Looking forward to 2011

I’ve been writing customary annual review posts for this blog since it was incepted, it seems like I’ve been a little late this year. I was wondering if I should skip it entirely, for I was afraid that I will sound all doom and gloom. My mood during the transition from 2010 to 2011 wasn’t very good, and I didn’t want it to colour my perceptions for the new year.

To be honest, 2010 was quite crappy for me. I’ll spare you the details since I’ve written plenty of longwinded posts about it. They say all things will come to pass, I have managed to survive it still, but I wouldn’t have made it if not for the support from several key figures in my life. I know very well, that I am blessed.

From a philosophical point of view, I know adversities and change propel people forward in ways that couldn’t have happened if they’re stuck in a comfort zone. However, it is really difficult to keep my head afloat when just about everything seemed to go wrong. I pray for myself to get emotionally and mentally stronger everyday.

I am not sure if this bad patch has truly passed, it has lasted for more than a year now. I don’t like feeling full of hope that it has passed only to realise that it was just wishful thinking. I don’t want to live in my own self-fulfilling prophecy either, so all I can say is I am hoping to make the best out of everything that is given to me.

Nevertheless, 2010 was still a year that I can still be proud of. I’ve made my first real solo trip to Phuket and Khao Lak for three entire weeks. It was a trip that was very much necessary for me to pick up all the broken pieces. That was in May, then in August, I visit the Philippines and Taipei for the first time. Not bad at all I guess, for a travel addict. In the middle of it all, I’ve had two clairvoyant readings done for me, two attempted spiritual regression sessions, and one very special session where a third-party went into trance to connect to my subconscious. They were all mind-blowing for different reasons. I’ve also experienced a trance state for the first time in my life. That fleeting state of being connected to the Universe. These are experiences I would like to write about in detail, hopefully soon.

I’ve also tried a raw diet for the first time, which made me understand the importance of being truly in tune with what you truly want to do as opposed to things you try to accomplish because you think it is good for you. Did I lose you in the previous sentence? I’m trying to say, what ever new diet/regime/resolutions/goals we may have, we need to really want to do it, in fact, desire to do it from our inner-selves, else it wouldn’t last long or be successful. I guess you can tell by now that the raw diet wasn’t very successful for me. ;p

Despite having experienced tons of obstacles and disappointments, I still made a leap of faith in September when I came back from all that travelling. Sometimes I think I have a split personality. The paranoid one is constantly questioning the idealistic one for being crazy.

I wish the idealistic one will come out and play a little more, because if not for her, I would still be stuck in a job, enduring long working hours for minimal job satisfaction. Just that, I think the paranoid one has trouble coping with all the big decisions the idealistic one has made, there is a disconnect there that I have to bridge.

I have no idea what 2011 will bring me, this time I will have no expectations or resolutions unlike the previous years. I just want to live more in the present. I just want to fully experience life and not allow fear to consume me all the time. I also want to put my health as my main priority. You know those game characters with health bars? Mine has been borderline orange for the longest time, I would like to nurse it back to an all-healthy green bar. It keeps going back into the danger-red-zone because I never had enough time and space to be well before I had to face another stressful situation.

I thought I’ve over-dramatised my health issues until I can’t feel my pulse anymore. I thought it was my imagination until the sinseh told me the same thing. Enduring too much stress, being unhappy and working too hard can really mess up your body. It is not worth it. I’ve never been the same person again since my body started acting up. Previous years I would be down with flus, fevers which lasted a couple of days max. In 2010, I’ve had a few week-long episodes of crippling migraine and chest pains, it wasn’t funny. Nowadays, every time I don’t get enough sleep or I seem to overwork my brain a little, I’ll start to feel very sick. It feels like every single cell in my body is sick and I am really not kidding.

Talent and hard work can only bring me so far. There is no point in all of these if I can’t even enjoy the simple pleasures in life. I don’t seem to be blessed with those infallible bodies some of my peers seem to have. I take this as a sign, there is something with my life that I have to fix.

I found this article a couple of days back which was very timely. There’s this part which says:

Baby mammals, including humans, learn by playing, which is why “the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.” Boys who’d spent years strategizing for fun gained instinctive skills to handle real-world situations. So play as you did in childhood, with all-out absorption. Watch for ways your childhood playing skills can solve a problem. Play, not work, is the key to success.

I do believe in finding that sweet spot when work doesn’t feel like work anymore. I’ve seen people experiencing that zone, whereby they spend hours doing something someone else would feel tedious, yet they seem like they’re in their own happy bubble.

I would like to fix my health first, and if I don’t sound too greedy, I would really like to find my own happy bubble.

I really don’t dream of being a millionaire, owning a huge house with a swimming pool, or driving a sports car. I can even give up my dream of jetsetting around the world. All I want, is to be able to indulge in the present and enjoy whatever I am doing. I don’t have to be flying across half the world to feel happiness. I can be happy simply by having the ability to walk freely. You have no idea how much I treasure my migraine-free status now.

It is just sometimes my paranoid and insecure pysche messes me up, I get so caught up in the stress and my lack of accomplishments that I forget, how precious it is to be able to be healthy. Just to be able to have a painless head, or a digestive system that allows you to savour food.

I hope by next year on this day, I’ll be looking back in 2011 smiling at my own efforts to push myself into a better place. I would understand if I don’t eventually succeed, but I would be mad at myself if I don’t even have the will to try.

