TWENTY NINE

Credits: Nicole Lim

Gonna be honest and caveat that I’m writing this at the very last minute, right before my birthday. Life has been busy, so I’ve had no time to sit down to really reflect on what I want to pen down. I know, so unlike me who is usually meticulous in planning ahead. In the last year, I have learned to embrace this thing called “chaos” because there is just never enough time and energy for everything. How anyone can function with only 24 hours is beyond me. So on most days, like today, I just zombie through life from lack of sleep. But despite the busyness of life, I think it’s important that I do this every year. Maybe when I’m old and grey, I’ll look back and think fondly of my youth which is very quickly fleeting. Back pain is real and it doesn’t come at 40. My advice is get into strength training while you’re young. It has done wonders for my body. Anyhoo without further ado…

Indifferent.

That’s how I feel about turning 29 this year. In my early 20s, I used to think that I would hit all the “normal milestones” that society — and old Asian people — expected of any woman. All this had to be achieved by the time they hit the big three-zero. But here I am. An opinionated and independent girl who would rather struggle carrying large Ikea purchases from the car to my doorstep than to let another human being help unless completely necessary. Also for the curious, I enjoy fixing Ikea furniture alone, it’s therapeutic. More importantly, though, I refuse to conform to the norms that are expected of “a woman my age”. There is no ring on my finger, no tiny human making a mess of my apartment and I am most definitely single. No surprises there.

I’ll admit, seeing all the proposals, weddings and babies on social media sometimes makes me feel like I’m missing out on something “great” — left behind on a platform as the trains go by without stopping. It can be crippling. Some days, there’s this sense of panic and urgency. I get back on the quest but alas, the search is pointless and the red flags are plenty. I give up, go through acceptance (again) and conclude, after much strife, that all will be well.

Content.

That’s how I feel about my life because I know with certainty that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. I have a job that I enjoy and a home to call my own. I never understood true freedom until I moved out. It’s scary and insane but so worth it because you get to make decisions that push you out of your comfort zone. My only complaint is that on the days when I cannot decide what to eat, it’s frustrating. And to know that this will be a daily struggle until I die is pretty hilarious. Adulting is 50% trying to make it out alive and 50% deciding on what the hell to have for dinner. The cycle is endless. So annoying.

I’ve also embraced being Aunty Nise in the last year. With my close friend popping one out — well, his wife — I’ve been able to enjoy the fun bits of playing with the baby minus the poop blowouts and butt wiping. That’s a pretty good deal, don’t you think? He’s the cutest little man with the cheekiest smile that just melts me. Despite being only 9 months, his personality is far more interesting than those of grown-ass men boys on dating apps lol.

Excited.

That’s how I feel about the year ahead because I believe in a good God. Trusting Him does not mean that things will go my way. Rather, knowing that whatever happens, I’m in safe hands. It’s something that I’m still learning but there’s no need to panic or feel like a blessing is lost. Truth be told, I’m a pretty idealistic person and I had this checklist when I was younger but I scraped it about 2 years ago and I’m so glad that I did. I’m more focused on what is in front of me and have started to really live in the moment instead of waiting for the “next big thing” to happen. God’s way and God’s timing — whatever it may be. 

I’ve started journaling again and it has helped so much with the way I process my thoughts. My thoughts can get overwhelming sometimes but physically penning it down without worrying about structure, grammar and spelling just gives me clarity. It puts things into perspective and changes the way you view your problems. Sometimes the big ones aren’t so big after all.

Loved.

That’s how I feel about turning 29. I am surrounded by amazing people who bring out the best in me and encourage me to be better every day. Community is so important. Finding people who will journey life with you and truly cheer you on is rare. I’ve learned that not everyone will stay but that’s okay because it’s better to weed out people who don’t value you. People who stay through your bullshit definitely should be people you keep, even if sometimes they have to call you out and give you some tough love. I’ve had to re-evaluate so many aspects of my life and I have to say that my outlook has changed a lot. I used to be the person that would see the glass half-empty but I’m conditioning myself to be grateful for the glass half-full. Seeing life through these lenses has made me aware that there are many things to be grateful for. I don’t want to settle just existing. I want to thrive.

So here’s to another year of being alive. Another year of journeying in faith. Another year to spend with my family. Another year to annoy my friends. Another year to be cool Aunty Nise. Another year to live my best life. Another year to find joy in the big and little things.
Hello, 29.

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