thoughts on turning 27

27 seems like an age people typically forget. It gets meshed together with the rest of our late twenties in a blur of work, anxiety, deadlines, bill-paying, anxiety, counting down to the weekends, anxiety…

So turning 27 typically doesn’t feel very monumental to most people. For me, however, turning 27 feels like somewhat of an achievement, all things considered. In the past year, I a) started questioning my life goals and trajectory, b) realised I might have anxiety, c) survived a depressive funk.

But thankfully, things were not all doom and gloom. In the past year, I also a) met many more book people (my tribe!!), in particular three incredibly smart women — Meredith, Nicole, and Becky — who share my love for writing and fiction, b) realised where I truly feel at home (not in fashion or retail, but in books and publishing), c) found and stuck to friends whom I know will have my back and never judge me for being myself around them, d) made progress with the Work in Progress (FINALLY we’re going somewhere).

Turning 27, I also learned these six things:

  1. Don’t label yourself.
    “Oh, I’m an INFP. This is just how I am.” You’re only limiting your growth and allowing yourself to stay stagnant with your flaws.
  2. Instead of tuning out that negative voice in your head, engage it in a (mental) conversation.
    Find out what it wants, where it came from, how you can come to a consensus with it.
  3. Don’t sweep the bad stuff under the carpet.
    That only ensures that they come back to bite you in the ass twice as aggressively. We need to look our emotions in the eye and acknowledge them. The only way through is through.
  4. Worry about one thing, you miss out on a whole bunch of other things.
    Basically what this article said. In particular, this:
    “While anxiety helps us focus on a task, it also blinds us to other opportunities. As a result, unlucky people miss out on prospects because they’re too busy worrying about one thing. Lucky people, on the other hand, are open to new experiences. They’re more willing to talk to new people, travel to new places, and try new things.”
  5. Don’t worry about what the rest of the world is doing.
    This is what my anxiety tells me: “You are missing out. You’re falling behind. Other people are having fun without you, having more fun without you; they’re on the fast track through life and ticking off everything on their bucket list, while you’re just doing the same shit day after day.”
    But that’s them and that’s their life. Not me and not mine. We don’t have to live by anyone else’s deadlines but our own.
  6. You’re miserable only because the gap between what you want and what you have is too big.
    Just do what you love and don’t expect it to bring you anything. Do what you love for the pure joy of it, and you won’t feel like you’re being owed anything.

Honestly, I’m still figuring this out and I don’t have all the answers yet. There are good days, and there are bad. But as long as the good outweigh the bad, I’d say we’re all heading in the right direction, no? One day at a time, is what I keep telling myself. Just focus on the next stone to step on and you won’t end up in the water.

So while I’m still a greedy piece of shit and want so much more out of life, these 27 years have been gratifying. Gained some, lost some. Aiming for the next stone.

Thank you to each and every one of you who have been a part of this journey so far. Your mark is indelible. ♥

 

Dreams - Poem by Langston Hughes

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24 Things About Turning 24

(Or, A Frivolous Post on Discoveries Made At 24)

((Or, What My 24-year-old Self Will Tell My 18-year-old Self))

1. You will never stop looking for stories.

2. Or loving them.

3. It’s okay to go all out with pink, even if people give you this look

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And this

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4. You still won’t know what you’re really good at.

5. But you know what you will keep doing even if you’re not paid for it.

6. You will learn that you are not supposed to wash away toner.

7. You will still hate wearing heels.

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8. Your Facebook feed will be filled with your friends getting engaged/married/pregnant.

9. Meanwhile, you’re just like

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And

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10. There is nothing wrong with reading Young Adult fiction even though you’re technically a New Adult.

Don’t ever be a book snob.

11. There are books that will move you

 

12. And shake you to your very core

13. And books you wish you’d written

14. You will face rejection. Lots of it.

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But you will keep trying. Because you want it that badly.

15. It pays to take a shot and put your work out there. You never know when it might get published.

16. The only way to get anywhere near published is by sitting your ass down and finishing that novel.

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17. A long swim makes everything better.

18. Graduation ceremony is important to the people who saw you through to that point.

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So take it seriously!


19. You don’t like being lonely. You just like being alone.


20. Sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and move on to better things.

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21. Don’t regret or be embarrassed by the things that make you happy.

22. When you stop obsessing, things fall into place.

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23. People can be nice to you if you open up to them.


24. You still don’t have shit figured out.

of prime numbers and little pleasures

So I turned 23 last week.

Not terribly old, but not young anymore either. It’s that in-between number that makes you feel as though you are suspended in that space between a kid and an adult. But it’s safe to say that I am no longer regarded as a wanton, brash (although I doubt I have ever been brash) teenager with the world dangling at your fingertips.

The truth hits even harder now that I’ve graduated from university. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve wished I could return to school. Passing by a secondary school this morning on the way to the pool, I saw students hanging around the staircase leading up to the doors, loitering around the courtyard, making their way to classes, some looking a little beleaguered but otherwise still cloistered in the certainty of their lives. No worries about jobs or money or promotion. Has it been SEVEN years since I was left secondary school? Kind of depressing to realise that you can’t ever go back to those times. The world spins madly on as you keep looking back, and then you find yourself dragged forward.

As storm clouds loomed in the distance while I was in the middle of my morning swim, I got to thinking if I would regret anything if I were to die now. Yeah, I think about things like that sometimes. Welcome to my weird, macabre mind. And of course, there’s much to regret. Because while I have lived more than two decades on this earth, I haven’t really done a single thing to write home about, and while I do have plans to do what I’ve set out to do since I was thirteen (become a best-selling full-time author) I don’t see any end in sight, no clue as to whether I’m ever going to succeed as a writer.

So, no: don’t let me die yet. At least not until I’ve received an answer from the contests and literary agents I’ve shipped my manuscripts to. I haven’t even collected the hard copies of the manuscripts I intend to send out for the Asian Scholastic Book Award contest from the print shop. Imagine if I died and the print shop called my cell to ask when I was going to collect the damn pile of paper sitting in their shop, the pile of manuscripts that were never going to be sent out or published or ever get an audience….

Okay, I did not mean for this to be such a morbid post.

*pulls head out of ass*

Let’s start over:

So I turned 23 last week.

And I finally got my hands on this:

Had a good laugh over THIS. (Who knew Disney boasts such witty gems? They just don’t make cartoons like they used to anymore.)
Saw this lovely view:
Spent time with these people:
 
And *ahem* swooned over this:
Those eyes! That smile! Instant perk-me-up.

And, finally, listened to this:

Yup. Little pleasures in life. There’s still much to be thankful for.