Monday, September 30, 2013

Move

This post was half written three days ago.

I got a shock today.

The movers came to my room to pack all the things I'm taking with me to Singapore (which is not inclusive of 60kgs of luggage and 14kgs of hand carry) and they packed 12 boxes of stuff.

It's just stuff!

First of all, thank goodness my awesome company provided me with movers, because I think I would have passed out trying to move it myself.

As I was watching them load all my things - my life, essentially, into the moving truck, I realized that it really is just a lot of stuff.

Do I need twelve boxes of stuff?

It's all just, well, stuff, after all! It doesn't affim you. It doesn't make you a better person. It doesn't make you any happier.

---> I'm now continuing my post.

So I have moved into my new apartment yesterday! It is amazing, it's at a really central location and it's just perfect for me! I also realize that I brought with me about 50 lipsticks (i'm not kidding you) and a lot of stuff that I probably don't really need.

So, again, I need to start decluttering here, because it will be a major headache when I move into my real apartment. Currently the apartment I'm staying in is a temporary accomodation (I freaking love my company, they have been so amazing with this move and are helping me with temporary accomodation for up to two months while I find a place, so I don't need to rush helter skelter into getting a new apartment).

It's going to be really, really exciting for me because I've never lived on my own before. I'm looking forward to discovering a new city, new places, new people, and above all, myself.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Misery

One of the things I have learned in life is that happiness is a choice.
Yes, I label this post misery.
The thing about misery is, while we all complain a lot about it, we sometimes make no effort in getting out of our miserable circumstances.

There is a strange sort of familiarity in revelling in misery, in playing the victim. If this rocks your boat, great. But if you want something more out of life, then do something about it.

I strongly believe we all have choices. If you're miserable in your job, it's time to do something about it. If you can't quit it, you need to figure a way to make it better. Work better with an insane boss. Develop frustrating subordinates. There are always choices, and it's just a matter of whether we want to put that time and effort into doing something about it.

It's the same with relationships. If you don't put effort into a relationship that's slowly dying - be it a relationship with a family member, partner or friend, nothing positive is going to come out of things. Relationships are a lot trickier because they are two way - you can put in a lot of effort, but if your partner chooses not to, then you are essentially screwed too. However, you then have that choice to choose whether you want to leave it or not.

Misery feeds off misery. It's easy to be affected be people around you who are negative. There are people in life who want to see you suffer. They'll tell you things to make you feel bad. Get rid of these people. That choice is yours.

There are also people who want you to do well in life. Genuine people, who want you to succeed. It's not that easy to find these people, but when you do, keep them. Make an effort with them. Things aren't always going to be rosy and perfect, but what is, in life?

Whether you choose happiness or misery, it's your choice. You make your bed, you sleep in it.

One of the conscious efforts / choices that I'm trying to do now is practice more minimalism in my life. It's easy at the beginning, you're on a rush and a high, and everything is new and exciting. However, after a couple of months, you start sliding off it a little. I bought two necklaces today. No, I don't need them. I know that having more trinkets in my life won't make me a happier person, or make me happier in general. It's like being an alcoholic, craving for a sip and kidding yourself that it's your 'last time'.

So for me, I'm still trying. I'm going to slide off the wagon a couple more times, but that's okay. Every time you slide off the wagon, you climb back up, and you're a little better each time. I've learnt not to be too hard on myself, but at the same time, not be too gentle either or you'll never get better at anything to do.

Your choice.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Flight

Fight or flight?

I was having this discussion with my friend David about a year ago, and we were talking about being stuck in a negative situation. You essentially have two choices - one, being to fight the situation and ultimately win, and the second, to flee.

The obvious choice is always to fight, and it always appears cowardly to flee. But as we spoke more about it, David brought up a point which I felt really made sense.

"What's wrong with running?"

That got me thinking.

If you're in a really negative and toxic situation, what is wrong with leaving it? Sometimes you can't fix certain things, especially if people involved are not going to cooperate with you. If your'e leaving a bad marriage, technically that's considered fleeing, but isn't that for the better? If you've got an abusive husband, do you necessarily pick up a steel rod and fight back? Not necessarily. Leaving sometimes is the better option.

The absence of fighting does not make one weak. It does take strength to leave a situation, because leaving is also getting out of your  comfort zone. Sometimes, we find comfort in our misery. We know it, we understand it, and we sort of revel in a morbid way. Leaving, is not necessarily the coward's way out.

There are times you fight. There are also times when you need to realize which battles to pick. You can't win them all. Or, maybe you can, but at the expense of getting very tired.

I've begun to realize the importance on focusing on a couple of select things I find truly important. Gone are the days where I want to spread myself too thin and find myself unfocused because I'm not concentrating properly on any one task.

