Tag Archives: life

A FISHBOWL & A HEAVY HEART

3 things that I’m thankful for:
A shoebox of my own in just under a week
An inspiring church that’s just a 10-minute walk away
A job interview

Yes, I took a leap of faith and upped and came to New Zealand, just as I’ve said that I probably would in my previous post. I’ve loved every moment of it since my arrival – the temperature (a steady 14 – 18 degrees), the sights and sounds, and just the convenience of moving about. Oh, and the public library!

But the real struggle is when you’re here on a mission, and not just for a vacation – the game changes. It’s been 17 days in to my little adventure but I am still trying to find that spot of calm, that peacefulness of knowing that ‘everything will be OK’. I knew it would be tough to attempt settling into a foreign environment, but I didn’t have a gauge on the extent of it until I embarked on a job hunt for a full-time position. It’s been tough. Sending out more than 10 applications only to hear back from just a couple sure leaves a dent in your self-confidence. But on the flip side, it has also reminded me of how blessed I’ve been for all these years. Back in Malaysia, I had jobs that were waiting for me. While I was in the midst of my college degree, I was referred to a small creative consultancy that did amazing works for one of the world’s largest shopping malls. I interned with them and eventually became a full-time hire. I worked there for seven years, and when I resigned, I immediately had something else to take on. I did not actually have to go through a job hunt.

So here I am now, actually experiencing what would be my first job hunt in 29 years of my life.

While the calm is taking a while to set in, I have made conscious effort to try things I otherwise would never even think of – applying for an assistant store manager role with kikki.K, for instance. Haha! Yes! I am very aware that I do not have the experience for that role, but what the heck, right? It could only go two ways – a. they won’t hire me, or b. they’d love my enthusiasm and train me for it. (ps: I’ll give an update to this if they reply me.) Also, I’m practising letting go of things and events that I really just have no control over – whatever happens after I hit the ‘Submit’ button on every application I send out. I’m almost a control freak, if not one already. I don’t like the feeling of not being in control of things be it my finances, schedules, or my future. And this leap to Hobbit Land has definitely stretched me in a lot of somewhat uncomfortable ways. But, I try.

I try to look on the bright side. I feel very grateful for everything I’ve achieved so far and know that other people have to struggle up much bigger hills than my own. But sometimes, gratitude and optimism can only get you so far. Gratitude and optimism can’t satisfy lingering doubts, or tell you what it all adds up to – or if it is meant to add up to anything at all. They don’t soothe the voice that keeps prodding and asking, “What are you doing? Do you think any of it really matters?

The voice wants answers, but I haven’t got any. I just keep going, ploughing ahead, and hoping to God I can pay my bills, while I watch the days and weeks flit past. These 17 days have sometimes felt like an exercise in contortion. They have sometimes felt like I have twisted and wrapped myself into strange shapes to continue on. Sometimes I have felt like I have become someone else entirely: the kind of person who doesn’t think about anything other than the achievement of goals, not their meaning. The kind of person who is committed and confident and sure. The kind of person who believes, intrinsically, in what they are doing. The kind of person who is not afraid.

When you go to bed after hours of being someone else, your head feels as full as a fishbowl and your shoulders feel as heavy as your heart. Instead of relaxing, you find yourself trying to reconcile the distance between who you think you are and who you need to become to get by. I have tried letting go. I have tried resigning every conceit I have about myself and just accepting that I need to become someone else for good. But every time I have tried to let go, I’ve found some small part of myself clinging determinedly to the remaining strands of who I imagine I am, or who I imagine I should be.

So I carry on and hope that, in the end, it all works out.

17 days in to this adventure have definitely done a very good job of pushing me out of my comfort zone, right into something I knew very little of. I’ve got a loooooong way ahead of me, and a lot of praying (and crying. Haha!) to do, so wish me luck and keep me in your prayers.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

LIFE, AS IT IS.

The hiatus has been a long one but I’m glad to be back, with the greater hope that I’d be able to keep up with the thoughts in my head, and translate them into posts right here.

THE LEAP OF FAITH
The past two months have been rough on me, mentally. It was a mashup of exhaustion and exhilaration, both at once, and you can only imagine how draining that would have possibly been.

Plans to go abroad are in the works, and with the year coming to an end too quickly, it has almost if not already forced me to fast forward a lot of my other plans on hand. There’s that fear of making it, or not making it, and the dealing with it afterwards, whichever the outcome may be.

