The difficulty of acceptance.

I am one of those lucky enough to be blessed with the opportunity of being a guardian for four dogs; two of which have decided to ditch me for doggy heaven, and two still visibly here to teach me valuable lessons everyday. The remaining two are Nero and Knox: an 11-year old Blumerle Rough Collie and an adopted 16-month old Brindle Cairn Terrier. The formers were Roxy, an 11-year old Red Siberian Husky and Pedro, a 12-year old Sable Rough Collie. Roxy and Knox are formally mine and the other two hubby’s.

The deaths of creatures that you have cared and loved for since they were puppies was devastating and nearly 9 months on since Roxy passed, I am still shedding bucket loads of tears. It’s still hard to accept and it’s even harder to accept the fact that you will one day have to seriously accept it and come back to reality.

Now that Nero’s lifelong companions have left, his behaviour has drastically changed. Pedro was the alpha and his leader, and now that he’s gone I think Nero’s lost his sense of direction and purpose. When you have bonded so much with the dogs, you can feel it when they’re hurting. This is true and not just some delusion us dog lovers have.

The biggest change is his preference in sleeping outside in the cold at night. When Pedro’s around, you wouldn’t dream of seeing him outdoors. Nero’s an indoor, hate dirt, hate water, hate the sun, hate anything natural type of dog. Yes, it gets quite disturbing to see his peculiarity sometimes. He usually sleeps on our beds, or any bed he can see. But now, he’s outside all the time and is very distant to us. This change is inevitable, but it is one I just cannot accept, not this soon. After two passings in one year, I don’t think I can deal with another just yet. It feels like his sadness not a physical illness that will eventually kill him, and we’re trying everything we can to cheer him up by taking him for more walks, more trips to parks or more time for cuddles.

When you cannot accept a situation, all you want to do is find ways to make sure you never have to accept it. But I know reality will soon catch up with me, and reality’s one that will not let you get away from it.

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Comfort zones.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to have my lecturer whom I really admire and is passionate about what he teaches as my mentor. We had a lovely relaxing chat about life, people and careers which gave me a new perspective on life and academia. Ever since i started my degree, I have been out of my comfort zone. I am actually excited about creating relationships with the lecturers, tutors or professors. On top of that, I have my own circle of friends. I wouldn’t dream of doing any of this in the very recent past. I would’ve thought it was a waste of my time. Now that I manage to have a mentor, I am as nervous as hell. I have so much to ask and so much to say to him that the thought of it itself makes me feel like I am already hassling him (in my head).

Out of the people around me, I am probably the one who values my privacy, space and time the most. It’s more precious than oxygen to me. Well, I’m exaggerating, but you get what I mean. Hence whenever I need to bother someone, I usually think it through a million times. Basically, treat others the way you want to be treated, But I know that as much as I wish so, not everyone is like me. And that’s life.

Nearly two years into this degree, I’m beginning to relax a bit on this particular mindset. I need people, people may need me. And if I get too anal about it, it doesn’t benefit anybody. Sometimes, you just gotta step out of your comfort zone. And stepping out of it is like coming out of a cage. You don’t know what the rules and norms of this new environment is, and you don’t know what to expect. Perhaps, you may go over the boundaries from time to time, but without failures and without mistakes, you really haven’t lived yet.

Dash of reality.

So, I found out today that I failed my Calculus 1 unit. Again. This is my second try and I was so sure of passing this time around. Apparently not. Well, my heart sank. I felt like I’ve been slapped so hard in the face by this blessed thing called Reality. Apart from this 2 fails, I have never failed before in my 7 years of university and I didn’t think I would ever.

Failing, fortunately and unfortunately has never been something I needed to deal with. I was and am too afraid to fail. The thought of it makes me nauseas. I have experienced pain physically and emotionally (too much maybe) but nothing close to the feeling of failure. That F word is a big deal for me.

