Astroturf & the Sky

Sleep on AstroTurf in the dead of night with your two best friends
one with the hiccups
one drunk
one laughing her ass off each time the boy hiccups.

Be 27
but also 6 years old

Escape reality because your time together makes the world stop

The stars pepper the sky looking down at you from their vantage point
smiling and shining at your pure joy in each other’s company

A lot of innocence slip away as we enter our late twenties
but when you’re laying uninhibited staring into the night
A piece of your innocence revisits
bringing fondest memories of forgotten friendship and youth.

 

 

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My 5 Year Plan

So imagine grabbing a latte with an old acquaintance. Almost always, this is how the conversation starts out:

What have you been up to?

How is your relationship going?

How’s work?

These common 3 “small-talk” ice breakers are everything I dread about going out to see a friend I haven’t connected with in a few months.

The next question I absolutely resent people for even bringing up is, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

The younger me (okay so last year) would have mouthed off something to my interrogator and stood up on a soap box preaching the futility behind this inquiry. Partially for the below reasons:

  1. There’s science behind those who talk too much about their goals and never achieving it. So it’s better to keep tightlipped until the deed has been done. What’s the awesome term for this? Oh yes, hubris.
  2. Most people use this to evaluate what my priorities are. If I’m on a date for example, and I say I’d like to become director in the next 5 years, the other person would assume I’m too career focused. If I say, marriage, they probably would have bolted for their car on our first date.
  3. A real goal feels too intimate to share with anyone. I rather not have my secret hopes and dreams passed on, then having them tell their cohorts, thus creating our entire social circle focusing on my foreseeable future at tea time.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

So here’s my 5 year plan. The goals I hope to achieve that aren’t wasted on defining who I am by who I will be bound to, or what desk I’ll be chained to, or which professional title to brand me for the new few years. My goals in life transcend beyond the mundane.

Year 1: Fill my brain with beautiful stories – as many books as I can possibly read

Year 2: Master flexibility outside the physical entity of my being

Year 3: Understand the value of success is more than the digits in my bank account

Year 4: Observe and indulge in other cultures. Distance away from the routine provides fresh perspective

Year 5: Persevere through all things that pass through my way and just continue spreading positivity

This is what I want to discover in the next 5 years. Career or love life… they’re just small percentages of our daily life and yet we attribute way too much in both. There’s more to our existence than how we make our fun coupons and who we choose to spend it with.

Shanghai was my First Love

September 2017, a major milestone happened to me. I flipped my nationality and placed my right hand over my chest and recited the pledge of allegiance to the United States of America.

This change granted me a new privilege. The US passport now opens the gates to allow my freedom to travel more countries than China could. Yet my dad questioned: Of all places you can now fly to, why are you still going back to Shanghai?

My cliched answer at the time was: because our family is there.

But as I sat in the airport bus back to my mother’s flat in Putuo District in Puxi, Shanghai, I marveled at my city and realized she means so much more to me than just family.

She was my first love.

She is a beauty deeply rooted in Chinese history but far more advanced in technology than one acknowledges. Her magnificence is a blend between contemporary succession and old fashioned heritage. She is a time traveler sharing her past with monumental buildings from European influence with paved streets donning juggernaut monitors displaying new age art.

She was my first love.

She is New York, Los Angeles & Vegas combined.

Shanghai’s skyline dazzles and dizzies as you peer out across the Bund. The Statue of Liberty is pretty. She may be tall & green but we have the Pearl Tower that glistens with dancing lights.

Shanghai’s palette is sophisticatedly crafted. Los Angeles is the heart for foodies with street eats to high end dining, but Shanghai takes international to a whole new level with fine dining at every corner as an art form rather than providing a meal to its patrons.

The Strip owns debauchery, we all know this. Yet Shanghai has her own secrets. Her mysterious speakeasies and classy nightclubs provide an avenue for fun without the overdone fraternity children prancing around acting stupid. Shanghai has an elevated way of drinking and partying. She can have her fun and be regal too.

