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.

A letter to all ambitious women out there

 Hi ambitious woman, I am so proud of you. I want to start this letter by patting you on the back for owning your ambition, for the courage to go against the grain, and declaring that you are a trailblazing woman. You have been called “too much” far too many times, too bossy, too know-it-all, too competitive, and maybe you’ve been told, “Who does this girl thinks she is?” I am so damn proud of you for standing up for yourself and following your own path.

1. You will go through a lot of challenges.
      Life will test you a lot of times. Sometimes it will hit you repeatedly on the face, on your gut, and you will fall down. Those who are so brave will get trampled upon, but you know what the difference is? Women like you do not know how to give up. It’s just not in your DNA. Challenges even energize you to be so relentless. You are not afraid to be vulnerable and fall flat on your face. Your mission is clear to you, hence no matter what hurdles come along, you will face it headstrong. 

2. You will meet amazing people.
      There are people who have come before you and will guide you as you walk your path. Learn from them and carve your own way. Every person that you meet has a lesson to teach whether that interaction is good or bad. I guarantee that you will not be alone in your ambition because there are lots of women who didn’t listen to the patriarchy, who decided that even if this world still doesn’t see men and women as equals, we are not bowing down to that belief. They will inspire you to proceed with whatever your heart wants and that women are here to take space and be awesome. 

3. You will ignore the haters.
      Those who decide to carve a unique path will be faced with so much hate. I think you know a thing or two about crab mentality. Some people can’t just process their insecurities hence they project it on you. When a tree is bearing fruit, that’s the time that a random person throws stones on those shiny and juicy apples. Productive people just don’t have the time and energy to hate because they are busy being so fucking amazing, slaying their goals and doing good for humanity. Ignore gossip and just do your shit. Haters are gonna hate because they are just so frustrated and insecure and they are not even brave enough to admit that to themselves. It is easier to badmouth people than to wake up every single day and do the hard work. 

4. You will learn so much along the way.
      All experiences in your life will teach you wisdom that you can’t have just by reading or watching motivational videos. You have to ask yourself, “What am I learning from this?” Every positive or negative experience has something to teach us, and our job is to listen to what the Universe is teaching. If you want to be a better person than you were yesterday, you have to be receptive to what life is teaching you. If you will be stubborn and keep on doing practices that aren’t good and working for you, then I hate to break it to you but you are not getting anywhere. You will be stuck because success requires growth and every season of our lives requires us to evolve. Who do you have to become to be the person you aspire to be? Do you need to be disciplined? Do you have to let go of limiting beliefs. Be a student of life. 

5. You will realize who are the people on your team. 
      There will be people who are good for you and of course there are those whose energy is just not good for your soul. Your job in this planet is to take of your soul because when you do, that love overflows and people can get the best of you. But if you keep on spending time with those who drain you, then how can you transform to your awesome self? Evaluate the energy that your friends emanate. Do you feel good after talking to them or do you feel insecure? Are your friends empowering you or are they discouraging you? Are they cheering you on? Can you rely on them during though times? Have a strong satellite for these kinds of people, and when you find them keep them close. 

6. You will fail.
      Surprise! Since you are brave, I would like to inform you that you will fail. Failure is a part of an ambitious woman’s life. You will not get that job. You will flunk that exam that you spent weeks studying.Your boss will not be satisfied with your work and the list goes on. But then again, every failure has a corresponding lesson, and that lesson will be the fuel to your success. If you do not fail then that means you are not trying. What matters is you get back up every single day, and as Brene Brown says, you go back to that arena, start again and fight. 

7. You will fall in love.
      Even if you are so focused on your goals, remember that love will be the reason why everything still makes sense. If you just keep on chasing money, fame, or success, but then your personal life is on the rocks, then will success still matter? At the end of the day, love is all that matters. So fall in love with life, with your journey, and generate the moments that will keep your heart on fire. Take care of your relationships and give it time. An ambitious woman allows herself to fall so deeply in love. 

8. You will realize what matters. 
      When you are too caught up with problems, we tend to forget the bigger picture. We get trapped in our “mini-me.” An ambitious woman takes the time to reflect and ask herself if this problem is worth the stress. At the end of the day we have to focus on our priorities, and on how we belong to the bigger scheme of things. This is a vast universe and our life as humans is just a tiny speck to its existence. Life is so short, so we have to be wise with how we spend this limited amount that has been given to us. 

