5 Things I Learned from Falling In Love

first published on January 24, 2011 on Wisdom of a 20-Something; republished on 5 Things I Learned on January 25, 2011

1) Falling in love is NOT a choice.

It is a feeling of intense attraction to another. A feeling that often comes suddenly and without warning. It’s often something that happens to you rather than something you make happen. It is a reaction to external stimulus. You wake up one day and realize that suddenly you’ve fallen in love.

2) Falling in love and being in love is a roller coaster of emotions.

It’s a time when your mind, heart and body are in complete agreement. You can’t stop thinking about him or her. Your heart feels everything – like its going to burst. And your body makes you feel all amorous and craving for intimacy.

At the same time your mind feeds you with doubts and worries. Your heart feels like its going to shrivel up if your feelings are not returned. And your body no matter what you do leaves you unsatisfied.

But you just go with the flow.

3) Falling in love involves a cocktail of hormones.

  • Adrenaline – results in the phenomenon of sweaty palms, heart palpitations and dry mouth
  • Dopamine – makes you feel desire and a rush of pleasure
  • Serotonin – why your loved one keeps popping in your thoughts
  • Oxytocin – (released during sex) deepens the feeling of attachment
  • Vasopressin – (also linked to sex) cements long term commitment

It’s all here in this article — http://www.youramazingbrain.org/lovesex/sciencelove.htm

4) The feeling of falling in love and being in love fades.

As two people become more familiar with each other the rush of falling in love and being in love fades. Things about the other person begin to irritate you and other flaws become more noticeable.

5) Loving is a choice.

Falling in love is just the first step. Mature individuals recognize that real love requires effort. If both parties are ready, the feeling of falling and being in love can transform into something beautiful and lasting. To love is a choice, chosen every second through triumphs and losses, joy and anger, life and death, peace and pain, celebration and suffering.


Guita T. Gopalan

Let’s Make Great Things Happen!

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5 Things I Learned About Comforters

Originally on 5 Things I Learned – January 26, 2011

Just so we’re on the same page… A comforter is a type of blanket much like a quilt or a duvet. It’s meant to keep the user warm and cozy on a cold night (or if your bed room is air conditioned.)

1. It’s really effective at keeping the cold out and the warmth in.

My room mate who also owns the flat I live in, recently decided that we needed an air conditioner for the fast coming summer months. The problem is, I’m extremely sensitive to the cold! I shiver if a fan is blowing in my direction. For a while, I used a wool blanket…which provided my some measure of warmth, enough so I could get to sleep and wake up with stiff muscles.

I dealt with the discomfort for a month till I finally came to my senses and got myself a comforter last weekend…and voila! Warmth…joyous warmth.

2. It keeps me in bed (and refusing to get out and really wake-up.)

Having a comforter wrapped around you… is almost (I repeat almost) like waking up in your loved one’s arms. It’s really comforting (forgive the pun). Of course nothing beats the real thing…a loving committed man beside me but till then I can spend a couple of minutes more under covers dreaming of him.

3. It is thick and heavy…and thus a chore to wash.

In a month’s time, I’ll be faced with the insurmountable task of washing my comforter. Filled with cotton (or whatever synthetic material it’s filled with that  makes it warm)…the filling absorbs an absurd amount of water and thus becomes really heavy. So arms and legs get ready for one helluva work out!

Then again…there’s a laundry shop nearby. I think I’ll go that route.

4. When folded it doubles up as a pillow.

A really really comfy pillow.

5. You can also use it as a sleeping bag or padded mat.

I remember at home when I’d have friends for a sleep over…when we ran out of fold-able mattresses piling on a couple of comforters on top of one another was a comfortable alternative to the hard cement floor… hey drunks can’t be ‘choosers’ right!


Guita T. Gopalan

Let’s Make Great Things Happen!

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5 Things I Learned from Drinking Liquor

Originally on 5 Things I Learned – February 8, 2011

A few minutes ago, a friend invited me for drinks on Saturday night and I found myself really excited! I love alcohol-but I’m not a drunk, I don’t even drink that frequently. Four times in a month is already a lot for me…but I greatly enjoy alcohol – the exquisiteness of the flavors and texture of a good liquor, the artistry of cocktails and mixed drinks, the challenges of enjoying a night out (but not too much to get a hang over), the experience of being slightly tipsy to downright wasted and most especially the joy of sharing time, laughter and stories with loved ones.

So here’s the 5 Things I Learned from Drinking Liquor

1. Fruit juice (real fruit juice) make the best mixers.

A margarita is a cocktail essentially made with sweetened lemon juice & tequila. It’s the second cocktail I learned how to make (the first was a screwdriver-orange juice & vodka). On one occasion at a bar, I asked the waitress whether they use real lemons in preparing their margaritas and was told they did. But when the drink came…it was neon green!

Here is a picture of a lemon… tell me how that would ever result in a neon green drink. Apparently they had used a lime juice substitute. The drink was bitter and ‘artificial’ tasting.

Nothing compares with the real thing – the juice of real lemons, oranges, pineapple juice, etc. Using artificial fruit juices (or whatever that bitter substitute was just doesn’t cut it.

2. The darker the liquid the greater the hang over.

In my experience, getting drunk on wine equals a mild to severe hangover the next day. According to experts, the body works double time to process the tannin found in alcohol that has some color (i.e. wine, brandy, rum, etc.). Clear liquors like gin, vodka and sake do not have tannin.

