How Are You?

“How are you?” might be the most underrated and overused question in the world.

It’s subtle. It’s simple. It can mean a myriad of different things.

It can be used for small talk – an opening statement of a conversation to a friend or colleague you haven’t seen for a long time.

It can be used for bigger conversations – a father asking a son how he is or a woman asking about his lover.

It’s simple, but also complex. It’s innocent, but also sensitive. It’s everything and nothing all in one.

How does one answer that question?

If it’s used for small talk, should be the response be just as insignificant? We’ve experienced it before: someone asking this question and then we go into a two-second decision-making sprint whether or not we say how we really are or say something generic like, “I’m okay,” or “I’m good.”

On one hand, this might be true – we are “okay” and we are “good” in every sense of the word. Maybe we’re at that point in our life that we are genuinely fine with everything that’s going on around us.

On the other hand, you and I both that the simplest of replies like “I’m okay” can just be a mask, a façade, to something bigger and deeper. The two-second mind-juggle is a time when we decide whether or not the person who asked that question deserves a generic answer or a genuine one.

Sometimes, the question “how are you?” is solely dependent on the person asking. Do we want to tell him that I’m not okay? Should I tell my friend about this secret? Do I really tell this person that I’m struggling? We decide whether or not that person is capable of knowing anything about us.

That’s the line from being a small talk conversation into a real conversation.

The question is straight-forward but we can also dodge it if we choose to.

Maybe we don’t want people knowing about our lives more than they should. Maybe we want to portray something different about ourselves.  Maybe we just want to be left alone.

Or maybe we’re just waiting for someone to ask that question. Maybe asking how you are can translate into something deeper and more genuine. From how are you they can ask how you been or what are you doing now or even further, let’s meet to catch up.

The question can sometimes be all there is and can be something more.

Maybe the question is for the person asking the query. That person is sincerely asking how you are because he or she really cares. That person is curious, wanting to know what you’ve been up to because you haven’t spoken in a long time.

The question breeds about person asking and the person being asked to.

But at the end of the day, it will always boil down  to you.

Inevitably, “how are you” is just about that: You.

Are You Lonely?

Everyone gets a little lonely sometimes, right? I guess that’s part of being human.

You wish for someone to appreciate you.

You wish for someone to acknowledge you.

You wish for someone to be proud of you.

I do believe that it’s human nature to look for someone. We weren’t created to be alone and you could say that it’s in our system to connect with others – whether it be friends, co-workers, and family.

At the end of the day, we just want to be noticed.

Life is hard as it is and taking it by your lonesome is a really tall order. But then again, technically we can live alone.

It’s nice to focus on yourself every now and then.

It’s nice not to be bothered by petty differences.

It’s nice to have your own little quiet time.

Wanting to be alone is as being human as wanting to be with someone. Being in solitude is also what makes us who we are.

Are you lonely? I guess we all are.

Do you want to be alone? I guess we all want that too.

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Do You Even Remember?

The past has a funny way of remembering

The present isn’t quite sure how to remember

The future needs not to remember at all

The mind moves forward or it think it does move forward

It moves although it’s not sure if the movement is horizontal or vertical

The mind gives peace but only for a while

A pause to the ramblings of your soul

The mind gives balance

It considers both the good and the bad

The heart yearns for our yesteryears

Calling and beckoning to heed our feelings

Succumb to them, indulge in them

But the heart also remembers pain

The heart recalls loss

The heart knows no past, present, nor future

But a state of endless emotions running back and forth between our chests

So where should you listen? To one’s heart that beats? To one’s mind that ponders?

Aren’t we all here searching? Should we even listen?

Everyone remembers and everyone forgets too; some better than others

What do we do with dreams? What do with memories?

Remembering can be as painful as forgetting

As joyful as recalling

As fruitful as learning

As heartwarming as wondering

Do you even remember?

I hope you do

I hope I do too

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What Type of Friends Do You Have?

As you get older, one undeniable fact in life you will realize is that there will only be a handful of people who will stick with you. It’s not something to be sad about, that’s just the way it is. People get older. People get married, have kids, and all that, and people lose touch. That’s the world we live in.

You may have a lot of acquaintances and contacts, but there are only a few you can your good friends you can count on; the type you can call in the middle of the night for a drink or the ones you can talk to about literally anything.

