Thought Catalog

The 30 Things I Learned By The Age Of 30

Posted: 29 May 2016 08:00 PM PDT

Sanja Marušić
Sanja Marušić

My attempt to convey the knowledge I've gained in the past 30 years, has proven to be more challenging than initially anticipated. It wasn't simply a matter of listing a series of learning, but prioritising and selecting the most critical ones, that have left a long-lasting imprint on me and have shaped my persona in the way people and I recognise it today.

Earlier this year, I visited the biggest mosaic museum in the world called the Zeugma museum in Gaziantep, Turkey. I remember that day, when I lurched amid the ancient ruins gloriously erected, I almost felt like travelling back in time. Every mosaic told a story; every coloured stone represented a chapter, which when assembled, recreated a whole era.

As I was approaching 30, a cascade of questions and answers was triggered in my head. What have I learned in the past 30 years? Have I learned anything at all? I reflected, dug up buried memories, relived vivid souvenirs, in an attempt to recreate the mosaic of my own life.

1. Everything is transient.

Like most people, I grew up believing in eternity. Eternal life, eternal love, and eternal happiness are some of the "eternals" I aspired to reach. Whether instigated by religion or fear, eternity is a myth, a phantom we secretly nurture in the shadows of our thoughts, hoping it'll become real one day. This is what my recurring losses made me realise. All my life events were like waves upon which I surfed, for just a little while. They all hit my inner shores one day, and disappeared in the sands of my memories. Some things stayed, yes, but they were never the same again. Everything is transitory. Don't you think?

2. "The grass isn't greener on the other side."

We spend a great deal of our time wishing to have what we don't have. If we have a garden, we'd wish for a forest, and we have a forest, we'd wish for a jungle, and if we have a jungle, well, we'd wish for a garden. We think that other people's lives are better. We think their moon is always full and their stars are always brighter. I myself, was not immune to such a demeanour. But oh how mistaken we are! Don't we know that we all have a burden to carry, that we all are soldiers of life fighting a battle no one knows of? I learned to spend time watering my inner garden and sowing my own seeds. After all, our plants are all susceptible to droughts and worms, no matter in which land they grow. Grass is grass.

3. The ego is a weapon of mass destruction.

I grew up in a culture that constantly tries to prove itself. Trapped in a struggle between conservatism and liberalism, we perpetually attempt to find an identity that defines us, and reclaim the lost pieces of ourselves scattered between the East and the West. This might be more pronounced in my culture than in others, but I dare say it's not uncommon to anyone. Don't we all try to prove ourselves in many ways? Don't we all want to prove we exist? This is called ego. A dominating power that reflects our desire to impose, conquer, overtake, and win. I myself, fell prey to my ego many times. Pride, arrogance, and pretension are all symptoms of a magnified "I" and major hurdles to achieving one's full potential. Our ego destroys us, destroys others, and blinds us. I learned to be more humble, more loving, to compromise, and to forgive. In short, I learned to see more with my heart for "it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

4. Kindness is a weapon of mass construction.

Can we all recall a time when we've been mistreated? It happens nearly anywhere: at work, at home, on the streets, and in our social circles. Doesn't it? Mistreatment is a form of violence that fuels the demons of revenge lying dormant beneath our ego. Our reactions often bring up similar levels of anger, abuse, and harshness. I've done that a few times, until I finally learned to do the opposite more often. Being kind among the wolves is neither cowardice nor weakness, as our ego falsely indicates. Kindness is a weapon of mass construction, the ultimate expression of maturity and wisdom. It rebuilds the dismantled pieces of love, restores one's dignity, and soothes even the most painful emotional wounds. Coming to think about it, kindness has always been rewarding to me and has always done me justice. So no matter how strong the urge to hurt or destroy the other might be, I learned to let kindness prevail, because it's only then that I am a winner.

5. Finding a lifetime partner is not a pre-requisite for happiness.

We live in a world where finding our significant other is perceived as a necessity, an ultimate goal in itself. Most of us recognize the eternal symphony and its traditional movements sung all around us: "finding the (right) one", "getting married", and "having children". While to some this is a secret recipe for happiness, to me it's called noise, an irritating resonance in the background. I learned how to ignore it. In fact, I realised that I met many ones, and I believe they were all right. Just because they didn't stay, doesn't mean they were wrong. Over time, I learned to compose my own sonata and created different movements. I called them "self-sufficiency", "autonomy", "freedom", and "independence". I am all these four. I am grounded. I am proud.

