The Interview

After beginning my job search more than two months ago, I am finally starting to hear back from some companies.

Yay!

But you know what’s not so yay?

Job interviews.

It’s been years since I’ve had to do one, and I forgot how awful they can be; the knowledge that I am about to be judged, and the butterflies in my stomach as I await that judgement.

The first interview I did was over zoom. It started off okay – we had some good banter going. And then came the questions…

I babbled, I rambled, I ummed. I could literally see the interest fade from their eyes as their faces dropped. The remainder of the interview was just out of courtesy.

It was one of the worst interviews I’ve experienced- but there’s something liberating in the fact that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

It happened, I survived, and I will take it as practice for the next one. 🙂


Also, just as a bonus random brain dump: this week I was looking for a sign that everything would work out – and God literally sent me a sign! A Bible arrived at my front door the day I needed it. It was meant to arrive a few weeks back but there had been some shipping issues. Talk about timing.

Time is My Enemy

This has been one of those weeks where every day has felt pretty full on, with evening classes or webinars most days of the week, multiple meetings and a ‘to-do’ list that keeps on growing.

It feels like I have been waging a constant battle against time – not just in terms of completing my daily tasks, but in terms of meeting life goals and of course, the dreaded ‘A’ word… aging.

At this stage in life, I thought I would have achieved so much more than I have; feel like I should have achieved so much more than I have. This feeling is exacerbated by social media where people barely out of their teens are making more money than I will likely see in a lifetime, settling down in dream homes, and/or have discovered the fountain of youth (Arden Cho, I’m looking at you).

All of this gives me a sense of urgency that I’m redirecting into writing, and checking off other items on my bucket list.

But there are some things where the only thing I can do, is wait – things like meeting The One, or finally landing that dream job – and some things I can’t fight – like aging, the consequence of living (a price I would willing pay, compared to the alternative!).

I had a dream the other night, where I had a whim to move into a new flat and abruptly acted on it. In that new flat, I felt so much regret! I kept thinking, “I’m not meant to be here yet” and kept longing to go back to where I had previously lived.

It was such a silly dream, but days later, it’s still stuck with me. I cannot help but wonder if this is God’s way of telling me not to rush; to use this season of waiting to work on my goals that I can achieve now, because when the time is right, He will lead me onto the next stage of my life, where I might not have the luxury of only having to care for myself.

If this is the case, then maybe I need to stop trying to fight time, and start appreciating each moment instead.

This week’s food for thought. 🙂

The Hustle

I’m the type of person who comes up with big ideas, and am super motivated to achieve them… for a period of time.

And then I revert back to my pre-gung ho lifestyle.

Maybe it’s lockdown induced boredom, maybe it’s a quarter life crisis, but lately, I’ve been making a concerted effort to actively work towards my goals, even when I don’t feel like it. I make sure I stay on track by creating a ‘to-do list’, and dedicating an hour or two to each goal per day – it sounds like a lot, but I make it work by cutting down on my hours of Netflix and YouTube (yes, my screen time was astronomical, but in my defence, they are both vortexes which warp all sense of time).

All my fellow “to-do-listers” out there will know the satisfaction of ticking off the little box – it managed to get me out of bed at 7am this morning for a run, such is its motivational power.

Another example? A couple of weeks back, I published a post about attempting to write a book; the target word count was 50,o00, but I dried up at around 40,000.

Well… I didn’t give up. After chipping away at it for the past few days, I managed to reach a word count of 53,000. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m currently editing it and hopefully can submit it to a publisher by the end of this month; and look – I’m a realist. It likely won’t get accepted, but my main goal is to just finish one manuscript before moving onto the next – because my main issue isn’t starting something, it’s finishing it.

If you’re currently working towards a goal too, then: 加油 (jiāyóu)!

This is a Chinese phrase of encouragement that means don’t give up, good luck, I’m rooting for you, etc – it basically encompasses every supportive phrase there is.

Hopefully one day in the future, we can look back on this moment and be thankful that the hustling has paid off! 🙂

Plan? What Plan?

“…the only thing that actually stays the same is that things are always changing.”

Penny, The Big Bang Theory (Season 12, Episode 23)

In life, there are few certainties. The only things we can be sure about are:

  1. We are all going to die (I know, morbid!)
  2. Change is the only constant

I was watching an episode of the Big Bang Theory, when the reality of this really hit me; if these are the only things we can guarantee in life, then that leaves us with so many unknowns. So, so, many unknowns that it’s mind boggling.

