Life Logs: February 2021

March 13, 2021

The exact anniversary day of my pandemic work-from-home lifestyle occurred this week and it feels surreal now more than ever. I am already one year in. But I have to say a lot of progress has happened since then. Slowly, vaccines are being administered to more people in the country. I long to see the culmination of this pandemic once and for all, a world wherein wearing of facemask and face shields would just be a personal preference.

February taught me a lot of things, and by the end of the month, I felt like a whole different person. It really takes just one moment to shift a person's perspective, and this month did that for me. I felt like I went through something that cannot be undone. It was a point of no return. 

πŸ’ƒ Experiences
  • Having someone to chat and exchange good vibes with. It's such a blessing to be able to have someone whom I could talk to with just the most random things: from the silliest topics to our deepest and darkest fears. This month, I acknowledged this "perk" that I have especially during those days when I just didn't have anyone to talk to (physically and virtually πŸ˜”). I don't wanna sound too cheesy or what but you know who you are. I don't know if you visit the blog, but just in case you do, I just want to extend my gratitude for being a "listening ear" for my rants, and also for sharing mutual laughter with me. I felt that I could trust you, so I shared information that I wouldn't divulge with anyone else, so thank you for being my online confidant. πŸ˜Š
  • Receiving a Christmas card from Jenny, a.k.a. my top favorite pianist Youtuber! Back in December, I randomly responded to her call for action on IG if anyone of her followers wanted a card for the holidays. I sent my details and didn't really think much about it because I knew she only had a handful of cards to send out. Of course I wanted to receive one from her, but I didn't want to keep my hopes up that much. Well, two months later this came in!

I remember I was feeling kinda meh during that day and when my dad handed me that letter, my happiness level suddenly skyrocketed to record-high levels. The card has a handwritten message for me! It was short but sweet (and actually gave me information that I didn't know I needed). Seeing those scribbles made Jenny more "real" in my mind, like she's really an actual living person, way beyond the 2D version I see of her on the screen. The card now hangs on my "Sparks Joy" wall.

Of course I knew I needed to give back this positive energy in some ways. From that day on, I felt more conscious with supporting people I follow on Youtube. I see to it that I don't skip ads on their videos. And that's what I did for Jenny's channel. One working day, I decided to make her piano videos my instrumental background while I grind for the day. And yes, I didn't skip any of her ads. I was happy to be able to do something as a way to support her! Actually I did something more than that eventually, but since it happened during the first week of March, I'll talk more about that on my March log! 
  • Tweaking the R-Y-G task tagging system. For the past two months or so, I became very productive because of some hacks that I discovered for my productivity routines. At this point, I discovered some flaws in the process. I observed that I always ended the day feeling mentally exhausted, and I didn't have time to tackle the green tasks that I have on my list. Sure, I have finished all of the red and yellow tasks but I didn't have time to relax and enjoy, because I was too tired already that I just wanted to sleep. I didn't want this scenario to serve as a microcosm of my life. And so I tweaked my system a bit and designed it similar to a high intensity interval training (HIIT) routine. Upon completing a subset of the red and yellow tasks, I allowed myself to delve into my green tasks (which involved watching netflix and blogging!). After that, I go with another round of the high-priority tasks. In this way, I still get to enjoy the day at an optimum level. So far it is working well. I just need now to have more discipline in limiting my time with the green tasks. πŸ˜…
  • Self-fulfilling a prophecy. Now I feel like I'm Harry Potter because of that phrase. πŸ˜‚ This month, I had a strong impulse to buy a Kindle. Last month, I got into the routine of reading books at night (with the scented candles of course!). However I noticed that I had trouble sleeping after. And so I thought of purchasing a Kindle, because we all know their main selling point is the e-ink anti-eye strain and anti-glare screen. Unfortunately, there's no official retailer locally. The first option I chose was to get one from Shopee. I thought I'd just find a good seller through their ratings. Well I did find one with a very cheap price and so I placed my order. The weekend went by and the order still has not been shipped. I happened to be rereading my month's horoscope from Susan Miller and it said that I should avoid buying electronic devices this month (dun dun dun). I revisited my order on Shopee and I tried to go through the buyers' feedback. That's when I noticed their fishy promotional plug that they would only extend the buyer's warranty on the item if they would leave a positive feedback. And so I filtered the ratings list to the lowest stars and I found out that they were actually selling refurbished items from Amazon (thus the low price). I cancelled my order.

