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Minnie the moocher

I love this song! This has been on my nighttime playlist for the past one week. I love the tune, the trumpet and the chorus — basically how the music is arranged. The 1930s were a great era for jazz music. While electronic genre is my all-time favourite, jazz is high up among my top three list. I used to buy jazz CDs back then when CDs were all the rage. How I wish I could travel back in time and visit The Cotton Club in all its pomp and glory. Ho de Ho de Ho! Hi de hi de Hi! He de he de he!

Wonderfully catchy. I still have no idea what the great Cab Calloway is singing about though. I’m too busy twirling around the room to this song to figure the lyrics out. It’s such a perfect ditty for Sunday (or any other day), isn’t it?

This reminds me of the Golden Age that Woody Allen featured in his movie Midnight in Paris. That’s one of my favourite films of all time too. It has great cinematography, lighting, music, a whimsical storyline and, most importantly, nearly all my favourite artists and writers of the era. It also has a killer soundtrack to boot.

I’ve always wanted to travel back in time to experience all the glories (or tragedies) and great moments that make history what it is today. Since young, I’ve always thought I belong to another era and would feel more at home in the olden days. I guess that’s why I love history and films about historic periods. And that’s why I love Midnight In Paris; it was as though Woody read my mind and brought my character as Gil to life.

All this nostalgia is making me wanna watch the film again. Be right back!

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You wear smug so well

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(Here’s an inspirational quote to let you feel like you’ve enriched your life somewhat from reading this blog post.)

Hang on, you mean it’s April already? You mean we just went through three months of the new year as quickly as a flick of wrist? That can’t be right, can it? Geez, what have I done with my life in 2014? So much for saying 2014 would be a year of change. Hahaha! Resolution, FAIL.

So my exams ended on 24 February and I’ve been chilling since then with no care or worry in the world. It was awesome! In the process of letting my brain turn to vegetable after putting it through three years of mental hardship, I discovered quite a few things about myself that surprised me. So the “proverb” (not an exact idiom so to speak but the general feeling people talk about as they mature) is true; the older you get, the better you know yourself and the things you like or want.

Disclaimer: The truth is many people may not think I am mature because someone recently said I have the mental age of a teenager. That made me laugh out loud because it was so true. I’m extremely childish… If you get to know me in real life. So I think it’s better that you and I remain online buddies. Ha!

Anyway, here are three things I’ve realised about myself:

1. I have an obsessive personality. Once I get hooked to something or someone, I go all out and immerse myself with everything about them. I become so intense and focused that I devote all my free hours and thinking time to finding out more of a particular thing or person I’m into during this obsessive period. I can’t stop (and won’t stop) until all my energy is spent or I finally get sick of it. My obsession can last for as short as two weeks or as long as a few months. And I let nothing get into my way, which is pretty unhealthy if you think about it, because that can scare normal people off (if they knew). So far, only a few close friends know of my addict-like behaviour. Thank god they still love me! Oops.

2. The thing is I don’t really care who knows or what others may think about me. Yes, they can assume I’m childish or selfish or insane and be totally judgemental about me (even though they do not know me well at all). I don’t give a fuck! Honestly, I just want to be happy and laugh a lot all the time. I want to do the things I like or enjoy every day. And if I’m obsessed with someone or something, so be it! My heart feels fluffy and I’m always on a natural high; that’s all that matters to me. Remember, what clever Dr Seuss once said?

Those who mind won’t matter and those who matter won’t mind.

3. I definitely do not like pop or country music. In fact, I’ve deleted many pop songs from my iPhone playlist because I have never listened to them. I enjoy certain indie music and jazz tunes at times. I love house, trance and dance tracks when I’m on the go because of the energy! But my topmost favourites are electronic and chill-out lounge tracks (nearly all the songs that I’ve featured on this blog over the years can attest to that). Like hello, sexy times and soothing feels! How can anyone resist?

Case in point: The latest song on repeat in my playlist this week

You’re pushing me away and then you’re pulling. You wear smug so very well. If you were in love with me, I could never tell. You ask me, you ask me just to leave you, but then the bow breaks and it’s all through.

So hot, right? Go on, enjoy it. You’re welcome.

Find out more of the band and lyrics here.

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The first step towards getting somewhere

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“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” —Unknown

Very true and wise, don’t you think? I’m been feeling so lazy recently it’s crazy how one can just lay in bed all day watching TV and playing on the iPhone. I’ve lost that bit of motivation somewhat in waking up early to have breakfast and get started on existing work or driving for more new business. I’ve been too … comfortable. And it scares me.