6. Happiness hides in small things.

When I was younger, I created an image of myself at the age of 30 which is today a black and white picture resting in the album of my memory. I kept it there purposefully to remind me of how far I was from reality. All the expectations and hopes I had for what a happy life looks like were merely an illusion. In that photo, I was posing with a husband and three children, all of whom I haven't met yet. My life today is all but traditional. It doesn't meet our society's minimum standards of a happy life. But oh how rich I am! How free and lucky I am to experience adventures out of the ordinary and moments of infinite joy! I found happiness in small things: in the corners of coffee shops, in one line of a book, in greeting a homeless, in exchanging a smile with a stranger, in wandering in a very old castle. We don't need to follow the norms. We don't need be conventional. Look around! Happiness hides in small things.

7. "Everything is poisonous, nothing is poisonous, it is all a matter of dose."

This learning goes back to my chemistry class in school. I didn't know back then that it's a philosophy I should apply in all aspects of my life. It is called moderation, an essential ingredient for my equilibrium. Moderation in love, in fun, in ambitions, brings inner peace even to the most turbulent souls. It has kept me solidly grounded and stable. I notice that the majority of people struggle to maintain a balance and are more inclined towards extreme opposing poles. They either have an overdose of everything or choose never to taste anything. This is perhaps why my pace can hardly be synchronised with the majority. My irritation doesn't come from what they say or do, but how often they say what they say or do what they do. Too much love can suffocate, while too little love can lead to starvation. I learned to love just enough, have fun just enough, cry just enough, and be… just enough.

8. Patience is a virtue.

I am an impatient person. I live more in the future than the present. My imagination is always racing with time. I paint pictures of the flowers that'll grow next spring. I find waiting to be very hard. I never got used to its bitterness. I think waiting is possibly the heaviest burden borne by the spirit. Yet, waiting is inevitable. Looking back at my life, I realise that all the good things that happened to me saw the light after long periods of waiting. It is true these periods were intercepted with bouts of impatience, but they were developed, shaped, and polished by patience. The questions that once tormented me about love, friendship, careers, self-worth and others, all found their answers in my patience. It might be true after all that "good things come to those who wait".

9. Good quality relationships matter.

This might be a bit scientific but studies have shown that good quality relationships are associated with better health outcomes, and this is not just physical health. Loneliness for instance increases the risk of depression and is associated with a lower life expectancy. The findings of the Harvard Study of Adult Development recently presented on TEDx confirmed an ancient wisdom we all know. The study watched the lives of people for over 75 years and concluded that "good relationships keep us happier and healthier". I learned to nurture the relationships I have, to protect and safeguard them. I still despise the abundance of people in my life. I don't have neither time, nor energy, nor the appetite to collect friends and acquaintances. I am just happy and grateful with the few ones I have.

10. "We accept the love we think we deserve."

Or so I've heard for years and years without knowing what this means exactly. I've accepted mistreatments many times. I wept as a result of it many times. Yet I've made the same choices time and again. Why do we re-engage, over and over again, in experiences that once made us suffer? Today the answer comes as clearly as ever: because we don't think we deserve better. Over time, I learned to appreciate myself, value myself, respect myself, love myself, and it's only then, only when I saw how worthy I am, that my choices became rightful, healthier, nurturing, and enriching. I do deserve a good life. So do you. I do deserve to be loved. So do you. I do deserve to be treated well. So do you. Today, I will never accept anything less. And so you will.

11. Reading is an antidote to mediocrity.

Perhaps this is why our world is mediocre. I was oblivious to the miraculous effects of books for years and years until I had my own space. I plunged into the mystical world of books and enjoyed swimming in an ocean made of ink with waves made of thoughts. Every time I open a book, I feel like lifting a curtain off of my soul. And every time I close a book, I realise that I am one step closer to myself. I learned that reading cures loneliness, answers our most complex questions, transcends distance and time, and unites us with humanity, history, space, and the future.

12. Most people are hungry for love.

Have you ever been verbally or emotionally abused? Well, I have. Although my heart has never become immune to negativity, hurtful language, unkindness, and cruel behaviour, I've learned something that eventually changed my perception towards such utterly common behaviours. I believe that behind every negative comment, every wounding word, every insensitive gesture, there is a person that hasn't been loved enough. What a pity! How many people crave to be loved yet never admit so! The lack of love must have created an enormous painful void in the soul. I believe we all have a bird inside us. When loved enough, the bird flaps its wings and fly. And when not, it uses its beak to destroy. What I learned, is to always do my best to love that bird.

