Friday, May 10, 2013

34 things I know at 34.

Since I turned 34 a few days ago, and haven't blogged in forever, I came up with a list of things I know about myself at this age. 34 is a lot of freakin' things and it took me a few days!

1. I am never too old to be who I want to be, try new things or change my mind.

2. My heart always speaks the truth and will always tell me what you want, but sometimes what I want isn't what I need.

3. I'm not going to get everything I want. I can try, but I won't. And it's ok.

4. Handwritten letters are still best.

5. No matter how independent and no fuss I am, I am still a woman at the end of the day and sometimes I want to be treated like a queen. Make that all the time.

6. I am never going to grow up completely.

7. Sometimes you just gotta let bridges burn, specially when you're the only one using it to meet halfway.

8. Not everyone will like me, and that sucks, but that's life. You can't please everyone.

9. I'll make dumb ass decisions sometimes but as long as I learn from them, I'm not completely hopeless.

10. I'm never going to be good at Math.

11. That said, there is always something new to learn.

12. I am stronger and more resilient than I think.

13. I'm not afraid to love.

14. It's not selfish to put myself first.

15. I still don't like cold soup.

16. I'm a hopeless romantic who tries to be a hopeful realist.

17. I don't regret my tattoos like people said I would.

18. Nobody likes to fail, but I think I'm getting better at accepting when I do and picking myself up after.

19. It sucks as much to break someone's heart as it does to get your heart broken.

20. Say what you mean. Mean what you say.

21. Be reliable when it comes to time, feelings and money.

22. I've learned to choose my battles. Most of the time.

23. I'm not afraid to give sincere compliments. I'm also not afraid to give sincere constructive criticism.

24. My body loves exercise.

25. There will always be someone prettier than me, smarter than me and with a nicer body than me but I've learned to appreciate all the good stuff I have and work with the ones I don't really like.

26. As much as I love clothes, I am happiest barefoot, in denim shorts and a sports bra.

27. I will always choose travel over designer goods.

28. Even if I don't believe in church, I still need some sort of spiritual life. Working on it.

29. The world doesn't stop turning when I am depressed and want everything to stop. Suck it up, Erica.

30. People will break my heart. Even good people. If they are genuinely sorry, I should genuinely forgive.

31. I'm happiest having long conversations about nothing and everything in random places- a park bench, a street corner, someone's balcony or in the dark in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping.

32. I can't live my life living with the on and off pain of this impacted wisdom tooth. I'm too scared to have it removed.

33. I want to travel for a living. My dream of living in different places every few years has not gone away even over a decade later.

34. I am truly blessed and looking forward to what the rest of my life has in store!

To the next 34 years! :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Life Lessons: Motivation

Staying motivated and inspired is not easy to maintain. A lot of the time I become inspired because of  something, be it a person, a life event, or something I saw somewhere, and in the beginning, that burst of inspiration makes me feel completely invincible. It makes me remember things I loved doing but put aside, or parts of myself that I thought had completely disappeared already.

Slowly but surely, that inspiration dwindles. If it was someone you fell in-love with and that someone went away, or it was something you experienced and it seems like such a long time ago, or maybe, you had some sort of reality check after reminding you that life isn't perfect. For whatever reason, I realized that you can't always rely on outside forces to keep you on track. If you do and are disappointed, then what do you do, just give up? Forget everything you were working towards and everything you wanted?

At the end of the day, the only person who can hinder you from doing something is you, and the only way to stop telling yourself that you can't do something is to actually do it. It's so easy to make excuses. Frighteningly easy. When we don't want to do something, there are so many justifications we can make for why we can't or shouldn't, but more often than not, this "not wanting to do something" is born out of fear, insecurity or simply sheer laziness.