The best (no hangover) liquor I’ve ever enjoyed is Lambanog – a Filipino liquor made from coconut. (Let me know if you’re interested a good friend of mine sells a good quality reasonably priced lambanog).

3. Be faithful…stick to one type of alcohol.

Another surefire way to confuse your body and thus ensure your next day hang over, is to switch from one drink to another in the course of the evening. Do stick to one drink (or at least one type of alcohol).

4. Swimming and alcohol = wastedness (at least it does for me)

I’m a pretty heavy drinker, my tolerance for alcohol is pretty high…but I’ve had my share of being wasted. I CAN NOT mix alcohol and swimming (or the equivalent of my body being immersed in water) without getting wasted.
My theory is that alcohol is a diuretic – which means that it makes you dehydrated. When you are swimming, the same is true – you get dehydrated. So one dehydration + one dehydration = a system that is extremely vulnerable to the effects of alcohol more quickly than normal.

5. A friend or twenty make awesome drinking companions.

I hate drinking alone… I rarely do it and when I do, it’s painfully obvious that something is missing. Whether I’m drinking to celebrate or drinking to commiserate having the people I love around me makes a huge difference.

Plus, talking, laughing, dancing and horsing around is a great way to burn off the alcohol (thus allowing you to enjoy more alcohol throughout the night.)


Remember one and all DRINK RESPONSIBLY for your sake and those of your loved ones.


Guita T. Gopalan

Let’s Make Great Things Happen!

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5 Things I Learned About Relationships From Meredith Grey

Originally on 5 Things I Learned – February 13, 2011 (seemed timely to re-post as I just finished Season 7 the other week)

Meredith Grey

Meredith Grey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



As I was doing my normal thinking routine, I came across a couple of quotes from the fictional character: Meredith Grey from the US show Grey’s Anatomy. I love Grey’s Anatomy especially the first few seasons. Now, I’m not such an addict but I still try to keep up with the series. I know the show is a whole lot of drama and is an exaggeration of the universal human experience but well… that’s TV for you.

So here’s 5 things I learned about relationships from Meredith Grey

1. “At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don’t keep other people out. They fence you in. Life is messy. That’s how we’re made. So, you can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them. But there are some lines… that are way too dangerous to cross.”

We are all afraid of being hurt, of disappointment, of being stupid…we do our best to guard our hearts, to be conservative in the risks we take in beginning to love someone and loving them some more. If we are willing, we let them in a little and then if all goes well we let them in a lot. But so many of us never really honestly lets the other person in-there is that line we are too conscious of- too afraid of crossing…the last line of defense that signals if I let you in you could destroy me…I would be at your mercy.

I don’t know how to figure out which lines are worth crossing and which ones aren’t. That’s a circumstance we each have to face and we respond to differently. But I think it is imperative that we face it and we make a decision – to avoid it, to exist in ambiguity is the greater torture.

2. “I wish there were a rulebook for intimacy. Some kind of guide to tell you when you’ve crossed the line. It would be nice if you could see it coming, and I don’t know how you fit it on a map. You take it where you can get it, and keep it as long as you can. And as for rules, maybe there are none. Maybe the rules of intimacy are something you have to define for yourself.”

Unwelcome advances are easy to spot – even without any physical contact you can already feel uncomfortable by just the intention  of the other person. But when you genuinely like the other person, his/her advances are welcomed…then we have to figure out whether it’s healthy or unhealthy – whether it’s good for us or not. What’s even more tricky is realizing that you want it but it’s not good for you!

3. “Sometimes reality has a way of sneaking up and biting us in the ass. And when the dam bursts, all you can do is swim. The world of pretend is a cage, not a cocoon. We can only lie to ourselves for so long. We are tired, we are scared, denying it doesn’t change the truth. Sooner or later we have to put aside our denial and face the world. Head on, guns blazing. De Nile. It’s not just a river in Egypt, it’s a freakin’ ocean. So how do you keep from drowning in it?”

There are so many intelligent women that are denial junkies when it comes to matters of the heart. (Full disclosure: I am one of them). We know better but still we choose something unhealthy for us. We rationalize and try to fool ourselves into thinking that things will go our way even though we know it’s never going to happen. Whether it’s unrequited love, an abusive and selfish partner,  an obsession with someone unattainable… the pattern is the same.

We wait till we’re at rock bottom, feeling like shit before we actually do something about it. Then we bash ourselves for being stupid when we should have been smarter than that.

4. “Maybe we’re not supposed to be happy. Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is. Appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human. Maybe we’re thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we’re thankful for the things we’ll never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate.

Life is a series of ups and downs. To hope for perpetual happiness and to expect never-ending difficulties is the surest way to a life of misery. It is through celebrating the big and the small that joy is created and maintained. To acknowledge the difficulty and our resilience and love ourselves for it would be the greatest self-gift.

5. “At the end of the day, when it comes down to it, all we really want is to be close to somebody. So this thing, where we all keep our distance and pretend not to care about each other, is usually a load of bull. So we pick and choose who we want to remain close to, and once we’ve chosen those people, we tend to stick close by. No matter how much we hurt them, the people that are still with you at the end of the day – those are the ones worth keeping. And sure, sometimes close can be too close. But sometimes, that invasion of personal space, it can be exactly what you need.”

No one wants to be alone. We all want to belong and feel connected to each other. If we only recognize that fact then maybe we can be grateful for the relationships we do have and work to make them better.

Well I hope your Valentine’s is better than mine! xoxo


Guita T. Gopalan

Let’s Make Great Things Happen!

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