Inspiration is overrated

cofI had many realisations after my recent hike at Mount Kinabalu.

Mt Kinabalu is one of the highest mountains in South East Asia, standing at 4,095m.

Shortly after I started the journey, the route started to elevate and the terrain turned to staircases. I started to lag behind and could not keep up with my fellow hiking mates. I was panting like a dog and feeling my 8kg bag weighing down on my shoulders. I could continue hiking but could not see the slowest person of my hiking pack at all.

I wondered how much time I would be lagging behind my team mates, to finish the 6km ahead of me, and another 3km up to the summit. Although I never had a doubt that I will be able to finish the journey, I was very sure that I would not be able to catch up with my mates.

I started to have reflections on how I ended to be in such a state.

I did Mount Rinjani last year, one month after my laparoscopy procedures, so what’s the big deal with Mount Kinabalu that I felt mentally more challenging this year?

I realised that the lack of training in cardio activities that I demonised, was the very reason why I suffered during the hike. I believed in strengthtraining, and believed that cardio activities was an inefficient use of time to reap health benefits. One has to spend at least an hour to actually burn off any meaningful calories.  Therefore, I have not been doing any cardio activities, especially hiking for a year, my last hike was Mt Rinjani.

I recalled that five years ago I hiked almost every weekend. I was always able to keep up to speed, and never lagged behind a group of hikers. I was always in the middle of the group, sometimes at the front.

During weekdays, all I did was look at hiking event schedules, and booked myself on the hiking events every weekend. I did not have to deliberate if hiking was good for me, if cardio was a waste of time, if I could wake up, or if I should be spending my time and energy better in some other activities. Sometimes I did not even think whether this hike would be fun, or would I feel happy waking up at 3am to drive to the hiking spot so that we could see sunrise.

Not needing to make a decision and deliberate on the potential consequences or outcome of the decision, made matters easy. I just had to be committed to the process.

Fast forward to two years ago, I was committed to rock climbing so much that during weekends, I only go for rock climbing and nothing else. All I had to do is find out if we were going to be doing outdoor climbing or indoor gym climbing, and wake up in the morning so that we could go together. That was a no brainer to me. I did not have to think if waking up was good for me, would I be injured from the climb, or should I be covered under the blankets because of the cold weather instead.

I never asked myself what was the inspiration to hiking or rock climbing, should I be doing something else, or ‘can I do this another time?’. I just believed in it, and I followed it through.

We are in a constant hunt for inspirations. I watched more inspirational videos this year than all the inspirational videos I watched in the past 30 years all added together, yet I have less motivation to work on something as compared to how I was committed to hiking and rock climbing in the past few years.

So nowadays I look less for inspirations, and focus more on doing the things that I am committed to. Don’t ask why, just do it, if you believed in it. In time you will improve so much that your mind would not have time to think of excuses to not do those things. So I decided that in order to achieve my big wall expedition dream, I must work on my hiking and climbing skills. I must hike once and climb twice every week.

Random questions that got me thinking..

So I have not been writing lately.

And when I was about to write a post, I saw this notification from Lupie momma , reminding me to take a look at her nomination of blogs that she thinks are Neat Blogs. (Why, thank you!) The real fun part was to answer some interesting questions that got me thinking.


Here are the questions and my answers:

1: Who do you consider a role model (celebrity or not) and why? 

I used to have a role model and believed in everything that he said or he advocated. It was my boss. He is a passionate man that takes personal responsibility over work, spends time to coach his people, and one of the rare gems who knows how to motivate and drive people in a manner that makes them tick.

Now I still believed in most of the things he said, it is just that our ideas of a good life was very different, and we did not talk as much anymore. I worked with him less as a result of me having lupus in 2016. I will always remember him fondly as someone who really stood up for his staff, and in some way I would say, saved my life.

2: If you only had 1 week to live what would you spend your time doing?

If there was only 1 week to spend, there would not be enough time for me anyway. So I’ll just spend it like a holiday. Go to an awesome destination that I do not mind dying at.

