My Online Shopping Experience, Part 1

My Online Shopping Experience Part I GCASH AMEX

Since I’ve incorporated minimalist principles into my life, I no longer go shopping as much as I used to. But I’m just a human with needs and wants, so there are times when I really, really have to buy something.

Unlike other people my age, though, I’m not really much of an online shopper. I’m the kind of person who wants to touch and feel a product before I buy it, so I stick mostly to brick-and-mortar shopping. I also don’t have a credit card, so my only experience with online shopping has been with Lazada and Fully Booked — both of which allowed me to pay for my items in cash and in person.

This used to be enough for me but, for several months now, I’ve been wanting to read certain books on minimalism that I couldn’t get here in the Philippines. (Filipino book lovers with no credit cards to their name will understand my plight and know just how frustrating this situation can be). I’ve scoured numerous bookshops here in Cebu but couldn’t find the books I wanted anywhere. I’ve asked Fully Booked if I could order the books from them but was told by their representative that they can’t get the titles for me.

So I had no choice but to take matters into my own hands. Fortunately, a few months ago, I stumbled into a solution: Globe’s GCash Amex.

Before I proceed, I just want to make things clear: I AM NOT AFFILIATED with Globe and the other companies that would be mentioned below and won’t earn anything from mentioning their brands. I’m writing this blog post not to earn money but to help Filipinos like me who want to buy something online.

CREATING MY GCASH AMEX ACCOUNT

Okay, so I learned about GCash Amex when I was on Google and searching for ways to buy products on Amazon without using a credit card. I can’t remember what URL I clicked, but the website mentioned GCash Amex and talked about how easy it was to use.

So I did further research and found this out: GCash Amex is a part of Globe’s GCash service and acts as a virtual credit card. Users won’t receive a physical card, but they can put funds into their GCash Amex account and use it like a regular credit card to buy products on online stores.

I have postpaid and prepaid accounts with Globe and am generally satisfied with their service (apart from their data caps, mysteriously disappearing prepaid loads, etc.), so I decided to give it a try. I didn’t have an existing GCash account account, but Globe’s website said it was fine, so I signed up right away. I guess I was lucky: I signed up on March 31, 2016, which was the last day that Globe was waiving the subscription fee for GCash Amex, so I didn’t have to pay the fee.

After I completed the enrollment, GCash sent me an email that confirmed my registration and gave me my GCash Amex card number details. They also gave me my MyShoppingBox details, which include my username and password and the California address that I should use as my shipping and billing address.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, MyShoppingBox is a logistics company that GCash Amex is affiliated with, and they deliver people’s online purchases from U.S. sites to the Philippines. (I guess you can compare them with Johnny Air Cargo.) All the purchases that you make with your GCash Amex card will automatically be shipped by MyShoppingBox, (although I’ve read somewhere that you also have the option to choose another logistics company). So if I’d buy books on Amazon, for instance, I’d input the MyShoppingBox California address both as my shipping address and billing address, and Amazon will ship my books to it. MyShoppingBox will then ship the books from California to the Philippines.

PUTTING FUNDS INTO MY GCASH AMEX ACCOUNT

I calculated the price of the books that I wanted to buy on Amazon as well as the possible shipping fees that I’d have to pay to MyShoppingBox, and I found out that I had to have around Php3,000 in my account. But I waited for a few months before I put money into my GCash Amex account because 1) I was anxious about putting cash in a service that I haven’t tried and tested yet and 2) I didn’t have enough money in the first place.

But I earned a few extra pesos from my writing gigs and ultimately saved enough cash. Once I had the money, I went to the nearest Globe store, told the clerk that I wanted to put funds into my GCash, and was given a form to fill up. My advice for you is this: make sure to fill out the form with all the necessary details, and don’t forget to write clearly. This is particularly true when you write down the mobile phone number that’s connected to your GCash account. You don’t want your money to go to another person’s account.

Once it was my turn, I gave the cashier the form and my money and was asked to present a valid ID (thankfully I carry one around anywhere I go). But I ran into a little problem: the cashier asked me to check my phone because she sent a message to my mobile number and I had to reply to it with my GCash MPIN. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring the SIM card that my GCash account is tied to (and I couldn’t remember my MPIN, anyway).

The cashier told me that we could still proceed by doing a self-to-peer transaction — which basically like me sending money to another person, although the money would still be placed in my account. Self-to-peer transactions cost a certain amount (while self-to-self transactions are free), so I had to pay another Php60 on top of my Php3,000. All because I forgot to bring my Globe SIM.

