Writing Piece: Simplicity

November 22, 2015

**I found this little gem I wrote as a sophomore in high school and it resonates with who I am and want to be. Although my life is nowhere as carefree as it was back then, I think the true goal of “voluntary simplicity” is a high and virtuous art of living!**


Simplicity

My life is simpler than most people would prefer.  People would say I am very lazy, but it just turns out that I like to sit around at home doing what I call “nothing” all day.  My hobbies and routine fit perfectly with my way of life as well.  I am not in the least fond of shopping, computers, using cell phones, etc… and would rather spend that time watching television, reading books, eating, and sleeping.  I prefer to have as much free time as possible, instead of cluttering my schedule with classes one after the other.  As I become stressed very easily, I find no need to strain myself with things that don’t interest me.

I strongly believe that one’s lifestyle is heavily dependent on how he is raised in his childhood.  Coincidentally for me, my life has never consisted of too much busyness. As a child, my parents encouraged me to take a few classes in Japan and New York but they never interfered with my daily life.  Now, I don’t take any classes, other than joining a few after-school clubs.

I have stayed at relatives’ houses over a period of time on numerous occasions and I find their lives too fast for me.  My cousins have to run from one place to another, and literally fall asleep before their head even touch the pillow because they are so exhausted from the day.  I quickly become worried for most of the day for no apparent reason and am aggravated when put into this atmosphere.  Being a perfectionist, I find myself troubled about everything as it feels like I have no time to breathe once in-between activities.

If someone were to ask if my life could be any simpler, my answer would be absolutely not.  However, if asked what I could do to less simplify my life, I wouldn’t mind taking a few classed, the way I did several years ago, but nothing more.  I like the way my like has shaped up and find no reason to burden myself with clutter so early in life, as I will have to go through more hardships in college and later on in life.  Some people choose to adopt the lifestyle of “voluntary simplicity” and I am one of them.

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The one biggest piece of advice I can give you is to get into the habit of treating yourself when you feel stressed out! We often forget ourselves in our busy routines, and this is your body’s way of saying that it needs care and pampering too!

Everyone has days or moments in their day when they just want to throw their hands up and just stop everything because life’s getting a tad too stressful. Or you are so mentally burdened it’s time to force relaxation. Either way, the usual tips given – to eat healthy, sleep enough, exercise regularly, meditate, and take time out for yourself – can all start to seem like a chore when you’ve reached your breaking point.

Either way, give yourself at least an hour or to relax and calm down. Over the years, I’ve come up with my own toolbox of things I can do to give myself an enforced time-out. Everyone’s toolbox will be a bit different, as it depends on what you consider work and play – for example, walking doesn’t help me clear my head so I don’t do it!


The following Top 10 quick pick-me-ups are quite helpful stress busters. Make your own Top 10 activities toolbox that can be your go-to whenever the next stress bomb hits too!

1) Take a Hot Shower

Other people walk to clear their heads, I shower. There is something about standing under a hot jet stream of water that dissolves all my stress. I’ve had days when I take 3-4 showers a day just to wipe my mind blank!

2) Take a Nap

I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember. Especially when I’m trying to write a 5000 word essay the night before my assignments due (procrastination queen) or after big fights or particularly bad depressive episodes. As long as you’re not an insomniac, and even if you’ve had enough sleep during the night, just turn the lights off, snuggle under your covers, and close your eyes. I find these naps refreshing and the pressures of the day don’t look so scary when I  open my eyes again.

3) Get a Haircut

I’ve mentioned this in yesterday’s post as well, but going and getting a haircut or highlights  is a great stress buster. You can’t do this activity too often as it can become a very expensive endeavor (plus you only have a certain amount of hair to play with), but I’ve been known to use this method about 2 to 3 times a year.

4) Do a Color-by-Numbers

The mechanical and rote action involved in coloring needs your full attention and it stops you from thinking about other things. I see it as a form of active meditation. I learned to do this from my friend in Chicago. We’d have coloring parties when the tension of being grad students was crushing us!

