How I Learned to Be Cozy

Do you remember the last time you felt cozy?  I can hardly remember the last time I felt really cozy. So what I did was to learn how to get and feel cozy in order to cope with life’s challenges. Sigh. Whew.

2017 was a tough year. It was a year of sleepless nights and mornings, and even afternoons. This time, I am busy with my “work” as a full-time mum to my little boss, BM. I applied to several jobs online but unfortunately, there’s no offer yet. I was able to do some freelancing and damn, it made me dizzy but it sure put a smile on my weary face. Before, I was so uncomfortable working when I’m exhausted. But now, even if I’m tired doing chores and breastfeeding the baby all the time, I still have the energy to do some work on the side. Heck, do I have a choice to be weak? None, I guess. 😀

It’s still a blessing and opportunity to finally do what I love to do: writing and testing. I’ve learned to be grateful for any payment, no matter how small. After all, it’s hard to get a job these days and doing “something for a time” is wonderful and no easy feat. Currently, I am selling stuff online and doing some artworks to be sold soon. It might not give me a big amount of money but a little goes a long way compared to nothing. Now, I am more comfortable with the money I’ve got. Back then, I really want more but having more does not equate to stability. Nothing is secure these days, we all know that. The key is to have funds (even if we start small) and learn how to manage it well in order to be at least complacent when the rainy days come.

I’ve kept in mind these thoughts so that I’d feel cozy at times, especially when I’ve got no one to talk and turn to. 😦

  • Accept that we cannot solve everything.
  • Don’t over think.
  • Rest whenever we can.
  • Live for the moment.
  • Choose to be happy. 🙂

Learning to be cozy starts with a good mindset. It’s not easy especially if you are the type of person who’s not used to getting out of the comfort zone. But by being vulnerable and uncomfortable, we set the stage for improvement and growth. We don’t want to be dormant and stagnant, don’t we? Come to think of it, even the trees and plants grow — and if they cease to grow, at least the leaves and roots continue to grow. I hope we learn to get cozy with our lives and ourselves. Because that’s the only choice there is. 🙂

 

What to Do When Changes Happen

Change can be a good thing or a bad thing. It depends on how we perceive and accept changes in our lives that makes all the difference. Change is a part of being alive and knowing that, it can either evoke fear, acceptance, sense of adventure and a lot more feelings we don’t even have names for.

The first thing to do is to accept the change. Most changes that happen to us are beyond our control. You know what I mean — disasters, death of loved ones, unexpected setbacks, deteriorating health, etc. In my case, which is very common, I instantly became a parent. I’m already nearing my 40s and being a parent is not my priority although most people are (people dreaming of having kids). But I am grateful that my partner is and because of him, I am able to experience what it feels like to become a mom. I welcomed that beautiful change and embraced it with an open heart and mind.

Along the way, we just learn to let go of what happened. We keep our heads high and move forward because no matter what we do, life goes on. Lingering on something that is not helpful will only stop us from being better versions of ourselves. Not being able to adapt to changes will stop our growth as individuals. What to do then? We don’t stop the change but we immerse ourselves in it and enjoy the ride. After all, how can we stop the change if it’s unexpected? We just let it be.

The good thing about changes is that we are never alone to handle it. If you are, it is perfectly fine to feel vulnerable and worried but not to the point that you give in to self-pity. Yes, it takes some time to adapt to changes and it is perfectly normal to feel that way. We are just human so we feel and experience things and the like. Another takeaway for experiencing changes is the learning we get from it, which makes us stronger than before.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” – Haruki Murakami 

I’d like to think that experiencing change is magic and opportunity rolled into one. It may be tragic at first but we can let it have a sweet ending. It is when we realize that change is a wonderful gift and that it is one of the constant things the world has to offer.  🙂

Sometimes We Just Have to Trust Again

If you’ve been one of those people who have been wronged several times, would you still believe in the word trust? Would you still give it a chance or give yourself a chance to trust again? It all depends on the current situation and people involved, as every person has a distinct perspective on any given situation.

