Let’s Hit The Road!

Monday, June the 3rd, marked the end of my 14-year career in the customer service/outsourcing industry.

I wish I could say I had done so on my own terms. That I had made the decision of my own free will, because I was finally ready to move on to bigger and greater things.

But the truth is, no matter how long I have been telling myself that I wanted OUT of this job (mainly because of the hours), I hadn’t so much as drafted a resignation letter in the last nine years. I didn’t even setup a LinkedIn profile until a few days ago!

There were so many excuses to stay. Even after losing my own team two years ago, I had found reasons to convince me I wasn’t meant to be anywhere else but there.

  • I don’t have enough of a cushion to explore what I’d rather do for a living. How would we live on a single income while I figured out what I wanted to do? (Technically, we could. There’s just the two of us after all, plus 4 dogs (and two little puppies)).
  • I can’t imagine working for someone else.
  • I’d wait until I’ve built a substantial side hustle before I quit my day job.
  • Moving to another BPO would just be more of the same – same shit, different office.
  • My friends wouldn’t be there (wherever there is. Although I mostly worked alone the past two years anyway)

Late last year, I did some exploring into the freelancing world. I researched possible online side hustles I could do while employed which I could eventually scale to a high-paying gig. But because I didn’t give myself a deadline, I had one opportunity that was barely started (an online course), and another that I hadn’t yet truly pursued. Which means when the news of my letting go was delivered to me – I had no backup plan that was already waiting for me.

But, not surprisingly, I took the news quite well. Of course, it didn’t hurt at all that I was getting a decent send-off package for all the years I had been with the company (9). But it wasn’t just that. I felt relieved that the decision had been made for me. The decision that I had been putting off for quite a while.

And it could have been worse – a lot worse. I could have lost my job due to poor performance or loss of confidence, in which case I would have left empty handed. Thank goodness that wasn’t the case.

I do not envy the position of my bosses who had to tell me the news face to face – I believe it was a tough decision, and that they would have prevented it if they could. After all, I wasn’t the only one they had to let go.

If only they knew, that all along, they were setting me free.

What they had given me was the kick in the butt I needed to finally start on a new and exciting adventure. All that’s left for me to do is to take stock of all that I have learned, maximize my strengths, and hope for the very best. Oh, and to take action.

I am hitting the road, and I am excited to find out where it takes me.

Between the Covers – March 2019

As of this writing, I am 41% into my reading goal for 2019. That’s 12 of 29 books, seven of which I finished in the months of March and April.

Here are my March books:

THE APPEAL – JOHN GRISHAM

In this novel, rated 3.59 stars on Goodreads, a giant chemical company was found guilty of dumping toxic waste that caused the worst cancer cluster that had ever been known. The verdict was a victory for the small town that had wasted away, and a much-needed win for the small husband-and-wife lawfirm that took the fight to the courts. The fight was far from over though – there was still an appeal to overcome.

I was a John Grisham fan in high school but I haven’t read much of his work in recent years. Some of the more memorable legal thrillers I’ve read had to do with torts cases like this book was focused on: Grisham’s own King of Torts, and A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr. I loved them because they were about righting wrongs, and making big companies pay for cutting corners and doing damage to life and the environment. Think Erin Brockovich, the Julia Roberts movie.

But, I have to say I am disappointed with this one. For me, it reads too much as a news story or maybe a legal transcript. It was not very compelling and not so much the legal thriller I remember Grisham writes. I was not even sure I would finish it, but I did – because I was hoping for a different ending.

It does make quite a statement though. That the legal system could be quite the sham.

A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS – KEITH STUART

Stitches & Words | Between the Covers March/April 2019 - A Boy Made of Blocks
Stitches & Words | Between the Covers March 2019 – A Boy Made of Blocks

Now here was a book, with a 4.3 star rating on Goodreads, that was quite heartwarming.

This is from my 2018 Big Bad Wolk Booksale haul. I saw it among the piles of books at the World Trade Center, and was intrigued by the title. I initially thought it was somehow LEGO related, but it turns out to be about a Dad who found a way to connect with his young son through the game Minecraft.

