Third Quarter Things

(cover photo by Louise Ramos)

When I was in school, third quarter was my favorite part of the academic year — mostly because it was the shortest, and there were a lot of events and holidays, aka less time to study. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve always been the study geek by heart. It’s just nice to reach past the first half of the school year.

But now that I’m working (3 years now!), I always underestimate the importance of this part of the year. Usually, it’s that time of the year where I *hopefully* slow down from work (but who am I kidding, work never ends) and also where I think about future plans and dreams. I’m taking a backseat plotting out any new goals though; I didn’t set anything for this year and I am (surprisingly) not disappointed with myself.

I rewatched a couple of vlogs I recorded last December 2016 earlier this week (for personal documentation). I laughed. Moreover, I felt relieved I wasn’t that person anymore. She was devastated, downright depressed, and she was a dark part of who I used to be. Fast forward to this very interestingly eye-opening year, and I guess it’s safe to say I’m better. But that doesn’t discount the fact that life keeps surprising me in the most unexpected way. I’m not complaining, though—bring it on, lyf.

Thought I’d pop in today to share a few things I’ve been learning to adapt into my life so far. It’s true when they say having a few reminders on how to live better makes all the difference.

Uncertainty keeps you grounded

While the Capricorn in me is very uncomfortable with this thought, I’m slowly learning to live with the fact that nothing in life is uncertain. Things change in the blink of an eye, and it’s not like I can do anything about it but accept it. (Alternate caption: these couple of months have been major #plottwists in my life so haha I’m laughing it off ok)

On the brighter side though, some unexpected circumstances lead to better outcomes. And I’m holding on to that fact — when one door closes, another one opens. It’s really true and I’m taken aback by knowing it is.

Self-care is top priority

My tita self is rejoicing because for once in my life, I’m putting myself in the forefront of my priorities. 2015 self would be proud, really. I make sure now that I get enough sleep, workout as often as I can, eat better, and most of all, work around a schedule that I am completely at ease with.

Would you believe I’m also learning to meditate more now? Apparently reduces my daily stress and panic. I also wrote this random list titled “Every Week” which lists down self-care activities I should do in a week in order to say I’ve taken good care of myself (face mask, some yoga time, watching a film, etc). So far, so good!

*If you want to try meditating, I suggest downloading Headspace or Stop, Breathe and Think.

Finding comfort at home (and in good company)

I’m home! I’m leaving again next month (NYC!) but this August has given me much room to stay put, in a good way. I get to work on my weekly routine (because no trip can ruin it for the meantime!) and at the same time, have a semi-normal schedule of work and life.

That, and I’ve been (finally) out of my cave catching up with old and new friends. Here’s the thing: I grew up having not many friends. But I realize that quality is really better than quantity. I also had this illusion that friends are forever, but who am I kidding? This is the 21st century. Friendships and people come and go, but the best ones will stay. The toxic ones need to go. That’s a comforting thing to note. 😃

And another thing, I will never regret opening doors and letting people in. This year has taught me that looking mataray to strangers won’t earn me any new friends. Haha.

Empty days are as good as productive days

Day by day I always think that working your hardest will keep you productive. I was wrong, though. Emptying your brain is just as great — it helps you clear out work and restart for the coming days or weeks.

A little tip for you: try scheduling do-nothing Sundays where you just literally sit…and do nothing. Or maybe watch a film. Distract yourself. It’s a nice self-care activity.

Question everything, and I mean everything

This self-learning habit of “readsearch” has been keeping me busy in the best way. Except…I really get overwhelmed with a lot of tabs open. Lol. Kidding aside, it’s helped me cope with my never-ending existential question list (don’t ask) and it’s giving me new knowledge that I am always happy to know about.

Some of my favorite reads from readsearch this August:
How To Feel Progress (JK Glei)
Want to be an artist? Watch Groundhog Day (Austin Kleon — read until the end)
The two kinds of stories we tell about ourselves (TED)

Make time for personal work and side hustles

Lately I’ve been back to lettering. This is a good thing; I was so close to leaving it out because I was burned out from last year. It’s also helping that the 4th (!) book I’m writing is more focused on the technical side of hand lettering, aka more reason for me to research and do more art. Win-win. (It’s coming out next year in the USA!)

Most of you don’t know this, but managing Shop Abbey Sy is my side hustle. I wish I could say it was my full-time job, but I don’t think I’m ready for that part of my career yet. My time for freelance and book writing work takes up a huge chunk of my work schedule, and let’s say a 20% goes to the shop.

That 20% is always fun though; I get to channel my creative energy and learn from my own mistakes in the process. Some days I wish I could be my own version of Rifle Paper Co or but a girl can dream..for now. At the moment, we’re focusing on producing merchandise in time for Design Festa in Tokyo this coming November. Exciting times though!

I’ve been realizing though that while I have so many dreams I still want to pursue, I’m okay taking a pause first for health’s sake. Things are okay, and it’s nice to feel okay for once. Not pressuring anything to happen, not wanting to be somewhere else. Just here. In the now. 😃

How’s your 2017 so far? 🙂