Life Advice from my 60-Year Old Father

On moving up the career ladder and sacrificing time: “you have to remember that in this life, not many of us are able to seek the same opportunities as you have. So keep working, save money and let it buy you the freedom to see and change the world.”

On empowerment: “you are educated with a head on your shoulders. This is something that can’t be robbed and will follow you for life, don’t let anything rattle that core.”

On traveling alone: “some people go through their lives not leaving their homes and make close-minded judgments on what the world is like. I encourage you to travel— bring a friend if you’re going to any corrupted countries.”

On love: “love works in amazing ways. I never thought that I could find it across the world and we would still end up here, but whatever your plans are with it, it will be replaced with something beyond your control.”

On everything else: “I have a lot of friends who have stopped living when they’ve started getting married, having kids, and grandkids. When I’ve had you, I still wanted to travel, party with my friends, and have a great time— imagine what it would be like if money’s no object”

My advice to him and healthcare: “we are fortunate to live in a country that offers one of the best health care systems in the world and we don’t have to worry about its immediate costs. After seeing my mother go through that system, I am convinced that she was in very good hands, experts were using the latest technology and it was all in a day’s work. You’re going to be immortal as this [tumblr post] that I’m about to write.”

bostonianresolution:

The fact that you’re struggling doesn’t make you a burden. It doesn’t make you unloveable or undesirable or undeserving of care. It doesn’t make you too much or too sensitive or too needy. It makes you human. Everyone struggles. Everyone has a difficult time coping, and at times, we all fall apart. During these times, we aren’t always easy to be around — and that’s okay. No one is easy to be around one hundred percent of the time. Yes, you may sometimes be unpleasant or difficult. And yes, you may sometimes do or say things that make the people around you feel helpless or sad. But those things aren’t all of who you are and they certainly don’t discount your worth as a human being. The truth is that you can be struggling and still be loved. You can be difficult and still be cared for. You can be less than perfect, and still be deserving of compassion and kindness.
— Daniell Koepke

bostonianresolution:

The fact that you’re struggling doesn’t make you a burden. It doesn’t make you unloveable or undesirable or undeserving of care. It doesn’t make you too much or too sensitive or too needy. It makes you human. Everyone struggles. Everyone has a difficult time coping, and at times, we all fall apart. During these times, we aren’t always easy to be around — and that’s okay. No one is easy to be around one hundred percent of the time. Yes, you may sometimes be unpleasant or difficult. And yes, you may sometimes do or say things that make the people around you feel helpless or sad. But those things aren’t all of who you are and they certainly don’t discount your worth as a human being. The truth is that you can be struggling and still be loved. You can be difficult and still be cared for. You can be less than perfect, and still be deserving of compassion and kindness.

— Daniell Koepke

Traveling — it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.

Ibn Batutta
(via iamdenise17)

Birthday Post - Turning 28

Running coach Mike Fanelli once said, "divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart."  Turning 28 represents how I’d like to visit the last stretch with my heart before my next milestone. I’m sure that many of us have certain personal goals to achieve by the time that we’re 30 and I’m glad for each and every year as I look back, I’ve taken a lot of heart in everything I’ve done leading up to it.

For the most part, I do not consciously think about 30 like if it’s a lifetime achievement time bomb, but rather, I let it flow organically so that there’s a sense of direction and purpose that goes along with growing into a world that refuses to give us instructions on how to live, yet still manages to empower us with handling our circumstances beyond any understanding that we have of it.

This holds true when we’re faced with adverse events— as no one really prepares us for what happens to us next. The real question lies in how quickly we are able to handle such pressures and transform them into the most rewarding experiences of our lives.

In many ways, I’ve grown up too quickly in my late 20s and almost lost a parent. It has truly changed my perspective on life and made my relationships with people more fulfilling as a result of this change.

