Learning

“Learning

After some time, you learn the subtle difference between
holding a hand
and imprisoning a soul;
You learn that love does not equal sex,
and that company does not equal security,
and you start to learn….
That kisses are not contracts and gifts are not promises,
and you start to accept defeat with the head up high
and open eyes,
and you learn to build all roads on today,
because the terrain of tomorrow is too insecure for plans…
and the future has its own way of falling apart in half.

And you learn that if it’s too much, even the warmth of the sun can burn.

So you plant your own garden and embellish your own soul,
instead of waiting for someone to bring flowers to you.

And you learn that you can actually bear hardship,
that you are actually strong,
and you are actually worthy,
and you learn and learn…and so every day.

Over time you learn that being with someone
because they offer you a good future,
means that sooner or later you’ll want to return to your past.

Over time you comprehend that only who is capable
of loving you with your flaws, with no intention of changing you
can bring you all happiness.

Over time you learn that if you are with a person
only to accompany your own solitude,
irremediably you’ll end up wishing not to see them again.

Over time you learn that real friends are few
and whoever doesn’t fight for them, sooner or later,
will find himself surrounded only with false friendships.

Over time you learn that words spoken in moments of anger
continue hurting throughout a lifetime.

Over time you learn that everyone can apologize,
but forgiveness is an attribute solely of great souls.

Over time you comprehend that if you have hurt a friend harshly
it is very likely that your friendship will never be the same.

Over time you realize that despite being happy with your friends,
you cry for those you let go.

Over time you realize that every experience lived,
with each person, is unrepeatable.

Over time you realize that whoever humiliates
or scorns another human being, sooner or later
will suffer the same humiliations or scorn in tenfold.

Over time you learn to build your roads on today,
because the path of tomorrow doesn’t exist.

Over time you comprehend that rushing things or forcing them to happen
causes the finale to be different form expected.

Over time you realize that in fact the best was not the future,
but the moment you were living just that instant.

Over time you will see that even when you are happy with those around you,
you’ll yearn for those who walked away.

Over time you will learn to forgive or ask for forgiveness,
say you love, say you miss, say you need,
say you want to be friends, since before
a grave, it will no longer make sense.

But unfortunately, only over time…”

Jorge Luis Borges

Institutionalized

Institutionalized.

That’s the word my “experienced” colleague used to describe his generation when we talked about how these trialling times of virtual working will change the way we see our workplaces in the future.

It gave me both a laugh and serious thought, not only because it brought flashbacks of one of Shawshank’s greatest moments of moral implications, but also because it reminds us as young professionals within our own organizations to think differently, to fight for what we believe the future of OUR workplaces should and will look like.

How do you think the way we work has and will change because of this?

Feature image – Grand People’s Study House, Pyongyang, North Korea. Taken on the 7th of March 2016

The Human Isolation

Even in the worst of times, we must look up at the possibilities and see a brighter future amidst all the chaos and fear.

What I find most incredible during The Isolation is the way people came together in ways that were unexpected and inspiring. It’s incredible to think that although we are more isolated than ever, we are also closer to one another than we have ever been before. There has never been another time in history where the people of the world have been forced to close off from one another but at the same time not be in fear of one another.

It’s incredible to think that although we are more isolated than ever, we are also closer to one another than we have ever been before.

Jason Li

The virtual media we have fostered over the last few years have allowed us to seamlessly upload our lives online. It was never intentional for this to be the case, yes we connected the world but at what initial cost? It was our attention that we lost first, a constant attention to social media. But who would of guessed that this virtual world, this social media would actually be a power for immense good during the worst of times?

At first it was our families and close friends who reached out to each other. It was as if they were by our side in the virtual plane. We couldn’t play outdoors so we played in-virtual-doors. Something that would normally take weeks to bring us together was a click away to see each other’s laughs and smiles, and there it was, as quick as we were isolated was as quick as we were reunited.

Our places of work, for years working from home was a “thing” people did but we rarely ever did ourselves. We looked at the work we do and wondered how this could even work at home, for some it was a lot easier than others, and for others it never seemed so straight forward. It took years for a company’s culture to change it’s perspective on working from home. It took days for the world to realise it’s actually a reality.

It took years for a company’s culture to change it’s perspective on working from home. It took days for the world to realise it’s actually a reality.

Jason Li

Then it was those age old friends, colleagues and one-on-one’s which you rarely ever get to see that catch up with you. And this is when something special happens. Even with years of separation, long distances and random conversations, you’ve never got to really know each other until now. It might be that a portion of the population is in fact more comfortable opening up (maybe at first or over time) in the virtual plane rather than in real life. There are barriers that are unseen or unbroken in reality that are, when we see each other over a distance. This is an interesting thought, one that I’ll carry to another day.

What all of this tells us is that what we lose from physical presence, we gain back by a virtual presence. It may not be the same, nor may it be more or less comfortable for some than others, but it is the way we’re moving forward for the future of humanity. I ask you this, readers, how long will it be until this virtual presence takes even another step into a virtual reality?

What all of this tells us is that what we lose from physical presence, we gain back by a virtual presence.

Jason Li

Thank’s for reading my friends. Let’s reach out to our family, friends and long lost friends during these times and make the most of it whilst it lasts.

Much love, Jason

P.s when I refer to The Isolation, it was the unprecedented event of Covid-19 which shook the world in 2019/2020.

Feature image – Pondering over the world in the backyard of my beautiful apartment in Notting Hill, London during The Isolation. Taken on the 22nd of March 2020

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Hubble Telescope

[Originally posted on April 2015]

If you know me well, then you might know that I have an incredible love for the night sky. I love everything to do with space, the stars and the moons, the spiralling galaxies and galactic anomalies that lie out there in vastness of the empty but at the same time lively universe.

These images below celebrate the 25 year anniversary since the first images from the famous Hubble Telescope were taken up there in Earths outer atmosphere. The history behind this telescope is fascinating and at the time of development, many of the technologies that were required for the images you see were not even invented yet. That is why, browsing over the many years from history to present, the anniversary images have become ever clearer with modern calibrations made year to year.

The James Webb Space Telescope, due to launch in early 2021 will be the successor of the almost 20 year old Hubble Telescope. Who knows what lies beyond the lens of our scientific curiosity and knowledge. What I do know is that the future prospects for discoveries beyond our horizons is exciting! And I for one look forward to seeing where it will take us.

For now, we can take a moment to pause and appreciate the beauty of nature. Our individual problems, our struggles, goals and dreams seem so small even though to us, they are so large. We are but a speck of stardust in a universe so vast and incomprehensible, almost.

YOU taught me

Throughout life, there are people who come into your life and change you.

It’s often that these people never know how much they’ve impacted on your life, because to them they are just being themselves; but to you, they are the heroes in your story. They are the ones who make us a better person inside and out, who teach us something valuable that we often look back upon in times of uncertainty and ambiguity. These people are our heroes, our guardian angels that come into our lives as swiftly as they leave but have imprinted a part of themselves in you for a lifetime.

Take notice of them. Remember them. Choose to be better because of them.

For those whom have changed my life, this is for you and this is what you have taught me.

