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The purpose of life

IMG_1768-1.JPG This is a pic of a birthday card that I thought was meaningful.

AND Whaaaaaat?! It’s August already?! I can’t believe it.

I had a long well-deserved vacation in July and in that time I learned so much about myself. Now I feel I know my likes and dislikes even better than before. I’m starting to grow into my own person and I no longer have that fear of not fitting in with others. Why? Because I no longer care whether I am socially awkward or if I’m going against the social norms or whether people like me!

The most important thing I’ve learned in July is that life is short and you have to do what YOU want NOW; waiting for others to either make up their mind to follow you or force you to do what they like is a pure waste of your time. Why? Because life is short! Every moment you are not enjoying in it is a moment of your life wasted. The right moment is now and this moment is the best time of your life.

Also, the best relationship you can have is with yourself. Love and nurture yourself, because you deserve the best. Agree?

“The purpose of life is to be happy.” — Dalai Lama

And before I sign off, this song has been on repeat in my playlist the past two (three?) weeks and I just love the music video and the energy. It’s one of the most romantic, bouncy songs ever. Hahaha! I’ve listened to it so many time and I still get the feels. It also helps that Taylor Swift looks hot in it. Mega feels. Try it and see if you get the feels too. I think you would just fall in love.

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Minnie the moocher

I love this song! This has been on my nighttime playlist for the past one week. I love the tune, the trumpet and the chorus — basically how the music is arranged. The 1930s were a great era for jazz music. While electronic genre is my all-time favourite, jazz is high up among my top three list. I used to buy jazz CDs back then when CDs were all the rage. How I wish I could travel back in time and visit The Cotton Club in all its pomp and glory. Ho de Ho de Ho! Hi de hi de Hi! He de he de he!

Wonderfully catchy. I still have no idea what the great Cab Calloway is singing about though. I’m too busy twirling around the room to this song to figure the lyrics out. It’s such a perfect ditty for Sunday (or any other day), isn’t it?

This reminds me of the Golden Age that Woody Allen featured in his movie Midnight in Paris. That’s one of my favourite films of all time too. It has great cinematography, lighting, music, a whimsical storyline and, most importantly, nearly all my favourite artists and writers of the era. It also has a killer soundtrack to boot.

I’ve always wanted to travel back in time to experience all the glories (or tragedies) and great moments that make history what it is today. Since young, I’ve always thought I belong to another era and would feel more at home in the olden days. I guess that’s why I love history and films about historic periods. And that’s why I love Midnight In Paris; it was as though Woody read my mind and brought my character as Gil to life.

All this nostalgia is making me wanna watch the film again. Be right back!

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You wear smug so well

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(Here’s an inspirational quote to let you feel like you’ve enriched your life somewhat from reading this blog post.)

Hang on, you mean it’s April already? You mean we just went through three months of the new year as quickly as a flick of wrist? That can’t be right, can it? Geez, what have I done with my life in 2014? So much for saying 2014 would be a year of change. Hahaha! Resolution, FAIL.

So my exams ended on 24 February and I’ve been chilling since then with no care or worry in the world. It was awesome! In the process of letting my brain turn to vegetable after putting it through three years of mental hardship, I discovered quite a few things about myself that surprised me. So the “proverb” (not an exact idiom so to speak but the general feeling people talk about as they mature) is true; the older you get, the better you know yourself and the things you like or want.

Disclaimer: The truth is many people may not think I am mature because someone recently said I have the mental age of a teenager. That made me laugh out loud because it was so true. I’m extremely childish… If you get to know me in real life. So I think it’s better that you and I remain online buddies. Ha!

Anyway, here are three things I’ve realised about myself:

1. I have an obsessive personality. Once I get hooked to something or someone, I go all out and immerse myself with everything about them. I become so intense and focused that I devote all my free hours and thinking time to finding out more of a particular thing or person I’m into during this obsessive period. I can’t stop (and won’t stop) until all my energy is spent or I finally get sick of it. My obsession can last for as short as two weeks or as long as a few months. And I let nothing get into my way, which is pretty unhealthy if you think about it, because that can scare normal people off (if they knew). So far, only a few close friends know of my addict-like behaviour. Thank god they still love me! Oops.

