Story Time: One Saturday Night In The Middle Of A Parking Lot

“Just be in the moment, darling.”

I glanced at him and smiled. I stopped pressing the shutter and looked away from the 5 inch-screen.

“All right,” I giggled as I tucked my phone under my thigh. “It’s not like I need 17 photos of the fireworks in my camera roll, right?”

We had just finished dinner (a meal good for five people, for just the two of us) when we climbed into his car and heard a loud ‘bang!’ We looked into the distance, and the sky lit up with beautiful colors: shades of red, and orange, and green—and sometimes, even magenta. We rolled down the windows and enjoyed the free show.

In our silence, I couldn’t help but wonder—How can happiness be this simple? And how can something this simple, be grand? Love. It makes us vulnerable and strong, all at the same time, doesn’t it? And it’s funny how it makes us ask questions like these in the middle of a parking lot on a Saturday night.

He nudged my elbow.
“Isn’t it beautiful?”
“Yes it is,” I smirked.

Everything felt magical, but only because everything was real.

Be in the moment, he said. I looked around—the engine purred. Passersby gathered around to watch. His hand was locked in mine. And I was happy.

Story Time: Be Here, Now.

We’re always in a hurry, aren’t we?

We rush to get things done, and hope to get to places sooner.

We’re too busy working and hustling and planning, often pushing away family, and being too busy to meet with friends, living in high hopes that life will be better, one day.

But life isn’t a rehearsal for something later. Life is happening, now.

Stasi Eldredge once said, “Life is a tenuous thing—fragile, fleeting. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Be here now! Be here now! Be here now!”

So take a pause. Breathe. Look around. Listen. Smell the flowers. Or smell the pages of a worn out book. Laugh. Linger over coffee. Sing. Sing even if you can’t sing. Dance. Run. Write to a loved one. Don't forget to say the magic words I love you, and thank you, and I'm sorry. Remember. Be kind. Appreciate the beauty around you.

And above all things,

Love, and be grateful.

Be here now.

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Photo of a 6PM sunset, on my walk back home from work. Just figured out that I take this same route everyday (with the same old houses and the same old crappy road), yet I just noticed the beauty of it all tonight.

It doesn't hurt to take a pause and thank creation for the beauty it selflessly offers :)

Breathe in, let go, and be free.

"In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself."

Deepak Chopra

The first weeks of October was a huge burn out. In an attempt to distract myself from the hurt and betrayal, I allowed work to drown me. I signed up for so many things, committed to different projects, and attempted to finish a long list of tasks, only to be left feeling insecure and unaccomplished in the end, just because I couldn't deliver. My flames of passion were slowly extinguishing. I was looking for an escape; I was searching for happiness and inspiration in all the wrong places. I was lost. Worse, empty. 

But just when I was about to give up one night (the millennial inside me decided to take a break from everything by deactivating all her social media accounts and not showing up to people for days),  I'm thankful to have found a ray of sunshine during an inconvenient 2AM phone call, my own tiny little secret metaphor of hope and better days, that made long nights a whole lot tolerable, and sometimes, better.

So I choose to get back up.  To relax. To take a deep breath, a break, and a cup of tea this beautiful Sunday afternoon. There is so much beauty in this life and it is a waste to let bitterness and hurt get in the way of appreciating the now. And even though it hurts to think that I will never get the apology I've long been waiting for, I choose to let go. And in the process, find happiness, inner peace, and eventually, myself.

As the old saying goes, it is when you let go that you are finally free.

All photos were taken by April Baldovino (IG: @aprilbaldovinoo)

xoxo,

Hershey

NMAT Ice Cream Operations 2015 + Connecting the Dots in Life

Four years ago, I would have imagined myself to be taking the NMAT today, along with thousands of other aspirants who dream of becoming doctors to serve others.

But God has a funny way of twisting life around, and lo and behold, there was a plot twist: Just when I thought I had life figured out, I realized that being a doctor wasn't my calling, after all, so I shifted out of my pre-medicine course to pursue communications.

