In brief...

I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
My interests vary from conservation to education to heritage to Nature (biodiversity & wildlife) to outdoor activities to life in general.
They occupy most of my waking moment.
Do read my blogs, follow me on Twitter (@jocelynesze) and friend me on Facebook (subject to my discretion). Visit my Nature blog, Nature Rambles, at http://natureramble.wordpress.com.

UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit jocelynesze.wordpress.com if you're interested in more recent writing.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dumbest moment in almost 20 years.

I dont quite remember if I've ever had any dumber moments than today's.

It's my last day working in the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research in NUS, and I realised I still hadn't run in the campus grounds (while working in the Zoo, I ran quite a number of times in the compounds), so Si Hui very kindly agreed to accompany me.

I dumped my bag and her valuables in one of the lockers at the Science canteen, the one that's locked with a 4-number pin code. Then we went for our run around NUS Kent Ridge campus. No Run Keeper app, but we essentially ran from Science to UTown to Archi (I think) to Biz to PGP, cut through KEHall, down Kent Ridge, u-turned and went back to Science. Well, more like jog, and we gave up and started walking from PGP onwards :P


But anyway, that wasn't the point. After we got back to the locker, I realised that I HAD FORGOTTEN THE 4-NUMBER PIN CODE. Die.

Spent the next hour desperately (really desperately) trying all sorts of combinations (think P&C). Before finally giving up and giving in and calling the Administrator. We were hesitant about calling for help, because the penalty levied for responding to a call of distress is $60. No joke. From 7pm to 9pm. So anyway, after 45 minutes, the guy finally appeared.

So I managed to leave NUS about 2 hours after we finished the run, $60 poorer. But with everything, at least.


So yes, I think that must be The dumbest moment in my 20 years of life. Or close to the dumbest, cos I somehow have a faint recollection about a similar incident. Pin codes and I just don't get along.


It wasn't just that I forgot the numbers. But more that 1) I hadn't selected the numbers with care. I just keyed in whatever I felt like, and 2) I didn't bother committing to memory the numbers. I just kinda like keyed it in and forgot about it (almost immediately). Very, very careless, foolish, and dumb of me. Sighs, ah wells. Remind me never to make such stupid mistakes again I guess.


Dad was uh, kinda amused by it as well. Probably thought the 60 bucks was good enough punishment for me. Which it is. That's like, more than a days' work at the museum!


Those 2 hours were a nightmare. Thanks to Si Hui who was very patient and obtained desperately-needed water while I was trying my best to figure the stupid code.





Lesson to learn? Never use the lockers at NUS Science canteen again. Or any other pin-code lockers, unless absolutely necessary.

Monday, January 30, 2012

cycling.

Went for a long (relatively speaking) ride on Sunday morning after a really long time. Blogged it on my other blog. Check it out if you're interested; too tired/lazy to do another one.


Need to do more exercise and more outdoor activities. Being indoors too much is bad for health.


Still trying to plan out my life for the next 8 months or so, before finally entering a new phase in life called Tertiary Education.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Singaporeans in their little well (a reference to the Chinese idiom 井底之蛙)

I just find that sometimes, Singaporeans need to grow up and grow wiser. It's not like we're isolated from the world; we're quite connected, with the internet, and majority of the population get to travel overseas at least once in their lives (no stats, but I'm pretty sure of this). So, we should be more attuned to world affairs and global issues, no?

I don't usually jump into the fray and do social commentary, but I just need to voice out somewhere, and where better than my own personal blog. I just kinda find it tragic, how we're so caught up with our own "problems" instead of being more concerned about other more pressing issues. Like maybe global poverty (Bill Gates wrote a commentary on The New York Times that is re-published on Today, on The Truth about foreign aid), child labour, forced prostitution, biodiversity loss, climate change etc etc.

I read somewhere (unfortunately my memory is a disgrace and I cannot remember where) about why is it that people dying worldwide due to poverty-related issues (lack healthcare, or education etc) are NOT headliners in national newspaper, though it is a major global problem. It seems that a once-off accident (e.g. the Costa Concordia sinking) generates more news than deaths occurring daily due to totally preventable causes. And though my memory fails, Google saves, so here's a webpage about the plight of children around the world and why such tragedies are not headlines.

