(Have) courage, dear heart

25cfefa9ebd4d259fdcdea52a4ef66d4

As some of you may know, I have a penchant for pretty typography and watercolours… but today I do want to talk about courage and what it means to me.

‘Just say yes’ has always been a kind of personal mantra for me. To some extent, it speaks to the shy and timid me of the past who, for some reason or another, sometimes lacked the confidence and courage to really go out and do things, and achieve the goals I wanted to achieve. My experience has been that something so seemingly simple – like reminding yourself to ‘just say yes’ – can be really powerful in helping you get out of your comfort zone. And this can be for anything – meeting new friends, living in a different country, going to a party where you barely know a soul, applying for a job that seems a little out of reach… it’s all about saying ‘yes!’ to new experiences, new ideas, and new people.

I still try to remind myself to ‘just say yes’ every now and again… and to be more open-minded, and be a little more adventurous. However, one thing that I have never really thought about in relation to this little mantra until quite recently is that it’s not only important to ‘just say yes’ to new opportunities that come your way… but it is also equally, if not more important to make opportunities happen – they don’t just appear out of nowhere! Perhaps being a little older (and perhaps a teeny weeny bit wiser?) has really led me to believe that opportunities are rarely presented to us, but rather, are out there for us to pursue – and it is up to us to really change our mindset, let go of whatever it is in our present that we are unhappy, unsatisfied, or uncertain about, and actively seek new opportunities. Seek, and you shall find – right?

So to me, it’s one thing to be receptive to new opportunities, and to say yes to new opportunities when they materialise… but it’s actually another to start to take active steps and create your own opportunities. And creating new opportunities for yourself and actively pursuing something different is both a thrilling and scary experience – it is exhilarating when you are doing something new and something unknown… and all you feel is the utmost sense of freedom and adrenalin (and, depending on what it is – joy, passion, and love too), but it is also something that takes a lot of courage. Courage to cope with foreseen and unforeseen risks, courage to be able to “let go”, and courage to simply have faith that things will work out.

And I am, generally, an optimistic person – I truly do believe that things will work out in life. But the important caveat to this is that while I believe that all things will work out eventually, things may not “work out” in the way they were originally envisioned. Some things are meant to be… and other things are simply not meant to be. And it is hard to grapple with this mentality – this sense of “not knowing”. All we can do is acknowledge our fears, understand where they originate from, and do our very best to address them head-on.

What do you think? What does courage mean to you and what does it entail? 

Now

5eaa71b18a8c221f9f45317727ed7370

This blog has been sorely neglected for 10 months. 10 months! I published one post in 2015, and one post in 2014… and it’s been even longer since my last ‘long’ post.  It’s been a sad state of affairs here.

That’s not to say that I haven’t wanted or tried to write though. I have tried many times… but there was always some kind of excuse – I was too busy working, too busy meeting up with friends, too busy travelling, and the list goes on… just too busy to sit down for a few hours to write. And when I did have time, I often felt that I wasn’t in the right mindset… That’s the thing about creative endeavours, no matter how big or small right? It’s far too easy to let them slip from your list of priorities when you have limited time and limited energy to devote to different things.

But I want to make my blog one of priorities again. Obviously it would be too ambitious to set a target number of posts on a weekly or month basis – because hey, quality over quantity, right? – but I do want to write more and invest more time in this little space of mine on the internet. Over the last 18 months, I feel that I have learnt so much about the world, about people, and most of all, about myself… and the various topics I have discussed with others, contemplated in solitude, as well as the philosophical musings that have emerged along this journey called life (HEHE) are things I want to think more about, write more about, and share with you all.

So… until my next post!

2014: A Year in Review

heck yes

SourceDesign Love Fest

Despite the fact that we’re over a quarter of the way through 2015, I still feel that this post is important and relevant. It’s important not only because it represents my ‘return’ to blogging after a long nine months, but also, because I feel that 2014 was a pretty significant year.

I really like doing these ‘Year in Review’ posts. It’s obviously impossible to summarise an entire year’s worth of experiences in one post, but in musing over everything that happened, from highs to lows, you really do walk away with a sense of perspective that otherwise, can be difficult to gain. (Of course, Hollywood would tell you that spending some time with a guru at a spiritual retreat in Asia would give you the same ‘(re)finding yourself’ experience – but I digress.)

At the close of 2013, when I was reflecting over everything that had happened over the past year, there was one quote that really struck out to me.

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurston

2013 was a year that asked questions. There were a number of question marks in my life – there was uncertainty, apprehensiveness, self-doubt, and perhaps a little fear too.

But what about 2014? Many of the questions of 2013 were answered in 2014, some in ways I had never imagined. At the same time though, I came to understand the value of being asked these kind of questions. Your life isn’t and shouldn’t be dictated by the expectations others have towards themselves, or the expectations others have for you. You don’t have to have everything ‘figured out’ before you finish university and step into the ‘real’ world. You don’t need to give an interesting, convincing yet realistic answer to the much dreaded ‘where do you see yourself in five years time’ question.

