Some life reflection

Feel like writing out of a sudden after haven’t written anything for so long. To me, writing is so important that it helps reflect back on what happened; some key moments in life. Gives you a sense of clarity. And I NEED that, or would feel like life is aimless and going nowhere.

Have time today to sit down, write, and think. A bit more peaceful after the past hectic 2 months. And just recovered from this nasty cold I’ve had since Morocco last week.

November

Where do I start? November…ah, so hectic and stressful. It was weeks after weeks of department budget review. Lots of long meetings and grinding for our dept budget, line by line. It was too intense for everyone. But we got compliment in the end that we are the most well-prepared compared to previous years. It was the first time I did the entire department budget so it was a lot to learn for me. But now I know how it’s done. I’ve learned something new!

Health-wise, really, really not doing well. Had a bit of a cold, feeling stressed and tired all the time. There was an entire weekend I just stayed home and slept all day long and just felt so drained.

One highlight or the most positive thing EVER of November? I finally PRed my deadlift – 110 kgs now!!!!!!! You have NO idea how much it means to me. Expected to do this in July, was devastated and down with major self doubt, but tried to identify my flaws and techniques and picked myself back up. Did lots of research and watched SO many deadlift techniques tutorials. Trying to perfect my form. And all of those paid off in November. It was one of the best feelings ever, knowing you are capable for anything once you put your mind to it. I was SO, SO happy.

And now back to training for a bigger goal next year. It’s never ending you know, this journey!

December

Started with this wonderful trip to Morocco. It has always been on my list to travel, and very happy to say it totally exceeded my expectation. Amazingly stunning, beautiful country. And very exotic for me. Everything is SO different and eye opening.

This year has been almost a year of no travel for me. Last time I was abroad was in Japan in January. January!!! WAY too long. And I wouldn’t say that was travel as Japan is more or less my second home, and I went back to visit friends and the city I studied in. To me it wasn’t like travel or exploration at all. But more like going back to somewhere familiar with a hint of nostalgic feelings.

Then we went to Morocco and I felt like, wow, this IS AMAZING! Going to somewhere entirely different and being WOWed by its experiences, cultures and nature. I almost forgot I MISSED this. Personally find it a little harder now that I’ve traveled here and there for years, to be amazed by a new destination. Europe surely didn’t make me feel that…WOW. The other year we went to Northern Italy and it was so nice but I more or less knew what to expect from all these countries in Western Europe.

But Morocco totally blew me away. Getting on a camel ride seeing sunrise over sand dunes in Sahara was surely a very memorable experience. First time I made it to Africa. First time in Arabic country. First time in a desert, and it’s The Sahara! This entirely different culture and nature fascinated me so much. The country is so rich of colors, culture and nature.

My only complaint was the food as I really couldn’t eat much. Really sick of Tagine and didn’t like Couscous at all. Moroccan mint tea was also not my cup of tea, way too sweet! So much vegetables all the time with everything so bland and tasteless for me. Totally struggling with it and lost weight as a result. Would have been happy if it was years ago to lose weight but now no…It’s not good! I NEED strength to lift heavy shit!

All in all it was a great trip but way too tiring as everyday was so full of activities all day. Was a bit much for me. I prefer going on my own pace and taking more time. It was way too intense that I got sick 2 days before returning to Thailand.

Just a great reminder that…exploration is another important part of my life and it feels good for me whenever I do it. And I should make time for this, trying to find new and different destination to explore from time to time. This year I’ve been focusing so much on work as there have been so many changes, that I felt I didn’t really wanna go anywhere much. Need to make sure I have some time off here and there.

No post-vacation blues

What surprised me was, zero post vacation blues! I came back on Monday and already felt on top of things, in control, catching up with my team on what I missed and got a lot done! Can share with you this isn’t the case many years ago. I remembered once we came back from Bali, I had this major post holiday blues and felt like I wanted to quit my job right away. I didn’t, told myself to calm down and re-evaluate things. But a few months after I resigned anyway. That post holiday blues was some kind of wake up call that clearly I wasn’t happy with my job and it was time to switch it up. There were times I wanted to get away or escape ALL the time, get out of Bangkok. Now looking back I can say, definitely I wasn’t happy with my job and felt too unmotivated, so I used travel as an excuse to escape. Some self-analysis going on here! (As usual…).