5) Watch a Movie

I go to the cinema (or nearby discount theater) to watch my movies but you can just as easily watch them at home too! Just make sure it’s not a heavy and serious film. I get wrapped up in watching and it takes my mind off….well, me. Sappy tearjerkers are a bonus.

6) Get a Face Massage

Massage-lovers will love this one! Any kind of massage is good because they are such a treat, but I’ve found that the following areas often feel the best when I’m particularly stressed out: face, head, arms, and hands. Do it yourself, find a professional, or teach your spouse/partner!

7) Do a Jigsaw Puzzle

For jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts like myself, I’d definitely recommend this method of relieving stress. I have one or two easy puzzles in my house that I love to make when I’m stressed. I made sure they’re small enough that I can complete them in one sitting (my beach puzzle is 500 pieces and takes me 2 hours flat to complete). I never choose a puzzle I’ve never done before, it’s in the ‘familiar’ that relief and comfort lies. Again, it has to do with making the movement as rote and mechanical as possible to produce the effects of meditation. If I’m still not completely de-stressed by the time I finish, it’s not uncommon for me to disassemble the puzzle and start over again. Sometimes I’ll feel better even if the puzzle’s not complete, and I just put it back into the box ready for another ‘rainy day’.

8) Have a Cry

Again, I’ve used this therapeutic tactic for as long as I can remember. When things get overwhelming, just have a cry and you tend to feel better afterwards. If you’re having trouble crying to the point of relief, can I suggest looking at your red, blotchy face in the mirror – it’s bound to bring on a fresh wave of tears!

9) Eat a Take-Away Meal

Delivery doesn’t do it for me because it involves interacting with the delivery guy/gal too long. Instead, I walk to a nearby restaurant that serves yummy food, order, pay, get some other nibbles at the corner grocery store, pick up the food, and head straight home. You don’t have to worry about cooking, and eating great food can be your treat for feeling so stressed.

10) Text your Friends

Sometimes it’s nice to talk to friends and partners face to face too (they are natural pick-me-ups), but that can seem like too much work at times. Sometimes you just want to scream or punch a pillow and aren’t ready to talk about it yet. A simple, one-sided text full of frustration and angst is enough to make me feel better. Even if they don’t reply for a few hours, just sending it seems to soften the ball of stress within me. I have a handful of friends who I will write to, at any time of day or night (and always out of the blue), with a short burst of “I’m going crazy!” or “why is life so hard :'(” or something similar. They have come to expect it from time to time, and send their own versions of similar outbursts when they are feeling overwhelmed as well. There is no need for explanation. If you don’t do this already, get into the habit! And honestly – that’s what friends are for!

Happy November to the blogosphere!

I’ve missed another year of Halloween festivities and now its on to NaNoWriMo month. Although I’d secretly love to write a novel or have my own love story written down before I croak, it’s definitely not on my list of priorities 2015. Indeed there are lots of plans and ideas I have brewing for the future that will make their appearances throughout the next round of blog posts, but all of them have one thing in common – an active mind.

It’s been roughly 3 years since I updated this blog. Only seems like yesterday I was hunched over my laptop with worry crinkles on my forehead wondering what I should post next…alas! Suffices to say, I’ve been busy with a spectrum of emotions and milestones that make up my so-called life. So I’m not regretting letting my blogging duties slack. In my 3 hiatus, I’ve spent a major part of it as a graduate student at the University of Chicago for another Social Science MA (as mentioned in earlier posts here and here) which I struggled with from Day 1. In fact, I’m still struggling to finish up, and ended up returning home after trying my hand at working part-time out there in the big bad world. After that, I spent a considerable amount of time recovering from a cocktail of unhappiness, stress, and exhaustion, and spent months in Japan reacquainting myself with my childhood home while caring for an ailing grandparent.  I’ve managed to take up many new hobbies in this last six months, surprising even myself as I didn’t think I had a creative bone in my body, and even managed to squeeze in some time for self-discovery via a meditation retreat!

