New year usually gives us a sense of new beginning, a chance to start new all over again. Whatever we have failed in the previous year, we put it behind and take it as lesson learnt. Sometimes it’s hard but in order to move forward, we should keep our eyes ahead at the next goal.
Journeying to the new chapter of our lives can be pretty intimidating, especially when you don’t know what lies ahead. You can only plan so much, but you can never really see what’s to come. All you can do is walk by faith and know that it’s gonna be alright.
Through my journey of planning for 2018, I realize that it’s pretty easy to make plans, but when it comes to putting the plan into action, it gets a bit challenging. I’ve been planning so much towards the end of 2017, I’ve somehow lost track of time, and before I knew it, it was time for me to journey into the (somewhat) unknown of my new journey. I am someone who is usually quite prepare and ready for new adventures, but this time round, I found myself unprepared. Unprepared in a sense that I haven’t really prepare myself emotionally, I didn’t feel like I was ready to leave home yet. However, I would still have to leave home and journey on.
I have decided to further my studies this year, in other words develop myself and to build my career. It was something that’s been bugging me for the whole of last year (2017). As cliche as it sounds, but I felt that I was meant to do something greater, I wasn’t sure what and honestly still don’t know what, but I know I would be doing something great one day. I think it’s something I’ll discover as I go through this journey. Sometimes you just need to be brave and take that one small step to change your life.
I believe in being pursue by the guy instead of me doing the pursuing. I believe in dating the guy who would potentially be my future husband because I don’t want to waste my time and emotions on someone who is not him. I believe in dating someone who has the same beliefs as I do and someone who has the same values as I do.
Marriage is a life long thing, so I believe in dating the right person, he doesn’t have to be perfect because ain’t nobody is perfect, but being the right person goes a long way.
I read somewhere and even watched a video somewhere which talked about how perhaps I’m in the situation where I am ready to be someone’s wife but the person whom I’m suppose to be with is not ready to be a husband yet, and so I’ll keep waiting for him until he is ready to be a husband, until he is ready to lead me in life, to lead me closer to God when we are married. Someone who will be reliable because it’s about time I have someone I can rely on, instead of being relied on. I am waiting for that someone to always be ready to support me and even correct me when I’m wrong.
While I wait, I strive to be the better version of myself. While I wait, I want to grow deeper into God’s presence, deeper into His Words. While I wait, I want to get to know myself better and enjoy life to the fullest. I’m not going to stay stagnant because I’m waiting. Waiting gives me more reason to be more proactive in life.
Even tho the talk about marriage can be scary for some people, but it’s not a taboo topic. It’s something a lot of people would like to have in their life. It’s a beautiful thing created by God and it shouldn’t be scary. It should be appreciated.
I am not lonely, I’m just waiting. When the time is right, I’ll know.
13 Reasons why is one of the best selling novel which got picked up to be made into a show by Netflix. The show was releases in March 2017 and it has become a hit. It tells the story of a girl who has committed suicide and before that, she recorded 13 reason why she has decided to kill herself into tapes and send them out to the people who are the reason why it happened. This show is intense because it shows the reality of what teenagers or people go through, when bullying gets brushed off because it seems like a norm and how people may look okay on the surface but is confused and suffering inside.
I’ve read the book a few years ago and I’ll be honest, I don’t actually remember the story exactly, but watching this show helps remind me the story. I don’t actually know how much of the book they followed or based on, but the main idea is in the show. This show gave me all the feels. Some scenes were disturbing to watch and it got me thinking and scared of what the teenagers I work with goes through in school and in life. It’s hard being a teenager. It’s the time when you’re learning about yourself and adapting to your body. It’s a time where your hormones are acting up and you don’t understand your emotions. It’s a time of wanting to belong, it’s where you want to be relevant.
