Reminders on Purposeful Living, outside the City Box

KLF8 It is easy to go on a road trip, spend 48 hours in a place and then head back to the city; and say that it was an enjoyable weekend with great company flavored by the local tastes and culture in that area.

At the expense of sounding like a city brat, the city is filled with everything which makes our lives so convenient; with the ease of accessibility and availability to facilitate our daily needs.
Well, let's just say that we can have anything (or everything) we want, anytime.

You want a burger?
Sure, there are dozens of places you can think of to get a burger; depending on your budget.

You need to relax and just have fun on a weekend?
Think cinema, shopping malls, spas, brunch or high-tea at cafes and hotels, or even a staycation.

The point is, there is nothing short of ticking in the box of options for something you would want to do or just to get it done.
With more than one option.

It became such a synchronous part in our daily lives that it is, that life we are living.

The city lifestyle.

It would be hard to imagine a life without shopping malls, cineplexes, commuter trains, fast food restaurants or convenience kiosks for that quick grocery fix.
Let alone not being able to run to your nearest store if you are running out of anything, in the late hours at night; because the shops are already closed.

While this is practically the way of life in the cities, it may not be the same everywhere else.

That is not to say that the city lifestyle is all good in its fast pace and that anything out of that is not; it is just a different way of lifestyle, breeding in its own identity while taking place in their own territory.
In parallel.

There are cities without commuter trains; towns without shopping malls, and neighborhoods without cinemas.
If we were to explore this topic in depth, there are even those without access to the basic amenities and even water or electricity.

Not every place is the same.

Yet, people still continue to live in their own ways and cultivate pride in the place where they call home; even if they are not dotted with skyscrapers dressed with glistening glass windows or dazzling with neon lights at night.

Sure, career opportunities and perhaps other commitments would see the exchange, or rather, the migration of people from different areas to move to the city which are usually made of major commercial and industrial hubs.
That is perhaps another thing to consider, the city population is also made up of people from different towns and cities who have made their way to settle there.

Ultimately, the city is not all to worship for; in all its glory and glamorous depiction, nor are the suburb towns and cities inferior in any sense.

There are even perhaps a few things we can see, which sets the standard and perhaps differentiates that from the city lifestyle; making it all the more unique and distinguished in its own form.

I have visited many places; towns, cities and though I grow up in a major city myself, I have always enjoyed observing and understanding the lifestyle outside the city.
Well, outside the city of where I grew up in, of course; simply because I personally find it inspiring and even insightful to learn about the different lifestyles everywhere.

That is the part about travel; it is not always about the food or the places of interest, nor all that picture perfect snapshots to satisfy the social media feed.

The most important is the culture; the way they live, what inspired them, their origins, history and what sets them apart, for each and every culture is amazingly unique.
That is the best part about travel and should be at the heart of one's travel experience to make it whole.

For instance, we may have all that access to the restaurants and now, we even have home delivery where we can just click, order, pay and the food will just arrive at our doorstep?
We pop into restaurants to grab take-aways, and we barely used our kitchens (sometimes), but there are people who have lived their lives making their own food, from scratch.

Everything we see on the shelves or on display in a restaurant/cafe, are made right from scratch.
They only have the raw materials in their area of living, and no one else is selling the ready-made food.
Hence, the only solution is to make your own.

My recent out-of-town road trip took me on that lovely and insightful tour into what goes behind the scenes in the local neighborhood; and of course, all about their daily lifestyle; not in the city.

It is not just what they do that's different, but it helps to sharpen one's developmental (and soft) skills when it comes to that way of living.
(Not that city folks lack skills, well, we will discuss that differently)

A few things we can pick up and incorporate into our lifestyle; taking a leaf or two (or more) from outside the city.
Well, actually, even within the city we can do that, but sometimes we just tend to forget the simple rules of nature and of living.


Most of these are actually no-brainers, but we may have overlooked or just taken them for granted; it is perhaps time to refresh and remind ourselves on these:-


1. We can Do it Yourself  (Don't forget to Plan Ahead)

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Homemade silky curd with sweet ginger soup - even better than the commercial ones out there

Craving a bowl of dessert, or something to soothe that sweet tooth in the afternoon?
Your fro-yo, tong sui, gelato and the likes may come to mind where you drive to the shop to get it and then bam, it's in your mouth.

That's if you are in the city.

But, when you don't have all these glitzy neon signs beckoning you to the shops, what do you do?

As mentioned earlier, You make your own, at home.

From scratch.

This probably sounds easy; well, again, if you have access to the hypermarkets and grocery stores where you can just drive there, pop in and shop to your heart's content for those ingredients, but when you are staying far away from these places (think driving more than an hour to the nearest store), you may need to do all your shopping in one trip.

