Twelve Things I Learned in Two Thousand Fourteen


As 2014 went by, I secretly made an effort from the start to put down a simple note about what I learned every month. Looking at it now, I find it to be a really great idea to see how (much) I’ve grown. No doubt, I’ll be continuing this annual series again this year round!

2014 had patiently taught me:


To be happy is a conscious decision.

The pursuit for happiness is almost like a mythical treasure hunt. I spent many years questioning where I have to be or what I have to do in order to be in a constant state of contentment. Instead, the search high and low drifted me further away from happiness and turned it into a burden.

One day, while I was sitting quite still at my everyday go-to cafe, I realized that I was actually holding on to the answer all along – it’s in my own hands.

The next discovery was to accept the fact that happiness is fleeting; so grab it and grab it fast. You can’t do that dreaming. You’ve got to be awake.


NEVER commit if you are unsure.

I had to caps-lock and italicise the word ‘NEVER‘ here. Whether it’s a person, a job, or a promise; let me tell you something to remember for a lifetime:

Nothing wastes more youth and time than being stuck with a second choice for too long, yet you’re so used to it by now you struggle to let go – even when you already know it’s for the best in the long run.


(Learn to) ask the right questions.

We’re living in a world where infinite questions fight to be answered, yet not all of them are worth answering.

Try to answer your own questions first before posting them up. Ask the right questions; those that matter enough because the answers you seek would make a difference.


Do not expect from others what others can not expect from you.

Before you expect love, are you worthy of love?


Be a person full of surprises.

Each individual is born different, but not everyone makes a difference.

Take the extra mile in relationship with people. Give wholeheartedly, but with measure. Learn to see who is worthy of your love and friendship. You’ll surprise those around you and even more so, yourself.


Love is the most fragile thing on earth.

You break glass by physically dropping it, but you can break hearts with just a word, or just by doing absolutely nothing at all.

As a realistic romanticist, I hate the fact that love can be so unpredictable yet at the same time, I thrive on the beauty the kind of pain and excitement nothing in the world can give you but passionate love.

I am still working towards finding a balance but what I learned so far, is to never stop building your own world at the same time.

Whether you are single or married, you should build a fully functioning world that still spins like a beautiful, magical merry-go-round so if all else fails and crumble, you don’t become a victim of life’s nature of unpredictability.


Perhaps the only thing I should wear is a non-smoking sign on my face.

To all smokers in the world, please be mindful and considerate of where you puff your cancer sticks and vape machines. Others have rights to clean air too.


Helpful doesn’t always means kind.

I have a colleague who is so bubbly, you’d think she is as adorable as a real bubble she would burst anytime and you’d get a sprinkle of her love. I’ve never met anyone more helpful and willing for the past 7 years. Sometimes, she surprises you like any day can be Christmas.

We were all alone one day and she started asking me many irrelevant questions about the rest of our colleagues. I found myself in a rather awkward, difficult situation. Why, are we gossiping now? Along with that session she shared her thoughts about some colleagues I know pretty well, and I was sad to find out actually how judgemental and biased such a jovial person can be.

Soon I learned that she does the same about me to the rest too. So I learned, that a helpful person, doesn’t necessarily comes with a kind heart.


Be responsible for the negativity you spread out.

As soul mates, Ai Rene and I send voice clips via Whatsapp almost every single day like it was a Keeping Up With The Cindashians reality show.

During this point in September though, I found myself complaining a lot to her more than I share. Though she always listened and supported me (even when I repeat my problems), I started becoming aware of the energy my words carry all the way to Australia.

How would she feel hearing all of this? How much would it tarnish an otherwise sunny day? How long can such negativity last on a person?

I made a concious decision not to abuse the comfort we have established from our beautiful friendship. Whenever I share my problems, I make sure to filter out unnecessary emotions and deliver the ‘net weight’ message instead.

Ai Rene has also taught me to laugh, at times, at our own problems. It’s indeed life-changing when life is viewed as a comedy rather than drama series.


The best gifts are not searched but found.

I had been a lousy friend last year. Important birthdays were forgotten, gifts were bought at the last minute, and when that happens I usually skip the ‘Facebook birthday wish’ part as I feel that it is the cheapest form of sincerity (sorry).

During my last minute-ness searching for gifts, I bought things for the sake of buying them i.e. pre-wrapped bath set. No thoughts were invested behind the gifting process. When I actually think back of what I gave he or she, I can’t even remember them myself!

I was in Tokyo last October when I chanced upon the prettiest keychain in Ladurée. I bought and kept it for a month for Eri’s birthday in November.

I learned quickly that gifts are made special because you think of the people you love even when you are far away, hence you buy things for them. Not because you have to search for something to give a day before a birthday party.

So the next time you chance upon something that reminds you of somebody, BUY it right away. Trust me, every good gift comes with a story.


The only place we have to go, is forward.

By the end of the year I was feeling exhausted. I looked back and found myself staring deep into the flashbacks that carry some kind of bitter-sweetness with them. It was only when I did this post that I realized how lucky I was!

If you don’t know where to go or when you feel lost, there is only ONE place in the world to head to and it doesn’t matter where; as long as you move FORWARD in life.


Trust that your values are more important than anyone else’s.

A leopard doesn’t change its spots. A tree doesn’t change its roots. People will try to shape you. You inevitably try to change people.

What truly matters is you know yourself and your bad habits. Throw the bad away and protect your values, because they are part of what makes you, you.



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