I mean, I wake up every morning. I have a rough checklist of what I want to do. But the way that the day actually unfolds is something I can’t control, and cannot possibly know. It could be a boringly ordinary day, or it could be the day I win the lotto, meet my future spouse, publish a book – the number of possibilities out there are limitless, ranging from the mundane to things beyond my wildest imaginations.

Case in point, our current pandemic would have seemed like something out of a sci-fi novel or apocalyptic movie only a couple of years ago – who would have thought we would be living it now?

Sometimes, the uncertainties of life can be a source of frustration – will I ever find another job? When can I get a dog?? Will house prices finally drop???

Sometimes, it’s something that makes me appreciate the good times.

Mostly though, it’s a thing that makes me marvel and wonder – because we don’t know what tomorrow can bring, then that means I can still dream and hope and work towards my goals. So much can change in a moment, right?

Words Words Words

Not too long ago, I had a mini-life crisis where I wondered what I was doing with my life; what are my goals, what have I achieved and how will I get there? And I realised that one ever present goal of mine was to become an author.

Fuelled by the feeling of YOLO (You Only Live Once), I pulled out my laptop, opened a Word document and started typing. The aim was to finish a 50,000 word novel in less than two weeks, with an aspirational target of 5,000 words per day. Even as I am typing this, I can’t help but scoff at myself, because:

  1. I quickly realised that 50,000 words is A LOT of words, and
  2. It’s not easy to write a novel

Nevertheless, I persisted. Each day, I would struggle with how to continue the storyline, but for over a week I still consistently met my writing target. I knocked out 2000 words, then 3000, 10000, 20000…You get the drift.

I was inspired and pumped, and then, in the final two days before I could ‘finish’ my book, and write the last 10,000 words… I couldn’t think of anything else to write. Complete blank. Cue, serious writer’s block and the thought of not only scrapping the novel, but also the dream of becoming an author.

“Failure is a detour; not a dead-end street.”

Zig Ziglar

We’ve all seen the memes containing quotes similar to the above, telling us that the road to success is littered with failures. I comforted myself with that thought. But then, the little voice inside of my head, the one that says things I don’t want to hear, piped up and asked “Did you actually fail, though?”

I realised I hadn’t – because failure would require me to at least finish something and put myself out there. What I had done, was given up at the first hurdle.

So, here I am. Sitting in front my laptop, editing and rewriting chunks of my novel, a daunting prospect. I don’t need it to be a blockbuster, I simply need to finish it; a story with a beginning, middle and end. And then refine it. And then write again, because practice makes perfect.

This is not a blog with a happy ending, this is a blog about a work in progress.

The only thing I have left to say is: big kudos to all authors out there – I have a newfound appreciation for your craft, and am in awe of your skill and creativity!

One Day When…

I like the age that I am; I like the experiences that I have gone through, the knowledge that I have gained – even the struggles that I have encountered. All these things have shaped me into a person that I like better today, more than I liked even two or three years ago.

But the one thing I don’t like about being in my late twenties is being single. Actually, more specifically, it’s not being single that’s the problem. It’s being the only remaining single person within my friend group.

It’s a weird thing to watch my friends getting married, buying houses and talking about having babies, whereas I’m single, flatting and wanting a fur-baby more than an actual baby. If life was a game, then it feels like they are rolling the dice and moving on to the next level, while I’m still stuck on the first stage.

I’m happy for them, but there is a niggle inside of me that I hate to even acknowledge – a niggle that says, “Hey, wait for me,” and “When is it my turn?”.

And then, on Sunday, I attended a sermon where the pastor preached two pertinent points:

  1. God gives us what we need (not necessarily what we want). Oftentimes the wait between out prayer being received and answered is what we need; this is where the work happens.
  2. “One day when…” mentality. This mentality is when we think, “One day when… (I get a new job/I get married/ I have kids, etc)…I will be happy”, and usually occurs when we are waiting for something that we want (or think we want).

Listening to that, I realised: that is me! Watching my close friends get married, buying houses, and have kids… they are things I had always wanted, but am now impatient to have, if only so that I can be in the same stage of life as them. I’ve gotten into the habit of thinking ,”one day when”. One day when I meet the right person, I will be this, or do that. I was stuck in a sort of purgatory, just waiting for what I wanted.

It made me realise that while what I want is a partner, what I need is personal growth – and maybe that is what this period of ‘waiting’ is intended to provide.

It’s easy for me to forget that you can’t rush life, especially as I can’t help but compare myself to my friends – I know that I shouldn’t, but knowing doesn’t mean I can automatically stop.

I think in those moments, what I need to remember is this: life is not linear, or a race.

Job Hunting

I feel like I have made a lot of changes this year… new phone, new car, new wardrobe, new flat, new hobbies. Next up: new job.

