Comfort Zone…

Well, I got the official job offer letter in the mail today and reviewed everything, so it looks like I’ll be turning in my two week notice when I get to work tomorrow. Damn…the shit just got real.

Although the benefits aren’t as good as my current job, it’s simply not enough for me to stay on board. There are other factors that far outweigh the benefits, so I would be a complete fool to not jump on this opportunity. I also acknowledge the fact that I’m speaking from a place of privilege because I know there are tons of working folks out there who don’t receive any benefits.

When I turned 30 in January, I surprisingly wasn’t as reflective as I thought I would be (especially considering the significance of that age and also compared to previous birthdays). It wasn’t until a month or so later when I started to get reflective and really push myself to break out of my comfort zone. I’ve always been adept at pinpointing personal areas of improvement, but not so much on the execution aspect of it. My theory has been good, but when it comes to actual practice then I can sometimes fall short.

This year, and moving forward, I’m actively working on digging myself out of that trap. With the different events that have transpired over the last few months, both good and bad, I know I can’t afford to be doing the same things I’ve done in the past — “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again and expecting different results.”

I’ve really been trying to step it up as a community organizer and feel that I’ve made good progress, though I know there’s a long way to go. I’ve had my steps forward but have also had my steps back that impeded my progress — it’s a never ending process though. On the health tip, I’m really proud of myself for losing 20 lbs in the last few months. It’ll be awhile before I reach my goal and I know I could’ve lost more by now if I stayed disciplined, but it’s a start. From a personal relationships perspective, I’m trying to build more with new folks and also reconnect with those who I’ve grown apart from over the years. As for life in general, I need to stop playing it safe so much and take more risks. I don’t like saying I have a “f**k it” attitude, but more of a “What have I got to lose?” mentality.

So how does this relate to a new job? With my current company, I’m just really comfortable…too comfortable in fact. It’s probably the least stressful job I’ve ever had, my boss isn’t a micromanager, and there’s just a lot of downtime. The absolute toughest part will be leaving my co-workers, who I’ve become really close with, but it’s time for me to break out of the comfort zone. Whether or not this line of work will end up being my “career” is yet to be determined, but I know I’ll never figure that out if I stay in the same place.

I can’t stay stagnant. If nothing can come out of a situation, then I have to move on. I need to challenge myself and keep moving forward. Always.

Live Life…

Like I stated in a previous post, some big things happened this weekend.

When I woke up in the morning, I saw that my cousin sent out a mass text at 5am saying that her mom/my aunt got a call that she’d finally be able to get a kidney transplant after being on a waiting list for 11 years. Of course, the whole family was happy about that, but especially my cousin, who couldn’t help but cry tears of joy.

About an hour and a half later, I received the news that my 90 year old lolo (grandpa) in the Philippines passed away from old age — I guess it was just his time to go. I thought I would cry right away, but I just sat there on my bed in a state of shock. The tears didn’t come until a few minutes later when I started thinking about how grateful I was for the time I got to spend with him when I was in the Philippines in December.

Before we even left the U.S., my mom told me that he had no idea we were coming there. In the past, if he found out someone was coming to visit, he would get so excited that he wouldn’t eat or sleep in the weeks leading up to it. I’ll never forget the look on his face when I walked through the door and crouched down near his bed in the living room to say hi. It took him a few seconds to recognize that it was me, but he eventually said, “Huh?! Junior?!” Needless to say, he was pleasantly surprised. :)

That was my first time seeing him since he left the U.S. roughly eight years ago, so it was really tough to see him bedridden and in such a fragile state. It was also difficult to carry on a conversation because he spoke so softly most of the times that I had to get really close to decipher what he was saying. Still, it was good to just sit and laugh with him.

He might not have had the physical capability, but his mind was still sharp. He clowned me for still not knowing how to speak Tagalog (lol), asked which of the cousins were married with children, how my brothers were doing, and why I’m not married or why I’m still single. I really started crackin’ up when he said that I was handsome like him and how he doesn’t know why I don’t have a family yet. “Oh…do you not have a job then? You don’t have money to take girls out?” LMAO!!! It was hilarious how I was getting bombed on by my 90 year old grandpa! I don’t remember him being that witty in the past, so it’s cool to have these new memories of him now.

We talked about how the two of us would watch wrestling together when I was a kid, I told him how Manny Pacquiao has so many fans across the world (he was happy to hear that), and we also discussed the whole work/career thing. When I told him the kind of work I do, which is helping youth and veterans find jobs, he seemed really proud to know that his grandson was trying to give back to others. I even told him about the exposure trip I did and how I integrated with the peasants in the countryside and how I helped them work in the rice fields. When I told him how much I was sweating and how I kept sinking into the mud, he started chuckling like how I used to hear growing up, although it was a lot more subdued this time around. One of the last things I jokingly said to him before I left for the airport was, “Hopefully the next time I come back I’ll know how to speak Tagalog and have a wife and kid(s) for you to meet!”

Although I didn’t want to think about it too much at the time, in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but wonder if that would be the last time I’d see him considering his old age. My eyes were watery and my voice was shaking a little, but I did my best not to break down in front of him. It’s not that I was afraid to cry, it’s just that I didn’t want him to feel sad either. So while it still kind of hurts to know that he’s gone, our family can find solace in the fact that he’s in a better place and he can finally reunite with my grandma, who passed away 22 years ago. As for me, my last memory of him will always be a good one because after I told him the whole “wife and kids” thing, he started laughing and simply said, “Okay.” I really don’t think there could’ve been a better last moment than to see him with a smile on his face.

I talked to my mom earlier and she seemed to be doing a lot better. Even though we all knew that the time was coming soon, we still couldn’t fully prepare for when it actually happened. Also, considering the things I might be posting on here or on my Twitter and Facebook, some might consider it insensitive on my part that I’ve been so upbeat lately, but with the things that have happened recently with my aunt and grandpa, how can I not be thankful for Life?

Even though all of my grandparents are no longer here physically, I know that they’re still watching over my family. They’ve made countless sacrifices for their kids and grandchildren, and I know deep down that all they want is for us to be happy. It’s sad that we sometimes need reminders to put it all into perspective, but it’d be even sadder if we didn’t learn from these times and have a renewed outlook on life.

Take a chance…

Three major things transpired since I woke up this morning at 6:30. I’ll have to write about the first two later on, but they definitely had an impact on the third thing that happened tonight. I don’t mean to be the super ambiguous blogger, although a few folks will know what I’m referring to specifically, but it’s not really about the specific details of my situation, it’s about the lesson that can be drawn from it.

I’ve always been an overly analytical person. It’s worked out to my benefit, but it also led to some things that I’ve really regretted, which was caused by acting on something too late or not at all. I’m working on not over thinking things and have gotten better at it in the last few months, but tonight was the culmination of all that. I’ve been holding back for such a long time and finally put it out on the table, and it feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders.

Whatever it is that you’re pursuing, whether it’s your career, music, romance, whatever…you gotta work for it. You have to go out there and get it. A closed mouth doesn’t get fed. You never know until you try. What have you got to lose? [how ya like that string of cliches?]

Tonight was a big step for me in terms of my personal growth. Of course, there’s a specific outcome I’m hoping for, but even if it doesn’t work out at least I know I gave it a shot and won’t have any regrets when I look back on the whole situation. I did what I set out to do and now I can rest easy knowing that. And speaking of “resting easy”…wassup, Comfortable Bed and Netflix?! I see you. haha.


Yuna - Live Your Life (Produced by Pharrell)

Live if you really want to…

This last week was pretty hectic, and although it seemed to fly by, it was filled with inspiration and productivity. Sure, good things can randomly happen, but most of the times you have to go out and get it.

We were meant for something bigger than this. Don’t ever try to dismiss yourself cuz you don’t have to…

I can’t wait for CicLAvia tomorrow! I missed the first one last October, but I went to the 2nd installment in April and loved every minute of it. I was pretty bummed when it got cancelled in July, but it was for a good reason because they’ve expanded the route for tomorrow so we’ll get to see more of L.A.

Since I was late last time around, I didn’t get to chill and experience all the different things going on, so I’m staying in to prevent oversleeping. Tonight’s agenda: editing music in Pro Tools and reading photography books.