Things I Wish I Did Sooner

December 27, 2016

1. Laser Hair Removal         
One of the big things I started doing this year is laser hair removal. I'm wishing I did it sooner because this is (kinda) life-changing for me. To my friend who once said, "Jen, how are you always so bikini-ready?" No, it doesn't just happen, I get painful waxing sessions done monthly, and have been doing it for 8 years now.

I'm currently on my 4th brazilian laser session and the hair is mostly gone! As I said in *this post, I have too much hair. I can't believe that in just 4 months of monthly laser sessions, it's already barely there, and now only in tiny thin patches left. I have two more left to go, and I'll be sure to update this post with the success story.

For more details on what kind of laser treatment I'm getting, I made a separate post here. (Spoiler: It's not IPL.)

2. Pole Dance Classes          
My fixation to learn pole dancing started around 2013, when my friend Tonix and I passed by Izakaya in Burgos Circle, BGC Taguig. It's a bar with two poles and it has become our dream (lol using the word 'dream' very loosely here) to burst from outside the doors, take one pole each, and then amaze everyone with our superb pole skills. This is super funny for me now, but I latched on to that dream and took sporadic bursts of pole classes back in Manila. Although since I couldn't commit to the classes, money-wise and time-wise, I stopped.

Now that I'm here in Singapore, I got to continue to inch my way into achieving that goal by having gone through two course levels this year (Beginner Course and Basic Inverts Course), and on my way to the Intermediate level starting January 2017.

I wish I did it sooner, as early as when I first got here, because it allowed me to make friends outside my current set of friends. It also made me a lot more confident with my body, and it's just an overall great way to get fit and flexible. The best takeaway I got from it is that our bodies are really powerful. You just have to know how to train it and you will be able to make amazing things happen with it.

Another takeaway: NEVER EVER USE LOTION ON THE SAME DAY AS POLE CLASS. As fitting as it is that I started 2016 with an injury, it is with great frustration that I want to share how I'm ending this year with another one. (Read: I fell off the pole while in an inverted crucifix stunt, and my whole weight landed on my shoulder) Nothing's broken and it's only my second week having a busted shoulder, but the good news is it's healing nicely, and just in time for my next course level, too.

In retrospect, I have been very lucky for not dying, and for not getting more seriously injured this year.

3. Stocks Investing               
I have reached the point when I wish payday would come sooner, not because I'm already scraping every last bit of my last salary as I used to, but so I can finally add funds to my COL Financial account. Yes, 2016 is the year I finally started at investing in the Philippine stock market. The keyword here is investing. Unlike day traders, I don't trade the stocks for fast money. I follow a modified version of Peso Cost Averaging, as taught by Bo Sanchez.

While we're at it, in case you are also keen but have no idea how to begin, you can kick things off by reading this free e-book. I just stumbled on it too while Googling "how to invest in stocks" and as soon as I got home, the first thing I did was print the application forms, I filled them out and then right the next day, went to i-Remit Lucky Plaza to mail it to COL Financial.

I wish I did it sooner, but I must admit too that I started at the right time, now that the stock prices are really low.    

Bo Sanchez's Truly Rich Club:
COL Financial Website:

Yes, I joined the Truly Rich Club too.

Yes, I know I could have chosen not to and just studied Philippine stocks on my own, but here was my line of thinking back then: "Bo Sanchez is a really positive influence in my life and I don't even know him. Every time I watch his short motivational videos, it helps me get through hard patches. He and his team of analysts deserve this passive income from me."

Emotional attachment aside, the guidelines, the newsletters and strategies are easy enough to digest for someone like me who does not have a background in managing my own stocks portfolio.

4. Skills Mentoring               
This is one area I am now trying to work on more, by both being a mentee and a mentor to someone else. More than ever, this year I have proven there is a lot to be gained by skill-sharing.

On Being A Mentee 
For  a year, I have been mostly working at the client side, as the solo ABAP programmer. While I like that I don't have to be constantly talking to teammates, it can also be a liability not being able to bounce off issues and scenarios with co-programmers. Being in this industry, I have come to know that most of the time you don’t really need explicit help from a colleague, but just someone physically there whom you can talk to and can bounce off ideas with. It's a fact that there are technical problems that couldn't be solved just by talking to myself out loud.

My go-to technical mentor is another Filipino in the office who's a senior colleague. Yes, we do most of the mentoring over buckets of beer, but at least we still manage to hash out my technical ~skillz~ and formulate better ways to solve the issues at hand, ALL while drinking my favorite Pale Pilsen that is available just outside the office.

On Being A Mentor
I'm far from being an expert, especially in my technology where there's so much to learn and where the variety of technical paths can be branched out as many different ways as the roots of an old tree. However at age 28, I'd like to think there's already a teeny tiny bit I can impart to those younger than me.

I sometimes get fan mail (lol joke lang!) sent by IT students who ask for advice for their future career path options. Now, I truly, greatly appreciate that they think I'm capable enough to give them insight on what to expect in the industry, so whenever I get those emails, I take time to respond, and sometimes even request and then critique their resumes. After that, I don't really get to monitor how things go on their end since I don't know them personally. When most of them get back to me after a year or two, it's kinda fulfilling to hear about how they got their first job, or how they decided to stick to this or that side of IT. It feels like delayed gratification in a way, reaping what was sown. I don't know them, but I'm proud of them.

This coming year, I have decided to do this more often and be proactive about it. I'm also targeting to mentor younger women than me too, seeing that most of those who have asked me for advice are men. (Not that there's anything wrong with that. I just want to see more consultants like me in the IT industry because until now, the amount of women is abysmal. Also what fun is that, having no one to sync periods with?)

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