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The purpose of life

IMG_1768-1.JPG This is a pic of a birthday card that I thought was meaningful.

AND Whaaaaaat?! It’s August already?! I can’t believe it.

I had a long well-deserved vacation in July and in that time I learned so much about myself. Now I feel I know my likes and dislikes even better than before. I’m starting to grow into my own person and I no longer have that fear of not fitting in with others. Why? Because I no longer care whether I am socially awkward or if I’m going against the social norms or whether people like me!

The most important thing I’ve learned in July is that life is short and you have to do what YOU want NOW; waiting for others to either make up their mind to follow you or force you to do what they like is a pure waste of your time. Why? Because life is short! Every moment you are not enjoying in it is a moment of your life wasted. The right moment is now and this moment is the best time of your life.

Also, the best relationship you can have is with yourself. Love and nurture yourself, because you deserve the best. Agree?

“The purpose of life is to be happy.” — Dalai Lama

And before I sign off, this song has been on repeat in my playlist the past two (three?) weeks and I just love the music video and the energy. It’s one of the most romantic, bouncy songs ever. Hahaha! I’ve listened to it so many time and I still get the feels. It also helps that Taylor Swift looks hot in it. Mega feels. Try it and see if you get the feels too. I think you would just fall in love.

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Happy Mother’s Day from me to you


(Oscars 2014: Watch Jared Leto’s Amazing Acceptance Speech for Supporting Actor)

I’m about two months late, but I’ve been meaning to post this since the night I watched it. And it’s a happy coincidence, seeing as it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow, this is a wonderful dedication.

I first read about it on my social media feeds, then I went home to watch the video of Jared Leto accepting his award. I’m unabashed to say my eyes welled up when he looked at his mother.

Here’s an excerpt from Time.com:

In 1971, in Bossier City, Louisiana, there was a teenage girl who was pregnant with her second child. She was a high-school dropout and a single mom, but somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children. She encouraged her kids to be creative and work hard and do something special. That girl was my mother and she’s here tonight. I just want to say ‘I love you mom, thank you for teaching me to dream.’

I got goosebumps just reading his speech again. One day when I’m up on stage accepting an award, I would want to also dedicate it to an amazing woman who went through hardships and made sacrifices just so I would always have a roof over my head and a home to go back when I grew disillusioned with life outside. She did everything and asked for nothing in return, all because I was her child. Mothers are amazing, aren’t they?

I also like how Leto weaved social responsibility and political support for current events into his short, yet meaningful, speech.

To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight in places like Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to to say we are here, and as you struggle to make your dreams happen and live the impossible, we are thinking of you tonight … This is for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS. And to those of you who have ever felt injustice because of who you are and who you love, I stand here in front of the world with you and for you.

I wonder if he had to pre-write a draft or it came naturally to him amid all the blood-rushing-to-head adrenaline and excitement of winning the first Oscar of that night. If it was the latter, then he must be damn intelligent and thoughtful! I am definitely going to model my acceptance speeches after him from now so they can be as amazing, thoughtful and heartfelt as his!

Source: Jared Leto’s amazing speech at the Oscars 2014

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Believe in yourself

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It’s the final countdown: Eight more days before I’m officially free from the agonising hours of cramping copious amounts of academic information into my memory and regurgitating them out in a three-hour session. I’m so excited and so lazy at the same time. Instead of focusing on the present and the things I have to do NOW, I keep fantasising about the future, which is detrimental to my productivity.

I recently tweeted that I’d be more productive if I read less, watch fewer TV shows and stop taking so many naps in a day. It’s true, you know, maybe if I didn’t have a TV or Internet, I’d have found a cure for cancer or win a Nobel prize by now. Haha!

In the past one month of not blogging (because I was busy with two major projects), I sense a fear growing within me and I shall verbalise it now, so you can help me chase the demons away.

Sometimes I lay awake in bed at night wondering: Many people have said I will accomplish great things in my life, but what if I never fulfil my destiny?

What happens then? Am I doomed to wander the earth like six other billion faceless souls living ordinary lives? Scary thought, huh?

I guess this is where desire steps in and forces me to stay focused and brave and disciplined. I also realise I tend to be more philosophical on Sundays. It’s like I let my thoughts culminate the whole week and I pour them out to you.

