One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

I buy in bulk but I am not a hoarder. Nonetheless, I’ve accumulated things over the last 15 years that I’m not proud of.  These are things that I bought spur of the moment and regretted immediately after paying.  Too bad we don’t have return policy here in the Philippines.  Some are old clothes that don’t fit anymore or just excess things.  I discovered that I had five sunglasses and realized I didn’t need that money.  So I kept two, and sold three.

With the advent of Ebay, OLX, Carousell and FB groups, I started selling my old items last year.  It felt good to be able to purge the unwanted and unused items in my place instead of being reminded of my past weaknesses.  I looked through my drawers, cabinets and desks.  I evaluated which items I would use or keep and went on from there.  It was a mighty task to undertake and I knew I had to take it slow or else I may just give up entirely.

I looked at areas of my room by sections and evaluated what I wanted to declutter and whether I would give it away or sell it.  I did that everyday, a section at a time, and a few items at a time. Every day, I take picture of a few items and post them online during my downtime.  I’ve sold clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, old electronics and even extra hair curlers.   I’ve even sold my old and used makeup products. You name it, I’ve sold it.   So far, I’ve sold about USD4,000 worth of crap in my room.  It felt really really good!

I feel like it’s such an achievement to dispose of my old unwanted things and make money to boot.  But that just means that I need to be more circumspect with what I buy in the future.  It will be less work for me if I don’t have to sell it because I didn’t buy it in the first place.  I’m not yet done and I still have things that I want to sell.   But one day at a time.  And if something doesn’t sell right away, I just re-post the item until someone takes the bait.

This is also one way of recycling and repurposing items.  I feel that it is such a consumerist society and I didn’t want to add on to the wastage being produced especially with products that are made super fast and super cheap.  Everything is disposable.  We don’t need to dispose.  We can pass it on.  For a small fee.  It’s like I bought the item, paid rental for using it, and selling it for residual value.  Everyone wins.  Who am I kidding? I just want to sell it.  If I don’t sell my old crap, I don’t have space to buy my new crap.

I’m super grateful to the internet and how it was helped facilitate all this.  Who would’ve thought I’d be able to sell all my unwanted clutter.  Back then, the only recourse was to have a garage sale.  Now, I can do both.  I recently signed up for a group neighborhood garage sale.  I get a table to put all the stuff I want to sell for the day.  Seems like a good idea to work both strategies.

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.

Keep Your Eye On the Prize

Keep Your Eye On the Prize

Keep your eyes on the prize and don’t turn back.

-William J. Clinton

This whole switching to a healthier lifestyle is progressing smoothly but I know I’m very impatient. Everyday, I weigh myself to see if there’s any movement down the scale. And to think I only started a week ago. I want the numbers to go down already. But then it’s only been a week. I seriously would need to starve myself in order to see any significant change that quick. Which I haven’t been doing. I know I should just hide out at home  but I really need to be around people or else I will go nuts.

The good thing is that my endurance has improved significantly. I’m now able to run 5km without stopping but my speed is still not fast enough. Getting there. My friend suggested doing a triathlon and my jaw just dropped at the idea. Even at my sort of crappy physical condition, I finished a half marathon and a 60km bike ride separately. I guess I could do a shortened version of triathlon but that would mean I have to start training for it now. I can swim but swimming on open waters is hard. I was once swimming against the tide and it felt like an exercise in futility.    I need to check on when the next triathlon or Iron Man event is so I can decide whether I want to push through with this lofty ambition. It would indeed be very fulfilling and satisfying if I’m able to do it.

I’ve been running 5km in the mornings and doing spinning classes 2-3x a week. I try to do hand weights for my flubby arms but I still need to work on my inner thighs so that means I have to work with machines. I found this account on Instragram by Kayla Itsines and her Bikini Body Guide. Sounds interesting since it’s only 30 minutes long. Anything longer and my mind wanders. You’re supposed to do it 3x a week and alternate with cardio workout on days you don’t do it. I shall try it next week. Looking forward to having a before and after picture. Not that I will post it on social media or anything. It’s more for personal satisfaction.