So yeah, can you believe 2019 is about to end in 2 weeks!? Now still in this planning mode of going ahead into 2020. Yesterday I did lots of planning on how to improve the team and work process going forward, and it felt AMAZING. Super productive. It seems like I got this energy and motivation from Morocco trip, which is another reason why I should make time to get away somewhere entirely different from time to time. You come back with fresher eyes and renewal energy. Love it!

Had a nice talk with my boss before he left home for Christmas. Definitely more changes coming in January and that gave me a peace of mind to know where I will stand. Always good to have clear communication, although some talks can feel difficult and tricky to make. Tried to be assertive and did it.

What else? 2019 reading challenge! I’m at 29 books this year it seems. I’ve been setting a goal of 35 books/year for a few years now but could never achieve it! It’s alright. Last year only read 20 books with all the stress at work, so this year it’s an improvement. My mother never really understood why I need to set goal for reading. Can’t blame her. Didn’t even bother to explain. How can you explain someone who isn’t a goal-oriented person to understand?

Will probably do a private reflection of 2019 somewhere in my journal. Wow, WHAT A YEAR. REALLY. If you look at my life in January, there’s no way I could predict I would be where I am in December. And a lot more at peace and content overall. Lots of progress on powerlifting and training in general too, how I’ve been more serious about it, no longer a beginner, and started to fall in love with the journey and process. What a twist and turn of this thing called life. Never failed to amaze me. I love that my life still isn’t some boring or passive thing to be passed years after years. Being dynamic (with some Me time and a peace of mind, not overly stressful!) is great for the time being for me. Looks like 2020 will be another busy year, lots of big, exciting projects coming up, let’s do it!

First year of Squat, Bench, Deadlift

Feels like wanting to reflect back on powerlifting in the past full year. I started Base Strong class around October last year. This post is probably going to be boring and irrelevant for those who don’t do powerlifting. But it’s been such a big thing for me in the past year, and I’m pretty much writing (rambling?) this for myself, so that I can look back on my first year.

Squat

Started last year = 35 kgs.

July 2019, 1 rep max = 85 kgs.

So…that’s around 140% growth? Wow, this has changed so much. I felt like I didn’t “get” squat for many months. Used to have this fear of squatting more than my bodyweight. Just started feeling slightly more confident in the past few months, really.

The key really is about staying super TIGHT throughout the whole movement. I was wobbly for sooooo long. Just started to understand the importance of taking BIG, deep breath, holding it in, going down SUPER TIGHT just a couple months ago.

My problems to fix are probably staying in control the entire movement and don’t bounce at the bottom of the squat. Also I’ve been told my bar is uneven between left and right shoulder. Hmm…

Overall, started to love squat more now. Feel like my squat progress has been quite steady which is pretty amazing.

Let’s aim for 90 kg squat next. A 100 kg Squat was the goal I thought definitely unattainable, but started to see more possibilities!? Not anytime soon, though.

Bench

Started with just a bar, 20 kgs

July 2019 – 1 rep max = 35 kgs

Oh…my biggest enemy, upper body strength! I am SUPER weak for this! For the longest time I hated bench and felt like there was no way my bench could ever go up. Been playing around 22.5 to 25 kgs, to at some point 27.5 kgs for so many months.

Just feel like everything about bench is SO awkward. The entire set up felt very uncomfortable for me. Won’t get into details here because there are SO many. Before I came to Base I’ve never done bench press before, because my PT never said I should do it (Because I’m a girl!?). Who said a girl shouldn’t bench press, by the way? These days I started to see more of its benefits. It could help reduce your bra bulges! Less fat hanging around that area as it turned to muscles instead. Pretty cool if you ask me. And nope, it’s almost impossible for women to get “bulky” Just forget about this.

