The sound of rain and the scribbles that come along with it

It’s been raining for weeks here at our place.

I used to dread the rain. Every drop made me sad. It also means that I won’t be able to go outside and do errands. I used get really blue when the rain is nonstop. Ironically, I now love the sound of rain, though it’s still limited to mornings. It is comfortable to drink tea and write on rainy mornings. It is cozy, cold but not too much. Rainy mornings create the best environment for writing.

On PLE preparations

As I vowed, I will lessen going home on weekends. I’ll keep it to once a month since I have to get serious about reviewing. I’m still doing flashcards, and attending Pathology lectures. As far as the review goes, I was both amazed and overwhelmed with how much Robbins has updated. There were tons of revisions in the 10th edition. It is good because it means that Science is advancing but on a medical intern’s end, it is overwhelming. I’m a bit worried with anatomy as well so I guess I’d have to restart anatomy coloring book sessions. I plan on coloring one page a day. It’s baby steps but I know that in 286 days, this effort would come into fruition. To anyone reading this, please pray for me, I need all the prayers that I can get to let me pass and top the boards.

On turning 29

Yes, my dear readers, I will be turning 29 in a few days. It’s quite surreal because I never in my wildest dreams thought that I’ll be doing all the things that I am doing right now. Ten years ago, I was this confused teenager, sad and depressed, however, I knew that I wanted to serve the people by becoming a medical doctor. Back then, the situation was immensely difficult. I thought I wasn’t going to graduate in university because we just didn’t have the money to sustain my studies anymore. I was even sure that I was going to file a leave of absence for a semester. It was just too depressing and yet ten years later, I am a Post Graduate Intern. This life is fucking amazing. It feels surreal to think that I’ll be a medical doctor in ten months. I never would have guessed that this plot twist would happen. Life is beautiful indeed.

On weaning off of social media and streaming apps

If I would have to choose what would be the best decision that I’ve made last year, it is weaning off of social media. I deactivated my facebook account in the last quarter of 2022. I archived my instagram photos and deleted the app in my phone. Recently, I also lessened watching shows on Netflix. Getting off those platforms had such a positive change in my soul. It was indeed worth it. Was it easy? Definitely not. I would get depressed because I wasn’t interacting that much online. I felt extremely isolated. Looking back, the rewards are worth it. I could last a day without scrolling on facebook or instagram. I compared my life with other people less. My life did not crumble because I haven’t been posting anything. To make it simple, life went on even with one less human online. Addictions are hard to break but the reward is definitely worth it.

On being with love of my life

I rarely write about my partner because he is a very private person. But since it’s our monthsary I have to at least mention him in this blog, he doesn’t even read this Every single day, I can’t help but think about what I did right to deserve him. He just provides me the blanket of safety and the source of warmth that my soul requires in order to function in this chaotic world. He is the best gift that the Universe gave. It’s funny because I can write about my previous relationships before easily. I can describe every single detail of every moment, but the instant I’ve been with my partner, I was literally out of words to describe how loved, supported, and contented I feel. I also never thought that it was possible to be in a relationship with such a beautiful human but, I am one lucky girl. He was the best choice, the best gamble that I bet on. I didn’t expect that I would find myself in a healthy relationship. But thankfully, I worked on myself and found someone who also did the homework, and when we met, it just clicked and the rest is history. I hope that any person reading this would believe that genuine love exists. My advice: Keep on living your best life and somehow the Universe will send your soulmate when you are ready.

That’s it for today’s ramble. What are you up to, reader? I hope you are in a good place, and if not, I hope you have the courage to live even just for the day. Everything takes one step at a time.

January

On multiple streaming subscriptions

It’s true that the happiness you get in new things only lasts in a blink of an eye. Lately, I find myself getting overwhelmed with having multiple streaming subscriptions (Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO) and not knowing what I really want to watch. This is probably why I end up falling asleep whenever I open these apps. It seems like the movies are just too much and it feels like my life is not enough to see all the movies and TV shows that I want to.

