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Water in the Glass

This year is either the worst ever or the best I’ve had depending on my perspective. It’s one of those glass half empty or half full situations many people like to think of. If I make a list of what didn’t go right, I have the following:

– COVID-19, economy shutdown, Black Lives Matter, riots, my Grandma being ill, and stocks took a hit.

Being a bit more optimistic, leaves me with this:

– life goes on, my business launched, I’m getting a bonus next month, my investments are up, I still have a job, and my Grandma got treated

This year is so polarizing and only a little more than half of it is gone already. It kind of makes me wonder if this is a test for my ability to persevere in times of crisis and uncertainty. Overall, I’ll have to take it for what it is and keep focused on myself. I recently lack the energy to even stay up past 11 PM without suddenly falling asleep. I’ve been telling myself the exhaustion comes from work, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my mind has been at full blast all this time.

Later world.

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Los Angeles $$$

Los Angeles is all I know. I distinctly remember walking around downtown as a kid seeing all the tall skyscrapers and being at awe at the marvelous concrete jungle. The bustle of the city allured me then, but now I’m indifferent about life here.

My biggest complaint here is the high cost of living. Last I checked, I’m doing pretty well for myself, but your money goes quickly putting a roof over your head. You can save a bit by cooking more and budgeting, but there’s no escaping the costs associated here. If I could permanently work remotely, I would leave for another state or city in a heartbeat.

I feel I more or less recovered from the market crash and all my investments are in the green. I’m thankful, but seeing as how your livelihood hangs on a thread when there’s an outbreak doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t feel secure even with the nest egg I have and that shouldn’t be the case.

If everything plans out, I’ll have six figures saved up in various places ready to cash out for my house or condo. It’s the American dream. One that’s expensive, riddled with liabilities, and logically the next step in my life. It begs the question, would I do it?

I’ve been constantly thinking about this plan for a few years now and I’ve only err on the side of caution than my usual relentless optimism. Times like this I wish I wasn’t alone with just my thoughts. A second opinion helps and I’d imagine I could be quickly pushed the other way.

The path less traveled is the one walked alone and I feel I’ve only had a string of successes to push on forward. I know I could just live everyday as it comes but life comes as you fast and the better you have an idea of where you want to be, the less likely you’ll be just another ant in this world.

I don’t want to be just another person drifting. The days feel longer now that we’re on lockdown. My thoughts cascade into one another and my mood is slowly falling. I can almost hear my own heartbeat on some days. There’s a rhythm to life and right now, I’m off beat.

Later world.

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The Search for Answers

I’m kind of lucky. I know I can text a handful of friends, both male and female, for their opinion on something. I tend to fixate and overthink something until the very reason for doing so almost becomes unclear. Hands down, one of the most confusing habits I have. Eventually, I come to my senses and ask everyone for their thoughts.

I’m not going to lie. Some topics get dark and wouldn’t fit the narrative of an online journal. You have that secrecy that trust allows. Other times, it’s another question about a relationship or someone I’m seeing. In the end, all I’m looking for is their cold hard unfiltered opinion.

I think what I’ve come to realize is you’re not going to be able to save yourself. Best you can do is ask for help. There aren’t always answers even with your most trusted loyal group of friends to confide in. At least hear them out to look at the situation from their prospective.

2020: once you’re off the boat, you’ll need to really convince me to let you back on.

Later world.

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When the World Fights Back

November 23, 2019: What the Fuck?

Can it be Thanksgiving already? My day is off to a bad start and I’m annoyed I have to yet again work over the weekend. It feels like this is all I know and do this time of the year. My body feels like it’s running on empty and the lingering thought of running the new business doesn’t help. There’s so much setup involved — I wish I could have an assistant now. Seriously — have someone help me answer emails, pickup my second line, and enter data in spreadsheets. I can’t complain, yet — truly. I was given a double digit percentage raise and from my knowledge, none of my co-workers were given the same welcoming holiday treatment. One of them was joking how I can’t take any vacation days because from his perspective, “I’m indispensable here every single day”. Every… fucking… single… day. As funny as we made it seem, it hurts to know I might never get to use the almost months worth of vacation I’ve accrued since I’ve worked at my current job.

