Re: When you live life in gratitude

I was in the elevator on my way home from work when I felt a faint yet warm feeling of relief. Shoulders relaxed with a soft smile on my face, all I can think of was how thankful I am to be able to live the life that I do.

I’m not saying that to boast or to insinuate at all that I’m living life as comfortably as Nick Young’s family in Crazy Rich Asians. In fact, I’m far from that. Nonetheless, I still feel incredibly grateful to have a cozy home, food in the fridge, friends I can lean on and the spare change in my bank account after the rent money has been taken out.

You don’t have to live a perfect or lavish life to feel grateful.

Often we think of life as cruel because of the circumstances that life has dealt us. And absolutely, sometimes we go through a period of complete and utter despair. But the brilliant thing about being human is that even though life happens in all of its cruelties there will always be light when we choose to see it. Every hardship we go through comes with a lesson to learn, and more importantly, an element that makes us even more resilient.

When you live life in gratitude, it’s not about just looking at life through an optimistic lens. It’s seeing life for what it is – with all its messiness, stress, anger, uncertainty – and being okay with it. All of it. And doing so not because of complacency or passivity. But because you, as an individual part of a greater whole, are trying your best to be a better person, son/daughter, parent, friend, professional and so on anyway.

None of this is revolutionary. It’s just something that needs to be put out in the world more often.

Always have a grateful heart.

Always,

K

Dear 2016

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Starting out strong and positive, I never would have thought that it would end like this. Well, to be fair I don’t recall having expectations, just goals that I hoped to accomplish. In literally a year, my life has changed. I changed. For many reasons it would be very easy for me to say that you have only brought me sadness and pain. Yes, I’ve had to endure my grandmother’s passing, a difficult breakup and multiple job rejections, just to name a few. But I refuse to see you as a crappy year. There’s always two sides of a coin. So although, I’ve had to endure a lot of unfortunate circumstances, you, 2016, have been one of my most rewarding years.

You have taught me so much about the value of patience and perseverance. Often time, life has a very different timeline than we do. So, even though I was working really hard and going to interviews yet had no luck finding a full time role for a few months, I ended up landing an opportunity at the exact time I needed to land it. When we’re in the thick of it all, it can be so easy to lose patience, especially when we want it so badly. Granted, shouldn’t wanting something so bad also be the reason why we should keep holding on? It was a good enough reason for me.

You, 2016, also brought out someone I’ve been missing. Someone I tucked away deep inside of me. You’ve helped me see how important it is to be unapologetically me. Regardless of what other people may say. Regardless of what other people may think. Regardless of the insecurities, fears and anxieties that I may have. At the end of the day, this is who I am, no one else.

You’ve taught me about love, real love, and what that actually looks like, feels like, smells like, to me. It takes, well, real work to get real love. There are no shortcuts or cheat sheets you can use to get through the ugly fights and misunderstandings. You have to get through them together even when it’s difficult to let go of your pride and fears. There’s no such thing as being ‘ready’ for it either. Real love is rare because nowadays, we buy into the dream of falling in love more than seeing the reality of what it takes to stay in love. It’s worth every effort. Always.

Most of all, you, 2016, have taught me to take care of myself. I’m not talking about how to be independent. I mean actually take care of me and my needs, because they matter just as much everyone else’s.

So, 2017, you have big shoes to fill. I guess we’ll just have to take it one step at a time

Always,

K

P.S. There’s no need for New Year’s resolutions. Make your time count now. It’s the only time we have.

Re: Subway and a pep talk

train.jpegOn my way to an appointment, I sat beside a lovely pregnant woman on the subway. The delectable aroma of the dark chocolate pieces she was munching on were enough for me to put my book down and remove my headphones. I leaned over and told her how wonderful those dark chocolate pieces smelled!

After a few stops we started casually chatting and sharing photos and videos of our nieces. She’s having her first child and, of course, was nervous about the new changes in her life that will very soon take place. Did I mention that she’s due in 3 weeks? I appreciated her positive attitude towards the new chapter she and her partner are about to embark on because it’s definitely not going to be an easy ride.

Later on, we started talking about career paths and the troubling observations she notices about young professionals. She said something like; “I have been in the [marketing] industry for about 10 years now. Young professionals like you are greatly undervalued by senior execs but with the changing digital landscape, you guys are actually extremely valuable because you are immersed in it. You know what’s going on and can provide context. They know that you’re young, and are probably doubting yourself, but don’t let them smell that. Don’t give them a reason to doubt you even if you doubt yourself from time to time. Your knowledge in the industry is valuable. Show them how much they need you.”

Needless to say, it was the best 30 seconds I spent on the subway. Seriously, what are the chances that I would sit next to this motivating woman who just happens to work in the same industry as me?

She’ll be an awesome mother. No doubt.

Always,

K

P.S. This post was previously published at Medium

#ProjectLoveLetters

IMG_8754.jpgAn antiquated method of communication to some, a meaningful gesture for others, letters carry much more than pieces of paper with handwritten words. They capture specific moments of our lives-micro stories-only shared with their recipients.

Initially, I wanted to create Project Love Letters for my own selfish reasons. I wanted to see how people would react when they are given a letter with a simple motivational quote. I hoped that it would bring them, well, motivation. But the more I talked to a few other people about my idea, the more I saw that doing that lost the very essence of why we used to write letters. Sure, it was probably the only form of communication back then, but we also did it to share our stories and love. I’m a bit of a romantic if you didn’t know already. Perhaps, that’s why this project may not come as a surprise for some close friends.

So, I changed the project. Each letter would still be handwritten, but instead of given out to strangers, the letters are written for specific people and prompted to write letters of their own to whomever they like. Bring on the inside jokes, poetry, and intimate micro stories because if we can’t even write letters to our friends and loved ones, who can we write letters for? No texts, emails, tweets, or Facebook message. Actual pen-to-paper letters with guess what? Stamps! (If needed, hand delivered when possible of course!)

Let’s see how this goes, shall we? 😉 Feel free to send me an email if you would like to receive a letter as well 🙂  alwayskaye.blog@gmail.com

Ever mine.

Ever thine.

Ever ours.

Always,

K

P.S. When was the last time you wrote a letter? Christmas? Valentine’s Day? Share with us by leaving a comment below.