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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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The first step towards getting somewhere

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“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” —Unknown

Very true and wise, don’t you think? I’m been feeling so lazy recently it’s crazy how one can just lay in bed all day watching TV and playing on the iPhone. I’ve lost that bit of motivation somewhat in waking up early to have breakfast and get started on existing work or driving for more new business. I’ve been too … comfortable. And it scares me.

I recently attended a course on entrepreneurship, which discusses about the types of entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial traits and whether they are born with the qualities and if their circumstances that made them that way. It was a good module, because I finally learned how to spell “entrepreneur” correctly without struggling after the “p” part. Haha! But seriously, it taught me to look at myself — my behaviour in general, my attitude towards situations or people and my surroundings — and I have determined that I currently lack drive, because I’ve been too comfortable with life.

I still read a lot, but I’m not progressing any further with the new information and knowledge I’ve been absorbing like a sponge. I’m on a plateau and I need a push off it. I need to remind myself how thrilling it is to be filled with vigour in clinching new business, the pride in churning out quality work before the deadlines and (this is the most important bit) the joy in receiving that paycheque at the end of it.

Deep down, I know I’m born to do more with my time in this world. But the only way for me to do that is to stop sitting on (actually, it’s lying down most of the times) the plushy bed and get up (to work on the computer) to do stuff — useful things that will lift me up from the plateau to the peak of a menacing-looking mountain with a nice snowy cap. Perhaps I should take notes from a true entrepreneur, Richard Branson, who wanted more in life and dared to set up so many businesses and challenged the norm and was not afraid to fail and keep trying. In doing so, he became a knight for his bravery in the corporate world. Maybe if I ever falter and revert back to lazy mode, I should just keep asking myself: “WWRBD (What would Richard Branson do)?”

Sounds like a great doable plan. I have a totally smug expression now. If only you could see me now.

Right, so it’s five minutes more before my alarm rings for me to get ready for one full day of work. I’m gonna head out there to try seizing the day for myself. I hope this blog post has sort of inspired you to do the same. Carpe diem!

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I don’t know how

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If it’s true that you shouldn’t give up on someone you can’t go a full day without thinking about, then maybe we’d be the two happiest people in the world.

Because I still care. My feelings haven’t changed, despite the passing of time and all that had (or never) happened between us. Maybe it’s true that the mind might get upset and angry, but the heart will always find room for the one it truly loves.

I asked my friend, who is as wise as she is capable, a long long long time ago (most likely more than a year ago): ‘But if I stop contacting her… What if she never realises how much I miss her or how much I really love her and want to be with her?’

My friend looked me for what seemed like an eternity and finally replied: ‘Maybe one day she will read a book or see a sign and realise that the reason why you no longer call or text her is because you love her too much and have to let go now. You don’t need to ask.’

And then she smiled in that reassuring manner that she always has when consoling me.

My eyes stopped tearing from that moment. That night, my heart remained broken, but I felt that I had grown up a little and maybe one day, my heart will finally heal and you will know how I truly feel for you.

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A 2012 review of The Imaginarator’s blog

Happy New Year… ‘ssss Eve! In a few exciting hours’ time, it’d be the start of a brand new year. Maybe that is why it has been pouring chubby dogs and fat cats the entire day. Year 2012 is refusing to go away quietly, without a long-drawn-out fight for its right to stay.

Anyway, in other exciting news, WordPress.com has kindly helped compile a very pretty 2012 annual report (lovely pic included) for this five-year-old blog. Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

The number of views is nearly a five-fold increase from last year. Amazingly, huh?! And these are the top five posts that got the most views in 2012 and they all have got one thing in common. It was about the love I had for someone. Impressive, huh?! My writing has staying power. Hahaha!

Okay, I have to start on my other year-end lists now. See you in 2013!

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Love actually

The beginning of two great days

I first wrote this post shortly after we came back and I updated subsequently several times on 2 and 17 January, 21 February, 4 April, 24 and 31 Dec last year as well as a few times this year. But finally on the fourth anniversary of starting this blog, I thought publishing this post would be rather apt. So here goes.

This pic was taken moments before the ferry set off to our next destination and 15 Dec 2010 was the beginning of two fucking great days.

