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.

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Why you should consider routine

December 19th – my day off, I woke up at a reasonably late time to my phone flashing. Upon unlocking my phone I found a series of messages waiting – messages from work, emails, messages from friends sharing the latest headline that’d just came out from Ankara and Berlin.

Bad news, VERY bad news.

For the next few hours, I was immersed in the story.

Even though it had been my day off and I had other things I’d wanted to do. More friends message me to talk to me about issues – some I cared about – others I absolutely did not.

But this is necessary – or is it?

The thing is, the world, your life, is unpredictable.

In fact, things are never predictable and that’s why you wake up every morning not knowing how your day was gonna go.

The other day, I saw a guy I knew from a few years back. This guy had cheated me out of money before – but when I saw him I was unprepared and surprisingly, I didn’t care anymore. Since so much has changed for me in the short amount of time – however, for him it seemed like he was still the same.

I pitied him.

One day you’re working for one company the next day you don’t.

That’s just how things are nowadays – or so I’d come to observe.

Same with relationships – one day you’re in, another you’re out.

One day you’re madly infatuated – and the next you find out about the other person’s political affiliation and suddenly everything is toppled like a house of cards.

I guess you could say I’m stoic.

Or at least trying my hardest to have a consistent inner narrative in a world that’s just filled with noise upon more noise.

The more I experience, the less I am truly affected ultra highs and ultra lows – but to be not affected takes effort and practice.

I still worry and think about stupid things like how the next two weeks of work will be hell – but that’s my desperately needed tuition money – I want to sleep, but I don’t want to wake up just to goto work (which feels like a robbery of my time).

There has to be a balance – a compromise – what if I can schedule in a couple of hours where I’m just consciously doing nothing but what I want to do – then I’ll go to work? Would that work? What if I made a habit of 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening to not rush through things but just do what I wanted – would that work? I have no idea – but maybe that’s what I can tell myself now so I can go to bed and finally fall asleep.

What is your life strategy?

Lately, I’ve been looking for answers again. It seems to be the only logical way to put myself out of my own misery. I need to look for solutions to my “problem” before I waste my time going in circle.

What is my problem you might ask?

It isn’t getting out of here anymore.

I realized now that the whole, “I need to leave.” actually stems from my need to be of use for purposes greater than a mundane job that provides for a ‘comfortable life’.

I recall walking through the streets of Amsterdam at 2AM with a friend and briefly going over the fight I’ve had with my parents.

“No marriage, no husband, no kids.” I’d said.

I remember my dad being upset.

“Don’t you want to do something with your life then?”

Yes. Of course I do – but knowing me, I’m slow to warm to many ideas.

I’m a thinker by nature and picky and those are my faults and strengths.

So now that I’ve got that out of the way, I can focus on myself and visualize the life I want to achieve for myself through action and block out everything else.

So I start reading inspirational things from people who’ve made it. I start doing research long before I’ll actually need them. What else can I do? Ah yes, buff up my skillsets so when it’s finally my time to step up to a “dream job” I’ll not only have the ambitions but also abundant knowledge and resources for it.

And that’s what I’ll do.

I’ll prepare until it is my time.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how – Friedrich Nietzsche

It’s not by any mistake I should come across this quote. In fact, I was prompted by the happenings of my life recently to which I concluded as brought on by a lack of measurable metrics to my ultimate goal – since this goal is grand, knowing where to start is difficult, until I broke it down in a stream of consciousness.

Let’s look at the things I expect to happen in the next 8 months shall we?

I would be working up until January.

Then in January I will be back to school.


The earliest time I can take a trip is in June.


Okay I got the “how”, but do I understand the “why”?

Especially with a timeline like this, it is as if I’d already lived those months up to June – if not then definitely up to January.

I don’t expect anything to happen.


Yesterday my mother told me she was glad I was gonna be home for New Years.


That made me happy for two seconds.

It doesn’t get to me anymore, it seems nothing gets to me anymore.


That part of me that I said died on the way back, may very well be dormant and buried, because my brain wants to protect me from the otherwise slew of emotions, if not emotional pain that would manifest thereafter.

My brain is smart, but it is also tired from playing safeguard against myself.

I cannot afford emotions right now, only logic.


And logically, I need to have more than just words as simple as “keep going”, “this is better for the long run”, “you want to be XYZ, don’t you?”

I need something more time tested than the immediate – it is as if i need validation from one great thinker or another – so I remembered Nietzsche.

“He who has a why to live, can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

So I thought, why didn’t this work for me in the recent past, what went wrong?

  1. Things were going too good I forgot about reality.
  2. I was chasing after temporary relief.
  3. I didn’t work hard enough.

Here it is again, the “how”.


But what about the motivation, the drive?

What is it that you want bad enough that will propel you to the future like no other?

What is ‘it’ or is it a number of things?

Think about it.

Facing reality

There are too many thoughts in my mind recently, and my motivation for life seem to reflect the weather, prospects cold, thoughts scattered like the leafs littered on the sidewalks.