So, when you’re ready to put money into your GCash AMEX, here’s my advice: bring a valid ID as well as the SIM that’s tied to your GCash AMEX account. And don’t forget your MPIN, too, since you’ll need to send it to the cashier before she can complete your transaction. If you forget your MPIN, you can dial 2882 to reset it (which I haven’t done yet, TBH).

END OF PART 1

So that’s it! This is how I opened my GCash AMEX account and put money in it. In my next blog post, I’ll discuss how I used my virtual credit card to buy books online. I just want to remind everyone, though: I’m not advocating using GCash AMEX to go on an online shopping spree. In my case, I used it to buy books on minimalism that I have been wanting to read for almost two years. I’m also planning to use it to buy a copy of the Minimalism Film, a documentary about minimalism that’s created by Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn (aka The Minimalists). And I hope that’s what you’ll do, too: use GCash AMEX not to buy items that would end up getting stuck in the back of your closet, but to purchase books, films, and other things that add value and meaning to your life.

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4 Things I’ve Learned from The 100 Thing Challenge

The 100 Thing Challenge title page

I recently bought and read The 100 Thing Challenge by Dave Bruno (you can read my review about it here). It’s an interesting book, and I recommend it to everybody who has a bad shopping habit or just wants to live a simpler, more improved life. The book is packed with many nuggets of wisdom from Dave, all of which are helpful for people like me who want to adopt the minimalist lifestyle. Here’s a list of some of the things I learned:

1. People usually don’t know (or admit) that they have consumerism problems.

Dave mentions in his book that he ran a blog about consumerism but didn’t really recognised that he had a problem with shopping and having too much stuff. It was only when he took a long look around his home that he realised that he had issues with buying and consuming more than he needed.

The same thing happened to me. Until I read The 100 Thing Challenge, I had thought that I didn’t have a problem with consumerism. I even felt smug about myself because I was an underbuyer and wasn’t into shopping as other people my age. But I was so wrong. Yes, I didn’t buy as many things as other folks did, but I still placed a lot of expectations on the stuff that I did buy (more on that later). And that is a sign of consumerism.

2. People always want more and more.

Dave points out in his book that “American-style consumerism” propagates the thought that more is always better and prevents people from being contented with what they have. He also discusses how this principle translates into business, with many entrepreneurs giving into the pressure of growing their ventures and achieving more success every year.

I think this is true. In my case, the consumerist principle of “more and more” has entered my life as a freelancer. I want to accept more and more writing assignments, even when my schedule can no longer accommodate them. I want to keep on writing and writing, even when my body says that I should stop and sleep and get enough rest. I want to earn more so I’d have enough money in case my parents (who are in their 60s) get sick and need to be hospitalised. I want to earn more so I can prepare for my retirement as well as for rainy days. But should I risk my health just to achieve all that?

I know the answer should be “No”. But, sometimes, it’s hard to resist the temptation of “more and more”.

3. People associate things with happiness and/or contentment.

Dave talks about how he bought toy trains, adventure gear, and woodworking tools to achieve his childhood dreams and become the “ideal” man. He discusses how he placed high expectations on these items and turned to them to heal childhood wounds and become the person he wasn’t meant to be.

I can certainly relate; I’ve bought a lot of things in the past that I thought would help me transform into a better person. One time, I figured that running would help me lose weight, so I bought a Habagat gym bag and a book titled “Run Less, Run Faster: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary 3-Run-a-Week Training Program”. I also bought two boxes of Nestle low-fat milk because they came with a free pedometer.

I bought all of these things partly because I figured I’d need them to make running easier, but also partly because I thought they’d help me love running. They didn’t. I still don’t like to run.

So I’ve learned a lesson: never put a lot of expectations on your things. Use them to make your life easier and enjoy your hobbies more, but never expect them to transform you into the person you want to become.

4. People need to redefine “prosperity”

Habitual shopping has become the measure of affluence for individuals as well as whole regions,” Dave writes in The 100 Thing Challenge. “Prosperity must be displayed or else it will be in doubt.”

I’ve mentioned in my book review that I have many favourite quotes in the book, but these are the two sentences that grabbed my attention. Why? Because I can definitely relate to them. And maybe you can, too. Displayed prosperity is easy to spot, especially in the Philippine society: rich people flaunting their riches and middle-class people trying to keep up (and even ending up in debt because of all their keeping up).

