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Make every day your masterpiece

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“Make every day your masterpiece” —John Wooden

I read this quote from my RSS feed yesterday and I was so inspired that I went to google more on John Wooden. Turns out he was a legendary basketball coach who wrote a book and had loads of inspirational quotes.

Here are a few quotes that stood out:

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

Inspirational, huh? Read more here.

Meanwhile, let me update you on what happened in my life in the past nine days since the last time I blogged … in bullet points, I hope.

I turned down a high-flying job that offered a six-figure salary, because I decided that I need more free time and less stress at work … for the next foreseeable few months at least … to heal my heart (and repair my wrecked emotions?). Weak, I know.

Sometime late last week or early this week, I was pleasantly startled when I realised the physical pain that had been a permanent resident in my heart since a year ago was gone. How did it happen? I was in the midst of my morning mediation session, when I asked to be aware of where my body was feeling tension and how I was feeling emotionally — same questions that are asked in every session. For the longest time, I felt acute pain in the area where my heart resides, similar to a stab wound. The pain was especially intense two months ago when my thoughts were beyond my control. Then about a month ago, I started meditating to calm my mind down and to take the pain away. And I guess, it worked!

I ate more fast food meals and potato chips in the last two weeks than I ever had in prior months. My blood vessels are transporting oil within my body as I type this blog post.

I have missed gym sessions for the entire month. And I still feel really guilty.

My office’s cleaning lady among a few other colleagues complimented my new haircut and for some strange reason, it made me really happy. Weird, I know.

I watched the first two episodes of Mad Men‘s season six and I was blown away. The storyline, the cinematography, the colours, the outfits and the decors were amazing. After skipping the entire second to fifth seasons, I’m finally hooked to this Emmy award-winning TV drama series.

I am also watching the reruns of Sex And The City and I’m absolutely hooked to this one. It’s extremely hilarious, even though the ladies are clearly too wanton liberal-minded for the situations to be true IRL.

I texted my ex-girlfriend Happy Birthday yesterday without expecting any reply in return and it turned to be a rather meaningful, but short, conversation.

I also texted two friends whom I haven’t seen in a long time separately Happy Birthday on different days and they were pleased that I remember.

I think this girl I know has a crush on me. But I could just be narcissistic.

I watched the final two episodes of How I Met Your Mother‘s season eight and I finally saw Ted’s future bride. It was … underwhelming. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but after eight seasons, finally seeing the mother wasn’t as exciting as I’d thought. I don’t think she’s pretty either. But I did feel more for Ted. And I’m beginning to see why I’m starting to empathise with him.

“Maybe we don’t need the universe to tell us what we want; maybe we already know deep down what we really want.” —Ted Mosby

“You can’t cling to the past, because no matter how tightly you hold on to it, it’s already gone.” —Ted Mosby

“Is she really [out there]? Because I’ve looked. I have looked high and low for someone I can love and adore and cook waffles for.” —Ted Mosby

I had been having really bad insomnia that I even had to meditate to help me drift to sleep. My sleep efficiency has increased as a result!

Also, if you have free time, do watch Before Sunrise and Before Sunset — two of the best romantic films ever in the cinematic history of romantic films.

That’s it from me, folks! My last blog post for the month of May on the last day of May in the last hour of the day before a new day and month arrives. How poetic.

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Keep calm and be duh like Patrick

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I LOLed the second I saw this picture. I’ve never been a fan of the “Keep calm and …” phrase after it had been overused in the past 2-3 years, but this particular one is so hilarious.

You have to piece the entire phrase in your head, you see, and I came up with “Keep calm and be duh”. And I imagine Patrick Star saying it in his low duh voice. And then I laughed at my own wit. Maybe because Patrick Star reminds me of myself. Duh! Whatsapp shy face. HAHAHA!

Happy midweek, y’all!

Also, you shouldn’t be with him. You should be with me. Yes, really, because things between us don’t just happen, y’know. Or at least not to me. Really.

In movies, TV shows and fairytales, the girl would run over and kiss me after hearing that. If only.

P/S: I found this really great website with all the transcribed scripts for all 10 seasons of everyone’s favourite TV comedy Friends, so if you ever want to, I don’t know, have a laugh, feel free to click on it.

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Because I’m worth it

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So I’m still sad, but I’ve mostly numbed myself from reality or seeing/reading anything that could affect my emotions. Thinking about it hurts obviously, but I’ve learned to not resist and instead of finding distractions, I allow myself to view the pain from far. Then I’d observe the sadness as I would an art exhibition and let it go like releasing a balloon into the sky. It’s a conscious effort to will myself to not over-think and just let go, like what I have been saying in the past few blog posts.

I also realise I tend to blog on Sunday nights. Perhaps my mind becomes clearer after unwinding from the hectic workweek and my thoughts have been allowed to incubate.