On simple living

So far, simple living suits me. I ate hospital food that was served yesterday instead of ordering online. I still have trauma from the whole food poisoning thing that occurred last week but healing takes time lol. Mental note: always smell the food. You have an insanely sensitive gut, Kate.

2023 Vision Board

I am also on the process of creating my vision board. It actually takes me quite an amount of time to create my yearly vision board because I take every step into heart. I just love the Everything is Possible planner. It’s actually my third year using it and it just matches with my vibe. I am loving the habit tracker feature. As I wrote a week ago, I’m experimenting on building one habit at a time. So far, my January habit is waking up at five in the morning. It actually feels nice to be able to rise before the whole world runs after you.

On health and physicality

Writing on my 2023 planner made me aware of how much I’ve neglected my health and finances last year. I put working out on the back burner. I haven’t lost weight and I still have frequent migraines. This year I’ll be prioritizing my health. I’ll be getting lab tests, imaging, and bloodwork done. As a future physician, I have to walk the talk and have integrity. It is time to face my fears. So far I have have been carving out time for exercise. I’ve been doing yoga, Nike Training Club and dance fitness workouts. It feels nice to take care of your body. I hope I can continue this streak.

Hospital Rotation

I am currently rotating at the hospital’s Public Health Unit and we had our orientation yesterday. It’s a positive step forward that the hospital has this program since health promotion is a must. So far, I am leaning into this work of bringing health and medicine closer to the community. I just feel like this is the work that matters. Again, as much as I love the other specializations of medicine, I also want to help in giving access to basic health services to those who are in need.

On PLE review

For the Physician Licensure Exam review, I do as much reading and listening to lectures since this is our group’s last month of being a free elf. My current efforts are: answering Pharmacology and Biochemistry flash cards on Ankidroid on my idle time at work and attending Expert MD’s lectures. So far, I am enjoying learning. This is what matters for me. More than my goal of topping the boards, I still want to find the joy in learning information that will help my patients.

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This is it for the first few days of January, I hope we all have a peaceful and fruitful year ahead.

Waking up before the sun rises

I am experimenting on living a simple life for 2023. It’s kinda ironic because, being a doctor almost doesn’t support that lifestyle but here I am trying to live differently.

This month’s habit that I am practicing is waking up at 5 AM. I don’t want to fool myself in waking up at 4:30 AM so I decided that 5 AM is the magic number. It’s not too early because I can still get 7 hours of sleep, and it’s not too late for me to not be able to do my morning routine.

There’s just something about waking up before the world does that I find peaceful. No dogs are barking. I can hear the birds chirping. I can make and drink my tea in silence. I can write on my blog. I feel so primed and ready to face the coming day. I hope that I can maintain this habit in the whole January.

Amidst all the challenges that will come ahead, I know that the only step that matters is that I live my best life, and and that is one that is filled with peace. As long as I am doing what I love and finding as much balance as I could, I’m good. In 2023 I will wake up before the sun rises. I will choose to spend time listening to nature. I will live simply and love fully. I will keep on keeping on.

2023 is the year I become a licensed medical doctor. This is the year of growing, one habit at a time. It is a year of letting go of what brings you down and focusing on what matters. It is a year of little steps. This is about living a full inner life rather than doing things for the gram.

I wake up before the sun rises.

Let’s be better humans

Are we alone?

We can be surrounded by so many people and yet feel alone. Sometimes we advocate for something, and it’s just frustrating to see that not everyone operates on the same values as you. We all were raised in different environments after all. In whatever we do, I hope we make it a conscious effort to examine if what we’re doing is truly the real us, or if we’re are doing something just so we can please other people. I hope and pray that we all get better at being who we are. Personally, I do feel good. I sleep at night knowing that I contributed, that I gave the day my best shot, that I’ve been kind to my friends and that I did something that was true to myself. Although there are just moments when I still feel so alone, having a spiritual practice, such as writing makes me feel more aligned, and makes me evaluate the things that I do.