I recently attended a course on entrepreneurship, which discusses about the types of entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial traits and whether they are born with the qualities and if their circumstances that made them that way. It was a good module, because I finally learned how to spell “entrepreneur” correctly without struggling after the “p” part. Haha! But seriously, it taught me to look at myself — my behaviour in general, my attitude towards situations or people and my surroundings — and I have determined that I currently lack drive, because I’ve been too comfortable with life.

I still read a lot, but I’m not progressing any further with the new information and knowledge I’ve been absorbing like a sponge. I’m on a plateau and I need a push off it. I need to remind myself how thrilling it is to be filled with vigour in clinching new business, the pride in churning out quality work before the deadlines and (this is the most important bit) the joy in receiving that paycheque at the end of it.

Deep down, I know I’m born to do more with my time in this world. But the only way for me to do that is to stop sitting on (actually, it’s lying down most of the times) the plushy bed and get up (to work on the computer) to do stuff — useful things that will lift me up from the plateau to the peak of a menacing-looking mountain with a nice snowy cap. Perhaps I should take notes from a true entrepreneur, Richard Branson, who wanted more in life and dared to set up so many businesses and challenged the norm and was not afraid to fail and keep trying. In doing so, he became a knight for his bravery in the corporate world. Maybe if I ever falter and revert back to lazy mode, I should just keep asking myself: “WWRBD (What would Richard Branson do)?”

Sounds like a great doable plan. I have a totally smug expression now. If only you could see me now.

Right, so it’s five minutes more before my alarm rings for me to get ready for one full day of work. I’m gonna head out there to try seizing the day for myself. I hope this blog post has sort of inspired you to do the same. Carpe diem!

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Life is good, sometimes I forget

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It’s true, you know. Sometimes I tend to forget how wonderful my life is, especially in times when I allow frustration or doubts to creep into my mind and fill me up with dissatisfaction. Then I think about at least three good things I have going on in my life at the present moment and I become thankful for my life all over again.

So three things I’m currently grateful for:

1) My dog Milo who is absolutely the cutest old man with the saddest eyes in the world. This look is not a combo that any dog or human bean can beat. The minute he cuddles up to me on the couch (after trying to bite me no less), my heart just melts. He’a a naturally independent dog, you see. Attention-seeking Milo may be, but he is content to sleep alone without anyone beside him most of the times. So yes, it feels like a bonus when he snuggles with me.

2) My cable TV which has all the channels available along with HD resolution, so I can watch any programme I want at anytime and any day of the week! If only “The Duggers Family” and “Kate + Eight” are still playing on Discovery Home and Living. But hey, having HBO and FX are pretty awesome already. If I ever had to have a TV channel to epitomise me, FX would be the one. It’s smart, witty, funny, quirky cool, stylish and has the best collection of songs. So me. Haha!

3) My literacy, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to appreciate excellent TV shows with topnotch writing such as “Scandal”, “Games of Thrones”, “Mad Men”, “Archer”, “Two Broke Girls”and “Californication”, just to name a few. Without my literacy, I wouldn’t be able to laugh at enjoyable reads such as Mindy Kaling’s “Is everyone hanging out without me?” and Rick Riordan’s “The Heroes of Olympus” and “The Kane Chronicles”. Eh, I said enjoyable, not Pulitzer-winning reading material.

Enjoy your week, every birdie! And if you’re so inclined, do share your list of three things you’re thankful for today. The universe will love you for it. Remember, life is good.

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Keep your thoughts positive

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Here’s something positive I came across on the Internet and thought: “How apt!”

It’s been two tough weeks for me. I was an emotional wreck, but you wouldn’t be able to tell if you had seen me because I’d force myself to look cool and calm, no matter what. Even if I felt like I was dying inside, you’d think I’m a chirpy person. That’s how thick my walls are.

So other than chanting “I choose me” ALL THE FREAKING TIME and doing it consciously whenever I feel my mind wandering, I have been thinking about calming my mind down and clearing my thoughts. You know, like being in the present moment, and not worrying about the past or the future? And I finally did it for five or maybe 10 minutes at least!

How? I went for a meditation class on Tuesday and it was enlightening — not to the level of Buddha’s enlightenment, but was good enough for an amateur like me. The teacher explained to us the benefits of meditation and how we can practise it in our daily lives. And my mind was like “Wah!!!”

