Drink Water, Live Longer

I love Diet Pepsi. If I order a food delivery, a 2-liter Diet Pepsi will definitely be in it. But lately, I’ve announced farewell to it. 

Looking at a can of Diet Pepsi, it’s the word “Diet” that will capture your eyes. It means no sugar is in Pepsi. In other words, Diet Pepsi has zero-calories. It means you can feel guilt-free when drinking a can of soda, it means you can drink ten cans of Diet Pepsi and still stay in shape… but it also means cancer.

Cancer? Yes, cancer. Like I said, Diet Pepsi is sugar-free. However, the Pepsi company replaces the sugar with a kind of sweetener called aspartame. Studies on aspartame have shown that the use of aspartame can increase the chance for an individual to get blood-related cancers. 

On the Diet Pepsi company’s response to the studies on aspartame was replacing aspartame with other non-sugar sweeteners. This alone shows the dangers aspartame triggers. However, most Diet Pepsi I see out there still state the use of aspartame. While I’m no professional in studying sweeteners or the soda industry, I do care about my own longevity. And honestly, even if they use another kind of sweetener in soda, I don’t think I can trust its safety anymore. That’s why I’ve decided to stay off the product.

Looking at all those soda cans, with labels like “sugar-free,” “caffeine-free” or “aspartame-free”… I have a question for all of us—why not just free yourself by drinking water? 

Drink water, live longer.

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A While

It’s been a while since we’ve all been birds,

since we’ve embraced our cold grey skies,

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flapped our wings,

chirped a song,

scattered across the horizon,

with no care but its infinite existence.

It’s been a while since we’ve been wildflowers,

since we’ve sprouted with the spring,

mismatched our colors,

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and lived within that beauty of simply living.

It’s been a while since

we’ve shot our birds

and mowed down our flowers.

It’s been a while since we’ve figured that

there’s a different way to live,

with scary grey skies and plain flowers.

It’s been a while since we’ve forgotten our ways,

our happy freedom and

our beautiful purposelessness.

It’s only now that we realize that

there’s no going back.

A Place Behind the Hills

There is a place behind the hills,

behind the deep-dark forests and rocky roads,

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where the trees are bright and the flowers purple.

There, storms are a pleasant breeze,

and the lakes are so clear you can see all the happy fish.

There, the sun rises at 5:30 every morning

and goes to set when you’re ready.

There, there are no downsides,

except for the cows’ bellies that swing as they walk.

But, to get there, you’ll need to run.

You’ll need to hike and climb and swim,

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but most importantly, you’ll need to run.

There are tall monsters and mean witches

waiting for you to stop and catch your breath,

waiting to hold you by your legs and arms

and never let you go.

So don’t catch your breath, not now.

Now is not the time, but the time will come.

Now, you must run past the monsters and witches,

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through the forests and along the rocky roads,

past the dark shadows that are hunting beside you.

But then, believe me,

there is a place behind the hills,

where the trees are bright and the flowers purple.

Where the only shadows will be of the lazy cows in the sunset.

My Future

I’m really confused about how my life is going to go in the future. I know what I want to, I’m just not sure how I’m going to do it.

My plan was to go either UCSB, Stanford, USC, or a college in Australia to study Marine Biology and/ or Environmental Science. I would then go to law school and become an environmental lawyer. At college, I would swim and play water polo.

Well, now I’m really in to running. I love triathlons too. I know I’m going to play sports in college, but which ones?

Recently I’ve been thinking about become a humane officer. It pains me to know that so many animals are suffering and abused. I want to dedicate my life to stopping the cruelty that takes place everyday.  I want to do this, but there are some issues.

A humane officer makes 32,000 dollars annually. I don’t have millions of dollars in family money, I don’t have a billion dollars in my bank account, and I want to stay in California. I’m afraid 32,000 dollars would not be enough to have a home, a car, and eventually kids.

So, my plan is now to stick with being an environmental lawyer. I still really want to be a humane officer though…

Again, on the topic of money, I realized that I’m not going to have enough money to go to any of the colleges I want to go to. I could go to junior college. It would save a lot of money and I can save up for my next two years at a university.

I also want to take a gap year and go to the Peace Corps…

Will I go straight to a four year school? I wonder where I’m going to live after college? What college am I going to go to? What law school will I go to? Will I still want to be a lawyer, or will my opinions change? What sports will I play? Will I have a boyfriend? Will I get married? Am I going to have kids? When will I retire? Will I become a humane officer?

I don’t know, honestly. But maybe in thirty years, I’ll come back to this post and reflect on everything I did or didn’t do.

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Satisfied

One of the most satisfying things for me as a horseback rider is when I make a breakthrough with the horse I’m riding.

Over the past four years, I’ve constantly ridden the same horse. Though I would never give up riding that horse until graduation comes, there wasn’t that much I could continue learning on him. One, he was too perfect of a horse and, two, I already knew every little aid, tick, and everything else there was to know about him, good and bad.

Photo Credit: wildopenpets.com

But, in November, 2018, I took up the opportunity to ride a second horse, one completely opposite from my slow and steady, older horse I’ve been riding all throughout high school.

And riding him has been a pain, but also I’ve become such a better rider in the process learning to ride a horse completely different.

