A Balanced Life

Balance makes the world go round. Without it, everything is in disarray and that’s not a good sign.

Born under a zodiac sign Libra that represents balance (the scales), I know how important it is (for me) to keep things balanced, as much as possible. But of course, I tend to disregard this, as I didn’t think of such consequences, something that I might regret later in life.

So for this post, I’m going to share my thoughts about the importance of keeping your life balanced.

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So what makes a balanced life?

A balanced life is a healthy and productive life. It’s like when you’re taking good care of yourself (like eating something healthy), and accomplishing all your goals in life without the stress and pressure (like doing important work). It is when you prioritize and schedule your tasks accordingly, as well as knowing what’s important and what’s not.

There are times when you’re too much focused on your work that you tend to forget your physical and emotional needs. You ended up getting stressed, just because you need to finish all of your tasks in a given time. And by neglecting your health, there’s a possibility that your body is giving up on you. Remember, you’re not a machine that operates 24/7, sometimes you need to take a break.

At times, you tend to dwell on your dark past that you forget to focus on doing things that will make you happy. As a result, you missed out on a lot of fun things that you could have enjoyed had it not been for your negative way of thinking. Conflicts (particularly personal) may also disrupt life’s balance depending on how you react to it. Like, when someone is disturbing the balance by means of an upsetting situation, you tend to lose focus on whatever thing you’re doing. A peaceful environment translates to a well-balanced life, meaning you can only do well without a disruptive moment.

So are you into workouts or are you planning to be a couch potato for the rest of your life? Do you like healthy food or unhealthy food? Are you willing to do anything just to satisfy yourself or do you just take time in doing the things you love? Or maybe you prefer ‘wants’ to ‘needs’? Sometimes, your preference(s) may lead you to an unbalanced life. Maybe you’re working too hard just to satisfy yourself without even looking at the consequences of your actions. And by that, you’re being reckless when it comes to your desires.

It’s important to focus not just on the external things such as work, relationship, and activities, but also the internal things (such as what’s inside your mind and body). It’s okay to work hard, for as long as you don’t exhaust yourself too much in the long run. It’s okay to fall in love with someone, as long as you’re not too absorbed in a series of dreamy, romantic thoughts and not paying attention to your emotional well-being.

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Keeping things balanced is as simple as organizing everything in life. All you have to do is remember these tips:

  • Know your limits. Remember, you can only push yourself to do a certain amount of activities at a time, and nothing more than recommended. I understand that there are a lot of goals for you to fulfill (heck, there are even bucket lists of activities, places, and/or some items to buy) and you’re willing to work hard and save up just to achieve such goals in life. But overdoing it may put all of these goals to waste, something that you wouldn’t want in the end.
  • Schedule everything. A well-balanced life can be achieved through planning your activities in advance. Say, you are incredibly busy with your life that you don’t have much time for your hobbies. While you can always have time for work, make sure to have some for play too.
  • Stick to the plan. A little preparation may do the trick. Say that you wanted to save up for your future, then it’s necessary to prepare yourself for a little cost-cutting measure. Too many tasks? Then focus on the important (high priority) tasks first before anything else. Think you’re heading off the track? Check the list.
  • Think positively. You’ve been through a rough time lately, but that doesn’t mean you can always dwell on negative thoughts. Sometimes, the negative thoughts you have in mind may overpower your positive outlook in life. No matter what happens, make sure to have a positive outlook at all times because not all bad moments are really bad.
  • Motivate yourself. You can’t be demotivated forever, it’s like being cruel to yourself and missing out on a lot of opportunities. Motivation helps in keeping balance to your not-so-positive life, whether it’s work time or fun time. You’re empowering yourself to do something better.

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Remember, a life that’s balanced is a life that’s healthy. There may be a lot of factors that can affect your life’s balance, but there is a way to keep things in order… even if it’s a complete mess, to begin with.

A healthy, productive, and stress-free life. That’s what balance is for. You simply need to breathe in and feel relaxed as you go through the usual tasks with a clear mind and a cupful of motivation. Yup, that’s how the way it goes.


[Reference(s)]

  • Tanjeloff, Jasmin. “How to Create a Balanced Life: 9 Tips to Feel Calm and Grounded.” Tiny Buddha. N.p., 11 Jan. 2015. Web. 03 Oct. 2017. ^
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A Prank Goes Overboard

Pranks can be entertaining if it doesn’t hurt anybody, right?

