Monthly Archives: July 2011

countdown 22: multi-tasking and forgetfulness

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Forgetfulness is one of my flaws. Just tonight, I misplaced my husband’s umbrella. I will have to replace that bit-expensive piece of an umbrella. Yesterday, I also had a memory lapse and forgot to retrieve my ID from the building concierge. I will have to go back for it tomorrow. Very inconvenient. My most painful memory yet of forgetfulness is misplacing my iPhone in Singapore last year.

I blame the anesthesia from giving birth and my recent odontectomy, but even before I had those surgeries, I was already forgetful. Or could it be just inattentiveness on my part?

I have tried to address my forgetfulness by jotting to do’s and important events in my calendar and it worked. But I still fail in simple things such as remembering where I put the umbrella or the keys. There is this one pointer I read which I think would be helpful – try to be more attentive and say what you’re about to do out loud, “I’m putting down the keys here”. This allows our brain to pay attention and encode the data in our memory. Hopefully next time, I won’t forget the umbrella or maybe I’ll just buy a cheap one.

They say that multi-tasking, distractions, stress and lack of sleep may contribute to memory lapses. I’m easily distracted. Sometimes, I would go up to our room for something I’ll surely forget by the time I get there. I then have to go back down in order for me to remember what I set out to do in the first place. It can get frustrating sometimes but I do benefit from the exercise.

Another one of my flaws related to forgetfulness is impatience. I can barely concentrate on one task at a time. If the oracle (system) takes too much time to run, I try to do other things such as read an email or open my tax worksheet until I completely forget what I was supposed to do.

We leave in such a distraction-full world that it feels almost sinful to have a lull moment. We feel that we have to keep moving or keep our hands full. I see people crossing the street, listening on their Ipod and texting on their phones. Multi-tasking at its best.

I’ve read from a magazine article that multi-tasking doesn’t actually involve doing multiple things simultaneously. Rather, it involves rapidly switching between tasks. This process requires us to constantly refocus our attention and saps brain energy. This explains why at times I’d get stress-induced headaches from trying to accomplish a number of tasks all at the same time.

What I’ve learned from my long commutes is that it is beneficial to allow myself to space out, to keep my mind blank and stare into oblivion, even if briefly. The reprieve rejuvenates my brain and allows my creative juices to flow. In fact, I have conjured a lot of blogging ideas and have had aha moments en route to and from work. I’ll surely miss the interesting daily commute.

The challenge in this multi-tasking crazed times is how to ignore distractions and place our full focus on a certain task, one at a time. Of course, there are things that can really be done simultaneously like listening to the radio while driving. But for safety, health and sanity reasons, better not bring the iPad while using the loo.

I hope I’ll be able to keep reminding myself to be attentive and to stay focused. No more lost umbrellas from this day onwards.

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countdown 24/23: reality and realizations

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I missed a day!

Day 24 was just too full for me so I wasn’t able to post a blog, but let me play catch-up.

Saturday is almost over. Our family spent most of the day lounging in bed and catching up on sleep. The toddler is still keeping us up at night. I wouldn’t say the day is wasted because it’s good to be rejuvenated but I wish I could make the day last longer. I’m sure my son would make it possible by sleeping again past midnight tonight. It has now become a vicious cycle of intermittent sleeps on weekdays and sleeping in on weekends. Not good. We’re definitely going to the pediatrician tomorrow to put an end to this. Hoping for the best!

I’m hopeful (and realistic) of the decision I’m about to make over this weekend. It’s a choice between treading unfamiliar territory or going back to an old turf. I’ve been doing some calculations, both qualitative and quantitative but at the end of the day, I know my choice would be made by heart. It does not always get me to the ideal situation but it does lead me to learning experiences, which to me is the beauty of living. So let me give a toast to myself:

Here’s to staying young at heart, renewed career fulfillment, goal-setting and making more dreams come true. Cheers!

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I have had a number of realizations this week. For one, I’ve grown from that idealistic guilt-stricken new mom of more than a year ago to a grounded and realistic mom of a soon-to-be two-year old toddler that I have become today. My mama was a working woman and I think I grew up just fine.

My past mistakes and failures made me feel jaded but I don’t dwell. I have learned to pick myself up with the help of my family and friends. That’s why it is important to keep ourselves surrounded with people who loves us unconditionally.