So if all your acquaintances and contacts are not really “friends,” what are they then? What’s the borderline between calling someone a friend and not a friend? Are Facebook friends still considered friends?

Humor me a bit and let’s take a closer look at the different type of friends that a person can have. The following may not be all the types that exist in the world, but here are the ones that I’ve come up with.

Also, I’m not going to discuss the boyfriend/girlfriend/bestfriend types because those are… well, pretty obvious and too easy. Of course your BFF will stay with you till the end of time!

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A) Acquaintance Friend

I guess this is pretty basic and straightforward. In reality, an acquaintance isn’t really a friend right? That’s why we call it an acquaintance. However, some people can cross that line between a person you just met into becoming a real friend. Whether you met that person in a business meeting or in a party, that one event wherein you met can just be a one-time thing or to something bigger: actually being friends.

This is more of the “Oh yeah I know him. We met in a party once last year” variety.

B) Work Friend

Work friends include your officemates, your partners, your clients, and whoever you have to deal with it at work. Work friends are obviously closer than acquaintances but somehow there’s that “line” again. Are they your close friends or are you close to them just because the circumstances in your work led you to be close? You know what I mean?

Remember, proximity breeds likeness. Relationships can be formed just because you spend countless hours doing a job with a person.

Personally, I became really good friends with the people from a company I used to work before because the circumstances led us to be close. The work was really stressful and we had no other option but to band together. And besides, they’re really cool people too so it was easy for us to be friends. Of course I wasn’t friends with the entire office and there were still those that I consider acquaintances or shallow work friends.

C) Friend from School

School friends extend to the people you met in elementary, high school, college, law school, grad school, and whatever else school is out there. I’m sure all of us have that one or two group of friends that were once our schoolmates. The bond is different I should say. Maybe because you were all young at one point – immature and discovering shit together. Also, all of you have one singular purpose in school: to graduate. That goal, together with the environment you guys are in (teachers, relationships, projects, etc) led you guys to be close and to be friends.

What’s nice about school friends are the memories that you guys share. Again, the bond is just different. I’m not saying that this is the strongest kind of friendship. No, it’s like that. It’s more of having that shared history that makes you guys feel close despite getting older.

D) I-can’t-remember-how-we-became-friends Friends

Maybe you met that person in a party, or in a business meeting, or at a friend’s house, or at a bar or just somewhere. The point is that you can’t remember where you met and why you guys are still friends. Despite this fact, you still surprisingly get along.

You possibly met through a common friend but somehow the two of you just hit it off and started hanging out even when that common friend is unavailable. You guys got close and the origins of your friendship doesn’t really matter anymore.

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E) I’m-not-really-sure-if-we’re-still-friends Friends

All your old schoolmates, old officemates, old acquaintances, and all your exes are included here. Either time has brought you distance, or maybe your friend moved far away from home, or worse that friend broke your trust.

There are tons of reasons why people leave. But guess what, you have left people too. Both sides are at fault and somehow things aren’t the way it used to be.

Are you still friends? Maybe there’s also such a thing called conditional friends – the type you only became friends because you were in a position to be friends. Perhaps it was the environment or situations you were involved in, but now, since those circumstances have changed and I’m sure each of you has individually changed too, you sadly realize that you’re not meant to be good friends.

But then again, because of that history considers you to be friends. It’s the present that’s iffy. You were close before, but how close are you with that person now?

F) Facebook Friends

Facebook Friends or Social Media Friends in general (i.e. Twitter or Instagram followers) can be really tricky. It’s obvious that someone’s 800+ friends aren’t all his friends. It’s easy to add someone on Facebook. With just a couple of clicks, some random person can automatically be your friend.

Getting someone’s Facebook is also the 21st century version of getting someone’s number. Being friends on social media is all about being cute, really. You post some random crap about your cat or dog and your “new friend” (who just might be your crush and that’s why he got your Facebook in the first place), will like your post or photo.

I do get the point of Facebook however. You do get to connect to people one way or another. The important thing is not to get used to the connection that social media gives us. Liking someone’s post or even chatting someone online shouldn’t replace actually having a conversation with a live person.