Anyway, back to Singapore, this is an example of what circulates (rather wildly) on Facebook.
And then people go on and on about how such people are still humans and deserve a seat and flame the people who put up such pictures and make certain comments. I suppose this is a "localised problem", but really, is this that newsworthy? Though I suppose at least this hasn't made it to the front page of national newspaper yet.

Sighs I am just ranting here, maybe I'm just too idealistic, and I wish everyone would be more concerned about world issues and try to do something in their own little ways to help (like not waste food, or if you can, donate to reputable organisations (not gonna jump into the discussion on whether certain organisations are trustworthy and worth their salt or not) or like one of my colleagues, adopt kids through World Vision, or reduce electricity, buy less consumables, use less disposables, learn more about local biodiversity etc)


But all is not doom and gloom, I do feel that our society is slowly maturing and people are starting to take notice of other things apart from bread-and-butter issues. I suppose in the past it was all about survival, all that stuff about threat of Communism and independence from British and what-not. Whereas now our GDP per capita is reasonably high and most people can live comfortably (though our income gap is widening) and so I suppose people can think more about their spiritual side and invest more time in running, enjoying Nature, and stuff. Though at the same time, people are also rather attached to their iPhones, iPads and babies are born with an iPhone in their hands and stuff. Hmm we're a rather contradictory society I think.


Anyway, I'm just ranting. I hope I make some sense though I think there are lots of loopholes in what I'm saying.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chinese New Year is kinda over. Technically it doesn't end till 6 Feb, after 15 days. But well, the holidays are over (though the goodies remain).

It's my last CNY in Singapore, for the next three years.


And I'm almost ending my internship at Raffles Museum in NUS. And then I'll have about half a week free, before starting at NParks. All the way till end May. And then, I'll be free to travel around before University commences.


There is only some 8 months left to my gap year. And I really want to make full use of it and learn new things. Determination is needed, not procrastination!






Sometimes, you feel like nothing matters. And sometimes, you just feel so small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. And then you wonder, who cares?








But there's always someone out there, caring.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Went for a slow jog in the yesterday (20 Jan) morning, a really slow one. And I was dying, slow as it was, I think I only jogged 2.4km max before I just stopped. Maybe it's cos I havent exercised in really long time, or cos of my partially congested nose. Forgot I had a mild flu. Decided not to risk dying this way so just stopped. But really, really cui. My fitness level has gone down drastically. 


And I'm currently reading this book, Born to Run, passed to me by Mr Lim Cheng Puay (thanks!). Really interesting and inspiring. About running (obviously), endurance runs, this elusive Mexican tribe Tarahumara who are amazing trail runners, and about society. Inspires me to run (more), and makes me think about how modern society with all its decadent, consumeristic cravings is humanity gone wrong. And how we should reflect and change our ways, before we doom ourselves to extinction (already on the way). It's quite in line with all the biodiversity and environment stuff I think about.




So after the very lame "run", I just sat for a while to stone and reflect. People need solitude, time with themselves to think and reflect. It develops the more spiritual side of yourself I guess. That's why since biblical times, people always climb mountains (a very character-building task, and isolated as well) to talk to God. Walks in nature, and for me while on transport (when I'm not sleeping) are all times when I'm thinking, wondering what I can do with my life to be more productive and active, generating ideas and reflecting on society and life.




And I had a great discussion with Li Fang today. I love how we can talk non-stop for 5 hours plus about all sorts of (rather geeky) things. About life, our future, relationships, Singapore culture, sucky education system, idealism, humanity's problems and all sorts of other things. I think the people around us must have thought we were insane, two 19-year-olds talking about such stuff. 


But yes, I'm glad I have found a kindred spirit. Though I've known her for a long time anyway. Our education system sucks and really needs to be revamped. I think it would be interesting to really consolidate our thoughts and see if we can get any evidence or reflections from students (past and present) and present during EduCampSg. If anyone has comments about education system, I would be most happy to hear them.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

One of the greatest news in my life thus far.

[Update 17 Nov 2014: If you've read the FAQ and still have questions, please please please email me instead of leaving a cryptic comment. If you can't find my email then you haven't mastered the most basic skills of internet-using. Even after you've emailed me, please understand that I won't be able to reply immediately.]

