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current faves | june 2017

Hello! This is a post detailing some of the things that I’m loving, doing and enjoying as of now. Some of these are things that I’ve recently picked up; others are things that I’ve been enjoying for a while. In order to prevent this post from going on endlessly, I will name only 5 things per category. Please, enjoy!

youtubers

As a lifestyle blogger, I read and watch a lot of online content creators too. Below are some of the ones I watch most consistently (though it was hard to choose just 5):

  • krist & yu: Krist creates lifestyle & travel videos, and her personality is very bubbly and relatable in all of them. This is actually her second channel (her main is called krist soup); both are different in their content, but personally I enjoy the more personal and motivational content of this one.
  • Anna Akana: Anna’s this badass comedian who also creates (very pro) advice & lifestyle videos. I love how each one of her videos leaves me with an open-ended question, usually based on things that we may encounter in our day-to-day lives. Her videos are scripted, filmed and edited with the help of other people, but unlike some channels, I feel that her content stays true to her personality.
  • Conan Gray: Conan creates artsy, creative and lifestyle videos, and his aesthetic is very retro and cute af. I love how his content can appeal to an audience of any gender,
  • Jordan Clark: Jordan’s my fave new youtuber so far. Her DIY’s, lifestyle and travel videos are just so soothing and aesthetically pleasing to watch. Her DIY’s are really good, creative and not too hard to recreate, which makes them all the more appealing.
  • Thomas Frank: Thomas’ videos are very study and motivation-related, and his content is always very helpful and enjoyable to watch. His videos are also backed up by a detailed blog post, with steps on how to follow his advice.

things

These are some of the things that I’ve been using this year. I’ve had all of these items for at least a few months now, so I’ve had plenty of time to ‘get to know’ these items in detail:

  • Hobonichi Cousin Planner: I love how this planner has monthly, weekly AND daily planning. The layout is very visual, which allows me to plan neatly ahead of time. I also use it daily as a journal, and for anything I fancy, as it has enough space to allow me to explore my journalistic desires.
  • Kindle Voyage (& marble cover): this is my bible. I use it everyday, and I treasure it very much. It’s the size of my hand, and it’s very lightweight and convenient to carry around!!
  • Game of Thrones Leather-Cloth Boxed Set: yes, I only bought this set because it’s beautiful. I’ve read the first 2 books on my kindle, because the words here are TINY. I propped this set up on my bookshelf as soon as I got it, and I look at it everyday. It’s beautiful.
  • Olympus PEN E-PL7: this is the (only) camera that I have to film and take pictures. I use a pastel-ish filter for all my photos as well as most of my videos. It’s not the best camera out there, but it’s small, very pretty, easy to handle, and it does the job for me. It’s also pretty much a fashion accessory itself.
  • Fuzzy slippers that mop the floor: these slippers allow me to be lazy and clean at the same time. I wear these when it’s cold (so, during winter), and allows me to (kind of) clean my floor when I walk from place to place.

ios apps

I don’t have many apps on my phone due to limited storage (though I’m getting a new phone soon), but this has allowed me to use my apps efficiently. These are the ones that I mainly use to maintain my productivity, and the great thing is that all of them are free:

  • Reminders: This helps me keep track of my daily tasks and events. I create different lists, including “morning”, “afternoon”, “night” and “bored?” to remind myself what to do or what I could  be doing during the designated time. I personally think that it’s a great way to take advantage of this free app.
  • Notes: This is for anything I want to remember and keep on my phone, ranging from book quotes, things I aspire to be, blog post ideas, and packing lists. It’s the Microsoft Word of my phone.
  • Goodreads: THIS. Is where I keep my very own virtual bookshelf. I can track books I’m currently reading, want to read, and have read. I can also create bookshelves to separate books by genres and types, and basically keep an orderly record of all my books.
  • Quizlet: I hate studying vocab, but Quizlet makes it much more fun and bearable. Besides being able to create online flashcards, you can also play games and take tests to review your memory.
  • Clue: this is a life SAVIOR for all you girls and women out there. You can keep track of your period AND other details such as emotions, discomforts, feelings, etc. The more detail you give to this app, the more information it will give to you regarding your body. I think it’s amazing to get all this for free.

books & quotes

Books are the best tool for self-education that you’ll ever have. During my gap year, books were my source of comfort, solace, entertainment, and learning. I read fiction when I felt the need to escape to a different world; I read self-help when I was losing touch with whom I was; I read psychology to deepen my intrinsic interest for this field; I read any other book to deepen my understanding in such field. The following are 5 books that I’ve just read or am currently reading, and a quote to give you some insight into each book:

“You care too much about what other people think. But you know what? Because you are so desperate to win the approval of others, you’ll never get rid of their criticisms, no matter how hard you try.”