I was a teen like about 5 years ago, still kinda feel like a teenager sometimes, but I remember how hard it was for me to try and ignore people’s opinion about me, to love myself (my body), to fit into the crow (the cool kids). I wasn’t an emo kid, or angsty teen, I didn’t think about taking my own life, I was a fairly happy kid/teen. But I definitely had growing pains hahaha. Teenage years can be the most awkward part of your life or it could also be the best years of your life(because you’re just happy with everything in life).
The show has received backlash for ‘glorifying’ or ‘glamorizing’ suicide. It supposedly ‘romanticized’ the idea. Before I watched the show I saw the news on E!News about it and in my mind, I though, well i’ts a Hollywood show, of course they’re gonna make it look more dramatic and less scary than it seems. Then of course the casts defended the show and Selena Gomez as the producer say they did not want to glorify suicide, they wanted to show the reality of the issue that people do not speak enough about. The show even got criticized for showing the gruesomeness of how Hannah Baker (the main character) killed herself. The director did not want to hold anything back, they wanted to show people how it really is like.
I’ve been wanting to watch the show because of the hype but I also wanted to see how is the story conveyed, is the message of the issue getting through properly. After watching it, I can say for sure the show did not glorify/ glamorized/ romanticized the idea of suicide or even bullying. It shows the reality of it, it shows how scary teenager can be, it shows how important is it for teenagers to have someone to talk to, it shows how schools should be equipped with counselors who are properly trained to deal with issues like these, it shows how the little things we ignore or brushed off matters.The show even brought the issue of rape ans sexual abuse, it shows how victims are sometimes scared to talk about it because people might not believe them. 13 Reasons Why shows how some people just doesn’t want to outwardly share but want you to reach out to them.
I am scared because I volunteer in a youth ministry and I know I do not always have the time to connect with all the youths but I know they have stories, they have things they’re going through which they don’t share because they’re either scared/ ashamed/ confused about. I then think about the youths who doesn’t have a community, do they have reliable friends who can actually help them? Do they have people or someone older they can talk to? Do they know how to get help when they need it?
There are so many reasons as to why you should never give up on your life, on yourself.Even when it seems like there are so many reasons as to why you feel like giving up, the reason to not give up outweighs it more.
Sometimes people don’t know you need help until you tell them,that’s why is so important to be able to talk to someone who you trust and can help you. If you know you’re stuck in a bad situation, get help to help you to get out of it. Don’t push people away, especially those you know in your guts that they for sure can help you and do want to help. Sometimes after getting hurt so many times, you just put up walls because you’re scared of judgement and getting hurt again. Know that there will always be at least one person who is always ready to help you and be there for you.
Things get better over time, like wine and cheese. It may look though now, but if you hold on to life and keep moving forward, and learn to let go slowly, it will get better. When you decide for yourself to change things in your life,in the way you think, you’ll see that there’s something to look forward to. A brighter future, a brighter tomorrow. You’ll still have so many things to look forward to. Do things you enjoy, do things that you want and is good for your mind, soul and spirit. I once told my friend that it will get better, when she was frustrated with life and she felt stuck. I told her to hold on. A few months later her life got better, she worked towards what she wanted. Sometimes when you’re ‘stuck’ in the current situation, it feels like your life is gonna look the same for the rest of your life or it feel like it’s too difficult to go through it, just know if you hold on, it’ll get better. I’m very sure of it.
Life is too precious to give up on it. You’ve been given life by your parents, by God. There’s a reason for your life in this world. Just because crap happens and sometimes more than crap happens, it shouldn’t give you a reason to give up. For example heartbreaks may suck and suck the life out of you, it’s also not a good reason to give up on life just because of that. Maybe you don’t see it as precious because people don’t treat it well enough, people don’t appreciate it enough and it has led you to believe that it’s not valuable. Don’t believe in that lie, don’t give in to that lie. There are people who care, there are people who loves you even if you don’t feel like it.
Sometimes you’re just tired of everything and you want to give up. Because the reality is that life is hard. It sometimes feels as if the whole world is against you, it gets hard to breathe, it gets hard to think. So giving up is the easiest thing to do. Take a little more effort to think again if it’s really okay to give up. Maybe all you need is just a little time for yourself, a little more time for your mind to heal, more time for your soul to heal. Give yourself some more time.
