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Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Dilemma of the Times

Technology has all of us on our feet all the time. Gadgets are coming out in different shapes and form and we are left with so many choices, it is almost appalling.
Do we wonder why we are constantly scrambling to do things as if time is so squeezed we can barely fit any chore in it? Give an honest answer, for once. How much time do we waste each day on distractions like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, e-mails and the eight hundred apps or so residing in our mobile devices? Do we wonder why we have a phone, and we don’t even call people anymore? I do.

I always catch myself updating on the latest happenings and interests around the globe through Twitter. I always catch myself giving inputs and insights on my Facebook wall about the things that I’m currently preoccupied with and interested in. What a life!
Sometimes when my morning alarm rings which is conveniently carried out by my iPhone, I catch myself clicking on the Facebook app even when my eyes are still half-open. Why is that so? It seem as though there is this hunger to connect to the world in real-time every second of the day and these modern-day social networking tools made it a possibility for us to dwell into that need. Woe me!

I have a few laptops and other gadgets that I barely touch because everything is easier with the mobile phones and the apps. I have other gadgets that I don’t even bother to use like Kindle, a Macbook, iREx reader, iPods, DS because it’s almost redundant and much more complicated to jump from one device to another when all we needed is to be connected to the world. In the end all these devices sit in the corner and gather dust while they start getting obsolete by the minute. What a waste!

There is so much information overload, and if we are not careful about limiting the information that we take on a daily basis, we end up wasting our life away on technological distractions. We end up losing sight of the bigger picture. Life in all its simplicity is still the best way to live.

Yet, with new gadgets looming in the horizon and more promise of technological innovation and mobility, there seem to be no end to this growing dilemma. In fact, I’ve been itching to get an iPad and the only thing that is holding me off is the buzz that Apple will soon release its latest, more improved version.

But honestly, I’m at a point where I’m not that crazy anymore about gadgets. All these years, I have learned that these toys are only exciting to hold the first time after unboxing them. After that, the thrill is gone plus, unless you are truly utilizing the gadget to help you out on a daily basis with your career or business, much of these devices don’t actually improve your quality of life.

For now, I will stay away as far as possible from technological distractions; limit my playing time with my gadgets; enjoy life through healthy food, yoga, exercise, friends, nature & outdoors, my family; and continue my pursuit for career advancement. This I promise to myself and I intend to keep it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Year That Was…2009: Hello 2010!

Time flies. I remember how everything just blew down on us like a whirlwind from the recession to the bailouts, from war and still more war, from ponzi schemes to the unbearable market losses, from the enormous unemployment rate to still a staggeringly high number of people still unemployed, 2009, came and stayed like a dark cloud without any silver lining.

A lot of people in the U.S. are still finding answers. A lot of people around the globe are still groping in the dark. Suffering and war have not eased up a bit. Chaos and indifference still loom everywhere. Add to that the ever growing fear of a catastrophic pig flu outbreak, and this world seemed like a sad place to be in.

Horrid as it is, media and the authorities tried their best to project a less daunting future for all of us, as if everything is under control and things will get better soon.

I don’t see anything promising at all for the near future. The war will remain. More war will brew in places unheard of. The global community will still be suffering and none of these scientific breakthroughs can even secure our future and assure us that a global pandemic resulting from new virus strains will always be preventable.

Global warming has supposedly showed it signs, when icebergs melted and were transported to warm waters near the Australian region. A global summit was called to protect the environment and ease the effects of global warming, yet, the people who were there couldn’t even agree on how to fairly distribute the global budget amongst participating nations.

Sometimes, it’s easier to think that this world is without hope. It’s more comforting to think that the end is near. Then you can rest on your laurels and say that the apocalypse is here. Let us just enjoy life, have fun, and not even try to correct what is wrong. We can also redirect all our energies, thinking that the end is near, to salvaging humankind by doing good for a Godly purpose.

It is exasperating to really try to grasp everything that’s happening around us. Will there be hope for our children and our children’s children? Will there be a world for them to enjoy and cherish?

