Be Happy

11 Apr

I was listening to a podcast the other day where Kevin Hart was a guest.  He was talking about how people celebrate negativity more than anything else.  How people focus on the bad, extend it for weeks, even months, instead of looking for positive happy things to post or talk about.  He mentioned how even through scrutiny (I think we all know his Oscars story by now) he has remained positive and happy.

Happy is defined as feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.  Unfortunately a lot of people these days are refusing to feel happy.  Yes, I used the word “refusing”.  There is always something to be grateful for, to bring a smile to our face and celebrate, if we look for the positive.  When you focus on the bad and surrender to self-pity we are refusing to be happy.  You are making that choice.

Happiness comes from within.  You can’t blame others for how you feel.  That certain situations or experiences take the joy away from us, yes, it does happen, but don’t allow yourself to be consumed by it and change you.  Allow the experiences to touch you, and grow from them.  Don’t let them swallow you and make you miserable for the rest of your life.  The way you act is what you attract.  If you are constantly sad, angry, negative, even the people who try to help you see the world differently will eventually leave.  Not because they want to but because you push them away…  when you are consumed by those negative feelings you are almost incapable of seeing that people are there for you, that they are trying to pull you out of that darkness.  You are unaware that, while they are trying to be there for you, they too have troubles and sufferings.  In your self-pity you compare yourself to others that don’t have perfect lives but, in your head they do just because they chose to smile instead of letting something consume them.  You demand attention and expect everyone to feel sorry for you but not everyone wants to live that way, and nor should they.  Actually, neither should you.

There are so many ways to break away from this self-destructive path.  Define what’s making you upset, ask yourself why.  Writing about it or talking to someone about it might be very helpful.  Allow yourself to move past the pain, the hurt, the anger…  let it go.  Life will have more experiences for you and if you don’t let some go, they will pile up until the weight is too big for you to handle it anymore.  Allow friends to be there for you when they can.  Find things that make you happy and focus on them.  Be grateful, even for the smallest things, you can’t imagine what a difference this will make.  Stop reading or watching negative posts or media.  And a very important one… stop comparing yourself to others.  Be happy with who you are, and enjoy your own life, forget about what others think or say.

Going back to Kevin Hart, he said he was happy because he chooses to be.  He focuses on the important things, family, friends, being alive, being able to do what he loves.  Not letting what others think affect him so much, and not taking things so personal.  He mentioned how someone told him that his jokes weren’t that funny anymore, he’s reply “sorry it wasn’t great for you, I’m doing my best to make it better”.  With that reply he let it go and did not dwell on it.  He even takes some of those negative comments and turns them into material for his comedy shows.  Instead of letting them bring him down, he turns them into positives.

Let’s follow his example, and the example of many other that have turned their lives around after hardship and make the most out of every day and what they have. 

Let’s all choose to be Happy!

My First 5K

22 Feb

As part of my “Living for Me” year resolution, I’ve started exercising.   Yes, I know this is what most people do when starting the new year and, a month or so later, the resolution falls flat and is forgotten.  I admit I have been one of those people more than once.   I’ve paid for gym memberships, classes, and went for a couple of days and give up…  special diets, and though some have worked, it has only been for a period of time and do not last.

I’ve always struggled with my weight, it’s been like a yo-yo, up and down my entire life.  And I’ve struggled even more with the fact that I have to exercise.  Now that I’m older, and after so many people and articles telling me how beneficial this is, not only for weight loss but health in general, I decided to give the gym another try.  I thought long and hard, and had an internal conversation with myself to commit to it.  So I paid the membership.

Not going to lie…  it’s hard.  Getting my butt to the gym still takes some convincing (from myself), but once I’m there I feel good and even better after.  Exercising, I’ve noticed, is a natural combat against stress.  While you work-out, even if it’s a 30 minute walk, you focus on the that, put some music on and forget about the rest of the day.  You push yourself to last a little longer, lift a little more weight, do one more day a week, etc.  While pushing yourself your body is alive, endorphins are released and blood flows, making your mind and (even when it’s sore) body happy.

