Thursday, January 2, 2014

Here's to a great 2014!!

The first day of 2014 started off wonderful the way it always does since the past 4 years. It was a day where us Evurl girls gather for a warm chit chat, surprise each other with new year goodies and talk about almost everything - this year, the topic centered around groceries, types of fishes and vegetables! ;P

Though we were always excited with our epic presents wrapping skills and creativity, this year's do was a little simpler but no less exciting.

Talking about how it was for us last year, I realised I didn't really do a post on things I achieved in 2013, what I learnt and my hopes for 2014. Rest assured, I don't do resolutions since the past few years but I believe all of us would at least want to progress and improve with time.

One of the highlights to my 2013 was the numerous birthday celebrations I had. I don't think I ever celebrated my birthday more than once, let alone 3 times. On my birthday weekend in December, I had 3 memorable birthday do's - first with the family and then close friends. I felt so blessed to have meaningful people in my life spend time with me and make me feel so special. Of course, the entire thing spoilt my diet totally and I've not gotten back that healthy-eating-habit pattern yet after almost a month but with these kind of things, I guess one can just close one eye and continue to smile because nothing compares to love, friendship and happiness. I'll recover... soon :)

I also visited Switzerland for the first time in my life last year. I studied in a local university for my degree and unlike most friends who studied in the UK, I never had the chance to travel around Europe before. Hence, it was truly an amazing experience, especially since it was the first time I touched snow and felt what it was really like to be in freezing temperatures. I was fortunate to have a dear friend staying in Zurich and so that trip was like a breeze as we didn't have to struggle getting around.

With the trip to Switzerland, I indulged in the most type of chocolates and in super unreasonable amount, compared to the quantity I'd usually take in a year. I mean, I love chocolates, who doesn't? But I don't really look for them. I don't have frequent chocolate cravings and I don't really miss them. But to see so many varieties widely available in front of me, in a country where they say has the best chocolates ever, I bought and brought back too many. And I don't even regret that decision one bit. After distributing some of them to family and friends, I am close to finishing the last bits of them super yummy chunks, of course with the help of my 2 little me's peeping into the fridge whenever I open it.

I also learnt to eat Raclette for the first time. And I loved it so so very much... too much that I miss it now. I brought home a small packet (and cheaper variant) but I have yet to try it. Simply because I don't have a Raclette griller. Though I do think I can prepare them the conventional way which may not be too easy to remove from the frying pan, I have yet to find the right time where I can indulge this with Mr Oosband. It would be really lovely when that time comes.

Of course, with every year, there will be new beauty discoveries. From my recent travel I got myself many products I have not read of and then regret when I returned as I only got one piece each. I also got some products which people usually rave about but then discover I don't like them as much as everyone else does.

In 2013, the discovery that my skin may not be suited for products with silicone couldn't have come at the right time. I've since then experimented with products that do not contain silicone and I have yet to make up my mind if I am indeed sensitive to the ingredient.

As I enjoy catching up with friends, I realised that 2013 was a year of reunions. I mean, I have met up with so many friends whom I have not met in years... some more than 20 years, in fact. Yet, as we have always been close before, it was as if we've never left each other, also thanks to the presence of Facebook and Instagram where updating people in your circle can be very useful to those who are genuinely interested to catch up with you. You can just observe from the conversations and know how much the friendship means to them.

Year 2013 was also a year of many discoveries about my little ones. Both my little ones are growing at a fast pace and as parents, we must find the time to catch up or you'll miss many milestones. It is such a joy to see their quirks, how easy their emotions get affected, what they like and what they don't, etc. Though I have 3 children (the eldest is almost an adult already), all of them are different and I continue to learn on how to be a better parent. I'm no expert although I don't mind sharing some views on the experience.

Of course, this would probably be my biggest achievement! I think I have freed myself of the limitations and restrictions that I myself had set, and I am now free. I am not totally satisfied with my current weight but I have at least achieved some part of my goal in wanting to lose weight and get myself back in shape. It is still a journey for me because I'm not quite there yet... and 2014 will be another year where I shall challenge myself to keep healthy.

I don't want to turn this post into a cheesy cliche one where I'm supposed to say thank you for the wonderful man and family that I have because I think I would state the obvious. That would be a given deal that I don't have to mention in public. 

Certainly, the obvious take home message in this post is friendship. I'm blessed to have wonderful friends around me who continuously make me want to be a better person. 

I think a lot of people may not realise the importance of having peers that motivate you... peers that would cheer you up when you're down yet be extremely happy for you when you make it. They would want to be with you whenever, and they'd also want to share their happiest moments with you.

In 2013, I further saw friendships that started off really great more than a decade ago progressed downhill because of the different sets of priorities. As one grows older and get involved with different level of societies, they may have a different set of perception towards you and vice versa. By right, strong friendships should not falter but as long as it is beyond your control and you have tried your best to rekindle weak ties, one can only let go and wish them the best. It is a normal progression.  To want to remain friends, we could choose to accept or we could just cut ties and move on with our lives.

I think things like that are just not worth to focus on because it's better to remain positive and surrounded with positive people. See the people who wish to see you, meet people who are just as interested to spend time with you. It's as simple as that.

There will be many people who do not share your views but you do not need to get hostile with them. You don't even need to justify to them why you think they shouldn't think the way they do or why you think the way you do because true friends will respect your views and so will you. 

I am intrigued when an old friend who I just recently met said to me that there are no such thing as coincidence. There is a reason why people come into your life and how they somehow are a reflection of you. They are there to teach you things you should or shouldn't follow and you choose your own path or whether they should remain in your life. Nothing is coincidental. We are all on this huge live stage where we create our own script and dialogue, and our actions are all within our control.

Best part is, as I had always carried this mantra - that you will find what you seek. If you continue to look for information and answers, you will eventually find it. But if you refuse to seek the truth and inspire to be better, you will remain where you are and be bitter when others move ahead. Life can be vicious or life could be just beautiful, it all depends on how you view it. 

So, with that thought, I wish you all the best in this new year. Let's continue to improve and progress, and not forget the lessons we have learnt over the years.


beetrice said...

If the beginning is any indication, it's gonna be an awesome year ahead! :D

toughcookie said...

hi beetrice,
it surely looks like it! :)

plue said...

happy new year darling!

a little bummed that I had to missed out gathering this time, here's to hoping I won't miss another!

i have always believed certain friends belong to certain stages in life, and some... they just stay put in your life forever :)

may 2014 be an awesome year for you and family *hugs*

toughcookie said...

dear plue,
and happy new year to you too!! so sad to have missed you but I'm sure we would meet up again soon for CNY, perhaps?

thanks for that thought. i guess you are right that some friends would share certain common stuff with us while others may have moved on with other interests. but friends will remain friend, right? :)

you have a wonderful 2014 too... may all go well for you! xoxoxo