Many years ago, my friends are much into pranks, and I don’t have a problem with it. However, not all of their pranks are funny, sometimes it ended up in a not-so-good manner that the fun part ends. You can always say that a simple prank will always be a simple prank until something else happens.

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Pranks are something to laugh or cringe about. It can be a simple practical joke or a hardcore one that may cause injuries or may cost you your friendship with the person you played a prank at. Just so you know, it is supposed to be a nonviolent way of having fun, but it’s considered bullying if it involves violence or cruelty, and/or if it’s done in a not-so-good manner.

Okay, so what is the actual definition of the word prank? The word prank is synonymous with playing tricks/practical jokes on someone and ends up with a good laugh. It is always attributed to mischief or a wicked deed, but it is meant to be a lighthearted way of surprising someone or make a person feel humbled or foolish, but not victimized or humiliated.^

But there are some people who would use this as an opportunity to victimize people, inducing fear or rage to their victims. The victims, in response, may either retaliate or suffer from a mix of depression, fear, or frustration over a mean prank. The worst case of response can be really deadly.

I don’t mean to be a killjoy when it comes to these kinds of things. It’s just that some people tend to overdo it at times, and it isn’t really nice at all.

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What happens when a prank goes overboard?

  • There’s a possibility of an accident–Sometimes, people do outrageous pranks that may cause accidents to pranksters and/or their victims. Since pranks are usually done with a surprise attack, there’s a possibility of an accident if the person executing the prank isn’t careful.
  • It becomes a case of bullying–If it’s done cruelly, it automatically becomes bullying. And bullying is no fun.
  • It ends up in violence–If the victim didn’t like what the prankster did to him/her, then there’s a possibility of a violent retaliation. It could be a brawl between a prankster and a victim, or a victim pulling a gun at the prankster.
  • It may end up in a legal case–If the prank ends up in an accident that leads to a victim’s disability or death, there’s a chance that the victim’s family may file a charge against the pranksters.
  • You may be liable for damage to property–Some pranks may end up in arson and property damage, prompting the owner/s to make the pranksters pay for all the damages the prank has caused.
  • You may be liable for such disruptions–Well, there are some pranks that may cause alarm to some people in the vicinity. Bomb jokes, gun toting folks (using fake guns), fake threats, etc., may cause a great deal of commotion that these are no longer considered as pranks, but a case of disturbance that may end up in a legal case against the perpetrator.
  • It may cost you your future–Take note of this. If a prank goes wrong and involves a series of unfortunate incidents such as arson, property damage or the death of a victim, then there’s a chance that these pranksters may get more than a simple punishment. For students, it may be a suspension or an expulsion, depending on the gravity of their actions. For seniors, it means being barred from attending school graduation. As for the rest, it’s criminal liability. Whatever it is, your future is tainted.

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All right, so there are some cases where a prank goes overboard. It’s a great deal of trouble to get yourself involved in doing outrageous pranks against a potential victim, but you’re in a bigger trouble if your pranks involve someone getting hurt or seriously injured… or worse, sustain life threatening injuries that may lead to death. Of course, you’re always responsible for your actions, so don’t even think of pulling a prank on someone and run off when things go wrong and leave your victim/s in a great deal of pain.

Not all pranks are bad. But of course, you certainly knew better than to do outrageous things that may cause harm or trouble.

Something To Look Forward To

Exciting times ahead!

We tend to get excited for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s an upcoming outing, a new TV series, infrastructure projects under construction, we simply can’t hide our excitement when these things finally happen and come to fruition. Worth the wait, they say.

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When we look forward to something, we tend to smile a lot and we tend to be restless a lot. Good things are bound to come in the end, no matter how long it will take.

Our excitement grew the moment we anticipate the best thing that will happen sooner or later. It’s unavoidable, and it’s unstoppable. But of course, we should be aware that the excitement may turn into disappointment in case the anticipated event never came or the so-called good things in life aren’t really worth the wait.

A certain excitement comes with an expectation that may determine whether the good things in life are really worth looking forward to. Of course, once we get there, the happiness we experience can be truly priceless depending on how much you actually look forward to it. But it’s more than just the expression on their faces, it’s the fun and excitement that comes during the event, the moment they start watching the series, visiting a newly-opened place, or trying out newly-bought items (such as gadgets or appliances).

