Xeno Hemlock
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Life and Death: The Two Elephants in the Room

It is funny because both life and death fill our minds even if we claim otherwise. Life does, of course, in our day to day living. From the moment we wake up, it begins. What do I eat for breakfast? Should I shampoo my hair or condition it? Do I wear this red polo shirt or go for the body-hugging tokusatsu shirt to work instead? Should I answer emails right away when I arrive at the office or save them for the afternoon? Do I watch a movie after work or go to the gym to make up for the sedentary hours I spent  earlier? Do I write a draft or read a book before sleeping? These questions may seem silly to you but they shape how our daily lives go about.

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#ThinkAboutIt - Do You Take Risks?

Ever since my awakening to my life's purpose, I've been more sensitive to messages and winks the universe sends my way. There was that time a Mark Twain quote knocked me off the cinema seat figuratively while watching The Equalizer. There was also that time I found some wisdom in Insidious: Chapter 3. Also, watching Moana made me cry silently inside the giant, dim room of the theater as the song "How Far I'll Go" tugged at my soulstrings. You see, I'm no stranger to experiencing pseudo-psychic and "New Age-ish" lightbulb moments while watching a film. It happened to me again last Monday when I watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

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The Friendship Manifesto (10 Commandments to Create a Meaningful Friendship)

I wrote a letter, to my friends and my future friends, about how I think friendship should be. But I changed my mind. Why write a letter? It felt like pleading, desperate. Friendship, like any good relationship, must be two-way. It must begin with me. I should state what I want from it instead of squeezing myself into the empty cracks of the other person to form a whole. And if the other person reacts in a negative way, then that's an obvious clue the friendship will never be two-way. Never ever beg for the acceptance of another. Let's be ourselves to draw the right people to us. Quality over quantity. You can be friends with a thousand people but if you're compromising yourself, the friendship is in no way genuine.

Below are the ten commandments of a good friendship, the kind we should all be striving for. In this time when it's easy to "connect" with another person, think about how many connections serve nothing good at all. Make it a checklist if you must, which you can use in evaluating your friendships. Let's give it a better name, something stronger and powerful. Let's call it The Friendship Manifesto, which will contain our new standards in cultivating a healthy, positive, and great friendship. Pull a friend to your side, read the manifesto together, and start building a relationship that will motivate and inspire you from here on out.

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Why?

One day back in college, my English professor sat on the table in front of the class. She rubbed her nose gently and huffed, “Read the Harry Potter series. It has just been turned into a movie but you got to read the books. I highly recommend it. It's so good.” She repeated the last sentence, stronger the second time around. “It's so good.”

I didn't read the books right away after her recommendation. It wasn't until the second film hit the theatres when, I found the first book in the house and, out of boredom, hastily read it. My sister had borrowed the first four books from our neighbor. With nothing interesting to do over the summer vacation, I thought why not read it. Little did I know I would not be able to put the book down. Page after page, chapter after chapter, and book after book, I had to keep going. My professor was right. It's so good. Just like the rest of the world, I fell in love with J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.

Now, I am not as in love with the Harry Potter series as I used to but its impact in my life can never be denied. The wizarding world had enamored and captivated me so much that it triggered old childhood memories when our family didn't have spare money to buy the expensive toys that I wanted. I had to make the most out of my cheap plastic action figures (that you could buy for a buck), trading cards, pens and notebooks, and even the plants and rocks in our front yard. I made my own fantasy world where I could play for hours with my imaginary friends and the lack of expensive X-Men action figures and VTech didn't matter. The Harry Potter series reminded me of that and my dream of becoming a writer was born.

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