5 Year New York Anniversary


This week marks my five year getting-a-one-way-ticket-to-new-york-and-getting-my-first-job anniversary. This is pretty big for me, not only is five one of my favorite numbers but now I can also say that I’ve been in New York City for half a decade. That may not be much for some people, but for me, it’s an accomplishment that makes me feel proud of my strengths… and even my weaknesses.

You see, New York City is a drug. You say it’s just for a little while, you know it’s bad for you, but decide it’s worth it for those glorious moments. It hurts you, it brings you down, yet you can’t get enough of it. You know you are ruined for life because nowhere else will be New York. People tell you it’s bad for you and at certain points, you believe them. But then, something amazing happens that keeps you tangled within the vines of this concrete jungle. 

When I was younger and addicted to Nicholas Sparks and Harlequin Romance (Yes, I am ashamed) I had this vision of moving to New York City, becoming a writer and meeting a handsome man as he accidentally grabbed my coffee at the Starbucks I would go to write my latest novel. Ridiculous, right? I didn’t even drink coffee back then. Also, who writes a novel at Starbucks? That’s what those cute little independent coffee shops are for.

Still, New York always seemed magical to me and although I never realized it, I always knew I wanted to end up here. Did I imagine this dirty, messy reality that is Manhattan? Not quite, but even beyond the smelly street corners and the questionable characters, I have been able to find magic in New York. Sometimes in way of a kind stranger (yes, they have those here) or a delicious, Instagram-worthy meal.

I can feel the conflicting emotions within me just as I write this post. Half of me is swaying away in a whimsical fairytale praising this city for the dreams it inspires and the other half is banging her head against the wall, wondering why am I still here. New York can be cruel, it’s raw and it doesn’t ask for forgiveness. It makes you strong by necessity and you also immediately forget how to walk slowly. There is no explanation, it just happens. There is no slow here. There is also no stopping. There’s just going and going and going and going. 

Five years. I’m still here. 🙂

Thank you, New York, for making me a fighter even when I am not even aware of what the fight is all about.

A Quarter of a Century: Thoughts on Turning 25

life life

Here we are, one more year.

Older? Yes. Wiser? Surely hope so.

Today, I’m turning 25. It’s a weird age, in my opinion. You’re absolutely not a kid anymore, but you have a hard time admitting to yourself that you’re an adult. You’re not old, but you’re not super young either, or are you? It’s a confusing age.

It’s easy to freak out on life and aging, everybody feels differently and everyone has a strong opinion about it. To some I am still blossoming, to others I am ancient. I’m going to say that I’m actually excited about this in-between, silly age.

Some things to look forward to:

  • I can rent cars without any stupid fees, hooray!
  • I still have 5 years to decide what I want to be and where I want to be by the time I’m 30, that’s still a thing right?
  • Hmm, that’s all I can think of…

The thing is, turning 25 is not supposed to be a big deal. It’s just another year, right? For some reason, however, every year in your twenties holds special significance and shows you what you have been able to overcome and achieve. Life in your twenties is ever changing and it can be scary and exciting, all at once. I’m halfway through this roller coaster, but what does that even mean?

Some things I learned:

  • Waking up somewhat early is not the end of the world- There’s actually some beauty to waking up before noon on a weekend and beating the crowds for brunch
  • Sometimes you’re going to have do things by yourself- It might feel weird, but you shouldn’t say no to great opportunities just because you don’t want to go somewhere alone
  • If you don’t ask, the answer is always no- I’m still learning that one. I’ve seen people around me get what they want only because they’ve dared to ask. If you’re afraid that the answer is “no” you might be right, but then again, you might be wrong
  • Family is everything – At the end of the day, they’re the ones that are going to be there for you, even in distance. You may not always see things the same way, but love is stronger than everything else and you will get through it together
  • People are selfish and sometimes, it’s ok for you to be selfish too – This one is hard for me, my instinct tells me to make people feel happy and comfortable but there are a lot of people out there that don’t really care about other people and you need to learn that’s ok. There’s nothing you can do to change that, so try caring a little less about them
  • Your wonderful metabolism won’t last forever- Yes, sadly, this one is true. My stomach has been super rude lately, sending me signals that I shouldn’t be having so much cheese. At first it felt like the world was ending. Heck, it still feels like the world is ending, cheese is EVERYTHING
  • Find that balance between believing anything is possible and losing all of your faith in humanity- I find any of these extremes to be extremely annoying. What is that balance, you may ask? I have no damn clue. There are days that I want to conquer the world and then the next day I want to run away from it
  • Love is awesome and it’s complicated – Love just is, right? Well, love is one of the greatest ironies of life. It can be the most complicated, simple thing in the world and it still makes us go nuts. I hate when Big in Sex and the City says that, “at the end you just want to be with the one that makes you laugh.” I hate it so much I didn’t even want to include the quote, but it’s not too far from reality, even if I don’t like his character (yes, I said it). Life is full of adventures, obstacles, challenges and restaurants. Find someone to share all of these wonders with, someone who will carry you when you’re feet are killing you, someone you can push into the water just for fun, someone that makes you smile against all odds

