✨ Sparks joy πŸ’–

If there’s anything in my life that sparks joy the most, unmotherly as it sounds, I have to say that it’s about having time for my self. My family is precious, but I am not the doting type of parent and spouse. And while work is important and I take it seriously, I don’t like glamorizing the grind that I purge off my brain as soon as I shut down my work laptop.

In my free time, I gravitate towards my hobbies. Doing them feels restorative as if I’m collecting pieces of my self that have tapered off along the daily toil of personal, financial, and work responsibilities.

Here’s a list of pastimes that cheer me up and prevent my grownup-hood from getting dreary.

Octopath Traveler
I’m in love with this game right now. Its plot is nothing to boast about like how the merchant in the story is too naive to even be a salesman. But I immensely enjoy the gameplay! I’m in awe of the creativity in the path actions of the eight characters. My personal favourite would have to be stealing from the NPCs. Therion, the thief, is actually the first adventurer I picked. I also like how you should be attentive to the dialogue of the villagers since some quests would require you to ferry them from one town to another to complete a mission β€” and so you coerce them to join the party in the guise of “guiding” them or you blatantly attempt to allure them with sex appeal (I am serious). It’s a fun game that gets more interesting as you play it longer. You can also switch jobs as frequently as you want without any form of penalty. And it’s fun to break enemies’ defenses when you choose the right weapons and spells. I think I’m in my 70 hrs. of gameplay now and I would probably hit a hundred because I intend to complete all sidequests. 

My default would have to be anime, but the ones I’m watching haven’t been completely released yet so I’m consuming only an episode of each of them per week. Right now, I tune in to Attack on Titan, Jujutsu Kaisen, and The Promised Neverland. I also started to watch more Kdrama, and in my ongoing watch list are Vincenzo, Mr. Queen, and Flower of Evil.

I read a lot of manhwa now. As I age, I find it increasingly difficult to finish reading what doesn’t have pictures and illustrations. I have smaller patience now for lengthy texts when I try to read for leisure. And when I pick a material, my appetite favours Thriller, Mystery, Horror, Action, Comedy, Fantasy, and Isekai. My top four manhwa so far are Distant Sky, Bastard, Tower of God, and Winter Woods.

Meal prep
I love preparing food on weekends. I am no pro though and the vegetables I cut end with inconsistent sizes and shapes. Chef-chefan lang with toast, pancake, sushi bake, curry dimsum, wraps, roast chicken, and dips. They sound yummy because they are delicious by themselves and not because I am skilled.

Taking photographs
I like taking photos on a whim of just about anything. I recently bought a third-hand film camera (coincidentally my third film camera) with a foggy lens issue. The seller sold it cheap and I didn’t mind when he disclosed the condition because it got me more curious and I wanted to check for myself how the photos will look. As expected, the images turned out misty, grainy, darker, and blurry that might be fit for experimental shots. In fact, they seem a bit Silent Hill -ish. Now that I tested it, I’m planning to have the lens cleaned soon since I realize that I want my shots bright and crisp.

Before the pandemic, I had been going to the gym religiously for about a year. Now that I telecommute, I just try to work out for 15 to 30 minutes for 4-5 times a week that sometimes become zilch if I decide that ~nah, I am too stressed, so I want to drink, eat, play, or sleep.

I don’t remember how this feels like anymore. But I know that this gives me happiness and that it’ll bring joy again once I get back in the groove. I badly want to visit the sea but I’m stalling until May, which is the end of the school year, so I can be liberated from the need to check school projects, review my kid for exams, and prep her early in the morning.

My clutter can become another person’s haul so I have this Carousell shop that you might want to check out.

Personal Writing
This blog is a fair witness. You can see my about page here, where I talked about why I blog, in case you are interested. I’m now also linking my poetry blog in the primary menu, that maybe I should file under comedy.

I wrote a poem about the act of folding my work table just because I was stressed (a bit more than usual) one weekday night that made the feat seem like an epiphany.

Dear Marie Kondo,
The same goes for work tables

Folding my work table is a sovereign
act of self-love

that I do after clocking out
from my work-from-home job.

Once I fold my work table,
it’s the only time

that I would have enough space
to slip
          \ down the bed mattress on the floor
and let my daughters sleep. You see,

folding the table is a physical expression
of an irreversible choice
to wrap so I can create

for my life.

At this point, my office dismantles
into a bedroom and I revert to being

an individal.

KonMari portrait from Allure
Illustration from Quartz

Random Fact: March 13, 2020, Friday, exactly a year ago, was the last day we all worked in the office before the lockdown was announced. It’s far from a joyful moment, but happy one year to all of us. πŸŽ‚


  1. Hooray for these hobbies! I always have this fear that one day I and my peers would become too jaded by grown-up responsibilities to enjoy life, so I’m happy to see posts like these stating otherwise. ✨


    1. Warning: novela eto. ⚠️

      It took me years and several jobs before I was able to give time for my hobbies again. 😞 In the past companies I’ve been in, especially in retail, I couldn’t find the time because work there runs for crazy 10.5 hours (1-hr lunch included) and travel can last longer than 4 hours, round trip. Then even if the time is long, there are just so many urgent things to do so people still end up staying longer than intended in the office. I just basically sleep, bathe, get dressed at home, and kiss my kids while they’re asleep during those days. So rest was a priority on weekends (along with laundry, mothering, and preparing clothes in advance for the coming workweek since traffic is so horrible that you do things to make you operate faster in the morning). Then because critical activities happen on weekends in retail, sometimes, we don’t get to have a weekend too.

      I think my generation suffers from this corporate slavery because the boomers who happen to be on the top enable this kind of toxic environment. But for the traffic, we have to blame the politicians. I am lucky that where I work, they let us temporarily telecommute in this pandemic, which is why I have the flexibility to arrange my schedule and still squeeze in some happy time. Also, I’m fortunate that I just happen to be in a better place right now where execs in the management are not slave drivers.

      But I am hopeful that the general work culture would just continuously improve as younger people penetrate the workforce. πŸ˜„ Just continue to speak up so employers would be obliged to improve (or maybe even break) the structure.

      Liked by 1 person

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