My tiny goal used to be bench with a 5 kg big plate per side. Now I’m repping 30 kg bench press. As of today I could do FIVE sets (of 4). Never, ever thought I could do this. Sounds like a super small goal for many, but for me bench is so hard.

Overall, feel less awkward. More used to it. Of course more room to improve on techniques, as with other main lifts. I would be SO happy if I could touch 40 kg bench at some point, hopefully sooner than later.

Deadlift

Started last year with 50 kgs

July 2019 – 1 rep max = 102.5 kgs

Ah, the most dramatic one of all. The one that makes me doubt myself BIG TIME. The one that makes me feel such a failure. Wrote about all of it here.

I really don’t feel like I’ve made much progress with deadlift at all. In the beginning it was my most favorite lift. But as we progressed, somehow I felt like I was kind of stuck. Back when we tested in July, it could have been at least 110 kgs. Or the very, very worst would have been 105 kgs. But couldn’t lift it up AT ALL. This killed my confidence so much.

Still feel that way but try hard to focus more on small wins now. Watched and read a lot on deadlift tutorials trying to figure out what went wrong. Got lots of tips along the way and I suppose I had my answer that lack of back strength is probably the issue here. So now I really try to focus on technique and slowly work my way up from there.

Good news is, my working set around 80-90 kgs feels pretty smooth. 100 kgs could be a hit or a miss depends on the day though. And my upper back is still rounded. Better than before though. Gotta stay patient and work on it I suppose.

Overall, meh. Not satisfied. But I learned a lot from this as I was down earlier about my failed deadlift. Then tried to relax and get back to it and so on. Good lesson in the end.

Overall / What I’ve learned

Ah, mindset is everything, isn’t it? Good technique is one important part, but though this first year of powerlifting I’ve learned so much more about the mind – how to keep pushing myself, how to stay consistent with training, how to work on your goal and try to get there (your numbers never lied!), how to not give up, how to NOT be too hard on yourself (It’s ok to fail!), how to stop doubting yourself, how you CAN achieve the “unachievable,” how to keep trying again…and again…and again, how to not let one bad day of training get you down, how to believe in yourself.

And so much more. I could keep talking about it for hours, not joking. Feel like this changed my life.

Apart from the mind, I keep repeating it feels amazing to be strong…and get stronger. Love the changes in my body. Feel like this is the best me I’ve ever been.

Definitely going to be more challenging next year as we are no longer beginners anymore. It’s impossible to hit PRs every week or month! Everyone keeps telling me how sleep and eating are SO important to improve your performance. Stress is also another important factor. And I always have issues with insufficient protein intake. Training is fun, what is SO much harder is eating! Hmm…

Let’s see what 2nd year of training will bring!

Let’s talk about babies

“This is why people have babies,” I said, “because it’s exhausting not to know what you’re supposed to do next. A baby is basically a non-negotiable map for the next two decades.”

Quoting that from “No one tells you this” a memoir of a 40 year old single woman living in New York City as a writer. The tagline of her book caught my attention “If it doesn’t end with a marriage or a child, what then?”

I’ve read about 40% of the book and we arrived on the chapter of “babies” Suddenly I had this urge to stop reading and start writing about this right away. Which is exactly what I did.


I never wanted a baby.

I could never imagine myself as a mother.

People told me that, once women hit 30, there will be this natural urge of wanting to have a kid, even though you never felt it before in your 20s.

Okay, I was literally waiting for it to hit me. But no urge yet. So far. Zero.

In fact, I remembered myself writing in my old blog when I was in my early 20s that nah, this baby thing isn’t for me. I just don’t have that maternal instinct.

It’s been 10 years. Still rings true. My opinion hasn’t changed at all.