[Update 1 Nov 2014: If you're here cos you're trying to Google information about the Jardine scholarship, please do check out the FAQ first before emailing me. If you comment on this post I cannot guarantee I will have seen it. Also bear in mind my life does not revolve around responding to queries about this, though I do want to help you out as much as I can, so my replies might take a while.]

Just got home from Bali yesterday afternoon, but a blog post on the Bali trip will have to wait! Behind the Vietnam trip and whatever else is in the queue.

Cos i heard some of the greatest news I've ever heard in my life right at the start of the trip! I have an offer from Peterhouse in Cambridge University to study Natural Sciences (Biological) and an offer from the Jardine Foundation to award me a scholarship to study in Peterhouse in Cambridge :)

I can't say exactly what emotions or thoughts ran through my mind the moment I heard (or rather, read) the news. Relief, for finally getting a reply/result, and the whole selection process finally being over. Joy, for being able to secure the offers. Thankfulness, that God has blessed me with so much! and perhaps, Apprehension, at what is to come. And definitely, I'm glad I didn't disappoint all the people who always had so much faith in me.

For those interested in applying in the Jardine Foundation scholarship, check out their website. The Jardine Foundation only offers scholarships to selected colleges in Cambridge and Oxford (refer to the website for specifics).

The entire selection process starts in Oct. You have to apply for it around the same time you're applying for Oxbridge entry. Deadline is about 10 days after Oxbridge deadline, and you have to submit through your school. And after submitting application to your local headquarters (the scholarship is offered to various countries, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and a couple others), you wait. For a positive reply that will tell you to attend a First interview at your local HQ.

First interviews are in Nov. When exactly in Nov depends on your country I guess. For Singapore, I was first given a date in early Nov, but I was overseas (in Nepal) and had my interview in close to the end of Nov instead. The interview wasn't too scary, and as long as you know yourself well, it should be pretty okay! After that, you wait. I heard from them about a little more than a week after the first interview about the second.

Second interviews are in early Dec. I was supposed to have it in Singapore, but because I had to go Cambridge for my interview, I had mine in London instead. But I had the feeling that our second interview was the London's first, cos the questions were about the same. And then you wait again! I heard from them about 2 weeks after, when I was overseas again (in Vietnam). Third interview's the final and most important one, held in HK.

Jardine covers airfare and accommodation expenses for the HK interview, which is really nice of them (: Usually during the first few days of the new year, and you get to meet the other final interviewees from the region. It's quite nice, getting to know them, and having people to travel with to get to Jardine House. Interviewees are usually housed in The Excelsior at Causeway Bay, and you'll have to take 2 train stations down to Central where Jardine House is. Very convenient. Food at The Excelsior is great! My only gripe is that internet isn't free. But Jardine pays for the room, and internet is charged to the room, so well wasn't too bad. You'll have to do a 45 min essay before the interview. Essay was pretty interesting, I had a really hard time with it. I thought I would have flunked the essay for sure! But thankfully it wasn't too bad, I guess. It's a panel of interviewers for the final interview, as opposed to the previous ones. The list of interviewers is provided, and it's always good to find out a bit more about your interviewers. Mix of interviewers from Cambridge, Oxford and Jardine-Matheson. But they're all really nice, and after that there's a lunch with the interviewers when you can have a casual chat with them.

And then after that, you wait again. Not too long, only a few days, they make their decision really fast!! Right after Cambridge emailed the results to me, I also received the Jardine offer. (:

Juniors/anyone intending to apply to Oxbridge for undergraduate studies, do consider applying for Jardine! It's rather unheard-of in Singapore I think, my mom was the one who alerted me to it.




Meanwhile, I still have paperwork and other administrative matters to deal with before I can officially, officially say that I'm a Jardine scholar in Peterhouse, Cambridge!



Praise the Lord for all that He has done for me! :) I know I'm really blessed and fortunate. And I really hope I'll be able to make a positive difference and change the world, one day. And as mentioned earlier, I'm very thankful for all the support and faith in me that family and friends have showed.


[Update 10 October 2013: Aspiring applicants to Jardine, I'm in the midst of composing a FAQ (so I wouldn't be inundated with the same questions over again), but meanwhile if you've got any questions please drop me an email cos Blogger comments' system sucks. Thanks!]

