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.

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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.

How To Have A Good Week.

Monday Monday Monday, probably not everyone’s favorite day of the week. However, now that I look at Monday, I’m actually excited. Why you might say, well Monday is the beginning of a new week, and I believe that how you set up your Monday affects your entire week.

I’m not talking productivity alone, but also overall wellbeing.

Think about it, if you start off your week right, then you’ll stay focused and ready to engage in whatever life throws at your way.

Here are some quick tips (which I might also expand on at a later date).

  1. Go to bed no later than 11PM on a Sunday night. Why is this? Well, because you need to be refreshed for Monday mornings.
  2. Hit the Gym in the morning. This is so crucial, this morning I made it to the gym by 5:30AM. Not only did my workout wake me up, but it also got me excited for the whole week with a focused mindset. Another plus is that usually at 5AM in the morning there’s hardly anyone at the gym. So you’ll have the place to yourself to workout in peace and also leave feeling pumped and accomplished, ready to tackle the day.
  3. Stay hydrated. And not with coffee, I realized in the past few months because of the lack of routine and how much work I had to handle, I relied too heavily on caffeine products, which would leave me feeling lethargic and mind-fogged after the buzz is gone. And what I found out was that I wasn’t drinking enough water. Remember your body is 70% water so you need to replenish throughout the day.
  4. Eat Healthy. I know, this is also hard, especially if you’re running around trying to complete task after task after task and you feel that you have very little time for yourself. And of course, in that state people are more likely to reach for something high fat, high sugar, high salt to treat themselves. And while a treat once in a while isn’t going to be too damaging, but if you’re doing it regularly (personal experience) and add in the booze, then there’s an issue. If your budget allow it, then grab a salad at a healthy place, if it doesn’t then meal prep (which is something I’m going to do later this week, since I forgot to do it last Sunday opps.)
  5. Stay proactive. Here’s another truth, work will pile up if you don’t stay on top of it. Complaining about it won’t make it go away. Tackle everything with enthusiasm!! And now, I’m going to do just that.

    Have a good week everyone! 🙂

What is the vision for 2017?

Barcelona, Spain, Travel, Europe

Wow, doesn’t time fly when you’re busy? But does busy equate to productivity? The answer would be no.

March is upon us and I realized I never wrote a plan for this year. I mean, in 2017 I want to achieve quite a few things which I’ve highlighted in how do you know if you’re on the right track. But to make everything more concrete so I know exactly what to finish before summer arrives:

March:

  • Use Spring Break wisely and catch up on school work.
  • Decide on a personal project you’re going to do / could put into your portfolio.
  • Finish 1 extracurricular book outside of reading material.
  • Hit the gym 5 days / 7 days.
  • Duolingo everyday!
  • Blog once a week, review progress.

April

  • Ace those finals!
  • Have the basics down for personal project be 10% complete.
  • Finish 1 extracurricular book outside of reading material.
  • Hit the gym 5 days / 7 days.
  • Duolingo everyday!
  • Blog once a week, review progress.

May

  • Wrap up on final school project.
  • Have personal project be 20% complete, and set up for further offline work.
  • Finish 1 extracurricular book outside of reading material.
  • Hit the gym 5 days / 7 days.
  • Duolingo everyday!
  • Blog once a week, review progress.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.