This is exactly why I am filling this year with challenges for myself. I need to believe that all the motivation and inspiration I need is in myself, and I don't have to wait for it to come from somewhere else or for it to strike. I chose to start with my health because that's been the hardest for me to deal with the past few years. I always used the fact that I love cooking as an excuse to never eat healthy. "I'm experimenting", "How can I improve if I limit myself to only healthy food", "Healthy food is boring" This was until my constant drinking and eating whatever the hell I wanted made me start feeling really sluggish and gain weight! Luckily, I come from a family of fast metabolisms so I feel like I didn't gain as much or as fast as most, but I could see, but more importantly, FEEL the difference from 2009 to the end of 2012. In the beginning of 2013, I decided that my first challenge would be to lose 10 pounds and tone. I wanted the body I had in my twenties.

Again, so many excuses can be made "But I'm 33, I can't have that body again", "I'm too busy to work out", "I hate the gym", "I'm tired" but I decided that anytime I felt like making any of these excuses, I would offer my "gym suffering" to someone who I know is going through a harder time than I am. I learned to do that through my yoga practice. Before I knew it, in less than 2 months, I had already lost 12 pounds- more than what I set out to do.

Of course, because I am who I am, I wasn't satisfied and decided to add another 5/6 pounds of weight loss to my goal. Just because I know I can do it, and I know I won't let myself fail. I'm not where I want to be yet, but I am definitely well on my way, and my constant mantra "Don't give up, Paredes, don't you f*ckin' give up" really helps me reach my 60 minute cardio goal when I'm ready to give up at 20, 30 and 45 minutes.

I feel a new burst of energy, inspiration and positivity that I thought I had lost late last year, and this time, I don't need anyone or anything but myself to own all of it. It's mine. And I don't need outside forces to remind me.

Next stop, re-learn Spanish. Classes start in a couple of weeks :)

Work in progress! Not quite where I want to be yet but motivated and determined enough to get there :D

Monday, February 11, 2013

Life Lessons: Changing Tides

Whenever I feel this big wave of emotional turmoil in my life, it always seems to come out of nowhere, but after the dust settles, I realize that it actually took awhile to build up before it seemed to just crash down on me. In retrospect, I notice that I usually become more reckless in my actions and somewhat self-destructive. I find myself wanting to not just drink, but to get drunk almost every day, ignore responsibilities and make impulsive life decisions. Thankfully, it somewhat is settling down as I get older, and I no longer completely shut down from everything I need to do and everyone in my life when this happens. Whenever I feel this happening, I know that it's a sign that the tides are again changing. My life is again changing. I am changing.

I feel like every so often it just becomes "your time" - your time to be sad, to be angry, to be happy, to be successful, to be down and out, to cry, to laugh... whatever. You can work your gosh darn hardest to make sure everything happens the way you plan it in your head but the truth of the matter is, it won't, at least not 100% of the time. I feel like the universe gives you these lessons according to necessity. "Too put together for too long? Let's shake it up a little" it seems to say, or on the flipside, when you're feeling hopeless and helpless, life suddenly seems to throw you a bone.

These are moments when we are like snakes shedding skin, when our old skin no longer fits, we need to get rid of it, lest we look and feel ridiculous in clothes that are way to tight. It's in our human nature to expand, to grow, and when we don't, we are unhappy. Refusal to let any change happen is the same as bringing living to a halt and merely just existing.

When the tides change, it's not always easy. In history, there have been wars to prove this, dictatorships, genocide. These things, no matter how bad are part of history and part of the process of change on a larger scale. On a more personal level, we go through break ups, deaths, suffering and pain, but on the upside, these usually bring out better things like growth, self-actualization, forgiveness and gratitude. Sometimes we are so afraid for change to come because we know the adjustment that comes with it. Sometimes it's because we don't want to let go of something we believe can't be replaced by anything else. Sometimes, it's because we are creatures of habit. Sometimes, we're just stubborn sons of biatches.

