Today is my 36th birthday, and I'm writing this from my desk at home,
David sitting on my lap as he watches Caillou at the computer on my life, where Olivia is having her TV/Cartoon time
Louise is doing some housework
...and to me, this is more than good enough, I am blessed.
I've family and friends who love me, through thick and thin
got a slew of birthday wishes (thank you everyone for remembering and wishing)
and most important of all, I've got God, Jesus and Holy Spirit who loves me
life lessons I've learned to date
Your body is a magnificent temple given by God
If you don't take care of your health, who will? When I was younger and ignorant and just chasing money, love, stuff, I totally ignored my health and had some scary health accidents and was falling sick left, right and center.
I realized that health and much of life aspects are built layer, by layer, over time and repetition - so there is no rushing health (ie I cant get healthy in 1-2 weeks, though I can take some healthier choices today).
And that health is the basis for strength, productivity, responsibility and more. This is covered more in Self Care.
Life is...experiential and about experiences.
Life is to be experienced, to create beautiful memories and relationships, one day/step a time.
I've come across great people whose identity is too attached to a specific aspect (or lack thereof) of their life, be it to careers, money, relationship...and very limited worldview.
Life is amazing, with so many different foods, cultures, people, perspectives, philosophy and more. Try to remember that life is purpose driven with God, as well as to be enjoyed too.
Try to get as many quality life experiences as possible, and not settle into a routine for too long (especially bad, stuck ones)
Life is transient and short
Life is so short, and can be over in the blink of an eye. The bible writes that our life is measured in breaths, so...we ought to number our days and not waste them.
After losing my dad in just 17 days in May 2014, as well as having lost business deals, opportunities and relationships...I remember that life is fragile and short.
In a sense, that's why I try to take care of my health and body (refer back to point #1 above) to live a long healthy life as possible, but I am mindful that we may die any time. Hence I've a will ready and insurance to take care of my family in case of my untimely demise.
Don't wait till it's too late or when the time is right.
Keep learning and growing
The world keeps growing, and much education, learning, discovery and growth happens every day, with or without us.
That's why the onus falls upon us to seek learning and growth (which is why I read as much as I can, spend time thinking, praying and meditating).
Learning keeps our minds sharp, flexible and healthy; so keep growing and learning and being willing/open to learn.
To be grateful to be alive
In this fast pace moving world, it is so easy to get lost in all the movement in the blur of time and speed, but it is very important to write down a gratitude list - a list of things, relationships, experiences, people in our lives that we are thankful for.
It IS a great time to be alive. Think about it:
a. we can reach someone in any part of the world in the blink of an eye. b. we can travel to another part of the world (any part) in less than 24 hours c. we are still alive to breathe, explore and do stuff that we're interested in as well as responsible for
Working hard consistently is still our best friend
Consistent and focused hard work yields so many benefits, from financial rewards, to building deep meaningful work, to improving our social, skills, experience and brain function, and so much more
(I have never personally understood why there are people in the world who moan/dislike work, maybe they hadn't found the joy/benefits of their current work or hadn't found their preferred work.
I've worked 16 hour days, and now being parent of young children, it's still 16 hour shifts lol - I salute stay-at-home-mums and stay-at-home-dads.)
Everyone has their own life journeys, adventures and growth
We can advise as much as we can and want, but in the end, everyone has to experience life in their own ways and make their own decisions (growth or otherwise) in their journeys and life.
Our realities may have similarities in some ways, but most times, your life is and can be differently experienced even when in the exact setup and setting.
Remember others are also trying and making sense of their life experience and world too.
When I was younger, I would get jealous and envious when I come across people who has what I want/like, and found that I would have difficulties relating and communicating with them (if ever).
However, with life experiences, pain and time, referring to #7 above, I realize that I have slowly become happy for others when they have/achieved something I too like - becoming/being happy for someone is a wonderful feeling.
Likewise, as you improve your health/finance/career/some aspects of your life, some people too may be jealous/envious - remember, they too are going through their life journey and growth.
We can only speak for ourselves: grow to admire and be happy for people - it truly is wonderful!
Enjoying time alone...
I think that I've become more introspective, reflective and enjoy spending time alone be it for reading, thinking, praying, meditating, writing etc.
I've met people who can't stand being alone, cos of many reasons - too quiet, too alone, fear of loneliness, boring etc - whatever it is, I do enjoy my quiet times nowadays.
Remember where you came from
This is part of the gratitude list, but an expanded version, a history of sorts, to remember
a. the life lessons that brought you here (and understanding what brought you here may not be able to bring you to your next level)
b. the people who have helped directly by supporting you (conditionally or unconditionally) or indirectly.
Remember them, and give thanks, and whenever possible, send love and warm words and memories to them (and help whenever possible).
Reach out to them and tell them you hadn't forgotten them and you're glad they helped you.
Letting go of fear and anxiety (including comfort zones)
Fear and anxiety can be very crippling and haunting, and you must try your best to not let them define you nor control you.
Fear and anxiety is a normal experience, and it has its functions and purposes - to protect you. But fear and anxiety is NOT you, it is feelings to serve you.
Looking through the eyes of child-like wonder
The world is really big, and the God I serve is supreme - there is so much to learn, explore, experience, grow and see (and eat too lol).
Scientists and researchers keep discovering new things till today (even stuff that has been written in the bible on events that happened 2000+ years ago).
As we grow, try to remember and look through this amazing world with wonder, so many things are wonderful (remember my first point? That our body itself is a wonder? Yes!)
There is so much more to learn, see, experience! =)
Once you hit 30s, exercise more, and do more resistive training
Once we hit our 30s, there are more physiological changes, including the decrease of hormones that causes muscle shrinkage (and the older we get, the worse this gets...)