    A few days after, the cravings returned, and I was ready to ignore that horoscope. I went straight to the Amazon site, placed an order (even activated my Prime trial) and arranged for a courier that would deliver it to my doorstep. The item was to be restocked the following week so I had to wait several days before it gets shipped. While waiting for the lovely gadget, I was already preparing my kindle app (currently installed on the iPad) and loading it with books. That's when I discovered the feature of the app wherein the screen light can still be dimmed further, until there's no more light actually, but the screen is still active. I tested this set up on the night readings that followed and I discovered that I don't have trouble sleeping anymore! After that realization, I went ahead and cancelled my Amazon order again.

    There, that was the story of my Kindle adventures. 😁 Because of my horoscope, I became more conscious about this purchase and in the end made the prediction come true.
  • DIY-fixing my office chair. I have been using this office chair I got from Mandaue Foam for the majority of the work-from-home months now and my issue about its gas cylinder became worse as recent weeks passed by. Based from my research, it's normal to encounter this problem with the cylinder wherein the chair goes down when you sit on it. And so of course, I decided to search for a cheap solution. I didn't want to replace the chair overall. I found upon googling that the gas cylinder can be replaced by itself. I searched on Shopee and I found a shop where the spare part was available.

    I was excited to reassemble the chair when the parcel finally arrived. I asked my dad for some help because I needed some tools to remove the cylinder from the chair's body. Apparently, the process of disassembling was harder than how it looked on the instruction videos I watched online. I even had an argument with my parents, and because I was stubborn, I told them to back off because I wanted to do this on my own. πŸ˜… After a few tries, I was successful in separating the top of the gas cylinder from the base of the chair. Now the next step is to remove the base of the cylinder from the chair legs. I discovered that this particular chair has the base of the cylinder glued to the legs so it was impossible to separate them. But I was persistent. I tried hammering all day. But the parts still did not budge. My parents were already telling me that we just need to bring the chair to the repair shop so they could reassemble everything again.

    But I didn't give up. I ended up doing a "band-aid solution" for the gas cylinder - I placed the new cylinder inside the older one's body. The result was the chair height became higher than usual. I had to adjust the table that I was using altogether by stacking some magazines on each leg to adjust its height also. After some more grueling efforts, my work area setup was usable again.

    My take away from this experience? I can be strong-willed to get the results that I wanted. I was frustrated with the situation and I projected some of my anger towards my parents, who were just trying to help me and give me advice with the chair situation. 