Something I takeaway from the book is the need to have a shift in perspective (in case one is needed) from seeing a person with disability as a problem that needed to be dealt with to seeing them as A PERSON, and treating them just like another human being, albeit with special needs.

LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS – CHARLAINE HARRIS

Stitches & Words | Between Covers March 2019 - Living Dead in Dallas
Stitches & Words | Between Covers March 2019 – Living Dead in Dallas

Many years ago, around 2013 if I’m not mistaken, I took two trips to the National Bookstore Warehouse sale at their Panay Ave/Quezon Ave branch, and brought home boxes of books. This, along with many other Charlaine Harris titles, was in one of those. I never got to watch the True Blood series on HBO but knew that it was based on these Sookie Stackhouse novels.

Truth is, I wasn’t interested in reading the books, but the husband (then still the boyfriend) saw the books, and at 50 pesos each, I couldn’t let it go. So we picked up all the titles we could find (and one or two dupes with a different cover), and they’d been sitting on my shelves ever since.

When it was time to get started on these books (I just decided it was time) I realized that I didn’t have Book One. I resolved to live on the edge and just start with Book Two and it wasn’t so bad. I figured I’d give it a shot and then decide if I’d read the rest, or get of rid of it. Book 2 is 3.98 starts on Goodreads.

The verdict? I wouldn’t call this one a keeper, but I think I’ll keep reading. It’s easy to read, not complicated, even shallow (?). And sometimes you need books like this one.

WRITE HERE WRITE NOW – AA PATAWARAN

Stitches & Words | Between Covers March 2019 - Write Here Write Now
Stitches & Words | Between Covers March 2019 – Write Here Write Now

Now this has got to be one of my newest favorites! It’s a book about writing and it was written so beautifully. I don’t think I can ever be as great a writer, and I don’t even mean in the sense of getting published or becoming well known – but just in terms of quality of writing.

Let’s just say that after reading, I wished I had continued to write or maybe took up writing electives while at the UP. I wish I had a writing mentor. Because I missed out on that, and years and years of no practice – I’ll just do the next best thing: continue my attempts at writing, and re-read this gem of a book every once in a while.

There goes my March books. Did you read any of these? I’d love to know what you thought about either one. What are you reading next?

Week 1 of #VeraDocumentsLife

It’s Day 9 of #the100dayproject and Hallelujah! I am still on track.

What I’m Liking

  • Printing photos – I’ve decided that I actually love my Canon Selphy printer. It’s not the best quality, but it definitely gets the job done.
  • Recalling stories – Thanks to my Passion Planner for making this task a bit easier.
  • Alphabet stickers! – Really, letter stickers are all the embellishment I need. But I am loving chipboard elements and vinyl stickers too.
  • The Project Life App
    • This is where I check if the photos I have are good to print (the app alerts you if the resolution is too low for a 4×6 print (or a 12×12 if that’s the template you’re using)).
    • I also use this to collage two photos into a 4×6 print, to be cut after printing and inserted in the 3×4 pockets of my pages.
    • The free form text tool for adding words to my photos. The app allows the addition of .ttf font files and already I am thinking of downloading other font types for future use (that can easily go crazy).
  • This daily creative activity inspires even more creativity.
    • I organized my small stash of alphabet stickers and other embellishments!
    • I am also already wondering about the other albums I want to work on – what form they will be in (printing pages or bound photo albums).
    • Coming up with ways I can add more stories into my pages even when I don’t have the photos to go with them.

What I Don’t Like So Much

  • Some days I spend more than an hour working on this project – I love every second of it and wish I could do it all day – ha! But I am trying to be more conscious of NOT spending TOO MUCH TIME on this. The only way to sustain this for the full 100 days (and beyond – for future projects) is to NOT think it requires much effort and time (and money).

Finding Joy

I can’t think of anything else, really, that I don’t like about doing this project. The truth is, I am enjoying it. And I am finding joy. It also inspires me to live a life worthy of those pages I make.