I guess the answer to that is as black as night. None of us know what the future holds. We can only surmise that our best efforts addressed at making this world a better place will hold up and offer some hope for a savable future.

In a sense, we are all a contributor to whatever happens ahead. Every little thing adds up, thus, we should all be aware of the choices we make now.

Let us all look back, assess our course. Have we steered clear on our paths? Were there any major blunders that we could have prevented? Is there still time to correct the wrongs we’ve done?

Whatever this year has marked in our lives, 2009 won’t stay that long. The New Year 2010 is here. Let us embrace the New Year with an enthused spirit, a renewed courage, an enlightened faith and an unwavering resolve that whatever this year offers we will survive it with an unflinching spirit.

Happy 2010!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

For These Desperate Times: A Few Measures You Could Take

On spending:

1. Use coupons when you shop.

2. Never pay full price for an item.

3. Always prepare a list of things you need to buy before going shopping.

4. Go for what's on sale. Be ready to try other brands.

5. Stay away from mail-in ads and mail-in shopping mags.


On saving:

1. Live below your means.

2. Save at least 20% of your pre-tax earnings.

3. Limit use of credit cards and if you have to, always pay the full amount due each month.

4. Go on a budget and stick to it.

5. Shop less often; shop in bulk.


Earn a little extra on the side:

1. Get a little extra hour of job at snagajob.com.

2. You probably have some stuff you can sell at online sites like amazon.com, ebay.com, etsy.com, half.com.

3. Consider getting a home-based job or business that will cut costs.

4. Ever heard about dropshipping? If you like to do online business without the inventory, this may be a business for you.

5. Are you an authority on a subject? There's a lot of opportunities online, e.g., blogging that may give you a few bucks each month.


Meanwhile the other worthwhile things you can do:

1. Perform CPE (Continuing Professional Education) or get an A+ Certification. There's an ample resource of free study materials online that can help elevate your career.

2. Take care of your health by exercising and dieting. You'll save on medical bills.

3. Support a cause or volunteer for a group. Check out dosomething.org or freerice.org.

4. Spend more time bonding with the family. We could all use a good circle of support in these stressful times.

5. Enjoy the free things in life. Go back to nature and the bounty it offers.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cool Stuff: Grooveshark Widget

I love music. Guess, all of us do.

It doesn't matter what kind of music you like, but we all can agree that music is the universal language of the heart.

Music can change your mood.

Music can inspire you.

Music can move you.

Music can connect you to your deepest core.

Music can give you that little push to do something extraordinary.

Music could be the fuel to fire up that passion inside you.

Whatever music is to you, is whatever music is to me. Hmmm...doesn't make sense at all!

Well, enjoy while you read my blogs. I have provided on the side my handpicked all-time favorite songs. Feel free to listen to them to your satisfaction.

If these choices don't really suite your rhythm, feel free to create one at grooveshark.com. Send me a link. Will ya?

Monday, February 23, 2009

How Rich Are You?

Did you ever ask yourself this question? I did. Perhaps, you also did. I’m sure all of us at some point in our lives have asked the same question to ourselves. What interests me though, is the answer to the question.

Rich? Well, richness could come in many facets. It could be material, spiritual, tangible, intangible, real, imaginary.

For most of us though, richness, is just for the things we could hold in our hands that this world could offer; that is—the material things that surround us.

That’s true and kind of sad that people in this universe are but humane, thus, the sense of materialism in each one of us.

I am materialistic—very, indeed!

Bags? To this date, I probably have at least fifty, pricey ones. Shoes? I could wear a different one every day of the month. Paper stuff & pens? I have a feeling that one day I’d be able to scribble my whole life story with them, in several hues, in different textures. Eye make-up? I have every color for my every mood. Wallets? I could change wallets each week for the rest of the year without reusing one. Cell phones? I have two active numbers, but I have two Blackberrys, one Razor, two HTCs that are just sitting and waiting for their turn to get some air time. Laptops? A MacBook, a Vaio, two Toshiba portege, a Toshiba satellite, a Toshiba tablet PC, a Fujitsu tablet PC, an HP media edition laptop—in several operating systems. Perfumes? I have every scent to match every single person's desire.

