Month: December 2014

On Appreciating Life

Yesterday I received an email notifying the fourth anniversary of one of my private blogs. I went to check on it for the last time I thought, and today I am glad I did that instead of ignoring the email. The blog was created when I was just being proposed by my now-husband. Essentially it was a period of time when I was so in touch of my deep thought and self, and that connection shows in the posts that I made. I was more alert with what I really felt. I guess it is true that the newfound affection for my then prospective husband softened me, and revealed the emotional side of me.

It was heartwarming to read the posts. I can tell the difference between my condition now and back then.

It gives me the long forgotten perspective of one who was about to embark on a life-long journey, pretty much fuelled with hopes and expectations. And look at where we are now as couple. We both surely have changed, after that four years (and three years of married life) – not necessarily in a bad way though.

I thought too much about this last night I could not sleep.

My days have been reduced to things that are practical and useful.

I know I have some undeveloped talents for arts which I have 99.9% neglected to use it. I don’t draw anymore. I don’t even doodle (it is a waste of ink), I ceased to reading non-fiction only these days because I think my life is so limited (it still is nevertheless) that I should only read things that are not just imagination of someone I do not know. I refused to decorate my house beyond functional things.I cook, but stop short of making my dishes visually pleasing. I stop dwelling on my inner thoughts, and can only dive superficially – and my written words are proof of such void. They were all bland and flavourless.

When I was in school, I was so pressed with time to do such things. When I was in uni, I did attempt crafting, and going back to drawing and sketching, but failed because I, again, was so pressed for time with all my activism. When I started working, I was stuck in my cubicle for 9 hours, and whatever left of my time was spent resting and reading. When I got married and now have a child, I am juggling between that and my day job, and whatever me-time I could have should never, I thought, be spent on such tedious labour.

In short, I have become boring. It is all straight lines. No curves, no floral.

Maybe 2015 could be a start for something different.

I have at least nine months before I continue my master programme, that I could concentrate on doing things I have long forgotten.

To live life slowly. To savour the beauty around me, and truly appreciate the Creator of such beauty. To take time and do thing as good as I could. To not rush and worry about the next item on my to do list. To enjoy every moment I spend with my son. To get in touch again with my long-lost creative side. To not worry about deadlines. To learn how to breath slowly and remove my anxiety – learn to slow down of my Alpha A traits.

Maybe those are good enough 2015 resolutions? Nothing concrete, nothing S.M.A.R.T this time, it is just a progress that maybe I could FEEL.

And that is, the most important thing.

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I Need More Time

I have a few more days left before leaving the workforce, and I know for some time in the future, I need to answer the same ol’ question of why did I do it – quitting my corporate job.

I have a set of different answers that I usually give – and my answer depends on the asker. One of the answer in my answer scheme is ‘I want to spend more time with my child(ren).

The range of reaction to the answer are always amusing, but I won’t discuss it here. But it is true that lack of  time is always the most pressing thing for me.

My job doesn’t require me working out of hours that frequently, but my conscience could not live with this average breakdown:

24 hours – 6 hours (I sleep) + 9 hours (office hours) + 2 hours (commuting) = 7 hours left

Out of that 7 hours left, where I could (most often) be with my child(ren), I have to minus a few more, because children sleep for longer hours, hence the remaining waking hours are getting scarcer. When Isa was younger, he slept at 9 PM, three hours before I did  and woke one hour after me. It was a relief for us parents, but a curse in disguise too. In that case,  I was then left with a mere 3-hour period to spend with him, and you know about the morning rush of us working parents, so really what’s left of it? Of course, his waking hours get longer as he grows, but then I will have more children requiring my attention.

When working a full time job is just a choice and not a necessity, resorting with the excuse of ‘What is more important is quality, not quantity’ is for me (and myself only, perhaps) is bullshit.

So yes, I quit because I want to spend more time with my child and future children.

 

p.s. I was lucky that Isa commuted with me to work so that’s an additional 2-hour window of waking hours spent together, but it doesn’t qualify as a window of quality time, however I tried to justify it.

2014: Year in Review

Whenever I look back into the past, I recognise that there are some years which were more momentous than the other. Most often, these years were the year in which I could not predict what could happen due to the life-changing events that would occur in that year. Take 2003 for instance. At the end of 2002, I sat for my O-Level equivalent national exam (or SPM), and the coming of 2003 was full with uncertainties – what would my exam result look like? Where would it take me? Similar with the year 2009, in which I graduated, and I remember living by month (and for someone who loves to plan, like me, it was such a headache) because I truly had no idea what would I do after I graduated.

