I read a book called Wealth within Your Reach: Pera Mo Palaguin Mo by Francisco J. Colayco. The book mentions a study on people who wrote down their financial plans and those who didn’t. The researchers checked in on these people after 20 years and discovered that the ones who had written plans generated more income.
If this can work with financial plans, then maybe it will work for an entire life plan.
Some of these things have already happened to me, but I still wanted to include them in this post to remind myself that this is the kind of life that I want to maintain:
1. Get a job that I love
I want to be excited to go to work. More and more people are telling me that everybody hates their jobs, so I better suck it up and pick the least dreadful one. I know there is no perfect job, but there is a job that’s perfect for me. Here’s how I would define a perfect job:
Creative and Intellectual
I want a job that satisfies both my creative side and intellectual side. Not that I’m saying that creative is not intellectual and vise versa because of course they crossover. Still, there are some distinctions.
One side of me is an artist. She’s the one who writes essays, stories, poems, songs. She sings, draws, creates crafts, and cooks. She has fallen in love with movies, tv shows, novels, memoirs, other non-fiction books, TED videos, and awesome articles on the net.
She’s the one who annoys her cousins by taking candid pictures at every family event. She’s the one who would take a picture of random things like a box of matches because she’s believes in paying attention to ordinary things and seeing the beauty in things that are ignored.
She collects bus tickets and hates to throw away stuff because she might turn it into a craft project someday. She’s the funny one, the one who likes to play and have fun. She wouldn’t mind being a model or an actress but is not invested in that career, she also knows that she doesn’t have the talent to do those things, but kaya niya mag-feeling. She’s the crazy one, the visionary–the artist.
Intellectual Ja is the one who likes to be taken seriously.
She’s the debater, the one who likes to analyze. She likes reading The Economist, Newsweek, The Guardian, Slate, Newser, etc. She wants to make a difference in the world. She will fight for women’s rights and battle agaisnt all kinds of discrimination.
She’s the mathematician who got a perfect score of 200 on her precalculus midterms in college, but who doesn’t memorize the multiplication table, has a hard time with mental math, and constantly counts with her fingers.
She’s the one who is interested in techie stuff. She’s addicted to social media and blogging. She is slowly learning code and photoshop.
She’s the one who people say should be a lawyer, doctor, or a journalist.
She’s the honor student. She always did her homework. She listened to every word that the boring teachers said. She cut classes to study for another class, or to study for that class she cut because she couldn’t understand the teacher, so rather than waste her time listening to the teacher, she decided to cut the class in order to read her textbook.
She sat in other classes because she couldn’t understand her own teacher. She bemoaned the cancellation of a long test because she already studied–she’s the geek, glasses and all
When I was a kid, I wanted to be super famous. I wanted to be a singer then, so I imagined cameras flashing as I passed by and screaming fans asking for my autograph. These days, I’m not sure if I still want that kind of fame.
I love exploring the grimy streets of Manila. I am fascinated by the old buildings in Escolta, the tumultuous streets of Quiapo, the wet markets packed with rainbow products, and cheap-chic tianges. I don’t want to give up exploring these places, so that’s what’s causing me to recalibrate my fame targets.
What I have to contend with is my ego. I still want to be famous in some way, so maybe I can compromise and aim for becoming a respected person in a certain community instead of achieving worldwide fame.
I want my name published somewhere whether it be on a magazine, newspaper, or website. I want to write a book someday. I used to want to write fiction, but nowadays I’m attracted to non-fiction. I’m reading a lot of biographies recently. My favorites so far are Streisand: A Biography by Anne Edwards, and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.
Speak at Conferences
If you knew me back in high school, you’d probably never think that a shy girl like me could become a debater. Though I was struggling with my shyness, I was determined to fight it. A series of weird events led me to debate, and it changed my life.
I learned so much because of debate, and I miss the feeling of talking in front of people. Performing your speech in front of a crowd does something to your brain. It makes you feel alive. It replenishes your confidence. I need that. I need that again.
I want to be an expert in something, so that I will be invited to seminars and workshops. I want to become really successful, so I will be asked to speak at graduations just like my idol Steve Jobs.