As internally humiliated as I’m feeling right now, I have never felt more motivated, determined and excited about my academic life. It made me realize how little effort I have been putting in not just calculus but every other subject. I still have the learning mindset of my previous degree in finance: screw classes, study at the end and just pass. It would be a joke to think that way for physics and I’ve just been given the consequences. I really am going to whoop calculus in the ass this summer and for the rest of my degree as this is the end of dismal effort and the beginning of “fake it, love it, live it, whoop it”.

The function of challenges.

I live for challenges. I feel empty and useless without them. It just wouldnt feel right. Maybe it’s because of what I’ve experienced in my life that makes me crave them, or even create them myself.

Sometimes it can be too much, like I signed up for a death sentence. And it does become so hard, that death looks more beautiful than a field of tulips. Well, I love tulips. Sounds so dramatic, you think? Well, for those who have “disorders” (see note below) like mine, it’s not. It’s part of everyday life. Nothing odd about it. I see it as a way for your mind and soul to let you know that you need to find a different (more positive) perspective on whatever’s causing the distress and to find it before it’s too late. And if you keep this in mind, you will never let it be too late.

(Note: I quoted disorders because I don’t see them as a flaw, bad luck, or something that needs to be fixed. It needs fixing if you think that society is normal and you are not. Instead, I see it as a gift, one that needs all your attention and all your patience to harness. Society does not accept what it can’t understand. And the mind is one of them.)

Annual leave.

Hello again!

I don’t know how but fate must have brought me back here after more than a year of abandoning this blog. And in that period of absence, a lot has changed. I feel like I have grown up in the past year. Made countless mistakes but at the same time accomplished so much too.

My mind’s zooming around from all the excitement and it’s making me more anxious than I already am. What’s causing the initial anxiety? Well, it’s week 4 of second semester and I barely touched anything for all 4 subjects. I am a nervous wreck at the moment, I feel defeated by my disorders. I know deep down that I am exaggerating the situation, but fear feeds on fear and what I need to do right now is rewind and reflect.

Rewind does not mean going back and ponder about the past, but instead to pause and have a moment of gratitude self-talk. That’s a habit I need to seriously work on and implement as well. Oh and the BOSU workout as well.

Study Time Logging.

Hah. 8 days since i last blogged. At least it’s better than a month! My daily task list is messy as always, but i’m improving! I’m planning a week’s worth each time, though still not writing everything down. I shall try again tomorrow. Every day is a new day, a new start.

So i’ve started to note down my study hours each day. I use an app called Ubertime (it’s awesome, coz it makes this motivating beep when you press start. I don’t know why but it gets me going!) to keep track of how long i studied for per session. I take breaks every so often to avoid burnout and it’s also because i can’t concentrate for long without wanting to burst. So i’ve been doing this for two days and from what i can see i am only logging in approximately three hours of study per day. That is serious study, and not counting planning, organizing or choosing color pencils. I was expecting at least five hours, but then again i fell asleep after dinner on the first day and got seriously caught up with Small Street (my current gaming obsession on the iPhone) and baking today.

Reflecting on my performance over these two days, i have to admit i have not pushed myself hard enough. Three hours is a whole lot better than my usual 45-60 minutes of daily unstructured study in the past, but i feel like i have not done enough as i don’t get that feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. My goal is to take it up a notch to 5 hours tomorrow. I am confident it’s achievable if i don’t get too distracted by other social activities that are certainly not on my priority list.

On a positive note, logging is fun! I need to add another element to it and that is to rate myself at the end of each session on how i feel i have performed. I will be adding other elements in as well, but more on that next time.

To dreams and distractions,

Nikka

It’s Late and Early.

3:39am. It’s called late for half of us and early for the other. It’s late for me, since i haven’t been to bed today yet. Been busy online shopping for Sienna’s clothes, shoes and accessories. Boy, a girl needs a lot of stuff. Even an 11 month old. She’s turning one in a month’s time! I’m excited. Counting down the days till the 3rd of May and hopefully by then she will get off her four paws and start walking.

