There’s nothing like a string of rainy days combined with lots of sick time in bed to provide you with enough idleness to take that much needed (but much avoided) pause to do some mid-year me-time reflection.
It is mid-July and we are halfway through our calendars, the turned pages reminding us of what we have or have not achieved this year, as well as the amount of time left we have to finish the remaining items on our 2015 to do list.
It is a good time to stop, review, and re-evaluate. I think of my goals as writer, starting a small business, and I give thanks. I think of my goals for motherhood, running a smooth and organized household, and I am back on my knees. Good thing we’ve got a few more months to go!
As I watch my nearly 8th month old baby rolling around by herself on the bed, gurgling and shrieking in pleasure over her favorite toy for the day, I am torn between feeling proud of her newly acquired skills and selfishly wishing that no more developmental milestones be unlocked. I always rolled my eyes at parents who would sigh about their kids growing up too fast, yet here I am, a new mom with a baby who hasn’t even turned one, waxing nostalgic and wishing she would stay tiny forever. Too much change, too fast.
Some like to say I’ve zoomed through life. Marrying at the age of 25, just a few years after graduation, and then becoming a mom two weeks before our first anniversary. I am discovering that it is slightly more complicated to build a career and a savings account when there’s a baby in the picture. My attention is split between a several spaces, and my learning curve for what some might consider to be basic knowledge is causing me personal frustration. It is as though I have the devil of comparison sitting on my shoulder whispering discouraging things in my ear when I’m on Instagram looking at photos of other people’s lives. Instagram, if I allow myself to scroll my fed unchecked, leaves me feeling inadequate, asking myself questions like: how far ahead are they? How do we measure?
And when these moments happen, it certainly helps to remind myself that my journey is my own, that the story of our family is ours, and that things will happen for us in our own time.
When I was younger I used to beat myself up for goals I didn’t meet. Today I am learning that motherhood doesn’t work that way. That baby-rearing isn’t a task to accomplish but a continual processes of evolution, growth, and change. It isn’t a straight arrow upward, but one that zig zags, loops, and maybe even dances around for a bit before it reaches its next milestone. Babies are messy and unpredictable human beings just like their parents—not machines to be programmed or tools to be mastered. Parenthood must be intentional, but it cannot completely be controlled or planned.
Yesterday our errands left us with little time to go swimming with our daughter, something we had promised her (and ourselves) we could do once a week. However, by the time we had arrived at home, it was 6pm, the sun was setting, and the wind was picking up. It was getting cold. My husband was so looking forward to his time with our baby in the condo pool. He expressed his concern about the time of day, with a sorry look on his face. I knew he was disappointed, and it broke my heart. I was not going to be the one to deprive him of this. So despite my worries of her catching a cold, we changed her into her bathing suit and headed for the pool.
Yes, the water was cold, but she didn’t seem to mind, and the next thing we knew both she and my husband were both completely submerged in the water. She was laughing, splashing, with her looking a bit like a turtle, trying to wriggle free and swim on her own. He looked like he was having the best day of his life.
In five short minutes it was over. Our shared parental conscience finally won and we pulled her out of the pool and wrapped her up in a towel as tightly and as quickly as we could. A warm bath would thwart any attempts of a cold’s arrival.
It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t perfect. And we sheepishly went against our better judgements as parents. But it was the highlight of our Sunday, and a great beginning for the week, parent goals met or not.
Patricia O. Gonzalez is a wife, and a mom of one, going on two, a writer, and an entrepreneur with dreams much bigger than her body. She loves building her arsenal of books and dancing -- especially when there is food around.
I have always been a fan of everything old school. Unlike most things today, everything back then was a process and everyone had a different way of doing things. But today, with social apps like Instagram and Facebook, everything is instant and in your face, nearly invasive. You can ask people where pictures were taken, what filter you used, what app they used to lay things out, and do it right on the spot. Give it a few minutes and you’ll know. We are in the age of instant gratification, guys.
A few years back, I took a black and white film class at university. I didn’t think much of it, until we had to buy our own film cameras for it. Those big silver ones your parents used to take your picture with while you were wearing your terno pajamas standing awkwardly beside your dad’s new Lancer, or for variety, sitting on top of the hood….