I want to set up my own writing workshop where I will teach the writing techniques I learned from Julia Cameron and Natalie Goldberg.
I could also be a consultant or a coach for speakers.
Positive Working Environment
I want to work with happy people who love their jobs. I want to be inspired by their work ethic and their passion. I want to work with people who actually want to make the company great. The company isn’t merely a tool to get money, but it is an entity that we are devoted to, and we will do everything in our power to innovate it and to make it succeed.
Find My Niche
Right now I write about different things. As I’ve said, I’ve often felt guilty about being a Jasmine-of-all-trades. Although I am slowly owning the title of renaissance woman, I am still conflicted about this.
On one hand, I want to be an expert in something, so that I can write a book about it and be invited to conferences to speak about it. On the other hand, everyone is telling me to focus on something, so I don’t want to do it.
This rebellious nature is founded on experience. All my good decisions are choices I made in defiance of the crowd’s “practical” and “smart” advice.
I don’t think I’ll ever stop being interested in everything, nor will I stop trying to learn everything, but I do wish that something specific will emerge as the dominant thing that I can focus on.
Then again, Jessica Zafra. If everything is good enough for her, then maybe everything should be good enough for me.
Lets Me Experiment and Explore
My one billion and one interests need the company of a billion more. I want to experiment in writing styles, constantly learn new things, meet interesting people, and gain many kinds of life experiences. I don’t care if that new thing doesn’t “seem like me” because who the hell has the right to label what I can and cannot learn, what I am and what isn’t me, what I can and cannot become? I determine that. I want it all. I want the world.
Ever since I started blogging, I have fallen in love with social media and the internet in general. I want to learn how to make a website from scratch. I want to learn code. I want to understand technology. I think the internet has so much potential. There are so many things that we need to explore. I read an article somewhere that one of the best ways to get promoted is to upgrade your knowledge on technology because in the future this will be your edge.
I want to learn more things about my culture. Yes, I am a Filipino who grew up in the Philippines, but our culture still eludes me. Colonialism and modernization buried it under Hollywood gems and disks of pop music. I want to go to festivals, read more Filipino books, watch local movies, and listen to OPM.
Advocacy: Feminism and Anti-Discrimination
I want to contribute something to the advancement of women’s rights. I want to work on social issues related to combating all sorts of discrimination whether they be discrimination against one’s sex or gender, race, religion or lack thereof.
I am also interested in what I call pop culture feminism. I want to call attention to elements of pop culture that reveal sexist tendencies that are often ignored or even accepted as normal. I want to analyze how these things affect the mindsets that allow for discrimination to occur.
Inspiration and Self-Help
I am a self-help junkie. I’ve been reading self-help books ever since I was a kid because my mom loves reading self-help books. The first self-help book that I read was My Kind of Family: A Book for Kids in Single-Parent Homes by Michele Lash, Sally Ives Loughridge, and David Fassler. Reading that book saved me from negative feelings that children from single-parent homes experience. I also love The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
I want to either write my own self-help book, become an inspirational speaker, or do something related to positive thinking. I also want to create a workshop that is a combination of a writing workshop and a self-help program. A lot of writers are hindered by fears, so it’s not enough to teach them grammar and writing techniques, but they have to also learn to believe in themselves.
Believing in yourself seems like such a cliche advice, but it’s actually easier said than done, especially for artists. We are always critical about ourselves, and of course it is important to continue to strive to become better, but progress can also be hindered if we are too harsh with ourselves.
Competing in debate tournaments allowed me to travel to Bangladesh, Canada, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia (several times), and Thailand (several times), but I was often cooped up in the hotel because I was there to compete and not to be a tourist. I also squandered opportunities to tour around the city because I wanted to conserve my energy for the debates instead of going on the tours.
Since I’m still saving up for plane tickets, I have decided to roam around the streets of Manila. People often think that traveling means that you go to other countries, or go to the far flung ares in the Philippines. Nobody thinks about Manila.
