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Little Things 249 : End of the Year 2021

Here's a 2021 compilation :


1. Summary on my mental + physical condition :

It took 6 weeks, 4 physiotherapy + 1 chirotherapy session, countless Brandt-Daroff exercises and Epley maneuvers for me to recover from the vertigo. Even now, I can't promise that I won't wake up one day with the world spinning in my eyes. 


I can already feel the pressure builds up along my neck and shoulder just days after I got back from 3 weeks stay at my mom's last weekend. I try to scrape it off every day but it is still there. My standing table just arrived yesterday and we took an hour to install it. My laptop is already as high as my eye level so I don't have to put pressure on my neck anymore. I got myself a totally new 24 inch monitor because it was still under warranty (bought a monitor early this year). It isn't white as I originally bought but it is 3 inches bigger. Here is my current standing desk setup :



I don't know what else can I do to avoid this repeating pain to come. We are still having our morning walks (which is my most favorite part of my day). We found so many new hidden paths for us in Putrajaya and it is the most rewarding thing in 2021 :



2021 is the year I found myself in a lot of mental and physical challenges. I was diagnosed with anxiety early this year and that took around 6 months of my life, and then I had chronic pain due to either my back, or my neck and shoulder, the migraine and yes, the latest one is vertigo. These are all connected, when I'm anxious, my muscle tense up and it leads to more injuries on my physical body. Surprisingly, even if I don't really feel anxious, I'm still prone to high-stress (not really sure why) and those stress also leads to more physical pain. This is a brutal cycle for me :F


I would really love to train for a long walk and yoga back again, and I hope 2022 is more welcoming. 


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2. On books :

Honestly I've been trying to spend more time finishing up books. I'm still a little bit obsessive about the amount of books that I consume every year, and this year I manage to finish around 55 books. 


  • Most memorable fiction is : People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Most memorable non-fiction is : Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and Everything is F*cked (because it is relatable when I was dealing with anxiety)
  • Most memorable writer is Thich Nhat Hanh

I also bought a kindle so that I will have an access to any books that I want - I don't have to solely rely on preloved or borrowed books. I have a lot of books that I want to read but harder to get (because they are new or rare, and I don't want any physical books to keep anymore except for some that I still collect : Haruki Murakami or Carlos Ruiz Zafon's).




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3. On finance :

On lighter mode : I finished paying off my student loan :D
But at the same time I've been using up my epf saving twice during the pandemic because I've been sick a lot and it's harder to work when I'm sick. 


Everything is possible when you have the time and energy. I learned that rezeki comes in many ways; a good health, a strong body, an unrelentless mind, time, peace, not just money. I always thought that I can work as long as I want and money will come along eventually but then this year I was sick a lot. When I can't work, nothing seems possible. I've been creating this person that I am today surrounded with the possibilities to work in many ways, I was a workaholic for 10 years. Then 2021 happened.

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4. On career :

Still a full-time freelancer :D The fifth-year so far.
This year I worked with Mylaksa, IPC Shopping Center, and NOKO Malaysia. I also ended the contract with Samsung and refused to extend the new contract for 2021 because of an 'issue'. 

2021 social media collaboration : Sudio Sweden, Uniqlo Malaysia, Cadbury ZIP and Gaston Luga.





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5. On Sofi :

Sofi is currently 2 years and 5 months old and she is speech-delayed. She's healthy, she's very physical, smart and needy. She loves transportation, her current favorite is an excavator. She knows how to differentiate between her toy bus, train, taxi, police car, van and fire-truck (this was from our recent first visit to Family Mart with her, she refused to let go of the toy set and we had to buy it for her =.=). 

Her current favorite channel is Blippi (which I don't understand the hype at all, Blippy is so 'silly').

Words she can say (not including animal sounds): 
  • yaya : Ayah
  • dok : Dog
  • ka : Cat
  • kak (with a sign) : Buka
  • no : No
  • buh : Blue
  • bo : Ball
  • pak : Park
  • chuchu : Train
  • yeay : Yes
  • bok : Book

She wouldn't talk when prompted, she never really imitate as well, and she never called me "mommy" even once, yet. She's at the age that is supposed to be able to say around 50-100 words, we will send her to be checked next year. 

She's healthy and hardly ever get sick, so I'm really grateful for this. 


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I'll officially be reaching mid 30s next week. 