And the coming of 2015 gives me the same feeling. It is full of the unknowns, to a level that I feel slightly uncomfortable about that. My last date at work is 31 December 2014, and 2015 is really the beginning of a chapter in my life – as an unemployed full-time home maker and a part-time student, who is expecting a second child in less than two months.

I wish I could make a proper plan like I always do.

I wish I could make proper resolutions like I did for every other new year in the past. But I don’t exactly know how I would fare being at home, and how will it be taking care of TWO kids instead of one.

Nevertheless, I’ll attempt to review my achievements with regards to my 2014 resolutions (I wrote about them here) – and see if I could carry forward some of them to 2015.

Alright, I was impressed with an article I read, where a woman looks 10 years younger by drinking more water. In her case 3L of water as prescribed by her doctor. I can't promise 3L, but I'll try 8 glasses. That's 1.6L.   It is such a wonder how hard it is to make such a simple thing a habit. I know there is a debate on how much our body actually needs, but the bottom line is - I need to drink more. I notice that I drink less on weekends, which causes constipation! I hate that bloated feeling, so at least for this particular reason I must drink ENOUGH water.   Also, I can't wait to look 18 again!

Alright, I was impressed with an article I read, where a woman looks 10 years younger by drinking more water. In her case 3L of water as prescribed by her doctor. I can’t promise 3L, but I’ll try 8 glasses. That’s 1.6L. It is such a wonder how hard it is to make such a simple thing a habit. I know there is a debate on how much our body actually needs, but the bottom line is – I need to drink more. I notice that I drink less on weekends, which causes constipation! I hate that bloated feeling, so at least for this particular reason I must drink ENOUGH water. Also, I can’t wait to look 18 again!

Verdict : FAILED. 

However, since this is such an important habit to instil, I’ll definitely carry it forward in 2015 InshaAllah. After all, I really need to be serious about this given the fact that I am going to be 30 next year God willing, and will be breastfeeding my second baby too. It will definitely be more challenging since I realise that I drink water less when I am at home, compared to when I am in the office.

In support of #9, maybe that this one is included in the list. It's really a love-hate relationship I have with my smartphone. It helps me to find recipes easily for instance, but it could consume my life! I always feel the need to check my FB, Instagram. It is harmful, and we know it.    So bring it on - No-Phone Weekends!

In support of #9, maybe that this one is included in the list. It’s really a love-hate relationship I have with my smartphone. It helps me to find recipes easily for instance, but it could consume my life! I always feel the need to check my FB, Instagram. It is harmful, and we know it. So bring it on – No-Phone Weekends!

Verdict: FAILED, miserably I have to add.

Of course, I will carry this forward with more constraints (Since I am going to be a stay-at-home mom) – off the phone most of the time except when the child(ren) are sleeping.

That little brain needs stimulation, and I am all for it! I know it should not be grand every time (little things count, right?), but this one would require me to prepare ahead and think. While I am lucky to live in a big city where all I need is to be resourceful, the challenge here is really to maximise Isa's exposure to nature.

That little brain needs stimulation, and I am all for it! I know it should not be grand every time (little things count, right?), but this one would require me to prepare ahead and think. While I am lucky to live in a big city where all I need is to be resourceful, the challenge here is really to maximise Isa’s exposure to nature.

Verdict: Uncertain.

Since I didn’t properly record (in the form of blog posts) as consistent as I wished, I could not track this, though I am pretty sure that even if I failed, it was severely lagging behind my target. As I am going to stay at home with my children soon inshaAllah, this point will be carried forward in other forms of plan.

I am a blogger since 2007, and only recently I realised that blogging, apart from being an outlet for my never silent mind, has been beneficial to me in many ways. It helps me to structure my ideas and opinions, and evidently makes me more articulate.  And now that I am a mother, I would like this blog, in its way to record my life playing that role. So that someday, when I am no more around, Isa would have some memories of me - written.

I am a blogger since 2007, and only recently I realised that blogging, apart from being an outlet for my never silent mind, has been beneficial to me in many ways. It helps me to structure my ideas and opinions, and evidently makes me more articulate. And now that I am a mother, I would like this blog, in its way to record my life playing that role. So that someday, when I am no more around, Isa would have some memories of me – written.