Last weekend, the husband and I explored the streets of Binondo to sample good food. We made new memories. It would have been easier to stay at home the entire weekend – eat, sleep, Netflix, repeat – and that would have been okay too. But actively documenting our lives through photos and stories moved us to do more.

I have yet to be caught up with this year’s book, when I do, it will only take once a week to stay current. I will then have the rest of the 100 days to work on my other albums. Can’t wait.

#the100dayproject – Vera Documents Life!

For the third year in a row, I am signed up for The 100 Day Project. Check out the link to find out more, I hope you decide to join in or follow along.

Beginning April 2, I shall be embarking on a journey of a hundred days of memory keeping.

Memory what? Memory Keeping!

Are you familiar with Timehop? Or the Memories app on Facebook? It shows you something from your feed from the same day of each year in the past, for as far back as when you joined Facebook. It could be one of your own posts, or one you were tagged in. Honestly, love that feature!

It’s an automated way of showing us what we were doing, thinking, or even found interesting in the past. We have no control over what shows up though; sometimes even stuff we didn’t mean to memorialize just come up. Truly, it digs up stuff we forgot we ever posted about.

Still, it’s a pretty nifty app, don’t you think? There are times when it shows a past aspiration, a dream project, or even just something I said wanted to do or a place I wanted to visit. Sometimes that reminder is enough to push me into action (in case I didn’t take action before). Sometimes it’s a strong reminder of what I had already forgotten.

What if the app is discontinued? What if Facebook shuts down or you lose access to your account?

I have just been notified of my 10 years on Facebook. If I get locked out of my account, how will I get back those 10 years’ worth of posts, albums, memories?

Memory Keeping is anything you do to document your current life or past experiences, so it can later on be reviewed and/or enjoyed. It could be your way of telling your story and making your mark. It can be a piece of family history that gets passed on from generation to generation.

Many of us treat our social media feeds as the sole avenue for memory keeping. We setup albums of our most memorable occasions and experiences. When we’ve reached milestones, we mark the occasion by posting about it.

That’s all good, but if it’s the only way we preserve our memories, what happens when those sites go away? Have we learned anything from the demise of Multiply and Friendster? Is there another way we’re documenting our lives?

We take loads of photos everyday but apart from uploading to social media, most of the time those photos are just left sitting in your phone albums, or on computed hard drives. Who sees them? Don’t wait for first-hand experience when technology fails. I have lost plenty of photos due to computers crashing or hard drives failing. Sayang naman those photos.

This project is my way of preserving those memories and turning them into something tangible that we can enjoy now, and for years and years to come.

Project Goals

For many years I told myself I will be printing my photos and creating Project Life albums to record our life. I’ve amassed a lot of supplies and spent a lot of money towards this intention. So far though, I have one photobook for a day tour of a local museum, another one documenting my first ever 5k run with my girlfriends, and a 30 Days of Thankful album. I’ve got a few weeks’ documented for 2015, maybe 2 or 3 spreads from other years.

Here are some of my Memory Keeping goals:

  • Make a photobook of our Bangkok 2017 trip.
  • Make a photobook of our Taiwan 2018 trip.
  • Do a 2018 Yearbook.
  • Start and get caught up on our 2019 Yearbook.
  • Do something with our Wedding photos
  • Make a photobook of our Palawan 2018 trip, or include pages of it in our 2018 yearbook.
  • Track older photos and figure out a central storage (could be cloud-based) that will allow me to easily get them into books and printed.

I have no illusions of completing ALL of this in 100 days, but if I do, wouldn’t that be ever so SPECTACULAR? My goals for these hundred days though, would be:

  • To get started!
  • To do SOMETHING Memory Keeping related each and every day
    • Go through course/s in the BH CLassroom (I purchased the Photo Tips + Workflow class while it was on sale, but it’s still available on full price right now. Also thinking about getting the Yearbook class, on its final 20% off sale TODAY!)
    • Select + edit photos
    • Print photos
    • Work on Journalling
    • Put pages together
  • Use my existing supplies!
  • Share my progress.