So when you feel that wave coming, just sit tight and grab on to something stable. There is no escaping it so you might as well ride it with as much strength as you possibly can, with as much sense of humor as you can muster. At the end of the day, it's always a great feeling to realize it's over and you survived. And you will. You always will.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Love Letters: Love and Friendship

Today I heard "That's what friends are for" on the radio, and this is the first time I'm probably saying this "out loud" but that song always makes me smile and tear up at the same time. I know it probably sounds so cheesy and uncharacteristic of me, but those who really know me won't find it surprising. If you really listen to the lyrics, they are so heartfelt, sincere and sweet. I personally don't know where I would be without my friends- the ones I have now and anyone along the way who has made a big impact in my life.

Friends are like the better version of you when you need them to be, and the devil on your shoulder when you are all feeling a bit mischievous. They are your personal crutches when you feel to weak too deal with yourself or with life, but they will be the first to push you off that metaphorical 100 foot drop because you are too afraid to willingly jump. You can tell them things you normally would think best to keep to yourself, without being afraid that they will judge, and the times they do, they are quick to apologize. They'll tell you when that guy you think is so wonderful is an asshole, but be the happiest person in the world if he proves them wrong. If they happened to be right, they are close enough to say "I told you so" but they have enough love and compassion not to.

When I was younger, I had such high expectations of my friends, partly because I too felt the need to live up to those expectations myself. I would be the first one there in times of crisis, and answer calls and pages (yes, no mobile phones yet!) with lightning speed. I felt as if we all had to do everything together, all the time. Growing up, I didn't really have a lot of friends outside of my gymnastics life. I was hardly ever at school after school hours because I went straight to the gym, so when I finally had my own set of friends when my gymnast life was over, I took it REALLY seriously.

There have, of course, been many disappointments in my life when it comes to friends. Some people I thought we're so great in my earlier years turned out to be not so great after all. But I've been through my fair share of ups and downs even with my best friends and what I started to realize more and more is that your real friends won't always be there, I mean, they have their own shit to deal with too right, BUT they will be there when it matters most. They seem to have this radar that can sense when something serious is going on and no matter where they are in the world, they'll make their presence felt.

With the bustle and bustle of life, it gets harder and harder to keep up with friends as we get older, but the ones most important to me finds ways to meet up at least every few weeks to catch up, or stay in touch through the internet or mobile phone almost daily, most of the time a few times through out the day. The daily workings of some friendships might change, but if the nature of it stays the same, which is mutual respect, love and wanting the best for each other, then it doesn't matter that you don't see each other every waking hour of the day. As you get older, quality > quantity.

Of course, I do have those friends I could travel with for months, probably live in the same apartment building as and talk to everyday. Well, those ones, that's on another level of special.

So to the friends I've known for most of my life,the ones I met later on in life and made me wonder why I hadn't met them sooner,  those who I met in the most unexpected places, those half way across the world, the ones who know everything going on every second of my day, those who don't know what the hell is going on in my life but always want the best for me, the ones that came and went leaving me with important life lessons, the only "boy friends" that never broke my heart, the twins to my soul.... you know who you are...

Life would totally suck without you.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Life Lessons: Discipline

Aside from my bouts with verbal diarrhea, I started this blog to discipline myself into writing at least every other day, but unfortunately, the holidays have made me completely useless at fulfilling my  blogging responsibilities- even if this responsibility is only to myself.

So, it's only apt that I reflect on discipline today, or rather, the lack thereof in my life.

Once upon a time, I had it. I was a well-oiled machine that focused on the task at hand and could not be distracted from it. Such is the life of an athlete, and that I was for almost half my life. When I quit gymnastics, so did I quit everything else that came along with it- healthy living, exercise, discipline, pushing myself harder and harder. No, after I walked away, I finally felt this freedom to do whatever I wanted to do, which is exactly what I did.