So I will end this blog post on a positive note, because we all need encouragement at times to spur us forward (especially more so if you have doubts as often as I do). If you were looking for a sign that you’re on the right path, here it is.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. There’s no one better at fulfilling your dreams than you. So go for it.

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How I made peace with 2013

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Happy New Year! Have you been nursing a hangover for the past few hours or has the first day of a brand new year been subdued? I’ve been feeling sluggish since I woke up, after having a late night out that had no alcohol involved. How amazing is that? Well, maybe just a few sips of muscato to match the festivity. But I don’t regret it at all, because I had one of the best and most memorable New Year’s Eve celebrations ever and my body is still paying for it. Unlike last year when 2012 was refusing to go away quietly without a fight (it was pouring heavily that day), today has been peaceful. I am so psyched that I can tell you confidently that the smell of optimism and change is in the air.

For this year’s round-up, I am going to do something a bit different. I am not going to write about the things I regret doing (or not doing) in the past 12 months, or whine about my losses and sadness, or grumble about not meeting my goals or career progress, because those are in the past and they should remain there. Why should I bring them back again? So I can make myself depressed again? IT would be far healthier if I just focus on what I can do from now on instead. Agree?

So to sum up my life in 2013, it’s that I’ve learned to be grateful for the things I have, the people I have by my side, my good health, my good looks, my job, my intelligence, my earning power (that has kindly allowed me to splurge on ridiculously expensive branded shoes), my growing maturity and ability to trust my instincts better. I can also let you in on another secret: I have never loved myself more than this moment and I love me more every day. 😀

Showing gratitude and learning to love yourself more may sound simple, but it is not easy to do when you have discontent in your life or when you feel lost or if you keep harping on the past or worrying about the future. The one new useful skill I learned this year was meditation. And it has helped me greatly in being at ease with myself. Here’s a quote that I came across recently and I hope it gives you the encouragement to find peace within yourself:

‘If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.’

Anyway, in other exciting news, I have compiled — without the help of WordPress — a decent round-up of my top five most popular posts on this blog from 1 Jan to today. I have even made little comments next to their links to encourage you to view them (hint!) again to see why they were so popular.

Top posts from 1 Jan 2013 – 31 Dec 2013

  1. Care for each other even when you’re angry (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/care-for-each-other-even-when-youre-angry/)
    — Recalling an argument I had with someone and how I realised I needed to grow up.
  2. I woke up wanting to kiss you (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/i-woke-up-wanting-to-kiss-you/) — I was missing the same person I fought with and looking at some artwork by Emin inspired me to blog about how much I wanted to kiss her again.
  3. It’s my 30th birthday (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/its-my-30th-birthday/) — Narrating about the major events before I hit a big milestone in my life in one of my longest blog posts ever.
  4. Lorax made me LOL (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/lorax-made-me-lol/) — This was one of the top posts of 2012 and I had never expected me gushing over how adorable the bears in the movie to be so popular.
  5. When you really matter to someone (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/when-you-really-matter-to-someone/) — One of my saddest entries of the year after I was frustrated and had my heart broken by the same person. Again.

The number of views in 2023 was nearly double from the previous year’s views. Amazingly, huh?! Hahaha!

And since you’ve been such loyal readers, here are two BONUS posts that would keep you coming back for more. What can I say? I’m like Santa Claus, only better-looking. Haha!

  1. Tom Ford and Richard Buckley Forever (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/tom-ford-and-richard-buckley-forever/) — A touching love story of how two stylish good-looking men met, fell in love, changed each others’ lives and adopted a baby together. What’s not to like?
  2. Talking to you makes my day (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/you-totally-make-my-day/) — Another top post from 2012 and it was about how some of the happiest days in my life was texting with the same person.

Right, so I have no New Year resolutions to make, because stats in general have shown that most people tend to give up on their lists after three months. So, I am going to start on my work now. Yes, yes, my line between holidays and work has always been this blurry. I believe in being productive whenever I can, and not having my life being dictated by the calendar. You, on the other hand, have my blessing to remain horizontal in bed and enjoy the rest of your day. Have fun!

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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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Laughter is the best drug

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Two or three weeks ago, I happened to turn on the TV one morning and an episode from Sex And The City was already playing halfway. I immediately settled down to watch it, because I secretly adore the show, even though I won’t tell anyone about it!

