A New Year’s Resolution

This year I achieved the impossible.

I taught myself how to code and landed an entry level job in a front-end development studio. To carry on this tradition, I’m going to do something new again next year, in the hopes that each year I will get to achieve one more drastic and life changing thing.

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I feel different from everyone else

Not different as in “I’m so unique,” but different as in the way I perceive things. It’s hard to explain.

For instance, when I see people around me hanging out with their friends, girlfriends or boyfriends, I always wonder whether they’re together because they really like each other, or whether they met out of convenience and that person just happened to be right there in front of them.

Someone recently told me that it was strange to be friends with me because they didn’t have any mutual friends with me, so they couldn’t find a topic to talk about.

But this doesn’t make any sense to me. What if somebody great passed you by and you missed out on the chance to get to know them because you were so fixated on living inside of your own bubble?

This is something I don’t understand because I feel like I want to meet people outside of my social circle. I want to know more about others who are different to me. Because life, people and meaningful connections seem way too important to be a shrug of the shoulder kind of thing. But it seems like people don’t seem to care as much about it the way I do.

And I think that this stems from the fact that I was awfully shy when I was younger, so I missed out on a lot of great opportunities, friendships and life in general. So I know the consequences of not going outside of my comfort zone.

Recently, I started learning the guitar because I’ve always admired the way musicians dedicate hours practicing a skill that gives them the ability to create music that inspires others.

I’ve also started writing a book because all the stories I’ve read have some way or another, shaped the way I am. And they are more permanent than most things in this world.

It’s strange because once I decided to dedicate myself to those things, everything else just seemed so ordinary and lacking. Like yesterday, I went to a pop concert which I thought I would totally enjoy because it was pure entertainment, dancing and fun, but I just wasn’t feeling the vibe.

Something’s changing. It’s a confusing, lonely and exciting feeling all at once but I don’t know how to process it.

And I don’t know whether I should share this side of myself to people or not? Will I come off as strange, a dreamer, or too intense? Oftentimes when I try to pretend like I don’t care about these things, I come off as silly when really, I just don’t know how to make sense of the way I feel.

A few years ago, when I was studying for an exam in my last year at University, I opened up my text book and on one of the pages, someone had stuck a post-it note with a quote that said:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have always imagined.”

I just wanted to know: Is anybody out there who feels exactly the way I do?

Rock star diaries

The 10,000 hour rule: If you do anything for 10,000 hours, you will become an expert in it.

So this is what I’m going to do. Practise guitar for 10,000 hours.

I actually calculated it to see how long 10,000 hours was. Turns out a year has 8760 hours:

  • minus 3285 hours for work and travel
  • minus 2920 hours for sleeping
  • minus 1095 hours for eating

That leaves me only 1460 hours in a year to practise. And say that I dedicate all 1460 hours in a year to practise guitar, it would then take me 7 yrs to become an expert.

OK, breathe. I’m going to take my guitar to work from now on.

Kayaking under the stars

A few months ago, I made a decision to become more adventurous.

I told myself I was going to:

  • kayak to tiny islands and have epic adventures,
  • meet lots of adventurous people along the way
  • and kayak under the stars someday.

Just recently, I made that kayaking trip happen, from one island to another with a bunch of awesome adventurers like me!

It took us 1.15 hours to paddle to the island, and when night fell, we hopped back onto our kayaks and paddled under the most clearest night sky, with the calm sea before us and the brilliant bright stars twinkling above us.

We sang, we laughed, we made jokes as we paddled alongside each other. 

That night says it all. Some of the people I may never meet again, others I might still.

But I’m so glad I decided on a whim to sign up to that kayaking trip. If I hadn’t, I would never have known how resilient I could be, taking my kayak out most weekends to practice, even when it rained (I just wore a wetsuit).

It took me almost 2 months to get myself ready for it. Before, my weekends were literally so boring, now I actually practice a hobby.

Whenever I drive past the ocean to get to work, all I think is, “Wow, that’s an amazing view, I would love to kayak on that ocean. So bring on more adventures in a kayak.”

Shy Brave Girl

This week, I’ve been asking myself some really difficult, uncomfortable questions like:

  • How do I ask for a pay rise and
  • how do I speak up during meetings.