Let me stop right there before I get to cheesy (mmm, cheese). Here’s to getting older, crossing more places off my bucket list, trying new things and enjoying every moment!

bday quote

I have a feeling this is going to be a good year, cheers to that!

 

Is the grass really greener on the other side or is it just Instagram filters?

We’ve all heard that grass is always greener at the other side, whether you like that thought or not, you have to admit there’s some truth to it. It’s taken me a while to understand this concept and I still struggle with it. I like to tell myself that I look into other people’s “grass” for inspiration and motivation, to see the possibilities that can also exist in my life, but I don’t think that’s always the case.

Recently, someone I love very much shared a quote that once I heard it, made everything click into place. I liked it so much I even edited it below.IMG_9632This made so much more sense than the stupid grass people keep talking about. We get tired while comparing things that don’t even make sense in the first place and the sad thing is that deep down we know they don’t make sense but we think about them anyway. It’s like looking at Taylor Swift and thinking she’s so beautiful (nothing wrong with that!). If you had the amount of people she has to make her that beautiful you would be ruling the world too. I struggle just to brush my hair everyday, let’s be real.

We’ve lost a sense of what’s behind-the-scenes and what’s a highlight reel. We live in a world where sharing on social media sends out a false sense of intimacy. You can now see “celebrities” sharing their “intimate” cup of tea, which they are enjoying “casually” in bed with no fixes at all. Sure, we know that’s not how it rolls, but we still like to believe the setup. We see everyone seems to be running the world, but do we see them when they fall down, face obstacles or have a bad hair day? Rarely. (I woke up like this? Sure.)

Why do we feed of other people’s highlight reels? We have no idea what happens behind-the-scenes in the dark corners of their lives. Everyone has struggles, doubts and fears; people are silly to pretend otherwise.

I now realize that my behind-the-scenes footage, however crazy or average it may be, is what makes my highlight reel so much more genuine and exciting.

The best part? There’s still so much more filming left to do.

Embracing your weaknesses

pisces

So this is probably the 4th post I’ve started to write tonight and I just can’t get myself to focus on something, I feel like my brain is just tossing and turning without the ability to choose one thing. I’ve also been over-thinking a lot of things, which in my life is nothing surprising.

You see, I am a Pisces. You may say what you want about astrology, I may not fully believe in it myself, but I am a Pisces in so many ways.

I can be indecisive at times, sometimes more times than what I’m proud of. I can take one little thing and over-think it to the max.

We live in a society that demands perfection, even when perfection itself is not natural. Whether it’s perfection in the form of physical appearance, intellectual or emotional strength, there is still an overarching demand to go above and beyond. Why? I don’t know. It’s like we’re in this constant competition of who is the best, and who can win? Whoever is perfect wins, because if you are perfect you must be the best there is, of course.

We live in a society where it is not socially acceptable to air and embrace your weaknesses. It even takes a little effort to write about it here. Nobody is perfect, you’ve heard it a bunch of times, but do you believe it? I sure see a lot of people sucking up their weaknesses and playing the part on a daily basis. I see as well, however, people getting exposed in ways that make you question if they are sharing their weaknesses or thriving on pity.

I want to be a strong person. I believe I am most of the time, especially when needed. I may not be a strong person at the gym and I may be lazy a lot of times, but I believe that I am strong when I need to be. I am just tired of people being afraid of exposing their human side. I want to explore what it means to be strong amidst your imperfections and shine between the cracks.

Yes, I may display a lot of the weaknesses that characterize a Pisces, but I can make the strengths shine too. My mind wanders a lot, but it goes to amazing places.