I’m not an expert, I’m not a counselor, but I don’t hope for anyone in this world to take their own life, to give up. I don’t want people to feel like the only option is to take their own life or harm themselves. There’s really so much more in life and it really does get better.
Growing up, my parents would always remind me and my sister that we should love each other because family will always be there for your, and as the saying goes, blood is thicker than water. I know this is not true for all families, some families are so broken to the point where family won’t always be there for you but instead they have friends who becomes their family. Sometimes families are the ones who will drive you crazy but in the end you’ll always still go back to them.
But anyway, I’ve been thinking about my family and how much we have gone through these past few years. Losing my father was the biggest life changing thing that has happened to us. It was hard and still is sometimes but going through it has made me stronger even when I’m weak. I learn to be strong emotionally and also to be a support to my family, especially to my mom and sister. My sister is as strong as I am, so it’s good to have her strength as well to help support my mother emotionally.
My mom always reminds us (me and my sister) that we only have each other for support, no matter what we are still family and whatever happens we have to support each other. I see the importance in that teaching and I agree with it. Siblings don’t always see things eye to eye but we know we love each other and got each other’s back when needed. It’s like one of those unspoken things, we just know.
Sometimes friends can also feel more like family than your real family, which was what my father experienced growing up with a broken family. He loved being with his friends and to him they’re like family, but when I came along and his little family began, he poured out his love into his little family, and provided as much as he could. He wasn’t a perfect father but he was a great dad, he’s spend time with us when he could and taught us life hacks. Even though sometimes he spends a little too much time out with his friends more than with us which annoyed my mom a lot, but he’ll always make up for it by bringing us our for a good family time which includes a movie and good meal. I love how sometimes he would even bring us out for an impromptu road trip on the weekends.
Right now my mom is our pillar at home, she supports us as much as she can as a single parent and she’s doing great. She is too hard on herself most times but I think that how most parents are like, because they only want the best for their children.
I think my sister and I see the struggles and know that we have to work hard to support and give back to our mom when we start earning well enough. To let her live a life of no stress because she deserves it.
I’m still learning about the importance of family everyday and as I grow older I become more sentimental about family time and get scared when I think about how much time I have left with my mom and even my grandparents. We need to appreciate every moment we have with our loved ones, cuz we’ll never really know when’s the time.
Sometimes we take it for granted and forget or don’t realize that we also need to make an effort in building a relationship with our family. This means making time for them, spending time with them and have a genuine good conversation to just share what has been going on in your life. We assume that just because they’re family we already have a default relationship when it’s probably just a title connecting the relationship.
Relationship means you invest your time and emotions into building up. It doesn’t happen overnight but overtime. It’s a connection that has to be made.
So love your parents, your siblings, your grandparents. People who are dear to you, appreciate them. Family should always be your priority.
Currently in my mid-twenties, I’m forcing myself to learn how to pick up some healthy money habits, which is learning to spend wisely and save. I love food and I love to hang out with my friends which both costs. At home, I’ve always been known as the one who spends unnecessary in comparison to my sister who is really frugal.
What I started this year or at least the last two months is that I started tracking my spending, making sure my savings are still there. It’s a lot of trial and error but I’m definitely learning from it. I honestly find it really hard to save with what I’m earning now, but it’s also not impossible if I really try to start saving seriously and properly. So here are a few things I’ve learnt.
At the start of the month set your budget for everything. It’s good to have a guide on how much you want to save and how much you can spend on certain things per month. What I did was, anything that’s fixed, such as bills, I set them aside and then I put up a budget on how much I’m allowing myself to spend on food, fuel and some beauty products.
Prepare food from home to bring to school or work. This definitely helped me save a lot, instead of letting my hunger take over my wallet, I make myself feel content with homemade food. Your hungry tummy demands a lot it doesn’t really need tbh. Sometimes I would buy too much food thinking I won’t be filled up with just the enough and end up spending more than I should for lunch. I rather save my money for a night out with my friends for a really good dinner.