In other news, the internet here at my favorite coffee shop sucks today and I can’t for the life of me get my project dashboard to load. It’s like I’m back on the Internet in the early 2000s. Slow as molasses and web pages load in blocks as if it’s dial-up. Maybe this is a sign from above or some other worldly power that I need to take a chill pill. Just, relax and do nothing today. I more or less am my own department — which has a lot of advantages and perks. I’m practically never told what to do and have no real hard deadlines. It’s an interesting position I’ve been put in. So why do I feel so stressed? That I’ll never know. Perhaps setting my own aggressive deadlines is working against me. But is it? I’m only headed up and this month overall has been fantastic.

I got a new car, Apple replaced my entire computer for free passed warranty, and I finally treated myself to something nice I’ve been wanting. I feel neither sad or happy — just content. Honestly, come at me harder world. November is still my favorite month. I’ve gotten this far and I’ve checked off all of my goals and then some. What’s next? I’m eagerly waiting to find out. Danny, out.

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Phase 2

I’m being hired my own secretary, which honestly sounds exciting. Someone who will take calls and help out with the piles of forms and bills that will likely get sent my way. A receptionist essentially. I’m running my own business and there’s a ton of setup involved. Contracts, negotiations, insurance liabilities — it’s an endless mess of chaos beginning a business. The workload doesn’t scary me, the thought of it not meeting my own set of goals does.

I’m in uncharted territory for the first time in forever and while the doors are all open, that feeling of things possibly going very wrong is a possibility — however small it may seem. It will be the first time where I won’t have anyone telling me what to do and when. It all falls on me. You can say there’s some pressure involved, but tell me something that isn’t new.

During my meeting today, everyone has high expectations and you know what? I’m ready for anything coming. I’ll probably like this freedom bestowed upon me. I’m up and it’s about time.

Now to find a receptionist.

Later world.

 

 

 

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And the Show Goes On 2/5/2019

February is here in full swing. I’m enjoying the rain and clouds — but they’re only temporary. I’ve been giving this month a lot of thought lately. What’s next? I tend to ask myself that at least once a week. I have yet another dentist appointment followed by a visit to the orthodontist. Everything is cosmetic, but it’s all done in the name of self-improvement. I think by the end of the month, I’ll have clear aligners to straighten my teeth for the next 6 months. Is it fun? No. Painful? Yes. Coupled with my court hearing over the lady that hit me, this is going to be another busy week.

Plans / To Do’s for February and later:

  • Stay off social media indefinitely
    • Fuck that shit.
  • Drink more water
    • 1 gallon a day. I bought a fancy glass water jug I’m itching to get in the mail.
  • Run more
    • I do 5K without much effort and got a GPS watch to map my runs. I’m excited!
  • Two more dentist visits
    • Getting clear aligners to straighten my teeth by end of the month. Thank God for insurance.
  • Visit best friend in DC
    • Cost is not the issue. Finding time is. Fingers crossed I free myself from work soon.
  • Reinvest in stocks
    • I liquidated everything middle of last year before the downturn. 2019 looks to be a year of recovery, so there’s no better time to buy stocks on the cheap. My top picks are: Square, Tesla, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Slack when their IPO launches.
  • New skin care routine
    • I’ve not afraid to admit I’m feeling old as fuck. I’ve been using the Shiseido Mens line for a year, but it’s stupid expensive. Trying to find a cheaper and organic alternative. P.S. fuck eczema.
  • Keep pursuing the lady that hit my car

Interesting thing about this lady — she’s doing her best to avoid me. It’s funny in some ways. She doesn’t want to own up to her mistakes or take responsibility for her actions. Somehow, in her eyes, it’s fine to drive without insurance when you have a baby in the car. I’ve kindly asked for her current mailing address so I can serve her the court papers, but she’s unwilling. Now I’m blocked.