Yup, that’s how horribly materialistic I am.

Do I think I am rich? No! And yes!

Materially speaking, I have enough to live comfortably than most people do, but, am I rich? No!

On the other hand, I have so much family and support surrounding me that I can truly say that I am rich…far more richer than most other people who have more material things in life than me.

I came from a family of seven children, born from really poor parents who have to toil the earth on a daily basis for sustenance. We were like chickens scratching the ground for food until the day I graduated from college.

Did I own a toy when I was a kid? No—not a single one that was bought from a store!

Did I have a rich and fulfilled childhood? Absolutely YES!

All the kids that grew up in my neighborhood, if only they were given the right venue and tools in life would have accomplished far greater things than what most of us have achieved today. Why? We were so rich with creativity, passion, imagination, curiosity, discovery and playfulness—we mastered the art of inventing a toy or game for every time of day, for each season of the year. Who would have thought the song “I’m singin’ in the rain!” would be such a fitting song for all of us who happily trekked the flooded sidewalks with our mud-splattering flip-flops as we lift our arms to the sky in praises for the raindrops falling from heaven.

Did we own the sky? No!

Did we own the rain? No!

Did we own the moment? No question about it!

Did we enjoy it? Absolutely! We were the richest kids on earth as far as we knew it. We never doubted it.

We lived in shacks and shanties that almost always let some rain drip through the holes in the roof on stormy nights waking us up from our deep slumber as the ruthless cold water seep through our priceless dwelling that we call home.

But every time it rains on a clear day, we rejoiced because we could feel life and all of its bounty. Nature’s grandeur provided us the richness that none of the money this world could buy.

Yes, we were just kids playing in mud puddles, swimming in dirty swamps, wading our way through the flooded grounds, soaking our worn-out clothes in the rain, singing songs of praises for the immense joy of childhood with innocence and gratefulness for all the beautiful things in life that abound us.

We probably were so poor, it was almost impossible to have three meals in a day.

We were so poor that we have to beg for salt from our neighbors so the corn grits that we ate will at least have some sumptuous flavor on our taste buds.

We were so poor we have to recycle our slippers until they are so worn out, our foot’s sole would kiss the ground through our flip-flops holes.

We were so poor we have to make sure a single pencil could last two school years’ worth of writing.

We were so poor that reusing, recycling, recreating, reinventing was a normal day to day chore for all of us.

Did we feel worried or deprived or short-changed? Never!

If I could paint the beauty of my childhood life the way it was, it would be a picturesque garden of blooming flowers and butterflies, with sunshine and rainbows filled with all kinds of hues and colors, with happy choir filling the air. Yes—it was paradise.

So what happened to that richness that so abound me and my childhood?

Childhood is a bliss. Adulthood is a curse!

Yeah, as you breeze through life you would think that you’d get wiser, thus, things should be much easier. False.

Life is an ever-growing battle. The older you get, the tougher the battle becomes. And everything else follows.

The eye-opener of course is your life itself as it is being recycled. More struggles. More victories. More defeats. More realization. More struggles…and the cycle never ends.

One day, you’ll wake up, surprised and amazed that you made it past through yesterday…after all the horror that happened.

The only thing that gets clearer though is you become more jaded!

Jaded? What a sad thing to say about your existence!

It is one thing to believe it, and another thing to acknowledge it. It is also another thing to acknowledge it and do something about it. (Not really. This is what believing it is all about).

Am I getting jaded? Really?

I am. The older I get, the more I know that life is not all rainbows and butterflies. In fact, there really are no rainbows anymore. And the butterflies, they all have disappeared as well due to global-warming.

Sad as it is, that’s the reality of life.

And with the passing of time, things don’t even come easier. Even with technology, it is still as complicated as it was.

