Lately, I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts sharing about achieving balance especially in the line of teaching. I feel like I have met with some challenges in the path of pursuing “balance” in my daily life ever since I started my day job. As much as I salute the idea of not bringing work home, I found myself doing exactly that every single day. I even schedule my weekends to do work which is relevant to my day job. Is this healthy? I’m not sure. But so far, I’m enjoying it.
For starter, I love my workplace at home better than my little desk at the office where I rarely able to spend much time at. Compared to staying late at the office, I rather bring home work that I can do while enjoying the cuppa or TV or frolicking with my hamsters because some of the work is basically no brainer. I can just do them while listening to my favorite songs which I can’t do at the office for the sake of work ethic.
Confucius once said and I paraphrase, “pick the job you like and you won’t feel like you’re working every single day.” I’m lucky to be able to say that I’m having the job that I like, even though it comes with a lot of “irrelevant” paper work to do, but C’mon, it’s in the package. No matter how much you like your job, there will be something or somebody you don’t feel fancy about, and learning how to deal with things you don’t like is a whole area of opportunity for growth especially in terms of character development.
So maybe I should change my perspective towards the whole idea of “balance”. Maybe bringing work home doesn’t make my life imbalance. I mean, as long as you know what comes first, what your priority is, what you want to invest your time on, and you actually do all the things you want to do according to your flexible timeline, then it’s safe to say that you are having a balanced life.
Sketching out the things I wanna juggle is really helping me to see the bigger picture and be satisfied with my life in general.
Since the 3rd of July, I’ve ended my jobless phase and my alarm has then been adjusted two hours earlier than my normal wake-up time. In the past few months, I’ve come across the article about the Power of When theory (Dolphin, Lion, Bear, Wolf). But the reality is, no matter what your chronotype is if you have a day job, you work according to your day job. You change your mindset and find ways to adapt to the new chronology. You can’t afford to be inefficient during the time you’re at work because it’s unprofessional and inconsiderate. So I’ve listed what I am doing to help myself adjust to my new wake-up time.
Prep up breakfast or office snacks the night before.
Plan for the next day (know what you need to do).
Select an inspiring image to be your phone’s wallpaper (and change it regularly or according to the season).
Get the bags ready the night before.
Turn on the light and do yoga after drinking a glass of water.
After working for a week, I feel so lucky for investing some time before to understand the Power of When. During the gap after college and before the commencement of my long-term job, I have learned more about time management, productivity, and the intricacies of habits, than I ever did in the last 10 years of my life. You see, during that period of intermission, I had all the free time in the world. The world was my oyster and I was able to do anything I wanted. Now, I have odd work hours to follow and I don’t get to see the sunrise from my bed. Yet, life is good because I have learned the secret to time management – setting priorities.
I don’t have time means this is not my priority. Sometimes we have “no choice” because we can’t be “selfish” so we gradually set ourselves a trap by becoming a yes man or a yes woman. If we don’t take care of ourselves, nobody else is responsible for our happiness. And taking care of yourself means that you are trying to balance, you are seeing problems with your life and you’re doing something about it. Sacrifices should be made once in a while, the give-and-take theory is sound, we should all do something we don’t like once in a while but if you have to put off with something all the time, there’s either something wrong somewhere or something is awfully wrong with you, that maybe it’s your rotten attitude that makes everything sucks. Let’s say you’d say yes to all the luncheons or dinners your colleagues invited you to, only because you have difficulties saying no, yet deep down inside you know you can’t enjoy them because you have other things you’d rather do. If you don’t like it, do something about it. People should understand that it is the demand or request that you are rejecting instead of them as a human being you are rejecting.
One tip for those who can’t reject, try this the next time, say no and smile. Or simply, if saying no is too hard, shake your head and smile. Unless you’re Indian, then nod your head maybe?
“Welcome to the family.” I like how the Headmistress was referring to her team. Immense gratitude was felt especially these few days of finding the school, attending the briefing, and actually attending the school. It was just the first day, so far it’s been a bed of roses, but I can smell the challenges approaching. Can’t wait to get started for real.
