3 goals for july!

As we’re fast approaching July in a couple of hours, depending on where you are in the world, I’m going to share with the internet my goals for July.

1. Workout before work: yes yes yes, this is so important, even if it’s a quick 30 minutes intense workout. Working out keeps me feel balanced and ready to handle the day, whereas I notice on days I skip my workout and hit snooze again I go to work groggy despite how much caffeine I put into my system. So this is a must daily.

2. Live in the present: and not the future, or over-plan. I do notice this when I’m not traveling. I tend to over plan the week and get so frustrated when things don’t go according to my plan or when I have large chunks of time freed up that’s not planned for and I feel that I’m not being effective enough in terms of productivity, when in reality, I should just breathe and not stress so much. Forget yesterday and tomorrow and live ‘today’.

3. Get organized with finances: though I know roughly in my mind how much I have and how much I can put towards certain things, I’ve been neglecting to put those actual numbers down out of sheer laziness. This coming month that is going to change.

the spending math

Eating out used to be a luxury, nowadays however, it feels more habitual than ever.

I haven’t really noticed this before since my coworkers and I are so used to it. A quick bite from the nearest cafe, or a quick sit down and chit chat at the quaint little Italian restaurant tucked in a street corner not far from work which by the way, carries some of the creamiest portions of Tiramisu, all seem innocuous.

Innocuous that is until you review your credit card statement for the month.

Did I really SPEND that much?

Really?

Of course, these things really add up and since I’ve been very busy lately, my brain haven’t been really on top of my finances.

One of the surest ways to increase income is to work more, yes, but people often forget the other crucial step in retaining their earning.

That is: keeping it.

Yes, somehow, I feel like I’ve been programmed to ‘spend’ because I have more wiggle room to – but then that’s an illusion, given that I actually don’t – since my brain in the present is failing to register when/where I would need the funds later on.

I’ve never been great at saving and neither are most of my friends. At times it just feels plain cruel to turn people down when you know you could go ‘hangout’ per se and catch up over a meal, or a drink, but now I know I have to go and minimize everything and delegate – a beer here and a meal there won’t hurt but I might have to go with the envelope technique and go – when that envelope is empty that’s it! No more going out.


Because as much as I love these food-porn shots and tangy restaurant garden salads, I know for a fact that I’ll enjoy telling adventure stories more than anything else.

So, from now on, July until trip – will be as lean as possible in terms of luxuries. i.e: quickly flashing myself a destination photo whenever I want to buy something that isn’t a necessity. But for what it was worth, from the other day’s lunch, braised lamb with salad from the Italian place…it was yums. 

challenge the weekend

“Imagine waking up 5am on a Saturday morning,”

How appealing does that sound to you?

I don’t know about you but it sounds all sorts of wonderful for me.

I have work later in the day so it’s important for me to wake up earlier and utilize the time I have to myself.

Do something meaningful.

Just because work takes up a big chunk of my day in the afternoon and evening doesn’t mean I should just sit tight and stay put at home and wait for time to pass.

In fact I have scheduled fitness regimes and brunch dates before work even starts.

Yeah. It took me 25 years to realize that just because it’s Saturday and in everyone’s mind a ‘restful portion of a weekend consisting of Saturday and Sunday’ you actually don’t have to be a homebody and stay put and stay in.

Not having much time actually forces me to utilize my time in a more creative manner and makes me want to make sure every second of it counts towards something. And not surprisingly, over the past few weeks, I don’t think I’ve gotten home before 9 pm (totally out of the ordinary for me).

Gone are the hours spent on absorbing mindless TV shows, and I actually have a pretty dark tan to show for all those hours out, wandering about.

So, for this weekend why not get out there and discover another neighbourhood next to yours? There’s nothing wrong with being curious and wandering in your own city and seeing how things are like in your neighbouring communities.

voorpret: pre-fun

“Always make time for the things that make you come alive.”

Exciting news!

It’s official, I’m booked for Europe – Winter 2015.

Yes.


However, this time, it isn’t so much about going for a vacation and spending some hard earned cash like the last two times. This time, I have more on my agenda – or ‘DO LIST’ as I have saved on my phone. Though, I’m already notifying my friends in Europe about my next winter excursion – I also have started writing on my to-do and see list, things that might not be on the typical tourist’s agenda, because I won’t be a ‘tourist’.

Yes.

I’m giving myself a work-cation.

Getting away from my city on vacation but to actually ‘work’ on some side projects I’ve got going on besides my ‘day-jobs’ would definitely be a treat.

Of course I’ll be doing planning and sharing some of those plans on the blog so stay tuned!

I have nothing to wear

“Closet bursting full of clothes and nothing to wear,”

Isn’t that the truth many girls face?

One of the locations where I work is nestled in the financial district of my city. Naturally, day in day out you’d see dapper dressed men and women going about their day, in and out of the office buildings, coffee shops, restaurants. Of course, many of the men look the same to me, hardly distinguishable from one another in their all so serious silver and blue suits from Giorgio Armani with near identical Ferragamo shoes, completed with haircuts that’d make Patrick Bateman weep.

Oh if they could only stand out from one another – actually wasn’t that the plot of American Psycho?

One would think, being a woman, the choice of dress would be more lax, however, that is NOT true at all.

If anything, in this society, women are pressured to look effortless while actually putting a lot of time and energy into how they look.

And by doing so, we spend more on grooming and clothing that’s beyond the essentials of basic haircare and skincare. Sure you could argue men have to shave and groom as well, but…so do women, especially during the Summer. i.e: think waxing and other hair removal regimes women go through to look socially acceptable.

There had always been more pressure for women to look good but only recently did I realize how much that pressure was – case and point, not only the countless magazines marketed to women but also social pressure – for example, if I don’t wear makeup, suddenly, people wonder if something had happened.

Um, no? I just woke up and decided to come in barefaced.

Since when is showing up looking like you actually do something out of the ordinary?

When did my face became fair game for what should/shouldn’t be done with it?

To add insult to injury, I also noticed that – I literally have nothing ‘new’ to wear this summer. Minor problem, or you’d think. Not that simple.

I had been scouring the internet, hunting for ‘deals’ for summer wear, and after hours I find myself settling for four pieces of deeply discounted casual wear (that I’m sure will make another girl squeal with joy, if not jump up and down clapping) – at the checkout, surprise  the price tag made me cringe. Do I really want to spend $500 on shorts and summer shoes in one transaction…sure, the pieces were made in Italy, but really, I’d rather be in Italy than own something with a tag that says so.

I thought twice about hitting the CHECKOUT button – sure, they’re all designer items that fit my personal aesthetics and no doubt I’d love them when I put them on.

I thought back to the men and women in the district I work in, dressed to impress and found myself exiting the browser altogether.

Nah, the brainwashed masses can eye/judge all they want.

I’m going to give my bank account a much needed rest and worry about something that truly matters.

the ultimate success is freedom

I’m a person with high expectations. Not only for myself but for those around me. I’m stubborn, a perfectionist and just a little rigid when it comes to standards. I’ve been told to be a little unrealistic in terms of expectations, but also knowing me, I don’t let naysayers bring me down anymore. I push boundaries, not because I want to pick fights, but because I believe there’s so much more we could achieve as a species.

I’m direct and some would say uncompromising. Though, I don’t see this as a bad thing, at all.

It was all impossible before it was done.

Think about it.

The reason why we’re here.

It’s purely accidental.

The assembly of subatomic particles making up matter, forming the universe, the planets, then somehow, with the right collision of the particles under the right conditions, pre-eukaryotic cells, then eukaryotic cells – singled celled organisms with a nucleus, then multiple celled ones which eventually led to more complex organisms, to which human beings are classified under.

13.8 billion years later, I’m typing away on a product called the MacBook Air.

All of which is absolutely unthinkable a mere century ago and will cease to function within the next century.

So, what isn’t possible?

If we looked past the day to day. Social structure and society and norms that holds us. We are essentially free agents, not that much different from the particles that just happened to make us up.

The paradox of human existence is that, we’re all so insignificant but also important at the same time.

On average, each of us has 25,000 days on earth.

I find that number more sobering than the approximate 70 years that translate to.

And given that average, I presently still have 16060 days.

385,440 hours.

If you ask me, that’s quite shocking, as I had predicted the number being closer to 1 million, before I did the actual calculation.

We’re free in the sense that permanence does not exist, except maybe in our minds.

Everything you are, everything you own, everything you do – will be undone in due time.

When I think about life this way, in the grand scheme of things.

And the truly freeing element to our existence is our consciousness and the power of choice. We could chose to be settled in the cubicle life where everyone is standardized in solid coloured shirts and grey, blue, black slacks and dress shoes. The minion type of lifestyle – or we could choose to get out there and discover the unexplored way of living a full life.

Essentially, after writing in this blog and reflecting on life in this way – I realized what I wanted out of life is ‘more’ but not in monetary terms, or the overnight success everyone else seems to be after – I just want to be busy with something that occupies my time, something I enjoy and create something decidedly unconventional but still making it work.

Even though I’m still presently stuck in the city I absolutely will leave one day, I’m more inclined to go and seek novel experiences, experiment – just to see, what sort of happy accident I find in the process, so by the end of my 385,440 hours, I can say that this journey was worth every day, hour and second.

And that would be my ultimate success.

stuck in life? remember this.

Appreciate the beauty of chance and possibility.

Each one of us is ‘stuck’ in his or her version of perceived reality.

Preferring comfort over change, we almost forget that we were and still are the product of continuous growth and change.

Each day, no matter how monotonous it may seem, is different and so are you.

You are given the opportunity to do something new, try something new.

If you didn’t like the version of you you were yesterday, then try something new today.

