Life Lessons Learned From A Hiatus

Idleness is the root of all evil. The said adage does not ring any truth to me, at least in my opinion. I’ve been idle for almost a year and I am excited for my one year idle anniversary come January 2015. I never asked for this to happen and didn’t even want this to happen especially if it’s unplanned. But the universe has its own uncanny way of bringing surprises that I am unsure and unaware of. I don’t know how to put all these into words or how would I call my situation. So let me call it a happy hiatus. I am not an authority to give tips but I would like you to have a peek into my own world which is a sort of a hullabaloo-meets-oasis kind of thing.

I am branding this year as my lucky year because it is a year like no other. Each year is unique but this one is very distinctive. Losing a lot when situations have gone haywire on the first month of the year is something most folks consider bad luck. Come to think of it, people may brand it as bad luck but it is just our own thoughts making the situations worse as they seem. At first I thought I’ve lost it all — job, money, chances, people, opportunities, you name it! All I can think of is how bad the situation was and a part of my life is over. And then I tried to shift my thinking on a different level. If something bad happens, something good will happen, too. That was a bit excruciating for me because I am not a Pollyanna.

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” – Hellen Keller

I thought being jobless for a year would make me a useless wimp. Ironic as it seems, I was completely busy. I’ve been touring on my own, hopping from one country to the next either by plane, bus or boat. It was fun meeting new people, all different and beautiful in their own ways. I was like an exchange student and a foster child at some point! Being a lonesome traveler is liberating for me. I do travel on my own but it is my first time to travel for months. Crossing the borders with the other solo travelers and setting our foot in between two borders at the same time is one of my definitions of the word awesome, at least before kicking the bucket.

Finally, my nomad dream came true this year. When you travel alone, you don’t know what to expect. You get to live in the moment and savor every second of it. Sure, sometimes worry sets in and then sadness fills my heart but looking forward to the wonderful adventures take all those sentiments away. Every single day of my backpacking journey is exciting as I do not know what to expect. It is like today I am wandering in this beautiful city then tonight I will sleep in the bus and wake up in another city!

In this happy period, I was also able to write some posts, letters and do the things I always dreamed of doing but never got the chance. I did some moonlighting and yes, it sustained me for awhile to go on with my journey. Along the way, I also met likeminded people who want to share their lives by giving back a portion of themselves. I engaged in helping the less fortunate together with these wonderful people that I’ve met. I also visited old friends whom I haven’t seen for a long time and gave my time to them especially to the ones who need it the most. My life is not about me at all. It’s about them. It is about my loved ones and other people. I am just a dot in the universe also connecting to other dots. By connecting to them, my life is enriched and I feel happy and contented. We don’t need much in life, we just need one another to get through each day. Money can surely buy some happiness but it cannot buy fulfillment.

To begin with, I am not rich and by mere definition, I am poor. I just happened to sustain myself for a year (without working) because of some little preparation. My work as a freelancer does not guarantee a fixed salary every month. It only lasted for three months. So, for the rest of the months, I lived my life as a nomad. What I do is I save every penny that I have years back. Is it impossible? No. If we are living from paycheck to paycheck, we can live below our means and spend money on necessary things only. No matter how little money we have, if we use it wisely and feel grateful for what we have, everything will work out fine. I thought at first, I wouldn’t make it and then December came. Finally, I am closing the year with an unexpected grin on my face. I never believed in myself as much as I believed in myself now.

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ― Sylvia Plath

As silly as it may seem, I trusted myself that I’ll get through it. That’s the only option so I am forced to make it happen. While it is true that having a backup plan in life is one of the best things to do, it also makes sense to focus on your main plan. Otherwise, you would just end up doing plan B and may have some regrets later on. At that time, I just jumped right on, not looking back. I also quit over thinking because it kills the mood and makes the vibrations low. I have learned to put myself on a pedestal and love myself more.

Being the spontaneous being that I am, I always go with my gut feel. There are countless times that I have ignored my gut and I was left crestfallen. I blew it and I constantly blamed myself why the hell I am put in this kind of situation. It is when our hearts, minds and intuitions are aligned that magical experiences unfold. It depends on what works for you, if your mind works better then use it more than your heart. It all boils down to knowing ourselves and what works for us. No inhibitions, no pretensions, no whatsoever.

Back then, I am unsure of myself and I was scared of the unknown. I am not brave but I just know that I have to do it. Otherwise, none of all these wonderful things could have happened. Just live life on your terms and let go of the things you cannot control. Even if we are not armed with a plan, we just do it and take a leap of faith and watch what happens.