Wish Manjree Luck 2015

So now, with only a couple months before we ring in the new year, and using the excuse of NaNoWriMo to keep me motivated, I’ve decided to activate my charcoal-like mind to challenge myself to write at least a post a day for all of November 2015. I know you’re technically supposed to write blogs to help people and tell them what to do (or at least that’s what successful bloggers advise) but for me its more a mental exercise for me to stay on top of my game. Blogging, I find, involves a lot of time, effort, and hard work. It is a daily battle to come up with something that can pass as acceptable for viewage by thousands of unknown people out there… if you know what I mean!

So it’s my aim this month (November 1st – 30th 2015) to get back into writing, reading, and thinking creatively. What’s important here is that I do this alongside all the other responsibilities and goals I’ve got lined up already. A cousin’s wedding to attend at the end of November, planning where to go in December, continue to feed my Asian drama addiction, keeping my DIY artsy crafty projects going, and doing market research and gaining the skills and knowledge base to start my own business sometime early next year! And of course, last but definitely not least, I’m trying to be happy, stay connected, live healthy, exercise, and eat healthy.

All right… it’s time to get a’writing! Wish me luck on my 30-day challenge!!

~M

Hi Everyone!

I think it’s getting to be nearly 2 months since I’ve written anything on here, and boy has it been a crazy and eventful 2 months! I’m getting ready to go to Chicago in a few weeks so that I can start my ‘MA Program in the Social Sciences’ which could more easily be described as my second MA in Anthropology and hopefully some History mixed in. So the countdown has officially begun. There is a lot more preparation to do before I make the big move, like finding a place to live (!) but hopefully luck hasn’t left me and it’ll all work out in the end.

Part of the prep of leaving home has been to help my mom (whose birthday it was today coincidently – Happy Birthday Maa!!) make some room in the house by getting rid of years and years of paperwork that I’ve hoarded since my high school days (eek!). So we’ve just got suitcases full and my cupboards are overflowing with clothes and lots of memorable junk, so the spring cleaning for Manjree has commenced. Boo-ya!

Anyway, so the good news is, while I was rummaging through stacks of projects and lecture notes, I found my ‘MEMORY PILE’ – which is literally a pile of poems, stories, essays, etc… that I’m really proud of from the olden days – which means I’ll have more to post on here soon. I thought I’d lost it, and it majorly sucked because nothing was saved on my computer since my last one unexpectedly died years ago. But thank god I’ve found it now and I’m not letting it out of my sight anymore… So a big yay and thumbs up!

I’m excited to share my writings with you…keep an eye open for upcoming posts!

~ Manjree

Non-Eatable Foods

June 7, 2012

I found this post really interesting while still being informative. It’s a take on everyday life that not many people care to discuss (or divulge) but is perfectly natural to do.

Moment Matters

We are adults now, so we can eat balloons whenever we want.

I swallowed a coin. It is not accidental but I really put it into my mouth and sipped every irony taste of it. It is delicious; sometimes it could be a substitute to candies if you ran out of it.

The coin traveled down to my insides but got tucked within my esophagus, and that wasn’t a good feeling. I fought against my involuntary muscles to free it, but to no avail. Quickly, my brother handed me a banana, ate a slab of it but before taking it in, my brother slammed my back and I vomited it all, including the coin. Aaah, I’m amazed it worked!

My friend used to eat dog food, but he thought it was biscuits for humans. Nonetheless, he wouldn’t know the difference and it tastes alright. Another friend of mine loved…

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Arranged Marriage Comedy

March 24, 2012

I generally agree with the guy on this one….what a scary thought…

Arranged marriage

By meerasapra | View this Toon at ToonDoo | Create your own Toon

Check out Meera’s other comic strips on her blog Life’s a comic strip!

As I don’t have a suitable topic for my post today, I thought I’d pass along this beautiful video-message shared by fellow blogger Romney – may it inspire us all to live up to our full potential!

Sarvodaya

This is one of the most touching narratives I’ve seen in some time. You need to see it to believe it.

I wonder if I would turn out any better if I were in this young man’s shoes. It takes an exceptional person to make due with such difficult circumstances, let alone achieve greatness.

Hat tip to my good friend Javier for sharing this with me.

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