I couldn’t sleep the night before excited and fearful of what was to come because the past few days had been a torment in more than one way. But really, we didn’t have to worry so much. Things picked up where we left off.

It started with home-made heart shaped pasta for breakfast. We were sitting there waiting for the ferry when she whipped out a tupperware box and said: “Breakfast!”

Now I love surprises a lot because it’s rare that I would be surprised since I would have figured it out beforehand or forced the information out of someone. And trust me, I was trying really hard, almost persistent, to get the info out from her the night before so this was a literally real treat.

The pasta had crab meat in slightly spicy tomato sauce and a little hard-boiled egg at the side. It was 8.55am and I can rave on and on about how delicious the pasta was and how I was grinning non-stop but I really hate to brag, Internet, because there is so much more to come.

We got up the ferry and started snapping photos of ourselves in our sunglasses. I tried to look suave and failed. If you ever saw me, you’d know I belong to the goofy genre, or as what she would always say, I have this general sheepish look all the time.

She was portraying a 60s look, although it could be the camera filter I was using that gave her that classic retro look. I thought she looked amazing. Then again, she always does and she knows how beautiful she is to me even if I would only say it silently in my heart.

Sleep was slightly hard to come by as we were distracted by Ice Age 3, playing on the big television screen. I couldn’t tell you much about the movie now, except it had mammoths and an irritating sloth which was trying to raise three T-Rexes. What I remember is it was nice holding hands, enjoying the cozy moments of her lying on my shoulder with my arm wrapped around her as the ferry gently churns its way across the sea.

When we arrived, we were almost immediately chauffeured to BYT where friendly staff, cold towels and a rather disgusting drink that was touted to be full of health benefits awaited us. After checking in, we were ushered to the spa room where we would be pampered, oiled, scrubbed and massaged for the next two hours. It was paradise on earth and if the world had ended then, I would have died the happiest person in the whole universe because I was with her.

We then retreated to our villa, where we chilled, rested, tumbled around, dined and napped in luxury. When we finally woke up, it was close to last order for dinner and we hurriedly got changed and headed down to a restaurant within BYT. The dinner was okay, because nothing could beat what happened back at our villa. We had champagne in a bucket, the jacuzzi turned on, some entertainment show playing on TV and a cheesecake that she made herself and had my initial on it. She also gave me what was probably a whole year’s supply of presents. I was so dumbfounded and touched and delighted that I couldn’t speak. Maybe she really loved me after all, in spite of what had happened in the past, I remember thinking. And I have never loved her more since then. The next few hours of our night were some of the best sleepless fun we ever had, and also censored from public viewing. Haha.

We woke up the next day to a splendid ocean view. In a half-awake stupor, I turned to look at her. And she looked at me and we smiled. I said: “I can wake up to this view every day. I can live like this forever.”

Because baby, you’re amazing just the way you are.

There’s this kind of love that sneaks up on you and softly taps you on your shoulder when you least expect it and hits you really hard. Every moment seems a little crazy and impossible at first — from the person you are with and how they make you feel to the new things you find yourself doing for them. You’re almost freaked out by the depth of love you feel growing within you and there are times you find your breath taken away or reach new levels of frustration. You might shrug your shoulders and say: ‘Maybe this won’t last at all, let’s just enjoy this for now and see where this takes us.’ But then one day, you realise you want this person more than anything else you have ever wanted in your entire life, because what both of you have is more than love. It’s proof that you fit together perfectly and that you are soulmates and how incredible lucky you are to have found each other out of seven billion people in the whole world. So yes, in spite of everything and even though how the passing of time is supposed to dilute our memories and feelings, I love you still.

“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.” — Nicholas Sparks

Merry Christmas, everyone! 😀

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It’s my 30th birthday

Happy 30th BirthdayBe nice.

Today’s the day I turn 30. And I am a little nonchalant about the 30 years I have taken to get here. It should be an impressive milestone celebrated with the family, close friends and perhaps a life partner, but all I feel is ‘meh’. While in my teens, I’ve always thought I’d die young.You know, because I’d be living the fast and dangerous rebel’s life.

But the minute I hit 25, my perspective changed to ‘I want to live for as long as possible and to do great things in my life’. So far, I have accomplished the ‘live as long as possible’ bit, but sadly I’m still far away from the ‘do great things’ part and was getting depressed over it.