I started smoking in secret with my best friend, drinking, and eating junk food, which was strictly not allowed in my diet as a gymnast. I would stay up late, stay in bed until noon and basically do everything I was not allowed to do my whole life. And why not? I had no one to answer to, did not need to worry about perfecting a skill on the balance beam and didn't need the stamina or energy to do 1000 sit ups anymore. Fuck everything, right?

Well, for the rest of my life thereafter, I have done anything and everything I wanted. For me, as long as I wasn't hurting anyone else, then why the hell not. The problem is that now I have no sense of discipline whatsoever. I'll work out for 3 months straight then stop one day and just never go back for whatever reason. I loved my old magazine job because of the organized chaos in provided. Editorial jobs don't require you to sit down all day at a desk. I would be at a shoot in the morning, an event at lunch, at the office in the afternoon, then at another event at night. I liked that there seemed to be no set schedule and I was free to actually move things around to suit my life. For this same reason, I hated the first 9-5 desk job I ever had when I quit the publishing industry. I didn't hate the job per se, I hated sitting there all day everyday on the same chair, looking at the same people. 

I look at people like my boyfriend, whose discipline is unwavering when he sets his mind on achieving something, while I get sidetracked by anything and everything under the sun. It's hard for me to stick to anything because of my constant boredom attacks and unexpected distractions that come my way. I am also a chronic over-analyzer, so I'm always questioning and second guessing every damn decision I make.

So... I decided this year, I really need to start being more disciplined with at least ONE aspect of my life, to hopefully start a domino effect. I've chosen my health, mostly because at the end of the day, my body is one thing I literally only have one of, and once I mess it up hard will be close to impossible to bring back. So while I am not at the point of no return yet, I decided that discipline when it comes to health would be a good place to start. 

My groceries this month are ridiculously uncharacteristic of me. Not a single bag of chips and my veggie drawer is filled to the brim. I learned about new types of fish this month and I have been trying (and mostly succeeding) to only eat 1200 calories per day since January 1. Today I start yoga again, which I love, and also putting in my gym time (which I don't love so much) I set specific goals and a timeline so if anything...I need to fuckin' do this if only for pride alone. LOL.

This was me in 2009. 112 lbs and lean as a mofo. Right now: 10 lbs to go.
Here's to everyone's health this year. Now, to remove my craving for alcohol.....

Friday, December 28, 2012

Love Letters: 2012

And so ends another year. Why do they seem to go by so slow and then at the end of them, you realize that they just sped past you? More often than not, events that happened even a few months ago seem like it was all a dream in the present. I guess that's why I love taking photos, because my mind seems to only remember certain things and forget the rest. Having photos to look through makes me remember, and more important, makes me happy because I realize how much actually happened in the short span of one year, and how lucky, blessed, thankful and loved I am. 

Looking back also helps me remember that everything changes, even the things you think never will. The good stuff sometimes falls apart, and sometimes you wake up and realize the bad, well, isn't so bad anymore. This year has been tough, yes, but looking back at 2009 for instance, my world was totally and completely awesome and perfect. I felt good about everything, hopeful, in-love with life and looking forward to everything it had prepared for me. In 2011, a lot of things changed and there lay the start of a decline I was not ready for. 2012 was just a crazy ride of ups and downs. In 2012, I fell in-love again. In the same year, I also hated everything. I traveled so much this year, but I also felt trapped at the same time. I feel things getting better and I am able to look directly into the sun again and realize that I won't always see what will come my way, but it's better to just welcome it rather than fear it all the time. 

I have a good feeling about 2013. I don't mean I think it will be easy, but I think I'm better prepared, or rather, I have been kicked in the ass and now I know when to fight and when to keep my defenses up. I know what to compromise and what never to. I neglected myself a lot in the past year or so, although that seems hard to believe considering I have this very self-indulgent blog I post in regularly. This only started a few months ago though, but before that, I was always thinking of what others wanted, what would help them, what I could do for them. There is nothing wrong with that but it could go haywire when you do that so much, you start forgetting about yourself. There is nothing wrong or selfish about wanting to put yourself first sometimes, and it could spell the difference between your personal happiness and stress.

