Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst all the good things. Meet Mikka Wee, a former food editor-turned-working gal in Singapore, who’s about to share all the ups and downs that come with adulting and living. Welcome to Bless This Mess!
For a lot of people here in Singapore, the feeling of the New Year is only beginning to sink in. Christmas and New Year’s here isn’t as big as it is in other countries, and I find that a lot of people travel out of Singapore to experience the festivities elsewhere. And now that the second week of the New Year has come to a close, it could be safe to say that 98 percent of vacationers are back from their much-deserved holidays, or at least, the “back to work” mindset has officially kicked in.
I didn’t fly back to Manila during the holidays, and I tried my best to fight the holiday blues by keeping myself busy until the eve, when I started getting all contemplative and pensive. 2018 was a big year for me, yet there was so much I felt I haven’t done. Writing for myself, for example, is one thing I really put aside. When I was in New York, I took a crash course on Creative Writing and felt electric right after. I left the classroom spilling with optimism and positivity—I am a writer; therefore, I will write! I wrote my heart out, making it my goal to simply write more for my 29th year.
It’s been almost two months since that day, and my personal writing hasn’t progressed one single bit. And when the frustration kicks in, I am the queen of excuses. Too much work, too tired, I already have a weekly column anyway, I write too much for work… Of course, at the end of it all, if there is a will, there is always a way. Sadly, I’ve been lacking the will to write beyond my weekly commitments. This forced me to take a look at my life and do a reframing of perspectives. I beat myself up too much for not doing “enough, ” when my definition of “enough” is always overflowing.
So this 2019, instead of creating goals and resolutions, I am resorting to building habits.
Taking time to meditate 10 minutes a day
I purchased an annual subscription to the meditation app, Calm, in 2018. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve only used it less than 20 percent out of the 365 days I had as a premium subscriber. However, during the start of 2019, I’ve tried something different and have started to take ten minutes every morning to sit down and simply meditate. I’m a huge work in progress, but I’d like to think I’ve become more mindful of how I feel, especially when I am stressed or overwhelmed.
Drawing the boundary between work and life and taking ownership of my Sundays
Work for me is 24/7, and it’s tough to not get triggered by the never-ending slew of WhatsApp messages piling up in my phone. One thing I’m doing this year is to take my me-time really seriously, even if it just means reading a book the entire day. I’m also trying to be gentler on myself and leave my work laptop where it belongs—in the office—instead of taking it home with me everyday.
Writing down what I am grateful for each morning
My friend gave me The Five Minute Journal, which allows me to write down three things I am grateful for every morning. It’s a small thing that makes a really huge difference, especially when I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. It helps me appreciate life more, and I am able to start my day grateful instead of grouchy.
Counting to 100 before letting my anger wins over love
I noticed that over the past few years, I easily get agitated and angry. Adjustment is never easy, and I often let my anger get in the way of my most important relationships. Counting internally before saying something curt or harsh is a simple practice of grounding yourself before you release something you might regret.
Saving a fixed amount of my salary every month
My savings used to vary each month, but I’ve been reading a lot of financial self-help books lately, and most of them say that saving a fixed amount of untouchable salary each month helps us have better control of our money. I feel like I should’ve learned this earlier in life, but better late than never!
Giving myself some tough love and dedicate a fixed writing schedule
This is the one I will have the most difficult time practicing because I will always find a way to wiggle myself out of writing, especially when I would rather watch a new Netflix series or movie. Right now, excuses are writing themselves out in my head, and I am stopping the imaginary pen from jotting them down!
I admit, there was a moment of surrender when I felt like quitting on writing (more on this next time), especially when I’m taking a marketing course for half the year. But no, as Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote in the best musical ever (Hamilton), “I am not throwing away my shot.” I will keep telling myself this because I know laziness is my real enemy.
Practicing yoga at least twice a week
Back in Manila, I used to practice yoga at least four times a week. What happened to that?! Yoga (apart from running) is the only activity I enjoyed so much in my twenties, and I was attending classes so constantly. I know I don’t have an excuse because all I need is YouTube and a mat.
Listening to a podcast during my morning commute to work
I love getting my dose of inspiration from podcasts. On my commute to work, I always get sucked into the black hole of Instagram, but I noticed that I always enter the office with a positive spark whenever I immerse myself in a good podcast.
Reaching out for a book instead of my phone
In relation to item number eight, this is part of my strategy to curb my social media dependency. Instagram and Facebook make my mind blank, which is a really unhealthy and unproductive way to spend my time and relax. I say this because I end up comparing myself to others a lot, and get pressured to try (and buy) the things I see online (especially if it’s makeup!). So instead of doing the convenient, quick fix, I’d rather pull out a book or open my Kindle and read.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.
Art by Marian Hukom
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