Three things I learned in 2018

This is a bit late, but if you know me in real life, I’m a huge procrastinator and I have had a long habit of being consistently late. To be fair, I’ve gotten a lot better, but when it used to be considered normal for you to be two hours late, you can only get better, right?

Money isn’t everything, but it will give you freedom and piece of mind.

I’ve had a really bad relationship with money my entire life, and there are still some parts of it that I struggle with. However, one of the biggest learnings of 2018 is to the importance of an emergency fund. I’m not sure when I started saving up, but I wanted to have at least three months worth of expenses saved up incase anything should happen. After a bit of penny pinching and learning to not let lifestyle inflation happen to me, I was fortunate enough to be able to achieve that by May of last year. I’m not going to get into specifics, but thanks to my emergency fund, I was able to walk away from a toxic situation without feeling chained to it because I needed a paycheck. I know not everyone is fortunate enough to walk away from work because they need the money, so I am very grateful for what I have.

It takes sacrifices, planning, and effort to be healthy.

I have ran two marathons, a few half marathons, and many more races of shorter distances. However, I was not in shape. I would stay up late, drink on nights before working out, and even eat McDonald’s a couple times a week. Last year, I noticed that even though I was working out regularly, I was gaining weight and my running wasn’t improving. If anything, my running was getting worse and I was constantly getting injured throughout the year.

I saw everyone around me improve while I was getting weaker and slower than my first year of running. It was then that I decided if I wanted to become a better runner, I would have to take everything more seriously.

I started meal prepping and it’s something that I now look forward to every Sunday! I started looking up recipes, adding it to my calendar, making time to grocery shop, and so forth. I also learned that it’s really important to read nutrition labels and ingredient lists (this is applicable to non-food items too, see this article about aloe vera being sold that didn’t actually have any aloe vera in it).

In addition to eating healthier, I have been setting strict bedtimes and alarm times for myself to get eight hours of sleep a night. Sleep is way more important than most people realize and my friend, Kelvin, send me a podcast just explaining why it’s so important.

Already I see my running paces improving and I’m not injured yet (knock on wood)!

Seeing a therapist is one of the best things I have decided to do for myself.

I would say the majority of people have issues, me included. I’ve dealt with a lot of anxiety and anger issues for a while now and I’ve always tried to deal with it on my own. I tried reasoning with myself, isolating myself, meditating — all of those things could only get me so far and I felt my anxiety getting worse as time passed on.

Near the end of last year, I decided to see a therapist. Everyone has a different experience and sometimes you need to try out a few therapists before you find one that fits. There are also a lot of different forms of therapy that you can look into. In case this helps someone, I found my therapist on Psychology Today and she also accepts my insurance, so it’s definitely worth looking into if you have health insurance.

I’m planning on writing a more in-depth post about therapy in the future. I will say that while progress here is slow, I am feeling better.


Leave a Comment


  1. evi erlinda wrote:

    well written post.
    greeting- evi erlinda

    Posted 1.24.19 Reply
  2. Sakuranko wrote:

    Thanks for share your lessons darling. I guess I need an emergency fund too. Great post!

    Posted 1.24.19 Reply
    • Mai Nguyen wrote:

      Thanks :)! I definitely recommend saving up and having an emergency fund!

      Posted 1.25.19 Reply
  3. Jenny wrote:

    These are all such great points! I really need to work on a more healthy lifestyle this year, especially with improving my sleep quality. I’ve always known sleep was important, but after reading those podcast notes, yikes!

    Jenny // Geeky Posh

    Posted 1.26.19 Reply
  4. Like your blog. It was really interesting. You have explained properly. Thanks for share.

    Nahid |

    Posted 3.30.19 Reply


  • Last week I turned 29 😱! Instead of doing anything big or going anywhere, I had a nice dinner and spent the weekend with my family in Virginia.

When I was young, I thought I’d be married with kids by 25, have a house with a nice yard, and have my own cubicle. I’m not married, I don’t have kids, I can’t see myself buying a house (maybe a condo), and I can’t believe my vision of success back then was to have my own cubicle 😂 (tbh, open offices aren’t great, so I wouldn’t mind my own cubicle now). Maybe I haven’t achieved my old version of success, but what I have now is so much better than what I would’ve ever been able to imagine for myself. I’ve lived in Japan, I live in New York City, I get to travel the world with family, I run marathons, and most importantly, my relationship with my family is the best it’s ever been.

I used to think 29 was old, but it feels like my journey has just begun ☺️
  • Happy Mother’s Day to the most badass woman in my life. No amount of words can fully portray how much love and respect I have for my mom. My mom has sacrificed so much and worked so hard to raise me into who I am today. When I was a kid, my uncles told me to grow up and marry someone rich. My mom, on the other hand, told me to become rich myself. Don’t worry mom, I’m still working on it.
  • Forever a wallflower 🌼
  • We went to Ashikaga because it’s always been my mom’s dream to see the wisteria gardens in Japan. We went to Kawachi Fuji Garden last week but we were a bit too early since they weren’t in full bloom yet. Fortunately, we got a second chance today at Ashikaga! This park was gorgeous, so be prepared to be spammed with a ton of photos from there *_*
  • Feeling like royalty at the Osaka Castle
  • Celebrating six years of friendship 🤗! It’s amazing to see how much each of us have grown since we first met. We might be getting old, but we’re still young at heart. (The picture on the right is us from six years ago 😂🙈)