Love and belonging

Love and belonging are two things that is a necessity for us humans. We need to love and feel that we are loved, and we want to feel like we belong wherever we are. In my work, I do my best to exude that love and to be honest, I feel it reciprocated as well. Whenever I am rotating in a certain department and I sense negative energy, and too much gossip and doing work like it’s just another transaction, I get instantly turned off. There are departments though that I feel like I belong. It’s like my DNA knows that this is the right place for me. I still have time to think about what path I’ll choose, but so far I do feel that love and belonging in a specific department. They are the right combination of intellect, kindness, and warmth. The residents are nice to each other and they have weekends and holidays off so there’s no constant stress. No matter how enamored I am by other specialties such as OB-Gyn and Internal Medicine, I still see myself doing other things than being a hospitalist. I want time with family. I still want to go on nature trips, go the gym, play with my dogs, and travel. I still want to sing, dance, and write. All those things, I just couldn’t do while I was rotating on the other departments. I want to be in a place where there is love and belonging. I want to live again.

On rehumanizing and dehumanizing

Last May was a sad month for us kakampinks. I really wanted Leni Robredo to win the presidency. I just don’t understand how people could support someone who’s not even familiar with the Filipino’s suffering? Living in this world is just crazy. One of my friends even wrote an offensive comment on my facebook post. I have unfriended quite a number of people because of their political beliefs. However, I realized that we are all humans. We have to stop dehumanizing each other. My God, it is so difficult to do this. It is hard to understand when we can’t comprehend something, it makes it a lot harder to love.

I want to preserve my humanity and not engage, so I deactivated my social media accounts and decided to just stay still and be present in my life. No matter who is the president, no matter who the leaders are, I know that our lives will not drastically change in a snap. I am still a broke postgraduate intern living in a third world country, trying her best to survive and be of service. Aren’t we all just trying our best? No matter what we believe in, don’t we just all want to have a better life? Isn’t that something that’s common among us? I hope we treat each other as human beings again. I don’t want to base how I treat people according to their political beliefs. I want to be better at seeing everyone as a human being. Inhale. Exhale.

I’m not gonna do it perfectly.

As I was hosting a Christmas party last night, I remembered my first few hosting gigs way back twenty years ago, my goodness I started doing it at eight. I was very nervous. I even cried one time because one of my so called friends told me that I was just repeating what I was saying. When I was a kid, I was laughed at because I incorrectly delivered the closing spiel.

It’s funny because last night two surgeons told me that I was so good at this. Damn, that felt good. Looking back, I had epic fail performances, I’ve lost count of many embarrassing moments onstage but I learned how to laugh at it. Whenever anyone gives a negative comment, I just tell myself, “They can’t even do what I do. They don’t even have the courage to stand onstage, in front of so many people and make sure that everybody’s having a good time. Their opinions are valid when they can replace me and do what I do, better, onstage.” That was the trick. I rarely had panic attacks afterwards, and everything just felt natural. I was just being me. I am not perfect. I am not the best. But I am the only one who is absolutely good at being Kate. No one could ever out-best me at being me.

Even in my job as a doctor, I accept that I’m not gonna do it perfectly. But I sure as hell do my best to get better everyday so that I can deliver excellent work. Again, for those seniors who belittle us newbies in the medical field, “We’re not gonna do it perfectly.” Just watch us work and I swear we’ll keep on improving. I hope you see how we try so hard be good. I know for myself, that one day, I will be good, and this will all be just like breathing, it will be very natural and my patients will feel it.

On speaking out

This blog is my way of expressing my thoughts. It’s actually hard for me to type this but I am having an internal battle about the things that I see and experience in the hospital. Harassment is common in females. I don’t want to normalize it, and I am trying my best to put light into these issues. I get sad that I hear stories about female co-workers who get harassed in the hospital. I just get triggered when I think about it. I cannot and will never accept a world wherein men think like it’s okay for men to touch you without consent, and to comment on a woman’s body or anything that suggests sexual things. As an intern, I have personally experienced this and when you are in this situation, it sucks, because you can’t do anything, you just freeze. This person is your senior and as a powerless woman, how do you respond? Why can’t all men respect women? I am speaking out here because this is the only place that I can freely do this but, I just hate that almost all women have to go through this.

