Life Skills You Learn from Minecraft

I was never a hardcore gamer and would conservatively call myself a casual one at that. The only gaming accomplishment I’m most proud of is completing Diablo II in PSP a looooong time ago. Well, aside from getting 5 stars in Just Dance. Haha. 

With this I would say that Yui’s Minecraft addiction and gaming skills didn’t come from me. But as a supportive mom, I’ve grown to love the game as well and by watching her play, I came to realize that there are actually life skills you can get from playing Minecraft. 

1. Creativity and Imagination

Yui has built a number of houses, hospital, roller coasters, boats, rockets, the Garden of Love, and even an automated farm. All of which amazed me at how her imagination turned these into communities in her minecraft world. She’s learning not just building infrastructures but also other science-related stuff like gems, potions, biomes, etc. I like how the game uses the child’s creativity to teach certain concepts through play. 

2. Patience

Buildings, boats, and other creations may take several days (minecraft days) to finish. It teaches the child that if they want to have something, they have to work hard and wait for it. 

3. Goal-setting

Minecraft also teaches Yui to have goals. When playing in creative mode, she would have a vision as to what that world will look like and then slowly build it. 

4. Teamwork

The multi-player mode allows for them to build teamwork and improve her relationships with others (usually her cousins). They would plan on what to create and then work together to finish their creation. 

5. Delegation

In relation to number 4, the game has also taught Yui how to delegate tasks. During multi-player mode she would assign parts of the world for her cousin to create so that they can finish faster. They would also do the same to her which teaches her to accept tasks to achieve a common goal.

6. Resourcefulness

The game helped her be more resourceful. Whenever she wanted to build something, she knows how to find them in Youtube or Google. She’s also built things without tutorial, just by knowing the blocks available in the game. She made a trampoline with a slime block and magenta carpet. Just because she wanted a magenta trampoline. 

7. Vocabulary building

Through play, Yui learned new words which she uses in our daily conversations. Not a lot of children, or even adults, would use the word parkour but this is now common in the household. She would describe the ingredients that she need for brewing her potions, talk about what happens in the nether, and if she would use an oak wood or birch wood to build her house. 

These are some of the reasons why I support her gaming. As they say, everything in moderation. So as long as it’s not a hindrance to her studies, I’ll be a minecraft mom. She’s enjoying the last few days of minecraft madness before classes start and it’s back to weekend games. In the meantime, there’s still a few more days to learn new stuff. ๐Ÿ˜„

The Continuing Saga Called Life

I was there at the back of the boat looking far into the horizon, the sun beginning to set on that late afternoon. I was staring blankly at the waves when it suddenly hit me. Here I am, spending a day in a far away island with friends old and new, still alive and enjoying life. It’s been almost two years since the day that he went away. September 22nd, Sunday twenty five after nine. In the doorway with his case, no longer shouting at each other there tears on my face. We were letting go of something special… (okay, enough with the M2M pun) ๐Ÿ˜‚

I’ve spent the last two years trying to rebuild my life and building a new one without that someone I thought would be here for forever. Well, walang forever so anong nakakagulat? Haha! Anyway, it is a very educational experience. I needed to spend time to reflect on what was, what is and what will be. It was hard, very hard. But slowly I found myself smiling again, then laughing again. With the help of my family and friends, I’m here alive and kickin’.

Reflecting back, the first year was a wake up call for me. That’s when I saw life without the rose-colored glasses. After mourning and using up all of my friend’s tissue, that’s when I decided to stand up not only for me but for the little girl that needs me most. I started to love myself more and take care of myself so that I would be healthy for Yui. It was a year of going back to a healthier lifestyle and releasing all negative energies through exercise and being with positive people. On that first year, I found myself again. I was on a mission to be happy and depend on nobody else for my happiness. That mission brought me more peace but there was still some sadness, some resentment. 