In this memoir, I get the sense that the author DOES contemplating about having babies, as she is afraid she will regret it later. Having a baby seems like an easy choice, doesn’t it? Women at a certain age are expected to have kids (BUT if you told me this, I would get VERY pissed off. Because….excuse me? Whose expectation? Who are you to tell me how I should live my life?). She wrote that on a basic level having a baby gives you a sense of purpose on what to do every day, for someone, for 20 years. No need to wonder whether what you do is worthwhile, if you have a baby.

Ugh, sounds like you use babies to cure your existential crisis, if you ask me. Or you have a baby because you can’t stand being alone or something.

But I kind of get it, it’s tough being by yourself and figuring all the things like your next goal or where you are heading in life. I constantly have this from time to time, but the thing is, I LOVE having this freedom to move around whenever I want, do whatever I want, without being tied down to a baby. It can be mind boggling, but at the same time very liberating too. Just can’t imagine giving this up.

Wanna know my honest opinion? To me, having a baby = negative ROI. Think about all the money you waste on them, OH MY GOD. One baby equals…what? 10 million THB? 20 millions? I just simply CANNOT. I keep telling my parents that your investment on me probably still yields negative and I don’t know if I can ever repay this. You guys are amazing, don’t know how you managed it. High respect to any parents in the world.

At one point I even googled why people want children when raising them is SO exhausting (I just don’t get it, honestly!). One article explained that yes, the process is exhausting, but you have this high sense of rewards and deep joy. Okay, I guess that makes sense!? My mother also said, if you never had children, you would never understand the true meaning of sacrifice and giving.

But what if I don’t want to know the true meaning of sacrifice? Why do I need to know it? So what, right?

(Not to mention that getting pregnant and giving birth to me sound scary as hell. How do people do IT? Walking around like a penguin when they are 9 month pregnant? That would be a real torture. Just watching them makes me feel uncomfortable enough. In fact, if the guy was the one getting pregnant, maybe there could be more chance I am more ok with the baby thing).

You can say I am selfish. But I really cannot imagine giving “me time” up. On weekends I just want to relax or do whatever I enjoy, and most of the time I sleep in or get a little lazy. I don’t know any parents with babies can do THAT. How do people do it? I mean, it’s exhausting enough at work, then on weekends you have to take care of young kids!? Just wow. And I have this fear that babies would mean an obstacle for career growth. Obviously you have to take care of them and put them as priority. How do you do that while growing in your career? So difficult. And SO unfair that mothers have to almost always be the ones doing more when it comes to taking care of babies when fathers are more or less off the hook. For me I just can’t imagine sacrificing the career part. Like, NOT at all. I would rather spend time thinking about making more streams of income (Having only one stream of income feels risky for me, yet I’m too passive or lazy to change this, big sigh), than making a baby and losing money, seriously. Not to mention stupid yet important things like I CANNOT sacrifice sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep, I get sick immediately. And I don’t know any moms with young babies who get to sleep. Again, I don’t know how mothers out there do it. You have my UTMOST respect.

The reason I’m writing this because I am curious if my view would change in the next 5 years, or when I turned 40? Maybe I would, who knows? Would I regret not having children later in life? Maybe I would, who knows? But how could you regret if you never wanted them from the start? I don’t even know how to interact around kids and they are not really my cup of tea. I simply just don’t know HOW to be around them! These tiny creatures…always make me feel awkward as hell.

As of now, in your 30s, when you go on dates, people sometimes mention about kids stuff way faster than before. When a guy told me no, he doesn’t want children, inside I felt this…instant relief, like I would have NO pressure on me. Suddenly I would give that guy a bonus point. On the other hand, if I know the guy wanted kids, I would feel a little pressured like I don’t know what to do. Paying attention to what I feel, I believe this is enough indicator of my current feeling on the babies topic.

Told my mother quite a few times already that I probably won’t have children. She doesn’t care much and said it’s my life. Zero expectation from both of my parents made me feel lucky and relieved. So glad we are not like many other Thai Chinese families that start putting pressure on their daughters to find someone and have babies at a certain age. We all should stop expecting women to do something or be something at ANY age. It’s 21st century, this silly societal norm has to STOP, let her live her life the way she wants. What the hell are those expectations anyway? We all seem to have too good of an idea of how others should live their lives, but none when it comes to our own.

