What is the Recipe for Love?

Have you ever been lost but not worried about finding your way back?

Have you walked into complete darkness trusting your instincts with the certitude of a safe terrain?

Deep in our heart, we trust our decisions because they represent the balance of life experiences, a recipe that can be perfected thanks to the right combination of elements.

When I am in the lab preparing a solution, I think about how life combines some of these aspects. I have to ensure that I don’t make the same mistakes by always checking and re-checking my work conditions. I have to follow these steps:

(1) wearing personal protective equipment (because safety is number one priority).

(2) select unexpired chemicals.

(3) guarantee the cleanliness of glassware and the counter.

(4) verify that I use a calibrated balance.

(5) confirm the correct use of other equipment and elements.

(6) keep my eyes open for any potential contamination.

Careful selection of elements is combined with trial and error calculations because if we miss any aspect of it, chemistry does not forgive mistakes.

When we believe that we have everything figured out, we discover that life continues teaching us lessons. We are all human and we all make mistakes. It is not that we are not confident about walking into a new situation or a new relationship. It is because we don’t know all the answers and when we are faced with the unexpected, we fail to recognize what is happening. When we perfect our technique, we remind ourselves that we have to be present by collecting our thoughts and look at any situation objectively.

I want to tell you a story about self-awareness because I failed to cover the two aspects of it. The first one involved my ability to understand my personality including my strengths, weaknesses, and emotions. And, the second aspect was to understand how other people viewed me – their attitude, response, and perspective in any relationship.

When I think about love, the love of my parents comes to mind, they loved each other so much, the first love that I had ever received. However, my Mom passed away when I was 11 and my Dad was forced to fill a new role. I never saw his pain and grief because he distanced himself to recover from our loss. Did I ever ask about his feelings? I did not. I failed – I failed to understand. Years passed and my Dad found someone else to share his life with, and again, I failed – I failed to understand why.

It was not easy. It took me a long time to decipher that the recipe for love resided within me. I had to learn many lessons through the years (experiment after experiment). I had to embrace heartache, listen attentively, learn from it, fail for it and revisit my Dad’s situation in order to relate. I was very selfish. Self-awareness is about discovering and correcting yourself.

Love does not make sense until something else happens in life. Cherish your memories and keep the good ones close to your heart.

I am from Colombia and I am very proud to be from that beautiful country. One of my great passions is life because I have walked this path by sharing it with amazing people. People that have taught me to see the world in a very different way. Extraordinary individuals have showed me what I have never could discover by myself. I am an eager reader of science, poetry, politics, and music (yes, the meaning and composition of song lyrics). I have a great appreciation for art, languages, and the expression of everyone's perspective seen from the lens of a camera. I love Astronomy and one day I will be in space. I am a Research Scientist in Corrosion Engineering and writing is a great way for me to tell the world how I feel.

A New Person Everyday

How is this year shaping up for you?

Are you satisfied with how well things have worked out in your favor? Do you remember that list of New Year’s resolutions on January 1st? Go back to your diary or deep into your memories on Day # 1 and read those goals because you still have time. How do you balance your book? Why are we always making December, the time to reflect on a year full of incredible memories?

New goals for a new year, or perhaps a new year trying to accomplish old goals.

There are so many ways to approach your resolutions.  I approached mine by carefully selecting achievable goals. Holly asked at the beginning of the year during her Project Wednesday email about our resolutions. She said: “It can be super beneficial to feel accountable to someone else when attempting to reach new heights – even if they are a stranger! I want to see you succeed. I want to see you accomplish your wildest (and mildest) dreams – and every little step in between. We can chat as much or as little as needed. I am here to help/support/advise/cheer you on!

Holly did just what she promised: She was there to help/support/advise and cheer me on. Why? Because she is Holly and we are here sharing our stories on Project Wednesday. Because when we care about others, we believe that we can make a difference, we can make someone else’s day, we can hear someone else’s stories. What we see on the outside is just a shell. What’s most important is invisible. We hold it in our hearts and very profound in our souls.

I want to share with you one of my resolutions for 2017, but before I do that, I have to tell you how much I accomplished in 2016. 2016 was a great year for me. It was the year I graduated, the year I got my first big job, the year I moved to Oregon, the year that I saw for the first time the Pacific Ocean, the year that I traveled across the country to see amazing places, the year that I learnt new things, the year that marked my path to becoming an American citizen – a year of accomplishments and transitions.

2017 was a year of challenges. I agreed to meet a new person every day and I would record their names, places, and situations in a diary. My job was to get creative in order to accomplish my goal. I had to step out of my comfort zone into a new and challenging objective. I started going out to dance salsa twice a week, I attended meet ups to learn more about photography and to run a 5K every Sunday with a group of aficionados, I visited the gym more often, I joined a group of improvisation, I joined a Toastmasters club, I met beautiful people showing me new places, I started attending poetry on Thursday nights, I went to concerts, I signed up for races, I attended conferences, I volunteered at schools, I was invited to career fairs, I was on the radio, I wrote for a newspaper, and I got a tattoo.