Going into the second year, I learned a lot of life’s realities from the people around me. I learned that there’s a much more complicated web in our lives that we all have to untangle to get to our inner peace. I learned that some of life’s problems are difficult to solve but it gets easier to bear when you have help from people around you. I learned that people sometimes unintentionally hurt us with the intention of loving us. And that at the end of it, we have ourselves to help us get through it all. And then there’s our family and friends to help us get through it while holding our hands. There were many things I’ve come to realize this past year and many other decisions made towards the journey to happiness and self-awareness.

Through this, what stood out is that to have that inner peace, we should remove the resentment in our hearts. We should accept that some things are meant to be, some are not. Once I accepted that, I felt lighter. Like a huge thorn has been taken out of my chest. Despite the saying, “forgive and forget”, I still believe that we can forgive but not forget. Not forgetting the mistakes we did to get where we are but forgiving ourselves for committing that mistake will make us more at peace and hopefully, happier. That worked for me. As they say, “time heals all wounds.”

The Journey to a Happier Me

As the proverb says, “fall down sevenย times, stand up eight.” This has been the mantra that kept me going the past months. Despite all the challenges, there was always a reason to stand up and fight another day. Thus, I stood up.

The past year has been challenging, to say it simply. It has taught me a lot of life lessons that I didn’t even fathom before. It’s showed me the harsh reality of life but at the same time it’s showed me that life is still bearable and eventually, beautiful despite these obstacles. Honestly, although I’ve known these all along, it’s different when you’re the one that’s actually there. When life kicks someone we know in the butt, it’s easy for us to offer our advices but if you’re the one in that situation, it’s very difficult to follow a sound advice. Now I know why my friends seem to never listen. Because it’s hard to.

I’ve been kicked, pushed and strangled by life and sadly the bubble I was living in was burst in an instant. I was in a deep, deep hole. And when I thought I couldn’t go up, I remembered the proverb. Slowly, I stood up. Slowly, I regained the “old me”. Slowly, I started the journey to a happier me. It wasn’t easy, but with help, I eventually found it. I know life is a roller coaster so this moment I am in will soon fade and I would find myself at the bottom again but with what I learned the past year, I know I can stand up.

Like I said, the journey wasn’t easy. Some would say it looked like I was taking it easy, some people told me they never felt something was wrong, but during those days I was fighting an internal battle. Every single day was a war inside. How I was able to overcome that battle, I didn’t know at first but looking back now, I think I understand better. Given that I love lists, I’ll list down the things that helped me in my journey. These are what pushed me to become an updated version of me.

1. Have a support group.

This one is tops on my list. I don’t know how I would ever have gotten here without a support group. These are the guys that kept me busy, giggly, sad, happy and scared at the same time. They held my hand and led me to happiness but they also kept me honest with myself and supported my decisions every step of the way. If there’s one thing I’m grateful for from this journey is that I knew who my true friends are. And I’ve built a stronger relationship with them.

2. Follow your passions. Build new ones.
I kept myself busy almost all the time. I went back to do things I missed doing and started doing new ones.

I cooked, ran, touched base with long-lost friends, travelled and spent more time with family. I was always on the go which helped me keep awful things from my mind. I surrounded myself with good moments and great company.

3. Have some “me” time.
Even if my life moved in a blur of activities, I spent some time alone. To recuperate and think things through. One thing I learned at work is to do a Post Mortem regularly. And so I did. What went wrong? What did I/we do right? How can I avoid it in the future? So my action items were identified. One by one, I had to act on it. Geeky but helpful.

I don’t think the list can be as exhaustive as how the process went but these 3 things are what kept me sane. I’ll be forever grateful to my support group because with them, life can be grand. They taught me that standing up for myself was not a selfish act but rather a necessary step to move on in life. And luckily, I did.

Things I Learned in 2013

As the year 2013 comes to a close, I see a lot of posts in my facebook timeline of friends highlighting their 2013. Most have this year as their best yet while a few had some challenges and can’t wait to meet 2014. Personally, this year has been the roughest, toughest and darkest for me.