13. Silence is healing.

Perhaps this is why our world is so ill. My culture loves noise. Laughs are loud, greetings are loud, farewells are loud, everything howls. There is surely a reason why most people hide behind the noise. Do we know what it is? I think to avoid silence. In silence, people can hear themselves and they're all too often scared to listen. Silence is like a stream of fresh water running inside the spirit, and filling the cracks created by noise with a soothing serenity. Silence heals, clears up confusions, rectifies prejudices, brushes off the remnants of uncertainty, and brings people closer to each other. I learned to listen to the sound of silence. Silence is a story teller, a counsellor, and a friend.

14. Between love and hate, indifference is the worst.

There is nothing worse than being stuck in a state of nothingness. A state where you feel neither hot nor cold, neither excited nor tired, neither interested nor bored, neither happy nor sad, neither calm nor angry. You float in a vacuum that is full of oxygen yet void of life, full of space, yet void of freedom, full of silence, yet void of peace. Do we exist just because the matter composing our body is alive? Or does existence go beyond the matter, beyond survival, to where the soul vibrates, sings, loves and hates all at the same time? I exist when I love, when I hate. I exist because I feel. Indifference is death.

15. Sometimes a job is just a job.

Many of us work in jobs they don't like. We invest a great deal of our time, mental, intellectual and emotional energy in the workplace. We project our whole being and get paid for it at the end of the month. At work we love, we envy, we seek attention, we yell, we agonise, we bare burdens, because we are all humans no matter where we are. However, we often fail to recognise that we all have potentials beyond the work we do, the job we perform, and the salary we get. A job is just a job. We are much more than that. Most people think I can change the world because I'm a humanitarian worker. They don't know that I've changed the world much more outside my job: at home, on the phone, in a pub, in face to face conversations, in coffee breaks, in my dreams. My job is just a job and I am much more than that.

16. It's never too late to change a life path.

The conviction that our life path is like a ladder we need to climb takes a very linear approach to life, a trail that takes you from A to B in a straight line. The reality however is very different. Many lines intersect, bend, elongate, and even shrink to nearly just a point. This is how my life has been so far. A complicated geometry with multiple starting points, endings, parallels, and spirals. As I'm moving forward, unwrapping my inner gifts and warming up in my passion flames, I'm discovering who I really am and what I really want. I now know that if I wake up one day and decide to quit, I will quit. It's never too late to veer, never too late to change directions. I will still be following a line, a line that my heart will draw, and I know, deep inside, that this line will not be linear.

17. Every reality is wrong, every reality is right.

People are a combination of rainbows and water. An assortment of mellow colours that gets either diluted or saturated with values, opinions, perceptions, and attitudes, throughout the course of their lives. This eclectic nature of being engenders multiple realities that are faithfully praised by its creators, by us. All people have realities that look right to them but wrong to others, acceptable to them but dejected by others. I've asked myself: what makes one more right than the other? What absolute truth is there when all truths hold true to one person at least? I learned that everything can be right and everything can be wrong. It all depends on who's judging.

18. Promises are easier broken than fulfilled.

I learned to promise nothing to no one. For why would I commit to a future that falls completely outside of my control? We often underestimate the power of words said today not realising that they'll carry a big responsibility tomorrow. We like to play tricks with the future by imagining it, fantasising about it, creating and re-creating the end results. And then what happens when it's there? Welcome to the land of disappointments! Our promises are words that time randomly and playfully rearranges until a whole new chapter is formed, a whole new meaning is fathomed… and the promise is completely broken.

19. We are more fragile than we think.

There are moments in life when everything seems to be just fine, when the forces of nature seem to be directed towards the center maintaining a balance, an equilibrium. Then all of a sudden, out of the tender placidity of our being, rises a turbulent whirlwind: break ups, divorces, deaths, rejections, disappointments… Moods start to swing, thoughts dismantle, principles collapse, promises break, infidelities erupt, and we lose balance. The self-portrait we once painted that showed an invincible persona, suddenly loses these very traits amid the transformation of our life events. We then remember how fragile we are. We remember how delicate orchids can be. We remember that we are breakable. We remember, the "unbearable lightness of (our) being".

20. Principles should only be forged with experience.

I learned to never bind myself to a principle against which I haven't tested my temptations yet. This realisation came after I broke many principles I once thought are unshakable. I've learned to destroy and rebuild my principles with experience. With time, I learned to calibrate the appropriate levels of right and wrong, the ones that I judge as acceptable to me. I forged new ways of thinking. I defined my values. And it's only then, that I was able to articulate what my principles are.