Well, this kind of anticipation always happens when something good is bound to happen. I guess it’s pretty normal, at least for some of us. After all, we deserve something wonderful when that moment comes.

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Anticipation is a state of expectation or excitement about an upcoming event or situation. It is a state of suspense and expectancy.^ So it’s all about the joy of knowing that something good is bound to happen, maybe through a surprise announcement or a declaration.

We all anticipate the happiest experiences in life. Usually, the brain is always wired to anticipate positive experiences, as opposed to negative experiences. It’s due to dopamine stimulation, which happens when we experience and expect good things. Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter that’s released from the brain’s frontal lobe and acts as a stimulant that prevents pain, stimulates arousal and causes excitement.^ So the moment we anticipate the good things in life, we know the reason why we’re so happy about it.

And speaking of experiences, past experiences also play a role in anticipation. So for example, you’ve been to an otaku event and you really enjoyed being there very much, then chances are you’re looking forward to visiting the next otaku event and may start anticipating for that much-awaited event to happen. Of course, you might as well be preparing to go to another otaku event the moment it’s announced.

Technically, this isn’t all about the prediction of good things that will happen soon, but rather it’s an emotional expectation filled with delight, pleasure, excitement… even anxiety. But yeah, it centers on happiness since we’re talking about the good things that are bound to happen. Would you rather look forward to the worst moment in your life? That just doesn’t sound right.

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So, the moment you start thinking about the next visit or something you’ve been eyeing on, this is how you anticipate the good things in life. You deserve to get excited about it, and that’s how you look forward to it.

Keihancarl’s Guide To Budget City Travel

Once again, this is me Keihancarl, your fashionable city traveler. In the last five years, I’ve always visited a lot of places in the metro, particularly shopping malls and townships, sometimes parks and downtown areas. It’s becoming an obsession for me, but it is something that I enjoy very much that I often do this.

Yes, every city travel comes with an expense, mostly on food and transportation fare. But how can I enjoy a city travel without having to spend too much?

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You don’t have to spend too much just for a nice travel in the city. Here are some of my tips for a worry-free budget travel:

  • Plan ahead–Yes, there’s no better way than to plan your [city] trip ahead. It doesn’t matter whether it’s inside or outside Metro Manila, or even outside the country. But let’s focus on the former, as this is the primary focus of this post. Anyway, planning ahead is essentially helpful not just in avoiding traffic or following your intended itinerary, but also for your budget since you wouldn’t have to take too much transportation just to get to a place, which is accessible by just a single jeepney/bus/van/train ride.
  • Do some research–Of course, part of planning for a city trip (especially if it’s your first time going there) is doing some research on how to get there, which shops offer the best deals, trying out great food at an affordable price, upcoming events, and so on.
  • Budget everything and keep track of your expenses–This is a must for budget travelers for we sometimes don’t stick to our budget and tend to spend too much on anything (food, shopping, amusement) without tracking the expenses. Also, it’s important to set aside some budget for emergency situations, these may come in handy if something unexpected happens. Always remember to have a breakdown of expenses, to see where your pocket money goes. Alternatively, you can always calculate on how much you’ve already spent along the way, to see how much pocket money you have left.
  • Follow the one-way rule–All right, so I probably made this up, but the purpose of this rule is to be able to visit every place on your itinerary while following a single direction, from the nearest (first) destination up to the farthest (last) destination and either going straight back or taking a different route to the starting point. Of course, there are times when your starting point is in the middle of the two destinations. In that case, you’ll have to prioritize the possible first destination on either side of the stretch, depending on your preference. This is mainly for time management, but of course, this can be economical too.
  • Visit as many places as possible on a single trip–Don’t just focus on visiting a single place just to spend an hour and then heading back afterwards, especially if it’s located far from your place. If you’re planning on visiting another place within the same vicinity, then why not do it on the same day instead of another time? Combining two or more places to visit within the same area or vicinity is much more economical than visiting other places at different times.
  • Consider walking, especially if it’s just a short distance to your next destination–Nothing beats walking to the next nearest destination. It’s economical and healthy at the same time.
  • Cut back on unnecessary expenses–This you should always keep in mind, especially if you’re doing a little shopping on the side. A little luxury isn’t a bad idea, but if you’re on a budget city travel then you should know better than buying some useless stuff (that you’ll never need eventually) or drinking expensive coffee. Priorities, my dear.
  • Try bringing some snacks with you–Or alternatively, you can buy some food and drinks (like biscuits, fruit juices or some chips) at the supermarket. Although you can buy these at a convenience store, chances are they’re a little expensive unless you wouldn’t mind paying a little extra for it.

