How to tackle uncertainty ?

“My life is so pointless.”

I was walking around in the farmlands surrounding where I’m staying when my phone went off with the message. The message was from a friend who’d just passed her end of year exams – intuitively, she should be celebrating.

I asked her: “What’s wrong? Didn’t you do well and graduate?”

She said yes, except now she feels that her life is pointless because all of her energy is not focused on achieving passing grades but completely dispersed in “overwhelming uncertainty”.

I told her I knew the feeling. I mean, aren’t we all a little lost at times?

Except then she went on and start listing all the reasons why she’s worrying. She didn’t believe she had any other skills or abilities other than the ones she’s just graduated with and the world is a big and scary place.

I told her to pause for a second and reread what she just wrote me and asked her: “well yes, but where did you gain your skills? Didn’t you gain them by actively pursuing goals, whether through fear of ‘what-if’ or genuine “interest” in getting better at whatever you were pursuing.”

Plus, how did she know she was only ‘good’ at the skills she thought she was good at. I told her it’s also important to develop other interests and expose herself to new experiences so she’ll be inspired to take on new challenges that made sense for her.

I told her, I’m the same. I don’t particularly know what I want to do yet but everyday I’m trying something new, even if it’s pondering on an idea from another perspective – trying to come up with new solutions to problems even if that makes me improve only marginally – and if the next day I come up with an even better solution then I’ll scrap the last idea and implement the new.

And then I told her. I’m just as scared as she was of the future, but that’s no reason to freeze in fear. What am I actually doing in foreign lands rather than staying put in comfort? It’s because I see potential – whether it be being scared out of my elements and come up with something new to adapt. I see the freedom to make mistakes and I can’t and won’t judge myself harshly for them, because I’d have no idea how things work in the first place.

But the most important part of this all is in knowing that I had changed my circumstances, whether be it good, or bad.

I’m throwing myself in the face of change and changing how I want to be.

What does it mean to have a goal ?

“Don’t waste time.”

“Don’t stop until you get there.”

“Ignore everything else.”

These three things are what I’m gearing up to when I return home mid-June. I already know there are a billion things I must deal with when I get back, and I know that while I’d rather not, it is necessary.

I know full well that if I don’t deal with what’s really bothering me back home then I’d never have the chance to move forward fully and that is true with every other problem.

One cannot flee from what is bothering them if the bother follows after.

It is necessary to deal with the current, put that in the past and then never look back again.

If the premise is not met, then the chapter is half written – unfinished.

Therefore the gap, even when the chapter is finished, will come back and haunt you.

The only way to prevent this from happening is go back and put an end to the storyline that no longer serves the overall story but wastes ink all the same.

Go back and close that chapter.

So you can be fully prepared to start a new one.

Having a goal meaning have a vision, a purpose, and not stopping, until you are satisfied with the outcome.

Amsterdam: The perfect city and what it all means.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to be out and about in Amsterdam once more. One might expect it was all a fairytale moment, with the sun peeking through the clouds and the birds singing and in the distance there’s Prince Charming galloping on his steed to meet me…or something along the lines of that.

It wasn’t as if I haven’t anticipated this moment enough.

Stepping off from the train at Centraal, I was excited. But I was also aware that it was dark, gloomy, and raining. There has been several thunderstorms over the weekend in the place I’m staying, just a little under an hour away. So, I wasn’t exactly expecting any different. Oh and of course, it was also windy as hell.

Shitty weather? Check.

Still, I was excited as ever.

After all, I was here in April? Hah.

I skipped off the train and headed into the city. The central station is as I remembered, as is everything else – except it was covered up all in a shade of clammy greyness from the weather – I went ahead and started to run errands in the city I was just reacquainted with, then I found a work-cafe I’d been eyeing online and went there to caffeinate, followed by some shopping and then some post-shopping falafel eating at one of my favourite falafel places before going home.

It was a very productive day indeed. Then I went home and turned on social media, seeing posts from my friends back home tagging familiar places which I don’t miss – it was as if seeing those places gave me more motivation to work hard to get out (oddly to the inner monologue of Rose in Titanic, “the same boring people, the same boring endless conversations until eternity.” ) And that’s exactly what I DON’T want in life.

And yesterday, I realized, it’s gonna take a lot more work to achieve just what I want, but also a city doesn’t have to be perfect – the reasons why you think a city is perfect, or perfect for you, is at your discretion. After all we give meaning to the narrative in our heads. What makes sense to us internally might not make sense to others externally. Yet, if that narrative in your head gives you purpose, then it is up to you to give that purpose a go and see where it leads.

Because really, what is life?

Is it destiny?

Is it destination?

Getting smart with your Morning Routine

Recently, I asked myself this question:

Now that I’m completely free at the moment – what is the one thing I would change about my morning routine, or implement one, since I don’t really have one (opps)?

