Turning 24,

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Turned 24 two weekends ago! I intended to type down a lil bit of my thoughts on turning a year older but I’ve been swamped both work-wise and personal life wise. But succumbing to a flu, cough and sore throat has got me home early from work today so I have a little bit of time of my hands.

My year as a 23-year-old wasn’t exactly as monumental or life-changing. In fact it was rather stagnant. In terms of work, I don’t think I’ve made much progress, but rather, I’m still in the process of learning. Outside of work, nothing much has happened. I guess you could say it was a static year.

I think I lead a simpler life now. My after work activities consist of just dinner with friends. Weekends are for winding down from the week or catching the latest movies. A stark contrast to the partying I did from 19-22 haha! But it’s a good change. A change for the better.

My social circle has drastically reduced. When you get older, it’s so much easier to sieve out the real friends from the fake ones. And one thing you realise…you’re perfectly contented with just a handful of good friends. It’s more important to invest in these real relationships rather than putting in so much effort in people that will just stop checking up on you one day. I’ve got real gems I can count on. Not forgetting, the unfailing love of my family.

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Birthday celebrations were kept simple as well – just the way I wanted it to be. Kicked off the weekend with a dinner and a movie with my friends. My birthday eve was spent with the greatest boyfriend, who meticulously planned everything out (and even spoilt me with six gifts!) My birthday itself fell on Mother Day’s so it was a joint celebratory dinner for my family. Very fitting indeed since I wouldn’t be here without my mum. Funnily enough, I ordered a cake and flowers set for her, not knowing she was going to surprise me with a cake as well (and a Chanel one!). The gift for my mum brought tears to her eyes as it was unexpected. That was my favourite memory of the day.

So my birthday came and went and I can’t help but notice how quiet and fuss-free this one was. I used to go all out for my birthday celebrations but this simple one, spent with the ones I treasure the most, was so perfect. Is this a sign of getting old?

Next year onwards I’ll officially be in my mid twenties, probably caught in a quarter life crisis. But for now, I shall enjoy being a 24-year-old and worry about that later. Sure, I didn’t make any giant leaps as a 23-year-old but one thing’s for sure – I am happy (well, with the exception of pre-menstrual syndrome periods), healthy and loved. All I wish for in this year is that that doesn’t change. After all, that’s all that matters.

xx,

Mel

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“You pour yourself into the thing that measures you and it defines you. And I just hope that one day you find out that you’re fuller when you measure yourself in love and people and moments, instead of things, adoration and money.” – I Wrote This For You and Only You

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I Can’t Keep Still,

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For as long as I can remember, I have an issue with remaining listless. I get bored easily. Even staying home for a day at times and doing absolutely nothing can make me go crazy.

I’ve always piled up my schedule. It started way back in secondary school, where I balanced schoolwork, Indian Dance as a CCA, and my Drama Elective. And then came JC, when Theatre Studies plus Indian Dance saw me staying in school till around 9pm on a regular basis.

When uni came, I have to admit I got too excited. I started off with acting with NUS Stage, and then decided I wanted to try something completely different and joined the cheerleading squad. Practice was crazy, and suffice to say my grades suffered. Then I decided I wanted to be a writer and started writing for the school magazine. If all that wasn’t enough, I went and got myself an external contributing writer stint.

I entered the working world pretty early as compared to some of my peers. Fresh from graduating, I began my full-time job. Work has consumed me, but I soon found that outside of my job, I didn’t amount to anything much. Yes, I got bored. After all, my job became more of a commitment and responsibility as opposed to something I had the liberty of choosing to do because I enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy what I do very much (on most days). But a job is a job at the end of the day.

So recently, I got involved in theatre again. Albeit its a small thing, I’m actually looking forward to it. Finally, I’m indulging in some of my interests outside of my job. It even makes sacrificing my Saturday mornings for the next few months to attend rehearsals worth it.

Honestly, I’m still not too sure how this is all going to pan out. Knowing me, I pile my schedule up like crazy and then get overwhelmed and suffer some kind of breakdown or exhaustion.

But from all my years of taking on much more than I can actually handle, I’ve realised that I’ve never regretted it. These little things that take up your time actually make for some of the best memories in my life.

So I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that I’m going to enjoy this process, no matter how exhausting, stressful or tiring it may be.

After all, sacrifices are needed to live a meaningful life.

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The Comfort Zone,

I’ve been thinking a lot about the comfort zone recently.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I thought I would rate my bravery to explore beyond my comfort zone as a 7. I mean, I lived in Colombia for approximately two months and risked getting shot in the head and/or getting kidnapped…I kid, Colombia is actually not as dangerous as people think. You just need to know the places to stay away from. In spite of its ‘rougher’ areas, Colombia is still the most beautiful and welcoming country I’ve ever been in and I strongly encourage everyone to visit. (Side note: I’ve been watching Narcos and it’s making me miss Medellin sooo much)

Back to the point.

