Wrapping Up, The Best Stuff.

A few hours before the new year, I thought it’ll be meaningful to conclude this chapter with all the best stuff. Like the glamorous award ceremonies that’ll happen at the end of the year to reward those who’ve invested a huge amount of hours and effort to produce great quality work, it’s some kind of closure to applaud the attempt, honor the commitment, and stroll down the red carpet all dandy and dazzling.

My best personal experiences in 2018, just for fun – the biggest and the greatest stuff.

Biggest Change This Year: Adulthood, work essentially.

Biggest Achievement: Exactly 1000 days of daily journalling on 22 Dec 18.

Biggest Splurge: On a camera.

Best Move I’ve Made: Writing a few lines each day about everything and anything (sometimes nonsensical even) in the morning. It was extremely fun writing them and then going back a few weeks later and go “wow!” or “huhh?”. Oh and starting a blog☺️.

Best Movie: Avengers: Infinity War. Hands down. 2019, I’m coming for you. We’re in the endgame now.

Best Television Series: Stranger Things Season 1 & 2. While the first episode premiered in 2016, I started watching only in November this year, after my friend urged me to. Though late to the party, I was incredibly impressed with the writing and the directing. Especially the writing of the storyline and the characters, and in particular for the ending to both seasons. Small or big, everyone has a role to play in defeating the darker side. It’s always about teamwork, family, friends, and love. Everyone kicked ass!

Best Book (Fiction): The Seven Death of Evelyn Hardcastle, Stuart Turton. This one… I lack the ability with words to describe just how good it is, none sufficient to bring justice to it. And so I’d better quote:

“A brilliantly original high concept murder mystery from a fantastic new talent: Gosford Park meets Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express

‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. 

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him from ever escaping Blackheath…”

– harpercollins.ca

This book kept me up for several nights; I simply had to know what is going to happen next. It was one rare book that had me entertained and engaged page after page. You just have to read this!

Best Book (Nonfiction): Tuesday With Morrie, Mitch Albom. A precious book written about life lessons, about priorities, about love. In the face of impending death, he spent his remaining days spreading important meanings about life and making a difference while he could. Honestly, I still have the last chapter to go. I’ve procrastinated for a few months because we all know how it’s going to end. However natural death should be to life, saying goodbye will always be extremely tough. I hadn’t found the courage and a good day to sit through the last chapter and cry my eyes out. Beautifully written.

“Forgive others and forgive yourself, because when you’re at the stage where i am, it don’t matter.” – Tuesday With Morrie

Greatest Mistake: Going too easy on time management. Before, I used “study” as an excuse, and then I settled for “work” as an excuse. Truth is, no one is too busy for anything. It always has been about priorities. Passion won’t come by itself, hobbies won’t develop by itself and life won’t happen by itself. So, it’s a choice we have to make if it is important enough. (In the coming year, I’ll want to work on it. First the stones, then the pebbles, then the sand.)

Greatest Lesson: Never give up on hope. Just because it isn’t happening now doesn’t mean it won’t. I grew up not understanding much about myself; I simply followed behind a crowd thinking it’ll be safe but then somewhere, somehow, I felt lost and alone. And then, alone as I walked, somehow, somewhere, I found bits and pieces of myself. Always, always have hope within because it’ll bring you somewhere you wouldn’t have known otherwise.

“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you’ll find yourself.”

Most Memorable Moment: Christmas celebrations, lots of them actually. Not sure if it was the food or the presents, or because it just happened a few days ago.

Best Quote Of The Year: “Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic. Never be afraid to try something new.”

Remembering the struggles and celebrating the journey, together we’ll close this chapter and invite the next. Hope you’ve had a fantastic year. Now, we’ll sit back and welcome 2019 with open arms. Cheers to everyone, and thank you for reading. (:

Re-assessing My Resolutions, For 2018.

We start every year with a blueprint in hand, resolutions we drafted out hoping that a year later, we’ll be exactly that, scoring high on achievements and ticking bucket list items off the list. Truthfully, resolutions often fail – mine does. It might be because we focused on starting the year right more so than ending it right. Or maybe whatever motivation and drive we had at the start was depleted along the way, leaving none to boost the final lap of the run. Or maybe we doze off in the middle of the long year marathon, waking up near the finishing line and then realizing we don’t have time to achieve all that, and then leaving those goals from the previous year for the next year to come (If we remember what they were). Recycling goals, another way to put it.

