Learning Makes Me Feel Younger!


One of the activities that constantly makes me happier is my pursuit of knowledge. I love reading…just about everything. I try to give myself an opportunity to get into any subject-that is why on my nightstand you’ll find an assortment of books. I go to the library and will pick up a handful of books – just because. If something catches my eye I will check it out. That’s my philosophy about books- even if I only read a paragraph of a 200 page book- its okay. I gave it a chance and reading is never a waste of time.

I really like reading however I am not too good at retaining fully the information I read. Ever since I came back from vacation I been interested in the concept of learning because I know that I want to become better at retaining more knowledge. Learning keeps me happy, opens my world to unimagined possibilities, and makes me feel younger! When I can take what I learned and apply it in my life- that is the best feeling.

Since I been back I have gone to the library almost everyday and on average 4 hours or more each day. As I dive into my books I already feel great each day. I am more motivated and focused. I love it.

But I know I can get better. So I need your help. Are you a good student/learner-how are you a good student? What is your advice to retaining more knowledge? Memorization-have you found an easy way?

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“…He Who Hath So Little Knowledge of Human Nature As to Seek Happiness By Changing Anything But His Own Disposition…”

The fountain of content must spring up in the mind, and he who hath so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition, will waste his life in fruitless efforts and multiply the grief he proposes to remove.
-Samuel Johnson

This quote resonated with me so much that I had to frame it and put it on my desk.  This way I can see it every single day and be reminded how powerful it is.  We are all responsible for our own happiness- no one else can make you happy.

I remember how I would wait for someone else to do something differently so I can be happier- this only made me more miserable because I felt like I had no choice.


What a One-Week-Vacation Made Me Realize & Launch of Daily posting.

I am back from my one week vacation and it feels really great. The last couple of weeks I have been feeling very dispassionate about life. So a vacation was much needed. Its great to get out of the daily routine and go somewhere new.

When I got back home the apartment felt so inviting and lively even though no one occupied it for a week. Every item in our small place looked beautiful- there was a new light around the house that I haven’t seen before. Maybe it was there the entire time but I needed a new set of eyes to see them.

I am convinced that not having a job or some type of daily activity that takes up couple of hours out of my day is the reason for for unhappiness. It shocks me that I let myself go for the past couple of months without having a plan/goal/something I was committed to strongly…

I have always been a busy person. In college I was a full time student and also worked full time for a semester or two. Once I was out of college, and on to a full time position, I still kept my weekend job for over six months! I worked all seven days! I really felt that I got a lot done when I had less time to do it. Somehow when I had less time to waste time I became focused onto every task and very much organized about my day.

That was fine for being right out of college. However I think to be really successful in life and figure out what I want out of life now and in the future it is good to have all this time to ponder. Only until now I have been thinking it was a burden rather than a gift and have been treating it as such. How lucky I am to have so much time to expose myself to all the great things- duh!

For example most days I would wake up not very excited for the day because I didn’t have anything new/unique to do. Nothing to look forward to.

What a sad feeling because I’ll be the first to admit that I have such a great life- a truly blessed life in all aspects. Only now do I realize that there is so much to look forward to if I really wanted to and I have to be the one to drive it.

On my five day cruise this thought kept coming at me (how can I utilize all this time I have and be happy every day)and luckily I had a journal to write it all in while I looked out at the sea.

One theme that was prevalent in all the writing I did was I need to appreciate the small things everyday and be present.

So…

From now on I am going to be posting everyday one thing (or a few if I am lucky) that was great about that particular day. If I remembered something from the past that was great I will also share that.


Lessons Learned: First Year

Our first year anniversary is fast approaching and we had a busy busy 2010 A few days ago Hubby actually commented that 2011 should be the beginning of our marriage because we were being dragged every whichway in 2010. We didn’t have anytime for boredom and relaxation…and only when you are busy do you realize how precious these moments are. Of course now that I am at home most of the time this wisdom is hard to take in.

Lesson Number One

We learned in our marriage is “Be ruthless about “Our” time.” We would agree to every invitation that came our way- sure they were a lot of fun but it wasn’t just us time. Hubby’s friends would invite us over for weekends when we lived in Jersey and we would spend our weekends with them. Slowly we realized that we were extending ourselves too much and at the end of last year we decided we had enough. The invitations keep coming but we have declined so many. As a young couple and newly married we said “this is our chance to not have any commitments and live at a moment’s notice.” If we are spending our time with those who have kids and those who generally have a settled life then when are we ever going to have time to figure out what our “settled life” should be?

Lesson Number Two

The best thing we did was move into NYC. Thanks to me! I was the most outspoken about our move because I realized we needed a new start. We barely had any time on weekdays just to relax with each other. I like to joke that we moved to the busiest city in the world to find relaxation! We can get together for lunch at moments notice, meet each other around town to give an opinion on a picture for the wall, stay up late to watch movies together. Again “us” time with simple activities.

Lesson Number Three

Hubby and I usually get along very well and see eye to eye on many things. However when stress is involved we are like two animals unwilling to back down. We often comment looking back at our fights that we are agreeing on the big pictute but fighting over details. I think stress does that. So we try to avoid stress but that is difficult in our society so we try not to fight under stress.

