The Wonders of Shortcuts

Throughout my life, I have had the blessed opportunity of attaining shortcuts. To me, in life, shortcuts can be defined as attaining your goals or objectives via a quick method. So far, I have gotten some very significant shortcuts that have made it quicker for me to get what I want in life. In the aspect of studies, I got my shortcut when I was accepted to a one-year foundation programme in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) which then allowed me to further my degree in the same program. What would usually take people three years took me only one year. On a more superficial note, I got my shortcut to looking good since my sister works at a watch shop. She gets watches at slashed prices and are very keen on sharing the watches she buys with her siblings. Growing up, I have always wanted to look good. I am always on the lookout for the best clothes, the best shoes and even the best frames for my eye-glasses. One thing I do not have to worry about is having a nice watch since my sister readily provides nice-looking watches for me. I have one less thing to worry about and only need to pay attention to attaining other more superficial pursuits. It is very superficial, but I guess I consider it as a shortcut. In the aspect of work, I hit the ultimate career jackpot (for a fresh graduate) when a friend who I studied with during my foundation, offered me a job at the language centre I am teaching in now. I guess he was the shortcut to the beginning of my professional career. I will be eternally grateful to my friend for the offer as it was exactly what I needed at the time, and what I still need til this day. The flexible working hours, having the lesson and materials thought out for you, and even a minimum month’s pay that still exceeds the minimum wage for a job in Food and Beverage or working in retail is all I could ever ask for. The long holidays and sporadic breaks throughout the year does not hurt too.

Shortcuts are amazing. But what if I cease to have shortcuts. How will I survive then?

Life is about Doing; Learning Humility from Not Doing.

Life is about doing, not so much talking—. One thing I learned recently is that if I am not sure of something, I should not be talking about it. This is especially true if I only know something on the surface-level. I should do further research about something before divulging on it further. Always, I forget to do this. This is a very bad behaviour. Aside from not doing sufficient research before talking about something, I should also not talk about it if I am not readily doing it, or if I am not planning to do it in the near future. If I talk about something without really doing something, I will be a hypocrite. If I talk about something without any real plans to do it, then what is the purpose?

It boils down to ‘humility’, and the bearing of it from having not ‘do’. Humility is something I lack. I refuse to accept that there are things which I do not readily know. If there are things which I readily do not know, I should make active efforts to ensure that I am knowledgeable of that topic. Once I am knowledgeable, or has sufficient knowledge warrants me to talk explain the concept to other people, then I can speak about it.

It boils down to ‘humility’, and the bearing of it from having not ‘do’

For instance, when I started intermittent fasting, I was quiet. I did not really spoke about it to anyone—no one really knew what I was doing. All they knew at the time was that I was losing weight, and at such a rapid pace. They were also quite worried for my health. There were very few people in my personal-life that know about my intermittent fasting routine. However, none from work knew what I was really doing, well except for Zahid, but Zahid and I always share tips about fitness and health to each other. Eventually, when the questions about how I am looking arose at work, I decided to speak about it more, and extend the circle of people who know about my intermittent fasting to my work-life. This is very good, right? Being reserved so that I do not look like I am trying to influence others to do something that I am just starting? Wrong. It is when I began to talk about fasting that I realize I cannot stop talking about it. I began to talk about it in a very elaborate way. I know it became annoying. I would talk about it usually when my colleagues and I would have lunch together. Mostly, it is because I do not know what else to talk about. Naturally, I figured why not talk about something that I am beginning to become good at. Key-words: beginning, to, become, good, and at. I am in no way so adept to the lifestyle that it permits me to irk and annoy people with my boring ‘facts’ about health. Heck, looking back at it, I realize it was all surface-level knowledge. I only recently dug up more about sugar (the types) and how it is converted to energy. Previously, it was just suppressing hunger. I mean I looked at researches and videos about leptin and the chemicals in our body that makes us hungry, but basically, that is it. It is essentially, suppression. The suppression of my hunger. Looking back, it is very dangerous, and it really does not even look like a sustainable way to live. Making health a priority is about making lifestyle changes. I am changing the way I eat, therefore I am trying to make changes to the way I live. It should be a way of living, not a fad that one follows briefly and skips to the next.