2. The thing is I don’t really care who knows or what others may think about me. Yes, they can assume I’m childish or selfish or insane and be totally judgemental about me (even though they do not know me well at all). I don’t give a fuck! Honestly, I just want to be happy and laugh a lot all the time. I want to do the things I like or enjoy every day. And if I’m obsessed with someone or something, so be it! My heart feels fluffy and I’m always on a natural high; that’s all that matters to me. Remember, what clever Dr Seuss once said?

Those who mind won’t matter and those who matter won’t mind.

3. I definitely do not like pop or country music. In fact, I’ve deleted many pop songs from my iPhone playlist because I have never listened to them. I enjoy certain indie music and jazz tunes at times. I love house, trance and dance tracks when I’m on the go because of the energy! But my topmost favourites are electronic and chill-out lounge tracks (nearly all the songs that I’ve featured on this blog over the years can attest to that). Like hello, sexy times and soothing feels! How can anyone resist?

Case in point: The latest song on repeat in my playlist this week

You’re pushing me away and then you’re pulling. You wear smug so very well. If you were in love with me, I could never tell. You ask me, you ask me just to leave you, but then the bow breaks and it’s all through.

So hot, right? Go on, enjoy it. You’re welcome.

Find out more of the band and lyrics here.

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Believe in yourself

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It’s the final countdown: Eight more days before I’m officially free from the agonising hours of cramping copious amounts of academic information into my memory and regurgitating them out in a three-hour session. I’m so excited and so lazy at the same time. Instead of focusing on the present and the things I have to do NOW, I keep fantasising about the future, which is detrimental to my productivity.

I recently tweeted that I’d be more productive if I read less, watch fewer TV shows and stop taking so many naps in a day. It’s true, you know, maybe if I didn’t have a TV or Internet, I’d have found a cure for cancer or win a Nobel prize by now. Haha!

In the past one month of not blogging (because I was busy with two major projects), I sense a fear growing within me and I shall verbalise it now, so you can help me chase the demons away.

Sometimes I lay awake in bed at night wondering: Many people have said I will accomplish great things in my life, but what if I never fulfil my destiny?

What happens then? Am I doomed to wander the earth like six other billion faceless souls living ordinary lives? Scary thought, huh?

I guess this is where desire steps in and forces me to stay focused and brave and disciplined. I also realise I tend to be more philosophical on Sundays. It’s like I let my thoughts culminate the whole week and I pour them out to you.

So I will end this blog post on a positive note, because we all need encouragement at times to spur us forward (especially more so if you have doubts as often as I do). If you were looking for a sign that you’re on the right path, here it is.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. There’s no one better at fulfilling your dreams than you. So go for it.

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The Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Golden Globe show 2014

This year’s Golden Globes’ opening monologue by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler had me in stitches for nine whole minutes. They were so witty that my face was so scrunched up from laughing so hard. And now my right eye hurts. But it’s so good to laugh out loud for so long. Remember my last post on why laughing is good for you? 😀

If you thought Tina and Amy were hilarious last year (which I reviewed on this blog), you need to watch how they topped that performance with this year’s epic opening act. They are simply two of the funniest and seriously intelligent women in Hollywood right now. I can’t wait to watch the full show just to see what other hilarious antics Fey and Poehler got up to.

Here are some of my favourite one-liners from the dynamic comedic duo (Telegraph UK):

Tina: “The Wolf of Wall Street shocked viewers by using the F-word 506 times in three hours. Which is the new record. Unless you count my dad trying to hang some curtains rods in our living room.”

Tina: “Amy Poehler is nominated for her work on Parks and Recreation.”
Amy: “I believe Amy is here tonight. Can we get a shot of her?”
[Camera pans to Jennifer Lawrence with Amy Poehler’s name at the bottom of the screen]
Tina: “She looks fantastic!”
Amy: “She looks amazing! Wow, radiant! It is hard to believe she’s a 42-year-old mother of two!”

