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.

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8 Silly but Important Things to Always Choose

1. French fries over Fruit. Are you kidding? This is a no brainer. You can’t make crispy golden french fries at home, but fruit? Fruit you can get anywhere. Yes, you’ll feel like a heifer for maybe an hour after you consume all of it but at least in the moment, you enjoyed every freaking second of those delicious oily fattening awesome things. Fruit? Get that shit at the market and eat it at home. When you’re out, indulge yourself.

2. Unsubscribe. I’ve recently purged myself from online shopping after realizing about 70% of the emails I accrue on my personal account were from Forever21, Groupon, Sephora, the like. It feels a bit insipid when now I wake up and I’ve got 18 emails vs. 60+ but at least I’m not wasting precious time deleting meaningless “SALES” and breaking my wallet. Now each morning I focus on positive affirmations from my virtual yogi on YouTube and success stories shared on Gates Notes.

3. Bring a book wherever you go. Apps on our phone are endless as such are puzzle games with infinite levels. (Trust me I work in gaming, I know how many levels there are ready for the player to trek through, and beyond that there will always be another map, another dungeon, another challenge). But the greatest lesson you absorb is those from stories and historical documentation. I’ve learned resilience through Marcus Aurelius and strategy from Sun Tzu, valuable knowledge which otherwise wouldn’t have been taught via mobile games.

4. Chop it off. In 2013, I got bangs that basically ruined my life. Or so I thought. In retrospect, I was young and naive; time felt longer than what it really stood for and I cared way too much how “swoop” my bangs were. The stylist had cut it too short and I swore everyone could see the extra centimeter he took off. 5 years post trauma, I’ve now gotten the shortest haircut I’ve ever underwent and it’s been the best decision of my life. Time will tick as hair will grow. So choose to get that haircut you’ve always wanted to try out. If it sucks, it’ll grow back in 6 months. And if it shines, you’ll love eliminating the fear of going shorter.

5. Keep a notebook & pen. First, always have a pen on you because when you fly, you don’t want to be that person bothering your neighbor for theirs to fill out a customs form. Second, notebook & pen helps jot down your consciousness. I don’t know how many great ideas have gone out to the wild to never return because I failed to remember what they were by the time I got back to my laptop.

6. Daily Notecard Trick. This is courtesy of Tim Ferris. He jots down things that must be accomplished by the end of that day on a notecard and once they’ve all been finished out, he rips up the card. It’s so cathartic to start my day with goals then completing each task and finally being able to toss the card as a part of the exercise.

7. Run on your own damn time. Never wait on anyone not worth waiting on. If you’re just sitting there waiting for the phone to ring or someone to eat with- go enjoy time alone. Cook something healthy and enjoy it with FRIENDS on Netflix. Time is too precious spent waiting on others.

8. Never commit to lukewarm. I don’t know how else to explain passion as an extreme. This an important lesson I learned from mommy dearest. If you’re at a store and you see this red dress but it just makes you feel 50% while you put it on, DO NOT BUY IT. No matter how many accessories pieces you dress it with, it won’t make you feel 100. Buy the dress if it makes you feel like hard 10, otherwise, that garment on the hanger will only sit in your closet collecting moths and dust. This philosophy can be applied to most life decisions. The dress was just a recent example I had whilst shopping with Momma bear.

 

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.

I grew up ugly & stupid

His friends used to call me ugly.

She kept telling me I was too dumb.

Their extended family would mistake me for a boy because I didn’t have feminine enough features.

Her coworkers would snicker because they felt their kids were smarter and more cunning.

I grew being told I was ugly.

I grew up being told I was stupid.

She used to make me feel worthless. She used to yell at me like I ruined her life. She would say all my friends manipulate me because I’m too nice and dumb to notice.

I had a childhood friend growing up. Let’s call her Tilly. Tilly was always smarter because she was one year older. But Mother would tell me everyday that I’ll never amount to Tilly.

“Tilly is going places.” She’d say. “I bet she’ll end up at a better college than you.”

“Tilly is stronger.”

“Tilly wins at all these games you play because you’re too stupid to anticipate her moves.”

It wasn’t easy being told I wasn’t pretty for a girl.

It wasn’t easy having a mother resent me for being stupid.

But as I sit here two decades later looking at the place I bought for myself close to the Cali beach. I wonder, is this enough to prove to my mother I’m more than what she’d lost hope in?

Tilly now works in retail and still lives at home with her parents.

So, why do I still cry thinking about my upbringing? I can still hear every remark from her ricochet from my memory, cutting me like bullets from deep within.

Why does she hate me so much?

If I can’t even trust my mother to love me, how do I trust someone to enter my life without hurting me?

Am I still so broken?

There’s a reason I feel safe living alone. Isolated. Single.

No one can tell me I’m ugly or stupid. No words can hurt me here.

 

Is there truth behind my words?

If you stopped loving me, would you ever tell me?

Would you tell me as easily and boldly as the way you proclaimed you loved me?

Words are so easily spoken without action, we tend to use them for granted.

We swing between “never” & “always” on a pendulum without ever fully meaning both.

“I’ll never drink again,” says the girl hungover on a Sunday. But we all know she’ll grab a bottle the upcoming Friday surely after a long week at the office.

“I’ll always love you and cherish you,” says the lovesick boy on his wedding day. But a decade down the line, his eyes will wander as the candle he once held for his partner flickers and dies out.

We say so many things without conviction, it becomes hard to value the words we hear from others.

Where is the underlying truth? How do we learn to trust in a world where everything is accessible and nothing is valued anymore?

So before we dive into the next bold statement we carelessly spew, think:

“Will I ever so freely speak the opposite once I stop feeling this way?”