I think recently I’ve been doing things that are out of my comfort zone. First it was trekking up Mt. Batur and then it was abseiling down Goa Jomplang (which I will blog about soon I hope), both of which were in Indonesia. These activities are relatively simple, but although I’ve always wanted to do such things, I was much too often plagued by worries. But it’s like biting off a small chuck of chocolate. Once you’ve had that tiny piece, you find yourself craving more. I want to do more adventurous stuff in the future!

But actually that’s not the point of this post hahaha.

The point is – when it comes to bigger life decisions, I find myself choosing my comfort zone. For example, in the past couple of weeks, I was pondering over a job prospect in another country. Usually, I would be excited to get the opportunity to work outside of Singapore. But the country in question was less than ideal, not even a country I am even keen to visit on holiday.

So, I decided to let it go. Now I’m not sure if I turned it down because the prospect wasn’t a good one, or I was just unwilling to leave my comfort zone. Not forgetting, the older you get, the more you need to choose practical over ideal. It’s very easy for someone to say he/she would gladly uproot his/her life and move somewhere elsewhere. But when the opportunity presents itself, not everyone will take it up. There’s actually so much at stake as well. Family, friends, maybe a lover…Who is going to look after your parents while you’re away? Is it going to be easy to come back and pick up where you left off?

How do you muster up the courage to take the plunge and follow an idealistic dream and ignore the consequences and the paralyzing fear that may or may not come with your choice? That’s what I’ve been pondering over.

Disclaimer: I don’t regret the decision I made. At least, not at the moment. Maybe the right opportunity will come knocking on my door another time and I won’t even have to muster up any courage, because I would be 100% willing to take the leap.

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The Magic of Bon Iver,

 

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Caught Bon Iver live with X on Friday. It was such a beautiful night, you have no idea. My favourite album is probably For Emma, Forever Ago (cathartic break-up album haha) but since it’s the earlier album, I was afraid it wouldn’t be played as much. But my fears were unfounded! I especially enjoyed Flume and Blindsided, but that’s just me being biased cos they’re my favourites from the album. And then there was the breathtaking performance of Skinny Love. Throughout the concert, an entire band was present including The Staves who served as backup singers (and were extremely magical I must say, such angelic voices), but for Skinny Love, it was just Justin Vernon, his guitar and his incredible voice. He actually has a good sense of humour too, which was perfect because it was a break from all them feeeeeelssss of the music.

Safe to say I have #noragrats paying 70 bucks for a ticket.

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“She would consider each day a miracle – which indeed it is, when you consider the number of unexpected things that could happen in each second of our fragile existence.”

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Artsy Fartsy,

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I have a confession to make: I have never been particularly interested in art. I’ve never been good at it either. When all my classmates were getting their school assignment artworks displayed around school, none of that happened to my work. In fact, there was one time I got my sister to do my artwork for me. It was a beautiful drawing – something I wouldn’t have been able to create on my own. I brought the artwork to school but to my horror, my teacher said: “Okay now draw the exact same thing on this paper instead.”

Anyway, I digress.

I think most of us associate art with the upper class. That’s a fair assumption I guess. After all, prices of art pieces tend to be rather high. I work on a magazine targeted at richer people in society. So from time to time, I would attend art fairs to see if there’s anything interesting to cover. Usually I just take a quick look around, wouldn’t really stand at an art piece and scrutinize it.

This changed when I was working on an article for Chinese Contemporary Art. I approached an established art gallery in Singapore to see if they were willing to do an interview with me. The gallery manager – let’s call her S – answered my call and everything was set!

There are two kinds of interviews a writer will experience. The good kind and the bad kind. The good kind consists of truckloads of information, and juicy quotes, that you could use for your article. The bad kind is usually just mehhh answers. My interview with S was the good kind. In fact, I would even go as far to say that it was possibly the best interview I’ve ever conducted.

She gave me so much information, it was as though she was the Google of Chinese Contemporary Art! But what I really enjoyed about the interview was the art pieces she picked out to show me. She told me what she loved about them, the meanings behind them and what made them so special. I have to admit, I was intrigued.

The past couple of weeks have been rather artsy for me. The National Gallery recently opened so I decided to head down. On top of that, last week was Singapore Art Week and S was very kind to give me VIP tickets to Art Stage.

In particular, I really like pieces that capture a sense of time. I’ve always loved history. I studied H2 History in JC and honestly I would have majored in History in uni if I didn’t pick Communications in the end. I find it very fascinating to see how the world was like in the past – all through the eyes of the artist. Some do it so beautifully that it actually makes you stop to take a longer glance.

Then there are those pieces that evoke some kind of emotion in you. There are also those that are done so creatively and ingenuously that it really makes you wonder why you weren’t born with the same talent and skill hahaha.

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Spiel by Antonio Santin. One of my favourite works from Art Stage. It’s a textural oil painting that is made to look 3D. Appears to have a body popping out under the carpet but it’s really just a painting!

Anyway, I think I have a newfound interest in art. The sad part is I probably wouldn’t be able to afford an art piece for my future home, but I guess it’s always nice to admire them once in awhile.

I’ll end this post with a quote from S:

 “Art holds a significant value that money cannot buy. You can buy a lot of things, but you can never turn back time. Eras will pass, but with an art piece, you will still hold a piece of history in your hands.”

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