Still processing how 10 years passed in a blink of an eye :F I do feel like I aged a lot these past few years (maybe due to the pandemic and parenting). 


Hopeful New Year 2022 


Little Story 240 : Kindle 10th gen

I bought myself an early birthday present. I've been wanting an e-book reader for awhile, probably along the time when I stopped buying physical books. 

I loooove books and I read a lot. But buying physical books means I have more things in my home but I don't want to collect things. I am also a bit sad to see my unread books on shelves getting older. No one else in my family reads, so I don't really want to keep more books than I intended to. 

The saddest part of "not wanting to keep more physical books" is I can't buy books. I missed a lot of 'new releases' since then.

Here's my ereader :



If I don't buy books, how did I manage to still read ?

1) Since I decided to stop collecting books, I started subscribing to Scribd. For $8.99 per month, I have an unlimited access to their digital and audio books. That's when I started consuming so many books per year, because I can listen to it whenever I want. I consume more books by listening but less book by reading. I don't read on my iPad.

2) I buy preloved books. This is a challenge. I always use Carousell for this. It is very challenging to find books that "I want" during that time instead of books that people no longer want. There are also so many people that sell reprinted books or what I call "pirated books", and I don't support that. I rather buy old books than reprinted books because I don't really want to support the book-piracy industry.

3) I borrow from people. Unfortunately, I don't have that many friends who read (or worse, I don't really have that many friends). I always ask in my IG stories when I want to borrow certain books, but I hardly receive replies. 

4) I wish to find more local libraries (but probably after Covid)

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I finally decided to just buy the kindle when I was stuck at my mom's in Nilai last week (after I finished People in the Trees) and I had nothing new to read, so I decided to go to Aeon Nilai to check-out their 'Popular' bookstore and found only 1 row of English books and only 1 of it was fiction. Imagine that. I was disappointed. I was so happy for finishing a good fiction and I wanted the same energy to boost my next read but I found none. So I went back home, spent 2 days reasoning with myself, asked Af and Aja, then I finally ordered it from Kindle Malaysia and got it in less than 3 days. 

I've been admiring my small library for awhile. I can now travel with more books than 3. Yes, it doesn't feel as good as a physical book, it doesn't have a certain 'smell', it can't keep memories (you know, how we can create a visual memory of each book that we read - who bought it for you, what happened when you read it, where did it travel with you, etc. But it is good enough.
  • Small and light
  • Built-in dictionary
  • Use less battery
  • Built-in book store 
  • Bring a library anywhere
  • No glare
I haven't bought my first ebook yet. Still haven't decided on which ebook to mark my first starting on a journey :F

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So my birthday is coming very soon, I'm turning 35 !
Here's a link to Amazon eGift Card and here's my email : azreen0301@gmail.com :D This is your call to be a book elf this new year and sprinkle some book dust magic to me so that I can buy more books in 2022, yeay!

My sister was worried about the review of the egift card so I made my first trial purchase and it worked just fine. Bought the egift card, received an email, got a link, added it into my acc balance on Amazon :


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Note : Quite excited for this purchase, been having book-fasting purchase for years :F Now I can still read from my old-time favorite writers: Mitch Albom, Jodi Picoult, Elif Shafak, etc without having to keep the physical copies. I don't have to worry about who is going to manage my home library when I'm gone. 

Little Things 248 : Being Unwell

 

For my lower back, neck and shoulder problem (since Aug 2021):

  1. I had 5 sessions with a chiropractor, Dr Samson at Elite Spine - we did adjustments and acupressure. Mostly around 30 - 45 minutes per session. RM 130 per session.  
  2. I had 3 sessions with a physiotherapist, Maisarah at PhysioCare (and 2 more sessions scheduled after Dec) - we tried heat treatment, massage, scrapping, acupressure, acupuncture, dry cupping, and physiotherapy. 1 hour session per treatment. I paid for RM 525 for 5 sessions.




I spent a lot of money this year for my physical and mental health. I bought new mattress and pillow, new ergonomic work setup, massage and working out equipments, supplements for recovery and healthy food choice. It has been an eye-opening experience, being unwell. 


I stayed at my mom's a lot since the border restriction was lifted, so Ma can finally meet Sofi every waking hours. We also walked almost every day outdoor. I am a changed person, I became closer to my family, I learned to ask for help, to show vulnerability, I choose not to suffer alone. I let got of my work, I turn off Patreon's monthly rewards and stopped social media when I needed. I also read a lot, thrifted a lot, borrowed a lot (but reading has always been my ultimate activity, so no surprise there).