Verdict: FAILED, which is pretty obvious.

I am not sure how I would manage blogging once I stay at home full time, but I will try to post maybe once a week next year. I don’t know yet, could not even do I trial run as I did this time last year.

Enough said. This item needs to be in this list, because it is such a headache to see them piling up. Doing this on a daily basis may not be the greenest thing to do (best to wash your laundry on full load) but it helps. It helps me from getting stressed out and overwhelmed with folding and putting them back into the wardrobe.

Enough said. This item needs to be in this list, because it is such a headache to see them piling up. Doing this on a daily basis may not be the greenest thing to do (best to wash your laundry on full load) but it helps. It helps me from getting stressed out and overwhelmed with folding and putting them back into the wardrobe.

Verdict: FAILED. 

Because I am tired all the time, and I have found a better way to manage my laundry. We’ll see about next year, but this item would not be big anymore I suppose.

While every mosque in Malaysia would definitely has its schedule of weekly religious classes, studying different topics/books on different days, I sadly could not commit. At this stage, what I knew I need is more than just 'tazkirah', but in-depth studying of a topic. Inflexibility in the schedule is really a problem now that I am a mother (never mind how lame this excuse is), so I know, I need to find alternative for structured study sessions if I really want to widen and deepen my knowledge.  I found that Seekers Guidance provide good courses for free (students are welcomed to give donations), and I enrolled for one course before and found it really beneficial. I have enrolled for one more which will begin in January and hopefully many more to come - and I am sure that Resolution #5 will support this one - early morning should be a great time to study.  I also included in this resolution, attending live classes, perhaps attending courses organised by al Kauthar at least twice a year. I love their courses because they are structured excellently and only last for one full weekend.

While every mosque in Malaysia would definitely has its schedule of weekly religious classes, studying different topics/books on different days, I sadly could not commit. At this stage, what I knew I need is more than just ‘tazkirah’, but in-depth studying of a topic. Inflexibility in the schedule is really a problem now that I am a mother (never mind how lame this excuse is), so I know, I need to find alternative for structured study sessions if I really want to widen and deepen my knowledge. I found that Seekers Guidance provide good courses for free (students are welcomed to give donations), and I enrolled for one course before and found it really beneficial. I have enrolled for one more which will begin in January and hopefully many more to come – and I am sure that Resolution #5 will support this one – early morning should be a great time to study. I also included in this resolution, attending live classes, perhaps attending courses organised by al Kauthar at least twice a year. I love their courses because they are structured excellently and only last for one full weekend.

Verdict: FAILED

I enrolled myself into a course TWICE because I could not discipline myself to finish one in the allocated time. Boooo!! Nevertheless, I am a Master student now, so I suppose that counts as 6 informal causes 😛

I often wonder why it was so much easier for me to wake up at 4.30 AM during my school years to do revision and stuff, while it is so difficult to do so nowadays. Perhaps the bed has become comfier. Or now that I have a partner, nothing is fancier than to cuddle up. Whatever the causes are, I need to fight the temptation and wake up earlier.  An extra hour or two is precious. Time is life. Wasting time is wasting life.   By waking up earlier I could do more things: perform supererogatory prayers that are much loved by God, read, clean the house, or just watering the plants.  All of this, however, are only possible if the morning bird in our family i.e. Isa doesn't wake up too.

I often wonder why it was so much easier for me to wake up at 4.30 AM during my school years to do revision and stuff, while it is so difficult to do so nowadays. Perhaps the bed has become comfier. Or now that I have a partner, nothing is fancier than to cuddle up. Whatever the causes are, I need to fight the temptation and wake up earlier. An extra hour or two is precious. Time is life. Wasting time is wasting life. By waking up earlier I could do more things: perform supererogatory prayers that are much-loved by God, read, clean the house, or just watering the plants. All of this, however, are only possible if the morning bird in our family i.e. Isa doesn’t wake up too.

Verdict: FAILED. FAILED. FAILED.

I have no idea how my routine would be next year (though I do have a tentative routine in mind) but I know this will be a part of it. Some days of the week at least.

