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A Tale of Y and Z: Generations that Continue to Define a Better Tomorrow

As everyone chooses to live in a constant flux of black and white, these young minds are redefining the common narrative by taking matters into their own hands. For these passionate and driven souls, age is but a number to create an impact.

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The youth’s pursuit for purpose is insatiable. Today’s generations of students, social entrepreneurs, advocates, and philanthropists all have their own vision of making the world a better place. In spite of the criticisms thrown in their way, they make it a vow for their voices to be heard. 

As members of the digital era, not a day goes by that our parents would tell us to spend less time on our phones and more time on educating ourselves about social and political concerns that surround us. Yet the moment we allow ourselves to be informed and choose our own stand, a line of adults are already waiting to dismiss our opinions and repetitively argue that we are “too young to understand”.

Older generations fear that modern technology will dampen our minds and isolate us from the world, but today’s realities show that we are more than just a reflection of our digital behavior. In fact, we are the exact opposite of it. 

In the past decade, young people have been at the forefront of social discussions that tackle the most pressing global concerns. With the aid of digital media, the world continues to witness the evolution of  generations that are not only more informed and connected, but also more empathetic and socially responsible. 

As everyone chooses to live in a constant flux of black and white, these young minds are redefining the common narrative by taking matters into their own hands. For these passionate and driven souls, age is but a number to create an impact. Below presents 6 young influencers who continue to pioneer change in their own ways and prove that our generation can do it better. 

1. Greta Thunberg, 18

Photo from Agence France-Presse

NASA estimates that nearly 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide are released annually, leading to rising sea levels and warmer global temperatures. 800 million people around the world are currently vulnerable to impacts of climate change, but experts believe that more uncontrolled carbon emissions will only increase this statistic. Swedish-born environmental activist Greta Thunberg is on a mission to change that narrative. 

Greta’s outspoken spirit for climate change mitigation made her a household name in the past year and earned her many accolades including TIME magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019.

Her humble journey began at 8 years old when she was just beginning to learn about the Earth’s climate. At 11, she convinced her family to go vegan, quit flying, and avoid buying new clothes. Since then, her passion to raise awareness for climate change has grown.  

In August 2018, Greta sat in front of the Swedish parliament with a sign that read, “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (School strike for climate), and vowed to continue striking until Sweden has agreed to take part in the Paris Agreement. As her story became known, the weekly school strikes grew into global movements for climate change action. The #FridaysforFuture movement has since become a community of young people who are striking from school for their future. 

As someone living with Asperger’s syndrome, Greta also took her growing platform as an opportunity to stand up for others who are considered different by society. Critics have used her condition against her, but she believes that it is the reason why she is where she is today. 

Her “superpower”, as she calls it, allowed her to become focused and interested in subjects like the Earth’s climates. If it weren’t for her being different, then she would have continued to not bat an eye on environmental concerns like everyone else. Skolstrejk för klimatet would have never been born and that UN speech as we know it would have ceased to exist. 

“Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago. We have to understand what the older generation has dealt to us, what mess they have created that we have to clean up and live with. We have to make our voices heard.”

2. Kesz Valdez, 21

Photo from Kids Rights’s website

In the Philippines alone, approximately 1.5 million children that live on the streets are vulnerable to abuse, violence, and child labor. After coming face-to-face with poverty at a young age, Cris “Kesz” Valdez made it his mission to help create a future where no child would have to live, work, or beg in the streets to sustain themselves. 8 years after receiving the International Peace Prize, he remains relentless to fulfill this dream.  

Abused by his father and neglected by his mother, Kesz ran away from home to live in the streets of Imus, Cavite at the age of 4. He slept in public cemeteries and was forced to fend for himself by scavenging at a dumpsite. One night, while rushing to rummage through piles of garbage, he fell into burning tires that resulted in severe burns on his arm and back. What seemed to be one of the worst nights of his life had turned out to be life changing for the young boy because it was also at that time when community worker Harnin Manalaysay rescued and took him under his wing.