In summary, I stayed busy.

I can say that I am a better dancer, I established a personal best during my last half marathon, I visited new cities and states, I saw a little more of the wonderful Pacific Northwest, I enjoyed music and movies with new friends, I became a lover of poetry, I am a better speaker and I fell in love.

However, the most enriching part of this experience is the fact that I met amazing and beautiful individuals. Everyone has a story to tell and if we take few minutes from our time to ask for their names and get to know them better, they will see their world differently because sometimes we forget about who else is out there looking for someone with similar characteristics or just someone to talk to.

I look at my photographs on Facebook and there are many memories of them. Memories that are not only recorded in a journal or in the web but they are recorded in my heart.

Don’t miss on the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and talk to someone, because maybe he or she is the answer for your next project in life.

I am from Colombia and I am very proud to be from that beautiful country. One of my great passions is life because I have walked this path by sharing it with amazing people. People that have taught me to see the world in a very different way. Extraordinary individuals have showed me what I have never could discover by myself. I am an eager reader of science, poetry, politics, and music (yes, the meaning and composition of song lyrics). I have a great appreciation for art, languages, and the expression of everyone's perspective seen from the lens of a camera. I love Astronomy and one day I will be in space. I am a Research Scientist in Corrosion Engineering and writing is a great way for me to tell the world how I feel.

Reinventing myself

What do you want to be when you grow up? I used to say a doctor or a soccer player when I was 5 or 8 years old, but when I was about to graduate from high school, I didn’t know.

How well can we answer that question?

We need more information and experiences in life because our path to success is built day in and day out. I would pose different questions. What would make you happy in life? What would make you comfortable during your professional career? Have we gained enough experience to see what we really want in life? In order to increase our perception of life, we have to travel the journey of personal transformation.

I graduated from high school and I was not sure what I wanted to do because I was not prepared to grow up. I secured a job at a supermarket and it gave me a sense of responsibility; it made me feel useful. Year one, and I was feeling very content with my life. Year two, and I had many things in my mind because I knew that it was time for me to grow up.

Time does not wait for anyone to make decisions, it was time for me to evaluate my options and decide. Based on my national test score and a few words with my chemistry teacher, I decided to pursue my studies in chemical engineering as my dad gave me the green light as he would be supporting me during this period through college.

The path after graduating from college is very clear: get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids and get a furry pet. Under ideal conditions, this equation works perfectly. However, college is not an option for everyone and it does not guarantee or immediately translate into the accomplishment of our chosen career.

Even though I struggled with classes during my first two years of college, I successfully completed my program and I was ready for what life is all about. Life is about finding opportunities and taking our chances. Life is accepting the risks and resigning ourselves to uncertainty. Life is scary, but if we don’t try, we will have no idea whether this scheme will work or not. When an opportunity presents itself, you just have to take it.

I left my hometown in December 2002 to travel to the United States without knowing that my life was about to be redefined. This was an opportunity with many question marks. 17 hours later after navigating 2629 miles, 2 feet of snow waited for me in Vermont. I understood for the very first time that I would be alone, with a new language to learn, counting on my roommates to be allies. It was the beginning of a new transformation, one that would make me more independent.

Years passed and I forgot about chemical engineering. Life had given me a reason to enjoy traveling (Connecticut, Montreal, Chicago, Atlanta, and Akron) and see the world. Why would I settle when I knew I could just continue playing the game of uncertainty? My loved ones believed that graduate school was the best choice to get back in my field, and they were correct.

I had the best time of my life while attending school at The University of Akron. I found a new purpose. I was surrounded by many friends in Akron and I wrote this note for my graduation: “Our experiences in life shape who we are and prepare us for our next challenge. I’m very proud of what we have seen, done and what we are leaving for others to follow in our steps. We went through marathons, concerts, cities, celebrations, movies, museums, festivals, performances and many other activities that brought us together. This journey does not belong to me; it belongs to those traveling by my side”.

What do I want to be when I grow up? I want to be the person that enjoys life by taking chances, by filling my life with experiences, by traveling the path of life, by learning from incredible individuals, by meeting beautiful human beings, by making mistakes because nobody is perfect, and by finding my passions because I tried.

I am from Colombia and I am very proud to be from that beautiful country. One of my great passions is life because I have walked this path by sharing it with amazing people. People that have taught me to see the world in a very different way. Extraordinary individuals have showed me what I have never could discover by myself. I am an eager reader of science, poetry, politics, and music (yes, the meaning and composition of song lyrics). I have a great appreciation for art, languages, and the expression of everyone's perspective seen from the lens of a camera. I love Astronomy and one day I will be in space. I am a Research Scientist in Corrosion Engineering and writing is a great way for me to tell the world how I feel.

Have you seen the sky tonight?