CM – “If you’re not going to do it, then no one will”. Powerful words strung together, it is the vibe you gave off when I first met you and it was the same vibe when you left. The more I go through life, the more I realise how true this is. It’s rare to find people who are willing to take charge of everything they do, those are the people who actually move things along because they absolutely hate how slow things can move in almost all aspects of their life. They’re not satisfied with the status quo, that things have always been done this way because to them that was is incredibly inefficient and slow. You are one of those and you get things done because you do them. Sometimes you say that it’s because no one else can do it (who knows, maybe your right, or maybe a bit more leadership will help those whom struggle do better? not sure). But the teaching is there, that if you want to change something, if you want to get things moving, get things to the way you like it, sometimes you just have to take it in the chin and do it yourself. Thanks for showing me this CM.

FA – Family first brother. That’s what you have taught me. Above all else, you are to your family what the planets are to its star; the pull that holds each other together. You have always done everything within your power to make this so, even at the expense of the the things you enjoy, the things you love and even just yourself. But that is not a weakness. That is within itself one of life’s greatest strengths because just as you will do anything for them, they will return that favour two, three, four fold; and you know that. Not a lot of people in this world can say that they have an equally strong relationship with their family as you can. It is a blessing that only few experience and many seek their entire lives. You have taught me the power of strength in unity, with family at its heart and I thank you for that.

IP – Calm, even when the world around you is burning to the ground. Stoic is what people would call you even if you didn’t know it. Over the years I’ve been around you, I’ve enjoyed one aspect more than any other, to observe you (in a humorous way not creepy ha!). I find it fascinating how put together your sentences are, you talk slowly but very succinctly in an easy to understand, easy to follow manner and in such that everyone in the room knows that we’re all moving towards the same goal. This isn’t just in the normal day to day, it’s during times of incredible stress and hardship that it shines the most because you don’t change, you still have the same, calm, relaxed, “everything will be okay” vibe going about you. Wish I could do the same and I do try, but thank you for showing me how it’s done.

JB – You’re the JB so you know who you are without introduction. You are a great friend, infinitely more caring of others than people can see at first. Maybe it’s because that inner circle of yours is really the only people you care about and everyone else can get lost is probably what you would say. You show you care by doing the exact opposite, it took me some time to realise this but I look back now and everything we’ve ever done is a million times more hilarious and fun. Making us do ridiculous things by egging us on and threatening us if we don’t has always made for a funny but scary experience; In the end there’s always a stupid story to tell, someone making a fool out of ourselves only to have you make sure we get home safe and sound. You are a true friend and JB, thank you for that.

JB No.2 – “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” by Abraham Lincoln. You told me this on one sunny day when I was young and eager to learn. I’d never at the time managed any projects on my own but when I finally got around to it, this quote just kept coming to mind and of course, you, the person who reminded me of it. I’ve extended this further than work but into my own life because come to think about it, how often do we actually sit down and plan our actions towards the goals we set ourselves? not nearly enough I would say. With every project I lead, every goal and dream I have, I plan now more than ever, I leave room for spontaneity, but don’t allow any spontaneity to push me off track. Thank you for teaching me that planning is the path to success JB.

JL – You are truly an inspiration. Seriously! and you don’t even know it! Why is it that those of whom who are truly inspiring to others, don’t see it in themselves? You have one of the strongest human spirits that I know of. It doesn’t mean that you are always perfect, or that you’re always happy and smiling and energetic . What it truly means is that you persevere through all of the thick and thin and come out on the other side ever stronger, more aware and more insightful than you ever were before. Not everyone can say that they have gone through the trials of life as you have and come out of it with a positive and optimistic outlook on life as you do. It’s absolutely exciting to hear you talk about what you have installed for you in the future with the biggest and brightest of smiles, and as with all great thing’s you understand that the best things in life come with time; that time heals all, that it brings out the best of us, healing wounds and giving the gift of wisdom. I have no doubt that when the time comes, you will be the star that shines brightly, as you’ve always dreamed, that your growth will be exponential. JL, you taught me the fragility of life, but you also taught me the strength of the human spirit to persevere and overcome, and for that I will always be thankful.

KC – HOW ARE YOU? is pretty much the most common statement we have both said to each other. Seriously, I’m pretty sure we both don’t actually mean it because I hope things are doing shit without me back home; yes, I just want you to miss having me around. hahaha. In all seriousness though, you are a good mate, you’ve taught me what the most sociable butterfly looks like and that’s you man. You’re a wildflower, you grow a bit of your wild self in every person you meet and I think that’s pretty awesome. You actually care a lot about people and you definitely know how to show it. This is one of the most important lessons that you have taught me, how to show that you care. We text each other nonsensical texts on most days that consists of one liners such as “WAKE UP” “GO HOME” “OI” ” I HOPE YOU DIE FROM ALCOHOL POISONING” and the reply’s not too dissimilar. For readers, please don’t read too much into this but all I have to say to you KC is cheers mate, take good care of yourself and MY, and don’t fuck up, but if you do, I’ll catch you.

KK – A kind, loving and forgiving heart is the gift that you have. You taught me how to take care of myself, how we shouldn’t be so harsh to ourselves when things don’t work out the way we want it to. You taught me that there will always be people around you who are experiencing or have experienced similar emotions that you are feeling at this moment and together, you can get through anything life throws at you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Many years ago, we reached out to each other and helped each other get through some of the toughest times of our lives and there’s nothing more I can say but thank you. We will always be great friends because of that. We only have to look at how far we’ve come since then to realise what felt like a dead end in our path was only a small hump in the road of life!

NM – You’re always so well spoken my friend! Conversations with you flow so well not because we have a lot of topics prepared but because we agree with each other on a lot of core topics, from self-improvement to seeking a passion in life. I enjoyed our conversation about problem solving when you don’t know where to begin and and support doesn’t seem to be near. I empathise with the times when you just don’t know what you don’t know, when the limits of your knowledge are tested, when even Google struggles with your predicament. You taught me something on this, that as stressful as situations like this can be, it’s important to take a step back, to not be hard on yourself and break down the problem into smaller parts, parts that you can solve. And if the support is not near, then look far, look into the distance elsewhere externally or otherwise. Among the conversation you talked of your short term goals, the realisation that parts of your work are not where your passion lies, that you know it’s important more than ever to move forward onto something new and that you’re currently in search for that. You spoke of your longer term goals to become someone that can inspire others, a “life coach” because that’s what you know get’s you excited in the morning. To serve others, to mentor, to understand and help people on their own journeys through life. I wish you all the best on your journey and no doubt our paths will meet again!

PS – maaatteee, I’m going to miss having you around but you know what, everything happens for a reason right and we’ll make the most of whatever comes our way. I’ve never seen somebody who loves music as much as you do. How are you still alive right now with all those late nights at pubs and clubs watching gigs till the am’s. It’s a big part of your life and I can see it, it shines out of you like an emanating glow. You’ve taught me how easy it is for ones passion to shine right through them and feel like it’s overwhelming and even influencing yourself. The power to truly be passionate about something is what I seek for as well, it’s a question I’ve asked myself for many years. I think I’ve found some of it and I can only hope that it emanates from me as much as I can see music does for you!

