While 2015 had been a great, overwhelming year, it required steady efforts to ‘take a step back’ in order to stay connected emotionally and psychically with what’s happening every month. I can’t help wondering if it could’ve been an even better experience, if I didn’t subconsciously fight to feel conscious all the time?
This 2016, rather than listing them down like 2015′s, I decided to shape my top 10 new year resolutions to be more personal and internal. By reading this post, I hope in some ways, you can relate to them as we grow and mature together into the brand new year.
1. Stay composed.
. . . so much I want to tattoo these words onto my skin. To stay, be, and remain intact is what differentiates a lady and a girl. That means, to have the ability to stay calm and handle matters without creating a mess in your own head or anywhere that all. How am I going to achieve this? I guess I’ll just have to constantly remind myself of these two words: Stay Composed. If you have a secret as to how to do this more efficiently, please do share.
2. To live in the present.
Many beautiful moments passed in 2015. The funny thing is, I felt more like an observer rather than an adventurer. When traveling with É, I swallowed myself at times with the silent worries if the tuk tuk guy just cheated us 5 dollars, or if I simply got enough good shots for my fashion posts.
While I don’t have to always be in control, I am naturally a person who needs to know there is an existing plan – if there is no plan, I need to know that the plan is to have: No Plan. Because if I get upset, I can only blame myself because I could have stopped it from happening, yes? No. Life should be about dancing in the rain. How am I gonna change this? I don’t know, but I will try.
3. Stop questioning the meaning of life, but to define it.
At a few points last year there was a loud voice asking me, “What’s the meaning of life? What’s the point of all this?” Though I travelled much, there’s still so much to see in this world, and after a while it feels… stale.
Beaches from Boracay to Spain don’t seem to have too much of a difference to me, except the formation of rocks, texture of the sand, or temperature of the sea. Mountains and hills start to look more or less the same. Metropolitan cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, Melbourne, seem to be built on the same vision. Like they say in Thailand, “same same but different”.
I ask myself if that means I actually got bored of traveling and I repulsed at that very thought of mine to hear how ungrateful it sounds. To face the truth I hold, I want to experience something very different. Not just a getaway or romantic holiday.
Hence in 2016, I would love to plan my travels along scenic themes, like trekking the destroyed parts of Nepal, get dizzy counting the countless stars at Mongolia, play Greek goddess make-believe in my head all day everyday at my dream honeymoon spot since I was 12: Santorini. The top of my list is to ‘conquer’ United States coast-to-coast; which again, I don’t know how to fit in with being married.
A woman’s always torn between balancing her own dreams and responsibilities as a life partner when it comes to love. Must it follow the generic routine? Yes and no. To this, I will continue to make sure I balance things out. After all, in the bigger picture, we only live once, and to not chase your dreams now will only result in regrets later; and I will never want to blame anyone or myself for not fighting for it when I can.
4. Find back my inner voice.
I hate to say this because I have found my answer as to why my inner voice went missing.
I mistakenly focused all my energy to build a ‘perfect’ relationship for two that I neglected my own voice for one; which is equally important.
My inner voice is the loudest when I travel alone, especially after reading a few pages of a book (it sorta warms me up). Then comes a glorified moment when I am seamlessly connected as a whole, as one, with another wiser me who is not loud or an extrovert. I start registering what’s going on inside my head, heart, and life. Am I the only one who feels that way?
When traveling with others, I tend to talk rather than listen to my own self. Lean on rather than lean in. See but not observe, because I don’t have to worry if I get lost. Eat till I get loaded and sleepy because hey, I don’t have to keep up an interesting conversation tonight. Other people can do it. É will always be my companion for tomorrow, day after tomorrow, and another tomorrow . . .
That’s a very wrong attitude. Hence I am reminding myself that you will never know when a dinner date with your loved one is going to be the last date night. I don’t know how to put this in a less pessimist way. What I want to say is like that song, “Love You Like I’m Gonna Lose You”. I should make an effort to treat every date like it’s our first date. That’s the way it should be.
My next challenge: to harness the ability to travel with others, while still being able to communicate with my inner voice.