I think what really affects me here, is the idea that I don’t seem to have much time left to do a lot of things I initially set out for myself. Or more possibly, having to postpone my next dive trip. Haha. Yes, I hate when that happens. But on a serious note, it does feel like a severe case of “too much to do, too little time”. This is nonetheless a step closer to my dream, to say the least. So it’s alright, perhaps.

The collating of my portfolio has also been a rather arduous one, if I may add. I have had to painstakingly sieve and sample what felt like a million portfolio hosting sites only to return to good ol’ WordPress and Behance. And then there’s the LinkedIn profile that needed dusting, and lots of refining. Did I mention that I suck at beefing up a personal profile? Lol. I could so do someone else’s but mine.

I’ll be visiting that place abroad in November, for the first time. It’s going to be my chance to fall in love with that new ground, that unfamiliar space, with absolutely no strings attached. It was a fairly spontaneous decision to book that flight out, but I’m glad I did it. It’s going to be a really good holiday. I can feel it already.

I’ve had big dreams before, but none thus far that have required such attention to the life changing details, up until now. “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough,” so I read somewhere.

At this rate, yup! It’s safe to say that my dream is officially big enough.

THE BOOK JOB
I am a storyteller, a blogger, and a writer. What I’m definitely not, is a copywriter.

The difference, you ask? I don’t like writing to sell. I enjoy writing in hopes of promoting something that I believe in.

Part of the worry that I had about going abroad was simply, not knowing what I should sell myself as, and what sort of jobs I would/could/should land. Should I be a writer, or a photo stylist? How about an editor? Oh, what about a graphic designer? It always felt like I was half-baked in every way despite the endorsements I’ve received. It felt like I was a jack-of-all-trades, and a master of none. It was tougher than I had thought it to be. It became a personal battle – a constant one that made me question if I was ever good enough to make the career cut out there.

It was during this time that someone reminded me of the other side to it. Much like how David saw Goliath, the giant – too big to miss, I had ample skills under my belt to at least land one job out of all the possible writing/styling/designing vacancies out there. I found myself breathing a little easier after that, really.

About three weeks ago, I was briefly in touch with a publishing house – more specifically, a publishing division of the renowned Penguin Books. We spoke about my manuscript (which still is a work in progress and a far cry from completion), about its illustrations, colours, paginations, cover finishing of choice, and we even got to the part about marketing and royalties!

The whole conversation was amazing, and I loved how alive the idea was that I would be able to publish a book of my own, eventually. It did come with a relatively huge (but affordable) price tag, but I’m just really glad that I had the opportunity to be in touch with the young lady on the other line, and to discuss all the possibilities that we could put together, especially under such a prestigious publishing label that I grew up with reading its titles.

It’s not everyday that I get these kicks that make me feel like I can take on the world, with words. And it’s also things like this that reminds me that my writing carries weight, if I allow it to. It pushes me out of a zone of disbelief that I have inevitably created for myself along the way, and helps me realize that there are a lot of things that could be well within my reach, if I would only stretch a little further and grasp for a little more than what I think I’m comfortable with.

It’s one of those life-changing experiences, you know? The kind that comes right when you need it, and right where you need it.

Tagged , , , , , ,

AN EMPTY VESSEL

I’ve been meaning to write this earlier but I have to be honest, I struggled — not due to matters of confidentiality, but of anger, frustration, a truckload of hate, and a loss for words.

I spoke of my decision to resign and join a different company altogether at my work performance review just two weeks ago, and was empathetically advised by both my superiors that I would have to prepare myself for all sorts of office politics imaginable that I would face in a huge corporation as the one I was going to, and that it will be nothing like my current workplace — petite and sans the politics.

This April will officially mark my seven years of service right here. I have been witness to many that have come and gone, and more than that have asked what kept me for seven years. For those who have read my earlier posts — this and this, you might have inevitably deduced that my work place is a hellhole. No, it isn’t, really. Like all other legit, registered companies, we serve a purpose. And for six years of my life, I have set out with our team to realise that purpose. In fact, most of us give our 250% to meet the unwritten expectations of our superiors. But for the last leg of it, I started to realise that loving what I did didn’t necessarily and automatically mean that it would make me happy.

