Begin: Alexa and Rach

Sunday, January 28, 2018

How to begin when you don’t know where to start.This is one of the setbacks I've had and continuously hear from other people whenever they start something new.

The struggle of trying to make things happen for the very first time has always been what many would call "easier said than done". With the effort, uncertainty and fear of not knowing when, how and what could be... starting out is always difficult. 

I’m sure we’ve all experienced this in our lifetime and it’s okay. It’s normal. Even until now I still see every “start" as a challenge but throughout time I learned that what’s important before beginning is actually believing. It really helps when you trust yourself. 

For our Stor-We this month, I decided to focus on the central theme, TO BEGIN, because aside from being the first month of the new year, I know how much motivation everyone needs to begin or to begin again in achieving goals and dreams. 

Calligraphy Artwork created by: Xyla Ramos (IG: @xylaramos) 

I’ve always believed that it’s never too late to start over even if it requires a lot of time and effort. I also think this is timely to share because in the past two years out of college, I’ve started to do a lot of things out of my comfort zone. I worked for my first job, launched a food business, introduced my passion project and even decided to move and try life abroad. All these things started out as plans and opportunities but has now become my reality. 

With that said, I’d love to share with you all the  experiences I’ve had when I started out these new ventures with the hopes of inspiring you to begin living the life the way you want to. Here are some of the things you might encounter, so don’t worry! We’re all in this together. 

When you start something new…

You will feel so uncomfortable and awkward but don’t worry! It just means you’re stepping out of your comfort zone so a job well done! 

I remember my first ever job interview. I was so nervous that I prepped the day before trying to prepare answers for foreseen questions. I remember how awkward it was when it started out but felt accomplished when it ended. I realized I couldn’t do-away with interviews if I wanted to get a job anyway so I had to suck it up and deal with it. It’s not so bad as I thought it would be. Trust me. You’ll actually learn more about yourself through the process- what you believe are your strengths, qualities and goals for the future. 

I also remember the first big decision I had to make (ever) and that was resigning from my first job to migrate abroad. It was tough. I remember shaking, tearing up and feeling so scared when I had to tell my boss that I was resigning. It wasn’t easy, but it was indeed a learning experience! 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes to do things you want to do, you’ll need all the guts to begin.
Whenever you’re doing something for the first time and you feel weird about it, just remember that you’re doing something new - out of your usual zone. Kudos to you! 

You will overthink and question yourself but remember you won’t know if you won’t try. So... try it out first, at least there’s no regret. 

Leaving for the States was never a plan but an opportunity. I really didn’t want to migrate abroad but something last year changed that decision. I thought to myself "why not take the opportunity to try life abroad while I’m still uncertain of what I want to do and while I’m still young enough” cause really…I didn't know what to do after quitting my job. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to learn, discover and explore. So here I am in New York, endlessly job hunting waiting for a sign or an opportunity to come. It’s not easy as I thought it was. I’ve actually been anxious lately but I learned to breathe and keep calm. I just continuously tell myself to try and try cause things will happen in God’s perfect time and he would want us to live with no regrets. 

Even for the early stages of  Living in 365, I undoubtedly questioned myself whenever I shared my stories and whether or not they're good enough to read or inspire people. While working for this, I even side tracked from the main vision of my site without noticing and my cousin had to tell me. So right now even if I’m not sure of how people will think about the stories and segments I plan to share on this site (like this one), I remind myself what I’m here for, what my vision is and to believe that the stories I have to tell can inspire people. 

You will constantly feel afraid but remember the support of the people around you. They’ve got your back, always.

Launching a business, choosing a career and deciding to go abroad were all scary the first time. The uncertainty of not knowing what can and will happen made these decisions hard. 

I remember the anxiety I had before leaving for the States. I was emotional, scared and doubtful. I remember I kept asking myself if it was a big mistake but I knew I had to do it because something inside of me made me believe I could and I also got excited. What helped me the most was the amount of support I got from my loved ones who were overwhelmingly amazing. I’m so grateful. 

Launching a business from scratch was also really tough. A lot of great things happened but a lot of  turnabouts also had to be solved. Since we all personally pitched in for the success of Kapok√©, we’re all struggling trying to keep it up and running. With the support of loyal customers and friends around us, we just learn, survive and conquer. 

You might hate it or love it but whatever it is, you still did it. 

There will come a time when you expect things to happen after you give your best effort to start. You’ll anticipate for the best but the worst comes. 

When things don’t go your way, you might constantly question yourself and life choices, just like me. I’m currently in this situation where I feel useless, insecure and guilty at times. There are days when I just feel so out of it and days when I’m the happiest.