“knowing we have access to wonderful things undermines our happiness by reducing our tendency to appreciate life’s small joys.”

“Morality, it could be argued, represents the way that people would like the world to work, wheareas economics represents how it actually does work.”

“You can be male and domestic. You can have a career and be domestic. You can enjoy keeping house. No one is too superior or intelligent to care for hearth and home.”

“One of the main benefits of reading stories is that you gain exposure to large amounts of natural Italian. This kind of reading for pleasure is commonly known as extensive reading. This is very different from how you might read Italian in a textbook. Your textbook contains short dialogues, which you read in detail with the aim of understanding every word. This is known as intensive reading.”

songs

My favorite songs change so fast that by the time I publish this post, the top 5 songs that I’m listening to would have already changed. That’s why I make monthly playlists on Spotify to keep track of my favorite songs per month. The following are songs that I was listening to nonstop at some point in the near past, and I hope you like them too!


What are some of your current faves?

-Michelle

moving away for the first time

It feels weird, when I say it, “I’m moving 7,200+ miles away from home“. I always knew this was going to happen when I went away for college, and even though I’ve had an extra year out of school to prepare for this moment, it still feels weird.

The people that I’m leaving behind are my parents and a few close friends. These goodbyes will be hard, because they’re the people that I’ve grown used to spending most of my time with; to depart from them and only be able to talk to them virtually is something that will be hard to get used to. I’m also saying goodbye to several amazing teachers from school and elsewhere. Though I’m already used to seeing them less frequently – some more than others – they have each left an impression on me that I’ll carry with me wherever I go, whatever I do.

And then, there’s home.

I’m saying goodbye to the country that raised me. To the roads that I’ve roamed countless of times, the places and parks that I’ve visited for years, the vibe that I’ve gotten used to. I haven’t always been very fond of my country, but I have grown very comfortable and used to this lifestyle. Leaving this place and the comforts of my cozy home, and starting the next stage of my life somewhere anew will be nothing short of daunting. Even having spent most of my gap year on my own and working on myself, I’m hit with a pang of nostalgia whenever I think about all that I’m leaving behind. I don’t even know how I’ll say goodbye to my room, knowing that I’ll probably never sleep on my bed for more than a few weeks a year from now on

Missing home and fearing the future; longing for the past and holding back the future. I have always been like this. A sentimental girl, always finding things to long and feel sad about. A cautious girl, never really crossing the line in fear of what the other side may hold in store.

But coupled with this fear also comes the knowledge that I am indeed ready for this change. I know now that I can and will adapt to any situation that I’m presented with. The change may be everything but comfortable initially, but I trust that my choices and decisions will take me down the path that I’m destined for.  I will welcome any change with open arms, and accept whatever form of discomfort or struggle that I will most certainly meet. No matter how rough the journey, it will all work out at the end.

Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?

(Quote by Elif Shafak, from ‘The Forty Rules of Love‘)

-Michelle

I ran 10k for the first time and I liked it

I am not a runner, and have never run 10 kilometers consecutively before signing up for this 10k race. My body had always given in after 5, 6 or at most around 8 kilometers. But then something interesting happened on the day of this event.

If you’ve ever run a few kilometers/miles long, you would know that the first part of the run can oftentimes be the hardest. Your body is just warming up, your feet are getting used to the speed, and your heart is still adjusting to the new pace. For me, those first few hundred steps are always unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

On the day of the race, I was not feeling my best self. My legs were a little sore from the previous day’s workout, and my stomach was jittery with nerves. Unsurprisingly, the first half of the race was gruesome; I was counting the kilometers as I passed each marker and thinking to myself, “I won’t be able to make it” over and over again. Having my dad run alongside me – motivating me each step of the way – was very helpful as always, but it couldn’t ease the discomfort that had already taken over my body.

My iPod decided to go dead nearly halfway through the race – something that has never happened before. I gave up trying to revive it after a while, and this surprisingly made my run more… bearable. I had prepared a pumping music playlist specially for this day, but I realized that I was actually better off without it.