So there we were. Ten of us including my teacher on a field trip to Raon, Quiapo. At this point, I was pretty intrigued. We were outside of school grounds during class hours, off to a place where the streets are always wet, where people run around carrying sacks of cloth, where vendors eat pancit and tasty bread while showcasing their stall products, where speakers blast “Dayang Dayang”. It was exhilarating to me. But then I looked around to find some of my conyo classmates walking around with crumpled faces, looking like they were about to hurl or take a dump. Their body language said it all. Hands on the side, stiff as hell, jumping to avoid getting their shoes dirty. Perhaps they didn’t see the charm in this rustic setting.
While this was happening, I was beside my teacher. I decided then that he was the coolest fifty plus year old. He never lost his childlike wonder. Also, he also happened to be one of most successful photographers in the Philippines, no less than Bong Manayon.
We were talking about how dirty, but at the same time, magical the place was when a suki of his called out to him. We both turned around then, boom! A street full of vendors selling old cameras, old accessories, and old treasures suddenly seemed to appear to us. A real Harry Potter moment. One could smell the mothballs from across the street and I immediately associated the funky smell with antiquities and old people. We crossed over and I started a conversation with the suki vendor. He taught me how to use this one film camera, and I ended up buying one for myself.
Back on campus, our teacher taught us how to develop film. We learned that the whole process takes a lot of time, care and patience, but it produces award winning, NatGeo-looking, facebook liking, better than your dad’s portrait of you with his Lancer kind of photos. If done wrong, you get black paper.
The photographer’s process then was all about pure delayed gratification. Imagine: You can only use one of the twelve or twentyfour shots on the film roll, take a shot to store it in your camera, rewind the film when the film dial gets to zero, go to a red room, carefully transfer the image from the film to photo paper with the use of chemicals, and finally, if you’re lucky, that moment is forever immortalized -- by you.
Not being able to see the picture right away is something not familiar to me. Old school photographers would go through the process of choosing the right kind of film to use, lighting, a quality camera, manually adjusting aperture, exposure, and other words that escape me. But then, after all that, seeing your artwork and remembering what you went through to capture that fleeting moment. Worth it!
And because of that one class, I’ve found an appreciation for delayed gratification and process. Google says that delayed gratification, “refers to the ability to put off something mildly fun or pleasurable now in order to wait for something that is greatly fun, pleasurable, or rewarding later.” A concept that the current culture does not seem familiar with, with all the instant everythings there are today.
What I’m trying to say is: although there are easier ways to go about producing beautiful things, we need to take a step back and understand the non-shortcut approach to things. There is wisdom in it. And that wisdom is patience, planning and passion.
Patrick Wee is a graphic designer who takes his art seriously. He is an avid jazzy hip-hop music lover and is in constant search for 90’s vintage and modern unusual art in forms of music, photography, video and graphic design.
People think a career in Public Relations is all glitz and glamour and it's not difficult to blame them, what with all the events, product launches, and parties happening left and right. I myself had that misconception before and with good reason, too; as a blogger being invited to these events, I would arrive at the venue seeing the PR people looking so posh, graciously welcoming the attendees and effortlessly socializing with everyone. Now that I am on the other side of the fence, I realize (and have experienced) all the hard work and long hours spent in making sure everything runs smoothly.
Pitching, brainstorming, event-coordinating, strategizing are just a few of the things that happen behind the scenes.
But you know what? the stress can be overwhelming, but I really love what I do. Sometimes, I pause and think about how I made it in this crazy, exhilarating, fast paced world of public relations, and it still blows me away.
I look forward to our events because not only do I get to sit in a room with people who are passionate with what they do, I also get to practice my social skills. This is important to me because I believe myself to be awkward, and am grateful for the chance to exercise social skills. I was and still am forced to good.
Also, I get to meet a lot of very interesting people who have made a name for themselves in their own respective fields by sheer determination and hard work. I try to learn a little from everyone and use their stories as inspiration.
One thing you can expect from a career in Public Relations? Meetings.
