Adios Retail Therapy

Adios Retail Therapy

I have come a long way to be able to say this.  Adios shopping! Who I am now is a complete turnaround from how I was ten years ago. Back then, I was in my banker job.  I was paid well with no financial responsibilities.  All the money went to my own expenses.  I shopped, I dined, I partied.  Whenever I was stressed or unhappy, I would go shopping to make myself feel better.  The relief lasted only for a short while, and the misery set in again.

I used retail therapy to comfort myself.  I was stressed at work and it felt like I was mad at the money I was getting paid with so I spent a lot of it.  I still saved a substantial amount, mind you.  But I bought a lot of crap.  Clothes, shoes, accessories, electronics, bags and jewelry.  You name it, I bought it.  Looking back now, the thrill of the hunt of what to buy was what made me happy.  After I bought the item, the elated feeling goes away. And you’re left with that empty feeling of what to buy next.

At work, we dressed up well and bought designer shoes and bags. I graduated to expensive watches.  It felt like we were trying to keep up with the Joneses, the clients.  Who were kidding?  They were the clients, they had millions of dollars in their savings account.  We were the bankers, it will never be the same.

I kept on buying until I stopped myself around five years ago.   I was on a trip and bought five designer handbags.  My tax refund alone was enough to buy another handbag.  I realized that this wasn’t me.  What was I doing?  I was ashamed of how I had become.  In the last five years I made a conscious effort to curb my inner consumer and buy only what I needed to.  I became more discriminating with where I spent my money on.   There was a time when I felt ashamed to be seen wearing designer items.  I tried to be as low-key as possible.  It was a far cry from how I was before.  But that was an extreme reaction too.

Would my life be better if I used a Chanel bag compared to a no-name bag?  Would I walk better and look better wearing a Christian Louboutin heels compared to heels I bought at Payless Shoe Source.  I have to admit, I do have both which I don’t use as much now.  They’re reminders for me of how I was in the past.  It also helps that I don’t buy as much now since I am dropping sizes in clothes so I didn’t want to buy something that will be too big for me in a month’s time.

I still shop but only for essentials and gifts.  I’m more discerning now of what I buy.  Do I want it or do I need it?  And I don’t do impulse purchases as much.   Maybe it’s age.  I find that I’d rather keep my money rather then buy something that I know I will lose interest in a few days later.

Adios retail therapy! You’ve helped me through my twenties and thirties.  It’s been good knowing you.  We’ve had some fun times together but it’s time to move on.  I am a mature, responsible adult now and I choose to make myself happy in other ways.

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Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side Up

It’s summertime and that means it’s time to go to the beach! Last time I was at the beach was a  year ago.  We decided to go to Balesin Island which is a 25-minute plane ride from the city.  It took us the same amount of time to fly to the island as well as going from the house to the airport. Our flight was at 5AM so the traffic situation was non-existent.  But enough about the traffic because we are here to chill and relax.

Balesin is a private members-only island paradise. The island is 500 hectares and you literally have the whole island to yourselves, aside from the other guests.  When we were there over the weekend, there was a total of 400 guests.  I was suprised because I honestly didn’t see much people.  It was that big and private.  We stayed at the Balesin Village which is the Filipino-themed village.  There are other themed villages such as Bali, Phuket, Toscana, Mykonos, St. Tropez and Costa del Sol.  Our villa was the closest to the main clubhouse and had the best beach in the island (in my humble opinion).   My villa looked like this.  We even had our own private jacuzzi.

We were not able to get beachfront villas as those have been booked ahead but our view was still fantastic.

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This was the beach by our village.

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I’ve included below more pictures of the other villages in this amazing island.

Lastly, some more pictures with magnificent views.

I’m having  #sepanx moment right now wishing I was still at the beach.  Anyway, it was a good weekend trip and this will make me look forward to my next island/beach trip.  When? I don’t know.  Hopefully soon.  Really soon.