[Update 22 September 2014: I am clearly very inefficient and a great procrastinator, but here's a link to the FAQ. Hope it helps, but don't be shy about dropping an email even if it's just to say thanks :P or that it sucks haha. Please please do bear in mind that I'm doing this entirely on my own onus and has nothing to do with the selection committee, and is not the gold standard. It's just to help ease your fears if any.]
My church choir sang for the solemnisation of a Brother in the Discalced Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel today morning. It is a rather big event. The equivalent of a marriage, only you're getting married to the Church.

A few things struck me, as I was attending the solemnisation. As a Friar in the Order of Discalced Carmelites, (or a Nun), you vow to give up 3 things:
1) Love for someone of the opposite sex.
2) Material goods.
3) Personal freedom

Or rather, you vow to 3 things:
1) Chastity
2) Poverty
3) Obedience

That is really A LOT to give up. And during the homily, the General Delegate (kinda like the Head I guess) talked about how you achieve these 3 vows by maintaining these 3 practices:
1) Prayer
2) Community living
3) Solitude

But I guess these 3 apply to everyone, not just Carmelite Friars, or those in the religious order. We all need to pray, we all need to have some company, and we all need to spend some time alone.


I am just incredibly awed, and have the deepest respect for people who give their lives to God and to the Church. It really is a vocation, just like how I have full admiration for nurses, paramedics, firemen, and everyone who takes up a vocation, doing what they're doing because they love it and they have a calling for it, despite the sucky pay and the devotion to their jobs.


Witnessing the solemnisation was as touching as witnessing a wedding. Simply amazing.


I Beg to Fall in Love with Thee,  My Lord

I beg to fall in love with Thee, my Lord
with every breath of life I take.
I beg to fall in love with Thee, my Lord,
its every beat, I to Thee forsake.
For even if my thoughts fall short of knowing You,
and even if my will runs terrified,
Your passion thins the darkness of my soul,
sheds it light, breaths it life,
stills the murmur of the night.
I beg to fall in love with Thee, my Lord
with every breath of life I take.
I beg to fall in love with Thee, my Lord,
its every beat, I to Thee forsake.
For even if my heart falls short of loving You,
and even if my spirit hides away,
Your love for me surpasses all my fears,
all I do, all I am, all that I can ever be.
I beg to fall in love with Thee, my Lord
with every breath of life I take.
I beg to fall in love with Thee, my Lord,
its every beat, I to Thee forsake.



One of the songs we sang during the solemnisation.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Reminders about Life #7

This is a shortened version, because it's too long. Check out the website for the full version.


29 life lessons learned in travelling the world for 8 years straight

1. Everyone everywhere basically wants the same thing
Vastly different as the world’s cultures are, if you speak to Italian millionaires, homeless Brazilians, Dutch fishermen and Filipino computer programmers, in their own languages, you start to see that we are all incredibly alike where it matters.
Everyone just wants validation, love, security, enjoyment and hopes for a better future. The way they verbalise this and work towards it is where things branch off, but we all have the same basic desires. You can relate to everyone in the world if you look past the superficial things that separate you.

2. Deferring your happiness to the future is a terrible idea

Too many people presume that when they have that one thing they can work towards for yearsthen “everything will be alright”.
This is delusional.
When you get it, there’ll be something else missing in your life. I fundamentally believe that long-term pure happiness from one particular situation or achievement is a pipe-dream, but we can learn to be content with what we have, live in the now, all while enjoying the progress and changes we are making.
If your whole life is working up towards one really big major goal that you hold on to for years, then you will have a major anticlimax after the dust settles. Work towards it, but stop deferring your happiness.
Get there slower and enjoy the ride. I like how it is portrayed in this video:
Enjoy the show, and don’t wait for the finale. A song I really like (in Spanish) reminds me that the present really is all we have.

3. “Someday my ship will come in” is bullshit. You will NEVER win the lottery. Be practical.