Have you ever looked up to the immense sky late at night after arriving home?
Have you ever wondered about the perspective of astronauts looking down from Earth’s orbit?
Have you ever contemplated the moon when is hiding behind the clouds?

As the sun sinks over the horizon and the sky transitions to dusk, the night quickly uncovers shining bright stars. When I arrive home late at night, the sky is putting a show and I can’t ignore it. It is a composition of the moon, the planets, the stars, and the clouds competing to guide my path.

The sky is more than I can see with the naked eye. It is a universe stretching for billions of light years; and our generation has seen a tiny fraction thanks to the space race between the Soviet Union and United States. On February 14, 1990 from a distance of 4 billion miles, the spacecraft Voyager 1 turned around and took a photograph of Earth, a pale blue dot.

Inspired by this image Carl Sagan wrote:

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was lived out their lives…”

“Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark…”

“The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life…”

“Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand…”

“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits that this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

If we can beat the barriers of sound and reach the frontiers outside Earth’s atmosphere, we can reach unity by understanding our differences.

So I ask again: Have you seen the sky tonight? Because no matter where you are, we share the same roof and our distant moon shines and illuminates our path in moments of darkness. In its absence, I see a star, a star shining bright through the clouds, a star looking down, a star questioning why I don’t visit, a star looking for company, a lonely little star.

When I look at the sky, I think about every human being on Earth, we represent each star in the sky, with some forming families, and others always by our side as good friends do, no matter the circumstances. Surrounded by many stars, some are visible and others are distant. Distant stars are looking to get noticed and it takes a brilliant mind to recognize the brightness in it. Even though I have found distant starts that I guard inside my heart, they are all now chasing their dreams and we may cross paths again in life.

Someone once said to me: there are many fish in the sea. Yes, as many stars I can see in the sky. They may look similar but never the same. Every time I look at the sky, I see the beauty of the stars, and I pay close attention because one of them belongs to me.

I am from Colombia and I am very proud to be from that beautiful country. One of my great passions is life because I have walked this path by sharing it with amazing people. People that have taught me to see the world in a very different way. Extraordinary individuals have showed me what I have never could discover by myself. I am an eager reader of science, poetry, politics, and music (yes, the meaning and composition of song lyrics). I have a great appreciation for art, languages, and the expression of everyone's perspective seen from the lens of a camera. I love Astronomy and one day I will be in space. I am a Research Scientist in Corrosion Engineering and writing is a great way for me to tell the world how I feel.

Hello there! You look like a bad decision

Destiny is shaped after the winner of the battle between indecisions and our inner voice overcomes the feeling of mixed signals.

Can we peek into the future and avoid regretting the outcome of making bad decisions? Can we follow a standard to address our decision-making process? Legacy is written everyday based on our wisdom, based on our acquired knowledge of life. The voice inside us has learned from our experiences to encourage us to take chances and risks. We need to be willing to be afraid and be aware of the beauty of making mistakes.

Our journey is the running path through time. The past is our training during our morning runs. The present is our current feeling of body and mind, the stage that is preparing us to our scheduled race. If we have done our homework and trained properly, we will be winners at making difficult decisions and we would deserve a medal for our courage of running thousand miles of pain.

Trying our hardest in life is the balance of facing decisions that feed our soul and living without apologies after closing doors leading to nowhere. We are always one decision away from submerging into the waters of fear, waters leading us to a future of uncertainty. Life-change decisions dictate the outcome of career choices and relationships. Our very optimistic brain recognizes bad situations by running scenarios, analyzing them and thinking about the positive outcomes. In the other hand, we listen and trust the decisions from our heart because very deep inside, it makes perfect sense.

Let’s embrace our opportunities because we may only have one shot at experiencing the best partners in life and the best jobs in life.

Life-change decisions come and go, and there are moments when we will never be ready for. We need to walk through dark alleys and scary places in our mind because right conditions are never aligned. Finding love is a good example of perfect alignment. I placed all the pieces together, I made the right moves, I followed my heart, I changed directions, and I gambled my hopes because there is no order for reaching a fixed destination.

Playing with fire may get us burnt. I wish I knew then what I know now. Can I just reset all my actions, undo the consequences and avoid the impact? Heart lessons hurt, forgetting hurts, but not knowing is the worst. If we are not willing to move on and walk away with victory and our heart at peace, we repeat and try harder.

Someday, everything will make perfect sense. For now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and remember that everything happens for a reason and the universe conspires, so bad decisions are very appealing to our eyes.

I am from Colombia and I am very proud to be from that beautiful country. One of my great passions is life because I have walked this path by sharing it with amazing people. People that have taught me to see the world in a very different way. Extraordinary individuals have showed me what I have never could discover by myself. I am an eager reader of science, poetry, politics, and music (yes, the meaning and composition of song lyrics). I have a great appreciation for art, languages, and the expression of everyone's perspective seen from the lens of a camera. I love Astronomy and one day I will be in space. I am a Research Scientist in Corrosion Engineering and writing is a great way for me to tell the world how I feel.