In 2013 I've decided to:

  • Take care of my health more. - I know I'm not fat, but I'm about that age where I need to start watching what I eat, not only for vanity, but because I know my body is changing and is not as resilient as it used to be. Any gained pound will be harder to lose, arteries are not easy to unclog and once my blood sugar goes up to the point of diabetes, well, that's it, no turning back. Also, I have never been one to be a regular exerciser, but I think working out at least an hour a day is probably not only beneficial, but essential to life. I cut down on drinking a lot in the past month and will continue to do so. Now, to start eating healthier on a more regular basis....
  • Listen to myself- Sometimes I find it hard to do because I have responsibilities and other people to take care of. In the past few years, I've made decisions based on friends, partner, daughter etc, and I think it's time I start hearing what I want again and decide my fate through that.
  • Travel.- As if I haven't been doing this a lot already but at this point, I already know this will be a lifelong romance I have with airports, airline food and the excitement of stepping into a new city for the first time. In my early 20's, pre-Ananda, my dream was to live like a gypsy for 10 years and just go where the wind brought me. I guess that dream never died or completely went away. If anyone asked me to take two years off to travel the world and write about it, I would go in a heartbeat. I have a long Europe trip to look forward to in 2013, and hopefully a lot more other passport stamps and layovers too :)
  • Think Positive- I have been totally negative and sarcastic and cynical the past few months and that needs to change. I know myself well enough to accept that sarcasm will never completely go away but I hate not being able to see the good in anything just because I am personally going through a rough patch. Life will get better, and then it will get worse, then better again. That's just the way it is. I shouldn't let my world view fluctuate to extremes because of it.
  • Make decisions- I recently read Brida by Paulo Coelho again and one line that struck me was : 

“She wasn’t afraid of difficulties; what frightened her was being forced to choose one particular path.
Choosing a path meant having to miss out on others. She had a whole life to live and she was always thinking that, in future, she might regret the choices she made now.
‘I’m afraid of committing myself,’ she thought to herself. She wanted to follow all possible paths and so ended up following none."--- This is totally me and my analysis paralysis, and something I really need to change about myself. Sometimes I just need to be ruthless and decide, and then stop looking back to re-think my decisions. Yes, choosing something might mean you will miss out on something else BUT not deciding makes you miss out on EVERYTHING.

I was never one to make big declarations of new year's resolutions that I wasn't sure I could actually do, but I think these four things are what I want to focus on most in 2013. For some reason, I know the entire universe will conspire to help me out, because these are things I really want. Trust. Something I'm beginning to learn as well.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Life Lessons: Turn, Turn, Turn

2012 has proven to be a major roller coaster ride for me, but I feel that the dust is finally settling. I've learned to allow things I can't control to just be, and look forward into the future with excitement instead of paralyzing fear. 

I know life is changing, I'm changing and my relationships are changing. I know I've had to think about  really important things this last half of the year that will contribute to a lot of my big decision making next year. Yes, I'm still scared, but I think my excitement and resigning to the fact that life was, is and will continue to be filled with decisions and changes overrides any fear I still have in me. 

I've survived everything I've been through the past 33 years, and I figured, if nothing has killed me or permanently damaged me yet, then I can probably handle anything else that comes my way. This year, I realized that there is nothing wrong with the many contradictions in life. I'm stronger than I thought I was, yet more vulnerable than I ever realized I could be. I can be both the calm before AND the storm. I'm not better than anyone else, yet I can strive to be a better version of myself each day I am alive. 

The song Turn, turn, turn by The Byrds has been running through my head lately and more than ever, I feel it rings true. 

