How to live everyday as if it were your last, and survive tomorrow if it isn’t.

The thought hit me when Marla Singer from Fight Club said, “My philosophy in life is that I can die anytime, but the tragedy is that I don’t.” To say that it has changed my life is an understatement. It cracked me, beat me, and flipped me like an omelette is how I would put it. Let’s be realistic. You can die anytime. There is no way you will know when it will come. Though some fortunate ones, like people with old age, terminal sickness, or death penalized, they are the enlightened ones with regards on how everyday must be spent. But for the rest of us, young and healthy, we are as ignorant as we are in denial about the capricious nature of death.

Regardless of the subjectivity of happiness and meaning, I find it important that everyday must be spent as meaningfully as if it were your last, and survive tomorrow if it isn’t. So in no particular order, I will share with you the gift of knowledge on how I finish my day feeling complete and satisfied.

1. Work for today

Living a meaningful last day in life doesn’t mean you skip work and have a “The hell with it” attitude towards it. Work is a necessary element in life, from  our present get-filthy-rich mindset as it has been since the stone age. Money is important. People who say otherwise have yet to live without it. With that being said, work is a necessary responsibility in life. But it is crucial to understand that work is not an end, it is a mean to something greater in life, to get you to your dreams, big or small.

2. Achieve goals

Setting goals make living meaningful in trying to achieve them. Find something you are truly passionate about. Set long term goals but divide them on short term ones. It is important that everyday becomes a success. You want to travel? Slowly set aside money for it, read about the place, plan as if you were leaving tomorrow until you actually are. Want to write a book? Write a few sentences everyday and you’ll be surprised that you might just finish a book faster than what it takes a published author with undisciplined work ethics.

3.Make people you love know it

I always hear in people who’ve lost loved ones say how “I wish I did more.” Its not rocket science, let people you love know how you feel for them because you might never get the chance to do it. It doesn’t mean overdoing it everyday. I still argue with my parents, but every night I kiss my mom good night, and give my dad a big hug. I spend time with them, but just enough that I still have enough time for myself. Or I may disagree with people I love, but I will not fall short on what I can do that I am comfortable with for them. Overdoing it will burn you out. What’s important is you give enough of yourself to them that if either party ceases to exist tomorrow, there will be no regrets.

4. Smile often

This is pretty easy. I would not spend my last day, and therefore any day, with a frown. Smiling makes life lighter despite of whatever situation I’m in. Remember to catch yourself when you’re stressed, pause, and smile. It doesn’t take the problem away but stressing out with a smile is better than stressing out with a frown. Have you ever been smiled on by an innocent looking stranger and remember how there was suddenly hope for the world? Smiling is contagious. Smile often.

5. Eat well

I’m not talking about going organic or ceasing to eat animal protein. Sure, being healthy is important but one thing I learned early on in life is that happy people live longer than healthy people. When I say eat well, eat whatever that satisfies your craving but keep in mind the consequences. Understand that binging doesn’t make eating fun. Take time to enjoy every bite. Make eating an art by not making it simply about consumption but an experience. A wonderful lunch can easily transform the mood from a morning of hustle and bustle, and don’t get me started talking about the pleasures of dinner. Even Jesus had wine for his last supper.

6. Exercise

It is scientifically proven that exercise releases happy hormones (chocolates too, but that’s for number 5!). It doesn’t have to be a strict routine. Remember that the only wrong workout is the one you did not do. There is an instant gratification in exercising. Though parts of it may just be a lie, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even when in front of the mirror.

7. Sleep well

You can’t YOLO this one out. At the end of the day, it is of most importance to get a really good, quality sleep. It is where I get the energy from which I make meaningful days from. And if it is the moment that caps my meaningful life, then it is nothing but the most beautiful sleep.

The only thing that beats a well spent last day on Earth is to have another one. Another chance to fulfill, and achieve. To eat more food and feel good.  Another day to express love, and to smile. It is not wrong to look to the future but never confuse the present with anything other than what it is, a gift.

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Things that I am thankful for this week.

Today, I decided to write something completely uninformative and ultimately personal. I believe that if you recount all the things that you are thankful for, you are spending less time thinking about unpleasant things.

So this Sunday, as I drove back to the province, I was extremely happy for everything that happened this week and I couldn’t wait to get home to start listing down things that made me this appreciative and content about how my life went one day at a time.

-I was able to have a good mid week catch up and drink with my urban friends. Met new people, Gil from Icon and Ciella the Cinderella.

Mic treated Gelly, Ara and I, a midnight burger before going home. Thanks Mic! The burger from URBN might not have been so good that time but how can you beat something that’s free? My turn when you visit Balayan bro.

-I was finally able to submit my visa application for Chile, which will really give me a breather since I’m completely running out of time before I leave for South America.