3: What is your guilty pleasure?

Streaming random videos on Facebook, especially on reality shows of conflicted couples.

4: The greatest thing you’ve ever done for someone without them asking? 

Can’t really think of anything that I would classify as great. Giving my old car to my brother?

5: What are the Top 3 things on your bucket list? 

I don’t really have a bucket list. But I do have things that I would like to do before I die (even if I did not do it, I will not be sad). First is to play in a big band, and play the song King Porter Stomp by Benny Goodman. Secondly is to be able to do a big wall expedition. Third is to do one thing that makes my family very happy.

6: Team Iphone or Team Galaxy? 

I wanted to say Team Windows Phone. I have always loved my Lumia 1520, until the system went crazy, like it went to different apps randomly. I had to change to Android, but I would not say I love my Huawei the same as how I loved my Lumia. Maybe I’ll change my mind if I were to switch to Galaxy?

7: What is your favorite thing about this time of year? 

Autumn! Vacations!

Oh well I’m not having any of those this time of the year, but I do love autumn, and vacations.

So here are some blogs that I nominate for the Neat Blog Award:

Building income – A site about money lessons that you learn from happenings in life.

Tandem Trekking – A site about adventures involving hiking, climbing and expeditions.

You gotta post that Neat Blog logo in your blog. (Not that I think they would reply anyway, they have so many more readers!)

My questions for them would be as follows:

  1. Do you believe in early retirement? Yes or no and why.
  2. Does somewhere in your heart believe that even if you would die for your passion, you would not mind to?
  3. What do you think about climbing Mt Everest?
  4. Who is the most impressive being in life that you have met, and why?
  5. What is love to you?
  6. What is the one thing that matters the most to you?
  7. If there is one thing about the world that you would love to change, regardless of your ability, what would that be?

Inspirational story: Lupus and dialysis did not beat Sheryn* down

Many people are grateful that they did not have to experience dialysis first hand.

However, for many chronic disease patients, the only options that they have is choosing between death or living their lives as normal as possible with a slight inconvenience, such as dialysis.

I was fortunate to be able to interview Sheryn (not her real name) about her inspirational journey with lupus and dialysis. Here’s how she was able to make it so far.  Continue reading “Inspirational story: Lupus and dialysis did not beat Sheryn* down”

Mr Children – Immerse in the melancholy

Recently I have been listening to this Japanese CD from the early 2000s:

2005 - 2010

I bought it from a used CD store when I was in Japan last year.

The song that made me notice Mr Children was Kurumi . Back then I was guessing that the song was written to someone called Kurumi, as this word is being mentioned several times during the song. In my early 20s I felt that it was cute that a couple of old guys decided that they wanted to resurrect their band and play again in the pursue of an old dream. In my late 20s when I watched the video again, it hit me like lightning bolt and I started to understand what the song was about.  Continue reading “Mr Children – Immerse in the melancholy”

5 ways to cope with a chronic disease

I used to see the word chronic a lot before I have lupus. To me, chronic was synonymous to critical, serious, hard to treat, alien-spawning-out-of-a-body-part type of disease. When I started to have lupus, I learnt that lupus is also a ‘chronic disease’, so I looked up in the internet the definition of a chronic disease because it was simply too hard to accept that I might be a mutant. It turns out the definition that I  understood previously was not so accurate after all.

Why?  Continue reading “5 ways to cope with a chronic disease”

My curious hospital adventure

Ah, hospitals. The curious place that us lupus patients just have to visit once a while, hopefully not to linger too long.

I used to jokingly tell my friends that I do not normally take medical leave, if I had to, it normally means I was so sick I need to be hospitalised. Who could have thought that I was right after all?

My body got its big break last year, and because of lupus and a 6cm ovarian cyst, I needed to be in the hospital almost a month, and checkups throughout the year. The last time I was in the hospital this long was when I was 8 years old and I had appendix.  Continue reading “My curious hospital adventure”