There were days when I’d get off with sore muscles and complete frustration and dissatisfaction. Days when I had to fight with him just to get him to walk.

Last Saturday, however, I had a breakthrough. Though there were the moments when I had to fight him through the walk, there were only two of them versus ten or twenty. It was the best ride I ever had on him. I got him to easily canter from a halt, canter over ground poles, and do most of those things without any protest.

I hope I’m not jinxing my improvement with him by writing this, but I hope all the future rides are just as successful as this one or else I’ll just keep learning.

A Story of Life, Death, Chickens, and Growing Up.

When I was around six years old, I remember my parents slowly walking up to me in the morning and giving me a hug. They kneeled down beside me and said in a soft, slow, sad, and apologetic voice: “I’m sorry, honey. The raccoons got Mrs. Frizzel last night.”

I sobbed for hours. I was sad for days. I made my parents have a funeral. My tears fell to the ground as we buried my dead chicken. My parents bought a chick that I raised and loved, but I still missed Mrs. Frizzel.

When I was eight, Fluffy and Ginger passed away. My parents broke the news to me in the same way. I cried the same way as I had before. I got two more chicks.

When I was twelve, my parents again approached me with the same sad tone and told me that that a couple of our chickens died in their sleep. I didn’t cry as much when they died, partially because I was old enough to understand that everything dies of old age at some point. It was much more bearable. I would be sad, but not sobbing like I had done in the past.

Today, I came home and asked if he bought food at the store. He said no. Something happened, so he had to come home. “What I happened?” I asked.

“The neighbors dog got into our yard and into the chicken coop,” he said with a flat tone.

“You stopped right, the chickens are okay?”

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“No,” he said. “They are dead, all but three are dead.” He said it with the same flat tone.

He just told me straight up, assuming I wouldn’t be sad. No soft, slow, sad, or apologetic voice. He patted my back and walked away.

I went outside. The corpses were gone. All that remained was feathers.

Eight year old me popped in to my mind. The funeral for Mrs. Frizzel. My parents stroking my back and telling me everything was going to be okay.

There would be no funeral, my dad had put their limp bodies in the trash before I came home. There would be no comfort from my parents. Fifteen year olds don’t cry when their chickens die.

I’m shouldn’t be sad. I’m too old to be sad. But, I’m sad.

I remembered holding the chickens when they were less than a week old. Moving them to the big coop when they were old enough. Hand-feeding them mealworms and celebrating the day that they laid their first egg.

I raised them. They are dead now.

If I was a child I would be sobbing in my parents arms. Now, I’m sobbing alone.

I know if I went to them they would comfort me, but there’s an age where you need to accept reality on your own.

Being treated like a child is now nonexistent. Just like my chickens.

When I was little, if I had a lot of homework, my parents would tell me I could do it and tell me I could have a cookie when I finished. Now, when I complain about my homework, they say lots of homework is part of growing up.

When I was little, my parents were by me at every moment to guide me through life. Now, I am old enough where I need to handle  things on my own.

When I was younger, my parents could fix everything. They could make everything feel better. In their arms, I was safe.

Yes, the death of my chickens is part of the reason I’m crying. But, there’s more to the tears running down my cheek.

No matter how much I want to believe it, my parents can’t fix everything. As much as I want it to, they can’t hug me and make me not be sad. As desperately as I want to deny it, my parents can’t protect me anymore.

I don’t know why all of this came from a dog breaking into my chicken coop, but it did…

Rest in peace Lucky, Trouble, Darwin, Lemon, Pepper, Oreo, and Henry.  I may not be a child anymore, but I still love you and miss you.

I picked a rose today

I picked a rose today.

It was beautiful and perfect, so I tore it off its stem.

I ended its life to improve mine.

I liked seeing it in my hands,

it’s symmetry and beautiful color.

I picked it; it was mine now.

I carried it around with me,

I started thinking.

What if I was this rose?

Minding my own business,

fulfilling the fate mother nature gave to me.

Happy, growing, thriving, sitting on my stem,

then along came a girl.

She broke my neck.

She tore me from my home.

What did I ever do to her?

I think the Earth got mad at me.

Its leaves started to wilt and turn brown at the edges.

The bugs living inside started to crawl on my hand,

almost like a plead for help.

“Why did you take our home, leave us destined to die?”

I think the Earth got mad at me,

I think I deserved it.

After carrying it around for a while, I set it on a tree and left it.

I picked a rose today,

it was beautiful and perfect, so I tore it off its stem.

I could have just left it,

let it be.

Let the bugs live in its center.

Let the Earth run its course: the rose would continue to grow,

it would later begin to wilt,

it would eventually die.

It was destined to die eventually, but not the way it did.

If I had left it, it would have died with the other roses.

It would have raised numerous families of bugs.

It would have fallen to the ground decomposed and continued the cycle it was destined to do.

Instead, I picked it.

It will now die on a tree

away from the other roses.

It will die far sooner than it should,

start to wither away from being separated from its stem.

And why does it come to this fate? Because I was selfish.

I could have left it,

enjoyed it’s beauty from afar.

But no,

I was selfish.

I wanted it for my own.

It could have been enjoyed by many more people,

but instead it lays withered and rotting on a tree, slowly dying.

I picked a rose today,

I ended a rose today.

 

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