I hate exercise but I do it anyway

Came across this Time article this week; why exercise is a higher priority than my career, and it made me think of myself and my friends. 

It feels a bit surreal that I am writing about exercise. Me!? It’s almost like a sick joke. I’ve always hated exercise, and tried my best to avoid it. It’s never fun for me. 

I’d rather sit and drink hot latte and read magazines. And eat cheeseburgers. You get the idea. 

I only started going to the gym regularly 2-3 years ago. What drove that decision was mainly because I broke things off with a guy (Don’t roll your eyes, I know I’m a cliche). And I wanted to be a better me; healthier, prettier, and smarter. 

So, signing up for a gym membership and an intro to accounting class were the choices I made, to achieve a healthier-and-smarter-me goal. 

(Still regret the latter one, accounting WTF? but oh well) 

I could keep that routine going for about 6 months before I left for the UK. In the UK I did nothing. Signed up for contemporary jazz dance class for one semester, but couldn’t even drag my ass out of my flat during winter to go to the class weekly (obviously too busy hibernating in my room with a heater). 

I’ve recently started exercising only 4 months ago. Back to Bangkok, starting office life, and easing myself into routine, it makes sense to be committed to it again this time. 

I only picked hot yoga because there is the hot yoga studio in my office building. Convenience is one of the key factors I consider for exercise. Also discipline. So I usually have fixed Yoga dates of the week and try to stick to it. I find these two factors help making exercise less painful by reducing the amount of time to think and hesitate. Just grab my bag and press elevator down a few floors, on designated dates of the week. 

I still hate it and doubt if there will come a day I like exercising. Most of the time it’s incredibly hard convincing myself to go for 90 minute hot yoga in the evening after a whole day at work, especially on stressful days (Again I’d rather eat cheeseburgers…). 

After I do it though, it feels really amazing every time. Exhausting, but refreshing. Especially at the end of yoga with the dead body pose, you have to lie still and rest for a few minutes. After a 90 minute hot yoga with all the sweats, that feeling is pure bliss. It comes quite close (keyword: close) to the feeling of post-orgasm. 

And you’ve got a lot more energy afterwards. 

I’m not a yoga expert or anything and haven’t really read or studied about its benefits much, but one thing I really like about yoga is it feels like you exercise your body and mind at the same time. You have to learn to breathe deeply; inhale, and exhale. 

More often we are told to let go of our worries of the day. Once, a yoga instructor even told us to “surrender” to the yoga mat. 

To me, that is probably the first time someone told me to “surrender” All my life it’s about to keep going, fighting for the best, never give up. 

Yoga does give me another perspective to look at. The different side of it. 

This is something I didn’t expect but picked up by practicing yoga, for only a few times a week. 

Many of my friends seem to be so busy these days. Some are very busy juggling an MBA degree and a full-time job. Some are extremely busy squeezing a full-time job and starting their own business. They say being too busy, trying to do everything, with not much sleep and no exercise makes them feel very exhausted. A friend even said she got so busy that she became disoriented and forgot her meeting or asked for two meeting appointments at the same time. 

I get it that many people my age are probably trying hard to do everything all at once. We are still fairly young, we think we are capable of doing it all.

It might be true, and you may be able to keep it going for 5 or 10 years. I have to quote my dad here as he likes to compare that health is, just like anything else, a resource. If you keep taking advantage of it, depleting all of it, and not sustaining it, one day you will have to pay the price. Probably an expensive price as it is an accumulated result of your habits for the past 5-10 years or perhaps your whole life. 

I’m certainly not a great example of having a healthy lifestyle; eating and exercising. Trust me, I am far away from it. But I do believe in living with balance and no extreme; too much and too little of something is not good. 

For me, moderation seems to be the key. And exercising seems to fit in this picture of “balance” So I *try* 

(Sounds like a Buddhist teaching here! And hey, I don’t know if I believe in karma and reincarnation stuff, but this moderation thing sounds pretty cool to me) 

This blog post could be a result of guilt as I skipped yoga today. Aim to go tomorrow instead though! 10AM on Sunday morning is going to be painful, but it’s going to be worth it, like I feel it is every time at the end of 90 minutes. 