One particular incident sort of bugs me until today. I was having my lunch—my usual keto-centric diet of boiled cauliflower and broccoli, and a piece of chicken breast. Occasionally I throw in tofu into the mix to make it more fun, but also because tofu adds to the protein I am already getting with the meal. As with every lunch that is had with fellow colleagues, it would cover various interesting topics. Some are insightful, knowledge-filled discussions, while some may make you squirm and uncomfortable. While having the meal, the conversation we were having began to veer towards substance-abuse. I pointed out my own substance abuse which was nicotine. My colleague pointed out how I am very health-centric but has a nicotine-addiction. This sort of negates my so called “lifestyle change”. And you know what, she was right. Maybe I am a bit of a hypocrite. Although I will not say I have not given the thought of quitting ‘vaping’ completely, I have not been making active efforts to cut down on my bad habit. Aside from trying to limit myself with the amount of vaping I do, there really is no active-effort done in my part to stop vaping.

In short, I sort of feel like an imposter. I really, really need to be in tune with the side of me that cherishes ‘humility’ above arrogance or pride. One way that I can learn humility is to learn. I should be able to learn humility from learning.

Learning keeps you humble, because you are in the process of discovering things which you do not know. And the more you read or learn about something, the more you realize that you simply do not know about that one thing.

Binge-eating Episode of Last Night

What about that binge-eating episode of late last night? I ate a lot of Jacob’s weetameals, almonds, low-sodium high-fibre Jacob’s crackers, almost cleaned out two small packs of cake, had ice-cream and before all of that I had eaten Nasi Goreng Cendawan Goreng already. I ate and yet I still binge-eat.

I was contemplating hard on buying a burger after I had the Nasi Goreng Cendawan Goreng, but I am glad that I did not proceed with that idea. The thing that irks me most is how I was so repulsive. I was repulsive because I ate all those things, yes, but most of all I felt repulsed by myself since I poured that last glass of milk so hastily. Oh yeah I had several glasses of milk too. But I digress. I was not mindful when I poured the milk into the glass. It was so choppily-done that a drop of milk dripped onto the couch. Eating on the couch was in itself something that was also repulsive. It was not so much eating on the couch which bugged me as I have eaten on the couch before in front of the TV without being repulsed by myself, but I binge-ate in the middle of the night, on the couch, after I had a complete meal. On top of that, I was pressing the carton of milk so hard in order to get the very last drop into my glass that I had not given much thought on laying the glass down on a flat and stable surface or even ensuring my aiming was right. I have major spatial-interpreting issues. I should aim better. I should have laid the glass on a flat and stable surface. I should be more mindful in the future.

This brings out an important question. Was I under stress? If so what was the cause? Was it work? Is food my only coping mechanism? How do others cope with stress? Do they binge-eat like I do?

I Have Not Been Consistent & Cleaning Chronicles

Initially when I began writing again on this space, I wanted to make it more consistent. I have planned for it to be updated on a frequent basis. I was caught up with work this week. Is that a valid reason? Or was I prolonging the inevitable? Was I postponing something that I believed at the core of my being to be tedious? Writing does not have to be tedious. It just has to be done.

Today (Thursday) was the day that the house was to be visited by people who painted it. The house underwent some changes which one may even classify as ‘drastic’. Some furniture were thrown out as a result of these drastic changes. It started with the wardrobe. Clothes were the first casualties. As any Marie Kondo loyalists would attest, the process of cleaning must begin with the clothes. I have thrown out a handful of clothes myself. Clothes which did not fit me anymore, clothes that I do not see myself wearing in the future and even clothes which I simply do not like any longer; all were thrown out. Mother followed suit with her own clothes.