WT – High energy! is what I can say about you. It’s quite incredible to watch actually. You are at your highest of highs when you are surrouded by good friends and good music and I think that’s where you shine. Even for someone like me, who can also have quite high energy, you manage to top that and show me how exciting it can be to get to know other people. We don’t know each other as well as we’d both like to but that will change soon. What I do know is that althought in person we always see the highest of highs in you, when you’re alone, it becomes your lowest of lowes. It’s something you’ve mentioned to me before and maybe in the next few months, it’s something I can show you too, how to be comfortable in your own shoes when all you have is yourself.

A Dream Journal Series – Remember

  • Date: 19th January 2020
  • Lucidity: 4 / 10
  • Vividity: 8 / 10
  • Realism: 8 / 10

I take off my heavy rain jacket. It hasn’t rained for days or even weeks, why would I need it on my journey to the end.

I can feel that I am near, I open the map and continue my way towards a row of mountain tops, a peak that runs across the landscape. I’d heard something about these a long time ago and only remembered once my journey took me to the top. I was looking out across the vastness which was the end of the world.

As far as the eye could see, I was at the peak between everything humankind knew and everything else which was beyond the wall of mountains I was now standing upon. I knew it was special, that it was a place not many had been before, to be able to look upon the a space that was as if infinite beyond my sight was frightening and yet sobering. So barren, so distant. Ahead of me lay the path I was to take along the mountainside. The map was vague, incomplete, I was somewhere that was not there, but I knew where it was and I knew where I had to go. Some time after, I’d made it back down and was met by a beautiful riverside town. The day seemed to glow with happiness, with energy, the bluest skies I’d seen and biggest sun in the sky seemed to meet this town. The buildings were of beautiful golden mud type, the ones you see in the old Egyptian deserts, buzzing with life and that’s what it was, the sounds and smells I could here were reminiscent of a lively marketplace beyond the walls. There was a feeling of wanting nothing more than to join them.

I followed the path beside the river and came to a small bridge onto a back alley into the town. The alley was small, full of old used large water bottles , those you would see in the 20th century offices that refill the water machine, I felt these were out of place but I did not question it. I opened my map.

The rain came pouring down heavily as if there was no mercy for me having left my rain jacket behind. Running in all directions, I looked for shelter and found one after having being absolutely soaked from head to toe. I was now cold, wet and shivering with fear. The two who’d taken me here were getting anxious and I’d kept muttering that we were near, that we were so close but looking at the map, I could not remember. Zooming in and out of the on the electronic device I held, I couldn’t seem to find where I’d come from. The place I’d left my jacket was the key to finding my way back but where was that. The map looked nothing like I had known when I was last here.

I lead the way into the marketplace crossing roads with cars zooming by. The noises I remember, reminiscent of an ancient market place was now drowned by machines and turning motors. It made me feel a daze with direction. We walked deeper into the marketplace but nothing felt familiar, I kept closing and opening my eyes trying to take me back to where I was and then a flash of memory came by. Blue bottles. Alleyway. Riverside.

I opened the map again and narrowed the search down with the criteria in mind. There was this crossing between rivers that met to become one, something told me to go there and so we went back and tracked our way to the outskirts of the city where the river lay. A familiar alleyway approached and I saw the blue bottles as if I’d seen them before. I knew this was the way, that we are another step closer to finding what I had found all those years before, if only; if only I could remember what that was.

The End.

Feature image – Hiking the Great Lakes District, UK reminiscent of the journey taken to the End of the World. Taken on the 21st of April 2019

Habits

It’s interesting but not unexpected that when we talk about our habits, the first thing that comes to mind are our bad habits.

We all have them, those bad habits which have woven themselves into the fabric of our very existence. Those habits that you remember your mum telling you not to do all those years ago which you just can’t help but do them even today.

But look, I’m not here to talk about those “bad” habits because frankly, I don’t think they’re too important to think about. In fact, what I’m really here to talk about, are the good ones. You didn’t think there was such a thing? well, let’s explore.

Clear your thoughts about everything you have ever known about habits because it’s likely that all you know and can think of are the habits your mum has been telling you you’ve been doing wrong all your life. Now think about something that you do each and every day that is part of your routine that you know helps you get through that day or week. Here’s a tip, start small. Here’s another tip, think about how this habit makes you feel. Here’s an example below:

Good HabitFeelings/ A sense of…
Making the bedAchievement – First of the day
Imagining what the day ahead looks likeComfort – Knowing what lies ahead and what needs to be done
Putting down the toilet seat before you flushAssurance – No bacteria flushed into the air
Reading before bedExcitement – Adventure time!
5 minute walk every 30 minutes on the computerHealthy – Taking care of your wellbeing

The example above is purely an example only, the individual may have very different habits or even those which are the same but make them feel or have a sense of something totally different. That’s why habits are unique to you and only you have the power over them (or on the flip side, them over you!).

So yes, we all do have good habits that make us a better person even if only ever so slightly. What I wanted to point out was that habits should not be seen as a negative in our lives.

I find it interesting how throughout most of our lives, we grow up being told that habits are bad and that we should not have them. I now realise that habits are one of the most important things in life to have. Having an in-depth and clear understanding of how habits work, how they motivate you, how to build them for you and shape them to our will can truly change our lives in almost every way.

“We are the sum of our actions, and therefore our habits make all the difference.”

Aristotle

What makes us who we are is the habits we make, the things that we do day to day without us even consciously having to think about it. Imagine being able to have great habits be an automatic and natural process of your everyday life, how much could we achieve? how far could we take that? The problem is that with every habit, it takes time to build. The time you put into building these positive habits can take days, weeks, months or even years so the best time to start applying these is always today. But why is it such a time-consuming exercise? It is because you are fighting with your weapon in which is your willpower. Often, willpower is said to be like a muscle that one can train and build. I have not only found this to be incredibly true but also a lot tougher to do in practice than in words. Our willpower is (I dare say) even tougher than building our physical muscles! The fight is in our heads, our minds, something no one else can really help you “train” but yourself, that is what makes it so difficult.

Don’t let the above dissuade you, however. There are many techniques to help you tackle and “trick” your mind into strengthening those habits.

The most common is to start small and simple to achieve. You see, when you achieve something you set out to accomplish, no matter how big or small, the chemical reactions in your body change, you get a feeling of satisfaction through the release of numerous “happy” chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. Let’s not get bogged down into the science of what each one is all about but it’s least to say that they encourage you to keep going, to keep doing what you are doing. One small step at a time, one small success after another can lead to big long term gains and before you know it, you’ve been building positive habits without you even knowing it.

Another common technique is to recognise and remove OR transform “triggers” into something more positive. Triggers are usually subtle things that bring upon what the action of the habit is. For example, seeing fried chicken might be a trigger for you to instantly think you’re hungry and in need for it (my personal weakness), if this is something you are trying to change, you can try to avoid known locations of KFC’s OR turn the sight of KFC into a reminder to do 10 start jumps, for example. That’s probably not the best example for everyone so here’s one that more down to Earth, how about when you see everyone around you pull out their phones on a crowded bus or train, that is usually a trigger for you to do the same even if you are scrolling through nothing of use. Try noticing that trigger each time you see it, then try doing something else when you notice it, such as pulling out a book (which is my trigger response too!) or closing your eyes to rest for a few minutes. Remember, triggers usually lead to the action in which becomes the habit; to overcome them, notice what triggers you and change them to something positive.