I have also realized the wisdom in being mindful, of being present in the here and now. Sometimes we get so caught up in our daily routines that we forget what is important and what our goals and priorities are. And then we realize, time has passed us by so fleetingly. That’s why I started this blog and hope to sustain it. I try to be as honest as possible even though, as my husband puts it, some of my posts contemplate despair and he doesn’t like it. I don’t really care. The idea of the blog is for me to understand myself better, not to please or appease other people or project a perfect life.

I no longer feel as nervous in interviews as I used to. I’m more confident, which I think stems from knowing myself better. It helped that I have gone through a tough interview process in one dream job more than a year ago. I did not get the job but I got off with bits of wisdom and yet another learning experience. That’s what failures are for. Hopefully, I will find time to write and share those learnings.

I have learned to ask questions and to negotiate. I used to just accept what is offered and try to make things easy. I guess, with age and experience, we learn to fight for what we think we deserve.

It feels really good to have choices and to be reaffirmed of my value as a person. The events of last week have sparked a fire in me to be better in what I do, to have goals and to dream big dreams again, without thinking one bit of winning in the lottery.

Maybe I’ve changed. Maybe, I’m done overindulging myself . I’m gearing (again) for some excitement, and I know for sure, troubles. The only difference is I now have the benefit of hindsight. In the coming days, you’ll surely hear some rants and hopefully, optimistically, some dreams coming true.

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countdown 25: disappointments and dreams

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25 days to go before my 30th and i’m in a bit of blog drought.

I’m disappointed that the Azkals did not win. I never got this involved in sports in a while, except of course for Manny Pacquiao’s bouts.

I have had my share of disappointments – more than enough to keep me grounded and realistic, and at times cynical. I’ve got to admit that disappointments really get to me sometimes. I allow the big WHY? to momentarily haunt me. I embrace the pain, taste the bitterness and cry a bucket of tears. Nobody said life is fair. It is so unfair!

Hang-ups? Insecurities? Worries? I do have them all. I am not perfect. I have no plans to be.

What I want to do in my 30s is to get to know myself better, discover and rediscover what makes me happy and excited, and tap into my innate talents and skills so that I may maximize my human potential. I’ll try my darnest to shake away my inhibitions, conquer my fears and be a better version of myself in my multiple roles. Ambitious but are we not taught to reach for the moon and the stars?!? Plus, it’s my birthday anyway. I’m allowed to dream BIG.

A (wo)man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
– John Barrymore

countdown 26: leaps of faith

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Let’s just say that the events of today will lead to a turning point in my life soon.

I am fond of second chances and new beginnings. If I look back at my previous blogs, I would note a number of posts on new chapters and “i’m-back moments”.

It’s true, I have made mistakes. I have had my share of failures and disappointments. I am not the best decision maker because I am not rational, I go by my emotions. But my leaps of faith, no matter how risky or foolish, have led me to where I am now and I have no regrets.

God is good all the time. We just got to believe and listen to our hearts.

Go, go on and jump!

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“It’s yours, take it
Leap like a lunatic
Over the chasm below
Erupting as you go
Your true self awaits you
Now, you will know.”

– The great leap of faith by Jane Evershed

countdown 27: gratitude in parenthood

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I am not feeling well today. My body is crumbling from the past sleep-deprived nights and I can feel my emotions near breaking point. Being a working parent is indeed not an easy role to fill. I’m grateful I have my husband to share the responsibility of child-rearing with.

I remember when I was in high school and my parents would complain of how rambunctious I and my siblings were. Me and my big-mouth countered, in my knowing way, that if they wanted to have a quiet life, they should not have conceived seven kids. Witty and so shrewd! Now I understand more than ever that caring for a houseful of active kids is no bed of roses.

Growing up, I have had my moments of rebellion to and resentment towards my parents and our situation. As a teenager, I couldn’t fully comprehend then why I couldn’t always have my way or the things I wanted. I remember moments where I would lock myself in my room, wallow in self-pity and swear at my parents quietly. There were times we argued and I hurled hurtful words at my mama and papa. Indeed, I was not Ms. Goody two-shoes.