The truth is, no matter how prepared we think we are, we grieve differently based on the shock, then become different people as a result of it. There’s no going back to what we used to know, our priorities have changed, our relationships have been refined, every one of us is changing rapidly, and that was part of growing up. Everything that was normal was not normal anymore, and I like it.

At that point, I wanted to fight life back with everything I’ve got. I was empowered with adrenaline, fear, love, and purpose— if anyone wanted to stop me, they would not be able to reach that part of me. My battle scars made me who I am and I will no longer conceal them for our convenience. Every aspect of my life was going to get a taste of the new and stronger “me”.

As a result of this change, I see this fearlessness translate into my career and everyday activities.  I’ve started working with mentors and role models to help guide my professional ambitions. I’ve built discipline from training for a half-marathon, I’ve even commited to building a year-long training program, and channeled my inner Malcolm Gladwell to rack in my 10,000 hours in order to perfect my crafts, and boy, there are many that I enjoy doing!

I needed to face my fears head-on and wanted to enhance my sense of adventure: I wanted to climb mountains, explore beautiful landscape, absorb the cultures of vibrant cities, kiss the altitude of sky and finally, travel the world in all of its beauty.

I must emphasize on traveling the world, which made me see through different lens. It was only 2 years ago that I’ve taken my first flight. Today, I find it hard to stay grounded for too long and will continue to carry this with me for the rest of my days. I feel privileged to be able to meet all walks of life that await abroad. These stories will enrich and follow me wherever I go. Besides, the accrued frequent flyer miles keep me on my toes, what a nice bonus! (Protip: learn about your miles)…

Finally, I am also taking full responsibility at home. As crazy and adventurous things have become in one part of my life, I appreciate knowing that because I was born and bred in a single metropolitan all of my life, it carries a level of connection that becomes what we recognize as home no matter where we go.

My circle of trust remains fairly consistent despite whatever life throws at us, and for that, I take understanding of how much I value the relationships that I’ve cultivated with these people for almost 30 years. What this means to me is that we’re all integral and connected, and it’s leading me to decide a lot more carefully as to where I’d like to live from now until my later years. Of course, many tangible factors could change that, but with the experience of travel and now having the resources and timing that allows me to uproot at any place in the world— I will continue to have this question burning at the back of my mind. This is about to be one of the biggest investment and change I’ll ever make in my life, and the thought process has been nothing short of privileged, scary and exciting all at the same time.

So what is in it for this fight? I’ve gained my sense of self. I’ve learned to embrace and welcome change in every direction. I am definitely made better for it. As I really learned to accept myself, love myself, and forgive myself in this turbulent path we call life, it has revealed my stripped-down identity. Essentially, this has been the best birthday present that I’ve received this year.

With that, I go off to celebrate this wonderful gift and look forward to cinching the upcoming years…

There’s still a lot of work to do.

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Note: a lot of the above was derived from conversations that I’ve had recently with my close friends and family, which bears recognition and is worth repeating. Thank you for being awesome!

I’m just, tryin to stay above water y’know. Just stay busy, stay workin’. Puff told me like, the key to this joint, the key to staying on top of things is treat everything like it’s your first project. Like it’s your first day like back when you was an intern. Like, that’s how you try to treat things like, just stay hungry.

Notorious B.I.G., 1996 MTV Interview

Goodbye Credit Card Debt!

Motivation is only the beginning. It is the discipline to incorporate your habits into your lifestyle is what’s truly going to achieve change.

Earlier this year, I’ve made the pledge to live within my means and get rid of any outstanding debt to one day achieve financial freedom. This isn’t a one-time goal that will happen overnight, but rather a lifetime commitment of being smart with money. Especially in a time when our financial resources are getting scarce and our debt bubbles are growing, I want nothing to be a part of this growing statistic.

Today, I have just paid off my monster credit card debt that I’ve been rolling over since I was a student! A great weight of pressure is now off of my chest as I look forward to paying myself first for future investments.