Finally, always remember that everything good in life takes time, if you falter at first, don’t give up! Sometimes it might be good to log your record number of hours or days you’ve been able to work on something but sometimes that can also be so unforgiving. Be forgiving to yourself, please; after all, we’re only human.

This is a big topic, there’s a lot of literature about it and I’ve only touched on the tip of the iceberg, my own little blurb and experience of it. What are your thoughts on it? Are habits something you think about? Do you want to change anything in your life right now and want to know how your habits could help you do so? PM me and let’s have a chat!

Thanks for reading, learning and being a better you ❤ Love to all, Jason

Feature image – A chicken representing my dangerous trigger, the fried chicken! taken on the 26th of March 2016.

Goals of 2020 – Shifting Habits

2020; but before I delve into the new year, I must reflect upon the last.

How would you describe 2019? Was it what you expected?

Incredibly enough, yes. A large part of 2019 went on as expected. To my surprise, a lot of predictions made about the year were indeed correct and the success of those goals set for the year demonstrate that with a cheerful glow. For a year to seem so full of uncertainty, how did I at the other side find it to be so foreseeable? Looking back, I think it has a lot to do with knowing myself quite well. If you’d asked me a year ago how do I’d balance my work life, my travels and my good health in this new country, I’d answer it in the exact same way I would now. I’d say that I’d promised myself not to overwork even if the conditions here in London were different back home, I’d say that I’d make sure to travel for the love of music, culture and the people and all three have been what exploring has been all about this year; finally, I’d say that I’d find a way to keep healthy in my own means, that involves something I will both enjoy and keep me in good shape and not only has that been true, but it’s also been incredible for the finances, now with me cooking healthy meals more than ever and cycling to and from work.

What was harder than I anticipated this year was the ability to really be a part of a community here. It’s hard to say what happened throughout the course of the year to cause this feeling because even though I felt like I did try (for example, dancing classes, board game nights, joining an esports community). Why is it so that I don’t yet “feel” I was part of a real strong community? This is a tough question to answer and my first blog post for the year will try to answer this, but for now, let’s stick to goals.

Like every year I inscribe my goals, dreams and passions for the upcoming year. This year we see more bigger, bolder and challenging goals than the previous, wish me luck!

  1. A sense of community – I’m cheating by bringing this one over from 2019 but to me, it’s unfinished. I underestimated how tough this was to achieve, maybe it’s London, maybe it’s me? Check out one of my early posts in Jan 2020 for a deeper look into it but for now, there’s more I can do to uphold this goal of mine and it is a challenge I will take on head first. To summarise, I am in search to make a deep connection with a community here in London, i.e be an integral part of at least one community organisation or group by the end of 2020.
  2. My road to Engineering Chartership – I love being an engineer for so many reasons, the work I do is satisfying, challenging and gives me purpose and meaning. That’s why, I am taking on a great challenge to take the first steps towards Engineering Chartership showing a dedication to the field and respect for all those who have come before me and shared their combined wisdom. I’ve already set up an ambitious timetable separate to this blog, wish me luck.
  3. Travelling and exploring – 2019 was an absolutely incredible year of experiences gained from travelling and exploring. I am still in total reflection of everything that has happened in the past year but in summary I have been totally humbled and have grown in ways of empathy and understanding that have helped reshaped some of my core beliefs and ideals. It’s important to remember that my travels this year will continue to be led by my love for music, culture and people just as it was in 2019. What I must do this year however is to make sure I meet more people along the way! How about, set a goal to go to at least one event where people gather (non music festival related) per holiday.
  4. Advanced cooking and baking – Here we go! ready for Jason’s masterclass? cause he’s not ready at all to do one hah! But with that being said, from knowing pretty much nothing about cooking or baking at the beginning of 2019 and now making myself delicious meals (I rarely go out and eat now because let’s face it, I can pretty much make the same at home myself), I’ve been pretty happy with myself. The question is, how do I continue to challenge myself in the field? Well, how about some real entries into the cookbook? Well that’s my goal, let’s get a cookbook going this year! (or maybe a spreadsheet, let’s see about that!).
  5. Sunday me day – This is something I am bringing back from my former 2018 years. 2019 was a tough year to keep up with this because I was always on my toes, but now I am more settled, I want to bring back Sunday me day. What does that involve? It’s easy, it’s relaxing, it’s a break from having to “do” things. I make sure nothing is on the calendar for Sundays and I make it a day to do whatever feels right, it could be anything from sleeping, blogging, gaming for a whole days end. But what I am really looking forward to is turning the day into a weekly “activity” day. Let’s say I want to learn more about knitting. I would set up what it looks like to do a 5 day course in knitting and over the course of 5 Sundays, I would practice the art. It’s self learning, but doing something that makes me happy and learning a new skill at the same time.
  6. Reading – Does anyone know how I can learn to read faster? Seriously, I want to read 50+ books a year but only get through a pinch of that if I am lucky. It doesn’t make it any easier that I always tend to pick pretty thick books! I want to and must read more this year, substantially more. I am setting myself a goal of 24 books this year, it’s going to be tough, 2 books per month and I’m already a bit behind. It’s something I love to do so let’s make it a priority.
  7. Fitness – Let’s be honest here, cycling on average half an hour a day for the year, I don’t think I can top that and I’m not sure I need to. I’m happy with my fitness levels, I feel healthy and great! Unless I suddenly have the urge to join a sumo class or some sort, let’s be humble and proud to keep doing what I’m doing. 30 minutes on average each day for the year cycling. GO! 🙂

So with that, I leave you with a thought. What are your goals for the year? How do you plan to be the best person that you can be during the year. Comment or message me personally, I would truly like to know OR have you simply not thought about it?

Thanks for reading. With Love, always. Jason ❤

P.S. Did you notice with the last 3 goals representing the harmony of the mind, body and spirit/soul?

Feature image – The London to Brighton Bike ride supporting the British Heart Foundation completed on the 16th of June 2019.

Variety

My great aunt once said that the key to living a long and healthy life was in the variety. She said never to be picky with the foods you eat, that a good variety of all foods in your diet will keep you healthy for many years to come. I must of been no more than 6 years old when she told me this. I believed her, and never stopped believing.

Today, I eat everything and anything, in moderation and in great vast variety. I am never one to turn down an interesting cuisine, an odd dish or a crazy food (yeah, even the creepy crawlies!). In fact, I really enjoy them! It’s one of the reasons why I love travelling for food, for the cultural food experience. I always have that feeling of “give me something your mum would cook you”! and never have I turned back.

To me, food in all it’s forms is a blessing, how lucky I am to have food on the table, to have the meat of another animals sacrifice in which I thank deeply in this circle of life; to have the greens that mother Earth provides. This keep me humble, to not pick and choose, to not chase or fight but just enjoy the goodness that life brings.