I don’t think people are aware of this, but with a just a few dollars, you can look up someone’s complete location history and background info. So I did. I found her address along with every place she’s lived in the last several years. She’s moved a lot, much to my suspicion. To put it mildly, she doesn’t have her life together and she’s 45. What. The. Fuck.

I digress. People like her exist and maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised the lengths people go to to avoid paying fines.

Keep a level of optimism and nothing seems impossible. Later world.

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Catch Me

In many ways, we’re running from the past. You’re escaping yourself, who you were and chasing who you want to be. The road ahead isn’t all clear, yet you keep going nonetheless. I like to think everything you did up to this point lead you to this moment of time — just some of it was less than perfect. You tend to be alone majority of the time. People don’t understand your motivations and aren’t great at perspective taking. Why would they. Usually, they’ll already have their preconceived notions about you before they get to know you. All you’re trying to do is explain it. Don’t expect them to listen. Most are terrible listeners.

Here you are — running from yourself. I can’t say it’s all in darkness. There’s a bit of light to be found. Anyone with some idea of who they want to be would have some. All you need is an idea. You can’t plan for everything, but that’s all you need. Just a thought. Ask yourself what you want. Some wants aren’t needed though. There’s a difference from what you want and what you need. Everyone tends to want more than they need. I hear this a lot especially with friends and co-workers. I can see why so many live a life of excess and not feel complete or fulfilled in any meaningful way.

If you remember who you were, moving forward is worlds easier. It’s funny. My friends tell me to forget the past, which I take with some offense. To forget — what a stupid thing to say. At least by remembering, you’ll try to not fall and make the same mistakes that held you back in the first place. It’s all about progression and I can’t see how forgetting makes this a possibly.

Some call this staying grounded. I see it as running from yourself. If you don’t know who you were, I think you’ll have a long difficult road ahead of you in life. Best I can do is keep going forward and I’ll be hard pressed to think otherwise.

Life — I’m just living it. I don’t want to keep looking back.

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To Be Lost, Heartbroken and Suffer

Life has a way of throwing a lot at you at once. Suffering, heartbreak, tragedy, etc is all within the realm of possibility. Some days, I’ve felt better and wonder why me of all people. But this is necessary when we’re all given the gift of life. To live is to feel and sometimes we must all suffer — even if it seems like there is no end in sight.

My look at the world has always been bright and optimistic, but I wouldn’t want to be shielded from all the ills, vices, and temptations life brings. Reality hurts and I rather firmly put myself out of the Matrix or the Garden of Eden if given the false alternative. A life of nothing but joy and happiness is a lie — the biggest one there is. We all exist to have experiences and not all that we feel will be good ones.

Your closest friends and family are the ones you hold most dear to you. Yet, the reality is they will all go someday — not now but much later. Death comes and goes much like the changing tides or the many phases of the moon. Laughs are shared, hugs are exchanged, and bonds are made knowing one day, the very people that are a part of your memories will go. I’ve always felt knowing we all won’t be around eventually would make us want to get up out of bed and feel the urge to live now — not later. Time is of the essence and it trickles down the spout. It’s a slow leak, but the water will run out.

To some and some months — myself included, the world feels empty and devoid of joy and happiness. It’s all elusive and much like a quest for discovery. We want to be happy, but it never finds us. Some months it quickly goes as soon as you get a taste of it. All good things are only that — temporary. It doesn’t deter me and shouldn’t anyone for that matter. Feel thankful for the days you do feel your absolute best and hope it comes more often. There are billions of people out there who at one point have felt the same way. For that reason, we should never feel alone. We get better eventually. It may not be a full recovery, but behind every sliver of sunlight piercing through the crack, is a bright sun.