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Oh, what fun it is to go out and visit a lot of places! But of course, there’s always a good reason to be mindful of your spending habits, especially if you tend to spend a lot of money on such luxury. There’s no need for you to spend too much, all it takes is careful planning and budgeting the trip.

So from here on, may you have a fun and safe travel… on a budget!

The Dangers Of Wearing All-Black

Nowadays, I always find myself wearing an all-black outfit whenever I go out. Of course, I always look good on it. But it seems like I’m casting bad vibes, and others might think that I’m so dull or depressed that I always wear black.

All right, so I think there are some cases wherein I don’t feel good when I’m wearing an all-black outfit. Though this is a rare occurrence (color doesn’t have anything to do with it), I sometimes find myself feeling anxious about something. Sometimes, I have negative thoughts while walking down the street, while listening to some depressing music. So am I being emo then?

Admit it or not, black is the preferred choice of color among teenagers, young adults… even older people. Rock stars and goths are always seen wearing all-black, and some serious folks too. Protesters sometimes wear black to express their disappointment over a certain [national] issue.

Even though I love wearing an all-black outfit, I sometimes have mixed thoughts about it… something that can be of serious concern just in case I have a hard time getting over it. I mean, I wear all-black whenever I go out, I wear all black when I feel like expressing my dark, depressive thoughts, and so on. I just imagine myself wearing all-black for the rest of my life, looking dull and serious and unfriendly and depressed. Sometimes, I really need a break from wearing this monotonous, dark outfit.

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So what makes wearing all-black dangerous, in a certain way?

  • Wearing an all-black outfit brings out the emo in you. Well, this may not sound dangerous at first, but it has anything to do with the feeling of angst and depression while wearing it… more of like having a mood swing. Also, since black is often associated with negativity, you might be casting bad vibes while donning your favorite all-black outfit in public.
  • In some cultures, black is the color of mourning. Therefore, wearing all-black gives the impression that you’re attending a funeral or you’re mourning for someone’s loss.
  • Wearing all-black clothing may be beneficial to your figure as it makes you look slimmer. However, for some people, wearing all-black can highlight dark lines under the chin, shadows around the eyes, and wrinkles on the face… in other words, it ages the face, according to experts.^
  • Wearing an all-black outfit carries some safety risks, especially at night due to the lack of its reflective properties. Since an all-black outfit can make you look invisible in the darkness, there’s the possibility of an accident happening, like getting hit by a car while walking down a dark alley.
  • Black absorbs light and heat. So yeah, wearing all-black under the sun is not advisable… unless [some of] the black clothing is made of light material.
  • An all-black outfit can make a person look intimidating and powerful. It’s not surprising, given the fact that the color black is associated with authority and power.
  • Black represents elegance and formality, as in black suit and tie, but wearing a black shirt to match with the black suit and tie ruins it.

Well, you can always wear black and there’s no way I can stop you from wearing all-black. But here are some suggestions that can try so you don’t always have to wear all-black all the time:

  • Add some color to your inner clothing to break the monotony. Any color will do, even darker ones.
  • Try wearing colored socks or footwear. At least, there’s some color in your outfit without having to compromise on you all-black outfit.
  • For formal outfits, if you’re wearing a black suit and tie, always consider light colors for the shirt. Dark colors for the shirt works too, for as long as it’s not too dark to nearly match the black suit.
  • If you’re still insisting on wearing all-black including accessories, then why not try adding a splash of dark gray to your outfit? Black and gray really do complement well in some cases.

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Of course, there are times when you couldn’t resist wearing all-black, especially if it really looks good on you. Black is elegant, black is formal, black is exquisitely attractive… anything that you can best describe the color synonymous with darkness and negativity. Well, I can always wear all-black if I feel like it.

But there are times when we need to consider the disadvantages of wearing an all-black outfit, as this may have a negative effect on a person wearing it. So make sure to wear all-black in moderation.

i150W: Popularity Is…

Popularity is being admired by someone, or by many people for your good qualities and performance. It is something that we deserve if it’s something good, but something that we don’t deserve if it’s something bad.