I’ve been drinking too much caffeine recently, trying to figure out how to have energy again and focus energy to do “things that matter” when I’m absolutely exhausted from work.

Truth be told, I don’t know what’s worse: having no time at all, or having all the time in the world, but not knowing where to start on the next steps.

Too many things at home have remained the same – not that I expect any different and try as I might, I know they will not change. And a few things have changed – which prove to be detrimental.

I don’t have the energy to process so many things. Yet my habit of scanning for cheap plane tickets online doesn’t seem to be going away, not even after I calculated just how little time I would have between my work break and when my school starts again. It wouldn’t be wise to run off.

Then there’s people that I want to cut out of my life too – not because they’re not ‘nice people’ but because they’re a waste of time.

On one hand I know I should be easier on myself but being easy doesn’t get things done, nor does only thinking about your problems. I know I had to write them down. So I did.

Truth is, one probably overestimates the work that could be done in one day.

Not even, one probably overestimates the work that one can accomplish in a week.

In a month.

And I feel like giving up.

Because I see no end to this winter and not to mention a great part of me died before I got on that plane and the tears that came afterwards, I was crying at my own loss.

But at the same time, I know things will look up.

Life doesn’t give you too many second chances, or third tries.

I am lucky in this regard.

I can look at my mess and figure out the problems I’ve had in the past and look at them with an objective but also critical eye.

So I lay down some ground rules first for myself.

“Things are not gonna change unless you build yourself up and ignore everything else.”

Focus on yourself and ignore everything else.

That’s my plan.

And this is my only shot to settle old scores.

Refocus, have a serious talk with yourself

Last night, I wrote a love letter to the city I’d just left.

I detailed reasons for this temporary separation and detailed plans for my ultimate return.

After I completed the letter, it was as if a weight has been lifted. It was permission granted from myself that I should refocus my energy on the right now, finally.

Without that letter, I wouldn’t have been able to settle down and settle into this new reality which is completely different – but I am refreshed and ready to tackle the days with enthusiasm even if everything is less than ideal.

I still went out for exercise even though it was dark and cold.

And that’s when it hit me:

If everything was going the way you wanted them to, would you still want them to?

Wouldn’t that bore you to no ends because everything is the same, day in day out?

Isn’t that what you’re trying to break away from?

You’re trying to build your life now with outmost authenticity and you have everything you need – even if you don’t think you do – but you do.

Remember as little as a month ago, you wouldn’t have just grabbed your running shoes for a run because it was storming outside, let alone would you want to leave the house even when the sun wasn’t shining.

You’d wait all day and waste all day.

Now, it’s different – you’d came back fearing that three months of loneliness was in store – but now that you’ve accepted it – you can also see the good in it.

Productive time.

Little distractions.

Time to explore and grow – but in a different way.

Here you will reach clarity and give yourself credit because you’ve always figured a way out before.

And this time with outmost clarity you shall tackle obstacles and build the life you’re proud to live.

Everything now points to you’re at your best.

You’ve never been more at ease, more forgiving, more gentle towards life.

 

You changed yourself for the better in this continuous journey of life.

Now it’s time to refocus and improve yourself even more so you can be who you’ve always wanted to be.

2040 Hours

I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know, clearly, how I feel.

I woke up this morning with 2040 hours left to go – and now there’s 2033 left.

It isn’t that I’m keeping track of time exactly – but I am keeping track of everyday because I ought to.

I woke up this morning and had breakfast – got a stomach ache – but then continued on with my morning exercise and routine and now I’m back and working on my schedule while drinking black coffee.

There’s calls to be made and soon.

There’s things to be done but everything seems to be a mess.

I try again, refocus, shut the door, turn everything off, everything seems bleak.

Yet, I know this is still the right decision regardless.

It just won’t be easy.

All those personal problems can and must take a backseat, because you know you’re only partially still thinking about them because you don’t want to jump in head first and do real work, but you must – time is running out, hour by hour, think about your promise, think about the time you won’t have – wasn’t that what made you quit in the first place?

Don’t stop now.

You only have 2032 hours now.

What are you going to do?

 

What to do when things simply aren’t working out

It’s been 48 hours.

48 hours since I’ve returned and it isn’t a happy reunion.

In the past 48 hours, I’ve had a lot of time – not only to myself but also to visiting friends. Yes – seeing my friends who’s visiting me was great, but after we parted ways, I realized how I was only having fun because my attention was them, and not what was around me.

Again, I don’t care for my own city.

I was due for work – walking out the door, and then realizing I was about to waste an entire day doing nothing I wanted was a complete waste of time.

Sure, I was going to be paid, but that’s not good enough anymore.

I ended up turning back and heading straight home and writing that letter of resignation that contained only 2 lines – Hi, please consider this short email a letter of formal resignation. I quit.

There.

Now that’s done, I’m looking at the countdown on my phone.

87 days until I’m out of here again.

87 days to make it count.

