Goodbye, 2016; Hello, 2017.

 

Another year has passed.
It is time for a reflection of the year.

 

It feels like it was just yesterday when I was reviewing my last post of 2015 to wrap up the year.

 

2016 whizzed past with a lot of contemplations and doubts about my capabilities to retake the CLP exams for the second time, and whether a job in the legal profession is something that I wanted as a career. I know I wanted something bigger, something different in 2016. I wanted to take risks, I wanted to see how far I could go if I was a little braver. A lot of personal obligations stopped me from getting a job Рwhich in turn stopped me in pursuing interests of my own. But like any other inspiring story that we hear about, I had a breakthrough in the final quarter of the year. I was brave enough to take a leap of faith to make my application to join MYCorps and joining the programme is arguably the best decision that my indecisive of self has made. It is a decision that I have zero regrets with. In return, I got the experience of a lifetime and met lifelong friends. (I promise, separate posts about MYCorps!)

 

Simply to say, 2016 was a lot about taking risks and being braver.
2016 was about regaining trust and reevaluating friendships.
2016 was about building stronger relationships.
2016 was about owning up to my words and living up to my promises.
2016 was about conquering unspoken fears within myself.
2016 was about being humble to learn life lessons from the underprivileged.
2016 was about being better: for myself, for people around me, for the society.

 

What a year it has been.
Damn it, 2016 – you have overdone yourself.

 
 

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2016, thank you for yet another great year of self-discovery and a life-changing experience to wrap up the year.

 

2017, I am ready for another year of making mistakes, learning and growing. I am ready for a year of adventures and crazy risks.

 

Happy New Year, all. ūüôā

 

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Page 365 of 365, Chapter 2015

 
If there is one promise that I am intending to keep in 2015, it would be to write a (possibly very long-winded) post to wrap up the year. This post is probably one that I spent a lot of time writing – perhaps it is because I want it to turn out as flawless as possible, hah – because there is so much on my mind but at the same time, there is so little that I could put into words.

 
From all the writing that took place in almost every room in the house, the restaurant, coffee shops, car rides, airports, park benches, and in between the moments of waiting, here’s the last bit of 2015.

 

So, where do I begin?

 
Let’s just say that I am not quite ready to leave the year behind, but there are times that I had eagerly anticipated the last day of the year really badly.

 
2015 taught me more life lessons.
2015 thrown me to the ground and smashed reality to my face.
2015 made me laughed harder, cried too much, smiled excessively, and lost my temper too quickly.
2015 threw me too many curveballs, testing my resilience with each one.

 
2015 taught me how to appreciate the little progresses.
There is so much truth in “it’s the little progress that counts”.
It is amazing to see how far I could go by laying one brick at a time, only to step back and to realise that I have built a wall.
Every time I had an emotional relapse, I took it badly.
What I failed to see is how much stronger I came out from each mental breakdown.
I suppose this is the drawback of only paying attention to the bigger picture when I should have paid attention to the minute details.

It is truly a beauty in disguise.

 
2015 showed me the people who would actually be there
when they said “I will always have your back”.
2015 reminded me who my real friends are,
the ones who stuck with me through every thick and thin
regardless of how much I pushed them away
and said “I’m okay” when I am not.
2015 reminded me of friends who I should cherish more,
the ones who I neglected,
the ones who I overlooked
and took for granted.
Most importantly,
2015 reminded me how much I am loved
by the people around me.

 
2015 taught me to lower down my guard,
and to let in those who had fought hard to earn my trust.
2015 taught me to accept reality
with a bigger heart and an open mind.
2015 saw me opening up and talking to people about my emotional struggles.

 

2015 saw me at the prime of my game, physically.

 
I threw punches and kicks.
I lifted weights.
I squatted with weights. [Achievement unlocked!]
I ran more miles.

 
I am not too sure if it was the change of mindset or peer pressure that pushed me to start getting into better shape, but I am immensely thankful for that. Cardio workouts six days a week, followed by jogging and high-intensity interval training twice a week – boy, was I at a high. I broke my preconceived stigma about the gym and lifting weights when I bought a one-month gym pass, and I am looking forward to more gym sessions next year. I was fueled with motivation to participate in runs and completed my first ever obstacle course race.

 
At the same time,
2015 saw me hit the lowest of lows, emotionally.

 
It showed me that the strongest bond can be broken by something (or someone) in the blink of an eye – one small thing changes everything.
I failed the CLP examinations, a milestone that I aimed to achieve and my passport to the legal profession.
I argued and lost my patience far too many times with the person I hold the closest to my heart.
I lost friendships that I thought would last a lifetime.
I gave away too many benefits of the doubt and put too much of hope on people, only to be torn down over time and time again.