Anyway, I read this article on The Guardian early last week when I was doing research for my work and thought “Wahey! I totally understand what this guy’s saying – economic terms and theories and all!”

It was a proud moment for me, because it proved that investing in myself to go for further studies had not been a complete waste of money and time. So yay. I deserve at least two pats.

Anyway, moving on to the article. It made me laugh. I was thoroughly amused by the author’s views and methods and, of course, the happy ending all good stories should have.

Here’s the premise: When one economist couldn’t get a girlfriend, he had an idea: restrict his supply, find a gap in the market and establish a monopoly.

Yes, the guy basically found love by using the principles of economics, which is bloody BRILLIANT. Don’t you think?

I realised that you can only play hard to get once the woman actually knows and likes you. This is because by then you have differentiated yourself from the other men on the market, so you gain more control over your market price. As you come to be seen as an individual with unique characteristics, rather than one of many men trying to get some attention in a club, the market structure changes from one of many competitors selling homogeneous goods to one of a handful of competitors. Playing hard to get is suited only to at least the second or third date, because only then is demand sufficiently inelastic for a woman to tolerate, or even be attracted by, a rise in price.

Being with Sarah cost me time, money and emotional investment. It also cost me the things that I couldn’t have because I was with her, such as nights out with my friends and the chance to meet other women. Those missed things are what are known, in economic terms, as opportunity costs. With these, we have to look at our spending decisions relative to what else is available to make sure we’re getting the best deal for ourselves.

If I’d thought more like an economist, I’d have known to disregard the time I had already spent queueing. That time had been and gone; it was a sunk cost. What I should have asked was, “What do I want to be doing right now?”

In short… Approach the problem (in this case, meeting the right person) rationally, target it with a few possible solutions, try, discard solution if it doesn’t work and try again until you achieve your goal. Simple… Right?

In conclusion, I’m gonna be a Rolex watch, baby!

P/S: If I ever fall in love again, I’m gonna love my other half using the Keynesian Multiplier approach.

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Someday girl

A memorable quote from one of my favourite sitcoms Cougar Town (it’s totally hilarious and witty. Everyone should be watching it!), Stop Dragging My Heart Around (S1E10):

Andy: Did lover boy tell you he likes Jules?

Laurie: What?!

Grayson: What? No. I just said someday I could end up with a girl like her.

Laurie: Jules is your someday girl?!

Grayson: My what now?

Laurie: A someday girl is someone who someday someone else can see themselves ending up with someday. It’s super serious.

Grayson: Someday girl is a great title for a new song.

In short, a someday girl is a girl you aren’t pursuing or involved with now, but a person whom you can see yourself ending up with someday. “Someday” could be 20 years from now, or it could be tomorrow. Who knows? Anything is possible.

The entire episode is gold, with the appropriate amount of cheesiness, heartfelt moments, angst, pranks, humour, friendship, laughter and love. I’m so glad I turned on the TV last night.

Because that wasn’t the only quote that caught my ears and mind. It was what Ellie said at the closing scene that really got to me and it was all I could do to stop tearing (I really ought to stop being such a crybaby!).

Ellie: I just remind myself how scary it would be out there drifting alone. It’s weird with relationships. Two people can start off in the same place and for whatever reasons, they split off in different directions …

… I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love you and I’m so happy that I am not out there having to start all over to look for what we have, because it’s hard to find and even harder to keep.

We have had so much history together and we are always going be attached in some way or another, but maybe our happy ending is us being friends. 🙂

Seriously, click “play” already.

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Thank you, Sir Alex Ferguson

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Sir Alex Ferguson applauds the fans. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

There have been plenty of tributes to the great man on the Internet since last Wednesday and many of them have said what I felt in my heart about the best football manager in the world.

Seriously, there’s nothing more I can say, except that I cried really badly last night from the moment Fergie walked out of the tunnel towards the guard of honour his players had formed for him to the moment he began his final speech at Old Trafford. In fact, I welled up every time I read another tribute to Fergie. It’s that bad.

It was 1am and I was a blubbering mess, with tears welling up and sniffles in my nose. It felt equivalent to a heart broken by a failed relationship. I had been grieving a loss since last year, so yes, I am very familiar with the concept of a heartbreak.

I am Manchester United through and through. I have been a fan ever since I watched Eric Cantona with his popped collar volleyed the ball past the throngs of players to score the only goal against Liverpool in the 1996 FA Cup final. United won 1:0 and my football soul was pledged to the team ever since. The mesmerising moment can be found in the video below.

So yes, I have never known a world without Sir Alex as the manager of Manchester United. Because of SAF, I have known and lived the pride and joys (and pains) of being a red.

