Monthly Archives: January 2015

I swear I lived…

Have you ever come across a song that resonates deep within you? One that you have on constant repeat? A song that stays with you long after the music has stopped? 

For me, that song is “I Lived” by One Republic. It holds so much promise. Speaks to my soul. Is a mantra for how I want to live my life. I long to live life to the fullest, taking chances and stepping outside of my comfort zone. The chorus, “I did it all. I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did. Yeah, with every broken bone, I swear I lived.”, is all about living intentionally, my OLW for 2015

“Hope that if everybody runs, you choose to stay.” When things are scary and unknown, it’s easy to run away. I choose to stay. Life isn’t made through easy decisions and experiences. Real life, the life I want to live, is made when you stick it out, when you stay- when everybody else chooses to run. “Hope that you fall in love and it hurts so bad.” Falling in love is taking a risk. It’s trusting someone else, even though you know they can hurt you. I hope to fall in love again, even if it hurts. “Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up.” Life is meant to be lived, experiencing all you can experience. I want to spend my days intentionally, ensuring they add up to greatness. When I look back on my life and count my days, I want to know I spent them well, that they added up to a truly remarkable life.

Taking the leap to move abroad was the best decision of my life. It’s when I truly began to live. I took the jump without fearing the fall. And during this time, I’ve strived to do it all. I’ve seen a lot of places, and I’ve done a lot of things. I swear I lived. It hasn’t always been easy, and I’ve failed a few times, but I’m not giving up. I intend to own every second that this world can give.

“I Lived”

[Verse 1]
Hope when you take that jump
You don’t fear the fall
Hope when the water rises
You build a wallHope when the crowd screams out
They’re screaming your name
Hope if everybody runs
You choose to stay

Hope that you fall in love
And it hurts so bad
The only way you can know
Is give it all you have

And I hope that you don’t suffer
But take the pain
Hope when the moment comes
You’ll say…

[Chorus]
I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived

[Verse 2]
Hope that you spend your days
But they all add up
And when that sun goes down
Hope you raise your cup

I wish that I could witness
All your joy and all your pain
But until my moment comes
I’ll say…

[Chorus]
I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived

[Bridge]
Whoa
Whoa
Whoa
Oh
Oh
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived

[Chorus]
I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived

[Outro]
Whoa
Whoa
Whoa
Oh
Oh

 

A Year in Photos

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a post from one of my friends, Jee Young, where she reflected on 2014 through photos. It was such a unique way to show the past year, and I just had to give it a try! Now that I’m back in Shanghai with my laptop that has all my pictures, I can. I’ve sifted through the photos I’ve taken over the past year, and have narrowed it down to my favorites. These pictures make me smile, show an interesting perspective, or carry a certain memory. Here’s my year in photos…

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One Little Word 2015

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I first heard about One Little Word (OLW) back in 2012; it was all the rage in the Slicing Community. For those of you who don’t know, it’s the act of choosing one little word to act as a beacon to guide you through the year ahead. Sort of that one thing that you keep coming back to, that you focus on, that you strive for. I couldn’t think of a word in 2012, but in 2013, my OLW was balance. I was struggling a lot with striking a balance between my work and personal lives. After not achieving balance in 2013, I again chose balance as my OLW in 2014. I did a better job, but I’m still not quite there (Will I ever be?).

As I began reflecting on last year’s OLW and thinking about what this year’s word would be, one little word kept swirling through my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It kept creeping in when I least expected it. Not wanting to accept that choosing my OLW would be this easy (it never has been before!), I began reading other people’s OLW posts, searching for inspiration. I came across a list of One Little Words, and began reading them slowly and deliberately, trying to find one that resonated with me, that spoke to my soul. But that small little voice in the back of my head kept whispering my word. Every other word was blah in comparison. I decided to succumb. It’s very clear that my OLW has chosen me. And that word is intentional.

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Lately I feel like I have good intentions, but my follow through isn’t always there. You know how it is…you intend to work out, you intend to call that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with, you intend to save more money, you intend to eat healthier, but something (inevitably) gets in your way. Well, at least your intentions were good, right? That has to count for something!

To be intentional is to do something on purpose, deliberately, consciously, and with awareness. Having good intentions doesn’t mean much. Being intentional means making conscious decisions to follow through with what you intend to do. It’s not enough just to think about it. Being intentional requires action. I’ve realized that I want to live more intentionally.

This year, I want to be more intentional with my work. Instead of putting things off, wasting time doing things that aren’t important, I want to be intentional with my day, prioritizing and making those conscious choices that will leave me feeling fulfilled, rather than with regret.

I want to be more intentional with my money, intentionally saving more, using it on things or experiences that really matter, knowing where it all goes. Budgeting has never been a favorite thing of mine. I’m not bad with money, by any stretch, but I could definitely do with a little more intentionality when it comes to money. I am going to intentionally save for the future, save for traveling, and buy things intentionally and with purpose.

I want to be more intentional with my relationships. Living abroad is an unbelievable experience, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything, but it poses challenges, particularly in maintaining relationships with those who are back home. I always have good intentions when it comes to keeping up with family and friends back home, but inevitably, they remain intentions. Maintaining relationships takes time, effort, and commitment. Couple that with crazy time zones, and it’s no wonder it’s hard. But this year is going to be different. This year, I am going to be intentional with my relationships, both at home and abroad.

Lastly, I want to be intentional with my writing. Writing is a love of mine, but it’s always a struggle, too. As a perfectionist, I find that I don’t always write when I want to write because it won’t be perfect. I make excuses for writing. I can’t write now because I don’t have enough time to do a good enough job, so why bother. I can’t possibly write as well as so-and-so, so I don’t try.  No more. I’m going to be an intentional writer. I’m going to carve out time to write. I’m going to work on caring a little less about it being perfect and a little more about it being honest. I’m going to tell my story.

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Time, I find, is so easily wasted when you’re not being intentional. It’s a precious resource that I don’t always use to the fullest. Being intentional is going to change that. This doesn’t mean that I intend to schedule in every second of the day, prioritizing every minute so as not to waste time. What it does mean is that I want to be intentional about it. If I’m working, I want to spend my time working. If I’m enjoying time with friends, I want to focus on them and our conversations (not think about work or check my phone). If I’m traveling, I want to live in the moment, intentionally soaking up all that I can from the sights, sounds, people, and experiences.

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As I enter into 2015, with all of the wonder and newness that a new year brings, I am hopeful. Many changes are coming my way- that much I know. But growing through these changes takes intention, and that’s what I intend to do. Intentional is what I will be.