Image credit – http://society6.com/krize/signs-of-the-zodiac-pisces_print#1=45

On buying houses and other things I am not ready for…

I keep saying I’m poor. I know this is an exaggeration, true poverty implies the absence of many things that I am truly blessed to have. That being clear, I need to coin a new phrase for my financial state.

Anyways, last night I was watching House Hunters for the first time. For those of you who do not know, House Hunters is a TV show from HGTV in which people are looking to buy houses, rent apartments or anything along those lines. Let me tell you, I know nothing about real estate.

I’ve been really lucky with finding my past three living arrangements (in New York City and in Hoboken). Well, lucky minus the fact that one of those places flooded. I’ve been happy with my first choices during the hunting process and I’ve been lucky to have everything approved when needed. I obviously rent my place. I am in no way ready or even capable of purchasing a home.

While watching House Hunters, instead of feeling inspired like my roommate did, I felt a wave of panic cursing through my body. How do people have thousands and thousands of dollars just laying around ready to be invested into a property? Oh yeah, I guess it’s called saving and making good life decisions. Well, I’m sorry that I’m too busy trying to pay off my student loans and trying to make it in New York City.

Conclusion, if I’m purchasing any property soon, it will be a plastic house for my future puppy… and even that is a far stretch.

5 Things I did NOT learn in college

It’s been a year and a half since I graduated college. Let me tell you, it was not the easiest of transitions. Doing the whole grown-up thing is not easy and every month when I have to pay my student loans I can’t help but think of all the things I did NOT learn in college. Sure, I got an awesome education, but sometimes it’s about the little things. I can keep a list going on forever, but here are a few of the things I did not learn in college.

1. Who to CC in an email – Carbon copying in an email is a hidden art (Yes, Carbon Copy is what CC stands for). It takes real skill to get it just right. When used properly, CC can become the sweetest form of passive aggressiveness you can use.

2. How to do my taxes – Seriously, I need to give away more money… why? Thank God for TurboTax. I would not have survived my first taxing season without it and would have probably ended up in jail.

3. How to manage people’s expectation of hanging out every single day – “I’m sorry, I can’t do happy hour every single day and no, I can’t hang out every single week with you either. I have other friends and honestly, we are not that close anyways.” It’s hard to stay in touch with people, even if they live in the same city than you do. There’s always a lot going on and even though you wish to meet up with people all the time, there’s just not enough time (or money). How do you manage people’s feelings and your sanity? I did not learn that in college either.

4. How to save money – Don’t let this one be confused with “how to eat frugally”, that one I got down in college pretty easily and I’m still practicing it today (thank you Campbell’s). I’m talking about straight up saving for life, like for puppies and stuff. I thank my lucky stars that I found Mint.com, keeping it real and crushing my wanderlust dreams one personal budget report at a time.

5. How to cope with 10 vacation days a year – This one is hard and honestly, I’m still working with it. Make the most of the weekends? Spread your vacations throughout the year? Print out a beach landscape for your desk? Not really sure what’s the solution for this one, suggestions welcomed.

Feel free to comment and add on more things to this list. I know college was great, but let’s face it: it’s a tough world out here.

Was Rome really built in one day? Is the world really my oyster?

Patience.

Patience is a virtue.

Patience is the science of peace.

Rome wasn’t built in one day. (How long did it actually take? Hmm.)

I’ve noticed that time is passing by quicker now that I’m established at work and it’s been a year and a half since I graduated college (seems so much more far away). That’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s great because I can see results faster in some areas of my life and things that I look forward to also arrive quicker. It’s bad because that means opportunities can also pass by too quick for me to notice them.

Right now I feel like the world is really my oyster, whatever that means. I want to embrace every single opportunity, yet I scramble to focus on finishing an article. I want to be a triple threat and I’ve realized that I need patience to be able to achieve everything and anything I’m currently thinking of.

Why am I so impatient?

I did not learn French in one day, it took four years worth of classes. Yet, I downloaded an application to teach myself German and I got frustrated after three days. What’s up Cristina?! Also, why German? No clue, just felt like learning German one day.

Patience.

That’s all I need. That’s why I keep writing here, overflowing these pages with my rambling thoughts and rookie photography attempts. Baby steps of a 23-year old, that’s what I should have called this blog.

Patience, young grasshopper, patience.