12/11/2014

[TT] Now or Later?

Lately, I've been faced with the dilemma to live for the moment or to live for the future. I am a rather impulsive person. I tend to do a lot of things like eating junk food (or whatever I want at a particular time) or buying things I want almost like I'm going to die tomorrow. Many forms of entertainment motivate us to "live in the now" and to do what we want to do now or live to regret it.

Comic credit to MimiandEunice.com

I found an article online that pointed out that humans make goals after accumulating all the experiences in our lives in order to seek happiness, such as the grand goals of dating, getting married, having kids, establishing a career, travelling the world (not in any particular order), etc. However, in planning for the future in such a way, two specific things make our pursuit of happiness difficult:

  1. We are not very good at predicting what will make us happy in the future.
  2. We are not very good at accurately remembering what made us happy in the past.
This poses a difficult situation for me because, if I were to accept that these two stumbling blocks are true, our goals will never turn out the way we want them too, even if we believe that they will make us happy when we make them.

Additionally, another article spoke about the idea that living in the moment and planning for tomorrow are a marriage. There is no one without the other. The author goes on to say that living in the moment does not necessarily mean to do what we want, but to genuinely cherish the moments as they happen, not after and most definitely not in the distant future (which may spark regret). Living in the moment is essential to planning for tomorrow as cherishing our today allows us to have hopes and dreams for the future. Similarly, these hopes and dreams are what give our lives purpose. The author also points out the cons of living for the future in the form of over-planning. Worrying about working to earn money to save up for something and stressing over such goals can often lead to not being able live for the moment. In a nutshell, the author says that there needs to be a balance of both living for the now and living for the future.

So I guess what we can learn from today's jumbled Thought Thursday is that the pursuit of happiness stems from a fine balance of both cherishing the now and planning (but not worrying) for the future.

In my opinion, I feel that the perspective I should take is to make smarter decisions whilst living in the now. Although I may get the impulse to drop everything and blow all my money on a vacation, the long-term effects of such a decision would not bode well in my pursuit of lifelong happiness. Similarly, worrying too much about whether I will be able to have the time or be able to afford going on vacation is completely normal for human beings but hinder our positive outlook on the future. A positive outlook, as predicted, is essential to being happy.

What do you think? Do you sometimes want to drop everything and go do something you've always wanted? Do you have a similar dilemma between living in the now and living for the future?

12/04/2014

[TT] 5 Things I Wish My Younger Self Knew

I recommend going to Dear Young Me for more snippets about advice to our younger selves. It definitely motivates you to cherish the now or reflect on our present.


As I'm in a rather reflective mood (maybe because it's drawing near the end of another year), I decided to think about all the advice I would have given myself were I able to appear before my younger self. These are just some of the things I wish I knew sooner rather than later.

1) Being late is disrespectful to you and to others.
Some time during my up-to-now short life, I subconsciously told myself that it was okay to be late to events and appointments. Not only is being late disrespectful to those I am planning to meet, but I ruin my opportunities and reputation by being late. If I were ever to make a list of my worst habits, this one would definitely be number one on my list. I'm still struggling to rid myself of this habit to this day. I wish I could have let my younger self how getting those few more minutes of snooze really wasn't worth sacrificing the things I have missed as a result.

2) Save a little now, have a lot later.
Oh, finances. I wish someone had helped me stick to setting aside funds for important things. If I had set aside even $1 every week from when I was young, I'd have a decent number in my bank today that I could be proud of. When you're young, you tend to live for the moment and I wish I had the sense to think for the future and in the long term. I always feel like I was late in learning what a bank was for.

3) Invest in things that last.
If you asked my mom, she would tell you about the time I blew my entire summer paycheck on a second-hand Japanese phone that ended up malfunctioning within three months. Do I regret it? Well, yes and no. I wish I had enough hindsight to tell me that my phone would break on me, but I don't regret the lesson that I learned from that experience. This definitely ties in with number 2, and I wish I hadn't bought an item just because it was on sale or bought that chocolate bar just because. Those unnecessary cases of spending could have led to better pieces of clothing or items that last more than a short period of time. To my younger self, quality always trumps quantity.

4) Make time to just listen to your friends.
For whatever reason, I missed out on a lot of lasting friendships because I chose other commitments over nurturing relationships with people. I wish I could go back and tell myself to appreciate certain people in my life before the opportunity was lost. At the same time, I hold reservations because I feel there are many people who showed their true colours despite any efforts I may have put forth. So maybe I should rename the heading to "Choose your friends wisely".