I still have a long way to go.  I am still working on my endurance, and still pushing myself to make it a routine to go at least 4 – 5 times a week.  To keep me on track and avoid me quitting this time, I applied for my first 5K – Publix A1A 5K, in beautiful Fort Lauderdale.  I knew without some training I would not finish it, so that was my drive to go to the gym.  I did walk that 5K, I’m still not strong enough to run, but the fact that I did it, and finished without “dying”, made me want to keep going and get better.

Your state of mind, and commitment to yourself are the most important thing but having a support system is also key.  For me this has been a real help in this journey.  My family, boyfriend, and friends cheering me on, celebrating even me signing up, and letting me know how proud they are of me, for just taking care of myself, is a drive and a reminder of how much they love me, and helps me keep going even when my mind is stubborn and asking for a (not so needed) break.

The 5K was a great experience, and I already signed up for my second one.  I’m still a walker, but I do want to see some improvement in time and keep doing these until I’m ready to run, and who knows, even move up to a half marathon eventually.  The point is, that I’m not giving up this time…  I am committed, and taking the steps to reach goals and keep my resolution.  But not just a new year’s resolution…  a (healthy) life resolution!  Won’t you join me?

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Avatar: Flight of Passage

22 Jan

It was May 2017 when Avatar: Flight of Passage opened in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Over a year and a half has passed and this is still the most popular ride in ALL  Disney World Parks.  Even when some other rides like Frozen, Mount Everest, and the new Toy Story Land have opened, Pandora remains the most visited and the ride with longer waits in the parks.

I’ve been an annual pass holder for the past two years.  I’ve gotten to the park as soon as it opens; tried during “lunch time” hoping people were hungry and not in lines as mush (I know, wishful thinking); tried at night, when I thought people would be more interested in the light show that closes the park or the other parks’ firework shows, but still the lines were 3 – 4 hours long.  Disappointed I would turn around and go to another ride, thinking “next time I’ll get in”.  Everyone kept telling me the ride is worth the wait, but honestly, with so much to do and see at the parks, why wait that long?

For those of you in the same mindset as me, and don’t want to wait that long in line, I got a little tip for you!

That 4 hour long wait line was the last straw…  Something different needed to be done to make sure I finally got on that ride and not waist half a day trying.  Here’s the trick!  Wake up early!  Yes, I know it may seem like a simple answer but, for a sleepy head like me, this can be very hard.  Especially when the park says it opens at 9am.  Well, not quite!

Woke up in time to be at the park’s entrance at 8am.  Hundreds, maybe more, of people had the same idea, and were already in line.  By 8:15am, with more people gathering up behind, the park allowed us to go in, knowing we were all there for the same ride.  So, that means, we were in line for the Passage of Flight ride before the park officially opened.

As soon as we got to Pandora, there was staff already working to organize people and get the line going.  8:25am is when we got on the actual line to get in.  It moved at a steady pace, and by 8:43am we were at the entrance of the ride area.  After this, it took about 20 minutes to go in, do the ride and be out around 9:15am.  So, not only did we get to finally ride a Banshee in Pandora, but we did it in an hour, and in time to enjoy the rest of the park when it was officially opening.  How amazing is that!

For the ride, yes!  It is definitely worth it.  The ride is designed to feel as real as possible with 3D glasses, smell, wind and water effects making you feel like you are actually in Pandora.  Also the emotional feel is incredible, the images are so beautiful and real, you wished this place really existed and you could visit it.

So, my recommendation is to make this ride your priority when visiting Animal Kingdom, be there at least an hour early, and enjoy the ride!  If not able to do so, or the line is just about 2 hours long, wait, as I mentioned, is worth the wait.

