• Life Lately

    How I Celebrated My Birthday

    I celebrated yet another birthday “alone.” Yes, I am once again alone on my birthday. I still can not believe we are under lockdown. I know that for some, celebrating alone might be strange and lonely, but for me, it is a nice experience, despite the fact that my options are quite restricted to staying at home and celebrating alone.

    I was determined to make this year’s celebration even more memorable than the previous year. Apart from the fact that it was my first time celebrating it alone and chronicling it on my blog, there was nothing special or extravagant about last year. Check out my post, How I Celebrated My Birthday.

    Insomnia struck again, as it always does. I was awake when my phone chimed. My mom sent me a greeting. She either gets up extremely early or waits until 12 m.n. I absolutely love you, Mom!

    My phone chimed again just as I was about to go to sleep. My sister wished me a happy birthday as well.

    Then, I dozed off.

    I woke up early and began preparing for work. I would have requested a personal leave, but I decided against it since I will be working from home. It is OK to get a few things done on my to-do list this week.

    I was expecting a video call from my family before I started working. You know how much I love that my family calls me first thing in the morning on my birthday. Unfortunately, they were unable to contact me in the morning due to an unforeseen power outage in our town. What is going on, Nuvelco?

    Greetings were sent out over Facebook, Messenger, and Viber. It is amazing how messages started pouring in as soon as Janice, my closest friend at work, wished me a happy birthday in our Viber group. Thank you, team! I enjoyed your well wishes.

    I am actually undecided about what to get myself this year. I enjoyed last year’s cake, but it was rather pricey. So I sought another option and discovered that Boulangerie22 was offering a great deal. In addition, I ordered rice and beef bulgogi. I also got myself Army Navy’s famous LiberTea, Salted Caramel and Brown Sugar Milk Tea. The glass mason jar astonished me. I can always reuse it at home for making my own drinks.

    At about 3 p.m., I lit my birthday candle and sang a birthday song. Singing had me a little teary-eyed.

    Happy Birthday, Self!

    After that, I called my family and sent them photos.

    I really had a great time celebrating and eating. Because of the outpouring of greetings, I decided to treat my family and close friends for a low-key meal.


    How do you usually celebrate your birthday? I would like to know.

  • Next Question

    How Are You Today?

    Today, I tried a new way of answering the question “How are you?” I am curious to see how my colleagues react to my response and whether it will spark an interesting conversation.

    I was supposed to answer, “I would say I am a 9.99 out of 10.” to avoid answering follow-up questions. But the silly me typed, “I would say I am an 8.5 out of 10.” instead. 8.5 is pretty good, but not the best.

    I can honestly say that it really started a conversation. Many sent their warm messages. And that alone brightened my day. Hmmm, I love you, guys!

    The pandemic has created a world in which we are unsure of our emotions. I know I am OK but not fine fine. And I do not want to give them the same old, same old boring response: “I am fine, thank you”. It is boring, yet useful when you do not want to engage in a conversation. I would not want that.

    So I made a point of keeping a few more real, funny, and unique responses on hand for the next time they ask.

    1. Somewhere between better and best.
    2. Somewhere between blah and meh.
    3. Navigating the twists and turns of life.
    4. Getting better with every passing minute.
    5. Each day is better than the next.
    6. Living one day at a time.
    7. Sunshine all day long!
    8. Dancing to the rhythm of life.
    9. Taking life one sip at a time.
    10. We age not by years, but by stories.

    Here are some more one-of-a-kind responses.

    1. Medium well.
    2. Under renovation.
    3. Fair to partly cloudy.
    4. 50/50.
    5. Currently on energy-saving mode.
    6. Unplugged.
    7. Fifty shades of tired!

    And these..

    1. Overloaded!
    2. Overworked and underpaid.
    3. Waking up blessed, not stressed. Or other way.
    4. Working on myself, for myself, and by myself.
    5. Excited and intoxicated.
    6. Better days are coming. They are called: Saturday, Sunday, holidays, and payday.
    7. I feel like I’m already tired tomorrow. (me all the time)
    8. I can’t complain! (another me)
    9. I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do. (and me)

    Next question, please.


    So how are you really? I would love to hear from you.

  • Next Question

    How To Stay Focused?

    “Where was I again?” I often ask myself this question after getting distracted. My attention span is very limited. I find it hard to focus on almost everything. It is pretty annoying when I am often troubled by distractions. The more I am interrupted, the less I am able to concentrate. And when I return… I am not sure where I left off.

    How do people manage to stay on track throughout the day? We live in a world filled with diversions. Like today, the stubborn me took over. Instead of working, I am making rounds on my blog, attempting to write about how to focus. It is beyond 7 p.m. anyway.

    How can someone like me with a short attention span focus? Here is how I do it.

    Arrange My Workspace

    Keeping our workspace tidy has a huge impact on our ability to focus. A cluttered desk is distracting most of the time. Before I start working, I make sure everything is tidy and within my reach: my food and drinks. So I do not have to get up to get food or drink in case I get hungry or thirsty.

    Create a Task List

    It became my habit to make a to-do list before starting work, clocking out, and going to bed. I categorize them according to their importance and due dates. Every time I slash out a task, it motivates me to do everything.

    There were times I had to switch from one task to another. Changing tasks makes my brain stay alert sometimes. Oftentimes, it (multi-tasking) is not effective for me. More pending tasks are happening.

    Play Some Music

    Listening to music could calm my troubled mind and improve my performance. It can even make a tedious chore more enjoyable.

    When I am feeling down, I listen to the classics: cellos and violins. When I am bored, I listen to rock music. When you see me wearing my headphones, it means I am either trying to concentrate or I am bored. Whichever of the two. So don’t.

    Work Offline

    I limit my phone use in order to stay focused and complete my tasks on time. I usually put it aside and concentrate on my work. Notifications easily pull my attention away from what I was doing, so setting it to silent mode can have a significant impact.

    Take Mental Breaks

    Short breaks are the best thing to do when you cannot focus any longer. Taking a little rest allows our minds to recharge or reboot. Our brains are not capable of working for 3 hours straight. This is why I set my hourly alarm (even though I am at work). I am training myself to focus on a task for 45-50 minutes, then take a 10-minute break from the computer.

    When you see me stretching away from my desk, I am taking my mental break seriously.


    Distractions are everywhere. And remaining focused is a difficult challenge. Following these can be daunting at first, but with perseverance and dedication, we will increase our focus.

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