People who know me know that my favorite place to lepak is the bookstore. At the bookstore, I’ll take a lot of time scanning the titles and perusing the content (usually summarized at the back of the books). I don’t patronize the library and borrow books. I find it a hassle and hate the fact that I can’t scribble in it. But I know I can’t own all the books I want to read in the world. A tight budget is one thing, but the real problem is not having space to store them. I am a recovering mild hoarder. Yet when it comes to books, I shamefully admit that I haven’t thrown, sold, donated or simply given away a single book before. Whenever I wait at the gate of the airport, I’d be wondering what’s gonna happen to all my books if I decided to migrate someday. The shipping cost is too eye-watering for something I most probably would never ever enjoy again. The most I’d do is flip through the pages and skim through the paragraphs I’ve left a note or two at the margin or the lines I’ve highlighted. But to enjoy it from page one to the last and receive the wisdom from the beautifully phrased words joining one another again is not gonna happen. They said when you read a book at different points of your life, you’ll learn different things. But I always believe the next book is more interesting.
Around this season last year was the third time I’ve moved to a new place. Moving has done a hell of a job in treating my hoarding but it hasn’t stopped me from purchasing more books until the recent death of my uncle. I wouldn’t wanna say that my uncle was a hoarder, he was perhaps, just a collector. He collected a lot of photos, photos of him traveling with his friends and family. From the 70s all the way to the day he left; thanks to the invention of digital ram and thank goodness, he was a man who won’t quit learning with the world. He was very adept at using the digital devices (better than my dad apparently). When he left, he could have probably asked his family to bury those photos with him (or not), but he could never have taken a single photo with him wherever his spirit roams any more than I could see myself paying a lump sum for the courier. It wasn’t my first time of having such epiphany about the meaninglessness of the things we hold on tight to in life. But this time it hit me with my books, as if in these few years, the things I’ve let go off in life aren’t enough, I need to also let go of that one thing, which allows my mind to escape from the reality, to truly achieve self-actualization. I can’t. Not yet anyway. Although reading hasn’t made me the best person in the world, it hasn’t made me write any better either (as I always wish to), in fact, it has turned me more introverted than I’d ever like myself to be, reading has indeed shaken my life and I know that it will continue to be one of the most critical ingredients in enhancing my character development.
Nevertheless, I should probably be more critical at the bookstore. I’ll probably take more time than I usually do to carefully pick out the most worthy and the most must-have book so that I can convince myself that even someday if I do consider to sell it or donate it away, I’d have a good reason to persuade the other person to take it. Or, I’ll try doing my own research by taking the advantage of Google or asking around before I head down to the bookstore or click add to cart. In the meantime, I can also really think hard about which genre or author I wanna eliminate from my bookshelf. Though rest assured, this is gonna take a long while.
I drive a lot, so I like to keep these things in my car, thinking they might come in handy someday and they almost always do.
2. Sports Shoes
4. Thumb drive
5. Neck Pillow
6. First Aid Kit
8. Beach Hat
10. Notepad and pen
In the morning, the message alerts from Whatapps dragged me to my feet before the actual time I should be waking. The results of the posting came today. My friends busily texted each other in the chat box about it. Some of my friends asked if I have yet to check it. I immediately switched on the laptop, legs still snuggled inside the quilt, had no idea what to pray for while carefully typing in my details to log in. It’s official. I will have a day job in less than 3 weeks and bid adios to unemployment until retirement comes knocking at the door. I am posted to Kuala Lumpur. The vibrant city just 20 minutes from my apartment. Though it came out as I expected, I did not feel anything. Of course, I was not surprised. But I was indeed surprised at how calm I was. Perhaps it was the morning drowsiness that kept the emotions hidden until later the day but it’s 5 in the afternoon and I am still not feeling anything about it. I guess I have anticipated for so long and have played all the possible scenarios in my head. Anyway, I am glad and grateful for the outcome. I will just do my best at this job and leave the rest to the universe.