I know I just need to keep on doing this. I may stumble from time to time. Nobody’s perfect. And think long term. We are so used to instant gratification that if I don’t see a pound lost the next day, I get so disheartened. I need to keep my eye on the prize, watch what I eat, lessen what I eat and work out everyday. And I know I will get there.

New Decade Resolution

New Decade Resolution

I’ve recently been cataloging old files and photos and discovered my picture from twelve years ago.  Back then, I had just finished two months of the South Beach Diet in which I lost 20lbs. That picture above was me at my thinnest.  You can kind of see that I’m still quite fleshy. Fast forward years later, I admit to letting myself go  Now, I need to lose 30lbs to get back to how I was before I lost the weight .  To be honest, when I lost the weight back then, I felt I still needed to lose another 20lbs but when I look at then-me now, I was perfectly fine and normal.  This is what happens you look back and realize that you were so harsh on yourself.   Fine. Not only you but the people closest to you, your siblings and parents.

I was never the skin and bones type of kid.  If you look at all my pictures,  I was what you would consider “healthy and fleshy.”   As a kid all the way to being an adult, I’ve been on many diets.  Sound diets, fad diets, exercise craze. I’ve done them all.  But it was only when I bought the South Beach Diet book that it worked.  My problem areas have always been the appendages (arms and legs).  First to gain, last to lose.  Ugh!

I didn’t immediately gain it all back.  Around four years later, I was back to my pre-South Beach weight due to lack of exercise and emotional eating.  Yes, I have now addressed my emotional eating and it has changed from craving sweets to savory stuff (ie potato chips).  I’m so addicted to potato chips. Give me salty!  I took a long hard look at myself in the mirror today and saw that I want to lose some weight in order to look nicer in clothes.  I don’t hate the way I look. I just could look better.  Back then, the motivation to lose weight was to find a guy.  Yes, I know.  It’s kind of shallow and silly but then when you’re in you’re late twenties, you feel the clock ticking.  Now I’m in my super late thirties, the sound of the clock ticking is deafening.  But that is another topic altogether.

As I write this,  I’m on day 1 of my transformation journey because I want to look better and feel healthier. Note that I’m not using the word diet at all.  It just sounds so negative.  Transformation sounds so much better. I want to look my best as I start a new decade in life. I want to feel good about myself.  I’ve starting walking in mornings, running in mornings and spinning class at night.  I have my Fitbit to remind me that I need to keep active. I need all the help to succeed and change/improve my lifestyle.  If I could do it then, I’m 1000% certain I can still do it now.

Feel the Fear and Just Do It OK?

Feel the Fear and Just Do It OK?

“Remember that underlying our fears is lack of trust in ourselves.”
Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway®: Dynamic techniques for turning Fear, Indecision and Anger into Power, Action and Love

I’ve never been much of a self-help book fan. Who needs to read those books anyway? I mean, I want to help myself so I will just do that. No need for a book to tell me what to do right? Wrong. I’ve only ever read The Rules and He’s Just Not That Into You. I don’t know if I’d consider them self-help but I was curious.

Two years ago, a friend recommended this book. I was a bit wary at first.   In my mind, only “losers” needed to read self-help books. Why would I need a book to instruct me how to live my life? It’s not as if I needed special skills like computer programming, playing an instrument or baking a cake. Everyone knew how to do it and I sure as heck don’t need a book. But I was in a bit of a pickle in my personal life and the book title said it all. What have I got to lose? I’m in!

I’m first to admit that I’ve had a cushy life. I’ve never really had to work too hard for anything. As a student, I had good grades with minimal effort. At work, I had a good job. I made friends easily. Even with other talents, I’m somewhat good at it. I wasn’t great at it, but I’m good with minimal effort. The only thing I admit to being a total ignorant of would be in electric stuff. I could never understand why plugging a 220V to a 110V outlet would destroy the appliance. Or it could be the other way around. Anyway, you see my point. I was comfortable in life. Which is good. That also meant I was in my comfort zone and every time I tried to step out of that zone, I’d be so fearful and afraid. It was like stepping into the great unknown. I didn’t have control and I was afraid of all the negative things that could happen.

