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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Move Forward #throwbackanyday

You know how spring cleaning is done? You clean up the mess accumulated from the previous year and you throw out anything you reckon you don't need anymore. Well, I've had to do the same to my Dropbox account lately because I reached the maximum 2.5gb alloted to me in my free account. -_-!!! 

While looking through the account, I realized that many of them came from the Camera Uploads folder. Now, this is what happened one day. I accidentally pressed something and agreed to something and suddenly the photos folder in my iPhone started uploading everything into my Dropbox! I tried to stop it but before I did so, I had a ginormously inflated folder and there went my limit. -_-!!!!!!

Now on sick leave, I thought I'd go through the photos and decide which could be deleted and which deserved a second chance on the Internet. Outdated photos of events long gone were easy to delete, as were photos of anything to do with work.

Harder to delete were photos of friends, good times, holidays though... sigh.

In between the two categories were photos that I could delete, but I felt there were more that could be done with them before I did so. These were inspirational sayings, recipes, tips that I had saved from magazines and other sources (Yea, yea, hoarder instinct) So the idea came about for a #throwback blog entry. What if I blogged about them, then deleted them? I would then save them for another online life and maybe get some reflective value out of them as well. 

I didn't want a #throwbackthursday because I didn't like to commit myself to a specific day for no reason (yea, yea, slacker instinct) so I thought I'd create a #throwbackanyday so that I could do it on any day I wanted. *yea*

So this is the first pic I found, one of the very earliest:

Source: iPad edition of the O magazine. (I'm sorry, I totally forgot which issue! If you recognize it, let me know so I can credit it!) 

The message simply appealed to me, a reminder to just, move forward and appreciate and be grateful for the simple beauty in every day life. This is something a lot of us fail to do as oftentimes, we just head onto our daily commute, stuck to our phones and we miss out a lot on life as it goes by.

We say that we don't have the time to take a long cycle, as maybe the guy in the photo is doing. Well, how about then appreciating what you see around you? The sunrise as you walk to the station? The people around you? Look up from your own screen and you'd be amazed at how many people are stuck in their own. What stories can they tell? What can you make up about them? 

Even after work, instead of walking through a mall, walk somewhere where there's trees, sun and light. Instead of the Orchard underpass, walk above ground instead. Did you ever notice how large the trees were? Did you ever hear the birds cawing in the trees? (and run for cover before they shat on you?)

Chances are you never noticed these. That's because in order to do so, you have to go. You have to actually go outside and really look and observe what's around you. 

What I took away from this paragraph are two small things that people can do to make their lives a bit happier. 1 - Life is better spent outside and 2 - To notice the nature around you. It reminds me that even in an urban jungle, there are pockets of beauty to be found as long as we look for it. :)

What can we do then?
- On your next commute, instead of opening Facebook or Youtube, put on some headphones and really look at the people around you. What do you think they are doing? Why are they doing it? What do you think drives them? 

- When you find yourself in a mall, head outside instead. What nature do you see around you? What is the weather like? How does it make you feel?

- As you do these two, here comes probably the harder part: What good can you see around you? What can you give thanks for around you?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Collective Hub #outofthepagesiread

One of the magazines I've picked up this year is Collective Hub. I found this magazine in a cafe and flipping the first few pages got me hooked enough that I went searching for it at various bookstores around SG. Too bad I couldn't finish that issue before my brunch!

A brief about the magazine, according to their website:

"Collective Hub covers business, design, technology, social change, fashion, travel, food, film and art."

But it was their philosophy that I felt was well carried out in their pages:


We are insatiably curious, naturally collaborative and uniquely creative.Collective Hub exists to foster and empower a community of people to live their best lives at work and in play. We offer pragmatism and inspiration in equal measure to help create a world of dreamers and doers.
The magazine features a variety of creative entrepreneurs and managers working in various fields. There does seem to be a creative focus to it as well. The June issue which I managed to find has various art inserts, some with inspirational sayings that appeal to the Piscean in me. Like this one from Terry Pratchett:
"Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours."
True to its philosophy, it also comes with practical advice as well. For one feature, there are interviews with nomad entrepreneurs and tips on how they made it work, useful for anyone who works best outside an office.
What I found most inspiring, though, were their features. Interviews with various entrepreneurs who went off the beaten path, discovering their own dreams and journeys in life. And I think this is one of the most powerful parts of the magazine.
Because it gives me this thought: Why aren't I doing that? Why aren't I doing all these cool stuff that other people are doing? Why didn't I think of that first? Why didn't I make the first move that these people did?
And even if I managed to answer these questions satisfactorily, another pops up: What then, am I doing about it?
So this is the more powerful aspect of the magazine for me, that it inspires me, that it makes me reflect, rethink and look back on my life and that it gives me hope for the future that it doesn't always have to be what everyone else says it is. 
The magazine is a monthly publication but Kinokuniya unfortunately doesn't bring in many copies, probably due to low popularity. Please start asking for it more at the bookstore so that they bring in more!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Always Be Kind to Yourself

(Sorry, I know the colour is a bit crappy)

I almost forgot what it meant to be kind to oneself. 

The past month, I had thrown myself into completing my work so fully that a whole month went by before I realized what I had done to myself. 

It's funny, the lesson we learnt in school and in our younger lives was to work hard, hard and harder. By doing so, we were taught, we would reap the rewards later on. 

We then carry that lesson onto our adult working lives, but technological advances and Whatsapp mean that we don't just work, but we have to work harder, harder and hardest out of them all. And that somehow our reward would come. 

So under a sense of responsibility and impending fulfilment, I worked. I worked hard and I brought home the work telling myself that it would all be better later on, that I was making my future life easier this way if I just worked hard, now. I would postpone my enjoyment of life and my leisure activities and somehow it would all pay off.

Well, a month went by and guess what? I got nothing but a sheer sense of relief that it was all over. Nothing like the sense of divine fulfilment I was supposed to feel. 

Yet, one day, I was about to carry on the work at work, when I just looked at everything on my desk and I had a sudden sense of nausea. Nothing to do with morning sickness, just a sickness of all... this. 

I calculated that I had enough time to carry on the next day, and I ditched the work and went for a good lunch at Plaza Sing.

I continued the next afternoon at Taka. And today I went back to Taka again.

If work was supposed to be so fulfilling and satisfying, then why is it I only felt refreshed and human when I was out of it

I made a small but costly mistake. I mistook work for life. I mistakenly thought that this was what life was about, to be a responsible working adult and do the work to pay the bills and this was how normal people were supposed to live.

I forgot about all the other things about life. Like walking in the sun. Or having a good lunch. Or the pleasure of a quiet cafe with a good book. 

I'm lucky I realized this in time because some in my line weren't so lucky, judging by the 5000 of us who leave the profession each year, with a top reason being the workload. It just overwhelmed them and swarmed, they left for better pastures and better lives. They learnt the hard way that the work wasn't worth the life they sacrificed.

Who knows, what if they had known how to be nice to themselves and forgive themselves for the work they did not or could not do to the satisfaction of others?

So be kind to yourself. It's not always a bad thing to be lazy and it's not always selfish to leave everything and just do something for yourself. Don't let it get so bad that your whole life becomes overswarmed but take it back while you can. 

And enjoy all those afternoon teas. :)