Save some money aside for emergency. I like to keep this separate from the other savings. I’m trying to put aside about $50-$100 per month for my emergency funds. Like the saying goes “save if for a rainy day”, cause you really won’t know when you’ll need it and how much.
Sometimes you’ll unexpectedly spend more than you’d like to. Sometimes when certain unexpected event comes up and you can’t avoid them, those are the times when you spend a little more than you’d like to. However as long as you are spending within your budget throughout the month, it should be okay.
Look, I’m no financial expert, and my sister would be laughing at me for giving out advises, but this is what I’ve learnt and kinda works for me. Part of the learning experience right?
It would be good to type or write out your monthly plan. This is all part of adulting, it’s hard but it’s good for your future.
There’s a possibility that you might not even follow your budget throughout the month and you might start wishing that the sky would rain down money (don’t we all?) But it’s okay, there’s always next month.
You know how when new year draws near, its when everyone starts making their resolution and the top one is always to lose weight or get fit. I used to make resolutions but then I stopped, because I never stick to it. I always start the year or at least the first month of the year being all gung-ho, all fired up always ready to exercise. But then as the weeks pass, my schedule starts filling up and the time I set aside to exercise starts disappearing. I’d either have no time at all for it or go home at the end feeling tired and not wanting to do anything.
Recently, I kept it in my mind, making sure I exercise at least once a week. This is because my job consist of me sitting in the office from 8am- 5pm, 6 days a week. I’m pretty sure my butt is as flat as a pancake from all that sitting down and my muscles are not as toned because of the lack of movement.
Another thing about me is that I’ve always struggled with my weight, since I was a kid, I’ve always been the bigger child at home, I guess my metabolism don’t work as fast as my sister’s. It has always affected me when people make comments about my weight and compare me to my sister, but I always try to not let them get to me. It got a bit harder especially when I was going through puberty and all I wanted (and still do) was to eat. I remember when we had health check in school, the nurse would give me a pamphlet about obesity (rude. I wasn’t that big, I was just chubs. still am and I’m healthy).
Anyway, I love how the internet teaches us about loving ourselves first and embrace the way we are despite all the other negativity about body image. I really do believe in loving yourself first, that’s important. That means you don’t make yourself unhealthy, you eat right, you do your exercise and you get those good night sleeps for your body to repair itself. I know that a lot of people struggle with their body image, I honesty struggled with it for a long time and it was only recently when I really felt comfortable with my own skin and how I look. It’s when you decide to not let the negative thought and ideas into your head, you look at things differently.
I enjoy food, sometimes a little too much, but I know I have to eat right, which means veggies and good portion of meat. I make sure I exercise, to get the heart pumping blood around my body up to my brain, to get those muscles in my body to work. I make sure I have at least 6 hours of sleep, for my brain to be alert when I’m awake, for my body to repair itself internally when I sleep, and also to look fresher when I wake up.
This year I decided to have some exercise routine, not sure how long I’ll stick to it tho. I tried to look up online for some regime to follow but it didn’t really work for me. I’d love to go out for a jog but I don’t like jogging around my neighborhood and the stadium is too far from home. I needed something which is convenient for me to do at home. Then about a week ago I remember I bought my mom an exercise game on XBox. It’s called Your Shape: Fitness Evolved (2012). I dug through my drawer and found it, put it into my XBox 360, and started it. Explored it for the first few minutes and I love it!
So what you can do is that you can answer a few questions and they’ll help you set up an exercise plan. They’d mark which workout you should do in order to achieve your goal and they even let you know how often you should exercise in a week. After every workout they would let you know how much calories you’ve burnt and the awesome thing is that because it’s Kinect, it scans your whole body before starting, so it detect if your posture is right and if you raise your arms or legs properly. This is amazing!
For someone who loves video games and doesn’t like boring exercise, this is perfect for me. It makes it more enjoyable and it challenges me.