Popularity comes with a great deal of responsibility so make sure you maintain a good image. Although you can achieve popularity by doing illicit, scandalous or controversial acts, you will never have a lot of fans.

Popularity is not permanent. In fact, some people tend to lose popularity after a certain period of time or when they did something terrible to others. Lack of interest is also seen as a reason for their decline.

But popularity isn’t actually limited to people. It also applies to items such as food, gadgets, and some consumer products. And some places and trending stories too.

People, items, places… Yup, popularity makes the world go round, all the time.

#Throwback: Lagro Revisited

August 23, 2014

These days, I find myself frequenting the area often for three reasons. First, it’s the shawarma place at the far end of the village and the milk tea place near the school. Second, I feel like visiting the place, especially the area near the high school where I graduated. And lastly, I was hoping to run into some of my high school classmates who lived in the area, especially the ones in my freshman and junior years.

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It was more than seven years since I graduated from high school and about three years since I last step foot on the campus. To be honest, it was kind of awkward to just pass by the school without a reason. But then, I suddenly had the urge to have a beef shawarma after seeing some posts on Facebook, as well as some reviews about the shawarma place (in the area). And that’s how I spent my Saturday afternoon with a weird smile on my face as I try out their beef shawarma and passing by my high school, despite not feeling well due to a persistent cough with a sore throat…

I took a deep breath as I begin my trip. Having realized I’ve run out of Tic Tacs, I passed by a 7-11 branch in Novaliches to buy a pack. Well, the flavor I just bought was a strawberry flavor called “Strawberry Fields”, something that’s previously not available (I think). I was quite curious about the newly introduced flavor that I decided to buy that one instead of the usual spearmint or fresh mint flavors.

After a quick visit to a mall in Novaliches, I then head on to my destination… the shawarma place in Lagro, a jeepney ride from the Novaliches Proper. Of course, I decided to get off near the church (Our Lady Of Ascension) and walk the rest of the path towards the destination. I don’t know, but my heart skipped a bit since some of my high school classmates are living in the area, yet I managed to shake off this strange feeling by listening to some feel good music on my MP3 player. I took a moment to enjoy my stroll along the quiet streets in the residential village while heading to the shawarma place. And I did get to see my high school once again. And yes, I noticed some of the changes since I graduated from that school back in 2007, such as the additional school building near the cafeteria, as well as the renovated gate arch.

Reaching the shawarma place, I ordered a beef shawarma and sat down at the table beside the window. I took a moment to dig into the savory taste of beef shawarma with cheese as I observed the quiet street, with a few cars passing by and all that. After finishing the beef shawarma, I got up and walked to the highway to take a jeepney ride to SM Fairview/Fairview Terraces.

Later that day, I bought a small tripod, for use with my monopod that I just bought two weeks ago. It wasn’t exactly a good tripod to use as the monopod’s base due to stability… but never mind, I didn’t feel like using that cheap tripod anyway.

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To visit Lagro again after a few years is like revisiting the good memories I had during my high school years. Until now, I always keep coming back to the area, especially since I just found a perfect place to relax and it’s just in front of the barangay hall near the school. Yup, it’s the milk tea place that I always frequent whenever I feel like visiting the place, mainly for nostalgic reasons.

There are a few changes, such as some buildings in my high school and the building at the barangay hall complex, as well as some business establishments along Ascension Avenue and Bristol Street. Except for some changes, everything remains the same as during my high school years.

That moment… it was kind of exciting and awkward at the same time. But then, I feel attached to the place where my high school is, so why should I feel awkward about it? Of course, the weird feeling wears off the more I frequent the place. But still, I need to overcome my awkwardness and shyness, just in case I happen to run into some of my high school friends and classmates.

My high school, the shawarma place, and the milk tea place… my high school friends and classmates… and of course, my high school memories. Yes, dear Lagro, you are definitely worth revisiting.

A Grudge Caused By A Miserable Past [E]

There are some things to be ungrateful about, and some things to despise about. It’s a cruel life, after all.

Until now, the feeling of resentment and hatred towards some unwanted people remain. These unwanted people are the primary cause of a certain misery that later becomes a painful memory that is meant to be forgotten, but they always keep coming back as if they’re a part of your life.

