[ Journey of a lifetime ]

“I was the first man in space on my street
I had to leave my wife and kids behind
It was a chance I could not pass up on
It was the journey of a lifetime

I threw away my packing up
As they were waving me bye bye
Sometimes all I need is the air that I breathe
And the air that I breathe is so thin I get high…”

Zeds Dead – Journey of a Lifetime


September 2014:

I had to leave my comfort and pride behind. I thought it wasn’t as simple as turning a blind eye to the inconvenience of having to fend for myself 6,793 miles away from home. It was indeed that simple, especially with the independent flair I have which seems to occur naturally to me being the eldest child in the family. It’s funny how my brain is always playing tricks on me; showing me all the different possible scenarios that could play out if I were to embark solo, but yet reminding me from time to time how I managed to survive thus far since I first left my hometown 9 years ago. All I would think and hear myself saying over and again every night after I resolved to go on the journey was that it was a chance I couldn’t pass up on. Besides, we would regret the things that we didn’t do more than the things we did, most of the time. Therefore, I decided to pack my bags, begin the journey of a lifetime, and look back only when I miss it.

Now I’m looking back at the amount of time spent in planning trips a few weeks before, in order to secure tickets with the best timings at the best price; at the sing-along sessions done to entertain one another during the train rides; at the paparazzi-style moments of capturing the beautiful sceneries along the way to see who got the best shot; at the time spent in silence without feeling awkward.

I’m looking back at how much more relaxed the pace of life over there as compared to home was; at how quickly the sunny weather changed to cloudy and breezy; at how slow and peaceful life could get away from the city crowd. I’m remembering the smell of the sea being delivered to our nose by the forthcoming wind; the coarse grains of dirty black sand rubbing against our soles; the sense of newly-established harmony that enveloped us.

I’m grateful for choosing to breathe different, cooler air; to witness the different colors of nature; to enjoy the journey of a lifetime with a colorful bunch of people. I love that I didn’t pass up on the chance, even when there was a way out.


[ I remember you ]

I remember the heat of September sun glistening on my face, accompanying the cool autumnal breeze.
The earthy smell of fresh fruits and vegetables filled the morning air as we stepped into the Saturday market set up weekly in front of the castle.
Oh, my nose caught a whiff of freshly baked breads and grilled bacon strips which triggered hunger in my stomach for breakfast.
I remember the warmth exuded by the local farmers, greeting us with a wide smile and sharing with us what they do for a living.

I remember the medieval buildings that surrounded the market and city center, aged centuries ago.
There was a tinge of Hogwarts feelings as we cruised through the city constructed with layers of histories.
Exploration is all about finding new and unusual things before we reach our destination.
As we got lost in the excitement of discovering new places, we encountered inspirations and surprises.

I remember us meandering through narrow pathways and closes with names we couldn’t help but giggled at.
Out of that amusement, we certainly felt we had unveiled some secrets tucked nicely within the structures of the city.
My eyes flickered at the sight of green residential yards as we emerged from the seemingly mysterious and obscure trails.
I remember the familiar, homely feeling that every corner and side of the foreign city embodied.

I remember the richness in literature and arts that the city portrayed occasionally.
The bagpipe players dressed in kilts lining the main street reminded me so much of the land’s cultures.
I remember how accepting the society was towards outsiders, how appreciative and supportive the people were towards talents and gigs.

IMG_0397Surely, almost one year has passed but I remember you.


[ 3 steps to better expectation management ]

Just to start off this long-overdue post with the right mindset, I’d like you to set your expectation bar low enough for a 3-year-old to step over. We have been through this relationship stage before: where I confess my blogger’s block and you (on my own assumption) forgive me; where we introspect ourselves, accept each other’s flaw, and then move on. There is no denying that the vicious cycle of failing to fulfill another party’s expectations will repeat itself. Endlessly feeling apologetic does more harm than good on my part and hence the birth of this post to rectify what needs be.

Step 1: Three-m off your past experiences of the present

As the saying goes:
Old people live in the past;
Young people live in the future;
Wise people live in the present;
shouldn’t everyone of us strive to be wise?

I know it’s a hell of a time trying to detach ourselves from the past. I always liked to remember and associate good and bad experiences I had with my current situation. That sense of familiarity makes me feel secure and confident of what is to come. Just as how I am used to the way strangers often smile back at me on my way to my routine, I expect my initiative to host a reunion dinner with old friends to have unwelcoming responses.

How, then?


Step 2: Ex-three-m worry of the future is unnecessary

I know I’m being a hypocrite when it comes to erm.. let’s say forward-thinking, to put it subtly. I worry about the number of hours left to lunchtime when I have my breakfast in the late morning, which will subsequently affect my afternoon snack and dinner timing. I worry about the kind of stares I will get on the subway when I accidentally mismatch my outfit and how it looks on my body. I worry about not being able to entertain the people I have interactions with. I worry about worrying itself. I wish I were a warrior, and not a worrier.

Come to think of it, I sound more like a person with OCD or perhaps a mere control freak.

How, then?


Step 3: Three-t and be kind to yourself

I’d say many of us like to be nasty and harsh to ourselves when something doesn’t get done properly as expected. I often end up bombarding myself with questions and getting so disappointed when things turn out differently from how I want them to. How selfish of me, right! I like to think I control the universe sometimes, just to make matters worse. Ha!

How, then?

Sorry to disappoint, I’m no Agony Aunt that you can subscribe to every month. I honestly don’t know the answer to those questions. Hopefully your expectation bar is still as low as I deemed you to set in the first place, lest you trip and fall.

My only suggestion is to stop ignoring the root cause — overthinking; yes, that’s you and me – and acknowledge the facts that:

1. We DO establish the foundation of our future experiences on the past ones

2. We DO have our worries about the future

3. We DO get disappointed at times

I am not going to deny that I always overthink. I am going to live with that but not let these things bring me down. Expecting certain things to happen is simply to ascertain that we humans do still believe in even the slightest glimmer of hope?

On a side note, Happy 3rd Anniversary to About Giving and Re-three-ving! ;)


Image sources: Tumblr


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