It was the second episode of the first season, so everything looked retro, even though it was only 1998 then. But it was still hilarious. It was about beautiful people, aka models, and whether dating them is a privilege or a chore (more like death sentence the way how it was portrayed in the show). And how less beautiful people, aka 99% of ordinary average-looking human beings, behave differently (feel insecure?) when they are around models. Hence, the title Models and Mortals.

The ending was particularly sweet. It was a conversation between Carrie Bradshaw and her Mr Big at the usual cafe that she writes her columns at.

Carrie typing on her laptop (VoiceOver): “I began to realise that being beautiful is like having a rent-controlled apartment overlooking the park — Completely unfair and usually bestowed upon those who deserve it least.”

Mr Big [walks into the cafe and slides into the booth where Carrie is at]: “I’m not interrupting your work, am I?”

Carrie: “Hey, what a surprise.”

Mr Big: “I can’t stay. I’m late for a meeting, but I’ve been thinking about your article on men who date models.”

Carrie: “What about them?”

Mr Big: “First of all, there are so many goddamn gorgeous women in this city.”

Carrie: “What an amazing observation.”

Mr Big: “But the thing is this … after a while, you just wanna be with the one that makes you laugh. Know what I mean?”

And Carrie couldn’t stop smiling after that. I guess she knew what Big meant? I didn’t really get the reference Carrie used in the beginning of the scene about the rent-controlled apartment. Maybe it’s a New York thing.

Anyway, my takeaway from this is that laughter is good. Being with someone who makes you laugh is better. Being able to laugh at the same things with that someone is even better. Being able to laugh at each other all the time? Now that’s gold.

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Lisa Kudrow’s epic speech on sexism

If you haven’t started watching the TV drama Scandal, you are missing out. You’ve gotta watch at the very least the sixth episode of the show’s third season, because it will blow your mind, especially if you believe in gender equality. I know I do, that’s why this was so inspiring.

In this episode of Scandal, Lisa Kudrow’s character, Congresswoman Josie Marcus delivers a scathing take-down of sexism in modern politics and the semantics with which men subtly put females down to her interviewer James Novak in an interview that is broadcast live on national TV.

“I know what prejudice looks like. It’s not about experience, James. It’s about gender. [Political opponent Governor Sam] Reston’s saying I don’t have the balls to be President and he means that literally. It’s offensive. It’s offensive to me and to all the women whose votes he’s asking for.”

Wow, right? Can you feel the room heating up? And the congresswoman goes on firing her bullets.

“It’s not just Governor Reston speaking in code about gender; it’s everyone, yourself included. The only reason we’re doing this interview in my house is because you requested it. This was your idea and here you are, thanking me for inviting you into my ‘lovely home’. That’s what you say to the neighbour lady who baked you chocolate-chip cookies. This pitcher of iced tea isn’t even mine; it’s what your producers set here. Why? Same reason you called me a ‘real-life Cinderella story’. It reminds people that I’m a woman without using the word. For you, it’s an angle, I get that, and I’m sure you think it’s innocuous, but guess what, it’s not.”

Powerful. Cutting. Straight to the point. And the politician who strives to be nice 24/7 finally shows that she has the temerity to bite when threatened. Strength is not derived from your gender, but your character.

“You’re promoting stereotypes, James. You’re advancing this idea that women are weaker than men. You’re playing right into the hands of Reston and into the hands of every other imbecile who thinks a woman isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief.”

The background story for her outburst is that minutes before her interview, Marcus is shown an ad from her political opponent Reston. The ad shows a woman’s trembling hand reaching for a doorknob, as the voiceover says: “On the other side of this door sit the leaders of Syria, China, and Iran. On the other side of this door is America’s future — success and failure, life and death. Does America really want an inexperienced hand opening this door?”

The ad doesn’t say it outright, but its subtext is indicating that a woman would not be confident enough to lead a country. Anyway, later in the episode, it was revealed that the ad was fake and created by Marcus’ campaign manager Olivia Pope to motivate her. Kinda expected if you’ve been following Scandal religiously. But still, excellent scriptwriting from the team, great editing and, of course, the kick-ass performance from Kudrow (but I have to admit that I keep expecting Phoebe Buffay to appear any moment).