On important conversations

As hard as it is to talk about certain topics. I want to live in a world wherein we’re not afraid to have honest and vulnerable conversations especially about things that matter. Even if it is uncomfortable to talk about politics and abuse, I want us to talk about it. This is just a tiny effort on my part, but on my last breath, I know that I helped move the needle forward. Even if it’s a few inches, I want to know that I did something. I hope we don’t opt out, and that when we are in a position wherein our voice can be loudly heard, I hope we choose to engage in these conversations with utmost respect and curiosity.

On shame

Nobody wants to be shouted at, period. I wonder why this is normalized in some fields of medicine. As I am now choosing the next step in my career, my choice is based on values that I firmly believe in. I want to go to a field wherein seniors don’t shame their juniors for their mistakes. Being called stupid or dumb, is a big no for me. People who lash out instead of verbally articulating their needs is also a big no. Why is shaming juniors normalized? I understand that doctors have a high stress job, but it’s just not an excuse to be rude. So thank you to all the seniors who have treated us juniors like a human being, I will do my best to pass on what you have started. We are going to change medicine. We are not going to be monsters.

That ends my ramble. Hope we all live better.

The negativity bias

Hi there my dear readers, today I want to talk to you about negativity bias. Ding, ding, ding! We all have that and to be honest, I do experience that on a daily basis. Here in the Philippines, it is so easy to get inside that vortex. You just have to scroll and voila, you are in for a treat.

Anyway, how do we fight negativity bias? I have intentionally deactivated social media, because I found myself absorbing the energy that is just so rampant out there. I asked myself, who am I without all these influences, be it negative or positive? So far I felt a bit isolated, but the positive outcome of having spent more time being present than spending it scrolling, is, I am more mindful of my surroundings. I can bask in what is really happening in the immediate environment that I am in.

Negativity will always be there, and we have evolved to expect the worst because we used to be hunters, and there used to be all these wild animals that could eat us. But now, do we still need to be that way? Do we still have to protect ourselves the way our ancestors did?

For three nights, I have been panicking about so many things, PLE, my health, all the bad shits that could happen. Believe me when I say I have worked so hard to be in a good mental state but still there are times when, it just slips. I get anxious and scared, even if there is no literal threat that I am facing. So far, what helps me get out of this spiral are these:

1. Meditation.

2. Exercise

3. A solid morning routine

4. Talking to a friend for distraction.

5. Cuddling the dogs.

6. Spending time with my partner.

7. Writing.

8. Reassuring myself that everything will be okay.

9. Going for a walk.

10. Writing a gratitude list.

Ten years ago, I never would’ve thought that I will be working in a hospital because of how chaotic life was back then. There are times when I just can’t believe what’s happening. I can’t believe that it is possible to feel calm and at peace. I find myself waiting for the next shoe to drop, when there actually isn’t.

I made bold choices to have this kind of life and I worked hard and sacrificed, and toiled. I know that. Sometimes I wish I could erase all the trauma and scary things that I’ve been through just so that it doesn’t slip my mind and appear in my nightmares, but I guess I have to live with this. I have to accept the scary past and create happy memories, so that all the trauma would just occupy a small fraction of my brain.

Everything will be okay, Kate. You are doing what you can with what you have. You just finished another rotation in your post graduate internship, damn, you have finished medical school. You have the best support system, the best partner in life, good friends, and all that. I can’t ask for more. You can’t erase the past, but definitely you have created a beautiful present, and you can still keep on painting on this canvass.

I believe in you. You got this.

Of dreams coming true

I still don’t have a concrete reason as to why I chose this field. I just know deep in my heart that I am exactly where I am meant to be. To you, who’s reading this: Dreams do come true. As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” I believe that every tiny step, bump on the road, curve ball and chaos that has happened in the past, has led to this moment.

A week ago, I just graduated medical school. Yes, finally, after four years of sleepless nights, unlimited exams, a global pandemic, here we are. Med school is now over and done. Hooray! I have been patting myself in the back for God knows how long because (if you have been following this blog since its early days) I really never thought that this day would be possible.

