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?

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.

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.

Happy

When I was 22 years old, I got my first “proper” boyfriend.

When I was 26 years old, I experienced my first “proper” heartache.

At 27 and a half years old, I realised; life has no “proper” timeline.

Ever since I was a young girl, and  first discovered Mills & Boon novels, I have been a hardcore romantic. I thought my life would follow the course of those Mills & Boons heroines, I thought I needed a partner to be happy and fulfilled.

Becoming single again, after four years of being a ‘couple’, has proven that is NOT to be the case.

Contrary to what I believed, I find myself happier than I can remember being in years. I find myself discovering new hobbies and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I find myself becoming empowered, and learning not to settle for “just enough” or waiting “until the right one comes along”.

I find myself realising that I need to be happy with myself and my life as it is first, and not worry about finding someone to spend it with.

I find myself hopeful.

Nostalgia

I’m currently sitting here at work, looking out the window. It’s a beautiful winter’s day with a robin’s egg coloured sky, and fluffy white clouds. The sun is shining, and you can hear the sound of rustling leaves as a breeze whispers through the trees.

I don’t know what it is, but days like this really remind me of my hometown: childhood memories of playing in my backyard, schoolyard memories of lunch with friends on the field, college memories of walking on campus.

The ordinary moments which have become the “good old days”.

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr Seuss―

Breaking-Up is Hard to Do

I’ve heard it said before, but never understood it until I experienced it myself: breaking up is hard to do.

Seriously, it’s tough. The range and depth of emotions that comes with it is unfathomable; love songs and romance novels take on a whole new meaning. Suddenly, you are part of a sisterhood/ brotherhood of the broken-hearted.

I’m single… the first time I said it out loud, it was weird. And tough to say without triggering an outburst of tears. In my instance, the relationship had been slowly crumbling for years – but to be honest, no matter the reason, when someone who is a major part of your life is no longer in it, it hurts. That’s just basic fact.

Let yourself feel that hurt.

Know that it will get better.

Know that healing won’t be a linear process; there will be days where you think you are over it, and then others where you can’t stop grieving for the future lost.

Know that you will emerge from this heartache stronger and happier than you have ever been before.

From someone who has come out on the other side

I Have a Question

Why is it that when we are children, we are taught that we can be whatever we want to be, that the world is our oyster, that the only limits to what we can do is our imagination?

Why is it that as we get older, we are taught to do something practical, you can’t live on dreams, and that following our passions comes only after chasing the cash?

Sometimes it is a matter of luck, sometimes of circumstance, sometimes of motivation. But what if, despite it all, the possibilities are endless, the future is in our hands, and we have the ability to shape it?

Think of JK Rowling, Dolly Parton, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs and Jack Ma; humble beginnings to household names.

What if we can make it, like they did?