Nonetheless, writing down resolutions does come useful, I often believe so. Coming up with resolutions and writing them down increases the probability of actually doing them. We are more likely to attempt to achieve goals when we put them down to pen and paper, in black and white. I found that reviewing goals at the end of the year is particularly helpful going forward. From where you had started, to where you were at the end of the year, towards where you want to be, keeping track of all of them will give you a better idea on the pace you’re going at, and the amount of effort you’re putting in. It is perfectly okay to abandon a goal if you no longer feel excited about it, however long you had worked on it. The kind of goals you’re setting for yourself, you want those that will keep you up at night and pull you off the bed in the morning. Those that will constantly take your breath away, fill your heart with nervousness and excitement just thinking about doing them, and finally feeling so much alive when doing them. It doesn’t matter even if they don’t stay the same.

I had a list written and chucked somewhere titled ‘Resolutions of 2018’, once written with exhilaration, now looking torn and tattered like it had been through tough times. Tough times, this year, yeah totally I get you.

The first line reads: “If you stand for nothing, then what do you fall for?”

And then the words ‘Resolutions for 2018’ stood larger and bolder than all others. And the short list starts:

  1. Get a real job after graduation. *****
  2. Journalling (To maintain a daily journal, into the third year. Best decision to start in 2016, not stopping any sooner!)
  3. Work out consistently, at least 3 days per week.
  4. Complete and obtain the certificate for the course I’m working on.
  5. Read 40 books

Overall, I had an eventful year, accomplishing most of those written down. In particular, I had a taste of ‘adulthood’, finally obtaining an official job and coming home exhausted every day after. A far cry from expectations I’ve now realized. Still, because of this opportunity, it opened up my world to so much more – new friends and colleagues, fresh challenges, hands-on experiences, and the kind of knowledge that textbooks never could have taught.

I had so much fun with journalling and writing down life’s journey. From one journal, I expanded to a number of them, specializing in different areas of my life. ‘Posts’ for pictures; ‘Books’, on a list of books to read, and also those already read; ‘Workout Journal’ to track exercises, ‘Quotes’ for saving up a library of motivating thoughts and sayings, and also ‘The Daily Archive’ for daily journaling. I have a few other journals as well, mostly for the likes of mine but nonetheless redundant, I keep all of them updated mostly in the mornings while commuting, and also at nights just moments before I sleep. (I use Day One App for all that.)

Listening to my body, I consistently clocked in workouts depending on how I was feeling on that day. Sometimes I’m running, sometimes I’m hula hooping, other times I’m enjoying a short session of relaxing yoga. It was much easier getting workouts done this way. Not every session needs to be tough and sweaty, and not every session needs to get you muscle ache the next day. You do it, for your body, your way.

I’ve completed the foundations of the course I’ve started, thereby receiving the certificate but that was just the beginning steps. Going forward, there’ll be more papers to clear, more to learn, more to delve deeper into. That’ll be built upon in the coming years.

Reading 40 books within this year was a goal that was thinly stretched. Last year, i barely hovered at 20. I was overly ambitious setting this goal, and actually starting out really well in the first month, but then the numbers dwindled especially after i started working. I failed miserably on this resolution this year, somehow aiming for the moon and not landing amongst the stars, but that won’t be the last of it. I’ll try again next year.

“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

That was my resolution of 2018 and what I’ve come to accomplished. How was your year and what will you want to achieve in 2019?

Thank you for reading. (:

Merry Christmas, 2018.

It is the best time of the year. Christmas trees assembled up on the first week of December, on the streets and in the malls. We build up excitement towards today, prepping up for the jingle and the party. A month of celebration, we gather with our friends and family to have some fun. Together we count our blessings, have a cup of hot cocoa in hand, and enjoy the holiday ambiance.

It is my favorite time of the year. We wake up knowing it is the most beautiful day of the year. Once the clock chimes at twelve, through the night and into the early morning, we fill our hearts with love and express our gratitude with smiles and words that resemblances ‘I Love You’ and ‘Thank You’. We wear happiness on our sleeves, eat to our heart’s content, and settle with a good cup of hot coffee. This is Christmas and it certainly feel so. Bells jingles, Christmas hits playing over the stereo, hands trembling out of excitement over the presents we have received. Oh, Santa has finally arrived in the town. (Just for a day!)

The table decorated with various kinds of food and desserts – sausages and pizzas, turkey and ham, tossed salad and sushi, champagnes and wines. We always leave the Christmas log cake for the end. We’ll enjoy the food, talk and laugh out loud, appreciate the hanging decorations and the Christmas tree that stood in the corner with presents loaded underneath, and then stuffing ourselves for the second round. Maybe there’ll be a third and fourth. Sometimes this ends up as a punishment, to finish up the remaining scraps of food. Not participating isn’t an option.

