Kickstarting Goals

Tomorrow is the half marathon. Just last week, I hesitantly decided to participate in it. Amid not having worked out in the last several months, I’m surprised my stamina is still maintained (I jogged hardcore in the last 2 weeks). According to my FitBit, I run an average of 10 minutes per mile, which I think is pretty decent. I could do better, but considering the fact that I haven’t jogged consistently, I can’t really complain. I got to enjoy this young body before it wears off!

The reason why I decided to run in this marathon goes far beyond “just wanting to run in a marathon.” It’s not just a physical act of training, sweat and endurance. The marathon itself is symbolic in that it is a goal. It is a goal that I can look back on and be proud of…for myself. No one can take it away from me. Even if one takes my medal, which is nothing but a tangible item, I still know in my heart that I have completed a race that takes an incredible amount of hard work and determination.

One of my bucket list goals was to complete a full marathon – that was from last year, and I’m disappointed I have not fulfilled that. I’ve made countless excuses not to run: I am not in shape, I have no time, I am not in the mood. If I had the willingness to BE in shape, to MAKE the time, and to PUSH myself to complete that bucket list item, then the outcome would’ve been totally different. Today, I do not want to make anymore excuses. I am done doing myself a disservice. I want to love myself and make myself proud.

Setting forth goals for myself helps propel me forward. I start off with what is feasible and timely. The marathon is a great example in this because I know I will complete it under the time limit and it’s literally tomorrow. This goal will be a stepping stone toward several other goals I have in my life. The ultimate one: publish a book.

When I fulfill a specific goal, small or large, this will generate momentum and motivation to work on the next goal and so forth. I can no longer make excuses. No more holding it off for tomorrow. I can’t afford to waste time anymore. The time is always in the present. When I consistently tell myself to wait it out, I fall into the trap of laziness. However, when I keep myself diligent in aiming forward, I have maintained a habit of a successful and fulfilling life.

 

 

 

Boston’s Tinder Way of Healing the Heart

During this vacation drought, I have endured a slew of failed Tinder dates, with the most recent temporarily causing me to lose my sanity. After dating guys on autopilot, this last one really gave me a wake-up call: I don’t think any guy can be trusted. He played me so well, even the smartest girl wouldn’t detect the slightest hint of his hidden agenda. That was the last straw. My attempts to apply everything I learned in the past are useless.

I have decided on a completely different approach: Tinder like there’s no tomorrow.

I took a week off from work to take a breather away from the constraints real life is known to give. My body had to physically be in a completely different geographic location to unwind the petty trauma my heart recently faced. Upon my boss’ approval, I immediately sifted through cheap round-trip plane tickets that will take me to a land far, far away from my lackluster city of Dallas. Who intentionally travels to Dallas, by the way?

It was a toss-up between Seattle or Boston. Boston was cheaper.

I didn’t plan, nor did I do my research of the city, aside from making reservations to a hostel. I just wanted to be there.

As soon as my plane landed, I did the  unthinkable: I re-downloaded my Tinder app, which has been deleted since the start of a budding relationship, which eventually failed. It was my first time to ever use Tinder out of town, and I was excited to see what this novel experience could bring. I had nothing to lose. With my history of getting easily attached and heartbroken too easily, Tinder traveling would help me loosen up and have the time of my life with no strings attached. Tinder dating across the country would give me no reason to get upset after not hearing back from the guy.

During my four-day vacation, my role as a Tinder user switched from female to male. I began to right-swipe erratically, getting the most matches as I can in the limited time I had in the city. Being a girl, it wasn’t very hard to find a match. I was a little astonished, to say the least, at the percentage of well-educated users on the app living in Boston. I bet that city has a higher per capita of Ivy League grads than anywhere else in the country. Education is a priority for my potential dates. Why would I invest my time and energy on someone with a hollow brain? I should just move there since I like to surround myself with smart people.

I edited my profile to say “Hey, I’m in Boston for only 4 days! Let’s meet up! :)” I’ve come across some very intelligent individuals. In my limited time span, there was no room to be too picky, or engage in pointless conversation prior to the first meet. By the way, 100% of my previous encounters on Tinder were pretty useless in the end. As far as meeting the guys in Boston, it may be the first and last time I’ll ever see them, unfortunately, but I’m already resigned to the expectation I will never hear back. After all, I’m the one going back home, so there’s no reason for me to be hurt after becoming a victim of ghosting.

So, the guys:

Chris is a 31 year old Cornell alum, now working as an attorney.

Warren is 34 – currently in medical school.

Greg* is 33 – Graduated from Dartmouth, worked for the White House, went bowling at the White House, travels first class on almost every international flight, and now works for the government. This one really stuck out and is who I became Facebook friends with – name is changed.