I loved what I was doing, but by the end of my sixth year, the good people that contributed to it have mostly, if not all, left and moved on to greater things. I felt like I was in a rut. My ex-colleagues were out there building their lives with bricks that were less decorated, less glamorous, less jet setting, and less luxurious, but they were all nonetheless so much happier. It struck me that that was the sense of greatness I was searching for within the things that I have been doing all these years but never found. It made me re-evaluate my life only to realise the sad reality that in place of greatness, I was hoarding gossips, lies, self-centredness, pride, and a love for the things that never ever once mattered to me. It broke me when I realised these things defined me more than I’d wish to admit.

So in 2014, I set out to weed my life of things that didn’t add to it — this career included.

You see Superior 1, you’ve been a generous boss, but it stops there. What I’ve been trying to make you understand is that the many who work for you are not hard up for your generosity. All the extras are well, extras. Instead, buck up. Be a good paymaster. Don’t deny them what they are truly worth, and don’t delay your payments. Everyone’s got their bills to pay, and mouths to be fed, and whether it concerns you to say the least, they deserve the wage they’ve put in the work for.

Over the course of the seven years that I’ve toiled for you and your company, I can safely say that you don’t know what it truly means to appreciate another human being. You’ve always spoken highly of yourself — of your perfect sense of ‘friend-conscience’, your travels that have taken you to so many places and seen so many cultures, your intellectual affluence, your selflessness for animals and the helpless people around, your certifications, acknowledgments, titles and rewards garnered from your studies and courses, and of the many consulting job opportunities you were offered by “tons of clients who desperately need you to rescue their dying publications.” You are undeniably good at what you do. But if I may say, even with all that travelling, all that certifications and titles that are supposed to set the educated apart from the less discerning ones, you are by far, the most uneducated person I have known. You lack everything that makes a human, human — conscience. You have none, and yet you sleep well at night. I am genuinely flabbergasted.

I remember my early days working with you. When a client cancelled her subscription to our design services, she spoke to me separately and requested that I continued to write for her simply because she liked what I did for her. Out of respect and courtesy, I spoke to you about it and you told me to go ahead with it because you always want to allow your staff the opportunity to grow. Two days after, you sat me down and told me to be cautious of this client simply because you heard from the grapevine that she had mentioned to some of your mutual friends that I had begged for the writing job she actually offered me. I slept on it for over a week, and I soon realised it all didn’t make much sense. I was merely a copywriter to her. In fact, what I was writing for her didn’t and wouldn’t actually incredibly make or break her business in any way. What I did for her was just a means of perfecting what was already in place. I thought to myself that she had nothing to gain by having me as her copywriter — aside from perfect grammar and a spell check. But you had everything to gain if I did eventually reject the job and look up to you as my ‘saviour’.

That was when I first made up my mind to question to death everything that you would tell me, which proved itself as one of my life’s most valuable decision.

My heart goes out to one of our ex-designers. In my opinion, she was the bravest amongst us all. She decided early on that she wanted out, and went on ahead of us to experience her exit; one that she never knew would cripple her for a good two months, and scar her for life. You see Superior 1, none of us were prepared for what ensued along with her exit. And if there were anyone who was the least prepared, that would have been her. We all knew she looked up to you, to your success and your stature. She wanted to do good works because your approval of it would make her feel good about her talents — all of which are good things. But instead of building her and egging her on, you tore her down and stripped her of every bit of dignity she had when she spoke of resigning. Instead of wishing her well with her future endeavours, you chose to speak ill of her and word quickly spread like a plague of death. Instead of celebrating her ambitiousness, you chose to ostracize and pick on her for actually making a decision that was beneficial to her self-growth. Instead of making her believe that her respect for you was worth it, you chose to be the ugliest, most dishonourable figure of what a superior, let alone a human, could ever be. I know you don’t need our respect in any way, but as a person of such a high stature, it baffles me as to why you’d stoop so low just to make a person’s life a living hell.

Months, and even years after her leaving, you still had a way to bring her name up in conversations, to maim whatever was left of her reputation that wasn’t already destroyed. She had a passion for fashion and publications, but you made sure she had nowhere to go by pulling all your strings and telling them the nastiest, most untrue stories about her so that they wouldn’t hire her. All these made you feel good. It fed your ego. It validated the lies you made about her. It felt like the right thing to do, for you.

And through it all, it wasn’t as if I was without fault. I was there the entire time all of these happened. I watched as she burnt down, and you rose to be very pleased and contented with the path of emotional devastation you set her on. I, just like everyone else, knew better that there was nothing that could be done to make things better, so I turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to stay out of things. Guilty — and all of these followed me for the next few years, right up until when I decided to embark on a search for something greater, a year ago.

