Searching for breadcrumbs.

Glad I decided to spend the day, despite being sick, reading Marcella’s Purnama’s new e-book, Swimming with the Sharks.

I’m a sucker for honest writing. Fancy anecdotes that are written to glamourise are immediate turn off for me. So, Marcella’s writing really resonated with me especially since every word of hers was like reading my life-story.

It has been close to 3 years since I graduated from the most prestigious university in Singapore. And all the days I spend at work, in my previous and current job, has one thing in common. I am counting down to the moment, I can pack my bag and scoot off from my desk. The corporate world is so freaking overrated, I’m like “why didn’t anyone ever tell me?!” I envisioned life post-graduation not to be a bed of roses. But, also, not a prison cell. I thought days post graduation would spell freedom, happiness and importantly, choices. But, the harsh reality I’m being greeted with on a daily basis, is quite the opposite. I don’t have many choices. Definitely not more than what I had back in varsity days; go to lecture, or continue sleeping, pretty much summed my 4 years.

As for my passion, like most Gen Yers, I’m still figuring it out. Or rather, as Marcella says I’m hoping to rediscover it. I’m still in the midst of searching for those breadcrumbs while I lay out the past 26 years of my life before me. I’ll be glad if I find it in the next 4 years since my Director has told me by 30 I should have it all figured out. Not sure what he means by that. But, let me at least ‘try’ and work towards that.

Has anything changed since the day I attended my graduation? (Sorry, I didn’t actually attend my graduation but I’m sure you get my point.) Yes. I know I’m not corporate world material. I know given my 40 hour work-week, I probably only spend 10 or less hours, actually working. I know I would rather work as a travel blogger for free than get paid handsomely for a job I don’t enjoy. Yet, what I don’t know outweighs what I do know and it scares me beyond measure every waking minute of my life.

The road ahead is rather long and bleak. But, I’m just glad, I’m not alone.

Thank you, Purnama, for the reminder. Again.

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The power of words to heal the soul.

I have over almost a thousand favourite quotes/lines. No, I’m not exaggerating! From the books I read to the blogs I follow to song lyrics that get stuck in my head, anything that tugs a chord in my heart gets shared immediately via twitter (blame the convenience of social media if you think I’m tweeting excessively). Every now and then, especially while I’m commuting, I like to read my tweets to be inspired by those words and find strength to live life. The moment in time that has long passed, but never fails to slip my mind as I re-read my own words.

Despite all, there is a particular quote that I never have to put the effort to remember. It always comes to my mind when I’m stuck or when I’m questioning love and life at large.

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” – Mother Teresa

This will help us get by.

Reminder to self.

When I was done with college and bumming around, I landed myself in a telemarketing job. It wasn’t the best first job to proudly brag about, but I was paid hourly on top of commission. So I took it, and loved sleeping in and then heading to work after a good lunch. So anyways, during my 8- month stint there, I found a friend. A Muslim woman who married a Black man, a year or two back. Her first marriage and his second. I just turned 18 while she was 42, if I remember right. Many found our friendship slightly odd, since an average teenager’s idea of fun would typically be painting the town red with their ‘frens4lyf’. I, instead, preferred long chats during/after work I had with her about life, love, God, religion, the Qur’an. Maybe I was above average back then or still am, or maybe just lost and in need of someone to explain to me, what life meant, what love should be about, what religion means to one, if God is one and if God even exists at all.

Of all the conversations we had, there is a particular line she told me that left such a huge impact on me, till today and possibly forever. It serves as the best reminder for me everytime I feel stuck in reverse, let down, dejected and simply put, in the crossroads of life. Which is more often then not. She said, “Accept life on its terms not yours.” The moment she said didn’t feel like an epiphany for me. It felt ordinary, sorry to disappoint you. But slowly, as things started happening and when unexpected events began unfolding in my life, I found strength and new found meaning in those words.

We often have so much expectations of life. So many dreams of how life is supposed to be. But, wait a minute, who said life is supposed to hand out the best cards to you just like that. It’s not about luck or karma. You just have to work to getting there. Nothing comes easy. You and I both know that. Should know that by now at least. Yet, we believe wholly on something called luck and expect the road we walk along to be a bed of roses. A part of us knows we’re strong to handle the road even if what lies ahead is rocky, strewn with pebbles or shards of glass even. Nonetheless, we expect lady luck to be resting on our shoulders and making life comfortable and easy for us. Are we being fair to ourselves? To life? By just expecting life to fall nicely in place. “According to plan” as many say nonchalantly whatever that means. Won’t you feel bored knowing exactly where you will be in 10 years time? It might be seem a safe bet now, but trust me, life won’t be life if you knew what you could expect round the next corner.

