Jan 21, 2016

2016 goals: Health

If the biggest area I've neglected in 2015, it's health. Too shameful to even come up with the amount of exercising I did (hint: close to none), ate poorly for the most part, started snacking habit at work. 

I had some idea 2 weekends ago on health goals for 2016. While I cannot change the environment I'm working in (think a lot of sitting, looking at the screens, got home tired and frankly don't bother doing anything else), there is still some things I can do:

(1) I'm toying with the idea of getting up early half an hour or 45 mins earlier than usual - just so I can walk to my office instead of taking the commute. At the moment I walked home after work and it felt great to be able to walk free and people-watch (or lost in thoughts, which is more often the case). The amount of walking I do per day is shamefully little. If I can squeeze this routine in before work, I'll arrive in office more awake, warm (vs icy feet and  fingers in winter), brain functions should be better. I have no idea when to start this (not this week) and whether this will be too much in the summer (I bet it is), the plus side is I'll be doing some minimal form of exercising and get my brain ready for work, save some commute pennies, the down side is I'll be losing some sleep / need to sleep earlier the night before for the whole week.

(2) Similar to (1) above, instead of walking to office, I'll go for a jog nearby home for 20-30 mins. Speaking of difficulty in getting up, this applies to both ideas but this is probably more difficult as it involves changing into a gym gear and then work apparel. This one also will sweat more. A friend suggested I start with the lowest intensity and build up over time, she has a point. If I started out too intensive (30 mins for a start, high-speed), I'd only end up exhausted and will not pursue it again. I had to give her the kudos for sticking to her routine for 1+ years! (really how does one do that?)

(3) I'm prepared to pay more for good fruits. Since my fruit intake is quite poor no matter it is weekday or night, no matter how much I love fruits, there isn't a good timing for it. I've now resorted to bringing some to work so I can munch on, partly to replace snacking with junk food. So far it worked, sort of. There are only a few contenders who can serve the office setting. I think I'm willing to pay more for better fruits since they're well worth it (sumptuous!), and it can't really go wrong if I was to go the eat-whole-foods path.

(4) There was a tiny bag of expired instant pasta (I know) last week, I took the opportunity and made use of a tomato in the fridge, sprinkled some cheese powder leftover from mom's baking, black pepper, some rosemary (again pantry leftover) and it made a great meal. In fact I could halve it and make lunch for next day. The instant part was not healthy but I think I might experiment it with plain uncooked pasta next time. It helps to always have some vegetables on hand (the kinds that I like, not the kinds that my mom usually cooks). This idea needs a bit tinkering since those kind of foods (tomatoes, mushrooms) don't tend to last long in the fridge and I don't cook often enough to justify having them around in the house for too long. Hmmm....

(5) Keeping my bedtime. Because self-care gives me power to deal with the day.

Don't have ideas about how I'd like to take on 2016 (not advised...I know), but nothing has really 'clicked' so far except for health and social goals.

Jan 1, 2016

It's 2016 already?

The first day of 2016 is nearly gone and I've spent my first monies on monthly transit/transport, a family meal, and some personal supplies (can't resist a good discount...#fail). I've paid off my credit cards and arranged taxes to be paid this week. 

Regardless, I still feel under-prepared for 2016, mostly because my goals are still in the dark (idk why none of them speaks to me), I'm still finding my feet on the ground with the new role at work, waiting for a normal paycheck come January, and some family member has been having a rough time at the hospital/elderly home. I *hope* clearer ideas will re-surface in January, but if not, I'm not going to stress too much about it since you know, work and life have been giving me mental fatigue. Mental fatigue puts you off a lot of things :( including the drive in life.

Nowadays I just looked at holidays as a day-off to rewind and decompress...not to have fun. This says a lot!

But still, Happy New Year to everyone of you reading this!

Dec 30, 2015

2016 goals: Friends

After numerous toss and turn Sunday night (hence the expensive mistake on Monday), I briefly thought of some 2016 goals while still in consciousness.

I met a friend on Sunday, it has been 6 months since we saw each other. After catching up over a meal, we parted ways and she texted me "it felt really good to meet you. I enjoyed your sharing" with a smiley. Knowing her, I know she meant real. I had the same feeling too - it felt good to catch up and see her, particularly I was able to share what I know in the industry/hobbies that she's interested in (as a second career). I think I support whatever decision she is ultimately going to make (or not make).

And I admire her for her courage to find out what she likes, how she's going to endeavor to make something happen. I had those moments before (briefly), but have not gone around to the stage of trying it out. The look of wistfulness, the thought of other possibilities lying ahead, etc, all these seem to disappear the more I grow. Feelings that were once a part of your "daydreaming" now became 'unfamiliar', feelings that I would associate with a prerogative being young and carefree - have become wishful thinking.

There was something we had in common: we've both been "shielding" ourselves away from socializing/seeing anyone because of the fatigue we experienced in our day jobs. We both admitted that the Sunday night catch up was a pleasant surprise, and we had plans to meet again sometime soon (in a 3-6 months time frame). This gave me a pat on my back, in the sense "Yay! I'm still capable of making a good conversation", "Yay there's people who don't find  me boring". I'm learning to become a good listener, patiently wait for people to finish, and slow to make assumptions. (Did I say I'm type A?)

Most people tend to think others' jobs are better than theirs - certainly my job in their case, which is why I prefer not to talk about too much what I do, because it will sound bragging, or simply ungrateful. As in: "hey why are you whining when you are paid more than I was?". 

However with this friend on Sunday night, she totally understood. We both shared the same view: while we are paid reasonably (not a lot though), the stress level and the salary does correlate.  Even if the remuneration is good, it doesn't take away from the fact that a salary is supposedly not a 'shut-thou-up' money, we work hard to earn it, it's not like we sit and do nothing each day!