9. You will have fun.
      Chasing your dreams is fun. The journey is what matters. You will realize that even if we live in this complicated world, we need to have fun. Enjoy the ride and actively search for things that make you smile. As I’ve said, the trip is short so it makes sense that we must have fun. Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. 

10. You will thrive. 
      You will succeed, that is for sure. Maybe not in the timeline that you’ve set or in the field that you chose. Ambitious women succeed because they just keep on putting one foot over another. Eventually, you will experience flow and thrive. Inaction guarantees a stagnant life but a hardworking, driven, and purposeful person has a high chance of achieving their goals than lazy people. As Newton’s third law of motion states, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Whatever step you take will eventually bear fruit. You just have to be patient and headstrong. When trials come your way you can take a rest and then continue hustling again. 

Read this before dating a medical student.

Medical folk are probably one of the most incompatible professions in relationships. If you are the type who loves being smothered by attention or being around your significant other 90%  of the time, then I guess you have to read this. These people are always busy, and it takes a very mature person to date a medical student. If you are interested in someone who is in the medical field, specifically, a medical student, then read below. 

1. She is most probably Type A. 
      Medical schools have a rigorous application. They will take the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT), undergo a panel interview, and make sure that their background has this long list of achievements in order to be shortlisted for an interview in a medical school. And you know what kind of person does that? A crazy one. Nah, I’m just kidding. But she is probably a bookworm, someone who’s had a lot of achievements, a perfectionist, and a person with high standards for everything that she does. It may make her look crazy to some guys, but to the right person, these qualities will be adorable. Who doesn’t want a woman, who knows what she wants, rolls up her sleeves and does the legwork to slay her goals? You will undoubtedly succeed if you have a woman like this walking beside you.

2. Understand that medicine is her calling. 
      We are dreamers and doers. We dream deep. We want to take good care of our patients in their most vulnerable state. Whatever the reason is for us to enter med school, it is probably a genuine one because we wouldn’t study for almost a decade and not have a reason that will make us stay. You have to bear with this vocation and love this caring and passionate side of her. 

3. She will reschedule and reschedule. 
      This is one of the downsides of dating a medical student. We may try to be present in your life and we will work hard to give any relationship the time it needs, but understand that rescheduling and cancelling dates will happen. This will not be our fault, it’s just that we want to spend the little free time we have to sleep. We just do not have the energy, or our schedules shifted in a whim that’s why this is happening. If you are not mature enough to understand this, then don’t date a medical student. Never ever take her calling against her.

4. She genuinely cares. 
      We may not have the luxury of time but know that when a med student spends time with you, it means you are important. She probably has cases to learn and tons of books to read, but if she chooses to even spend an hour or a few minutes just to see you, it’s because she truly cares and that you are special.

5. If she doesn’t respond to texts, she’s most probably studying.
      Stop that jealousy whatever. If she doesn’t reply she’s either sleeping, studying or watching k-drama. Do we even have time to chat with other people? We can barely manage our lives. lol. We don’t have time for fights and more complications in our lives. Our plate is just too full. 

6. She will often fall asleep when you’re together.
      If you’re watching a movie, she’ll fall asleep. If you’re just sitting on the couch, she’ll fall asleep. Get ready to spend time with a narcoleptic person, just kidding. We’re just exhausted. You are not boring. It’s not you, we’re just sleepy. Please do not take it into against her too. She’s just tired from a 12-hour study session.

7. Medicine comes first, you are second. 
      We know our priorities well. Our calling will always come first. When we become doctors, our patients come first. Don’t even dare date a medical student and expect that they will spend every hour of everyday with you. It’s just not happening. 

8. She needs a supportive partner.
      A superhero job needs a superhero partner. That is the bottom line of it. She chose a demanding life of service and that means you have to be onboard with that. Doing simple errands, driving, and even doing chores would mean the world to her. We often fail at taking care of ourselves, and when someone willingly does this for us, we just appreciate it. When she sees that you are with her in every step and that you would go out of your way to give any kind of support, she will definitely love you.

