Priorities

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I mentioned last Monday that I was invited to take a test for a new job.  I’m happy to report that I passed!  They sent me some forms to fill out and some videos to watch to train me for the job.

When I checked my email on Wednesday morning, I was informed that I was good to go and could start working.  The work in this company is self assigned, so you could work as much or as little as you want.  However, I found out that they usually send out the files to be worked on at around 6 am, my time.  I’m still asleep at that time, then I have to bring my daughter to school, then take my morning walk.  I’m usually home by 8 am, then I have to eat breakfast and do the chores.  So, by the time I read the email, it was almost 10 am and there was no more work to be done.

So, I have a dilemma, should I work after bringing Yumi to school, or should I still walk and if there’s no more work, then sorry.  I could take the files before I bring Yumi to school, then take a walk but I might not finish the work within the deadline.  I certainly don’t want to miss deadlines so early in the game.

As it turns out, they sometimes send files at other times.  Yesterday, they sent it early evening my time.  By that time though, I couldn’t work on it either since I’m doing online English conversation lessons at night.  Today, they sent it around noon.  Finally, I got to work on a decent number of files.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, I forgot to eat lunch because of that.

I have to figure out a way to do this properly.  I have decided that I will continue walking.  I enjoy my time outdoors, and it’s my only exercise.  I should also discipline myself to check for new files only at certain times of the day.  There is no need to check it every five minutes.  Finally, I should realize that this is just extra work, we won’t starve without it so there’s no point in stressing myself.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to check the file before I go to bed. 🙂

 

Closet Clean-up

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I’ve been thinking of cleaning up my closest for the longest time but have always been too lazy to do so.  I’ve been a full-time stay at home mom since February but I still keep all my “working clothes” in the closet.  I finally decided to de-clutter my closet last Friday.

I pretty much survive on a daily uniform of shorts, t-shirts and slippers.  I wear jeans and a t-shirt when I go out.  I really have no need for long-sleeved shirts and dresses and blouses.  I figured since I mostly wear the same things over and over again anyway, I’ll also reduce the number of shirts that I’ll keep.

After emptying out my clothes on the bed, I realized I had so much underwear that’s no longer wearable that I still keep.  I don’t know why I did that.  I also had scarves which I never use and bags stuffed in bags which I don’t use either.

In the end, I decided to store my “working clothes” in case I’ll ever go back to working in a school or office again.  I also kept my dresses just in case I need to wear them.  I’m not really a dress person and I’d hate to buy a dress just to be worn once.

I did keep a couple of nice shirts in the closet.  I also limited the shirts that I’ve kept.  I just chose the ones I really liked and that I wear more often.  It shouldn’t matter if I wear the same shirt to two different occasions with the same set of people, right?

So, here’s my closet now and I’m loving all that space. 🙂

Disconnected

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It’s funny how we feel so lost when we lose things we have been taking for granted.

Yesterday, there was a strong typhoon that hit the country and plunged us in darkness.  Well, it wasn’t really dark since we lost our electricity around 9 am but it sure felt like the dark ages.

At least it was cool so we didn’t need electric fans.  We also have a gas stove so we had no problem cooking.  It made all of us think of creative ways of passing the time though.  I slept, read and baked.  The kids drew, played card games, and we also let them play outside for a little while.  I wanted to take a walk in the rain but the wind was so bad we decided against it.  There’s a big chance we could be hit by branches or bits of roof material and trash flying around.

We got our power back by 3 pm so we thought everything was back to normal.  However, our cable wasn’t back and we don’t have an antenna so the local channels have a very poor reception so watching TV was out.  We had internet after about 30 minutes but we lost it again at 7 pm.  And it only came back at around 12 pm today.  I felt so disconnected.

Electricity, TV and the internet are stuff we have everyday.  We take these for granted and feel so lost without them.  I can’t imagine how we could survive without these things.  Of course I know that millions of people in less developed parts of the world survive without these things but for us, it is unimaginable.

I don’t watch TV that much so I could survive without it.  But the internet is another thing.  I use it several hours everyday.  Even if we had power, it’s like there’s nothing to do on the computer without the internet.  I could’t check the news, check Facebook, and I couldn’t work!  And to think I’ve only been using it since the late 1990s.  Now, I can’t imagine living without it.

I guess we really do have to appreciate all the things we get to enjoy every day.  I’m lucky my family is safe and we weren’t really affected by the typhoon.  We were just inconvenienced.  Sometimes, we need to disconnect from our online lives and live real lives.  We have to build actual relationships and not just on social networking sites.  We also have to value our resources as we need these to support the lifestyle we are accustomed to.  Mother nature is still more powerful than us and we have to work with her and not against her.

 

Advertising rules

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We all love watching Phineas and Ferb on Disney channel.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  They’re very creative and imaginative brothers who create the most amazing things.

Anyway, yesterday’s episode was when they were toy designers and they created Perry the Platypus toy.  And it became a big hit due to advertisement even though it does absolutely nothing.  The toy store even sold a brick as a toy and all the kids wanted one.

This episode shows how people are really influenced to buy stuff just because it’s on TV.  If it’s advertised, it must be good.  And it’s just ridiculous how people actually go for the most inane stuff.

I just think that our commercial culture is brought about by all the advertising that we see.  We get disappointed time and again (think infomercials), and yet we still keep coming back for more.  Advertising shapes how we view ourselves, our neighbors, our friends.  It tells us how to be cool and what we need to get respect.