That's when we will need to plan ahead; before making that trip to the store.

Sure, these days, all the urbanites are busy with their work throughout the week that they do a whole week's supply of shopping during their weekend, but that is just something the out-of-towners have been doing all the while.
(City folks do plan ahead too, definitely, to avoid all that traffic though that is not really the objective of this point)
It is about planning, doing it ourselves and executing it to make that plan work.
We are all familiar with it, and it should be something we continue to do.

When we plan ahead, we will find ourselves making more conscious and effective decisions; even to getting to do things more efficiently and of course, eating mindfully too.
(For if we forget something, we will have to remember that we can't access it immediately - or at least you should pretend it's that way so that you can hone your own planning and organizational skills)


2. Be Resourceful

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Remember the time when we worked on our science project back in school, to grow vegetables, or perhaps a plant?
(I think most of us have definitely grown bean sprouts before; it is the easiest anyway)

Sure, not all of us are farmers, but growing vegetables are not that difficult either.

If we want clean and organic vegetables, that is all possible, if we want to do it.
The best way is to grow our own.

We will learn about vegetables at the same time; and even the ways to maintain the health of our plants.
From fertilizers to environmental factors, there are just so much that goes into growing those vegetables that go onto our plate every single day.

Besides, it will also make us understand the obstacles and the hardships farmers go through to harvest all that produce we consume daily, and appreciate their efforts more.
It will definitely make us look at food more differently, and be more grateful for what we have, when it comes from our own resources and efforts (with our bare hands).

It will make us more knowledgeable as we study and understand more; helping us to make more informed decisions with all that we have learnt along the way.


3. Be Creative

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Home concoction of pumpkin soup with a medley of sweet potatoes, taro, tapioca pearls

When you have to make your own meals or even decorate your own house, you will have to rely on your own concepts.
Sure, you may be able to get a few ideas here and there from the magazines, and even the Internet these days, but ultimately, you may need to make do with what you have when you have limited resources.

Then there are times when you only have those remaining ingredients left, and maybe it is time to put those creative juices to use and just make something that is totally unique!

That is even more valuable and priceless than those bought from the store, because only you get to enjoy it and that itself is satisfying.


*That's why I believe there are so many hidden master chefs everywhere in the world, waiting to be discovered.

The key is to just sometimes let ourselves go; bring out that hidden talent, go with the flow, listen to ourselves and we will find that sometimes there are just various and multi dimensional possibilities/views to look at and the results, will be astounding.


4. Be Mindful of the Environment (and be thankful for Mother Nature)

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With all that knowledge on the ways to grow our own plants, it will make us more aware of the environmental factors that play their roles in our surroundings.

Perhaps we have learnt them in school, but we may not even actually put it to practice when we are living in that thick fog masked by the emitting carbon monoxide from vehicles on the high speed roads and highways in the city.

There are times when we may have even forgotten how Mother Nature helps to keep us alive, and possibly have taken for granted the availability and even usefulness of greenery around us.

It is perhaps a good reminder to be in tune with the plants around us, and even make an effort to grow and nurture one ourselves.
If not, make it a point not to destroy any, when you come across them in the city.

Mother Nature is there to help, she is not the enemy for she bears the fruits which feeds us and essential for our survival till this very day.

We need to care for the environment for that is where we live in and we want to create a sustainable place not just for ourselves, but for generations to come.

Start making responsible decisions now with that thought of how it will affect the environment and our future generation, and start to salvage, if not reverse or minimize the damages and impact on our natural surroundings.

It is only then we can create a better world for everyone to live in and that the world will still exist in the future.


5. Be Grateful
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It is amazing when we learn to live like we don't have access to everything or anything at anytime, that we realize that those became more like luxuries rather than necessities.
We may even find that we don't really need everything, or a lot of things for that matter.

We will learn to appreciate the fact that we have indeed been blessed with the many things that we are having today, and that we have been living in a far more luxurious life than we imagined.
(Yet we still think we don't have enough sometimes, why?)

We will appreciate the fruits of nature; the food that comes from the earth and perhaps grown from what we planted ourselves.

We will learn to see everything out there; in its own value and the importance of each and every little thing that comes our way, and that nothing is diminutive in its own part.

We will develop a deeper sense of gratitude.


6. Reap what you Sow KLF20

The same concept with growing your own fruits and vegetables, or breeding the animals.

The amount of effort and time which goes into the process, will definitely show in the end.

If we water our plants diligently, care well for the animals, we will expect to see a good batch to harvest; reaping the benefits at the end of the season.

They will grow, they will prosper and they will give their best in nature.
Even the tastes would be better, especially when we are proud that it was our own effort.