Of course, these unwanted people keep bugging you despite the efforts to distance yourself from them. Just as I was about to live a peaceful life, assuming that they wouldn’t bother me anymore, I was surprised (and later, annoyed) that some jerk added me to a group consisting of my senior-year high school classmates. Yes, the IV-Chromium people, the ones responsible for some of their cruel deeds including the backpack incident (see here), false attributions, and some offending pranks. Well, it appears that they’ve been wondering about me and how I was doing. That online meeting later becomes a reunion, in which I was invited by 2 of my female classmates, but of course, I declined… in an unfriendly manner and walked out immediately. I manage a score on this one, and I consider this as one of my proud achievements.

Of course, this is not the only case of a grudge caused by a miserable past. There are some others, but there’s no need for me to mention any of it. These are mainly limited to some of my former classmates, particularly in elementary and high school.

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Holding grudges against someone who makes your life miserable is pretty normal, especially if you are belittled and bullied in the past. But it may cause unhappiness too.

Yes, we all have our reasons for holding grudges. One of the reasons is that we always believe what these bad people did to their victim(s) was unforgivable, and they don’t deserve to be forgiven. They’ve wronged you and now they’re trying to act nice to you… this makes your miserable life even more miserable. I just hate the fact when these bad people become good people as they mature. I can always see negative traits in some of these people, just because I’m being judgmental. Besides, they’re still mocking me whenever I said something terrible to them. It just shows that these people didn’t change at all.

All right, so is the phrase “forgive and forget” still applicable to you, after all the terrible things they did to you years ago? Depends. But one thing is for sure: the painful memories of your miserable past will remain forever and there’s no way you’ll forget it completely. Some people carry their personal grudges with them to their grave, which is kind of amusing.

Perhaps, I was laughing at the possibility of some of my so-called friends getting hurt with my relentless comments aimed specifically at them, and pretending not to know them as if I’ve completely forgotten them. I was probably laughing at the possibility that these so-called friends would comment on how I’ve changed drastically since the high school graduation. Oh well, that can’t be helped. The damage has been done and I’ve officially severed ties with them. But deep inside, I knew I’m hurting myself too… but not to the point where I’m gonna retract what I’ve said against them.

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Grudge and misery are best friends. In fact, misery is the root of grudge and hatred against a specific individual or a group… even to the entire world. You keep commenting on how terrible they are, or how evil they are. You keep blaming them for all your misfortunes. And of course, you keep pointing your finger at them as the people who ruined your life because of their cruel deeds.

Of course, holding on to your [personal] grudge can be harmful to your well-being, and dwelling on your miserable past may cause a great deal of anguish, especially if you happen to recall an unfortunate, painful chapter in your life that you hopelessly try to forget. It’s like carrying a heavy burden on your back… you just keep on suffering from the heavy weight of your anger and hatred that it really hurts in the long run.

All right, I might sound like a hypocrite by giving bits of advice that I, myself, don’t generally follow, but letting go of that heavy burden on your back (your personal grudges, etc.) can free you from this misery. Well, that may not completely erase your painful memories of your miserable past, but this should speed up your [emotional] healing process, something that takes weeks, months, years… even decades for a person to recover from a great deal anguish caused by some thoughtless people’s actions.

Lighten up. Remember that not all people are bad, and some of them have completely shed off their evil, cruel ways. They’re reaching out to you to see how you’re doing, or to compensate from their wrongdoing. There’s no need to judge them as if they’re the same person as before.

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All this time, I was thinking of making up with some of my classmates… but that depends if it will ever happen or not. Maybe in about twenty-five years or so?

To be honest, what I read in some sites about revenge and moving on really hit me hard. I mean, they’re the only people who thought about inviting me to some kind of reunion and I keep turning them down. Funny, isn’t it? Yeah, I wasn’t really that appreciative of their invitation, but at least they haven’t completely forgotten me.

But that was that. After all, I’m still not sold to their invitation and I caused enough damage just to leave me alone. I’ve completely detached myself from them. Although I still have some of my friends, they had forgotten all about me. It’s a curse, really.

So this made me rethink about holding on to my personal grudges against that group of people. Am I right in shunning them outright? Maybe yes, maybe not. Maybe they were trying to surprise me with an apology. Who knows? But then, I’m not a stupid person to fall for their tricks… ever. So I’m holding on to it for the time being. Sad ending for this post, perhaps, but I’m being realistic here.