Happy Birthday To Me

Happy Birthday To Me

This is it.  The day has come and gone.  I just crossed over to a new decade. Gasp! Do I feel any different?  Not really.  I don’t know why I made such a big deal about turning 40 years old.  Okay fine.  I do know why.  It was because I focused on the lack in my life instead of what I had, the blessings in my life.  Whenever I looked at other people, I saw what they had and what I didn’t.  I did stop to think of my blessings but somehow, it always felt like it wasn’t enough.

I am now a decade older and a decade wiser than my thirty-year old self.  I had a great time celebrating my birthday with friends and family filled with love and good wishes.  Here I am writing a belated birthday wish for myself for the coming year.

Dear B.

On this milestone birthday, I wish myself to always be the best I can be. From now until forever. It is a milestone not because I turned 40, but because I was able to process and let go of notions that weren’t helping me grow.  It is difficult to be uncomfortable, but it is through this that I can know more about myself and accept myself.  This way, I can be the person I really need to be, instead of who I think people want me to be.

I wish for myself to always be humble, grateful and to accept people and situations with an open heart.  My wish is to always face the world with a smile because just one smile changes everything. I also wish to live for today, not tomorrow but TODAY because today is what I have.  And what I am today is good.  I am whole and complete right now. 

Happy birthday to me! 😘

Love B.

Life Begins Now

Life Begins Now

It’s not my birthday yet but I decided to change the name of my blog to LIFE BEGINS NOW.  For the first two months of 2017, I was at a low point.  I felt lost and unsure of what to do.  The enormity of turning 40 while still single haunted me.  You can add in my feelings of un-attractiveness to the mix. I was miserable and felt like an utter failure.   It seemed like I failed myself, my family and mostly myself. I was my own worst enemy, my harshest judge and critic.  I had reached the ripe old age of almost forty with nothing to my name. (I exaggerate. I am healthy and so is my family and for that I am grateful.)  And that was why I named it “Confessions of an Almost 40-year old Single Woman.”  I was sad and that was how I saw myself.  Looking at it now with more positive eyes, it felt like I pitied myself.  There’s nothing wrong with 40 and single.  It was all in my mind.

Starting the blog was a way for me to “release” my thoughts.   If you had started reading the posts chronologically, you can sense the sadness and the emptiness.  But as the days went on, I took charge of my life and what is within my power to change things.  I embarked on a lifelong journey to eat healthy and concentrate on fitness. I started doing  more creating instead of just thinking.  I worked on my lip balm experimentation and my arts stuff.  As I planned my blog entries, I felt this sense of empowerment and fulfillment. I was being productive in reality and not just in my mind.

It has only been a month but the positive effects are evident.  I know that I wanted to change the name but I decided on Life Begins Now because I have this tendency to postpone life and happiness until a certain future event occurs like when I get married, when I have a family, when I get rich, when I get promoted or when I get thinner.  But life doesn’t work that way.  I can’t keep postponing happiness.  It has to begin NOW no matter how perfectly imperfect I am.  I choose to be happy and live in the NOW.

Pay It Forward

Pay It Forward

“For it is in giving that we receive.”

-St. Francis of Assisi

Here I go again saying life has been good.  Then what?  What have I done about it? Yes I’m thankful. Yes I’m grateful.  Yet there’s this lingering feeling that I should do something about it.  I donate to Church, charities and fundraisers.  That’s well and good but it’s very much like being behind a curtain and it feels very unreal.  It’s different if you actually go to the front-lines and are active about it.

Few weeks back, some friends banded together to form a volunteer group.  We would choose volunteer activities for us and their children to give back to the community and to foster appreciation and gratitude.  Often, we get too caught up in our own world thinking this or that is grave and serious.  Really, it isn’t. Most of the time.  People call it first world problems.  I’m guilty of that on a regular basis.  I’m not proud of it but it is something that I am working on.  I may not be able to totally eliminate that habit/mentality but I would like to minimize it and have more appreciation in my life. And happiness.

This weekend’s activity was all about children.  It was a creative and caring space for underprivileged children.  They provide programs for children to empower them to be creative and productive.   As they say, the children are the future of the world.  It is better to help them while young than to rehabilitate them when older.

