On this day before turning 26, I decided the best gift to myself would be a summary of reflections as a 25 years old and goals for my future 26 year old. A lot of times, birthdays are focused around celebrating, anticipating gifts, blowing out a candle and making a wish. But what is the real significance of turning a year
older less young? Now I feel is actually the perfect opportunity to organize memories, reflect on self-realizations, and make goals for the future.
– Challenged tree-top trekking in the summer –> challenged arm strength and small fear of height
– Watched quite a few musicals: Wizard of Oz, Anything Goes, Les Miserables, Lion King. (“Anything goes” wins as my favorite.)
– Enjoyed a summer long weekend in Tobermory –> ran on “singing sand beach” with purple sunset, hiked on flowerpot island, and bbq under a sky of bright stars.
– Traveled to Munich, Fussen, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Vienna, and Prague in the fall –> rewarding trip filled with spontaneous surprises and culture learnings.
– Had a freezing winter weekend getaway in New York City –> realized a stronger enjoyment in museums
– In January, my first property finished construction –> officially became a home owner and took on responsibilities of paying endless bills and feeling grown-up.
– Spent a lot of spare time over the past year looking & applying for a new job, eventually quit both full-time and part-time job and joined another company in april –> small step to reducing some stress at work, but a lot more work needs to be done to reach career satisfaction.
1. Happiness comes from being content.
I’ve always had the mentality that I would be happier if I had __(fill in the blanks)___. And there are endless things to fill in that blank. When I was a student, I thought I would be so happy when I can afford a closet-full of beautiful clothes from Club Monaco. Today I can grab a handful of Clubmonaco pieces from my closet, but I didn’t feel that happiness I anticipated back then – instead I sometimes wonder my eyes on higher-end clothing. Materialistic cravings are never-ending. I would never be truly happy until I train myself to appreciate what I already have. This goes for everything, my home, job, and relationships. Today, I choose to feel happy that I have a job that pays for a comfortable life (not “I wish I had a less stressful job that pays more”), I have a comfortable home (not “I wish I had a bigger house with fancy interior decorations”), and I have a loving boyfriend and caring family (not “I wish my boyfriend is perfect and my parents are richer).
2. Like attracts Like.
The kind of person you are defines the kind of people you attract in your life. In other words, if you want to be surrounded by kind, caring, and generous people, you have to be that kind of a person first. In the same fashion, if you are selfish, negative, and complain all the time, you will find yourself chasing away people who care about you. This is a constant reminder and motivation for me to be like the people I want in my life — pleasant, sincere, positive, generous, and kind.
3. Stress & negativity are like a black hole.
It’s too easy to get sucked in and hard to get out. Sometimes I get so absorbed in problems & stress that it almost consumes all other aspects of my life. I had a difficult time in my previous job position and I would carry stress from work into my personal life — always in a bad mood and lost interest in hobbies and entertainment. The negativity was like a black hole pulling me away from people I care about and things I enjoy doing. This is something I need to constantly work on: maintaining a balance between fuelling motivation and simultaneously enjoying life.
4. Life is not going to be fair.
Wasting time on envying others more fortunate than you is meaningless. I suppose that’s why people easily feed into celebrity gossips – they like to imagine how it would be like if they had the vanity and the seemingly-perfect life. First of all, you would never really understand what goes on in other people’s life beneath the visible surface. Regardless, life is not fair and some people happen to be more fortunate than others. But what’s stopping me from trying my hardest to achieve success regardless of factors I cannot change?
Perhaps having all these thoughts organized in writing would help remind me of the changes I need to make to be a better self and have a happier life. On my next birthday I’ll be able to come back to this post and make another reflection! As for goals and plans, I shall save for my handy & amazing Filofax organizer for more efficient reminders. Stay tuned for my regular more-photo-heavy posts!