I can provide an infinite list of things to do and ways to get around. Sure she’s got a few little imperfections but she is my love and I will always come home.

Because not only does she hold my family together, she holds my heart.

 

Start with this Reading List

2 weeks ago I pledged to finish 12 books before the clock struck midnight on 2019. I’ve since finished another book and am well underway with my next few targets.

Okay so this isn’t some soapbox exclamation that my list is the recipe for happiness for everyone but I love to fall down a rabbit hole and explore everything these books have to offer. It’s an escape where I’m screaming YESS YESS YESSSSSSSSS — tell me more and teach me deeply. Knowledge & wisdom from books will always transcend further than mind-numbing telly.

  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    • What makes me happy about it?  Have you ever tasted something so decadent and rich in flavor it felt like swimming in the river of chocolate from Charlie & the Chocolate factory? Doerr’s prose makes you experience it all.
    • Status: I’m currently Day 2 in Shanghai and still plan to have this wrapped before I touchdown back in Cali.
  • Wildcard by Marie Lu (Book slated for Q3 2018 release)
    • What makes me happy about it? Three words: Female power overload
    • Status: About to pre order!! Those of you who haven’t heard of Marie Lu need to 100% make sure you do now. She’s an amazing writer for the YA and I’m seriously honored to have met her last summer. She tweeted to me on my birthday out of a request from a dear friend. She’s just an awesome human being and her stories inspires me to write and perpetuate the female protagonist.
  • Meditation by Marcus Aurelius
    • What makes me happy? Ryan Holiday swears by this, my life has 180’d since I’ve exercised Stoicism, and the excitement itself that I’m about to read the teachings from one of the OG’s simply makes me leap with joy.
    • Status: Book ordered & delivered. I’m so excited to open my package when I get home in July!
  • The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
    • What makes me happy about this? Ferris found the loophole we all need. The key that frees the chain around our ankles. Life has never been about work for me, I just thrive to be in it and yet he found a way to do it with more efficiency.
    • Status: book delivered to my flat in Cali. I love having physical copies.
  • Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
    • What makes me happy? Rhimes is a creative storytelling demigoddess. She guts us with plot twists. She champions other women and she’s human. She’s so god awfully human like all of us and that motivates the hell out of me. I can be fabulous and so painfully human at the same time as well.
  • You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
    • Status: I’m awful at self-help books. Its been a bit rocky to finish them out. (I received & 7 Effects during college and it’s still sitting on my nightstand waiting to fulfill it’s destiny with me) But! Sincero has humor, Sincero has realism. I’m going to finish this because I’m already a baddie, I just need a reminder every once in a while.
  • Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
    • Status: delivered to my flat! I’m ready to sink my teeth.
  • My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
    • Status: We all need fiction in life, especially Kinsella’s casual light read stories to fulfill the days when we just need a homegirl by our side.
  • [REMOVED] Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them By JK Rowling
  • [ADDED] The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
    • Why it makes me happy: You mean to tell me the tactics I’ve used in life has been an actual device for power?! This is the Yoda for all things power and I am the young Padawan thirsting for more.
  • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • [CODENAMED] My friend is writing a Trilogy and I’m beta reading Book 1.

9 more books to go, 4 of which I’ve basically sprinted through half. It’s rather cathartic to read and thrilling to log about it with a mission.

I hope you all find this list helpful in your journey to happiness.

What’s pride worth if we all lose

I lie awake unable to sleep
head and heart thrown asunder
losing my mind thinking about you
this isnt love I tell myself.
this is defeat.
it’s not a battle for affection
but a game of cat and mouse

The worst part is, my heart’s pleading to spare you
yet my head is chanting conquer
so which do I feed?
one on it’s knees…
or the one shouting to break free…?