 

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Harpoon Brewery
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Legal Seafood’s – Clam Chowder
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He took a photo of me – I didn’t ask. Harpoon Brewery
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Not relevant to the dates, but here i am, at the Duck Tour!

 

At the very least, my experience with each of them was great. What’s so great about Tinder dating out of town is that you get to have your own personalized tour of the city. It sure beats the generic tours. We walked aimlessly around town while they pointed out specific areas with a brief history – if this was a tourist-driven tour guide, I’d be half asleep. I went to Harpoon Brewery, which is, according to Warren, the place to go by non-tourists. Before heading to Boston, I made it a priority to at least try the clam chower, or shall I say, chowda? Greg was okay spontaneously meeting me the very night before my early morning flight – I just wanted chowda!

In my experience, traveling is truly the #1 cure for heartbreaks – Tinder traveling helps makes moving on much easier. I will point out that sex in my recent Boston experience was in no way involved. If that’s your thing, then go for it! Traveling out of spontaneity doesn’t necessarily have to happen following a relationship meltdown – it can be used as just a general refresher. Physically placing your body in a new geographic location (traveling) is really healthy for you. I will sure to try it again on my next solo-trip. There are so many wonderful people you can meet in the world, and because I’m happily single, there’s nothing holding me back.

Falling in place

At this very moment, as I’m typing away this post, I am at one of my high points in life. Things are going well – a budding relationship (maybe), a promotion, making it on the front page of Yelp, and a blog based in New York emailed me requesting I join their contributor team – all this happened within the last 2 days.

It feels like I have a steady surge of serotonin flowing between my neurons right now; the feeling is awesome – best yet, no drugs were involved. Hooray, for natural happiness!

There really is no equation for this level of happiness. Some of it is luck with a mixture of hard work and dedication – omit the romance part, as it’s kind of an extraneous, yet pending, contribution to how I’m feeling right now.

I wanted to make a quick update documenting my rare emotional peak. Normally I don’t ever write a lot when something good happens; I do vice versa. If you were to skim through the rest of my blog, you’d instantaneously perceive me to be a very depressed individual, with nothing good to say. Writing about sadness is almost like a puzzle – trying to find the right words to craft a beautifully complex emotion. I always think of this puzzle as an emotionally challenging game. It stimulates the mind, and when the finished product is moments away from the”Publish” button, I get this quick sense of accomplishment, even when it’s going to depress someone reading it – sorry.

 

On the other hand, writing about happiness doesn’t have the same effect. I always feel too self-inflated elaborating of all the good things happening to me, so I’ll talk about one of the things that made me happy today:

I have been Yelp Elite for over 5 years now – it’s a great group to be a part of. As a member, I get invited to clubs, events, restaurant openings, games, etc. – all for free. Not exactly sure if there’s a tough criteria to reach to make it to the club, since I know a few Yelp Elites, who shall not be named, write terribly – errors in syntax, punctuation, run-on sentences, misspellings…it’s a grammar Nazi’s nightmare. Regardless of that, I do pride myself with the Elite status and making it to the “Review of the Day” section from time to time. I woke up this morning when one of my Yelp friends congratulated me for making it on the front page. This recognition does nothing, but reinforces my motivation to write more.

Below is a picture during one of the Elite events at Community Beer Co. about a year ago. I met my Yelp twin!

 

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Journalism: Wake-up call

After attending the prayer vigil in downtown Dallas, an impromptu event following the deadly shootout of 5 police officers, I was reminded of my deep-rooted passions: journalism. I’ve never been in a place that was heavily concentrated with news reporters, journalists, photo-journalists, camera crew and anything involved with the press. I tried to relish the present moment, as I was witnessing a day in the life of a reporter.

Real-life, whatever that may be, has altered the direction I wanted to follow. Just excuses; partly because of the impracticality of the field. Not only that, Naysayers kept on discouraging me. It’s too competitive…Well, good luck with that…You’ll be struggling to earn a living. I listened. And now I’m in shambles – not really. I just wish I’d be doing something I’m ultimately passionate about, regardless of the anticipated pitfalls involved.

The reason why I wanted to participate in the vigil is to only document the event. It literally was a block away from my building, so I may well be present. I wasn’t there to focus on the main subject –  I was there to capture the emotions on people’s faces, the intensity, and humanity at its low point. I find a lot of beauty in sadness. I even wanted to take photos of the camera crew and reporters just because the sight of them seemed pretty cool, as I’ve never been in an event heavily involved with the press. I wasn’t emotionally engaged with what was actually going on — I think this is a trait required of all journalists. Your job is to get a story across. Period.