In the evening, the room was dimly lit with warm lights, purposefully so to grant the spotlight to the humbly decorated Christmas tree that’ll show itself only in December. Settling down on the comfy bed, we chose a movie on Netflix that revolves around a Christmas theme (The Princess Switch). Because it’ll never be a white Christmas where I’m at, it was an added bonus whenever snowy landscapes flashes on the screen. It was a heartwarming film filled with romance and fantasy, and also a hint of comedy. A happy ending, for a happy occasion.

And when the night comes, we know it’ll soon come to an end. The wait till the next Santa’s visit will be long. It’s hard to say goodbye to this day, but we know there’ll be a next time. So till then, and till the next meeting, we’ll fight the days in between, with the warmth that we have felt, with the memories that we have come to share, and for the love we have been gracefully blessed with.

That was my Christmas. How was yours like?

Thank you for reading. Merry Christmas!

Learning The Beauty of Action Over Perfection.

On some days when we wake, we know the day’s going to be great. We stretch long, on our bed with pillows and plushies that were messily tossed around on the sides. Our eyes squint when we find our first sight to the morning sun light. The traffic flows for us, the lift waits for us, the coffee pot brewing and calling for us. We know it’ll be a beautiful day right from the start.

On other days, we barely forced ourselves off the bed. Skipping the stretches and hardly noticing the clear beautiful sky, we throw on random pieces of clothing that was causally laid around, rushing out of our home praying we didn’t miss anything when we left. We knew it’ll be hard right from the start.

On some days we set to strive; On others, we try to put one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. But that was part of deal we’ve made with life, we knew it since day one. We knew we won’t be getting just only the good stuffs and we knew perfection don’t exist since day one. But of course, that didn’t stop us from trying to achieve the impossible. After all, we were taught, in this era that nothing is impossible. There’s a charm to that, so we did what we had to: we tried, aiming for perfection each and every time, on good and bad days. We pretend sometimes, unknowingly falling deeper into the realms of despair, and then hating ourselves for it. All in the name of perfection that doesn’t exist – in people, in nature, in universe.

It’s a tricky thing actually. Pursuing perfection on great days, brought me further than i could normally have gone. It propelled me forward with a destination to arrive, within a time limit and a mission to accomplish. On days like that, it stood on my side. On others, i feared it. Having an image of perfection stopped me in my tracks, made me procrastinate, and then ended up barely a few inches forward from where i’ve started. Days like that, it stood against me and it got to me. It was most probably accurate that actions beat perfection, whether it is about making plans for the future, or working on a project, or writing per say.

It might be tough, especially to convince the stubborn parts of us, but maybe on days when we find it hard to bring close replicas of perfection onto the table, settling for ‘giving your best to the day’ and accepting for good enough, is the best approach that we can embrace.

Remember, it was the part of the deal we made with life. In response, we could smile big and embrace the imperfections, bring our versions of magnificence upon the existing flaws of life. Maybe we’ll live a life fuller, breathe a little deeper and appreciate the world a little better.

For the new week, you’ve got this! Good and bad days, we’ll get better at it. Thank you for reading!

My Journey With Writing.

When i first started writing, i wasn’t regularly doing it. On some days, the urge to write down how i feel won the battle over laziness. Others, the latter took over. That was the reason why, at the start of this journey, i had blank pages for days before having another entry. It wasn’t supposed to be easy, but it’ll be worth it. I hung on those words to ‘just try one more time’. And i was thankful i did. The mentality to try just one more time, after numerous failures, led to one big final success. Till this day, as i’ve numbered my days in hope to see how far i’ve come, i am writing my Day 995 today.

Now i write almost about anything in my journal. Settling down on journalling with ‘Day One’, the experience with it has been absolute. As flexibility and functionality blends in the app, thoughts and emotions gets spread onto those white blank pages like butter on bread.

A few ideas to kickstart your habit of journalling today:

– Search deeply and write down what made your day special today.

– Thoughts that bugged you throughout the day, to keep it in the pocket and out of your mind.

– Some planning for the next day, introduce a little excitement before you sleep tonight.

You don’t have to know where your final destination is; Sometimes you just have to trust the process that by doing so, it’ll lead you somewhere.

Cheering for you, wherever you reside, whatever you choose to put your time and energy into. Thank you for reading.