Now, as Dave has said, I don’t want to deny anyone their right to buy and own stuff. And I certainly don’t think that I can change the mindset of everyone in the world. But what I hope is that, someday, people will realise that having lots of material things isn’t the only measurement of prosperity. Having inner peace, enjoying strong relationships with our loved ones, living a contented life — these are the signs of prosperity of the soul, and these are what we should be striving for.

Book Review: The 100 Thing Challenge

The 100 Thing Challenge book

Who wrote it: Dave Bruno

What it’s all about:

In the book, Dave Bruno talks about how he came up with The 100 Thing Challenge and decided to undertake it for a year. He outlines the circumstances that he found himself in — dealing not just with clutter at home but also with a discontent that he tried to solve by shopping — and discusses how these pushed him to do the challenge.

Dave walks us through the preparations he had to make for the challenge. These included selling, giving, and throwing away the things that he didn’t really need and dealing with the emotional anguish that came with stripping away layers of stuff and revealing the unfulfilled dreams they cover. He also talks about the experiences he had during the 100 Thing Challenge year as well as the reactions he received from his family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers. Throughout the book, Dave shares his realisations about consumerism, humbleness, and contentment.

Why I like it:

I first learned about The 100 Thing Challenge when I read this article by The Minimalists, but I didn’t really pay attention to it. When I found the book at Booksale, I immediately bought it not because I liked it specifically but because I’m interested in minimalism/simple living books in general. It’s embarrassing, but my first reaction when I started reading was “Ha! I don’t need this.” I’d already learned through The Happiness Project that I was an underbuyer, so I didn’t really think that I had a problem with consumerism. With my strong impulse to save, my aversion to fashion, and my tendency to feel buyer’s guilt after buying anything, how could I possibly have a problem with shopping?

Boy, was I wrong

As I read through The 100 Thing Challenge, I began to realise that I, like many other people around the Philippines and around the world, have issues with consumerism. I’m lucky enough to be born to lower-middle class parents who don’t have money, so I spent my grade school, high school, and college years without being surrounded by luxuries. However, this doesn’t stop me from desiring things. I don’t lust after clothes and handbags like other girls, but I long for books, sneakers, and journals, which still ARE stuff. And, as what Dave mentioned in the book, I place a lot of expectations on the things I buy or want to buy, which is still a sign of a consumerist mind.

I had a lot of realisations after reading the book that I had to write a separate blog post for my thoughts on The 100 Thing Challenge (or else this book review would be too long). So, all I’ll say here is that I really, really liked the book. It’s an eye-opener, whether you already acknowledge that you have a shopping problem or are still in denial that you have consumerist tendencies.

You can even try doing the challenge on your own. After reading the book, I listed the things I use every day (laptop, charger, cooling fan, and electric fan), the things that I wear every day (pangbalay/pambahay clothes like sleeveless tops and pajama bottoms), and other stuff (e.g. my favourite books, colouring books, and colour pencils). Like Dave, I counted my undies as one item (instead of listing them individually) but, unlike him, I counted my books one by one (Dave counted his books as “one library”). All in all, I came up with 114 things. This number can increase if I do a thorough job of counting (I didn’t include my bed, desk, and chair, for instance), but it can also decrease if I try to make do without some of my things (I can probably live without my tablet, three pairs of scissors, and various highlighters if I really had to).

I probably won’t do The 100 Thing Challenge any time soon. However, I will live by its principles and try to create a humble, contented life that doesn’t place a lot of importance on things.

Where to buy it: I got lucky and found my copy while traipsing around Booksale in E-Mall in Cebu. You can probably hunt for one in other Booksale branches or order a copy through Fully Booked or Amazon.

Favourite quotes:

When is the moment we stop looking for something of value and start desiring something that we think will make us more valuable ourselves?

The 100 Thing Challenge has lots of quotes that I love; in fact, my copy is striped in pink highlighter because Dave Bruno has written many wonderful insights that I want to remember. But I chose to feature the question above because it’s something that everyone needs ask, especially when we go shopping.

I don’t know about you, but my buying process usually starts out like this: 1) I decide to get something I need (maybe a new pair of jeans or new shoes). 2) I go to the mall. 3) I browse through the racks. 4) I find something that I like and fits me. 5) I head off to the cash register with the item in hand.

