29 and counting

Five years old and surrounded by Barbie Dolls #blessed
Five years old and surrounded by Barbie Dolls #blessed

I am turning 29 pretty soon (TOMORROW!).

29 feels older, not old, but definitely older.

I don’t know what it is but I don’t feel as frenetic as before. I know I would like to change certain things about my behavior/personality but I know that it will take time. I know I’ve got to work on my career but again, time, luck and a little/a lot of hard work, should get me there. I know I want to continue to cultivate the relationships I have with friends and family but I also know that time will change the nature of these relationships and that’s okay too.

So this year, I have a few birthday resolutions but it’s with an in-breath and an out-breath that I genuinely know that these are aspirations for the next year and yeah I’ll probably do them all. But I should be kind to myself in the process. Can you tell I’ve been doing yoga?

So let’s look at last year’s birthday resolutions and I’ve gotta say I did it all except the volunteering bit. Which is pretty shit. But you know at least I can sleep now and I’m quite bendy – which takes me into my resolutions for this year.

1. Build on my YOGA practice

One of my resolutions last year was to start doing yoga regularly and I cannot tell you how CRAZY different my body and mind are before and after I started. It’s not like I’ve suddenly turned into a crazy hot yogi (not that I would mind looking like her) but I’m much stronger physically, sitting-at-the-computer-related pain is a thing of the past and I’m much more positive about my body image. I haven’t achieved a state of zen either but I am able to sleep better and I can let stuff go. If you know me – you know that’s crazy. So, maybe yoga didn’t take away my anxiety but it helps me channel it or deal with it better. Whatever it is, yoga has changed my life and I want to keep building on my practice and making it a daily part of my life.

2. Curb excessive-ness

I wrote a post last week about how I wanted to let go of excessive shopping this coming year and I realized it’s more than that. I want to let go of excessive-ness and it’s not that I want to go minimalist either – coz that sure as hell didn’t work for me. Instead, this next year I want to work on a) curbing the amount of superfluous shopping I do b) curbing the amount of excessive eating I do and c) curbing the amount of over-exercising that I do. Superfluous shopping is hard on my wallet, my sanity and the planet. Excessive eating, especially when it’s fried or unhealthy food is just well, unnecessary. And over-exercising has led me to feel terrible and also look terrible from exhaustion. It’s time I took a breath and was more mindful about what I buy, eat and do.

3. Focus more time AND energy on the blog

I love this blog. I haven’t made money from it but it has enriched my soul and it has been an outlet when I desperately needed one. I love how it has changed the way I view food. I love that it’s brought me closer to people both through the Cooking with column and also just through readership feedback. And I love that it helps me clear my mind. I think it’s time that I devote a little bit more time to the content, look and feel and more than anything else, the pictures that I curate for this blog. Photography isn’t something I’m particularly good at but I know that if I get a decent camera and work on it I can do better. And in this visual day and age, that’s going to count for a lot.

So there you have it – three resolutions for my last year as a twenty-something year old. Wish me luck!

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Costly Coping Mechanism

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I have a confession to make.

When I get stressed out, or bored or feel like my life is out-of-control – I shop.

I go out and buy new clothes. I shop for food in grocery stores, specialty grocery stores, on health food sites online. I stock up on body care and make-up.

And how do I justify it? I tell myself, I need a wardrobe revamp or that my parents always told me to eat well or that I need those lotions ANYWAY.

I’m never in debt (though there was that one time in college my Dad was pretty understanding…) but I don’t like that it’s something I turn to, to feel in control, or better or distracted. It’s not sustainable (both personally and for the planet) and it’s unnecessary,

As my next birthday draws closer I’m starting to think about how I want my next year to unfold, what habits I want to discard and who I really want to be.

For the most part I am happy with the way I have evolved over the years. For instance:
– I now embrace the fact that I love writing
– Being nice is not a priority
– I’m more comfortable in my skin than before
– And because of the above, my diet is more about health and less about being thin
– I am able to negotiate with the demons in my mind so they don’t take over

So, if I have been able to achieve all of the above – maybe it’s time to take on the one bad habit I have never been able to kick – because I never wanted to address it.

Stop shopping superfluously. Hmm.

Can I stop AFTER my birthday?

Working on Weekends

I don't got time to WORK over the weekend!
I don’t got time to WORK over the weekend!
I’ve got this friend, Gina, who loves her work. She loves what she does and sometimes works on weekends.

I’m guessing she does this because:
A) She has stuff she can’t get done during the week.
B) She works in theater related stuff so performances are sometimes on weekends = no choice.
C) See the first paragraph above.

I do NOT work on weekends. I really don’t like to do it and it makes me feel like I’m giving up my precious free time.

This is not because I hate my work. I love the work I do. I don’t know it has to do a bit with how I like to really switch off on weekends on go into this whole other WEEKENDDINI mode.

But lately I’ve been feeling that when I get back to work on Monday I’m disoriented, unprepared and just not ready for the week – both in terms of being organized and just being mentally there.

So two weekends ago I came home with two work tasks. The first was to transcribe an interview and the second was to finish a draft of the press release.

First one got done – second one DID not.

Last weekend, I had all these good intentions, I had been working on a press release that was just not there and I HAD to finish it.

But when the weekend came, I just didn’t want to do it.

I knew I could get it done at work.