Yeah, I was mentally blown away. Meditation can help me reduce the noise in my head, ease the agonising migraines I get every weekend and more importantly, blunt some of the emotional pain eating inside me. All because you learn how to focus on your breathing.

I feel like I’ve worn an invisible armour that’s helping me deflect anything negative away. It’s like a really awesome force field you see around the spaceships in sci-fi movies!

I felt refreshed, my mind was clearer and I was totally buoyant after that short meditation session. I was so impressed, because if you’re a keen long-time practitioner, the teacher said, you would one day be able to let your mind be as clear as the reflection of a calm, still lake.

Right, and I’m going to start practising meditation every day from now! You should try it too if you think it can help you go through difficult moments. Go google all about it! It’s worth your time and effort, I promise.

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It’s my 30th birthday

Happy 30th BirthdayBe nice.

Today’s the day I turn 30. And I am a little nonchalant about the 30 years I have taken to get here. It should be an impressive milestone celebrated with the family, close friends and perhaps a life partner, but all I feel is ‘meh’. While in my teens, I’ve always thought I’d die young.You know, because I’d be living the fast and dangerous rebel’s life.

But the minute I hit 25, my perspective changed to ‘I want to live for as long as possible and to do great things in my life’. So far, I have accomplished the ‘live as long as possible’ bit, but sadly I’m still far away from the ‘do great things’ part and was getting depressed over it.

So what did I do? I Googled about ‘turning 30’. And my best friend did not let me down. In 0.43 seconds, it showed me 234,000,000 results on why turning 30 may not be that bad after all.

Julie Tilsner, who wrote about the subject in her book 29 and Counting, said:

‘Thirty is nothing to be afraid of. You’ve got a whole new decade to work with, and this time you’re prepared! You’re educated, you have years in the workplace, you finally know what your hair will and won’t do. You can still dance on tables, but you have some life experience. Turning 30 is actually a really awesome thing.’

All sounds very positive. So there’s absolutely nothing to feel gloomy or to freak out about.

30 Is Different for Everyone

When I was younger, I’d dream about being an astronaut, or a pilot (much like Tom Cruise from Top Gun. Still a brilliant film and a handsome guy, no matter what anyone says!) or Indiana Jones. Whether I become a lawyer or a doctor, I’d be cool, charismatic and carefree like the heroes I aspire to be.

Then I hit the teenage years and things started going downhill from there. I got mixed up in the wrong crowds, I played truant from school, I ran away from home, I gave up a promising sports career in the national team and I dropped out of school. All before I turned 16. In short, I got distracted from obtaining a good education that would supposedly set me on my path to greatness.

Two years later, I woke up metaphorically from my ‘going-nowhere-in-life’ slumber. I also had my first major heartbreak from a relationship I thought would last forever. I nearly killed myself because of one person, until my mum came home just in time to stop me. How silly, right? I felt stuck working in a restaurant. There is nothing with earning a decent living as a service staff, but it just didn’t feel like I was in the right job, doing the right thing I like. That got me thinking about my life, my future and myself.

I picked up the pieces, bit by bit. I changed to a permanent part-time job at a pub and I signed up for part-time classes to get the necessary certifications to get to the art school I wanted. I even went back to my former secondary school to seek help from my art teacher to improve my portfolio. That was how determined I was.

At age 20, I finally got into the art school I was aiming for. I was taking my car and motorbike licences. I had a relatively cushy part-time job. I met someone new to get over the heartbreak I had been nursing for the past two years. I was popular in school, just like in secondary school. So I was still cool, charismatic and carefree. I was delighted with life.

In the year that I was due to turn 21, I met someone who would prove to be a great love of my life. We spent all our waking hours together and we were inseparable and everyone was envious of us and what we had. There were rough moments. I had the nastiest temper and I was immature. And yet we were together for the next five years, most of which were good and we stuck together through the ups and all obstacles that objected to our relationship. We had a fiery relationship and sparks flew all the time. But it was tough to keep the spark between us alive, and ultimately, it was to burn out like a flame. I had to let go.

