Project Tara's Best Life Ever

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I've been waiting for some inspiration now to start another life project like this. When I was 26, my friends and I started The 30 Before 30 Project, inspired by a blogger and her bucket list. I've since moved on from being 30 and as far as I can tell, I've become a very different person too since. It's true what they say that you really give less f*cks when you hit 30. Some more other things become more important too, like quality relationships, the friends we keep, the life we live. The life we live, well, it's really what I've been doing all these years that my blog and social media has been less and less about beauty {but still a big part of it, I'd say}. It's been all about optimizing my life for the best, minimizing time and resource wastage to get the most value out of it. But what is most important to me, really? And what should I keep, what should I have more of?

Image Credit: Love Sweat Fitness

Image Credit: Love Sweat Fitness

When I think of Best Life, I think about myself raising my hands up and being carefree and happy. As to what that person is thinking or how I get there, I would ideally be putting them down somewhere and yeah, why not repurpose this blog which originally started out to be a beauty blog?

It's been inspired by so many of the articles and books I've been reading in the last two or three years but of late, the authors Eric Barker of Barking Up the Wrong Tree and this blog, and Serge Faguet of the viral article on biohacking via Hackernoon, as well as Lucie Fink's Try Living with Lucie, Cara Alwill Leyba of Like She Owns the Place and basically being here in New Hampshire, living like a privileged white person, all my third world worries so far away from me. I kid. But also, a lot of it is true. 

WHY, you ask, it's really because I am realizing that sometimes I feel like my life is getting spent so easily on many things worth my while but also gets wasted on things, people, events that are not worth my time. Money, as much as it's lovely and I'm working to also improve and increase, is dethroned by Time as the real wealth. 


The Vision

Spend the rest of my life creating real value for God, myself, family and others by choosing the best possible routes of time that will yield the best value.

The Strategy

There will be 5 pillars to my best life ever and this is 5 because I know and have learned well enough that trying to do everything all at the same time contribute to a busy and fatigued life. The last three years has been an experiment -- an optimization of sorts. In digital advertising, we have this thing called prospecting, where in the ad set up goes through all possible scenarios and targeting and eventually focuses on those which are likely to convert. It's kind of the same principle. I've tried numerous things in the last few years and I am now ready to focus on what I believe are what are important to me, stop the ones that are useless and of no value to me and start new projects, new dreams and new experiences.

Image Credit: Wait But Why

Image Credit: Wait But Why

Pillar #1: Relationships

There are multiple books and numerous studies in the Internet that talks about how having great relationships are one of the biggest determinant of happiness in life and I do agree! I am of the belief that humans were never meant to live alone. To be completely honest, as someone who lived mostly alone for 6 years, with a family living abroad, it had been quite challenging to navigate adulthood as soon as my friends started getting married and becoming parents. But what dying friendships have taught me is that, just like any relationship, romantic or not, it's always a choice. And if either parties have chosen to flake over the years, then the relationship would've ceased to exist.

My theory is that flakiness is rooted in dishonesty with ourselves and others about what matters to us. It’s not that we’re malicious; it’s that we’re aspirational. And while that doesn’t negate the harm caused by flakiness, it might explain why it’s so common. At any given point in time, there are countless versions of our lives that we can see for ourselves, and we’re committed to maintaining that optionality. We could be a person who has that hobby or goes to that event or has that friend; we have that option, and we expect it’ll always be there.

But inevitably, we make choices, and slowly over time, the choices we have made, not the choices that we could make, are what, in the aggregate, decide who we are. When it comes to friends, it’s the relationships we’re invested in that count — not the relationships we could invest in if we ever made the time for them.
— If you’re wondering why you’ve lost friends in adulthood, this is probably why

Do you realize what goes into a relationship? Time, money (to hang out, have drinks, as gifts for birthdays, bridal shower, wedding), emotional investment, mood, wisdom. That's a lot. When the friendship is good or at least of mutual benefit, it makes sense and all accounting would disappear. Until it's not. Until most time is spent one-sided and unfair. In my case, I personally have low key withdrawn from friendships I feel negative about myself after hanging out with. These would be friends who repeatedly questioned my life decisions which were not evil, just different, those who would use me as a sounding board but never actually listens. Or a friend who's not happy for me and is just there when I'm miserable. It sounds good to have a friend who's there for you when you're unhappy but never came when I was in my happy season.

But enough of the friendships I've chosen to drift away from. Equally, there are new friendships to be made! The last three years have proven that there we will always be capable of making friends beyond kindergarten and high school, even well into the third or fourth job. We can build real conversations and deep connections with people we've met in the last year and it's okay. I've met people whom I initially thought were scary and some months down the line, found myself sharing details I've never uttered ever. Real friendships, like relationships, feel right.

Friendship Alignments

I’m a firm believer that friendships, especially those we would like to keep a priority, need regular refresh, “alignment” as I’d like to call it. This is most especially true for people we become friends with at work. I have this running invite for friendship alignments with my work friends, whom I actually don’t talk about work with, though our lifetime objectives and career goals are often subject of wine/gin/whiskey laden nights.


I am where I want to be with Mike. I still believe that the least info and more privacy is kept between couples, the better BUT every now and then small details come out. I do feel and believe most relationships are always kind of a work in progress, despite most days would fall into the category of cruise control. My version of cruise control is when things are kind of on autopilot, routines are established with room for new things every now and then. We go about our normal individual lives together, pausing to cuddle and focus on ourselves every now and then. Relationship is a lot of work but it's a balance of work and being easy, as it really could be the easiest thing to fall into. I sometimes miss the charm and the allure of a new romance {who doesn't?} but this is something that can easily be recreated within an existing relationship. I turn to Rainer Maria Rilke for the ultimate love and relationship advice:

I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other. For, if it lies in the nature of indifference and of the crowd to recognize no solitude, then love and friendship are there for the purpose of continually providing the opportunity for solitude. And only those are the true sharings which rhythmically interrupt periods of deep isolation.
— Rilke

That said, I am happy where Mike and I are, I am thankful for everything we go through together, and as Eric Barker said: “Keep a diverse social portfolio” is key.