To be honest, I don’t know what to feel. I am happy, grateful and relieved. I am happy because, at least the bulk of studying is temporarily over. I am grateful because of all the people, who made this caveat possible. I am also relieved because, it is now less exhausting, at least senior internship will not require me to go on duty for 36 hours.

Junior internship was exhausting albeit life changing overall. If there is a word that is more extreme than that, please tell me because as far as I know, I reached my limit in terms of overall exhaustion. Medical school was hard. Medical school stole so much time that I could have spent with the important people in my life, but aah why is this still so fulfilling.

This brings me back to one of the toxic shifts in the medical ward wherein I had an epiphany. When I was still in my undergraduate days in UP, I used to love watching Marvel movies. I would download and watch every character’s movie, Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, etc. To be honest, I do not understand why I loved those movies, but for some unknown reason, I revel in watching Superheroes. 

Maybe because they give hope in impossible situations. They have principles that they try their best to live up to. They use their intelligence in thinking of the best strategies to combat the bad guy or to solve a problem that could lead to the annihilation of human race. I know it’s quite romanticized, but I hope you understand what I am trying to say. They try their best even if it means giving their lives in the pursuit of the greater good. I love those storylines. 

Is that related to me wanting to be a doctor? Is that why no matter how hard it gets, I’d still do this anyway? I am not a superhero with special powers. I know for a fact that I am just a simple human being who’s trying to help out sick people. I’m just a random human who loves Science, and gets a high in making strategies that solve health issues of people. As compared to those fictional superheroes, I am boring.

I still don’t have a concrete reason as to why I chose this field. I just know deep in my heart that I am exactly where I am meant to be. To you, who’s reading this: Dreams do come true. As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” I believe that every tiny step, bump on the road, curve ball and chaos that has happened in the past, has led to this moment.

What being 27 taught me

Hey there readers, I just turned 28 last month, and I found this craving for writing again about how life has been. I have started this blog seven years ago, as a form of self-expression, as a way of making sense about everything that was happening around me. What does 27 year-old Kate know about life so far? What have I learned? How am I going to navigate the next years knowing that I have lived one-third of my life in this planet? How am I going to be more intentional? How will I live? Dear ones, here’s what I know for sure.

