Life Logs: Are We There Yet?

June 02, 2020

This pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint.

I've read this statement a couple of times during the past few months. Although I thought I understood that statement, there's something more to grasp from the message that it is trying to convey (this article perfectly sums it up). It's still hard to perceive, but I truly believe that life will never go back to "normal" soon. I'm not even looking forward to going back to the office, not just due to practical reasons but also because of logistics (unless I'll bike from home to my office which is ~12 kilometers away ☹️). I will never be comfortable riding the UV express like before. It's surreal that I won't be able to experience the same way those moments of downtime just looking blankly at the window (with music on) while the van traveled the highway. I always found those times comforting because I knew I was going back home after a long day at work.

As of this writing, I have surpassed the 13th week mark of staying at home. I guess this is my reality now. One time while I was washing the dishes, a memory of being at home for some time also, due to an ankle sprain, came rushing back to me. I remember I was travelling to a client site when I had a minor accident going down the bus. That caused me to rest and stay at home for more than a week because I couldn't walk. I remember having difficulty moving and so I stayed most of the time in bed. But actually I couldn't remember being sad or bored about my situation, because I didn't let my mind be idle. I couldn't remember anymore but I'm pretty sure I had my laptop with me most of the time (Am I already blogging back then?). I don't know why that memory resurfaced. Maybe it's because I am experiencing something similar, and I am reminding myself of the resiliency that I showed during that time. I am relearning my lessons. I guess it's my mind's way of reminding myself that I am strong and that I can actually go through this.

The past months really provided me time to do some self-contemplation. I like doing something for people. I've learned a few years ago that service is my giving love language. I have also learned to avoid people that take advantage of that (even those that are dear to me) because I have learned (the hard way) that it affects and drains me mentally and emotionally. It's heartbreaking when you realize that your priorities do not match with that of other people. It hurts, especially when you know in yourself that you were ready to give it all. You were ready to sacrifice. But if the other party aren't, you have to be kind to yourself. You have to let go.

That was a bit heavy, eh? To make things brighter, I want to mention some of the things that kept/keeping me busy these days (and some accomplishments that I have unlocked!).

  • I have discovered the wonderful Youtube channel of TwoSetViolin. The very first video I've seen from them is the one where they were reacting to celebrities trying to play instruments for the first time. The next thing I knew -- I was spending hours watching random videos of them. I really like their vibe and I absolutely love how they nerd out about the technicalities of playing the violin, of music theory, and their passion about classical music. They're great musicians, that's for sure, but I guess another great thing about them is their sense of humor, which appealed perfectly to me. I now have a special kind of admiration for both of them (but uhm most especially for Brett after watching this video... he's so cute wearing that cap and shades xD). Despite their goofy characters, they're serious professional musicians that want classical music to reach a wider audience. They're changing the game for young musicians too because they are finding ways to make practicing fun (be like Ling Ling: practice 40 hours a day!). They are such brave and bold souls, quitting the orchestra and aiming to do a world tour. I super love what they are doing. They are changing the world in their own way. They've also motivated me to practice on the piano more. I am still working on a piece and I promised myself I would do something special when I reach 40 hours of practice (I am currently on the 10th hour). And I love their merch! I want to order from their site but I read that they don't do shipping to my country yet.
  • I am continuing my spiritual journey through attending various webinars from Third Eye Wellness. That webinar about karma really changed the way I see life. They have another upcoming one about past lives (that's on June 5, 5PM, register here), and I am really looking forward to that. I was one of the participants who suggested that topic because it was mentioned during the karma webinar. I'm glad we are finally having one that is dedicated to the topic!
  • This podcast episode about procrastination made me realize things about my own behavior whenever I delay tasks. I now know that I shouldn't strive to become hard-working or diligent when it comes to accomplishing my duties. Instead, I have to aim to reprogram my mindset to become braver in facing the negative emotions associated with those tasks. Also, I picked up in another podcast (video below) another task management technique. It roots to the process that doctors apply in receiving patients in an emergency room. I now tag my tasks as Red (urgent), Yellow (not so urgent, but will have consequences over time), and Green (not so important, and can be accomplished anytime). Through this method, I'm having a clearer view on what tasks need to be attended first (Red). Everything else is just noise in the background.
  • Through the technique above, I finally faced the daunting task of finishing this Machine Learning course in Coursera, and I finally did it! I have been procrastinating this task for months. Instead of working on the machine exercises, I was instead writing blog entries and watching kdramas 😅. Thanks to that triage technique, I realized that this task needs to be tagged as Red. The feeling of accomplishment after finishing the course is just priceless. And can I just flex that 95.3% grade that I got? 😎 
    If you ask me, yes this course indeed is an intensive course about Machine Learning. I felt like I was along the ranks of Einstein while learning all those formulas that were presented in the course. However, finishing this course doesn't mean that you are now an ML expert. Applying the analogy of cooking and presenting dishes on it, this course teaches you the method of cooking with all the ingredients already at hand and prepared (chopped, sliced, etc). All you have to do is follow the instructions of cooking them on a pan. In real life, as an ML expert, your task is to cook a dish from scratch (you'll need to plant seeds and harvest them before cooking)! So this is just the start. I have a long way to go in becoming an ML expert. 
  • My friend Darce shared me this English Dharma Service Youtube channel. She practices Buddhism and she recommended me this channel because I shared with her my amazement about the laws of karma. I have watched a few videos already (I just had to skip the chanting part in the start because I couldn't relate) and I must say that I learned a lot from the teachings given. There's one video about finding true happiness and the explanation given was so simple and straight to the point. For years I have been into self-help books that try to teach this. Apparently, the lesson can be taught with just a sentence or two. I was deeply amazed. And they say most of the time the simplest solution is the correct one.
  • I discovered this app named Snorelab. I always have this impression that I am a "silent sleeper" (a.ka. I don't snore). Apparently I do. Thanks to this app, I am discovering patterns on when I snore the loudest. Basically you set up the app to run on your phone before you sleep. Ideally you'd want to place your phone near you so that it could catch the audio of you snoring. There are different options to choose from on how you want the app to record audio throughout the night (to save some battery). I don't know but I find it amusing listening to my own snoring. 😂
  • I subscribed to Spotify Premium for 3 months (I got that P129 offer so I gave in LOL). I usually only upgrade to Premium during vacations so that I could still listen to music on the plane or on the road during a long trip. I thought of upgrading during this time because I wanted to maximize the use of my headphones. I modified the setup of my Spotify account to download music in "Very High" quality. And the results are amazing. I am now thoroughly enjoying the music using my headphones. During these times, music is your best escape from reality.
  • Speaking of escape from reality, well I'm waist-deep into the fantasy world of The King: Eternal Monarch drama (in case my recent posts don't give it away yet). I am very much enjoying the thrill and the puzzles presented in the drama. Team that up with being active on the kdrama subreddit and you have the perfect combo to have a sleepless night after an episode is released on Netflix. 🤣
  • I have newly transitioned to a new notebook for my bullet journal just in time for the start of June! This system has hugely helped me in taking things in day by day and also keeping my mind busy. I guess this is the "new normal" for me. Again, I am keeping my mind busy to ward off those negative voices that start whispering whenever I am idle.

The Universe reiterated with me that life is always about the journey. I guess we'll always go back to the motto and theme of this blog itself --- experience and enjoy life one step at a time. 😊

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