Then I grew up (finally) and realized how much my parents love me. They have spent a big part of their life giving all they could to provide for me and my siblings, without expecting anything in return. Even if I disappointed them along the way, their affection for me never wavered.

I am indeed one very lucky and blessed individual to be the daughter of my parents – two people who unconditionally gave me life, nourished me and continues to support me. When all else fails, they never fail to give me comfort and security. Even though I rarely go home or call them, I hope my mama and papa knows how much I love them and how grateful I am to them for all that I am, now and forever. I wish and pray that I too would become the best parent that I could be to my son.

They don’t know that I go running home when I fall down,
They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around,
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
’cause deep inside this armor, this warrior is a child

countdown 28: living my life

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“Life would be so great if I could just win the lotto! ”

I think I wasted too much energy of late from wishing I would suddenly become a millionaire. This wishful thinking made me realize that I am getting a little desperate and that contrary to what I should be doing, I am not taking complete rein over the destiny of my life.

Did I allow myself to get so absorbed in my career that I got burnt out beyond recognition? Did I overindulge myself that I turned from being a workaholic to a lazy and challenge-averse adult? Did I allow failures and disappointments to disenchant me from living a charmed life?

What I know for sure is that I need to focus on the things that make me feel excited, fulfilled, empowered and just a bit scared. Because isn’t that what life should be about?

Your mission in life is not to be without problems. Your mission is to get excited.

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Lately, I found myself dreaming again and making plans – not those will-o’-the-wisp kind but tangible dreams and goals that can come true with hard work and determination. 30 should be a good time to start making a lot more dreams come true.

I found a helpful article aptly titled Words to the Wise by Martha Beck in the January 2011 edition of O, The Oprah Magazine. It is all about goal-setting but with a twist. If you want to give it a try, here are the simple steps:

1. Pick a goal, any goal. Fess up to your real desires then pick the biggest and most ambitious one.

I will become a millionaire.

2. Gaze into the future. Imagine what your life would be like if you realized your dream or goal.

I will be able to buy our dream house and travel with my son and hubby to any destination we want to go. I can go on shopping sprees. Etc, etc.

3. Generate adjectives. List the adjectives that describe how you feel in your dream-come-true scenario. Don’t stop until you have at least 3 words to describe those lovely feelings.

Happy
Fulfilled
Secure

4. Focus on anything that can be described with your adjectives. These words bring your goal into sharper focus. Put your attention on the aspects of your life that give you these feelings. Focusing on such things will make you happier right now and help you create future situations that will fulfill your true desires.

Playtime with my son and hubby makes me happy and gives me a sense of fulfillment and security.

I think the whole point of the exercise is to make one realize that those wonderful feelings you thought you’d only get when your particular dream comes true, can already be found in the here and now if we would just focus and give those things more attention and time.

To quote from the article:

The situational elements people crave – money, social status, possessions – don’t reliably lead to an experience of well-being. By contrast, learning to find joy in the present moment (a.k.a. focusing on experiences you truly want in your life) increase life satisfaction, improves health and allows us to live longer, more fulfilling lives.

So each time I’d find myself in wishful thinking mode, I’d go fishing for adjectives then use them to identify the aspects of my life that are already drawing me towards my heart’s desires. Sometimes, it could be as simple as cooking or reading a good book or writing down and sharing my thoughts.

countdown 29: my fears

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The countdown to my 30th birthday continues.

Day 29 – my fears

I spent less than an hour today with my toddler in the mall playground for kids. He was so excited to try everything, from the slide to the hanging tube. He was a bit cautious when walking through the hanging bridge but he marched on. He took some time before crossing the tube but he crawled on. Mommy had no choice but to follow suit. And to be honest, I was afraid of crawling through the hanging tube (what if it gives out under my weight?) and trying the kiddie slide (what if I fumble and fall face down). Silly but the fears were real. Most of all, I was afraid my son would get hurt as the zealous kids pushed everything and everyone out of their way. Those kids were fearless (almost) and I envied them.

I have a lot of fears.

Fear of water

I fear any body of water that is taller than my shoulders. I can not swim and have had two almost-drowning experiences as a kid.

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I remember trying the banana boat ride years ago in Puerto Galera with friends. When we got thrown off, I honestly thought I was going to drown even though I had a life jacket on. I will never do a banana boat ride again.