So, do you fight or flee? There really isn't a right or wrong answer here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Liberation

Decluttering is very addictive.

Previously, if you asked me to get rid of things, I would have flung myself over my beloved possessions screaming at you and fighting tooth and nail against letting any go.

I need these things! I need those shoes! You don't know anything, go away! Leave me alone with my stuff!

Ever since I've started throwing out things, I've discovered a form of liberation. Every time I pick something up and throw it out, I experience a little frisson of satisfaction. There goes one more thing that doesn't add value in my life. With everything I throw out, whether it's something as mundane as a receipt in my wallet, I feel good.

Decluttering isn't just physical. I've decided to declutter my time, too. I now only spend time with people I really want to spend time with. You know how sometimes you're forced or obligated to go out with certain people, even if you don't feel like doing it? I've stopped. I only go out with people I genuinely want to be with, and if I know I'm going to have a painful time, I avoid it at all costs.

And, when I'm with people, I try and focus more on them. No phone. No Instagram. It really annoys me and pisses the shit out of me when people are glued to their phones in social settings. it's just plain rude. Why don't you stay at home and be glued to your digital world then?

It's also a very good feeling if you declutter for charity. And I think, everyone really should try and make a point to do charity. No, it's not to be selfless. Be a little selfish here. Charity actually makes you feel really good about yourself, and you're also doing a good deed by brightening up someone else's life. Go spend an hour with some orphans. Hang out with some people at the old folks home.

You know, when I'm at the orphans home, I realize the one thing they're very starved of is physical affection. They like hugs, kisses, and you just holding them. They want love, and to feel loved. Go love them.

I've also realized, though, you cannot force people to go to orphanages with you. I've tried this, and ended up very disappointed. Also in hindsight, it would probably be a lot better for the kids if people who genuinely want to be there, are there, instead of a bunch of people who have been forced to.

I also believe in decluttering people, but that's a post for another day.


Cows

I was out having coffee with a friend of mine the other day, and he told me this story which made me laugh.

Once upon a time, there were two cows. One was a Clever Cow, and the other was a Stupid Cow. Clever Cow and Stupid Cow were both by a riverside drinking water, when they spied upon something in the river.
"Hey! That's an alligator!" Clever Cow said.
"No, that's a piece of wood," Stupid Cow said unconcernedly and continued drinking water.
"No, it's an alligator! We'd better get out of here!" Clever Cow exclaimed.

The two cows continued arguing about whether it was an alligator or a piece of wood. Finally, thoroughly exasperated, Clever Cow decided to show Stupid Cow that it was an alligator.

"You don't believe me that it's an alligator? Look!?"

Clever Cow trotted over to the 'alligator' and gave it a good hard poke with its hoof.

GRAWRR!! (okay, I am not too sure what noises alligators make.)

Clever Cow was now Dead Cow, as the alligator had decided to eat him.

Stupid Cow was shocked.

"Oh! So Clever Cow was in the right!" Stupid Cow thought, and moved further down the bank to distance itself from the alligator.

A while later, a Second Stupid Cow came along.

"Hey, be careful, there's an alligator down there," Stupid Cow told the Second Stupid Cow.
"Naw! It's a piece of wood!" Second Stupid Cow said.
This argument went on again, and finally, Stupid Cow decided to show Second Stupid Cow that he was correct.

GRAWRR!! Of course, Stupid Cow was now Second Dead Cow.

The moral of the story is this :

Sometimes, you just cannot win with stupid people. Even if you try your best to set them straight, it is to your own detriment. The best solution is not to argue with them and just to walk away.

The end!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Maintain

Have you ever taken a look around your room, pleased with yourself that you'd done such a good job tidying it up - only to find it in the same mess it used to be in a week later?

It's been three moths since I've been on my decluttering streak, and yesterday when I came back from my holiday I realized that my room was once again looking half like a tornado.

While I have very much less stuff than I previously did, lately the discipline to put things back where the belong has been evading me. I'm going to make it a conscious effort again to start doing this.

However, while I expect myself to slide off the wagon once in a while and turn into the untidy monster I've been my whole life, I am also pleased to report that there are some things which seem to have taken a change for the better since I started this whole decluttering journey.

I buy less

I used to be a huge shopaholic. Ask anybody. When I went to Japan, I had a lot of problems because I had a lot of stuff and not enough bags to fit the stuff in. Then, when I got to the airport I got a really huge shock. I was a very unseasoned traveller, and because I had bought so much stuff, I had to pay RM900 for my excess baggage.

RM900 can buy me a lot of other things.

Everywhere I went, I would buy things like I was on steroids. I went to a chocolate factory in Germany. I ended up buying a new suitcase to fit all the chocolates, I kid you not. 

