When I was in the first year of graduate school, we were asked to write a paper about “Beauty in Architecture” (part 1 and part 2). Beautiful is difficult to define since it is very subjective and highly dependent on culture. It took me days of mulling over the word to create my outline. It started with the definition and collection of building images that I find beautiful over the years. I discovered in the end that these images have one thing in common, it is the embodiment of truth. Truth in terms of providing the simplest and most realistic solution translating to the space and needs, the capacity of materials, and the efficiency of construction.
Ok, I may be getting a little geeky on architecture.
While I was driving on my way to work today, I was apprehensive. I had this meeting that I have been dreading. I asked myself why am I making such a big deal out of a meeting? It was then that I realized that I had been unable to verbalize my opinions.. I was not given the opportunity to be honest. It was also then that I had this light bulb moment that honesty can be defined in multitudes of ways, even as a guide on making decisions. That honesty is such a straightforward simple way of asking the right questions, finding the solution, and lessening the stress in my life.
- Shopping. I used to go to the mall every weekend since I was in highschool. I would be disappointed if I went home without buying a single thing. I love to shop and I would say that I was addicted to the thrill of owning and using new things. However, I noticed that I keep on buying stuff that I seldom wear or trinkets that I never use. It took me a while to figure out what my style really is. I took note that I don’t feel comfortable wearing sleeveless, tight, and colorful clothes. I also do not like to wear accessories. By identifying my preference honestly and clearly, I was able to make conscious choices. If I had done this earlier instead of holding on to this ideal fashionable version of myself, I would have saved thousands of pesos.
- Grocery shopping. Same with shopping. I have this unlimited budget when it comes to grocery because we believe that food should not be constrained. But, if I buy items that we will not use and will end up expired, that’s a different story. I have this fantasy notion that I can bake and cook with my schedule but I know this is not true. I end up wasting food especially fresh fruits and vegetables. I should just be honest and admit that I can’t bake during the week because we arrive really late at home. I also thought that items should be stored by bulk. I usually stock up on household items to assure myself that we will never run out of laundry soap and toothpastes. Our house, which was small, was overflowing with things! When I read up on minimalism and the KonMari Method, I finally understood that the supermarket should be the storage space instead of our house! Although I still have a long way to reach minimalism level (mostly due to toys and books), there is a big improvement inside my closet and drawers.
- Working out. I would jog twice or three times a week before I had Julia and I love the feeling of complete exhaustion. However I kept on hoping that there will come a time that I can still jog after office. This is totally a lie that I kept on holding on to! I would drop Julia to school, go to the office with Jansen to wait for day care to open, drop Jansen, work, pick up Julia and Jansen then straight home. There is really no time to exercise in the afternoon. I finally arrived at a jogging solution. I would jog once a week by dropping Julia earlier than regular school hours (giving me an extra 30 mins); dropping Jansen and his yaya in the office (on therapy days); then jogging for 40 mins. This was successful because I admitted that I need to find an alternative schedule because what I did before would not work. I also tried to incorporate more walking by going to the site without a car. So for colleges near the office like the College of Music and Mass Communication, I can workout and inspect at the same time!
- Finances. This is a necessity that I refused to take a look in great detail. I am currently the one accounting all our finances which was previously Henry’s job. He got so stressed out over this that I took over.. Now I am the one stressing out! hahaha! I kept on putting this on hold that we suffered really badly last 2015. This was the year when my mother in law died, I gave birth to Jansen, and then unforeseen expenses one on top of the other. I would say that we were drowning. I finally faced the problem during the last quarter of 2016 and this year 2017. I read articles and blogs about minimalism and frugality and then books to understand how to get our finances in order. I have to face our expenses honestly and write them down, follow a budget per month, save then invest. Most of the time I still don’t know what I am doing but I know that we were better off from 2015.
- Schedule. When you have family, work, friends, and extras on the side, the most important is time. This part of myself still needs to be improved by doing a time audit. This is similar to writing down every single expense vs. writing down what I do with my time. I used to say that I am swamped but if I really make this time audit, I would say one of the top culprit is fiddling with my phone and watching funny baby videos!
- Career. I used to think (like all the time) that my work is not good enough, that I am wasting my time here in the office, that to work somewhere else with a higher pay is the way that I can keep up with every one else, that to stay here means that I accept to settle in government work with a meager salary. Most of these thoughts stem out of pride. That working here means I am not good enough in the eyes of my peers and my family. When I allowed all my fears to sink in, when I accepted that yes, maybe these are all true, I find myself just asking what I want to do with my life. Can I handle the demands if I was elsewhere? In the end, I admitted that growth and happiness in my career solely depends on me. That I should be the one to figure out how I can be better regardless of where I am. In our office, I can enroll for seminars, or write a research, or continue studying and on top of all these, be with my children. I cannot confirm that I would stay forever, but I just plan to make the most out of this experience and do whatever I love doing simultaneously. I don’t want the TGIF feeling because I want to wake up with purpose every day. And it is really up to me to make it happen.
Wow all these heavy stuff came out because of just one word. How powerful is that?