Be and Live for Yourself

9 Jan

Happy 2019!  Yes, I know, I’m a bit late…  Lately it’s been hard to write.  Not sure why.  I’ve traveled, made new friends, made so many fun memories with them and old ones.  Family is good and growing, and had some very happy moments this past year.  Sometimes I think it’s easier to write when you feel a void or need to something get off your chest, thankfully this year that wasn’t the case for me.

My nephew was born, my niece keeps growing healthy and with every day becomes more and more fun to be around her.  

I’ve traveled to different countries and done things I thought I would never do:  Went in a cave with waterfalls, toured the Tikal ruins, Spent New Year’s eve in Nicaragua zip lining and going up a volcano, crossed a rope bridge over crocodiles, drank wine in Napa, and celebrated Christmas in NYC.  Also got the chance to see one of my favorite bands 3 times, and all of this with my best friend.

I also ended the year with my sister’s wedding.  She was the last of my siblings to get married and it was bittersweet.  Love how happy she is, but it was tough to “let go” of my companion for so many years.  She’s been with me since she was born.  We’ve been roommates, housemates, each other’s confidant, shoulder to cry on and laughing fit buddies.  We’ve gone through life together and everything in between.  Yes, I miss her being just a door away but so proud of the woman she’s become and happy to see her find her happily ever after.

So, now it’s just me…  yes, I will always be surrounded by my family and would not have it any other way but, with all the changes I’ve lived with my siblings and family I’ve decided my 2019 resolution is to move forward too!  To live my life for me.  To act and move toward what I want and deserve.  To learn to say no, and think about me and what makes me happy and healthy.  To learn to listen to myself and accept all the emotions that may come, as they are part of who I am.  To take time off when needed, to travel more, to exercise, to open myself to experiences and try to push away fear, to be in the moment and enjoy every single one of them.

In this era of social media, and everyone comparing themselves to others, of instant gratification, and seeking attention in any way possible, the above is very important.  We can get lost in this world, and forget who we are.  May that not happen to you, or me.  May we always be true to ourselves and be happy with who we are.

Wishing everyone a wonderful year ahead!

You Choose

27 Jul

“What does it feel like to be present? To be here in the now and fully experiencing this moment. Free from any weight of the past or any anticipation of the future. Just free. Free to realize that only you can control how you feel. About anything. Free to see things for what they are and free to give your time and energy to what really matters. Accept the fact that everything that makes up your world is there because you attracted it with your own thoughts. Realize that you can control your thoughts and emotions. There’s no big secret. Just choose to think better feeling thoughts. Listen to your emotions and chose to feel good. You can decide to be in a place of attraction and abundance. What do you want to do in your life? What makes you tick? What makes you feel awe? Don’t be misled into thinking that you’re supposed to do anything. You are supposed to do only what you chose to do. The world is vast and full of possibilities. Follow your bliss. Get out of your comfort zone. Stop looking for reasons why you can’t and look for reasons why you can. And… if you can, you should.“

I read the above at the High On Life Youtube Channel.  This came at an unfortunate time in their lives…  they lost 3 of their friends on an accident but wanted to share their way of living with the world, and encourage all of us to keep living life to the fullest.

Yes, they mainly focused on travel adventures, on pushing those boundaries of country lines, fears, and just be free and dare to do things.  But if you read that quote carefully you realize it’s really about life, not just traveling.  And this is why I loved it so much when I read it.  Below are my favorite parts and how I interpret them.

How many times have we heard “Be Present” in this technology filled world?  We are constantly on our phones or tablets, that sometimes even forget the person who’s in front of us and talk to them.  But, this also applies to our minds.  Not only the technology takes us away from the moment, but our thoughts, being stock in the past, relieving past experiences, or over-analyzing the future deprives us of enjoying the moment and being present.  By allowing all these things to take rob us from this moment, we hurt ourselves.  You attract what you think, and if we give way to things we have no control over and create anxiety and fear in ourselves.