So what about failure, does it matter? Failure is subjective and it’s up to us how we perceive our failures. Sure it hurts when we fail at something we really want and things don’t go as planned, but when we take failure as an opportunity to learn, that’s the first step to making things happen. We can be right, we can be wrong and we can be both and still fail but as long as we still try and get up every after fall, we will still get to our destination.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

If you think that you’re living in a rut and have lost hope, please give another chance to yourself. There is always a glimpse of hope, a light in every dark corner and a chance to shine. May you always remember that you are a masterpiece and your story goes on. To all jobless sibs and wanderers, it is not yet the end of the world. Remember, the rest of our story is still unwritten. 🙂

Is Reading Minds Worth It?

We have seen mind reading pegs in the movies and now, we can finally do it in real life. Why not? But what if we cannot turn it off? Would you still take that chip?

It thrills me that I do not know what the future holds. Sure, I worry like most people but the thrill fuels me to take on more risks and challenges. Knowing what’s on other people’s minds would be a great deal, perhaps. But them, knowing what is on my mind? I would not like that. So what gives?

If reading their minds would also mean that they can read mine, my privacy is at stake. Well, it goes both ways. If the person I am interacting with also has that chip, our interaction would be in a biased state. Having that chip would make my life boring and would make me feel that I am dependent on other people’s thinking.

One might say that a person can get used to it through time but I don’t think I would. I am an individual who value privacy and secrecy at most. I won’t take my friend’s chip unless he reinvents it, where reading minds would be one way only. I would also remind him that people can read his mind, too, once he released his invention. Not good. Confidentiality will be thrown out of the window. No one would want that.

So, count me not. I think my friend’s chip will make my life boring and less thrilling. I would ask him to create another invention or reinvent it so that people can only read the good thoughts. At least, the whole world will experience having beautiful minds even if they don’t turn off that damn chip. 🙂

* Daily Prompt: Full Disclosure

What’s On Your Mind?

Nothing is on my mind except that I have a brain that tells me to sleep after eating. But how can I sleep when I am so busy finishing my tasks? And another busy person who happens to be my colleague is Anna. She is the last person I saw before reading Daily Post’s prompt: Whether it’s a family member, a coworker, or a total stranger, write a post about what that person is thinking right now.

I respect what other people think so I decided not to be consumed with assumptions. Even if Anna is my friend, I don’t want to disturb her silence by just asking nonsense stuff because she is darn busy. This post is important so I just asked her right away. So I asked her bluntly, “What’s on your mind?” Being the accomodating person that she is, she answered back. With that, I am indebted to her for this post.

“Nothing’s on my mind,” she said. I asked her again and again what pops into her head at this present moment. She’s just hoping that her hubby would strike 5 million for TOTO (lottery) today. But it is so hard to win the lottery. It’s just like punching the moon and standing on the water. On my mind, I hope I would win, too. She has no idea that her answer made me smile. Blame it to my shallow nature or my feeble mind but I am happy that she answered me for my question and that I was able to write about this post. It’s been quite awhile since I left my blog lurking with no recent posts.

My post today is very simple but the lesson that goes with it is profound, or so I thought. If you want to smile amidst all the hustle and bustle of life, talk to a friend. A short chit-chat with a friend would make your mind rest while cortisol levels are maintained and blood pressures become normal. And that’s just what I did now while inhaling and exhaling and writing this post.

Oh, by the way, after our conversation, she sent me this dancing panda. Isn’t she cool? 😀

Image

My heartfelt thanks, Anna. If this post gets freshly pressed, I am forever indebted to you. You deserve a real panda and a win for the lottery. 🙂

 

 

The Bum’s Newspaper – A Day in the Life of a Bum

As I’ve said in my previous post, I’ll be writing something about my week. That’s a wrap, a full wrap because my hands are always full. Idle moments are also scarce if you’re the type of person who wants to be busy most of the time. I do not know if I should say this but at one point or another, I love being a bum. I also hate being one but hating it would just make matters seem worse so I’ve changed my perception about it. I could just think that these two jobless months are my vacation months. Does it count to be a hiatus? I’d like to think it does but it doesn’t. I went to job interviews this week, whew! Thanks to myself for being so persistent on applying, let alone that most of the job openings are for job pooling only. Whatever. 😀

In answer to the WP’s challenge, the objects that I am always using now are my cellular phone, laptop and newspaper! As primitive as it might sound, some of the job openings that are urgent are found in the island’s newspaper. And, I am holding it now. 🙂

Here’s my simple itinerary:

Morning: Exercise upon waking up. If I am too hungry, I just eat right away. However, there is no excuse not to stretch and work my butt downstairs. If I always sit and sleep, I would never get fit. Besides, I have to be healthy in order to prepare for the next medical exam, given that I’d bag that job. After my so-called exercise at the free gym downstairs (see, it’s free yet I am lazy), I take the stairs, sort of a cool down after the exercise. Then, I eat and apply online and follow up my applications by talking to some agents/headhunters.