Tina: “Meryl Streep is so brilliant in August: Osage County, proving that there are still great parts in Hollywood for Meryl Streeps over 60.”

The one about Meryl Streep is hilarious because few weeks ago Streep made an acceptance speech at Napalms Film Festival about how she’s grateful for the great roles she has received even though she’s over 60 years old and that there’s still opportunities for older women in Hollywood.

And this one below is my personal top favourite. Fey delivered it with enough deadpan aplomb. And the camera immediately panned to Sandra Bullock (George Clooney’s co-star in Gravity) who was laughing so hard she was slapping her knee. Priceless.

Tina: “Gravity is nominated for Best Film. It’s the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age.”

Tina:”Matthew McConaughey did amazing work this year. For his role in Dallas Buyers Club, he lost 45 pounds. Or what actresses call being in a movie.”

Amy: “One of the most nominated films this year is 12 Years a Slave. I loved 12 Years a Slave and I can honestly say that after seeing that film, I will never look at slavery the same way again.”
Tina: “Wait, how were you—”
Amy: “And what a year for television!”

Amy: “Before earning a Golden Globe nomination for his first ever actinrole in Captain Phillips, Barkhad Abdi was working as a limousine driver in Minnesota. There’s such a beautiful life lesson here, everyone: Sleep with your limo driver tonight. Before he gets famous.”

Amy: “A lot of nominated shows this year are actually on Netflix. House of Cards. Orange Is the New Black. Enjoy it while it lasts, Netflix. Because you’re not going to be feeling so smug in a couple of years when SnapChat is up here accepting Best Drama.”

What a great way to chase away those Monday blues. Seriously, go click on the link above already.

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LOL every day to keep all illnesses away

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Photo credit: Distractify.com

The 28 Most Flawless Responses To A Wrong Number Text…LOL! (http://distractify.com/fun/fails/24-flawless-responses-to-wrong-number-texts/)

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Photo credit: Distractify.com

The 35 Naughtiest Dogs On The Planet. You’ll Laugh So Hard When You See What They Did! (http://distractify.com/fun/fails/dogs-who-are-shamelessly-proud-of-what-they-just-did/)

Above are some of the funniest photos I’ve read in December 2013 and they are still funny in 2014. Both webpages are still open as tabs on my FireFox page. I can’t bear to close them just yet, because I still laugh whenever I read them again. And I’d laugh so hard that my stomach aches and my eyes tear. And since I’m a generous person, I am sharing them with you today, because I want you to laugh as heartily as I did. Haven’t you heard? Laughing really hard is equivalent to doing crunches and it’s more fun too. Fun and beneficial for health; what more can a rather lazy person ask for?

From the Telegraph UK (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7635143/Laughter-really-is-the-best-medicine-as-doctors-find-it-can-be-as-healthy-as-exercise.html):

“… the high you get from a giggling fit was similar to the endorphin rush from exercise. … it can reduce your risk of a heart attack and diabetes and generally regulate the body’s vital functions.”

From the Discovery channel (http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/10-reasons-why-laughing-good-for-you.htm):

“… laughter improves blood flow, suppresses stress hormones and gives you a burst of exercise. … laughter has been shown to increase levels of salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA), an important antibody that fights bacteria and infections, especially those in the respiratory system.”

Enjoy and spread the laughter!

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How I made peace with 2013

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Happy New Year! Have you been nursing a hangover for the past few hours or has the first day of a brand new year been subdued? I’ve been feeling sluggish since I woke up, after having a late night out that had no alcohol involved. How amazing is that? Well, maybe just a few sips of muscato to match the festivity. But I don’t regret it at all, because I had one of the best and most memorable New Year’s Eve celebrations ever and my body is still paying for it. Unlike last year when 2012 was refusing to go away quietly without a fight (it was pouring heavily that day), today has been peaceful. I am so psyched that I can tell you confidently that the smell of optimism and change is in the air.