People seem to have a strange concept of how luck works and how the universe/some deity/karma/their lucky shoe or how “they deserve it” will mean that things will eventually fall into place for them. You are “due” to win the lottery or will get swept away by prince charmingany day now. “You deserve it” (as if others don’t).
This is a misunderstanding of how the world actually works. Perhaps I’m wrong and praying or hoping that it will all work out, or generally being a nice person is what really “does the trick”, butwhy not actually get off your ass and do something tangible too while you’re at it.
I personally don’t believe in magic or fairies or astrology or sky wizards or large-scale invisible inexplicable forces at work on petty daily activities of humans. I’m sceptical about such things, and believe they are all impossible/ridiculous, and knowledge of this has enriched my life. As apractical person, I see the world as a very logical place with physical and social rules and understanding this has helped me live well in it.
The universe owes you nothing, you owe it to yourself to be the master of where your life ends up.

4. There’s no such thing as destiny. This is excellent news!

Destiny is used as a cop-out and standard excuse by most people for why they don’t do something with their lives. The thing is, it doesn’t exist.
Your limitations are not set by who you know, where you were born, what genes you have, how much money you have, how old you are right now, what you did before or other things that you can claim are your stamp of failure for life.
If you are determined enough there is a shitload of opportunities in life that are totally achievable with minimal cash, regardless of who you are.

5. Seek out people with different beliefs and views of the world to yours and get to know their side of the story

As you can probably guess from #3, I have some beliefs about the world that don’t jive with a lot of people’s. However, a lot of people get their meaning in life from believing in things I don’t. If everyone thought like me, the world would be a very boring place.
So when I meet someone with a very different belief system to mine, it’s better to get along than to try to “convert” them. This is as true for how the world works as it is for language learning methods, fashion, movie tastes etc.
When someone is sure about something and has believed it for many many years, then you cannot convince them with a few cleverly picked words. Everyone is closed minded about something, including me. They have to discover it themselves over time or just continue believing what they do. Don’t take responsibility for convincing the world you are right. It’s important to acknowledge that maybe you are actually the wrong one.
The world is much more fun with people of varying interests and beliefs. Despite my scepticism, in my travels I have hung out with astrologists, palm readers, very religious folk, conservatives, and people who hate technology. And my life and experiences are enriched so much because of it.
Spending time exclusively with people who agree with you on everything would never challenge you and allow you to learn so much more.

6. Living a good life is the best way possible to convince people

Enough words and enough arguing. Just live by example and soon you’ll have people on your side when they see your results and how passionate you are. No need to “convince” them. Just show them that you are there, tell them how you got there, and they will start to realise that maybe you aren’t that crazy after all.

7. Nobody has it all figured out

Almost everyone has problems and puts on a brave face -- don’t presume they have it easy. You see of each person what they let you see. You have no idea what they are going through or what they had to put up with to be in a situation that you can consider “easy”.
This is universal -- millionaires, students, the cool kid, the party animal, the introvert and everyone in between has more to their story than the superficial restricted one you see. Never dismiss them as having it easy if you don’t know the entire story.

9. More money will NEVER solve your problems

As long as you are not living in the street or going hungry, then you do not “need” more money. When you spend enough time with people who are actually living on next to nothing, but having a full life, then you will truly understand this. Everything that is wonderful about life doesn’t cost a penny, and the rest is way cheaper than you think it is.

10. Possessions own you

Look at the real reason you want to buy more expensive crap and realise that it all comes down to validation from others in one way or another. You don’t really need any of it unless it’s directly related to essentials in how you work or survive.
The need to buy new crap dictates your life -- it fixes you in one location with that house and furniture, and it governs how much money you need to earn. And it almost never actually enriches your life in any way. The less you own the better.

11. TV is the greatest black hole of time available to mankind

I wasted so much of my life before age 21 spending 3-4 hours a day watching TV. Following shows that I “had” to see, in order to “relax”. I regret almost every second of it. The whole world was passing me by outside.
TV was an important part of the 20st century, bringing communication and news to the masses, but now it’s wasteful. People get biased news through it, when much better alternatives are available, watch terrible TV shows through it that teach them nothing, and it sucks so many hours of their lives away that they seem to forget about when they delude themselves into thinking that they don’t have time to pursue real passions in life.
TVs encourage people to be antisocial. The only TVs you should be watching are someone else’s -- go to your friend’s house to share a series you like if you must, or go to the bar with your mates to watch sports. Your life will not be enriched by sitting at home watching a screen with zero interactivity to it.

