All posts tagged happiness

Being single.

Published October 30, 2015 by Ms.Turtle

Few days ago (maybe two days), a guy friend told me “You are special, strong and ambitious. One day, you will find someone that understand you and he will be attracted to you intensely”. I guess so. Then I remember I also told him “Sometimes being too ambitious is not good. Because I feel lonely, a bit, just a little bit” . I was honest. I do feel lonely, sad, or even sort of depressed. But I guess it is normal, isn’t it? I still remember the movie “Inside out”, the most significant message I got from that animation movie is that “When we grow up, it’s not just Joy (well, the character name) that make sense of our lives, but also sadness, anger, confusion – all need to collaborate well to make us — happy, I suppose. It would be too much for us to hold up to being joyful all the time. We all have to learn to accept our non-linear emotion graph eventually. So, it is not my singleness, which causes my depressing moments. It is life, and I loathe when one of my friend insists on making me to admit that I’m lonely because I have no partner. Well, to be honest, his persistence confuse me sometimes. I questioned myself as well whether he was right.

Then, I read a blog post today, and completely relieved. People are doing the same as what I am doing out there. There are women who are working, living their lives to the fullest. They, or let me say we, are totally ready to fall in love and hope to be loved in return. But we are not sitting around and waiting. We are not letting life slip out like that. We choose to do whatever we love, to explore the world, and to enjoy every single moment of life. We accept sadness, depression, or any down mood as inevitable elements of life. We are willing to love and to be loved. But let borrow something from Buddhism – “It is written”. When it is time, we meet the one, then we fall in love. For now, live well because each day is a precious gift that we should never forget to cherish.


Appreciate every moment of my life

Published October 21, 2015 by Ms.Turtle

My friend said “We have all done what we need to do for our love, so when we are old, we will have nothing to regret. But you, I suppose, will have many things you will wish you have done.” He may be right. I am worried too much, even though I don’t look like so. I’m afraid of failing, as consequence of life-time participating in contests after contest. I always tend to judge and evaluate situations to the minute, and then estimate my chance of winning over, then comes prediction of failure, etc… A long process, or excessive and unnecessary, or silly – as my friend call it. He told me, when it comes to relationship, what your brain tells you is bullshit, follow your heart.

I asked my friend whether I love Kevin. He told me that it has never been a matter of yes or no. What matters is Kevin is different, and special to me. That’s all I need to at least try. I hesitated.

Then Kevin called. I guessed, for one time in my life, I actually took my friend’s advice seriously. I let my critical-thinking process drop. I answered the phone, not worrying about Why he calls? or What am I to him? or What should I say to make good impression?. I let every wandering, clustering thought in my mind slip off. I talked to him, just as much laid-back as to my friends. I think it’s something Dalai Lama would call “approach people with sincerity”. I felt an ease between us. Probably my friend was right, love or like or whatever at this age is not the same as which at my 20. I might not have a heart-racing moment with him, like I had had with my ex-. I was not trying obsessively to say something impressive or cool, like I had tried when I was younger. We did not talk about fancy, interesting or dramatic stuffs like people describe in romance novel. We did not flirt or throw out subtle hints like we have always imagined about relationship. We just TALKED. And I actually enjoyed it. Or to be honest, I love how we communicate that way. When I did not carry a burden of future, I appreciated presence more. In the end, it’s all that matters, isn’t it? Appreciate every moment of my life.

This time, I should thank my friend, more than Kevin. Because ultimately, he was the one that make my talk more enjoyable. His truthful advice had cleared my clustered mind before I talked to Kevin. I still love my friend the most.

My spiritual confusion

Published October 6, 2015 by Ms.Turtle

I am reading “Beyond Belief” by Susan Tive and Cami Ostman. They collected stories of women in different religion. I guess the main point of the book is to understand why those were willing to practice religion which appears to be “extreme” to outsider. Somehow I feel like the book is speaking to me, loud and clear. An inner voice just bubbles up whenever I try to analyze the subtlety in each story in the book. I want change, I want to find my own spiritual practice.

I am not religious. Or to say, I am not in any known religion, but rather involve in what I may call “an ancient vietnamese tradition”. In Vietnam, we have a small number of people, which are actually expanding now, practicing this “tradition”. Maybe I should call it “religion”. It is female – dominant polytheism, with supreme deities are Tri Great Mothers. Then following are hierarchical levels with different deities. We have rituals to celebrates each of the deities every month. It is super complicated to explain. But we, I mean people who are practicing this tradition, believe in the power of the deities to give us things and to punish us for what we have done wrong. The reason that I was cautious in calling it religion because we have philosophy. Like it is not like we believe that our Gods created the world or we have to follow a strict behavioural guideline. We worship people who are believed to have sacrificed for the country, and to obtain the holiness. It is superstitious because we are looking at signs that we assume to be instruction from the Mothers, and we believe that if we perform the rituals frequently, the Mothers will be happy and will grant our wishes.