5. How can I make it better?
After our family vacation to Phuket, which went perfect, I found myself wondering: How could I have made it better?
You see, I am not crazy but I am a perfectionist. Perhaps it’s almost the same thing. While this way of rewind thinking makes me less contented, I believe it is necessary to improve in life. If we never look back, we don’t see the lessons life has offered. And whose life it is we are living anyway? The lessons given are ours to pick up.
From the trip, I realised that I could have spoken politer to my parents, be a friendlier future sister in law and a less stressed out fiancée (when I had to play translator between É and my family). This may sound ridiculous but it matters and it’s not easy. I was aware of the monster I became when a Thai waitress spoke no English and my mum told me she wanted number 72, 56, no, 54 on the menu, then my brother said; stop messing sis up but gave me a number 18 . . . I was boiling inside, yet I didn’t want É to see that ugly side of me rearing up. Controlling all that internally made me feel like a boiling kettle that has been left on the charcoal stove for hours, made not to whistle.
But I am sure I can do better. There is always, always room for improvement. Yes?
6. Make an effort.
Make an effort to exercise. Make an effort to smile more. Make an effort to cook at home. Make an effort to be a better listener. Make an effort to love those who are worthy a little bit more. Make an effort to be a respectable figure at work. Make an effort to be a better person. Whatever you do, choose to Make An Effort.
7. Make our house a home.
I used to live alone at where I’d love to call the Beverly Hills of Kuala Lumpur: Mont Kiara. Four years ago, my family moved in with me. I never moved out.
Some friends advised me to consider investing in a property. I’d love to believe that different individuals have different values. I’d rather invest my money in something that makes me feel richer – traveling the world as much as I can before I have kids.
2015 was the first time I moved out to live with É. It is a one and a half bedroom apartment with mostly IKEA furnitures. While there is nothing wrong with that, I can’t help feeling like I was living in a LEGO house. Everything was . . . spacey. Even investing in fresh flowers couldn’t help much. I don’t enjoy cooking like I used to anymore. I stopped watching AFC because we don’t subscribe to Astro, and eventually stopped searching for interesting recipes online.
March 2016 onwards, we are looking forward to move into a better place that doesn’t scream bachelor’s pad so much. I am looking forward to a house that provides a better space for entertaining, with an atmosphere that exudes the feeling of a home that’s always ready to embrace its owners.
8. Wedding plans to go smooth!
This new year is going to be a series of new challenges and adventure for me. The biggest thing I’ve got to plan, is my wedding. Since I was a young girl, I always thought it’s what I wanted and that I will NEVER be a bridezilla. But with only half a year to go and nothing done, sometimes I secretly wish maybe we could just escape; just the two of us, in a wedding gown with no shoes and get married at a secret beach with only palm trees as witnesses, call it a day?
I’m excited, worried, and unsure of how I’m gonna plan a wedding overseas, but I’m gonna have to make it somehow. Things always fall into place. The difference is that those who have faith get to see light, while the hopeless look into the night but never see the stars. And I don’t want to be like that.
9. Building the next step in career
The next big thing to tackle is a new career. After 2 solid years of building and running a social media team at a digital agency; from building everything from scratch to running the self-built engine, I am surprised at my own ability as I strived to nurture the meaning of leadership within me. I learned that a leader protects her team, while a boss doesn’t give a fuck.
It’s impossible to say I learned everything but it’s time to jazz things up a bit more. I believe in flexibility, staying where one’s valued the most, and working with people who make you grow, grow, grow.
10. It’s time to wake up and walk the road.
I need to EXERCISE. YOU, need to exercise too (if you stopped, like me)! 2015 was filled with health and beauty goals, which I failed to achieve. While that doesn’t turn me into a fat ugly duckling, I know How I Could Have Made It Better #5 and Make An Effort #6.
I have the perfect reason to get fit and toned this 2016: my wedding! My upcoming beauty regime includes disciplined exercising (before potentially moving back to yoga to gain flexibility), applying lotion after night showers, eating smaller portions at dinner dates and drinking 1.5 – 2 litres of water a day.
As you can see, I am walking into the new year with many question marks, unafraid. Because fear is the reason for holding you back. What would you have done if you had no fear at all?