Perhaps you’ve been cheated on and your partner did it again and again. Most people won’t trust again after they gave several chances, which is also the same for business partners, after they’ve partnered with a business partner who’s a total wreck.

And there is also another kind of trust where faith simply begins. If you believe in God, that’s where you believe that what you ask for in prayer will be given to you. Another example of trust is having faith that your partner won’t waste the chance you’ve given him/her and that he/she won’t take you for granted ever again.

Trusting yourself that you can do a hard thing even if you feel weak and hopeless is helpful. You owe it to yourself because you can always make things happen. And to make things happen, you have to trust yourself first even for the nth time.

Another good thing to do is to trust that miracles will happen. Miracles are always happening, we just don’t always see it because some mundane stuff are masked in roadblocks and hardships. And what about the unexpected blessings that we don’t ask for but we receive?

Sometimes we just have to trust again and see where it leads. Who knows, there’d be magic waiting to unfold. If all else fails, at least you gave yourself the chance to trust again for one last time. No regrets. 🙂

 

A Reflection About Writing

It feels like decades since I last wrote a poem. I also don’t know how to write a beautiful one. I don’t want the words to just rhyme without a sense. Writing without sense would be like insulting the lexicon and our other great poets and writers and the art of poem making. But let’s not get too serious here as I am not a serious person, too. 😀

If you’re a budding writer or poet, I suggest that you should always write and not judge yourself. By nature, we are the most critical judges of ourselves but sometimes it won’t help. If we always judge ourselves and mind what we are doing, how can we ever write? Remember seeing this advice, “Don’t care about what other people think of you?” The advice is simple yet it means a lot when it comes to writing any other type of piece. If we always think about what others will say, we will never amount to anything. Did you notice that the best written pieces are the ones that have been rejected million times over?! 😉

I am not saying that we should always praise ourselves but it won’t hurt if we give
ourselves some little lovin’. So, hello and welcome imperfection! After all, imperfections are what make us human. We become imperfect first before we get to be perfect. Otherwise, if we are perfect, what’s the sense of practice and rewriting every now and then? As I have observed, writers write and rewrite and repeat! 🙂

I am not an authority to give you these words but I am talking from my experiences. Whether someone will write or buy our work doesn’t matter. What’s important is we continue to write and improve our craft (whatever your craft is), put our work out there and watch the magic happens. Remember Roald Dahl’s words: Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it!

These are the words in my head upon waking up from a severe headache due to consecutive coughing last night. If perfection is the criteria for a poem, mine would be the opposite. I always find myself writing pieces that our far from my expectations and the standards of many.

Never Waste Time

In this universe so vast
I can always notice
That life is so fast
Faster than the solstice.

Whether I look or not
Or know what time it is
The time on the clock
Is never what it is.

Let us do what we must do
And forget what we should not
To nonsense things we bid adieu
So greatness will be unlocked.

Never want to waste some time
Much have wasted in the past
Time wasted is like a crime
The damage is forever to last.

Why You Should Be in Control of Your Moods

The idea that the weather and people’s moods are connected is quite old. Do you agree? If yes, how does the weather affect your mood? – The Daily Post 

For ages, it’s been known that weather affects our moods and it’s always a hearsay. “Is there a truth to this,” you might ask. According to the plethora of articles in the net, yes and no. But then who cares? Take this for example, what if you are a writer, you woke on the wrong side of the bed, you woke up sick plus the weather is gloomy? To make things worse, you woke up with flu  and you feel sluggish. Then, a strong brush of typhoon wind has touched your dry face. Whoa, what a combo you got there! Is that one recipe for a bad mood? What do you think? 😀

Now, let me tell you the stories of my friends whom I know always have bad days. So, A works at a faraway place and her travel time everyday is between 2 to 3 hours, going to work and getting back home. That is a total of 4 to 6 hours! She’s underpaid and works for about 10 to 12 hours! Sometimes, even more! Mind you, the salary is so meager that even undergraduates would not want even a piece of her technical job! She is the breadwinner of her family and sometimes she regrets not having enough time for herself.