The Popularity Contest / Being With A Group [Ax2]

The Popularity Contest

We all aspire to be popular one day. But if someone is aiming to be popular on the same field as yours, then it means competition. And competitions can get intense with every achievement that person garners.

Let’s face it, popularity and competition do coexist. In fact, it happens everywhere… at home, at school, at the office, and in show business. But first, let’s focus on the actual meaning of popularity and its relation to rivalry and competition, which is the topic for this post.

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Popularity is the state of being popular. It is like being in a center of a group of people, the ones surrounding you are those who love and like you. The current definition of popularity means “fact or condition of being well liked by the people” according to Etymology Online.^

Now, what it means to be popular? There are a lot of ways to gain attention and gain popularity. It could be a simple praise for a good work, a better performance, a success, an achievement, or a scandalous act. Popularity can be a good or bad thing, depending on what you’re doing.

The reason why some people are popular among their peers is that of their ability to perform their job better than others and/or by their good looks and proper attitude. Some people become viral because they looked strikingly similar to a celebrity or they can sing like a celebrity. Anyway, once a person becomes popular among others, some might strive hard just to outdo that person. And that’s how the rivalry is born.

When there’s popularity, there’s rivalry. In fact, there are cases where the better performers are competing to be the best among the rest. And since I mentioned rivalry, the top two performers are the ones who hate each other… more of a protagonist-antagonist type of rivalry I often see on TV. They’re both popular (when it comes to their good performance), but only one of them is much more popular than the other.

The evils of popularity may end in an unfriendly feud. There are crabs (people who possess crab mentality) who are competing with a certain person when it comes to a particular field or interest but cannot beat them due to that person’s exceptional ability. The unfortunate ones will do what they can to bring the person down, just to halt their progress and to push them below their level. Now, isn’t that kind of sad?

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Moving on to the actual definition of the title of this post, it is a hypothetical contest in which the winner is determined by the most number of votes, like in a pageant for example. The reason why a person wins is that he/she is the most liked contestant.^

But a popularity contest does not usually happen in pageants or competitions, but it can also happen in real life. As mentioned earlier in this post, popularity and competition can coexist and there’s rivalry in popularity. It is determined by who among the siblings are favored or who among the boys at school are the typical boy-next-door type. It can also determine who is the better performer among the group of people at school or at the office.

There are some negative connotations about this, and one of them is favoritism. Also. there are some cases which favor beauty over brains, like the attractively beautiful person who lacks intelligence over the unattractive person who is highly intellectual. And there’s also aggression, in which a [highly revered] popular person will use influence to do harm to a person (usually a rival), physically and/or emotionally. Popularity contests may turn into bullying, should the rivalry goes intense.

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Friendly or non-friendly, these popularity contests seems like a competitive problem that needs to be addressed. Popular or not, everybody needs to be treated equally. Remember, popularity needs no contests or rivalries… it’s hard work and good attitude that matters.


Being With A Group

It feels nice to be with a group, isn’t it? But for those who don’t experience being part of a group, I share your pain.

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What it feels like to be with a group of close friends? Well, it’s an overwhelming feeling of happiness and closeness, as well as the feeling of acceptance. It sure gives an impression that you’re not alone in this world. Isn’t that nice?

For starters, being with a group gives a feeling of motivation and security. It is when you and your group mates share the same goal, eventually leading to progress. It’s also like having a support group when you or one of your group mates are facing a certain hardship, and the rest are ready to help someone who’s in need. As a group, you all promise to stay close to one another and never forget one another. It’s a close-knit camaraderie.

And then there’s the dark side of being in a group. For starters, you need to act like the others in order for you to feel like you belong in that group, even if you don’t want to. Trying to stand out and being different from the rest means being a misfit and a nonconformist, something that others may see as a reason to cut you off from the group. Also, you might as well deal with some idiots who are obnoxious and inconsiderate towards the subservient minority. As long as they have their way, you can never be treated fairly like the others. And there’s no point in reforming their evil ways…

Loyalty is also an issue, as your group mates will expect you to stick with them and you’re not free to make any new friends outside of the group. If it’s for the sake of friendship, then let me disappoint you with this: it’s not friendship they’re after, period. You belong to them. And yes, there are some cases wherein you can never refuse to a certain invitation or an offer… for them, they don’t accept no for an answer. More of a peer pressure, perhaps.^

Sometimes, it’s best to be on your own, especially if you’re a perfectionist. Just imagine if some of your group mates aren’t that cooperative and they keep messing up their tasks and not meeting your high expectations… it’s a huge disappointment on your part.