21. A little bit of chaos is vital.

I come from a culture adorned by chaos. Even our breathes are chaotic and lack rhythm. You can argue it's pollution; I think it's fear. Two years ago, I joined a culture that loves discipline. Everything is very neat and tidy: the streets, the human behaviours, and of course The System. Having experienced the two sides of the discipline coin, I came to the conclusion that a little bit of chaos is necessary. It boosts creativity, gives ample space for people to think, to act differently, to come up with different solutions. Tough rules, systemisation, policies, and automation are the enemies of creativity. Chaos is a symbol of life. "You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star". Now I know why every time I look at the sky, all I see are shooting stars.

22. Magic is real.

Do you feel at times that our universe speaks to us in a mysterious code that we are unable to fathom into a clear language? The more time passes, the more I find myself looking at the world with reverence and awe. How small we are in this infinite universe! We're finite entities in an infinite world! It's true that we reached a decent level of understanding in cosmology, physics, mathematics, and biology, yet there are so many things we still don't know. Our universe is phenomenal! What about the notions of destiny, serendipity, meaningful coincidences, synchronicities…? My life has been full of such mysterious events. I believe in magic. I believe magic is real.

23. If it doesn't feel right, then it's not right.

Sometimes we decide to take a step in our life. We decide to just "go for it", because everything around us tells us it's right. We think and rethink about the whole scenario, analyse it, link the causes to the effects, and yet, no matter how coherent and logical all the data seems to be, something (inexplicable) leaves us worried and doubtful. Does it sound familiar? Well, it is definitely to me! I would describe this "something" as a tickle in my heart, a little vibration in my beats out of the ordinary. And I feel it, no matter how low the frequency is. I learned to trust my intuition and listen more to my inner voice. I learned that it's the one that tells the truth.

24. Sometimes, by walking away you move forward.

Throughout my walk of life, there were times when I stopped for a (long) while and allowed my heart to land, beat harder, and get attached. Get attached to what? To people, objects, places, comfort zones… And then I got stuck. This is what attachments do, don't you think? They mess with time and space dimensions, disorient us, and leave us lost in a circle dancing tango… alone! Sometimes, it's only by walking away that we can re-established our space and time coordinates. It takes time, courage, and a strong will to let go, but eventually, "the show must go on".

25. Art is a language we should learn.

It took me time to understand the language of art. Just like silence, art has a healing power. Painting, writing, dancing, sculpting, all speak a similar language: the language of beauty, spirituality, and life. Museums to me are like sacred temples. Blessed are all the pious who bow with admiration to the beauty of art! Let us stand still and marvel at the secrets of a painting! Let us allow the silence in colours brush off the noises inside our heads! A world without art is like a desert without sand: lonely and incomplete. So let us rejoice!

26. It is how it is.

Why do you think the sky is blue? Why the colours have no smell? Why the sounds cannot be seen? Well, because it is how it is. How often do we find ourselves lost in the maze of life events, not knowing the how and why, the cause and the effect? We see people die every day for no apparent reason. We see people break up, marry, weep, laugh, fall, stand up and we just don't know how and why. As time moves on, we accept to live with this mystery. We accept that some questions have no answers. In fact, we accept silence to be our only answer. "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar", and this is all we need to know.

27. You don't need a lot of money to be happy.

In case we haven't noticed yet, we are all slaves of consumerism. Money making keeps climbing the ladder of our priorities, not so much by willingness as by sheer necessity. I acknowledge we do need some money to live a decent life where our rents are covered, our bills are paid, our food is provided, or even our travels plans are secured. But when I look around me and try to make sense of the unhappiness I see in people's eyes, I see things like low self-worth, fear of intimacy, an urge to be understood, a need to be loved, a demand to be recognised, a dissatisfaction with the present, a shyness to show the real self, a desire to bond with the other… They're all things that can't be bought by money yet are all needed to be happy.

28. "What you resist persists."

Sometimes, when our emotional buttons are pushed as a result of say, death of a closed one, rejection by a partner, or a tough conversation, we either deny or confront those very bitter and acidic feelings bubbling inside us. But don't you feel it's sometimes bigger than you? Don't you feel that no matter how hard you try to eliminate that bitterness, the after taste remains long after the incident? I learned to neither deny nor confront, but to embrace. I learned to embrace my sadness and accept it, until sadness itself dissolves in the warmth of the embrace, and eventually, evaporates.

29. "We are good by nature but corrupted by society."

