How time flies, we are officially halfway through the year!
6 months ago, I started these weekly stories, not knowing whether I’d have enough content to last the year. But it turns out, each week, there was something to reflect on, something to learn from.
And I think I could say the same about my decision to uproot myself from the city in which I’ve spent my 20s in (some character-defining years) to give myself the chance to learn something new, to BE someone new.
It’s been 7 months since I hopped on that plane to Singapore on the 1st of December last year. And after my last exam paper for Term 2 tomorrow, I would have completed half of my Masters in Innovation course.
Time does pass by in the blink of an eye, doesn’t it?
Looking back on the stories I wrote in the last 25 weeks, some were about the adventures in life, some about making choices; there were some about facing failures, and some about identity and exploring who we are as humans. Some stories were about my past, and some were inspired by present events — there was even a story about inspiration that was inspired by my lack of inspiration…
So I’d like to make this week’s story a recap of all the weeks before, and perhaps even comment on my thoughts as I was writing the stories; all to remind myself (and you, dear reader) of what a journey it has been — not just for myself, but possibly, for you too!
Week 1: Begin again, and again, and again
We’re never really starting “from scratch”, we’re starting again with the accumulated experience of a lifetime. Magic awaits, if we muster up enough courage to take the plunge.
Week 2: Equanimity. Be water, my friend
When we stop expecting that things are “supposed” to go a certain way, we will find liberation and equanimity.
“Be water, my friend.” — Bruce Lee
Week 3: Origins and cultural identity — what’s in a name?
In an increasingly multi-cultural world, it is important that we started paying attention to names (and behaviours) that are different from ours. A name is more than just words and letters; in most instances, it can represent heritage, culture, and the love from one’s family.
Week 4: I am an iceberg; there’s more than meets the eye
We’re all icebergs, what people see of us (and what we see of others) is just the tip — the sides of us we choose to show. Would you want to let others’ labels of you define who you are and what you could do?
Week 5: Home
There is no singular definition of the word “home”. It can be a place, a person, a feeling and sense of belonging, of being understood and accepted. Regardless of what it is to you,
“If you know you’re going home, the journey is never too hard.” — Angela Wood
Week 6: Perfection doesn’t exist
We may sometimes get caught up with achieving “perfection”. But I think, as long as we’ve given our best, given our circumstances, there is nothing to be regretful of.
Week 7: Feeling stuck? Take a bath
Our subconscience allows us to be productive even when we’re doing “nothing”. So the next time you’re on a creative endeavour and feel stuck, walk away from the desk — take a stroll in the park, cook up a meal, or maybe, take a bath!
Week 8: When at a crossroad, choose what excites you
When at crossroads, we may mull over which path to take, and fear that it will end up being the “wrong” path. But there is only one path in life, and that is the path you are currently on.
(Plus a book recommendation — The Midnight Library).
Week 9: There is darkness; and there is hope
Pandemic, inflation, war, what else?
Through it all, have hope. We can choose to be courageous, to be resilient; and we need to do it together, to inspire and be inspired. That is how we increase our chances of making it through and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
“(We) each have a role to play. (We) were born for a reason” — Jane Goodall
Week 10: Build your community, build your career experience
In light of International Women’s Day, this story was inspired by the community of friends, allies, and mentors I’ve had at work.
Your career experience is largely driven by the community of people you build around you; people whom you can trust and will inspire you to grow and do better, not just in your career, but also, as a human being on a whole.
Week 11: Stop trying to be liked by everybody
As with the iceberg story from week 4, people will form views of you through their own lenses. It is okay to not be liked by everybody.
Week 12: Stop and smell the orchids
In all our busy-ness, it is important to set time aside to slow down and appreciate the people and details around you.
“I’m late, I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say ‘hello, goodbye,’ I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” — The White Rabbit
Week 13: In this life, what are we but passing through?
This story was rather melancholic; a reflection of our existence.
You watch the stage transform from a big, black, bare hole in the wall, into something colourful, something that tells a story. You watch something that was once abstract and in your imagination come to life. And then, at the end, you watch it get torn down, you watch it return to that big, black, bare hole in the wall, waiting to be turned into someone else’s imagination…
Week 14: Looking for a new habitat in this great, big, ecosystem
A story very similar to my first, about beginning again. But this time, it’s about going on a lifetime adventure to explore what makes the “right” place for you, and to find your place(s) in the world.
Week 15: The path of least resistance
Not everything in life has to be a challenge.
“…sometimes we shouldn’t feel guilty about making the “easy” choice. Nature has been making such choices for way longer than we’ve existed, on every possible scale, with beautiful outcomes. And that’s quite reassuring.”
Week 16: Life goes on in this “new” normal
Preparing for a study trip to the US saw the anxiety of travelling during a pandemic (post-pandemic?) creep up.
2 months later, now, I think I’ve come to terms with this trip happening. That’s how life works, doesn’t it? You just learn to adapt, come what may.
Week 17: We all need to be inspired in life
“Inspiration is not willed — it happens.”
And so, we need to intentionally create the environment in which inspiration is likely to strike us.
Week 18: Bettering the world — Part 1
If anything, my Masters capstone project taught me that creating something out of nothing, that also benefits the world and its people, is tremendously difficult. New-found admiration for innovators and entrepreneurs who have the courage to do just that, over and over again.
Week 19: Women and innovation (destigmatising menstruation)
Reducing the global gender inequality gap goes way beyond surface level employment targets. It will need to start with debugging deeply rooted beliefs and providing better access to necessities such as clean water and affordable sanitary products. And perhaps, the start to getting there, is to make these problems more salient.
How many women out there continue trudging on at work, reluctant to call in sick despite shivering in cold sweat and having tight calves, a sore lower back, and a cramping uterus, just because “I’m not really sick”?
Week 20: A story of grief, and how growth blossoms from it
Almost half a year after finishing up on the COVID-19 Response in Victoria, it finally felt right to write about my story — how the pandemic had taken so much from me, and yet, given me so much in return.
I grieved for the time I lost with family, for progress I could have made with my hobbies, for the self I had lost when the world I once knew changed overnight.
Week 21: Rest
The week I sprained my wrist and took time off to rest (because we all need rest).
Week 22: “Well, we’re both fruit”
Sometimes we may get stuck in the loop of comparing ourselves against others — how we’re not as good, or maybe even, how we’re better. That takes away so much time and energy that could have been used to work on what’s in front of us instead.
“Comparison is the thief of joy” — Theodore Roosevelt
Week 23: The more we want to do well, the harder doing well becomes
Drawing on my experience performing on stage in the past, often, the more we try to do well at something, the more attention we give something, the harder it becomes to actually perform well at it.
Maybe we need to have faith in ourselves more often, and trust that our hard work, experience, and intuition won’t let us down?
Week 24: Cut yourself some slack, you’re only human
As humans, slip ups are necessary evils. Sometimes we may not be able to catch up with our never-ending to-do list, and that’s okay.
The road is long ahead.
Week 25: Jack of all trades… often better than a master of one
A story about the pros and cons of being a generalist, and how, despite the moments of self-doubt and impostor syndrome, it is all worth it.
Here’s to the next 26 weeks — unknown, but exciting.
I packed up 8 years of my life in Melbourne in December 2021 to move to Singapore to be closer to home and also to explore the world outside of what I already knew. This is a year-long series of weekly reflections on #myvoyagehome. Thank you for being a part of my journey.