Running is usually such a lonesome activity, and I usually rely on music as my companion. But having thousands of people running behind, beside and in front of me was the best companion of that day. Yes, I could hear people’s steps akin to the sound of fat raindrops – incessant, notorious and all around me. Occasionally, we would pass by someone gasping heavily for air, and at several points we were in par with a guy whose keys jingled exasperatingly in his pocket.

But that didn’t matter. We were, after all, in this together. The people in front of me were the ones showing me the way; those beside me kept me company and urged me along; the ones behind showed me how far I had come, pushing me to keep on going. This was enough motivation to keep me going, regardless of how slow my pace was.

But something curious then happened after hitting the 5k mark: I started gaining momentum. It was as if my body had rejuvenated itself, and I found myself running more vigorously than before. My breathing came under control, my steps became wider, and I felt stronger. Like I said before – I am not a regular runner, so I don’t know what exactly happened at that moment. Basic research on the internet tells me that I might have experienced what is called a runner’s high – a rush of endorphin. It was a great feeling that spread all over my body physically and emotionally, enabling me to get a glimpse of why long-distance runners do what they do.

The feeling of power and control over your own body. The sense of accomplishment even before you finish the task. The genuine pleasure that comes from inside you while you’re still running, your mind free from any burden. You hardly get these feelings of triumph while doing other (healthy) activities.

I have never experienced this in any cardio exercise before, because I have never challenged myself to such extent. I am curious to see whether my runner’s high will continue to kick in the next time that I run the same distance, or how it will change as I (hopefully) run longer distances. As for other sports, it’ll be interesting to see if this ‘high’ happens too!

-Michelle

is sign language really a language?

For the purpose of this post, I’ll be using the American Sign Language as the topic of discussion.

ASL, PSE, and SEE.

Do you know what these stand for? Most of us are acquainted with ASL, which stands for American Sign Language. If you’re from the UK, you have the British Sign Language (BSL); I’m from Peru, so I learned the Peruvian Sign Language. Sign language does not depend on the spoken language of the country (hence they’re completely different in USA and the UK), so signed and spoken languages are not the same. That’s the first misconception that many have when assuming things about sign language.

The second thing is that sign language has its own variations, thanks to us hearing people. PSE stands for Pidgin Signed English, and it’s basically ASL vocabulary, but using the English (spoken language) word order. In other words, if PSE were a language e.g. French, you would speak French words with the English structure. While this may sound ‘correct’ to English-speaking people trying to learn the new language, the French natives would obviously find it wrong. Hence, while many hearing people may find it easier to learn PSE instead of ASL, PSE is not a correct representation of the language that the Deaf community uses.

SEE stands for Signed Exact English, which uses ASL to give the exact representation of the English language. SEE is not as common as the other 2 sign languages, as it’s much more complicated and redundant to use SEE.

The Deaf community uses ASL – the proper and correct form of signed language. However, hearing people oftentimes end up learning PSE, as it’s easier to learn the signs without having to learn the proper syntax and language structure. What’s wrong with this? Let me tell you.

ASL, just like every sign language that has been founded by the Deaf community in every country, is an independent and unique language on its own. It is signed and expressed in a different way to English – thus, it is called ASL and not Signed English. ASL is a representation of the underrepresented culture of the Deaf community.

So what happens when we, the hearing people, change it so that it’s “easier” for us to learn the language? We insult the Deaf community, and we diminish the validity of their own language. It would be absolutely wrong if you do this in any other foreign language, so why do we do this with sign language?

The simple answer? Because it’s “easy”. I have done this myself, thinking that it wasn’t that big of a deal, but when I dug into this topic, I realized how wrong I was. If you have ever learned a foreign language, you would know that the syntax and grammar are what make a language its own. You don’t just learn the vocabulary and use the structure of your native language; that’s preposterous.

I don’t yet fully comprehend the moralities of learning ASL and PSE, as a lot of people and even in TV shows (like Switched at Birth) use PSE so hearing people can use simcom (simultaneous communication). This made me believe that the Deaf community is pretty flexible with our use of sign language – which is great. PSE is definitely a great stepping stone to those learning ASL, but whether we should favor it over ASL is something to consider.


All in all, if you want to learn a new language, please try to learn it well. Sign language can be daunting and different, but it’s also beautiful and (so) aesthetic in its own unique way, and it’s the first step to bridging the gap between the hearing and deaf worlds.

