Hi there, welcome to Better Lifestyles! My name is Rynn Hoong.
I started this blog in 2022 because I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life.
I was sick of a meaningless daily routine after getting off work.
I was getting comfortable for way too long.
I wasn’t failing at anything because I wasn’t trying anything new.
I started publishing articles on lessons learned from my previous job where I stayed for 4 years and the things I would do better at my next one. Then I expanded to other topics such as relationships, wealth, wellness, and so on hoping to help people become the best version of themselves and live a better lifestyle by instilling more positivity and adopting a healthier mindset.
Life can suck sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be that way. When shit happens, we ask ourselves: “Why did this happen to me?”
The bad news is, we cannot change the things that we don’t have control over, but we can better manage our emotions and cope with the hardships that get thrown at us.
I went through my adolescence and adulthood almost all by myself. My family is around for me, but I couldn’t get myself to talk to them about my feelings or emotions. I was raised in an Asian culture where we don’t talk about the touchy-feely stuff. We don’t do anything that makes us look vulnerable.
We don’t say “I love you” out loud; we barely hug; we’re punished for doing bad things instead of being rewarded for the good.
Whenever I have a conflict with friends, I’d talk to myself about it and somehow “resolve” it on my own.
Whenever I have a crush on someone, only my heart knows about it.
Whenever I was overwhelmed with negative emotions, I’d lick my own wound and slowly heal by myself.
Many friends told me that I always give out a calm, witty, and mysterious vibe. I then recently discovered how internalizing everything on my own for so many years has contributed to these traits of mine. I tend to keep everything to myself and not overshare.
I’d have to admit, it can be quite tiring. I didn’t choose to be mysterious, but I was so used to carrying all the emotional burdens on my own over the years.
Then, I found my outlet for these burdens – blogging.
I get to let out all my feelings and thoughts on paper, to people I’ve never met on the internet, and it made me feel better.
I want to create a support system so that you don’t have to go through this on your own. We all experience similar issues and you’re not alone.
With a healthy mindset and a supportive community, we can all smile more in life.
Imagine a world that is bombarded with kindness and positivity. How great can everyone’s life be?
It’s probably not going to bombard the world, but hey, I’m hopeful because of the random act of kindness that I’ve witnessed.
Live Life Authentically
Ok now, you might be thinking who the heck are you and how did you get here?
The Great Migration
I was born and raised in Malaysia. At the age of 16, my mother courageously took the entire family to the United States to start a new life.
As someone who was shy, introverted, and trained not to have an opinion, I came to hell, I thought.
I barely spoke any English; I wasn’t mentally ready for such a big change; I was having trouble making friends and fitting in.
I wasn’t happy. I cried every day. I miss my friends. I miss home.
Not until 2 years in, I started to make friends and became a cool yet weird kid in school. I did really well in High School and decently well in college.
I studied Computer Science at first because the elderly told me that’s where the money’s at. So I did that.
In my junior year, I couldn’t bear myself to sit in front of a computer to code like a mad scientist all day, so I changed my major to Business Information Systems while keeping my CS as a minor.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do (and I still don’t). In a leap of faith, I landed an internship position as a Business Analyst during my senior year in college.
What the heck does a Business Analyst do? I had no idea.
I was shadowing the senior analysts; observing how they facilitate a meeting, how they talk to 100 different customers, and how they gather and summarize complex information and present it back in a clear and concise way.
My job was easy – listening in meetings and taking notes. I was like a “little assistant” to the movie director.
But hold on a second, does that mean I will have to eventually do what they do?
Thinking about it got me sweating hard. No, I’m too shy, I’m an introvert. I cannot possibly be able to speak to the customers like that, confidently. I can barely keep up with the conversation or speak a word in meetings, how am I supposed to lead the discussion and ensure a conclusion or decision is reached?
No f****** way.
I was on the verge of never looking back after my internship ended.
Am I going to run away because of fear? Or am I going to conquer my fear and believe in myself that I can do anything?
I was done running away and being comfortable.
I have been doing that my entire life and nothing good came with that.