"To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing"

Life isn't static. There is a time and place for everything. Two things this taught me: Patience. Understanding. Life isn't always going to be perfect, and yet it's perfect because it's always a surprise!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE! Hope you are spending it with the people most important to you!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Life Lessons: It takes a village to raise a child

Yesterday morning, I woke up to the news of the Sandy Hook school shooting. My heart sank.

Being a mother myself, I can't even begin to imagine what those children's parents are feeling, and I'm talking about both victims and survivors parents. How do you accept the loss of your child who might have not even mastered his or her multiplication tables, was probably still learning how to read, who thought McDonald's was gourmet food and who still walks to your room in the middle of the night to snuggle in bed with you?

As a parent, how do you explain to your child who survived that her friends are dead? How do you remove that incident from their minds, how do you even begin to explain it to them? How do you bring back their shattered innocence? How do you get them to sleep alone at night, want to go back to school, or even trust anyone again? How do you keep fear from invading their hearts at such a young age?

It's really a different world they are living in now and my only fear is that it hardens them, that they become jaded and think this is normal.

As for the shooter, so many are quick to judge him and call him a pathetic psychopath. Yes, what he did was horrific, unforgivable and evil. But the thing is, he was 20 years old. TWENTY-still practically a child himself. At 20, you are still in school, probably not working and going through the changes that separate your childhood from becoming an adult. What I want to know is what could have possibly happened to a person that young to make him feel like this was his only resort? That doing that made sense and was ok? That he had no other options? I have conflicting feelings of anger and wondering if anyone could have helped him early enough so this might have not have had to happen.

Parents, spend time with your children, not only when things like this happen, but regularly, because only when you spend time with them can you observe them, and a lot of the time, they won't tell us if there is anything wrong. My daughter for instance, will fight to the death to pretend that situations don't faze her. She is 8 and already feels like she has to put up a front that she is strong and that she doesn't care, but if I press her to, and explain to her that her opinion really matters to me, that what she thinks is important and part of my decision making, she will eventually break down and show emotion. She'll cry and tell me how she really feels. Use your instincts. Observe. Get to know your kids, so you can tell when there is something off. Monitor what they watch and read. Check on what music they listen to. Although I am a firm believer that you can't fully blame media for your children's bad habits and actions, there is such a thing as being too young to understand and process certain things, so keeping things age appropriate is indeed the parents' job. Explaining what they hear and see is a parent's job.

Our children are thinking, feeling human beings, only they haven't fully learned how to process things, how to understand and how to be discerning about what they see and hear. They might learn the basics of wrong and right at home, but throw the rest of the world outside your small bubble in the mix and that's when things get complicated.

Sandy Hook is just one and the most recent in a string of school shootings in the past decade. Not all the gunmen have been young but a good amount have been school age or just slightly older-basically all still "kids" mentally and emotionally. It's hard to be a kid nowadays. Heck, it's hard to be an adult. Mix that with media telling you violence is cool, unavailable parents and the access to weapons, and well, we may have a problem. But who am I to say that these are the reasons? I am an anonymous single mother from a small country in the other side of the world.

All I know is this: It takes a village to raise a child. We are all responsible for our own children, and everybody else's. It's a joint effort. If nobody cares, then we are to be blamed for how our children think, act and speak as they grow up.

Again, I may not know what the hell I'm talking about. I'm an imperfect parent in an imperfect world. I guess all we can really do is try our best.

Charlotte Bacon, 6, Daniel Barden, 7, Olivia Engel, 6, Josephine Gay, 7, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6, Dylan Hockley, 6, Madeleine F. Hsu, 6, Catherine V. Hubbard, 6, Chase Kowalski, 7, Jesse Lewis, 6, James Mattioli, 6, Grace McDonnell, 7, Anne Marie Murphy, 52, Emilie Parker, 6, Jack Pinto, 6, Noah Pozner, 6, Caroline Previdi, 6, Jessica Rekos, 6, Avielle Richman, 6, Benjamin Wheeler, 6, Allison N. Wyatt, 6
Rest in Peace little ones.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Love Letters: Thank You, Hawaii.