Are you chic enough to live in Bangkok?

It’s Sunday, and I chose to stay home all day reading fashion magazine (Cleo. I even subscribe it!), articles from Twitter (read tons of good ones today!), and a new novel, as well as chatting with my mom and brother, and cleaning hair brushes and make-up sponges.

Not exactly an Instagram worthy kind of day. 

Earlier my friend and I agreed to cancel our plan to go cafe-ing in Asoke, with the reason that we are too lazy to leave our houses. 

It made me feel I’m getting old, when staying home feels more luxurious than going to brunch in a cool cafe. 

Damn, didn’t I just miss the opportunity to Instagram my hot latte and Eggs Benedict!? Such a big deal, isn’t it? 

I sometimes sneer at and/or make fun of those Bangkokians posting photos of cool restaurants, new bars and chic cafes in town as pretentious; trying to let the world know what a chic, hip lifestyle they possess. Showing off is such a crucial part of Thai society these days. You need to show the world via all possible social media channels that you are always busy, doing interesting stuff all the time, especially in your free time at the newest hangouts in town. 

It’s almost impossible to avoid social media these days, as it creeps into our lives so much that it has become another important part of it. We get bombarded by it seeing what our “friends” (HUGE quotation mark here) are up to daily, hence it most likely has enough power to force us to do the same things. 

Ironically, I’m probably one of them too (HA), although I don’t think I’m the type that tries too hard. 

Since I started working, I somehow enjoy exploring new places to go, much more than when I was in Chula, with limited amount of money (student’s life), but a huge amount of homework, reports, lessons to review on weekends, and no time to chill (Weekends always made me stressed) 

Also I stopped hating Bangkok and enjoying living in my city more. Aren’t we great at producing more and more new places to eat and hang out out in this city!? Feel like a shame if I don’t take an advantage of this fact.

It’s all Sabai-Sabai, and Sanook-Sanook in this city of angel, isn’t it?

(Trying hard not to sneer at that sentence)

Anyway let’s get back to other pretentious people stuff. 

I have learned that some people, or the majority in the society, extremely pay attention to what other people do, where they hang out, what they wear, and some even try to copy the lifestyles that make them look “cool”

Even though that’s not who they are.

I got asked from a friend once, supposedly I don’t like lobster, but if there were a new, chic lobster place open in town, and everyone has been raving about it and going there, would I go there too?

I said no, why would I go if I didn’t like it?

She said, there are people who would go just to make it look good on their Instagram. 

Why?

Seriously, why? 

Some people would be willing to give up who they are, in order to look cool. 

Read that again. Does anyone feel like it’s a big deal as much as I do?

Hello, Welcome to fake society? 

But that’s Bangkok in a nutshell for you, everyone. 

Personally, I admire people who stay true to who they are, even though they are different. 

I have recently spoken to one of my colleagues; a real sweet girl. She likes to read, cook at home, make her own lunch boxes and bring it to the office every day. When I asked what kind of restaurant she likes to go, she said she doesn’t really go out to eat much. She can eat at normal food courts in Big C or Lotus and that would be fine. 

She said, she enjoys simple and basic life. 

That is just so cool. 

The fact that she simply shares that to me and doesn’t fake who she is makes me feel she’s SO much cooler and also braver than those who go out to eat at stuff they don’t even like just for the sake of that damn Instagram. 

I can’t imagine how exhausting it would be trying to fake it and imitate other people’s lifestyles, when you don’t even want it. 

But then again, our modern society is also shaped this way. I can’t count the numbers of times some clients quickly check or even stare at the bag I carry, as if they are ready to estimate my value and net worth, based on that damn bag. 

Materialistic world. No wonder people are trying so hard persuing materialistic things or luxurious lifestyles to make them feel confident and accepted.

I think it can happen when you are insecure of who you are. Therefore, you need this material “stuff” to make you feel better about yourself which you can show off to other people too. 

It’s just sad, you know? Very sad. 

It’s really important to stay who you are, when  society, social media, and peer pressure try to influence and persuade you to be something otherwise. 