“Will I so openly tell her I’m over her, just as quickly I’ve promised I’ll love her?”

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.

Destined to be the other woman

I was in the winter of my life, and the men I met along the road were my only summer.
At night I fell asleep with visions of myself, dancing and laughing and crying with them.
Three years down the line of being on an endless world tour, and my memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times.
I was a singer. Not a very popular one,
I once had dreams of becoming a beautiful poet, but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like a million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again, sparkling and broken.
But I didn’t really mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted, and then losing it to know what true freedom is.
When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I’d been living, they asked me “Why?”, but there’s no use in talking to people who have home.
They have no idea what it’s like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lay your head.
I was always an unusual girl.
My mother told me I had a chameleon soul, no moral compass pointing due north, no fixed personality; just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide and as wavering as the ocean…
And if I said I didn’t plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying…
Because I was born to be the other woman.
Who belonged to no one, who belonged to everyone.
Who had nothing, who wanted everything, with a fire for every experience and an obsession for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about it, and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me.

Lana Del Rey.

Ride

What if I’m destined to be the other woman? It breaks me to even have to question this but for the longest time I’ve asked myself why. Why is it that I’m not with him? Picking up groceries holding hands, planning long lead vacations on a crisp Sunday morning, and even sitting down each night with the same person breaking bread? I don’t mean that I’m the other woman to a man who’s married or even in another relationship. I just mean that I’m not the woman he spends his life with. I’m the phase. I’m the adventure until he wants steady.

It’s like I’m fucking diseased with a big fat scarlet letter slapped across my forehead that I’m not perceived as someone good enough. Someone that’s priority. Someone that he sees valuable enough to dedicated a meaningful friendship. Aside from my name, does he even know how I like my coffee? Or which way I always turn to sleep?

I don’t belong to anyone which made me belong to everyone.

Drink after drink, mistake after mistake. I reflect on the patterns and see nothing’s ever right. Bad decisions follow me like the plague, and I ride each of those waves only for a momentary gratification. The high from an addiction, telling myself I’ll be good after this one last hit.

Morning comes and he’s still in my bed; sleeping away without a care in the universe. He wakes up, holds me for a minute and walks out the door with his things.

The text doesn’t come for a few weeks, but then one night when I think I’m back on my routine, my phone beeps and I’m back here again asking myself why.

Can you separate Success from Happiness?

How do you measure success?
By telling yourself whether or not you’re happy?

So then, how do you measure happiness?
By determining whether or not you are successful?

There is an infinite loop between happiness and success that keeps us in a constant state of doubtful mind second-guessing who we are, where we are, and what we are.

I vowed that 2018 was to going to be the year I give back to myself. The past 2.5 years was dedicated to a relationship that churned me into someone I didn’t recognize anymore. I can fully turn that around and discover the better version of who I am before I meet my next awesome human being.

So then I decided to always remember to stay focused on being happy. I question it every so often but now I can’t help but wonder, do I associate happiness too closely with success? Meaning happiness is contingent on whether or not I’m doing better than my cohorts or excelling in my career?

But it’s really not about that. Happiness shouldn’t be a competition or graded based on performance at work. Work eats up enough of our lives, why do we have to sacrifice our mental state to it as well?

Now, I’m striving to compartmentalize the two to evaluate just how happy I am with myself without attributing it to my work success. There’s so much more to it than that!

I got sick last November and gained over ten pounds, which to me has been more than I’ve gained my whole life in a matter of two weeks. So I got off my ass, kicked my workout routine in high gear and promised myself I was going to keep moving. This past week when I had to see my doctor, I finally felt good about myself when I was asked to strip down for an inspection. There was definition, there was a slimmer me, and a leaner me. Why? Because I didn’t give up on myself and that perpetuated my joy all day.

So happiness isn’t contingent on success. We can find little pockets of it everywhere. How we make our decisions, who we choose to interact with, and where we anticipate we’ll be going for the weekend.

As I draw my bath tonight, spending Valentines completely but sparingly single, I find true bliss in realizing I too, can be happy and it’s not from measuring success. It’s from being grateful for everything I have from my resilience to my peace to my unwavering ambitions.

Cheers.

 

26 Things I Still Remind Myself after I turned 26

  1. dont apologize when you don’t have anything to be sorry for
  2. read the email before you send it. then read it again.
  3. things usually don’t work out for a reason. trust the universe
  4. be kind anyway
  5. goals matter. Make a 25 by 25 or a 50 by 50. then live it out or ponder back and see how much adventure you still have left
  6. hold the door open. Figuratively & Literally
  7. few friends last a lifetime. Forgive them when they’re not the best version of themselves
  8. you’re never going to have this body again
  9. if you have to think about whether you should text/post for more than 30 secs. dont do it – it’s never worth it
  10. if you can’t laugh at yourself, it’s going to be a long life
  11. always have a 5 year plan
  12. don’t burn bridges. it’s a small world
  13. close your mouth and open your eyes
  14. there is absolutely no substitute for class. if you have to say you’re a lady, you’re probably not
  15. make your own rules
  16. details matter. they really really matter
  17. never let them see you cry
  18. preparation > luck
  19. no one else can make you happy if you’re not happy with yourself
  20. if you don’t want anyone to find out. don’t do it.
  21. paste a smile on your face and fake it till you make it
  22. don’t waste your time trying to make other people look bad. make yourself indispensable.
  23. figure out your go-to restaurant, bar, city attraction, cocktail and bag.
  24. Trust that voice in your head. Trust your gut. Trust the Butterflies
  25. Appearances matter. It may be unfair, superficial, but they do. Get a manicure. Invest in a nice bag. Figure out the best makeup and clothing style for you.
  26. Hug your parents. Tell Them Thank you.

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