I’ve been planning to explore the string of bangketas at Litex (the squatters area that often gets on the news because someone got mugged or killed), but I haven’t had the time to do it. I will go there next week and update you guys about it. Don’t worry, I’ll go there in the morning, so I won’t get killed.
I love comedy. I often watch stand up comedians and funny movies. I also read a lot of jokes. A really cool book that I read is Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein.
I read an article that said that the Philippines needs more writers who can handle comedy, and I think I can. I think comedy will set me apart from other writers, and it will be instrumental to my success.
Contribute to Philippine Literature
Besides writing a novel, I also want to play a big part in promoting Philippine literature. I want to pave the way for more Filipinos to publish their novels, I want to encourage and teach young people to write, and I want to publish books.
2. Develop a Higher E.Q.
Another Ja-based contradiction is that I like being alone and I also like being with people. The one who loves solitude is the writer who wants to listen to her own mind. The one who wants to be with people is the writer who wants to open herself up to the world and be fueled by great experiences. Here are the E.Q. targets of Ja the outgoing artist:
Meet Great People
Tired of learning from the classroom, I rushed out of the college doors to welcome life. Seas of people were there waiting, but I was looking for those who stood out.
I want to meet these great people. I want to understand what made them successful. I want to learn from their stories and be inspired by their lives.
I want to be like the great profile writer Gay Talese. I want to interview interesting people. I want to talk to them for hours. I want to understand who they truly are, and then write a profile that perfectly encapsulates their spirit.
Holy Trinity of Dreams
I want to be part of a team. I want to meet people who I click with. I’m not just talking about nice people who I like on a personal level, but people who I will have a great working relationship with.
I want to meet at least two people that I have great chemistry with, and we will work together to create successful events and projects.
Meet a Mentor
I want to have a boss who will be my mentor. I want someone who will be interested to see me grow as a writer.
In the future, I want to guide young artists and help them fulfill their potentials.
Friends who’ve betrayed me, broken relationships, and backstabbers–these are the reasons why I’ve had a hard time trusting people.
But I want to be vulnerable.
I want people to know who I truly am. I want to open up and tell them what I truly think and show them what I truly feel.
Form Genuine Connections
I’m not looking for a trophy boyfriend just so I can “perform my heterosexuality”, parade him in front of fellow females, and “assert my value” as a woman. You are not less of a woman just because you are single, and you don’t need a man to be valuable.
What I want is something real. I will not settle for anything less than a genuine connection. I’m not afraid of being single. If he’s not worth it, I’d rather devote my time to something else.
Be Confident Enough to Sing
When I was a kid, I really wanted to become a singer, but I was discouraged by my family. Unlike Barbra Streisand, I wasn’t strong enough to fight for my dream. Being young, my voice still wasn’t developed, so I couldn’t hit the right notes. I took singing lessons four times: two in U.P. and two in Center for Pop, but what I needed was confidence.
Now my career path is geared towards writing, but I still want to sing in front of a crowd. I want to sing because I want to show people who I truly am. I want to sing because I want to rebel against those who silenced me. I want to sing because I want to be brave. I want to sing because I want to fulfill all my dreams.
3. Become a Better Person
Be More Caring and Loving
The danger of being an only child is that you tend to become self-centered. I don’t want to be this way. I want to care about people. I want to be concerned about their well-being. I want to do something to bring something good in this world and to make people’s lives better.
Confident but Not Arrogant
Sometimes I’m oozing with confidence. Other times I’m back to insecure old me. I guess I’m also afraid of being arrogant, and some people already tell me that I am, at such I’m like, How can I be arrogant when I’m freakin’ insecure? Other times, I own it and say, Yeah I’m freakin’ arrogant and I don’t care. Is this doublethink?
Slowly, I’m realizing that the secret to success is confidence. I’ve experienced what it’s like to unconsciously sabotage myself and not live up to my potentials because I succumbed to my insecurities. I don’t want this to happen again. I want to keep on fighting my insecurities, and maybe someday I don’t have to fight that hard anymore because confidence will come more naturally to me.