I must always remember this. You gotta stay strong. 

Western guys VS. Thai girls (And my view)

Classic, cliché topic isn’t it? 

But today I want to talk (write) about it from my point of view. 

We were at Bellino in Thonglor 13 on Saturday evening. The restaurant/bar was very nice, comfy and cozy. It feels like a hidden spot in the middle of hectic Thonglor. 

Most of the customers we saw that day were mostly Westerners. Many Western guys came with their Thai girls, sitting at their tables next to the bar inside, or at the couch outside. 

I was also with 2 Western guys; my boyfriend and his friend. I walked in, glanced around at all the Farang-Thai couples, and their appearances, atmosphere and everything else hit me like, why oh why, this kind of scene really fits the streotype of Farang guys and Thai girls in Bangkok, or perhaps Thailand in general.

It also seems to be the stereotype from quite a few of my friends; be it in Tokyo, Shanghai, or Bangkok, these white men seem to think it’s so easy, too easy to get Asian girls. I’ve heard it again and again. 

And I can’t resist rolling my eyes. 

I wish I could tell them that, first, these girls who are hunting Farang or desperately want Farang boyfriends are most certainly can’t be used to represent the image of Thai girls in general. 

Isn’t it natural that Farang men would be exposed to the kind of girl that wanna catch them, because they seek for financial security or whatever reason these girls are after? (I’m not judging, if it works out for them, it’s good for both parties) Naturally, these girls would choose to hang out at places they can catch their targets attention.

But that doesn’t mean all Thai girls are that easy to get. 

There are plenty others who are definitely not into Farang, because of language and cultural barrier, or many other different things that could put them off. And they would naturally not be in places these Farang go. 

Even in my circle of friends, which many have studied abroad, are exposed to different cultures, speak 2-3 languages, it still doesn’t mean all of them have positive attitude toward Farang. In fact, quite a few have hostile feelings toward them. 

Then, the conversation shifted to the expat side. I’ve never given much thought about it, but they were talking about how difficult it is for expats in Thailand to find a “good, decent Thai girl.” (Quoted our conversation here. Be noted that the word “good” is subjective) 

Here are the reasons;

1) “Good” Thai girls are taken.

2) “Good” Thai girls don’t go where Farang go. They always hang out in their own group, very secluded in their own circles. Farang can’t get into those circles. 

Some other reasons is, even though there could be many “good, decent Thai girls,” if they have never been exposed to international setting, most of the time there is a huge cultural and communication gap. It is too challenging trying to make the relationship work. The lifestyles between Thais and expats can be hugely different, so it’s difficult to find connection with Thais. 

That makes sense, I guess. 

 I actually dislike it when people say I’m into Farang men. It always reminds me of the “Farang men and Thai girls” stigma that has been around ever since I could remember.  

Honestly and sincerely, I most certainly am not crazy about blonde hair, blue eyes, high nose, long eyelashes (yep…) or whatever the outer appearance is. In fact, I don’t mind where they are from, I even joked with friends that “It’s free trade. All nationalities are welcomed,” if they have what I need in a relationship.

It’s the mindset I’m always looking for, be it Thai or Farang or any nationality. 

Speaking from own experiences, what I can find in Farang, but not in Asian men I’ve met so far, is simply the openmindedness. With Westerners, I can always express my thoughts and feelings much better no matter what they are about, and they tend to accept those differences quite well, unlike Asian men who in general (again from my experiences so far) are more narrow-minded, and think there is a certain pattern or way of how a woman should behave, act, or even think.

That really makes me feel too restricted. I have to fit the role of being a “proper girl”

You drink too much? Some Thai guys would start judging you are the bad ones. You sleep with the guy you date within a few weeks? Pfft, definitely a slut. You go to his house too soon? Come on, why are you such an easy girl?

The list is endless. 

There is always something hidden or expected of you to act like a “good girl” 

With Westerners, I feel I am more accepted as a human being. No jokes. 

I can be who I want, and say what I want. And it’s a good feeling to be just me.  