Anyone who’s afflicted with sadness, greif, or depression might feel the days are grey and the world is cruel. You’re right actually — the would is cruel. It’s the only honest and correct response for anyone dealing with days, weeks, or months of crippling depression. Thoughts manifest into habits and those habits keep you a prisoner of your own body. Truthfully, some days I dread at the thought of getting up in the morning and having to show myself to the world. Yet, I find the strength to keep pushing forward. I have responsiblies, duties and ambitious goals to accomplish. I’d feel worse knowing they’re slipping from my grasp by feeling sorry for myself. Your view of the world is never accurate to how you’re feeling this way. If you know this, then get up and go about your day. Odds are, it’s not as bad as things seem. Friends, family and co-workers are there and many have words of advice to keep you moving. We’re all interconnected and supported in that regard. That’s the beauty of life — feeling connected.

For some, years might slip by. It’s only inevitable. Most people are on auto-pilot and have no clear direction or idea what their future holds. It’s why I’m so goal oriented. Goals set the future up and with an expectation of it occurring. It grounds you in the present working up towards something you want to happen or transpire. Without goals, I’d be nobody or the person I am today. Give yourself ambitious goals that’s within the realm of possibility. Find all the areas or ways you can be set back and think of alternative solutions. Plan B is needed as is plan C. There will be bumps in the road. All you’re doing is preparing for the journey. It’s not a full trail you’re following in the woods. Some days, you’ll veer off into the wilderness, but you still have an idea of the destination no less.

With every journey, we all get caught up with unhealthy distractions. They’re littered everywhere and at anytime, will try to deter you. Stop to smell the roses. They look beautiful and smell great. Give time to be mindful of where you are and where you want to be. The more mindful one is with their actions and behavior, the more likely they are to reaching the finish line. Two steps forward and one step back is still a step in the right direction.

Some people suffer their entire lives, which is disheartening to think about. My only advice is to take a step back and reevaluate what’s important in your life. Find what makes you sad and by all means, do something about. It’s always easier said than done, but any solution to a problem requires thinking about it. No one likes to think about the very thing that makes them sad or causes issues.

Do I want to admit I have a few issues with addiction? No. Do I want to admit I needed help? No. If I could have it my way, I’d be just an average Joe trying to find his place in the universe, but I’m far from it. I tend to gravitate towards one thing after the other and fall victim to new traps. Shit, everyone does. If you’ve yet to feel depressed for weeks at a time or wake up and tell yourself you fucking hate everything, then my god, you’re just lucky. Life can be a bitch, but how you deal with it makes all the difference. I’m not Superman and my friends have their own issues to deal with. I’m the end, we openly talk about them and give each other a hand.

The world can be a scary and awful place, but there’s two sides to every story. Dark clouds lead to brighter skies. I can’t say I have all the answers or is immune to my list of vices, but I’ll listen to everything my friends tell me and follow their word. Everyday should be looked upon as a chance for self-improvement. Old habits die hard. The feelings that harm you fade. Memories that keep you up at night grow fainter every month. Shit gets better once new experiences take over. No one remembers everything forever.

There are people I miss. Some everyday for almost ten years. There are words I wish I could take back and said differently if given a second chance. There are times I should of stopped myself but didn’t. I’ve let my closest friends down numerous times. Some have cried, felt betrayed and been belittled in my presence. I’ve failed most my life and am racing to undo it all. But this is the nature of living. It’s an imperfect world and truthfully, there’s no better time to be alive than now. Anyone who says or believes differently hasn’t seen the bigger picture.

Live now and not later, but always onwards. Later world.

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My Other Family

My aunt, uncle, and cousins from Peru moved here recently to start a new life. They’re a bit eccentric, but I’ll pass that off as differences in culture more than anything. Oh wait, but there’s more. My aunt, uncle, and cousin from China arrived here yesterday night. Just like that, my extended family grew by 5 and 3 respectively. It’s a lot to take in and all so suddenly.