For this year’s round-up, I am going to do something a bit different. I am not going to write about the things I regret doing (or not doing) in the past 12 months, or whine about my losses and sadness, or grumble about not meeting my goals or career progress, because those are in the past and they should remain there. Why should I bring them back again? So I can make myself depressed again? IT would be far healthier if I just focus on what I can do from now on instead. Agree?

So to sum up my life in 2013, it’s that I’ve learned to be grateful for the things I have, the people I have by my side, my good health, my good looks, my job, my intelligence, my earning power (that has kindly allowed me to splurge on ridiculously expensive branded shoes), my growing maturity and ability to trust my instincts better. I can also let you in on another secret: I have never loved myself more than this moment and I love me more every day. 😀

Showing gratitude and learning to love yourself more may sound simple, but it is not easy to do when you have discontent in your life or when you feel lost or if you keep harping on the past or worrying about the future. The one new useful skill I learned this year was meditation. And it has helped me greatly in being at ease with myself. Here’s a quote that I came across recently and I hope it gives you the encouragement to find peace within yourself:

‘If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.’

Anyway, in other exciting news, I have compiled — without the help of WordPress — a decent round-up of my top five most popular posts on this blog from 1 Jan to today. I have even made little comments next to their links to encourage you to view them (hint!) again to see why they were so popular.

Top posts from 1 Jan 2013 – 31 Dec 2013

  1. Care for each other even when you’re angry (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/care-for-each-other-even-when-youre-angry/)
    — Recalling an argument I had with someone and how I realised I needed to grow up.
  2. I woke up wanting to kiss you (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/i-woke-up-wanting-to-kiss-you/) — I was missing the same person I fought with and looking at some artwork by Emin inspired me to blog about how much I wanted to kiss her again.
  3. It’s my 30th birthday (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/its-my-30th-birthday/) — Narrating about the major events before I hit a big milestone in my life in one of my longest blog posts ever.
  4. Lorax made me LOL (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/lorax-made-me-lol/) — This was one of the top posts of 2012 and I had never expected me gushing over how adorable the bears in the movie to be so popular.
  5. When you really matter to someone (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/when-you-really-matter-to-someone/) — One of my saddest entries of the year after I was frustrated and had my heart broken by the same person. Again.

The number of views in 2023 was nearly double from the previous year’s views. Amazingly, huh?! Hahaha!

And since you’ve been such loyal readers, here are two BONUS posts that would keep you coming back for more. What can I say? I’m like Santa Claus, only better-looking. Haha!

  1. Tom Ford and Richard Buckley Forever (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/tom-ford-and-richard-buckley-forever/) — A touching love story of how two stylish good-looking men met, fell in love, changed each others’ lives and adopted a baby together. What’s not to like?
  2. Talking to you makes my day (https://theimaginarator.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/you-totally-make-my-day/) — Another top post from 2012 and it was about how some of the happiest days in my life was texting with the same person.

Right, so I have no New Year resolutions to make, because stats in general have shown that most people tend to give up on their lists after three months. So, I am going to start on my work now. Yes, yes, my line between holidays and work has always been this blurry. I believe in being productive whenever I can, and not having my life being dictated by the calendar. You, on the other hand, have my blessing to remain horizontal in bed and enjoy the rest of your day. Have fun!

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Laughter is the best drug

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Two or three weeks ago, I happened to turn on the TV one morning and an episode from Sex And The City was already playing halfway. I immediately settled down to watch it, because I secretly adore the show, even though I won’t tell anyone about it!

It was the second episode of the first season, so everything looked retro, even though it was only 1998 then. But it was still hilarious. It was about beautiful people, aka models, and whether dating them is a privilege or a chore (more like death sentence the way how it was portrayed in the show). And how less beautiful people, aka 99% of ordinary average-looking human beings, behave differently (feel insecure?) when they are around models. Hence, the title Models and Mortals.

The ending was particularly sweet. It was a conversation between Carrie Bradshaw and her Mr Big at the usual cafe that she writes her columns at.

Carrie typing on her laptop (VoiceOver): “I began to realise that being beautiful is like having a rent-controlled apartment overlooking the park — Completely unfair and usually bestowed upon those who deserve it least.”