“Why that’s a crazy idea!” you might exclaim in return.

But what isn’t?

The fact that you wake up every morning and connect to the world through an electric device people a century ago couldn’t even have dreamt of seems pretty ‘crazy’. And if that doesn’t get you thinking just how much ‘change’ humans experienced throughout recorded history, and of course let’s not forget the change the entire universe has gone through to make our existence possible.

Bottom line: don’t fear change, embrace it.

truth behind the struggle

The struggle is not where we falter in success.

The real pain is struggling with no end in sight. 

Imagine, a drowning swimmer, wildly flailing their arms in hopes of grasping onto anything other than the depth he is trapped in. 

Without a plan, a pattern, his flails will eventually end in his demise.

It is much like fighting a war you don’t believe in.

If you already think you’re going to drown…

Going through the motions without purpose is one of the biggest hindrance to success.

You have to believe in what you do.

Of course, as I sit here, I’m eavesdropping on a conversation in Starbucks that has a guy going on and on about the new product he’s trying to sell to buyers.

And the product couldn’t get more mundane.

Water.

He’s marketing water.

But as I sit here, for the past hour, surfing the web. He’s been going on without much of a break to catch his breath about his ‘product’.

Water.

Although I honestly don’t believe all the glamourized benefits of what he’s selling – since you could easily get it in the tap – I do admire him for his efforts. To be able to do what he’s doing requires effort and time, I do wonder, if he didn’t believe in what he was doing, would he sit down with people for hours at a time and talk to them about his spin on ‘water’?

Probably not.

He probably already envisioned something greater than what he’s ‘pouring’ out verbally, but really, I find myself relating to him in a way, although other people might disagree, given my current circumstances, overworking is essential.

In order to acquire what I desire, I must put forth time and effort to something I believe in.

In the past, I faltered in this department, for it was a numbers game – I believed in, to achieve a happy life you needed ‘x’ amount of ‘currency x’ in the bank account and how much would I be compensated for my efforts, instead of focusing on what I can contribute to the world. What do YOU have to offer that coincides with what you really want to do, and not what others want for you for the next X amount of years – what kind of lifestyle do you ultimately want to achieve? What sorts of people do you want to have in your life? Are you going to be happy with your eventual set up?

These questions are so much more important than the ‘how many zeroes do you expect on that paycheque?’ These questions are something I asked myself since I returned from Europe. Success is not a numbers game – humans beings are too complex, there are experiences in life that cannot be swapped in or out with ‘x’ amount of dollars/euro/pounds/yen. Regrets can’t be washed away with currency. I’d rather have a priceless existence with no regrets – and that’s the only way, I’d know that all my effort and struggles have been worth it.

the girl with two jobs

Say hello to the girl who might soon be…working two jobs.

Yes.

Fingers crossed everything will work out.

Even though I don’t need two jobs to keep me alive (thank goodness for that) but I thought it might be a good way to make some extra cash so— you guessed it, I can indulge in wanderlust.


If I overwork now, I can ‘overvacation’ later.

Or so the logic goes in my head – besides, I’m seriously bored of my city.

Working has become my idea of fun. Also this picture was taken during my end of the day run, it’s summer time…what wouldn’t I give to be in Europe right now, sitting on some patio, clinking perspiring beers among friends…

Soon.

how to harness your awesomeness

Who wouldn’t like to be more efficient in their day?

I would definitely love to.

With weekly expectations and daily targets set for myself, it took trail and error to figure out what works for me. These are some tips I’ve found helpful in my day to day life that I’ve gathered through either research or trial and error. So this is my own little guide to general productivity. I hope these tips help!

Make schedule.

Time yourself doing each task.

Race yourself.

And that is the secret to getting more done, or at least my way of getting more done in less time and make more time for other things. In my opinion, it’s ‘fun’, though I know others would rather take their time, but this practice keeps me on my toes and I don’t get bored when I end up doing something for an extended period of time. So it really helps!

Oh and bottom line.

You gotta love what you do!

Yes, yes, I’m sure we’ve all heard about this one before and too many times in the past six months I’ve asked hounded myself with the question: ‘so, what’s your passion? What are you truly passionate about other than spending hours on Tumblr?’ As I discovered however, the answer to this question doesn’t have to be a grand  eloquent answer of ‘I want to change the world through XYZ’ while it’s good to have an idea of where you want to be and do, most of us can’t really scramble up a concrete action plan to actually get there. So many factors are variable as life is unpredictable, hence, do what you can!

Each of us has something amazing to contribute, even if you don’t know what it is, just take it day by day.

Maximum effort (maximum productivity) requires passion, so do it with passion or don’t do it at all.

But where do you find this ‘passion’ you ask?

From within.

Ask yourself how is this making you better, in the short-run, in the long-run, or if this makes you better off at all. If you can’t answer the first two, then re-evaluate the action so that you become conscious and excited about life!