5) The world is more than the one your parents confine you in.
I was and am still a pretty sheltered kid. Here's a plug of a previous blog post where I touch on struggling to find balance between my parents and my relationship (click here). I wish I could go back and tell myself that in order to gain my parents' confidence in me, I had to be willing to prove that I knew what was best for me. Instead of motivating myself to make real life choices, I chose to rebel in very immature ways. I resented my family for being stuck in their conservative ways and although I understood early on why they did it, what I didn't understand was how I needed to act in response. Having said that, my parents still come up with new ways to somehow convince me that I don't know better, but what can you do? You can't always teach an old dog new tricks.


This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are so many things that I wish I could go back and say to my younger self. However, I, in no way, regret the person that I've become today because of the things that I have or have not done. I also understand the power of hindsight.

Are there things you have learned now that you wish you could have told your younger self? Do you think your younger self would have listened to you? Or would you still allow yourself to go through the things that you have?

11/28/2014

[FF] The Television Shows I Currently Follow

As much as I understand the reasons for winter breaks in television, it always gets me a little riled up that I'll have to wait an entire month to see what happens on the television shows I've been following lately.

With that being said, here are a list of television shows I have been following religiously:

1. The Newsroom (Season 3)


I cannot stress how brilliant this television show is. Aaron Sorkin is a drama series genius. All the people involved with the show control the audience's emotions so well. At times, the show makes you want to throw punches at the screen and then it redeems itself, often with a thought-provoking monologue. You'll be left wishing news outlets nowadays had as much substance and integrity as ACN does. It also makes the show more bittersweet as it is at it's third and final season.

2. Gotham


I never knew how interested in the Batman universe until I started watching Gotham. This is how I imagined Gotham to bedark and not overly camp. It is interesting to see the combined origins of the Batman villains as well as Batman himself. David Mazouz, who plays young Bruce Wayne, is a brilliant actor and a much more relate-able character than his older superhero counterpart. I'm excited how the season is going to continue after the big reveal this week.

3. Marvel's Agents of Shield (Season 2)


I'll admit the show was really difficult to get into as I felt the show didn't gain momentum into very late into the first season, but I'm super glad I stuck around. After watching Gotham, I felt it necessary to see how the Marvel universe was going to tackle television. This show is not dark like Gotham and often does not take itself seriously, which is in tune with where the movies seem to be delivering. As Marvel movies see a very bright and exciting future, it seems a waste not to tune into this show and any Easter eggs that may appear.

4. Modern Family (Season 6)


There is definitely a reason why the show won best comedy television show at the Emmy's and the Golden Globes. It is currently running its 6th season and shows no signs of stopping. This show just brings chuckles to the screen every week, playing on exaggerated family-related issues that actually hold a little truth.

5. Sailor Moon Crystal


This is the only anime I am watching at the moment. Due mostly to sentimental reasons, I have decided to ignore the stiffness of the art and animation in this current rendition of the Sailor Moon series and focus on its attempts to hold true to its manga-counterpart. It will be interesting to see how they develop on the relationships between characters, namely between Usagi and Mamoru (Serena and Darien, for you dub watchers).

Other shows I am currently watching:

1. Selfie


The preview does not give this show justice. Although it has been cancelled as of November 11, 2014, this romantic comedy is worth watching if you'd be willing to get passed the idea that you're watching a show about someone very much into the world of social media. The show is light and heart-warming, touching an age where technology is so readily available...and often chosen over human interaction.

2. Reaper


I first came across this show in a WatchMojo video about the Top 10 devil portrayals on television. This show was made in the 90's so the fashion, cultural references, and production level is a little dated but is still very entertaining. For those who haven't watched it, the premise is simple. The main character who, at his 21st birthday, finds out his parents sold his soul to the devil. He then becomes the devil's bounty hunter and him and his friends embark on bounty-related adventures.

3. Gossip Girl (Season 4)


I am definitely very late to the Gossip Girl game, but I have to admit even with my desire to complete this series, I am having trouble continuing. The fashion is fantastic and the lifestyle tidbits are awesome, but the characters don't evolve in a way normal people do. I understand that they are meant to be teenagers who live in a drama-filled world, but their characters loop around the same problems and it drives me absolutely nuts. Having said that, the only real redeeming quality is the relationship between Blair and Chuck, which is why I'm continuing to watch this show.



What have you all been watching lately? If  you've been watching the same shows as I, what are your thoughts on the shows? Any recommendations to share about what shows are must-watches?