Sounds totally normal, right? But, somewhere between steps 3 and 4, I sometimes find myself going from wanting to buy what I need to wanting to buy something that will make me look and feel cooler. It’s not unique, actually; after all, who doesn’t want to look pretty and attractive? But the problem is this: during the shopping process, I become engrossed in popular brands and often end up buying designer things when I could have just opted for cheaper, unbranded items.

This doesn’t happen often (because I don’t shop often). And I can rationalise this by saying that branded stuff often have better quality and can last longer and that they have bigger sizes that fit me better. But I have to admit that, sometimes, I buy products from big-name brands simply because I want other people to notice that I’m wearing/using branded things.

And that, my friends, is consumerism. Consumerism has many definitions, but one of the moments when you notice its presence is when you go from wanting to fulfill a basic need (e.g. getting a pair of shoes that would protect your feet) to wanting to buy something that will transform you into someone you’re not (e.g. a fashionable “It” girl with a cool pair of kicks).

Book Review: Happier at Home

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Who wrote it: Gretchen Rubin

What it’s all about:

In Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin outlines her efforts to create a happier home for herself and her family. The book follows the same format as The Happiness Project: every month has a set of resolutions that Gretchen strives to achieve. The difference is that, in Happier at Home, Gretchen starts the project on September instead of January, pointing out that September is a start of something new for many families because it’s when kids go back to school. Throughout the book, Gretchen discusses how she wants to improve her relationship with her husband, become a better parent to her two daughters, appreciate her possessions more without being mastered by them, and achieve other goals.

Why I like it:

I was excited to read Happier at Home, but I wasn’t really expecting that I would like it. I know it sounds crazy, but I wanted to read it simply because Gretchen wrote it. I never thought I would like it, though; in my mind, The Happiness Project will always be the best.

But how wrong I was. Happier at Home is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Through it, I realised just how important it is to be happy at home. Just think: no matter how satisfied you are with your performance at work or school, and no matter how many exciting holidays you take to exotic countries, you still won’t be completely happy if your home life is miserable.

Gretchen has written many wonderful, thought-provoking points throughout the book, though two chapters do stand out from the rest: “September” (which discusses Possessions) and “January” (which talks about Time). I love Gretchen’s suggestions on how to glean a lot of happiness from your possessions without being controlled by them as well as her tips on how to make the most of your time to do the things you want to do. These two things are my weakest links: I find it hard to clear the clutter in our home and manage my time wisely so I won’t get burned out by work.

I also like the part where Gretchen talks about our sense of smell and discusses how we can use good scents to be happier. I definitely agree with her: I feel happier and more confident when I use soaps, body washes, and perfumes that leave me smelling good, and I become happy when I get a whiff of a scent that triggers good memories in my brain. The sad part is that I have allergic rhinitis, so I almost always get a stuffed nose when I come near strong scents, no matter how heavenly they smell. That sucks.

Where to buy it: I bought my copy at National Bookstore in SM City Cebu, though I’ve also found the book in National Bookstore in SM Consolacion and in Fully Booked in Ayala. Of course, you can buy it on Amazon.

Favourite quotes:

“I couldn’t make them happy, no matter how I desired to, and they couldn’t make me happy, either. We all have to find happiness for ourselves.”

I actually have a lot of favourite quotes from the book, and this is one of them. I like it because it reminds me that other people’s happiness is not my responsibility — which is something that I often forget. I have this tendency to want to please people, to make them happy. If I had the power and the money, I’d use them to improve the lives of my friends and family. But I can’t. Even if I give them millions of pesos, they will never be happy if they themselves don’t want to be.

So, instead of trying to become a fairy godmother to other people, I should focus on making myself happy. As what Gretchen wrote, “The only person I can change is myself”, so I must concentrate on making changes in myself that will make me happier in the long run. The list is miles long (there are lots of things I need to change in myself, starting with my weight) and it’s overwhelming, but at least it’s a start.

Book Review: The Happiness Project

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Who wrote it: Gretchen Rubin

What it’s all about:

The Happiness Project outlines Gretchen Rubin’s efforts to be happier and appreciate her life more — without actually making drastic changes. She admits that she’s an unadventurous soul and points out that she wanted to change her life without changing her life. Throughout the book, she talks about the resolutions that she strives to achieve every month and how they affect her level of happiness and her outlook in life. Her resolutions range from simple ones like sleeping early and removing clutter from their apartment to more challenging goals like launching a blog and writing a novel. Along the way, she gives the readers insights about her relationships with her husband, two daughters, sister, parents, in-laws, and friends.