Then I thought, maybe I’m approaching it the wrong way.

Maybe instead of doing work over the weekend, I could prepare myself for the work-week ahead.

Whatever was bothering me the week before or that I had difficulties with, I could address it.

I decided to try keeping 3 mantras or resolutions in mind for the week ahead. So that I could have a bit of a guide for the next week.

For example they could be:
1. Proofread everything by reading it out loud
2. Give 100% at work
3. Smile more at people in the hallways

WHATEVER.

And so, I had my 3 mantra-lutions, not the ones above because mine are personal, and I found the week better. Monday didn’t seem so blue and I was more able to deal better, with everything that came my way.

I’m hoping this is the start of something positive but man, maybe that’s really all the work I need to do over a weekend.

28 years later

Keong Saik Living
It’s that time of year again, where I find myself counting white hairs (I have two beautiful white hairs, fyi, in the center of my crown and I REFUSE to pull them out) and wishing candles.

It’s been a good AND (quite) bad, eventful past year, for myself and the world.

I tried making resolutions at New Years but I didn’t really stick to them. I think that maybe since I view the world through my point of view, the new year, for me at least, has always been my birthday. So here are my resolutions this year.

All of these resolutions are a culmination of my experiences and things I’ve learned over the past year.

1. Be less anxious overall which I think I can achieve through…

2. YOGA – By practicing consistent yoga breathing and poses
I’ve already jump-started that by signing up for a yoga class at work and the next steps are:
– practicing breathing in the morning for 15 mins (at least)
– doing a series of poses every other day for 30 mins (at least)
– attending a yoga class once a week, at least till my next birthday

3. Actually doing something for the world aka volunteer at a green NGO.
I recently signed up as a volunteer at the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) because honestly guys, the world is coming to an end. We need to try and stop being such inconsiderate and irresponsible jackasses.

4. Re-angle the blog.
Having a food blog has been incredibly rewarding, I am a better photographer and a MUCH better cook. Still, I cannot help but feel that I am SO much more than just food. This blog may be a bit schizo, but bear with me, I will take these next few months to find the right combination of my cooking, eating and my life to share.

Don't worry, cooking is still on coz I got this birthday present from THE best flatmates/friends EVER?
Don’t worry, cooking is still on coz I got this birthday present from THE best flatmates/friends EVER?

5. Say what you mean and mean what you say
I suffer from the, you-should-be-able-to-read-my-mind syndrome which then usually develops into full-blown passive-aggressive disease. I want to take this year to think about my feelings and intentions before I say and commit to anything, so that I fully know what I mean, and so that the parties involved need not interpret what I have left unsaid.

Resolutions that didn’t make the list:
1. Say yes, less
2. Do Tabata workouts
3. Be less busy
4. Get my eyes assessed/fixed/LASIKKKKK

*Black and white photo courtesy of Hattie!

Resolutioning

Hi friends! Welcome back to work in the New Year! Isn’t it awesome?? NO?!?!

2013-11-24 11.25.46

2013 was a loaded year. A lot happened that was good and bad and because I don’t want to share all the details and also because I don’t like being cryptic, let’s just say I lost loved ones, there were big changes for both my family and me and I generally felt quite kicked around by life.

Still I also achieved almost every single resolution I had set last year (except I didn’t publish two papers nor did I get a tattoo) which included travelling to three new countries (Qatar, the Philippines and Japan) and loved it. I subsequently developed a fear of flying. I KNOW. I started a blog (this one) – had a super flat stomach for the first time in my life and then promptly lost it after starting said blog. OH WELL. I got a new job that I actually really like and I learned how to swim! And then forgot how to swim.

This year, here are my resolutions – or at least what I hope to accomplish in the New Year.

1. Workout 4-5 times a week. 3x a week just isn’t cutting it.
2. Plan max 2/3 outings a week with friends. I’ve gotten sucked into this whole doing a million things because it makes me feel validated and important. IT MUST STOP.
3. Get over my fear of flying. Seriously this is a big one. I realized on my last trip home for the New Year that I don’t imagine a life where I stop travelling. That means I need to approach each trip with less dread and more acceptance.
4. Cook more healthy things for the blog. There were too many desserts last year so more food and lightened up sweets for this new year.
5. Become a better photographer. I have good instincts but I could do with a tutorial or two.
6. Save more than xx dollars. It’s an undisclosed amount but I realized last year that living from paycheck to paycheck was really causing me a lot of stress. This year I plan to save more than I managed to by the end of last year.
7. Minimalize – one in one out practice. If I buy something I need to recycle/donate/trash something. This is good blog to understand what it’s all about.
8. Figure out/implement tutorials at work for writing. Work specific – no point getting into it.
9. Read the newspaper/catch up on news every morning. I work in communications, so information and news is my trade. This will help me know what’s what at work and is useful in social situations.

I don’t know if all of this will get done, in fact The Antidote (Awesome book about how you can’t really control anything in your life) tells me that goal setting and resolution making is just a way of setting myself up for failure. But somehow I can’t seem to shake this particular form of forward and positive thinking.

So I will leave you with that and also if you want to get started on Spring cleaning/CNY cleaning/or just cleaning check out The January Cure at Apartment Therapy that I am attempting. And because cleaning involves getting rid of stuff here is a helpful video for all you clutter bunnies: