To my 30-year-old self

I’m writing this days before our birthday weekend. I’ve actually tried to write this earlier, but something felt off. And the truth of the matter is, I think I was trying to write that letter too smug. We may have learned a lot in the past decade, but we’re still a work in progress. Some days, months or years may come better than others but we’ll still need to work on ourselves every day. Not necessarily to reach perfection, just to be a little bit better every day. Better on ourselves, other people, and the world. 

20s was a decade filled with memories for the ages. Exciting adventures at unfamiliar landscapes, heartbreaks, disappointments, achievements and new beginnings. You’ve shown up for yourself in ways that you never thought you needed to. You’ve grown to love yourself and actually like yourself, even if you do get snotty sometimes and may need some reassurance from time to time. You’ve accepted the freedom of being wrong and being wrong often (sometimes we still need to accept this more if we’re really being honest). You’ve started to have more faith and trust, even when times feel desolate and futile. You’ve allowed yourself to feel every crashing wave of emotion instead of holding your breath until it passes. And you’ve been humbled, and continue to be humbled, to know that you didn’t do any of this on your own. You’ve been gifted the strength to fight through circumstances, but nothing compares to the grace, love, joy, courage, wisdom, peace, and power that surrendering to Christ brings. He is your most trusted friend, heavenly father and faithful partner.

There’s so much to look forward to, even if they are unknown. Many more things to learn and unlearn. And even if sharing with your best friend, Tatay and Nanay, may not be physically possible, they’ll be here in mind, heart and sometimes with a little attitude to bring yours down back to Earth. It’s okay to miss them and wish they were here. That’s part of grieving and moving forward.

Lean into your discomfort. To access the deepest and undiscovered parts of you, you have to let yourself sink into the discomfort. Floating only keeps you on the surface, wandering and wondering – half in and half out. You and I know that staying on the superficial surface has never been our style. So sink. Forgotten shipwrecks remain dormant underneath the surface could still carry treasures. You found the one true refuge amidst a shipwreck, remember?

And one last thing before I leave, you’re going to hate this but I’m going to say it anyway, fall in love with someone else again. You know how to love unconditionally, that’s not what I’m saying. Fall in love again slowly, and let yourself be loved… I saw that eye roll. Do it for us and because we deserve to. 

Always,

K

P.S. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Dear 2016

14570419_10154549153319948_833745159854235337_n

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.