Lots and lots of meetings, and interesting collaborations, meeting with the most creative minds in the country, usually over really good food.
And though I feel like this job is making me fat, it also excites me because I love the creative of picking one another’s brains until we come up with a solid, unified, super awesome, fool proof plan.
And, you know, seeing our ideas come to life, it feels wonderful to be part of something a little larger than life everyday.
Kristel Ann Cruz considers herself to be a shy extrovert. When not liaising with press and bloggers as ARC PR's PR Assistant Manager, she fuels her creativity by writing, painting, playing with makeup, and tinkering with various DIY projects. She can talk about books, movies, and How I Met Your Mother all day.
At 30, I’ve come to a point in my life where all I’m interested in is progress and bettering myself in my craft, my personal relationships, my career, and most importantly, my moral compass.
Having worked in two major publishing houses, and now in public relations, I’ve had the chance to meet a slew of characters. In doing so, it has become very clear that surrounding myself with the right people makes all the difference in the personality I develop, as well as the thoughts I subscribe to.
In the past, I had the honor to work with an incredibly positive and forward thinking team. We were always quick to find ways to fix things, fill in the blanks, help one another, and go that extra mile just to make things happen with happy hearts. Work was no longer work. Work became quite fun, even at a fast pace. And I must say, I can’t remember a time I was happier around a lot of people.
This experience made me see the value in choosing the people who surround me, and I’ve come to realize that forward thinking, honest and positive people are the way to go.
Here are a few traits I personally look for in the individuals who surround me. You might want to consider doing the same.
i. They get stuff done - Be with people who help think of solutions to make things possible instead of looking for reasons why it shouldn’t or can’t be done. From another angle, mistakes happen and things don’t always go according to plan, which can be very upsetting. Forward thinkers acknowledge that there is a problem, look for a solution and then move on. They skip the shaming and do damage control quickly so everyone can continue to move towards the goals ahead.
ii. They focus on quality - They don’t think about how hard it’s going to be to produce quality, they just do it. They have decided there is only room for good quality work and take great pride in it.
iii. They invite you to “meet them up there” - Figuratively. Forward thinkers don’t enjoy compromising their ideals or visions when they know certain goals are attainable. Instead, they invite you to meet them at their level. “Come, help me think of a way to improve this or make this happen.”
iv. They choose a positive perspective - Forward thinkers simply focus on the good things and practice this mind set. So instead of seeing what’s wrong with a colleague, they look for what’s good, what their strengths are, and capitalize on that. Positivity presents opportunities in all shapes and sizes.
v. They are honest - They will tell you if they have a problem with you when the time is right, but look to discuss how to make things work. Also, they will tell you they messed up, or that they can’t deliver on time. They will tell you about their weaknesses so you can maximize their strengths. Honesty becomes a tool for progress, not a tool to belittle.
vi. They like being with those better than them - “In order to do something you’ve never done, you have to become someone you’ve never been.” - Thomas Jefferson. And how do we do this? By being with people who know what to do, are better than you, more experienced, even more excited than you. Forward thinkers look to learn from those better than them to better themselves.
vii. They have a “not yet” frame of thinking, not “wrong” - I can’t stress how important this is. Forward thinkers believe in the process of improvement. “It isn’t wrong, it’s just not there yet.” And people respond with more solutional thinking; team members come back better because they feel encouraged more than discouraged.
viii. They are slow to anger - I admire people who simply absorb the situation, look at it from different angles in a calm and collected manner before they speak. There is nothing like a person who knows how to command a situation to make things work with grace and under pressure in place of blowing up to gain control.
ix. They are innately respectful and socially tolerant - Other than the Filipino cultural teachings about respect, forward thinkers know how to respect and appreciate individuality, the personal time of others, personal boundaries, regardless of social class, educational attainment, race or religion. And if there are things or people they can’t agree with, they simply don’t subscribe to them.
x. Above all, they are intentional and involved individuals - To make this short so it sticks forever, forward thinkers improve themselves on purpose. What about you?
Cheers Evangelista is a writer, a thinker, daydreamer and a cosmetics enthusiast. She is easily excited by the world around her, enjoys PC gaming, cooking and nesting during her downtime.