The most disappointing part of joining a group is the possibility of being rejected. You try to join them, but they turn you away. It’s kind of sad, to be honest. No wonder why loners exist and some of them ditch the idea of joining another group. This is a harsh reality, right?

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In the end, there’s no stopping you from joining a group, despite the fact that there’s be a possibility of facing rejection just because you’re different from them. But this is not the case for every group, just so you know.

Yes, not all groups are alike, but I’m pretty sure that there’s always a group where you’ll fit in. It’s up to you if you want to join or not.

The Makeover

If looking good is your kind of obsession, then you’re on your way to being creative and creating a unique identity that you can call your own.

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Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with creating your own look, for as long as you don’t look like an overdressed clown. In fact, I come up with a creative idea of experimenting with an unusual hairstyle, with a hair similar to Wolverine, with a fringe. I even go to class with that kind of hairstyle and I got quite an attention from my classmates. Of course, I didn’t get into trouble at my college for sporting that kind of hairstyle so I was quite relieved. But the stickiness of hair wax makes it impossible for me to maintain this kind of hairstyle so I only do this on occasion.

I also have this habit of shaving my facial hair before going out. Yes, it’s quite normal for a twenty-six-year-old guy like me to have facial hair, but I hate it. I was thinking of using hair removal cream just to deal with this kind of problem, but I don’t think there are hair removal creams in the market that are suitable for the face. So that means I’m stuck with shaving razors for the time being?

Okay, so I’m thinking of donning a bowl cut and switching back to wire-framed glasses in order to achieve a geeky look. I already achieved the geeky look by means of wearing collared shirts under my knitted vest, so why not achieve that kind of look with a suitable hairstyle? It’s not a bad idea to try something new, right?

Looking good doesn’t always focus on outfits, but also the physical appearance. So if it’s unappealing for you to have facial hair, then you can just shave it off. If it’s unattractive for you to have visible pores, then just apply makeup to it. But some people may want to spend a few hundred bucks just to achieve their desired look. I don’t see a problem with that, but if it means breaking the bank, then you’re doing it the wrong way… economically speaking. There’s no need for you to spend an outrageous amount of money on various cosmetic procedures unless you’re fine with it.

And how about your figure? Do you prefer liposuctions or do you prefer workouts? Well, I’m divided on this one since I’m pretty skeptical about the surgical version of a body enhancement and its effectiveness, and I’m not sure if I can do various workouts since I tend to have allergic reactions after every session (not exactly a session, but a five or ten-minute workout). As much as I want to have a perfect slim body, the chances of achieving it could be low… at least for me, given these circumstances.

Right now, the only way for me to achieve this youthful look is through my hairstyle and shaving my facial hair, in addition to choosing a suitable outfit for an ambitious guy like me. Oh well, that figures… I’m not getting any younger, you know?

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So here are some of my fantasy makeover ideas… provided that I have the guts to do this (and I can really do this):

  • Long hair or short hair? With long hair, I’m aiming for a spiky hairstyle, even if I find it difficult to style my hair like that. But most of the time, I usually stick to the usual two-by-three haircut which is actually the prescribed haircut in schools, but it’s not just the students who are sporting this kind of hairstyle. At times, it’s a crew cut. Maybe I should try bowl-cut next, I really fancy that one but I don’t know if my trusty barber would do it.
  • Am I gonna dye my hair? Probably. Or maybe just a streak of color, preferably red or violet.
  • Facial hair is kind of unsightly. And so is the hair on my legs, underarms, and the [unmentionable] g-area. The shaving razor should do, but be careful not to cut yourself. Eventually, I might consider hair removal creams or some hair removal procedures (which can be costly).
  • I’m considering doing workouts for my [desired] body figure, if not for the allergic reactions I got from doing exercise or too much brisk walking and running as if I’m in a hurry.
  • Choosing the right outfit can make you look good and feel good. Of course, you need to make sure that the outfit really suits you.
  • Accessories can enhance your otherwise plain look. Just remember not to accessorize too much.

These are my incomplete ideas for a perfect makeover. Oh well, I’m not keen on anything that involves surgical procedures, so I’m focusing on my hair, my face and my outfit. Remember. a good look can be achieved without having to deal with surgery and/or spending a lot of money just for that purpose.