G) Friend Friend

To put it bluntly, these are your real friends. Anytime, anywhere, no matter what situation you are in life, they will always be there.

They are real in a sense that I don’t even have to explain what they are. They are real too much that as you read this, you’re already thinking who the people in your life fall into this category.

They are friends to keep.

You might meet thousands of people in your lifetime, and if you’re lucky you just might be friends with some of them. Friendship isn’t about the number of friends you have, but the relationships you formed with the people you love the most.

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Are You Ready For The New Year?

I know, I know. We’re halfway into January and I’m here asking if you’re ready for the New Year. But hey, it’s a question that you have to ask yourself again and again if you want to make this year count.

More often than not, people can get into a type of Rambo mode wherein they just go full-force towards the New Year without caution or preparation.

But I get it.

Don’t you feel empowered when the New Year comes along? Don’t you feel that sense of hope? Don’t you want to make this year mean something for a change? Are you one of those people who says those ill-fated words “Bring it on 2015”?

Of course feeling that sense of empowerment is normal. It’s human nature to look forward to new beginnings and fresh starts.

For some of us, a New Year can be like a big eraser, eliminating our past in one swoop, and a new page can be written in our lives.

For others it can be like a big bright green “Go” signal. The New Year symbolizes a start to finally begin your goals or dreams.

I get it. I like New Years too.

But can you ever be ready? Or should you even be ready?

By March this year, I’m sure most of us have already forgotten about our New Year’s resolutions, our goals, and our promises. I’m not being pessimistic; just realistic. Even if we do keep them in mind, circumstances might have changed this or that about our goals.

Are we just keeping the façade of a fresh start brought by the New Year? Are we just fooling ourselves? Are we trying to be hopeful despite the inevitable challenges that will come our way?

In a way, maybe getting ready for the New Year is a constant state of mind. Maybe we should always be ready.

Then again, maybe we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves. Maybe a New Year… is just that: a New Year. People change in a course of a very long time and they certainly don’t change from December 31 to January 1. It doesn’t happen overnight. I’m sure the aspirations you have this year will eventually happen one way or another. It may take a month, six months, or even twelve months.

The point is that whether we are ready or not for the New Year, life will come at us. Life will hurt us. It will beat us down repeatedly and without mercy. Life will uplift us. It will inspire us on our darkest days. Life will give us joy. The people who matter to you the most will stay because they love you. Life will let us experience whatever it is we have to experience in one single year.

Just let life be life and you be you.

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What Have You Learned This Past Year?

A single day can offer multiple lessons. When you consider this, it’s amazing to realize what an entire year can bring.

Amidst 365 days, you’ve probably experienced all the human emotions this world has to offer. A mixture of happiness, satisfaction, love, regret, pain, disappointment, depression, and whatnot, have all crossed your path one way or the other. A year is too long and at the same time too short not to experience everything you needed to experience.

From these wide range of experiences, we all learn.

We learn to be a little bit more cautious when trusting people. We acquire skills we never thought we could through our work. We rekindle passions and yearnings in life that we thought were long gone as we grew older. We learn, we develop, and most importantly, we grow.

On one hand, it may be difficult to pause and reflect everything that’s happened to you in one year. Some keep a journal or maybe even a blog, but somehow, no one can truly capture a year’s worth of experiences. Instead we remember moments and the emotions that stick to them. We remember them not just for this year, but these are memories that we will remember for many years to come.

It’s okay to forget the details. What’s essential are the lessons we’ve learned along the way. This may all sound cliché, but you have to admit the learnings we’ve all gathered do mean something. We might have forgotten the exact day or the time, but we won’t forget who we were with or what we felt when we were with those people.

As we move forward into another year, now is the time to look at the lessons we’ve learned, and think of ways on how to apply them moving forward. This isn’t merely undertaking a New Year’s resolution or a vow or anything (although those will help), but the way you approach the upcoming year’s challenges will be a testament if you’ve learned your lesson or not. Inevitably, you will fall. In the same way, you will also grow and rise from your mistakes and failures. The unending cycle of learning will not or should not cease.

As humans, we continue to grow, we continue to move forward.

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What’s Your Season Finale?