This is a philosophy by J.J. Rousseau that dates back to the 18th century. I am a believer of it. I believe people are born good, until they become "layer makers". What a masquerade we live in! People have become too busy building and embellishing their layers: layers of power, fear, hesitation, you name it. It's a world of fake smiles rather than genuine tears. A world where praise is articulated in the most polite and formal manner, rather than through eyes sparkling with admiration. People learned how to breathe behind masks. I learned that the world around me is not real.

30. My 30 lessons are all but static.

I am a flower that withers in the wind, blooms in the sun, hides in the snow, dies in the desert. My life has been a cycle of seasons that comes and goes, every now and then. If this holds true, then how can I not change, transform, mutate, collapse, get restored, almost continually? If the universe itself is dynamic, infinitely expanding and contracting, then how can I not dance with it? How can I take everything I shared with you as static? My 30 lessons are all but static. They will change, transform, mutate, collapse, get restored, almost continually. Earlier this year, I visited the biggest mosaic museum in the world. Now I remember that the mosaics I liked the most, are the ones that have been partly erased, the ones whose colours have been partly altered. They're the ones that have bore the traces of time. Now I know that in another 30 years, this is exactly how my mosaic will be. TC mark

45 Men And Women On The Most Taboo Thing They’ve Ever Done

Posted: 29 May 2016 07:00 PM PDT


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I Hope Someday You’ll Find It In Your Heart To Forgive Me

Posted: 29 May 2016 06:00 PM PDT

Kalen Emsley
Kalen Emsley

I'm sorry. Before you roll your eyes and turn away from this, just hear me out. The purpose of this letter is not to make you feel petty upon me or even to get you to take me back. The purpose of these words is to say simply one thing.

I'm sorry.

We're over now and still 5 months later there's not a day when you don't cross my mind. I see you occasionally, at track meets or FFA events but you just ignore me, and to be completely honest, I don't blame you.

I'm sorry I ended a perfectly healthy and happy relationship. I'm sorry I put you through hell. But most importantly, I'm sorry I questioned you.

I know you were just caring and trying to protect our relationship. I know you were worried about me leaving you for somebody else. At the time I didn't think that would ever happen. But I guess I was wrong.

I questioned your ability to be faithful to me. I questioned if we would make it through the test of time. I questioned our ability to make it work, even with the distance. I got scared of getting hurt again, and for that I'm sorry.

The truth is it hurt me too. It hurt to see you standing there, seeing your heart break into a million little pieces. It hurt to see the months of laughter and joy come to end. But I think the thing that hurt me the most was the reality that I needed to work on me.

I hope you find someone better because you deserve it. I hope you find somebody who shares your quirky personality, someone who is there to pick you up when you're down, somebody who gives you their undivided attention. I hope you find happiness and love.

I hope you find these words and hear them out, even though the chances are slim.

I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me even though I don't deserve it. TC mark

50 Little Reminders That Will Get You Through Any Tough Day

Posted: 29 May 2016 05:00 PM PDT


1. We've all had them and you are not alone.

2. Tomorrow is a fresh start where today can be washed away.

3. We have all gone through loss, but the best stories are when you grow stronger from that loss.

4. You are still alive and breathing.

5. You're worthy of greatness even if you don't see it yet.

6. What you are feeling today does not define you.

7. Time truly heals most anything.

8. Count your blessings, not your calories.

9. You are allowed to not be ok.

10. Your anxiety or depression is nothing to be ashamed of.

11. Someone in this world cares deeply about you.

12. Asking for help does not make you weak.

13. Forty-years from now, you won't care about eating more than one piece of cake.

14. Comparing yourself to others, will do nothing but damage your mind.

15. Everyone is overly conscious of themselves and probably will never notice your blemishes.

16. Don't keep your negative feelings hidden. Talk to someone.

17. Every day is a gift to do something new.

18. Even if today sucked, tomorrow could be the best day of your life.

19. "We think too much and feel too little". – Charlie Chaplin

20. Smiling can raise your endorphins, so go on and give it a go.

21. So can cuddling.

22. We live in a world where chocolate exists.

23. Today is not forever.

24. Taylor Swift had to get over Joe Jonas, Harry Styles, and Jake Gyllenhaal. If she did it, you can do it too.

25. Being sad for no reason does not mean you're crazy. You're just human.

26. It's not a crime to take a day off from real life and take care of yourself.

27. If you are living, you are still surviving and becoming stronger.

28. "The past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it" – The Lion King

29. You will love again, I promise.

30. The most beautiful things you can get from life are free.

31. Yes, you can buy edible cookie dough and not get sick from it.

32. You don't have to be so brave all the time.

33. Your real friends will not think your sadness is a burden. Give them a call.

34. Sometimes all you need is a really good hug.

35. The worst days won't be as memorable as the best days that are yet to come.

36. Being happy all the time, won’t give you good experience and won’t teach you anything about yourself.

37. "When a flower doesn't bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower". – Alexander Den Heijer

38. If you have a roof over your head, that's already one thing to be grateful about.

39. It's ok to not love yourself 100% right now, but take everyday to let yourself know you're doing your best.

40. If there is a negative person in your life that makes you feel horrible, cut them out of your life and watch it get better.

