A mini Feb update

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2018 came late for me. I was still stuck in old ways and rushing my year’s project when the rest of the world moved ahead, refreshed and determined. And there I was, holed up at home with my laptop, notes, and refills of hot tea. I haven’t seen my face in a while, and my head’s wheezing from the cold I caught on the last day of the old year.

6 weeks on, I’m working on the last bits of work, running errands in between, stealing some hours on the weekend for appointments, but the tiny pockets of time that I have mostly go to tv – because all I really am doing is waiting for 2018 to happen. I’m not usually this way. Can’t wait for the time to reboot.

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See you later.

2017 was a year of broken resolutions, too much putting off of things, and tested confidence.

It was one I was thankful for nonetheless. Small everyday moments reigned this year (will write about this another time). There was more letting go and sharing. Acquaintances and friends, old and new, and family, guided my path and renewed a part of me with little reminders, advice and their presence.

And above all, 2017 was a year of laying foundations. In 2018, with a thankful heart and nourished mind, I am ready to be a better version of myself.

Youth and I

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The other day, I found an old thumbdrive which was left neglected in my stationery basket after dropbox and google drive took over my professional life.

I have been using it for about a month since, and decided today, of all days, to click on an old folder labelled with my name. It turned up another folder “atheleventhour”, named after my now-defunct blog. Went down the list of mostly half-completed, mostly unpublished scribbles that brimmed over with so much youth that I laughed and cringed over my words.

On ways to introduce myself, these are versions I wrote that didn’t make the cut:

“Really likes the number eleven and gets most motivated at the eleventh hour. Writes, for love of the language… and for love of the past.”

“A sociology graduate who counts buying novels and notebooks among her interests. Reads, writes, plays squash, sings, and will spend the last dollar on travel.”

The young version of me also thinks and whines too much about doing things, without actually doing things:

That aside, I worry too much that I may cease to write. The anxiety results from a lack of academic diligence. Then again, I don’t think I can stop writing completely.

… and is sometimes insecure, sometimes pretentious:

“23 years and 361 days, with weight issues.”

Contrary to her lackluster grades in school, she is deeply inspired and intrigued by sociological thoughts. The construction of social reality titillates her senses, in the same way cultures and their people fascinate her.” — what?

It is no wonder these never saw the light of day until now. Almost a decade on, my hobbies and interests haven’t varied much. Very much still fascinated by cultures and the human condition, very much into travelling and writing, favourite number’s still 11, and so on.

But so much has changed too. That youth, like a struggle to establish myself, is all but gone, and my words have become plainer and more personal with the years, as though time has lifted the veil on me and here I am, more comfortable than ever in my own skin.

Exposed.

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This late morning, I was on a comfortably-packed train, wondering if I should drop by the poke bowl shop to pick up lunch before heading for the office. I had a small craving for it, but not enough to rule out a simple sandwich, or a bowl of noodles, completely.

Lost in thought over my first-world problem, my idle fingers found the folder of film-taken pictures on my phone. I should post something on the blog, I thought above my lunch thoughts.

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I flipped through pictures of my Italy holiday, my multiple Taiwan escapades, and weekend walks, pleased to see them again. Then my finger hit a folder of experimental double-exposed (and somewhat failed) photos. I had connected with a stranger on the other side of the world for this little project, and for my part, I wandered into the streets off East Coast Road to complete it.

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But as I looked at these photos, it wasn’t the stranger I thought of. Or the streets I could no longer name. Or the reason why I couldn’t take a proper double-exposed photo. My thoughts strayed onto the companion who’s absent, yet undeniably present in all the photos.

Strange how life could change the course of a friendship, how archives and archives of fond memories were not enough to keep it together. Not nearly enough.

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Then the overhead sound system announced my stop. I barely heard it, but my body has learnt the routine, and I stepped out to join the rest of the working crowd.

Birthdays and wishes

I am one of those people who remember birthdays without having to rely on social calendars too much. But I am also one of those people who rarely send a birthday card (and gift) in time.

Then I saw the cutest The New Yorker online cards on the beautifully-curated Paperless Post. I am such a fan of its art and humour. So I wrote my friend a simple birthday message, inserted into an e-envelope holding a The New Yorker card, against a customised gold polka-dotted backdrop – all in 5 mins (excluding the time taken to actually decide which card to go with) and more importantly, in time for her birthday. I hope it perks up her morning when she sees it.

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A life update.

When life gets so busy you are arranged around your activities, instead of the other way round – that’s how it has been the last couple of weeks.

A few updates lest I forget:

The June skies around here are beautiful. I am so glad for the treats of blue, pink, and orange in the evenings. Wonderful reminder to go out more. In fact, I’ve taken more walks around the city this month than I’ve had in a very long while, and it feels great – for the body, if not the soul.

More soul food – Meeting up with friends, including those usually left to convenience to arrange a time with. And making plans to reconnect with others who are always on my mind, but remain just there. Do you have friends like that too?

Slipped out of the city for a reprise in Bangkok. The city is almost like a second home.

Also poring over IDs for the new place.

And stressing over work as we enter high-stress zone.

On another note, I’ve managed to improve my bowling game (I am a terrible bowler).

I’m also currently hooked onto Selena Gomez’ remake of Only You (Why did I never like it before?), and I recently read an article that made me a little sappy. Thought I’ll share it.

And as you can probably tell, my thoughts are all over the place. Bye!

About time

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2016 was the year that didn’t record major, universally-recognised milestones, but gave me many small, personal ones that impacted my life just the same.

Travel-wise, it had been exhilarating with 14 cities across 5 countries and 4 continents. I was also fortunate to have met a lot of inspiring people along the way; some left a strong impression while others taught me new things. Family and friends too, remained solidly in my life – something I have learnt not to take for granted.

But 2016 was also the year that ran off on its own, and the year photography and blogging took a backseat. I want to change that. And it is just about time in 2017.