Unlike most kids his age, Kesz did not wish for presents on his 7th birthday and instead wanted to give gifts to other street children. This inspired him to start his own organization, Championing Community Children (C3), that aims to provide clothing, food, and toys to less-privileged children living in the slums. These “Gifts of Hope” packages have since made their way into the hands of 38,000 children in the country. With the help of more than 200 volunteers, C3 continues to expand its cause by tending to children’s wounds and educating them on proper hygiene, nutrition, and rights. 

His selfless mission to help young children allowed him to gain recognition and support from various philanthropists and advocates around the world including the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu. But in spite of all the praises, Kesz remains humbled by his roots. He credits much of his success to his mentor and foster father, Harnin, who he believes has not only ailed his wounds but also gave him the love and affection he has yearned for all those years. 

“I help because I see myself in children, who roam and live on the streets, and some good-hearted people showed me love and changed my life, and I am just paying it forward.”

3. Jack Andraka, 23

Photo from The Beaker Life’s website

According to the WHO, cancer is one of leading causes of mortality which affects more than 14.1 million people in the world annually. However, almost half of cancer patients are diagnosed too late which greatly reduces their chances of survival. While thousands of scientists are working towards a cure, young innovator Jack Andraka is on a quest to change the face of cancer diagnostics and make scientific knowledge accessible for everyone. 

Jack’s story began at 13 years old when a close family friend of his passed away from pancreatic cancer. Being the tech savvy teenager he was, he looked up the deadly disease on the internet and there he found out that 85% of pancreatic cancers are diagnosed late. This sparked a cascade of ideas in his young mind.

Undeterred, Jack pursued his goal to create an inexpensive, more sensitive cancer detector. After spending most of his summer researching about 8,000 proteins, he found out about a protein called mesothelin that exists in the early stages of the disease. 

His first prototype was a sensor made out of filter paper, carbon nanotubes, and mesothelin-sensitive antibodies that cost 3 cents to make and 5 minutes to run while also being over 400 times more sensitive than the conventional methods. Initial tests of his detection tool on human blood serum showed over 90% accuracy in detecting mesothelin. 

But along this journey, Jack noticed another problem that piqued his attention. He saw how the scientific paywall was creating almost like a caste system of who gets access to the best knowledge and researches over who does not. Most scientific publishers nowadays charge a hefty amount (usually around P1000 to P2500) in exchange for monthly and annual subscription to research articles. 

This “tier-based method of dissemination” was creating a problem not only amongst the scientific community, but also among the general public as it was limiting the amount of information and knowledge that 85% of the world can have access to. A world that lives in knowledge democracy is what he calls for because through open access to quality education, possibilities of future scientific discoveries like his are simply limitless. 

“Knowledge is not a commodity and science shouldn’t be a luxury. Knowledge should be a basic human right because the minds of people must be free. And that means the minds of everyone, not the minds of the select few who can afford these articles. Not because it’s economically sound, but rather because it’s ethically correct. And that’s what we call equality. And I think we can institute this change, because think, if a 15-year-old who didn’t know what a pancreas was, could find a new way to detect pancreatic cancer, just imagine what we can all do together.”

4. Lauren Singer, 29

Photo from Outerknown’s website

The average person generates roughly 4.4 pounds of trash everyday. Plastic generally takes 450 to 1000 years to completely decompose, which is 15 to 50 times more than an average person’s lifespan. So even when we die, the trash we make will still live to see our great grandchildren. This message is what environmental activist and entrepreneur Lauren Singer wants to address. 

In 2015, Lauren‘s story first went viral when she showed the 16 oz mason jar that contained all the trash she accumulated in 3 years. This all began during her senior year as an Environmental Studies student when she noticed that a girl in her class always had single use plastic to package her food or as utensils which made a lot of trash. After noticing that her fridge also had contents packaged in plastic, she made the bold decision to go zero waste. 

She knew that the journey of moving away from plastic was not easy and realized that the only way to do it was to make the products herself. By doing so, she reduced the need of running to the store every time she ran out of toothpaste, deodorant, and other essentials. 

