13.0 Immature Forever

Remember when we were very little, people will always ask us “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

And always, the answer would come out to be something like being president, or the firefighter, or a super star, etc.

And remember as we enter adolescence, although our dreams become more “realistic,” we still have momentum in giving our best shot, and hoping for the best. And every time we fall, we always seem to find that strangely undying courage in us to carry on again. Believing that as long as we give 100%, we will one day receive 100%.

Now, as we approach early adulthood, not only do we lose sight of our dreams, we lost sight of our momentum, our valour, our confidence. And the future seems nothing but mysterious and bleak. Doubting our own competence, doubting others’ motives, dipping our toes into the vast bottomless ocean that is society, and instantly jolting back because of the chill it gave us. We become scared. Scared of what is outside, and scared of what is no longer inside. It’s a funny concept, that as we grow, we actually become more scared, not less.

Lately, I’ve experienced a lot of unintended discouragement about my future. People telling me that making a living is not nearly as easy as it seems. Others telling me not to trust people too easily or the fool will be no other but myself. I’ve got people calling me an idiot for regarding love/marriage so simply and straightforwardly. And then there are those telling me to not even delve into the present because nothing is forever, and everything can change…

As much as all that advice is stated out of “love,” as sober as it is to think twice about absolutely everything, and as wise as it is to always have Plans B, C, D, E, Z, it is all very exhausting and wasteful to live every single frigging day worrying about what’s essentially nothing – I mean, making a living comes with time, other people have yet to disrespect my trust, love hasn’t failed me at all thus far, and the future, well, who the hell ever knows for certain what the future holds. I just feel like all they’re really telling me is how to push myself into a corner, hyperventilating about what no one knows will happen or not.

So I need to find that momentum again, the momentum that makes me want to be the president one day.

I believe that, whether you “prepare” for future hardships or not, you’re bound to experience some of them eventually. The fact is, hardship is simply a part of life; without the downs, there would be no balance, life would not be complete. But if you travel along the way with a simple and light heart, not only will you be able to deal with all the calamities but you are less distracted, and more focused on what you want to achieve.

I know this is all very counterintuitive because we’ve always been taught to “think and then act” but sometimes, sometimes you just gotta take the leap first and deal with obstacles as they come later.

I don’t know, perhaps I’m wrong. But I haven’t felt like I want to be a superwoman in a very long time, and not only is this rush of adrenalin making me nostalgic, but it has given me a boost like no other before.

Until next time.

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12.0 Happiness

“Happiness is a choice.” Four little words that ring the obvious truth but carries a meaning far greater than what it seems. In these four words, two words are most complex. “Happiness,” and “choice.”

“Happiness.” It could mean a lollipop if you’re 5. It could mean your first kiss if you’re 13. It could just mean a nap if you’re overwhelmed with work. It could also mean indulging in food if you’re malnourished. The list goes on. But in general, or at least according to my opinion, being happy, being spiritually happy, means being content with life, that no matter which aspect of it you look into, everything meets your standards.

“Choice.” To choose to be happy could also mean a lot of things. Some people choose to love someone else to be happy, some people choose to stay single to be happy, some people chose to travel to be happy, when voluntarily doing an action to ensure your own content or to encourage the good mood, that’s choosing to be happy.

When you put the two words in one sentence though. I feel like it is even more complex than the two words alone. “Happiness is a choice;” choosing to be happy. Do we always know the right choices? Are we always sure exactly what makes us happy?

I don’t know, but I don’t think so. As human beings, we don’t always make the right decisions or always know what’s going to make us happy. More often than not, our days are easily ruined by something that went wrong or someone who didn’t treat you right. But it is wrong to allow your own happiness to be dependent on or influenced by an external thing or person. You are in charge of your own happiness, and it is wrong of anybody to allow their happiness to be wavered by anything outside of their own making. You can make yourself happy, without the aid or influence of anything or anyone but yourself. And if you are already a happy person, give yourself a pat on the back, because you gave yourself that option, you gave yourself that happiness, you made the decisions and choices that ultimately led you here.

We always have more power over our lives than we think. Happiness is a choice, a power bestowed on us by life.

Until next time.

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11.0 Get A Life!

So say you have a bird, the bird is very precious to you. You love it so much that you are doing absolutely everything you can think of to protect and prolong its life. You think of things like nutritious seeds, distilled water, even playgrounds to keep it entertained. Eventually you come to think about cages to add that extra layer of protection, you come to the cage every once in a while to check up on it, making sure it is not getting bored…Soon, every second of your awaking moments becomes thoughts about what more you can do for your endearing little bird…

Now imagine that you are the bird. At first, you feel like the luckiest bird to have all the good food and water provided to you. And heck, you even have a playground. But then the cages come, and you’re bothered by that looming hand once every hour. You begin to become bothered by and resentful of all this unwanted and unnecessary attention. You wished with all your might that the attention came more timely. Due to all the stress your health begins to wither, you’re developing bad tempers, urges to flap your wings arise every now and then, every time you see the hand reaching in, you can’t help but peck at its fingers when all the hand wanted to do was to pet your beautiful feathers and ensure you that you’re being loved…

BUT, is it the bird’s fault? Absolutely not. It never asked for the good meals, playgrounds, cages or your attention. That’s all voluntary. That’s all you. The cuts from pecking? You asked for that. Just because you’ve been occupied by and investing in the bird does not mean that it is now the bird’s responsibility to repay you in any form. When you gave, you shouldn’t have expected returns. So all the pain you’re suffering you brought onto yourself because you, are the one going overboard. Hey, good things are good, but they can be detrimental if overdosed.

