I am both bored and have become absolutely boring.
This is my normal week:
Monday-Friday: Wake up in panic because I’m late for work – Work for the next 8-9 hours – Walk home and try not to buy anything useless while on my usual route (fail miserably) – Figure dinner out(Cook? Leftovers from the previous night? Takeout? Is there a friend who will rescue me from this decision-making exercise and just drag me out to have dinner, instead? Yogurt? Ooh! A banana!) – Stare at the ceiling until I fall asleep.
Friday-Sunday: Drink until I give up – Wake up with a hangover – Spend the rest of the weekend in bed hating myself for my bad decision making skills – Maybe hit the beach and nurse my hangover there while I bake under the sun.
Repeat. Every once in a while, chores happen: like grocery shopping, laundry, vacuuming.
My go-to, honest-to-goodness answer to the question “What are your plans this weekend?”: LAUNDRY OR NETFLIX. And it’s almost always true.
The most exciting thing I have on my calendar all week:
When I get asked “What are you into?” The answer is BEER (because I’m trying to be funny and also because it’s true).
I AM BORED AND BORING and it’s making me dark and stormy.
Which is making me want to pull my hair out because I didn’t use to be like this. I used to do a lot of things! I went to BINGO on weekends (like a proper Tita). I went out for long drives with the windows down and Katy Perry on the radio. I made friendship bracelets because those things are not just for 12 year olds! I kicked ass at Monopoly. I consumed books weekly and I used to harbor dreams that I will write the next Kafka on the Shore when I’m 40. I pretended to go to the gym and I tried to learn new languages because somebody said once that learning new languages and exercise can help make you smarter. I constantly tried to be smarter. I flew out regularly to try to see more of the world!
And now? Aside from work – it’s been MEH. Productivity and learning has gone down the drain. Personal improvement? What’s that?
So along comes August with the promise of a lot of alone time that comes along with having most of my friends flying out of the city for vacation and me stuck here. So I decided to put my foot and my forkful of fried rice down and shake my fist at my boredom! Enough is enough! It’s time to get off my ass and make life exciting (or at the very least, less boring than it is now) and productive (that is the hope) and conducive to positive energy (because I read The Secret and while it sounds all mumbo jumbo — I don’t see anything wrong in having positive-energy-influenced life).
And that super long introduction was just to set the tone while I segue into my real topic here: My August Challenge!
So I made a list (to make it look more serious and official-y) of things that I want to accomplish by end of the month. It’s a pretty abstract list so the solutions can be a bit more experimental (like the true PM that I am *cough*). And of course, I’m sharing that list with you, dear readers (of which I have 0). As well as the things I’ve tried so far or am trying now to accomplish My August Challenge (insert drum roll please).
1. Do something that makes me feel uncomfortable
A lot of things make me feel uncomfortable. Talking to people makes me feel uncomfortable. Everytime I step out of my apartment, I’m flung out of my comfort zone. So this one should be easy right? Well choosing the right “uncomfortable thing” isn’t so easy when there’s a lot to choose from. But steps have been taken. I’ve finally said “yes” to a friend of mine who has been asking me for the longest time to try out “Swing-dance”. Going to a free class before the end of the month is definitely on my to-do list now.
2. Make healthier choices
So I’m not going to quit smoking or drinking anytime soon, I’m sorry to say (but that’s in my longer-term to do list). But I shouldn’t compliment my already horrible choices in health with 7 nights/week takeout food, 0 exercise, and not getting any sunlight. I’m not too keen on increasing the already high probability of cancer or heart attack at 40.
So far, I’m doing pretty well in this, to my surprise and to my mother’s delight. I’ve signed up for Muay Thai Classes. I’ve only been to one class but 1 is better than none. I’m starting to walk home again (all 5km of it). I’ve been cooking more times a week and I try to reserve my eating out cards for the weekends. More sleep is also being clocked in (although 2am-9am is not exactly conducive to making it to work on time so I need to work more on that). And I’m slowly (very very very slowly) starting to give up dairy. Hey-yo! Self-five!
3. Have a creative outlet
I am a very emotional person (hohoho!) and I feel many feelings all the time. Keeping them all in, nursed with a bottle of wine, a pack of cigarettes, and whatever show/movie I can find on Netflix that will compliment current feelings — I’m almost always reduced to a bawling mess. And crying is only just one side-effect! Knee-jerk reaction when I’m overwhelmed with feelings is to be reclusive, cold, and on rare occasions (I say rare but some friends would say it’s a lot more frequent than I would care to admit) lash out on friends. And obviously, that’s not good.