Pillar #2: Attention as a Currency

If we’re friends online or in real life, you would’ve {or not} probably noticed that I haven’t been on social media for a week now. As I have been optimizing my life, my energy and resources, I plotted down what things clutter my head and I realized that being on social media, trying to skim for something good often leaves me with more bad than good. Often, I am influenced by friends {my own will, by the way} to get certain things that I otherwise, wouldn’t have gotten. It’s more of my reaction to social media than anything, when it comes to being influenced. And that’s where I find that I must draw the line.

Similarly, my anxiety has been suffering tremendously being online a lot. Seeing and reading and caring through all the news in the country has put pressure into my head, thinking everything is bad — it may be, but constantly being bombarded by news and people’s rants and negative energy made me so tired on my first week back I just had to be away. The result has been so far, a quieter life. I have lived days without knowing everything and so far, I’ve focused on things I like focusing on like my class on Business Analytics and R. I feel like I don’t need to have to know everyone’s whereabouts and what the f people do and life has since been so much lovelier.

To be honest, I don’t know how long I can keep this up — and I also didn’t stop being on LinkedIn, after editing my connections to only be people I’d like to be connected with, and those who are inspiring. For now, I am not active in my social media pages and enjoying savoring a selective online life as much as I can.

Pillar #3: Media Consumption

I have a fairly simple taste with entertainment though I really hate junk food versions of movies and TV shows. I like simple plots if they make me feel good after and if there’s something to learn. Otherwise, I’d like to keep my list curated and avoiding videos, posts, photos and whatever form I can’t return to sender.

On the other hand, this quest for the best life ever has propelled me to search for experiences that are unique, possibly exhilirating and bound to be enjoyed. I am particularly happy about my recent trip to the US, having had spent time with my family, my soulmate city, having a front seat to the first world, having time to myself, time to think and put things into perspective. I loved that Sleep No More experience and discovering a new bar in Poblacion like Run Rabbit Run and listening to my spinning playlist are experiences I truly love lately.

Pillar #4: Major Daily Principles

  1. Do not beg for what you stand to gain.

  2. No lining up for the newest overpriced milk tea trend, restaurant or club. Grab Food-ing it is fine. But lining up is a major time suck so nope. Again, I am a very big fan of outsourcing so might as well MyKuya or Honestbee it.

  3. Outsource things that are not my major competency ie: driving, maintaining a car, cleaning our home, buying the grocery {unless I plan to enjoy the process}, or is part of relationship building with Mike or family or friends.

  4. Meditate as much as I can. My favorite meditation app: Insight Timer.

  5. Weekends are for exfoliation, long baths and at home massages.

  6. Weekdays are for being productive, errands, working out and being the best in my field.

  7. I cannot go on more than 4 days without exercise.

  8. Health comes first. Never let a week go by without attending to something that needs my attention medically such as: regular check ups, gym time, time to eat at a natural pace, supplements and enough rest.

  9. Create more value than you consume.

  10. Kindness above everything.

  11. Continue creation of multiple income streams until life can be lived on passive income alone.

It’s going to be a work in progress, this manifesto — but for sure it’s already helping me achieve the best life I want for myself {didn’t line up for Tiger Sugar, for one} and followed my own life advice. I guess that’s good enough for now.

Pillar #5: Work, Career and the Life of Hustle


Work has never been just one stream of tasks for me though mostly it feels like one most days. I do know that I am a soldier, thanks to 2019. I learned that my learning curve for setting aside personal issues and trials to make way for important work was possible and I can surpass challenges despite having to think of of things. I know that I can — the important task is, do I want to? I suppose the biggest task and principle ahead is that of being aware of what goes into my life and whether or not I will let it be part of my life.

I still aspire for big things, this is true, and I know in my heart that year on year, I am getting more ready for bigger things. The astounding realization though is that, bigger things take shape into something else as life molds me into who I will be. I never knew nor predicted how life will be as a 33 year old, to be honest. When I was in my teens, I’d always envisioned myself to be a TV anchor when I grow up, or an executive who’s going to be a successful mother and wife but I am I guess, somewhere in the middle of those things. I don’t have that dream anymore, I don’t know how to feel about being an executive {let alone know or be qualified for one} and as I told my friend yesterday over gin and tonic, that I am pretty sure I don’t want to be a mother next year, hmm what else to do? Being a woman in 2019 is going to be even more glorious — what a time to be alive for women, having more than one path outside of motherhood. I feel that motherhood is still the an essence of being a woman but I also believe motherhood is not a road taken by just birthing a human being. Motherhood can exist in birthing an idea, an empire, a vision — or you know, taking care of furry animals.

Am I tired of hustling? I sure am. But when tired, a philosophy I keep coming back to is when tired, just rest and self care. Then go back another day. It’s a tiring day, not a tiring life. I only need to take a break and a quiet moment and bounce back even stronger.

One of the best things I’ve started doing in 2018 was to teach at CDM. I never knew when I would ever be ready to teach but I did and I’ve had pretty good feedback so far. The students I’ve met and spent hours with have taught my little humble heart so much it made me ache for more things in my life. I get to meet people outside of my circle, understand new perspectives, different generations.


Excited for year 2019 and beyond.