Another scary water experience for me is my trip to Balicasag Island in Bohol with two of my best girl friends. The wading from the shore to where the small boat was anchored alone brought fear to my heart. Then we were speeding through high waves, salt water stinging our eyes and I never prayed so hard for safety. It is one adventure I will never forget and regret.

Fear of open space heights

I remember when we were kids, my siblings, cousins and I would climb this tall tower in the capitol of our province. We would race up the winding stairs until we reach the top. The view was spectacular but I was almost always the last one to reach the top because my knees turn to jelly whenever I look down. I am still afraid of open space heights like the long escalators in Ocean Park and a mall in Hongkong where my husband and I went to during our first wedding anniversary. I clung on to him tightly for dear life and begged him that we take the elevator going down instead. I did manage to go up with him in the Singapore flyer which is the tallest ferris wheel in the world at 42 stories high. Maybe the glass confines made all the difference.

Fear of the dark

I used to sleep with the lights on because I was afraid of the dark. In fact, I am afraid to sleep alone in my room. This fear probably stemmed from a gruesome incident I witnessed when I was a child. There was an accident near our home and we were intrigued so we went to take a look. We saw lots of blood, spilled brains and amputated body parts. For weeks I had nightmares of dead bodies and nurses. I slept with my parents in their room for a while.

Fear of getting lost

I don’t have a sense of direction. That’s why I don’t drive. I get lost walking. I would surely get lost (or a lot of tickets) driving.

I still feel embarrassed that I got lost one day on my way home in the small city of Dublin. I took a detour from my usual route because I was craving for fried chicken that day. After buying my fill, I confidently went on my way only to wonder minutes later why the area doesn’t seem familiar to me anymore. I got lost, walking! Thank God for unlimited calls, my best friend helped me get home. I swear I almost cried from the sheer stupidity.

Fear of public speaking

This is a fear that stemmed from a humiliating experience and my small voice. I managed to get high grades while dodging recitations. My heart would beat so hard and the butterflies in my stomach would wreak havoc at the thought of talking in front of a group of people. Even teleconferences alone can make my heart go a-thumping. So most of the time, I just stay silent and unnoticeable. This is a fear that’s keeping me from reaching and showing my maximum potential. I have not completely addressed this but I swear that I am going to face this fear head on from this day forward.

I believe we should not be limited by our fears and the other life sentences we have branded ourselves with. The one thing I love about turning 30 is that I now care less about what other people has to say. My life is no longer about what people would think but what would make me happy and fulfilled. I feel liberated.

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mom me: sleepless nights

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I’ve known it all along but i’m only gonna admit it out loud now – i’m an incompetent mom. I’m not saying it in an i’m-in-self-pity mode but as-a-matter-of-fact so that in admitting the problem, I may be empowered to address it.

I had a very good yaya the first year of my baby’s life. She was a veteran in taking care of babies and she took very good care of my son. Somehow, that lessened the pressure on me to do good in child-rearing. But she had to go and I had to step it up as a mom. I never caught up. My husband is more conscious as a parent than I am. He would note and research on things such as weaning from the bottle, etc. I, on the other hand, have relied mostly on my rough instincts as a woman.

My son is less than a month shy from turning two and is already exhibiting streaks of rebellion. Instead of heeding my ‘No’, he would repeat them himself, “No-no-no-no mommy!” He has become assertive and protests – a lot!

Lately, he’s been sleeping very late at night (again!) and would wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning. For a week, both hubby and I were in a foul mood. We then decided to be on duty alternately, that way we can catch up on sleep every other night. It lessened the stress but never solved the problem. My son stays up at night playing or watching you tube on my ipad. I think it was my fault for always resorting to the ipad to keep him preoccupied or company at times that I cannot attend to him.

In the mornings, he is addicted to watching DVDs of Barney, Pocoyo and Disney cars. To eventually solve the problem, hubby and I decided to do something about his addiction. Starting today, I locked away the DVDs and kept the ipad away from him. Still, I couldn’t bear not to allow him to play on his itouch at least.