Life is nothing but an opportunity for all of us to progress to a better human being than we probably were in our previous existence. Thus, the test gets harder, the struggle gets harsher.

If you deserve life and all that it has to offer whether in this world or another, you have to earn it. You have to work your way to achieve it.

Some of us gets rich in the process, and by rich I mean life in its totality—happiness, fulfillment, acceptance, wisdom, friends, family, strong spirit.

Some of us gets bruised in the process, and by bruised I mean a temporary feeling of defeat—yes, it’s temporary.

Some of us gets wounded in the process, and by wounded I mean a hopeless feeling of defeat—but yes, it is still temporary. Time heals all wounds. The hopeless feeling will end when the wound heals.

Some of us lose in the process, and by losing I mean acting on our hopeless feeling of defeat—and yes this loss is immense! This could lead us to destroy all that we labored so hard to accomplish in our lives.

So where are we? Tell me.

Some of us probably are taking some sleep aids so we can rest our heads at night.

Some of us probably are taking some anti-depressants or seeing a shrink.

Some of us probably are buried in some kind of vice—gambling, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, shopping, over-eating, e-gaming, texting—anything that is overly desired.

Some of us probably are in rehab fighting our demons.

Some of us probably are in jail paying our dues.

Some of us probably are no longer with us after deciding that we have lost in the process.

Some of us probably are enjoying life, feeling fulfillment, surrounded by love—wanting nothing more than having more years to enjoy it.

Where am I? I will tell you.

I feel bruised in the process, that’s why I am writing this to pass the time and regain the strength to fight again.

What have I lost? A little hope that things could be better.

Do I still feel rich? You betcha!

I am a little jaded. There are things that I used to enjoy that I no longer enjoy as much like playing around with my electronic gadgets or boggling my mind with new discoveries. But I am a fighter.

Even if everything has collapsed within me, you will still see a strong facade. The spirit inside me molded over the years with richness won’t let me lose in the process.

Really? What’s the secret?

Simple. You win some. You lose some.

We learn to take the good out of every bad and make something out of it.

If life is so effing bad, take a look around you. There’s still sooo muuccchh effin’ good. ‘F’ as in fantastically good.

Waking up every day with a renewed spirit is a gift. Going through the day with a happy disposition, and enthusiasm is priceless. Making it through tough times with an unflinching spirit is empowering. Being able to lay your head at night and get a good night's sleep is a great accomplishment. Managing to paint a smile on your face, and carry your head up high is worth every noble man's dignity.

Looking around you, knowing that the people you love are happy and healthy is enough reason to be grateful. Knowing that the sun still shines, and the tides still turns high and low, and the planets are still aligned is a proof that there is a God watching over you, that really there is no cause for alarm or a reason for you to be immensely worried about tomorrow.

Knowing that the sky is still blue and flowers still bloom in spring and you can breathe the air for free and hear the chirping birds' melody is a magnificent reason to acknowledge how enriched your life is.

Do I have fears? Of course.

Are there things that are worrying me? Always!

Is life easy for me? No!

Is the day gonna be alright. No doubt about it!

Will I be sad at the day's end? Sometimes.

Does it bother me? Of course!

How do I cope? I try to enjoy the things that I still enjoy. Anything, even the little nonsense stuff that I do like painting my nails, putting on eye make-up, reading, listening to music, blogging, eating, or simply filling my body with at least 32 ounces of clean drinking water each day or coloring the gray hair in my head or driving across a beautiful landscape or chasing my daughters across the room or exchanging funny stories with my husband or something even as silly as blurting out a childish giggle. If I enjoy it, I'll treasure every moment doing it and for once forget about life's worries.

Yup, richness surrounds you. Richness surrounds us. Enriching ourselves is a matter that is totally up to you or up to me.

Just beware though.

Define the kind of rich you want to be.

And, just be sure you don’t get lost along the process.

As for me, anything that can enrich my existence is always a welcomed endeavor.