Personal Reflection

What I Would Tell My Younger Self

Now that I’m a year older, here are some things I want to tell my younger self.

  • You’re not nice. Especially to yourself. Be kinder.
  • Pay attention to your posture. Sit up straight. It’s not that hard, Herminia.
  • You will fail. That’s inevitable. Unless you don’t try, which is even worse.
  • It’s OK to cry. Even and especially when you have no idea why you’re crying in the first place.
  • You’re allowed to ask for help. Oftentimes you have little or nothing to lose but a lot to gain.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re tired, sleep. If you’re hungry, eat. After all, you only have one heart, one brain.
  • You don’t have to love everything. Don’t hate everything either.
  • Numbers will never define you. They aren’t a measure of your self-worth.
  • Always challenge yourself. Step outside of your comfort zone. That’s how you’ll grow.
  • Try to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Be realistic though.
  • You can’t live someone else’s life. You can, however, live your own.
  • Don’t be too stubborn, but do you stand your ground. Otherwise, people will walk all over you.
  • You’re going to be OK. You might not feel fine right now. Yet one day, you will.
Personal Reflection

6 Pieces Of Advice For My Future Self

  1. Stop apologizing all the time. Sure, say sorry if you messed up. But if you haven’t, you don’t need to beg for anyone’s forgiveness.
  2. Aim for comprehension, not completion. It isn’t always enough to do an assignment if you don’t understand anything.
  3. Do what you want to do. Within reason of course. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I don’t want to do certain things.
  4. Don’t be afraid to change your ways. Especially if something isn’t working. I’m so stubborn. I’ll stick to old habits and routines even if I know there’s a better way. I’m allowed to grow. I’m supposed to.
  5. Never try to do everything. Pick and choose wisely. There isn’t enough time to do it all.
  6. You’re human. Your body needs adequate rest, proper nutrition, frequent exercise. If I take care of my health, other areas of my life seem to work out. I am trying to be more aware of my body and mind. I’m listening more. I’m learning too. I may not be perfect, but I try to get better. Which is all that matters.
Personal Reflection

Make Time For Yourself

You have to make time for yourself. It’s okay to look out for your best interests. It’s all right to take all the time you need.

Do what you need to do, whatever that means for you.

There’s nothing wrong with being alone, being by yourself.

We’re more connected than ever before thanks to cell phones and social media. Sometimes it’s hard to put technology down and not stare at a screen all the time. That being said, human connection is necessary.

You’re a human being. Believe it or not, I’m human too.

You aren’t a machine. You need to interact and communicate with others. But know your limits. Remember them when you need to put your foot down.

Don’t be afraid to listen to your heart and your head. Because at the end of the day, you have to make yourself happy.

People respect you if you respect yourself first. At least, the people who respect themselves will. It’s tough though. But you live and learn. That’s how life goes.

Some people might not understand. Don’t worry about them. Worry about yourself.

Do what sets your soul on fire, even if you were the last person on earth.

What’s something you look forward to? What’s something you love more than anything else in the world?

Never let excuses run or ruin your life. You only have so much time.

Hold onto your values, your beliefs. Only change for the better.

Make time for yourself, so you can take care of yourself.

Personal Reflection

A Much Needed Self Care PSA

Any day is a good day for a self care public service announcement. I know I’ve talked about taking care of yourself in the past, but I’m talking about it again because I’m a broken record.

I don’t care what season it is (baseball or winter). Remember to prioritize your needs, whatever they may be.

Say no if you need to. Fun fact that isn’t fun but it is a fact: I said no to prom. If I can, you certainly can.

Don’t forget to eat and exercise. Do the things you want. Read a book. Listen to music. Make time for your hobbies, interests.

Let’s also talk about drinking and driving. To be honest, I do not enjoy either one individually.

That being said, if you ever feel pressured to drink and you hate it as much as I do, put your foot down. This is your body. You know yourself best. Do what you want, not what someone else wants.

Don’t feel up to drive? Then don’t force the issue. Take a bus, a cab. Call a friend or family member. Listen to your gut. It knows what’s up.

Self care isn’t just about luxury either. You don’t need to go to a spa or a saloon. You can take a bath or do your nails at home.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference like going to the gym in the morning, going to bed earlier at night, etc.

I hope you treat yourself well in 2018. Don’t forget you have one life. One body, one heart.

You may be busy with work or school or a number of other obligations, but you’re not too busy to care about yourself and look after your health.

Editing

My Problem With Peer And Self Review

Let me start by saying I love one and hate the other. Care to hazard a guess?

In high school, I hated peer review sessions. Who doesn’t jump with joy at exchanging work with classmates and giving feedback for improvement?

I didn’t get a lot of helpful or useful comments from others. People tossed my essay back and told me it was perfect. I fumed inside because I knew my first draft was not even close to perfection. Imagine a world where first drafts were great.