-Michelle

how to procrastinate less

We are all masters at procrastination, this resistant force that prevents us from finishing our most impending tasks.

It’s frustrating, oftentimes uncontrollable and evil, but it’s not an invincible force. This is your 101 guide to battling procrastination:

start your mornings right. (productive morning routine video)

A key to reducing procrastination during the day is by starting the day right. Small things, like waking up feeling refreshed (given that you have had enough sleep), drinking water, making your bed after getting up, and changing into comfy clothes will create the productive momentum that you need to propel yourself towards a productive and successful day.

Make sure that your first morning tasks aren’t too mentally exhausting, and are rather mere healthy habits that you have cultivated over time. You want to save that mental energy for the big, important tasks later in the day!

set monthly goals, and review them whenever you feel demotivated (april goals video)

I already have a list of goals that I want to accomplish for this year, but I review them every month depending on what tasks I want to focus on. I normally keep my goals on a Word document so I can modify them whenever I want to, and for April I decided to fancy things up and made a spread on my bullet journal (which you can see on my April goals video!). It’s very helpful to have this list, as whenever I’m making my daily to-do lists, I can remind myself of what I’m working towards, and not lose sight of the big picture.

amp up your work environment

It’s your space: change it or clean it however you want to. Your work environment is usually your desk or the place(s) where you spend most time working. I love keeping my space clean and aesthetically pleasing as it allows me to get straight to work, instead of fussing over a mess that I should’ve cleaned up before.

This is such an obvious fact, but when you have a clean desk and space, your mind will most likely be clear and set to work too.

or find aesthetic inspiration elsewhere

Who doesn’t love going to a beautiful library, bookstore or coffee shop? In my video, I feature El Ateneo Grand Splendid, which I got to visit on my recent trip to Argentina. It. Was. Amazing. Of course, there are probably no breathtaking places like such everywhere, but a cozy coffee shop or bookstore is always a nice place to step into and get your head in the game.

Personally, I love visiting bookstores and libraries because it allows me to go on an adventure in a place filled with knowledge. Whatever I get distracted with, it’ll be with books. No technology, no phones – just me and the books.

make a to-do list, and break it down into mini tasks

I always write down my to-do list every morning in my planner, and note my tasks down on the Reminders app of my phone. That way, I never lose sight of my important tasks of the day.

When it comes to complicated tasks that require more planning and dissecting, I break the steps down on my planner so I have an idea of what I’ll have to do later on. This also ensures that I don’t forget some sub-tasks or details. Keep in mind that you don’t need to have a fancy planner or fixed place to jot down your tasks, especially if you’re not a heavy planner. But it’s important that you plan somewhere to get your ideas and tasks down.

schedule (and limit) your playtime

Without a proper schedule to follow during the day, you’re more prone to getting distracted with your guilty pleasures. What I do to combat this is to schedule my playtime. For instance, I give myself 30-60 minutes of watching YouTube videos after I’ve accomplished my morning routine and tasks and eaten lunch. This motivates me to get on with my morning tasks, and it has become such a great part of my schedule that I rarely fall prey of YouTube videos or distracting stuff in the mornings.

The key of scheduling your playtime is so that you schedule enough of it during the day, and don’t try to squeeze in extra playtimes when you’re supposed to be working. And, gradually, your body will understand that playtime only happens at certain times of the day.

tell others about your impending task

There are many ways you can use your friends to help you get your work done. For instance, you can put yourself in the debt of a friend (by owing them a Starbucks coffee, or boba) until you finish your most important task of the day. It’s fun, and I bet your friend will be thrilled to help you. Or, you can simply ask a friend for a study session or help with a homework. Having someone else account for your progress is always helpful – as long as you don’t rely on them to do your work. Only you can be responsible for your work and yourself.

or make a public declaration

If you’re like me, and would rather not get your friends involved, I suggest going on Twitter or some other form of social media, and make a public declaration about what you’re supposed to do during the day. Personally, I pretty much use Twitter to promote my stuff and rant about whatever I’m feeling that day. I’m not a fan of Twitter and I rarely post ‘good stuff’ on there, so it’s the perfect platform for me to just post anything.

By making a public declaration on Twitter, I get a false sense that I’m being accounted for, which in turn makes me more prone to completing my task. You should give it a try 😉

remove distractions from your field of vision

Put. It. All. Away. I guess it’s safe to assume that our biggest source of distraction for many, if not most, of us is our phones. What I do is pretty simple: put it on Airplane mode, throw it on my bed with the screen facing down, and forget about it. I usually don’t need my phone to work, except for checking off my tasks.