Or at least, I’m trying to find a new job. Turns out, it’s a lot easier said than done, because after 13+ applications over a month of searching, I have only heard back from one company – and said company then ghosted me after a 30 minute phone screening.

It’s been a while since I’ve had so much trouble landing even an interview, and it makes me wonder what I am doing wrong. Am I asking for too much money, do I not enough valid experience, or is my CV and cover letter just not good enough?

The last time I faced this much rejection was just before I entered my current company, fresh out of university. I remember the same feelings of frustration and hopelessness as application after application was turned down. Eventually, those feelings morphed into desperation, leading me to apply for a customer service position at Company X (I had worked in far too many customer service roles throughout university, and was steadfastly against entering another).

Life has a way of working out though, because that customer service position at Company X was the best role I could have hoped for out of university; it was a foot in the door at a major company, was so much more than ‘just’ customer services, and put me under the wings of a mentor who helped elevate my career.

So, yes, I am feeling frustrated again as each application appears to be a dead-end.

But I’m also hopeful that something better is waiting around the corner, because when one door is closed, another opens.

As I’ve said before in a previous post, I just gotta have faith (and a little patience)!

Defining Figures

Last night, I was reading my friend’s journal (with her permission), and she was writing about a really good friend of hers who had passed away. She didn’t know him for very long, but nevertheless, their friendship was deep and his impact on her life lasting.

This made me realise a couple of things:

  1. The strongest friendships aren’t always the longest ones
  2. You never know what kind of impact you may have on someone’s life

Quite often, I take for granted the effect that a comment or gesture may have on someone else. Something that I say as a passing remark may be stuck on record in someone else’s head. Something I don’t even remember doing may be an everlasting memory for someone else.

This was a timely reminder.

Birthday

I had my birthday last week! Another year older, another year wiser, and another year closer to thirty.

In light of that, this week instead of writing random rambles, I’m going to share with you some of the best life advice I have come across so far. These are quotes that I have copied into the back of my journal, and refer to when I’m having a tough time; I hope they can give you the same amount of perspective as they give me!

1. This too shall pass

2. If you won’t worry about it in 5 years, don’t worry about it now

3. You won’t regret failure, but you will regret not trying

4. The only time you should look at someone else’s bowl is to make sure they have enough

5. Always follow your gut

6. If you’re unhappy, you don’t need to upturn your whole life. Instead, add small bits of happiness and eventually it will be one big chunk.

I don’t have the authors of these quotes unfortunately, but please comment if you know them or if you have any advice of your own to share.

Have a good week!

Sae x

Happenstance

Definition of happenstance: a circumstance especially that is due to chance

Meriam Webster Dictionary

Do you believe in timing? Not timing as in the scheduling of meetings, or dinner dates, but the right timing for things to happen in your life?

For me personally, I have experienced a number of events that seemed like happenstance at the time, but as I look back and reflect, make me think that maybe, it has more to do with the right timing.

One fairly recent example of this is my breakup with a long-term partner. We had been in a relationship for almost 5 years. Things weren’t perfect, but they weren’t awful – I could see myself getting married to him, starting a family with him, growing old together. In my heart though, I knew that we weren’t right for each other. We loved each other, but our viewpoints on life were so different that we argued as much as we laughed.

Why stay? Because we had been together for so long, that both my family and his family expected us to – that future I could see for us was in part the weight of the expectations set out for us. I was also afraid – afraid of disappointing our families, afraid of being single again, afraid of not finding love again, afraid of the unknowns.

One night though, I happened to check his phone. Something I have never done before. And I found a message that I wasn’t meant to see. Long story short, we broke up.

I was sad, and angry – some of the things I was afraid of also eventuated; both our families were upset, I was single and feeling alone, and I didn’t know what the future held (I still don’t).

What I also felt though, was a giant sense of relief – a feeling that everything would be okay, and that this was the right decision; of all the rollercoaster of emotions faced, never once have I doubted this or regretted the choice.

What does this have to do with the right timing?

I have one unbreakable rule in a relationship: no cheating. I trust easily, but break that trust, and I find it difficult to rebuild.

If I had broken up with my ex over any other thing or argument we had in the past, I know I would have wondered “what if?”. I would have been stuck in a cycle of regret, pining after a fantasy version of him rather than being able to view it with a clear perspective. Instead, I broke up with him at the right time under the right circumstance.

And now? Even though I sometimes feel impatient about what the future holds, I also have a deep-seated sense of peace that I am exactly where I am meant to be for this season of my life.

Life isn’t always made of happy moments, but it helps to be reminded that everything happens for a reason at the right time (or, if you believe in God, His plan).

Just have a little faith.