The grass is always greener on the other side. Sometimes you peer over the fence, and you’d say “Life must be beautiful there”,“There are more opportunities there”, or “Why had I not thought of this?”
Inner dialogues like these have been frequent these days, especially since I turned 25 — also my wonderful quarter-life crisis. These ramblings may be random in nature but when left alone long enough, they can also be self-destructive. These dialogues creep in on my commute to work, at work, in the wee hours of the morning (I am writing this at 1 A.M.), in the showers, or whenever I see a friend’s social media post and story. My dad used to tell me to compare myself with others. It made perfect sense because I am the only child and I had no great figure in life to admire or follow; my father was a hawker, and he did not want me to follow in his footsteps selling prawn noodles. He made one thing clear, though: that only by comparing myself with others can I “benchmark” or “figure out” where I stand so I would not get taken advantage of — not sure if this is an Asian household thingy.
For all the wisdom my father can bestow upon me and for all the good he wishes for me, I wish he had taught me the flipside of peering over the fence: getting caught in your own whirlwind of thoughts can make you unhappy. As I get older, I start to understand that opportunities come and go, and we don’t always get what we want. As I learn to regulate my ruminations on how others are faring in life, I have come to terms with what makes me happy.
For me, being happy is seeing growth. As an individual, content creator, and hustler. My foray into candlemaking is a testament to that — yes, I have been making candles that pay homage to life’s multifaceted phases so please support me if you can. From figuring out the branding story in 2021 to running my first pop-up booth this year, I have gleaned so much and grown as a small-biz owner.
I have also celebrated my first career milestone in Corporate Communications: a promotion in March and a work anniversary in August. Of course, there have been some frustration and quibbles in between. More importantly, I have interacted with people of different calibres. The relentlessly hardworking ones have inspired me to be considerate and even more productive, while the ham-fisted ones have taught me to be … more professional.
An editor I used to work for said: “The world is not always fair… the world is a real place with real problems that sometimes take real tenacity to navigate.” I am starting to understand what “real tenacity” is. It’s having resilience and maturity. Resilience because you are a force to be reckoned with, just like what Mui Lan shares about her hawker journey and grappling with a tumour in her head. Maturity because you are an empathetic being who cares for others and sees from a different perspective. Tenacity is like that, mysterious, all-blazing, and all-empowering.
All seriousness aside, I have been spending a bulk of my time figuring out what I want to achieve in 2023. This means more ‘healthier’ comparisons and setting goals that are both attainable and not self-deprecating. Expect the following in my 2023:
- Getting My Driving License – been meaning to do this but was too lazy
- Finding My Journalism Niche – *NEW* internet culture, lifestyle, food, and more profile stories + a small rebranding on this website
- Creating More Content – if I am already interviewing others, I might as well create more content. Expect podcast.
- Making More Candles – invested 5-digits into this thingy so it better has some returns
- Giving Back – not quite sure what I am going to do, but I want to either (1) volunteer my time, (2) donate money?
- Broadening My Perspectives – a euphemism for travel
- Saving More – I have a 20K student debt that I need to start paying for so in order to save more, I need to earn more and in order to earn more, I need to work more, and this just means having …
- Embracing Work-Life Integration – another euphemism but this time, for being a workaholic
- Calling Out Nonsense – I only have 24 hours in my life which is not a lot to work with, especially with the above list of things. This means I will be a professional b*tch and call out nonsense and time wasters.
- Getting In The Sun – I seriously need to slim down because putting on 10kg during the pandemic is well, no laughing matter.
To end: F*ck all the naysayers, buy my candles, and wish I don’t crash and burn.