Sometimes, I’d like to attribute this to my good health, my strength both body and in mind and my immunity to allergies and intolerences. Ofcourse, I’d never really know if it was really the reason for it, but better not take that chance and let’s keep eating our way through the world.

Thanks for reading ❤

Feature image – In North Korea, myself and four other travellers delve into a classic Korean BBQ. The traditional “Banchan” refers to the variety of up to 12 small dishes which are shared amongst your peers. This was taken somewhere in Pyongyang, North Korea on the 8th of March 2016.

Questions – How do we find purpose in our lives?

How do we find purpose in our lives?

I think the key is being thoughtful about what your real purpose in life is and what really drives you, motivates you and gets you excited about things and making sure that the career choices you make, the kinds of organisations you work for, the kinds of skills you cultivate are aligned with that broader set of interests and not just letting it happen by accident. It’s also simply about just believing that it’s possible, that whatever your purpose in life you’ve found is, that it is achievable against all odds. Always remember, the universe is on your side no matter how much it feels otherwise; like a friend once told me, you just have to ask for it.

Feature image – On one eventful day, a group of strangers dressed in yellow raincoats set out on a mission to share laughter, joy and happiness throughout the city. Taken at St Pauls Cathedral in London, United Kingdom on the 22nd September 2019

You who are passing by

“You who are passing by, I beg you, do something. Learn a dance step, something to justify your existence, something that gives you the right to be dressed in your skin in your body hair. Learn to walk and to laugh, because it would be too senseless after all, for so many to have died while you to live, doing nothing for your life.”

Auschwitz survivor Charlotte Delbo

Five Years

Is it just me or does everyone hit a point in their lives where they think about where they are in life and how a lot of it, or certain aspects of it are not aligned with their goals and dreams they had in their minds.

Sometimes, even the thought of this reminds me of what sounds quite funny at first at the humble age of 26, but on a serious note, a midlife crisis. But what if this crisis is actually a representation of a modern crisis, one where it is a by-product of a generation that has been raised in the most globally connected, wealthy and “free” time in the history of mankind. We have something that our predesesors didn’t have until they were in their late thirties and that is more knowledge, more freedom and more choices. These choices whenever abundant can give rise to doubt; the what if’s that run through our minds when given options and we choose one over another.

The real big question is how does any of us know they’ve made the right choice? Some might tell you to follow your instincts, others base their decisions on the judgements of their close family and friends and furthermore others would use pure logic and reasoning to judge the right move. Risk over reward, right? Well, everyone has their own take on this and the truth is, no one really has the right answer.

All I know is that for me personally, I am at a crossroad, a point where I’ve still the freedom to change the direction in my life. Maybe that’s one we can all take away though, maybe at any given “present” moment, we can make that change. But for now, I am reaching what people call the 5-year mark, or the 5-year rule; it marks when you have been at a company or role for that amount of time and it’s a good time to change companies, go for that payrise or what I think is becoming more and more relevant in today’s age, change careers.

It was only years ago where we would say that job stability or dare I say life stability came from the amount of years you were employed for in a company. In fact, it’s quite likely we get that from our older colleagues of whom we work with; 10 years, 15 years, 25 years, 30 years! They’re incredibly proud of it and to me, that is one hell of an achievement because I can’t see further than 6 months into my future let alone 10 years!

Times have changed and they’ve changed so rapidly at that, I struggle to believe that staying in one company, in one role, being the “master of one” instead of the “jack of all trades” will be enough to survive in this modern world. This is not because it is not important to be a master, it is because it is increasingly becomming tougher to be a master of any trade. The knowledge that a master holds is becoming increasingly easier to access, you can see that with not just the immensity of the global knowledge held on the internet but the expert driven courses which can be found at your fingertips. Anyone can be an expert in a field so long as they put in the effort and significantly less time than 30 years. But even then, it is not those singular experts that truly move the world and make a difference, I believe it is those whom can bring expertise from a number of fields into one that can make the real change in the world.

So let’s say, we follow the 5-year rule, but the modern one. In 30 year’s you would of had 6 different careers, all spanning a wide range of interests, hobbies, dreams, goals and passions. Maybe one or two of them you really enjoyed and stayed on for longer, and maybe those in which you did not enjoy so much you stayed less.

Now I propose the most important question, one for the readers to think about, who has more expertise after 30 years? Who is more likely to have followed his or her dreams, achieved greater heights and will live to tell more stories?

It’s still a tough question, one that we all still have our own opinions on, but maybe this time after reading this, with just that tiny bit more clarity.

Thanks for reading my friends, I guess this one was more for me at this point of time in my life. It hasn’t come across because I don’t enjoy my work or I think there’s something better out there for me; it’s more the side of me that seeks to learn more about the world, the undying curiosity and adventure that I seek. Is one life too short to be spending 80% of your time on one thing? I would always, always, always say yes.

Feature image – Represents how slow we should be living life in retrospect to how fast it feels; this was during my wanderings on a little island national park at Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea taken on the 30th August 2017

When Friends Ask – London

In this post, I introduce two sections to help you run around this city and make the most of it! The first shows you things you the things you must do as a traveler here and the second is a list of my own little discoveries I’ve made over the time I’ve been here.

At this point of time when more and more of my friends are travelling abroad, one of the big destinations is through Europe so in doing so, and knowing I’m living in this big bad city, they ask me about where’s the go-to, what’s the must sees and where are the must go’s. So here’s what I think from first glance, from my first few months of living in this beautiful city, the city of London.

Section 1 – To travel

Everyone travels differently depending on a whole number of factors. Here, I give you a quick rundown, with each category, I give you about 2-3 days worth of things to do. So, without further ado, what kind of traveler are you?

Cultural Seeker – I want to know what it is like to be a Londoner, their daily lives, patterns and things they live by.

  • PRET – What? you’ll know what I mean when you get here. Pret is the most famous of the many “sandwich shops” that keep the cities population moving for another day. They’re a chain that you can find around almost every corner because a part of the London lifestyle is to grab a sandwich (and maybe a meal deal) during lunch or on your way home. Don’t *Pret though, the sandwiches are actually really good, super fresh and well priced so what’s not to love?
  • Markets – I know there are some pretty great markets around the world and you can probably find them greater, larger or more extravagant than those found here. However, I’m talking about literally many dozens of markets littered all around London and in every corner and crevice. During lunchtimes, these markets provide a good break from the daily sandwich and over the weekends they are beaming with local shoppers, artists, creatives and foodies! Some of my favorites include the Brick Lane Markets, Camden markets, Borough Markets and the Colombia Road Flower Markets.
  • Parks – If you’re here in the summer, you’re going to loooove this (check out my re-blog of the London summer https://jayysnotes.blog/2019/07/18/london-summer/), but if you’re not, they’re still worth a visit. Parks here are seasonal, so be ready to see all the beautiful changing colors of all the seasons, the bright oranges of Autumn, the colorful yellows, pinks, blues and purples of Spring, the bright greens of summer and of-course, the brown brushes of winter…but not only will you find the parks incredibly gorgeous and well maintained here, you will find them absolutely empty one cold day and intensely crawling with people from all walks of life in the next sunny day! It’s really quite a sight. Check out some of my favorites, Regents Park, Primrose Hill, Greenwich Park and of-course Hyde Park; and if you have time and want to see wild roaming deer, check out the enormous Richmond Parklands.
  • Beer – I can’t not mention this as it is probably the most English thing I know. Pubs are found literally around every corner of this city. The English see pubs as such: Cold Day – Let’s go to the local pub with our buddies and sit inside where it’s warm, packed like sardines, loud and smells. Sunny Day – Let’s go to the local pub with our buddies and all stand outside creating noise while having a pint to soak in as much sun as we can before the coming 9 month winter. Let me say again how prominent the street drinking is here, so much so we have men’s urinals (the ones we see at carnivals) on the corner of public roads!
  • Free Museums – London is super great for travelers because there’s actually a lot of free stuff to do! (strictly travelers, living here burns holes through your wallet!). One of the best free things are museums and galleries, many of which top of world in terms of ranking. You can find many of the popular ones around South Kensington station and others spread out across the city. Some of my favorites so far are The Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), Tate Modern and the British Museum.
  • Live Music and Theaters – Other than having beers 5 times a week, theatrics is something that locals here love to go and see. There are an absolute limitless number of shows that are happening every single day to pique any of your interests! The more popular and world renown ones include the plays at Shake-sphere’s Globe, Phantom of the Opera and of-course Harry Potter’s Play.
  • Special mention to the Regents Canal – Definitely one of my favorites walks on a sunny day, don’t miss out on the canal walk around Kings Cross and the up towards Little Venice and Paddington!

