Wednesday, October 27, 2010

just another birthday

I am officially THREE DECADES old. That makes me older than most buildings.


I don't feel any older or wiser.

I don't even feel the need to mark this stage of my life with a party or any other grand gesture. Don't get me wrong, because I love attending big birthday parties. I just don't like throwing them.
Some people make a big fuss about "milestone" birthdays that end with zeros - 30, 40, 60, 80 - but never me. So the day of my 30th birthday would be simple - I'll just have a lunch with father (a one-sided conversation where he talks and i just nod) and a dinner date with MSP (and really good wine, of course). Then in the days after it, I guess I'll have meals and coffee with my different sets of friends. These small gatherings will be like any other coffee date because most of my closest friends are not big on birthdays, either. We are too concerned with less trivial things.

I may dislike big shindigs, but I don't ignore the importance of looking back at the things that have happened and assessing what I have been wasting my time on. Life is too short. We all need some kind of to-do list if we want to die fulfilled.

So before my long term memory fails me again, let me tick off some of the things I've already accomplished in my very own bucket list. These will seem very shallow to other people. I don't care. They are all important to me. So here they are, in no particular order:
  • find love
  • build own company
  • drive a really fast car
  • sell the really fast car to reduce carbon footprint
  • live on my own
  • wear a big white hat in the South of France
  • get drunk in Barcelona
  • make my mother proud
  • see the sunset in the great Khmer Empire
  • stay good friends with my oldest friends
  • smile more often
  • look hot in short dresses / fit into size-2 designer samples
  • dip my toes in the Mediterranean
  • see Palawan
  • learn to cook and eat sensible food
  • eat a frog in Kuala Lumpur
  • eat lobsters in the Philippe Starck-designed Felix at The Peninsula, Kowloon
  • pray in Avila, Spain
  • own a red Valentino coat
  • eat real Vietnamese pho and banh cuon in Hanoi
  • wear cashmere sweaters like they're cheap
  • cross the HK-Macau harbour while eating cheap instant noodles
  • get a tan in Monaco
  • eat real Vigan bagnet
  • eat macaroons in Paris
  • sit, linger, and enjoy churros con chocolate in Madrid
  • receive a Tiffany eternity ring I can wear forever
  • stay in love with Manila
  • downsize to (almost) only 100 personal things
  • run faster than the average runner

In the next decade, I hope to:
  • reduce my carbon footprint
  • live simpler
  • take the company to the next gear
  • mix idealism with profitability
  • become passionate for a cause
  • stay in love
  • never be afraid of trying the strangest food
  • run faster, longer
  • travel even more - Nepal, Morocco, eastern Europe, South America, Africa
  • eat falafels in Egypt
  • study again
  • put my superb public speaking skills - which I have retired for too long now - into good use (not just to talk consuls into giving me visas or to convince clients that my company is the best)
I don't really have a thorough list yet, but you get the picture. I want to live light, be free, be mobile, and start to work for a much bigger cause than just my own financial security.

Happy birthday to me :)


Monday, October 25, 2010

run like a girl (part 3)

Adidas King of the Road Race Results - Oct 24, 2010

So I finally did it.

Five kilometers in a just a little over 28 minutes.

And the cherry on top is that I outran thousands of men and women. I ranked 32 out of
2,578 women, and 218 out of 2,052 men. That means I outran 4,380 people.

(Don't believe people who tell you it doesn't matter what your rank is. They're just slow. Rank matters. You can only really compete with yourself, but ranking shows you the average so you can go past it.)

So, I guess it's time to advance to a more challenging distance? I can call myself a real runner now.

This is actually my third run. In the
first run last March, I was just a little above the average at 36 minutes, and I outran 41% of the women. In the second run last June, I clocked in at a little over 32 minutes, ranking 119 of just 1,178 runners (mixed gender). That meant getting into the upper 10%, and for me, that was quite an improvement. It's NOT easy cutting four minutes.

Around August this year, I decided that I would cut my time by three minutes more - just enough so that I could run 5 kms in under 30 minutes. So MSP - who said that it would be hard to make me faster because I am already fast - put me on a training routine that didn't seem to work at first but finally kicked in on race day. Thanks, punk :)

And so here I am, finally, a runner. Not a jogger. R-U-N-N-E-R!

Some people ask me how I motivate myself to do this. I don't know how to answer that. I run because it's fun. That's the only real motivation. Those who lose steam in the first few tries typically run for the wrong reasons - to lose weight, to get into the hype, etc. Unless you truly find running to be fun, you can't get up early in the morning (after a night of too many drinks), tie your shoelaces, and run.

Running is a metaphor for life. It gives me the discipline to stay on course at work. It teaches me about commitment. It teaches me not to make excuses. And best of all, it proves to me that if I can think it, I can do it.

The mind really is more powerful than the body. I mean, I'm 30 but faster than most women 10 years younger. If that's not will power, could it be my British W.A.S.P. genes?

It's time to celebrate with a new running shirt...

...and a big fat chocolate cake :)