“Control your thoughts and emotions”.  Concentrate on positive things.  Be grateful for at least one different thing every day, you will soon realize how blessed and lucky you are.  Celebrate every step and accomplishment in your life, for as little as it may seem, they each take you to a bigger one and where you should be in life.  Smile, just because…  It’s contagious, therapeutic, and keeps you young.

“Decide to be in a place of attraction and abundance”.  This is another important reminder in the world we live in.  With depression, anxiety, addiction, natural disasters, and so many other things affecting people’s emotions, we need to work hard on ourselves to overcome the thoughts that bring us down.  We need to understand that ultimately it’s our choice how we feel.  Happiness comes from within.  If you are expecting it to come from others, or blaming others for how you feel, you are losing the battle.  Take a deep look inside, point out what’s making you feel the way you are, get help if needed and turn it around.  You have the power to do it, choose to see the glass “half full”, and with the possibility of it being full soon.

“You are supposed to do only what you chose to do”.  Timelines, expectations, society, etc. put a lot of pressure on us.  Throw all those misconceptions out the door.   Live your life, as mentioned above, in the moment!  Forget about how others are living their lives, comparing ourselves is poison to the soul.  When you live your life making your own choices, following your heart, you will not be worrying about anything other than “this is where I want to be and should be”.  It’s your choice, take ownership of your life and enjoy it!

As the quote says, this world is full of possibilities, if something isn’t going your way, change it.  Sure, it might not be easy, it might take time, but your attitude and way of dealing with those situations dictate how long or how hard it will be.  Again, you’re are in control of your emotions and life…  Even with its ups and downs, life is a wonderful gift; Own it, live it, enjoy it,  or let all the negative consume you and rob you from it.  You Choose!

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Less Expectations, More Possibilities

14 Nov

I was sent a quote today…  Sometimes it’s strange how something “falls in your lap” right when you need it.

Most of my writing is to remind myself of things I should be doing or feeling or maybe even changing.  In the process of me making these public I hope they help others, or make them realize they’re not the only ones feeling a certain way, or maybe bring comfort, hope or a smile to their day.  It’s also a good way for me to go back to my posts and read them whenever I need to be reminded of certain things.

The quote is about how sometimes we expect things from others and, when things don’t work out as expected, we get frustrated, angry, sad.  We might blame the other person, cut them off…  as natural as those feelings may be, we also need to look inside us.  Are we asking for too much, are we expecting that person to change?   Are we being fair?

One quote I try to remember is “Expectation is the root of all heartache”.   Unfortunately we always have them.  Either starting a new job, a new relationship, friends, family, or even what we think our life should be at certain points or age.  With friends we might expect them to always be there, to celebrate every little thing with you, to cry or laugh whenever you do.  If we don’t get the reaction we anticipated, we might feel like they don’t care or they are not real friends.  In relationships you always have hopes and wish it’s “the one”, that it lasts.  You want it to work.  When things don’t go as you thought they would those expectations start to crumble and you get frustrated, and heartbroken.  It’s hard to let go of those “dreams”, of the fairy-tale we created in our heads.  But sometimes, if we do, we might avoid the anger, sadness, misunderstandings, etc.  Maybe without all these emotions caused by those expectations we would be able to communicate better, see things differently or maybe even see things we were missing before.

Don’t get me wrong… not everyone is supposed to be in your life.  Some, as they say, are lessons and once you’ve learn them you move on and leave them behind.  And your life is a lot better without them.  But, it’s worth giving people a chance.  It’s worth seeing if they are meant to stay in your life, just maybe in another way than the one you had first expected.

Emotions can be very strong, stubborn, and prideful.  Sometimes we allow them to control us, and that’s something to work on.  It’s natural to feel them, allow yourself time, and ask others to respect that time, to figure out those feelings, to understand them and grow from them.  Time to see things differently, to find a new way to see that other person or situation, or to have a second chance to try again.  “Time heals”, this is very true, we just need to allow it to do so and open ourselves to it.