9. Respect her timeline.

She graduated college, will finish meds school in 5 years, probably do residency, then fellowship and the list goes on. She may or may not choose to have a family because of these demands. If you really love her, you will have to respect her timeline and not take this against her. This is the life she chose, and so you are either onboard or if you’re just gonna cause pain, get out of her life while it’s still early.

10. She will work hard. 

She is a hard worker, not just in her career but also in her relationships with family, friends, and significant other. She understands that anything worth having needs work day in and day out. If you choose to be with a woman like her, you are in it for a ride with a team player, a doer, and a believer.

Antidote to frustration

When the pandemic started I plummeted on a spiral of negativity. I got disappointed, more than I usually am, with almost everyone who’s handling this pandemic. I understand that COVID is a monster virus but I also know that this could have been handled better. More than a year after the first lockdown, and yet, here we are, experiencing a pandemic in a third world country, which could possibly be the worst place for a human being to be in. I was depressed and demotivated to study because the system is just too broken, but luckily, I was able to crawl out of that tunnel. How do we make peace with a shitty situation that is mostly out of our control?

1. Acceptance
      I discovered that the more we resist the situation that we are in, the harder it is to take the steps to solve problems. Accept that in this moment, these are the cards which we have been dealt with. You are in the Philippines, a country that has been colonized by three big countries for hundreds of years. This is where we are and we have to make peace with this fact. Maybe in another life I’m from Canada or Australia, but in this one, you are born in the Philippines. Accept that monsters exist, that the culture of corruption is a staple here in our nation. There are so many starving kids and sick people who are dying due to the poor healthcare system. Accept at the moment, that we live in a very flawed government, that not all leaders take their job “public servant” by heart. Recognize that not everyone has the same heart as you and your environment is pathological. Right now, this is your life situation. 

2. Gratitude
      Even though these are the realities that we must face on a daily basis, I still believe that we have to acknowledge what we have been given. It is unfair to just focus on the negatives. You are lucky that you are alive, especially since COVID lurks around the corner, and yet, here we are, still surviving. If you are reading this, it means that you have the privilege of being able to access gadgets and the internet. Having food on the table, getting an education, having a safe home to live in, and being with your family in these difficult times, are all things that we have to be thankful for. Being grateful doesn’t disregard the numerous flaws which are still present, but don’t we owe it to the Universe to be happy about what we have? For the past five years, keeping a gratitude journal has kept me aligned with what is important. Even though heavy and difficult things arise, I know that the fact that I am still breathing means that there still is a fighting chance for whatever that we are waking up for.

3. Decide that you can do something.
      Maybe you think that I am so naive for even imagining that I can make a difference. But come on, if everyone accepts that mediocrity and injustice is the norm, then aren’t we helping perpetuate these crimes to humanity? I refuse to give up. I refuse to say that this is all there is, that dying people will be the new norm. I know that even if I am just one insignificant human, I can make a difference. Know that you can do that too. We are intelligent species filled with thousands of neurons with connections that has allowed people to fly to the moon and discover the other galaxies in the sky. How come we think that we are so limited? We are not. You are not limited. You can make a difference wherever you are as long as you are brave and aren’t afraid of the legwork that living purposefully entails. Your existence matters. Make a decision that you will stop playing small. 

4. Stay in the moment and offer it the best you that you can give. 
      A lesson that I have learned from Oprah and Eckhart Tolle is to be present. This might seem a little woo-woo to others but, our present moment creates our future. We have to be fully present with the task at hand, the conversations we are in and the relationships in our lives, because when we are, that’s when the magic happens. People feel it when you genuinely care. There are people who will see how authentic you are. So if you are reading a book, give it your full attention. If you are bonding with family, stop using your phone. When you are talking with clients, don’t multitask, focus on them. Even in activities such as doing the laundry or washing dishes, stay present. That’s when you deliver quality work, and when that accumulates, someone will always notice. You owe it to what has been handed to you.