Afternoon: Still doing that same damn thing, job hunting but with some chatting on the side. All work and no play would make me dead, er, dull. Once in awhile, it won’t hurt to treat ourselves to occasional reading or hobby when doing something that is tiring. Yep, applying jobs can be a tiring feat if you’ve been doing it for months esp. every single day wherein you’re on the lookout for the newest job posts the job site offers. I’ve read somewhere that it is nice to drift away from your current task every 25 minutes, then work again. It may not apply to most people esp. the ones who really like to concentrate on their tasks and not break their own momentum. But the 25 minutes break perfectly works for me. I have gotten used to it even if I am in the mood for writing.

Note: If you’re looking for a job, create/update your Linkedin account. Some employers found me there and called me up.

Evening: This is where I really take long breaks. After past 6 or 7PM, I take a long walk and play with a cat if I see one. I eat my dinner and have a dessert if I am not that full then have a long walk again. Before bedtime, I eat again, sort of a midnight snack or just drink a cup  of hot chocolate.

And what about the newspaper you ask? I still read it but I do not read the Careers Section. There’s more to life than just finding a job but I do acknowledge how important it is to have one. Without a job, I wouldn’t be able to prepare for the rainy days and won’t be a happy bum that I am now. Being the spontaneous person that I am, I honestly don’t know what to do next but one thing’s for sure, I’d have fun. No worries, just prepping for the next days to come with my trusted newspaper to keep boredom at bay. 🙂

P.S. Omg, I don’t know if the newspaper has a relevance to what I have written. Obviously, this is what happens when one becomes a professional bum. Cheers! 😀

Weekly Writing Challenge: Object

Thank you for reading my 100th post. 🙂

So I Pray and Maybe Eat and Love Sometimes or Whatever

Note: To my atheist friends, I respect what you have to say about this post. However, I still request you to read the numbered sentences. You might find something that could resonate with your thoughts. At least, somehow. 🙂

Before reading this, let us be silent for several minutes. Start by thanking God then continue praying to your heart’s desire.

For my introduction, this is what I have to say –  I am not religious but I am spiritual. It is just ME, my PRAYER and my GOD. Please allow me to share with you my journey – as an individual and as a pilgrim of the world.

Praying is like eating to me, it is crucial to my growth as I explore and learn about my spirituality. I keep on searching for ways to know myself and God for ages. Last August was an opportune time for me to attend an ‘Encounter with God Retreat.’ The last retreat I attended was way back 2003. I rarely attend retreats but there’s a jolt inside me telling me that I should. After that wonderful event, I have found a bit of serenity. I thanked God for making me feel that magical jolt.

Apparently, I always try to find balance just like the Yin and Yang. I see myself searching for the kind of balance that would make my life turn 360 degrees. It is in this stage that I started to pray more often than what I used to. I have read the Bible and the books pertaining to that matter until I found Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat Pray Love.’ Her mentor, Ketut Liyer, enlightens us with his words of wisdom: To find the balance that you want, this is what you must do. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it’s like you have four legs, instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God. Such comforting words confirmed my thoughts and convictions that I should continue my soul searching.

In my constant search to know myself more and to learn other things about God, I have known the following:

  1. Love and accept yourself.
  2. Be grateful with what you are given.
  3. Be yourself.
  4. Learn to love solace and find peace in solitude.
  5. It is hard but we should forgive those people who have wronged us. We should also forgive ourselves, too.
  6. Take time to be silent. Silence makes us think and reflect more.
  7. When confused and undecided, be still and pray.
  8. Practice not to worry too much.
  9. Value the non-negotiable blessings in life like family and friends. Although work is important, our work will not take care of us in the long haul.
  10. Know God.

To date, 2010 (and now, 2013) is my most prayerful and busiest year. Whenever I do something, I pray. The act of praying, if correlated with correct thinking, can really do wonders to our lives. It all starts with having a strong mindset and ardent will to change and make things happen.

I also became an agnostic. After my discernment and constant prayers, I am back to normal again. (Normal is subjective so I won’t elaborate further.) That is the time that I have proven that I can be ‘still’ without having to worry about my tomorrows. Knowing that we have a loving God makes all the difference. It gives me peace of mind which in turn brings gladness to my heart and fulfilment to my soul. My faith in Him definitely moves me.

It is only NOW that I can finally say I am living my life. I have died and have been renewed by accepting God in my life. I am starting to live my dream. I am no longer worried of the adversities that are yet to come because I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I have made my own Yin and Yang in a rational way: Good > Bad = Balance. I believe that good must outlive the bad in order to achieve balance. Another equation for a happy and fulfilled life is this: EAT heartily, PRAY solemnly and LOVE unconditionally.

* Daily Prompt: Imitation/Flattery