Mr Big [walks into the cafe and slides into the booth where Carrie is at]: “I’m not interrupting your work, am I?”

Carrie: “Hey, what a surprise.”

Mr Big: “I can’t stay. I’m late for a meeting, but I’ve been thinking about your article on men who date models.”

Carrie: “What about them?”

Mr Big: “First of all, there are so many goddamn gorgeous women in this city.”

Carrie: “What an amazing observation.”

Mr Big: “But the thing is this … after a while, you just wanna be with the one that makes you laugh. Know what I mean?”

And Carrie couldn’t stop smiling after that. I guess she knew what Big meant? I didn’t really get the reference Carrie used in the beginning of the scene about the rent-controlled apartment. Maybe it’s a New York thing.

Anyway, my takeaway from this is that laughter is good. Being with someone who makes you laugh is better. Being able to laugh at the same things with that someone is even better. Being able to laugh at each other all the time? Now that’s gold.

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Lisa Kudrow’s epic speech on sexism

If you haven’t started watching the TV drama Scandal, you are missing out. You’ve gotta watch at the very least the sixth episode of the show’s third season, because it will blow your mind, especially if you believe in gender equality. I know I do, that’s why this was so inspiring.

In this episode of Scandal, Lisa Kudrow’s character, Congresswoman Josie Marcus delivers a scathing take-down of sexism in modern politics and the semantics with which men subtly put females down to her interviewer James Novak in an interview that is broadcast live on national TV.

“I know what prejudice looks like. It’s not about experience, James. It’s about gender. [Political opponent Governor Sam] Reston’s saying I don’t have the balls to be President and he means that literally. It’s offensive. It’s offensive to me and to all the women whose votes he’s asking for.”

Wow, right? Can you feel the room heating up? And the congresswoman goes on firing her bullets.

“It’s not just Governor Reston speaking in code about gender; it’s everyone, yourself included. The only reason we’re doing this interview in my house is because you requested it. This was your idea and here you are, thanking me for inviting you into my ‘lovely home’. That’s what you say to the neighbour lady who baked you chocolate-chip cookies. This pitcher of iced tea isn’t even mine; it’s what your producers set here. Why? Same reason you called me a ‘real-life Cinderella story’. It reminds people that I’m a woman without using the word. For you, it’s an angle, I get that, and I’m sure you think it’s innocuous, but guess what, it’s not.”

Powerful. Cutting. Straight to the point. And the politician who strives to be nice 24/7 finally shows that she has the temerity to bite when threatened. Strength is not derived from your gender, but your character.

“You’re promoting stereotypes, James. You’re advancing this idea that women are weaker than men. You’re playing right into the hands of Reston and into the hands of every other imbecile who thinks a woman isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief.”

The background story for her outburst is that minutes before her interview, Marcus is shown an ad from her political opponent Reston. The ad shows a woman’s trembling hand reaching for a doorknob, as the voiceover says: “On the other side of this door sit the leaders of Syria, China, and Iran. On the other side of this door is America’s future — success and failure, life and death. Does America really want an inexperienced hand opening this door?”

The ad doesn’t say it outright, but its subtext is indicating that a woman would not be confident enough to lead a country. Anyway, later in the episode, it was revealed that the ad was fake and created by Marcus’ campaign manager Olivia Pope to motivate her. Kinda expected if you’ve been following Scandal religiously. But still, excellent scriptwriting from the team, great editing and, of course, the kick-ass performance from Kudrow (but I have to admit that I keep expecting Phoebe Buffay to appear any moment).

The whole time I was watching the scene, I was subconsciously thinking of Hilary Clinton and whether she’d have the balls to make a speech like that. And would the American public love her or crush her in return? I’m already looking forward to the US presidential election in three years’ time, when hopefully Clinton or another strong capable female would run for the presidency and win. But most importantly, she would be an inspiring leader who runs the country efficiently and effectively. Now that would be quite a story to tell our future generations, don’t you think?