  1. Family is the starting point of everything and it grounds you. I have learned to appreciate my family now more than ever. COVID and my father’s passing has definitely been a factor as to why I found so much strength in being with family. I tend to not spend a lot of time with my family because I was too busy chasing goals, making ends meet, hustling, working hard in academics, and just doing everything my competitive self wanted. But as I turned 28, I know, for sure, that my family is the starting point of everything that I want to do with my life. They are the foundation that created who I am and guided every step that I took and will be taking along the way. When I get too stressed in the hospital, I just have to go home, play with the dogs, sleep, and have deep and fun conversations with my sisters. Everything that I do makes sense because of the strong foundation that I have with family. We’ve been together since day one, and it comforts me that I have them and that they got me.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take the first step. Just like how a child unconsciously takes the first few steps, I learned that being a beginner at things is okay. Falling down is okay. Taking the first step may be the most difficult thing for someone to do, but, once you bravely take the plunge and just go with your gut, even if you know that so many bad things can happen or that you may fail, taking that first step is always worth it. I was so afraid of going back to medical school, taking weekly exams and so unsure about everything that I was doing. But here I am now, about to graduate in a few months. I can do simple medical procedures that I never thought I’ll be able to do or even be good at doing. I can now extract blood, insert intra foley catheter, make an IV line, administer drugs, do CPR, do suturing, deliver a baby, and a lot more, all because I took the first step, even if I know that I might fail or be bad at it the first few times. Life is about taking the first step again and again and being okay with falling over and over again.
  3. Keep on exploring. I guess getting older kind of erases the innate curious being inside us. I used to love watching discovery channel documentaries and travelling. But as we become adults, our schedules get more complex, our to do lists get longer and we forget the part of us who love to explore and discover things, and not just do things out of routine or necessity. I still want to explore places, even if it’s just a random coffee shop in our town, or a beach or mountain. I still want to feel exhilarated by the cold air, the sunrise, the sound of new music. I have learned that our yearning for exploration, is still here. It doesn’t fade away.
  4. Keep on learning. I used to love playing the ukulele. I loved learning. I loved reading. I know that this part of me will always be here. Right now, I get excited by learning the Biochemistry of medicine. It’s like I am starting medical school all over again without the pressure of learning it fast. I guess the thirst for learning has lessened through the years, but not learning is not living. This blog post is an attempt to put into paper what I have learned so far. Alas, learning never ends.
  5. Read. What more can I say? I love books. I love how imaginative I can be just by thinking about how the characters look like or how this world that the author conjured looks like in reality. Reading pumps up your imagination. Harry Potter has opened up that creative tunnel for me. Reading courtroom novels opened up my mind that other people can think a certain way. I just found a best friend in reading.
  6. Stay creative. Creativity gave me a push, a reason to live, a reason to play. Writing is my form of creative expression. Dressing up, buying clothes at thrift stores, hair styling. Anything can be a form of creative expression. Creativity will inspire you and you need to make time for it. I noticed that when I stop writing, that’s when my anxiety and depression come back, that’s when my soul slowly withers, and so I have to keep it up, it makes me cling towards living. It makes me wonder, it makes me think, it summarizes the 1 million thoughts that float in my head. We have to live creatively if we want to live a full and happy life. I try to incorporate it through my medical kit, I use a pink stethoscope, a pink tape measure, I use colorful pens, absolutely anything that could introduce play in my job. Living life in color, living creatively, even if I am in a very stressful environment, that is how I fight the norms of this society.
  7. A little competition is healthy, too much is a no no. I love a little bit of competition. I even got addicted to it when I was still a little kid. I guess I have to incorporate more of this in my life right now. I have been more of a zen person, to the point that I got fat because I was contented with where I am. I mean, it’s good, but I have to up my game and compete. It’s fun as long as you are not toxic to others. Use competition in a healthy way.
  8. Sing. I have learned that singing takes stress away. Having a bad day? Sing. Having a boring day? Sing. I don’t have a scientific explanation as to why it feels so good to sing but what I know is based on personal experience, singing makes you feel better afterwards. So, sing!
  9. Make friends. I was never scared of shifting careers or changing workplace because I know that no matter where I go, I can easily make friends. Humans did not evolve to be alone. We are meant to socialize, build tribes, and face things TOGETHER. We are not meant to be islands. We are meant to work together, to slay goals together. Friends have saved me so many times. I survived every phase of my life because I had amazing friends who stood by my side, and backed me up when there were too many shit sandwiches. Friends will keep you sane and make you laugh.
  10. Dance. Dancing, just like singing, is a perfect way to feel better afterwards. I used to dance as a kid and even at work, I still did that. I have to get back at this if I want to feel happier, lol. It just makes me sad that there are less events where people can dance because of COVID but we can dance in our homes, have our solo dance parties, or even do zumba sessions.
  11. Sharpen your skills. At 27, I have a certain set of skills that I was able to develop and there are still a lot more that I need to learn. But even if we grow old, we must never stop sharpening our skills. We must make it an art. I once read a blog in Tiny Buddha about how Picasso was not the Picasso that we know when he was just starting out. I want to be more skillful than I am now. I am like this baby who doesn’t even know how to walk alone in terms of medical procedures and knowledge, but I know that I can’t be a Picasso overnight. It takes practice and it takes time, and I am patient with my process. I will be my own version of Picasso, in time.
  12. Chaos is inevitable. Wherever we go, whatever we do, chaos is just there. 28 years and this fact is still true. No matter how much you curate a perfect schedule, a flawless plan, something will always come up. Since this is certain, we have to learn how to dance with the rain instead of expecting that the weather will be good, or that it will always be sunny. Let me give you a reality check, it won’t. There are good days, but there are days when the world seems like it’s against you and your goals. But you know what? Those challenges make life exciting. Those crossroads and obstacles, make life interesting and make the reward all the more worth it. So let chaos come, but you, will be okay.