I wasn’t pinched for this new job I would soon go to, as you and Superior 2 think is the case. If you would take time to read this, you would at least realise that I was not enjoying my work as much in May of 2014. In actual fact, the dissatisfaction dates back even earlier, just sans the written documentation of it until the month of May. I wasn’t particularly looking to job hop, but I was very open to that possibility. However, what I was keener for was to take on bigger, better, and more portfolio-worthy jobs that didn’t just seem like stuff you didn’t want to pay someone else to do. But those things never happened. Instead, I had an ad-selling quota to fulfil. When your designers underperformed and I went the extra mile to stand in the gap with whatever design skills I had, you said I was wasting my time. You didn’t even give me the opportunity to explore this part of the job just because you thought this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. Did you know that seven years into the job have robbed me of what I initially loved about it — styling, coordinating and executing photoshoots? You made me a glamorous Project Editor by profession, but I could never answer when someone asked what was it really that I did for a living.

I write copy, proofread the exact shit I write, check designs, sell ads, prepare invoices, chase clients for paymentI guess?

In place of shoots, I got the accounts to worry about it. I mean, what Project Editor does billings and chase payments?

But it’s been seven years I’ve toiled and laboured for you and this company, and I’ve never made a peep about these ridiculous tasks. But on January 30 2015, you didn’t just give me one, but too many reasons in fact, to never see you in the same light ever again. When I witnessed the extent of wickedness you had inside you when our ex-designer left, I couldn’t say I didn’t already have an idea of what would hit me when I decide to leave. But I was naïve enough to think it would be different because I played all my cards of employee loyalty while I worked for you, and I thought it was enough. I couldn’t be more wrong. As I write this, I am but barely surviving all the hostility and nasty chatter that have overtaken me, thanks to you (and the existence of Whatsapp chat rooms, unfortunately). As I write this, I am in that phase of fighting against every thing you are, and everything that you have intentionally set in my path to break me as I serve my two months of notice. As I write this, I find myself desperately coveting the prayers of people I never thought I would need prayer from. But above all, as I write this, I realise you are everything that I do not want to ever become.

Superior 1, this is you — vile, malicious, intemperate, proud, deceitful, hypocritical, short sighted, and unjust. And sometimes, people can see how bad you try to be like Superior 2, who has earned for herself honest respect and regard, but try as you may, you will never be like her. Don’t crave the kind of employer-employee relationship that Superior 2 keeps even after her employees have left, because you don’t deserve them, and you don’t know how to appreciate them anyway. The only thing that you have superseded Superior 2 at is being a foul blabbermouth.

I remember the time you asked me to tell you three things you could work on to be a better boss. I know, sounds almost unbelievable that a person like you would ask me this, right? Anyway, I recall telling you that you should channel your generosity to those who deserve it. I told you that you also needed to correct those who need correction, and learn to give praise where it is due too. That was the only one I seem to care to remember, but my point is, it’s so typical of you to ask for an opinion but never actually taking time to sleep on it. As a person who is so short sighted to refuse correction, how do you even bring yourself to think yourself fit as a role model to your team?

I can say without a doubt that you are neither a leader, nor a mentor. You are an empty vessel.

Someone asked me if I ever feared getting into trouble should you chance upon my blog. I think I do. I think that fear is inevitable, but secretly, I kind of hope you’d actually come to reading this. You’d probably serve me a lawyer’s letter like you did this other ex-designer of ours, and I’ll probably take it down. We all know the drill.

You are only as good as your team, Superior 1. To you, everyone is dispensable. And unfortunately for me, it took me seven years — too long, in fact — to realise that you are just as dispensable. I have lost all respect for you as a person. Frankly, I am just short of wishing the worst things to befall you, only because that would be me, stooping to your unscrupulous ways. Instead, I thank you for showing me the person that I don’t want to become. Thank you for being the asshole that I never knew existed, and reminding me never to judge a book by its cover. Thank you for putting me through all this drama. I choose to think you are doing me a favour and toughening me up for the office politics I was told of to exist only in larger corporations like the one I’m off to. It’s really funny how you’d think your company is without politics when you are the only reason it actually exists though.

If there were one thing you were right about when we spoke at my review, it would be that the new corporation I’d soon be part of would be nothing like my current workplace.

Thank God.

Tagged , , , , , ,

QUASIMODO

Oh God. Don’t let me die a Quasimodo.

