Time only flies when you’re wasting it.

How many hours go by while you’re Facebook-stalking people you don’t even care about? I remember writing papers late into the night, being distracted by social networking, and suddenly my paper is due in an hour! But when I really got down to the nitty-gritty of my work, time seemed to stand on my side… “Okay, I see you putting in some werk, lemme slow it down for ya.”

I’m 23 years old. I am by no means “old” and I hate when people my age called themselves that because they remember a time when technology was far less invasive, a decade where all kids/teen shows were awesome, and an era of fast food logos that can now be considered vintage. Aging is a part of life and I’ve found that when I’m actually doing things (“things” being activities that quench my passions, move me towards my goals, or fulfill life’s everyday needs), time doesn’t seem to pass as quickly.

I do feel like I started college just yesterday and before I knew it, I was graduating, starting a full-time job, and figuring out when I could adventure in between. I hope this feeling I get some days doesn’t turn into most days. And it won’t, as long as I’m doing things (“things” not associated with mindlessly refreshing social media or watching re-runs of Keeping Up with the Kardashians).

In the last two months, I’ve been on seven trips in five states. Sure, each trip was only a few days… some even just for one night. As much as I wish my travel excusions could be longer, maybe to the point of cultural immersion, I have come home fulfilled every time. Because I was doing things. I was recently in Miami for 4 days and got A LOT done with time for napping. Insane, right? Yes, fun times usually come to an end much too soon, but time well-spent leaves me feeling more complete and ready to move to the next thing.

Since I’ve just been home for two days with no plans, I’ve done absolutely nothing, except think about writing this blog and exchange messages with friends about how much I should be doing, but am not doing. It will continue in this cycle until I manage to break free, probably due to FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out.

It’s crazy how skewed my perception of time has become because of all the ways I’ve been prone to wasting it. Two hours of bowling or kayaking seem so short when I’m purchasing them, only because I can spend two hours on Pinterest. Here’s a thought: Pinterest should limit the number of things you’re allowed to pin until you’ve completed some of the projects you’ve already pinned. If only we could be motivated in such a way.

I can’t stop moments from passing, but I can make each one worth it. Even the ones I spend sleeping! What a concept.

Time can be generous, but ultimately time is indifferent. Time does not give two damns or a fuck.

-Sign, Nujabes ft. Pase Rock

Another Minute, Another Day, Another Year

I can’t let the opportunity to reflect on 2012 escape me. At first, I was reluctant to expose this year’s achievements and shortcomings; I felt as if my life really wasn’t as amazing as my highlight reel. But after re-reading my 2011 recap and continuing to feel pride of that year’s events, I saw that I have continually grown from my experiences. Resolutions do not have to be a one-year commitment. 2011, 2012 and the prospects of 2013 have shown me that.

“Time flies,” as we always say. It’s amazes me to think of how much has happened this past year… some days it felt like the year was dragging on and others, I begged Father Time to slow down for just a moment so I could soak in a few more memories. I found a few great reflection questions to help me look back on the year and take from it what I can into 2013.

What am I grateful for this year?

-Family, friends, and a fiance who have loved and supported me through all of my endeavors, even when I wasn’t quite sure of myself
-Moderately good health
-The constant desire to learn
-The ability to experience new places

What went well this year?

-I graduated from college a quarter early and secured a full-time job with good pay/benefits less than 2 months after graduation. I work from home [read: SLEEP] and travel A LOT. Can you say “spoiled?”
-Ez and I built an even stronger relationship despite many obstacles.
-I became more financially independent.
-I learned more about my own motivation, goals, and what I am passionate about.
-I traveled many places, both far and near.

What three words best capture the essence of this past year?

Meandering. Developing. Supporting.

What was the best memory of the year?

Getting engaged to the love of my life on July 6th with my family and close friends there.

What was the biggest improvement in my life this past year?

Becoming more financially independent and understanding the scope of my responsibility to myself. Although I have many financial goals to reach, I can say that I have taken steps to get there and began considering how each of my action’s affects my future.

What obstacles did I overcome?

I overcame my own apathy towards many of my extra-curricular involvements at UCLA–helping the Lana&Taylor Campaign come together was quite a game-changer for me and reinforced the meaning behind my passion for development. I also realized money is not the top priority over values and maximizing my potential–I left a quite lucrative job after just 3 days because my quest for development and contributing to society is much more important. I let go of some unnecessary negativity and began focusing my energy toward productivity–I spent a lot of college talking trash and attributing it to my bold, devil may care attitude; alas, that really gets me nowhere. [But don’t fret, I’ll run my mouth if I need to!]

What would make me happier? How can I make this happen?

