The art of taking a break

My friend often told me that I tend to arrange things back to back. And as a result, quite often I was rushing from one place.

I feel accomplished when I finished all my errands. And I think it’s somehow addictive to me.

Until recently, I easily fell sick due to pack activities. Or rather, my mind was quite tense maintaining all the details for the errands.

And when you fell sick, your physical strength drops so, it will make you rethink what’s important and what’s not.

Suddenly things which you think it’s important, doesn’t seem so important anymore. Your body tells your mind that, why don’t you leave it for now, and come back to it later.

When you’re healthy, you feel like at the top of the world, want to conquer the seven seas and can even go to the moon.

Don’t keep pushing your luck. Or rather your own body.

Don’t you think in the end, how fast you complete it doesn’t matter?

Old saying said, when it rains, it pours. It’s true to some extent. If we already pack our time till no more time left. Doesn’t it also mean that we don’t allow for deviation? No more space for other changes. When changes happened, we (or rather I) tend to be panic.

Know your body, know your priorities, and when it’s time to rest, just rest. Things to work on will never get finished. It applies both to work and personal.

I think I should learn more from cats. They know when just to curl up and rest, and when to be active and play.

Cat in shoe box

(Again, not my cat. It’s just a neighborhood cat which like to use me as his scratch machine :p)

Don’t you think so?

Looking back and connecting the dots

Third weekend since new year just passed, I think I kind of used to the rhythm of this year plan.

This week I had an interesting conversation with two people about what’s next for them. One of them is new to the workforce, while the other one is not.

The young cub told us his dilemma about finding a permanent job. Both of us shared our journey back then, about moving forward and be selfish for our growth.

I told him that most of those were my mentors’ words. Because I feel like having some anime moment when I can see stars in his eyes.

Rainbow eyes meme

As the conversation goes, I feel I need to hear them again. As a reminder.

Come to think of it, I always think that I’m in that cub position and didn’t realize that I’m not anymore.

As Ajahn Brahm said, young people will have young people suffering and older people will have their own. So I guess, I’m experiencing somewhere in middle. 😉

Thanks to the young one, I get reminded that you may have aspiration to be somewhere or be someone, but without you realizing it, sometimes you are the inspiration for others.

Steve Jobs said it’s about connecting the dots backwards, not forward. Where my dots will lead me to?

That’s yet to be found.. hehe..

Meanwhile, let’s enjoy the cool Singapore for awhile.

Yishun cat

PS: not my cat, he’s the neighborhood cat near my place I’m staying

Breaking out from our shell

Last week we have a year end dinner with colleagues and as usual, there was an award presentation for long service with the company.

One of them is our top leader.

In his acceptance speech, he said that he was quite laid back person until his wife decided to quite her work, to focus on their family. He added that his wife was having a good career, better than him. At that point of time.

Her sacrifice made him able to focus on his career. To evolve into the current him.

I find his sharing about earlier part of his life journey was quite inspirational.

At that party I asked myself, when will I have that moment? To have the heart to leave some of the things I really like to do now and focus on the few activities only.

I find it easy to adopt a new thing, make it to be a habit, but I have difficulties cutting them down. Eventually I dropped a few to date, through “natural selection”. As the time goes and I don’t have time to do it. And mostly my logical self made me to do the important things first.

It also reminded me of what one of my friend told me sometime back. That at certain stage of my life, I’ll turn into someone who is boring and safe. He sees me as someone who thinks life is like adventure and big playground.

(Phew)

I haven’t found the answer yet, whether I’ll change quite drastically, or when I’ll have that moment, or what kind of person I’ll be in 5 or 10 years time.

But one thing I know, life is like running a marathon. It’s a long run. Rushing it won’t help me to reach it faster as I might ran out gas earlier and walk at much slower pace to complete it.

Do you have similar experience like this? Did you find the answer? How did you overcome it?

My first “ultra” run

This is the last sport check list item in 2017 to be cleared, and it’s a huge one too. People say close it with a bang. So I guess this is mine for 2017.