Party Seeker – I want to know how to have a good time in this city, I want to stay up and party all night!

  • SOHO – This is a prominent and central area for a night out. I’ll be honest, I’ve not had a big night out in the area but from what I’ve seen and heard, it’s wild and odd!
  • Shoreditch – Shorditch is a hippie, youthful, artsie and super energetic area especially at night. Walk the main streets, take lots of turns and corners and even explore it’s outskirts for something different, jazzy, fun and exciting. At night the whole area is buzzing, there’s no specific place I’d go check out because there’s always something cool around the corner. I did here something about a place called the Dinerama which is great for food and bars, something for me to check out too!
  • Specific Bars – There’s a lot to mention here. Like seriously a lot and it really depends on what you’re after. This city has a bar for and to suit everyone and anything. I’ve been to super cool themed medieval bars to modern futuristic ones. Bars with huge putt putt courses, bowling alleys and karaoke’s in them, I’ve seen pubs where people play board and e-sports…there’s just everything here…maybe ask me to join?
  • Specific Clubs – Again, there’s a lot to mention and sometimes it depends on the night and the artist who’s playing. Special mention to the Ministry of Sound, Fabric and XOYO along with Printworks but once again, you need to think about what music you like and what you’d like to see.

Section 2 – Discoveries

  • Bogan bingo – All Aussies who visit the city must go on a night out of Bogan Bingo! great fun and laugh for everyone and a good reminder of what we Aussies look like to others!
  • TK MAXX – This is a really great place to shop for good quality branded clothing at super great prices. There’s a few of these stores littered around London, mostly in the outer Zone 2, definitely a great place to find a bargain, pretty much always 80% off the retail price of branded shoes, clothing and everything else.
  • Thai Food – Spicy Basil is really great for authentic Thai food that I’ve yet to see replicated anywhere else in London
  • Indian Food – Vijay is something unexpected when you first walk in, it’s warm and welcoming glow pulls you in and the amazing food keeps you there!

I’ll leave it at that for now as those are the two main types of travelers coming into London itself. I guess I could of added some landmarks as well but i’m sure google has you covered there! e.g. don’t forget to check out the Tower of London! (of-course you wouldn’t forget).

Thanks for reading my friends. Happy travels! ❤

Feature image – View from the 58th floor of the currently in construction 22 Bishopsgate, London, United Kingdom taken on the 3rd May 2019

How Did You Know?

“How did you know that you loved him?” I asked.

She went silent for a moment, thinking about what she wanted to say.

“He was my sun. He made me feel a warmth inside of myself that I could never feel from anything else. It was like flowers were blooming inside of my chest. When we were together, his love radiated on to me and I couldn’t help but grow from that. I wanted to be a better person for him, because he gave me all the love and support needed to do so. All my life I had been falling in love with people I could live with, but when he came around I had finally found someone I couldn’t live without. He was my one.” She chuckled while a tear rolled down her cheek.

 

London Summer

It appears…summer is here – like, tomorrow – 33 degrees of thick, smoggy heat descending on our fine city.

Certainly a few athletes will have been caught short in their summer ‘cut’ but this will not prevent them from unashamedly getting their dusty rigs out on any miniscule patch of grass they can lay their bum bag on. A sea of empty pre mix gin and tonics, half eaten cous cous salads and empty bags of walkers prawn cocktail crisps will litter every park from Croydon to Camden by 1pm.

By 3pm instagram will be buckling under the weight of these park dwelling influencer’s mammoth selfie sessions. Sweat, foundation and arrogance drip off the faces of these scantily clad, prosecco fuelled young harlots of London.

The time to tan is nigh and no amount of scientific or medical reasoning will prevent this lot from flaunting unprotected and ghoulishly pale flesh to the blue summer sky. Between high pitched screeching sessions about Love Island and determining who’s dealer is the more reliable, they are relentlessly sacking piss – and credit to them. Thank fuck that one of the old heads in the group bought a cooler bag and ice because those warm £1 pre-mixers are about as appetising as a Boris Johnson Tory party nomination.

Around 8pm, the sun has lost much of it’s potency and in the diminishing light, it starts to become evident just how many bottles of prosecco and cans of cheap lager litter your immediate vicinity. You know it’s time to depart and the overflowing rubbish bins give you an excuse to recklessly throw your bag of empties on the already well established pile. You ignore the shade thrown at you by a grandmother briskly striding by – she’s had her time, the old bitch, it’s yours now.

It is time for phase two; home for a shower, outfit change and a raid of your drug drawer all while obnoxiously hammering your UE Boom speaker with a delicately crafted ‘#summervibes’ playlist you’ve put together mid week whilst battling depression and a manager as bitter and vindictive as a Daily Mail journo.
As you head home ambulance sirens enter the mix and immediately begin drowning out cat calls and ‘ladsy banter’ as dehydration and well timed right hooks claim their first victims. Heatstroke, impromptu naps and poor fiscal planning aide in the decimation, some of the best of them will fall here but they are still hopeful of returning to the fray after downing a couple powerade or negotiating a hasty loan with a house mate.

As the sun dips beneath the horizon, chaos reigns in the city. The old bill simply aren’t cut out to operate in this type of heat and like a humourless EU council member listening to May’s monotonous bullshit, they’re completely out of patience with this lot of unruly Brits.

Thankfully for their enemy, the general public, a fleet of Albanian coke dealers determinedly navigates heavy traffic to continue a steady flow of narcotics to their bar hopping masses who’s sustenance has thus far been limited to a sainsbury’s meal deal and about 6 pints of lager. The marching powder supersedes their need for further calories however and kebab shop owners are forced to look on patiently, stocking shelves and thawing packages of camel meat in preparation of the inevitable a.m onslaught.