Talking about shit helps. A lot. That’s why I didn’t have this problem back in Manila. But ever since I moved to Barcelona, I’ve been pretty short on shoulders to cry on. So I figured maybe channeling my feelings into something more creative can help. Not only am I letting things out, I’m also being productive. Big fan of killing many birds with whatever stone is in reach, I am.
So far, I’m also doing pretty well on this. I have started a Doodle-project: which forces me to draw something everyday. It’s quite meditative actually + focusing all of my energy on trying to create something takes away the bad vibes from my head. I’m trying to write more: on paper, here. Brain dump and word vomit clears my head. I’ve found that the practice of putting things into words is equivalent to the physical relief of taking off your bra at the end of a long day = best feeling in the world. Once on paper, I feel like I don’t have to care about these feelings that much anymore. They feel more trivial and less worrying. Well sometimes.
Muji pens are the best thing in the world. If I wasnt strapped for cash, I would head to the nearest Muji store and buy all of their pens. I also need things to organize my pens. Also sincerely wondering if drawing everyday will actually help me learn how to. :p #mujipens #doodle #sketches #doodleart #doodles #penandink #doodledaily #doodleaday #augustchallenge #augustdoodlechallenge #asketchaday
A photo posted by K (@brightandtiny) on
4. Become smarter
Brain atrophy is real. Also the need to communicate in a different language so I can buy soy sauce is quite urgent. I still believe that my inner genius will appear sooner or later. And that I will become the next Marissa Mayer (sans the Yahoo drama).
So I’ve been reading more. My pile of unread books by my bed is no longer feeling neglected! I’m actually taking my Spanish lessons more seriously now. And since it’s summer and classes are out until September — I’m trying to learn on my own: by watching shows with Spanish subtitles, by reading books in Spanish (very x100 slowly, but I am making progress and I have actually gotten past page 1!), and by writing daily logs in English and translating them to Spanish. My grammar is atrocious and my vocabulary is hardly useable for the real world, but I am not discouraged! Now if I can only get over my anxiety and actually try to have a conversation with real people that go beyond just having answers for questions: Hello, how are you? Where are you from? How long have you been living here? Do you work or study?
5. Make the universe deliver only good things
Idleness is negativity’s playground (I’m sure the saying is very different but it delivers the same message). And so is clutter. When you’re living in an apartment that has empty water bottles lined up along the corridor, clothes on the floor, couch, every chair in the dining area, and the foot of your bed – and devoid of any signs of life apart from yourself when you can be bothered to crack open the curtains to let some sunshine in, it’s easier to just notice the bad things going on in your life and forget to acknowledge the good stuff (much less just focus on just the good stuff!).
So I’m starting to transform myself into a positive ray of sunshine! Organizing my apartment makes me feel like I’m having a handle on my life. Letting more light into the apartment (both natural and artificial) scares the ghosts away too (both the supernatural and the feelings kind). And spending half an hour to sit down and write down the good things that have happened during the day makes me revert my focus and realize that while there are shitty things that pop up every once in a while, there are more good things to be grateful for. And being grateful makes me a better vessel for more blessings, really (I’m not really sure about the rational behind this but I read this somewhere and I’m just going with it because again, there’s nothing to lose from believing in this).
And to be honest, I think I’m starting to see the effects. Maybe they’re coincidental. Maybe not. Maybe good things are happening in the same amount as they used to and it only feels like there are more because I’m choosing to only focus on them? Maybe. But I’m feeling bright and shiny. And one good thing is happening after another. And that’s all that matters.
Disclaimer: I’m not saying to completely ignore the bad things. For me, that’s impossible. All I’m saying is to acknowledge, learn, and move on. Don’t dwell and wallow for the next 3 weeks and refuse to see anything else.
I’m on the 16th day of trying to do all the things I’ve listed above. Just trying to figure out how to complete these challenges is already fun enough. I’ve already learned that while I suck at drawing, I do have the potential to get better. I’ve learned that I’m pretty creative at cooking (hah!) and that I really like punching things. My flat is more or less organized (one room has been transformed into a makeshift walk-in closet while the other has been transformed into a reading space). And that being bright and shiny has more rewards than being dark and stormy. I haven’t been bored since August 1. And I have more answers now for when people ask me what my plans are for the weekend.
But I think the most important result for me is that: Loneliness is starting to become a forgotten feeling. Just starting.