  13. Proceed, despite. This is a phrase that my doctor friend (Hi Doctor J!) often writes, and it really made a mark on me. No matter what hurdle comes your way, you have the power to choose the next move. Am I perfect? I definitely am not. I have so many days when I just want to give this all up and go back to my comfort zone and live an easier life. I do find myself questioning my decision to dive in the medical field. But somehow, I just can’t stop and I definitely don’t want to quit, even when I got so depressed when my Dad passed. I just can’t give up our dream. Hence, despite all those insanely painful things that happened, I choose to proceed, despite.
  14. Keep going. Hope is hard to find when you are inside the dark tunnel. I was 14 when I attempted to commit suicide. I couldn’t find the sense in living because of how turbulent our life was. I couldn’t find the reason, I just felt trapped. But what made me stop that dark choice was, the me that I saw 10 years later. I thought to myself, that it’s impossible that life will always be like this. I decided to live even if that was the last thing that I wanted to do. Fourteen years later, here I am, about to become a medical doctor, living with my family, four dogs, loving partner, and it gets absolutely better.
  15. You will rise. I know it sounds cliche. Sometimes the shit sandwich just keeps on coming and you just want it to stop. But let me tell you what being in rock bottom does to you, it teaches you that if you have reached rock bottom, there’s no other way but up. It is a fact. If you have been through the worst, there’s no way for you to go down because you are already at the bottom of the pit. The next events will be exciting, because it is now your climb. You can never climb down, there is no way but up. You will rise and good things will definitely come. Keep on working and never give up.
  16. Success comes to those who are willing to dedicate their energy and time to the things that excite them. Whenever I get decision paralysis, I just follow what excites me. When an idea or a career choice doesn’t excite me, then I am not having any part of it. Medicine, as challenging as it is at the moment, still excites me. Learning about diseases, and how to manage sick patients still pique my interest. I don’t want to paint a perfect picture for you, but if you are excited about something, you will keep on working at it and even if you get tired, you will still get up and keep doing the work over and over again, because as weird as it seems, this is what you love doing. It can be something as seemingly mundane as coloring nails or organizing your closet, but if it excites you, and you just have one life to live, isn’t it a sin to not do it?
  17. Freedom rocks. I remembered my university days and how happy I was. UP had this culture of freedom. I can dress however I want because I am not in the province where judgemental looks were given to those who dress differently. I loved how radical, our professors think, and how self expression is the norm. I discovered at that age that freedom is one of my non-negotiables. I love being free to do what I want. So if a person makes me feel like I’m being strangled, or an environment is suffocating, I know that this isn’t where I am supposed to be. You get my point? To live fully is to be free.
  18. Try new things. You are never too young or too old to try something new. At the moment I still have so many things that I wish to try. I still want to go scuba diving. I still want to learn how to ride a bicycle. I still want to travel around the world and immerse in different cultures. I still want to have my own pet. The list goes on. Trying new things keeps our soul alive.
  19. People aren’t perfect. This is definitely a hard to swallow pill. However, getting older will teach you that every one of us has good and bad sides. There are people, whom you thought are good, but has this dark side that is just hard to believe that a human being can possess. The people that you love dearly have the power hurt you the most. But at the end of the day, people are people. We are all human beings who are trying our best to live in the best way we could, with what we have. We will make mistakes and hurt people along the way. It is just a matter of grace and establishing healthy boundaries.
  20. Celebrate. I guess we are all guilty at some point of being too hard on ourselves. When we have slayed one goal, we don’t even take enough time to celebrate. We just move on to the next goal. I learned that I should celebrate my wins, big or small. We should give ourselves a pat in the back whenever we do a good job, or finish a difficult project. Remember the effort and challenges along the way. Everyone deserves a celebration.
  21. Jump and take risks. Living a safe life is a big no for me. You will never know what you’re capable of until you take risks. You just have to be smart along the way so that you will not fall flat on your face. All of the best things that happened to me are a result of taking good and calculated risks. I’m not saying you should climb Mt. Everest or go skydiving. Just make brave choices from time to time, and let the magic unfold. You just have one life anyway.
  22. Party, explore, navigate. Getting lost is part of the game. Remember that. Whatever exploration means to you, do it and live it. Try new things. Meet and talk to people who have different beliefs as yours. Follow your curiosity. It will give you lessons that can only be learned through experience.
  23. Be brave in making decisions. I do believe that there is no such thing as a right or wrong decision. It’s a matter of being brave in living with the consequences of your choices. If you chose to get married early and have kids, then that’s good, just take the good with the bad. If you chose to be single, then that’s also good, take the good with the bad.
  24. You can only connect the dots looking backward. As Steve Jobs said in his Stanford speech, “You can only connect the dots looking backwards.” At this age, I still have so many dots that are yet to connect. It’s still too early to tell. But based on everything that happened in the past, where I am now makes sense. The people I met, the wins and losses, all of them made me who I am. And I am so fucking proud of the person that I turned out to be. I still have a lot of figuring out to do, but I look back and I am proud.
  25. Loss is inevitable. The biggest heartbreak in my life taught me so many lessons than no self-help book could. It’s really when you face the unthinkable, that you discover how strong you are and how much one person’s life can mean . It has been two and a half years since I lost my favorite person in the world. I learned how finite time is, so we must stop with the nonsense and just, love. But it’s true, the bigger the love, the bigger the loss. Nevertheless, just love.
  26. Learning to live without your North Star. The universe-sized hole in my heart is still here. Time doesn’t heal all wounds after all. There are wounds that one lifetime cannot heal but you will learn to live with them. You will get used to living with pain. Whenever I remember my Dad, I get sad, but I know that this sadness means that I have loved as much as my human heart could. And isn’t that beautiful? Doesn’t that make life worth it? I am one lucky human to have lived and loved someone so much. I am one lucky daughter to have 25 years with a Dad who gave an amount of love that could last more than a lifetime.
  27. Allowing others to love you. As trials came my way, I learned to accept love. I am still the strong, independent, and self-reliant woman that I used to be, but having lost my Dad, taught me to accept help. My heart feels so warm and fuzzy now that I have the confidence that I can stand alone, and it’s a lot of fun to have family and friends holding your hand and helping you live each day. Allow people to love you. Lean on others and be a shoulder to lean on. I have survived and thrived in the past 27 years because I had a tribe with me.