I’ve been struggling with really bad posture for about half of my life. To be honest, I don’t remember actually being that way when I was much younger. I recall my sister struggling with her posture (and how we suggested to affix a cross-like structure to her back), but exactly when did I start showing signs of becoming a Quasimodo, I absolutely have no recollection whatsoever.

Aside from the fact that I need so badly to strengthen my back muscles to heave on scuba dive tanks without falling face first, I have also looked to it as a routine to correct my posture. I even got a brace. Actually, two to be precise. And trust me, it’s not the most comfortable piece of posture support you’d ever want to be in. But unfortunately, I am only doing myself a favour so yeaaaaa…no pain, no gain. Okay. Ugh.

It really makes a difference, when you (when I) don’t hunch – your ass is perkier, your boobs look firmer, your frame is stronger, your belly gets sucked in. Well, kinda. And everything else just falls into place. Aaaaaah. How I wished this wasn’t my struggle.

Tagged , , ,

THE CASE WITH (LOCAL) CLIENTS

VENN-Diagram.jpg.scaled1000

It’s about the client. It almost always is.

I didn’t graduate from a design school. Instead, I graduated as a journalism cum media management student. But I love graphic designing. I love reading and researching about them as much as I love trying my hand at it.

I’ve been asked/encouraged/pushed to start a design line of my own by some friends, perhaps a stationery line. And trust me, I would, if I could so afford it. Start printing and selling my designs or something. But I don’t think I’m there yet, in terms of my skills/techniques and even, financially. That said, I’d love to have my own line of stationeries. Some day.

I do some freelance on my own. I write and design a little here and there, which has brought me to the realization that 7 out of 10 times, our (local) clients tend to pick the lousier option of the lot that’s presented to them. It always happens, for some reason. Locally, the graphic design scene seems to be spilling with cheap skate, play-safe, brain-dead, zero creativity, and just-hurry-and-get-the-job-done clients; birthing a generation of graphic designers that require close to a non-existent use of their creative, out-of-the-box thinking skills.

Our (local) clients are not willing to spend good money on good design. But surprisingly, they’d work you for a creative that combines the sun, moon, stars, Hawaii, Godzilla, Captain America, picture of a tabby cat holding a cup of coffee and saying ‘life is good’, the latest Porsche, a montage of runway models – all while paying you peanuts and commenting, ‘this artwork is lacking the BOOM! factor.’ Yup, that’s right. That’s our (local) design scene for you.

One word. Depressing.
Okay, maybe make that two. Pathetically depressing.

Sometimes, I find myself working up a really good piece of design, and for option’s sake, I throw in another okay-level option that I’ve probably put together in the span of me taking a dump. I feel so good and confident about my good piece of design, and then the client goes and picks the shitty one I whipped up for option’s sake. Sometimes, I just feel like telling them “I’m presenting you two designs. But this (the shittier looking one?) is strictly for option’s sake. This (the nicer one I spent half my life putting together) is the one you will pick.” Haha! Truth.

Someday, maybe the cloud of pathetic budgets and tasteless designs will lift to reveal a bigger, better world of fresh, young minds that have been stifled by the aforementioned factors. And hopefully it will not be too late.

{venn diagram by Colin Harman}

Tagged , , , ,

27 LIFE LESSONS I LEARNED AT 27

This year, I turn 27. I’ve learnt so many lessons I’m thankful for, and will never trade them for anything. I know a lesson or two awaits us all at every different phase of our lives, these are mine. What’s yours?

1. NO MATTER HOW BROKEN YOU ARE, YOU WILL HEAL There were two relationships in my life, at two very different phases of my life that caused me to doubt any possibility of getting better. But I’m glad I’m standing. Bruised, but standing. No matter how broken you can be, if healing and getting better is what you want for yourself, it will happen.

2. PEOPLE SHOULD CHANGE, BUT SOME DON’T People should change, and they almost always do, for better or worse. But then there are those who’d rather live in the past ways, never intending to move forward – those are the people you have got to leave behind as you progress in life, whether you like it or not. They’ll drown you out at sea, you know.

3. EVERY FAMILY HAS ITS STRUGGLES Mine, included. And I will never take for granted the strength behind families who put aside their differences to hold each other together, to make forgiveness felt within their household, and above all, to love one another all the same regardless of their shortcomings.