Being unwell is a humbling experience. I had walked through the 5 stages (of grief) : the denial, the anger, the bargaining, the depression and the acceptance. Sometimes I am at the first stage back, especially when it started to get really painful again. Sometimes I just go along with the situation, like when having a vertigo while walking outdoor and it felt like walking on clouds, having to play a game of balancing (in this situation, vertigo isn't painful just very inconvenient depending on how bad it is). 


At this point, we have accepted 'the situation' and adapting to it. So we are no longer searching for a full-time job (I've been a freelancer for the past 5 years so this isn't new to me), but Af isn't so he needs to find his work-rhythm because there are times when I am too unwell to do anything but sit/lie down. So we had to be prepared for it. 

Ah well, this is what it is. 


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Note : At times like this, I am so grateful for the work rezeki that I've been having, because I keep on getting 1 big project at a time, I only need to work at least a full week in every month and the payment would be enough for at least 1.5 months. It is a huge advantage for me because I am often too unwell to work even though I wanted to. Thank you Allah.  


2nd note : I've been reading Hanya Yanagihara's debut novel : People in the Trees and it is an engaging read :F I haven't read that much good fiction lately - and so finding this is a like picking up a full caramelized popcorn in the dark while watching movie (if you like caramelized popcorn). I'm happy I started reading her book to close up my 2021 reading challenge.


I hope you are well. 


- image : https://unsplash.com/@8moments

Little Story 239 : Why I Stopped Running


It's been 8 days since my vertigo started. I've been to 3 physiotherapy sessions in a week and I've healed from my neck and shoulder strain. But not the vertigo, not the spinning sensation, not the imbalance world within every move.


It is definitely frustrating, if it weren't for my experience throughout 2021, I would definitely whine and be more stressed out about this. I can't run, I can't even walk properly. I entered 10km virtual run (because I want all the merchandizes I designed) but I can't even run. I've already walked 6 km for the run all while I was having a light vertigo. Can you imagine that ? No, of course you can't.


I told my physiotherapist : "I use to ran a lot, I ran, I do yoga, I'm fairly an active person. Now I can't even walk properly". This year was supposed to be the year I started running for fun again, the year I take yoga license. But I couldn't do any of that. I've been sick on and off through out the year. 


One thing I have to learn to let go is the believe that I can do anything. Time is very limited, and sometimes our stories are written in a way that we don't really want to happen. I definitely NOT want to be sick and fragile, but I am, right now. I had to let go of certain things at this moment. I learn not to hold on too much on goals, but only focus on the stories and the lessons. 


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I stopped running in events because I feel like I've been trying to catch something in the finish line just to prove something to myself. I've come to a this realization when I was training for my half-marathon and I ran 10 km every day - but without the crowds, without the medals, without the cheers, and I felt fine. I thought "oh so this is what a 10 km run should really feel like, uneventful and plain". 


After my 2 half-marathons, I decided to stop running in events because I know. I know I can run, I can train for a marathon and spend my days doing the rigorous training, I know I can because I'm a very strong-willed and goal-oriented person. If I can learn to do 5km, and 10km, and 21km, I know what I needed to do for a marathon. That is not my purpose to start running (at least not in events). I loved running, but I didn't feel fulfilled after the goals was reached, I just pushed for more goals - and boy, I love goals (look at how much I read every year). 


And so I stopped running in events. 


But I still love moving, and I realized that I love walking and hiking more. I told Af that I really-really would want to walk. I want a long walk, a really really long walk. I don't want a marathon, I don't want another run with the crowds. I didn't need the numbers telling me what I can reach or not. But I still want to move. I want a long walk, from a city to another city, to the countryside and the forest, alongside the beach and the silence of the old villages. 


I don't really want to run anymore, but I want to have long walks. The ones that I spend the whole day just walking, the ones that make me wish for home, the ones that make my feet hurt, the ones that make me question my existence and the meaning of the world, I want to spend the nights scrapping off the muscle tensions for the next day, and I want to write. 


That's what I want, for now. 

For the past 4 years since I stopped running in events. 

I just want something uneventful, just a really long walk and to write. 


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Image : https://unsplash.com/@enioku