Innovation and Team Building

Not so innovative at the moment as I’m currently bedridden while feeling a little sick. Slept 11 hours straight AND even took an hour nap. And still feel exhausted.

Had a busy week, with full 3 days of training and team building. It was really cool! We had 2 full days of training with topic of Innovation and Design Thinking approach with all managers in the group. Some flew in from other countries in Asia, and we even got one flown in from Netherlands.

It was packed of activities divided into groups. I’ve definitely read about Design Thinking, watched Ted Talk on how Design Thinking could help design your life (great one), and did a workshop on it before. My best friend uses design thinking approach to teach her students in her company. So it wasn’t an entirely new thing for me since this approach has been such a hot topic for a couple years now.

But it was definitely a great chance getting us to work together as a team; brainstorming, presenting lots of ideas, and speaking up to the group. We had to redesign movie and restaurant experience by trying to figure out customer pain points and using techniques (and lots of post its!) trying to get lots of ideas. It’s SO hard NOT to jump to solutions! This is what we all have learned. As a manager, you are forced to find solutions on a daily basis, and you have to find it quickly for people in your team. It goes against my nature to NOT find solutions, only generate ideas first. My boss also said, you need to give people in your team a chance to find their own solutions so they can grow too, while you support them. So true.

What I really love the most was not about the knowledge we got, but the opportunity for me to get closer to the team. Had a great chat with managers in Cambodia and Philippines when previously we only got to talk via conference call and emails. Nothing beats face to face meeting, I can tell you. Being with them and having actual conversation together made me feel like it’s going to be easier working together with them now, hopefully with better understanding too.

Then another day was a full day of training and team building activity in our company. I had to give a presentation along with other heads of departments. And I decided to go for topic Digital Marketing 101 knowledge sharing session. I was quite nervous before speaking as usual, but did prepare myself for this and come on! hyped myself up that this IS MY topic and I know this shit. So in the end I totally ran out of time while presenting as I got way too much to share with everyone. Got very, very positive feedback as quite a few managers rushed to grab me after presentation and say that wow, they have NO clue about digital before, it’s so new for them, please send my slides to them so they can share with team. One director even came talk to me that wow I didn’t know you are so good at presenting. Totally unexpected by that.

Never thought I’m good at presenting by the way, and I was quite stressed while preparing this presentation that I would not do it well enough. In fact, this whole 3 days made me look up to big bosses who are SO good at public speaking and inspiring team when they speak. I want to be able to do that! Even think if there’s anywhere that teaches public speaking for management or in professional setting. It’s an important quality if you aspire to be a leader, isn’t it? And I’m still far away from that.

Had fun with walk rally activity and even Halloween party that evening! Thought it would be totally stupid team building, but it was more interesting than I thought. We even had a mission to go for foot massage near our office which was absolutely favorite for me (obviously!).

Love seeing all of us come together like this and we talked to big boss that hey, next year we should do this kind of conference in other countries or even on resort. Let’s get out of Bangkok! It’s also cool getting closer to big bosses these past 3 days too as everyone was more or less relaxed. Loved that they joined all activities with us. I sat next to my boss and even got brief feedback on my performance so far. All good, and he’s aware I have a lot more on my plates now. I gladly take it though, always see it as a challenge to get through.

Having said that, it drained so much of my energy having to be full ON the whole 3 days, being around new people, talking so so much, presenting so many things non stop. I love it, I love us, and I think we are a cool team, but as an introvert, at the end of it I just really needed to hide under my desk or lock myself in my room alone for 3 days straight. If you are an introvert, you know what I mean! And how having Me time and your own space are a priority to help you recharge.

Definitely having a quiet, peaceful weekend (no more people, please!) and hoping that I won’t get sick 😦 Really taking it easy and even skipping the gym. Another busy week ahead. Need to get energy back soon, hopefully!