-Keeping a workout schedule. I never regret working out. Definitely need to capitalize on Ez’s investment in a gym pass for me! I need actually schedule working out into my calendar.
-Having stronger friendships to rely on. I need to invest more in those I want to keep close, even if I have been hurt or neglected in the past.
-Staying true to my commitments and plans (classes, grad school, exploring/traveling, personal projects). I need to draw from raw inspiration and find what will keep me accountable! Lord knows it’s certainly not my comfy bed.

What do I do well? What is my gift to the world?

-Helping people realize their potential and how many opportunities are out there.
-Having conversations that challenge people’s perspectives and facilitate development (including my own).

What would I most like to change about myself this year?

I want to take more initiative in pursuing my goals and carving the life I want for myself and my family. In other words, I gotta get my lazy butt out of bed and start doing stuff! While I don’t expect things to come easily to me, I keep on waiting for opportunities to present themselves and only take them if I know I can do well. I want to be more active and take the reigns in moving my life forward. This year, one of my major shortcomings was registering for a couple of classes that could have really challenged me, but not seeing those challenges through. Tangible goal setting is where it starts.

Am I in touch with the friends and loved ones that are important to me? How can I stay more connected with others?

I’ve found that maintaining relationships in post-grad life is exceedingly difficult. Many times throughout this year, I’ve felt alone, like no one understood me or thought to include me in their plans. To some extent, that’s my own fault and can be attributed to my seemingly endless travels and independent nature. But dang, going through this year has been quite the struggle without that support system I thought I could lean on. My friends are not mind readers though, and I want to work on being more honest, candid, and investing more in friendships in general.

If I knew I were to die in the next month or two, what would I do? What does that say about my life now?

Quit my job and spend every second with people who matter to me. I would explore, eat, chat, and just enjoy my time. That says I’m not doing the most meaningful job. I need to work on my plans to shape a better future for myself and fashion a life in which I’m not working just to make ends meet, but rather contribute to society. I’m also not spending every second enjoying life. Gotta make it count!

Am I being truly generous to others (to my family, my friends, my community) in terms of my attention, time and energy? How can I improve?

No. A lot more of my time can be spent being a support system to people in my life. But in these past few months, I haven’t connected with some folks in the ways I’ve needed to–I’ve been bitter and lonely with expectations that seemed reasonable. But I’ve learned my flavor of friendship is different that those in my “No Matter What” club and this is an issue I would also like to work on in 2013. I would love to spend my time with my friends and family helping them, especially since Ez will be deploying in just few days. It’s not so much that I’ve needed all-out attention, as it is that I’ve needed company. At this point, I want to invest in some friendships and just let others run their course. Perhaps it is my community that I should focus on most. I have gotten involved with Lakas Mentorship Program, which is a step in the right direction–I’m excited to help shape the future of our Pilipino-American youth in the IE.

Do I have any special plans for this next year? What do I need to make this happen?

Travel! This year I will be going to Miami to celebrate my birthday with some of my favorite people. I will also be going on another cruise to the Bahamas for a wedding. These adventures on top of work trips make for once exciting year and I must explore every second! This world is too big to be doing the same shit on different days. I need to budget for these trips and also get that bikini body ready!

I want to prep for grad school by taking the GRE’s and researching what schools I want to attend. My two paths are pretty different–on one hand, I would like to become a counselor or pursue therapy of some sort. On the other, I want to go into fashion studies or something related to the social, political, and cultural implications of art in today’s world. I hope this path with become more clear through my different activities (fashion history class and mentoship program participation), but that I will have the time and energy to quench both thirsts somehow.
What dreams do I have for the future?

The dream wedding first and foremost! I am also working hard to help my mom out as much as possible. Putting up with me for 23 years is enough! Contributing little by little has been nice. I dream of putting my creativity and artistry out there more, in whatever form I can manage. My dream job is an artist or performer of some type… essentially I just need to do and see more things! And let that manifest into what it will.
What legacy am I leaving behind?

I want people to express themselves and take ownership of their stories and their lives. I hope you’ve seen that through the reflections above.

