Sunday, December 31, 2017

Annual Review 2017


Lifeline 2017: In summary, 2017 has been awesome. There are more good times than distress times that I could remember.

Theme of the year: Value. When you are working for a corporate company, you are small as compared to the size of the organisation. Your salary is insignificant to what the CEO earns and what the company is making. Looking at the cost items as my job, I no longer know how to differentiate if millions are a small value or big value.

Work: First official year in the corporate world, I am still seeking for some answers. I still don't really grasp the concept of career yet. Weird I know, it's just a confusing state of mind where I question is there no other option other than work? But the year turned out to be well, I have an amazing team and great exposure. I am learning. I am experimenting. And I got a surprise towards the end of year.

Lifestyle: I think I managed to crack the work-life balance. I like how my weekends are always family first. Part time work or some special occasions do come in once awhile, but my weekends are usually home and family, laze around with Youtube, rest and some beauty sessions. Work is not consuming me. I have a decent amount of interests and an annual project to work on.

Health and Fitness: I fell sick pretty often this year and I have some annoying infections. I have also gained a couple of kilos (ugh!!), I think this is the fattest I have been. I worked out really often but I don't think it's the the right fitness regime. On the side note, I started running. Poor form but pretty proud of attempting and finishing a half marathon! Getting the AIA Vitality Platinum status was sweet! 

Friendship: There were some unexpected friendships blossom. There were change of approach in some of the existing friendships. It's a year I realized I have no time for bullshit and negativity - I got no patience. I learned the three things I could not stand from people, in order - inconsiderate/ignorant, selfish and rude. 

Fear: Last year I realized I can be a person with low confidence. This year I realized I can be a person with weird fears. I do not like walking down the stairs and driving, because I have this fear in me that something bad would happen. In November realizing the amazing 2017 is coming to an end, I have a fear that something bad would happen to ruin it. Thankfully, it went by smoothly.

Relationship: Unsurprisingly, not a year with development. Still dancing on my own but there were a couple of noteworthy stories. I had a good time and I had some bad times. I am so used to the feeling anyway. They say I will get stronger after each experience. If I have to conclude the love story, I come to realize that I can't be just wanting the happy and best part of being with someone. I have to learn to endure and accept the heartbreak that comes with it. Perhaps the best thing you can do for a person you like is to let go and wish the person happiness. On a separate note, there is still a special person who need no definition on the relationship. It took me awhile to accept and enjoy but deep down, I am too grateful to have this person with me. It's an unconditional thing which I think is rare.

Travel: I wanted to do one overseas trip and one big local trip each year, it didn't turn out as planned. Locally, I visited Penang, Malacca, Port Dickson, Cyberjaya and Lumut, checked off Batu Caves too. Nothing too new I have discovered, still wishes to visit some non mainstream places in Malaysia. I went to New Zealand with my girlfriends which it started off with an unfortunate incident but finished off well. And I went to Cambodia with my family which was absolutely stunning. 

Annual Project: Minimalism turned out to be super amazing. I enjoy it tremendously that I wish to make it another year of Minimalism 2.0. But I wanted to focus on the other thing. Minimalism is a great lifestyle change for me and I am positive that it will be with me forever. Here's another blogpost if you wish to read: http://wikolia-wens.blogspot.com/2017/12/annual-project-2017-review.html

Overall: I am grateful that it is an eventful and peaceful year. Thank God for the blessing. Thank you to family and friends who made 2017 a good one. There is an indirect expectation for 2018 but I will play it as it goes. I have some resolutions I want to work on, which I have yet to draft it out.


Blessed,
Wen Xin 

Annual Project 2017 - Review

Why Minimalism as the annual project?

I was a shopaholic - I spent a lot of times at malls and always got lucky in getting sales items. I remembered being proud about this back then. I was also a shoeholic - I really love shoes, and I had almost 30 pairs of shoes. When I moved to Australia in 2013, I packed a lot with me and decorated my single studio gloriously. It took 2 months to hit me that the rent was too costly. I moved out and had moved 5 times in 3 years. Each time I was both amazed and ashamed on the amount of stuff I have. And the process stressed me out. Midway through Annual Project 2016 on Italy, I discovered the concept of Minimalism on Youtube. I couldn't get my head off it and couldn't stop watching videos about it. Reflected on the past 10 years on my spending habits and items owned, I knew I needed to change. It was clear to me to make Annual Project 2017 on Minimalism.