11/12/2014

[WW] Edward VIII and Nazi Germany

Picture courtesy of the Telegraph UK

Edward VIII, King of the United Kingdom for a mere year in 1936, is well-known for his short reign and abdication from the throne due to his remarriage to a divorcee, but also for the reports that claimed Edward VIII was a Nazi sympathizer and potential spy for the Germans. Despite admitting in his memoirs after the war that he was not pro-Nazi, his actions may have said otherwise.

In terms of love life, Edward VIII was considered reckless and a womanizer by those close to him. He was known to have multiple affairs with married women, including American socialite Wallis Simpson, who would later become his wife. This greatly concerned the monarchs as well as the government because it was against the belief that the head of the Church of England remarry divorced people while the former spouse is still alive. With his choice to marry Wallis Simpson after her divorced finalized, Edward VIII gave up his right to the throne. Edward VIII's younger brother, Albert (who ascended the throne as George VI), named Edward VIII as "His Royal Highness The Duke of Windsor", which made it so that Edward VIII could not stand for election nor speak in the House of Lords. Wallis Simpson would henceforth be known as the "Duchess of Windsor".


Against the advice of the monarchy and the British government, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor visited Adolf Hitler in Germany in October of 1937. This is probably when the trouble began.

Events and facts regarding the time of British efforts in WWII will now be displayed in point form to not bore you all to death:

  • The Duke and Duchess of Windsor gave full Nazi salutes during their visit
  • Hitler believed that the Duke's abdication was a loss for Germany as Anglo-German relations would have been otherwise friendly
  • Some suggest that the Duke had plans for Germany to win the war so that a fascist Britain could be established and Edward VIII could become king again (but these stories have not been confirmed)
  • At the beginning of WWII, the German ambassador claimed the Duke had leaked allied war plans to the Nazis
  • During his occupation as major-general in France, the Duke asked and had German forces place guards at his Paris and Riviera homes
  • Hitler had a plan (which did not come into fruition) to kidnap the Duke in order to force the Duke to support German war efforts
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt was so concerned with the Duke's wavering allegiance to the Allies, he ordered covert surveillance of the Duke and Duchess when they came to Florida in 1941
  • The Duke and Duchess had to be court marshaled back to British soil after fleeing to Portugal and staying with a contact with both British and German ties
  • Britain, under the leadership of Winston Churchill, sent the Duke and Duchess to the Bahamas (the Duke became the Governor there) where they could do, what the government considered, the least damage to the British war effort
  • There are rumours that the Duchess slept with the German ambassador in 1936 and remained in contact with him, also suggesting that she was leaking secrets to him
  • There are claims that the British Royal Family, with the use of an MI5 agent, successfully retrieved sensitive letters between the Duke and Hitler near the end of WWII
  • In 2002, the Guardian claimed it had seen 227 pages of FBI intelligence reports and interviews ordered by President Roosevelt regarding Edward VIII's controversial ties with Nazi Germany

Despite the allegations and unorthodox actions of royalty, the Duke was praised for his efforts to combat poverty in the Bahamas and was seen as a sort of celebrity figure in Germany and the United States.

What do you think of Edward VIII? Are you glad he was abdicated from the throne? How would the world be if he had remained as king?

10/10/2014

[FF] Fiction Friday

For this week's Friday post, I decided to create a story based on a dream I had had. I don't claim to be a good writer, so this is definitely not going to be Hemingway. Please enjoy~

Photo credit to Shutterstock.com

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Kate stretched her arms over the steering wheel. She’d been staring at the iPad on her lap for over an hour, sitting at the front seat of the family car in her front driveway. Music was blaring from the inside of the house. Kate’s sister-in-law was having a party and although Kate had nothing against her sister-in-law or her friends, she needed to be alone for a while.
A knock at the driver’s seat window made her jump.
“You’re going to suffocate in there!” yelled Kate’s neighbour, Ryan.
Kate rolled down the window to the sympathetic eyes of Ryan, who had his son bouncing on one arm.
“Hey Ryan,” Kate mustered a smile.
Ryan sighed, his gaze full of understanding and concern.
“I know what you’re doing,” he started, “It’s been four months. You can’t just hide in here and avoid everyone.”
That’s right, Kate thought, it’s been four months. My, how time flies.
“I really don’t mean to pry, but you deserve so much better. A man who ca-“
“Thanks, Ryan. I’m really appreciative of your kind words, but I can’t possibly...” Kate let her words trail off without making a point. She was tired of justifying everything.
“Alright, Kate. Just let me know if you need anything, please.”
Once Ryan was out of sight behind the hedges separating their houses, Kate stepped out of the car.

It had been four months since the news broke. It seemed everyone in the neighbourhood knew about Rob’s affair.
Four months already, huh?
No, it’s been way longer than that.