Indeed, 27 has been amazing.

The Day I Stopped Reading Horoscopes

I love astrology. It somehow gave me a level of certainty that things are going to be okay because duh, Capricorns are ambitious and goal driven, right? When the horoscope says today will be filled with luck, I believe it. I want things to work out so bad even if a lot of circumstances are out of my control. Astrology helped me deal with life.

I can analyze compatibility and understand a person’s attitude just by knowing their birthdate. I like things to make sense even though deep inside I know that astrology doesn’t have a scientific basis. Planets, the sun, and moon, oh come on, why on Earth would I believe that? There are no published scientific journals that prove their truth.

Be that as it may, there’s a mystical part of myself that believes in a power that is outside of this realm that we live in. My soul tells me that there is a higher intelligence that is working, and that I have to work with it, rather than against it. So how do I reconcile the mystic and realistic parts of my brain?

I give them both a chance. I stopped reading horoscopes many years ago. I chose to work daily on improving myself without compromising my health. I work my ass off, but I also pray that whatever it is that is at play which is out of my level of consciousness, may I be in alignment with it.

Horoscopes are still fun to read, but I also believe that when we take charge of our life, the possibilities are endless. When we never stop working to get better, we give our life a fighting chance.

I do not need astrology to give me that certainty anymore. When I am in alignment, when I am taking care of myself physically, when I carve time for creative work, when I bust my ass off in my chosen field, keep my life organized, and spend time with the people I love, I am good.