Credits: Celebuzz.com, The Atlantic

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It’s okay if you haven’t achieved anything yet

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So I opened my Feedly app and this image and headline was the cover page of the day’s top news. With over 700 “shares” for this article, there must be plenty of people feeling the same way as I do. Coincidence? I think not.

According to a Facebook employee, you don’t have to achieve everything when you’re young. That’s a relief because I was getting worried about my lack of stellar achievements in my 30 years on earth.

It’s true what Anthony Sharwood said on news.com.au: If you don’t have the most happening career and the most Twitter followers and the greatest this and the most excellent that, you might start to look at all your successful friends and wonder ‘Why isn’t my life like that?’. And then you might begin to feel pretty down on yourself.

If you’re sighing sorrowfully now like me, the following might just change your entire perspective for the better. Kejia Zhu is a 29-year-old guy who was born in China. He grew up in the UK and now lives in America. Here’s what the Facebook employee has to say about the pursuit of success in his blog post:

“Do you sometimes lie awake worrying that you aren’t succeeding fast enough? Are you tortured by younger peers who have global businesses, penned acclaimed books and a string of iron-man medals? Do you count down the years until you can no longer make the 30 under 30 list? Take a deep breath. My 92 year old grandpa has some advice for you.

“He is a tremendously accomplished individual and considered by many to be a pioneer in biomedical engineering. I visited him in Beijing recently. We were taking an after dinner stroll. I was pestering him for details about his career, looking for tidbits that might help my own. What was he like at my age? How did he work? Is there a secret a routine? He stops me mid-sentence: ‘You know, my career only really took off after I turned 58.’

“Hang on, what?

‘Yes, I’d say the 10 years between my 60s and 70s were my busiest.’

“I was floored. Here is a man who helped revolutionise medical technology and he did it in his twilight years.”

Kejia’s grandfather had gone through various hardships in China, because of the political turmoil and World War II. He found success only in the late 1970s.

“My grandpa’s story made me reflect upon the worship of youthful achievement and our drive to get it all so early in life. I, like many other insecure overachievers, feel an urgency to do big things. Deep down I know this anxiety is root in fear. That I’m not actually any good. That I will waste my shot at life and be a disappointment. So I strive for a quick success because I need to validate my worth. After that I can relax and everything will be plain sailing. Right? Instead, this warped expectation more often leads me to behave in a manner that’s unsustainable and counterproductive.

“It’s easy to forget that our careers extend for decades beyond our 20s and 30s. The truth is significant works usually take a long time. Whether it’s business, academia or the arts, most of the contributions made have been the result of many years of toil. It’s just that we hear of the young overnight success because that’s a more attractive narrative. Even then, those rare few who achieve a lot early in life do not simply stop. The race doesn’t end with the win.

“My grandpa had no choice but to wait a long time for his opportunity. It’s likely he would have achieved even more had be moved to the West. However, had he missed his moment, I dare say he would still have had a fulfilling life. Without the acclaim and recognition he’d still be the jovial, curious and industrious man I love.

“His advice to me: ‘Don’t be in so much of a rush. Be easier on yourself. Comparing yourself to what others are doing is a waste of time.'”

Kejia’s grandfather dispenses one last morsel of wisdom—an old Chinese saying “大器晚成” that roughly translates to “A big construction is always completed late.”

Encouraging, huh? If you had been holding your breath and worrying yourself sick this whole time wondering if you will ever get to the metaphorical “top”, you may exhale now. Take a chill pill and be patient.

Something else Kejia said to news.com.au struck a chord in me:

“It feels like I was part of the generation groomed to feel like they could and should achieve everything. I, for one, have been anxious about living up to this expectation and could see many of my peers felt the same, though it was never talked about. …

“Despite some early successes, I feel rather unremarkable here, which is a good thing. I wanted to be in a position, where I could feel like a rookie and soak up the learning. I do think that the high achievement-driven attitude that fuels this area has a negative impact on people’s expectations of themselves.”

You know what the moral of this blog post is, don’t you? Don’t fret over whether you’re the smarter than everyone else or if you’re way ahead in the rat race. Just know what you want in life and do things in your own time and trust that the universe will do the rest.