Here I am, 5 years as a Business Analyst and it has become my second nature to do what I was afraid of doing.
I still remember the first meeting that I needed to facilitate. My face turned red when I started speaking; I was stuttering; my armpit was sweaty; my mind went blank. I hated every second of it. I just wanted it to end.
At one point, I hated my job, I’m not doing a good job, and I was frustrated and wanted to quit.
That fight or flight moment came up again. Am I going to run away from my fear when I’ve made it this far?
No freaking way.
I found my way to join a Toastmasters club that my company started. From someone who can barely speak in a meeting, to someone who can stand in front of a crowd and give a speech (I’m not a pro speaker, but I managed to do it without peeing my pants).
I also took on officer positions as a way to push myself further.
Over time, I’ve gotten more and more comfortable running a meeting and speaking up in meetings.
Years later, I realized why I like what I do. Both a programmer and a business analyst are problem solvers. I just chose not to deal with all the stupid syntax that took me hours to debug.
I love solving problems AND working with people. I always try to find creative ways to solve a problem and do things a little bit better.
I’m always intrigued by other people’s stories because everyone has a unique story to tell. I enjoyed listening to my colleague talk about their daughter who is a freshman in college and how they moved across the country from New York.
I’m energized by being able to provide value to others, give helpful advice, build good personal relationships with people, and have good, deep conversations. I love when a meeting ends productively and everyone feels good about the next steps. I feel empowered when a project is moving along and things are improving a little each day.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, everyone was forced to work remotely. As someone who arrives at the office at 8 AM sharp every day and enjoys chatting with colleagues in the breakroom before meetings, the new working model was unbearable.
The feeling of emptiness amplified and the need for me to express my thoughts was greater than ever.
In the past 2 years, I was feeling unproductive, unaccomplished, unsure of my future, and lost.
I have been living the life of a standard textbook for an Asian family – go to school, get good grades, find a good-paying job, and live a comfortable life. This was what my family has taught me. Don’t get me wrong, they love me to death, but at the same time, they didn’t want me to suffer either.
I started questioning the purpose of my life. More on that in another blog post.
I had been living in Portland, Oregon with my parents ever since I graduated from college. I was getting too comfortable going through the motion of life. I accomplished nothing for myself in the last 4 years.
In 2022, I’ve decided that it is time for a change.
I packed my bags and moved to a new city with a new job. I realized one of the reasons why I have been staying with my parents is because I was worried that they would feel sad or lonely as I was the last child to move out. I have this guilt that has been tying me down for too long.
But I’ve decided that it is time that I do things for ME.
I felt empowered and had a sense of relief for having complete control of my life. Moving to a new city got me to try new things, make new friends, and allowed me to meet the love of my life.
Why should people read what you have to say?
Agreed. I’m not a philosopher. I don’t have a doctorate degree in psychology. I’m just an ordinary person like you.
So here comes my disclaimer: Anything I post on betterlifestyles.org is solely based on my own experience, my own opinion, and for informational purposes only. This should not be a substitute for your physician, therapist, doctor, or any other licensed professional.
I’m simply sharing the struggles that many of you have experienced, how I would handle them, and other tools and tips to help you navigate through these challenges in life.
Beyond the mysterious face, I am a thinker, analyzer, problem solver, and helper. I like internalizing thoughts and analyzing my feelings.
My superpower is that when something stands in my way, I always tend to be able to break through it on my own. I also find pleasure in being able to help others resolve their situation creatively.
If you like to make friends, have a thought to share with me, tell me your stories, or just want to say hi, I’m an email away. It will make my day to see messages from someone from different ends of the globe. I try to respond to every email I receive (except for solicitation and unwanted business).
Just please, no harassment or spam. If you’re not going to contribute positively to the world, at least try not to contaminate it for others.
If you made it this far, I sincerely appreciate the time you took to read this and I deeply value every relationship I make here. I hope there is at least one new thing you can take away from this blog. Every post on this blog will be original that comes from this little brain of mine.
So buckle up, and let’s enjoy this ride called Life.