21:29

As someone who is more on the introverted side of the introvert/extrovert scale, I am always looking for ways in which I can feel more comfortable in the general public. While I can walk down a busy street without feeling anxiety, I often have panicky feelings or pangs of social awkwardness when faced with crowds (both strangers and people I know).

When faced with a situation in which I have to speak to an acquaintance, I tend to stay quite quiet and avoid making conversation where possible. I am not a fan of small talk! On Monday mornings I seldom ask colleagues how their weekends went (not out of rudeness but out of a slight feeling of uncomfortableness). I think that this sometimes stems from my weekend habits. On Sundays I tend to take the day to recharge my batteries and have some alone time. Come Monday morning; the loud dynamics of colleagues chatting is sometimes difficult to emulate. I work hardest when it is quiet and peaceful; however office etiquette calls for bonding with colleagues and sharing interests. With a naturally quiet character it can sometimes be difficult to interact with those who have a much louder personality.

Recently in a monthly meeting with my team leader, she told me of an observation she had made of my character. She noticed that I had been more open and vocal, engaging in more conversations with colleagues and generally having a more outgoing demeanour. She seemed pretty pleased that I was engaging with my colleagues more (not that I was ever a completely silent worker), and that I seemed happier as of late. I had not actively changed my behaviour in the past month so it was strange yet satisfying to hear this observation from a colleague. I am pleased to realise that my comfort levels in interacting with others has increased (if only a little), and that I don’t give off a socially awkward vibe (as much as I think I do). Sometimes all an introvert needs is the quiet reassurance that they are doing okay.

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22:14

My latest reading adventure was American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. My exploration of genres has taken me far and wide but I think this was my biggest challenge yet.

I believe most people have heard of American Psycho and know it to be quite intense. The first couple of chapters ease you into the life of Patrick Bateman. He is suave, good looking, fashionable, knowledgable in music, fashion and food, and comes across as a ‘normal’ guy. His violent and psychotic tendencies are not revealed till later on, shattering the illusion of normality. Patrick struggles with the reality of his life: drugs, women and working on Wall Street. His encounters with his victims increase as his interest in socialising in fancy restaurants subsides.

Going into the book with a few notions of the plot did not prepare me for the intensely detailed scenes depicted. I found some of the torture/murder scenes very graphic and difficult to read. I did the unspeakable and had to skip over sentences and paragraphs due to their violent nature. This very much added to my character profile of Patrick Bateman as a psychopathic killer.

Uncomfortable reading aside; the book was written very well with clear character development through out. Patrick starts off as a put-together, knowledgable man who has the world at his feet, nevertheless by the end he becomes dishevelled, shaken and one who has lost their grip on reality.

My next reading venture will definitely be one with lighter undertones!

21:12

The latest book I finished reading was To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It is such a well-known book but I found myself not picking it up until my mid-twenties. I never studied it in high school like some of my fellow twenty-somethings did, nor did I hear much about the actual plot of the novel.

Reading it at my current ages has allowed me to appreciate the depth of the story and of the underlying teachings. I also think that reading this after two of Khaled Hosseini’s thought-provoking books enabled me to have a more open mind, and a broader perspective.

I have always considered To Kill A Mockingbird a ‘classic’ book. One of those books that the wider population has read (or at least heard of). A sticker on my copy states ‘over 30 million copies sold worldwide’, which is quite the feat. I am glad to be able to experience such rich culture and detailed lifestyles through the power of the written word. I am also glad that my knowledge of history and its stories has broadened.

21:04

Recently I finished reading The Kite Runner and also A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

Both books were gripping with such an intensity that surprised me. I found myself reading the books in every situation I could: curled up in bed for the evening, on the bus to and from work, and squeezing in chapters before my shift. While not being particularly knowledgable of the culture, religion or background of the books I have found myself enriched through their teachings. The stories have given me a window into Afghanistan culture where the country’s wounds have been patched up time and time again. The hardships of the few in the books are in fact the hardships of many in reality. I found myself teary-eyed and empathising with the characters, rooting for them in their triumphs and sorrowful in their losses.

I am looking forward to purchasing the next book in the series. Hosseini writes in such an amazing way; a way which gets through all the emotion of a character and the nitty gritty details. These books have been a real eye-opener into another culture. They tell the reality of life in another land so strikingly different to my own. A well worthwhile read!

22:19

Is it really almost the end of January already? The days are flying by!

For me January is never an exciting month. After a hectic December I normally spend January sinking back into my normal day-to-day routine. Work is the same old grind: waking up to an alarm, taking the bus to the office, working throughout the day, and then returning home in the evening. Leisure times remain similar: reading, blogging thoughts, watching shows and Youtube videos, swimming, and occasionally babysitting my relatives.

January sometimes feels like the filler month before the year really gets going. I have plans scheduled for the rest of the year however my January calendar page remains empty. People talk about new beginnings and starting afresh in January, but for me it is a return to the old. It is a return to what I know, to how I have lived in the past, and is the waiting room for the rest of the year to start.

23:08

A brand new year has begun! Happy (belated) new year!

Now that a new year is upon us it is often the time where people make resolutions and changes in their life. I am not one of those people. While a new year is frequently considered as the perfect time to adopt a new lifestyle, I have never sought after change in this time period.

Change is not limited to time constraints. Embracing a new diet or work out is not restricted to the beginning of the year. Adopting a new way of life does not have to come about just because the previous year is over. Change can come about at any time of the year. You can wake up one day and want to be a whole different person. You can change yourself in an innumerable amount of ways at any given time. A resolution can arise from a change in thought, and it can be kept for weeks, months, years or not at all.

Change is what you make of it.

20:59

As 2016 draws to a close a million reflective questions come to mind.

  • Did I make the most of this year?
  • What were my most memorable moments?
  • What have I achieved?
  • What things will I change for 2017?
  • What events do I have to look forward to in the coming year?

While I cannot give definite and concise answers to these questions, they probe deeper thought and reflection on the past 12 months.

Here’s to rounding off 2016!

20:30

My most recent book venture was Koushun Takami’s Battle Royale. Sometimes it feels refreshing to break out of my usual book genres and to read something a little more extreme.

Takami writes with an intensity that is gripping. While the book boasts plenty of gore and violence, there is a depth to the character development and storyline which is enrapturing.