You’ve seen enough pain.
I promised myself not to hurt you.
I don’t want you.
I just want victory.
so I keep playing.

At night I lose sleep.
plotting and fabricating.
your move,
then mine.

We’re in an infinite loop.
eventually, my pride wins.
I withhold from telling you how much I care
So you leave without opening up your feelings
both our egos walk way feeling triumphant.
but somehow we both lose.

Loneliness in a Relationship

You made me feel like I lived a very lonely life. I felt alone most of the time- even surrounded by friends. When I was with you, there was a part of me that no longer wished to be with you. I questioned myself why at the time but didn’t understand it until now.

3 months post breakup and I’m finally getting to know myself. The person I should’ve been watching out for. In these 3 months I’ve filled it with so many great memories from traveling to the east coast to celebrate my birthday to going out more with people I rarely would ever dream of going out with.

I was itching to run, but at the time I felt so dependent on you. Maybe it wasn’t you who held me captive in the relationship but myself for not being strong enough to move on long after the ship had already sailed.

I was lonely IN our relationship because you didn’t care about me. You said you did, but your actions didn’t. All the times we were hanging out, it was on your terms. Your video games. Your VR set. Your friends because you didn’t like MY friends.

You liked to stay up late watching stupid adult cartoons, so I always went to bed alone. I woke up earlier in the day since I’m a morning person and had coffee while I read. We wouldn’t say hello until 3 hours after the fact. Then I’d be hungry for lunch but you’ve just started your day and wanted your “alone” time to smoke weed and go on reddit.

Reflecting back on the two and half years I spent with this routine, I’ve learned to never compromise my weekends again. Those four walls confined me for so long that I settled. I lost the will to go out and explore novel things. I got so used to the quiet and the same insane thing over and over again that I lost my voice to speak up because I simply just gave up.

Then I met someone. He doesn’t mean a single thing to me – I barely even know him. But we have fun. We talk about work, hobbies… interests…

….then he holds me to sleep at night.

Something you’ve never done. The excuse was always you’re not comfortable and that you wanted to sleep.

I wake up in his arms.

Something that’s never happened to us.

I wake up in his arms every time we sleep on the same bed.

How can someone so new

..already fit better than you?

 

 

This is what falling for you feels like

My heart’s never pounded so fast,

nor has it ever felt this empty.

My tongue’s never tasted so dry,

nor has it been so thirsty for another.

My head’s never been so tormented,

nor have I ever thought I’d be so happy with being so smitten.

This conundrum I have is both liberating and suffocating.

This is how I endure puppy love.

The silly moments where I am lost in lust

but found in love.

 

[5] reasons he’s your Mr. Wrong

What makes him the Mr. Wrong in all the right ways? Here’s the telltale list:

  1. Everything about him is yummylicious, he has no flaws. His hair, his chiseled bod, his cute cute smile when he looks at you, and most of all his playfulness in which you already know deep down there’s an expiration date on this relationship you have with this manchild. If he has no flaws, you’re clearly at a stage where you’re blinded by his twinkling Edward Cullen skin and thousand watt smile. It’s okay to notice flaws and accept them. But if you’re telling all your gal pals at brunch that this dude is 100% flawless… check yourself before you wreck yourself. At one point, he’ll fall off the pedestal and you’ll be hurt by how much you were blinded.
  2. You want the limited supply. You know you really shouldn’t like him because he rarely ever replies back and when he does, he just seems aloof- all the more reasons for you to want him more, right? We never want the surplus of resources now do we? We’re always coveting something when it’s “limited.” It’s crazy how much we analyze a mere text. Ask him, “hang out later?” and he replies, “Yeah hit me up.” Cue the mind going bonkers with: “No smiley face… is he not interested?!” Or “Okay, he replied back in less than 10 minutes, he must be into me” or “Does he really mean for me to call him? Should I wait until he calls?”
  3. Making plans and flaking. Errr, red alert! If a true man, (not a fuckboy) made plans to see you, he’d follow through. I get the personal emergencies that could arise but if he’s making plans with you and flaking more than a few times, you know you’re not a priority. I don’t care how adorable those dimples are! You deserve someone who would put you in the priority you deserve. If you’re blocking out your schedule to spend time with him, then he should be doing the same. Don’t be an option!
  4. The Chameleon Paradigm. Do not forget the person you are. I’m sure we’ve all done this at one point in our lives. I’ll be frank, there was once a crush I wanted to impress so bad, I even added Facebook likes to something he’d be into as well. (Lame, I know, but at least I’m woman enough to admit it) Just because he loves loves loves watching basketball, does not mean you should be studying up on J.R. Smith’s draft history. He should like you for the differences that make you unique. So if he admires Game of Thrones, it doesn’t mean you should watch the first 6 seasons in one week so you two have something to talk about. He’ll have his friends for that. If you find yourself changing your spots to make him like you better… you’ve already fallen prey to what I call the Chameleon Paradigm.
  5. The shoe just doesn’t seem to fit. No matter what, there’s always a question in your mind whether to trust him or whether he’s right for you. The allure in the mystery is what keeps you interested, but is that really what you want? Stop trying to piece something together if there’s always a missing piece. Fact of the matter is, the pieces you hold won’t fit because he’s not the right puzzle.

If you can relate- pump the brakes. Look at yourself in the rear view mirror and just stop. Stop freaking out. Stop overanalyzing. If it feels so frustrating now, are you sure this is what you want to continue on with? When it’s right, and trust me, this is going to take time and age, you’ll be less anxious and more happy.

Landing My Dream Job Ruined My Life

Everything in life has an opportunity cost. This is the only thing I retained from my econ class back in college.

You make a choice in life and lose out on some other route you could’ve taken.

Here’s the full investopedia definition:

Opportunity cost refers to a benefit that a person could have received, but gave up, to take another course of action. Stated differently, an opportunity cost represents an alternative given up when a decision is made. This cost is, therefore, most relevant for two mutually exclusive events. In investing, it is the difference in return between a chosen investment and one that is necessarily passed up. 

Though it may not have seemed like two mutually exclusive events at the time, I now reflect and regret the road I took. Three years ago, I fell into a slump for a lack of a better term:

  1. I plateaued in my career falling back on a family business after I no longer felt I could grow in my previous role.
  2. I had a great boyfriend I was totally ungrateful for. He catered to my every need and I took him for granted. The silly thing about stupid young love is you never appreciate “the one” that’s always there- it doesn’t register as fun, but rather boring and safe. 
  3. Nothing thrilled me. I felt I had no passion and no specialized talent which resulted to no direction.

These factors played into a formula where I jumped at the opportunity when a buzz came through my phone pinging me for a position at a dream role. Okay, so it wasn’t a DREAM ROLE, but it was fucking brilliant. Work on the westside where the air is crisp and people are gorgeous, market for a licensed product that the whole damn world knows (hint: they now own marvel AND star wars), and of course eventually move out to westLA where people not only wear yoga for class but as a way to show off their glorified yoga bodies at brunch.

Three years have passed as swift as winter in California, and I find myself sitting at the room where it all started. But it feels different in this chair now. The chair collecting dust at my parents house. Though, I’ve grown up, I reevaluate and realize I’ve lost close contact with all my friends. The oh so perfect boyfriend fell out of the picture after I broke up with him. I’ve literally created a rift between my closest family, and I’ve made choices that have only alienated me from the ones I love more and more.

I’ve jumped ship and gone to an even better company. I have a not so terrible condo I now own 2 miles from the closest beach. I somehow make enough to drive a BMW,

but

I, I, I… 

The opportunity cost of having all those I’s. Was it worth it in the end? I’m sitting here wondering, if I feel this lonely and sad now, what was the point of landing my dream job?

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