My cousin Diana (it’s not really her English name but that’s a good approximation) looks so much like me. It’s scary, but that’s to be expected. It’s exactly like that episode of The Rugrats where Tommy meets his extended family from the countryside.

All my life, I’ve only known my dad’s side of the family. My beloved grandpa and grandma, aunts and uncles are from his side. I’ve never really gave it much thought as a kid — it’s just how it was for the longest time. And I’m fine with that. They are as they’ve always been, the family I love.

Just like that, it’s all different now. Call me surprised. I’m frankly not sure how to react. Should I be excited? Happy and overjoyed? I understand we’re all blood related, but I don’t know a thing about them. Language is also an issue since my Chinese is passable at best. They went from the rural countryside to the suburbs of San Gabriel Valley. Go figure. We all live blocks away from each other so they’ll be around a whole lot. From the chats I’ve had, they’ve made it abundantly clear I’m the black sheep of the family, but I am what I am. Guess I’m subverting everyone’s expectations a bit more than they expected. I mean, I grew up here all my life. What did you really expect? Everyone thinks I’m hilarious, which is nice to hear.

Questions I’ve been asked repeatedly:

  • Why do you wear earrings?
  • What’s that necklace for?
  • Why are you so tan?
  • Are you seeing anyone?
  • Do you remember *insert random family I met as a child and obviously do not remember*?

One of best aspects of getting older is gaining new perspectives. I’m wiser and more welcoming to other outlooks. It’s a very good thing. With the additions to my family, it all kind of makes sense why my mom is the way she is. Bitter. Cold. Withdrawn. She gave up all her family to move here with my dad. When her relationship with him and everyone took a turn for the worst, I can only assume it made her very unhappy and depressed — trapped even. For that, I’ll give her a pass for being just awful and terrible for all these years. I get it now. And fuck me for suddenly realizing.

She seems a lot happier and talkative — more so than any other month or year even. Does this excuse her for being an absent mother? Nope, never. If my former years of being a Christian were anything, I’ll learn to forgive her and forget it happened. My beloved grandpa use to tell me repeatedly, “You’re stuck with them forever. Might as well try to get along or at least fake it.” With that, life is too short to go on being bitter even just a little bit. Even my mom is making a turn for the better. Guess I needed this since we all deserve to be happy.

Later world.

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Two-Faced

We are constantly in battle with our two selves — the light and the dark. Good and evil. The angel on one end and the devil on the other. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I know this to be true because we have all done wrong at one point. Evil is a necessary force driving reality. We strive to be more good than bad — however intrinsically true that may be. Most only show one side of themselves — think of Facebook as the best example. It’s essentially your friend’s greatest hits in digitally digestible form. We forget they only show the best of them and it’s far from a true representation of their real lives.

Jekyll_and_Hyde_Title

The greatest evil one faces is the battle you and yourself. Who am I? I can pinpoint various states of myself. One year I was this person, a studious, and hard working individual. Another, I was reckless, disillusioned, and overcome with fear of the looming end that awaited — that feeling of emptiness lurking within. My co-workers know this to be true. They hear of the old self and wonder how this person is presented in front of them — a real far cry from the past. This isn’t without its consequences.

There’s who I am now battling against who I once was — its a state of constant unrest in the mind. Perhaps many sleepless nights and states of insomnia can be attributed to this dilemma. Only you can chose who you are, yet the old self is hard to let go, but not invincible. You can be anything you want to be, but for some it’s,

“I’ll be anything you want me to be.”

It begs the question, “Am I how I am now because I want to be or of what others think I should be?” Issues of self identity are constantly on the horizon. To make a name for yourself and to be somebody now rather than later is important. It makes the mundane have purpose as every action is now purposeful and with merit.

I wear many masks. Some more than others.

Later world.