Groceries are therapeutic.

Something about groceries.

The aisle between the two shelves of everyday items, keeps me on the ground. It reminds me to get real and take it slow. 

Maybe it’s the warm cozy feeling you get from the bread section: the distinct scent and the innate comfort you can only get  from carbohydrates. The versatility of flour as a reminder to be flexible dealing with problems and obstacles.

Or the personal care aisle to put superficial depiction of aesthetic on context. And kick me in the gut when I forgot what matters is actually on the inside. After all the ups and downs, you could always treat yourself to a long long bath. 

Probably something to do with the non-halal area. “Respect diversity”, it says, as the fridges filled with ham and sausages hum in the background. The wide array of international wines tell you that there’s always something for everybody here. Preferences are subjective, always be moderate about yours.

Perhaps it’s the fruits – colourful and healthy. Almost seems like a warning signs or a personal trainer screaming, “eat better” right next to my ears. But still, I adore them. Flavour and texture made life more exciting, right?

I like the condiment shelves too. Serves as a personal goal to always ignite senses and keep things in balance. Travel further and explore everything – and life will never have a dull moment, especially on conversations. 

Whenever my mood gets cloudy, or maybe rainy, a walk in a grocery store does wonders to me. And by the time I’m leaving, the cashiers will remind me to take care of my personal finance too.

On my way home, I will take a deep breath and get a cup of coffee. Well, just because. 

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The Transition

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While the post was stuck in the middle of the year, time slipped by and it’s almost Christmas. The impact of being busy is not insignificant and the effects of “doing it tomorrow” is compounding. Without even realising it consciously, I had been neglecting this blog for an extended period of time.

I’m sorry. To myself mainly. For the lack of determination, and this distinctly bad habit forming routine. Really, it wasn’t anything drastically difficult. Saving a few hundred a month, write a post every week, or even exercising every day. What is this lurking energy-sapping laziness of mine is doing to me?

Am I going to live by like this again? Year after year, promising myself the same thing over and over again?

No. It can’t be it.

Granted, 2015 has been a really good one. Checking off one of my life’s bucket list – backpacking to Europe alone. With close-to-none commitment, I embarked on a one-month journey to a land of the west. Taking along my immense curiosity and my trusty bus 11, I was wandering around 8 countries and more than 12 cities on a very manageable budget.

I loved every single moment of that.

Now that I’m physically back in Malaysia (whilst my mind isn’t), there are things to be done. I really need to be back on track, quick.

Reflecting back on 2015, I understand that I have to set my foot down and deal with my debts as soon as possible. Setting up emergency funds in case of, uh, emergencies (duh!). May need to adjust my monthly expenditures and refrain from impulsive purchases.

While I’m at it, I am going to attempt to get bigger by working out at least 3 days a week. Pull-ups will be addressed once and for all, with the rest of the basic fundamental of strength training being covered as well. I am going to step a little further outside my comfort zone because it is absolutely necessary.

I’m going to learn more things and move on further in my career. I will hone my social media management skills by reading more of the materials pertaining to this matter. Read, read and read more to understand social trends and expanding my cultural horizon.

I will not stop here, I am going to go further. And this time, it’s going to happen because I am making this happen.

 

Mid-year Crisis

In a blink of an eye, it’s already July.

Time just flies by right in front of your eyes. Barely registering in your mind, as you buried under daily obligations and responsibilities. I had been doing fine I guess, trying to do the best I could mentally and physically. Would require more work on the financial aspect though, especially when I am departing for my one-month Europe trip during mid-October. I’m terrified, not for what may happen, but what may not happen due to my financial standing. That will be such a bummer and I probably wouldn’t forgive myself. Or, alternatively, I may consider going to Europe again – to see more places that I have opted to sacrifice this time around.

Three months to go, and I am nowhere ready. It’s time to put my plans down in paper and arrange transportation and accommodation. Set aside money that I would need and clothes that I would require.

At the moment, I will be visiting these countries:

UK > France > Belgium > Netherland > Germany > Czech > Hungary > Austria > Swizerland > Italy > Turkey > Dubai

I hope I don’t have to cut down too many countries for this time around, will look in-depth into the cities I would visit and plan for the transport with my limited budget.

Will update soon.

Push

When you see the word “push”, was it meant to be an expectation or condition? Was it what the society expect you to do for the betterment of the masses? Or was it the condition set by the financially capable to dictate what you need to do to fit in?

So what if someone decided to pull? Was it right? Why must it be wrong? It wasn’t for whoever to dictate anyway. If yes, whose rules and regulations are adequate enough to encompass all value and belief under all plausible circumstances to determine that? Does it qualified to be judged and weighted under the so-called predetermined social paradigm? What does one little act of perceived rebellion as such worth in this societal system. Is it fair enough? Yet, it may be entirely subjective. If it was the case, could be listen and understand before throwing judgement and prejudice?

A cough followed by a hasty “Excuse me!”

Sometimes I wonder why I stand in front of the door thinking about things like these.

Expenditure

I must say, I am very gifted in terms of spending.

It’s only half way through the month, and I had burnt through my budget already. All I need to complete the disastrous equation was a birthday, a party and a chill out session. I am not quite sure whether inflation was the catalyst in the cause, but I am sure my appetite has to play a role in this. It’s really bothering me. The fact that I know the financial limitation has to be there to remind me that I have to manage money before it manage me. But, merely surviving costs money, networking costs money, soothing a tired soul costs money.