4. WORK-LIFE BALANCE SHOULD BE EVERYTHING Having worked for close to six years now, I have realised that the one thing I don’t want to do without is a work-life balance. It is easy to overlook that balance when you’ve got a fat paycheque coming your way every month, but paying your bills is really just as far as your job would go to sustain you. You only start living when your bills are paid, and you have a life beside work to love.

5. IT’S OKAY TO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU WANT IN LIFE Sometimes, we look far and wide trying to figure out what we want in life, failing to see that occasionally it is good enough for us to know what we do not want in life, and take life in all its possibilities, from there.

6. IT MATTERS WHO YOU ARE WITH Friends or partners alike, it matters. They inevitably contribute to who you become, adding and subtracting along the way. The good ones, they build you. The bad ones, they tear you down. I’m not saying you should size up anyone, but it’s good to take a look at the people you spend a lot of your time with and decide if letting go some would do you more good than harm.

7. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE A SPACE TO CALL YOUR OWN Whether it’s a home, or just a room, having a space you can, in my very own words ‘crawl into and die’ makes a difference to a crappy week. Paint it in your favourite colours, and decorate it any way you like it, like I did. It’s where you will go and find sanity in the midst of insanity.

8. PEOPLE CAN LEARN TO BE KIND They can, but more often that not, only because someone showed them what kindness is. I’ve learnt to pay it forward, in the things I do and say.

9. LIVING, IS THE BEST REVENGE I have realised that sometimes, living is perhaps the best revenge to anyone who has ever hurt you. Just living for yourself and knowing that you’re doing great, not just OK but great, without them and all the shit they’ve been giving you feels like everything you need and more, from a revenge.

10. THERE WILL NEVER BE TOO MANY TATTOOS Never let anyone or anything determine if you should start or stop having tattoos – and in my opinion, not even your faith or the people associated with it.

11. QUITING ISN’T NECESSARILY ALWAYS BAD People always associate quitting with the negative, but in fact, it could just save your life. If it keeps you from burning out, quit. If it keeps your health from deteriorating, quit. If it brings you down, quit. Calling it quits from the right things might save you your sanity.

12. FEAR IS INEVITABLE EVEN WHEN YOU’RE GOOD I had a crazy week that just passed – meetings, shoots and lots of planning. Despite having done all that for the past six years and believing I’m reasonably good at them, I still know what it is like to fear being under-prepared nonetheless.

13. WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES, ANOTHER OPENS This rings truer than ever for me. I think when one door closes, it actually pushes you out into this open space of everything-ness, or vulnerability that forces you to meet new people and accept new possibilities, and more often than not, it is good.

14. ACCEPTANCE COMES TO YOU WHEN YOU LEARN TO ACCEPT YOURSELF It’s absolutely noble to believe that acceptance will come to you when you learn to accept others, but what about accepting yourself first? I realise I tend to push people away because of the way I see the flaws in myself, and while it isn’t fair to them, it is definitely not fair to myself either. Self-acceptance isn’t preached enough, if I must say.

15. NO AMOUNT OF PREPARATION WILL PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE To the parents or parents-to-be out there, believe this. No amount of teaching and telling will beat allowing your kids to go out there, live their lives and learn from their mistakes. Don’t spare the rod, but don’t keep them in a bubble either.

16. CHURCH IS GOOD FOR YOU, BUT NOT ALWAYS I grew up going to church every Sunday and sometimes, I inevitably feel like it becomes a little society that we enrol ourselves in at. Instead of going out there and being real, we relinquish our fate to a higher being and sit on our laurels praying and hoping for change to happen. There are so many rules and regulations within just four walls, and a whole bunch of judgemental Christian people that sometimes, it just gets too much. Take a breather, and know that it’s okay to walk away from church once in a while.

17. GIVE AS MUCH, AND TAKE AS LITTLE The world is accustomed to giving little and taking a lot. But as cliché as it probably sounds like, it really does feel good to give, more than take. Looking back, my life has its richness it has today, all because I gave. There’s no doubt you’d get taken advantage of, but trust me, it still is much more fulfilling being a giver than a taker.

18. EATING MAKES A LOT OF THINGS BETTER Feast like there is no tomorrow. Eating makes people happier. And I believe that is precisely why they serve food at almost every occasion imaginable – funerals, weddings, parties, and gatherings…you name it. So eat, and eat hearty.

19. BE CRAZY, EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE I was told once before that I took myself too seriously, and I believed it. But I found out the hard way that craziness really sets in with being around the right people – those who allow you to be crazy, and in fact, even encourage it without judging you based on your level of lameness. Everyone needs to let loose.