Become a Happier Person
Ever since I read The Secret and The Happiness Project, I’ve finally realized the potency of positive thinking. My new daily mantra is “I believe in myself”. If you think this is such a sugar-coated cliche, then you have not fully understood the depths of this statement. It’s an advice that is easy to give, but it’s hard to actualize.
Freeing your brain against the intrusion of negative thoughts, towing the line between arrogance and confidence, and resolutely standing by your talent and your self worth even in the absence of cheerleaders–these things take dedication and patience.
For my birthday last year, I went on a solo trip to Angono just because. I want to fill my life with adventure. I want to do things that make me nervous. I want to push myself. I want to get out of my comfort zone and leap into life.
Be More Responsible and Mature
The last time I thought I was mature was when I was 11. I obviously wasn’t. I thought maturity was something that automatically developed as you grew older, but the reality is there are adults that are worse than bratty children. I don’t want to be that way. I want to be organized and dependable. I don’t want to be a little girl anymore; I want to be a woman–a strong, impressive woman who knows her shit. I want to get it together. I want to be great.
4. Become a Better Writer
Become a More Disciplined Writer
As you can see through this blog, my writing tips are often about how to maximize your productivity. I want to keep on writing, and I want to write faster and faster. I’m making progress. I’m becoming a more disciplined writer, but there are still times when I procrastinate.
Although Natalie Goldberg said, sometimes you need to cut yourself some slack, or according to the Jabbawockeez, you need to have some loading time, so you need not beat yourself up if you can’t create. In general though, most of my tamaditis hours cause me stress and anxiety, and I produce less quality work because I am cramming.
I want to have a designated writing time. My teachers in college tell me that they devote one hour a day to their writing. They keep this writing time everyday. This makes writing easier because your brain gets used to producing at a certain time. So far, I’ve been able to keep a writing time for my blog. I write around 5a.m. to 6a.m., but I haven’t been successful at setting a writing time for my other writing projects. I have so many things I want to write. I hope I get to write them all.
Consume More Art
My artistic education involves reading books and articles, watching movies, tv, and plays, listening to songs, visiting galleries and museums, and going on fun adventures! I got to study hard!
Finish Long Term Creative Projects
Besides writing a novel, I also want to write a movie script, write a musical script, and write and record an entire album. I hope a lifetime is enough for all of these dreams.
Balance Rules and Freedom
I know grammar rules are important. I think in general I have good grammar, but most of it comes from instinct. I read half of The Elements of Style and hated it for being anal. Sometimes grammatical rules suffocate the artist in you. But I know, I have to read it. It’s like Shakespeare, who I also hate. (Macbeth characters: Oh no, I have a problem, kill someone. Oh no I have a problem, commit suicide. This plot is written by the great Shakespeare?) (Western canon, shmanon, I come from the school of resentment), but I have read Shakespeare because I have to.
5. Wise Up about Money
Invest to Get Passive Income
Through Wealth within Your Reach, I learned that passive income is knowing how to let your money work for you. I want to learn about investing in things. The book said that if you have enough passive income, then you don’t need to work for money, and this frees you up to do the work that you truly love.
The eventual goal is to be financially independent. This means that you don’t need to work in order to financially sustain your current lifestyle. This is especially important once I hit retirement because, face it, the pension plans here in the Philippines have sad and weak benefits.
Start a Business
Little Ja was an enthusiastic entrepreneur. I wanted to set up a daycare for older kids (because I hated staying at my mom’s office whenever she couldn’t leave me with someone. She’s a single parent, and it was hard to get a maid.), a hobby shop (sells materials and books for all the hobbies in the world), and a basil restaurant (vegetarian restaurant with basil in every dish, and you can order an extra bowl of fresh basil leaves to munch on).
Hopefully someday, I’ll be able to create a successful business.
Buy a House
Right now our house is owned by my mother and my tita Betty, but I want to buy it. I like this house. It is full of memories. I also want to buy a vacation house in the province and condos in the city that I can rent out.
Save 25% of Income
Every pay day, I save 25% of my salary. I put most of my money in one ATM, and I put the 25% in another. I leave the latter ATM card in the house so I don’t get tempted to spend it. I will not spend this money unless it is for a business or until I hit retirement.
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