...unless you consistently practice resistive training. You don't have to spend hours and hours in the gym - just doing the right resistive exercises 3-5x per week will suffice.
Good strength will be the base of your movement, mobility, stability, strength and energy for all the stuff you want to do daily.
I started intermittent fasting about 45 days ago, and I think...it is something that I can stick to for the rest of my life. I do the 16:8 ie fast for 16 hours and have an 8-hours eating window.
Science is showing that intermittent fasting increases muscle mass and strength, lengthens life, improve health and strength and energy.
When I'm fasting I feel that I'm much more productive, I am lighter and faster (though I am still hungry occasionally), and I do feel pretty good about my health and energy since I started intermittent fasting.
No one is coming to save you - you're the driver of your life's destiny or..
Except for Jesus, who is the Light, Life and Savior of the world.
Other than that, everything is on ourselves. We are the only driver of our own lives, and responsible for everything good and bad.
The earlier you realize this, the better and quicker you'd be to level up and become a productive member of your society.
There isn't much use to blame anyone or anything for where you are in life, or where you end up. If you don't do or change anything, you will be exactly where you are.
If you want to change where you are and will be, then do daily what you need to do to daily bring you a few steps closer to where you want to be.
You are what you do...repeatedly
Have you met someone who wants something but moan and refuse to do what it takes to get there? It's like someone wanting to lift 200 lbs but don't want to do the daily/weekly/monthly training to work from lifting 20 lbs all the way to 200 lbs.
Same thing applies to running marathons, running up stairs, making more money, making money online, building streams of dividend income and more.
If you want to be able to run a 42 KM marathon, then go out daily and start jogging. 1st week, do 2 KM. Next week, 2.5 KM. Week after that, 3 KM...and work your way up to 42 KM.
If you want to be a writer, start writing. Write the short ones first, and work your way up to 100K words, then 1 million words, then more.
It's easy to be mediocre and to waste/kill time doing shit like watching YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and to see and hear about those who had done it. If you want to do it, go and do it.
There is nothing else in the world other than persistence to bring you closer to success, done over a period of time (usually between 3-5 years min).
Financial freedom is a learned action before it becomes a habit
One of the keys to a free life is financial security, where you create recurring streams of passive income that is equal to your expenses.
Once you become financially secure, it becomes much easier to become financially free. Rinse and repeat until you achieve your financial freedom and financial goals.
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Smile and Laugh
Smiling and laughing is so, so, so, under-rated. Many adults "who had grown up and become more cynical" frown much more than smile (refer to "remember where you come from" and "gratitude list").
Smiling and laughing takes less muscles, less time and less energy than frowning/scowling/being pessimistic for hours and days, and smiling creates lots of good stuff like feel-good hormones like serotonin (can make you high).
And yes, life is amazing and God is good, but most of us as we get older, we tend to take life more seriously. Stuff like money, work, relationships, health worries and things that are out of our control can rob us of our joys and laughters.
Whenever you can, save funny memes/gifs/jokes, comedies, and have good smiles and laughs.
Have a side project
Most of us have careers and jobs that we do to earn money...and there are few people in this world who loves what they do, be it entrepreneurs or corporate/cubicle slaves.
And work CAN be a grind after working it for years or decades on end, and that's why I propose working on side projects.
Keep trying, keep the creative juices and hustling on the side going.
I find traveling a joy, not only because I like to try and taste different foods from different people/cultures/continents, but also to stretch and grow my own perspectives, horizons, sights, people, understanding and much more.
I think that people who don't travel and just stay where they are...tend to be very limited in their understanding.
Yes, they may "root" deep, but there lacks open-mindedness, flexibility and thinking widely, which can only come about through immersing in different countries/places.
Travel more. See more. Immerse more in different cultures, places, foods, perspectives.
Note that travel doesn't solve all the world's problems, but it tends to show/broaden your mind and horizons.
Speak up, speak truly, and with grace and love
Growing up in a conservative Asian family, I learn to keep quiet and do my work and vote with my work and feet.
Over time, I realize that I have to speak up more, no need to confront "or fight passive aggressively", just that need to voice up in truth, grace and love, to ensure that I understand others and others understand me, and we all grow as a family, tribe, community, society.
If I don't say, how would others know?
Likewise, if others don't say, how would I know?
Of course, these communications needs to be done in
a. Truth - I've come across so many people who lie to get what they want, to avoid the pain of truth, etc. Lying doesn't progress anything.
b. Love - When one speak in love, and when people know that they're cared for and love, it makes it easy to communicate and share
c. Grace - Grace is speaking softly, gently, firmly and lovingly about truth, and not just hammering truth because some thing is true.
Speaking up, speaking the truth in love and grace is important and that's why you need to do it...as well as to be true to yourself.
Learn the power of compounding
I wished I started compounding effects earlier in life...hahaha knowing me, I probably wasn't mature/ready for it then.
Compounding affects every part of life.
Let's look at compounding with money, it is the basis of how and why I invest for dividend stock. That's how Warren Buffett grew very rich - he invested early, and only much later in his life when his investments grew a lot in value only when he became very very rich.
Compounding can be applied to health as well. An example is if you cut out 100 calories a day every day for a year, you WILL lose weight. Conversely, if you eat additionally 100 calories a day everyday, you WILL gain weight.
Small changes, done early and consistently, will reap great rewards when done right.
Memento mori - remember you will die
This was reminded to me recently when I started reading Seneca The Younger's "On The Shortness Of Life" which reminds me on the frailty of our lives, and that's why we shouldn't waste our lives and days on things that don't really matter.
On our dying days/bed, money, food, accomplishments - all don't really matter. Only deep and meaningful relationships do.
That's one of the reason why I am taking time out to spend time with my young children, explore publishing which I've been meaning to do so for years, and just spend time reading, meditating and praying.
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