There’s this one gym in New York which has this arcade like gym and I wouldn’t mind joining that gym. It’s a gym called Asphalt Green. It’s full on interactive walls and floors and it’s high intensity workout. Playing that XBox video game, feels like it might have similar concept as that gym. I definitely feel sore after every workout and that way I know it’s working. I’m gonna try and see if it’ll help me build up my stamina after a few months because honestly after one workout I want to cry my eyes out, it’s so challenging and tiring.
Also working out at home is good, I can wear anything I want, be comfortable and save myself from embarrassment if I can’t figure out how certain gym equipment works.
After graduation last year, I started thinking about my future, actually I had to start thinking about my future even before that. People don’t really warn you about how scary growing up is until it hits you and you realize that it’s time to grow up. It’s when you have to start paying your own bills and make sure you have a job that pays you well enough to sustain you for the month.
Being in uni, I didn’t have to worry too much about what’s next. In the 4 years of uni education, you’d think whatever you study would guarantee you a job, but once you graduate or is about to graduate, you realize that the economy is bad (so I’ve been told) and because of that it’s harder to find a decent paying job.
I’ve always struggled in know what I want to do in life. It’s like everyone else around me knows what they want to be when they grow up ever since they were in secondary school or even in primary! While I’m here still trying to figure out what’s next. I know I want to do something I would enjoy doing for the rest of my life and would also pay my bills and allow me to travel abroad.
Okay I did consider a few career to take on but I also had to look at the reality of where I’m at (location) and I try to be practical (a career that pays well).
Earlier this year I decided to take up Masters in Teaching. I told myself teaching is a very practical job and I’ll be guaranteed with a job after I’m done with the course, but I also know that teaching is not something I’d like to do. I started that journey in January and ended it at the end of February. I love kids but teaching is hard, well for me it was difficult (I did early childhood education). I struggled with coming up with a lesson plan (for the work placement) for the week while trying to juggle my uni assignment. I thought it’d be easy for someone who has been volunteering in a youth ministry where a lot of planning and multitasking has to happen. I was wrong, this was different. This wasn’t fun. The children’s education was in my hands, I had to make sure they understood what I was teaching them. The challenge for me was that I had to teach in Malay. I grew up learning that language formally but to use it informally and to converse in it was so challenging and awkward for me (Fish out of water moment for me).
I started feeling a little depressed, really tired and really did not enjoy life at all. I dreaded waking up in the morning or even going to bed because I knew I had to do it all over again the next day (Some days I couldn’t even sleep because my mind would try and recall all of the students’ name and who I’ll need to focus on)
I knew I had to talk to someone before going any further. So I talked to a few trusted people on what I should do, on whether I should continue with the course or drop out of it. I had conflicting advises, some say stay, some say just drop it. The thing about asking for advises is that people can give you their opinion but in the end you’ll still have to make your own decision. After much consideration and talking, I decided to drop out of the course. It was a scary decision to make, but I knew I had to make a decision.
Many would say that it was a bad decision, because I had the opportunity to do that course and end up with a masters degree and a secure job, but there are also some who would say, if I didn’t enjoy it then there’s no reason for me to stay.
I’ll be honest and say that I still question myself on whether it was the right choice or not. I know that I want to do something else but I also want a stable job. The struggle is real. People say millennials are picky, we want to do something we are passionate about. (I’ll talk more about this next time.)
Going back to topic, I believe and know that God has His plans for me and something awesome will come along. I know that I can’t give up now just because of this hiccup. I know that I’ll just have to work a little harder to find out what I’m good at and what I want to do in life. Taking this as a lesson to learn, failure can discourage a person but it can also teach and motivate one to do better next time.
Proverbs 16:9 says “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord established their steps.”
It’s only and already April but 2017 has been pretty interesting so far, especially with those unexpected turns. I don’t know what else to expect for this year, but I’m excited.
Still discovering, still learning. I know it’ll get better.