There is an ex-colleague who thinks: want to talk about working extra hours? Let's see who wins (longest hours). And I will say, sorry (not sorry!), but that's just WRONG. Extra hours is extra hours, it doesn't matter whether it's 30 mins or 3 hours. It certainly doesn't give him the right to dismiss the extra hours (that I worked) is not considered "extra" by any means (compared with his hours), and I'm not even interested in being the person who wins in having the longest hours. Sorry not in PJ's world :-)

Have you ever thought about one's friends change over with time? Once I heard someone said your friends/circle change every 7 years. I still haven't decided if it's an accurate description! But it makes you wonder once in a while...

Sometimes it's simple things like that makes you grateful in finding people who get what you mean. Without thinking in another way, might I add.

With that catch up being successful, I briefly had an idea of who I'll be meeting in 2016, and I'll be making a list. Will be taking the first step to initiate. Quantity is never the focus here, the goal is to make each meetup meaningful, by being "there" as a good listener.

(I am late this year in drawing up goals for 2016 - there might be separate posts to come, please bear with me - it's one of those things that you will 'get to you' when it does!)

Dec 28, 2015

An expensive mistake

I just made one, that is.

Needless to say (but I'm not giving myself ready excuses), I was tired, I bought something expensive and I regret it almost immediately when leaving the store. Now, before you ask further "just make a refund", I regret to tell you that the returns/refund policy where I live is next to none. 

Vaguely remembering there is a "protection" policy (aka insurance), an urgent call to the credit card company was made. Apparently I could return all the things to the insurance company (the broker of the credit card company) and get a refund, but I had to pay roughly 12% of the product's value (it's an exact figure, not a percentage given). I wasn't impressed.

More importantly, I'm angry and beyond annoyed at myself.

It was clearly not a need, I am not going to die if I don't have it in my life. Far from that. It's not the sense of entitlement ("treat thyself") either. I don't know what got over me and I did it. The money (any money in fact) can be put to use in a much much better and purposeful way. 

Now we're looking at 2 options - (1) I can take the products (not send...) to the insurance company and fill in forms to do a refund and suffer the 12% loss; or (2) I can go back to the store to exchange for something else of equal value or higher value, which the difference shall be paid in extra. Selling it away is not an option either.

Totally realizing I'm bringing on more trouble for myself, I don't know which is the better option. It is a very expensive mistake either way no matter how you look at it. It SUCKS to feel like this.

This lesson just serves to remind me (1) not to set foot in that store again (except should I decide to exchange products, which is likely, since I'm not going to use that darn thing if I keep it, it's too painful of a lesson); (2) be very, very judicious in making decisions; (3) leave the cards at home (I brought it with me since I had to pay for a prescription today); (4) I'm going to live just fine without it; (5) I've lost more than just the monetary value here, time and mental resources to ponder and wonder about the decisions made. Frankly speaking it's been a torture ever since that stupid decision has been made. 

Can't let this happen again!

Dec 21, 2015

So frugal (OMG) and note to self

I came across something mortifying today on the train.

The train stopped and a few hikers (you can tell by their gear and apparel, and I wasn't wrong!) of roughly 50 or 60 years of age boarded. The train was about 80% crowded so they stood dispersed, 2 women in front of me, a man next to me, and another man behind me. They were literally shouting (talking louder than normal) and it hurts my ears and peace. Of course the 2 women were talking at my direction since the 2 men were next to/behind me, the man behind me talked very loudly next to my ear, of course. They were talking about Chinese tea house fees, some cheap strawberries they got from so and so for how much. I winced. 

Then they went on about cutting away coupons for some chain restaurant. I don't want to repeat what they said (the nitty gritty - something about those coupons and card offers that can't be combined which adds up to maybe US$0.5), it gave me the red flag (!). While I consider being frugal is generally a good thing, the mortifying part (for moi) is that these folks have it written all over their face. It's absolutely revolting. 

Of course frugality, when done right, is nothing to be ashamed of; but there's something about their frugality being so vocalized in a public area(!) that it borders on being miserly/cheap/take it for granted/(insert your word here). 

I took time to observe their appearance, they looked like...well let's just say I definitely DO NOT want to look like them when I'm old (something about the hair and skin, and their central topic of $$$ spending and saving just turned me off). This is a huge red flag. Now, from their speaking (of their hiking hobby), I don't think they're poor folks, but rather, they're super duper frugal folks. There's nothing wrong with talking about money as a topic, but the way they talked about it made me drop my respect. Needless to say, I felt turned off and couldn't wait to get off the train. 

Has any of you come across scenarios like that? How did you feel?

On one hand, I'm very thankful that frugality is a choice that I can make, not something that's forced upon me. On the other hand, I'm not ready to give up looking decent (I didn't use the word "good"), and I believe being frugal an d looking good aren't mutually exclusive.

In other news, I did another run through my wardrobe and got rid of 4 pieces - skirts with prints that I used to like but now found them a bit old-looking (I noticed that always is the case with florals...) I got a bit of thermal layers (sale), a fleece jacket (sale) and a jumper (on clearance) over the weekend, taking the advantage of sales. Expensive? Not when they're on sale. Necessity? Not really since I already own a few (thermal layers and fleece). The fleece in question is SO SOFT and WARM that I just want to stay in it forever, period. Possibly wear it outside-the-home too (but I won't, for aesthetic reasons obviously). It is only after I got the new fleece that I realized my old one isn't so great in keeping me warm, but I am not ready to throw away the old ones, course not! The jumper was on clearance and while it's not strictly a 'keep-you-warm' item, I suppose the style is timeless so not really a problem, although I do have too many jumpers in the trove that it has to stop. Or "one-in-one-out" from now on.