 
I lost a part of myself in the midst of it all, because that is when I realised how hurt I was. I almost always feel uncomfortable talking about how I deal with my emotional struggles, but it has been far too taxing this year. I see myself lose that tinge of optimism in me, succumbing into such darkness that I never expect of myself. I spent too many nights lying awake in bed, crying myself to sleep, jolting awake from endless nightmares and vivid dreams… it seems like a repetition of 2014 with more severity. It got to the point that I lost my appetite entirely, struggled to sleep and lost my drive to do the things that I love. It is true that a lot of people with emotional struggles had it far worse than I do, but it is such a ride through hell for me so much so that I reached to the brink of seeking for professional help.

 
I saw myself getting better, but I still have my worse days too. It is an uphill battle from here but each day will be easier to get by; amidst rocky roads, there are smooth trail roads too. I get to be who I am today and to see how much I have grown from these mess. The strength is not the the easiest to gain, but it is so rewarding to know how much stronger I get after each downfall. Emotional battles and relapses will continue to remind me that I can brave each storm, and soon I will see the finish line.

 

I’d lie if I say I am not one of the people who claimed “2015 is a shit year”. But the bottom line is, 2015 has been nothing short of a wonderful year.

 
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2015, thanks for the memories and life lessons.
2016, I am ready to welcome you with open arms, an open mind and a bigger heart.

 

While I am out eating and drinking the last day of the year away, I hope that each and every one of you will stay safe, be merry and usher in the new year happily (and soberly).

 
Have a very blessed and happy new year, everyone.
Here’s to 2016! ūüôā

 

Graduation, a year on

 

Today marks exactly a year since graduation. This realisation that I had past midnight brought out every bit of nostalgia in me. There is a colossal amount of things that I want to write about graduation, so in putting my thoughts in coherence, here is a commemorative post of graduation.

(Also, where did the time went?? I can hardly believe that it has been a year WHAAAAAAT!)

 


 

 

It’s summer in the United Kingdom.
July, an eventful month for most universities across the country.
Graduation banners are being hung up.
Canopies are built to host pre-ceremony and post-ceremony events.
Halls and cathedrals are cleaned up for the Big Day.
Gown and mortar board orders are placed, along with photoshoots.
University grounds are filled with families of students, touring the campus to see where their graduates-to-be spent their lives at in the past year(s).

 

 

The Big Day is here.
The ladies fuss to pair their best dress with the perfect pair of heels, hairstyle and makeup.
The guys make sure their best suits are freshly pressed, their shoes shined and their hair styled nicely.
Time to put on the graduation gown and mortar board.
You feel the bursting pride in you while as you the gown is donned.
Take numerous photos; after all, it is your big day.

 

 

 

The graduation venue is filling up.
Families are ushered to their respective seats, setting up cameras to capture the grand moment.
Graduates-to-be trotted to be seated with the rest of their peers.
Procession takes place and speeches are given to address the graduation ceremony.
Feel the adrenaline rush as you stand in line, waiting for your name to be called to be presented with your scroll by the Dean.
The brief 30-seconds on stage as you shook hands with the Dean and received your scroll has got to be a 30-seconds memory of a lifetime.
You return to your seat, still overwhelmed by it all.
You look at your certificates, see your name printed on each one of them.
You smile at yourself in awe and said,
“I made it.”

 

My family away from home. ‚̧

 

I think at one point last year I actually forgotten the point of graduation, the main one.

 

 

It is not about making your parents, family and friends proud; on top of it all, the whole point is the mark of your own achievement and hard work. Without your own effort, you would not have gotten this far. What other people, be it whoever, gave you is nothing but support and advice; that’s like a bonus and a safety net. But otherwise, it is all on your own that you have come this far. We get too caught up in impressing ourselves and pushing our limits that we often forget that it is something that we do for ourselves.

 

 

Graduation is something that you should most definitely look forward to. It is one of the biggest milestones thus far in your life on the face of this planet, before the whole land-a-job-with-decent-pay / first-pay-raise / get-married / start-a-family kind of milestones, that you are bound to achieve in due time. Graduation is that big day for you to celebrate your achievements (mind you, achievements are subjective; it encompasses more than just the academic ones). One day when you look back to one of the greatest days in your lifetime, you would remember how far you have made it through, and that should be enough to push you through whatever else that you are faced with.

 

 

Almost always, we’d feel like we are heading nowhere in life. But you know what they say: you really are doing better than you think! All of us, including our peers alike, are all on the same boat. Yes, some may appear more calm and it seems like they have their lives figured out. And there will be those who seem like a total mess without any plans for their next big step in life. But that is all on the surface. Not every one of us gets the privilege of having an insight to someone else’s life to see how they are repairing the cracks on the pathway or laying a new one instead; we are equal with our peers, and we are faced with challenges in varying circumstances.

 

Who isn’t afraid of stepping into adulthood? Ask that to a room full of young people and I am certain that almost everyone would raise their hands in agreement. It is an inevitable, part-and-parcel stage of growing up and life.¬†Everything in life is uncertain and temporary (well, at least most things are) in our 20s. We are really just getting started with our lives. I think the scariest part is not exactly on the part of getting everything figured out; the part that I am most afraid of (and still am) is the transition from schooling life to¬†actual life.