If you find it hard to get away from your phone, put in on Airplane mode and hide it somewhere hard to reach. Just do it, and forget about it. Check it during your playtime, or the few minutes that you switch into your next task, but not when you’re working. The more you practice this, the easier it will become to remove yourself from your distraction.

do productive procrastination

Is all procrastination bad? Not really. I particularly remember watching a TED talk by Adam Grant, who talks about procrastination as a source of creativity. I agree. When we procrastinate, we physically put off a task, but we subconsciously work on it. And when we do eventually get down to work on the task, we are most likely gonna have more and better ideas and solutions that task.

But it’s crucial to not spend too much time procrastinating, as time is fleeting and precious. What I recommend doing (if you’re feeling like procrastinating) is to procrastinate on creative things: painting mandalas, organizing your desk, practicing calligraphy, or doing any hobby of your choice. Get creative, and get excited! By gradually getting yourself more productive, you’ll eventually find it easier to get ahead with your actual task.

forgive yourself if the day doesn’t go as planned

You’re human, and you make mistakes. The sooner you embrace this idea, the easier it will be to relieve yourself of any mistake  you make along the way. I think it’s important to reflect upon what you could have done better, but not to dwell on the actual decision.

Acknowledge, let go, and move on.

-Michelle

on traveling more

A part of us should always be in constant travel, whether physically or mentally.

To me, traveling means leaving my comfort zone, the place where I call home. It means not knowing what to expect with the people I interact with and with the places I visit. It means throwing my expectations off the table and experiencing each step of the way with youthful and pure curiosity. To me, it means independence, freedom, learning, and adventure.

Beyond just checking off bucket list destinations, traveling allows me to immerse myself in a world completely different to my own. A world in which the values, priorities and languages may be radically different, making me question whether I’m living with the values and morals that I wish to implement in my life.

on physical travel…

Traveling to a different country is always such an adventurous and novel experience. It literally pulls you away from the mundane life that you’re accustomed to, and thrusts you in an environment that you have yet to discover. The places that you’ll stay, the destinations that you’ll visit, the food that you’ll eat and the people that you’ll meet – the combination of these experiences is unlike any other. Even if you forget most of these events, you’ll leave the place with a renewed sense of understanding of that particular country or location. And, most importantly, it might even reveal a thing or two about the kind of person that you are.

Whenever I travel, I try to invest myself in the planning of the trip as much as possible. This means reading other travel bloggers’ reviews, researching about the most convenient flight schedules and prices, considering more than one place to stay at, familiarizing myself with the city before I’m even there – basically, be my own travel agent, along with whoever I’m going with. Taking these steps are crucial in my understanding of how the ‘traveling world’ works. I’ll learn from all the research, discoveries and mistakes that I make along the way, because that’s what matters to me. I don’t want to be just another blind tourist being guided to the most beautiful and popular places of a country; I want the real deal.

on mental travel…

Traveling through the eyes of others and the experiences of those that lived before us is… amazing, to say the least. The only way that we can observe life from a perspective different to our own is if we put ourselves in the shoes of someone else. The best and easiest way to do this? Read. Read lots. Fiction, business, non-fiction, biographies, fantasy. All genres, authors of all ages, dead or alive. Even the ‘badly written’ books will teach you a thing or two (for instance, how to not write a badly written book).

Physical traveling allows you to experience the novelty through your flesh and blood, while mental traveling allows you to detach from yourself and understand why others see things the way they do. I feel that they both complement each other wonderfully. They’re different kinds of travel, but each is very valuable on its own.

On traveling more

I am in constant travel. Either through the varied books that I’m currently reading, or through exciting trips that I’m lucky to go on every once in a while. But I don’t crave physical travel as much as I did before. I still value and dream about it as much as before, but I’ve realized that we shouldn’t feel like we need to travel to satisfy our adventurous self.

We can travel whenever we want to, wherever we are. We can travel in the hometown that we’ve lived in for more than a decade, within the home that saw us grow into young adults – anywhere. Because traveling is not necessarily about doing, having and going to the places that you haven’t yet been to; it’s about exploring the things that surround you in different ways.