41. Even Beyonce has terrible days.

42. Don't let your demons from the past ruin your future.

43. "Only in darkness can you see the stars". – Martin Luther King Jr.

44. Allowing yourself to cry and to feel, is allowing yourself to heal.

45. Taking baby steps is better than not taking any at all.

46. You are more important than you even know.

47. Your life is precious and beautiful. Don't take that for granted.

48. Pain is only a fleeting moment. It's not your whole life.

49. Listen to what your body is telling you and follow it's advice.

50. You are here because you are a miracle. Don't let one day ruin it all for your future self. TC mark

14 Reasons Why You’re Obviously Still Single

Posted: 29 May 2016 04:00 PM PDT















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Why I’ll Always Believe In The Power Of Second Chances

Posted: 29 May 2016 03:00 PM PDT

 Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson

What if you were given a second chance at everything you've ever done in your life, would you take it? I would. Not because I screwed things up the first time (even though I did a couple of times) but because I truly believe in the power of second chances. I believe in second chances more than I believe in first chances.

I believe that when life presents you with the same scenario twice, it is giving you a chance to do things differently, to recreate the perfect scenario you always wanted. A second chance is sometimes a miracle in disguise. It is not déjà vu, it is simply a gift God handed to you to change your life around.

How many times have you met someone you didn't like at first but ended up being friends later because you realized the first impression was awfully wrong? How many relationships and friendships were restored because the second time around things were different and made more sense? How many milestones have you achieved at work when your boss gave you a second chance to do things right after a major flop? How many songs have you hated at first but ended up loving after listening to them a couple of times?

It is the irony of life, you think the first time is the only time, you think the first time is the best time, you think the first time is the most important time. We’re so obsessed with getting things right from the first time that we often give up on things and sometimes ourselves too easily when things don’t work out. We don’t even give ourselves a second chance.

Wouldn't you want someone to give you a second chance ? Wouldn't you want to rewind certain moments in your life and do things differently? Even though I have few regrets in my life, I've never regretted giving someone or something a second chance, I always ended up either learning something crucial from it, or gaining a dear friend. Sometimes things make more sense the second time around. 

People change, you change and the universe changes, if we keep ourselves confined to first chances only, we will truly miss out on some of the most beautiful things in life.

I can honestly say everything in my life was better the second time around, whether at work or in my relationships. Second chances teach you patience, wisdom, forgiveness and courage-and it is hard not to make a better decision when you have so much grace.

Second chances are a gift from the universe, you get a second chance to be with someone you love, you get a second chance to prove yourself at work, you get a second chance to be a better person, or a better friend or a better parent.

You get a second chance to get close to God, you get a second chance to start a new career, you get a second chance to study something else that you love more, you get a second chance to move to another city. Life is always presenting you with second chances because this is where the magic happens.

We don’t have to wait for a near death experience or the loss of loved to believe in second chances, or learn that we are about to lose someone to finally tell them how we truly feel about them.

Give yourself a second chance, give your parents a second chance, give your friends a second chance, give your passion a second chance, give your love a second chance, give happiness a second chance and give life a second chance.

Call it coincidence, destiny or déjà vu, life is always presenting us with second chances but it's what we do with these chances that counts. TC mark

8 Things I Learned From Being Single AF For One Whole Year

Posted: 29 May 2016 02:00 PM PDT

1. I can accomplish so much more than I dreamed I could.

Anyone who knows me well enough knows how neurotic I am, always working on something, I'm just restless in general. But I noticed an annoying thing I do in relationships, which is tending to the needs of my partner instead of putting my priorities first. Now that I'm putting myself first I have watched so much of my hard work pay off and it's the best feeling in the world.

2. Just because I accept someone else's flaws doesn't mean they will accept mine.

I reflect a lot on the past and that includes past relationships. All of my relationships have obviously "failed", or ended so I've reflected on the characteristics of the guys I tend to be attracted to. All of the guys I have been with had red flags initially, but I appreciated them still- their flaws were something real and authentic– but these beautiful flawed men couldn't accept me for who I am, which in my opinion is the worst form of rejection. I've had to forgive myself for letting myself believe that everyone loves the way that I do because not everyone has my patient nature and I'm not always attracted to those who do. And that's okay.