All the good TV show nowadays have a season finale. With the season finale, the series can have its closure, its climax or a turning point, or it can even breed new scenarios and possibilities for the upcoming season. We’ve probably all experienced the joy, sadness, suspense, and excitement of watching a TV show’s season finale.

In a way, the end of a year can be a season finale. Every human being in the entire planet can experience a LOT of things over the course of a single year. You may not notice it, you may not even admit it, but a lot has happened to you this year. Think about it. Even if you’ve been doing the same thing or being in the same job the past couple of months, you can’t say that the same thing exactly happened, right? I don’t think it’s possible at all. Things change, people change, and your own self has changed.

With the New Year upon is, what can you expect in your personal life in the next two weeks? Will you end on a good note? A sour one? One filled with redemption or forgiveness? There are a bunch of possibilities and it’s up to you to reflect and think what this past year has given you.

We all know time moves quickly, but we mustn’t forget to pause and reflect. The holidays is the perfect time to think about what you’ve gone through the past year. Think of all the hurt, pain, as well as the joy and happiness that you experienced.

The thing about season finales is that there’s always the next season. We’re not taking about a series finale or anything like that. One season can end but a new season is waiting right around the corner. Sometimes we just have to accept all the things we’ve gone through in the year and prepare for the next one.

It’s up to you to make your season finale of 2014 memorable.

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How Do You Keep The Faith?

Faith is the battle between what you believe in against what you don’t believe in. It’s a challenge between what’s going on with your mind and what’s happening right in front of you. It’s a struggle between what you see with your eyes and what you want to see with your heart. Faith is what you believe in despite everything else inside of you telling otherwise.

A friend recently asked me if I had doubts with my faith. You see, the thing about faith is that since it’s something intangible, it can disappear too. There is truth that faith can be tough like a rock – strong and sturdy – but things can happen to you that will allow it to crumble and fall.

Faith can be whatever you want to believe in. Faith in God, in people, or in yourself are all different factions of faith. Since it’s subjective, nobody can tell you what you should believe in or not. People can however guide you and help you find what you’re looking for.

The friend who asked me about faith told me not to give up. We haven’t seen each other for more than a year and have probably spoken only a handful of times the past year. Still, she urged me that in whatever I’m going through that I shouldn’t give up.

How do you keep it? How do you believe in the unknown when the things known to you are the exact opposite? How do you persevere through difficult situations in your life?

Honestly, I still don’t know how to keep it. What’s even more difficult is trying to keep it when the situation you’re in doesn’t change. Faith can’t be circumstantial in a sense that you can’t waver in your beliefs or morals just because things don’t go your way. That wouldn’t be faith right?

What you can do is continue to try. Believing to believe is a step. Believing that there has got to be more to life than this, is still something. To try to have faith is not as good as having a strong foundation in your faith, but it’s still worth trying.

Faith is still worth trying to save.

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Are You Comfortable With The Silence?

“Some people are uncomfortable with silences. Not me. I’ve never cared much for call and response.

Sometimes I will think of something to say and then I ask myself: is it worth it? And it just isn’t.”

—Miranda July, No One Belongs Here More Than You

Sculpture by Anders Krisar

 

Taken from artparasites.com

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What’s The Point?

Ever worked on something but then stop at middle and ask, “What the hell is the point of doing this?”

Yeah, those times.

Sometimes there is no point. Maybe you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing in the first place.

But in other times, you know there has to be a point to everything. You know there is an absolute purpose as to why you’re doing this or doing that. There has to be.

But knowing there is a purpose doesn’t automatically translate you fulfilling that specific purpose. Right?

Again, what if you’re doing one thing, and it’s perfectly fine and all at the start, but then you realize just when you’re about to finish that, maybe, just maybe, you wasted your time. Knowing there is something doesn’t necessarily mean that that something is yours. What if it’s for someone else? Maybe

Maybe theirs is no point. No purpose. No mission. No cosmic reason. And it’s just you, and you alone, trying to figure things out.

But then again maybe not. Either way, we have to toil and work our butts off.

We continue to grind. We put our heads down and hope for the best. We’re not quite sure of the outcome but we’ll try our damn hardest to come out on top.

Maybe there is no point, but at least I’m going somewhere. It might not be the destination I am destined to reach, but I am still going somewhere. You can be damn sure of that.

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