There’s of course a plethora of options for change – for example, waking up early and starting the day with exercise, waking up and scribble down in a dream journal, waking up and turn on TedTalks, or waking up and start reading what you didn’t finish the night before, eating a healthy breakfast, starting the day with positivity, the list goes on.

 

Whatever it is, I’ve noticed that I’m much more productive when I get to start the day on my own accord.

Starting with a light reading, a TedTalk, a big mug of coffee and then getting on with my day by heading out and working in a nearby cafe.

I’ve come to realize that I should be doing this, though maybe not exactly everything I do now -but the idea is to fill your morning with something that’s exciting and thought provoking to set yourself up for the day ahead of you.

Work-caytion 2016 begins now!

I have the next twenty days to myself.

Meaning, I have the next twenty days (480 hours) to be completely in control of my own life, my schedule, who I see, where I go – I don’t think I’ve had that level of freedom in a long time.

It is currently some ungodly hour on GMT + 1 and I’m bubbling over with a sugar rush from chocolate and the sheer excitement of being here (okay, so maybe I’m a little bit jetlagged too).

I have great things that I have planned, both alone and with friends. And for the next twenty days I will see those plans to fruition and go home refreshed.

Here’s what’s different about this time rather than the past number of times I’ve been to Europe.

I will be stationary for the next 20 days (for except day trips to other nearby cities).

I wouldn’t be moving around as much.

Why?

Because traveling too fast is exhausting – for both your energy levels and your bank account.

I can only speak for myself, but I can’t possibly get anything worthwhile done, when I’m going around different cities in a whirlwind – as I’ve found out last time, by the time I stopped for 3 short days in Amsterdam then went to Vienna for a week, all I had wanted to do was to sleep. Not only did I not have the energy to do anything in Vienna, but it’d feel like that time was wasted – and I’m not a fan of time-wasting.

Not only that, cluttering your schedule with tasks and sights takes the enjoyment out from the traveling experience (and this is another reason why, I almost always do solo traveling, as with others, compromises will have to be made).

So now it’s 4:12 AM. I’m making up a day’s plan and delegating tasks, a great start of the day I’d say.

WestJet Transatlantic Review: Cheap Flights to Gatwick

For what it was worth and for what I paid – which was around 200 USD in total, I can’t really complain – the fare was phenomenally cheap – however, now I know why. I don’t have previous Transatlantic experience with WestJet, in fact they’ve only been offering their Transatlantic flights since the beginning of May and I was eager to hop on board to see what the fuss is about, especially, how they stack up to rival European budget airlines like Norwegian Air (which by the way is one of my favorite airlines of all time).

From the start, it all looked promising, the boarding procedure went smooth, the staff were friendly and the seats were comfortable (though, the WestJet 767-300 isn’t as comfortable as Norwegian Air’s 787-800.)

However, with the WestJet base fare, things like seat selection and meals are to be bought separately – and so I ordered ahead of time a seat and a meal. Drinks too, of the alcoholic variety, are for purchase (unlike various other major airlines.)

While the seat was no problem, the meal came as a great shocker – wait, was this actually made for human consumption?

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To begin with, the mashed potato was dry, the meat was rubbery, and the vegetables tasteless. The only edible thing in there was probably the brownie. 

Luckily, I had packed a separate salad from WholeFoods ahead of time, so I ate that while chatting to my seat mate. However, my experience with WestJet only seem to get worse after that – because the staff apparently didn’t bother with garbage collection until well after the meal. I was a little ticked by the lack of efficiency and got up to give them the tray myself so I could use the washroom and not deal with it later.

Then after I came back from the washroom my seat mate told me that they’d only began collecting trash because I’d complained.

Oh, how nice to know.

Then a couple hours later – we were served another ‘meal’ except, it couldn’t be hardly called that – apple slices and a piece of banana bread ? Really?

Not exactly what I was looking forward to eating.

Horrible food experience and timing onboard aside, the flight experience itself was good. But would I do it again for the cheap fare and horrible food? Most likely not, especially when their European rival Norwegian Air offers more pleasant experience with more competitive offerings.

The verdict of vacationing in my own city

The verdict of vacationing in my own city:

It’s bloody not worth it.

I was booked for 2 nights, yet I only stayed for one. I checked out early even though there wasn’t refund since in order to get the refund I’d need to give them 24 hours notice.

So what happened?

In short, I checked into the hotel wanting to relax – but then everything is a constant reminder that I’m still in my own city. People spoke with the same accent as I did and then I looked around and realized the people vacationing there were either very old people or foreign couples who’d decided to come to my side of the world. I couldn’t exactly find what was charming enough that they’d come – there’s no old world history, or in my opinion, no history that went past over two hundred years and for me, that is distressing.

I went out to lunch at WholeFoods alone and began listening to people talking around me. Though I understood them perfectly, I had wish I didn’t understand them – might that make their conversations more interesting? Their plans? Where to go?