The morning activities consisted of  mask making, bookmark making, coloring, science dirt activities, storytelling and games.  You see happiness and thankfulness in the children’s faces.  They were eager to learn and enjoy which is how childhood should be.  There is that sense of being more than what you are.  I always felt that I wanted to still do something and it was probably because I was so selfish and self-absorbed. It was all about ME ME ME.  I did volunteer work before sporadically. It was like a temporary bandage to make me feel better and then go back to the old ways. I want to continue this.

Being there, I was transported back to when I was a child. Back then, I was excited about anything and everything. There was anticipation and gratitude. I would love to get back that joie de vivre. To live each day excited and full of joy. Surprisingly, in doing this small act of giving time and care to others I received back purpose and fulfillment.

Confessions of an Almost 40-Something Single Woman

Confessions of an Almost 40-Something Single Woman

I realize that I might have to change the name of this blog in a month’s time.  Since I will be turning 40 then.  I still can’t believe that I have finally reached the age when I first considered my parents to be old.  I was almost ten years old at that time. All I could say was, “Eeeew, they’re so ooooold!”  (Cue whiny tone.) Fast forward thirty years later, and what do you get? Me, at almost 40.  Except I don’t feel old. I don’t feel young either.  But I don’t as hell feel that dreaded word, O-L-D.

I’ve never been much of a writer.  I prefer to talk.  And talk. And talk.  But then, I also don’t like hearing my own voice, so that ruled out having my own podcast.  I shall try with Herculean effort to keep this site alive.  Habits are formed if we keep at it right?

I initially wanted to put up this page as a community for “people seeking comfort and solace about turning middle age and being single” and that we can all sing together Michael Jackson’s song, “You are not alone.”  (I’m singing it in my head now as I type.) It sounded so kind and caring and noble.  But really, I have way too many thoughts in my head to put into words and who knows what will happen tomorrow.  So, if I can reach just even one person with what I’ve put here, I will consider myself a resounding success.  Yes, small victories. Small victories turn to big victories.  I shall aim at one first before going after world domination!

Hold on a sec! Since I did put my heading as Confessions of a 40-something woman, I need to start doing some confessing.  Prepare for written verbal diarrhea….

  1.  I thought that by the time I reached this age, I would be married to a loving husband with 3 wonderful kids (Caitlyn Summer, Julianna Rain, and Harper Hill). I would have an awesome family life and everything will be perfect.  Reality check, I have none of those but I do love my family.
  2. I thought I would have this marvelous and lucrative career and I’d be this hotshot executive with perfectly manicured nails in fashionable power suits.  Reality check, I did have that but I chose to go on a break.  A pause, so to speak. More on that on subsequent posts.
  3. I have friends. Good friends, hangout friends, going out friends, deep conversation friends, work friends.  No matter how many groups of friends you keep, you still feel lonely.  As in mind-numbing lonely.  I maintain a social life but I can’t stop myself from messaging my siblings or friends with that one ubiquitous line, “I feel so lonely.”
  4. I’m sick and tired of people saying I’m picky or than my “yuanfen” has either not arrived or has already come and gone.  Yuanfen is this concept of fate and that potential relationship (good  or bad) are predestined.
  5.  Yes. I’m chubby. I’m attractive chubby. And everyone keeps telling me to lose weight because guys are visual creatures. I’ve been on so many  diets trying to lose weight for a guy to like me. Which doesn’t really work. I need to lose weight for myself. Not for future, imaginary, potential Him-Who-Is-Not-Present-In-My-Life anyway.  Thing is when I was at my thinnest, I was still single and now that I’m not a size 6, I still get guys coming up to me.  Conclusion: confidence is key. More on that also.
  6. What started out as wanting to put up something to help people (see third paragraph) is turning out to be quite a cathartic experience for me. Congratulations! I’ve helped one. Me! So, I think I’ll keep at it.

All I can say is, it’s ok. It’s not the end of the world. You are not ALONE.  I am here with you.