So what did I do? I Googled about ‘turning 30’. And my best friend did not let me down. In 0.43 seconds, it showed me 234,000,000 results on why turning 30 may not be that bad after all.

Julie Tilsner, who wrote about the subject in her book 29 and Counting, said:

‘Thirty is nothing to be afraid of. You’ve got a whole new decade to work with, and this time you’re prepared! You’re educated, you have years in the workplace, you finally know what your hair will and won’t do. You can still dance on tables, but you have some life experience. Turning 30 is actually a really awesome thing.’

All sounds very positive. So there’s absolutely nothing to feel gloomy or to freak out about.

30 Is Different for Everyone

When I was younger, I’d dream about being an astronaut, or a pilot (much like Tom Cruise from Top Gun. Still a brilliant film and a handsome guy, no matter what anyone says!) or Indiana Jones. Whether I become a lawyer or a doctor, I’d be cool, charismatic and carefree like the heroes I aspire to be.

Then I hit the teenage years and things started going downhill from there. I got mixed up in the wrong crowds, I played truant from school, I ran away from home, I gave up a promising sports career in the national team and I dropped out of school. All before I turned 16. In short, I got distracted from obtaining a good education that would supposedly set me on my path to greatness.

Two years later, I woke up metaphorically from my ‘going-nowhere-in-life’ slumber. I also had my first major heartbreak from a relationship I thought would last forever. I nearly killed myself because of one person, until my mum came home just in time to stop me. How silly, right? I felt stuck working in a restaurant. There is nothing with earning a decent living as a service staff, but it just didn’t feel like I was in the right job, doing the right thing I like. That got me thinking about my life, my future and myself.

I picked up the pieces, bit by bit. I changed to a permanent part-time job at a pub and I signed up for part-time classes to get the necessary certifications to get to the art school I wanted. I even went back to my former secondary school to seek help from my art teacher to improve my portfolio. That was how determined I was.

At age 20, I finally got into the art school I was aiming for. I was taking my car and motorbike licences. I had a relatively cushy part-time job. I met someone new to get over the heartbreak I had been nursing for the past two years. I was popular in school, just like in secondary school. So I was still cool, charismatic and carefree. I was delighted with life.

In the year that I was due to turn 21, I met someone who would prove to be a great love of my life. We spent all our waking hours together and we were inseparable and everyone was envious of us and what we had. There were rough moments. I had the nastiest temper and I was immature. And yet we were together for the next five years, most of which were good and we stuck together through the ups and all obstacles that objected to our relationship. We had a fiery relationship and sparks flew all the time. But it was tough to keep the spark between us alive, and ultimately, it was to burn out like a flame. I had to let go.

In my 25th year on earth, I found a job I enjoyed and something I can proudly proclaim to be relatively good at and skills that have enabled me to earn a decent living. I was a journalist. I’ve always wanted to write for a living and I did. I also met someone I thought I could fall in love with and start afresh in my love life. Well, it started afresh alright, but it wasn’t meant to last because I was still in love with the great love of my life. I couldn’t let go and it took a toll on me. I had volatile mood swings and my behaviour was dodgy. I would have dumped my sorry ass too, now that I am looking back. We spent close to a year together, but the relationship ended and gave me the second major heartbreak of my relatively young life. It took me a year to get over it and dust the debris away. One of the reasons I created this blog was to write about the pain I had inside me. I was broken for a long time, but while learning to deal with the pain, I learned many things about myself and I made some new lasting friendships that helped me through the turmoil I was in.

Soon the year I was turning 28 arrived. And I met someone whom I wanted to give my whole life to make her happy all the time. More than half of the posts published (and set as private) on this blog have been dedicated to her. I have never filled up so much virtual space about someone before. I have no idea if I would ever do (or feel) the same for anyone else again.

Now That I Am Finally 30
Now that I am turning 30, the past no longer seems like a chink on my armour. I get that I may not be as talented, as popular, as good-looking, as famous, as wealthy as other people my age, but it’s okay. I am still special in my own way; I am a little unique snowflake that will just be doing adult-like things in my own time. I may not be a best-selling author or a successful CEO yet, but I am still a success in my own way.