Later that afternoon, I had a wake-up call that really encouraged, and reminded me, to actively pursue my passions again – CNN discovered a photo I posted on Instagram and wants to use it on all their media platforms and affiliates. I  had a paralyzed expression of awe on my face for the 24 hours that followed. The photo was of a civilian shaking hands with a cop. Who would have known that just a few taps on my iPhone screen would make a big impression.
Instagram:eyesnapphotos

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Resolutions, resolutions…

How’s everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions going so far? Did you give up your diet yet?

I’ve always wondered why people wait until the end of the year to make resolutions. It’s not like we’re limited to a short time period dedicated to reinvent ourselves and make resolutions for the upcoming new year. In my ancient blog (which is abandoned now) I did remember writing about the same topic. My point is, why can’t we just use any random date of any given year as a point of reference for a new year?

I think we should always strive to better ourselves, no matter what time of year, and engage in a lot of self-reflection and meditation. I think it’s a really healthy practice, as it puts us in the present and makes us more conscious of our surroundings. Since I was 12, I’ve regularly updated in my handwritten journal and blog. With this consistency, I was very much in tune with my emotions. Writing was almost like meditation. Since I’m a fully grown adult now (at least I hope I am), writing has been a challenge to fit into my schedule. I don’t want to publish anything, unless I know it’s good. And in order to write quality content, it takes time. I need to sit in a room, stare at a wall for an X amount of embarrassing long minutes (maybe hours…) to let my ideas flow coherently. This is how serious I am about writing, and also why I’ve been absent for long periods of time.

I haven’t been consistent in my writing, but I am trying. Not just to enlighten my readers, but for myself, as well. So, what’s my resolution? Write more!

Today, I made a non-regrettable splurge at Barnes & Noble and purchased a Moleskine journal. I love it dearly! Most people think it’s just an expensive journal, but it’s super high quality — similar to that of a book. For me, if I’m spending over $20 for a journal, I’m going to take much better care of it, as opposed to a $1 notebook you can get at Wally World. It writes smoothly and helps keep me on track and inspired. I’ve so far been reading “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg (speaking of which), and been writing notes on my journal about that. I highly recommend the book!

I also created a Bucket List. Here it is:CYfQruJUkAENXnU.jpg-large

What do you want to be when you grow up?

As we were young, we were always asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” From what I could recall, I really didn’t know what the hell I wanted to be. My answer would be something generic like doctor, teacher, or [fill in seemingly cool job here]. It is a simple question with complex answers. There’s so many possibilities. I was aware I was young, and I didn’t want to worry about how to answer that when it really mattered.

Flash forward 2 decades and a million different jobs later, I’m left feeling a strong sense of inadequacy and aimlessness. I’m 26 years old without a career, let alone financial security. I mean, I’ve had a few full time jobs here and there, but it was definitely not what I was passionate about. Every time I was constrained to a desk under fluorescent light for 8 hours a day, I could sense my creative soul dying in slow motion. I was depressed. It was always when I worked these god-forsaken 9-5 jobs that I was at my low point.

Every time I was constrained to a desk under fluorescent light for 8 hours a day, I could sense my creative soul dying in slow motion.

When I lost my most recent full time job, it was a blessing in disguise. It freed me from the drone that I was for the past 9 months. The consistent income was no longer there, but I am at least not entitled to robot-mode the same time, everyday, Monday through Friday.

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Via Twitter. My dreams/aspirations from last year October 2014.

I was able to catch up on where I left on in my goals to be a writer. Whether or not I get published or capitalize in a winner-take-all market, I will still do it because it is what I am genuinely passionate about. I am intrinsically motivated to share my stories. I’m not here to shove my stories in everyone’s faces (although it be nice to have an audience). I make it my goal to inspire others, and to just be a part of a community online.

If you’re a full-grown adult right now, are you currently living the person you wanted to be when you grow up? Are you satisfied with your life right now, or do you wish you’d be in a better place than where you are now?

 

 

 

8 Things I Learned Traveling to New York City Alone

The beginning of October this year was my very first time to visit New York. I’m 26, and I can’t believe I waited this long! Before I went, I did ask my friends to go with me, but they came out with lame excuses dealing with finances, jobs and time constraints. Yes, these are legitimate excuses, but I am not letting that be the reason why I am missing out on my chance to do what I want to do. For several instances in the past, I neglected traveling because my friends couldn’t. The fact that you’re friends and family can’t travel with you should never be a reason why you can’t. So, I booked a ticket a month in advance, and New York, here I go! This was an incredible learning experience. My short visit to the city has gotten me hooked. It’s an addicting atmosphere, especially if you’re young. I want to visit again! Below are 8 things I learned traveling here:

  1. This will now be part of my keepsakes
    This will now be part of my keepsakes

    Purchase a MetroCard
    Before you do anything else, purchase a MetroCard. It doesn’t matter how you got to the city — purchase a MetroCard! If you flew in, go to Hudson News, and purchase one before you ever step out the airport building. This will be your lifeline to commute throughout the jungle. You have the option to walk, if you wish, but as a tourist visiting the city for the first time, your best bet is to take public transportation. Plus, the subway is one of the many genuine New York experiences you can have. Relish it…even though it’s dirty.