Ruminating as I Enter Week 2 of Training

  • How did I get so lucky to have someone who challenges and encourages me, motivates me, makes me laugh, and lets me feel alive? Among a million other traits, characteristics, dispositions, etc… Continue thinking of the other mushy, surreal, and annoyingly awesome traits of a lover/friend/significant other of which you’ve only dreamed.
  • Week 1 of training has been intense–changing your mindset can really change the game. Yes, I can’t wait for my first paycheck. But I also can’t wait to really dig into my duties as an Outreach Representative.
  • [Knowledge + Skill Set + Procedures&Processes] x Mindset = Exceptional Performance
  • After much discussion and reflection with Matt and Kelly, I’ve seen how my experiences at UCLA have prepared me so much for the “real world,”–more than I thought upon commencement and even during job interviews. No matter how “over it,” or tired I might have been from my various involvements… those things gave me SO many tools and perspectives that have proven to be a great advantage in my early post-graduate life. I am valuing my time college experience more with each passing day.
  • Working a 9-6 job is super tiring, no matter how much you enjoy your work. Shows me the need to step up my health&wellness game in terms of time management, fitness, and a better diet. Gotta hop onto that work-life balance train!
  • Avoiding packaged, processed snacks is difficult and expensive, especially when you don’t have a kitchen. I am currently snacking on Mott’s pre-sliced apples and a cup of chopped watermelon pieces from Walgreen’s. Who buys groceries from a drugstore?
  • Lifelong friendships seem hard to come by at this point in life. Investing in such relationships is definitely worth it. It’s crazy and inspiring that I have friends all over the country doing big things, following their heart, affecting positive change in this world and I hope to hold onto these people as we continue to grow.

That’s that real “real life.”

When it rains, it pours. And the blessings are raining down on me right now. It’s wonderful.

I will be starting my career, forreals this time, with the Academy of Art University as the Northern Los Angeles Outreach Representative. Basically I get to talk all day and be a resource for students to get to the biggest art school in the nation. Although the school is in San Francisco, my position is based in LA and requires 75% travel. Public speaking, art, students, travel… how did I get so lucky? All the things I love wrapped up into one AND I get paid for it? YES.

I am flying to SF on Sunday to complete a one-month training program… how sick is it that I get to spend a month in the Bay? With per diem for all my meals? In a fancy hotel? Pretty sick, if I may say so myself. And those are just the perks. I get to represent an amazing university in which creative minds get to explore their craft and realize their potential. I also have the opportunity to attend different events such as fashion shows, gallery auctions and film festivals.

Getting this job is a dream come true and it’s only the beginning. I’m SO glad I didn’t settle for the lucrative, yet unsuitable, opportunity where I found myself about a month ago. In this day and age of huge student loan debt, a focus on practicality, and a struggle to maintain our individuality while finding out place in society, we cannot forget our dreams. Even though it took me a little longer than I had hoped–I finished school in March–I earned a position that suits me and will undoubtedly challenge me to take initiative, exercise leadership, and continue to expand my communication skills. Snaps for personal development!

Who said getting married at this age is constricting? Surely, they didn’t see me coming. Rather than dwelling on the thought that “there could be something better out there” or wondering how I could explore other continents and careers because I’m “tied down,” we’ve chosen to find those better things and take on those new experiences together. Ezrael and I have a bunch more things we want to accomplish before our time here is done. We challenge and motivate each other, instead of thinking of our relationship as a mere extraneous commitment to be factored into bigger life decisions. But I do suppose finding that person and making sure you two can stick together is another feat in itself.

If only everyone could open their minds and perspectives to find that driving force–it doesn’t have to be a lover, friend, or even a person–to help them realize their dreams and experience contentment. Amidst the journey toward those goals, it’s also nice to consider the other things that make the ride worthwhile… like bridesmaids and groomsmen! That’s right, we’ve got all the people in place for our bridal party! We are on the smaller end of the big side :P And we are super excited to include more friends and family in different roles in our celebration because Lord knows it’s gonna be a little large.

“Real life” is shaping up pretty well! New career, bridesmaids&groomsmen at the ready, and I get to marry the man of my dreams? Not too bad.

Our Wedding Chronicles: Impromptu Engagement Celebrations

Last week was hectic, to say the least! In the past eight days of our engagement, we’ve had impromptu celebrations, found a venue, identified a potential caterer and created an overall vision for our wedding. As I was pinning my morning away, my mom looked over my shoulder and told me “You really are making a dream wedding.”

That’s right.

But before we get to the knitty gritty, and even while we’re weathering the storm, Ezrael and I cannot forgot to celebrate this momentous period in our lives. Getting married is a pretty big deal when you step back from the wedding and look at the bigger picture.

Immediately after Ez proposed, we had drinks at The W in Westwood with a few friends and and had the fanciest drunk food at Bossa Nova.

The After-After-Party at Bossa Nova

The Saturday after Ez proposed, we made our way up to San Jose to see his family. Of course we had to call up Jur (my big bro) and Kevin (Ez’s lil bro). The night was filled with drinks at Bruno’s in SF followed by dinner (breakfast?) at Cafe Colma in the Lucky Chances casino. That place was poppin’ with the titos and titas right at 1AM after all their money was gambled away.

