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Re: When you live life in gratitude

I was on 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 Nanay

img_8797I have a vivid memory of you with plastic pink rollers on your hair while getting ready for bed. My sisters and I were still giggling from the other room, so you stepped out and told us to go to bed before the night monster comes knocking on our door. We rushed to our beds and put the blanket over our heads. I peaked and watched you slowly walk in to your room with a slight smirk on your face…

Thank you for telling us stories about our dad and all sorts of mischief he got himself into growing up. Thank you for taking care of us when we were sick. Thank you for reminding us to do our best while we were still in school. Thank you for sending us birthday cards for as long as you could. Thank you for having patience with us even when we avoided your calls as teenagers. And thank you for being our grandma.

I wanted to dedicate a brief post to my grandma. She passed away peacefully in her sleep a little over a week ago. The past few days I couldn’t help but feel grateful that I had the opportunity to fly back to the Philippines and visit her. We hadn’t seen each other in 13 years! Though her face hadn’t changed much, she didn’t have the same energy as she used to. It was tough but I cherish the conversations we had.

Before we immigrated to Canada, my sisters and I grew up road tripping to our grandparent’s house for the summer or during Holy Week. My grandma always had short hair, no longer than her chin. She had the OG bob haircut before it was thing! And she always had these pink rollers that she used at night to put a slight curl on her bangs. So for today’s beauty post, I did a quick collage of vintage hairstyle inspirations.

She showed me a photo of her when she was a young woman. She still had the same smile and a similar vintage hairstyle Julianne Hough has (but less glamourous of course), wearing her white uniform shirt. I was around 7-8 years old when she showed me those photos, kept in a box underneath her bed. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure whether those photos are still around, but I hope they are. When I go back for another visit, I’ll look for them. Until then, I know she’s always with me, living within those birthday cards and short nuggets of wisdom.

This is my letter to you.’Til we meet again.

Always,

K

 

 

Dear Lexi

IMG_5387.jpgThis is my open letter to you on your first birthday.

I’m not sorry to tell you that I will not be the auntie that spoils silly. I will, however, teach you how to earn what you have and what it means to be happy even when you don’t have everything you want right now.

I won’t be the auntie who coddles you when you first fall off your bike either. I will, however, teach you how to get back up on that bike and ride it even if you’ve fallen many many times before.

I won’t let you get away when you get in trouble. I will, however, tell you that sometimes it’s okay to break the rules and live in the moment because we may not have another moment like this again.

I won’t tell you that you’re enough. I will, however, show you that you are more than enough and no one in the world can take that away from you.

I won’t be the one who tells you to dwell within your comfort zone. I will instead encourage you to see what the world has to offer and experience a rich and meaningful life.

I won’t turn you away when you get your heartbroken for the very first time. I will instead teach you that all the love you’ve given to someone else does not compare to the love you can infinitely make and give. 

I won’t be watching you from the sidelines because I will always be there with you somehow, physically or otherwise.

I could add more to the list but let’s just take it one day at a time, shall we? 🙂

Someone once told me that you were going to change my life. And girl, you have! It has been an adventure watching you crawl all around the house; dancing with you as soon as the Tinga Tinga Tales theme song comes on and hiding items around the house because you just want to put everything in your mouth. You gave me a glimpse of the kind of parent I want to be…the kind of mother I hope to be.

Thank you for the cuddles and letting me kiss your chubby chubby cheeks (before waving me away anyway haha!) You probably won’t remember your first birthday, but that’s okay. We will have more birthdays to share. I hope you have an amazing day filled with laughter and love.

Happy birthday squishy face Lexi! I can’t wait to watch you grow every passing year.

Always,

K

P.S. It’s okay, we won’t tell your other auntie that I’m your favourite 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Re: Sky high expectations

books.jpgI have a very distinct memory of my grade 10 Civic & Careers class taking a career test to figure out which profession would suit our personality, skill sets and interests. I recall getting assigned as a judge or a mediator of some sort. Back then I actually had no interest in pursuing a career in law. Though soon enough, when it was time for us to fill out our university applications in grade 12, I applied for an honours BA program specifically in criminal justice. Now, somewhere in between a friend and I had a casual conversation at lunch. While sitting on the floor with our friends I remember asking her, “What do you see me doing?” Without a sign of hesitation on her face she said, “a CEO.” That’s a tall order for a 16-17 year old!

See, I think I changed my mind about which career path I wanted to go into about 8-9 times. I’m including professions I told my parents I wanted to be in while I was a kid of course. As a kid, it was cute to play dress up and pretend to be a doctor, firefighter or a veterinarian. As a young adult, not so much (according to my parents anyway). When it comes down to it, there were a lot of professions that I can see myself in but only a couple that I know I could consistently do and loved doing.

I set very high expectations for myself at an early age. Yes, there were external factors like my parents, teachers and sometimes peers. Anything less was considered a failure or a disappointment; that’s a lot to put on a young person. And if I’m being completely honest with all of you and myself, I felt very anxious and often stressed because I needed to ‘perform’. I needed to do it by myself for myself.

But, here’s the thing, everyone needs help in some shape or form. Everyone needs a person or people not necessarily to do the work for us, but to help and support us. We’re not robots. We’re humans and we’re stronger together than alone. So for all of you feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, please know that I’m here if you need a friend 🙂

Keep exploring what makes your heart sing.

Always,

K

P.S. Couldn’t resist the Grey’s Anatomy reference! :p