I started with decluttering..

Probably the ultimate first step in the Minimalism journey. I decluttered my items and filtered out clothings and items which I didn't need. I made a pledge to sell it on a secondhand items platform and donate the monetary gains to charity. To my surprise. It worked. I donated RM1,000 to Borneo Alliance who are committed in saving rhinos in Sabah, and to Save the Children on emergency relief. I am proud with the RM 2,000 donation, it worth the post office runs, shorter lunch or work hours, the effort and time. I still have a lot of items and still have a lot to declutter. It will take more rounds until I can minimise the items I owned.






I learned to use less than before..



I knew every single piece of item in my closet. I am still finishing up my skincare products. And I have reduced my beauty products significantly. While it could be easier to just dump everything. But to me, that is not the right essence and the right kind of transformation. I think it needed to be slow and (slightly) painful for me to learn. There are also some significant lifestyle habits change such as adopting the No (Sham)Poo and ditching the tampons.

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Incorporated Minimalism into Travelling..




I traveled quite a fair bit this year - locally to Penang, Lumut, CyberjayaMalacca and Port Dickson which are nothing new to me; overseas to New Zealand and Cambodia. In 2016, I went to Italy for a month and carried a 17kg medium sized suitcase with me. I was a blur kid, and only packed it 6 hours before my flight. I was determined to learn how to travel light and easy. I planned ahead each time and reviewed my items. I invested in travel cubes and learned to pack the essentials. Comfortable is key, and I don't need to look glamorous. I also focused on getting inspirations and experience during trips, instead of doing things I can do while not travelling.

Unplanned, I dived into Sustainability..




There is a common labels/practices/beliefs of minimalists. Generally, not all but minimalists tend to share the same sentiments on being vegetarian/vegan/healthy, fitness conscious, monochromatic/nude and environment conscious. Unintentionally, I find myself feeling strongly about sustainable practices. Businesses and corporations would want profit maximisation, the environmental consequences are often being ignored. Personally, I don't think it's right that my purchases or choices hurt the environment/animals/earth. While I can't save it, but I would love to at least minimise my own impact or carbon footprint. I invested in reusable and sustainability items such as reusable bags, bento boxes, cutlery kit, reusable straw, cotton and makeup remover pads. I also tried to reduce waste and plastic usage. While sometimes I do have a distaste on friends and families who used plastic, I guess I need to just lead with examples and share while it is okay to.

But I do wish I explore more...


I could have refer to more resources...


Similarly to Annual Project 2016, I wish I have read more books, or simply watch more documentaries on the topic. It would be nice to get some formal learning.


Digitalisation can be helpful in the journey...



I am not a big fan of technology but technology does do wonders. My company is all about digitalisation and digitalisation can be a good aid in the Minimalism transformation. Some life aspects such as certificates, important documents, photos, books, etc can be digitalised. I understand this category is personal. While I love physical books, I do think an e-book reader is amazing (and I can't wait to get mine soon!).


I wish I incorporate the concept in health and fitness..



The first half of the project has quite a focus on minimalist food - simple preparation and healthy eating. I didn't get to cook much for the second half. I have been working out diligently but I have yet to see any results. I managed to get back into semi-vegetarianism but I still struggle and fall to temptations easily.

After 365 days, Minimalism to me..


Overall, I think I did quite well. Annual Project 2017 is all about challenging and changing the lifestyle. It definitely changes some big aspects and loads more to work on. I was even tempted to make a Minimalism 2.0 as Annual Project 2018 (because there is so much more to do). But I know I want to work on a new topic.

Minimalism, like a lot of minimalists say, it has no official definition. Minimalism is about knowing what's best for you and focus on it better. Most of time, it's common to agree that working your lives away is not the most important thing. Minimalism is also not about owning x amount, but rather knowing what you need and only get what you need. Minimalism is not about just owning black and white or ditch physical items completely, it's about knowing getting the right things for the right purpose.

For me, Minimalism helps me to establish a strong foundation for balance - the work-life balance, the family-friends balance, the people-me balance, the financial balance etc. I understand more on things that I need and want, take some time to evaluate and research. Minimalism makes me aware on my interests - health, fitness, sustainability, travel, baking. Minimalism helps me to focus on gaining experience and pursuing new interests such as running and zero waste.