My expenditure may not be too sensible, but it wasn’t entirely ridiculous. It just felt like food could comfort me through the days and eating out surely did not help in this particular situation. I don’t like to feel constricted over spur of the moment, but those led me down the spiral of no return. I have to make myself do something about it. Saving money for emergency should be prioritised, no birthday presents should set me back by months of financial planning.

I promise to save RM500 per month, and I shall seek opportunities to realise the resolution through alternative approaches. In order to enjoy the delight of eating, I shall reconsider what I eat and where I choose to dine. Maybe some forms of compromise have to be done. To be honest, it sounded like a lot of work despite the necessities. Should consciously eat less and more sensibly. Through that i will abstain from incurring more debt on my parents. “Paying you back later,” is going to be a major no-no from now onwards. Rethink spending habits, stop impulsive purchases.

I will need to be responsible on that now.

Morning Scent

It was drizzling in the morning. The morning sky was grey and the temperature was perfect, making waking up in the morning an immense task. Time seemed to pass slower on that usual morning stroll to office. Cars slowed and a major congestion was ultimately inevitable, like river flowing through a tiny chasm, clogged up and slow moving. I took a right turn off the LDP highway, beside a construction area and it was busy as usual. But, this morning, something was different. Maybe it’s the excessive humidity in the atmosphere, my nose was picking up a lot of scent. According to Gizmodo, the lovely, earthy smell after the rain is called petrichor, but nobody knows what caused it. I would love to have that blend over an aroma diffuser.

It was a burnt hint against a pungent petrol smell and a whiff of rubber rubbing against the tar road. Accompanied by an slightly elevated heat from the vehicles, it was surprisingly quiet. After that sharp turn, the fragrance of rice and mixture of herbs filled the air and completed the breakfast ritual, married with the scent of culture and heritage. Not forgetting the musk of working men that lingered longer than the sign of cigarette in every breath and the nasi lemak packets on their hands. A baby was in a lady’s arm, effusing the smell of cheap perfume mixed with the scent of dairy product, I was glad there is no sign of excretory product. Walking past the construction area, the smell of moisture accompanied these scents, with a bright note of earthy redolence. That relatively small green pasture certainly did wonders. The traffic light turned red as I was standing at the junction, the motorcycle sped through regardlessly, leaving a trail of exhaust in my face. I covered my nose with my jacket and I was reminded to wash my jacket soon. The smell of dust wasn’t inviting, that I am sure.

Suddenly, I realised I was running late as the traffic light turned green. What was missing on that morning, is the smell of a great coffee.

This New Year

Time is like a ninja, sneaked up your back and hit you real hard on the head. The pain lingered longer than I expected. Ruthless, I must say. Time just slipped past between your fingers and before you realise it, the calendar will be constantly reminding you the harsh truth – it’s already end of the year. Oh, and one more thing, your time for your yearly resolutions is up.

I must confess that sometimes I am a bit too hard on myself. Despite the significant amount of productivity and progress, I still think I could do better. There are some occasions that I had veered off course, and there are times when I just don’t feel like moving at all. I came across an article on Lifehacker yesterday, it was suggesting that “laziness” itself is a vague term to describe perceived low productivity level. It may be one of the following reasons that may result in such perception:

  • Self-discipline: Packed schedule with low productivity may suggest willpower being the source of the problem.
  • Unrealistic expectations: Packed scheduled with high productivity may imply that you are too hard on yourself.
  • Motivation: Empty schedule or majority of the activities are leisure or sleeping, may demonstrate lack of motivation.

This year around, I was being truthful and blatantly honest with myself. I find that I was mostly half-half in all categories. Of most resolutions that I have set last year, I am pleased and pissed at the same time, mainly due to a 50% achievement rate. I read, a lot more this year. The joy from these new perspectives were absolutely delightful. A book for every month was achieved but I have to note that books are extremely expensive. And, I made sure that I try to reduce my cholesterol level by eating healthier, I am truly glad I have found a group of colleagues who are passionate on that course as well. Through the entire year, I have completed my internship, graduated with first-class honours and landed myself a first job as a junior copywriter in Naga DDB. For that, I am grateful.

However, I had not been as productive as I wished to be.

I wanted to exercise more. Granted, I started practising yoga and it was a beneficial decision. Through that, I found acknowledgement of my body – the good and the bad. I will continue to work on that. But, things get crazy sometimes and I will ended up incredibly lazy. Skipping this routine to the extent of weeks. That, I need to fix it as soon as possible. I wanted to save more money for my upcoming trip, and no, I didn’t manage to save any. Remember those downtime? A trip for caffeine fix will set me back by 10% towards the goal. And that too, I need to resolve immediately.

Meanwhile, I have yet to schedule a blood test too (and I promise I will do it by next week).

Hard revelations at the end of 2014. I have to promise myself that I will have to set better goals and review my financial status. Through the ups and downs, I realised that I have to set better concrete goals and I will make it simple this year. It will be only three goals: mind, body and soul. The mind will be ready to absorb new skills and knowledge, the body will strive to move more and grow stronger, the soul will then benefit from new experiences through a perseverance in a good saving habit.

I will exercise more, 60 minutes in a week to be precise, in manageable chunks in order to push it further and better. I will read a book every month and write more as well, which will be contributed in the form of blog post on both blogs that I am involved in: this and Kopiwriter, specifically one post every week with no excuse for being busy. I will save RM500 per month for the upcoming Europe trip that I will be embarking on this October, should there be difficulties, I promise to find other ways to achieve it.

Enough of me babbling and now it’s time to do it.

Here’s to a better 2015.