Every second of your life is a conscious choice

You have a choice, you always do. In fact recently I realized that every second of everyday is a choice – a decision – you – decide how things in your life is going to be and what is going to enter your stream of conscious.

Don’t believe me?

Take this for example, say you absolutely cannot stand your job and you absolutely hate it to the core – and there’s no compromise that’ll make you hate the job any less – well, why are you still working there this second? Well, you might say, I need the money. This is the best option I have right now. And if those are the circumstances, then of course it’s understandable – however, what are you doing outside of the job you hate determines how successful you’re going to be in leaving that job in the near future for something you despise less.

Are you going to learn some new skills that’ll get you out of your predicament, or are you going to blow off steam with buddies over the evenings and weekends?

It’s all about conscious choices.

Sounds simple does it?

But it isn’t as I’ve also realized recently.

There’s only so many things you could possibly focus on at once, in my case: work, learn a complex foreign language while mastering computer programming languages, mathematics, algorithms and photography!? Where do these things even intersect? And on top of it maintain an active lifestyle and see friends from time to time…

It’s a bit nuts to keep up with myself lately to say the least, and I realized I can’t do “everything” at once. I cannot “improve” everything all at once. I have to prioritize the most important tasks – which currently are career related: programming. Then foreign language: for future use, fitness to keep myself sane, then if I have time, I’ll make time for the ‘arts’ and social activities.

It’s not a fun thing to do per se, but it’s systematic and it’s honestly the best conscious choice I could make with my time all things considered.

Limit your own choices for clarity

I was recently somewhere without open internet and I had also previously broken my very fast, very capable phone.

Opps.

I had to get a new phone with only factory installed apps.

Meaning: I could not access the usual social media accounts (facebook, instagram, wordpress, you name it) without a successful connection via VPN. At first, like many addicted to ‘the internet’ or rather ‘social media’ I was in a bit of a panic, but then after a couple of days, I’d forgotten all about it and now that I have access to ‘free internet’ again, I’m thinking twice about going back to using my social media.

I was forced into an uncomfortable place. Not being hyperconnected to the world for 2 weeks, but then I realized that even without being connected, I was alright. I didn’t miss much on facebook, nor on instagram as I had my important contacts on other forms of communication. It was alright and my life was much more simpler as I was not distracting myself with a pull down refresh on one of the apps every 5 minutes or so.

I was living in the present.

Now that I’m back home, I don’t see myself going back to my old ways (which I’d come to realize was a huge time waster and a fast ticket to nowhere.)

So the point of this post:

Have you ever been forced to do something you didn’t want to but come out with more clarity than before?

“For what it is worth, the work you’re doing, the city shouldn’t matter.”

Probably not her exact words, but I have this friend who inspires me.

Everytime we see eachother, which is not often…at most it’s twice a year, I always manage to pick up some good advice and habits. Needless to say, I find her fascinating and I admire her in too many ways to count, but it’s in this conversation I realized my friend was right – it doesn’t matter what you’re studying – the material is more or less the same – it’s just the situation you’ll apply it on and how well you apply that knowledge and discipline yourself.

She also said something else that I found highly satisfying.

“Get that piece of paper and get out of there.”

She understands.

When you realize life is beautiful.

Ok, as promised, here’s the longer post on the trip thus far.

What can I say: everytime I’m away from home it’s an adventure, an exploration. I always discover new things I would’ve never discovered if I stayed home. I would of course go explore new places, but sometimes, I go back to places where I’ve already been but still discover new things about the place and of course within myself.

As everything stands, each second in this city (and this continent) in general is making every cell in my body alive. I can only say that staring at the cityscapes I’ve missed so much makes all those 12 plus hours working a day worth it. I can’t say much about anything else in life that makes me this happy, being around people I love and in a city that reminds me of my actual home.

Now with that said, I also noticed a harsh truth: no matter where you are, the struggle will be the struggle. The struggle is universal. I can say this from visiting my friends whom more or less are all around my age (millennials) and contrary to popular belief we’re all busy either working or studying or doing both or juggling with our own business ventures – yeah, we’re all busy bettering ourselves and our situations, no matter which city in the world we reside in.