Another Transition – Exciting times ahead

Where do I start? So much has happened in the past 2 weeks or so. In fact, today is the first day I feel a little more relaxed, have some time to reflect, breathe, and gather some thoughts on how to tackle many things in weeks ahead.

Not saying it is not a good thing, quite the contrary, I appreciate the opportunities given to me to grow steps further, with more responsibilities and challenges throwing my way. Been running around in meetings taking care of so many things. But I am happy when I am challenged! Because it’s my belief that you can’t stay still if you want to grow, and learning is a lifelong process.

But as always, things can get a little bit overwhelming when you first face any kinds of transition. But I believe I AM capable of doing this. Right now I am a bit concerned I may have missed some things as there are more things to focus on my plate and feel a little all over the place as I want to organize everything exactly how I want to. Will need to come up with some system to sort things out in categories. The big boss gave me some amazing tips on how to organize my inbox the other day. I was seriously rolling my eyes at him when he made fun of the current state of my inbox, but really paid attention listening to his advice as it indeed is a great one. He said, you need to stay in control of your inbox, not let it control you. The stage of your inbox reflects the quality of your work and how you manage to be on top of things. Ask any top management level and you would hear the same thing. It’s just something I never really thought about, but I do now. And glad he took the time giving me tips to improve myself.

There was some GREAT learning and discussion along the way as we had another day of branding workshop with our branding agency. What an amazing session with lots of interaction and ideas! They came back to present 3 different brand proposition and their work honestly impressed me. Definitely world class level! They did an amazing job creating these 3 directions, not only just the branding and all fluffy stuff, but also how to run the business moving forward with our staff on the ground and so on. We then had to do some activities for each brand proposition, debating back and forth on pros and cons, giving pitches, and creating business partner campaigns. Their team leader, as always, led us with so many interesting questions and insights and a lot of things were discussed during the workshop.

The afternoon session was equally more interesting, on the implementation of our project. I was attending the session with all heads of departments and, just like morning session, a lot of ideas were thrown around and discussed in such a great length. The session truly made me think of business as a whole as it forced us to think for each department, whether it be operation, sales, HR, business development, marketing, PR, investor relation, and lots others. I LOVE that I got to see the bigger picture, overall picture of the business, and think of so many different things more than just marketing. It’s eye opening for me. And I do feel like it’s such a valuable lesson, just like I went back to university attending a seminar. But it’s MORE exciting than university because this is real world and all of us ARE going to implement all these plans next year. My head was a little swirling with all the thoughts and discussion running in my head for 6 hours. Very insightful yet equally draining sessions. Used up all of my brain power.

Even during team dinner was pretty amazing getting closer to our owner and management. It was the first time I got to listen to our owner that closely and wow, she impressed me SO much with her passion and enthusiasm in her business. I personally LOVE and look up to people who are full of passion and think it’s one of the most amazing things in the world being able to listen to them when they talk about it. People DO lit up like a Christmas tree, you see the sparkle in their eyes, you hear it in their voices, when they talk how passionate they are about something, anything. Being around this kind of people also has a positive effect on me as their energy moved me and made me want to be better, smarter, and more amazing like them.

Like I said, I know deep down it’s about bottom line for businesses. But it also touched me when the owner herself shows serious concern about her staff, about long term growth. Being a smart leader is great. But being a smart leader WITH A GOOD HEART is everything to me.

I feel like I AM seriously ranting it out now, and that probably fits the mood when so many different things at work are occupying my brain at the moment. People/Team management is another thing that has been on my mind a lot lately. It IS one of the most challenging things in business as we all are aware of. No matter how many management books, business books, coaching books I read, I can’t help thinking whether what I’ve done for my team is good enough. I don’t want to be a lousy boss, ever. My previous boss once told me, when it comes to being a manager, everyone has their own style and you’ve gotta find yours. And I suppose I am still finding mine. But, just like with anything else, being honest with constant, open communication is what I believe in, and I try to do that with my team. I want to create a good environment for the team, making sure we both help each other out to accomplish any tasks while drive and push them to finish it all on time.