3. I'm tired of attraction only leading to sex.

I had a little girl crush on this guy last semester, like butterflies and everything, it was awesome. However, knowing the potential of getting hurt, I tried to stay away from him, but having mutual friends and being the approachable person I am, he eventually got me talking. We briefly got to know each other, but after months of on and off only getting ahold of me when he was drunk, and wanted to "do stuff" he disappeared and moved on. I really did enjoy him as a person and I don't think he was trying to use me, but in retrospect, he was clearly in it out of physical attraction. I just wish that people saw me for the interesting life I lead instead of just the body who happens to live it.

4. Amazing things can happen when you keep an open mind.

I was really adamant about my decision not to participate in Greek life when I first transferred to my current university. Though I had no reason to be so cynical towards it because I never gave it a chance. This past semester I decided to see what Sigma Alpha Iota (a professional women's music fraternity) was all about so I attended rush week. It was such an eye opening experience, such a positive environment, that I accepted my bid. After a rewarding process I have wonderful sisters and get so many opportunities to impact, learn, connect with, and serve others through music.

5. I can hold my own and my liquor.

I am fully capable of going out on my own and making it home to my own bed. Many of my exes disliked me going out and didn't trust the guys at the bar (or me for that matter) so I became nervous that I couldn't handle myself. Part of me could understand the concern because I'm little, but I've had my share of negative experiences and I learned from them like anyone else. Over my year of being single, I have been able to walk myself to and from the bar, parties, etc. There is something really empowering about knowing you can take care of yourself because at the end of the day you're all you have.

6. Some nights are excruciatingly lonely.

It's really tough when you're inevitably having a bad day and you're on your own at the end of the night; especially when you know what it's like to go home to someone who will admire you no matter how much you screwed up, or how much of a shitty day you had. This was probably one of the hardest parts for me to accept, but it gets easier.

7. Never underestimate the power of friendship.

Sometimes you just need to surround yourself with people who get you, the people who make you laugh so hard you feel like you got an ab workout. People who don't judge you for your bad days and accept you for all your quirks and things you would normally be insecure about. I feel like I appreciate these people and recognize many more of them as a single woman.

8. I've learned a lot about myself.

It's easy to get caught in the shadow of a lover. It can be difficult distinguishing yourself from them, or separating their perception of you from who you really are. I was extremely guilty of needing approval from a man to feel okay with myself, but I have learned fast that who I am varies day to day. I have invested in a self-help therapy journal that has been rewarding and it is making all the difference. TC mark

Read This If The Future Terrifies You

Posted: 29 May 2016 01:00 PM PDT


Thinking about the future keeps me up at night and it gives me the type of anxiety I would never wish on my worst enemy. The "future" terrifies me. Because it's the unknown. And I don't know how I can prepare myself for the unknown.

Your whole life, you are taught that you need to somehow prepare for the next phases of your life. In elementary school you brace yourself for the awkwardness that is middle school. And in middle school you fret about the daunting high school halls. Seniors in high school bite their nails in anticipation of getting the hell out of there to go to college. And once college is over, you have to brace yourself once more for what ever may come your way.

We keep treating life like it's a plane ready to crash, a rollercoaster ready to drop, and like it's a coffin ready to open.

We keep grinding our teeth, and pulling out our hair, always in fight or flight mode. We never stop bracing for the worst and we never stop fretting about the "what if’s". We are always so anxious, forever waiting for our next obstacle and challenge.

If you are terrified of the future, trust me, I get it. It's easy to be terrified when we have all been taught to prepare for the bombs heading our way. But, somewhere along the way, I've grown weary of bitten nails, of panic attacks, and of insomnia. And I think we all are.

So, I'm done bracing. I'm done trying to control every aspect in my life. I'm done cringing at loud sounds and shaking in the dark. We all need to accept that the future is not a big scary creature on the verge of an attack. Our future is going to be whatever we make of it. And sure, it's unknown, but why can't it be a beautiful and wonderful unknown?

I think we all need to realize that our future is going to work itself out. And of course, we are going to face terrible challenges that will try to knock us off the ground but, we are in control of how we react to it. We are in control of our feelings no matter what happens. Let's start getting excited for our future instead of running for cover. Let's celebrate that new days, new beginnings and experiences that are coming our way. Let's celebrate the people we haven't met yet, the love we haven't felt yet and the friends we haven't had yet. Our future is a big adventure that starts now.