-Michelle

ways to destress [in your room]

some days, we just need to unwind from our chaotic lives, and spend time for and with ourselves. we all have those days, and the best thing you can do is distract yourself with other relaxing and enjoyable tasks.

here are 18 ways that you can destress in the comfort of your own room:

  • listen to soothing music.
  • meditate.
  • organize your space.
  • photograph the little things.
  • dump your thoughts on paper.
  • or bullet journal.
  • stretch to relax.
  • blog, or create one.
  • practice (faux) calligraphy.
  • hone your favorite skill(s).
  • color your stress away.
  • listen to a TED talk or podcast.
  • let fresh air in.
  • drink & snack.
  • watch a film.
  • lose yourself in an adventure.
  • or listen to one.
  • rest.

and, when you’re ready…

  • take a walk,
  • a bike ride,
  • a jog,
  • or roller skating.
  • be with nature.

-Michelle

what living with water scarcity feels like

Recently, several cities in the northern parts of Peru, the country where I live in, were hit by heavy rain that caused catastrophic floods for many people. Dozens have died, and tens of thousands of people have had to flee because their homes have been destroyed. This event has been denoted as “coastal El Niño”.

I live in the city, far from where these floods occurred. But water supplies in the whole country were cut unexpectedly more than a week ago. It came so suddenly that we all had to make do with what we had. My family and I have a cistern (water tank) in our home, so we were okay, but there are many other families with no such convenience in their homes. But the cut in water supply wasn’t what created the major angst within the country.

The angst revolved around the instability that had been created around a basic need. We were told by the largest water supply company (Sedapal), that water would be restored gradually. Day after day, we were told that advances were made, but the unpredictability of the weather and conditions prevented such advances to be put into effect immediately. We would wake up everyday without water, without knowing when it would come back. It was heartbreaking to see people asking about the water supply, sharing news about the disasters, and so on. For more than a week, my Facebook page was filled with saddening news about my country. Everywhere I went, everyone was talking about water. I couldn’t read or do anything without thinking about what was happening around me.

As of now, water supply has been restored in the city, and so has the panic (which I wrote about) surrounding it. But it breaks me to see that what I experienced in this one week is minimal compared to what thousands of other people in the northern sections experienced. So, here’s what I learned from this experience:

One cannot live if one cannot survive first.

I was a wreck during the week when water supply was cut. Not because I had to use as little water as possible, but because I knew that what I was going through was nothing compared to what others living in even the same city were going through. Most of the news I read online typically concern other countries far from me.

When you see natural disasters, shootings or any other heartbreaking news, it’s easy to show your empathy but hard to feel empathetic. And on the back of your mind, it’s hard not to feel relieved that the event didn’t happen close to you.

This is the first time that I have ever been really impacted by a natural disaster. It has made me reconsider the things that I do now, and for the future. It makes climate change so real, because you can actually feel it. I’m creative-oriented, and I live by the belief that teaching people how to live instead of just surviving is key to our progress.

But now, I wonder if the way we are living is harming the way we survive.

Water is precious.

Like other things that we have in abundance in this world, I treated water like whatever. I have always had more than enough water to drink, wash and use whenever I wanted to. I never understood what ‘water scarcity’ meant. But when you’re struck by an unexpected shortage, it’s hard not to realize how precious it is.

I have learned to take 5-minute cold showers without shrieking. I try to use no more than necessary when I’m cooking. I think about every drop I use, because there are people who can only dream of having clean water like I do. I don’t take water for granted no more.

There will always be someone with less than what you have.

In my world, I can easily feel like I have less than what my friends, acquaintances or social media people have. There’s always more that you can buy, travel, and be. And that can be socially and emotionally crippling, as we’ll never feel complete living that way. But when you look at things from the perspective that you have more than what you need, your world shifts. Instead of feeling like you’re not good enough or don’t have enough, your uneasy comes from knowing that you are privileged in some way or another.

I believe that it’s healthy to have a continuous feeling of dissatisfaction. As humans, without it we wouldn’t be able to make progress. But it matters a whole lot the way you look at it. If your fixation is on not having enough, you will strive endlessly to have more for yourself. If your focus is on what others don’t have enough, you will work towards making others’ ends meet. It stops been about you, and it starts being about others.

At the end, we are all in this together.

-Michelle

does your job matter? | daily thoughts

We’ll inevitably ask ourselves this question at various points in our lives.