20. SEE THE WORLD, EVERY CHANCE YOU GET Travel. Every chance you get, travel. Whether you have a lot, or a little, travel. It throws you out into somebody else’s world and culture, and leaves you experiencing a lot more than your world would have offered on its own.

21. FALL IN LOVE AGAIN, NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU GET HURT We all say we’ll never love again when a heartbreak strikes, but I’ve come to learn that love can happen when you allow it to. I’ve learn to not stop falling in love, and above all, to not stop trusting people.

22. MAKE YOUR PARENTS YOUR PRIORITY Every time I sit down with my parents, I’ll notice that they’ve aged a little here and there. It scares me to think I’d lose them some day and so, I try hard to put them before everything else, and to spend as much time with them as I possibly can. They deserve to be a priority.

23. FALL IN LOVE WITH BOOKS “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R. R. Martin. Enough said.

24. WAKE EARLY ON THE WEEKENDS My weekends are scarce. There are weeks that I feel like I’ve gone through without a weekend and it sucks big time, frankly. It’s a simple gesture – waking early, but it really makes a difference when you feel like your weekend’s been maximised and not the slightest bit wasted.

25. WRITE Whether it’s a book, or a journal, a blog or a Question-A-Day rant, write. Writing gives you a certain freedom that nothing else can give – the freedom to confide, to think, to deliberate and to reflect.

26. LEARN TO SAY NO Because this will help you not get burnt out, wear thin or get walked all over. Learning to say ‘no’ has helped me keep a healthy balance between time, effort, people and the matters that truly matter.

27. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN HAPPINESS No one else will truly be interested in your happiness but yourself. There’s only just so much that people can do for you, and I’ve learnt that you’ve really got to go out there and build your happiness. That’s really just how it works.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

TWO-OH-ONE-FOUR

New Year

Hello!

I apologise for being so bad at keeping up with my writing, that every time something comes up – a vacation, a personal struggle, a workload explosion – my posts take a backseat. I need to try harder at keeping at it, and I will.

2014 is now. It’s crazy how time flies. Many will start off with resolutions and new lists of things to accomplish, while some will find that one thing that drives them crazy and allow it to take them further.

This year, I decided that I will have nothing to do with lists and resolutions but everything to do with remembering each day in a question, and for the next four years on. I picked out a Q&A journal over Christmas in Singapore and have started taking on the questions a day at a time. 365 questions, 5 years, 1825 answers. To be frank, I am curious as to how and where I’d be when the five years are up. I’d like to know if I’ve grown at all, if I’ve matured and how have things and people around me changed, evolved, weathered, with time. I’d like to know if I succeed at being the person I want to be, and if I have wholly and completely distant myself from my past. I’d like to know if I’m attached, or if I’m single and living in a luxe little condo. Or if I’ve been to the same restaurant the past three years, or if my victory dance has ever changed. Haha. I’m…curious, you know.

If you’re just as curious as I am, you can pick up your own Q&A a day like the one I have here and start journaling each day and then reading it back four years after when you’re done. It’ll be a like a time capsule, of written words. And then I also decided that I would like to live my life in books this year, hence my Nook ink-reader. And my yearly companion, the Moleskin planner. I am set to take on 2014, I suppose. I do hope you lovelies are too. If there’s a fitness regime you’re putting yourself through, or a family plan you’re executing, or just a part of your life you’re making a change to…keep going at it! It’s going to be a good year.(:

Happy new year all! I will leave you the questions for this week, if you’d like a taste of being part of this Q&A journey. So grab a notebook and start writing away.

Lots of love for the New Year’s,
Jolene

Q&A A Day
Jan 1 What is your mission?
Jan 2 Can people change?
Jan 3 What are you reading right now?
Jan 4 The best part of today?
Jan 5 What was the last restaurant you went to?
Jan 6 Today was tough because…
Jan 7 You are lucky; how so or not so?
Jan 8 What song is stuck in your head?
Jan 9 Was today typical? Why or why not?
Jan10 Write down something that inspired you for today/
Jan 11 Today you lost…

{Read, write and schedule by Jolene Tan}

Tagged , , , , , ,

BOUND BY TIME

In a casual conversation with a friend, she commented, “Keith and Mika’s (names have been changed) relationship is still going strong after all these years huh?” I thought for a while and replied, “They’re very lucky to have found each other at the right time in their lives.”