Reading the book made me realize that I tried to exercise control in order to resist being uncomfortable. And that was why I wanted to be in control of situations in most areas of my life (personal, professional, emotional, etc.). I would almost always try “rigging” it to my favor or avoiding dealing with it altogether.   I was deathly afraid of failing. I was afraid of being pitied on and laughed at. I was my own harshest critic. Self-confidence comes from knowing that you can handle things that are thrown your away. I guess I wasn’t. Confident, that is.

I had to change my mindset with regards to “failing.” There was some sort of narcissistic element in thinking that I can do no wrong. I wasn’t perfect. Why should I keep on beating myself up over every mistake? I did come out of every situation knowing what not to do next time. Over time, I’ve gotten used to minimizing the volume of the fearful voice. Not full on mute, but enough to get out of analysis paralysis. I try to prepare myself as much as I could by anticipating what could happen. Even then, all I can do was adopt a “CAN DO” attitude. If I never did it, how would I know I could? I had to ask myself what would I fear more. The fact that I didn’t do something, or that I tried but the outcome may or may not have been what I had originally intended. The answer was pretty obvious.

Every time I feel the fear and come close to succumbing to it, I have to keep on reminding myself what the author, Susan Jeffers, wrote. “Shift from being afraid of making a mistake to being afraid of not making a mistake. If you are not making any mistakes, you are not learning or growing.” And I do want to learn and grow. Whatever gets thrown my way, I WILL HANDLE IT!

The Unbearable Loneliness of Being

The Unbearable Loneliness of Being

“Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.”

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

We grew up bombarded with various concepts and interpretations of love. We saw them in Hollywood movies, we read them in romance novels, we heard them in love songs and we experienced them for ourselves all throughout our lives. There’s sibling love, parental love, friendship love, romantic love and the list goes on. We were inundated with realistic, possible, plausible and sometimes downright impossible versions of this love. I, for one, bought into all of them lock, stock and barrel. Who isn’t a sucker for happy endings? Who doesn’t want it all?

I wanted the white picket fence. I wanted the loving and doting husband and the 2.5 children. I wanted the family sedan and soccer mom car. I tried, I really did. I put myself out there. I’ve been on countless dates. If I had to make an estimate, I’d say I’ve been on 100 dates. Give or take a few.   Assuming I’d started dating at age 20, that would have been 5 dates a year on average. Somehow, I still hadn’t won the dating lottery and won my other half.   I digress.

When we were younger, we had countless social networks. It would be very easy to go out. If one group couldn’t make it, I’d call on another group until my weekend calendar was filled. One by one, my friends started dropping like flies and got married. I had another group that took longer but they also succumbed to the institution of matrimony. I was still out there meeting guys, hoping to meet the one I would spend the rest of my life with. Somehow it never happened and now I’m reaching almost-40. I can count my remaining single friends with the fingers on one hand. And I felt it. I felt the loneliness. I started having younger and younger friends until I realized these were people who could’ve been my children assuming I had been promiscuous in my youth.

My friends had children. My siblings had children. I was the doting aunt. I was the fun aunt. But underneath the doting fun aunt facade belies the loneliness. I’ve always been the make do woman. You make do with what is given to you. You make the most out of every situation. Try as you can, there will be days when you just want to curl up in bed and wallow and pity yourself for being alone. It can get unbearable, uncomfortable and downright untenable. So you message a few people, some will respond immediately. Some won’t. That’s because they’re busy with their families and their own lives. And you’ll take whatever scraps you can get because it is better than having to deal with loneliness. You’re apologetic for bothering them yet you still can’t help it.

At this point, you make a resolution that you will make the next man you meet be THE ONE. Anyone is better than none.   But things don’t always go your way (unless you find a love potion that actually works) and you end up back where you started. And the vicious cycle continues.

I’ve accepted that loneliness is not an emotion only single people feel. Even married people feel lonely too. I had to accept that I would be good with being alone. Being alone didn’t have to mean being lonely. I had to distinguish and draw the line between the two. Growing up in a big family, I was always used to being with someone. It was hard adjusting but I had to. Life is all about adjusting, adapting, changing and rebalancing.

Loneliness doesn’t have to be unbearable. I battle it daily by keeping busy and trying to live a happy life. It will not always be easy but the more you keep at , the easier it gets. It’s all coming up roses. I’m still hopeful for my other half but I will stop thinking that I am incomplete without it.