5. Be the role model you wish you had.
      Some people are lucky to be born with parents who are conscious enough in raising children, but most of us I guess didn’t have that. I think we have to take in to consideration that our parents didn’t also know better. I kept on looking for role models as I was growing up, but I found it difficult to find one, so I decided that if I can’t find one, then I’ll be one. I am frustrated with our leaders, so I decide that I will start by leading myself. Try it too. Be the mother, father, sister, best friend, mentor, leader, that you wish you had. Work hard on becoming the best version of yourself. Align your actions with the solutions to your frustrations. Stop waiting for things to change and start with you. Make a difference in the space that you are in and try to expand that culture of authenticity and humanity in the biggest scale that you possibly can, at your own pace. 

6. Be kind.
      We are not perfect. I am guilty of being impatient and cranky especially since I am in the medical field. But I try my best to be as kind as I can be. When I fall off the wagon, I also forgive myself. I learned this lesson the hard way. I used to be the person who cannot forgive slacking off. When there’s a group project in college, I expect all my groupmates to perform at the level that I do, not meeting deadlines is non-negotiable. I get mad at my groupmates who aren’t sending their parts for our lab reports on time, up to the point that I was becoming a very toxic person. I became unkind. It is their  responsiblity after all. But when difficult things happened to me, that’s when I realized that, I don’t have an idea about what is happening to another person. I don’t have a clue about their situation at home, their finances, or if they are eating at all. So I can’t be unkind, because as the quote goes, “Be kind. Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about.” I’m not yet as kind as I want to be but everyday, I try my best to be as mindful. 

7. Live a life of service.
     I am not sure when what I want to do has become crystal clear to me. I like leading, managing projects, and learning ever since. I also like seeing that what I do has a contribution to even a single creature. I’m not saying that I am aiming to be Mother Teresa, but seeing others win and do great and humane things for others makes me smile before I sleep. Isn’t that beautiful? When I learned that service and a hunger for learning keeps my soul alive, I knew that I wanted to be or at least try to reach for that MD. Here I am, about to start fourth year, I still have a long way to go but I have come far. Even though there are hard and painful parts, I would still choose this. My service is my offering to the universe. I hope and pray that you reader, are living a life filled with purpose.

8. Create a solution for people’s problems.
     One of my dreams is to create a business that will allow people from my hometown to live comfortably without leaving their families to work abroad. Writing in this blog is not just for creative expression. At the back of my mind, I want to offer clarity to my readers and in a way, help them maneuver challenges in their own lives. My efforts may seem futile, but even if only one person reads an entry, and somehow learns something or thinks differently after reading, then I would be most thrilled. That one person has friends, family or colleagues that they can influence. I want to make more good in this world. That is how I make peace with my disappointments. Find your art or an avenue  for your activism.

9. Educate, don’t hate.
     Since the advent of social media, I noticed that opinions are getting more polarized. Friendships die because of different political beliefs. There are more facebook comments filled with attacks just because of opposing views. Offensive words are like a staple. You just need to look at the comments section and you’ll see so much lack of respect. What if instead of trying to win arguments, we focus on understanding the other party and offer education instead of shaming them? What if we choose respect? We can’t control other people’s thoughts but we can manage how we respond to them. We can engage in a healthy discussion and if the other person attacks, leave. Making a point is never the point. Enlighten instead of winning.

10. Live each day as if it were your last. 
     When I get caught up in the craziness of this world I try my best to remember that today could be my last day. Will I choose to live with anger and negative thoughts? How do you want your last day to be? Draw a picture of your last day on earth. Live that. Focus on what matters. We only have one shot in this life after all. Live fully. 

Finally free

Too often we dream about doing great things, reaching for the stars, going as far as we can go. Maybe that’s why we are consistently exhausted. Keeping up with the speed of the world can be really taxing. I am having this existential crisis of wanting to shine, to be something, or someone. It has lessened in intensity, but I’lll be honest, I want all this to go away sometimes. I just want to be happy and contented with where I am.

I used to like being able to do it all, to be the person who can do this and that. I am the quiz bee girl, the dancer, the singer, writer, public speaker, top employee, class president, a good teacher, a soul who revels in adventure, and all those other things. I am happy that I can do all this, but I admit, I did so many things and trained myself to be good at a lot of things, until the light burned out.

What is left of me, if the light has burned out?

What I saw was who I really am. I am this simple person who looks forward to quiet mornings while sipping ginger tea. I like reading books that keep my heart at peace. I love talking to God and conversing with my Dad in heaven. I like cuddling our dogs. I love lazy afternoons with my boyfriend. I love playing with my baby brother at five in the afternoon. I love endless talking with my sisters. I enjoy so many things other than being at the spotlight and performing all those skills that I could do.