12. The Internet is the greatest tool ever available to us, but daily use must be capped

Unlike TVs, the Internet is interactive and allows you to take part and become virtually social. It connects communities all over the world and without it, the last 8 years simply would have been much more difficult for me for many reasons.
Having said that, it has the same potential as TV to become a black hole of time. Use it to enrich your life, but put a cap on how much you use it so you can get out and live that life. Replacing one screen with another (even when you use it to chat to people) is just escaping the real world, which is much more beautiful.

13. Get outside and do something with other people

My favourite website in the world is Couchsurfing.org, precisely because I spend so little time on it. It has simplified my travel life tremendously by allowing me to host people to maintain my languages, and to search it for interesting people to meet up with.
The world that is worth experiencing is not in books or on TV or computer screens. It’s with other human beings. Stop being shy and get out and meet them!

16. Take your time

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in countries that are more “easy going” it’s that they are way wiser than the rest of us in their pace of life. People and countries that do everything quicker also do it worse. Take it easy and go slowly.
Enjoy every bite of food, walk at a slow pace and take in your surroundings, let the other person finish their side of the conversation while you listen attentively, and stop in the middle of your day, close your eyes or look at nature and become aware of your breathing.

17. You can’t please everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” -- Bill Cosby.
State your opinion and stick to your guns. If you are confident enough and share your idea with enough people, you will piss off someone no matter what you talk about. That’s their problem, not yours.

18. Trying to be cool or following trends is for mindless sheep

Peer pressure is for people who are afraid of their individuality. Stand up for yourself, and go against the flow if that’s what you feel is best. What’s cool now will be frozen over in a few years.

21. Stop thinking so much and act

People think their way out of doing everything that’s worth doing in life. The reason I feel I’m getting so much done in the last years is precisely because of how much time I give to over-analysing whether I should do something important or not: None.

23. Making new friends is easy and so is appreciating your current ones

My entire eight years travel has been alone. I arrive in a new nation without a single friend waiting for me in many cases. I have no connections, but I make them anyway. I find a party online and go straight to it and say hi to everyone. Soon, if I try enthusiastically enough, I’ll find people I can socialise with on a regular basis.
If you are friendly, genuine and charming, making friends with people from every culture and background is possible.
When people who are surrounded by family, networks, work and school colleagues, other friends, clubs and communities they are a part of… tell me that it’s hard to meet new people I feel like slapping them in the face to wake them up to the opportunities around them, which I haven’t had consistently for almost a decade. Look around you!

24. You don’t know what you’ve got ’till its gone

Don’t take anything for granted. I couldn’t afford to pay for accommodation one night and had to sleep outside on a rock because of it. Ever since then I appreciate having a bed, couch or hammock, no matter how small or where it may be, because I know what it’s like to not have one. One night was enough to burn it into me -- I sigh a breath of relief every time I go to bed now.
I went partially deaf due to an ear infection for two weeks and appreciate my hearing and all the beautiful sounds around me all the more because I got it back. I also gained an appreciation forsigned communication that I’d take advantage of several years later.
I’ve never lost anyone close to me, but I hug my family members and tell them I love them every chance I get, and clear any bad air with friends and don’t hold back on sharing my emotions with them. Life is too short -- if I lost anything important to me then I want to make sure that I never wasted the time I did have with it or with him or her.

25. Swallow your pride and apologise

Never hold a grudge and never try to win every argument. Sometimes it’s best to let your pride slide for the sake of clearing the air with someone. Be the first to say you’re sorry. Never wait for the other person to make the first move.

26. Doing anything specifically to impress people is stupid

People will never give you the validation you seek if you try to be a dancing monkey for them. Saying how many languages you speak, how rich you are, who you know, where you studied or what you do for a living, or trying to show-off in any other way to get someone to like you, or working for these things just for the bragging rights will leave you really disappointed.
People are impressed by those who aren’t trying to impress them and are comfortable in themselves and social and interesting. Sometimes to be “interesting” all you have to do is be a good listener.