It started out peacefully and although met with some challenges, I believed that we were overcoming the issues. Or so I thought. Towards the middle of the year, the little bumps became more frequent and slowly became harder and harder. Until it all blew in my face. To say that I was blindsided is an understatement.

It was like being on the edge of the cliff with gravity instantly pulling me in. It was like falling into a deep darkness where no help came. It was like a huge part of me died. And the saddest part is knowing that it will never live again.

Despite everything that has happened though, I’m still thankful to be alive. I had a lot of lessons learned as I tried to move forward. And as I welcome 2014, I would like to share some of the things I learned this year:

1. Not everyone who smiles at you is a friend.

Even if you meet people who you think are friends, there are those who will betray you. As it turns out, no amount of kindness can prevent someone from taking the most important thing in your life from you.

2. No matter how honestly you live your life, there are really others who are not. And some are much closer to home than you think.

3. It’s true that there are people who have lost their values and have a twisted belief of self-righteousness.

As the saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” You would think that people who grew up in good families and went to the best schools will grow up to be responsible and honest adults. But there are really those who only think about themselves and their happiness even if they will throw all decency and morals out the window. No amount of training or curriculum can ever prepare you for it.

4. Life is not fair. And Shit Happens.

True story.

5. At the end of the day, your family and true friends will stand by you, push you to move forward and make you realize that life does not end when you lost love.

I am one of those who can’t wait for 2014. I look forward to a better year and hopes that peace will finally make its way to my life. If not, I can always refer back to #5. So 2014, bring it on!

Frantic Feedback

The last month has been a pity. One blog post. Nothing else. Although my blog life was severely in drought, real life was something else.

Weekdays have been 16 average hours in the office and weekdays were quality time with the family. There are a lot of blog-worthy experiences and places I’d like to share in my blog but the farthest they reached was on my to-do list.

April is one of the busiest months at work as it is our performance feedback season. This year the deadlines were so tight so I had to make ends meet to finish the 28 feedback requests I received from my team. And this is on top of my normal work. I spent zombie nights working/sleeping/eating in the kitchen just to finish all those feedback. It was painful work but the importance of it pushed me to the finish line. Buzzer beater. But at least it’s done! ๐Ÿ™‚

Now that it’s over and a new month is in, I’m back with a vengeance! This is my month. So I’m gonna make it count. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll start with the life lessons I’ve learned from all those frantic feedback nights.

Life is good

Life is good. Leave your worries behind.

1. As you grow up/grow old, more and more people will come to depend on you. Their lives (or careers) will directly be impacted by us. It is a difficult duty but it is something we have to do and evaluate carefully. We should teach these people to be strong for themselves so they can stand on their own.

2. Life, and people, will disappoint us. At different points in time and with different people. We should just learn to be diplomatic about it, rise above them and move forward. If we brood on these, we’ll just have wrinkles. So why bother.

3. It is extremely important to have friends who will keep you sane in moments of panic, disappointment and annoyance. They will be the sponge you’ll badly need.

4. At the end of the day it is very important to know your priorities. No matter how frantic my work life was, I saved my weekends for my family. No work. All play. It’s my non-negotiable.

5. Lastly, don’t forget that for all our issues and life problems… This, too, shall pass. It’s okay to rant a little (or a lot!), but at the end of the day we should all SMILE then move on.

 

Now that I’m passed that, I’m looking forward to more summer outings, chats with friends and bonding time with my family! I’ll just worry about this again next April. ๐Ÿ˜›

Choosing Your Battles

Whoever said that parenting is tough is spot on target. It’s a fulfilling job but it ain’t easy. Raising a child takes a lot of patience and requires some sense of humor through the process. With all the things that we need to teach our child such as independence, values, etc. I learned that it helps to choose our battles.