Converting to a zero waste lifestyle allowed Lauren to reduce her waste, save more money, eat healthier, and live happier all while saving the environment. She continues to spread awareness for her cause through her blog “Trash is for Tossers” and self-made company, The Simply Co., that sells environmentally friendly and zero waste products. 

“I live a zero waste lifestyle because to me, it’s the best way I know how to live a life that aligns with everything I believe in. I’m just one person. What difference can I make? I want to be remembered for the things that I did while I was on this planet, and not for the trash I left behind.”

5. Cherrie Atilano, 32

Photo from Changemakers’s website

Agriculture serves as the one of the prime drivers of the country’s economy. But as the industry grew into a monopoly, farmers have become one of the least paid workers with some earning less than P50 a day. This has inspired social entrepreneur Cherrie Atilano to create long term solutions that would give these unsung heroes the recognition they deserve.

After losing her father at a young age, Cherrie’s mother was forced to provide for her five children by working in a sugarcane farm in Negros Occidental. Witnessing children her age work in the fields sparked her passion about farming. At the age of 12, she found herself teaching farmers about the low-income costs of backyard farming after reading about it in a book. 

Cherrie then went on to study agriculture as a scholar and working student at the Visayas State University. Against all odds, she graduated at the top of her class, was the first woman recipient of a leadership award in her university, and was the first in Region 8 to be included in the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines.

Despite a high-paying job in Makati, she chose to work with Gawad Kalinga and build their food sufficiency program in the slums Manila and Bulacan where there was a lack of electricity and water. She was then selected to attend a small occasion in the Vatican where she had the chance to meet Pope Francis. It was this experience that inspired her to serve others and create AGREA, a social enterprise geared towards alleviating poverty in farming and fishing families and establishing food security in the Philippines.

Being an industry mostly dominated by males, Cherrie encourages women to take the bold step in leading the promising future of agriculture. Her cause for sustainable development has since been recognized and lauded by both national and international organizations as well as global ambassadors from Sweden and New Zealand. In 2019, she was also named as an ambassador of the United Nations Scaling Up Nutrition Movement. 

With Cherrie’s vision, AGREA continues to create its first replicable model of a one-island economy that is zero hunger, zero waste, and zero insufficiency.

“I make my commitment to secure nutrition by securing food sufficiency and security. Always make farming sexy by mentoring a lot of young people to venture in agriculture, empower women in agriculture to make sure proper nutrition starts from home, work on multi stakeholder partnerships on making sure nutrition will be a serious business to lower stunted growth and boost our human capital productivity, and invests in impactful agri-foods”.

6. Josh Mahinay, 33

Photo from Josh Mahinay’s website

Back-to-school seasons are all about new clothes, new shoes, and new bags. But not all children have the privilege to purchase a bag for themselves, let alone buy a new one every year. Filipino entrepreneur Josh Mahinay aims to champion education for young children one bag at a time. 

Prior to his success, Josh’s humble roots began in Zamboanga Sibugay where he experienced poverty at a young age. Growing up as the youngest of 9 children, he and some of his siblings had to live with relatives so they could keep going to school. 

In 2007, Josh gave up his legal assistant job in one of the Philippines’ leading companies and worked in the United States as a housekeeper to provide for his family. After shifting jobs from here and there, he finally ended up in the seasonal marketing department in a Los Angeles retail store. His hardworking spirit allowed him to sustain his mother’s medical needs and fund his annual trips to the Philippines. 

While on a trip in Mindanao, he saw a young boy carrying a plastic bag on his way to school which reminded him of his past. During his elementary years, he placed his things inside a striped plastic bag and carried it for the rest of his 10-kilometer journey to school. Every time it would rip off, he knocked on his neighbor’s doors to ask for a new one. The first time he received a bag empowered him to do better in school. Since then, he believed in the vision of witnessing every kid go to school with a proper school bag. 

Josh then left his job in Los Angeles and came back to the Philippines to start a business that would support the education of impoverished children. Today, he continues to pay it forward through his BEAGIVER Ventures, Inc. enterprise wherein every bag purchased is equivalent to another bag given to a poor child among their partner schools. To date, they have helped more than 67,500 school children across 196 schools and communities in the country. 