In my 25th year on earth, I found a job I enjoyed and something I can proudly proclaim to be relatively good at and skills that have enabled me to earn a decent living. I was a journalist. I’ve always wanted to write for a living and I did. I also met someone I thought I could fall in love with and start afresh in my love life. Well, it started afresh alright, but it wasn’t meant to last because I was still in love with the great love of my life. I couldn’t let go and it took a toll on me. I had volatile mood swings and my behaviour was dodgy. I would have dumped my sorry ass too, now that I am looking back. We spent close to a year together, but the relationship ended and gave me the second major heartbreak of my relatively young life. It took me a year to get over it and dust the debris away. One of the reasons I created this blog was to write about the pain I had inside me. I was broken for a long time, but while learning to deal with the pain, I learned many things about myself and I made some new lasting friendships that helped me through the turmoil I was in.

Soon the year I was turning 28 arrived. And I met someone whom I wanted to give my whole life to make her happy all the time. More than half of the posts published (and set as private) on this blog have been dedicated to her. I have never filled up so much virtual space about someone before. I have no idea if I would ever do (or feel) the same for anyone else again.

Now That I Am Finally 30
Now that I am turning 30, the past no longer seems like a chink on my armour. I get that I may not be as talented, as popular, as good-looking, as famous, as wealthy as other people my age, but it’s okay. I am still special in my own way; I am a little unique snowflake that will just be doing adult-like things in my own time. I may not be a best-selling author or a successful CEO yet, but I am still a success in my own way.

Should I have spent my teens studying hard and get Bs so I could have gotten into a good college? Should I have not spent all my hours on going to dance clubs and drink myself silly? On hindsight, maybe I should have. Should I have done better in art school instead of watching TV and playing Warcraft with my friends and indulging in Football Manager on most of my days? Maybe. But I didn’t, because I have not touched Warcraft or Football Manager since 2005 and I do not regret getting the most joy out of those games, even though I know I was wasting my time.

Yes, there are people who have made millions before they are 25, earn $10,000 a month by 27 or be famous and successful entrepreneurs before turning 30. Maybe I am an exception. Maybe I am on a different timeline from the rest and there is no happiness to be gained if I keep comparing myself with others. Life is not a race. Life is what you make of it and how happy and satisfied you deem yourself to be, not to spend your hours being envious of others.

Our whole idea about life before or after 30 should not be defined by the progress we are supposed to make or terms dictated by society. It doesn’t mean if we don’t realise our potential by 30, we are never going to succeed; there may be pieces of us that take years to gel and make us the successful person we will become.

According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, author of Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, we should live our whole life as if we’re in our twenties. ‘It’s that keep-inching-forward mentality that will allow you to be happy with your choices.’

Yes, I admit I am a little sad at the things I have not accomplished or the stuff I thought I would have achieved by now like being an extremely successful high-flyer, having my own apartment, being with the love of my life and travelling around the world. Maybe I am too old to be an astronaut now. Maybe this is the wrong era to be Indiana Jones. Maybe there were many decisions I could have made to get to a different place from where I am now.

But, have I failed at life? I went from a school dropout to studying part-time for a business degree now (very much like Larry Crowne but without the hot lecturer. Nice movie anyway. Go watch it!). I went from a junior service staff to having a relatively okay-paying mid-level media job I enjoy. I have my health (until the results confirm otherwise) and my parents who love me more than I can ever imagine. I am much more confident now and wiser than in my 20s. I am also more than okay to spend time alone and to enjoy my own companionship. I also value myself more. I imagine life can only go up from here.

I am not sure if I will like the idea of turning 30 at all, but now that I am already here, I might as well enjoy it while it last. After all, there’s still the looming 31 to dread over.

So, I will enjoy the year ahead with as much vigour as a unique little snowflake should, because I am 30 and to hell with the rest of you, I’m gonna celebrate by pampering myself the whole of today.

Because today is my day, and no one can be Me-er than Me. 🙂

And stay tuned for the 30 life lessons I’ve learned from my 30 years.

[Image via Sommecards]

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That doggie in the window

So really, I’ve been hearing that song since oh I don’t know when I was young and still, no one has ever told me how much was that doggie in the window. The song just goes on and on. Bit annoying really.

But if you happen to know the price tag of the dog, please let me know. After all, that poor dog has been in that window display for ages. Surely, its value has depreciated over time, no? Maybe I can finally get a pet dog for cheap.

Anyway, sleep is becoming a distant memory for me these days, what with the intense amount of words I have to churn out within a short period of time. Oh, the need for coherent and sensible writing when you are hardly awake enough to type is excruciating. Yes, I know it’s partly my fault because I have been so lazy but criticising me now won’t do anyone any good, innit.

I will of course attempt to finally complete the last few hundred words of the feature now, instead of getting distracted by the delights the wondrous Internet has to offer. Talk later.