There are many other qualities as well, like how relationship feels more mature; being able to give each other privacy and space, as well as mutual respect, unlike many Thai relationships I heard about which seem to be crazy on controlling and being jealous to each other. 

Sometimes I think perhaps life could be easier if I loved a Thai-Chinese boy and we were oblivious in our own Thai-Chinese bubble with our families and such. That’s another thing for many Thai-Chinese backgrounds, they don’t really view Farang as rich or desirable number one like some girls in this country may do. 

But I can’t change how I am. For this, I really have to pick what makes me happy.

Somehow, even with cultural and language differences, I have felt more connected to Western men I have dated, than many other Thais who speak the same language and share the same culture with me. 

How do you know when you have found the right one?

I didn’t know this question would stir quite a few discussion on Twitter, from many people’s different viewpoints, so much so that I was pretty sure 140 characters definitely are not enough to express feelings and opinion on this topic.

It started from some personal talk and brief comment I received earlier this week, as well as this link I coincidentally came across, which made me ponder about it for a bit.

Well, firstly, to make it clear, the definition of “the right one” I’m talking about here is the one that makes you wanna spend the rest of your life with, stop looking elsewhere, and settle down.

In other words, the one you wanna marry. 

I wonder what makes people decide they have found that “right one”

Is it only just because the “feeling” and/or “timing” is right? And how would you know?

I got a reply from Twitter that it’s when you feel content and not insecure in the relationship you have. But honestly, I feel that way with every single relationship I have had so far. Otherwise I wouldn’t be in it. 

To me, marriage with “that right one” feels like a serious commitment, something that I don’t wish to do more than once in life. If I did it at all, it would probably be one of the biggest decisions. As a natural skeptics, over-thinker, and over-worrier, it feels natural to me to raise this question.

Before you tell me…hey, nothing is definite or certain, you never know what is going to happen, people change over time, you can only hope for the best, and all that…seriously, I get it. I totally understand that things don’t work out. Marriage does not equal forever. 

What I mean here is, the decision-making process (Damn it, I sound like I’m conducting some scientific research!) of picking “the right one” prior to that kind of serious commitment, as I assume a failed marriage is undesirable for most people.

Would people give it a thought that they have found the right one they wanna get married? Is it up to the situation at the moment and they just go along with it? Or is it not that serious for some people so they don’t really think?

Then, shockingly to me, there are a few Twitter responses, mostly from guys, who said they don’t believe in “the right one” concept.

What?

To me, that sounds almost like you don’t view marriage as important. You can marry someone who is probably good for now. Go with the flow, only think about that moment? (really?)

There are some comments that said, but sometimes it doesn’t mean you have found the right one, people can get married when the relationship feels right, or some get married because they don’t want to be alone.

I supposed I could understand marriage out of fear of being alone, arranged marriage, or marriage because your family forces and/or wants you to. Finding the right one wouldn’t be considered necessary in these cases. 

But other than that, isn’t marriage mainly about picking the right partner for yourself? 

I’m gonna sound repetitive for this, but hello, aren’t we supposed to spend the rest of our lives with this person?

 (Ideally, but shit happens, I’m fully aware of that).

Some said the idea of this “right one” puts a lot of pressure on your partner and relationship. Why would it be? I don’t mean I’m turning or forcing them into the right one. I’m in the decision-making (this word again, damn it!) and thinking process; whether or not I want to settle down with this person.

What would distinguish them from the rest of previous relationships? What is it that would make you think “stop, I’m not gonna go look anywhere further”? 

Don’t tell me that when you find the right one, you just know. I can’t really be convinced with that. As a person who questions just about everything because I want it all to make sense (even with feelings, I like to analyze it and end up getting even more confused, stupid of me…HAHA), I doubt anyone would have the power to make me stop wondering. Got swept off my feet, drowning in love? That just doesn’t sound like me.

On another note though, it would most likely freak me out a lot when/if that time came. Settling down sounds like some “grown-up stuff” Even though I’m not that young now, so far I haven’t desired marriage, husband, and kids (*shudder*) like many women my age probably do. It certainly is not my goal at the moment. 