  2. Always have your phone fully charged, and carry your charger
    Unless you have a device that maintains the life of your phone, you got to be prepared to hunt down places to charge your phone. I went to the banks and Starbucks to do just that. I can’t tell you how many times I had to hunt down a Starbucks just to plug my phone in. There’s supposedly a Starbucks at every corner, but knowing how bad I am with reading Google maps on my phone, I found it pretty hard to find one. I was using up the life of my phone while I was finding a place to save it. If ever you need to find a place to charge your phone, be wary that every single Starbucks I’ve entered was packed. PACKED! There were a few times I luckily found a place to plug my phone in, but while I was waiting for my phone to charge up, I was missing out. But I did take advantage of people-watching.

    We are like rats infesting the city.
    We are like rats infesting the city.
  3. You’ll be reading the Subway map — a lot
    Familiarize yourself with it. I was probably one of the few who obviously looked like a tourist holding a big subway map over her face in the train. At first, the map looks like a jumbled mess full of colored lines and dots, but after being lost for 5 days, I finally mastered (sort of), how the subway system works. Coming from me, getting lost wasn’t so bad because I was still excited to be in the best city of the world. So, if you find yourself lost, don’t fret. Getting lost is a great learning experience. On my last day in the city, I easily dodged through neighborhood to neighborhood and made it on time to the airport with no hassle. I feel like a real city girl already!
  4. Avoid scammers
    Where do I begin with this? There will be a lot of sketchy businesses you come across, let alone scammers. Just be wary of where your money goes. I wrote a review (under Renee C.) for this one sketchy business that lurks around popular areas, such as Times Square, Grand Central, or Central Park. If ever your money goes to a single person, at least use your credit card, so you can dispute payment and get a replacement card.

    Corner of Avenue of Americas and 42nd Street
    Corner of Avenue of Americas and 42nd Street
  5. Take a lot of photos, but don’t let that take away from your organic experience
    Because it was the first time I was ever in NYC with a limited time span, I really wanted to take a lot of photos everywhere I went, but at the same time, I wanted to relish the present moment in the city. Nothing can replace seeing the city with your own eyes. I kind of contemplated if I should just step back and refrain from taking too many photos. I just saved the photo-snapping behavior for a 2nd visit, AFTER I experienced the city with my own eyes. The photos you see of skyscrapers does not capture what it really looks like with your own eyes. I kind of wish it did, but your eyes are a wonderful thing. The sights, the sounds…sometimes the smell — you can’t miss out on the present moment.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions
    Everyone primed me into thinking that New Yorkers are mean. I just think that they’re just solely focused on going from point A to point B. Maybe I’m speaking too soon, but I want to keep my perspective of New Yorkers as being helpful and “not that mean”. They usually just don’t have time to engage in small talk. When it came time for me to ask for directions, I was incredibly surprised at how helpful people were. They were so concise. They took their time to help me, although everything sounded like gibberish. As a solo traveler visiting the big city, the only things I had to rely on were the maps or another human being.
  7. Cab fare is not that expensive
    I was staying at a hostel in Brooklyn (Williamsburg neighborhood), and I woke up at 4:30AM one morning to go to the TODAY Show over in Rockefeller Center. I was instructed to take the M Train from there to my destination, but realized it doesn’t operate until 5:30AM. Seriously?! I did not wake up this early for nothing. Also, I didn’t really have full knowledge of how the subway system works, so my best bet was to take a cab. I could not risk being a few minutes later than I had planned. I told myself several times about being on the TODAY Show on that specific day to be in the audience and meet Al Roker. Taking a cab was so worth it. Fare was only $25, and $30 with tip. It’s not so bad, really.

    I wonder how much the average lost tourist walks in NYC
    I wonder how much the average lost tourist walks in NYC in one day
  8. You’ll be doing more walking than you ever had in your life
    Seriously. I got lost so much, that it accounted for me walking over 23K steps, 10 miles, and 32 floors — look at screen shot. I honestly did not mind at all because while I was lost, I was making use of that time sightseeing and immersing myself into a different world. What’s even crazy, at the end of the day, when I was awake for over 24 hours, I wasn’t even tired. It’s the energy of New York! I love it so much. That’s why I want to come back.