Work-Life Balancing Act

After quitting my job of 11 years, I did not work for three years. I quit without securing another job. One thing I did was prepare enough savings that will help me survive a year without going broke or hungry. The decision was supported by my father who helped me stretch the years without going broke. God had plans because quitting my job gave me enough time with my father who was battling with cancer then. The job became the last of my priority. Caring for my father became my job.  It gave me a deeper understanding of what really matters then and what matters in life.

I recently had a conversation with a friend. She was thinking about retirement. She asked how I was able to manage without a regular job. The advantage about working from home is that I own the time. The disadvantage is that I own the time. I tend to accept projects left and right because there are times when there are no projects at all. There is that temptation to drop everything and just be a full-time blogger. I enjoy what I do but I still have other interests like cooking and crafts that take a backseat because there are bills to pay.

Interestingly, there are many online payday loans and it is quite easy to get one but there are also disadvantages in getting one. It is always advised not to venture into something you do not understand first. Payday loans often have high interest. It is a good option for those who need cash immediately. It pays to read the fine print. There are different websites that can help you decide whether to take on that loan or not. Personally, I try to avoid any kind of loan. However, I do not discount the possibility of applying for one someday. It pays to read about payday loans while you do not still need one because desperate times cloud one’s judgment.

When I get drowned with work, I try to remember why I work. I still have dreams I want to fulfill and they require working hard. 😀

Where did my January go?

I had a full January schedule. No, I am not complaining. I am just thankful for the opportunities.

For this year, I went old school with my planner. I bought a generic hallmark planner. I am keeping things simple. 😀

I am now a legitimate professional.  Well, something like that. I just wanted to pay taxes. Since I am a freelancer, I am required to register the services I offer as a business.  All the while, I thought I will just declare my income and compute taxes based on what I declared.   So, I went through the whole process. I have to pay taxes monthly, quarterly and annually.  And I have to keep books.  I had to refer to my cousin who’s a CPA on how to do entries on the accounting books.  Yes, I am a mathematics major with zero accounting knowledge.  Quite ironic when both my parents were accounting majors yet I cannot ask them anymore because they are no longer around.

I am a believer that if you do not vote or pay taxes, you have no right to complain about lousy government services.

I have been to four provinces this month with only 1 photo as proof of one of my trips.

I also went to my friend’s graduation. I promised to be there so I did. She took a course on organic farming. Pretty cool, huh? I love how she continues to enjoy learning when she already have an MBA under her belt.

I learned a lot this month and I welcome what comes my way this February.

By January 31, I felt I need to take a break so I devoured lanzones sent over by my cousins from their farm.

I never expected to be that busy last month. Thank you, God!

Source: via kat on Pinterest

One of my favorite websites, Googly Gooeys, just released this illustration. I am of the third kind. 😀

Find your passion

The breaking news on CNN when I turned on the TV this morning was Steve Job’s resignation as Apple’s CEO. They showed clips of him in turtleneck and jeans, his standard attire whenever he is onstage introducing a new innovative product from Apple. He is said to be battling pancreatic cancer. It pains me see him thin onstage. In the spirit of full disclosure: I do not own one Apple product. It is pretty expensive for my third-world lifestyle so I settle for products I can afford but I do dream of owning an Apple device someday. I remember telling my cousin that I will buy an Ipad10.

His story is inspirational. He imparted valuable lesson in his 2005 commencement speech to Stanford’s graduating students. Thanks to Youtube, I was able to watch the speech in awe of the brilliance, perseverance and determination of this man. The lines in that speech that stirred me were: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

It was no surprise to me when it was reported that in his brief letter of resignation, he said: “I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.”

I know that articles have been written and they sounded like eulogies to Steve Jobs. The man is still alive and his brain power is still superior over majority of the population. I think he is still Apple’s Chairman of the Board.

While I viewed this speech again, I remember another inspirational person- Randy Pausch. He is a computer science professor of the Carnegie Mellon University. He delivered his ‘Last Lecture’ to an auditorium full of students and colleagues. Carnegie Mellon University invites professors to talk about their professional life. His ‘Last Lecture’ was entitled ‘Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams’. At the time of this speech, Randy Pausch is suffering from pancreatic cancer. While he looked healthy during the speech, the doctors gave him 3-6 months to live.

What struck me about Randy Pausch was his zest for life. Just like Steve Jobs, he was one determined individual. His candor, sense of humor and humanity were just a few of his endearing qualities. I discovered this ‘Last Lecture’ in early 2008, several months after it was delivered. I poured over Randy Pausch’s books and his life (he blogged) for a month. He was (and still is) on my google alerts. In one morning of July 2008, my email inbox had 80+ unread messages. I knew I had zero unread messages the night before. I found out they were all the news feeds about his passing. I cried.

Some wise words from Randy Pausch:

Remember brick walls let us show our dedication. They are there to separate us from the people who don’t really want to achieve their childhood dreams. Don’t bail. The best of the gold’s at the bottom of barrels of crap.

Show gratitude.

Don’t complain. Just work harder.

Be good at something, it makes you valuable.

Find the best in everybody.

And be prepared. Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity.

It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.

Watch the video until the end. The last part is so touching.

These two people are only two of my inspirations in life. When they talk about passion, living life to the fullest and being true to oneself, I become introspective and assess the life I live. It reaffirms my decision to quit my job three years ago. When I no longer felt inspired doing the job I had for 11 years, I decided to leave without the security of getting a new one. It has been 3 years since I quit the job and it is still a surprise to some when they learn that I am still unemployed. I am unemployed but not idle. I learned (and still learning) new skills and did (and pursue) things I was not able to do while I was working (like traveling). I am happier now.  I appreciate a lot of things. I see the world clearer. My vision is unblocked by the confines of a cubicle. My temperament now is not as cold as the concrete walls of the corporate jungle.

I am not saying I am turning my back to employment opportunities. No. Whenever I see a job posting that fits my abilities, I am there giving my best shot. As Steve Jobs said: If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. Randy Pausch also said: “Be prepared. Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity.

I cannot predict my future so I just seize this moment and enjoy it while I try to be the best version of me.

Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys.  If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it. ~Fyodor Dostoevsky 

(P.S. this blog post is unedited.)

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