Next annual project..



I am pleased with how the Annual Project has turned out which I have learned so much. While AP2016 has challenged me on learning a new culture, AP2017 has challenged me on lifestyle change, AP2018 will be something to do with the thinking. I don't know how it will turn out, but we will all see it together :)


Thanks for reading and following my journey.


Love, Wen Xin

Saturday, May 27, 2017

This Time

Last time
When I couldn't
Look into someone's eyes
It was too painful
I was left feeling
Stupid, awful and disrespected
I needed no words
To know that it ended
And it ended
On a nasty note

This time
When I couldn't
Look into someone's eyes
It was difficult
It was a mixed feeling
Relieved yet upsetting
It's only words
And words are all I need
To know it will end
On a good note

...

Last time
There was hope
Room for exploration
Feelings for development
With the uncertainty
It was exciting
And killing
At the same time
Then God was kind

This time
There was hope too
Time for recovery
Opportunity for another
Faith is not shaken
It was familiar
And expected
Short and sweet
And God is kind

....

Love,
Wen Xin

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I Love You

This chapter is probably something worthwhile to be in 2016 review. I guess now I feel inspired to write this down.

[Summer]

You turned to me, after 'Good Night' and you said the three words. It was a long night after a pour of emotions. I was caught by total surprise and I did not know what to react. It was too flattering, I felt the need to thank you, kissed you on the cheek and we fell asleep holding hands. The heat from summer probably contributed to our chemistry during the short time we had. Till this day, talking about you still gives me butterflies. A small part of me knows that you are always going to be special to me, vice versa too. 

Things had changed since we first met. We were like before but it was not the same anymore. What was new, was the honest communication about our relationship. We were clear with our directions and intentions. What had changed, was our emotions towards the relationship. We were not in sync with each other lives for months, and a lot of additional stuff had been introduced into our lives.

It had been a long while since I last heard your voice. Hearing your voice made me emotional. I have found calmness and security with that tone of voice. And to be assured of the appreciation of the friendship from the other side of the globe, made me happy. 

All of the sudden, I miss you 

[Winter]

We were holding onto our struggles in setting grounds for the relationship. I wanted so much to give us a try. I tried to please, I tried to adjust, I tried to change. On the verge of calling it a break, I said the three words. It was out of desperation but it was not a lie. For me to say it for the very first time, I think it was huge for me. 

Like the harshness of winter, you brushed it off. These words to you can be gone like the wind. At that very moment, I knew it was over. Maybe I felt slightly embarrassed. But I could not take the amount of negativity anymore. Till this day, it still hurt recalling the end of it. 

Determination held me on, not even curiosity can fight it this time. When a woman made up her mind, it was almost impossible to change it. The love might be there, but we were both holding to our identities strongly. The love might be there, but perhaps it is not meant to be. And those were our last communication.

Sometimes, I miss you.

*

It is funny. Both firsts, with so different outcomes. That's life isn't it, filled with decisions, happenings and outcomes. I wish I could keep it simple and straightforward most of the times. Hopefully the Minimalism project can teach me something in this.



Inspired by La La Land and my true events,
Wen Xin




Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Year in Review

Here we go again, 365 days later and an annual tradition kicks in, an annual review.

Ups:
1.      

1. Graduation and Work

Major events of 2016 got to be the degree’s graduation and the commencement of the first official full time job. I took a longer and complicated education path, it felt surreal to be able to realise a teenage dream. The foreign country dream became true and the day was a huge relief. To me, all I have ever dreamt of is to wear the mortar and robe. The ceremony, though was just an event, was something I looked forward to as a mark to the end of a journey, for now.

Then it comes an obliged commitment, to commence work with my sponsored company. Working has not always been sweet to me. For some reasons, I have never felt belonged in a workplace. It has its ups and downs, I love the tasks and the challenges, and I am still adjusting. It will be home for at least 3 years. I would like to grow learning it and to give back to this company who made the dream came true.  

2. Travelling

The wanderlust is still in me ever since I discovered it in 2015. I did a local trip to Tasmania in Australia. Tasmania was overrated but the campervan experience was great for me. I felt I was overly ambitious in leading the road trip. But I was grateful to have supportive travel partners with me. I will never forget the Cradle Mountain hike, toughest hike and a mentally challenging one.