My family is a well-known family in this society, and I was supposed to practice it. I do believe in it, sometimes. I mean, now, when I am working on my happiness project, I am determined on finding a spiritual path that may lead to my ultimate goal. I am practicing Buddhism meditation and following the virtues guideline of Buddha. I am relieved and happy. I truly want to deeply follow these practice. It is not that I am going to be a Buddhist. It is that when I read Buddhism idea and philosophy, I have a strong feeling that it is the one, it will make me happy. I want to walk out of my family tradition. But I know it will be a serious problem for our family. I just do not want to perform any rituals, but we are expected to do it, otherwise it may be considered as “sin” for not ever performing the ritual. I am a highly educated, well-trained scientist. And the moment I get involved in a superstitious rituals, I feel like someone is squeezing my heart and draining out my brain. I feel nothing but exhaustion and lost. In my heart, I know this tradition is not for me, because I saw my sister, my aunts has done the rituals and they were happy, they were glowing and enjoyed. I was not ever. I felt miserable, and trapped. I am trying to walk away slowly.. Then, it means I have to avoid seeing my relatives, and it bothers me as well because I hate hiding from anything. I sincerely want to talk to my uncle, who is alway the master for me. But I know it is some kind of a forbidden topic. I am just trying to prolong this state, when people forget that I haven’t done the rituals for so long. And then, I will try to stay out, and keep finding my own spiritual practice that makes me happy. I am seriously not interested in being in any religion. All I need is some practice with therapy aspect to calm my mind and to be relieved.

I still love Montreal regardless

Published October 3, 2015 by Ms.Turtle

“Sometimes life is like going to an art gallery. You know that you will have to leave, but there are many things you love. Sadly, even though you have a lot of money, it doesn’t secure possession of what you love. There are things that do not mean to belong to you. I bet you would still come back, look at them and let yourself sink in the helplessness.”

I was reading a book of a Vietnamese author. She wrote about her life after her break-up with a married man. She was miserable, and I thought I would hate her for what she had done. Oddly, I did not. I learned something from her story, and her mourning that she had managed to elicit.

I booked ticket to Montreal next month, for my birthday. Even though everything was booked, I have been constantly hesitated. I have made thousands of assumptions, run over so many “what if…” quiz in my mind. What if he will have a girl friend? What if he will not see me? What if he will be travelling somewhere? What if …? I guess, I have been torturing my mind, which is totally against my happiness project. I forget about him for moment, when I do yoga, or when I meditate. I think I have a tremendous amount of synapses which are dedicated for “K. issue”. As soon as I finish my yoga or meditation, the K nerve cells will be over active, as if they were trying to compensate for time my brain has walked away from him. Once, I imagine “us” together in that city, and “I” talking to him sincerely, telling him about my life. Then, I immediately imagine “I” wandering around a French architecture streets alone. I have been going through an endless circle of “excitement” and “disappointment”. I try to recall what Dalai Lama said so many times “All our sufferings are created by our own mind”. But I can’t just stop myself.

Then I read the book. It was like a relief. I am back to the “I”, who happily walked around Asia countries in 35degree all by myself. I am back to the “I”, who is ready to do anything for my happiness regardless of any incidents. I checked my hotel again, making sure I will stay in a nice hotel because it will be my birthday and I want to treat myself well. I stop desperately searching for things to do in case K. is not seeing me. I will do what I have been doing all the time when I travel. I love to walk aimlessly, to observe the city as a lost one. That’s what I will do. I’m going there to see him, to calm myself down from my utterly urging desire to see him. But I can’t let myself be miserable for anyone. Regardless of everything, in the end, what matters is I am doing it for my happiness, not to torture myself. If he is not there, for me, anymore, it is fine. I still love Montreal, and I will definitely enjoy every single moment in that city. Just for me.


Published October 2, 2015 by Ms.Turtle

This is for my happiness project. It is not my initiative, but rather following Gretchen Rubin book that I’m reading now. I don’t know how long I may stay on this plan, but I will try my best. I first change the font. Instead of using a standard font Times New Roman, I am using this, according to me -cool font. How should I start? And how do I make it interesting enough for me to keep writing everyday? I think it should be a problem for anyone who is not in journalism or some kind of writing field. Even in science, when I have to write my report or work on a paper, it is really hard to start, yet somehow it seem easier to carry on.