Sometimes, I ask myself if I made the right decision; if the risks were worth it.

 I look around and pause to reflect on life, and then deep inside, I am assured I did, because I am passionately in love with what I do.

 Steve Job once said that, "...you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something-- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

Living life to the fullest is pursuing your passions, even if it means having to take a risk and go over hurdles.

-------------

Today, three of the people closest to my heart will be one step closer to

fulfilling their dreams

.

They're taking the National Medical Admission Test as I type this, and I couldn't be any prouder of them. There is no doubt that one day, they're going to be amazing doctors with even more amazing hearts. 

Go, Nat, Mara, and Angeline! We love and believe in you! Aim for 99+! :)

Surprised my girls with ice cream last night, just because they've been studying their butts

out the past few weeks, and ice cream is always a good idea.

Why I am done with being a meantime girl.

"She's the one you call when you're bored because she makes you laugh. She's the one you talk to when you're feeling down because she's willing to lend an ear and be a friend. But she's not the one you call when you need a date to your company's Christmas party, or to go dancing with on a Saturday night. She's the one you spend time with between girlfriends, before you find 'The One'. You know, the one you keep in the meantime." --Anonymous

Photo by Pauline Disuanco of 31 Girl

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The dating game is complicated.

You spend time with a person and you tell yourself you won't get attached because you're just 'hanging out'.

You talk at night, go out for dinner, go to the movies, share inside jokes, and you tell yourself that everything's fine and everything's casual, but then as time passes by, you find yourself tearing your walls down and letting him in, and then in a blink of an eye you realize that, crap, you do like him, but you're not supposed to, and he's not supposed to know, because, again, you're just "hanging out".

And then you pretend like nothing's up, that you're fine and cool and chill,

and you both continue playing the game,

because they say love is one, after all.

But you're not supposed to assume, or jump into conclusions, or take things as you see it. Because everything is all just for fun and no, he doesn't like you that way. So stop.

 "This is just how it's supposed to go", I thought.

 "I'm okay with this."

Until slowly, eventually, I was left feeling empty and searching for things that weren't even there. I was willingly exposing the deepest parts of myself for nothing. I was getting involved and attached, for nothing.

 And I don't even know why I had to put myself in this situation. I didn't have to, and I don't even have to.

I'm not okay with this, after all.

-----

I don't want to be the girl you text at 2AM when you're bored or drunk;

I want to be your 7AM good morning, your 1PM-tell-me-what-you've-had-for-lunch, your 6PM-you-wouldn't-believe-what-happened-today.

I want to talk to you about your dreams, your passions, the things that inspire you or make you happy or tick you off or keep you awake at night. I want to know you, the real you behind that calm and composed and mysterious facade of yours.

I don't want to be the girl you run to /just/ when you're sad or lonely or confused;

I want to be the girl you'd like to spend boring days with, doing nothing but eat Chinese takeout or sweet and spicy instant noodles over movies or video games or board games, even.

I don't want anymore of those empty kisses that leave me feeling loved and wanted, but only for a night;

I long for assuring warm, tight hugs that glue together all of my broken pieces and promise better days ahead.

But we're just not on the same page.

Because at the end of it all, you don't see me as anything else but someone to keep you company while you're in this phase of fooling around and doing crazy things so you can discover yourself and explore the world and know what you really want, until you realize you're finally ready to get serious and look for the 'right girl'.

But I won't ever be her, because it's obvious that I'm just your meantime girl.

It's time I realize my worth, and for mercy's sake, I am far worth more than this.

We are far worth more than this.

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Darling, it doesn't have to be this way.

If the dating game isn't for you, then it's okay. It's not everyone's cup of tea, anyway.

Don't stick around with people who make you feel sorry for things you shouldn't be.

You need someone who won't make you feel guilty for texting first;  someone constant; someone who shows his/her appreciation for you not with grand gestures, but with the everyday, boring, little things. Trust me, they're the most sincere ones.

Know your worth, and never compromise with your non-negotiables.