2017 Musings, Let The Light Shine On

How can one year be charged with so many different emotions? For the past couple of days, I have been thinking about this past year and how crazy it was. Here’s my brain dump fueled by freezing temperatures and memories of warmer days.

Let’s start with the hardest part. Hurricane Maria knocked Puerto Rico down, but our resilience and strength as a country have shone through. Difficult times make us react in ways that surprise us, allowing you to see strength you didn’t even think you had. A crisis, big or small, allows you to grow in painful, yet beautiful ways.

Still, 2017 was so incredibly good to me, I can’t honestly complain. Not only did I get to marry my best friend, but I got to celebrate all wedding-related activities with so many people I love. The fact that people came from near and far to join us means the world, and as we start our new chapter as a family, we love knowing that they will be with us through this crazy journey.

After the hurricane, we adopted two little pups that changed us forever. After the storm, literally came out the sunshine because those two fill us with joy every single day. It’s absurd. I could honestly write about them forever, but I will not bother you with that here (go follow them on Insta, how about that?).

We are thankful for what we have, but still, we are not where we need to be. Challenges and risks come in all shapes and sizes. Some hit us harder than others, but we muster up the courage and keep going because, what else is there to do?

How do you deal with all the bad in the world without letting it overwhelm you? How do you enjoy all the great things without letting them distract you?

Life can be many things, in waves, or all at once. That will never change, life will always spin you in crazy ways but what matters is how we handle it and who we share it with. Everything is better when you share it with those you love, yes, even food. Everybody says you need to live life to the fullest like it is a breezy task. It may not always be that way, but it will always be worth it.

May the new year be full of moments that matter, big and small. Full of unexpected joys shared with special people, old and new. Mostly, may your soul be content and at peace in the midst of all things crazy and if you lose your way, may the good vibes guide you home.

Here’s to 2018.

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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.

Here’s To Love

  
Happy Valentine’s Day from Atlanta, here’s to all kinds of love! 

When you call your mom to ask what kind of wash is better for your new shirt, shrink it anyways but know you are still accepted. When you send your friends the perfect funny meme and you feel all warm inside. When you send your friends excessive Snapchats of your own face just to let them know you are thinking about them. When your dad sends you pictures of puppies on a regular basis because he knows they make you happy. When your boyfriend knows to wait before he starts eating so you can snap a picture of the food. When your boyfriend applauds you after you break into random dancing and singing, even though you may have disturbed the neighbors just a little bit.

Here’s to everyone that makes us feel loved and appreciated in the most special, weird and unexpected ways.

Human Connections > Networking

I’m not a big fan of networking events. I know everyone says that networking = life and that you have to do it in order to find success, but I honestly find the whole process very uncomfortable most of the time. I tend to find a lot of people that are full of themselves, I struggle to be polite and keep track of what they’re saying. Imagine this after a full day of work when my attention span is almost nonexistent and the energy to properly debate a subject has been mostly drained for the day.

Still, once in a while you find strangers with which you end up having deep conversations about life, goals and whatever motivates us. All of the sudden, you find yourself expressing great ideas and genuinely interested in the other person’s responses and opinions.

That is what’s really at the core of human connections. You find that other people have the same questions, feel the same restlessness as you do and that you can provide for others that reassurance that you are looking to find yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I like my job and I love the people I work with, but let’s be real, nobody wants to be in a desk Mon-Friday from 9-6 (or more). We all have things we enjoy doing at work (I hope!) but you know that if you’re offered free unlimited travel for a year you would set sail, no questions asked. This person I was talking to was SO refreshed to hear someone say that, he said that in 3 months he had not heard anyone complain about work in some way and some even expressed they wish they could work more! Think about that for a moment!

If the word networking makes you shudder a little, like it does to me, just think about it as making basic human connections, helping you exercise your mind. You’re not going to enjoy every single conversation, but if you don’t put yourself out there, you remain static and static becomes boring.

What I Can Do in 38 Years

Cape Cod by Cristina Nogueras

What are 25 years? They are nothing without perspective. I think of all I’ve done in my 25 years of life so far, it seems like a lot. Now I think that the time I’ve lived is the same time that is standing between me and hitting 50 years of age. It feels like another world of possibilities. Then I think of all the people that I see every day reinventing themselves after they turn 50, just like my mom is doing now. That’s now a third lifetime, according to this perspective.

That being said, a year seems like nothing, right? The thing about time that makes it so painfully wonderful is that it’s relevant. Waiting a year can seem like an eternity, yet it can go by in a second. Whatever struggles you are facing now may seem small and simple compared to the big picture. A year apart for a long distance couple may seem like torture, but all worth it when you then have 20 years of marriage. Five years of school might seem endless, but it pays off when you’re thinking of a career that spans over three decades. Yet a month of unpleasant tasks can seem like a lifetime.

In life, day-to-day struggles seem big and unbearable. You can’t seem to understand just how small they are until you overcome them. That seems unfair because you really need something to get you through each day and you know that at the moment of struggle, every pebble seems like a boulder.

It’s beginning to scare me how fast time can pass. If you don’t sit and think about it, it really does fly by. You have no control of how quick time goes by, but you can control what you do with it. Time is going to pass anyways, might as well spend it towards something that will make you happy, something that will make you feel complete. That’s the eternal journey, isn’t it? It’s all about being happy, right?

So now that I’m 25, I can keep hitting myself in the head saying that “it’s too late to start now” or I can quit moping and get some perspective. My dad is 63 and he is still doing amazing things each and every day. He challenges himself every day and never ceases to amaze me. I still have 38 years to be where he is.

Heck, I can conquer the world with 38 years in my hands.

P.S. – Just in case you don’t know my dad and you still need some perspective, Hillary Clinton is 67 years old. I’m good.

* Photo by Cristina Nogueras *

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!

 

Wordless Wednesday: Adoquines

IMG_1344He patiently waits while I capture all the corners of the streets of Old San Juan, guarding my camera bag like a good sport, happily contemplating the beauty of this island we now get to explore together.