Don’t postpone living

We think that we need a change of scenery, for some reason. 

I didn’t grow up with the idea of “going on holidays”. Being away to travel was a luxury. It’s a luxury to take time off, to go somewhere else and look at some touristy stuff, to not be working. 

My mother didn’t get the chance to do any of that.

For her, “the good life awaits in the future”. That was her life motto. But she never thought she had to leave before that future.

Just right before that future.

She wasn’t suffering in her working day-to-day. But she postponed joy. Actively avoided it. She had to rationalise the things she enjoyed, as if she used it more today there won’t be enough for her tomorrow, or next year, or ten years later. 

Now I’m here. On my second holiday away with my husband and baby daughter, I keep thinking about my mom. How she thought her life could finally start when she retired and when I start to make a living by myself. 

She didn’t get to see much of the world. She thought she didn’t have the choice, or the control.

She never went traveling alone. She was afraid of being alone. But in the end, she had to leave alone. Like we all will.

But the best ones always leave early.

Thanks to my parents, I started traveling by myself early in life. And I don’t plan to stop, even though now I will take care of a baby full-time. 

I will travel the world with her. And tell her that life has hope for the future, but is happening right now.


The Choice

When I first realised I was going to be a mother, the question with which I struggled the most was “how do I be a good mother and at the same time be myself and have freedom?”

Yes, Freedom.
The thing that drove me 7500km away from my parents and my home.
I guess freedom is not a thing; it’s a feeling. When I can decide where I want to go and what I want to do, the feeling I have filling up my chest and makes me feel brave, excited and invincible.
That feeling.

“I don’t want to lose my freedom.” I wrote in my diary, “Would i still be free when I have a child? I want to love it, protect it, be there for it. But if I’m there for my child, I won’t be able to be wherever I want to be. A friend told me that she was never able to completely focus on other things again after becoming the mother to her son. She said there was always a part of her that’s with her son, thinking about him, caring for him, and loving him. Like her soul was split into two… I’m not sure if I’m ready to give myself up like that… Will I still have that feeling of courage and excitement for the next destination in my chest again? Or is there only going to be breast milk in there…”

I thought I had to make a choice between being a mother to her and myself. I guess most girls who consider themselves independent and free-spirited think so too. That’s why we think that being a mother will be a burden to “us”, or change who we are.

But we are changing all the time. Nobody changes us. We change ourselves, or let change happen to us.

What’s more, by the time I was pregnant, I hadn’t been able to travel alone anywhere for three years. This so-called “freedom” that I was after is not a feeling anymore. It’s just a possibility of a feeling – its the ghost of the feeling that I had many years ago.

I can’t speak for every person who became a parent. But I didn’t have to choose from “myself” and “being a mother”. Because I became a mother. I’m still me. And I just have a person more in my life that I can love with all my heart and soul. That seemed to be a good deal for me.

I can still create, speak up my mind, stand up for others, care for the ones I love, see the world, listen to stories. I can still be me.

And the good way to be a mom, as I concluded in my diary, is being myself, to show my child that being oneself is the only way to love oneself; and loving oneself is the only way to love anyone and anything in this world.

Now my daughter is here. I feel that feeling again inside of me: I want to show her the world. My world. So that one day she can discover and explore her own.

We can’t escape who we are

We cannot escape who we are.

We spend most of our time as creatives to observe. To observe others, how they are, what they are doing, and how they have become who they are today.

We observe to be inspired.

But that’s when we fail to observe or to know who we are.

Our characters.

Our passion, not for others, but for ourselves.

Observing and learning about others, fascinated by others, by the experience of watching.

But the downside is, it’s easy to get lost in the observing. It’s easy to forget ourselves in the process.

Like the ability to love, we can love others better if we love ourselves.

We can tell stories better if we know our own stories.

Find who we are, so that we can then improve ourselves, our craft, in many ways.

Just mind that there is no point to wanting to be someone else.

There’s no point even to trying to escape. Think about Don Draper.

Stop playing a role.

Accept and make the best out of how we really are.

Because that’s who we are. That’s how we can truly be happy as human beings.

Kraft paper book covers

I thought that was… paper. Thin, wrinkled paper. But it was the wall.

Like one of those chairs that look deceptively comfortable. But when you sit on them, you’d say, “Oh, it’s made of plastic.”

This paper looking wall reminded me of the Kraft paper my grandma used to buy for me. He used them to make covers for my text books and notebooks, so that my books would remain as tidy as possible.

After putting on the cover, my grandpa would use a blue pen, write my name and class number on the cover in perfect Chinese calligraphy.

Some children used to take pride in having tidy textbooks with no rolled-up corners. And I was one of them. It showed how much I took care of those books. With neatly written notes on every page in different colours, my books told people how much I was learning, how much thoughts I got from those pages.

I was a proud kid in school for most of the years.

But I was not proud because of having a well-used and tidy textbook collection. I was proud because my parents and grandparents were proud of my exemplary textbooks and my good scores.