Standing on the pitch, Ferguson told the crowd: “I have absolutely no script in my mind. I’m just going to ramble on and hope I get to the core of what this football club has meant to me. Thank you to Manchester United, not just the directors, coaching staff, medical staff, the players, the fans, all of you – you have been the most fantastic experience of my life, so thank you. I’ve been very fortunate. I have been able to manage some of the greatest players in the country, let alone Manchester United.”

Thank you, SAF, for 27 years of glory, late comebacks, last-minute winners, the wins and even the defeats. You too have given me some of the best experiences and memories of Manchester United. Because of you, the impossible dream was made possible.

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We are never ever getting back together

I don’t know how I have managed to live through the past few years without ever listening to Taylor Swift’s songs, but I did it very successfully. I’ve heard of her and saw her name in some random headlines on entertainment sites, but I’ve never wondered or bothered about finding out more. Besides, she sings mostly pop tunes (I think), which are not the music genre of my choice. I’m more of an electronic/indie/house/jazz sort of person. So it’s to my utmost (pleasant) surprise to listen to her song for the first time and genuinely liking it.

But the only reason I went to YouTube to listen to the song was because my friends on WeChat unanimously agreed it is an apt song for my current situation. Of course, the song title and chorus are now my mantras. I’m sure all 380 of you regular readers know very well why (just read the archives if you’re new here).

“You are never ever getting back together. Remember that.”

My friend repeated it twice to drill the message into my thick skull. I don’t blame her. I’ve been very stubborn after all. I probably need to be brainwashed.

“The best is yet to be. If you two split up, it means both of you were not suited for each other.

“Take your time to understand and see for yourself the current reality. Then gradually let the bits and pieces of the past go. And in no time, love will soon surround you once again.

“Stop standing at where you are at now. She will never return to you again. If you persist in holding onto these fantasies, the only person you are convincing and lying to is yourself.

“The whole world already knows that both of you are never getting back together again. You are the only one left in the dark, because you are still living in your own world.

“You have to get used to your present state of mind. Stop thinking that there will be a third chance or expecting her to change and come back.

“Stop contacting her and following her updates. No matter how great or bad her life is now, it is no longer your concern. It’s her life, her choices.

“Ok, the doctor’s consultation time ends here. Just keep a lookout for your new love, ok?”

My friend’s pretty cool, huh? She’s hilarious, beautiful and also wise beyond her years. I’m so grateful to have her on my side.

Btw, check out the video of We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together below if you have 3 minutes and 36 seconds to spare. It’s lighthearted, poppy, short and easy on the eyes. And if it makes me smile, it’d make you smile too. Try it!

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Three years ago today

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Three years ago today was a wonderful night for me, because she said yes to be with me. I didn’t know then that was the start of a beautiful memory and a journey of subsequent pain with no destination in sight. I was so happy that night I could barely sleep, even though I had to wake up early for work the next day. I think it was around this time 1:15am in the wee hours of the night/morning, when she replied me on Whatsapp. You can read all about my romantically prosed happiness here. She used to tell me that I made her so happy that her life was full of rainbows, babies and laughter (you know, things that make you smile when you see them).

And with that in mind, I’m going on a (selective) social media diet. I’m cutting off all contact with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and reduce my use of Whatsapp. I saw some upsetting updates from her a few days ago and I’m still recovering from the anguish.

It’s weird, huh? Everything is so accessible these days, especially if you have a good smartphone and high-speed 3G or wifi access. You can do almost anything (or nothing productive, depending on your perspective) on your mobile device. And I got this reminder from my meditation app today:

When you find yourself resisting something or someone, rather than look for a distraction, examine the resistance. There’s something valuable to be found. —Headspace

I thought it was rather apt for what I was going through. I was trying to resist both something AND someone. So it is with regret delight that I’m formally denouncing my absence from the above social media networks. I’ll probably log on in a few months’ time when my emotional health is restored to nearly 90% or I’ve become a drone.

I’ll still blog here and use my Weibo and WeChat, because those are the only things left that I feel comfortable with, since I won’t get to see updates that would still affect me. Maybe when I have finally regenerated my mana from the fountain of lightness… I will be okay reading about your life again.

Meanwhile during my virtual exile, I will continue practising mindfulness in my daily life. Meditating has been a good mental cushion for me.. I feel like most of the pain that I ought to be feeling has been dramatically blocked. The sensation is almost like how you’d feel when your ears are blocked and you can’t hear half the things being said to you. A force field for the mind? Hmm, well that’s the best metaphor you’re gonna get from me at 1:25am. Bite me!

P/S: I lied. I remember the time. It was 1:37am — the exact moment she replied me — the same time this blog post is published. I’m a fool for romance, isn’t it?

Photo credit: Molly Hahn via HuffingtonPost.com