I had another chance to visit Hooch, which, by the way, is my favorite 12-6pm place for their 50% off on all drinks during that time frame. And was finally able to introduce my 2 favorite alcoholic friends, Yama and Margaux, who are really cool despite actually getting married soon, I really love you guys. Ciella the Cinderella was present too, and she was a completely agreeable person, considering the ridiculous amount of alcohol Yama, Margaux and I were consuming. We had the loudest voices in that place, we made friends with all the bar tenders, free shots, and a lot of things I couldn’t remember.

By 7pm of the same day, we were totally smashed as we headed for dinner in I’m Angus. We each ordered steak, which was on special that night, paired with a really good Malbec from Argentina. Lovely!

Being a responsible driver, I decided to park my car in Lakandula Street, Salcedo village for a 5-hour sleep inside my car before waking up at 2am to drive safely back to Batangas.

I was able to work and be productive, an important element in life. There must be a balance between pleasure and responsibilities. And whenever I get to balance that equation, I am extremely happy.

I am also thankful for some alone time I’ve had during the rain. I felt bad for all those affected people but I am comforted by seeing the strength of our country’s spirit amidst everything.

One of my blog posts have been shared by Our Awesome Planet, which is awesome in the most superlative word, being one of the most followed blogs in the Philippines. It was such an honor Anton Diaz!

-I finally got to explore Maginhawa and found a really interesting hang out place called The Zone. It had a hip-Brooklyn feel, some Williamsburg type neighborhood. 

-That night, Cinderella and I tried this restaurant called Van Gogh is Bipolar, for good reason. First, you have to leave your shoes at the door. Second, you can wear hats, write curses on walls, and leave kiss marks on the ceiling. Third, you’re absolutely bullied by the chef in the most interesting and fun way by not being able to know what food you are going to have. The level of novelty in this place is beyond the roof.

Finally able to visit 801, Dana’s place, besides from being super cool, is also one of the best hosts in her hospitable and generous nature. Mic sorry if I fell asleep mid-sentence during our serious conversation. You can ask Wanda, Nikki, Karla, Margaux, Yama my sister Jazz, and her fiance Archie, how surprisingly common I do this.

-Sunday and my alcoholic friends took another visit to Hooch. Being mature adults that we are, we didn’t get as smashed as we would normally prefer, but then there never really is a bad time here so I’m still thankful for that.

With all these in my mind on Monday’s eve, I am just so excited to go back to work tomorrow, balance equations, to workout, and to live some more. Happy new week ahead to everyone! Smile and be light!

Why mistakes are essential in life

Being in between the ages of parenthood and youth, I am at a stage in life where I can understand why some parents autocratically steer the lives of their children away from possible mistakes (your daughter’s rockstar boyfriend, passion for arts, the wrong group of friends, travel, etc), and why their children need to commit those mistakes more than ever in life.

I’ve made mistakes, I still do. And though they are painful and sometimes leave a mark, when I made them, I know it  must hurt more for my parents who watched me make it. Knowing it would lead to it, and never stopped talking me out of it. But my will was so strong, I was completely disobedient and so I learned.

And with all my mistakes  and all the lessons I’ve learned in life, I want to share a list of why, in retrospect, those mistakes were essential in my life.

1. They are still reversible. Although there are some mistakes that will leave a mark, while you’re young, you still have the time to come back and reverse any situation and take the opportunity to learn from it.

2. If you’re fortunate, you may still ask support from your parents to get you back up. I’m not just talking about financial support, sometimes, it boils down to just having someone believe in your new path to recovery. You’d be surprised just how much it means to have someone trust your road to reformation, when everyone else automatically disassociates with you.

3. I’ve equally lost and won in life, be it in sports, love, education,work, etc. In winning, I basked in the light that comes from glory, celebrated, became proud, and sometimes feared to lose, but in losing, I’ve been humbled, trained and worked harder, challenged, focused and became determined. I’m not saying winning makes you soft, but losing definitely makes you hard.

4. You may suffer, but much like your calloused palms from toil, those scars will make you harder.

5. Confidence does not only come from success, it can also come from being able to find yourself when you feel so lost.

So parents, do not rob your children of inevitable mistakes they will have, and crucial lessons they will learn. Parenting is not about restricting your children’s experiences, it is about guiding them through the lessons that they will need to know in order to survive. Letting them get burned when they get too close with fire will make them understand that it hurts and that why you were right all along. Nothing teaches a child to swim faster than throwing them in the pool under your supervision, you could only hope that their mistakes are committed while you’re still around to guide them. Besides, if experience and lessons can be taught verbally, then there is no doubt we would all have been perfect human beings by now from the collective experiences of thousands of years of human existence. 