Sure, I still have a very small student loan to take care of (hurray Canadian education!), but even that’s a walk in the park after what I’ve went through. So, here’s to a personal major victory for a long journey ahead! On to the next battle!

If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything

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We tend to play it safe in the name of trying to please everyone around us. We try not to offend and bring out a rise in people. We try to make it through the day in attempt to leave it in the same state for the coming days ahead.

The problem with this pattern is that it breeds neutrality and monotony. It doesn’t tap into our creativity or passions. Eventually, we begin to slowly lose a part of ourselves every day that we doubt ourselves.

Playing it safe doesn’t allow us to explore the possibilities of the joys and pains that comes with taking risks that cannot be calculated at the crossroads of our moral compasses.

If we truly want people to care, then we should drive home a conversation worth having. The worst thing that can happen is that we disrupt the status quo.

Not only will we get over it, but we will have walked through fire together to find out what’s on the other side.

This will ultimately leave our legacy as being agents of change.

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.

–Hellen Keller

6am and your hand can’t make it to the alarm clock before the voices in your head start telling you that it’s too early, too dark, and too cold to get out of a bed.

Aching muscles lie still in rebellion, pretending not to hear your brain commanding them to move

A legion of voices are shouting their unanimous permission for you to hit the snooze button and go back to dreamland, but you didn’t ask their opinion.

The voice you’ve chosen to listen to is one of defiance.

A voice that’s says there was a reason you set that alarm in the first place. So sit up, put your feet on the floor, and don’t look back because we’ve got work to do.

Welcome to The Grind!

For what is each day but a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way, 10,000 streams fan out like a river delta before you, Each one promising the path of least resistance.

Thing is, you’re headed upstream. And when you make that choice, when you decide to turn your back on what’s comfortable and what’s safe and what some would call “common sense”, well that’s day 1. From there it only gets tougher.

So just make sure this is something you want. Because the easy way out will always be there, ready to wash you away, all you have to do is pick up your feet.

But you aren’t going to are you?

With each step comes the decision to take another


You’re on your way now


But this is no time to dwell on how far you’ve come. 
You’re in a fight against an opponent you can’t see


Oh but you can feel him on your heels can’t you?


Feel him breathing down your neck


You know what that is?
 That’s you…
Your fears, your doubts and insecurities all lined up like a firing squad ready to shoot you out of the sky


But don’t lose heart


While they aren’t easily defeated, they are far from invincible


Remember this is The Grind


The Battle Royale between you and your mind, your body and the devil on your shoulder who’s telling you that this is just a game, this is just a waste of time, your opponents are stronger than you.


Drown out the voice of uncertainty with the sound of your own heartbeat


Burn away your self doubt with the fire that’s beneath you


Remember what you’re fighting for


And never forget that momentum is a cruel mistress, 
She can turn on a dime with the smallest mistake.


She is ever searching for that weak place in your armor


That one tiny thing you forgot to prepare for


So as long as the devil is hiding the details, the question remains,”is that all you got?”, “are you sure?”


And when the answer is “yes”. That you’ve done all you can to prepare yourself for battle THEN it’s time to go forth and boldly face your enemy, the enemy within

Only now you must take that fight into the open, into hostile territory

You’re a lion in a field of lions


All hunting the same elusive prey with a desperate starvation that says VICTORY is the only thing that can keep you alive


So believe that voice that says ” you CAN run a little faster ” and that ” you CAN throw a little harder ” and that ” you CAN dive a little deeper” and that, for you, the laws of physics are merely a suggestion.

Luck is the last dying wish of those who wanna believe that winning can happen by accident, sweat on the other hand is for those who know it’s a choice, so decide now because destiny waits for no man. And when your time comes and a thousand different voices are trying to tell you you’re not ready for it, listen instead for that lone voice in decent the one that says you are ready, you are prepared, it’s all up to you now.

So rise and shine.

Greatness comes with putting passion before being comfortable: make each day a reason to re-define your impossible.

diaryofpoverty