Apart from their bag drives, BEAGIVER also continues to adhere to their vision by providing scholarships to school kids, water tanks and solar lamps to rural communities, school boats to teachers in remote islands, and cultural preservation projects for indigenous communities.

“All of us have something to contribute in nation-building. Nobody is too poor to give, nobody is too young to start something, nobody is too busy to serve and nobody is too ordinary to do great things.”

With all that said, it is safe to say that today’s era of millennials and Gen Zs are a force to be reckoned with. Rather than sitting behind closed doors waiting for solutions, they have learned to use innovation and creativity to instigate the change they want for the future they want to see. And this is only the beginning. As more young and eager minds are inspired to also step forward and lead global movements and advocacies towards transformational change, it is more than enough to say that even in these trying times the future is still worth looking forward to. 

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How ‘Attack on Titan’ revolves around the compromise of freedom and revolution

‘Attack on Titan’ is not your typical zombie apocalyptic genre. It’s an experience, and it has changed.

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Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

‘Attack on Titan’ is not your typical zombie apocalyptic genre. It’s an experience, and it has changed. 

Through one of my major classes, I grasped the role of diplomacy and foreign relations as I slowly began to outgrow prejudices I’ve had with my own country and other countries. When we see our coexistence with the world, we see how we’re not different from the rest. How catastrophic would that be if we chose to resist openness and turn a blind eye to see both the good and ugly realities of the world?

Questioning morality and freedom is perfectly contextualized in the immaculate storytelling of Isayama Hajime’s ‘Attack on Titan’. First released in 2009, the highly-acclaimed fantasy-action shounen manga and anime has drawn many fans on an international scale, living to its hype and success through its consistency in fusing elements of action, fantasy, horror, and thrill. The plot circulates over Eren Yeager, who vowed to save humanity by killing all the Titans, the gigantic humanoid antagonists that have devoured humans, and his mother. However, as the story progresses, its archetypal shounen narrative of simply defeating the Titans shifts towards significant themes of politics, war, philosophy, and history intertwined. 

It tactfully combines emotionally-driven arcs paired with music that enforces ferocity, nationalism, tragedy, and despair. Each frame and panel is gracefully animated with precision, reflecting the artistry and dedication of the creators in cultivating the series’ magnificent world-building. The abundance of subtexts and relevant themes is portrayed through allegories, symbolism, and critiques of humanity’s adverse upbringing. Fair warning: anime spoilers ahead!

*Trigger warning: Mention of violence, human experimentation, and trauma

Historical Revisionism, Racism, and Fascism: The Tragedy of Reiner Braun 

Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

As we perceived the world through the universe of Paradis, we’ve rooted for the Eldian protagonists left to save the last of humanity within their walls. We were introduced to the Marleyans, who presented themselves as a larger enemy than the Titans. Unbeknownst to the Eldian protagonists, the entire world ostracized them as the “devils of the Earth” after their ancestor, Ymir Fritz, gained the power of the Titan through a deal with the Devil and propagated the grim Titan war. Oppressing nations through the Titans’ blood lineage and ethnic cleansing for decades, the Eldian upheaval was successful when the Marleyans finally conquered the world by obtaining 7 out of 9 Titan shifters the ability to transform into a Titan and a human. 

Due to indoctrination and Marley imperialism, relentless hate and discrimination were spewed primarily against the Eldians within the walls of Paradis. Weaponizing the Titans for world domination, human experimentation, and slavery was a pervasive punishment for the Eldian refugees to atone for their ancestors’ sins. 

Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

Reiner Braun was an Eldian Titan child soldier that was a victim of the Marleyan propagandistic mission that sent off candidates to infiltrate the Eldians of Paradis (they deemed as the Evil Eldians) to obtain the Founding Titan, the supreme ability to take control over the Titans. In a horrifying betrayal, it was revealed that Reiner and Bertholdt Hoover were the traitorous Titan shifters that nearly annihilated humanity years ago when they breached Wall Maria. Being disguised as a Survey Corps comrade has resulted in Reiner’s split personality, causing him to be torn with guilt between his soldier and warrior persona. After realizing that the Eldians are just normal as them who faced the same human conflict, and not the ‘devils’ the Marleyans made them be, he struggled with being a double-agent. He was just another victim of the fascist propaganda that brainwashed children to bring victory to their nation. Regardless, you want someone to be held accountable after they have slaughtered bloodshed and exterminated irreplaceable lives. If the Eldians would have won the war, would they have made themselves the heroes that have slain the evil as well? If so, which historical narrative is right? Who do we side with? 

As it highlights the damage of the glorification of military and fascism, ‘Attack on Titan’ performs a penetrating and coherent approach in alluding to the complexity of prejudice and war, the importance of history, and understanding different perspectives through Reiner’s narrative. 

Military Censorship, Class Struggle, and Corruption: Levi Ackerman and Erwin Smith’s Enigma

Screengrab from Attack on Titan

As the Marleyans thrived in power, domination, and technological advancement, our protagonists faced boundless struggles of gloom and melancholy due to endless casualties and issues within Paradis. The three walls, Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and Wall Sina, divided the lower class, upper class, and royalty. While the Survey Corps zealously dedicated their life to saving humanity and protecting the royalty, the Royal Government put a premium on protecting their positions in the class hierarchy while being apathetic towards the lower class and refugees. Here, corruption was rampant as they were gatekeepers of true information on the outside world and resources. Their misuse of funding has resulted in class struggles and the impoverished seeking refuge in the Underground City, a crime-ridden district where Levi Ackerman was initially from. After his mother passed away, his uncle Kenny raised and taught him the essential defense and knife skills. Though he was groomed as a notorious heist member, his skills were put to good use when Commander Erwin Smith recruited him in the Scout Regiment. Levi and Erwin helped overthrow the corrupt regime through a coup d’état and emancipated progressive change with recrowned Queen Historia Reiss when they created an orphanage for the Underground citizens with proper allocation of the Royal Family’s budget. 

Despite their quintessential role as revolutionary soldiers and leaders, the series never fails to humanize their characters, representing their emotional state in the face of powerlessness and helplessness. In Levi’s troubled background, his misdemeanor has transformed into one of the most significant developments of someone who replaces apathy with care and respect by defending the collective masses, pulling the destitute from the rear end of the class hierarchy, and placing his comrades before himself. Even on the brink of death, Erwin zealously places his life on the line in upholding utmost leadership, eradicating military censorship, and practicing dignity in fighting for humanity relentlessly. 

Morality and Freedom: Eren Yeager and the Axiom for Freedom

Screengrab from ‘Attack on Titan’

“If we kill our enemies on the other side, will we finally be free?” He asks, aimlessly staring at the ocean. 

The one-dimensional persona of Eren Yeager as the main character was continually challenged from his linear ideals of attaining freedom and revenge to learning the complexity of the world on the other side of the walls. From tormenting events of betrayal, trauma, and dehumanization, his aphorisms of vowing to kill the Titans to save humanity and using the Titans for his extremist ultimatums of freedom have displayed his development as the protagonist and antagonist of the story. His moral ambiguity allows him to accept that he is only special and significant because he has Titan powers. Disappointed by the existence of other humans and civilizations beyond, all he could think about was the enemies on the other side as he reached the ocean he once longed for. The innocent look of a simple boy that gleamed with a hunger for discovery and justice is now a cyclical, manipulative, and mass-murdering enemy, with all the hatred the world has thrown upon him. 

I find it dramatically complex and beautiful when the disruption of loyalties and ideologies are placed on a threshold when former enemies and friends turned their back on him to save the world, while he turned his back on the world to save them. 

Either way, it risks someone’s life and ends in pain, which can be similarly contextualized with the philosophical dilemma of the Trolley problem. Will you push the lever, saving the five and killing the one? Or will you simply watch the train continue on its path, hence killing the five?

