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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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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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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

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A golden kiwi a day

I’m always amused when I see a gold kiwifruit. It is shaped like a tear drop, with a protruding neck—which reminds me of a headless kiwi bird—and smooth hairless body, which is totally unlike the green kiwifruit.

According to a New Zealand kiwifruit producer Zespri (the brand of the kiwis that I’m currently eating now), the biggest difference between the green and gold kiwi is taste. “While green kiwifruit has a tangier, more tart flavor, gold kiwifruit is mellow and tropical, a mixture of mango, melon and citrus flavours.”

Well, golden kiwifruits are just fabulous for our health. Based on this long article which I’ve read so you don’t have to, here are a few key points why we should all eat more golden kiwis instead of apples from now on.

According to a 2011 study published in the journal Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, a Japanese research team examined seven fruits that are known to have high antioxidant content: gold kiwis, green kiwis, navel oranges, mandarin oranges, white grapefruits, ruby grapefruits and apples.

The team wanted to know which fruit had the highest concentration of polyphenols (powerful antioxidants that offset the effects of molecules known as free radicals), which were most effective in reducing lipid oxidation (the process whereby fatty acids are turned into free radicals that damage cells), and which were most effective in eliminating free-ranging hydrogen peroxide (another type of free radical produced as a byproduct of the body’s process to create and use energy at the cellular level).

By reducing the amount of oxidised lipids and the number of other free radicals in blood serum, physicians believe people can significantly reduce their risk of heart disease. A common way to reduce free radicals and oxidised lipids is to consume more antioxidant-rich food such as the aforementioned fruits.

Suffice to say, golden kiwis kicked every fruit’s asses, particularly apple’s.

The researchers found that gold kiwi’s polyphenols content was approximately 1.04mg per ml, green kiwi was second with 0.85mg/ml, navel oranges were third at 0.80mg/ml, while apples were last at 0.13 mg/ml.

As for the antioxidant properties of these polyphenols, the researchers found that both gold kiwi and navel orange inhibited oxidation of 60% of the lipids, with apples again last at 23%.

To further evaluate the antioxidant properties of the fruits, the researchers measured the amount of hydrogen peroxide eliminated by the fruit juices. Guess what? Gold kiwi significantly outperformed the other fruits by eliminating over 60% of the hydrogen peroxide. No other fruit achieved greater than 30% elimination, and apples were last at less than 10%.

The scientific team said: “All these indicators showed the highest activity for gold kiwi, demonstrating that gold kiwi has strong antioxidant effects. Overall, green kiwi had lower antioxidant effects than gold kiwi, but had stronger effects than the other fruits.”

So, if you’d like to add a tasty fruit to your daily diet, try the golden kiwi. It’s more expensive than the regular green ones, sure, but it’s worth all the health benefits and yummy sweetness you’d be getting. I like scooping the tender flesh with a teaspoon after chilling it for a while. Simply delightful.

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Monday is gonna be fine

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I was feeling bored the other day while waiting for others to finish their lunch that I suddenly exclaimed: “I think I have magical powers.” Eyes immediately turned to me.

“It’s true. I tried killing a cockroach last night but it disappeared without dying in front of my eyes, so before I went to sleep, I made a wish. I wished that the cockroach would show up dead, because I wanted to sleep in peace.

“And my wish came true! This morning, it was lying near my door looking very dead. See, my powers worked.”

I immediately felt that my colleagues’ eyes were trying not to roll themselves. “That’s not magic,” one of them said. And their attention started drifting off to their mobile phones.

And I laughed. What I failed to elaborate further was that the cockroach disappeared near the windows which were the opposite where the door was… So for a dead cockroach to appear in the morning at the opposite direction was really quite a miracle. I was truly convinced I had magical powers to do anything I wanted—I could command the law of attraction to get the Universe to do my bidding. I could almost hear myself cackling evilly.

“Maybe I will wish for money to drop from the sky next.” I grinned at my colleagues, thinking they were foolish to dismiss me.

I had no idea what I wanted to convey with my story, but I wanted to demonstrate 1) the power of thought; 2) what the universe can do for you; and 3) what you can achieve if you put your mind to it. Amazing huh?

So Mondays don’t always have to be associated with the blues. Mondays can be the days when anything you want will happen. Mondays can be joyful, but only if you allow happiness to be present. Start your Monday right and your whole week will be amazing, and maybe even magical. Why not, right? It’s “anything-can-happen” Monday.

P/S: I was chatting with my friend on Friday night and she asked how I was doing relationship-wise. I said I have moved on since a month ago when I was at my lowest and on the verge of breaking down. I told her I’ve stopped looking at things I shouldn’t and stayed away from things that were harmful to my mind. When I removed the things that were blocking my recovery, I recovered faster.

What I didn’t say was that meditation saved my mind too. It gave me clarity and a sense of calmness that lifted the heaviness in my heart. Maybe one day I’ll be less embarrassed to let more people know I meditate daily. Meanwhile, you should try meditating if you need some zen in your life.

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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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I’m not sure which is worse

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You know, I realise it has become one of my weekly rituals to blog about how I feel about you every other Sunday and how I would tag the post as ‘secret’, because I don’t think anyone else knows or understands what my heart is seeking.

Sometimes there’s just this trepidation in my heart that I don’t know how to quell. And the panic level would keep rising and I would lose my inner peace. Just like what Po the Dragon Warrior had to go through, it’s been a long arduous journey to find my inner peace.

With that, I’d like to leave you with this quote I heard from watching season 4, episode 14 of White Collar (Shoot the Moon) which it made me tear:

Real love is fighting like hell to hold onto every moment you have with her. It’s making a life together and making it work, no matter what happens. You want a love for the ages? I think that’s great. Prove it. Make it last. — Peter Burke