At around 10pm, whatsapp groups begin lighting up in earnest – friends engaging in bitter disputes due to uber surcharges and crazed requests to ‘come to north London, it’s actually not a bad night out’. And like the invitees of a Tory party debate, there will undoubtedly be a few shitkickers who just say ‘fuck it, I’m staying in’.
Tubes are once again flooded, all creeds of life descend on the archaic railway system – plebs from zone 4 making the pilgrimage in, desperate to convince themselves they are, technically, living the London dream. With the elegance and integrity of a Jeremy Kyle Show segment, they spew forth back into the warm London evening, throats parched, nasal passages blocked, yet eager for more.
They flock to bars, even those unable to walk or speak are waved through by bouncers showing all the enthusiasm of a Soho street walker.
Saturday ticks over to Sunday but this crowd shows no immediate signs of surrender. They’re into the spirits now, doubles if the wage allows it.

Oddly the line for the men’s stall has tripled in size, unlike the coke dicks that will be returning to lovers beds come the wee hours. You can almost hear the chuckle from fever trees execs as the thirsty punters throw themselves at the bar demanding more b-grade gin with their ’boutique’ tonic. Djs commanding dance floors around the city peek up over CDJs at the sunburnt masses and are met with the vacant stares of the living dead, gradually exhausting the supply of energy, and pound sterling, borrowed from their own retched future selves.
Red, sweating and reluctantly snorting that slow drip down of coke down the back of their throat, they are relentless. Until, finally, the fog clears, firm decisions to leave are made and slowly, they begin to depart the sweaty boxes they have occupied for the last 6 hours. As they enter back onto the streets so to do the street sweeping crews, cleaning the vomit, regret and empty stella cans from streets. The masses are pouring out of the bars now, young cassanovas throwing out compliments and invitations like Donald Trump in a teen beauty contestants changing room. The women at this point are dishevelled, clinging to friends and begging for smokes while they navigate the murky waters of a pre-dawn warzone.
A quick bite and off home is it – no its fucken not. The queues for a two piece and chips is out the door and citymapper has just confirmed you’ve a 55 minute bus ride in front of you with nothing but the finest of crack heads and deviants to keep you company. Cheering.
Experienced uber drivers take a moment to knock back a Xanax and a line of speed, both numming themselves to the incoherent ramblings of their substance abusing clientele while simultaneously ensuring they don’t wrap them round a stop sign. It’s a delicate business.
As the sun peeks up, the first of the spandex-cunt-brigade appears, jogging or cycling the desolate streets with an air of superiority reserved for those with full liver functionality.
Some of our mystic partygoers will down a couple pints of water before bed. Others apply a generous layer of aloe after sun. But for most, they will simply lie back in their dirty, sweaty sheets, potentially aided by a £20 argos pedestal fan blowing a cool breeze on their sun kissed faces as they weigh up the probability of throwing up that last, nostalgic shot of cheap tequila which while entirely unnecessary was also shouted by some other poor cunt.
And so they drift, off to sleep, with a day of Netflix, codeine and Deliveroo to greet them when they do finally peel their sunburnt carcasses off the concrete.
So, enjoy it you heathens. It is here, it is upon us. It is summer.

 

Feature image – On a nice summers day nearby my workplace at the Gray’s Inn Walks Gardens, London on the 13th of May 2019.