Usually I plan my sport till mid year and leave the second half for the non-sport resolution but I notice that I was slacking off, really, in 2016. So I’m trying to spread it out till end of year.

As I’m going to the event in my head the image of Valkyrie from Thor Ragnarok saying “Here we go” is getting stronger.

Pre-race thought

In my checklist, besides gears, there are others like nervous or excitement, which seems taking turns.

Preparation is something I always feel not there yet, but I take it that life is like that too. Sometimes you just need to dive in head first. Although having enough preparation will make you more confident and less injury.

Oh right.. To my friends who are taking JLPT, let’s do our best. I’ll contribute my “JLPT”.

My friend said take it easy, one kilometer at a time, which I’ll say that to myself. Many times later.

Post-race thought

I feel cheated! Because I signed up for 42.195km but it seems not only me who has distance discrepancy

Will I run full marathon again? Maybe.. I’ll give another thought after recovery

I’ll skip the drama before the race, as my running buddy like to say, every run is unique by itself. And the drama is part of the bundle.

From the start, I told myself that I don’t need to rush, it’s really tempting to run faster when the road is clear, or sucked by people around you. This is my race not theirs. So, no matter how tempting it is, stick to your plan. And it did work! Despite few stitches I had after 30km mark. I stopped for stretch and put some Salonpas. As saying said, don’t forget to sharpen your weapon.

What stressed me was to reach the 38+km before 12:30, as it was stated the cut off timing. After experiencing drama in the morning, I only flagged off around 6+. But maybe that stress gave me an extra push?

And, I did shout to 41km sign, how I love to see it. Hah!

Although I just barely made it to the finish line, the silver lining is I have the photographer to take few nice shots for me (or at least I thought so :D)

Never try, never know. And I tried.

2 bananas, 6 Gu gels, 1 Wieder jelly, 1 Gu Chomp, few Face ID problems, and countless 100Plus Active and water.. (incl trips to toilet) later, I crossed the finish line.

Yes, this post is half written pre-race and the other half is post-race. I can’t possibly write while running, right?

The essence for our growth

I: Isn’t it fun getting better at the job?

C: it is

I: isn’t that the main strand of your career that you’re getting better at the job

C: well, it could only get better, it couldn’t get worse

Inspiration of the week is a chat by Cate (C) Blanchett and Sir Ian (I) McKellen in Actors on Actors show (link)

They were discussing about things they are not so good at (geez, they are so humble, o’rite). Cate replied Ian that she feels they just need to be asked by someone to do it (as a challenge for themselves)

In imaginary world, if I’m an actor, I think my bosses will be the director of the show. They are the one who set the movie direction. And I just need to do my best as certain role in the movie.

I’m guessing that directors also have their own unique style, perhaps like Quentin Tarantino or Michael Bay or Peter Jackson.

Clashes are unavoidable and uncontrollable, but our respond to it is controllable. As there was a conflict happened this week and I can’t help to keep thinking about it. I kept asking why to myself to the extent it hounded me.

However listening to Cate and Ian, I feel that after it’s all happened in the past, their present self can just laugh at it. They grew from their past self.

The image of 7 deadly sins comic starts to appear in my mind when I was hounded by the incident. That I was activating Pride and Wrath in me. And what I need to activate is Acceptance now. So, don’t feel angry or sad, just be better. One step at a time.

Thing happens for a reason. As always.

Ask and you’ll be given. Whether it’s something important for your growth or the answer to your problem.

What do you think?

Extra note:

Doesn’t time feel so fast passing by when you are in the last quarter of the year?

I flipped through my agenda and find that October inspiration page was blank. Although I had my October filled with activities.

November, on the other hand, has been giving me valuable lessons. It also the M-1 for the big event early Dec.

One thing that blogging helps me to be better is

The phone buzzed, a reminder to blog showed up. Ah, it’s time for it again.