Things are not always resolved trying to change someone else or a situation.  Sometimes it takes a little bit of changing on our part too, adjusting our way of seeing things.

Instead of expectations, see possibilities.  Not an easy task but one I’m sure would help us, not only in relationships but, in many aspects of life, to be open to different and new experiences.

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To My Puerto Rico…

17 Oct

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I was born there, never thought I would leave.  I was happy, had all I could ever imagined and more.  An amazing childhood, family, friends, school, college… it seemed like my entire life was there.

Driving from San Juan to Cayey, seeing the mountains and all the lights at night.  The singing of our Coquí, which I dearly miss, and the smell of the ocean when you go through “La Puerta de San Juan”.  The cobble streets in Old San Juan, and it’s picturesque houses.  El Yunque, Lechón en Guavate, Frituras en Luquillo, Café in Yauco, bioluminescent bay in Fajardo, the famous Parque de Bombas in Ponce, and all the placitas in all the cities that host so many fiestas patronales, artisan, and any other festivity we can imagine.

Having fruits and vegetables grow in your own backyard, making me fall in love with all things sour like parcha, acerolas, tamarindos, and of course guayaba is another favorite or mine.  Plantains are a must for so many typical dishes our PR has – tostones, mofongo, pionono and more.

The wonderful beaches surrounding us, filled with palm trees for shade and coconuts for fresh sweet water.  Fresh fish for so many other amazing dishes to enjoy!

Of course the music, we can’t forget.  Our PR is always filled with it, keeping our spirits up and happy.

Puerto Rico is a land of very welcoming people, ones who are proud of their island and eager to show it to its visitors.  We take pride in our history, culture, food, and music.

Yes, I say We.  It’s been almost 20 years since I left the island.  It wasn’t what I had planned, or even imagined happening but life happens and you have to change with it.

At first it was a tough and not welcomed change.  I missed my PR, and everything I had left behind.  I would cry and go back as often as I could but, one gets used to their new “life” and thankfully I adapted to my new “home” but PR always has my heart.

It is true, one takes things for granted.  Living there for so long I would often say “I still have time to go there or do that”, I also started thinking, I rather go somewhere new, before going “back home” again, well maybe I should have not postponed it as much as I did.  Time, as an adult, is limited and the things I wanted to do and see in PR have had to wait.  Even when I go back it’s still not enough time to do it all.

As if time wasn’t limiting me, then Hurricane Maria hit.  This was absolutely painful to watch.  To see my little island being hit unmercifully by this hurricane, knowing family, friends, and everyone else were powerless, it was nerve-racking.  The not knowing after was worse.  No communication with anyone, not knowing the extent of the damage, how people were affected…  I do not wish that to anyone.  Then images started to appear on social media…  The PR I knew and loved so much was no longer there.  Tears formed in my eyes without me even knowing.  A helpless feeling took over me when I saw how devastated our island was left.  These were the images I had seen so many times from other islands and never thought it could happen to us.  The stress of not knowing anything about my family members intensified the pain I felt for PR.  But, I had to keep faith and be hopeful, as every Puerto Rican has been through all this.

Yes, we are down but not defeated.  Our island and it’s people are strong, resilient, hardworking, and eager to get back up.  We all want our PR to be what it was before or even better and show why it’s so rightfully called “Isla del Encanto”.  We all help in any way we can to contribute to that, and not only us enjoy the charm of the island but everyone else that wants to visit and see it for themselves.

Just because I don’t live there anymore does not mean I don’t feel what the island feels.  This is where so many memories, laughs, tears, achievements, dreams, were made in my life.  Puerto Rico is in my heart and will always be my home and I can’t wait to go back and see its splendor again, and its beautiful people.

And to end I leave you with one of my favorite songs (from Fiel a la Vega) that always make me feel nostalgic but always brings a smile to my face.