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First swimming session with Sky

Swim with Sky

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Daydream with Sky

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I was in Tokyo for a short trip and had some free time to wander around this highly walkable city during the cherry blossom season. Beautiful yet transient, Sakura reminds people of the ephemeral nature of life and impermanence of things. Mono no aware is a beautiful concept. And Tokyo remains one of my favorite cities.

PS: here‘s someone walking backward in Tokyo.

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New Year resolutions usually don’t last, and most people return to life as usual by February. This is not as depressing as it sounds. End-year provides a good opportunity to reflect and New Year resolution is more a by-product of the changes we want to make. The best way to make changes is to alter our habits, and developing/changing habits can start anytime. So if things don’t work out in January, maybe try again in February in different ways.  I find it easier to change thing one at a time than all at once, so it makes more sense to space out changes we want to make throughout the year.

I don’t have many ambitious goals this year (to achieve anything significant would likely require more than a year anyway). If I can form a few good habits sometime during the year, I’d be happy.

Below is a video summary of Charles Duhigg’s book on habit, and Alex Tabarrok’s review here.

More on New Year resolutions and the time it takes to form habits.

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New habits I like: blogging; Thai boxing; swimming

Travel to over 20 cities. The more memorable ones are places where I get to know new people, learn/try something new, or catch-up with existing friends.  

Highlights: property tour in Chengdu, Chongqing, and Sanya; business trip in Columbo, Mumbai, and Delhi; vacation in Rome and Florence; backpacking in Kunming, Lijiang, and Dali; guy trip to macau; catching up with friends in Singapore, Shanghai, and London; attending my best friend’s wedding in Maldives.

Reflect more on books I read. My favorites (in no particular order):

Other activities I enjoy: windsurfing, squid fishing, watch live soccer and rugby games (my takeaway: trying thing for the first time is often enjoyable, especially activities that involve learning new skills or something about yourself); hiking; snorkeling; basketball; coming up with names 

Relationship goes well. Traveling to another city just to catch up with good friends is definitely worth it; steady and peaceful family life with plenty of home cooked food and a nice Christmas dinner.

Finance also goes well. I like Jacob’s Early Retirement Extreme philosophy. Todd’s How Much Money Do I Need to Retire? is a good short guide on retirement planning.

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I was in Seoul and Taipei last week, just finished two reports on the macro & political situation there, and am now working on presentations for an upcoming offsite in London. The past week reminds me of a time back in the sell-side when I was working 14-7. Like back then, I don’t think it’s sustainable. And like back then, I’m still learning and enjoying what I do. Life is probably a bit more balanced nowadays as I continue to take Thai boxing and Japanese lessons, read books during commutes, and update my blogs. Having soup waiting at home also helps.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll continue today’s lifestyle. The arcane wanderer in me still wants to live an alternative lifestyle at some point (like this guy or Jodi). In Yunnan, I also came across many people who quit their jobs to seek different lifestyles, which according to this NYT article seems to be getting more common in China nowadays. I’m not sure just quitting my job and going to live in Dali/Lijiang would satisfy me, as I probably prefer the feeling of pursuing something more than the feeling of escaping from something. For now I’ll continue to save, so that I wouldn’t mind ‘naked quit’ when I feel like I’m not learning anything more in my job.

PS: Zhang and Liang’s travel videos (in Chinese)

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It relaxes my mind. It’s a good way to get closer to nature, spend time with family/friends, and do some exercises. I’m lucky to live in a place where there are many accessible hiking trials. Spending a day out hiking and reading (during commute and breaks) is a cheap and excellent way to recharge.

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