The Little but BIG Things In Life – Appreciation List

  1. THANK YOU for giving me the strength to be alone and be okay with that. To find and fall in love with who I am, to be my own self in a world that can sometimes feel like it’s tearing you apart.
  2. THANK YOU mum for being there for me, always. For always having the most beautiful smile in the world. Mum, I want you to know that when you’re happy, the world lights up and there is nothing but happiness in this world.
  3. THANK YOU dad for being the biggest and most incredible role model that any son could have ever hoped for. Dad, I want you to know that you are my inspiration in this world, your strength and fortitude, bravery and persistence to make a better life for you and your family has taught me everything I know about what it means to raise a family; no doubt this will be passed on to many generations to come.
  4. THANK YOU Michael, my older brother. You are the smartest person I know, most of the time. You give advice that is often sound and responsible and has always kept me on the right path in life. You’re the first person I go to when I seek guidance, without you, my life would not have the structure, the building blocks it does today and I can only hope that I continue to listen and take in your knowledge.
  5. THANK YOU Ken, my youngest brother. You have taught me that everyone is on a different path to success, that there is not one but an infinite number of ways that one can reach success. I know us older brothers sometimes can seem to have expectations that are not always easy to achieve; you shouldn’t have to live up to them because you are on your own path in life and I realise that now. Just know that we have always wanted the best for you and are here to support any decision you make.
  6. THANK YOU Jasie, my dear sister in Law. Far more than anyone else in the world, you have taught me to welcome others with the biggest open arms. Our family is incredibly lucky to have and welcome you into our home. I thank you so much for your patience and acceptance of who we are. I know that we are not always perfect, myself especially but know that we will always be here for you and the little ones.
  7. THANK YOU little Jasmine and Alicia, oh my two little beautiful nieces! You two are an absolute bundle of joy! The hardest question I’ve had to answer since moving abroad was what will I miss the most about home and the answer is not what, but who and it’s you two. It saddens me greatly that I am not there to see you grow up, running around the family house chasing each others tails. I hope that you will remember your old uncle Jason, known for his bravery to chase his dreams, to jump into the unknown and explore the wild corners of the world. I promise to bring you wild gifts and stories from distant lands, even dragons if he ever comes across one!
  8. THANK YOU so very much my best friend Epiphany. You taught me the true meaning of what that meant and it only took two decades to meet you; but oh my am I glad we finally did! You’re a big part of my life and a big reason why I can stand tall and not be afraid. I’ve always got your back and you’ve got mine. A great day? Tell me about it while I cheer you on. A really bad day? I’ll be here to listen! And of course by the end have you smiling away 🙂 Stay strong, keep being you because you are awesome!
  9. THANK YOU teddy Beary for being there from the start. For being the light in the darkness, for fighting off the monsters under the bed and being the comfort I needed when I was young, scared and weak; so that now I have become none other than the protector.
  10. THANK YOU for the sun and warmth that comes each but not every day. It reminds me that life is not all sunshine and blue skies, but instead it’s how you overcome the grey to see the light of another day.
  11. THANK YOU for my good health! I know I don’t always appreciate it as much as I should, but I know my physical body is strong and in good health, that it can take me to places and move mountains at my call.
  12. THANK YOU to those of you who keep in touch even when I am so far away, even when it’s been so long since we last spoke. The little things such as “how are you” keep me going knowing people out there do care about me just as I do for them.
  13. THANK YOU for my absolute LOVE to bring people together. I find the most happiness when I am connecting people, when I am bridging the gap between you and me, between you and him and between him and her. This is because I truly believe in the power of the mutual connections that we give each other, it is one of the few things that really matter on our short time on this Earth. This love to bring people together has made me feel loved by many, has helped me build real heart filled relationships with those around me and simply has helped me become so content with the life I have been given. If there is ever a goal in life I cherish more than anything, it is that I continue to pass on the bright light that I have been given by you and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
  14. THANK YOU to all those who post recipes online whether that’s on my favourite Subtle Asian Cooking page, blogs or websites. They give a big newbie like me hope to cook things that I never thought I could of, to enjoy the food i make and most importantly to know what’s going into everything i make and eat.
  15. THANK YOU to the world wide web! How crazy does it sound to know that was a time when the world wasn’t even near as connected as it is today. Not only are we more connected to each other socially but more importantly, connected by information. This is to ensure I never take for granted how easy it is for me to satisfy my thirst for knowledge, more open to me than 99.999% of humans ever been in the past.
  16. THANK YOU to the sound of music. You move me. You have always moved my body and heart, made me feel emotions that I could not describe but only feel. Music really is the universal language that connects us all, vibrating strings is what we are made of and vibrating strings is what we are all changed by. I am glad that we have ears to listen, hearts to feel and our bodies to move along with it.
  17. THANK YOU to those who choose to smile. I often get caught up in the movements of the day to notice that I haven’t stopped to enjoy the moment, the life each day that I have been given. But you, stranger, with your smile remind me. You remind me of the good that is in the world, to not get sucked up in the pattern, the mindless moving. You remind me to smile back and give a smile once again to another stranger.
  18. THANK YOU for listening. To those who listen with their hearts to you and mean nothing but the best for you. I know who you are because I know how you have made me feel, absolutely and undoubtedly supported through the ups and downs of my life. Without you I would be an empty shell, cast out into the ocean with no one to pick me up and listen to my tune. We all need heroes in our life, we all need that wind beneath our wings that allows us to fly and soar above the clouds; so I hope you know that it is you who has made it all possible.
  19. THANK YOU to my outbound friends. Those of you who are eagerly finding adventure beyond the horizons of what you see and crossing borders to places you’d never thought you’d find yourself. It is you I seek out most because when I see you doing this; I want to join you. Often I will and I do, the stories we share with one another are unforgettable and the bonds we make are unbreakable because one of the things I do know is that friends who travel together, stay together.
  20. THANK YOU, my mentors in life. I see mentors in so many people that I meet, so naturally I have many mentors both personally and professionally. I think it’s important to remind ourselves that there is something to learn from anybody and it is with this thought that has allowed me grow into the person that I am today, a combination of the many whom I’ve met and looked up to before.
  21. THANK YOU for giving me the chance to truly be proud of the work I do, of the projects that come to life in front of my eyes. Not often enough do I pause to remember that I and with the help of many others, change the shape of the landscapes we design. That we design and build things on this Earth that will stay for lifetimes past; places where people come together and bring joy and love to one another! That is much to be proud of and I am thankful to remember this each and every day.
  22. THANK YOU for my forever curious and wandering mind. You keep my on my toes with new questions and new discoveries each and every day. You keep track of my sensors and question the things I see, the scents that I smell, the taste that I taste, the sounds that I hear and the feeling of what It is I touch. Maybe more importantly, you make me think about the way I think and wonder about how it is to feel about the way I feel.
  23. THANK YOU for allowing me to give meaning even to the most mundane of things. Today I found great meaning in even the letters of the Alphabet. The T for Tau for example, used as a symbol for life and resurrection in ancient times was also used by the Greeks to symbolise death. Soon after, in biblical times it connected to the cross of Jesus. I realised that even the most simplest of things we take for granted weave across the history of time and space. There is meaning all around us, it is only for us to open our eyes and see. So beautiful.
  24. THANK YOU for the high life energy. One of the most profound things I have learnt about myself over the years is what makes me want to move. In moving I mean to excitedly jump for joy, to enthusiastically wave my hands up in the air and to sing on top of my lungs. It made me realise that it’s not something you’re born into, but it’s something that can be found and the secret is simple, to do something you love. When I do something I love, the energy I put into it feels like my all plus an extra battery pack to top it off. So, I think you for helping me find my high life energy.
  25. THANK YOU for my smile. I never knew the power of a smile until others made me smile with theirs. It’s contagious! Often, people say that I am that person who is always smiling, I’d like to think it’s because of the storyteller in my mind. The vivid imagination that is weaved by the subjects that it finds in everything. But also, I smile because I know it can make you smile too, it can brighten up somebody’s day even for a little moment so I think you for giving me the big bright smile I have (and the wrinkles that come with it!). P.S. that’s why the sunflower is my favourite flower, it makes people smile just by looking at those beautiful golden petals.
  26. THANK YOU for the music community during these times of incredible isolation (2020). Whilst we are more isolated than ever, the strength of communities like these to shift onto the virtual world has been amazing giving a sense of unity, support and love from afar. DQ 1 @ home is a great example of this, uniting the community through Zoom chat where we can all see each other and communicate over chat whilst we enjoy an event that would have been in person. There have been many more great examples of this with individual artists hosting live streams where fans can come together for the love of something common. This sense of community gives me a sense of hope that one day we will return to normal and we will be reunited once again.
  27. THANK YOU for giving me the insight of seeing the beauty in each and every person I meet. I’ve always had the natural ability to see the best in people because that is what I truly believe myself; that within each and every one of us, there is beauty, there is talent, there are achievements that cannot be compared. Too often do we doubt ourselves and see the flaws from within, so it is with this ability I am able to share this beauty with those around me.

As time goes on, this list will continue to grow, to forever be a reminder of how much good there is in this world and to that, I THANK YOU for being the biggest and most important part of it ❤ Love, Jason.

Opportunity and Luck

Opportunies can be found around any corner of life. Often, it is not about the search to find them, but instead about being able to see them for what they are. They all have one thing in common and that one thing is how they all begin and this beginning, starts with you.

Opportunities don’t always come in the shape of you recieving. In fact, the greatest opportunities in life are those in which you can give. People say that the greatest gift in life is what you can give to others without expecting anything in return. Because what this gives you, despite the expectation, is luck; and what is luck? I believe that luck is simply opportunity in disguise!

I believe that luck is simply opportunity in disguise!

Jason Li

When you share your good fortune with others around you, over the long term, it will come back around and surprise you in so many ways. People who often attribute their successes to luck and just being in the right place at the right time often are understating all the work that has gone on behind the scenes. The truth is that it is not that fortune or luck favours them, it is how they position themselves now to create the opportunities that bring luck in their future! So how can we do this? Be proactive, get out there, talk to people, interact and engage with them, be genuine always, let them know what makes you excited and make sure they know how your talents might be able to help them with what makes them excited

Be proactive, get out there, talk to people, interact and engage with them, be genuine always, let them know what makes you excited and make sure they know how your talents might be able to help them with what makes them excited

Jason Li

Have you ever thought about what you can do to create an environment where opportunities flourish around you?

Thanks for reading ❤

Feature image – Disneyland, Tokyo, Japan taken on the 5th December 2018

The Right Path

I realised long ago that there is no right or wrong path to take in life. That we all are on our own paths, one which is unique to ourselves.

Why is it so then, that often-times we are tempted to look at others around us to seek and compare, to find satisfaction in thinking you’re ahead or find dissolution in falling behind.

In the modern world of social media, social profiles and social self marketing, we have to ask ourselves why we use these mediums to communicate to those around us. Is the picture perfect portrayal of your life only a reflection of anothers?