My life in NZ – the Epilogue

Is this what we call “jumping to conclusions” (writing about concluding remarks before the body)? :p

I went to NZ with a lot of emotional baggage: felt guilty about my past and dread about my future. The whole working holiday experience has been a medicine to my soul. I met a lot of nice people and I had a lot of quiet time to look inwardly. The following are some significant impacts the experience brought into my life:-

Live in the present.

You might think that the song “Glad You Came” by the Wanted sounds superficial. I like the song just because it sings, “The sun goes down The stars come out And all that counts Is here and now”.

My grasp about this concept was rather limited, until one day A advised, “Forget about the past and the future, focus on NOW! You have a job, working as a manager in a top-rated hostel, you meet all sorts of nice people! There’s really no reason to feel sad now.” I was like struck by lightning and an imaginary light bulb was lighted up forever 🙂

I like you and you like me? Let’s be together for a bit, even if the relationship leads to nowhere. I saw this as one of the many manifestation of living in the present while I was in NZ. I was attracted to this kind of mindset. I think this works, with the prerequisite that what you do does not harm or hurt anybody (including you yourself!). But the romantic story G once told me is unacceptable, that’s cheating to me! :p

G being someone who speaks his mind, told me one day, “I don’t like your Malaysian friends. They are so full of negative energy.  They worry too much. When you first came, you were like them.”

A week before I left the hostel, G said, “Don’t you think you are now more like kiwi? More casual! And more carefree!”

Me: Oh! I’m so glad to hear this. But I thought you just mock I still eat like an Asian?

G: That part of you won’t ever change, Sam!

Of course I have not fully mastered the art of living in the present yet (e.g. I always fall asleep whenever I try to meditate, hahaha), but I’ve started to embrace it 🙂

With this concept in mind, I now become an advocate of “Liking someone? Go confess your feeling!” Then friends who came to me for advices would ask:-

“What if he/she rejects? I no face….” or

“But do you think this relationship will work for both us?” or

“He/she did so, so and so, do you think he/she likes me?”

“No, I think I wanna wait for him/her to take the first step…”

Life is short. In the face of death, very little stuff matters. Steve Jobs said “all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” Get the message? Why not live in the present? Go confess! (Haha, note to self as well!)

Besides, I have now become more expressive about my feelings e.g. apologizing to parents and friends, telling colleagues I enjoy their company, etc. Why wait when you can do it now?

Learn to let go.

Learning to let go is such an important chapter in NZ! While watching the movie “Life of Pi”, I can’t control my tears from streaming down when I heard the adult Pi said, “I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.” That just coincides so much with how I feel.

Have a little faith.

I was really touched by the movie “Life of Pi”. Again this quote was from the same movie:-

“Even when God seemed to have abandoned me, he was watching. Even when he seemed indifferent to my suffering, he was watching. And when I was beyond all hope of saving, he gave me rest. Then he gave me a sign to continue my journey.”

The above quote in the movie touched my soul because I have experienced it time and time again. I don’t know how to put in words about how I felt whenever (I feel that) my prayers were being answered but this quote is close enough 🙂

“A story with God is the better story.” This echoes what I concluded while I was in NZ. “Have a little faith” by Mitch Albom is a book which I could really relate as well and made me cried like a siao zabo!

Happiness is a conscious choice that you make.

The most powerful advice I received in NZ!

The most powerful advice I received in NZ!

When I did my self-reflection in NZ, I realized I always counted on others (people as well as materials) to make me happy. “I was twenty-eight and still waiting for someone to come and make me okay” – excerpt from the powerful book SG recommended, gives exactly the right picture how I used to behave. That explains why I was so restless. I did not like being alone at all. I would make sure my free time was occupied with all sorts of activities.

Now that I can spend my weekends with just myself (and hippo), I can travel on my own, I like alternating happening and quiet time, become very less a materialist (to my own standard of course!), but I’m generally happier! 🙂 I guess I’ve made my choice.

Part 1 | Part 2a | Part 2b| Part 3 | Part 4 |


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Inside the glass bottle…

“I want to walk tall, believe in myself, have the courage to ask for what I want and need, and live a life that mattered. I want to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and know that I am loved and that I belonged. I am desperate to feel worthy and I am hungry for the opportunity to live my fullest potential.” - modified from "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers" - Debbie Ford

Under the apple tree…

"If you are not spending all of your waking life in discontent, worry, anxiety, depression, despair, or consumed by other negative states; if you are able to enjoy simple things like listening to the sound of the rain or the wind; if you can see the beauty of clouds moving across the sky or be alone at times without feeling lonely or needing the mental stimulus of entertainment; if you find yourself treating a complete stranger with heartfelt kindness without wanting anything from him or her... it means that a space has opened up, no matter how briefly, in the otherwise incessant stream of thinking that is the human mind." - A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle

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Ich lese….

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The time keeper by Mitch Albom

The art of thinking clearly by Rolf Dobelli

The first phone call from heaven by Mitch Albom

Inferno by Dan Brown

For one more day by Mitch Albom

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

A study in scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom

Have a little faith by Mitch Albom

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

A Fresh Start by John Chapman

Inspiring quotes!

If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other? (God in "Evan Almighthy")
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
Aggie: "But what about the people who hurt you? Don't you ever want to make them suffer?" Norman Babcock: "Well, yeah, but what good would that do? You think just because there's bad people that there's no good ones either? I thought the same thing for a while. But there's always someone out there for you. Somewhere." - Paranorman
“You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” by Walter Hagen
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, body totally worn out and screaming "WOOOHOOOO what a ride!" - by anonymous
When you travel, it’s not like you take a part of each place away with you; rather, it’s as if you leave a part of yourself there, like a part of you forever belongs to that place – the time, the people, and the things you saw; and over time, it gets burned deeper into your soul - by anonymous

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