Kate remembered the first time she suspected Rob wasn’t being faithful to her. Somehow she knew, from the way he was more absent than present, buying extravagant gifts like the 3 carat diamond sitting on her ring finger. Maybe it was also the unfamiliar perfume that radiated from him whenever he came from work.
It wasn’t until Kate found condoms in his blazer pocket, did Kate suddenly realize her suspicions had been confirmed.
How could anyone be surprised though, really? Rob was the managing director of a hip IT firm, who had his employees do most of his job, so he spent most of his time networking and drinking with clients. Not only that, Rob came from a wealthy family who was almost celebrity status in this city. Tabloids were frequently paid by competitive firms to try to find the dirtiest secrets to keep themselves on top of the game.

“You pushed me to tell you,” Rob threatened Kate when she mustered the courage to confront him, “I didn’t want you to know, but you pushed me. It was just a passing thing and now you’ve gone and made it a big deal.”
“I want a div-” Kate began.
“A divorce?” Rob chuckled, “You’re not going to ask for a divorce. You don’t even know what you want. You’re just a little shocked because you just found out. Give it time. You don’t want a divorce.”
What is this? Kate was confused. Why is he being like this?

At the time, Kate didn’t understand why Rob refused to divorce her. But she walked out of the room that day with a secret. A secret that would come out half a year later when Rob and his affair were spotted climbing into a taxi, her arms flailing in the air, clearly inebriated. It turns out the “passing thing” was a young Chinese girl whose only goal in life was to become a model, but failed to land herself a career in the field because she was too easily mistaken for Asian girls already in the industry.
Kate thought maybe then the affairs would end. The competition was not going to let this news go and any confidence in the firm would drop. But the affair didn't end and nor did Kate's marriage. One night, Rob pulled Kate into their room and pushed Kate down at the edge of the bed. His strong body soon followed, pinning Kate’s hands down as he spoke.

“You have to understand something, Kate,” he breathed into her ear, “you love me, right Kate?”
Kate didn’t respond. She wasn’t sure what to say.
“You can’t divorce me. I won’t let you,” Rob continued, twirling a strand of Kate’s hair around his finger, “you will stay in this house and we will remain husband and wife until the day we die. It’s for our own good. Your own good. Got it?”
Kate swallowed, understanding full well that his intentions were to protect his public image. He had to become the perfect husband in order for everything to remain stable in his life.
“Got it?!” Rob thundered.
Kate nodded, too terrified all of a sudden to cry or to speak.
Rob took Kate’s face and planted an aggressive kiss on her lips before sauntering out of the room.

A honk of a car-horn jolted Kate back to her senses.
“Get out of the bloody driveway!” shrieked Kate’s mother-in-law, Linda.
Kate teetered a safe distance away as the driver pulled the van into the driveway and Rob’s mother hopped out of the passenger’s seat. Linda had taken the driver and her friends down to the casino and now they were back to the house, probably because she needed to show off the new antique vase she had won at an auction just yesterday.

“Kate,” said Linda, sounding suspiciously testy, “I’m showing my friends around the house so please get us some tea.” She patted her hand a bit too clumsily against Kate’s, her jade bracelet hitting Kate’s bone causing her to wince. Linda ignored this and ushered her friends, who were now filing out of the van, into the house.

The mistress had met Linda, and instead of being reprimanded for ruining her son’s life, Linda embraced the girl into her life and meets her regularly for dim-sum on Sundays.

Kate straightened her shoulders and waltzed in after the guests into the house.
Entering the kitchen, she found her sister-in-law, Tracy, struggling to open a biscuit tin.
“We ran out of snacks!” yelled Tracy, clearly having been in the loud music for too long.
Kate helped open the tin canister.
Tracy sensed something and lifted Kate’s face with a finger.
“It’s my brother again, isn’t it?”
Kate put on a bright smile, “I’m fine, Tracy. I just hope you’re enjoying your party.”
Tracy crossed her arms, “You’re such a strong woman, Kate, if I were you I would have left the man. But you really believe in his dreams and his ambition.” Tracy’s eyes glimmered under the kitchen island lights, making Kate smile. Kate needed the support.

Just then, a crash could be heard in the living room.
“Aie ya, Rob, watch where you’re going, please! I don’t want to have to send Richard to buy me another one!” gasped Linda.
Kate and Tracy rushed to the living room to see Rob staggering in through the patio doors, looking incredibly drunk, suit disheveled, and a bruise below his right eye.

“YOU!” Rob screamed, pointing firmly at Kate, “IN OUR ROOM. NOW.”