Should I have spent my teens studying hard and get Bs so I could have gotten into a good college? Should I have not spent all my hours on going to dance clubs and drink myself silly? On hindsight, maybe I should have. Should I have done better in art school instead of watching TV and playing Warcraft with my friends and indulging in Football Manager on most of my days? Maybe. But I didn’t, because I have not touched Warcraft or Football Manager since 2005 and I do not regret getting the most joy out of those games, even though I know I was wasting my time.

Yes, there are people who have made millions before they are 25, earn $10,000 a month by 27 or be famous and successful entrepreneurs before turning 30. Maybe I am an exception. Maybe I am on a different timeline from the rest and there is no happiness to be gained if I keep comparing myself with others. Life is not a race. Life is what you make of it and how happy and satisfied you deem yourself to be, not to spend your hours being envious of others.

Our whole idea about life before or after 30 should not be defined by the progress we are supposed to make or terms dictated by society. It doesn’t mean if we don’t realise our potential by 30, we are never going to succeed; there may be pieces of us that take years to gel and make us the successful person we will become.

According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, author of Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, we should live our whole life as if we’re in our twenties. ‘It’s that keep-inching-forward mentality that will allow you to be happy with your choices.’

Yes, I admit I am a little sad at the things I have not accomplished or the stuff I thought I would have achieved by now like being an extremely successful high-flyer, having my own apartment, being with the love of my life and travelling around the world. Maybe I am too old to be an astronaut now. Maybe this is the wrong era to be Indiana Jones. Maybe there were many decisions I could have made to get to a different place from where I am now.

But, have I failed at life? I went from a school dropout to studying part-time for a business degree now (very much like Larry Crowne but without the hot lecturer. Nice movie anyway. Go watch it!). I went from a junior service staff to having a relatively okay-paying mid-level media job I enjoy. I have my health (until the results confirm otherwise) and my parents who love me more than I can ever imagine. I am much more confident now and wiser than in my 20s. I am also more than okay to spend time alone and to enjoy my own companionship. I also value myself more. I imagine life can only go up from here.

I am not sure if I will like the idea of turning 30 at all, but now that I am already here, I might as well enjoy it while it last. After all, there’s still the looming 31 to dread over.

So, I will enjoy the year ahead with as much vigour as a unique little snowflake should, because I am 30 and to hell with the rest of you, I’m gonna celebrate by pampering myself the whole of today.

Because today is my day, and no one can be Me-er than Me. 🙂

And stay tuned for the 30 life lessons I’ve learned from my 30 years.

[Image via Sommecards]

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Being socially awkward is my specialty

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(I wrote this blog post on 21 September 2011 and decided to add the fourth paragraph and publish it today because I finally found the right pic for it. Haha… Ha! Yes, I even laugh awkwardly.)

I have been told quite frequently that I am socially awkward. That I can somehow appear uncomfortable in almost any situation.

I am so awkward with myself that some people actually laugh at me because they find it amusing to see me uncomfortable. Maybe they find me endearing. I don’t know.

Someone once told me: “You’re just naturally awkward.”

And she always says I have a sheepish look, just like my dog form, who always look sheepish no matter he does. And she would always give me an incredulous ‘Tsk tsk, why like that, huh?’ expression after that. At which point, I would look down at my feet and grin sheepishly, wondering why too.

Maybe being awkward is really my true talent in life?

I should have a reality TV show to track all my awkward behaviours. It’d be terrible but hey, if people can find the Kardashians interesting, surely my awkwardness can find a niche audience somewhere. Plus, I have been told by many I have excellent fashion sense. So I can be an awkward eye candy?

Maybe some of you would be thinking how and why I would describe myself as awkward. The truth is I don’t really know. I just am.

I can wear the best-looking suit and most dashing shoes to work and still look out of place at a posh event. Presentable, but inept at being a fluttering eloquent social butterfly.

Maybe I am too self-conscious because I think I have a horrible thick boorish accent. I sometimes feel that I speak as though I hail from a rural land where English is the third language. It gets worse when I have to address a crowd of corporate people, I feel even more like a country bumpkin in an ill-fitted suit. But with really, really good hair and a winsome smile. Weird, I know.

I also dislike air kisses. A naturally awkward person should never attempt to air kiss under any circumstances. True story.

Which side of the cheek should one aim at first? The left or the right? What if both people decide to air kiss at the same direction at the same time? Awkward…