Sometimes we all just need to take a step back, breathe a little, and get our vision back in focus onto ourselves again. This is a terrible scenario but I think it applies to a lot of occasions. Parents and children, especially. (although hopefully I don’t act like the bird in this scenario…) I learned the hard way that acquiring the ability to let go is painful. But personally, it’s a process that, once achieved, is going to be good for you and the bird. 🙂

Until next time.

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10.0 We Will All Leaf

Once upon a time, my father and I were walking along a trail near my house. Both sides of the path were towered over by intimidating forestry, trees of which you cannot see the tip. Dad takes a deep breath, looks around.

“Take a good look, honey, around us is what we call life. We are all leafs,” he said.

“Some leafs are high up, where they don’t have to fight for sunshine. Some leafs are darker in colour, lower in position, but still get a decent amount of dew each morning. Some leafs are perfect in shape; some are not as well-developed or have been bitten by insects. Some are half rotten, others, crisp and healthy. Some leafs are plucked down by external force, others give up on fighting for the nutrient and as a result, were unable to hold on and come tumbling down sooner than usual. But they all have one thing in common, when autumn rolls around, all of them will look the same, they will become yellow/brown and indecipherable on the ground, sooner or later, they decay into dust. So if we all end up the same way, why should we waste our life? Some of us are born to upper class families, some of us have a change of destiny half way through; some of us are born pretty, others not so much. Some are born with a mighty brain, others hone themselves to be smart; and the list goes on. But no matter where we are on the tree, no matter which branch we happen to spring out of, we all have something to be proud of, and something that we consider unfortunate about ourselves. And whether you have something to be proud of, or a deficit that you deem fatal, just remember one thing — at our respective twilights, none of that matters. It’s unfortunate that we are all eventually just dust, but we are lucky to at least have a chance to be more than that. So cherish that opportunity and time. Make the most out of however much amount of sunshine, dew, insect chewing, rotting, imperfection of shape that you are given and accompanied with.”

(translated from Chinese with the best of my abilities)

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Until next time.

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9.0 The Great Wall of Fanny

At the faintest sound from afar, a cat would dart up a tree. They would hiss and make a fuss at whatever they think might hurt them. Snails may be out of their shells when it is safe, and plop, a single rain drop will retrieve them back into their shell in an instant. Similarly, and naturally, humans too have these instincts at the slightest hint of danger.

I am a cat when I’m in a relationship. I can be a snail when I sense overcast.

And I don’t know if it’s just me, or if everybody experiences the same thing. But I can only feel comfortable and expressive when my other half is accepting, loving and nonjudgmental of my quirkiness. Other times, I am too self-conscious to even say a word in front of them, which…usually results in me living up to their standards and them not knowing just who the heck I really am. When I feel that our degrees of affection are not equal, I begin building this great wall around myself, usually in the form of telling myself that I can live without them. In other words, preparing myself for the worst. Why? Because to me, giving someone your heart means putting yourself at their disposal, and consequentially, making yourself vulnerable and fragile…

I used to attribute this great wall to the other person. I told myself that he never provided me with the unconditionality that would have enabled me to love him. Quite frankly, I don’t like this habit of mine. Mainly because I realize that I put myself on a roller coaster (imagine that, living inside the great wall riding roller coasters…yeah, the image drives me crazy too), and in so doing, I’ll never learn to love. Yes, I still believe in love, and that love is the most uncontaminated thing in this world. Love, in the way that my parents and friends have shown me, is unconditional, kind, pure, selfless, and enabling. And if I keep being a cat or a snail, I will never be able to be kind, pure, selfless, and enabling.

I just want to have the courage to love at least once, even in the face of peril. But I know I will need someone who can help me take this wall down one brick at a time. I know I stacked it up myself but I’d like to think that I at least deserve someone who can give me a hand.

Lastly, no, I am not damaged. And while it is great to live life without a single scrape, I just think that that perfection also requires missing out on life-changing experiences, and that’s just not the life I want to live. Life should be full of adventures, even the ones that will hurt you; they’re what makes life colourful and reminiscence-worthy. And what’s wrong with being vulnerable anyway? Being voluntarily vulnerable for the sake of someone else is definitely laudable because god knows that requires real courage. So I’ll go take my wall down now, and it’s also a decision to have more valour and candour. It might take days, weeks, months, or years but I’m just glad I have a motif now. Hopefully by the end of the process I’ll have a story to tell my grandchildren one day.

Until next time.

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