Saturday, September 7, 2013

Be a light

Photo from Pinterest

Many people search for their purpose in life. Without being too dramatic about it, I recently realized mine: to be a light to others.

Sometimes, when I look back at the past year, it seems as though I had been digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole, sinking into a darkness that I eventually felt I needed to get out of in order to survive. My reflections on why God had put me in that situation have so far been quite self-centered: I needed to learn to toughen up, I needed to learn some harsh realities about people and the world, I needed to realize what was important to me. All about I, Me, and Myself.

Then I realized that I wasn't alone in this darkness. Many others were feeling it too, and we were all starting to feel dark and dreary and gloomy. It was only then that I realized that God put me there to be a light in the darkness, to bring some positivity into all the negative things happening. So I tried my best to be cheerful, to focus on the positive, to lift people's spirits, to laugh with my friends, and basically try to live a life of love, one day at a time.

Now I realize that regardless of where you find yourself --whether it's an office, at home, within a group of friends, or with a loved one-- everyone is struggling. Everyone is trapped in their own darkness and dealing with their own demons, whatever they may be. I'm most definitely not exempt from this, as I have my own issues too. But instead of focusing on myself and my issues, I find that I can fight my own demons by trying to be a light in your darkness, someone who can help you fight those demons, someone who can stay positive when you feel like giving up. After all, you can only fight evil with goodness.

So as much as possible, I try not to rant (both in real life and in this blog). I focus instead on the blessings, on the everyday miracles, on seeing God work through others, on love. Maybe if I try to shine the spotlight on all the good things in life, it's only a matter of time before others see it too, and positivity will be like a good epidemic that spreads throughout the entire world.

Whether it's through this blog or in the little things that I say and do, I just hope that I have been a light for you. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Say YES!

In my first week as a full-time freelancer, I have been very, very blessed.

As I mentioned in my last post, Monday marked my first day working in advertising, when I said and thought I never would. Thankfully, I can relate to the brands that were assigned to me, and one is a brand that I actually use. I am blessed to be working in a fun environment where there is still so much potential for growth, both for the entire team and for each individual. Even if I'll only be in the office twice a week, I realized that even as a freelancer, it's still important to cultivate relationships with people. No man is an island, and you need the help of other people to survive in this jungle. And I'm happy to see as early as my first week that I am part of a group that is supportive and open.

On the days that I stayed home, I found myself falling into this routine. When I was still working full time, I got up everyday at 5:30 AM to have breakfast with my dad. Now, I'm able to wake up at 7:30 AM to have breakfast with my mom. Afterwards, I watch a bit of TV before brisk-walking on the treadmill and getting a bit of exercise. I cherish these moments because it reminds me that freelancing has given me the chance to really make time for the important things: quality time with my loved ones and taking care of my health. 

I am proud to say that for someone like me who is bordering on being a narcoleptic (I think I can fall asleep anytime, anywhere), I have not taken a single afternoon nap this entire week. I work in my room, where the bed is just a cartwheel away, but I have really been working. And so far, my hard work at putting myself out there has paid off because now I have assignments for two magazines and need to work on two advertorials as well.

I did have one apprehension though: all of their deadlines are next week. With my advertising job plus these four gigs happening simultaneously, I wasn't sure I was up to the task. And then I realized, I should JUST SAY YES. These opportunities are blessings, and you don't just turn blessings away. If He brought me to this, He will also bring me through this. And as someone who is new to freelancing, I can't afford to turn away from these opportunities. I have to be prepared to juggle all these balls and wear all these hats, and see how far I can go. If I don't push myself to the maximum, I'll never know my limit. The only way you'll know is if you try.

So yes, yes, yes! Say yes to everything! If something new comes your way and you're not sure if you can do it, just say yes! Because you never know, that may be when the magic happens and you learn just what you're capable of. Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Never say never!

If there was one thing I had been sure of after college, it was that I would never work in advertising.

I took up an Introduction to Advertising class during my junior year, and my professor had succeeded in convincing me that advertising was not a field that you entered just to see what it's like, or just for fun. If you didn't have the heart and the stomach for industry, you wouldn't survive in such a crazy world.

So I never considered it, never applied. Even if I'm a writer, copywriting is not a skill I would put in my resume, and I am no good at coming up with slogans or messages that can be communicated completely in just a phrase. My friends in advertising also told stories that confirmed that the world was, indeed, crazy. But they loved it anyway.

Today I learned that you should never say never. Because as it turns out, today was my first day working in advertising. Of course, my department is actually under the public relations group, so it's not a complete departure from what I used to do. But this job will expose me to working with clients of one of the world's top advertising, marketing, and public relations agencies. Something I never thought I would do.

I realized that in saying "never", I had effectively closed my doors on all the lessons this world could offer, on the challenges that could help me become a better professional. So, never say never. Always leave some room to change your mind about things because it's the only way to grow and learn something new.

I'm glad that I somehow found my way into this world and that I decided to open this door, even if it meant eating my words. I'm excited to see where this new journey takes me.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

On humility

During today's Mass, I realized that even if I don't read the Bible, there are certain gospel passages that I could consider favorites because of the way they resonate with me. Today's Gospel was one of those passages, mainly because its message still holds true today.

It was about taking your seat at a banquet, and how the Lord advises you against taking a seat at the presidential table, because if somebody of higher stature comes along, then you'll have to suffer the embarassment of getting kicked out of that table and slinking off to a normal table. It's better to sit at the lowest place then have the host give you an upgrade.

"Those who exalt themselves shall be humbled, and those who humble themselves shall be exalted." I love that phrase because it's so true. It feels so much better to have people recognize the work that you do without you calling any attention to yourself.

Now, the above quote is from the priest's homily, and I wasn't quite sure how it was related to the Gospel. But thinking about it, I realized it has to do with exalting yourself. Because when you see your talents as something that you worked hard for and developed all on your own, then you tend to become quite full of yourself and your accomplishments. A sense of entitlement is born too, and I really hate it when people have that.

But when you think of your talents as a gift from God, it makes you grateful. And when you have a grateful heart, it is difficult to be selfish. You naturally want to share with others, and so you end up using your talents for the good of other people.

Which, I guess, is what I've been trying to do with my blog so far. Yes, it's a personal blog. Yes, I talk a lot about what I've learned or what I've experienced. But I do it because my hope is that somehow, I will say something that means something to someone, or makes them think, or teaches them something. Words have the power to change lives, and I hope that my words will have a positive effect on others, even if I may never know their impact first-hand.

So, to whoever is reading this and wherever you may be, I hope I've said something to make this worth your while. Have a blessed week ahead!