Thursday, September 27, 2012

A life well lived

As I rush from one task to the next.  Catching the next train and running after the bus, answering an email while paying online bills, I stop and reflect on my life.  I am living a life well lived, or is everything just a blurry of things to be accomplished so I can tick items off from my “to do” list?
Why the sudden reflection of a life well lived?  I read this story from unknown author, probably you have read it too because it is widely circulated in the World Wide Web, the story of the Mexican fisherman… And the story goes like this.
The businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while.
The businessman then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor."
The businessman scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise."
The Mexican fisherman asked, "But señor, how long will this all take?" To which the businessman replied, "15-20 years." "But what then, señor?" The businessman laughed and said, "That's the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions." "Millions, señor? Then what?" The businessman said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."
The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, "Isn't that what I'm doing right now?"
Well a life well lived would be, it seems to me is appreciating what you have.  While it’s not bad to plan for the future, but it is another thing if we are foregoing living in the present for the future.  Possessions and wealth are not enough.  While comforting, it cannot fulfill everything.  A life well lived is love and happiness in abundance.  Acknowledging that love is not a feeling but a verb is to show the people that matters most to you that you love them.  And happiness is in having the realization of how blessed you are for what you have.  Not everything will be easy and turn out exactly how you planned it, but choose to be grateful for what you have and happy for that gift of your life.
As I go on with life adjusting and trimming it to become what I want my well lived life to be, my only hope and prayer is that I may not be drowned by the mundane things of life and the lure of “success” that every Jane, Mary and Harry are aimlessly striving for that I lose focus of what a well lived life is really about.
What is a well lived life for you?



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lessons I learned from my bucket of tears


Last night I cried buckets.  Yes literally buckets.  When I woke up this morning I looked like a nasty bee had stung my eyes.  Well good thing I was working from home today, so no one would give me the weird look of why I looked that way.
So why did I waste precious tears last night?  I was simply being unreasonable.  At least there are three things I learned I should stop doing because it is simply a waste of time.  It is as if I am wasting away my life.
1.       Throw out of the window the fear of missing out.  I live far away from mom and my siblings.  Every time I see them together, hear stories of what they have been doing, I feel a stab of pain.  Sadness, envy or I am simply missing them? I don’t know…..  I feel I am missing out on a lot of things.  But when my mom, would asked me to leave Singapore for good and come back to the Philippines, I cannot right away say yes, because I fear I might miss out of the opportunity I have here.  It’s silly really.  This feeling of being anxious because we are missing out on something.  But no matter how hard we try to do everything, travel around the world or simply work and have fun all day long we just could not simply do everything.  Nobody can be at two places at the same time right?  So the lesson learned…This is the moment and place that you are in.  It may not be perfect, but this is your choice.  Make the most of it.  Take a deep breath; enjoy and savor the moment you have.  Be in the now. 

2.       Erase that picture of how you think life is supposed to be.  Goals and plans are good.  It gives you direction and focus.  And as what the law of attraction says, painting a mental picture of the things you want to achieve will cause the forces of the universe to conspire until ultimately you will get what you want.  While I don’t think this is all entirely an abracadabra formula, however we should strike a balance.  When I was younger I have a clear picture of what I want, of things I want to accomplish, of goals I want to reach.  I even knew that I wanted a house with white picket fences, not brown but white and dog to match it.  But fast forward two decades later, I live in an HDB flat, no dog, no white picket fences, but window grills to make sure I don’t fall off from the 12th floor of the 15th story building I am living.  But I do have a roof above my head, a comfortable bed and hot water for my early morning showers.  

Yes we discover detours along the way, a lot of detours.  And what we have envisioned things would be turns out to be how things are supposed to be in real life.   Lesson learned?  We cannot choose the music that life plays, but we can always adjust our dance step to go with the beat of the music being played.   

3.       You are not perfect. Nobody is so stop berating yourself for not being one.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Life is already hard as it is without you conniving with it.  As a wife, a full time career woman and wannabe blogger, I want to do everything.  I want to be able to deliver quality work.  I want to have a spick and span home.  I want to  cook fantastic dishes for hubby.  I want to do music and craft.  And on top of all these, I want to look polished and vibrant all the time.  So what happens to me?  I end with my bee stung eyes, running nose and disheveled hair.  Lesson learned?  Love yourself and be proud of what you do.  Own your mistakes and be proud of it.  Why? Because it simply shows you are trying. 

How about you, any lessons learned from your silliness lately?  At least we learned yah? That’s what’s important.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Appreciating the gift of marriage...