    Oh well, all's well that ends well. I'm relieved I was able to find a solution for my chair. Aside from the increased height, I am still comfortable overall with using it during work. Thank goodness!
  • Attending YouFest Year 2! I attended the pilot festival last year and I was so happy they were back for the second time! I participated in the well-being festival because I wanted to refresh and remind myself of the values that I have in life. Of course, I wanted to learn something new! It was the Universe's perfect timing because something happened recently that made a significant shift in me: my "dreaded situation" is already visible in the horizon. I needed the lessons I got from the sessions to prepare myself and to move into a healthier mindset about that situation. I needed to remind myself that everything will be okay eventually and that I am not alone. As of this writing I am still watching the replays of some of the sessions that I missed. I'm so glad I was able to attend this year's edition. On to year 3, I guess? 😁
⛰️ Accomplishments / Milestones
  • I am officially a Toastmaster member! Since last month I was dipping my toes into that world. Now I have plunged my whole body into it! I enrolled under the same club as my friend Mai. I participated in a total of two table topics this month. I was even voted as the best table topics speaker in one session, under another club (because I was club-hopping recently). Also, I took the role of the Timer in another meeting. I am super enjoying this experience. I am beginning to feel the improvement in my self-confidence. Next milestone: my icebreaker speech!
  • I became an Amazon affiliate. I discovered this program through lurking around the Amazon sites in search for my Kindle. Of course, I signed up for it asap! There are already affiliate links around the blog, so please support me if you can! πŸ˜˜
  • I cooked new recipes at home! I was able to prepare lasagna and paella this month and they turned out great! Thanks to the internet, as always, for the recipes. Now I'm braver to try new things in the kitchen!πŸ‘©‍🍳
🧠Game Changers
  • Video selfies. Since I was already starting my Toastmasters journey, I had to take videos of myself doing the speech so I could take note of the things I could improve on. And wow, this was really a gamechanger for me. Apparently, I don't smile that much when I talk. And because I was only barely moving my mouth, it was hard for me to lip-read when I watched my video. This was the first thing I worked on. I did the pencil trick to improve my enunciation. 
  • Electronic toothbrush. This is life-changing. To the highest level. Why did I only discover this now? I heard this being recommended by a host in a podcast that I was listening to. The host, which was a former dentist, was sharing that since we are wary of visiting our dentists during the pandemic, we can use an electronic toothbrush to improve our dental habits. After hearing that, I hopped onto Shopee to purchase one. And in just one use, I could already tell the difference. One thing's for sure, I will never go back to manual brushing.
  • Snore Gym. I recently became conscious again of my snoring and so I decided to repurchase premium access for a month of the Snore Lab app. I also purchased their complementary app Snore Gym, which contains mouth exercises to minimize snoring. I was only able to consistently follow the exercises for a week (followed by recording my snoring at night with the Snore Lab app) and I did see a difference on my snore score. Since Snore Gym doesn't have an expiration, I just need to continue doing the exercise so I won't snore that much anymore at night. I'm giving my future partner a favor on this one. πŸ˜‰
  • Prime Video. Because I activated my free trial of Amazon Prime, I also gained access to their Prime Video service. I searched for movies and series that were exclusive to the platform and currently I'm watching the Good Omens series, which is one of my favorite titles from Neil Gaiman (of which I also wrote a book review years ago)!
  •  Kindle App. I'm just grateful I was able to discover that dim-screen feature before my Kindle order was shipped. For now, I'm sticking with the iPad for my e-book reading activities.
  • REBEL App. As a continuation of my fitness journey, I rediscovered the workouts on the REBEL app. I have now established the (almost) daily habit of squeezing in 15-minute workouts. I can already feel my body becoming stronger. I love feeling the endorphins flow in my body.
  • How to Not Die Alone book + Bumble. Yup, I just experienced a paradigm shift towards dating. The book How Not to Die Alone by Logan Ury is revolutionizing my opinion towards it. I am still in progress reading it, and as application of the concepts from this book, I just created a profile on Bumble. I feel like I'm doing some sort of social experiment actually. Let's see where this road would lead me. 
  • The "Serendipity Vehicle" concept. I heard this phrase from watching one of Ali Abdaal's Youtube video and it really resonated with me, especially with the purpose of this blog. It reignited my passion to continue doing this and I just became inspired again. πŸ’“
🎬 Movie / Series List 
  • Theatre: A Love Story (Amazon Prime)
  • Good Omens (Amazon Prime)
  • Fruits Basket (Netflix)
  • Chasing Happiness (Amazon Prime)
  • Bridgerton (Netflix)
πŸ“š Reading List
  • Trigger Warning (Neil Gaiman) - finished!
  • A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Jennifer Armentrout) - finished!

  • The 4-Hour Workweek (Timothy Ferriss)
  • How to Not Die Alone (Logan Ury)
  • The Starless Sea (Erin Morgenstern)
πŸ’‘ Takeaways
  • There are unspoken social rules that I need to follow, and boundaries that I should not cross.
  • Focus on the process, not the results. It's always about the journey, not the destination.
  • We cannot give to others what we don't have. 
  • Trust the system.
  • Let your emotions flow.

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