I guess till date, I do mope and feel down, but somehow the little hope in me is still there. There have been dark days when I really feel that I don’t wish to participate in evolution anymore, when happiness and love doesn’t seem enough of a motivation to live. Wanting to die is not as bad as ceasing to live. When you want to die, there’s still something that you are trying to do for yourself. When you cease to live, you simply give up hope. Life or death means nothing. Happiness or sorrow means nothing.

I don’t ever want to feel that way again.

With this, I look forward to this new year, wishing that I’ll have the courage and conviction to face any adversity that may come, the awareness to enjoy happiness when it is here with me. I wish that I can be always honest in writing this blog, stay true to myself by being longwinded if I want to (lol), have a lot of heart in whatever I do, don’t be afraid to take risks or make mistakes.

Happy 2011. :)

We all have choices

I never used to believe it, but we all have choices. I held a pretty deterministic view of life. I believed failure or success was pre-destined.

Choices define our lives. It defines us so much that many of us live in fear of making the wrong choices.

Me? I admit I was a pretty stressed out soul getting really angry and upset with myself for the choices I have made in the past. However, somehow I never got angry with myself for too long, because I believe everything happens for a reason. Making poor choices leads to valuable lessons and accumulated reasons, making good choices leads to increased faith and happiness. Therefore, in my opinion, there’s really no such thing as a bad choice. Success or failure, we are all learning along the way. Sometimes, you just take a while longer to get to the destination, but they always say, it is the journey that matters.

Here I am, staring at the vast ocean through the window of my room. Wondering about myself and my choices. Reflecting on my life and the path that I have chosen. My life could have turned out really different, but do I want the difference?
Baan Krating Balcony View

Sometimes it is really difficult. Seeing peers acquiring assets and attaining career success. I am human after all and sometimes I wish I don’t have to worry about money, I can afford to buy a house and a car, and I can have my parents living off me. Which could be possible if I have chosen differently.

Over the past one year I have met incredible people in different interpretations of the word. Through the hard work I have put in I have had the opportunities to work in a couple of big-name companies. Even if I didn’t want the corporate life, I could have been working in a very successful startup, earning the sort of keep that will not only keep me worry-free financially, I could probably afford to buy almost anything I wanted (I don’t go for luxury goods so that’s not that difficult to fullfil).

I also gave up the opportunities to work with people that I admire. On projects that may not be fulfilling financially at the moment, but definitely potentially life-changing.

I gave all of that up.

To find myself again, so that I can be myself.

I don’t deny I think of all these things wistfully, I think of the car I could have bought, the house I could have saved up for, the smile of my parents if I were to give them that fat red packet.

So when people tell me that I’m ‘lucky’ or ‘cool’ because I am ‘free’ to travel around and enjoy breathtaking views, I don’t really know how to react.

Because most of them will not know all that I have given up to be where I am today. And it is really not easy. I give people the impression that I am simply a ‘heart’ person and I make decisions like these with a snap of my fingers.

Nobody knows the nights of insomnia and all those tears behind my smile.

A friend of mine once told me, there are two ways to change the world. One is to become rich like Bill Gates and start contributing massively to charities, the other is to be like Mother Theresa, giving your whole life to everyone else without expecting anything in return.

I can never be the Bill Gates sort of person, neither can I be Mother Theresa. Who am I kidding?

But I hope and wish that by being true to myself I can somewhat encourage more people to be true to themselves as well. By writing openly about my issues and hurt I can let a few tortured souls realise that they are not alone in how they feel. By being idealistic I hope to remind some people of their ideals again.

They are all lofty wishes, but I hope and wish and I try. I never thought that I could change the world, but I thought that the very least I can do is to be the change I want to see in the world.

Perhaps the act of giving up to be where I am now will never allow me the same opportunities again. Perhaps it will bring me even more opportunities when I am ready. All I know is that I try my best. I believe if I try my best and do what I truly believe in, satisfaction will eventually come.

I believe everyone has a different role in this world. Once in a while there comes a Steve Jobs or a Bill Gates to shake the world. Albert Einstein, Mother Theresa, Gandhi. There are the ones who give up personal time, family, love, just to create a product, a mind-blowing film script, or a book that will influence the minds of society.

But there is also the housewife that does her chores and brings up her kids the best way she can, giving up any form of career and ambition. The man that works in a boring 9-5 job faithfully for 30 years just to support his family in the best way he can. The woman who spent 25 years of her life walking around America without a single cent just to prove that compassion exists.

We all have choices. Sometimes these choices may not seem to be worthwhile on the surface. Sometimes nobody will see the value or understand the choices. Sometimes it is difficult to live with our own choices. All the what could have beens.

I think we just do our best. We all have different priorities. The easiest way to make a decision is just to ask yourself whether you will regret this on your deathbed.

Till date, I think I haven’t made any choices that I would regret on my deathbed. But I think I can do better. I want to make choices that I will be happy with on my deathbed.

As I was writing this post, I put a “do not disturb” sign on my hotel door, and a hotel staff quietly puts a change of fresh towels and water quietly on the table at the balcony. This is a simple act that many expect or take for granted. I manage to catch a glimpse and I saw her placing those items with her utmost care quietly, with a small smile on her face. She left without knowing that I was looking, or that I was touched by her simple gesture.

Our choices often create ripples of repercussions without us knowing. Good or bad, you get to choose.