Enter B. B is a father of 3 kids, and a father of another 2 kids outside marriage. That’s a total of 5 kids! Having 5 kids these days is a disaster unless you have the means to give them a good life. Sounds normal, but what’s tormenting is that when all these kids were born, several close people of B got sick and died. He also lost his business and some partners who owed him money didn’t pay him back. He also lost his dad and now, he also sends money for his mom’s monthly medication and money to send his siblings to school.  These stories, I guess, were more than bad weathers but bad cases and very common, too.

I asked both friends if weather had affected their moods and they said, “NO.” Is it because they’re used to it or they just chose not to be affected? According to the both of them, weather can somehow affect our moods but what really affects us is the way we think about the situation.  I definitely agree.

A weather may be a good one and a place may be so wonderful, but it is what we do to what happens to us define the moment. Even if it’s a beautiful, autumn day and you won the lottery, none of it seems to matter if you choose your mood to be a bad one. Too bad, a day is wasted before you even get to start it. And, when we are feeling bad, we get to do bad things we don’t even want to do!

“When you’re in bad mood, you find jerk on anywhere.” ― Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut

Thus, my conclusion is this:

We must be in control of our moods, or else our moods will control us. We cannot control the weather but we can control our moods. Knowing that fact, isn’t it wonderful that we have a choice? Let’s choose the good one.

* Daily Prompt: Climate Control

5 Writing Tips: Be Like the Ants When It Comes to Writing

What is the correlation of ants to writing? An insect is very different to a craft, a hobby or a living – which is writing. Ants are akin to science and many topics have been written about it. In this post, I discuss the connection of the two.

1. Ants hoard foods. We could hoard topics, keywords, tips and ideas, just like writing prompts (see Daily Post and Plinky). All of these will come in handy when the inspiration to write strikes. But what about if there is no inspiration? Then, it leads you to the ant writing tip #2.

2. Ants keep trying. It is normal to have written untitled and unfinished posts, stories, essays or whatever. What’s important is you keep on writing and trying until you find your voice/niche to write and get your creative juices flowing. Being a writer is not easy, even if you are freelancing. What more if it is your full-time job? If it is your job, you should possess the ant characteristic in ant writing tip #3. At least, even a bit.

3. Ants are industrious. They are never lazy. As a writer, one can never be lazy especially if the post is informative and needs critical information and research. It won’t hurt to do some research before putting your written words out there. The information reflected in your writing must be (well, at least) correct and accurate if not near to perfect. No one is perfect but information must be captured well so as not to miseducate your audience.

4. Ants are busy. Was there a time where you remember so well that ants are idle? As humans, we have an excuse to be idle. But, when we start to write, it is better to keep our minds busy than idle the whole time. Taking a hiatus from writing, of course, is a different story.

5. Ants help each other. They motivate each other and they value team work. I have observed the ants in our garden and they greet and help each other carry the load of their fellows. Help is everywhere. We could always ask our friends to give honest feedbacks about what we have written. All we need is to open our minds, always practice and have ample patience until we get the writing done.  Eventually, it will lead to a bit of improvement and good results.

So, be like the ants when it comes to writing and never ever quit.

An Escape and a Lesson

My neighbor called me up to say that my family’s house was robbed. He was so eager with his story and said that I come home right away to check and assess the situation. I looked at the wall clock hanging by my boss’ wall and realized that I am working late again. Overtime. Overworked but I have to finish my task and at that time, I was paid by the hour plus the differential pay when working past 9PM. My mind told me to just continue working because after all, what’s the point of hurrying back home when I am already robbed — er, we’re already robbed?