And putting on the Kraft paper cover is the first step of getting there. It’s the ritual towards a deep dive into that book and some learning experience and results that would make my family proud.

This first step is serious, solemn, full of hope and loaded with expectation.

It’s one of my favourite school memories.

Plan for 2022: write a memoir

Who writes memoirs?

I thought only old and very famous people write memoirs. They must have much to say about their experience. And it’d be interesting for the world to know their side of the story. Because their view matters.

I want to write a memoir next year.

I’m not old. I’m in my early thirties. And I’m not famous either. Nobody cares about my past experience. Nobody cares about my point of view on things.

My view doesn’t matter to anyone…

Any one but myself.

I’m writing a memoir for myself.

I’m writing it because I was lost for a few years. I fell off track and couldn’t come back for a long time. I want to look back at when and how it happened. “Face it,” I hear myself saying, “so that you can grow from it.”

I’m writing it because I start to forget about things. Things that I wish I can keep in my memories forever. Like in the film “Coco”, we live to be remembered; we exist as long as we are remembered. I simply want to keep some people alive in mine, in the only way I know how.

I’m writing it because I’m feeling stuck in my own life. There are things I want that I don’t know how to get them; and doors I don’t want to go in but they were wide open. It feels like I’m standing mid-way in my life but I have to start from scratch anyway. I feel there’s nothing in my hand, since the “me” in the past didn’t earned us anything useful for the future.

I’m writing it for my child. I care about her view on me when she wants to know about me. And I want her to know my side of my own stories.

I’m writing it from the earliest memories of mine. I’m writing about my family, my childhood, my school time, friendships, rebellious time, struggles, persistence, dreams… choices, heartaches, hopes, disappointments, the beautiful and the ugly…

As a storyteller, finally I’m telling my own story.

That’s going to be quite a project. That’s why it’s going to be the project of the year 2022. I will keep this channel posted about the exact plan and record my progress.

What do you deserve?

One question for you: what do you think defines your value?

First, think about a situation where you can say “I deserve XXX.”

And then ask yourself, what do you have, and how much, that makes you deserve XXX?

It’s hard to evaluate oneself for some people. Because it’s about self-knowing and confidence. And whether they match.

For most of us, what we know about ourselves doesn’t match the confidence we allow us to have.

The kind of self-knowing should come from self-awareness and constant self-reflection. Otherwise narcissists and people with very low self-esteem can also call themselves self-knowing.

Your self-value is completely subjective. Even if you think you deserve a promotion but don’t get it, it can only mean that the people who made that decision evaluated you differently than how you see it. It doesn’t mean you don’t deserve that promotion.

This is the season to give each other gifts (sometimes also ask for gifts from each other). Sometimes we get good surprises and sometimes a bit disappointment.

You can try to be moderately happy either way. And don’t think too much about it. Because how you think about those gifts from others doesn’t say much about how their relationships are with you.

It says how your relationship is with yourself. Your self-given value.

So, how much value do you give yourself?

What do you think you deserve on this Christmas?

On “finding oneself”

I bet I’m not the only one here who is (or has been) on the journey called “finding myself.”

Today I’ve decided that I have failed at finding myself in the last thirty years.

“I don’t know who I am.” I thought, “I have been watching other people and wondering how they’ve gotten to where they are today for too long, that I forgot to find who I really am and well… how I really am.”

This is a strange thought, right?

How can I not know who I am?

Why do I need to “find myself?”

What I mean by “finding myself” came from the thought “what am I? A marketer? A writer? A content creator?

I have not been successful doing any of those things. Can I even call myself ‘something’ before getting some positive result first?

Do I even want to be those things?

Why can’t I just live every day and enjoy it?

Why can’t I just give myself one day off — one day without letting myself feel worse than I already feel?”

Or, can I describe how I am with some adjectives?

Even this is too hard for me.

Or, what do I like to do?

I’m not sure. What I do in my free time changes with time, a lot.

You might say, I have some difficulty sticking to only one thing. (Hey that’s an attribute!)

Not all of us ever get to ask ourselves this question. “Who I am?”

Those are the ones who are lucky enough not to have to actively jump on the train called “finding oneself”.

They found it. Stumbled on it, maybe.

But if they are there, they don’t ever need to look back.

I’m not one of those lucky ones.

I have entered my thirties but I’m feeling more lost than I was in my twenties.

Where’s the “clarity” and “calmness” everyone was talking about being in their thirties?

People say we should experiment things in our twenties.

Different jobs, different places to live.

“Go travel!” They say.

“Go have fun trying things out! You will know what you are good at and what you like later!”

Well, I don’t believe everyone was exactly on that schedule.

As if their birthday comes and suddenly they stand firmly on their well-chosen ground and ready to do their best work.

Maybe it took some of us longer to try things out.

Maybe it took some of us longer to realize that something was not for us.

Maybe it took some of us longer to acknowledge that finding adjectives, or labels, to describe ourselves is meaningless. Because the words we use indicate more about how we wish we are than how we really are.