It wasn’t exactly interesting – then I finished my meal and I realized I didn’t have anything that really interested me – except for maybe shopping – except then I reminded myself I’ll be over in Berlin soon enough and I could always do that there – so that was out of the question.

What to do?

In the end, I went back to my hotel disappointed and slept then next morning checked myself out early because I preferred my own bed at home.

I began to think if it wasn’t for my parents being in this city – then I have 0 business of being here.

I thought about Europe, I thought about my current plan.

I thought about September and beyond.

This city is dead to me.

Taking a vacation in your own city

It’s May the 16th, and I’ve wrapped up at work 20 hours ago, rushed home, celebrated by sleeping and waking up at 3 AM to pack – then I’m out the door at 6 AM – pretending to be headed off to the airport so I can hop on an early train and head for the hotel that I booked for myself.

You may ask…why exactly are you doing this?

Well, I wanted to do one more thing before I give this city the death sentence.

I wanted to know what do tourists see when they head to my city?

Due to the amount of ‘glowing’ reviews I’ve received, I really wonder if its really because I needed a new perspective on things.

So why not move yourself some 1 hour away from your actual residence and live on the other side of town for a bit and see if that shakes up perspectives and reveal some new insight?

Though, I have to say, I don’t have much expectations that this 2 days excursion would change my opinion of the city. But perhaps, meeting some foreigners and seeing how they see my city would change my opinion.

Other than that. I’m excited for my upcoming trip back to Europe.

 

You are what you work on

Work is undoubtedly one of the most important ingredients in life. After all, whether we like it or despise it, we all have to produce something of value, or worthwhile enough to earn our keep. After all, as economists like to say, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” – nothing in this world is free – so whether you like it or not, there will be time devoted to work – and for most of us – that time is going to occupy a high percentage of your day, and overtime, that will be a large portion of your life.

So, if you have something that you’d need to spend a large amount of hours on, essentially, this “work” then becomes “you”.

Recently, I spoke with 2 friends who were both very happy with their recent accomplishments. On both occasions, it was something to definitely celebrate. One of my friend passed her Literature exam with flying colors, while the other got into Medical school.

I was happy for them, albeit, introspectively, I began to worry – because here I was and what I was doing didn’t exactly resonate with me at all – sure I’m being compensated at a rate that is better than most – still, if you asked me if I was proud of my work or if I enjoyed my work, you’d probably get static silence from me.

“I made X in 10 days, yay me.” Except, I didn’t sound enthusiastic.

“I worry about you.” Said one of my friends, out of genuine concern, not too long ago.

And I wondered if it was because I told him I disliked almost 95% of my current situation and couldn’t wait to get out – or if it was because his calling came easy for him.

He was following his parents’ footsteps, easy peasy.

Me on the other hand – though I have a vague idea what I want my day to day to look like, I still haven’t laid down the blueprint, let alone put in the work and I know that because after a long day’s work I find myself falling to excuses.

I simply don’t want to – because of ABCDEFG reasons.

Then the next morning, it’s back to what I was doing the day before and afterwards, I despise myself – because I’m nowhere closer to my ultimate goals I’d set for myself.

I’d realized that in 2 weeks that I’ve been back.

What it means to really “work” versus, staying “busy” and getting paid.

I’ve realized what it means to be back, but for better for worse that’s no reason to be “held back”.

There’s always going to be work deadlines.

Work deadlines aren’t going to stop because you have new ambitions you want to pursue.

 

I have deadlines that need to be dealt in the next couple of days.

And I have deadlines that also need to be dealt with in a couple of months.

But unlike times before, you now know that completing work deadlines is not a moment to celebrate.

If it’s anything, it’s the reward of a school bell – meaning you finally have time to devote to yourself and your own improvements.

 

Remember to use your time wisely – especially those that are free from the directions of another.

Search for Meaning

No matter your undertaking, you should be clear as to why you are partaking in your work.

I am very clear, in my case, currently, this is the best way I know how to put food on the table and fulfill my other ambitions, such as traveling and seeing the world.

I am very clear, that aside from the aforementioned, there’s very little meaning in what I do – sure, I do come across the temporary feeling of job done well and pat on the back from accomplishing everything in due time, but that in itself is not meaning, and by no means am I living the dream life I imagined for myself.

The dream I have for myself is living every moment consciously and by choice.

Consciously: awake enough to enjoy every moment – I want to be in the moment and feeling it every moment without a stop.

Choice: making decisions and making them my way – or have more freedom in my life where I call the shots.

Ultimately, I want to live passionately, a life of my own choosing. I want to live daringly, rather than playing it safe. I want to make mistakes I end up being proud of. I want my life to be an adventure. I want my life to be the one on the unconventional road.

And for that reason – I do what I do now, to build the future of my own choosing.