I learned not to trust people; I learned not to believe what they say but to watch what they do; I learned to suspect that anyone and everyone is capable of ‘living a lie’. I came to believe that other people – even when you think you know them well – are ultimately unknowable. — Lynn Barber
There are 348 days left in this year and 2017 has been a blast so far. Wesley and I decided to start a few habits towards the end of December last year and I’m so glad that we’ve carried these habits on this year.
1. Meditate Daily
Wesley urged me to meditate daily, and I find myself more calm and self-aware throughout the day. I also read somewhere that “if you can’t find 10 minutes to meditate, maybe you need 2 hours” and I literally laughed out loud. I use that as a reminder whenever I find myself overwhelmed and coming up with excuses not to meditate. That line always does the trick.
Check out: https://www.calm.com/
2. Read Nightly
My best purchase in December was a Kindle and I’ve been glued to it ever since. I read on the bus/train, while I walk (if I can text and walk, I can read and walk haha!), and nightly before bedtime. I’ve already finished Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss and am onto my second book this year. I still don’t understand how people can finish a book a week. I’m already reading whenever I can find the time and it still took me 2 weeks. Doesn’t help that I always have to take notes.
I bought my Kindle (8th Gen) for S$109 from Lazada.
3. Hike Weekly
Every weekend, Wesley and I have been hiking, with each session lasting about 2.5 to 3 hours. We usually walk or jog to Dairy Farm to hike. Occasionally we do a loop back and jog home. Otherwise, we’ll just hike straight to Bukit Timah and have breakfast there. I first started hiking 3 years back, and I think there’s an unexplainable beauty about being immersed in nature, and the constant reminder of how small we are in this Universe. The best part of every hike, is when we tell each other to “finish strong”, so even if my muscles are burning, I run through the burn, and you just finish the hike feeling so empowered.
It’s also very refreshing to leave behind our phones, and just enjoy each others’ company for 2.5 hours. I’ve become less anxious about needing my phone with me all the time, telling myself repeatedly that “whatever it is, it can wait”.
What. A. Year.
I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. Thank God it’s over (or almost, in 2.5 more hours). As with all my 31st Decembers, I spent today hiking for a good 2 hours. I like to end the year right, and start the year right, often by exercising. It was something I started a few years back, and somehow I just kept it going all these years.
Now, where do I begin.
2016 has been a trying year. My goals, dreams, determination, and resolve, have been tested through and through. Each time I fall, I ask myself, “Is this it? Should I give up? Why put yourself through this?”
Today, while hiking, I asked Wesley, “Why has the Universe chosen to put us on this path?” To that, he replied “The Universe tests its people, and if you pull through, you succeed.”
Can’t thank my lucky stars enough that I found a partner who is as crazy as I am (perhaps even crazier!) and who has never failed to support me when I doubted myself and my dreams. Each time I falter, he picks me up, and pushes me past my limits, while somehow still pushing himself further.
I’m proud of how far we’ve come. In 2016, there wasn’t a single weekend which we weren’t working. We didn’t even go on a single vacation (disclaimer: we didn’t feel like we deserved one). We started habits that we’ve proudly stuck to (sleep at 12-1230, wake at 630-7; meditate daily; read instead of watching shows). Now we’re just holding out for that bit of luck, that light at the end of this tunnel called “life”.
Come on 2017, I’m ready for you.
What would the world look like in 2050?
Now that Bukit Timah hill is finally fully opened, Wesley and I have been back hiking. And as much as I would love to hike weekly, we’ve only been able to do it about once a month. Oftentimes on these run+hikes, our conversation tends to drift towards what the future holds for us, and very specifically, what the world would look like in 2050.
Sometimes I do feel rather alone, because I don’t find many people who tend to think about life the way I do (well, thankfully I’ve got Wesley). I’m not so concerned about my immediate future (1-5 years), I’m more concerned about the long term trends that I might be missing. And if you think about it, assuming you’re my age (27), you most definitely will live to see 2050. And, in a future of self-driving cars, solar energy, and possibly a colony on Mars (?), what value do you have to offer to the world? Shouldn’t more people be concerned about where their place is in this world and how to affect a change, rather than just being swept along…?
Some believe that robots cannot replicate creativity. Or perhaps that certain things require a human interpretation. For instance, in my field, how is a machine supposed to understand how to artistically photograph a model, or to capture a mood? I can’t seem to find an answer to that yet. However, with regards to the design of an apparel, I am pretty sure, with machine learning already beginning to take root, a robot/machine/application can eventually figure out what your customers like to wear, and design with that in mind. The human then comes in only to provide a source of unexpected creative input, something that machines cannot reliably predict.
It is rather depressing to think that in 2050, almost anyone will be replaceable, even myself. The wheels are already in motion.
Major milestone accomplished!!! We opened the doors to Ellysage’s flagship store at ION Orchard B3-12 on 15th September after months of hard work. It’s been open for a month, and the response has been truly delightful.
I remember as though it was yesterday, the very day we met with the team from ION. Fiona was taken aback by the crazy high rents and I could feel her hesitation. Retail has not been doing well this year, and a lot of malls are actually slashing rents and giving concessions – but not ION. I remember saying these exact words to her, “You will look back on this day and realize that the dots connected. Everything we worked for led us to this day.”
I think the hardest part of being a leader is to have faith in your vision, and to keep the faith even when no one else sees it yet. And the second hardest part is to to make the right calls at the right time.
I’m excited to see what else is in store for Ellysage. Our flagship store at ION is only our first step in the long road ahead. And better yet, I can’t wait to see who comes on board to form the final team that will join Fiona and myself on this amazing journey 🙂
“This seemingly selfless life of a politician is basically legitimised coercion, while the supposedly selfish life of a businessman is based on a desire to meet the demand of citizens who simply can’t be forced to buy things.”
I’ve been meaning to write more. But each time I begin, I find myself wandering back to old posts. And I noticed that my style of writing has taken an “older tone”, if that makes any sense. Gone are the jokes, the “hahahas”, and general self entertainment. I no longer update my bucket list with new goals, nor do I strive to check anything off it. If anything, I no longer desire for some of said bucket list items. For instance, I don’t think I want a pet cat any more. I feel like I’m growing into a bitter old lady (minus the cats). And I’m not even that old. Oh life, what have you done to me?
Now that my car’s scrapped, I’ve been blessed with plenty of time to read during my daily commute. From my latest read –
“Indefinite attitudes to the future explain what’s most dysfunctional in our world today. Process trumps substance: when people lack concrete plans to carry out, they use formal rules to assemble a portfolio of various options. This describes Americans today. In middle school, we’re encouraged to start hoarding “extracurricular activities.” In high school, ambitious students compete even harder to appear omnicompetent. By the time a student gets to college, he’s spent a decade curating a bewilderingly diverse résumé to prepare for a completely unknowable future. Come what may, he’s ready—for nothing in particular.”