6 Concepts: Learning from 2016

  1. Maturity is not measured by years, but by experiences. And appropriate reflections.
  2. Collaborate & cooperate – everyone knows something that you don’t.
  3. Sometimes you just gotta show people the effort you put in so they are aware of it.
  4. Being precise and accurate with your words counts for a lot.
  5. Love yourself, man.
  6. It’s really all about the mentality.

Step by step.

Learning to Look Fear Straight in the Face

luciana-urtiga_02.jpg© Luciana Urtiga

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”Eleanor Roosevelt

For much of my life, I have not been very authentic with myself. And I think that because of this, I have missed out on many valuable learning points from the obstacles I have encountered along the journey that is life.

Every time I began to feel fear – be it stepping into the unknown, making a big decision that will affect how my life ahead proceeds, or things that go beyond the boundaries of my comfort zone – I simply tiptoed around Fear’s perimeters, without feeling the full extent of the dreaded emotion frankly nobody likes to feel (or talk about).

But it is necessary to stare fear in the face, and truly experience it fully. It is only then that you begin to identify what exactly it is that scares you – fear of rejection? Of not being good enough? Of things not going as planned? What is it that you are afraid of? Take the time to really think about this while feeling the full extent of fear. Being able to identify what it is that truly scares you (beyond the surface things that you think you are afraid of) and then acknowledging and admitting it to yourself is the first step to being authentic with yourself. It is the first step to learning all about your experiential self rather than letting your conceptual self (which is a natural manifestation of the ego) take the reins. In other words, being authentic with yourself strives to resolve the disconnection between your two selves, as well as keep a balance between the two.

Another important thing to realise is that fear is normal. It is something that occurs in every one of us. But it is up to us to not let fear define our choices and to not let fear take control over you. Repeat to yourself: Feel the fear, but do it anyway.


“Every time we choose safety, we reinforce fear.” Cheri Huber

One thing that many people are afraid of is of not being good enough. To combat that fear, several practicalities can be conducted, one of which is to prepare yourself. You have a presentation coming up and you’re afraid of not being good enough? Practice, practice, practice. Are you about to go into something you fear you may not have the skills in? Strive to learn as much as you can about it. Cover your grounds. The worst thing you can do is become paralysed with fear. Bit by bit, build your way up (and out of the labyrinth of fear).

Some Lingering Thoughts on Relationships

It was dark, breezy, city lights shimmering gently in the distance, the gentle hum of the night seasoned into our bones. I’ve always liked the city night. There’s a slow, determined pulse to it that never really stops. It’s not quite like the suburban regions of the city – dreary, woody and pretty depressing at times. I’ll always be a city city girl.

We actually haven’t met at all since the very last time, 2 semesters ago, when we weren’t even in university yet. It’s amazing how so many things have happened and how we have experienced vastly different things, but somehow or rather, we are still us, essentially. I don’t know if this will be the last time we will meet without things changing, for that is always how relationships end – more awkwardness, widened differences eventually leading to pretentious small talk that simply kills off everything that’s left of the relationships we used to have with the other person. I hope it isn’t.

I hope that in the future they invent a small golden light that follows you everywhere and when something is about to end, it shines brightly so you know it’s about to end.

And if you’re never going to see someone again, it’ll shine brightly and both of you can be polite and say, “It was nice to have you in my life while I did, good luck with everything that happens after now.”

And maybe if you’re never going to eat at the same restaurant again, it’ll shine and you can order everything off the menu you’ve never tried. Maybe, if someone’s about to buy your car, the light will shine and you can take it for one last spin. Maybe, if you’re with a group of friends who’ll never be together again, all your lights will shine at the same time and you’ll know, and then you can hold each other and whisper, “This was so good. Oh my God, this was so good.

— Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You
As I grow older I realize that sometimes people are only meant to be in one part of your life rather than an extensive length of it. Because as time goes by, people experience different things, adopt different mindsets, values and tastes, and eventually, people grow apart from each other. Maybe that is the reason why long-distance relationships rarely work out. And why most, if not all, eventually weave their way out of our lives. People can only do so much to stay close to one another. I mean, one can contend and say that as long as both parties never stop trying, it will work out. But we simply cannot control the series of events that happen to us that mold and shape us into different people. We may become people who are no longer able to mesh as well with those we were once close to. And other people change, too.
Anything that withstands the pressure and test of time should be held onto as tightly as possible whenever and if ever we can, until we simply cannot any longer.

#14 Of struggling, of coping and of survival

I got inspired by the talk we had today in school and it helped me reorganize my thoughts. I’m so caught up in wanting to be more, trying to cover more, when I should start from identifying what I do not know and working from there. A little at a time. And I need to find my moral compass back.

Choices…. We always make choices in life. And sometimes the choices we made seem silly and wrong in retrospect, but it was still the best choices we made with the information and experiences we’ve had. And I think we need to take comfort in that.

It’s a little funny because I know I will look back at these two years and laugh. These two years of madness, of survival, of struggling, of coping… of disappointment, of realisations and of becoming.

These two years have been hard, but they have also been the most inspiring and thought provoking years of my life. I guess that’s what happens. You grow from setbacks and you mature with painful situations put forward to you.

I started noticing and appreciating the beauty in the little things in life. A stranger’s smile, when you treat yourself to icecream after a long day, to the serenity of raindrops on window panes and the remarkable changes of the sky throughout a single day. The family getting together to celebrate a birthday, the candles illuminating the room, and when you walk down the school hallway and see all these familiar faces and you say hello.

I thought my mind and body was capable- that I could do anything I set my mind towards in order to have a ‘brighter future’. But I grew to realise it wasn’t the case. There is only so much you can do. And having a bright future… The most important thing is to be happy. To wake up everyday with a purpose. I think I was at a danger of choosing career paths just because of money and prestige. I thought I could handle everything. I could conquer the lack of motivation because money is the best motivation. I guess I’ve changed. I’ve come to realise that the most important thing in life after all is to be happy.

What I saved because I didn’t go shopping

What I saved because I didn’t go shopping today:

Time spent on mindless shopping (it’ll be pretty rare that I actually buy something because everything’s expensive) when it could have been better spent revising Econs
Money on lunch and transport
Pain and anguish in socialising and seeing P pick out horrid clothing

Opportunity cost of attending the shopping trip is greater than staying at home revising econs.

I always knew my $30 weekly allowance (slightly more than $120 a month) wasn’t much, but I didn’t really mind because most weeks what I have is enough. Sometimes I even get to treat myself to Mr Bean and occasionally splurge on things like new stationary and sushi. On less eventful weeks I end up saving almost $10.

Recently I discovered that other people were getting much more than I am, like $60 a week ($240 a month), $400 a month. I was a little bitter about that for a while, I guess. Sometimes I won’t attend outings because I know I don’t have enough to spend. But I came to terms with it because it meant I’ll eventually spend less than most others and get to have more money at the end of the month in future to enjoy.

Because mum’s fried rice got contaminated by the ladle which a lizard touched we ate outside food for dinner today. A meagre amount of stingray,

(Here’s the stingray! It was so yum. Expensive though like $10 for such a small slice I think my parents got cheated.)

bittergourd and rice to share among the three of us. My parents were overjoyed, I think mostly because I was buzzing over the stingray. “The chili is great to go down with rice,” Mum says. I end up trying to eat as little of the fish as I can so my parents can have more of it. And I realised Dad was doing the same. “Stop eating the bones, eat the meat,” Mum said, and I felt a slight wrench in my heart. I’ll do you proud. When I grow up I’ll make sure you don’t scrimp; you lead a comfortable enough life.

And I also felt happy. Because we were eating together as a family. I realised it’s a blessed thing to have because most other families don’t do that. I’m lucky to have ny family and sitting down together to have a meal. I’m content with that. I don’t need more than that.

Deep down, I just want to be saved. I want to fuck it all and smile out loud, I want to be beautiful. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to think there’s something wrong with me. That maybe it’s just that I’m a terrible person deep down within, not worthy of love. That I’m just a sucky person on the inside.