I didn’t begin writing this post to gain the most number of likes nor outdo my current highest number of views in a single day. I wrote this cause I wanted to document this moment. This line. What it means to me. I want this to be a reminder to myself.

I hope my next post is less heavy. I feel worn out enough. I don’t want to wear you out also. Thank you for stopping by solosingaporean, nonetheless.

On other matters,

This article (15 things you should give up to be happy) is worth reading. We all need a reminder every now and then, don’t we?

Also, this freshly-pressed post (Santorini 1. The art of travelling alone) is lovely.

P.S. Happy midweek ya’ll!

P.P.S. Tomorrow night is gonna be a blast cause I’m going to be dancing away to Bad romance, Judas, Paparazzi, Born this way, Marry the night and Poker face. Lady Gaga Born this way ball, fella’s!

The morning after.

What do you do when you wake up one morning only to realize your nightmare wasn’t actually a nightmare? It actually is reality, the bitter truth. Waking up to that, stings. Every bone within you formulates questions. Questions that make you wonder if what you have always believed in even holds? Do they even hold any truth? Partial truth at the very least? Or do they just stem from sketches of your own make-belief reality? Of love and life. If maybe you might have been wrong in being so gullible and accepting things at surface level.  That sometimes even the nice turn bad. You just chose to believe otherwise. You chose to see the good in people that you turn a blind eye to underlying issues that need to be fixed. What do you do when your fundamentals get shaken? What do you when walking away crosses your mind? When your rock, your constant, deserts you?

I run.

The Lost Girls.

It was easy for me to feel depressed at the horror, and I was just a visitor passing through. But these kids lived with daily reminders of the violent past and had no choice but to carry on. Again my mind traveled back to Esther and Sister Freda, who showed me that it’s possible to transform ourselves into something greater than our suffering, how life forges on despite pain.

I excused myself to go to the bathroom. Then I stood at the edge of the room and watched the Cambodian teens going about their business. I imagined them wanting the same things that I wanted: To feel safe in an unpredictable world. To work toward somethings that mattered. To know love. To belong.

– Chapter 23, Holly. Boston, Massachusetts/Cambodia. December-January.

I’m not done with this book yet. A part of me hopes the end doesn’t even come. Because, I know I’ll never quite be able to find another travel memoir that matches up to this book. I’m not even kidding. All of you, who suffer from insatiable wanderlust like me, need to get your hands on this book. I’m not sure if the male gender can relate to this book as much as a female does. Especially if you’re a 20-something-year-old female. This book speaks to me through and through. Since also, it’s a true story of the 3 girls below.

[From left to right] Jennifer, Holly and Amanda

And if you’re looking for an actual review of this book, before you actually read it. Head over here (a review by Athira from Reading on a Rainy Day).

Success = ?

This post has been inspired by Fat Mum Slim. One of my favourite bloggers. This is another take on it. And below is mine!

I have always wanted to achieve so many things all my life. In the past 3 years alone, I’ve mentally added more things to my already long list of things to achieve by the time my hair turns gray and my knees give way on me, that I’m considering actually penning all of them down. Things to achieve by the time I hit a certain age, with a 5 year span in between my lists. Go figure.

But, I have not measured my success by that till now. Nor, have I pinned hopes on the picturesque image I have about the future ahead of me to define my personal success.

Success to me is very simple and straightforward. It is measured by happiness.

I don’t have a list of 5 or 10 things that I’ve to achieve to be happy, as the things that bring my joy change on a daily basis. Getting dunked into the pool when you can’t swim is fun when it happens once. Try doing that everyday and let me know if you still enjoy it, I’ll salute you. 

This is what success means to me right now. Happiness. And I hope 10, 20 years down the road, I still measure my personal success with happiness as my sole indicator. Of course, I hope expect to be richer, more affluent, have more liabilities and hopefully accumulate some assets along the way. But, I don’t want to use those as my yardsticks to measure success.

My happiness may stem from different things as my world changes. Yet, I still want to be able to define the success of each day I have at hand, with the peace in my heart and the smile plastered on my face in the fleeting moments that pass, from the time my body hits my bed and till my eyes close. And if life goes as planned, include a man to call my own lying beside me.

 source for all 3 images

 What does success mean to you? I’d love to hear.