Reflections

A year ago, I would’ve never pictured my life the way it is now. I’ve grown a lot the past year. For one, I graduated. With graduation comes responsibilities of a “young adult” that I never really had to deal with while in school. Bills, living expenses, future income – I have been blessed not to have had to worry about them (much) when I was younger. But yes, I’ve started having to plan more for my own future.

Unlike most of my friends who went on to work, I chose to run my own business and it has been an amazing journey thus far. There have been ups and downs, but more importantly it has been a daily test of my personal discipline. I won’t deny that I’m enjoying life A LOT. My time is my own – I have time to work, hang out with friends and family, and exercise (run, climb, hike). More importantly, I travel a lot, meet new people, and understand other cultures. But every day is a test of my discipline. Having to wake up with determination to improve myself and to improve the business, and ending the day humbly, reassuring myself that bad days will become better, and good days don’t last forever. Also, having to deal with my own procrastination. We all procrastinate, but the test comes in moving on and doing what needs to get done. The following quote is a pretty fine source of motivation:

Never leave that to tomorrow, which you can do today — Ben Franklin

Work aside, for the later part of 2012 (once I was done with school), I started spending a lot of time alone. A few discoveries there. First, I found that I wasn’t as independent as I thought I was. Capable, sure. But I wasn’t really emotionally independent, and definitely not financially independent. And I’ve been working on both ever since.

I also discovered new things I love doing. I now absolutely love running – if I have an hour or two to spare, I’d hit the gym, or go for a long run (so long as the weather permits). I’ve also started rock climbing and hiking too. Oh, and I read a lot more now. Books and tea on a Friday night just go well together.

In 2012, I started spending a lot more time with my family. Particularly because my mom had a bad fall in July and I had to chauffeur her around for awhile. Now, I try to fetch her from the train station every day so it’s less tiring for me, but I do what I can, if and when I can. I also hung out with my sis quite a bit, I suspect it’s because she pitied my lack of a social life. Hahahaha. But yeah, we work together, we go rock climbing together, and because she recently got her driving license, I’m still monitoring her driving too. It’s been pretty fun.

All in all, 2012 was an interesting year. Plenty of self-discoveries. I’ve not settled on my resolutions for 2013, but I’ll leave you with this:  Do more of what makes you happy. So many things to lead on with this like yolo (you only live once), carpe diem (seize the day), and conquer your fomo (fear of missing out). Hahahaha.

Be the change you want to see

Some heartfelt thoughts for a change instead of random blabber. The past month has been rough and amidst it all I’m trying to discover who I am and who I want to be. More importantly, I’m starting to create a life I’m proud to live. Which begs the question, what kind of life do I want to live? What makes me proud of who I am?

Right now, I’m still searching, learning, and growing. I’m learning to make my happiness a priority. To choose happiness above all else. So, I’m happy when I run because it means I’m taking care of my health. I’m happy when I travel because it means I have the luxury of not being tied down to a day job. I’m happy when I meet friends, but I’m also happy spending time alone. I’m happy when I’m surrounded by nature and being overwhelmed by it. It’s a very simple rule, really. Simply, do more of what makes you happy.

I read this somewhere – The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey and you are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.

Also – Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

And finally – Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. 

Don’t be scared to walk alone. Don’t be scared to like it. I’m still shaping what defines me. More importantly, to create a life I’m really proud to live.

A turn of events

On my third day in Bangkok, Steph texted me early in the morning and asked if I was still in Bangkok. I jokingly replied “Yes! R u coming” and she said she was thinking of flying over. Fast forward a few hours and we were having dinner together at some random restaurant near her hotel. Lol! Who would’ve expected that eh? We spent Saturday shopping, my friend gave us a lift to Chatuchak (I really do have awesome friends heh) and after having some awesome coconut ice cream, we headed to MBK for dinner and back to the hotel for a massage. Best massage EVER! Lol.

Wow. I really had an amazingly refreshing trip. I’ve always wanted to travel alone, and I finally did! Ivan was never really comfortable with me traveling alone, in fact I was so close to chickening out after booking the hotel. Then Gen texted me wishing me a safe trip and told me that traveling alone is one of the best and most liberating things. So I plucked up some courage and headed to the airport. At least for the first 3 days when I was alone, I really felt like all my time was my own. No need for driving people around, keeping track of others’ schedules, attending to work at specific times of the day, you get the picture. I could take a nap whenever I wanted, eat whatever I wanted, and go wherever I wanted to go. But of course, coming back to reality, it’s not a sustainable lifestyle. As much as I’d love to live as my own independent person, there will always be things to worry about – work, family, money. But for what it’s worth, I had one of the most amazing trips ever 🙂 The only way it could be better was if I were in Bali! Hahahaha!