After the clothes, there were the miscellaneous things like broken pens, papers and documents which serves no purpose at all. We started tiny. However, mother decided to go big. She began throwing furniture out. She threw out a big-ass cupboard which stored a lot of old plates and glass memorabilia accumulated over the years. You know the kind, tiny porcelain cups and plates that would never be put to use and be put just as display. I think they were mostly given by people when they return from their travels or go somewhere interesting. Mother does not travel herself, since she does not like the idea of travelling, let alone leaving her house. She loves her house. Maybe a bit too much? Maybe that is her way of showing appreciation to people when they give things? Although I will say this, when do we stop hoarding non-necessities?

Then there were the cupboards. The cupboards stored a lot of unnecessary things: old books that nobody reads, and the old work-documents that has no value at all. The work documents were from when she was working. She retired when I was still in my early years of high school. I am 26 now and yet, she still keeps them. For what purpose? Nobody knows. But one thing is for sure, the process of ‘throwing away’, is slowly taking place. One might even argue with the usage of the word ‘slow’. I remember coming back home from work one day and realizing that the house was missing two major pieces of furniture. The first, the cupboard which stored the glass memorabilia, and the second, the cabinet which stored the expired documents. Just like that, they were gone. The cupboard was given away to Indonesian workers who were working on the house one day, and the other was dismantled and set ablaze by my eldest brother.

My brother commissioned the painting of the house. Upon the approval (and money transfer), my mother, very enthusiastically, paid the workers in lump sum before the job was even completed. This paved way to some very shady ass work. There were paint drippings everywhere and some parts of the house were not painted in a very good way. It was shoddy work. I spoke to mother extensively about trusting people after they finished the job. Apparently she has this tendency to trust people once they are kind to her. She does not know how to differentiate a simple act of ‘being nice’ and sincerity. This caused her a lot of mess. Literal mess. Sofas, tables, heck, even the floors are tainted by paint. All because they refused to use plastic wraps onto those things before they painted the walls. Was it really their fault, though? They were paid a handsome amount, and upfront too. Why would they do a good job? They could do their job half-way and leave, and it still would not be a problem (for them).

Anyway, fast forward to today (Thursday), the Indonesian workers were supposed to come by the house and fix whatever it is they messed up. Did they show up? No. It is pretty disheartening. But, I cannot say that I did not see it coming. Once I arrived home, I set down my bag, and immediately went to the kitchen. I picked up the wok metal brush and began scraping the paint off any surfaces which has been affected by the shoddy paint-work. I managed to get some off. However, some areas still need to be thoroughly scraped on. I guess it is easier to do things by yourself, is it not?

On a side-note, today, yet another cabinet has been removed from the house. This was a cabinet that stored old CDs and DVDs which nobody watches or even gives a damn about anymore. It was time. Old CDs are gone, and so are the DVDs. The house feels, spacious. Would probably still need to do a bit of cleaning again in the morning of the following day.

Knowing When It Is Too Much

I had planned to spend a good amount of time to journal. I had allocated a time after I have done everything (prayers, shower, and workout) for working on my journal. But, I could not even workout. Something popped up; my aunt and her family dropped by the house after isya’ and that threw my schedule way off.

There’s another problem. My family has this bad behaviour of prolonging what should be brief. What should be dropping in becomes a very long and extended ‘lepak’ at the living room, talking about miscellaneous things from work (which can be good) to gossiping about people. The previous may be good, because you’re sharing about whatever crappy thing happening to you at work. This way you can vent. Aside from that, your family can chime in and share about their own experiences. It can be a learningful thing, and growth is made possible by learning. The latter, is not so good. We gossip and talk about unnecessary shit about unnecessary people and this is toxic. A toxic trait that may hinder growth.

Whatever I planned to write initially, has to be put for later, because now I’m tired to really write introspectively: I have to wake up early tomorrow therefore I have to sleep early, and also I really don’t think I have the emotional energy to write. I’m drained from having them visit, the good and the bad (toxic discussions) so now I have to vent about that instead since it threw my schedule off and disturbed my emotional peace and clarity.