Why I like it:

The Happiness Project is the first proper self-help book I’ve read, and it made me realise that reading self-help books is great. They’re not really entertaining like YA novels and sci-fi books, but they help you learn more about yourself, identify issues in your life, and find ways to deal with them.

The Happiness Project made me ask myself: Am I happy with my life? The answer is “No”. But that’s okay, because life doesn’t have to be perfect. However, it’s important for us to do everything in our power to at least strive for a higher level of happiness. No one else can make us happy; it’s our individual responsibility to make ourselves happier.

I love all the chapters in the book, but one of my favourites is the July chapter which, incidentally, is my birth month! In it, Gretchen talks about “the relationship between money and happiness”. I found this interesting because we’re often told that “The love of money is the root of all evil” but also hear “Money holds the key to happiness”. These contrasting messages can be confusing, especially for someone like me who either holds on to her money tightly or spends it all in one crazy shopping spree.

Gretchen tells in the book that she’s an underbuyer, and I realised that I’m an underbuyer, too (okay, most of the time). She says that this can be a good thing, but it can also be detrimental because she often feels “stressed because I don’t have the things I need” and is “surrounded with things that are shabby, don’t really work, or aren’t exactly suitable”.

I can relate; it took me around two years to work up the courage to buy an expensive bottle of sulphate-free shampoo that won’t strip my scalp of oil and make my hair fall. My thinning hair eventually convinced me to shell out the money for the shampoo — and I’m glad I did or else I would have ended with a bald head in just a few months. (There’s nothing wrong with bald heads, but I think they don’t go well with my chubby cheeks and almost-non-existent neck).

Through The Happiness project, I learned to tame my underbuyer tendencies and treat myself to a modest splurge every once in a while. I also learned to buy needful things, like a new pair of shoes to replace my tattered sneakers that have holes where my toes peek out. Gretchen also taught me to “spend out”, i.e. using things instead of saving them and hiding them in your cabinet. This principle gave me the courage to use my colour pencils instead of just letting them languish on a shelf.

Where to buy it: I bought my copy at National Bookstore in SM Consolacion, but I think it’s available in most National Bookstore and Fully Booked branches.

Favourite quotes:

“I didn’t want to look back, at the end of my life or after some great catastrophe, and think, ‘How happy I used to be then, if only I’d realized it.’”

This really hit home to me because, like many people, I’m prone to assuming that I’ll be happy only when I get to buy a certain thing or travel to a certain country or achieve a certain goal. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Sure, we have to relish the happiness that shopping, travelling, goal-achieving, and other things bring, but we should also learn to be happy where we are now.

Our lives might be boring, but that’s exactly why we should appreciate it: it’s boring because everything is going right. If you were going through treatment for a serious illness or getting imprisoned for a crime you did or didn’t do or dealing with a death in the family, you won’t describe your life as boring; you’d most likely think it was sad and depressing. You’d also feel all sorts of negative emotions. But if you’re bored, it’s a sign that everything is well.

Of course, this DOES NOT mean that boredom is good. Being bored is also a sign that you need to do something to remove apathy from your life and be excited by the thought of living and ultimately achieve happiness. I can’t tell you how to go about this because each of us is unique; what makes me happy may not have the same effect on you. But we can both use The Happiness Project to identify the things that can increase our happiness level and figure out how to achieve them.

Early Christmas Gift!

Merry Christmas

People all over the world are looking forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But, for many minimalists, Christmas has come a day early because The Minimalists (aka Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus) are giving away a free copy of their book, Minimalists: Live a Meaningful Life!

Personally, I am SO FREAKING AWED by this news because I’ve been wanting to get my hands on their books, and now I can have a copy of their every first book! It’s actually the second edition, but the gist is still there. I’m excited to learn about the Five Values!

You can get your own copy, too, by going to Gumroad.com. You’ll only need to provide your email address, and the PDF will be delivered right to your inbox. Of course, if you want to buy a print copy of the book (or any of their books, for that matter), you can grab a copy on Amazon or order one from Fully Booked.

Gift-giving goes both ways so, if you want to thank Joshua and Ryan for the free book and give them a Christmas present, you can leave a review for Minimalists: Live a Meaningful Life on Amazon and help improve its overall rating.

Merry Christmas, everybody!!!