 

 

We are so comfortable in our nice, little security bubble for the longest period thus far Рteachers and lecturers were there to guide us through the way, friends who are nice and easy on us, the fact that we have a concrete and uninterrupted plan for about 17-18 years in getting education. Aaaand we get thrown out into the world right after that, expected to get everything done by ourselves. This bit stresses me out the most, but hey, 1) everyone goes through it at some point in their lifetime 2) remember that it is an inevitable part and parcel of life.

 

 

 

Here’s to friends who battled through final year of law school with me.

 

Exploring the city together in our first week, frequent home-cooked dinners, movie nights in Vine Court over winter break (which made us bust our asses two weeks before assignments submission was due HAHAHA), our first birthdays and festive seasons abroad, late night study sessions in the library, supper at Nabzy’s down Leece Street… the list is endless. I can never thank each of you enough for the impact that you made in my life. Thanks for being my family 7000 miles away from home.

 

 

Most importantly, here’s to my family. Mum and Dad, thanks for the privilege to spend a year abroad to complete my studies. I am eternally grateful that I have such a wonderful privilege, to come home with a changed perspective and a growth in character.

Lambs, you are the best companion over the built-in webcam on the Internet throughout my year in Liverpool. Thanks for nonchalant talks, late night crying sessions and Skype calls from the library. You are the best cheerleader in my life, celebrating every little success along the way with me (and to a certain extent, for me!). For the record, your brimming enthusiasm in the things that I do helped me in my toughest days.

 


 

This stroll down memory lane is getting me overwhelmed. I think I have a huge delay of emotions about graduating (yes, I was a tad emotionless last year during graduation), but now looking back at the past year, I am definitely getting a bit weepy.

 

To my friends who are graduating / have graduated this year, congratulations and have a happy graduation! x

 

Still one of the proudest moments in my life thus far ūüôā

 
 

[EDITED] Kudos to my awesome sister for being my slave of the day last year and for capturing the best moments of my graduation, lugging along your tripod and camera all over the campus grounds and to Albert Dock. Love you, lambs ‚̧ (Sorry that it slipped out of my mind for a bit, fats; got too carried away in dealing with my emotions HAHAHAHA).

Anchovy

It is true what people say: you never really forget about your first crush.

I bumped into my very first crush while I was aimlessly strolling around in KLCC, mentally making notes of ideal Secret Santa gifts for the office Christmas party. And then the next thing I knew is that I was (very awkwardly) waving to him, with a wide smile plastered on my face. It has been years since we have last spoken to each other, but yet there is this tinge of comfort that I felt as pleasantries were exchanged. After giving an equally awkward hug, I was in a flabbergasted state of mind (and pretty giddy too).

Funny how all those nights of my teenage years spent reminiscing about memories and nostalgia shared between us seem to be of little weight now; I recall angry-writing into the diary that I kept about how egoistic he was and that I will never come close to comparison to the popular girls that he dated. It is rejuvenating to know that there is no longer devastation and pain like how it used to be. I snicker at the memory of getting jealous, I smile at the memory of how much I adored his goofy smile, I laugh at the memory of pathetically whining to friends about how he is full of ego, but only to realise that he speaks confidently much, much later. (My bad.)

Thanks for the memories, Anchovy.

P.S. His nickname had a long story to it, and boy, my friends and I spent a long time coming up with that nickname.

What you’ve become.

It still gets me wondering about how is it possible for someone to have too many feelings in a go, how they did not explode and how they wallow through the madness of it all.

Saying his name is different: each syllable framed carefully, letting it roll from your tongue in the most perfect manner. The mention of his name will stop you in your tracks, but you noticed that it’s not the same like your pronunciation of it. You do that teenager thing of doodling his name all over your notebook, lecture notes and scraps of paper. Your hand will move to draw the alphabets, spelling out his name carefully¬†from the ink of the pen. His name sends tingly feelings and butterflies to your stomach, and sometimes you find yourself trying to hide your¬†sheepish smile.

Nights became exciting. Eyes are glued to the phone screen, anticipating for text messages notifications to illuminate the phone screen. Late night conversations turned out to be the highlight of the day: from discussing about lectures to sharing football scores to comparing dream cars to talking about future career plans. You would stay up late even to talk just about the most nonchalant things. You would battle with your sleepy eyes and tired self, as long as he is still awake the conversation will carry on.

He became the person that you want to tell just about everything to. You want to tell him about how your day was in general, about the dapper guy in a dress shirt and a pullover knitted sweater that sits three rows away from you in lecture, about the pretty dress that you saw and how badly you want to wear it for the formal Christmas dinner, and the exciting crossover episode of two of your favourite TV shows. You want to tell him about your childhood, so that he can catch the glimpses of how you’ve grown up to the person you are today. From your fall when you tried on your first pair of skates, to your favourite inflatable pool that Mom used to fill up on hot sunny days, to scrapping your knee badly when you fell into the drain, to bird park visits every Saturday with Dad, to smuggling candies and chocolates to your room; all you want is to share the best times of growing up with him.

Still keeping intact, blow after blow.