The whole time I was watching the scene, I was subconsciously thinking of Hilary Clinton and whether she’d have the balls to make a speech like that. And would the American public love her or crush her in return? I’m already looking forward to the US presidential election in three years’ time, when hopefully Clinton or another strong capable female would run for the presidency and win. But most importantly, she would be an inspiring leader who runs the country efficiently and effectively. Now that would be quite a story to tell our future generations, don’t you think?

Credits: Celebuzz.com, The Atlantic

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It’s okay if you haven’t achieved anything yet

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So I opened my Feedly app and this image and headline was the cover page of the day’s top news. With over 700 “shares” for this article, there must be plenty of people feeling the same way as I do. Coincidence? I think not.

According to a Facebook employee, you don’t have to achieve everything when you’re young. That’s a relief because I was getting worried about my lack of stellar achievements in my 30 years on earth.

It’s true what Anthony Sharwood said on news.com.au: If you don’t have the most happening career and the most Twitter followers and the greatest this and the most excellent that, you might start to look at all your successful friends and wonder ‘Why isn’t my life like that?’. And then you might begin to feel pretty down on yourself.

If you’re sighing sorrowfully now like me, the following might just change your entire perspective for the better. Kejia Zhu is a 29-year-old guy who was born in China. He grew up in the UK and now lives in America. Here’s what the Facebook employee has to say about the pursuit of success in his blog post:

“Do you sometimes lie awake worrying that you aren’t succeeding fast enough? Are you tortured by younger peers who have global businesses, penned acclaimed books and a string of iron-man medals? Do you count down the years until you can no longer make the 30 under 30 list? Take a deep breath. My 92 year old grandpa has some advice for you.

“He is a tremendously accomplished individual and considered by many to be a pioneer in biomedical engineering. I visited him in Beijing recently. We were taking an after dinner stroll. I was pestering him for details about his career, looking for tidbits that might help my own. What was he like at my age? How did he work? Is there a secret a routine? He stops me mid-sentence: ‘You know, my career only really took off after I turned 58.’

“Hang on, what?

‘Yes, I’d say the 10 years between my 60s and 70s were my busiest.’

“I was floored. Here is a man who helped revolutionise medical technology and he did it in his twilight years.”

Kejia’s grandfather had gone through various hardships in China, because of the political turmoil and World War II. He found success only in the late 1970s.

“My grandpa’s story made me reflect upon the worship of youthful achievement and our drive to get it all so early in life. I, like many other insecure overachievers, feel an urgency to do big things. Deep down I know this anxiety is root in fear. That I’m not actually any good. That I will waste my shot at life and be a disappointment. So I strive for a quick success because I need to validate my worth. After that I can relax and everything will be plain sailing. Right? Instead, this warped expectation more often leads me to behave in a manner that’s unsustainable and counterproductive.

“It’s easy to forget that our careers extend for decades beyond our 20s and 30s. The truth is significant works usually take a long time. Whether it’s business, academia or the arts, most of the contributions made have been the result of many years of toil. It’s just that we hear of the young overnight success because that’s a more attractive narrative. Even then, those rare few who achieve a lot early in life do not simply stop. The race doesn’t end with the win.

“My grandpa had no choice but to wait a long time for his opportunity. It’s likely he would have achieved even more had be moved to the West. However, had he missed his moment, I dare say he would still have had a fulfilling life. Without the acclaim and recognition he’d still be the jovial, curious and industrious man I love.

“His advice to me: ‘Don’t be in so much of a rush. Be easier on yourself. Comparing yourself to what others are doing is a waste of time.'”

Kejia’s grandfather dispenses one last morsel of wisdom—an old Chinese saying “大器晚成” that roughly translates to “A big construction is always completed late.”

Encouraging, huh? If you had been holding your breath and worrying yourself sick this whole time wondering if you will ever get to the metaphorical “top”, you may exhale now. Take a chill pill and be patient.

Something else Kejia said to news.com.au struck a chord in me:

“It feels like I was part of the generation groomed to feel like they could and should achieve everything. I, for one, have been anxious about living up to this expectation and could see many of my peers felt the same, though it was never talked about. …

“Despite some early successes, I feel rather unremarkable here, which is a good thing. I wanted to be in a position, where I could feel like a rookie and soak up the learning. I do think that the high achievement-driven attitude that fuels this area has a negative impact on people’s expectations of themselves.”

You know what the moral of this blog post is, don’t you? Don’t fret over whether you’re the smarter than everyone else or if you’re way ahead in the rat race. Just know what you want in life and do things in your own time and trust that the universe will do the rest.

