At 86 years old, she found herself with a newborn baby.

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Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

Güita, my great-grandmother, wasn’t long for this world. During her eighties, she was obese, and, though she’d already had two heart strokes, she refused to improve her diet and exercise routine. At most, the doctors gave her a couple of years.

However, not only did she live to celebrate her 100th birthday, but, during her nineties, she lost the excess weight, hosted weekly family gatherings, and spoke fluent French.

Unfortunately, her tipping point was a tragedy: the death of her youngest daughter, Antonieta.

Throughout her life, Antonieta was a ray of light. Always joyful, she pursued a career in acting, traveled the world in her free time, and afterward decided to get pregnant. …


Science-backed research on the dangers of focusing on the outcome and what we can do about it

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Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

The first time you earn money by writing is glorious. Writer’s block goes out the window. Words pour out of you. Your motivation is at an all-time high. Day after day, you make substantial progress toward your dream of living from your passion.

But then comes the fateful day when your income drops dramatically. Worse, it’s not a one-time thing. For weeks or months, your pockets are empty, the blank page haunts you, and you’re constantly finding ways to procrastinate. Writing isn’t so glorious anymore.

Some — heroes — buckle up and continue trudging forward until they return to an upward path. Others — and unfortunately, the majority — quit. Writing isn’t as fun anymore. …


I set 84 resolutions and succeeded, despite a pandemic. Here’s my system of setting goals, tracking outcomes, and reviewing progress.

A woman is facing the horizon with her arms held high in a sign of victory
A woman is facing the horizon with her arms held high in a sign of victory
Photo by Eunice De Guzman on Unsplash

Despite COVID-19, 2020 has been one of the best years of my life. Though I’ve gone through a lockdown, had first-hand experience with coronavirus, and had to postpone my wedding and honeymoon, I’ve never felt more successful.

For the first time in 27 years, I’ve achieved most of my New Year’s resolutions.

In the past, the end of the year was a frustrating yet hopeful time. Once I begrudgingly accepted I’d barely done anything I’d set out to do that year, I excitedly prepared for the next one — only to face disappointment yet again.

From makeshift to-do lists to comprehensive essays, I tried different approaches. But regardless of the method, the results were always the same: unremarkable. I had trouble following through and, most importantly, setting feasible goals. …


Why we succumb to willful ignorance and how we can overcome it

Three monkeys covering their eyes, ears or mouth
Three monkeys covering their eyes, ears or mouth
Photo by Joao Tzanno on Unsplash

Have you ever shared disturbing news, yet everyone refuses to listen?

“I don’t want to know.”

“The last time I read an article like that I was traumatized.”

Let me introduce you to willful ignorance, the point where bliss becomes a crime. Like Yuval Noah Harari says in his book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, one of the biggest problems we face nowadays is our increasingly complex world.

Millions of years ago, when we were hunter-gatherers, morality was simple. If someone stole the food you’d gathered for your family, it was unfair. It was easy to see it was unfair. …


What a trip to a misty mountain valley taught me about dreams and regret

A book surrounded by a magical setting
A book surrounded by a magical setting
Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

Once upon a time, I was a professional “waiter”. If I wanted to write a book, I waited until I felt inspired. If I felt inspired, I waited until I had enough time. If I had enough time, I waited until *insert here whatever excuse you can come up with*.

Excuses ruled my life. I was always too busy to sit in my goddamn chair and write my goddamn book. Instead, I fused with the couch and binge-watched Friends for the tenth time.

I’m young. Life needs to be lived. I’ll have time to write later.

Except, later didn’t exist.

One hour of wasted time became a day. One day became a week. One week became a year. And what did I have to show for it?


The life-altering lesson I learned with my gallbladder surgery about health and weight

Thin woman eating a hamburger with french fries and drinking cola
Thin woman eating a hamburger with french fries and drinking cola
Photo by Angelos Michalopoulos on Unsplash

Most people consider my genetic thinness a blessing. For a long time, I shared their beliefs. Without exercise or a diet rich with vegetables, I maintained a “healthy” weight. And though I deeply appreciate my family heritage, my gallbladder surgery taught me that effortless thinness is also a curse.

