t even find an internship until after the deadline had already passed. Fortunately, thanks to good timing (which I’ll discuss in my third point) I found one that suited me perfectly.

Pattern, though, was the other factor that aided me a great deal towards landing the job that I currently have job.

II.) Pattern –

Pattern, or routine, is necessary in ensuring that you are on the right track. After all, practice makes perfect (as long as your practicing correctly)

In many previous posts, I’ve discussed how time management and the ability to balance the many areas of my life was a very significant skill set that I learned. Being able to maintain a daily pattern in my schedule helped me stay focused.

I juggled between part-time work, full-time school, a boyfriend, a social life, and relaxation time all throughout college. Figuring out a way to incorporate all of these things into my life without completely losing my mind wasn’t an easy task. Fortunately, I was able to develop a routine and stick to it.

I devoted certain hours of the day and certain days to schoolwork, my part-time job, spending time with my boyfriend, my friends, and myself.

Once that foundation was established, it was easy for me to go about my days without being stressed out all the time.

It’s imperative that one establishes some basis of routine or structure. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for spontaneity and randomness, however, spontaneity and randomness in excess leads to chaos. And chaos leads to destruction. We need to be in control of our lives, but still be open to the idea that life throws curveballs at us.

Some like to call those curveballs “conflicts” or “struggles”, but I like to call them life lessons. And we need to take those life lessons and learn from them in order to grow. Life is all about timing. Everything happens in our lives as it should. As the saying goes, “God never gives us more than we can handle” (or something along those lines)

Anyways, this brings me to my third and last point, timing.

III.) Timing –

Have you ever been somewhere at exactly the right place or time? Well, this happens to me a lot.

My family and friends have always told me that I’m a lucky person. I always tend to find money on the ground, run into some sort of wild event, or win things.

Instead, I’d say that I just have really good timing.

There have been many times where extremely unfortunate occurrences have happened to me. In High School, I suffered a serious eye injury while playing soccer just weeks before attending Junior Prom. In college, I caught Mono and Strep Throat in the same year and then the following year, was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I partied my way into Academic Warning during the first semester of transferring to Rutgers University from Montclair University. Somehow, I miraculously overcame all of these obstacles and managed to avoid major life events that could have collided with these unfortunate circumstances.

My eye was fully healed in less than the time predicted by my Doctor and I was able to attend Junior Prom. I caught Mono and Strep Throat in between the Fall and Spring Semester, in which I didn’t have to miss any classes. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease during the semester prior to my Senior Year, in which I again didn’t have to miss any classes. I bounced back from Academic Warning the following semester and was able to graduate college with a 3.0 GPA.

I can label all of these things as pure dumb luck, but I won’t.

It was a combined effort of good timing and willpower.

All of the tragic events that have happened to me happened during the best timing and I’m eternally grateful for that.

This series of ups and downs throughout my college career were the building blocks for the type of future that I was going to have. More importantly, how I reacted to this series of ups and downs determined my success.

In life, we must learn that endless waves of good and bad happen to us. Our methodology of approach, daily patterns, and timing all contribute to our direction. Ultimately, the science of success is in our hands. We have to play the hand that we are dealt, whether it be good or bad.

The Sum of My Parts

The last book that I fully read from start to finish was “Invisible Monsters” by Chuck Palahniuk. I read this while I was training for the Big Sur Marathon because I needed a hobby other than running to keep me busy since I swore off alcohol during that time period.

I hate to admit this as a writer, but I seldom read books for recreation. I know that I should in order to inspire different writing styles and learn from other great authors, but I continuously make excuses that I don’t have enough time (which is not true)

This book, however, inspired me a great deal in terms of thinking outside of the box as a writer. One quote, in particular, resonated with me throughout the duration of my marathon training and still resonates with me now.

“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.”

Since I’ve been home, I’ve made it a point to see old friends that I’ve grown up with from high school and college. I like to check up on people to see how they are doing. Fortunately, I’ve been able to hang out with various groups of friends from different parts of my life. These are the people who still really matter to me; who have been with me through significant points of growth in my life up until this day. I’m grateful to have them in my life and glad that we still reconnect when we can.

It’s interesting, the conversations that I have with my different groups of friends. They all know me from different time periods, but somehow I’ve always been the same person throughout

As I continue my journey of “self-discovery” in New York City, I constantly as myself, Who am I? What makes me original?

I try to think of all of the things that make me separate my from the pack. However, I always come to the conclusion that there is someone out there who is doing the exact same thing as me, except better. There’s always a faster runner, a better singer, a stronger writer. But then I stop myself and ask why I’m even comparing to other people. Regardless of whether there are people who can do things better than I can, they can never do it with my style, my passion, my enthusiasm. And for that, I can only really thank the people who have me made me the way I am. My friends. My family. My teachers. My coaches. My co-workers. All of the people who have entered and exited my life. All of the people who I’ve encountered for brief periods of time or extended periods of time.

I remind myself of Chuck Palahniuk’s quote, but in a way that uplifts me. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. If we didn’t have other people to inspire us, we wouldn’t get very far.

The whole self that is me is more important than the things that I do, where I work, the music I like, the food I eat.

As Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.

Soul Searching

People come to New York City for a lot of different reasons. Ultimately, it boils down to two sides of the spectrum: Either you came here with a plan or you came here without a plan.

I’ve met a variety of people since I moved here. Everyone has a unique story. Everyone has their reasons. Usually, they’ve come here in search of something. There are other times when they’ve come to get away from the place they were before; for a change of pace.

Yesterday, while I was sitting at Starbucks, I met a man who came to the United States only two days ago from Israel. He came straight to New York City. When I was speaking to him, he told me that he was looking for a place to stay for the night. I suggested that he try looking on Craiglist because there are always available rooms posted there (Plus, I found my apartment that way) He shook his head in disagreement and said that he was interested in a place near Wall Street that he wanted to check out. He, then, asked me how to get there by walking. We were in Union Square at the time, and honestly, I had never walked from Union Square to Wall Street, so I had to look at my iPhone to map out the best route.

“I’ll figure it out,” he told me.

I was shocked at how nonchalant he was about not having a definite place to stay. He reassured me that he was going to be okay. I smiled and wished him good luck. I had a feeling that he would be just fine. People eventually find their way in New York City.

As he left, I reflected on all of the people that I’ve met so far. Some have come from every corner of the United States: California, Florida, West Virginia, North Carolina, North Dakota, Maine, Massachusetts. The list goes on.

What I love so much about New York City is how you can come here with a fresh start. It doesn’t matter where you came from. You can redefine yourself. It’s a place of self-discovery. Here, we all have a clean slate and it’s a common thread that unites everyone who lives here.

The other thing about New York City is how much it can tear you down. It can make you feel more alone and lost than you’ve ever felt in your life. And if you let it, it can swallow you whole, which is why many people also feel the need to get out. Endless waves of people are constantly coming in and out of this city.

New York City has beaten me up many times since I’ve been here, but I can’t say I’m ungrateful for it. Originally, I came here with a plan. I came here for work. I came here to run away from home. I’ve realized, however, that my problems just came with me. No matter how far you run away, the things that you’re running away from will always catch up to you.

I spent a lot of time alone this weekend, which is exactly what I needed. I slowed down my life a little from going out so much the past few weekends. I came to understand that New York City is making me strong so that I can face these problems.

The reasons for why I originally came here have changed. I, now, know that I came here to do soul searching. There have been times where I felt like I couldn’t handle this city. I wanted to get out, like a lot of other people. But, I’m not even halfway done with my journey.

Every day, I’m getting a little closer to finding myself. This is why I came here.