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Nothing makes me happier

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Nothing makes me happier and nothing makes me sadder … than you.

It’s true. I haven’t felt right for a long time. It’s nearly 1.5 or two years… The past few days I had so many thoughts and emotions running through my mind, as I recalled the conversation we used to have. Oh well, let’s move on. I can only feel ’emo’ for this long. Besides, this quote is applicable for my studies and shopping purchases as you will read below…

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged for close to a month. In my defence, I was swamped with work and studies, though there’s nothing to crow about, since I will most likely not get any first-class honours. It’d be a miracle if I do receive high distinctions for my papers. Still, my fingers will remain crossed. After all, I’m always lucky. You never know…

Also, in spite of my busy schedule, I found time to go on a shopping spree, which was therapeutic, but certainly not cheaper than getting a massage or spa treatment. In fact, I might need to see a therapist after this. You know how it is when your friends show off their shopping goodies and you’d tut-tut at them for spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on branded clothes, bags and shoes (and sometimes they’d be broke after that)? And then you would exclaim how you would never spend that much money on such materialistic items, because you are absolutely confident that you can find cheaper and equally nice substitutes? Yup, I’ve become one of those people you’d tut-tut at for spending ridiculous amounts of dough on luxury goods. Now I know why Carrie Bradshaw from Sex And The City goes crazy over expensive branded shoes. I totally get you now, Carrie.

I swear I’m not a brand whore, BUT … The stuff I buy are really, really nice, because I have excellent taste and fabulous dress sense. Ahem. Anyway, I’m lazy to post pictures; you just gotta trust me on this. I highly recommend everyone to buy ridiculously expensive clothes and shoes, because they are really comfortable. And the quality is absolutely topnotch — so good you know for certain it will probably outlast your lifespan. Say, you slip your feet in well-crafted exquisitely soft leather shoes, you’d immediately feel like “Ah… This is what a good life should be.”

Once you buy your first pair of $500-700 luxury shoes, you’ll wonder why have you spent half of your life without them. And the next thing you know… You’re signing a credit card slip for a $1,200-worth pair of shoes. Yup, by the time you reach home, you’re still in a daze from the swiftness of that transaction, but you are also gleeful of how good you look in the mirror. Then when you add the cost of the branded shirts and bottoms to the shoes, you’d realise your outfit from head to toe is probably worth around $1,000 or more, which would shock you for like five seconds and then you’d quickly put it out of your mind. Because you’re thinking of your next purchase. True story.

The only thing I haven’t splurged on is bags, because I have a specific requirement for them. But I have my eye on a few items already… So don’t be surprised if you see me on the streets looking like a million bucks one day; my outfit would probably have cost that much. Hahaha!

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Do something for your future self today

Always put yourself first.

Always put yourself first.

I thought this would be inspirational for everyone, since it’s Monday again — the start of another work week. Oh, the horrors. I haven’t been able to log into WordPress via the iPhone app, so some intelligent tech person has to sort that out pronto. It feels weird to be blogging on my laptop, since the last time I did that was months ago. That’s how useful the WordPress iPhone app has been, but I think the new iOS 7 is screwing some of its functionality. SORT IT OUT, WordPress.

So I spent the past two days trying to juggle several things at once, and have successfully not accomplished a single thing. This goes to show how bad I am at multitasking, but also how good I am at procrastinating. It really depends on which perspective you prefer to see. Ahem.

On the bright side, I have sort of formulated a long-term plan for my future. What’s next is to overcome my fears and hesitation in detailing the steps to achieve it and then, of course, carrying it out faithfully. But right now, I have six 1,200-word essays to finish by end-September and one 3,000-word coursework to complete by 7 October. Argh! I felt like I have wasted my whole weekend doing nothing of importance. All my 48 hours were not being utilised well, because I had to sleep, eat, shower, entertain friends and watch TV. Somehow, writing this blog post feels like more precious time is being taken up too. Sorry, my loyal readers, I was only being brutally honest. That’s why you love me! Ahem.

So, I am going to do something today that my future self will thank me for. Spend the next 40 35 minutes doing a quick draft of one essay before I watch the derby match between my beloved Manchester United and those City wannabes. And sleep by 1:30am, so my liver can be super productive and start detoxifying my body.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

Photo credit: The sweet Internet