(First) Summer in Victoria

I have finally come out from a period of pretty intense work-load. Well, by now, it’s been two-three weeks. From April to mid-July, I think I might have worked about 80 hours a week? Sometimes I’ll wake up at 5am, then work until midnight. Time actually passed by really fast, because you constantly wish that you had more time to do the work, or that it wasn’t so late because you wanted to get more done.

I really hope I advanced my career somewhat throughout those months. One of the reasons I was so busy was because I raised my hand for various projects which were quite challenging, although quite intellectually engaging.

Even if those efforts don’t move the needle with regards to my career, it’s fine, because I learned a couple of things.

Positivity & gratefulness

I think I did learn to become a more positive person.

I read about a study that was done where subjects were asked to play the game Tetris for a week straight, and afterwards, when they stepped outside and saw buildings and shapes, they automatically thought about how those shapes can be turned around to be stacked together like in Tetris. I think about this study quite often, because if you train your mind enough, or if you practice a certain mind-set enough, you will see the world differently.

In the beginning when I was constantly complaining (or complaints coming out in the form of dark humour) about my hours and work, I tried to consciously think positively, like a glass half-full. Isn’t this what I wanted to do? How far have I come since a year ago? How lucky am I to have all the supportive people around me?

Once you start directing your attention to the things you’re grateful for, it becomes a habit — you start noticing the good, you start giving off more positive energy.

Mount Baker during sunset from my living room — one of my fave views.

Stay humble

Even though I always appreciated humbleness in a person’s character, I think it’s very important to remind yourself that it’s not possible to stay glamourous all the time — and it’s futile and erroneous if you want to cast yourself as such to others.

You never know when things might fall apart, and you never know when you might need help from others. As long as you are human you will at times be vulnerable, and you’ll make mistakes. So then, you might as well be humble and be kind, because you’re probably one day going to need the help, support, and forgiveness down the road.

I think it’s better this way. You start to give people more of benefit of the doubt; you start to smile more — and you start to genuinely channel out curiosity for others’ stories, and appreciation for others’ efforts.

Physical health

When I was really busy, I still made sure I put in the time for exercise and sports. I think compared to a year ago, or even half a year ago, I enjoy physical activities a lot more.

I’d say my top activity is probably still running. It’s just the easiest and most convenient form of physical exercise that I’d say I actually enjoy. You’re constantly trying to improve (i.e., run faster), and even if you just feel like going for a chill jog, it’s still great.

Running helps you breathe, and helps you forget the stress. All I am trying to focus on is keep running, and watch my steps (cause I’ve also an injury-prone ankle).

I also started to like going to the gym for resistance training and stretching. When I was really busy, going to the gym meant I had the time to go to the gym, which was always nice. I looked forward to what felt like a “restart” button to the day after I take a shower.

I do like being in the gym, especially when it’s more quiet. I just listen to music, and work on my body. I really think that physical movement and exercise help with the mind, and even when it doesn’t, you’ll never regret a workout.

I bought a paddle board earlier this year, and I love it! On a nice, hot, summer weekend, all I want to do is chill at the lake.

Be mindful of the present and enjoy life

My work coach is very big into mindfulness, although I’ve never gotten into meditation (yet?) like he recommended. However, every now and then I’d think of his advice, and just start to pay attention to the little things around me.

Like the way the soothing summer breeze on your skin on a sunny afternoon. Like the way the treetops move gently side-to-side when the wind blows. Like the setting sun’s rays that actually don’t blind you and is the warmest shade of orange your eyes can register.

I started to appreciate beauty a little more. I’ve also started to appreciate having nothing planned. I love a weekend where there’s nothing on the agenda, or even a weekday evening when I won’t have to work. There’s so much possibilities of what I can do.

Summer in Victoria is just so nice.

Wild orchids in full bloom at the beach.



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