Some Things I learned from This Week

1. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

2. You always have a choice.

3. Feelings will always, always outweigh logic. Try to fight it, and you’ll be unhappy.

4. Don’t leave things ambiguous. A no is a no.

5. If you don’t speak up in class, someone else will.

6. Friends will be there, if they aren’t there, they aren’t friends. 

7. Writing is the easiest thing and the hardest all at the same time. It’s like love. Maybe it is love.

8. People leave, and you have to deal with it the best way you can.

9. Milk and cereal is all I need to feel fresh in the morning.

10. People have all the right to criticise your personal choices even if it doesn’t affect their lives. It’s only up to you to defend yourself.

11. Chinese New Year is coming and I think I know what I will say to my relatives this year.

12. I will tell them: “I want to write.” 

13. Being alone for the whole day with a book at the poolside feels like the lightest thing in the world.

14. I am looking forward to the wonderful ways the weekend will challenge me. Bring it on.

If You’re Going to Do Something, You Might as Well Do It Properly

Always good to start the year with a vulnerable sounding post. The internal voice really needs an outlet. And of course, this is an attempt to disassociate myself from my thoughts with a heading but this is very much me. 

I have to admit; I don’t care for many things. Aeroplanes, Tissue paper brands, the dust on my fan and the German language. I don’t care for these things. I don’t care for throwing a dirty plastic cup into the recycle bin. I don’t care to reply all my emails, don’t care enough to close my windows before going home on the weekends. Didn’t care to order my books until the first day of school (today).

I realise I’m not the most caring person. I conceded that a long time ago. I cannot multi-task, things slip my mind and I cannot hold it together as well as I’d hoped. I’m very easily distracted, I lack drive in a lot of things. I read two out of three chapters of my readings and am typing this as if it were graded. Story of my life? Perhaps.

Maybe that’s why it scares me so much when I suddenly care for something. You know that feeling? When you’re usually not like this but this thing makes you so. And you’re feeling like it shouldn’t.

And most of the time care gets redirected. I always find better things to do with this leftover propensity for care. A lot of it goes into my writing. So much so that writing has become one of the only things I’ve actually cared about lately. It’s scary when you invest so much into one thing for some period of time and you realise one day that this could be the rest of your life. As of now I can see myself years down the road still sitting in front of the computer (maybe they’d still be called computers) and typing out something, anything. But in that vision of future me sitting in front of future typewriter, I am a happy man. A fulfilled man who knows exactly what he wants from this life. That’s always very comforting to know. It’s the sort of vision that keeps me typing. I see a clear future.

I used to think the same about running. I was 100% committed, running 5 times a week, ten kilometres at a time. I ate really healthy, picking only the stir-fried vegetables, steamed fish and rice when we went out for dinner at Chinese restaurants. I could see that my future self as well, me running well into my forties, having the time of my life. This whole injury really put things into perspective. You commit to something and then suddenly when you can’t do it you feel so cheated. It really stings when you need something to cheer you up and then honestly it just isn’t there.

And if something as personal as running can go so wrong, what more can be said about people? Do you people stay the same, will you stay the same? will people come into your life and pledge never to leave and actually not leave? Improbable, at best. Because the fact is that with most precious things in life there may never be the vision of a clear future.

I’ve tried, as far as possible then, to not care so much about people if I could help it. I just wasn’t certain. Ever. It’s probably a defence mechanism, for I believe if I did bring myself to care too deeply it would get really ugly. I’d be thrown in hard and I don’t think I could ever get out alive. I’m not sure if I’m making sense. It doesn’t matter if I am. Only I need to understand this. Someone once told me that I had the emotional capacity of a teaspoon. And I believe that I do. There’s no hiding it.

I tell myself constantly that once I go about doing something, you can bet that I’m going to do it properly, that I’m going to invest everything I’ve got to making sure it works. I’ve thought of this for a while and I realise that “chill” isn’t something I am once I start caring. I pursue what I want fiercely and consistently. I put all my effort behind it, and put all distractions aside, get into some sort of routine and I stick by it. I’ve seen this only a few times in my life; once for running and the other for my travel writing. I would get up at five before school, leave early for gatherings and sacrifice a bunch of things to facilitate what I’d really wanted. It sounds very noble of me, doesn’t it?

This brings us back to my emotional capacity being that of a teaspoon. Essentially what this means is me always taking one step back  at the first sight of trouble, telling myself time and again that it’s never worth it. And when you tell yourself repeatedly that something or someone isn’t worth it then before long it becomes a fact. You reduce your capacity for mistakes, uncertainty, loss and fear to that of well, a teaspoon. You can tell yourself all day that oh if the conditions were such and such that I’d give it everything, that I’ll do it all. But the fact is you didn’t. The fact is, in your inaction, they were no longer worth it. You start to look down on the situation, lose faith in the other before the worst thing happens: you lose faith in yourself. Maybe that’s why I like writing so much. I can put into words the things I was always too afraid to do.

This struggle has been a central one for the last few years. The entire fear of getting my feet wet, where to “see how” has never been an option, where excuses abound and the option of flight an all too popular one.

Good things can come out of this, sure. I’m still writing, writing everyday in fact. I’m even embarking on a new project, attempting to get my writing out there, published onto different journals come 2016. I know that the very desire to do this has been half the battle won. I know that if I really want something I will get my hands dirty. I will do it. It may be words, but when you generate enough words the very act of writing becomes an independent action in itself.