Even when I'm home I shop. And literally, I mean when I'm at home. You know those shiny looking models in VictoriasSecret.com? It's just click, click, click and I've easily spent RM1,000. Then when I find Victoria's Secret a bit too expensive, I will head off to Asos, cause it's free shipping! Then it's more clicking. 

I'm not a techie, but once I was dragged to Digital Mall where I ended up buying lots of gadgets I didn't need. I even bought games, I think. I'm not too sure why.

Since I've started decluttering, I've also stopped buying a lot of things. It is crazy how much better my life seems to be. I no longer worry about having overweight baggage at holidays. I can actually afford nicer holidays too, and more holidays, because I'm now spending money on an experience instead of on stuff. My credit card bill has gone down significantly. (Yay! It's really, really, finally cleared this month!)

There's more space in my wardrobe.

Actually, this is how I want my apartment to look like in future.

http://www.theminimalists.com/288/

See what a nice, clean space he has? I want that space.

Also, I want my wardrobe to look like this.

http://www.theminimalists.com/apartment/

Scroll down a little, and you will see how much space he has between all his hung shirts! A lot of my friends tell me it's more difficult for me and I will never achieve this because I'm a girl and I have so much stuff. Yes, it's true that girls have more stuff. But I still want to have a wardrobe that looks like that, I don't care!

Buying less has also made me realize that I need less. Do you really need another new dress? Do you really need some useless piece of junk just because it's cute? It's going to gather dust after a while and you forget about it. I'm very much impulse driven, and I buy a lot of things on impulse only to forget it after that. 

Looking at all the stuff I've been packing lately, it makes me wonder how much money I've spent on all my ton of junk. All the shoes, the clothes (I have now packed my 5th box of clothes to be given away). 

It's also a lot easier nowadays to control my spending habit, now that I'm a little more used to it. Initially, it was very difficult. I don't even feel the urge to go shopping or go on Asos anymore, unless it's something I really need (and with the amount of junk I have still residing in my cupboards, that need is hardly ever going to pop up). 

People gather things, and buy stuff sometimes to feel safe. I sure do feel safe when I'm surrounded by my mountain of clutter. It's about the knowledge of knowing something I may need in the obscure near future is within my reach. But with this mountain, also comes the general unease of having so much clutter that your peace of mind is taken away. 

Try going a month without shopping. Or, if that's too much for you, the next time you want to buy something, just really examine how much you need it, and how it's going to value add your life. Then, if you really do buy it, see how much you actually do utilize it. 

I am off to work now. Time to declutter my work space too!


Monday, September 9, 2013

Recycle


Well, it’s declutter season Round 2. As I’m moving next month, I’ve decided that this is the best time for me to get rid of stuff. I’d actually already gotten rid of a lot of clutter a couple of months back, but there’s still so much stuff!

I discovered a couple of things – I really waste money. During my decluttering efforts, I found a couple of things that still had price tags on and that I had never used. Every time I shop, I get overconsumed with excitement and decide I need to buy everything there and then. I bought something literally one year ago, and it’s still in its plastic bag. To be honest, I never even thought about it before!

Lately, my thoughts are also a little conflicted as I want to get a new wardrobe. I’ve been on Pinterest like a deranged fiend, and there are so many new styles that I want to try out. I have a lot of clothes (a lot of them have now been given away) but a lot of them are actually really old and dated because I never threw anything out.

However, if I’m going to try this minimalist approach out, then by right I shouldn’t be getting a whole new wardrobe, right? While I understand minimalism isn’t about self deprivation, and it’s more about focusing on the important stuff in your life right now, I’m a little bit torn on whether to go out there and get lots of new stuff or try and work with what I have.

I’m leaving my box of stuff to be donated open, and right now I have 7 pairs of shoes in that box. This is pretty good progress, because the first day I opened that box, I had 3 pairs of shoes in it and I thought it would be impossible to throw anything else out because I liked them all. Right now, I have 5 open boxes – 1 box for shoes, 2 for clothes, 1 for recyclable boxes and another one that actually has a small cabinet in it. I find by leaving these boxes open, and throwing out stuff a little each day, my clutter is also lessened. Sometimes, what I like today, I don’t like tomorrow. The only rule I have is that I cannot take stuff out of those boxes and put them back into my cupboard.

All these boxes will be sent to a recycling home right before I leave. I’m really looking forward to decluttering more stuff!

That’s it for now. Bye! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Thought


Here are a couple of articles I read over the weekend which I think are great and want to share with you.