The work is never done. And quite frankly, I find the friends that I’m with would agree with me. There’s always something to do, something to improve upon. And therefore, life might be challenging, but it would never get boring for us.

I would also like to remind myself and those that find themselves in my shoes (because I know this is also common), if you ever wake up angry, frustrated, depressed or just unmotivated – remember that every second of the day that you spend angry or resentful or in a negative state is a second wasted. Sure, I get it. There are times when it’s hard to turn off those emotions – but you must remember and laser focus on your journey and your goal. Remember where you want to be, rather than be distracted by the right now – live for the vision that you have in your mind rather than the circumstances you find yourself in currently. I know I’ll need that reminder for when I get back to my current ‘homebase’ (which I absolutely despise). Make it possible for yourself to find peace, with your vision in mind, push for the reality that you’d imagined. 

 

 

Greetings from Berlin

I’m back in Berlin. Having caught up with a few of my friends in the past three days, it really feels good to be back. The old cobblestones and side street cafés are a nice break from North America’s concrete and franchise chains. I especially love that the cafés play techno music (which is pretty much my workflow music anyways). I have much to update on in the next post and preferably when the laptop isn’t at 16%. This is a quick check in. Greetings from Berlin!

Is this life all you’ve hoped for?

I’m currently on route to Berlin, I’ve spent the last week in one of my favorite cities on Earth. I caught up with friends and of course met new ones. Now I’m on route to Berlin. I’ve come to certain realizations as I’m leaving.

  1. I really don’t give a f*ck about the city I currently reside in: the further away I am the better. I can’t be bothered to read the news about that place, and honestly I don’t want anything to do with it. For me, there’s nothing to cultivate or nurture. I’m not a fan of endless nothingness and more nothingness.
  2. I need to work harder: as things are standing, I realized the best thing I can do at the moment is to enjoy my summer adventures, learn as much as I can, strengthen my skillset and then set off and try and try again, so much so that I can not give a f*ck about my current homebase. I realize how important this is, how my friends are all struggling in some ways, no matter which great city of the world they reside in. The struggle is universal. Learn to live with it.
  3. I’m the one I need: not exactly an realization, but I’m at that point of my life where I’d rather be alone and do great work than being distracted by anything else. While the cities I’m visiting this summer has a lot to offer, I realized the work I still need to do must be done alone. I realized my productivity diminished to zero since I hit the road. This is going to change. I have a 3 hours wait time at the airport later. Time to crack open books and get working.

I’m on the go again!

It’s currently 4:03AM as I write this. I’m currently sitting in the waiting lounge of Seattle Tacoma Airport’s International Terminal. Yes. I’m on the move again. Let’s just say after 8 months back on this coast, one term of Computer Science I am so ready to jet off.

As I wait for my 5AM flight, I have the time right now to do some reflections rather than doze off back to sleep.

Let’s start off by saying that I learned a A LOT in the first half of the year. Academic wise, I started from not knowing anything about Computer Science other than basic HTML and CSS to coding a fully functional and responsive website. I learned about the front end and backend languages and development. Not only was I introduced to web development, I was also taught Java and Python and of course, version control tool Git.

And of course, every programmer’s favorite: the command line.

Yes. It has been a really thrilling ride, the past 6 months, somedays I’m at school the entire day working on stuff (with side procrastination of course, and mentally not coping very well, as I was dreaming of that better place far off elsewhere.)

But I’m happy to say that I made it, that I used my time wisely overall and has been able to walk away with a great experience, despite all the stress, cups of caffeine consumed, frustration and several ‘almost’ mental breakdowns.

Here’s what I summarized that really helped me get through the past 8 months of being back on this coast.

1. Value Hardwork: As I saw over and over again this term, hard work pays off. Hard work is the only way to cover all your bases and set you apart from others. This ties in with #3. You have to be present to do good work.

2. Exercise: This was definitely something I took for granted when I wasn’t working 12 hours a day while sitting down. Exercising is super super important if your career of choice is sedentary. Also on top of that stress, you’ll actually want to meal prep as well so you don’t break the wallet. I have to say this term at least, I’ve learned to throw together ingredients that make tasty recipes, think self made Chiptole Salad Bowl.

