Il dolce far niente

By 2:18 PM , , ,

 (The sweetness of doing nothing)
- 2011 in closing -
Learning to 'Eat, Pray, Love' in a year way...

I've made so many promises to myself to update recently but as usual, life happened.

A dear friend of mine, Sher, once gave me a journal a few years back with these Bible quotes on every other page. The words were thoughtful but I had not a clue as to what I would do with it. It was one of those gifts that you appreciate and on a deep level want for yourself but would never actually go and buy it as... there's other things you want more.

Ironically, when I was finally able to decide on what to do with it, I turned it into a goals journal. I try to write in it at least three times a year - to state my intended goals, reflect on progress, reflect on overall achievement at the end. What's my trend? Surprisingly, I actually do cover all of my goals, even if not in its entirety. Funnily enough, I also tend to not really cover anything until November-December. *wink* It's in keeping with my "I work best under pressure" theory.

This year was my most ambitious year I'd say - and with great risk comes great failures. The funny part of this story is that I swore it would be a drama free, successful year - instead it was the complete opposite, which I had not prepared for. Lesson to be learned? It's good to have a plan, but it's better to be practical where you can be with worse comes to worse situations.

I remember earlier up as I approached my 23rd birthday, annoyed at aging and not feeling like I've accomplished very much by that age, I pestered everyone about their experiences about their 23rd. The consensus was that it was a period of growth, learning and understanding of self. I thought to myself "ahhh psshhhh, whatever... let's see how this is gonna go."

"Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation."
-Elizabeth Gilbert

As the year teeters to a close I must grudgingly admit, it has been a spiritual year of sorts. I once read somewhere that your 20s are about self-discovery, defining who you are, experimenting and so forth. My 20s thus far have been utterly disorienting in the manner of which one jumps through a rabbit hole unintentionally and just prays for the best.

What I've learned - finally - was that maybe I've been too idealistic in my approach to life. I still believe the world needs a little more naivety as people as too aware of all that's bad... But I think because of that awareness, it necessitates some sort of grounding within oneself within the real world. This is how it is - it could change, be yourself, but this is the world we live in currently.

I think it took me a while to reconcile that not all who listen are listening because they care, not all who seem to care, truly do and not everyone who seems trusting should be trusted.

I found myself disappointed, unhappy, somewhat bitter, and struggling to orient myself most of the time. At the very least, it's been truly experimental, riddled with bad mistakes and decisions, and some even bold ones. Who am I kidding? I'm being euphemistic. In many ways, it's been hell but there are a few people that helped make it heaven. Thanks for riding that wave with me, you know who you are. One must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation, and gracious for those who stick around for the ride.

“Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, 
you recognized yourself as a friend.” 

― Elizabeth Gilbert

Most of my goals for this year were practical, financial, self-improvement goals. By time mid-year, I pretty much gave up hope on accomplishing anything as everything just seemed to be going wrong the harder I tried and then something magical happened.

I stopped trying. I think somewhere around here I was just too exhausted and decided to just ride out the year and try anew 2012.

What happened? Life slowed down for the first time in years. I was finally able to see. As corny as this may sound, I was able to take my own advice that I had been giving to other people through out. I learned to fix what I can, leave what I can't, forgive myself and move on. It's hard to do it, if you still have the fight in you. I think it's only when you've reached your moment of pis aller (last resort) does some sort of light start to shine.

Every single piece of advice I've ever given, or had been given to me, suddenly made sense. (...well not every piece, you know what I mean.) Not in the "Yeah... yeah... yeah..." way but in the way of an epiphany, almost as if things would never be the same.

In turn what happened? I was able to reflect on situations that happened through a different light. Earlier in the year a friend told me, "Third person is a motherf*cker." While I grasped the concept, only now I finally got some true semblance of understanding. When you're able to remove yourself from a situation, only then can you truly start to see just what it is or could be and come up with a sensible resolution. Until that moment, it's just sheer emotion, irrational acts and lots of prayers and hoping for the best.

A truly strong person does not need the approval
of others any more than a lion needs the approval
of sheep.

After the mid-point, things got better. Those goals I wanted to achieve? Guess who got a few of her art pieces sold.

I also reluctantly found myself in bittersweet situations as I realized that I've been holding on to a lot of people and things for sentimental reasons - their chapter has since closed in my life. It's time to let go. Letting go has been a lot easier with those who're supposed to be on their way out... much, much easier than I thought.

I was also able to see some people in different lights. There are those dear friends and family that I love, always will, and I truly believe will always be a part of my life. If it's meant to be, it will be. I've learnt being a part of my life doesn't mean separation anxiety once you disappear. True friendships are not about those who are with you every day doing randomness, it's about those who are there when the chips are down and ready to help you back up. I have a few gems.

“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just
 the same way  you select your clothes every day. 
This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to 
control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. 
That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”
-Elizabeth Gilbert

Toni Morrison once said, "If you wanna fly, you got to give up the sh*t that weighs you down." With that said, I've learned to say 'no.' Since I'm no longer stretching myself thinly, badgering myself about doing things I don't really want to do, joining projects, adding new hobbies, etc... I get to do more things that make me happy and, by default, others. They say when you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny. I wrote a whole post about this a few months back. Once your attitude to life changes, the things you attract changes. When you open yourself to the mere possibility of possibilities, they start to reveal themselves because finally you're ready for them.

With that said, despite the softer, happier, more content note this year is closing on, there have been a few deaths of people I knew, or knew by virtue of association, close calls of others I know and those now discovering the possibility of the end. It struck home the fragility of life and how important it is to live for today. There's no young or old when death decides to come. It's important that those who you care about, know that you care and most importantly... that you care about yourself.

When you're gone... it's kind of like that story of the horse with the limp leg fetching a bag of grain on its back. No one knew where it came from, but they could've told you where it went from the trail of grain and dragged hoof marks. What sort of trail are you leaving behind? What's your story? And... it's never too late to change that story.

Les Brown said that people often wonder about what sort of funerals they would have, who would come, who truly cares, etc. But, no one ever thinks about all the hopes and dreams that would surround your casket dead with you... lamenting that you were the only person they felt capable of achieving these brilliant dreams and now, they're going to die with you. The graveyard is the richest place on Earth - it's filled the best ideas and inventions that never came to pass.

People focus too much on why things can't be done, rather than what can be done. Remember the road to mediocrity is paved by the hands of practical people. None of the great inventions past, and great inventions to come, were deemed practical nor possible but it just requires the belief that it could be done... and the attempt of doing it. And as the saying goes... there are the people who make history, and the people who endure it.

"I tried to teach [them] how to be kings, 
And all they ever wanted to be were soldiers..."

On that note, as another friend told me a few weeks ago, "turn your bruises into wisdom." Let each day be a testimony of your daily effort to self-improvement, another effort towards achieving your own personal greatness, and another day of bestowing some sort of positivity/happiness into the world. I mean, there will be bad days though, some days are meant to be counted, other days are meant to be weighed. And remember that ruin is the road to transformation - only after you've broken down the bad, weaker parts can you build a stronger structure.

Happy New Year everybody!
*kiss kiss*

New hair for the New Year (again)

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  1.  lovely end of year post m'dear. :)