I almost always came out of peer review workshops feeling a bit frustrated. OK, a lot.

Even though I tried my best to give constructive criticism, some people didn’t reciprocate. I don’t blame them. More than any other institution, I feel like in high school people are at a completely different level on their journey. Don’t get me started with teenage maturity.

To be fair, editing is hard. Giving feedback isn’t a walk in the park. But I guess what bothered me the most was the people who didn’t take it seriously. I can picture fourteen year old me making comments and suggestions while everyone else around me talked about whatever high schoolers talk about. I grew up fast.

Obviously, the more I edit other people’s work, the better I am at reviewing my own work. That said, I can’t look at my writing the same way someone else can. Still, I should charge a premium anytime someone asks me for feedback.

I’ve never given much thought as to what I think about when editing my own work.

I care about consistency and clarity whenever I’m critiquing. I also love brevity as much as the best blog reader. Wordiness will likely be the death of me.

Ever since I’ve learned about parallel structure, I’m careful around lists. This ties in with consistency to an extent. If you have two verbs in your list, I don’t want to see a noun phrase at the end of it. That’s guaranteed to drive me crazy.

Shout out to all the writers who have amazing flow. I aspire to write like you. Because I never outline, my first drafts are a hot mess.

Surprise, I’m such a stickler for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Sometimes the small details make the biggest difference. But I like rule breakers within reason. I’m one myself. Tough to get around not doing things by the book in academia though.

Personal Reflection

Staying True To Yourself

I used to be someone I wasn’t. I wasn’t myself because I tried to be what people wanted or expected of me.

I’m not perfect by any stretch. I still struggle to stay true to what I stand for. But it’s easy to give in.

At times, I feel very much like I’m a doormat. Because I let people step on me figuratively. I don’t put my foot down.

I can be firm, say no. I tend to know what I want to do, what I don’t want to do. But I’ve never been the best at vocalizing my desires or opinions, especially if they’re unpopular, which they often are.

When I first sat down to write this post, I figured I’d write about my journey as a blogger. How at one point in time I was not blogging for myself. And because of that, I didn’t feel happy. Or content with my creations.

But recently I realized I’m not always myself around people in general. Maybe that means I need new company. Or maybe I have to rethink who I am as well as who I want to be.

For better or worse, people change. Differently. Some people change faster while others take a bit longer.

Now more than ever before I’ve come to accept and embrace my flaws, quirks, etc. But I can love myself yet still want to improve, get better. That’s life for you.

Humans are not easily content. At least, I’m not. If I was completely happy, I wouldn’t have to do anything ever again. I wouldn’t learn every day. Or read, write, blog.

As I grow older, I hope to mature and become the person I aspire to be. Not always easy, but I’m doing my best. That’s all I ask of myself.

Stay true to yourself. Don’t live your life for someone else.

Personal Reflection

A Letter To My 30 Year Old Self

Dear 30 year old Herminia,

How are you?

I hope you’re happy. Doing what you love, loving what you do.

Are you well? Healthy?

I like to think you’re still dancing. Maybe not to the extent you used to. But maybe you’re even better.

What book are you reading? You’re reading something, aren’t you? You won’t abandon your first love or neglect reading, right?

I wonder how you feel about dating and relationships. I’m sure 10 years will change your perspective, especially if you’re with someone you love. If you aren’t with someone you love, remember you deserve better. Don’t settle. Don’t ever settle. If you aren’t with someone, in which case I’m not surprised, again don’t settle for just anyone.

How’s the blog, huh? 20 year old you hardly went a day without blogging.

I want to believe with every fibre of my being that writing is still a big part of your life. At least it has some role. Perhaps you’re writing more, maybe getting paid to.

That’s the dream. A recurring one for years.

If you’re stressed or sad, breathe. You’re going to be okay. Whatever you happen to be going through, it will pass. And come on, you’re Herminia Chow.

Also, have you gotten better at dealing with ink stains? Or do pens still get the best of you?

Is there any chance you wish you could go back to being 20 years old when things were simple? I so badly wish you love life with all your heart. That you’re happy where you are.

Here’s to living with no regrets. Don’t panic. Do you. You’re not anyone else.

Keep going. Your hard work will pay off. A lot of your work has probably already paid off.

I don’t know what else to say except good luck. Remember why you started when you want to give up. The only person holding you back is yourself. Go after your goals. Say yes. Roll the dice. You may be surprised, Herminia.

Sincerely,

A not nearly as wise 20 year old

Personal Reflection

What I Would Tell My 18 Year Old Self

I’m an old woman now.

But if I could tell that younger girl a few things, they would be:

  • You deserve much better.
  • You deserve much more.
  • You deserve much love.
  • You’re doing fine.
  • You’re doing enough.
  • You’re doing something.
  • You will get over it.
  • You will live through it.
  • You will move beyond it.