So, stop closing your eyes to the world and turning your head away from your life. We all have so much to look forward to, and so much to be thankful for what is yet to come.

TC mark

8 Ways The Girl Whose Heart Has Been Broken Loves Differently

Posted: 29 May 2016 12:00 PM PDT

Emmanuel Rosario
Emmanuel Rosario

1. She remembers her past as a reminder to not make the same mistakes twice.

Her heart has more cracks and scars than she would like it to, and while the scars serve as constant reminders of heartbreak, they also serve as constant reminders of what went wrong and why. While she can’t control whether or not her heart will be broken again, she can control the mistakes she was responsible for, and she can control her ability to never make those same mistakes twice. Girls who have been heartbroken won’t love you the same way they loved before, because although they’ve experienced love that didn’t last, they still want to find a love that will.

2. She appreciates what she has when she has it.

When she experiences love again, she’s well aware that it can be taken away at any moment, but she appreciates it for what it is every single day. She cherishes the moments you make her feel loved because she knows how it feels when those moments stop.

3. She takes a while to open up emotionally, but when she does, you know it’s real.

You might be on the surface with a girl who’s been heartbroken for quite some time, and when you try to delve deeper she knows exactly what you’re doing. She’s apprehensive to trust you with her feelings but when she does, you’ll love her even more. Her broken heart hasn’t made her numb, it’s made her careful. She still feels love, she just needs time to express it, so be patient.

4. She’s scared you’re going to leave.

It’s not surprising that the girl whose heart has been broken worries it will happen again, but the right person will make her feel a happiness that overcomes her fear of loving and being left. It’s only a matter of time before she meets the person who makes love a little less scary.

5. She’s not afraid to leave if she’s unhappy.

She’s familiar with unhappiness, and it’s not a feeling she finds favorable, especially in relationships. Her fear of being left is as strong as her capability to leave when she wants to. Her broken heart has helped her realize the love that she deserves, and she’s not afraid to leave the wrong person to find it.

6. She knows herself pretty well.

Her broken heart has allowed her to look at her life when she feels like it’s falling apart, and it has also allowed her to recognize what she needs to do to rebuild it. She knows what makes her happy, and what makes her want to crawl into a corner and cry, she knows what she needs to feel a little more like herself.

7. She’s able to survive on her own, so if you’re in her life, she wants you there.

Chances are she’s not the only one to blame for her broken heart, but in the after math the only option she had was to be alone, and while she may seek temporary companionship with everyone who’s wrong for her, she knows that being alone doesn’t have to be lonely. Loneliness is something she’s learned to not be afraid of, and she’s perfectly capable of living life without the comfort of companionship.

8. She will make sure you feel loved.

She knows how it feels to receive a love that’s less than she deserves, so she will do everything she can to make sure you never have to feel that way. A broken heart doesn’t mean she’s incapable of love, it means she wants to give her heart to someone who will take care of it. She has plenty of love to give, she just hasn’t found the person who will receive it, and give the same amount back. TC mark

I Believe In Loving Deeply

Posted: 29 May 2016 11:00 AM PDT

Joel Sossa
Joel Sossa

I believe in loving deeply. I also believe in being loved deeply. Being desperately in love may need some tempering at times, because a person would do themselves harm if they become so dependent on the love of another person that they forget how to care for themselves, or be themselves.

If you are madly in love, let him feel it in waves, not oceans, because lovers need to be able to breathe.

Also, if a man has no plan of action for the girl of his heart, it is only a promise, a dream. She should not fall at his feet. I have seen people give themselves away before, and the sentiments of the receiver become chilly and bland over time. Or they simply aren't as devoted and faithful. Sometimes people want the novelty of being adored, without loving in return, and it is a personal choice whether or not you want to flatter someone's heart who isn't grateful for your love. Know what you deserve.

Know what you're worth. Know what you have to offer.

Love is beautiful and worth it. It's okay to tell someone you love them, or care about them if it's true. I do often. Men will do crazy things for love. If they know you love them, and they care for you too, they will pursue being with you.

Just don't give a man everything he wants before he does pursue you.

Save the crazy passionate love for a rainy night together in the future. Give him something to dream about and desire. Consider this in a business light. If you were to create an intricate and expensive piece of merchandise, and a person says "I really, really like this. I would love to have this." would you say "Okay, it's all yours! Every bit of it"? No. You would wait to see what they decide to do about it. You could tell them more about it, let them admire it, but you do not give it away free.

If you really do love him more than he loves you, he probably has felt it. TC mark