But I digress. Overall I have to reallocate some things in my life. I have to reallocate and care more for things that I haven’t been, care more and ease up on my fears, and just go out there. Go out there. I realise I’m just repeating myself at this point because I don’t actually know how to go about this. I mean, I can give my all towards things that are certain but the fact is that most things in life will never be certain. I have to admit to my cowardice, and just feel more for the unknown instead of act all recluse and stick to the things I know.

All this pent up feeling does make good literature, but it would make for a poor life. It would make for poor emotional capacities, too.

So face your fears and just go do shit. You have this.



2015 Year End Review

Overall 2015 was a great year. I say overall because, well, nothing is ever fully good. Some mistakes were made, but let’s touch on that later.

Focusing on the good, my 2015 was spent travelling a lot. Everywhere that I didn’t go during my 2 years in army I went during my 12 months of 2015. There was Europe, India, South East Asia, Taiwan and Japan and even Australia at the end of the year. I learnt a lot from all the travelling, feeding my travel blog (which eventually ran out of storage space) and writing my way through everything. It was sustainable, I feel, although not something I may want to take up as a full time career (I realise saying this is presumptuous because nobody becomes a travel blogger through pure ability, the X-factor plays a more important role). Overall I feel so blessed to be able to do all this travelling. I am aware that not many have the opportunity to travel, for the abundance of time, money and youth doesn’t always coincide so nicely in one’s life. It has for me, and for that I have a whole list of people to thank, from friends that were willing to go out on a limb with me, to my college who was always willing to put us out in the world as well as my parents who were generous in the financing of my overseas trips. There was no way I could have put one foot out of this island on my own.

Also, I was given the opportunity to teach at my former Secondary School. It was an interesting few months, and with every class I learned more and more, and exponentially as well. I recall being so lost on the first day with all the random administration work and crazy students but my colleagues (some of whom once taught me) guided me along and made me better both in and outside the classroom. I thank them so much for that. I thank the students as well for giving me at least some respect in my time there. They weren’t the easiest bunch to handle but I don’t think I was ever too fierce, and that they knew as a basic rule to return me the respect that I gave them. I gained a lot and teaching as a career option hangs high in the horizon of possibilities.

And then university started. Studies wise I think I did alright. I was always average in all that I did, but given the astounding quality of my classmates this isn’t something to fret about. The then Dean of Students already warned us about the curse of the average, and being as such in a group that is remarkable is still, well, remarkable. I won’t go as far as to say that I want to reach for any deans list or do remarkably well. I just hope the next semester will bring with it the challenges that I crave. There’s nothing like nodding along as you write your paragraph, knowing exactly how you want to say something and finally having the courage to put it down in words for the professor to see.

And on that note, writing has been something that I wanted to do a lot of coming out of 2014 and im glad to say that I pursued it fiercely. I have a lot of questions left to answer about myself through my endeavors; namely what am I doing this for? What do I believe in? And most importantly, what is the truth? I’ve played a lot with these ideas in what I’ve written and I still don’t find my work satisfactory. There were mistakes made and I sorely regret these mistakes for once you put your work out there it can never return the moment it flows into the minds of an audience. Maybe in posing these questions I can prevent such mistakes from ever occurring again. And so my hope is that 2016 will have me one step closer to finding these answers, and in helping convey what I really want to say.

In the department of family and friends I think everything is stable, or at least stable from where I am. I’ve grown closer to my old friends and made a close group of new ones in University whom I can be myself around (you know who you guys are). I may have neglected certain groups of friends during the period of change when entering university but I don’t want to regret that too much at this point. I feel like it all balanced out eventually, and that any struggles on the interim pushed all of us closer anyway. Everything happens for a reason and as cliché as it sounds those that want to be there in your life will find a way to poke their head through the rubble after the dust has settled. That, of course, is figurative. My life isn’t that much of a mess, though my family would always be there to point out any deficiencies for my own good. And on the subject of family I believe that since university life has settled down I may want to consider going home more. We’ll see more about that, for I find it ironic that the amount of time I spend home nowadays is comparable to when I was back in NS.

Finally, running has definitely been the biggest disappointment of the year. I cannot emphasise enough how burdened I felt the entire time I wasn’t able to run. It was like something was missing within the entire time and the only way to escape was to run away yet I couldn’t. I’ve ranted about this enough but there’s good news at the end of it! I’ve been going for physiotherapy the last few months and the guy told me I should try a 10 minute slow jog soon, and so I will. I will get my running shoes on again and see how it all goes. Maybe 2016 will see me up and running, and that is my greatest hope for now. 

I would love to come up with a little list of ways I want to change my character with stuff like I want to be courageous and I want to be a better me but I don’t think these resolutions necessarily translate to anything. We achieve our ideals when actions meet circumstance, and so putting it all out there is as pointless as describing a rainbow to a blind man. The change of year, enrolling into a new school, my 21st birthday; these have been largely meaningless milestones. Nothing happened specifically during those transitions. You will be the same person before and after these celebrations. It is merely the opportunities and experiences that will present themselves that matter and if these opportunities are ignored then these milestones might as well not exist. Our celebrations, then, are just hopeful cries that these opportunities will be tackled and cherished in good faith.

I feel like 2016 finds me (and hopefully you as well) in a good place, and all I hope for this year is that intention and opportunity will have the chance to meet, time and again.