3. This too will pass: FOCUS for the moment. This too will pass. You need to do your best job at your present pursuit to make sure you’re giving your 120% and then some. Remember to be present and enjoy the process, you’ll be out of there soon.

Great things take time

I can’t believe it’s been 1325 days since that one night.

I can’t believe it’s also been 1144 days since I was almost killed by a car.

I’d been living since and sometimes it feels that very little has changed, although, I can’t say I wasted 1000+ days of my life. Things have changed. I like to think if back in October 2013 was the pivot point that signified all else after then I have to say that my 1000 days have been spent trying out different options.

First, I strengthened myself.

Second, I started to try different things to get myself out of my less than ideal situation.

Third, I found out that I had to change course many many times and I did.

Fourth, I am here today wishing that I had started sooner, but at the same time glad that I started at all. I feel like I’m going somewhere, though of course there are tweaks I need to complete and various routes to explore. However, hardwork and despair are no longer feared, instead they are welcome as I am sure they will be my companions for times to come.

Fifth, for all those out there struggling to become better, I encourage you to look back on the past few years, perhaps look back on that point where you decided you could be better, could do better, do be somewhere better, and look at how far you’ve come. I want you to give yourself credit for all of your accomplishments, because only you know the inner struggles the sacrifices you have to gone through. And for that reason, we’re all warriors in our own right.

Sixth, now, with all that in mind, get out there and continue to improve.

Quick tip: how to maintain productivity over the weekend

Ah, weekends are for relaxation, right?

Not exactly, if you’re like me, who’s busy with school and life you’d want to use your weekend constructively while still relax. If time was a currency, then often on weekends I would feel the urge to splurge and then acquire massive sleep debts leading into the workweek, which is not recommended at all.

Instead today I decided to go against what I usually would do, i.e: roll out of bed past 3pm then stay home all day then stay up until 3am (hardly a recipe for productivity). I decided to get up early and go for a walk, then make plans with friends for tomorrow so that I would have to finish my work today in order to relax tomorrow.

It turns out, this time restraint tactic worked better than I thought. By restricting the time block that I had to accomplish tasks, I managed to get more tasks done.

What you are doing today is important.

Not gonna lie, April has been a busy and stressful month for me. Between wrapping up school projects, I’ve also managed to squeeze in time at work. It all meant caffeine-fueled days and nights – where my waking moments felt like a dream and my dreams were filled with potential failings of my days.

Of course, this did not translate well in my psyche and I ran into several times during the semester where I absolutely felt like I’m heading for a mental breakdown. In the heat of the moment, it just felt that the impossible was before me and I needed to get past it anyhow.

Drawing from previous experience, I always tried to push down the fears and tell myself it’ll be over soon…and true to my promise to myself – I did get over it and it was over soon.

Still, getting past obstacles was one thing but staying motivated to the cause was another – several times I found myself back away from things that needed to be done and my motivation chip away from the mountain of responsibilities I had racked up with seemingly no way out but to see it through.

The feeling of lack of direction stayed with me until today, as I was studying for those pesky finals which will commence right after Easter Holidays. I randomly picked up a book by Anthony “Tony” Robbins – Awaken the Giant Within. I’m not even half way through the book, but when Anthony wrote about the story of the founder of Honda – whom had to go through many trials and tribulations just to get to where he was – only to have it swept out from under him by forces way beyond his control, made me realize that what I had to deal with was nothing and perhaps I should remind myself more often that what I’m doing today is of high importance to the future I’m shaping up for tomorrow and so on.

I also read an article recently that I think will help with me despising where I am currently residing. And for those of you with a similar issue, here’s the article: To Beat Burnout, Be Good at Ignoring Things . Essentially, we should learn to ignore things that are outside of our control and focus on what we can control.

In reflection, while it did feel like I “tried” from January to April to “deal” with the situation, I still often adopted the “helpless” mindset, as if I’m struggling to get by. I let things that I couldn’t control occupy my thoughts for too long and did not learn to ignore and focus until recently. But still, I know I am progressing. I know I am slowly learning to do the right thing in order to achieve what I want in life. I might in several years late in realizing what I want, but it’s better late than never.

Remember, what you are doing today is important as you are shaping your future accordingly.