**Disclaimer: The Minimalists, Amazon, and Gumroad aren’t paying me anything. I’m just writing this post to share the good news and bring good tidings for Christmas! 🙂

3 Things I’ve Learned from Adult Colouring Books

I’m not exactly a newbie to this colouring craze. After I graduated from college, I bought myself a set of 48 colour pencils and four Looney Tunes colouring books. I got these out whenever I was bored and coloured Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat and the Tasmanian Devil to life.

But eventually I got tired of them. Some time this year I decided I was too old for Looney Tunes ― I mean, come on, I’m 27 freaking years old ― so I gave away my four colouring books (which still had hundreds of empty pages) to my nieces and nephews. I kept my 48 colour pencils, though.

It was lucky I did, because I received two adult colouring books as a good-bye gift from my colleagues when I resigned from work. I never expected to receive them; I had been planning to buy one colouring book in the near future, so imagine how happy I was to receive two! (Special thanks to Jona and Ganda for them. ^_^ )

Colorig Books from Ganda and Jona
New colouring books!

So, since I’m now unemployed, I’ve spent some time colouring my new colouring books. I love picking out a colour to use, sharpening the pencils using my brand-new sharpener and making sure I colour inside the lines (a feat I haven’t mastered yet even though I graduated from kindergarten 21 years ago). I love leaving my problems behind and just focus on adding life and colour to a black-and-white page.

Along the way, I also learned three important lessons, which I’m sharing below:

1. You must enjoy the journey

I’m naturally an impatient person and a constant worrier. With my OCD tendencies, I can’t really relax until I’ve solved a problem, ironed out the kinks in a plan and generally made sure that everything is okay. I get fretful and jittery when something goes wrong, when I’m faced with uncertainties, when I don’t have full control over everything.

So, naturally, I got a bit antsy when I started colouring a page. Everything was so blank, so white, and I wanted to fill the entire page with bright colours right away. The rational part of my brain told me this wasn’t possible, but the little OCD corner of my mind fretted anyway. What if I couldn’t make the page beautiful? What if I couldn’t finish the page and leave it half-coloured, half-white? What if it wasn’t perfect?

Colouring book page
An unfinished page — the white spaces are anxiety-inducing!

But, as I slogged on and continued colouring, I realised one thing: finishing the picture wasn’t the most important part. Sure, it’s nice to look at a fully coloured page and admire your handiwork, but it’s more important to enjoy the journey towards creating that fully coloured page. Immerse yourself in the process. Concentrate on deciding which pencil to use. Try to colour inside the lines. Have fun as you turn a white ribbon to red, a white grape to violet, a white lollipop to swirls of pink and turquoise and purple.

Enjoy the process and let it soothe you. It’s not called “art therapy” for nothing.

2. You need to learn to spend out

“Spend out”. This is one of the Twelve Commandments of one of my favourite authors, Gretchen Rubin. Like me, Gretchen is an underbuyer and has a “miserly nature” (her own words). According to her blog, she finds herself “saving things, even when it makes no sense” ― and I can fully relate. I try to purge myself of this tendency (in fact, it’s one of the reasons why I created this blog), but it’s too ingrained in my personality that getting rid of it is no walk in the park.

This tendency reared its head when I first held my colour pencils and colouring books (and it still does every now and then). Should I really colour these brand-spanking-new books? Shouldn’t I store them away to preserve their newness? Should I really use my colour pencils? Should I really sharpen them? Shouldn’t I just enjoy looking at their almost-new lengths?

Colour pencils
Favorite colouring pencils

But then I realised: Gretchen is right. I need to “spend out”. There’s no sense in saving colour pencils and colouring books because being used is their purpose. They need to be used and sharpened and coloured on for them to fulfil their purpose.

So I try to follow this advice and use not just my colouring stuff but other items as well. Spend out: don’t waste things just by letting them rot away in a corner.

3. You’re never too old for anything

I am too old for Looney Tunes, but I’m not too old for colouring books. Colouring is for everybody, and it is especially helpful to people who are stressed since it helps them forget their worries and anxieties at least for a few minutes.

Colouring, for me, is therapeutic. As I’ve mentioned above, it lets me set aside my problems as I focus on giving life to a black-and-white illustration. It helps me forget the responsibilities of the adult world as I focus on less stressful choices, like choosing a colour and deciding which picture I should colour first. It gives me a small sense of satisfaction as I finish colouring a picture and see the final, technicolour result.

Colouring, as I’ve mentioned, is for everybody, but not everyone might enjoy it. Still, for those who do, keep it up and let your crayons, colour pencils and colouring books inspire you.