This has become my current obsession recently, as I started doing this nearly two months ago. I wrote about this in another post, and doing this satisfies the diarist in me. Though I am studying verse and verse, I am really challenging myself to get the verses to speak to me directly - to relate them to my life. It is a very slow process studying one verse could take me a few days, jotting down my reflections and thoughts on that along the way while referring to many tafseer available to me. Slow as it is, I am reminded that it is exactly the way the Prophet's Companion studied the verses of the Quran. They would learn ten verses at one time, and would not move to the next ten unless they had fully digested, understood, and implemented the verses in their lives.   I really, really encourage my fellow Muslim readers to start their Quranic journals.

This has become my current obsession recently, as I started doing this nearly two months ago. I wrote about this in another post, and doing this satisfies the diarist in me. Though I am studying verse and verse, I am really challenging myself to get the verses to speak to me directly – to relate them to my life. It is a very slow process studying one verse could take me a few days, jotting down my reflections and thoughts on that along the way while referring to many tafseer available to me. Slow as it is, I am reminded that it is exactly the way the Prophet’s Companion studied the verses of the Quran. They would learn ten verses at one time, and would not move to the next ten unless they had fully digested, understood, and implemented the verses in their lives. I really, really encourage my fellow Muslim readers to start their Quranic journals.

Verdict: Failed halfway.

This is one of the most satisfying introspective thing I have done, and I could not deny the need to start doing this again. May need to improvise the system though.

There are times when laziness gets the best of me. And at that time, all those visions of preparing healthy food for my family will vanish. But I am more determined than ever to prepare homemade meals. What comes with this might be the need for me to prepare meal plans (this doesn't work before, but maybe I can try again), and going to the market more often, but I am up for that.   My husband is a fan of my (lousy) cooking who rarely complains, so really, why should not I cook more often?  Oh yes, breakfast at home too. On weekdays.

There are times when laziness gets the best of me. And at that time, all those visions of preparing healthy food for my family will vanish. But I am more determined than ever to prepare homemade meals. What comes with this might be the need for me to prepare meal plans (this doesn’t work before, but maybe I can try again), and going to the market more often, but I am up for that. My husband is a fan of my (lousy) cooking who rarely complains, so really, why should not I cook more often? Oh yes, breakfast at home too. On weekdays.

Verdict: Uncertain, since I lost track. 

I may not cook exactly 4 times a week (on certain weeks I didn’t cook at all, and on the other I cooked everyday) but I guess on average I cooked 3-4 times a week. Not bad, baby!

Phew. I really need to get back to reading. I feel more and more stupid each day without doing this. I put a very minimal target - one book a month. Of course, non-fiction doesn't count. I want Isa to see me reading more often, and hopefully ignite the love for reading in him.   The good thing is I have a brilliant husband with whom I can discuss things I read about.

Phew. I really need to get back to reading. I feel more and more stupid each day without doing this. I put a very minimal target – one book a month. Of course, non-fiction doesn’t count. I want Isa to see me reading more often, and hopefully ignite the love for reading in him. The good thing is I have a brilliant husband with whom I can discuss things I read about.

Verdict: Successful! Alhamdulillah.

So here’s the one and only part that I manage to carefully track and fulfill – I am yet to update my full list, but InshaAllah by end of December it will be 12 (non-fiction) books in my read list. That is largely contributed by the fact that this one was integrated into the ‘personal goal drive’ at work (I wrote about it here ) and that the module I took this semester requires a lot of reading.

I don’t know how I would manage my time with two kids later on and find a window to read, but I may put an additional 6 books into my reading resolution next year, making it, maybe,  ‘to finish 18 books in 2015’. We’ll see.

We have a free gym one floor down my office, so I really have no excuse. The major target is to get fit. The bonus point is I get a better body.  I am going to be 29 March next year, and I am pretty sure my metabolism by now has started to slow down.    Oh yes, I want to get healthier before I try for the next baby. No more back pain, no more iron deficiency.

We have a free gym one floor down my office, so I really have no excuse. The major target is to get fit. The bonus point is I get a better body. I am going to be 29 March next year, and I am pretty sure my metabolism by now has started to slow down. Oh yes, I want to get healthier before I try for the next baby. No more back pain, no more iron deficiency.

Verdict: FAILED, as early as March.

Then I got pregnant in May, so this eventually stopped. I was as heavy as I am now (30 weeks pregnant) in March this year. 57-58kg. The heaviest non-pregnancy weight I ever had in my life. Can’t wait to get skinny again with the coming of the second baby 😀

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So that’s it. A review of my performance this year – with regards to my resolutions. How was your year?