Sometimes I have the idea around mid week, and I started to write it, set it on schedule and when the reminder showed up, just ticked it, and I’m done.

There are also days when I don’t have the idea until the reminder is showing. Or, on top of that, I have other commitments which made me unable to set aside a time to write.

So, I asked myself, did the week just pass by with nothing interesting happened to me? Or without learning something from it.

That question reminds me of my sensei’s statement to us during classroom. As she likes to ask random question to us, like do you meet strange people while going to class, or do you find a money on the street, so on, my classmate and I tend to be quiet. Partially, we are thinking how to answer her, and the other half, is trying to recollect of those happened to us.

She’s jokingly saying, that we are not interested in the world outside ours (i.e. phone).

And I find it somewhat true.

Most of the times, I don’t pay attention to what happened around me during commuting, it’s all going on auto-pilot mode, leave the house, lock the door, walk to MRT, get the EZ link card, tap on the gate, go up to platform, wait for the train, hop in (or squeeze in) and so on.

Speaking about this auto-pilot mode reminded me of an old talk by Ajahn Brahm. That we are not living in the present and lack of awareness.

And the funny thing is, both of them suggested similar method. For example, instead of always turn right after a building, we turn right earlier or later (but make sure there is a path to go to our destination), we might see different things along the way. Or, when you brush your teeth, do you always start from the left side or from the right side, top half of the mouth first or the other area of the mouth first?

Back to the question I asked myself, yes, I have one or two events which I found it memorable. I’ll share here some other time. Thanks to that, I’m able to remember more important lesson, which is to be in the present moment.

How about you, can you remember all the events happened to you last week? Or maybe your lunches.

PS: this view might be the opposite of why Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs always wear the same color shirt and same jeans everyday. They prioritize making decision over choosing a style. Hence they go auto-pilot on wardrobe.

A note from last week

I saw that pin from Pinterest app.

And I’m amazed how coincidence it is because of what happened to me yesterday when I was in the middle of completing a race. Halfway mark I felt my legs were giving up.

The talk by Simon Grimstrup when my friends and I were in Vietnam emerged from my mind. He said, usually he had 3 options in his head, option A is to complete the race within xx time frame, option B is to complete it within yy time frame and the last option is just to complete the race.

I asked myself, it’s halfway there, what do you want to do? Flag a cab? Why am I rushing? To meet my friends at the finishing line? How about if I can’t meet them? That’s okay too isn’t it? I still can meet them some other day.. and, comparing to your friends, you have a cut off time (on top of the race cut off time). Because you still need to go to class after this. Do you have to go to class? You were skipping few lessons back then because of races too.. so..?

After having all of those convo, I decided to go with option C. Just complete it. I’ll think of the rest later after crossing the finishing line.

I listened to my legs, they barely could run for 500m, so, I walked almost the last 8km. But I jogged in between especially when I spotted cameraman.. for few seconds of glory, the legs agreed.

And darn right! The feeling crossing the finish line was incredibly awesome.

PS: I still went to my class, although was late for 20mins, then walked like penguin back home, tried to take a nap but the euphoria made my mind alert somehow. So, I decided to watch Pokémon while having light dinner. (Although I entitled for 2000 calories meal) Did some rolling as my friends suggested to ease the pain and call it a day.

PPS: I’ll do my best to enjoy the soreness before the next one (wottt) and back to civilian life

On meditation

I’ve been wanting to join a meditation journey after hearing one of my friend who often went for a week or two meditation retreat. Because he came back refreshed after the trip.

My friend mentioned that in one of his trip, he was having walking meditation and I thought, how could you meditate while walking?

But recently, I think that it is actually doable. Because during long running alone, I always have a good long talk with my mind and just trying to focus on one thing, completing the it.

And sometimes the route seems very supportive to help us having it (ha)

It happens not just during running, even I have it during long distance cycling too. But at least it’s safer to do it.

So.. maybe we will have a new branch, running meditation 😀

Some of my friends probably will scold me, can we do it in more relax way, like sitting or walking?