To your children, merely staying alive is not living. Do not be afraid to commit mistakes, make decisions, venture in your interests, have fun, follow your dreams! You might get hurt, suffer at times, but always come back stronger and wiser. Listen to your parents, they only want the best for you. Understand their fears and worries but do not let it stop you, instead, let them guide you. They are correct most of the time, they’ve been through what you’re going through as much as you don’t want to believe it.

On dealing with pain and forgiveness

If you may allow me to digress from my usual posts about my travels, I would like to talk about what its like to aggravate, be aggravated, and the most important thing, to forgive.

The aggravated:

No matter if you’re buddhist, christian, hindu, muslim, agnostic and atheist alike, when you’re hurt, there is no meditation, confession and self reflection that can take you away from that burning feeling within your heart.

You lose sleep, appetite (although it might not be the worst thing), and most important, trust. They say trust, when broken, can never be repaired. I would agree perhaps at the first instance, forgiveness will be talked about later on but for now let’s talk about that ugly, self defeating feeling you get in those harshest of moments.

The first question is why? Did you deserve such blow? Some do some don’t. If you do deserve it, its a learning experience and most probably, you deserved it douche bag. But personally, its worse if you don’t. You give your heart to someone you thought you could trust and then what do they do? They fuck you up anyway. So let me tell you something about pain, for those fortunate enough not to have experienced it, and trust me, you will. Pain feels like a heavy object laid on top of your chest (not surprisingly, its a symptom of a heart attack), it lingers regardless if you’re the emotional or detached type of person. With heart racing, it becomes worse, your mind seems to connive with your heart who, in my opinion should be on your side and practice laissez faire. But no, your mind makes it worse, you cannot stop thinking about it. Its like asking someone to stop thinking about dolphins, eventually, they think of one to negate one. Your mind fills your heart with nothing but anger and sorrow, while your heart gives you the most painful of sensations that you would prefer to beat yourself up physically, crash your car, or worst, just end it completely by jumping off a building.

There is no going around it. Your mind and heart know when it hurts and that’s the reality of it. Psychedelics and alcohol are no escape either, they only make your feelings bolder, hence more pain.

If you’re on this side of the world, you will have better appreciation of Anna Karenina, especially the side of Alexei Karenin.

The aggravator:

On the other side of things, being the aggravator doesn’t make it easier, if you truly love the person you hurt, it actually hurts more than the aggravated side. If you truly love the person you hurt, the pain is exponential compared to what you’ve done to the aggravated. You feel so guilty, and guilt, albeit self imposed, it kills you. It kills the humanity out of you, you start asking yourself how you have been capable of hurting the most important person in your life. Unfortunately, none of us have the portrait of Dorian Gray, who can suffer all the bad things for us, while we continue to live forever young, undamaged by life and its mishaps.

Sometimes, out of guilt, the aggravator chooses to leave because the pain in seeing how much pain you inflicted is too hard for you to accept. Sometimes its the most honorable thing to do, the Japanese have a word for it, Harakiri.

Remember the line “Oh when a heart breaks no it don’t break even, even” That’s true for you. No matter how much guilt you feel, and how much more pain you experience from your mistake, its always harder for the aggravated. Regardless of sides, the most important thing is the next part.

On forgiveness and acceptance:

My advice on either side of that regretful moment, is that if you can manage to forgive your partner, and yourself, please do. If you have more happy moments in life, focus on it, remember the good times more than the worst. Happy moments count more than bad memories, besides, if you have more bad memories than good ones, then you’re stupid to hang on to your relationship.

For the aggravated, forgiving means so much to the person who hurt you, if anything, the forgiven one will truly appreciate it, and will know how much you love him/her by giving another chance. It might not be easy to forgive, and forgetting is out of the question, but if you believe that the future means more than the past, you will reap more than you sow.

Oh, and please, revenge is just out of the question. If you’re thinking about vengeance as a form of justice, then just end the relationship then and there. Its just going to add more pain than good. Justice is just a form of sugar coated vengeance. If you cannot forgive, there is no point in staying, but I’m not saying its going to be easy. So think about it, decide, and stick to it.

For the aggravator, what you do from now on matters most. You have to exert effort. If you feel tired from explaining yourself, assuring your partner, just ask yourself how you would feel if tables were turned. Its that easy. Yet some people are just incapable of empathy, so let me give you a list;

– Never fucking do it again.

– Never ever fucking do it again.

– Make promises that you dare not break, its reassuring.

– Assure them more, action means more but words are truly comforting.

– Understand that you have to stop doing things, hanging out with those people, that your partner used to trust you with. At least temporarily.

– Give your full effort, its gonna take so much. If you’re unwilling, then just leave the person alone.

– Lastly, and the most important thing, FORGIVE YOURSELF.

I hope this will reach people who are in dire need of it. Forgive, accept, and move on to a better future. The past will always be a lesson, and the future will always be another chance. And if you can, give more. Besides, “He who has not sinned cast the first stone.”