Illustration by Jesse Prinz on subcortex.com

Before it surfaced as a meme, Philippa Foot sparked this influential question in 1976 and was commonly raised in moral ethics and psychology. While the majority chose the “greater good”, professors made each prompt more personal and emotion-driven by exemplifying someone we were close to on the tracks. In this sense, Eren chooses to save who he is closest to, in order to be truly free and end the curse of endless chaos, rendering the death of millions. But can we blame him after the whole world celebrated while the Paradis Eldians endured monsters and hell inside the walls and were denounced as the enemies? 

The fallibility of identifying the true heroes and villains leaves the audience with an overwhelmed sense of uncertainty, as different perspectives and layers are presented.  But maybe, that is Isayama’s genius discernment — to make us think. The character’s different upbringings, environments, and ideologies show that there is neither a good nor bad guy. Every act is justifiably done for what they see as the common good in their eyes like two sides of the same coin with a different definition of justice. However, is it too late to change and find the midpoint? 

Although humorous yet unfortunate, the ongoing pandemic made several people compare the Titan serums to the contention of the elite getting the cream of the crop of the COVID-19 vaccines exclusively while the underprivileged get the short end of the stick. Even in the face of the most abhorring adversity, plague, or monsters unleashed from hell, it is the frailty and corruption of our human nature that turns us into our own enemies, winding in a repetitive cycle of chaos — to keep moving forward until our means meet the end. 

From the Game of Thrones to the Walking Dead, we hope that ‘Attack on Titan’ won’t fall into the same hole of critically-acclaimed series that eventually slump into a dissatisfying finale. As anime watchers howl in excitement for every action scene, manga readers anticipate for things to fall into place. Watch Eren’s Declaration of War against the Marleyans and the world in the ongoing season finale! Will he finally achieve freedom or be a slave to the pursuit of freedom?

See you, when this sublime and unmatched tale is engraved in history, 2000 years from now. Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro

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Why new year’s resolutions don’t always work out

If your resolutions made it to this week, congrats. If not, here are some reasons why you chose to ditch them. 

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Whenever ancient Babylonians crowned or asserted their loyalty to their king, they promised to the gods that they would pay their debts or return things they borrowed. If they keep their end of the bargain, favor would be bestowed upon them. This pagan ritual is said to be the precedent of our annual New Year’s resolutions.

A new year calls for new beginnings. With everything we’ve gone through last year, it’s no strange fact that we all badly want to turn over a new leaf. At this point, our social media feeds are most likely filled with ‘New Year, New Me’ posts along with dozens of resolutions that claim to be effective and easy. But no matter how realistic we set them to be, we still end up bouncing back on old habits. 

If your resolutions made it to this week, congrats. If not, here are some reasons why you chose to ditch them. 

1. Your goals overwhelm you

We all want to be the best versions of ourselves this year. Not only do we set the bar too high, but we also set too much for ourselves. By the time we attempt to begin some resolutions, we tend to give up after a few tries because we have too much on our plate. We have so many things we want to accomplish, yet we have so little time, which can be stressful rather than rewarding.

Your goals don’t have to be as many as that of a grocery list. Prioritize setting resolutions that are sustainable despite how few it may seem. These can include waking up early, cleaning your room once a week, or having a 20-minute study break. Also, instead of carrying out your resolutions all at once, try to divide them into weekly or monthly goals. Just because you wrote them on the first day of the year, it doesn’t mean you have to start them right away. Working at your own pace would greatly help in escaping the stress of having to do so much in one day to the point that it feels like a chore. Remember, quality over quantity. 

2. Your resolutions are too restrictive

Whether it’s trying out a fad diet or limiting your shopping expenses, they are both goals that bar you from things that satisfy your inner psyche. Sure, you may end up sticking to it for a few days or weeks. But once you begin to feel that void of serotonin, the next thing you know, you’re checking out items from your cart in Shopee or Lazada’s monthly sale. 