I got home around 1230AM and voila, what a sight to behold! From afar, it is like I can see our humble abode in broad daylight with all the big spotlights focused on our gate! Whopper barks endlessly and the police cannot get in through the front door. They are afraid that Whopper would bite. At the back door, the knob was already wrecked. That was the time when the other police and some of their assistants entered the house to check the robbers. A total of 4 were found but only 2 of them were caught.

At the precinct, I saw the 2 robbers and to my disgust, the other robber is a minor. Obviously, the older bastard got the kid to do the crime with him with the promise that whatever they get would be divided in half. The robbers are both bruised but the older one was using a borrowed clutch because he fell from the second floor when the police was running after him. I filed the case after that, freed the kid so that he could have a chance at life. The hearing continued and every two months and I am seeing the robber’s face and I realized how much the whole thing sucks. The so-called fiasco lasted for about 10 months and a half. Then, the case was dismissed. It was dismissed all because my witnesses are afraid to speak up, for fear that they will be the next victim. I just assumed that they are entitled to their own reasons but grateful that one of them called the police to report the incident.

The robbers are freed and it was such a sweet escape to them. The witnesses didn’t show up and up to this point, I never knew them — that, too is an undefined escape. As for me, my escape boiled down to the fact that I will no longer think about what and why it happened. I lost the case but it is a blessing that I did not lose my mind. I am grateful that the pipe and wrench did not have the chance to hit my head on that fateful night. If I went home early before 9PM at that time, I would be either killed or raped. One thing’s for sure, I would never get to hug Whopper ever again. I also learned about forgiveness after that. See, there is always a good side to every bad story. 🙂

* Daily Prompt: By the Skin of Your Teeth

The Beat That Was Not Meant For Me

I always wanted to have a drum set. I told my mum first then my dad. What happened was they just shrugged it off and did not pay attention. I thought I am just plain stupid for asking it or maybe they are just too pre-occupied with work and with the other issues in their lives. Little did I know that I was not the only one my dad is feeding. He is also supporting his other families. I may be the eldest but I have other younger siblings with different mums.

Although my younger half brother has it, I did not have the chance after him because we, siblings, are too many. The count is more than the fingers on both hands, no kidding. My dad has lots of mistresses, old and young with babies to feed. For parents, I know that they won’t give in to their children’s wishes right away or too often, so as not to spoil them. But in my case, it was different although back then I felt a bit jealous on why I didn’t have it. I thought it wasn’t fair and my feeble mind thought that my dream of becoming a musician has been shattered. How can I practice my music and my beat without the instrument?

At a young age, I have learnt that in life, people do not always get what they want. A simple example would be the drum set that I have wished and asked from them. And life, no matter how beautiful it is today may be worse tomorrow. While my mum would certainly want to give it to me, her salary is not enough to buy even the cheapest drum pad. It may seem as an exaggeration but what I am pointing out is how obvious it was that her money is meant for necessities only — my drum set, of course, is excluded from her long list of necessities. She even told me that the things I wanted are not even part of a person’s basic needs. She would only buy things associated with food, shelter and clothing and food is the top priority.

She also told me very clearly that if I wanted something, I must work for it and if I didn’t get it, I should try harder. Needs first before wants she told me repeatedly. If I am not mistaken, I was seven that time. That was the time when my youngest sister was born. So apparently, my drum set is out of the picture since we have a baby sister who needs more attention than I am. But my mum explained to me why and she didn’t sugarcoat the reality. It was still vivid in my memory when she said that my time will come. My cerebellum thought death is coming at me anytime back then.