Maybe this is me getting old. Or maybe, I am just unveiling who I really am in the first place. I am not a competitive person anymore, but instead I aspire to be really competent in the line of work that I chose. I love listening to my body and giving it what it needs, to the best of my abilities. I am not as neurotic whenever things don’t go according to plan. I give grace, when people come short of their responsibilities, because, the world is toxic on its own, why should I add up to the mess.

I honor my lazy days, but I do my best to be as productive. I forgive myself more often. I choose love, as often as I could. I am happy, just by honoring who I am at the present.

Comparison Island

You wake up and start your day. You scroll on your newsfeed and saw an endless gallery of milestones. You started out the day good, but ended up feeling inadequate because you have been trapped in the dark tunnel of comparison. We know that being stuck there is an absolute poison, but preventing ourselves from feeling envy can be a herculean task since browsing at other people’s profiles is just at our fingertips.

I admit, I have been trapped in the ‘not good enough’ vortex, far longer than I should. There are just times when I feel that if only I have this or that, I would’ve achieved more or become more. However, thinking that way won’t do you any good. You will just feel bad about yourself, and feel bad about feeling bad.

The question now is, how do we get out of this funk? Here are few of my practices which have saved me so many times. I hope that these may help you as well.

1. Sleep.
Sometimes you just don’t have enough sleep that’s why you feel snappy. Sleep allows your body to recalibrate and recharge. Biologically speaking, your cells regenerate and toxic metabolites in the brain get cleaned out when you sleep. If you have a good night’s rest you’ll be a more loving person, you’ll be fun to be around with. Sleep makes your skin glow better, and it amps up your focus. Maybe you’re not envious, you just need sleep after all.

2. Get off of social media.

I’ll be honest with you. I feel extremely lucky that I grew up in a pre-digital era. Internet wasn’t that accessible and not a necessity back then. Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram wasn’t there to pressure me to have a feed worthy life. I don’t have easy access to nose around other people’s lives. These times are more challenging because, we can just scroll and then end up feeling bad about not having those highlights. Most of us aren’t conscious enough to realize that social media is an illusion. Practice being aware of your feelings. If you tend to compare yourself to these people who have seemingly perfect lives online, just pause and uninstall. Dedicate healthy boundaries with the internet. I have deactivated my twitter account for almost two years, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I also uninstalled facebook on my phone, so that I won’t have easy access to it. Check how you feel when using a platform. If it makes you feel like your life is so bad, get off it.

3. Prioritize happiness.

As an extremely busy person who needs to schedule everything, I often forget to do things that make me happy. I made a pact with the universe that I will choose happiness and make space for more of it to manifest. I rest when I need to, or even just carve 15 minutes of pleasure reading. When I schedule happy time, I become a better person. I don’t tend to compare myself with anyone, because I am busy having fun. So I go for a walk or listen to music. I make sure that I still write on my blog and journal. I watch even just one episode of Modern Family. I eat meals with family no matter how busy I am. My boyfriend and I would still go on dates. I still play wih our dogs or catch up with my best friends. At the end of the day, I feel like I am living my most authentic self, and not sacrificing my happiness for my ambition. I don’t feel the need to compare when my offline life is just awesome.


4. Go back to gratiude.

I will repeatedly tell you readers to always list everything you’re thankful for. A gratitude journal will keep you in perspective and help you not lose sight of your own path. When we compare, it is a sign that we are not using our gratitude muscles or fully appreciating what we have. The mere fact that you are alive, is a blessing by itself. If you are eating and have a decent home, then express that. Write it down first thing in the morning. That attitude of gratitude will elevate your energy and set you up for a more positive day and help you avoid negative thoughts.

5. Write.

When you write, you’re giving yourself a chance to process your feelings. If you are jealous of somebody else’s success, write it down. When you do, you are eliminating the mental clutter that is poisoning your mind. Do not judge yourself for feeling envious, but rather take steps that will move you forward instead of keeping you stuck in the negativity. My personal practice includes writing on my journal about what happened yesterday. Then I write on my blog about ideas that I am passionate to share. You don’t have to be a good writer, because you are doing this for yourself. You can also come back to your entries and actually find it fun to reflect on how you think and perceive in the past. You’ll also recognize that eveything that you used to worry about actually has a way of working out.