It is true that all we do constantly is consume, consume and consume. If we halved that time and started creating, there would be so much more things that we could be doing. There would be so many ways we could be improving ourselves. For instance, I’ve been letting my Chinese slide. I need to start picking this back up and going full speed ahead. I was watching The Face today, and one of the models said she came to the States from Russia three years ago with no family and no English. Her English was very passable by the time she got onto the show. That made me think – if this Russian girl who knows no English at all can speak it after 3 years, why can’t I still speak Chinese despite being Chinese all my life?! It’s time to put the excuses aside, and just start doing it.

We’re often too comfortable in our own comfort zones. We always say we want to push past our comfort zones, but this is something that is incredibly difficult to do, and often times once things get difficult, we give up. Here’s the thing. Nobody ever said getting what you wanted was easy. If it was, we’d all be millionaires today. It’s easy to get distracted when you’re in the middle of your journey, before you’ve reached the end. This is what I’m going to be reminding myself more of, not to give up and to continue persevering no matter how hard it gets.

I like the article on leaders, because only now do I understand it, after having worked for a couple of years. Everyone is motivated differently and reacts differently to different styles of working. I found that article very thought provoking and i find there to be many truths in it.

So long, for now!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Improve


I think improvement is extremely important in everyone’s lives. People constantly seek for improvement – in terms of lifestyle, knowledge, finances, relationships – you name it, people are there, trying to improve it.

Why improve?

It’s more than about self fulfillment. Yes, I think that’s the main driving force – having a sense of accomplishment and feeling fulfilled in what you do. Or, if you’re a parent, you probably want to provide more for your children. Maybe you’re an only child and you want to help your ailing parents. Whatever the reason, we all have our motivations to improve.

The question is then – how do we seek constant improvement? It’s easy to get complacent, and slide into your comfort zone. Improvement is all about pushing yourself past your limits, past your comfort level.

I confess. I haven’t been studying my Chinese. Instead, I have been sleeping. I actually wake up very early nowadays (my boyfriend calls me at 5 or 6am) and after we finish talking, technically I could start reading Chinese but somehow I always end up falling asleep again.

So, no. This has to stop. Tomorrow, I need to pick my Chinese books up again.

Here’s the thing – we can always make excuses for why we don’t do something. No time. We’re busy! Things catch up. But at the end of the day, that’s what it will only end up being. Excuses.  And we’ll be stuck in the land of mediocrity.

I choose not to be stuck in this land of mediocrity. I have the choice to stay in it (and by that, all I need to do is continue sleeping) or I can try and improve myself by being a little bit uncomfortable and having less sleep, but learning a new language. Mediocrity, or improvement? The choice is mine.

So what do you want to improve about yourself?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Anew

Good morning everybody!

It's the 1st of September today. I love new months, new weeks, new days, because they're always a promise of something fresh. I also operate on a cycle of - 'Ah, finally, this is the week that everything will go right!' (which is why I never have Monday blues, and why I always look forward to new weeks, only to be a bit disappointed towards the weekend), but it's actually very nice and motivating, because like the start of a new year, the start of a brand new week promises something great.

Anyway, I am very excited to start this week. I'm going to spend my Sunday at the kiddies home - I have been very productive this morning already and bought 3 block cakes and 3 swiss rolls to go over there (ok, sidetrack, I wanted to buy roast chicken initially but the ones I saw at the supermarket were a little bit too puny, so, no.) Buying stuff for others is a really good feeling! It feels a lot better than buying dresses on ASOS (which is really a very good feeling too) and there's a lot more satisfaction you get in buying these things.

Which also got me thinking - a lot of us don't donate actual money to charity homes because we're worried about the money being embezzled, etc. I for one don't donate money, and that's why I prefer buying food or something that can't be embezzled. But if you think about it, if these caregivers do take a bit of that money for themselves, is it so wrong? When I was at the home, I saw how hard these caregivers work and how much effort it takes. It's really not an easy job. After seeing this, I decided it's okay, and maybe I'm also going to start donating money.

September is going to be a month of change for me, but I'm looking forward to it mostly because I have had a terrible week last week, and this week will be a good week. The one thing I like about having off days, or off weeks, is that after the downs, come the highs. Things can only get better, you know?

I've also found a few new blogs to read. I really enjoy reading good blogs because I really do feel they enrich me. Reading blogs of fashion and beauty are fun for a while, but they get dull in the long run and end up promoting FOMO instead.

This is a blog I came across today, and I really like his style of writing.

http://writing.wikichen.com

And this post!

http://writing.wikichen.com/write-like-a-motherfucker/

It's actually very similar what I'm trying to do - by trying to write every day!

I do need to have more of a direction of how I want this blog to be - right now it's a lot of random musings, so I will be working on that these coming weeks.

Signing off for now, with a very good mood and with lots of anticipation of what this week holds for me.

Toodles!