And really...It’s not easy when you’re anxious so whenever you do get that feeling, please don’t avoid it. Try to address it in the best way you can. It’s better to let it go then to just suck it up until it hurts you.

 Breathe. Relax. Find your serenity. Let it out. 

What I learned so far is that whatever happens, always count your blessings and remember that you survived and conquered. 

You will make excuses and allow distractions. Trust me, just believe in yourself and the rest will follow. 

From all these experiences, I learned that the most important thing to have before you start is actually to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. I realized that the one person that might hold you back might just be yourself and it’s best if you give yourself reasons to keep going and to never turn back. Trust that whatever you do is for you and because of you. In good times and bad times, it’s a risk you chose to take and learn from.

At the end of the day, what matters is you tried, experienced and learned. 

So to make this Stor-We more interesting, I invited my sister, from AlexaLovesBooks to share her thoughts and stories on the theme and this is what she had to say: 

"If someone had told me eight years ago that I would be building a life for myself in New York City and have the bonus of my husband and my sisters and some of my best friends living right alongside me, well, I probably would have laughed my butt off and told them that it wasn't in the cards for me. But it's eight years since that fateful day when I boarded a plane all on my own bound for New York and began a brand new chapter of my life. I didn't know then what I know now - that this new beginning was going to be for a chapter that changed my life completely. Beginnings, whether they're a part of your plan or something that happens without warning, are tricksy like that. They'll seem like nothing innocuous at first, but when you look back years later, you'll realize that it was a defining moment. A starting line. A point in time where everything changes. For me, moving to New York was a beginning - and even though I was hesitant all those years ago, these days I can't imagine what my life would be if I hadn't allowed myself to let a new chapter begin.

So I guess it’s time for you to ask yourself this: “When was the last time you’ve done something for the first time?"

Don’t be afraid.  Remember: To begin is to believe. 

You’ve got this! Here's to making a bold move to begin and making new things happen this 2018! 

Our Stor-We

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Ever since launching Living in 365, I’ve always envisioned it to be an online platform where people are able to freely share their thoughts and life stories while also being able to learn  new ones. 

I've always had this vision of making storytelling more of an asset than just a mere activity. I wanted people to see, feel and embrace their authenticity by not drowning through man-made insecurities, but by simply believing in their own unique stories. 

For me, stories can bring out one's natural beauty cause of its capacity to change and inspire the lives of other people. This is why we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be affected by any social standard or superior. We don’t need to be famous to shape the world or to be rich to say we’re living the life. We are all influential people in our own way and we find true happiness by just being ourselves. This is why we should never stop believing in who we are and we should choose to listen & learn from other people. 

Think about it…

You are motivated to do something you’ve never done before because of a story you read online. You may currently be at your job now cause someone told you about their own experiences in that position or what the company was like. You may also be living in that city of yours  because of the childhood stories and memories you hold dear to your heart. 

Stories leave a lifetime of legacies and give us purpose to what seems like a meaningless life. With this, I’d like to introduce to you all to a collective corner where everyone is free to share, read and learn stories of life and everything that comes in between it. In this created space everyone is free to be a storyteller, a reader, a friend or a mentor with a main goal of sharing, listening and learning while living out a purpose. 

This is Stor-We: A collective corner inspired by the special connection of stories. 

To start this community, I will be asking help from friends and family to share their experiences about a certain word or theme for every month this year. In this way, everyone who would like to take part can share their own stories. There’s no attached pressure being part of this community. Only those interested get to share what they want.

Here, everyone is free to express themselves, to start conversations and to learn from other people. 

Also, I love encouraging people in pursuing their passions so for this one I'll be collaborating with my best friend, Xyla, who will help bring color to this project! 

So... if you’re interested to take part of Stor-We, stay tuned for something exciting! 

My One Word for 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018

And that my friends is the end of #Livingin365 Book 2017. Wow! Times does fly by so fast. Seems like only yesterday when I was back home in the Philippines doing what I thought I would still be doing today. Many things have happened and a lot has changed but I couldn’t be more grateful for a year that was and currently is. 

First and foremost, Happy New Year to each and everyone of you! It has been a while since I last shared a story and it seems fit to start #Livingin365 Book 2018, with a personal favorite on how my 2017 was and how to make this new year even better.

If you’d ask me, 2017 was an instant game changer. It was  all about self love for me since aside from being single after so long,  I knew I owed it to myself. What were the odds that it was because of this year I got to understand pieces of myself that I didn’t realize were already in me for so long. If you're interested to know more about it, you can check  out my 2017 Recap.

I am truly grateful for who I am today and the people and things around me which have made all that is and was possible. I may not fully know what I’m meant to do or where I’m meant to go yet, all that I know and learned from 2017 is that no matter how much uncertainties you have in life,  just live life to the fullest everyday, be in the moment, and start living in the NOW. It’s your life and no matter how you choose to live it, you’ll have the support system you need by your side, always.

So to my family, my friends, and to all those special individuals who have made 2017 one for the books— doctors, new acquaintances, helpers, drivers, kind strangers-- you are all truly amazing! Always know that.

So it’s time to close off an amazing year and welcome a new one.

Hello there, twenty eighteen! What’s up with you? 

So lucky enough this year I was able to welcome 2018 with my siblings in New York City! Because it was freezing cold outside during New Year’s Eve, we decided to stay warm and have an intimate celebration in our very own apartment. My sister Alexa and I started out this new tradition of writing a letter to our future 2018 self which we plan to open and read on the last day of December. I honestly hope good things will come around and whatever happens will have its reasons.

Also, every time a new year comes around,  a word or phrase just comes to me and it helps motivate me to make the next 365 days ahead, nothing but amazing. This time around my sister actually said this particular word and I instantly knew it was the right one for me this year.. So thank you Manang! 

As mentioned earlier, I focused on taking care of myself last year. This year I’d like to help myself grow farther from just the ordinary. I choose #ToGrow2018. I’d like to grow more in doing the things I love, in discovering new things to do, and in exploring new places to see.

I’d like to become the best person I can be and these are some of the ways I know I could make this happen:

1. Grow by stepping out of my comfort zone 

To be honest, this new year has actually made me feel so anxious cause I have no idea how this year will go and the anticipation of the unknown scares me. My first main goal this year is to look for a job and let’s just say it’s not as easy as I thought it would be. I’ve been questioning myself and the choices I made of actually moving here and testing out the waters but I try to remind myself that I’m in one of the greatest cities in the world and that there are loads of ways I could still be productive. I also remind myself of God’s plan and how the wait might be longer cause he’s preparing me for something greater. Let Go, Let God. I just breathe in and out and talk about it with other people. Sharing these sentiments has helped me realize so much of why I feel this way in the first place. I was reminded of how I’m in a new place with a different culture and my anxiety is happening cause I’m going beyond my comfort zone.

 I actually realized that living in the Big Apple has been a huge step out of my usual zone so the new experiences that’ll come after will just be as challenging and different as how it started.

 Here’s to going beyond what’s common and trying to remain positive through the process. 

2. Grow by honing and learning new skills 

So this year, I’d like to read and write more. Yes, I’ve been brainstorming on a series of stories that I’d like to write for living in 365 and I’m still journaling- one I keep for personal rants and one to keep track of memories throughout the year. Also, I want to read some more so I decided to collaborate with my bookworm sister who has an amazing blog  (sisterly plug- better go check it out), you’ll just have to wait and see on what we came up with. I’m actually excited cause I forgot how much fun reading is. I’ve actually already finished my first book. 

To expand my photography skills, I do have something in mind. You’ll just have to wait for that. 

For new skills, I challenged myself to learn how to cook and bake even just simple recipes this year. My friends would definitely know how much of a sideline I am when it comes to this. I’d either just be in charge of the recipe or the ingredients.  So I’d like to turn that around! Now that I’m living in an independent and carefree country, I’d like to create nice food for myself and my family. 

I also decided to make more time for exercise, mediation and devotion. Having done these three things that past few days this year, I realized how important these things are in strengthening my entire self both inside and out.

3. Grow by spontaneously enjoying what is to come and not endlessly expecting of what it should be 

We all have goals and I have a couple of them. I’ve mentioned some above but others include  drinking more water (if you know me, you know I can live a day without it), eating in moderation (you should know by now how much of a foodie I am) and being more responsible with money. All these are practical which I hope I continuously achieve in the long run. However, I'm the type of person that I anticipate for something to happen at a certain time and when it doesn’t come or show, I get easily affected and worry.  It’s not bad to want something at a certain time, it’s just not that easy when it can affect you totally. This is what I’d like to work on this year, to be more spontaneous and to be thankful of what comes my way. I can't wait for the spontaneous adventures this year! 

Before I end, I’d like to share with you all the new daily motivation I made myself to get me going throughout  this whole year. I do hope this helps you too and that no matter what your plans are for this year or whatever comes your way, you’ll always start the day hopeful and end it with a grateful heart. Good luck! I hope this year we all grow to become who we are truly meant to be in this world.

Here’s to us LIVING IN 365! Here’s for us #ToGrow2018!  

P.S. This is my first mini collaboration with my big sister, Alexa. Go and check her beautiful website out. Her word is pretty amazing too.

So, what is your motivation this 2018? Don't hesitate to share whatever it is wish us.

We're all in this together. 


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