What it means to have a job

I believe that… your our job matters, regardless of the scale of impact. Whether you’re a doctor, programmer, salesperson or cleaner, your job matters. You may see how your aid helps your customers directly, or you may only see the result vaguely. Whatever the outcome,I believe that your attitude towards your job oftentimes matters more than the job itself.

When you think about all the people risking their lives working in clearly-dangerous factories, children working in sweatshops, and countless millions of people working menial jobs because they don’t have many skills to pursue other careers, the world seems like a really cruel place.

And yet, it’s unbelievable how many of these people are able to work in these jobs for so many consecutive years. Back when I was in high school, I befriended two cleaners that had been working at my school for more than a decade. They stay at work for much longer than our school days, and oftentimes have to stay a bit more due to school events. But the thing is, they always greeted me cheerfully.

The few times that I talked to them, they asked me about my circumstances and plans for the future. I would tell them, and when I asked them the same, they always told me about their families and the children that they had brought up. I believe that’s the main motivator for them. Knowing that they have a very important role to fulfill, not for themselves, but for someone else. And regardless of how monotonous, dissatisfying or tiring it can be to do intensive cleaning every day, they are willing to do it because they know that it will be worth it.

You may not have children or a family to work for, but I think it’s so important to be aware of how your job affects other people. And yes, there are always going to be jobs that help people the wrong way. You could be trafficking illegal imports to take care of your newborn, or deceiving your customers by selling overpriced products just because you want that extra cash. The world will always be a twisted place, but your world, the world you choose to surround yourself in, doesn’t need to be.

“Does your job matter?”

I ask myself this question all the time, because I believe that my job encompasses more than my future career. I believe my job is to be as knowledgeable, creative and helpful as I can be. It is not to be dictated by the income that I receive or the status that I gain in my profession, but by my thirst to become a better person than I was yesterday. Sure, I’ll probably have a job that others will define me by. But I don’t need to let that limit myself.

I believe that the way you spend your time is what defines you. Your job is a (big) part of it, but so is what you do outside of it. What you do in your free time – spending time with your family, delving into creative outlets, continuing to educate yourself – will be what shapes you within your workplace and everywhere else.

-Michelle

when fear strikes near you | daily thoughts

Failure. Flying. Rejection. Heights. Public speaking.

We all have fears, some more than others, some worse than others. Currently, I fear the world that is changing before my eyes. It’s not as if it suddenly hit me, but under the current circumstances, these sudden feelings of unease and guilt have hit me particularly hard.

The abnormal climate changes have led to a massive flood in the northern sections of Peru, the country where I’m currently residing it, and it has affected the whole country on different levels. This phenomenon has been denoted as the “coastal el Niño” and the whole country is in a state of emergency. Personally, I’m only affected by the sudden water cut in my area, but my family and I can survive on the cistern (tank for storing water) at least for a few days, so we’re all ok.

However, this phenomenon has been going on for several days now, and it’s the first time that I’ve felt the disturbances so close to me. You read on the news, every once in a while, about some disaster that destroys a city or town completely, whether it be a flood or earthquake, and you try to help and/or donate as much as you can to the cause. But when the disaster hits so close to your own home, it’s such a different scenario.

You can actually feel the panic if you go outside, especially to the poorer districts. You read on the news online about the government doing everything it can to stabilize the situation, but no sense of stability comes to you. I am typing this post sitting on a comfortable chair at my desk, but I feel so unstable and guilt-ridden. I donated to the cause a few days ago, but was that enough? Should I be doing more? Or should I be making sure we have enough water to last us more days? What is going on?

I am scared, but the thing that I’m worried about is not what’s happening right now. I’m worried about whether the things that I do and the career(s) that I intend to pursue are aligned with the world’s current events. Should I change my lifestyle to become as environmentally-friendly as possible? Should I choose a career that concerns people, or should I focus on a career that concerns the very world we live in more?

I was at a friend’s birthday party yesterday, and on the way there, I could see people clustered around ‘supply points’ to collect water back to their homes. And there I was, heading to someone else’s house where my friends and I would binge on food and drinks. Should I have gone there to celebrate despite what was going on right outside the doors?

We can always do more, but what about situations like this? Am I a bad person for taking real notice of this when it just so happens to be so close to me? Things like this happen every year; the only difference was that this year’s events were more notorious and catastrophic. I am usually involved in other philanthropic activities, but they are usually unrelated to the environment. But suddenly now the tides have turned.

Am I a hypocrite for caring so much now, just when things are starting to hit near me?

-Michelle