6. Use jealousy as a compass.

Jealousy isn’t bad overall. It points you to the aspects of your life that you need to work on. If you get envious with a friend who has a brand new car or who’s getting married, maybe the universe is just showing you the things that you desire or maybe the universe wants to teach you patience and humility. Transform that emotion and energy to your productivity. Maybe it’s time to double your effort or restrategize on your financial and personal goals. Maybe you have to work on your personal growth. Maybe you need to work on having more meaningful and fulfilling relationships. Be unapologetically honest with yourself. Do not be guilty about your ambitions and be relentless in chasing your dreams. Be you and let your surroundings guide you.

7. Do yoga.

I am serious when I say that yoga is magic. A human being has several aspects that make up their existence. You have to take care of your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and professional health so that you will have a centered life. I have always struggled with my physical health and found it hard to make peace and have a loving relationship with my body. Yoga has helped me respect and take care of my body in ways that I have never imagined. The focus that it requires elevates your level of awareness about yourself. I absolutely became a better person. I make better decisions and I have learned how to listen to my body and choose my thoughts. When a jealous thought arises, I can choose to see things in a different way. I can also easily walk away from activities that cultivate my jealousy and insecurities.


8. Reframe your thoughts.

When I was still working in customer service, I remember one thing that our trainer taught us, it’s perspective management. To quote also one of the greatest mentors Dr. Wayne Dyer, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” You have the power to level up your self-awareness and catch yourself before you fall in the wormhole of comparison. Always reframe. When a jealous thought arises, choose to see it differently. When someone does better than me even though I worked extra hard for it, I tell myself that it’s just not my time and that I am meant for something far better than I could have imagined. This practice absolutely works and it prevents me from feeling shitty. Repeat this mantra “I choose how I feel.” This statement gives you back your power.

9. Practice self-forgiveness.

As a Type A kid, I blame myself when things don’t go according to plan. This habit became pathologic, up to a point that I feel like I cannot live with myself anymore. I tend to beat myself up even for circumstances that I couldn’t have predicted or that were out of my control. I read somewhere that we should talk to ourselves the way that we talk to our little sister. Mind you, I will never talk to my younger sisters in the harsh way that I talk to myself. I only reconciled with the inner child in me when I finally practiced consistent self-forgiveness. When you do this, you feel as if you are enough, just by simply existing. You love yourself even if you know that you are imperfect. You will accept that even if someone will always be better than you, it’s okay because no one can ever be like your own weird you.

10. Let go.

Expectations are just futile. Do the work and keep on striving for your goals and let go of the outcome. Stop the comparison and just stay on your lane. As long as it’s your best then that will always be good enough.

(Photo shows my family, what I’m immensely grateful for.)

Now is all we need.

There are just times when I get so scared,. I’m recently scared because I’ve been seeing flashes and floaters in my eyes more often than usual. I am so scared of losing my vision. I mean, how can I live in darkness, and what if I have a retinal tear or diabetic retinopathy, and all the other worst case scenarios playing in my mind. Inhale. Exhale. Right now, in this moment, everything is okay. I am okay. Everything is okay. We are okay right?

That is just a sneak peek of what’s inside my mind. I somehow find it challenging to be at peace with the present moment. I tend to worry about a lot of things. I feel like the responsibilities are too much and that my plate is filled with so much more than I can handle. The constant feeling of not being good enough and of something bad happening is almost always lurking in the background.

However, I learned recently that worrying does nothing other than increasing my cortisol levels. As I am filled with anxiety, I tell myself this:

You are doing fine and everything will be alright. Just focus on the present moment. You are writing on your blog, on a cold Tuesday morning. You hear the chirping of birds as you lay in bed next to your three lovely sisters. The sheets are warm, the dogs are now playing outside, and the smell of fresh morning air makes its way through every alveoli of your lungs.

Isn’t it a blessing to just spend this quiet and serene moment?

Who ever told you that peace is in the future? It is indeed with me, now. I am at peace, now.