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Before I turn 30

(This was written on 11 August this year at around 12am or so and I finished it within 45 minutes because I was so enthusiastic about making a worthy list for myself.

That feeling of typing away non-stop and describing exactly what I felt inside into the written word gave me such a high that I can’t wait to experience it again. I daresay this is one of the best and most thrilling posts I have written in the past year.

The only reason why I didn’t publish it then was because I haven’t finished my list. It’s tough, you know, to figure your exact wants and needs. But I was very inspired tonight so here goes.)

So I’m turning 30 next year and I’m not freaking out or anything. Unlike some people/person I know who was so sensitive about it that they went into a silent strop. And decided that being emotional and ignoring me would make them feel better or stop their ageing clock or something. Go figure.

Anyway that happened about two years ago. And we are still friends so it’s all good. But it taught me a very important lesson. There’s no need to take out your unhappiness about growing old on anyone. It’d be far better and much more enjoyable to embrace what life has given you and smile. I find that it makes living more worthwhile and you get to create an annoyingly happy bubble around you that people can’t break.

So I thought about it and when I was 24, I created a “top 50 things to do before I die” list but unfortunately I forgot where I’ve placed that notebook otherwise I could see if I had managed to whittle any items off the list over the past few years. I know some things I wanted to do then involved travelling to some faraway places, owning a lychee farm in China, buying a house in Europe, becoming a gossip columnist. I know.

So since I can’t quite remember what else was on that list and I am not really in the mood to redo my top 50 list just yet, the next best thing would be writing a “top 10 things to do before I turn 30” list. Yes.

I’m like a cannonball rolling up the hill and storing up as much kinetic energy as possible before I reach the top so I can go full speed ahead for the journey downhill. See the clever thing I did there? And I do have to move a bit fast since I only have slightly more than a year to complete my list.

For those of you curious to why there are only 10 items, well, I want to have a balance between achievable goals and ambitious ideals. More importantly, if I have to spend money, then I want to spend it on experiences that I can relive over and over again in my memory.

Because according to research, splurging on material possessions such as an iPad, high-end branded leather wallet, a fancy new car or a studio apartment where you can finally decorate it however you like will only buy you happiness for a short time. Which is not a surprise really because gadgets and physical items get old and scratches and when something newer comes up, the pursuit continues. So you continue to work harder and longer hours, hoping to get a better-paying job to pay for all the stuff you think will make you happy. It never ends.

Then you become depressed, unsatisfied with life, envious of others who can afford the so-called finer things or become egoistic when you own more luxurious items than others. All which frankly make you a human being that no one wants to hang out with.

It’s far better to buy experiences such as a super yummy sumptuous dinner, a luxurious pampering holiday, a cruise, a three-hour soothing massage. Because if you had a great time doing all these things, the memory will always stay with you and over time, you will think of them as even more wonderful than they actually were.

Plus, I have a full-time permanent job so I have limited vacation time to fly around fulfilling my list. Anyway, there is always a list for when I turn 40. Shudders.

So here goes, Internet. The following items are chosen on these main criteria: satisfaction level from accomplishing it, depth of experience I will learn from it, novelty/excitement factor. Drumroll please. DRRRRRRUUUUHHHH…

Top 10 things to do before I turn 30:

1. Go skydiving
2. Go bungy jumping
3. Eat fugu sushi aka puffer fish and live to tell the tale
4. Gain five kilogrammes more and have a vertical line on my abs
5. Go to New York and spend at least two awesome weeks there
6. Take a holiday by myself (a luxurious, pampering stay in a penthouse suite would be fabulous.)
7. Flesh out the book idea that has been brewing in my head into a written draft.
8. Speak French fluently
9. Learn to fly a plane / surfboard (currently a toss-up between two because I can’t swim and I’m afraid of not feeling the ground under my feet.)
10. Save enough money to pay for the downpayment (and few months’ of instalments) of an apartment for myself

Once I have completed each item, I will come back here to review my experiences of each item in a new blog post with a link to this blog post as a virtual tick off the list.

I’m seriously so stoked that I can’t wait to get started on them. Because life is too short to sit around wishing you could have done this or that. Why not do something fun because when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Stay tuned.

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10 ways to create a stronger relationship

“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” ~ Sam Keen

I have no idea how our lives will be like from here on but I just know I want you to be in mine.

A real-life relationship is not a fairytale romance movie. I think we somehow know that. Yet we can make relationships work and stay happy and blissful together.

According to Lynn Zavaro at tinybuddha.com, here are 10 ways to create true intimacy, find pure love, and be truly happy in your relationship:

1. Use relationships to teach you how to be whole within.

Relationships aren’t about having another person complete you, but coming to the relationship whole and sharing your life interdependently. Let go of the romantic ideal of becoming “one”. Learn to love the distances in relationship as much as the togetherness.

2. See your partner for who she really is.

The romantic tragedy occurs when you view the person you are in love with as a symbol of what they have come to represent. When you realise that more often than not you don’t really know your partner, you begin to discover who they are and how they change and evolve.

3. Be willing to learn from each other.

The key is to see the other as a mirror and learn from the reflection how you can be a better person. When you feel upset, rather than blame your partner and point fingers, remain awake to what has yet to be healed in yourself.

4. Get comfortable being alone.

In order to accept that love can’t rescue you from being alone, learn to spend time being with yourself. By feeling safe and secure to be on your own within the framework of relationship, you will feel more complete, happy, and whole.

5. Look closely at why a fight may begin.

Some couples create separateness by fighting and then making up over and over again to continue the romantic trance, creating drama and avoiding real intimacy. If you become aware of what you fear about intimacy, you’ll have a better sense of why you’re fighting—and likely will fight far less.

6. Own who you are.

We generally grasp at romantic love because we’re yearning for something in another person that we don’t think we possess in ourselves. True love only exists by loving yourself first. You can only get from another person what you’re willing to give yourself.

7. Embrace ordinariness.

After the fairy-dust start of a relationship ends, we often do everything we can to avoid ordinariness. The trick is to see that ordinariness can become the real “juice” of intimacy. The day-to-day loveliness of sharing life with a partner can, and does, become extraordinary.

8. Expand your heart.

One thing that unites us is that we all long to be happy. This happiness usually includes the desire to be close to someone in a loving way. To create real intimacy, bring awareness to what is good within your heart. It’s easier to recognize the good in your partner when you’re connected to the good in yourself.

9. Focus on giving love.

Genuine happiness is not about feeling good about ourselves because other people love us; it’s more about how well we have loved ourselves and others. The unintentional outcome of loving others more deeply is that we are loved more deeply.

10. Let go of expectations.

You may look to things such as romance and constant togetherness to fill a void in yourself. This will immediately cause suffering. If you unconsciously expect to receive love in certain ways to avoid giving that love to yourself, you will put your sense of security in someone else.

Draw upon your own inner-resources to offer love, attention, and nurturance to yourself when you need it. Then you can let love come to you instead of putting expectations on what it needs to look like.