(Hell, I don’t even know if I will ever want to have kids one day. It freaks me out like nothing else in the world)

Anyway, this post probably sounds confusing, with lots of questions thrown in. I don’t have clear-cut answers for it, and doubt this is the kind of topic anyone would. I’m just wondering about that “line,” the line that supposedly makes one “final right one” different from the rest of “the right ones” before. I’ve always thought it exists, but, via last night Twitter conversations, perhaps it doesn’t. 

Somehow I wish it did though. Things would make more sense. 

Pouring my heart out 

I just had a 6 hour conversation, this kind of conversation, on one fine Friday evening. 

About work, life, love and all things that matter and don’t matter at the same time. 

I have always craved for it, believed it is good and important to step back and contemplate about all things in life from time to time. It felt amazingly liberating, as well as confusing as hell. 

And all that is left now is thoughts and more thoughts running through my head all weekend (Typical me). So much that I finally had the courage (?) to start a new blog afresh, to write it out and organize these confusing thoughts, which I always did but hadn’t done in a great while. 

You see, I always describe myself as having this quarter life crisis thing ever since I graduated. For all 17 years of my education life (school 12 years, bachelor’s degree 4 years, master’s degree 1 year) I was never lost. I always had goals and aims to drive me through each step in life, which I worked on it, and achieved all of the goals I set for myself. 

But now, enter the working life. Things felt very different now. Wider, bigger world. More variety of people. More vague. Different paths are left for each of us to choose. They are no longer a pattern or a fixed rule. More freedom, followed by more confusion in my case. 

Where are my aims and goals now? Which direction should I be heading to? In order to achieve what? What is the purpose? 

Of course, there are some typical aims to follow, as society may expect us to – to be good at our job, to perform well, to gain respect and trust from our boss, to earn more, to get a raise, and the list goes on and on. 

What is haunting me is not any of those as I am quite certain I can go along with those fine at this point in my life. 

But for me, it’s about learning and wanting to be good at…something. I want to be great (just like all those years in education, never been anything but the top).

I just read this article yesterday. Combined with the conversation I had, suddenly there are two extreme different thoughts popping up in my head. 

One, yes I have been told quite a few times from many people in life that I have potential to achieve anything, and I would like to believe that. So far I have tried and pushed myself to be the best. It makes sense to continue trying and pushing myself to…somewhere

But is it what I really want? Do I want to try that hard? All those years there were nothing but exhaustion. It eventually felt great to achieve something great, but there were many prices to pay along the way – suffering, stressing, studying so hard, even at one point crying my way, to finally achieve that damn first class honor degree. When I got that piece of paper, I went numb thinking I sacrificed a lot to this, I “suppose” this was “kind of” worth it. 

So here comes my #2 thought. 

Two, what is wrong with settling with something that is “good enough”? Decent job with balanced life. I have more time to enjoy little things, spend more time with people I love, exercise, relax on weekends, read, travel the world, have time for myself, and more. 

It doesn’t sound bad at all. 

But then again, why do I feel like there is something more in me, which can drive me to be greater than what I am now? 

I spoke to my mother about this (as I usually do) and she did say one thing about my personality; I like to feel in control of my life, being organized in my comfort zone. With the “right” environment, I can operate well. So far my life has fitted in that “box” and I am happy about it. 

I spoke to him (yes, I have that him now, still weird to think about it even it’s been a while). His comment? I am still young, still capable to take risks as there wouldn’t be any consequences. If it’s what I want, try. I can always go back and quit if it’s not for me. It’s not the end of the world. 

Which really make sense. 

I was even more lost and confused 3 years ago, when I just graduated bachelors degree. I am still lost now, about where to go from here in life, if I would ever be satisfied with it, constantly asking myself some questions that still remain unanswered. 

I am scared, that one day I could let it go, be okay with the whole thing about career, compromise myself to be happy with “good enough” and just accept it. 

But then again, would that be such a bad thing? Is good enough a bad thing? Aren’t we built to never satisfy with what we have anyway? 

I still hope I don’t need to spend a whole life ahead of me trying to answer that question.