1 year! Yes we celebrated our one year anniversary last September 10, 2012.  The plan was to go on a holiday to Phuket Thailand, but because of circumstances that I would share to you soon, we opted to cancel the trip and instead booked for a staycation in one of the resort hotels here in Singapore.  We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel at Resorts World Sentosa.  I will let you know the details of how we celebrated our anniversary on another post.  This post is purely an appreciation for God’s gift of marriage.
I often hear clamors of married people of their regrets on marriage.  And sometimes hearing it from Christian friends makes me sad.  Not sad about the institution of marriage, but saddened about how they view marriage.  Yes marriage brings about challenges.  And it’s definitely not a bed of roses.  But having said that, I still believe that it is a very beautiful gift we received from our creator.  If only we appreciate the gift and take care of it then we can truly see it for it’s worth.
What blessings spouses enjoy when they truly love each other and never let pride, the childish silent treatment, or other unchristian traits mar their marriage!  I am no marriage expert and I don’t have a long record of married years under my belt, but there are two things I truly believe that every married couple should consider to make their marriage truly a blessing. ..
Love and respect... So work hard to make your marriage mate feel secure. By your loving words and respectful actions, look for ways to reassure your hubby or ‘wifey’ that to you, he or she is the most important person on earth. To the extent that it depends on you, do not let anyone or anything come between you and your mate.
During our wedding, the elder (as what we call pastors in our church) read us a bible verse at Genesis 2:24 “A man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife.”  What does that mean? Former ties to friends and relatives have to be adjusted. Each mate must first give the other his or her time and attention. Friends and relatives can no longer take priority at the expense of the new family; nor should the couple allow parents to interfere in family decisions or disagreements. The couple must now stick to each other. That is God’s direction. 
I may sound very biblical in this post, but after all the originator of marriage is God himself and it is wise indeed for us to heed his guidelines.
How about you, what is your view regarding marriage?  How do you appreciate the gift of marriage?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ditch the guilt - Travel!

Ditch the guilt!  And that’s my take on travelling. Well you can read all the books in the world about “those” places but being there is an entirely different story.  I can describe the city of Dumaguete and its amazing beaches and its historic sites to you, but you really have to see it for yourself to experience it. 
I can give you a narrative account of how efficient the transport system is and how ingenious the government has done in transforming a small almost concrete covered island state of Singapore into a bustling and vibrant Garden City.  But still nothing compares to being there and being wowed by it.
As I walked the streets of Bangkok, I realized how rich and diverse different cultures of the world can be.  And I realized that delicacies are not only confined to caramel covered cashew nuts but also are crisp fried bugs and beetles.
I used to think that my hometown boasts of having the most number of motorcycles roaming around the city, till I bravely crossed a street in Hanoi.
Yes travelling brings about adventure.  An opportunity for us to disconnect from our regular life and amazingly with that it helps us to understand and figure out things that we would not have understood without the distance that travelling gives.
It brings about new experiences and increases our resourcefulness.  We learn creative ways of doing ordinary things.  At the same time it increases our knowledge and widens our perspective.  It humbles us, and makes us realize how insignificant we are as compared to the grandiose of the world. 
Travelling affords me to learn about myself that I didn’t know before.  I could be very patient and daring you know ;) I figured out a lot of stuff by actually doing it (riding and elephant for one) and I learned to appreciate what I had, and not focused on what I didn’t have.
And what I especially like about travelling is that long after you have paid for that not so cheap air ticket, the memories of your travel lingers.  It lasts a lifetime.
Yes I still have a lot of places to see.  It’s a wide, exciting and colorful world out there I have yet to experience.   Yes it does burn a whole in my pocket, but you get to learn to be creative and prudent through proper planning and thorough research.  But one thing I’m certain that after I come back from each and every trip, I never felt sorry I took that trip.  On the contrary I always think where my next trip would be the second I come back from the airport.

How about you what’s your take on travelling?  What benefits do you derived from it?


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Be here...NOW

Last week, I blogged, or rather I blabbered about how frenzied I have become.  Jumping from one task to the next, without actually completing a thing! At the end of the day, I become so tired, irritable, and so unproductive. 
Fortunately, I stumbled upon a blog that I find very informative and inspiring, the working mom journal.  Though I am not a working mom YET J I am bookmarking it for future reference.    The article I enjoyed reading was “Staying Effective While Juggling a Busy Schedule”.  Like the author, I am juggling multiple roles.  Aren’t we all? 
Most of the time, the roller coaster ride we experience from trying to manage everything leaves us emotionally, physically and mentally drained.  So how does one stay effective while the world around us spins continuously with all its bustling excitement?   Two words… “Being present” 

Today, I tried to follow the advice and did my best to be present.  Be in the moment so to speak.  And yes, it was effective for me.  I was able to complete several tasks and tick off a lot of things to do in my list.  I felt great and in control.  I tried my best to be fully conscious of what I was doing and my mind was clear and focused.  I was able to work decisively and work more effectively and efficiently.
And to quote Buddha ““The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
How do you strive to be present amidst the chaos of everyday living?



Friday, September 7, 2012


My mind is a mess.  I cannot concentrate on one job.  I super multi-task to the point of being unproductive.  I need to put order in my chaotic life.  A few months ago I was talking about how frenzied I live my life but appearing to be calm on the surface.  Just like a duck.  But now, I think I cannot do that.  The disorder inside is showing to reveal outside.  I need to be calm and collected again.  I have to have a proper priority list.  I need to have proper scheduling.  I need to simplify and be organized.  Yes for my sanity and productivity sake.
As I am juggling multiple roles and taking on additional ones, I now need to be a more organized person.  There are so many things I want to achieve.  So many things I want to excel.  But the so many things around me just consume my time.  I am writing this in my blog, not to exude negative vibes, but to begin a journey, a journey to excellence.  Excellence as how I define it.  The goal is not to be perfect or a superwoman but to be completely calm and not frenzied.
Where do I start?  I have no idea.  Where will I begin? I do not have the answers.  I have been “googling” and blog hopping, hoping to get ideas, but the more my mind gets cluttered.
Any tips for me?
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