27. People are not alone in being alone

One of the most frequent questions I get asked as a long-term solo traveller is if I feel lonely. The short answer is no. The long answer would require an entire post in itself.
But the fact of the matter is that loneliness is much more common around the world than I previously thought it was. I was actually much more lonely in my university (fixed) life than I am now. And I meet many people who have vast networks of social groups who feel desperately lonely because they feel nobody gets them.
Then others who simply changed their lifestyle in some way (not necessarily by travel, but perhaps marriage or starting a demanding job) and have lost contact with all their childhood friends because of it, also feel lonely.
I’ve talked to many people who are convinced they are the only ones who feel this way. Each time I hear a similar story I can hear the Police in my head “seems I’m not alone in being alone…” Believe it or not I find this very comforting when I am genuinely separated by thousands of kilometres from anyone who even knows what my name is. Even though nobody is in exactly the same situation, the amount of people in the world I’ve met tells me that I’m very likely not the only one in such a situation, even at that very second.
No matter how lonely you might feel, there is always someone who can relate to you. Perhaps you can’t talk to them right now, but they are out there.

28. Love isn’t “all” you need, but if you don’t have it in some form, your life will be very empty

We don’t need love to survive, but without it there will be a huge hole inside you. Make sure that every day you have someone (family, friends, lover) to remind you that you are special. If you postpone this part of your life until later, after you get or do that thing you want to do, you will continue in that lonely path indefinitely.

29. The most important lessons in life can never be expressed in black and white, but must be experienced

I thought I knew it all back in university -- and that everything of importance can be found in books. But the truth is that the most important things in life are very hard to put in black and white, including what I’ve said in this post.
When most of the world’s information is at our fingertips, a mouseclick away, it makes it feel like we don’t need to experience any more. Movies, books, or “living vicariously through someone else” means we can apparently get the general gist of anything.
This is false. Experience is the greatest teacher of all. Stop reading about or watching the world passively and start living. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Reminder about Life #6



15 Life Lessons

They Don't Teach You In School




1. As Richard Carlson says, 'don't sweat the small stuff', and most of it is small stuff. Much of the time we get stressed and worked up over "stuff" that in the grand scheme of things really doesn't matter. When we allow ourselves get too caught up in it we ruin our perspective and don't take time to enjoy the moment.

2. Life can be unpredictable and throw you some curves. Just say "never" and see what happens! To avoid the jolt when life's surprises come your way, be prepared by being open-minded and maintain the positive mindset that welcomes the life lessons offered. See the article: Tips on Overcoming Adversity

3. The most boring word in any language is "I". It's wonderful to be self-confident and self-sufficient, however, it's not all about you. There is nothing more monotonous than hearing someone talk about themselves and their accomplishments endlessly. Being self-centered is not the same as having self-confidence.

4. People are more important than things. Relationships are more important than any material goods you may acquire on the road to success. Without the love and support of family and friends in life, material goods are not of much use. Setting your values and priorities can help you establish what's important.

5. Nobody else can make you happy. Your happiness and state of mind are your responsibility. It's up to each of us to know what it takes to bebalanced and happy. Our relationships enhance our lives and make them richer, but they do not "make" us happy. We do.  Enjoy: 50 Ways to Be Happier

6. Character and integrity count. It's important to be a person of honor. Your good word and deeds inspire trust and confidence from family, friends and employers. Be the kind of person others are proud to know. See: 10 Character Traits Worth Developing.

7. Forgive yourself, your friends and your enemies. We are all only too human. All of us slip sometimes and make mistakes. Holding grudges and past hurts only serves to prevent us from enjoying life to the fullest.  See:Forgiveness and Letting Go - How to Achieve It

8. A good joke can be better than any pill. Take time to laugh each day.Humor really is good medicine.

9. There are no substitutes for exercise, eating well, and fresh air and sunshine. Never take your health for granted, or underestimate how much feeling good physically affects your moods. Enjoy this article on The Benefits of Regular Exercise. It's full of helpful tips.

10. Persistence will eventually get you almost anything. Never give up. Keep your goals and dreams alive.

11. Television probably ruins more minds than drugs. Get away from the TV and read, exercise, learn and stretch yourself.

12. It's okay to fail. Everyone has failed at one time or another. Failure is a great life teacher. It teaches us humility and how to correct our course of action. Thomas Edison had a great attitude towards failure. He said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." See article:Overcoming fear of Failure

13. Learn from the mistakes of others. There's an old Zen proverb that states: "It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser man to learn from others."

14. Don't be afraid to show and tell others you love them. Life is short, so learn to give and receive love. Love and be loved.

15. Live so that there is only standing room at your funeral. Be the best spouse, parent, friend, boss, worker that you can be and leave the world a better place than you found it.