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And alas, it worked…NOT! He was already fast asleep at 9 pm then woke up at 11 pm and wouldn’t go back to sleep again. Deep sigh. Oh well, he would just keep me company as I wait for the Azkals game tonight. I hope we would have better luck tomorrow. I guess the itouch has to go too.

countdown 30: New 7 Wonders of the World

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I’m turning thirty only once, so let the countdown begin! No, I won’t be doing anything grand or expensive. I will celebrate my birthday with my parents and siblings at home in the province. Planning is simple – I texted my mama and well, she’ll take care of everything else as she always does. Thank God for mothers.

For the days leading to my birthday, I will celebrate the little things and grand things that make my life worth-living.

Today is day 30 – me as a Filipino citizen

I was going through flipboard on my ipad, when I stumbled upon an article from inquirer asking for more votes for Puerto Princesa underground river (PPUR).

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There is an ongoing global movement to vote for the New 7 Wonders of the World and the Puerto Princesa underground river has been selected as one of the 28 finalists.

Since I have not done much as a Filipino these past days, I decided to go on and vote. Voting via text is easy, just send PPUR or PPUR7 or PPUR15 to 2861 for all networks. I think the cost is P2.50, P20 and P30 for each keyword, respectively. Shortly after I voted, I received an SMS:

Thanks for voting in the New 7 Wonders of Nature Polling Service! Ur PPUR wallpaper will be sent soon! P20/10votes

Bumoto pa at patunayang ang Puerto Princesa Underground River ng Pilipinas ang dapat na makasama sa Wonders of Nature sa buong mundo!

Text N7W to 2861 for help and list of keywords P2.50/txt

C www.puerto-undergroundriver.com 4 info.

For more info on text rates, you may refer to this blog entry by mindoropost. Voting via text will end on September 25.

I also voted online through the New 7 Wonders website. Here, I had to register and each email address is entitled to vote once.

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It is also important that the confirmation link sent to your email account be clicked to ensure that your vote will be counted.

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I have not been to Puerto Princesa Palawan (what a shame!) but I have heard of its splendor and will include it in my must-visit bucket list. It is reputed to be the longest navigable underground river in the world.

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Of the 28 finalists, I have only been to Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, which I can vouch to have such a breathtaking view (really amazing!). It is a testament that we do have a very brilliant and wonderful Creator. I included it in my top 7.

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(with my good friends karen and vanessa at cliffs of moher, ireland. i’m glad i got to visit this place before leaving dublin)

I want to mark the 30th day before my 30th birthday as the day I voted for the New 7 Wonders of the World. As the n7w movement would put it,

I participated in this momentous global movement, creating seven symbols of heritage and nature, and becoming part of global memory – forever!

I hope you do too.

why worry? (question no. 3)

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Question no. 3 in Martha Beck’s Yours for the Asking article is:

Why worry?

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I worry.

I worry every now and then. Especially when it comes to my son. I worried and cried and prayed so hard for each time he fell off the bed or bumped his head or he was sick and brought to the hospital. I worry that I am not a good mom and that my shortcomings will affect his growth and maturity. I worry that my husband and I will not be able to provide for him well.

I worry about my health and my husband’s and my parents’. I worry that I might come down with a disease that will handicap me and that will make me a burden to my husband.

I used to worry about client complaints and quality of work. I used to have sleepless nights wondering how i’ll resolve a conflict or issue at work. I’m glad I have rid myself of the job and consequently, the sometimes unfounded worries.

Of course, I can not apply the same solution to the other aspects of my life. I most certainly cannot get rid of my son so I can stop worrying about his welfare. I can’t wish myself dead or my parents or my husband just so I won’t worry about their health.

Worrying is a waste of energy. I used to have disturbing Sunday night anxieties which led to restless sleep and bad Mondays… and bad week. It was a vicious cycle.

I’m grateful I don’t worry as much now. I have turned to prayers and writing and playing with my son. He is an abundant source of joy and hope and faith.

Sunday night anxieties were replaced with wonderful routines such as menu planning for the week, cooking, magazine reading and organizing my to do’s and work schedule. I feel that I have a lot more control of my life now.

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Past experiences have taught me that things almost always work out for the best, so why worry? We stumble, we fall, we pick up scars along the way but we live and move on, so why worry? If you worry and your worry doesn’t happen, you worried in vain. If you worry and it happened, you worry twice. There’s no winning with worry.

Easier said than done, but it certainly is good to remember to ask – Why worry?!?

I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. – Mark Twain