My brother once said, being a mid level manager is such a challenging task as you get pressure from the top having to be involved in strategy and planning with management team and proving yourself you are capable, combined with pressure from the bottom getting involved in day to day tasks with lots of tiny little details and jumping in to help your team and moving your team forward. It is indeed like this. But hey, that IS a part of the process to grow, isn’t it? Learning to balance everyone’s expectation is such a key.

Somehow I feel like it’s taken me TOO long to come here, and I should have been where I am now years ago. So many friends or people my age built their own companies/startups since they were 25, raised 2 million dollar fund for their startups, got on Forbes Asia 30 under 30 when they were in late 20s. And what am I? Just an ordinary person doing 9 to 5 job in her 30s. Meh. Nothing extraordinary about being an “office person” Not in my circle anyway when everyone is building their own companies and doing tons of amazing things.

But yeah, this is me and my ordinary life. I am happy with it for the most part, though can’t help thinking from time to time if I am wasting my own potential as days go by, getting older but not really accomplishing anything extraordinary. Hmm, didn’t plan to make this sound so bleak. But admittedly this thought crosses my mind quite often.

As if in the blink of an eye, third quarter of the year just ended. And as always, I will probably sit down, think of what I have accomplished/failed, what I’ve learned, whether I’ve tried anything new or challenged myself in the past quarter, both personally and professionally (Lots of new PRs on my main lifts!). I feel like moving ahead to Q4 is going to be busy but also exciting. And next year IS definitely going to be an exciting year as far as I can tell. So many things to do with lots of changes coming up.

“The only constant is change,” I’ve read that quote long time ago. So true. What’s the fun in staying still, anyway!? I am excited and ready to embrace those changes while tackle all of them, one step at a time!

#ifailtoo

Love this SOOOOO much I have to share it on here, from Sonny an Olympic weightlifter. He posted a series of videos of his failed lifts, many on competition, with the most amazing caption below.

Every. Single. Word. he wrote, you guys. This is one of my most favorites.

Every single one of these hurts and it doesn’t get easier, you just get better at accepting them and know how to improve.

Learn to embrace failures, because how else would you learn if you never failed?

32

My birthday this year started off very badly, with a lot of negative emotions. Never liked starting ANY day with negative feelings, but tried hard to keep it going through the day. It kept getting worse later in the day, to the point that I thought I would remember this as the worst birthday ever, until…it turned to be really good.

Had a long, heart-to-heart talk with the big boss, with lots of good, positive things being discussed. He said, management team believes in me, that I do a really good job, that I have such a high potential, that he himself believes I will become a great leader one day (whoa!), that he wants to constantly challenge me and push me to grow even further, that he wants me to grow with them.

I suspect he deliberately chose this talk on my birthday, as he came to my desk this morning saying happy birthday as soon as I arrived.

The purpose of discussion is he senses some of my frustration toward work and he is concerned and wants to know how he can help support me better, and what I need from him.

(I love this question the most, definitely straight out of management books. It’s the question I also got asked from my previous boss, and also THE question I asked my team members if anything else I can support them).

So we ended up talking about his expectation on how digital marketing should help drive the business forward and how to set KPIs in the next quarter. He gave me feedback on how to improve my presentation, shared our opinion on creating right work culture and environment and our working style, and many, MANY other positive things with direction moving forward.

It means SO, SO much to me you have NO idea. Honest communication is what I truly believe in, and I’ve never really received much of it at workplaces, though I believe it’s definitely a crucial thing to do if you want to successfully manage a team.

Before walking out of the room, he turned around and said

“Natta, I believe in you”

I just couldn’t believe it. I swear I could almost cry, but glad I didn’t! (Could be unprofessional…). This talk touched me so much when I had such a bad day with stress and pressure I put on myself, combined with other negative feelings. Suddenly hearing all the positive things about yourself and your potential made you feel like you could do something right for once.