#the100DayProject Inspiration

On Instagram, I follow the #the100dayproject to be inspired by others who are creating something every single day. When you do that it can be easy to feel intimidated about how beautiful others’ work can be, or how much progress they are making. Instead, I choose the inspiration that comes out of their accomplishments.

Here are some accounts or hashtags to checkout, and hopefully they move you to do your own #100dayproject:

#the100dayproject

Amanda of mooandboohandmade

Elise Joy (she’s so amazing, really a creativity/productivity peg!)

I’ll re-share others also on my Instagram in the coming days. 🙂

You can do any of the following to follow and support me as I document life:

  • Follow me on Instagram: http://instagram.com/verabear
  • Follow #veradocumentslife
  • I will figure out a way to share the URL of my blog’s Facebook page, haha 🙂

I hope you follow along and tag us if you decide to do your own 100 day project!

The Sleep Revolution

This is a combined Fit 2019 (March) and Between the Covers (February Books) Update

February went by like a blur. I am thankful for all the blessings and learnings the month brought into my life, but, most of all I am happy it is over. I feel like I breezed through the month only half-awake.

There was only one book for me in the 28 days of February: Arianna Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution. It spoke to me about my challenges with sleep. And it seemed as if I was really supposed to read it around this time because it was when I struggled most with sleep.

Stitches & Words | The Sleep Revolution

After collapsing and waking up in the Emergency Room because of chronic sleep deprivation, Arianna Huffington now dedicates her life to spreading the importance of sleep and what needs to be done to ensure that we get enough of it. Sleep deprivation has serious repercussions not only to our health, but on everything! It affects our job (or academic) performance, our personal relationships (ever notice how short-fused people with less than 7 hours of sleep can get?), even our bank accounts.

In this book she shares scientific studies on sleep and sleep deprivation, and compelling arguments, along with a few remedies, to get everyone to sleep better. And I’m convinced. Okay, I’ve been convinced even before reading the book, but I read it anyway and don’t think it was a waste of my time.

I’ve shared a bit about my quest for good sleep and my sleep apnea diagnosis here before. I’m still very much a work in progress, meaning I am still basically sleep deprived. And in the last four weeks or so I’ve been feeling a little more more crappy than usual. I won’t be surprised if I gained a few pounds (although I certainly hope not), because I’ve not been able to exercise properly. I stayed away from doing my workouts because I haven’t been sleeping well. From past experience, forcing myself to workout without proper sleep results to more stress and eventually getting sick. Here’s hoping that my attempts at keeping a generally healthy plate for most of my meals, and not over-indulging on any of my off-days, has been enough.

And I’m not giving up on sleep! I sure will be tapping on some of these tips for better sleep:

The Sleep Revolution is a call to action – to prioritise sleep and to recognize the ill effects of sleep deprivation. One more thing that’s part of its advocacy that hits me too close is drowsy driving. Drowsy driving is yet another side effect of sleep deprivation and is tied to 1.2 million crashes per year. Much awareness has been raised about avoiding drunk driving but I doubt if people have really thought much about driving without enough rest.

Two years ago I crashed onto another vehicle after falling asleep on the wheel. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Since then, I have tried to be aware of my level of awakeness before I have to go anywhere. Whenever I get into the driver’s seat, I am armed with little snacks (nuts, Chocnut, and chocolate), and music to sing-along to. Recently, I’ve also started listening to podcasts (Cultivate A Good Life, Behind the Scenes, Marie Forleo, Health Unveiled, and The Good Life Project) to keep me alert. Whoever rides shotgun has to be ready to stay awake, and chat a lot! But when preventive measures fail, we pull over and take a nap for as long as it takes.

If you live by the mantra “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” and have convinced yourself that you only need 4 hours of sleep to refuel and recharge, think again. Get yourself a copy of this book!

Amazon National Bookstore Book Xcess

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