When faced with a head on collision with Yui and I feel that I’m about to lose it, I consider these three things:

1. Will she learn from this experience?

2. Won’t she hurt herself or others?

3. Won’t this conflict with other things we’re teaching her?

Sometimes it can be tricky but if the answer to all three questions is YES, then I’ll let her have that round. There were times when I’ve applied this to her:

When we went on a trip to Singapore, I had our clothes planned out carefully since we only have limited supply. The morning that we’re preparing for Universal Studios, Yui insisted to wear her pajamas. Since this will not hurt her and we even saved one clean outfit, I let her have it. She also learned that in this family it’s okay to make your own choices as long as you live with it. Besides, it was a Kai lan pajama and didn’t really look much like pjs at all.

Grocery shopping is really stressful for us since our very hyper daughter loves to run around. When she refuses to listen and is becoming very difficult to deal with, we bring her home immediately. There are times though that giving her options and allowing her to make decisions make the trip more bearable. When she wanted Fruit Loops but we wanted the local version Fruity Loops instead, we make her choose between the Fruit Loops’ bird or Fruity Loops’ monkey (the designs in the packages). That way we see it as a win-win situation. She got her cereal and we got to have a somewhat peaceful trip and the cheaper cereal alternative.

Sometimes it helps to have different tactics on hand when you go on (grocery) battle. Through these trips I learned when to fight it with her, when to be more gentle and when to be firm even if it means cutting our trip short.

Of Dogs and Dragons

I’ve heard a lot of feedback from fellow dog officemates that 2012 is not a good year for us because dogs clash with the dragons. I’m not really a believer of feng shui but with all the things happening to me the past weeks, I’m amazed at how these predictions seem to fit. The start of the year has been such as rollercoaster ride for me and with too much stuff happening and emotional ups and downs, I can barely sit down and blog. Okay, that’s probably a sad excuse for my absence but I’ve got to blame my laziness on something, right? 2012 is just starting but I’ve experienced and learned so much in the past few days to probably get me through this lifetime.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned recently:

1. If you keep something inside you for so long, chances are you’re going to blow off pretty soon.

True, not just in your digestive system but also in relationships. If something bothers us and just keep mum about it, every small detail will annoy and disappoint us causing too much stress and an eventual emotional breakdown.

2. Misery loves company.

When everything was just going haywire, it seems that people around you are just having a lot of issues themselves. The good thing about this though is that by listening to other people’s experiences, you tend to put yours into perspective and see how important or miniscule your problem is. In the process, you not only help someone by being there for them, you also help yourself move on. As they say, happiness shared is happiness multiplied. Sadness shared is sadness divided.

3. Communication is key to every relationship.

As plants need water and sunshine to grow, relationships need communication and an open mind. No matter how tough it may be for any relationship, you’re sure to overcome every misunderstanding and issue with an open mind and an open discussion. If you are honest with your feelings and convey it in a respectful way, you are sure to get what you want out of the conversation. Be it all the hurtful details or an acceptable compromise to a situation, it will help you move forward. Open communication does not only mean a serious closed-door meeting with someone, it can also mean having a light talk on sensitive topics ensuring that you say what you feel and not jump into assumptions or conclusions.

4. ย Life sucks. Shit happens. Move on.

That’s just the reality of it so instead of harboring ill feelings, we should just take life in stride and look into a bright future ahead. There are far too many pleasant things that is bound to happen in our life, so one pitfall doesn’t mean the end of us.

5. Two is better than one.

In the end, no matter how hard life can be or no matter how many stones they throw at you, life will be so much bearable if you have someone to get through it. Someone to laugh at all these shit while you grumble. Someone to prepare your meal while you wallow in pain. And just someone to hold your hand while you go through hell.

One of my favorite quotes from my mom is “Life is how you make it.” So no matter how awful my 2012 predictions are, I’m still looking forward to changing all that and making it awesome-r than 2011. I will make it happen. I will make it happy. I will make it successful. I just will. Watch me ๐Ÿ™‚