Before the surgery, I ate saturated fat and sugar without restraint: three cokes per day, daily french fries, cinnamon rolls, among others. I nibbled on vegetables once a week during a family meal because I felt forced. And exercise? What was that?

Through it all, my weight remained at around 114 pounds. It would rise and fall depending on the season, but it never strayed too far — a blessing. …


Death is frightening; I love it.

A man gazing at the constellations with longing
A man gazing at the constellations with longing
Photo by Manouchehr Hejazi on Unsplash

I was eleven when I learned about death. In the living room, my parents sat with my siblings and me. With sunken faces and still-moist cheeks, they said: “Your uncle is dead.”

In the following nights, my dreams turned dark. When I flew, I fell. When I swam, I drowned. Without invitation, death sneaked into my mind. Will I cease to exist?

No.

I couldn’t understand. How could someone stop existing? What did it mean to “die”?

Night after night, I woke up at three, heaving, frightened. Day after day, I grew more afraid.

Fortunately, life had my back. With its many appointments and meaningless tasks, it distracted me. I willingly forgot about death. It was too frightening, too confusing. At eleven-years-old, I chose ignorance — even if it had a price. …


Consider content, communicative achievement, organization, and language to increase your odds

Yes written on sand
Yes written on sand
Photo by Drahomír Posteby-Mach on Unsplash

In less than two months of writing on Medium, I’ve been published several times in three major publications: The Writing Cooperative, The Ascent, and P.S. I Love You.

You may think it’s because I have an innate talent, but that’s not the case; I’m not even a native English speaker.

I am, though, an English teacher specialized in the Cambridge exams. Following the official rubric, I’ve corrected hundreds of student essays, letters, reports, proposals, reviews, and articles. Considering four points — content, communicative achievement, organization, and language — I’ve helped countless learners achieve their goals.

And mine.

Using the same rubric, I’ve edited my stories on Medium to great success. By considering Cambridge’s four points, I’ve ensured my written pieces are relevant, appropriate to the publication, pleasurable to read, and grammatically correct. …


Use these research-backed tips to find the ideal spot for drafting and editing

An inspiring cathedral
An inspiring cathedral
Photo by Alice Yamamura on Unsplash

What do you feel in a cathedral? Does your mouth pop open as you gaze at the intricate ceiling carvings?

Light streams through the stained-glass windows. The heartwrenching notes of an organ burrow into your soul. A singer’s angelic voice raises goosebumps on your arms. It smells old.

Compared to the world outside, the cathedral feels sacred, inspiring.

Meanwhile, a school science lab dampens your emotions. As you follow the experiment’s instructions, your mind doesn’t wander from the task at hand. There’s nothing to see on the walls, nothing to hear but silence. …


A story about dreams and regret

A mountain surrounded by mist and brilliant light
A mountain surrounded by mist and brilliant light
Photo by Polina Kuzovkova on Unsplash

The misty mountain is everything you want. It’s elusive, mysterious. It promises a challenge and a reward. When you imagine its silhouette, your heart flutters. When the mist rolls back and allows you to catch a glimpse of the mountain’s majestic peak, tears pool in your eyes.

You want to get to that mountain. If you’re honest with yourself, there’s nothing else you want as much.

But it isn’t easy.

Early in the morning, the mist blinds you. It blankets the valley separating you from the mountain. It makes you despise leaving your home’s warmth.

You catch glances of the mountain here and there, but your feet are glued to your home’s safety. To go through the mist, you need patience and faith. You need more courage than you ever needed before. You need time, something you think will never run out. …

About

Alexa V.S.

Certified INFJ. Travel enthusiast. Fellow writer. English teacher. Business Consultant. Fantasy lover.

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