Bigs & Lils celebrating in the Bay

After dinner with Ez’s family (my new family!) on Sunday evening, we rented a movie and wanted to chill out before the long drive back to LA early the next morning. We had a bright idea at 10pm to host an engagement celebration get-together of sorts, which would have to happen the next day since Ez was leaving Tuesday morning. But as I said, we must seize our chances to celebrate, especially because the times we see each other (let alone party together!) are few and far between. So the Facebook invite went out and we decided to show up to The Wellesbourne at 9pm on a Monday night to party with whoever was down. We figured we should shoot for somewhere with a little more class, because Heaven knows our most frequented West LA spots are a little bit of trash. Hooters or BrewCo, anyone? The Wellesbourne has the the feel of Hogwarts with the dim lighting, couches, fireplace, and books lining the walls. Not to mention the foosball and shuffleboard tables–because they totally have that in the Harry Potter books.

Hey SF!

Part of my CAC Fam

Lovely ladies in the Hogwarts Common Room

Friends from Chino Hills

Heyy, ladiiiiiies!

For the millionth time, we’re engaged!

I was pleasantly surprised at the turnout! There were about 25 people there to share a drink with us, catch up, and chat about the future. It was really nice to see the dedication in our friendships–short notice, Monday night at a bar? No problem! Knowing that our love matters to other people is such a great feeling. Not to mention that little buzz of elation that comes with downing a few Pimm’s Cups.

Thank you to everyone who made it out and has been there for us, from the start of our relationship to the start of our engagement. I know we’re bound to have a few more of these gatherings along the way. I am not messing around with this wedding planning business–I already got crazy with an events coordinator this week to secure our dream venue! But that’s another chapter in Our Wedding Chronicles…

Back on the Prowl

Even amidst the grad ceremonies, parties, spontaneous adventures and celebrations… I’m constantly contemplating my next move.

After 3 interesting days at my first real job… I’ve found myself back on the job hunt in search of something more intrinsically rewarding. I’m glad that it only took me a few days to realize the value of my work lies more in my contribution to society and less in fiscal rewards. I did not spend the last 4 years of college exploring and advocating for issues of identity, culture, community, and social justice to give it up for monetary gain.  Yes, I do have student loan payments coming up and one of my main priorities is becoming financially independent, but money cannot be everything. A part of me feels as if I wasted the headstart I got from graduating a quarter early, but all that matters at this point is finding a great fit. Resetting to the beginning of my post-grad life is purely about seizing, even creating, opportunities for myself that suit my interests and passions. I am beyond excited to really take on the world in my own way.

As much as I want to create photo essays about all the wonderful events from the past few weeks, I must move forward and there is no better time than now. But don’t worry, recap blogs are on their way! Just expect them to be intertwined with a lot of reflection and rambling as I dig into the post-graduate world and cling to what’s really important in life.

The Growing Impracticality of Disneyland for Post-Grad Life

The vicious cycle of repetitive entertainment-based consumerism [i.e. Disneyland], will keep people down, slowly but surely. We can’t continue spending so much in the name of fun and good company while we are barely getting by in the rest of our lives. If the goal is to support ourselves, we shouldn’t keep with these habits as they become increasingly expensive… unless our income is increasing as well. Don’t get me wrong–I am a slave to consumerism. But there comes a point when I need sacrifice my “Carpe Diem” tendencies to make room for something greater. Or at least different.

One More Disney Day | February 29th, 2012

I am spoiled in that I am able to go to Disneyland anytime I want. I’ve had a Premium pass for the last two years, but as ticket prices steadily increase, it’s easy to question the value of it all. A single-day ticket could reach $100 in the next two years, which has great emotional effect. By reaching 3-digit prices, it seems more and more unrealistic to spend for such an experience.

At the end of the year, the merchandise discount associated with annual passes will expire. Premium passes now cost $650. I paid $500 for my first one about a year an a half ago. -_- I’ll be able to experience Cars Land and all of the new CA Adventure attractions opening.

But alas, I have decided not to renew next February and put my money toward museum memberships where I can continue learning and experiencing new things at a more affordable price. If all goes well with my career path, I’ll be able to afford both… but potentially working 12-hour days on the West Side leaves little time to make it to Anaheim regularly. Saving that $650 could go a long way as I’m trying to become financially stable. I need to start forging practical spending habits now so that I can keep my eyes on those big ticket purchases after all the moves are made and bills are paid. I get annoyed when people tell me they wish they could travel… the same people who have Disneyland passes, smoke weed, go out for drinks on a regular basis. Sure, that fulfills their enjoyment and they don’t know what it’s like to really quench their wanderlust. That’s not me. I’d easily give up Disneyland for a year to attend exhibition openings, go on a couple of getaways, and experience more of SoCal in general. I made it to Chicago on a $100 roundtrip ticket. I can do all that for $650 + gas from LA to Anaheim + food&merch purchases. It’s not that I don’t love The Happiest Place on Earth and it’s rides, attractions, and delicious food. If I’m gonna be committing to West LA for the next few years, I need to constantly invigorate myself with all that SoCal has to offer.

George C. Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits | May 23, 2012