The same thing goes with life, we must always be focused in our efforts, work our way towards improvement and eventually time will tell.
Be kind to others, do good and the cycle will go on and in the end, the world will be filled with kindness for it is all a huge circle around us.

Whatever or whoever you put yourself out there, that may be the same person you will see or the same world which will greet you eventually.


7. Learn the Purpose of Life

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We are all our own beings; only we know what we truly want in our lives.
We need to find that purpose.

A tree bears its fruit because that it is its purpose.
Bad weather could affect the tree for a while, but that doesn't mean the tree will no longer bear fruits.

Whatever it is we want, only we know what we want.

If we have not found it yet, be patient, for even seeds planted in the ground will not flourish into a tree overnight.

Listen to our heart, search within our souls and let ourselves go once in a while, to find that purpose and seek that person who we are; who we are meant to be and who we really want to be.

Learn to embrace ourselves; weaknesses and strengths and live our lives more meaningfully, and purposefully.


8. Be Ready for the Bad Weather (Be prepared for the worst)
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There will always be obstacles in whatever we do; the path will never be always smooth.

The tree will not bear fruits 365 days; nor will every harvest be without a bad fruit.

We can never predict the outcome, and inevitably there are times we will end up disappointed with the results, despite the amount of effort we put in.

There will never be an absolute answer or a sure victory for everything and we need to learn to handle disappointments.

Things can and will always happen, but the key is our attitude and the way we look at the whole picture.

Just like #1, always plan ahead.
Be prepared for the worst, and always have a backup plan rather than be complacent all the time.

That way, even when the worst storm hits, there is always a place to shelter and there is something in the storage to survive on until it is over.

Have faith, the storm will never last forever, it will eventually go away.

Be prepared, but never give up.


9. Find that silver lining (Learn from Mistakes)

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Sure, things don't always go your way, but sometimes, there is a reason for everything that happens.

Look at everything with an open heart, even when we are truly disheartened with what we see.
Find that silver lining beneath the misfortune; and don't give up hope.

Sometimes you may even be surprised with what you find beneath that bad batch of rotten fruits.
Miracles do exist, when you believe.

At the same time, do not ignore or dismiss the misfortune just yet; but rather, understand the reason behind it.
For all you know, you may have put the wrong fertilizer or unsuitable soil, or that it did not receive the amount of sun exposure it required.

Every situation is different; don't expect one formula to work for all.

Be open and never be afraid to learn and experiment with different recipes for success.

Most important, learn, cry or laugh over it, then hold your hand up high again and continue to start all over again.

There is nothing to lose, except our own pride.


10. Life is a Choice (There are plenty of choices)

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Live healthy, eat healthy; it is all a choice.

The way we live, and life itself is all about choices.
Life is a choice on its own.

We can choose what we want; however we want and there are plenty of choices.

Don't say you don't have a choice; there is ALWAYS a choice.

The question is, are we taking it?
Do we even see it?

Make your own choices, and be responsible for them.
(That is, unless you are below five, then you can have someone to decide for you, otherwise, buck up and just grow up)



11. Everything is possible 

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It is interesting to find that we are just capable of doing anything, if we want to and even just give it a try.

When you are in situations where you are deprived or thrown to make decisions to thrive, you will find that you will make ends meet.

You may never think you are capable of planting a tree, but when you put yourself out there, all you need is a bag of seeds, water, soil, fertilizer and the sun.
Then throw in some tender loving care and in time, you will see your tree.

Everything is possible; it will take time of course, but everything can be done.

Everything that we thought we cannot do before, yes, we created that obstacle in the first place.

If anyone can grow their own crops and breed animals to feed their families, why can't you?
If there are people who can live without shopping malls and pubs to party all night, why would you not be able to let go of them?



There are just endless possibilities out there, and the city has presented them to us in many ways.

It may be the easy access and the availability, that have perhaps masked that fact before us.

We may have been living in comfort, that we tend not to look outside and think what it would be like without these daily things that we have grown so attached to.

It is not we cannot live without them; it is that we think we cannot live without them, and that is a different perspective altogether.

The key is to step outside that comfort zone; that box and the walled city we live in and start to remind ourselves of the many purposes and possibilities out there we have yet to explore.

It is time to rid ourselves of the barriers we created and start to really see outside all that is readily available to reach into the areas which are just not seen because we chose not to look.

It is when we start to see beyond our walls that we will see the world on the other side, blocked by that wall all the while.

That invisible wall forming the box filled with all the luxuries we came to know.

No two person is made to be the same, but there is no one any different from another when it comes to possibilities and capabilities.

It is just in different area and perspective, and most importantly whether we see the possibility or nothing at all.

Open your eyes, and your mind.

The answer is always out there.


In the meantime, don't forget to Live....


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*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.
Please kindly ask for permission if you need to use any of my images.




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