Two Months into 2019: A Reflection
It’s been a long time since I last checked in here. So many things have happened since. I’ve now got a boyfriend, I’ve worked for almost two years, I’ve friends with whom I’ve grown apart from and others whose friendship ties we share have strengthened over the year. I now have a friend I proudly call my best (Charm, that’s you), throwing aside my two-decades-old belief that there aren’t such things as best friends and people come and go so how can you be certain the person you call your best friend will always remain your best. I’ve chosen to take the step to commit myself to this 'best friendship’ and my current relationship, taking the risks that yes these wonderful people in my life might one day leave me, but for now they are huge parts of my world and I commit myself to making sure we remain as mainstays in our lives, continuing to grow together and support each other by being real with one another.
I’ve learned more about the working world and how adults think, saw both the good and bad sides of adulthood and workplace complexities, the fragility yet sanctity of trust, solid comradeship, and dedicated mentorship. The importance of being in sync, the aha it feels good moment when you see it in someone else’s eyes that they get it too, they get you, and they will have your back. Conversely, I’ve witnessed the ugliness (yet in this ugliness you can’t deny the pure human desire driven by good intentions) of self- and other-preservation, as well as of anxiety and fear from a self-enforced and perpetuated belief of inadequacy, the easiness of breaking trust and turning sides, the sheer silliness of some things but everyone keeps on doing them anyway because it sucks to stand out and be given unwanted attention or because it will make one look good.
I’ve witnessed admirable acts of selflessness and sacrifice, learned from instances of down-to-earth honest-to-God dedication to one’s work, measured responses to all kinds of work stimuli, the beauty of having the ‘big picture’ view (with the flexibility to zoom in and out), and the overarching importance of knowing oneself amidst all the noise.
I met a man who taught me patience, letting me realise that I should always keep the fire and feistiness within me (and be myself) but this fire can blow up into impulsiveness and quick tempers which only end up in making bad decisions. His easygoingness, deep maturity, calm dedication and unwavering support temper my - at many times - exacting, demanding self. “It’s ok to have silly thoughts, but don’t let them take over your world”, he said. “I really wish you weren’t so hard on yourself.”
You challenge my beliefs and habits of viewing and doing things, and this is for the better, as I view the world from a different perspective.
I’ve been blessed with wonderful friends around me, people who are smart, funny, deeply mature and perceptive, loving and kind. “Focus on the journey of loving”; the past mattered, the future will matter, but the present matters. “I love you now and that’s all that matters.” I appreciate every gathering and conversation I have with my dear friends, as with every exchange we challenge each other positively and grow as peers.
I’ve read awe-inspiring books which deep wisdom steer me back on track, grounded, humbled and open-minded. From the most recent two, firstly Mark Manson in The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: (not his exact words) “We can’t expect a life without problems/pain. Rather, what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?”
From Michelle Obama in her memoir Becoming Me, love does not look one certain way. It is what we want it to be, it is how we view it, in its beings and doings.
I recently went to Langkawi with my family. To provide some context first, all along I’ve always had a thorny - loving but thorny - relationship with my dad. Any small thing can unravel into a bigger conflict, both of us too stubborn to back down from our views and too hot tempered to listen. Within this Langkawi trip itself, we’ve had a few instances of unhappiness with each other. They always ended the same way, either with my dad shouting at me, glaring at me and walking off fast, or me dishing out sarcastic, caustic remarks intending to hurt (and him walking away from me). However, from this trip, a sudden realisation hit me. We’ve been having so many of such ugly messy hurtful squabbles, yet these are squabbles only family members have, only I have with my dad or the times I fight with my bro. Sibling quarrels. These are family-special fights. And I’m grateful for them. That I have a family I quarrel with and still come home to embrace at the end of the day. As we saw my brother off tonight (he got onto a Grabhitch to the airport to catch his flight to the States), I told my dad: “We have such fights, father-daughter fights, but these are fights only we can have. I’m grateful for them. I love you.” And I hugged him. My dad laughed a bit, but I could tell he was touched.
From these episodes and relationships, I too learn the importance of patience, of how I don’t always have to be right, of how seeing my parents happy, caring for them lovingly and listening to them, trying to understand where they are coming from even when they might appear unreasonable at times trump right-wrong principles. Michelle: “Even if we didn’t know the context, we were instructed to remember that context existed.”
It has been a great year. Honestly while looking back, a large part of 2018 remains a big blurry mess of different colours mixed in. I don’t remember exact details down to the months and days, but some things stood out and I’ve chronicled them as such above.
When the new year began I was stuck in a perpetual state of confusion - I didn’t know what resolutions to make and didn’t even consolidate my learnings from last year so I felt like I was floating and just going with the flow. Two months have passed since the new year, and recently I’ve finally managed to polish and come up with my new year’s resolutions:
1) [for myself and others] To be more patient with the people around me; and
2) [for myself] To acknowledge myself for my good and bad. This is what loving myself will look like to me.
Here’s to more great happenings in this year. Wishing you and myself the very best :)