In fact, I think a lot of items we have that we think we need, we really don’t.  But advertisers tell us that this is what we need, what we should get to show everyone that we are cool, that we are in, that we are successful and happy.

But life doesn’t work that way.  Chances are, everything you need, you already have.  And things that we think we want, probably won’t make us happy in the long run.  I try to teach this to my kids.  They always want the newest toys but most of the time, once they have the toy, they play with it for like a week, then they forget about it and they want the next new thing.  Or they go back to doing what they enjoy more, like riding bikes, playing outside or drawing and painting.

I think we should always view advertisements with a discerning eye.  Don’t believe everything you see and if you think that an item is ridiculous, it probably is.

 

Road to Happiness

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I caught part of an Oprah show last week and they were talking about happiness.  They featured the happiest city in the US (sorry but I forgot the name of the city) as well as the happiest jobs.

The mayor of the city said that they re-designed their city about 20 years ago.  They blocked the main street to vehicles so people can walk around.  They widened the sidewalks so people can hang out.  They built a lot of bike lanes and trails so people can bike, run and hike safely.  Everybody knows their neighbors.  Basically, they built the infrastructure for human interaction.  Of course it is still up to the people if they want to interact with others but studies have shown that it is through human interaction that we are most happy.

They also featured a person who worked at a toll gate just collecting payments.  She was very happy and enthusiastic.  She greeted all her customers warmly, wishing them well and just spreading good cheer.  You can see from her attitude that she really enjoys what she’s doing.  You can also see how the people she interacted with seemed happier after speaking with her.

Her attitude towards her work is really surprising.  I guess I’d never expect it from someone working at a toll booth.  Even Oprah said that when she passes through a toll booth, she always thought that that must be one of the dreariest jobs in the world.  I, too think it would be very boring and mechanical.  I forget that even in the littlest of tasks, we have the opportunity to make a difference.

We may think that happiness is directly proportional to how much money we make, how big our house is, how many cars we have, how many gadgets and toys we buy, but it really isn’t.  Most people who do have the money to buy all these things don’t have the time to enjoy them.  They’re usually working all hours and when they do go on vacation, they’re still thinking of work at the back of their minds.  Of course it’s nice to have all the trappings but I think it’s better to have what is important.  And I think what’s important are relationships.  Actual face to face interaction would bring us more happiness, I think, than all the gadgets in the world.  You may have everything but if you are alone, what good would that do?

Everyday, we have within our power to decide how our day will go.  Will we be kind?  Will we smile?  Will we be nice to our kids?  No matter what we do, we affect others with our attitude.  A little kindness goes a long way and a little smile makes everything seem nicer.  Let’s all take the road to happiness.  All it takes is a little time, a little appreciation and a little pleasant disposition.

 

The End

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I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 yesterday.  I’m a big fan of Harry Potter, both the books and the movies.  I’m a bit sad that it has ended and there are no more new movies/books to look forward to.  But as with all good things (and bad), it must come to an end.

I’m not going to write about the movie, or the book.  I’m actually going to write about the ending, or rather, dying.

Intellectually, we all know that dying is part of living.  It is the logical outcome of life and we would all die in the end.  A lot of people are preoccupied with eternal life though, doing all they can to live forever, like making horcruxes and storing bits of their soul in them to be recovered later.  But even ordinary people take extreme measures to prolong their life.

I sometimes watch a show titled Obsessed  where ordinary people with obsessive compulsive tendencies are treated.  There was a man who was obsessed with staying alive.  He goes to the gym about 8 times a day and pops about 30 pills everyday, all these to ensure that he stays alive long enough for scientists to find a cure for aging.  His treatment was not so successful as he wasn’t really open to changing his outlook.  He did reduce his time at the gym, instead of 8 times, he only goes like 3 to 5 times.  For the therapist, the treatment was a failure.  For him, it was a success.  He wasn’t really open to the idea of changing and we really can only change if we want to, the motivation has to come from within.  It doesn’t matter what the world says, if we don’t want to change, we can’t.

That man was an extreme case but everyday, I think we do things that will prolong our life.  We exercise, eat healthy, take vitamins and use products to control the signs of aging.  Of course we should keep ourselves healthy as this will ensure that we can enjoy our life.  But if we spend most of our time calculating calories, browsing the internet for the new magic pill, blowing our money on products that promise to keep us looking young, then I think we have a problem.

We will all die.  We must learn to accept this.  Everyday, someone dies.  But life goes on.  We can’t dwell on the possibility of death.  Sure let’s take care of ourselves.  Let’s prepare for the future.  But let’s also be in the present.  Let’s enjoy today.  Let’s make the most of our time here.  Let’s help someone, let’s spend time with our family, let’s enjoy our food, let’s spend some time doing what we enjoy.

In the end, what really matters?  Would it matter if you lived to be 40 or 60 or 100?  Would it matter if you had wrinkled skin or grey hair?  Would it matter if you had a million dollars in the bank or dozens of properties and cars?  I think what matters is the legacy we leave behind, the memory that people will carry in their hearts, the impact that our life has left on earth.  In the end, I’d rather be surrounded by friends and family than by possessions.  As they say (I forgot who), live your life as if it were your last.  One day you will be right.