Lesson Number Four

Meal cooked by us is the best meal! Hubby makes a great chicken curry. On weekends I would make a couple of vegetarian curries and with his chicken curry-it is the best meal hands down. As we are eating we would say “we’ll never step into a restaurant again…” Of course, sometimes going to a restaurant becomes a neccessaity than actually loving the food.

Lesson Number Five

Engage in simple activities together. We don’t have to do anything fancy. A simple meal, building furnitures together, reading, going downstairs to do our laundry… For example a couple of weeks ago I rented the movie “Easy A”. When I got it home I was a little tired so I decided to watch it. I watched the movie by myself and sure it was good but then when Hubby came we watched it again. Second time it was so much better. We laughed and laughed over all the little jokes (esp. the ones with the family) and for days we would constantly bring up scenes from the movie into our daily conversations.


Making a House (Small NYC Apartment) a Home (Comfy Small NYC Apartment)

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Hans Hoffman

It is such a challenge to make a house a home. To really make it a place that you are most comfortable with takes a lot of effort and time. For a few weeks now, I have been observing our lifestyle in the apartment.  Since we have a small place organization is a key.  Some days I walk in and mentally take note of our actions so we can find furniture to meet our needs. So far its been a terrific change!

For example, the hallway right when we get into the apartment was cluttered with so many things but not one thing made our life easier. First, we had a very small shoe rack that barely fit all of our pairs of shoes and then two long narrow bookshelves that kept some of our things but looked very disorganized and couldn’t fit what we needed by the door.

We got rid of everything on our hallway and started fresh.  The furniture I didn’t want sat outside our apartment for about a hour before others carried it off.  That is the New York way.  I observed that we needed a coat rack to hang our jackets and a place to hold our umbrellas. So we ordered a coat rack that had both of these functions. Then our long table came in handy to drop whatever we brought in with us- underneath the table was enough space to put our shoes.

It feels so good to come home now- we are seeing more focus in us because our environment works for us rather than against us. Hubby and I were able to work on what we needed (ex. resume) for hours this weekend and be comfortable.

Life is simplified when there is one center; one reason, one motivation, one direction and purpose. Jean Fleming

It surprises me how long I go before uncluttering the things in our lives. If something is not useful to us- I have decided that it will be donated and trashed. I have to bring in new things in order to have new experiences.

I have been doing lots of searches on “how to be organized”, “how to have uncluttered environment”…on and on…whenever I can’t sleep. I don’t know why but I seem to find solace on doing these type of searches when I can’t sleep- it makes me happy when I find a new advice and helps me sleep better.

On Oprah I found a simple article 12 Ways to Uncluttered Your Life in which I like the first three points:

1. Everything you own should have value, either because it’s functional or beautiful or you just love it. Remember the question of what you’d grab if your house were on fire; that’s your baseline for determining an object’s worth.

2. Every item needs a place where it “lives.” Setting things down on the coffee table or kitchen counter creates piles and confusion. My clients mock me when I say, “Where do your keys live? They live in a bowl or on a hook by the front door”—but you never lose anything when you put it where it lives.

3. Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking is supposed to help you get more things done quickly, but when you try to do 19 things at once, everything ends up incomplete. You’re trying to simplify your life, so simplify your approach to getting organized. Now let’s get started.

They are simple to remember and easy to implement (sometimes).

There are also other great articles at Zen Habits


Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri

Nathanial Hawthorne’s introduction to The Scarlet Letter

“Human nature will not flourish, any more than a potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil. My children … shall strike their roots in unaccustomed earth.”

I am reading Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri and I can’t put this book down.  Actually sometimes I want to stop reading because all the characters jump out the page and right into you…sometimes you lay awake thinking about them…or you even hold the book in your hands reading each word carefully.. as you are preparing four curries on the stove.

There isn’t any murder, aliens, or car chases but the people she writes about in each of her short stories keep you asking what’s next.

Great stuff on Jhumpa Lahiri


Year End Review

I am having a superb time, the last few days, in making goals for 2011 inspired by The Art of Non-Conformity blog post. These are not just goals rather specific tasks outlined, in a very handy spreadsheet, that will lead to completion of your goal- and I am loving taking some quiet time to ponder just how 2011 should be.

As it says on the post you start off asking two very important questions: What went well in 2010 and what didn’t go well in 2010.

It surprised me that when I asked these questions to myself all I could come up with was a blank stare and nothing positive! Does that mean I might just be a negative person? Or was it just the mood I was in? Either way, it shocked me that after all the changes in 2010 I couldn’t come up with a few positive things.

I told myself to “get a grip, look at all the things I have accomplished for 2010 and think.”

And then everything came together…Leaving MN, planning a wedding, getting married, moving to NYC, learning to manage life as a married lady:)… Sure, there is always room to improve but look at where I am!

Depending on the time and your mood, looking at the previous year and doing a review can feel very overwhelming. There might be some hesitation when you start looking at life and what went wrong that were in your control…you might come up with all the wrong things and want to give up. Once this happen give yourself a change and push yourself to look beyond the negativity and get yourself to a place for constructive critisim.

I am excited to see where next year will lead. So, go over to The Art of Non-Conformity blog and give the spreadsheet a look- its pretty fun once you start.