I know full well of what’s at stake.

But I’m not afraid anymore, like I was used to.

If I was to think about this clearly, I was only scared and clinging onto that job I should’ve given up a long time ago because I didn’t want to go deal with the pandora box I’m about to open.

Having a “job” was the safe option, but that option will lead me to nowhere.

I know that.

So.

It is time for a new and exhilarating adventure.

A different kind of thrill.

Let your emotions guide you, don’t let it consume you

I stopped myself from going to the city centre on the last day.

It wasn’t so much that I really minded the weight of my luggage, but really it was more so that I didn’t want to cry.

And I knew I was going to if I stepped out of Central Station.

If it was any other time than “departure time” it would almost feel like a homecoming, a win, a victory, a confirmation that “yes” I had once again earned my time and I can be myself and away from the quagmire of responsibilities on the other side of the world.

It all feels like a different time, a different space, a different life.

I didn’t want to be consumed with a sense of loss – since that wasn’t the point of this all.

It was all an exercise for me.

I had things to prove, so I reminded myself.

Except then, I went to the airport, feeling sick to my stomach. I made the mistake of checking my Facebook feed and the list of “events” that popped up, lists of “news” that was tailored to me by some AI, as if saying: “here, this is what you ought to be caring about now for the next three months…”

At least it’s not indefinitely.

Still.

Screenshot 2016-06-08 16.00.53

Isn’t that the truth.

Telling truth.

I’m being honest.

I am being sickened. I’m thinking about turning all forms of social media feed and just pretend that I never went back – make an artificial environment for myself so I don’t have to deal with bullshit that I already know are coming my way – and try my best to survive for the next three months.

Of course, at the same time, I do also have myself to blame for this – you’re not yet capable of propelling yourself full throttle forward, so you’ll have to keep trying. It’s on me, all on me.

I have to hold myself accountable for not being capable enough yet.

And that’s the thought that’ll stay with me until I make it.

 

So I’m gonna freeze that thought and focus using the energy of the anger and frustration – rather than pointing it at myself – I’m ignoring everything else for the next three months.

I won’t stop until I am where I want to be again.

And any obstacles that come my way.

Will be obliterated and crushed into thin air.

 

We are what we repeatedly do – Aristotle

2000 something years later, this statement still holds true.

I’m used to going to bed late at night, then feeling completely plastered in the morning.

I’m used to doing things last minute, because of poor planning.

I’m used to misuse of my imagination over worrying for worst case scenarios.

I’m used to being cynical and stopping myself from doing what I really want to do out of several types of fear.

I’m used to misusing my energy, because of inner chaos.

And I realized, all of these unnecessary fretting really doesn’t help at all.

The older I get, the more I know myself – through experiences and retrospective observations – the outlines of what I ultimately want are getting clearer.

 

I know that what I’ve been repeatedly doing is detrimental, but when you’re caught in a never ending loop without much hope for change – because everything is the same – you’re in the same city, doing the same job, seeing the same people, thinking the same thoughts – it’s hard to break out of a rut – truly.

We are what we repeatedly do – Aristotle

So I rebelled.

I said “no” to all that bothered me.

I did something different.

I went somewhere different.

I met new people.

I tried new things, had successes and failures in various aspects of my life – the highs and lows – I didn’t shy away from either – but the thing is – things weren’t perfect, yet I made them work – I realized, I could handle so much more in my life than what I had thought to be possible.

Namely:

  1. Being uncomfortable: Ever been to a party where you knew practically no one? Check.
  2. Swallowing pride: Starting a conversation with someone whom you thought was ignoring you, but it turns out they’re just busy. The old me would never do this…the old me would’ve let those worries run amok and shrivelled up in my shell of self doubt.
  3. Making things happens: Surprising your friend and yourself by your party planning skills.
  4. Bounce back from fatal mistakes: Having a little too much fun in club and being helped home by a friend. Opps. Don’t ask me to party for the next 3 months…
  5. Stand up for what I believe is right: Helping someone out even though it makes little sense to other people, but for you its the righteous thing to do.
  6. Letting things go that doesn’t serve the bigger picture: Realizing fully that I’m only behind the wheels of my own life, and not anyone else’s. Therefore, I am completely detached from anything that doesn’t concern me and my attention directly.
  7. Spending time with people who matter: because these are the moments and the memories you will cherish and remember.
  8. Turn thoughts into action a priority: but all in all, taking all of this experiences and recognize that if you didn’t take the initiative to be creative, or put your thoughts into action in time, then none of the wonderful and not so wonderful things would’ve happened – for better for worse, you should continue this adventurous streak even when you’re back in the other city.

The past month was about experiences. It was about doing things I would never do normally and breaking through barriers, regaining confidence, and a sense of balance despite all the chaos.

And that’s exactly the most invaluable thing about the trip, the experiences that I’m taking home with me and knowing that across from the ocean I have not only promises to fulfill, but bigger and better projects, and magical moments waiting for me for when I get back.