I'm so happy.

Right now, I am in Honolulu. My hotel overlooks the ocean. I spent 3 days with my cousins in Maui prior to coming here. Today I spent the day in a beautiful beach called Lanikai in Kailua, and caught up with a friend that I hadn't seen in literally 15 years.

I was never raring to go to Hawaii, mostly because I live on an island as well, and tropical weather is year round and beaches are a car or short plane ride away. I came to Hawaii unexpectedly this year. I was supposed to be in Korea for work, but I'm glad I switched things around and ended up here. I think I found another happy place, the other two being New York and London.

I haven't been very happy the past few months. Unexpected emotions rained on me and stayed around for awhile. Little by little, I've been feeling better, after a lot of introspection and even more verbal and written diarrhea. I didn't realize how much I needed this trip, but after I saw cousins I hadn't seen in awhile, stayed a few days in a sleepy, laid back island and am now exploring another on my own, I am really grateful to be here.

I had a good cry the other day. I don't even know what triggered it or where it came from but it was an EPIC cry. Like telenovela proportions. I could not control myself so thank god I was in the privacy of my room and away from everything familiar. Almost immediately after, I felt better. Like 500% better than I have in what seems like forever. I thought my depression would never go away. It really felt as if it would just going to drag on for the foreseeable future. Maybe I just needed to release everything. I haven't really cried so freely in awhile. I'm usually trying to stop myself because I'm in public or because Ananda is around and I don't want her to worry about me. Also, I didn't know how I was going to even begin explaining it to her, when I couldn't even understand myself.

So a big MAHALO, Hawaii, for healing me. For bringing a true, sincere smile back on my face. For reminding me how beautiful the world really is. For allowing me to head back home in two days knowing that I made it through that extreme low, and there is nowhere else to go but upward and forward.

A hui hou kakou,  Ku `u Lei Hawaii! Aloha and Mahalo nui loa!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Life Lessons: Pack Light

As I was (am-but I got distracted and had to sit down and write this) packing for my Hawaii trip tomorrow, Erykah Badu's Bag Lady started playing on my laptop and I realized, looking at my luggage with too much stuff in it, that even after years and years of traveling, I still don't know how to pack light. It's still painful for me to have to remove stuff from my bag because I might need it during my trip. Never mind that it's a pair of shoes I never even wear in Manila, or that I probably won't have a reason to wear a particular dress. I'll end up bringing it anyway, then later on regret all the useless shit I dragged along with me because I can't fit any new purchases to bring home with me.

Do you see what I'm trying to say here? Yes, my life is pretty much like that too. I keep useless things "just in case" -in case what? I don't know. Maybe it's just the comfort of keeping things that are familiar or hold good memories, maybe it's keeping certain people around because it's convenient, or it would be weird without them, even if you don't have any particular need for them in your life, nor do they need you in theirs. I get horribly obsessed with situations, particularly those I can't fully grasp or understand.

I need to learn to pack light, both literally and emotionally. My 2013 Europe trip will actually be a big test for me. 6 weeks, about 5-6 countries. HOW?

In the same way, I need to rearrange my personal "furniture", focus only on what's valuable to me and seriously just fuck the rest. If it weighs me down, stops me from moving forward, makes me doubt myself or the world and is generally a negative force in my life, eff it. I need to spring clean the crap out of my life, something I think I've already been doing the past few years, but now, I feel it's importance more than ever.

So I need to get back to my luggage, and take a bunch of stuff out. My excuse has always been "Well, how am I supposed to know what I want to wear in 4 days?" In the same way, I don't know how I'm going to feel about people, things, life in a week or a month, but if I have too much going on in my head, I'll never really know where I'm at. Maybe it's better to just deal with things as they come instead of trying to guess what will happen and always be worried, on my guard, paralyzed.

Better things come to those who make space :)