Restrictive goals tend to be unsustainable because they alter our normal behavior, which is why we inevitably break them. Instead of imposing limits on your habits, try to make them more inclusive. Having trouble maintaining your weight? Take the healthy route and choose foods that are rich in nutrients and minerals. Losing weight doesn’t have to be quick and easy. Feeling guilty about your purchases? Splurge on items that will actually benefit your daily lifestyle such as space organizers and home essentials, not those decors that will only end up gathering dust in your room. Believe me, you don’t need a mini statue of an astronaut cat. 

3. You do it alone

Most resolutions tend to fail because we lack motivation or commitment in achieving them. It can also be difficult when you try to change habits on your own and the people around you have lifestyles that work against it. One way to prevent your goals from going down the drain is having someone to share those goals with. As they say, two are better than one. 

Changing for the better with others promotes a mutualistic relationship where both parties equally benefit from each other. Together, you can keep track of your goals and make sure that you don’t end up cheating your way out of it. Having that boost of encouragement from others would definitely increase your chances of success and make activities even more fun. So if you’re still crafting your resolutions for this year, reach out to a friend or two. If not, try joining support groups on Facebook. Who knows? You might find people who share the same goals as you do. 

4. You are not the problem, your resolutions are

When writing down our resolutions for this year, we tend to focus on goals that would help enhance our physique such as exercising everyday or sticking to a strict diet. These will surely appease all the fitness gods, but in reality, we still find ourselves eating junk food while watching Netflix or cooking pancit canton at three in the morning. 

More often than not, we find ourselves setting goals that focus on what we should be doing rather than what we want to do. We tend to set our resolutions based on other people’s expectations like getting that post-quarantine body or having that aesthetic lifestyle for the sake of bragging about it on Instagram and TikTok. So, instead of being better versions of ourselves, we only end up creating another manufactured persona for everyone’s liking on social media. Talk about real-life ‘Nosedive’, huh? 

If you know exercising at the crack of dawn is not your cup of tea and you’d rather want to spend those hours bundled up in your bed, then go ahead and don’t do it. The only thing stopping you is your own urge to conform to other people’s standards. 

5. You only focus on one side of the coin

Typical resolutions focusing on finance and fitness are materialistic. Some may argue that having tangible goals is better because seeing it unfold before their eyes leads to greater satisfaction. However, they merely encapsulate our attempts to pursue happiness indirectly. 

Cliché as it may sound, gaining happiness directly through simple actions outweighs all the taxing and tedious goals we try to set up. 

Start by being more grateful. Remind yourself to say thank you for the simple things and to the people you meet. To the security guard who opened the door for you, say thank you. To your friends who made an effort to reply to your messages, say thank you. Better yet, take time out from your busy schedule everyday to write a few things you are grateful for. It can indeed be difficult to stay optimistic considering the situation we are in right now, but a simple gesture goes a long way in benefiting your mental health for the better.

Resolve your worries by forgiving. In the past year, we’ve all had things or people that really tested our limits as a person. Carrying that grudge throughout this year would not only be burdensome, but would also take a great toll on your well-being. It may seem difficult to do but it can go two ways: forgiveness towards those who wronged you and forgiveness towards yourself. While working out enhances your physique, forgiving improves your self-esteem and relationship with yourself and others. We’ve already had our fair share of toxicity last year and the last thing we want is for it to persist and make us feel worse than we already are. 

We all have high hopes for the new year and our resolutions are a reflection of that. As we gather in prayer circles, we manifest that 2021 would finally free us from the desolation and anxiety that the past year held us with. With that said, I think that one of the best resolutions we can write for ourselves is to get through this year safely and healthily. May this, along with all the resolutions we wrote or are about to write, allow us to step out as improved individuals for the better. 

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New Year’s Eve Playlist: House Party

It’s time to bust out your dance moves.

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Artwork by Patricia Jardin

It is finally time to bid adieu to 2020. Our current circumstances may have put our usual new year traditions to a halt. But being able to conquer all the ups and downs we’ve been through this year is enough reason to still celebrate.

Whether you’re leaping into the new year with your loved ones or cuddled alone in your room, you’ll need a soundtrack to close this year. Release all your worries and wishes as we welcome 2021 with hope and positivity.

It’s time to bust out your dance moves.

From all of us at TomasinoWeb, happy new year!

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