That time when I did not get my drum set, I understood that the beat certainly was not meant for me. But now, I will have to create my own beat, with or without my drums. And this beat will help create a beautiful music that would cheer me on for as long as I live. 🙂

* Daily Prompt: Out of Reach

10 Life Lessons From A Nomad Working Abroad

When I was a kid, all I wanted was a simple store where I can sell my iced candies (aka frozen iced juice) to our neighbours. That was until my parents showed me a bigger picture which is the place we call mall. My folks said that I could have it after graduating from college and that after earning my bachelor’s degree, it would be easier to have my own business. They thought it was easy to which the gullible in me believed in. Some years later, I left our country to earn money. Being abroad is a far cry from my plans, it is my last resort when it comes to work. However, a sense of euphoria fills me in knowing that I have fulfilled my mum’s dream when she was my age back then. Here are the lessons I have learned (and heard) the hard way to which I know my mum is smiling from ear to ear. Oh, if you only see her smile when I left our house as she hugged me tight! Is it because she knew that another headache (me) is gone?! 😀

1. Attitude

My attitude sucks big time especially my “patience quotient.” If there’s a cookie and mum promises to give me one more when she gets back home, I think I could wait for her. Another cookie sounds enticing to me so what I would do is I would lick the cookie then put it back on the plate. She would not know that I have tasted it, right?! Voila, another cookie is waiting for me! Of course, what happened in real life is the exact opposite! I am restless and not the type who can wait. Traveling and working abroad tested my patience, so much that it hurts. It may not entirely changed me but I could say that my patience have upped a bit. A good attitude will either make or break us and that’s what I am working on until now.

2. Skills/Work

Not having ample skills will get us nowhere. I am not an authority to say what is skilled and what is not. However, I have observed that we must be flexible or else, we perish at the workplace. When you start working, you would be surprised that you are working for more than what you have signed for. If you are going to learn from it, take the challenge and learn everything you can. You may not get an increase but at least you get to have another work experience or another skill to master. And what if the company does not appreciate you? There’s a thing called choice and another thing called gut — get moving. You already know what to do.

3. Adventures

Adventures can be found outside the confines of our home unless you consider breaking your own furnitures an adventure on its own. Adventures and getaways may mean different to each and everyone of us yet its common ground is fun. By fun, means having a worthwhile experience that will always make you want to do it again or simply reminisce why it happened and how it made you happy. Adventures also mean that you have tried doing things you never thought you would do whether it’s jumping off a cliff, diving, eating exotic foods, singing/dancing in front of a large crowd, making fun of yourself, the list goes on and on… <insert whatever you want to do that you haven’t done yet>. Go give it a try or you’ll regret that you never did.

4. People/Culture

Each individual is different. What is good to you may mean otherwise to the other individual so it would be better if we acknowledge where a certain person comes from. I have learned not to judge them and gained a broader understanding that cultures differ. Interacting with other people enables us to learn a lot from them, as to why they act and think that way. Another perspective is brought out in the open wherein we know that the world is not just revolving around us but to other people as well.

5. Communication/Relationships

We are close to nothing if we do not know how to communicate. Without communication, there would be no relationships. While some people are innate with communication skills, it could also be learned diligently. By learning to listen, one can start communicating well. Most of us are avid talkers, not knowing when to keep our mouths shut. Why can’t we just listen eagerly to what the other individual has to say? We cannot form good relationships if we do not know how to communicate. What more getting a job if all we could do is talk about ourselves and not let the employer/recruiter have their chance to utter their sentences? What is good cover to a blabbermouth? A very sticky duct tape.

6. Health

Without good health, forget working abroad unless you have a backer who would put you into employment and say that you are fit to work. Health is definitely wealth here. There is no point earning lots of bucks if your health suffers. Invest in healthy foods and foods that could benefit your mind and body. Supplements and medicines can only take you far and will just give you a run for your money. Stay healthy or say buh-bye to your visa/work permit. Being healthy is self-explanatory.

7. Independence

Being on your own is surreal and liberating. Having your own money and having to send some of it to your family back home is an achievement. I maybe shallow but I feel happy that I could give back something to them. I am not a self-acclaimed independent bloke but at least, I never ask someone for alms. I have learned to spend my money wisely and to spend within my means. It is perfectly okay to indulge on something only if you have paid your dues and paid yourself (savings, investment, etc.). Living abroad is very expensive and we should be aware that this kind of life is not forever unless you have become a permanent resident or a citizen to which there are no guarantees. Choose a lifestyle that you can sustain and support in the long haul.