Later on in the evening, I went to have some nice burgers with my girls at Paperbutter, a very laid-back, small, casual burger joint with some outdoor seatings in the garden, tucked deep in the Soi. The whole atmosphere is like you hang out at a friend’s house, which is exactly how I like it – casual and chilled setting with a good company.

What a perfect evening.

We laughed so so much until we cried as usual. I literally got tears in my eyes because I was laughing TOO hard. Nobody could make me laugh this freely like these girls. We knew each other since we were 13, growing up together in high school, growing apart at some points later in life, but from time to time we try to get us all back together like this. My best friend likes to joke that “You girls are the friends I didn’t pick, because we all happened to be in the same class in 7th grade”

20 years of friendship, over half of our lives. For some reasons I always feel taken aback from the topics we discussed over the years as we grew up; from copying each other’s homework and assignment, practicing dance moves on sports day, picking which university to go to, sending each of us study abroad here and there, getting our first jobs and work issues, dating boys, breakups and dramas, studying master’s degree, gossiping about which friends getting married or having kids.

So many changes, going through each stage of life.

And guess what now? We discussed more about our parents! We all show concerns how we feel our parents are getting old and how to take care of them in the best way possible. This is such a hot topic among us at the moment – how to best take care of them while live our own lives, busy with careers and all. More than ever, now everyone realizes we don’t have forever with them and need to do the best we could with the amount of time we have. We take turns asking our parents ages and their health’s condition. We talked about our parents marriage issues, all weird shit. We whined how some of our parents behaviors are like kids especially after retirement, and now we have to act like adults instead.

Feel like a next level. Never really talked these kind of things this much in our 20s.

When I was much younger, I used to view “parents” as real adults with full authority who figure it all out and have all the answers in life. In recent years my view has changed. Now I start to see our parents as normal people who also make mistakes, still try to figure things out (because NO ONE ever figured everything out!), have insecurity and fear of their own, but still try the best they can despite all their flaws for their kids.

And the relationship with them has also changed over time. Only recently I started to feel like they treat us as adults. My father started telling us the major issues and politics he had at work 10 years ago, which I didn’t have a clue back then. My mother and I have always been friends ever since I could remember. But the dynamics now have also changed and she opened up more on her own issues, worries, and insecurities. Sometimes I take turns comforting her and giving her advice too, when back in the days she was always the one giving me advice. Suddenly we are really like friends, and the gap is much narrower than it once was.

My friends and I talked a lot more on marriage and kids, something that everyone else is doing around us these days. One of our friends is also getting married end of this year. We took turns checking on Facebook who got married and who have kids among our high school friends. A lot of old names popped up that made us laugh even louder, remembering what they were like in middle school and how awkward they were (or all of us were!). We then asked each other if we want kids and kept teasing each other that our eggs will soon be infertile (more crazy laughs).

One friend has an idea that she is going to throw a wedding TO HERSELF once she turns 35 and still single, and will invite everyone so that she will get the wedding’s envelope (money!) just like everyone else. We laughed hysterically at her idea and I love it so much that I said I want THAT for me too! Let’s think of this self-wedding theme! And we take turns picking different years for our own weddings (You go for the year 2030, I will go for 2025), haha.

All silly but really good fun. Another friend also video called from Singapore where she works to join our conversation. Pretty awesome 🙂

On the way home later that night, a friend opened up about her mild depression, insecurities when dating boys, and her parents marriage issues. All deep shit. I thanked her so, so much that she came to my birthday dinner today as I know she was struggling months earlier to meet anyone. I made sure to hug her and let her know that it’s good to see her and it means a lot to me.

Why can’t we open up and have deep talk with more people? Small talks bore me to death. Give me something more substantial. Tell me your interests. Tell me your opinion on things, anything. What is your passion? What makes you tick? What irritates you? What are your fears? What makes you sad? If only we could be more honest with our feelings and open up to more people, the world would be much nicer and we all wouldn’t feel so alone, don’t you think?

A great birthday in the end. So grateful of people in my life. Simple day but meaningful to me.

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