It’s about “wish”, not “fact” anyway.

So there’s no point to do that.

If we really want to find some words to point out to us who we are, we should ask the closest people in our lives. They will give us the answer. (Ask them to be brutally honest though.)

You might be described differently by other people. But only the closest people’s opinion matters to us.

So here I am.

I’m in my thirties and still trying to figure out my place in this world other than a mother, wife, and daughter.

I’m still searching for more things that excite me, move me.

Things that make me not mind having them become certain labels on me.

Labels on me that I will wish to have as well.

Inspiration Vault: Selfishness and One’s Own Well-Being

Photo by Eternal Happiness on

I’m going to focus on nothing else but my own well-being. The best a mother can give her kid is her own well-being, physically and mentally.

Because that represent a way of living.

Taking responsibility for your own life is the most essential way to live a good life.

Taking care of yourself is not selfish.

Being selfish means ignoring, and therefore, hurting others while solely thinking about one’s own benefit:

“It’s my way or confict.”
“It’s my way or the highway.”

Ignoring or even hurting one’s own well-being “for the sake of others” is the opposite of selflessness.

It usually manifests a narcisistic character. Such character demands everybody else’s recognition and acknowledgement of this character’s “selflessness”. And at the same time, for this person to feel morally superior to “others”.

Taking care of oneself first means you don’t become a burden to anyone else, by needing other people’s help or assistence.

Taking care of oneself is the precondition to be supportive or helpful to other people.

Taking care of oneself first and asking people to take care of themselves — so that it’s fair for everyone from the start. Nobody is in anybody’s debt in the first place.

It’s the lightest and fairest relationship.

Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others, without feeling sorry for yourself and demanding repay from others later.

How to take care of yourself first?

List out every problem in your life that you are thinking about at this moment.
1. I don’t have enough money to…
2. I’m in a terrible relationship with…
3. I cannot achieve my dream to be…

And now ask yourself: How do I feel? How are my physical and mental states? What can I do to improve my physical health and my mental health?

Work on your physical and mental well-being first.

Because, as you can see, only when you are in a good place with your physical and mental health, can you solve or even begin to tackle the problems you listed above.

This is the ultimate prioritization.

We all live in the same world. But in fact, we operate seperately in our own worlds — with our own body and using our own mind, while guided and influenced by our own spirituality or belief.

In this analogy, our body and mind are the sole fundamentals of our own world in which we operate. If the fudamentals are problematic and unstable, so are the operations within this world — your career, relationships, love life, dreams and hopes…

This ultimate prioritization is not selfish.

It’s the very important, should-not-be-missed construction and regular maintanace of the world we are living in.

It’s not a basic human right to do so.

It’s a basic human responsibility.

Toxic Surroundings? Get The Hell Out

I wanted to put this in my Inspiration Vault at first. But then I was wondering whether I’m really inspired by the toxic vibe I got today from a so-called friend of mine.

I’m still quite upset.

There’s always a spur of moment, where I might feel irritated and even mad. But I’d hold back my will to react immediately. Because I don’t want to do stupid things to hurt others just because I’m emotional.

Well, today I got an very emotional blame in really mean words via LinkedIn message because of a delayed reply (for two days).

It wasn’t the first time I told myself that I need to get out of that friendship.

He was all about soul-sisters and really good friendship love. And he doesn’t deliver.

The worst of all is that he’s over thirty-three now and still behave like a teenager.

Not the good kind of teenager who’s positive and energetic. (I was energetic but not really positive when I was in high school… I was into Linkin Park, so I was a good kid.)

But the worst part of being a teenager: all the emotional drama, the gossip, the love affairs where the ex would stalk him because she’s just so in love with him and she’s also loveable and crazy…

You know what? It’s fine. This kind of crap is not what I like, but I can put up with. But just don’t throw mean words on me with passive aggressiveness because I didn’t have the time to reply your messages.

Communicate. Like an adult does.

(I’m doing more of a “letting things out” than a writing exercise… so no, this is definitely not an inspiration, yet.)

Then it comes to my conclusion: I’m getting out of this. Life is too short to be in any kind of relationship that makes you feel bad for no good reason. (There are good reasons to make yourself feel bad… like when you are learning about something new by making mistakes. Make sense?)

I’ve thought about doing this to end this friendship a few times. Tried, but failed. I think that’s because I didn’t want to end things badly with anyone. I didn’t want to hurt people (even if they’ve hurt me), didn’t like confrontation, and also, didn’t want others to dislike me.

But nothing is worth putting my own mental health in jeopardy.

Handling difficult people, if it’s not really really essential, is a huge waste of emotional energy.

They drain your life out of you, literally.

I need peace and tranquility. So I can recharge my energy.

Anyway. I’m going to go to sleep and waiting for this whole thing to transform into inspiration for me, like all the other negativities always do.

Hope you, who’s reading these words now, are safe, and healthy (both physically and mentally).