It’s been quite a while since I last did a year in review. Didn’t do one in 2014 crossing over to 2015 because that was one monster of a year to talk about, but I feel like 2015’s been enough of a blessing that I can do one. 🙂
2015 was the year I finished Year 2 Sem 2, Year 3 Sem 1 and half of Year 3 Sem 2 in SP.. which means I am graduating soon! It’s no secret that I am looking forward to getting evicted of this ungainly phase where it’s not entirely campus life nor entirely work life. Guess that’s the point of polytechnic education but I don’t particularly enjoy it. That was supposed to be my full-time preoccupation but I also managed to:
- be part of a production: Nine Years Theatre’s Tartuffe as surtitlist
- complete a 1-month internship at 2359 Media
- complete 6-months part-time at 2359 Media
Fair enough. It’s been a busy year. Going to do something different than previous yearly reviews, because this year the months have all been melting into one another and I can’t really do a month-by-month reflection. So it’s going to be split into 3 segments: things I’ve done, people I’ve met, places I’ve been to.
Things I’ve Done
- participated in my first theatre production
- joined 2359 Media
- published burgeoning
- translated Legends of the Southern Arch with Liansheng
- joined TrendLit
- published Polarities
- started translating songs
- did a 5km
runwalk at 2XU Compression!
- became personal chauffeur to my inner circle
On the more artsy end, it’s been a really quiet year. The amount of plays I’ve watched this year just pales in comparison to previous years. I’ve read a lot less, which is terrible and something I highly intend to fix this year. The list may look highly populated by wins on the arts front but really, I’ve spent most of my time preoccupied by work.
People I’ve Met
This year, the main people to enter my life were all my wonderful colleagues at 2359 Media. I must say that joining the company was the best, best decision I’ve made in terms of career choices so far. All of my colleagues have been such immense blessings, supporting me morally through the tough days juggling both school and work, and all of them are such magnificent hustlers. It is very, very energizing to be amongst people who ardently pursue knowledge and push the boundaries of what can be done to change the way people live and work. When you know your team is gunning for the win as much as you are, you end up going further than you think you will. And that’s exactly what happened to me – thank you team 2359! <3
Places I’ve Been To
2015 has been sort of like striking the travel windfall for me – for someone who has no intense love for travel, to have gone to 3 places, including 2 Europe trips in the same quarter is nothing short of amazing. If someone had told me I’d be doing something like that last year, I would have called bullshit on them. I’ve already written about Melaka and Florence in a previous post, but not for Paris. I came back from France just 2 days before the terror attacks, and I just didn’t have the heart to talk about the trip. But anyway, here are some shots, including one of the Eiffel Tower that I am incredibly proud of!
Year-End Goal Review
So first, let’s dig out the list of 2015 goals I set at the beginning of the year.
- Complete TOPIK Intermediate
Nope, didn’t do. Skipped the exam despite having studied and paid for it. Don’t know why, but didn’t have a good feeling about it. Will be trying again in April 2016, and let’s see then.
- Diversifying my income
Stable income came with the internship, but there isn’t much surplus to be honest, like having a very low basic rate of pay but high commission, which comes from freelancing. I know the hours I put into my work don’t quite match up with what I’m earning, but if I see it as a trade-off for the growth, learning and passion, then sure. Fair enough. Haven’t invested in anything since 2014 because I don’t have time to go and read up. And also because the blue chip numbers make me feel so dismal haha.
Somewhere in June I remember saying that this is one goal that’s gone to shit. Very quickly I realized that I will just keep pushing this away, as though this shouldn’t be at the top of my priority list. So in 2016 there will be a solo travel trip for this purpose, likely to Korea, for a month or a few I’m still not sure, but planning is in the works. 🙂
Bonus: somewhere along the course of the year, I made resolutions (again!) for the vacations. Let’s see how I fared on that one.
- Practice driving – yeah, I became personal chauffeur to my entire inner circle, which is a role I’m very happy to take up, actually. 😛
- Look up theatre terms – remember doing some reading about this, but not in-depth. Fail.
- Finish Morning Vigils – I am still at the same dialogue that I was at in March! Gasp!
- Learn to sew – still can’t wield a needle without pricking myself.
- Cantonese books, nope. Lower Depths, nope.