The first part of the discussion was good (work and stuff) but the second part was not. My family needs to know when to stop. They need to know that they can stop once the educational(?) 😂 vents have ended. Consequently, they can go home, and I can have my me-time again. We can still see each other at a different time. We don’t have to talk like it’s our last time. There is always tomorrow, and the day after that, InsyaAllah.

I will continue writing about the events which happened today and the thoughts which crossed my mind throughout the course of today, tomorrow. I hope I am able to remember them, and retain their freshness when I wake up tomorrow morning.

Bird’s Eye View

I don’t know how others view me. Some might view me as ‘changed’. Some might say I’m still the same. Honestly, I don’t even know anymore. I don’t even know if I know myself.

I was cleaning my hard drive today. In my hard drive are various files from my degree years. A lot of memories. One of it is a video which is essentially a remake of Adele’s Hello. It was done for Madam Rosalind’s Drama Class. We were tasked to make a music video of any kind. We chose Adele’s Hello. I loved the concept. We all agreed on a narrative centering on two students who pissed their lecturer off by not answering his call and skipping class. Eventually, the students tried to make amends with the lecturer by calling him multiple times but the lecturer brushes off the effort (you get the idea by now haha). It brings back a lot of memories. Finishing school is both bitter and sweet.

I saw myself in the video. It was me. A 23-year old UiTM student. That was almost 4-years ago. A younger version of me. I wish I could say something like “if only I knew better, I would have made changes then”. But I know it wouldn’t be fair to him. That version of me. It wouldn’t be fair to myself. I saw changes in him. I saw changes in me. I was less focused back then, not really knowing what to do, not really knowing who I wanted to be. I was… all over the place. Overdramatic. Overusing my resources. But, the quality of the video is good though. I know my shit back then hahaha, and I guess I still know my shit right now too. Would it make sense to say that it felt like an out of body experience? It won’t. Because I am not that person anymore. That person was me. A version of me. A much younger version. But I’m seeing him going through that experience. I saw me, being me. Fuck! That shit is crazy.

I guess seeing your younger version of self is kind of getting a bird’s eye view, in a weird retrospective kind of way.

I am viewing friendships differently too. Am I still friends with the people in the video? My classmates? I think I miss them. Or is beginning to miss them. Do I cut ties with all of them? That’s the thing about looking at our past, we’re reflecting on our choices and all that has happened to us in order to learn from it. Not let it linger. The nostalgia was there. I felt it. It’s gone now. It was a brief moment of letting that “missing”-feeling come into being, and let it go. There is no way one could relive every moment that he/she has gone through. And why the fuck would they, right?

At the same time, I also am reflecting back on my other friends, my long-time friends. My long-term friends from college. Am I losing them? Do I seek new ones? Do I settle? Do I continue to seek? I miss them. But, do I really want to see them? Maybe seeing them now brings me even more heartbreak because there is no way in hell we’re going to be best friends forever. Everyone’s doing their thing and soon I’ll be doing my own thing by seeking out opportunities in life. Learning. Growing. Question is: are they going to grow with me? Do they want to grow with me?

Growing is hard too. Especially when you want to make changes in your life. When you make changes, you learn to do new things. When you learn to do new things, you realize you’re abandoning old ways. When you abandon old ways, doing things feels a lot different. It’s almost like you’re experiencing everything for the first time. Almost as if you’re in your tender nascent phases of life. A rebirth of sort. An awakening maybe? An awakening of a side of you you never knew? Actually, who are we? Who am I? Do I really know myself? Is the person I am today the ultimate decider of who I am to be in the future? Then why am I constantly changing?

It’s late and I should get to sleep. I have been more mindful of the amount of sleep I get at night recently. I need to. I need to start taking better care of myself.

P/S: I need to complete my thoughts, before I go to the next thought.