We always say that there’s a time for everything, and more often than not do we stumble upon the unfortunate event of being at the right place, at the wrong time.

I think a lot of things in life are really matters of time – that crash you evaded because you overslept and missed your flight. That last full-time hire position you missed because you came in to the company a day after the guy who got it. That home you tied your stomach to purchase only to have a better deal open up the next day. That relationship you let slip because you were impatient, only to find that you’re still wanting it after three years and that person has long moved on.

Everything is bound to the hands of time.

If you didn’t already know, Mr. Bentley and I were high school friends. We were the closest sorts of friends who’d do crazy stuff for and with each other. We were each others’ crush. He asked me to prom, I agreed. But we were never an item. I didn’t want to start college alone, so I asked him to come with me when he actually had plans to enrol a semester later. We were still each others’ crush then, until someone pursued me and I decided to go with it. We hardly spoke shortly after that phase. He went to South Adelaide for studies and I was here, and it was the occasional exchange of MSN chats that still determined we were friends, if at all.

It was only after what was about eight years after high school that we got in touch again. And became an item, we did. But perhaps, it was a bit too late.

You see, while everyone chased their college dreams and grades, I did too but I was working part time as well. And immediately after college, I started working full time in that company I was part-timing at, while everyone else was still fumbling for jobs or even bumming around for a month or two. And by the time most people were settling in to their jobs, I was already in my fourth year with the company. Everything moved really fast for me. Too fast, in fact.

But for Mr. Bentley on the other hand, he has met with quite a few bumps and roadblocks on his journey to this current job. While it’s never ever to late to build a career, settling into one at this stage does take its toll on a lot of other things, I suppose. And this is where we suffer. Our relationship takes a backseat for an indefinite period of time while everything else moves pass us, pass me. 

Time. Time was never on our side. I don’t even know what I’d do differently if I could turn back time, to be honest. I do however, wish I was blessed with good time. I wasted three years of my life trying to bounce back from a horrid relationship, and then close to seven years to only realise that I didn’t want to go down a certain road yet, and now close to three years of building my life around someone to only have to spend, perhaps double or triple that amount of time erasing it. I can’t help but feel like this is a sick joke of some sort. Maybe one that I  brought upon myself, or….I don’t know.

But time, it truly defines a lot of things in life. Lies get revealed. Hearts rust with it. Lives get created. Careers climb or crumble with it. Friendships fall apart or seal with it. Life and death is determined by it. Everything is absolutely bound to the hands of time.

You don’t regret things, really. Instead, what we actually regret is the time of it.

Tagged , ,

IN STEP WITH THE WIND

I have come to notice a pattern of ‘likes’ to blog entries – the happy ones, the ones with an opening visual. And the ones that inevitably get the lesser likes are the ones that ponder life, or a similar equation to that. Don’t get me wrong; it’s perfectly fine that things are that way.

I wasn’t expecting any response whatsoever to this entry of mine, until a random Jack Saunsea came by and gave it a like, which lead me to read on with his entry that brought me to a comment left by one of WordPress’ fellow bloggers – each of us needs to be uncomfortable at least some of the time. I couldn’t help but immediately wonder if this was my moment of discomfort that I need to be in. I have always believed that things will only get worse before it gets better but boy oh boy, you do not know how badly I pray and hope that this phase is the lowest of the curve and that things can only go up from here.

Dearest Jack Saunsea,
If you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you for dropping by my blog and in return, encouraging me not just with your post but also with your reader’s comment. I’d love to attempt living in step with the wind, and simply being.

I’m at a very trying phase of my life when making the uncomfortable, comfortable is really not much of a choice I have. I don’t know where and what I’m headed for, but I’ll take a leap of faith right off the cliff and hope I’d amaze myself, somewhere somehow.

Tagged , , ,

STARTING OVER

The thing with life is, it’s smart. No, brilliant. It knows when to swing a bat right at you, and right where it hurts.

People learn from their mistakes. But I’ve come to accept that I don’t. It’s not that I don’t try to, but it feels like I’m trying to prove something to myself by going back into the mistake, attempting to figure what went wrong, and ending up right where I first ‘failed’, only to start the cycle again.

Pathetic, but that’s me. Maybe it’s the OCD shit, like everything has to be in perfect order. And if everything is in perfect order, it shouldn’t fail. If it fails, then something isn’t right. So, start over. Start over until I really can’t give a rat’s ass to start over, then perhaps I will stop.

Tagged , ,
Advertisements