A better version of myself

When I turned 31, I decided to change a lot of things about myself. For as long as I can remember I’d been busy all my life, running after my dreams, trying to grow up fast, accomplishing too many things in so little time.

I’ve fulfilled many of my dreams and that has given me the contentment that I have right now. But it’s time for me to slow down, take time to savour the dreams that I’ve accomplished and all the little things that I had been blessed with and worked hard for, to strive to be a better version of myself.

Lately I have been changing little things in my life, which I hope would improve my disposition and well-being.

I wake up early
I thought I wasn’t a morning person. But after the summer, I needed to get back to running regularly and the afternoons are usually too hot or I’m too tired. So I decided to run in the morning. First I started at 6:00AM and now my alarm is set at 5:45. It was difficult to begin because I love sleeping. But one must have the discipline to start. So what we did was put the alarm away from the bed, where we had to stand to be able to get it. It helped. We don’t go back to bed.

Now we run at least 40 minutes twice a week, do core exercises daily, eat warm, cooked meals for breakfast and go to the office unhurried.

There is enough time in the morning to meditate, talk to each other, laugh and become silly and not rush out of the door to catch the  bus.

I stopped being a statistic
The world we live in is tougher than ever. Because of social media, we are continuously being compared to others almost everyday – the number of friends, likes, comments, etc. you have on Facebook, the speed and duration of your runs, the things you’ve accomplished on your “bucket list”, how big your dreams are – the list goes on.

I have stopped doing that. I’ve stopped recording the speed and duration of my runs. I have un-followed people on Facebook who give me an “envious” feeling. I gave up reading blogs and websites that only lists down things and don’t give much insights. I eliminated things that gave me the feeling that I had to compete.

Instead I looked in my life, inside my home, inside myself. It gave me contentment because now I don’t have to wonder why my life is not going as good as other people.

I bike to work
I am Dutch and I have a bike. And every time I finish biking, I feel good. So why not just bike to the office everyday? It saves me money, it burns calories and it gives me time to prepare myself mentally for work in the morning and for home after work in the afternoon.

There’s just a catch. To be able to do that, I had to deal with the rain and the wind, two things you can never escape when biking in the Netherlands. Instead of hating it, I decided to embrace.

When I get soaking wet while biking, I try to think of my youth in the Philippines when me and my friends would be ecstatic about playing in the rain and would beg our parents to allow us to do that. We had a lot of fun.

The wind? A good jacket helps with that.

Biking to work allows me to see children going to school, the sunrise and the city waking up, just some of the things that makes me smile on the way to work.

I started saving up
Robin and I have been making plans – a new house, a family, far-away trips, lots of trips, retirement. But we looked at our finances and it would not support everything. With Europe’s current economic situation, we are not guaranteed a secured life in the future. To not be afraid of that bleak prospect, we have to be financially prepared.

We agreed to do one big grocery shopping per month, set a maximum on dining out and pay off debts as fast as we can. And stop buying on credit.

What that gives me at least is a feeling of security every time I see that there’s money in my savings account and it is increasing, albeit slowly. I don’t worry anymore that if one of my parents gets rushed to the hospital, I’d have to borrow money again from other people to pay for the bills.

And that €100 going automatically to my savings account every month is my safety net for the future.

I became grateful
I have a good job, a roof above my head, parents who are healthy, a loving husband, a safe home and so many possibilities. Seeing the misery in the world everyday, I try to be grateful for the small things that I have because others are struggling (and literally dying) to have even a safe home.

How do you try to be a better person?