Thinking about these things makes me nervous, that I start questioning my competency and confidence.

I guess I’m trying to be brave. I know I will have to eventually just go and ask, but it’s hard to face up to these things because I don’t normally talk about them, yet I know I have a right to.

So I figured I’ve got to build up my self-confidence.  I know there will be many more uncomfortable and difficult questions I will have to ask people in the future, and I don’t want lack of confidence to get in the way of what I want.

I’m starting by doing more of the things I’m good at, rather than constantly reminding myself of all the things I’m bad at.

For example, I remember going to school camp as a kid and even though I was the shyest kid, I was one of the few who could climb up the rock wall and abseil down without being afraid. My teacher was so proud of me she told all the instructors how I was the shyest kid in class but the bravest one here.

It’s a reminder that just because I can get all shy in certain areas, it doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to be confident in other areas. It’s just that communicating with others affects everyday life much more than any other fear out there, so much so, that I’ve forgotten I can be good at other things.

That’s why I’ve signed up to go on a kayaking adventure with a bunch of people I’ve never met. That’s why I’ve started playing volleyball and am planning to join dance classes.

So to answer my own question, how do I become confident enough so that asking for a pay rise doesn’t seem that big of a deal?

I guess I need to remember that I’m worth it. And that starts by shifting my focus on building my self worth, doing things I’m good at and that I enjoy. I want the exhilaration of life to outweigh the scary little things.

We can be good at the things that would surprise other people to know we’re good at. We can be brave and shy. After all, we’re complex creatures with all these little gifts inside of us and we can use them to help us build our own self worth.

Illegally Blonde

If Reese Witherspoon’s character in Legally Blonde had a blog, I’m sure she would write about pink stationery, saving Chihuahuas from cosmetic testing and how to pinkify the legal profession. In other words, all the silly but equally important things in life.

So, in the name of Elle Woods, I’m taking a look back at all the blonde moments that have happened to me in the past 2 weeks and the ever so important life lessons I have learnt from them.

Highlights from my blonde week (Blonder than the highlights on Reese Witherspoon’s hair.)

  • Got locked in the toilet at work,
  • dropped my lunch into a huge puddle of muddy water,
  • drove home with a loose bumper that was making loud screeching noises all the way home,
  • mistook screeching noise for dried mud stuck to tyres,
  • drew all sorts of unwanted stares from other motorists including a cop.

 

Life lessons I learnt from my illegally blonde moments:

1. How to escape from a locked toilet:

Be on the standby for anyone coming in.

When you hear someone washing their hands, gently knock on the door to let them know you’re stuck.

Make sure you ask for their assistance only after they have gone to the toilet. Chances are if they haven’t,  they’re too busting to want to help.

2. How to save your lunch from a puddle of muddy water.

Get to the car park 10 minutes earlier so that you don’t have to park in the muddy spot nobody wants.

3. How to recognise the sound of a loose bumper.

Screeeeeech. Scrreeeeeeeeeeeech.  (Definitely not the sound of dried mud.) At least now I know how to pump a flat tyre.

To quote the words of my ex-colleagues: “Sometimes you’re just so blonde.”

A girl and her kayak

“What would you do if you had $20,000?”

That was the question someone asked me in a job interview.

Unable to come up with a witty answer, I muttered something along the lines of,  “I’d probably go on a cruise to a faraway island…or something…”

But guess what? I don’t need $20,000.  I can do it with $400 and a kayak.

Yep, after my advice to myself to spend more time and money on the things I like, I ended up buying a kayak and already I’ve been out on the ocean dreaming away things to do.

I’ve got a lot of plans for my kayak and I.

  • First, I’m going to get strong enough so that I can paddle all the way to tiny islands and have epic adventures.
  • I plan to go on kayaking tours and meet lots of adventurous people like me.
  • And I’m hoping that I’ll get to kayak under the stars someday.

Maybe then, in a few years time I can upgrade to a real boat and take friends and family off to faraway islands. We could even party on the boat when it’s my birthday like the way they do it in the movies.

And I’ll probably name my boat New Year’s Girl, after this blog, to remind myself that this is where it all started.

Already, I feel like my kayak and I will go a long way.