Then with the financial support from my family, which was guilty-charged; I travelled to Italy for a month. I wanted the graduation trip and it would be a great part for my Annual Project. I had 8 stops, I tried Couchsurfing for the very first time, I met my travel and language partners, I had some incredible travel adventures, I saw the beauty of Italy….. If there is such thing as falling in love deeply with a country, it is Italy for me. I learned that I would do two trips each year, one locally in Malaysia and an overseas trip.

3. Relationship

So much relationship development this year. It started with a bitter note, unexpectedly heart-breaking. It took me long to accept and recover, till this day while it no longer bothers me, it does resurface once awhile. I met someone whom I thought were life-changing for me. Though how ridiculous it sounded, I did fell for this one and it turned out to be toxic and unhealthy. While it was short, it was real to me.

Part of me was confused and lost, I confessed for the very first time. I was driven by ‘I lose nothing’ mentality and I got an unexpected response. The sweet dream remained as it was, and life moved on. Someone special did appear, it was spontaneous, it was wrong yet it felt so right. The tale was like the movies; the tale is still in progress. While there are struggles in this relationship, I feel grateful to have an angel in my life. While relationship has been so interesting this year, but I am still dancing on my own.

4. Annual Project 2016

It was a first trial, and I love this personal project of mine. I have some ambitions and plans for this but I know I have to take things slowly and discover the true spirit of this annual project baby. Italy turned out to be really amazing for a first topic. I was almost obsessed with it. Learning a new language was intriguing, I have not been learning a new language for so long. Travelling is always great. Cooking, baking, watching and breathing Italy for almost a year were good. Experience with the Italians were pleasing too. For more information, follow my Instagram and read my review for Annual Project2016!

Downs:

1. Financial Misfortunes

I didn’t set resolutions for 2016, but I probably would do for 2017. But I remembered telling myself that I will have to have better financial management for myself in 2016. It turned out to be the worst. God seemed to be testing me about my 2015 theme: Letting Go. So much were taken away from me, a handful of gadgets, jewelleries, memories (my external hard drive!), cash and wallet…. I handled each misfortune calmly, with slight regrets. A couple of them were the result of greed, some of them were a lil harsh. I learned that I didn’t want to hold on to so many things. The 2015 learnings were working, I moved on quickly but it did some damage to my faith, as half of that were done by horrible people.

2. Mentality

The twenties are filled with self-doubt and uncertainties. While I tend to not know what I want, I always know what I do not want. As you grow older, the responsibilities grow with you. Part of me has great expectations towards myself and I allowed it to overcome my self-esteem. I forgot how or when did the self-esteem get so low, and how and when I am so conscious about the surrounding. It always feels like I am not good enough in things I do. But I am grateful that I can always find a way to heal. It takes time but I will heal.

3. Trust
2015’s theme was ‘Letting Go’. 2016’s was ‘Trust’. Unlike the Annual Project, theme of my year is not chosen. It’s a trend that I noticed from strings of life events in that particular year. In general, I trust people to not harm/hurt me intentionally, whether the person be a stranger or known. Sometimes, words can be a powerful weapon that the actions, the year started with someone so dearly to me hurt me with words. 

Then a couple of encounters with some strangers on the financial misfortunes. Then the process of trying to love someone hurt when I was being brought down by the person whom I thought was special. I trust the thief would not want to steal my precious things. I trust people to not deliberately leave me out of things that I should know. I learn to trust to allow a relationship to work when the odds are low.

4. Diet

The diet business was as usual for the year, except I cooked more than usual without a student body commitment. I cooked Italian-inspired food and made more desserts. Then I found out about my bloated stomach issue and realised my vegetarian-inspired food combination was too carbohydrate-based. I quickly switched it to hi-protein diet and back to non-vegetarian diet after 4 years. The guilt does kick in once awhile and I really wish to work on a better diet for 2017.


In summary

There goes my review for 2016. To be fair, the year was not too bad, it was not particularly great but it really wasn’t too bad. It was eventful with a couple of milestones and a huge life transition. Not too sure what to expect in 2017 but I am drafting my resolutions soon, just as something to look forward to. Thanks for reading this.



Love,
Wen Xin