- Read up on Buddhism – trawled through quite a few books and they have been a good source of solace. Pass!
- Volunteer at old folks’ home – didn’t manage to go down in person although I did donate some money. Fail.
- Volunteer at IMH – came really close and had it set up pretty well but.. it’s really far. Trying to reach out in other ways.
- Meet Inner Circle – managed to meet all of them at least once in the later half of the year, which makes me very very happy indeed! Pass!!
Looking Towards 2016
So.. at the beginning of 2015 I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams the crossroads I am facing now. What comes after polytechnic? Do I work? Do I go to university? Do I take a gap year? In 2015 I had it all sorted out, but so many things happened between then and now and all my plans have gone down the drain (as they are prone to). I am more inclined towards starting work.. but university, or just campus life in general, would be a good, safe place for me to grow a bit more before stepping out into society. Hmm..
There are many uncertainties in 2016 and so I cannot set concrete goals, just a general direction and an inkling of what I would have liked to achieve come 31 December 2016. I’ll be 20 this year, which scares me, because I feel like time is leaving me like an arrow leaving its quiver. I really don’t have much of my youth left. That thought alone gets me up and running in a state of fear on days I even entertain the thought of crashing.
From the way it’s worded, you can already tell the first goal is going to be the one going to shit first. Hahah!
I know this goes against what most goal-setting theories will tell you to do but having my goals this way leaves it open to reiterations, as it should be. Zero actionables here because those would take a long time to elaborate on (guess I could do a separate post). Nothing on career there although that’s also really important to me, because everything is up in the air right now. Nothing on family and friends there although they are incredibly important because I’ve already established habits this year: dining with Mummy once a week, family gathering over the weekends, and meetups with the inner circle once every 6 months. 🙂
Ah, here comes the key topic. Anybody between the age of 18-25 should have their eyes set on tangible growth, yes, but the intangible is equally, if not more important.
Have mentioned this to quite a few friends, but since 2014 I’ve been feeling lost. I have a rough idea of the kind of person I want to be but it feels like I am a different person every fortnight – perceptions, values and priorities could be vastly different. All of which is both terrifying and exciting. So in pushing myself to grow, and personally even as I chart out the values I’d like to acquire/get rid of, here are some things I realized about myself this year that may or may not have shocked me. 🙂
- Need for freedom
When I was young I always told my mum that I don’t need freedom. Jean was always the one who dreamt of being free since young. As it turns out now, we’ve reversed the roles! My need for freedom seems to drive me to do extreme things, and the brush-ins I’ve had with nasty obligations this year have given me a knee-jerk reaction to anything that demands my commitment.
2. 我其实很宅女 I’m actually a homebody
Surprise, surprise. My mum can never stay home on weekends, while all I’d like to do is seek refuge in my comforter, tuck myself in with hot coffee or comfort food, and enjoy a few hours of reading, TEDtalks or writing.
3. I am a workaholic.
Probably comes as a surprise to no one but myself that I have zero work-life balance. Work bleeds into my life, and vice versa. I love it like this. I don’t believe that you can have your cake and eat it too. I believe you choose how much cake you want to eat. I chose to have my work-life balance hanging at 80-20, that’s of my own volition, and that is ‘balance’ to me.
Earlier on this year, we also did StrengthsFinder 2.0 in the office, and that was a great place for me to begin building my 2016 goals. I should be elaborating more about this and my journey with SF2.0 in following posts, but I fully intend to capitalize on these and make the most of them. The challenge is finding the sweet spot where all, if not most of these strengths, converge. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of self-questioning and frustration involved in this process, so that’s another audacious goal to be setting.
The keyword of 2015 was intent for me – many days I found myself asking, “Why are you doing this?” “What made you do it this way?” and it seems like the theme of 2016 will be along the lines of self-discovery as well. It’s a great journey to be taking at this age, and for once I am not forcing myself to grow. It’s tiring to keep dragging yourself along.
In closing I’m leaving you this song, which I think perfectly describes the essence of 花樣年華, or the best years in life, or to me, youth. With all its recklessness, anxiety, joy, chaos, disquiet, unbridled love, hurts, glories.
Here’s to a magnificent 2016. May it be a year of growth, freedom and passion for you all!