For me, 2014 was such an exciting and fulfilling year. It was a year where I really challenged myself both mentally and physically, stepped outside of my comfort zone, and wholeheartedly embraced new ideas, experiences and opportunities. I can’t emphasise how important it is to simply say ‘YES!’ sometimes. Say yes to opportunities that will broaden your mind. Say yes to applying for jobs that you (for some reason or another) feel that you’re not good enough for. Say yes to meeting new people. Say yes to coffee/dinner/drinks with people who are different – people who are outside your immediate social circle. Say yes to listening to different perspectives on life and ideas about the world. Say yes to travelling. And say yes even when a little voice in your head is saying ‘maybe’… or asking ‘what if’.

Here’s to the rest of 2015!

Waiting

Lemony Snicket

Source: Flickr

Sometimes, this quote really resonates with me. We spend so much time telling ourselves that we’ll make a commitment or decision about something important when we’re ‘ready’. But who knows… what separates us from being who or where we want to be could just be a leap of faith…  

Life is like riding a bicycle

Life is like riding a bicycle

Source: Tumblr

Ironically, I don’t know how to ride a bicycle. But you get the gist, right? (Don’t worry, it’s on my bucket list – I hope I have the opportunity to tick it off in the very near future!) 

I can’t believe that we’re already about to wrap up week 3 of uni – which is, if you think about it, almost a quarter of the way through the semester. I can hear the resounding WHAT?! in the room. Yes. Time sure flies by very quickly. #statingtheobvious

This week has been a very busy week for me, and I think it’s only going to get busier from next week onwards. I’ve been spending a lot of my time and energy refining resumes, writing cover letters, researching, and answering application questions for a number of graduate programs. Deadlines are approaching and (as usual), I’ve fallen prey to the wicked temptation of Procrastination. But it’s time to face reality, and right now, the reality is that I have to keep moving forward. Luckily, now that I’ve gotten the ball rolling, it’s definitely starting to feel easier and less stressful. That first step is never easy!

This one is going to be a short one – but I wish all my fellow final year students the best of luck!🙂

Mid-week inspiration

You get in life what you have the courage to ask for

Source: Tumblr

I love this quote. And not just because of the pretty typography and watercolour details – though admittedly, that definitely played a role in piquing my attention during one of my Pinterest browsing sessions.

There are so, so many quotes out there. Quotes from writers, poets, celebrities, philanthropists, business people, world leaders… to your average Tumblr teenager. But there are only a handful that seem to speak to you directly. And for me, this is one of them. These are the right words, at the right time…

What are some of your favourite quotes?

We run this town

Sydney Tower

One of my New Year Resolutions for 2014 was to incorporate running into my week. However, the problem was (and always has been) that I’ve never particularly enjoyed running. How can I describe my antipathy towards running? Well, at best, running feels like a pesky chore that admittedly, gives me a sense of accomplishment when I’m finished.  At worst, it feels like some kind of self-imposed hell and, running through my mind on loop is why-am-I-doing-this-what-am-I-doing-I-can’t-breathe-maybe-I-have-asthma-no-my-legs-are-about-to-collapse-beneath-me. Back in Year 7, when my P.E. teacher asked me if I was a ‘runner’, I responded with a look of mild shock. Me, a runner? Are you kidding? Later on in high school, I did go through a running phase though. I went for a run every morning before school. But no, I never found it fun or relaxing. It was a chore. Now, the running I do is mainly on the treadmill at the gym and I spend the time either glued on the display, anticipating the end of my short (but sweet – or at least I tell myself) obligatory run, or praying that no one steps on the treadmill next to me, because we all know that really means. Race time.

So after a few half-hearted attempts at running over the last couple of months, I finally decided to join a friend at the Nike+ Run Club on Monday and attempted the beginner’s 5k.  As we ran through the Royal Botanic Gardens and down Mrs. Macquarie’s Road, passing Lady Macquarie’s Chair, I savoured the fresh sea breeze and the scenic views of the harbour at dusk. Who thought running could be relaxing? The first 3, pushing to 4 kilometres were surprisingly comfortable. I could breathe! My legs weren’t complaining! Maybe I am a runner after all, I thought. But then came the last kilometre. Suddenly, everything felt uncomfortable. I was huffing and puffing as we ran up and down the small slopes along the shore. The soles of my feet were on fire. My whole body was heating up. My legs wanted to fold under. And the fact that the last stretch was down the length of Hyde Park and back along its diagonal made it extra painful. There was no hiding – I was completely exposed here. It started to sprinkle a little. I winced. Getting wet was not part of the plan. Then our run leader told us to sprint the last couple hundred of metres… and so I mustered the little energy I had left, picked up my jelly legs and ran for my life to the finishing point. And I completed my 5k run!  

I limped back to the meeting point with my friend and sister, feeling mighty proud of myself. I did it! This is the longest distance I have ever run before. In my life. And I have to thank my friend for providing moral support and reminding me to keep running, as slow as I need – as long as I don’t stop and walk.

We generally think of running as a solo activity, but it’s quite a different experience when you do it as a group, sans earphones and the playlist of workout-only, trashy tunes. There were close to a hundred of us on the beginner’s run I believe, and even though we did not know each other, a strange sense of camaraderie is formed when you participate in a group run like this.

And while I can’t say that I love running (yet)… I do love the feeling afterwards. Running really does give you a sense of empowerment. Every little challenge you conquer reaffirms the entire mind over body philosophy. That you are capable. You are stronger than you think.

Maybe, one day I will grow to enjoy running – who knows?