8. Freedom

Freedom is the kind of feeling where we could do what we want without having to worry what happens next. It is similar to independence but freedom is quite subjective. Freedom happens when we are in control of our lives and that happens when we know what we want and how to get it.

9. Appreciation/Gratitude

Being grateful is what keeps me going until this day. I appreciate the little things and feel happy. I feel blessed that I am able to wake up every morning. Not everyone does and this not a cliché. Thank yourself, thank your friends, thank the world. All these will love you back and make you appreciate yourself more.

10. Self

After a hard day’s work, all we have is ourselves. There are times when there’s no one to talk to and nostalgia sets in. You gotta give yourself some lovin’ and do what makes you feel loved. You are an individual worthy to be loved and you deserve it. Don’t you ever forget that! I think I love myself now and so, I am preaching it.

No matter what age you are in, being a nomad once in your life is a one of the best experiences that would make you experience life. The lessons are indeed priceless and no amount of money can give you all these challenges. Changes, good and bad combined and all the other adventures might not have happened have it not for the nomadic life you have experienced. And even if you are home buddy or a so-called patriotic who never want to leave the country, being a nomad at times has its own rewards. After all, there is nothing to lose but only to gain, unless we are dead by default.

P.S. Mum, I know that your stomach ached from too much laughing after reading this. I could hear you fart now. Okay, you won. My life is never the same again! 😀

When Sorry Is Just A Word

Daily Prompt: Sorry, I’m Busy

There will always be this one time where we could have helped someone but did not. I know the feeling and the frustration but I was too nonchalant about it. Imagine a scenario when by all means you could have helped this someone but you chose not to and stood by that decision. If you were that person who turned your back to the one who desperately needed your help, how would you feel?

To start with, people in our company are nice and happy people until some of turned out to be bad, sour and sort of dumb. These people commit a lot of mistakes and I am not an excuse to this. We have wrongdoings and have been wronged by bosses who do not know how to manage people. This is also the first time in my life that I have seen friends and colleagues working 24/7, devoting their lives to a project that we do not know where the hell we are headed. Silly and real, sad and painful because our partners and loved ones are complaining that we have less time for them. When a colleague has asked me to help him write his design document, I declined. I felt sorry because I wanted to help but I couldn’t just because my plate is already full. He understood right away because we are in the same boat.

We do not need awards or recognition just for us to know that we are doing good. We do not need a raise just to bribe us that we extend our hours to do more work and do other stuff not specific to our assigned projects. Further, the medical card given to us is nothing compared to the sickness and lost of time that we have lost. Lost time and health can never be recovered. What happened, happened. What is lost may not be found. Now what?!

What I have learned from this is loving myself. I have forgotten myself when thinking of other people especially the ones who mean the world to me. How ironic it is that they are the reason why we work when they could also be the ones we could lose? Work would not be there to take care of me unconditionally when I am sick. It won’t buy me the time I should be spending with my loved ones. If you have kids, you lose the ‘time’ to bond with them and you missed seeing them grow up all because you poured it out to your work and to the blokes in your company who would never appreciate what you did — and so on, and so forth. How do I know? A good friend of mine who’s been working for them for a year, got terminated. Call it office politics but their reason of saying that it was due to his poor performance is lame. I am one of the witnesses when our client commended him for doing his work so well. Logically, whether or not we do our best, we still could lose our jobs. There are just some things that are not within our control. I can bear to lose a job in more than ten thousand or million ways but the thought of losing the core reason of my existence here on earth is unforgivable.

This only means that I am devoting more time to myself and to the ones who matter to me. Sorry to my family and friends. Most of all, sorry to myself. I perfectly remember this adage, “What we allow is what will continue.” I guess I forgive myself now. Sorry is just a word, a word that is often taken for granted for its meaning and essence. I hope I have learned that by heart many times ago.