English is my second language. It would have been much easier for me to write in Vietnamese, in which I already have a blog. I am trying my best to write in English. I think the fun part is that if anyone read it, they may find some of my writing style hilarious. It is a good thing because at least I can make people happy, even though it means I got made fun of. I’m trying to be forgiving here.

Imagine my life as a map with many distinct, and disconnected zones. A family zone includes my family, and also my best friends in Vietnam, who know every single piece of me. Of course, these people are whom I seem least please. I express my emotion, bad or good, to them. I show my true self when they are around. I usually act as if my brain has no filter. It is normal, isn’t it? Perhaps, I’m taking advantage of their understanding and tolerance. I know they love me, and I unintentionally force them to endure my anger, and irritation. Of course, I share joy, and happiness with them as well. Yet, I guess it is not just me, who always drag the love ones into suffering. I mean, it is common human tendency. What I want to say is, I should definitely include this “family zone” into my happiness project. In the end of the day, they are who matter the most to me.

Another is my work zone. This is my work life, with people I meet in school, or work in my lab. This is the region where I present my professional side. This zone is somewhat exhausting. Even though in my field, everyone is nice and friendly, it is still not acceptable for me to express my emotion frequently. More likely, this may be the best zone for me to test my happiness project. Daily interaction with people normally reveals your personality unexpectedly. I guess the happier I am, the easier for me to cheerfully communicate with others. Anyway, this is where I put most of my effort on for the happiness project. More than half of my life is in this zone, so it is totally reasonable for this much dedication.

I don’t know whether I should have this zone, which I call “vacation zone”. Well, it doesn’t involve any kind of “traveling”. This belongs to Kevin. Did I just say his name? Good. I don’t usually speak his name out loud when I talk about him. I’d rather call him “my Montreal” or “the guy”. He is not my boyfriend, yet a little bit more than a crush. Let me use my scientist skill to analyze our relationship. I treat him like my vacation, because when I was with him, I completely indulged in our moment. I enjoyed being with him. Back in my life, I miss him, not the way you miss someone you love. It’s more like reminiscence of holiday. Being with him is like escaping life. Once Kevin told me “Anh, you should learn to have fun when you sober”. He just doesn’t understand me that well. He knew that I needed some alcohol to be wild. I have fun still, when I sober, just in my way. For example, I enjoy reading, and listening to relaxing music. I have fun when I lie down and do nothing. I have fun when I talk to my friends. Of course, these are different from his definition of fun. He danced with the singer when we passed a street Jazz performance. I don’t like Jazz. He danced in club even before having drinks. I need drink. Kevin is my vacation, and who stay sober when you are on vacation, right? So when I was with him, I tried to get away from my life. I need alcohol to forget my life, hence to enjoy him. Perhaps I’m not that interested in him in prudential state. Anyway, he is not my love because I’m not seeking for some intimacy between us. Then, come a zone for him, vacation zone.

Then comes my friend zone. I don’t have many friends. According to one of them, I’m not well open to people, I have serious problem with “being insecure” – I happen to have a friend who loves to analyze my psychology. These friends are not like ones in my family zone. I don’t seek for intimacy with these people. It is more like a fun area, where I share my life a bit and spend more time on doing wild things. If you ask anyone in this zone about me, they would describe a girl that you may never associate to me. I’m not being fake around them. I just show a different, insane version that I don’t usually reveal. Somehow I even consider myself to be most honest here. I don’t know. At least I care enough for my friend zone. I don’t just easily interact with people and call them friends. There are people whom I rather call “acquaintances”, and never bother bringing them into my life. My friend zone is not too intimate, but not to distant.

The friend who loves analyze me describes my life as following. “For most of people, all the zones overlap. People they meet will be mixed and they never find themselves wandering around aimlessly. People usually choose to be socially immersed. Anh, however, loves to separate everything completely. Then comes the moment when she steps out of one zone, and find herself in middle of nowhere.” I don’t agree with him. I step out of each zone to be on my own. I enjoy these exploration times, when I can travel around, observe everything as an outsider, and choose to step in any zone I want at anytime. I told him that I am more free than most people. He still assigns my quiet moment as “loneliness”, even though I tried to convince him that it is “self quest”. I think we just have different definitions after all, so I gave up arguing with him. I can proudly say I am happy with my life that way. And I totally enjoy my own area blank area, and fill it with adventures. If people see “loneliness”, I can’t force them to think otherwise. As long as I don’t feel lonely, I suppose it to be good enough.