Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Being 24

It might be slightly so narcissistic to write about my life, I always find biographies distasteful and shun every opportunity to write/read about people's lives. Yet, after shortly passing my 24th birthday, I find a compelling reason to want to "take stock" of what has happened so far. This is partly because a lot has passed since last year till today, and there is a lot of reflecting to be done.

1) Letting go of baggages

Last year I have started a whirlwind journey of professional and emotional highs/lows. I found a really dynamic job where every hour in the workplace is replaced with uncertainty. It certainly drives my blood pressure higher, wits tighter and patience lesser. I have certainly learnt a lot from my ex-boss and will continue to value the lessons he can provide me. However I have also decided when your work life takes away too much from your loved ones, it's time to walk away from a job who won't walk out on you.

I have also let go of a lot of idealisms - namely finding the perfect romance, the perfect life etc. It's not something that I outright admit that it's going to completely go away, but at least I'm working my way there to let things go slowly. I am fortunate that we didn't lose the friendship between us, despite the tacit difficult decisions you ultimately had to make for the good of everyone. Going to Europe for a month taught me that I cannot run from my ghosts, no matter how far I go - but ultimately that time apart (and consequently, you spending more time with her) helped both of us to start afresh as good friends.

2) Letting the past catch up with me
For a long time, I haven't given myself the chance to grieve over my mother, the lost of her presence in my life - I have had emotional bouts during my birthdays and hers. However what I really needed was to allow myself to be vulnerable in front of others, to really take the time and just be sad. This delayed grief is catching up on me and I have decided to admit that it's affecting my attitudes and behaviour in more ways than one. I need to grieve and I appreciate if you give me the space to do so.

In addition, I feel a constant disconnect with those around me (especially those of the same age). I've been reading forums and articles about people "losing" their mothers at the turn of their lives - namely around the ages 19-21. Such an event is difficult at any life stage, and facing death at that age escalates one's growth and maturity rapidly. It puts us apart from other people and it makes me feel utterly alone. This loneliness therefore drives me to look for partners/dates and that choice is an unhealthy one. I am lucky to not have been in an unhealthy relationship of co-dependency. Perhaps between 20 and 24, being single is a good thing - it was the right thing. Which brings me to my next point…

3) Being kinder to myself
For a long time, I have the strongest desire to be right and that has driven to a lot of bridge burning, unhappiness, distress and unnecessary frustration. An intelligent person is not a person who's always correct, but rather a person who knows when is the right moment to say what to whom. It doesn't matter if it's the truth, as long as your intended purposes is achieved and met. It does seem somewhat hypocritical - but it's not the same. I think it's assessing if the truth is required at this moment, or does the person want to hear something else instead?

I still need more time to tell myself that it's okay to fail, to be wrong, and just learn. Perhaps for a long time, the pressure to be right comes when people look up to you for answers - it's almost an unsaid obligation for me to always have the answers on hand. I have learnt from another good friend, that sometimes people come to you not for answers but for insights. They are not the same things because the former places an end to the question, while the latter opens more doors for query, so that the person does not feel like s/he has to make a forced choice. Freedom comes in the form of having accessible options and perhaps, being vulnerable oneself, can allow others permission to let their ego/pride go, to also start to be kinder on themselves. When we stop being so harsh on being right all the time - we open up a larger repertoire to feel.


I have thus decided to try a lot more things this year. One is to get involved in theatre and to finally do what I have always wanted to do - which is direct. I am happily stressed out so far and it's one of the most rewarding experiences to that. I also have decided to go on as many dates as I can. Meeting new people is both an exciting and liberating experience. Ironically, it has helped me heal somewhat - because my social skills are really being tested to the extreme. It has also helped to make me a little bit more forgiving on myself, and if things don't work out, it's really no one's fault but down to the fact that two people are simply incompatible. I have also tried to be more adventurous personally and professionally. Sitting outside of my comfort zone to push boundaries as far as I can. So far it has worked marvellously, and looking back the past 6 months, I really cannot believe how much has paid off.

I still have many problems and challenges, but they are all things I would rather have than not. I am happy and I am healing. For once in 5 years, I feel that at least now my life is leading somewhere.

The grieving starts now - and there shan't be any more excuses to take me away from feeling the loss.

Today a friend told me, that a philosopher once said that living life is like driving a plane on a course, and at the same time, constantly repairing, maintaining and ensuring it stays in flight all the time. I found it a pretty accurate description, and as long as I'm in "motion" and pressing forth, it's already a victory in and of itself. I should always seek to remind myself, something that another of my friend does quite intuitively, that I'm not weird or abnormal. I shouldn't feel bad about my shortcomings because honestly no one really knows what they're doing in the first place. It's worse to lie to ourselves that we know, and suffer the indignation of being wronged which subsequently makes us bitter about our failures.

I do hope, on my 25th birthday, I'll be a more empathetic, humanistic and sensitive individual than I am today.

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