When you have too many things running through your mind, it really does stop you from getting anywhere near rest mode. It’s bad for you and bad for everybody else, cos they’ll have to put up with your grumpiness in the morning. I think that’s what i should and we all should think about when we make decisions like these. Simple, minute decisions that have big consequences.

To dreams and distractions,

Nikka

Viruses and Productivity.

I started our 11 month old in day care a week ago and a sneaky virus decided to tag along home and infect everybody in the house. The perfect ingredient for a wonderful weekend. Hah! And to add to the chaos, three exams are coming up next week 😦 Bring out the exam deferment forms! Gosh, i really hate deferred exams. Everybody is busy partying but you.

When you’re sick, all you wanna do is bang your head until the headache or nausea magically disappears. Well i do at least. And at this period, nothing much gets done. Despite being able to do almost everything from your mobile device while bed-ridden, staring at your phone or iPad for hours can make you feel even more nauseas. That’s why i keep all my gadgets in a universe far, far away from my viral one.

What i do to keep myself on track with all my tasks is to take those short moments when you take a trip to the bathroom or get a drink or throw up (after, not before or during), and try to remember what i last did and what i had to finish. Just one tasks. Scribble it down quickly and run back to bed. Or when you’re feeling just a little bit better and can sit right up for 5 minutes or so, think about 3 or more tasks. If you’re able to grab your planner, diary or phone, scan through it quickly, scribble it down and rest. Or throw up. Don’t force yourself if you can’t. You will need to pee again soon anyways so you’ll have plenty of chances to think about your tasks. Everytime you get up to think about your tasks, go further by writing down what you will do about it next. Next time, schedule it in or actually action it. For example, call to make the dentist appointment, read 2 pages of the unit’s supplementary reading, etc. Remember, every small action counts!

When in bed, rest and only rest. The main priority is to recover a 100% as soon as possible, not 85% or 92%. And bring on the water!

To dreams and distractions,

Nikka

Laziness Begone!

It’s been nearly a month since i last posted, and i’m not gonna try and get myself out of this. Yes, i have been lazy and procrastinating every single day. Whenever i go about my day, new ideas for blog posts always pop up in my head and i actually mentally compose the first paragraph so that i know what to physically write in the post. However, as soon as i get to the desk, a million more attractive and colorful things catches my attention (yesterday was those awesome name labels for Sienna and bouncy balls) and the intention to post remains an intention until i remember about it again. I am selectively forgetful.

When you fall, you pick yourself up and start again. Luckily, i never give up in doing so. So i’m gonna start again today. If i can manage a post every 3 days for the next couple of weeks (so that’s 4 to 5 posts in 2 weeks?), then just maybe, i’m getting this flow going. Focus mind, focus!

To dreams and distractions,

Nikka

An Update and An Advice.

Remember how i was reading a book called “Dancing With Your Books: The Zen Way of Learning” by J.J Gibbs? And how i was raving about it? I do truly mean it, but only for the first out of three sections. The rest was again for me a let down, stuffed with things i already read from a gazillion other study skills book. In my honest opinion though, i think it is still worth the read. I gained so many wonderful insights from the first section itself and it actually changed the way i think and study. Those insights for me, is worth buying or borrowing the book.

Adding on to the previous post about the book (need to post another post about the method of keeping focus said on the “let’s not wander” post before posting this post) , i also feel that self-talk or ruminating is a vital piece to the distraction puzzle. Whenever i lose focus, i scream “stop! stop! stop!” in my head to get myself back on track. It sounds silly, but this was the same method that i used to slowly gain control over my OCD. You can say it out loud or in your head, it does not really matter. It does not really matter what you say either. Just as long as it alerts you enough to make you realize what is it that you are doing or not doing at that very moment. Words with impact! This method is quite frequently used in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) sessions and i can confidently say that it works wonders. You may need to say or yell the world a million times in the first few tries, but after a while the mind seems to get it and it clicks in quickly. With everything, persevere.

To dreams and distractions,

Nikka