Growing

Every year this day I allow myself to be sad. Just this one day. To remind myself why I am the way I am, why I do the things I do, and who I do the things I do for. See, death is a funny thing. It haunts people. You’d think time heals all wounds, I think it just numbs it. I guess I haven’t been in a good place (emotionally) in awhile, what with work, graduation, and family all coming together at the same time. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger but it also makes you fucking tired. So yes, I’m tired. Exhausted, really. But come tomorrow, it’ll be fine. Cos that’s how this “one-sad-day-a-year” works. You feel sad, then you grow out of it.

So, picking phrases from a song that’s on replay in my head – in my darkest place, you were my guide. So I’m hoping if you hear this, you believe that all that I do is to make you proud.

Every year I say this, and I’ll say it again. I’d give so much just to have you back.

What do you want to be remembered for?

I’ve been thinking about this question the whole of yesterday and today. Ok it’s not so much about what I want to be remembered for when I die, but more of… what do I want people to think of me after interacting with me.

So we often read about people who’ve done great things, led great companies. We read about all their greatness, but somehow I wonder if they’re really this “great” in person. This whole issue kept bugging me because, in the course of business, you can’t always be the nice guy. And of course, if and when the business gets big, then how do I want to portray myself as a leader? Am I going to be nice or fierce? Close or distant?

Another reason why I kept thinking about this was cos I figured at some point in time, I’d need to hire someone. And of course, when hiring someone, how he/she fits in with the company culture matters too. So what kinda culture am I going to  create? I don’t really know for sure. But based on how much I can’t stand incompetent people, it might just be a culture of excellence. Hahahaha. Ok I kid, I’m still a nice person – at least outside of business.

It’s 2012!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Interestingly, I stayed home this new year’s eve. I always spend new year’s eve with Ivan, I figured it’s time to spend it with my family. A year ago, I was standing near Times Square with Ivan and my sis, shoulder to shoulder with random people we didn’t know, counting down to 2011 in the freezing cold. I still can’t believe how fast 2011 has passed.

2011 was definitely an eventful year. I finally visited the US, and even stayed there for half a year. Came back and had an awesome internship at a hedge fund, and at the same time expanded the business my sis and I were running. Had a fantastic semester with the gang, then flipping my body clock around during my study break with Ivan and Toff. December came and went so quickly that I’m surprised I even found time to skip away to Bangkok for a few days with Ivan. And guess what, school’s starting again in a week. It’s just too fast!

Well, Ivan reminded me to make resolutions. So, borrowing some cheer from Christmas, I’m making a list and checking it twice! Hahaha. Honestly I can’t remember my 2011 resolutions exactly, but I think it was to read, write, and live more. I definitely did all 3.

So for 2012, I definitely want to figure out where my life is headed after graduation and commit to that. I also want to be a little bit healthier, probably run more to make up for the lack of running in 2011. And more importantly, to spend more time with my family – haven’t had much of it this year given how busy I was (and not forgetting being overseas for half a year).

So here’s to 2012! May it be full of happiness and success!

Reflection

There’s something about the late night and the cold breeze that makes me start to ponder about life. Or maybe because it’s Christmas, and the new year’s oh so near. I haven’t talked much about this topic, maybe I’m not ready to face it yet, much more blog about it. But like I said, there’s something about the night that makes you start pondering. So here goes.

I started applying for jobs with the big banks rather early, I knew what I loved doing, I knew what I was good at doing, and I knew what I wanted to do. Unfortunately, the job market wasn’t looking so good. After the banks convert their interns, there really weren’t that many vacancies left. So I took a break from applications.

Then I met up with Sharon, someone who has so much certainty in what she wants to do after graduation. Unlike many of my friends, Sharon and I both haven’t gotten a job. But she wants to pursue something bigger – a business of her own. So naturally, given what I’ve been busy with in December, I start to wonder if this is the path I want to pursue too. It’s not a glamorous job, it’s so darn tiring and difficult, having to get your hands dirty in doing every single small thing. CEOs in big companies have staff under them to carry out tasks, but running your own small firm is difficult. Not only do you have to do everything yourself (of course I’m lucky, I have my sister who’s my partner so I’m not alone), but when things don’t go as well as you’d hoped (thankfully we haven’t had that yet), you don’t really have anyone else to lean on. You don’t have a guaranteed salary each month, you don’t know if 5 years down the road this business will still be around. So each day you try even harder, you envision the future, and plan for it.

Sure, it’s tiring, but I swear, it’s so darn fun. Watching the business grow, there’s a certain satisfaction that no entry level job can give. Ok, enough ranting for now. I leave myself with one thought (I’d say I leave you, but you won’t know what I’m referring to, sorry 😦 ) – the people I’ve read about, started on this road when they were  young, way younger than I am today. What my sister and I have today, was started 5 years ago when I was only 17. But growing up in Singapore, it was never something I thought would be this big today. I definitely didn’t think that I’d grow up to be a business owner. It was just pocket money. Did my environment shortchange me of 5 years? And now, where to, from here?