Jan 07, 2022
In The biggest lessons in my 20s
five years being away from home and yet, saying goodbye to my parents after every trip home never gets easier. annual trips back home pre covid were a given which I took for granted. each trip, I would either go out with friends, spend time with my then boyfriend whom I already saw every day or just mindlessly hang around the house with no plans or intention. even then, the small fraction of time spent with my parents was enough to make a teary goodbye at the airport every time. after two years apart, we were finally reunited and this trip could not have been lovelier. intentional time, surprise gifts and just good wholesome time spent with no boyfriend and no distractions in between us this time. maybe it was the time apart and the distance of time and space which made it all the more sweeter for us. but this goodbye stung so much more. I'm now in a 12 hour long transit waiting for my flight back but I'm still fighting the tears. at the airport gate, my mom told me it's ok, don't be sad, you have everything, remember what you're going back for. a job? a career? a life that many can only dream of? I don't know. what am I going back for? all the designer bags, new clothes and jewellery in my hand carry could not justify this pain... no amount of money could make me give up even a day with my parents... and yet I was leaving. "this is your path, you're doing so well, you have so much to look forward to in your life there." I don't know if I see it anymore. maybe it was really covid. maybe it was seeing how many missed funerals and goodbyes people had to go through. maybe it was seeing how good life is in a simple coffee shop with my aging parents. I don't know. I always found pride in this so called path. at the precipice of youth I'd say. nothing is in vain! but honestly I don't know if all that is worth it anymore...
Feb 08, 2021
In Dating in my 20s
A full year has passed since our last conversation. I still ruminate over your words - piercing and cold, how your eyes shifted with indifference. "You're fucked in the head", you hissed. Three years together and I thought I've seen every form of you. The boy who waited at my door with flowers. The guy who spent the whole day with me and drove my entire family to the airport before our flight to Japan. Your muffled voice as you wake up to your consecutive 6th alarm, loud enough to wake everyone up but yourself. Your tantrums when you're stuck behind a terrible driver in traffic. But I've never seen you this ugly. Where did my baby go? Was it the months of me incessantly expressing my frustration from carrying the weight of the relationship? Was it my unreasonable expectations I held against you? Was it that fight we had the night before our final road trip together? Was it that thing I said about your mom? Or that thing you said about my mom? The question of what led us into this dark hole was deeply unsettling, because unlike the usual equations which had one exact solution, this question was one I had too many answers for. A full year ago, I was pathetically crying over a boy who felt proud to tell me he didn't love me at all just 2 months after our break-up. A full year ago, I was laying in bed paralyzed by the heartache and the migraine that came from sobbing for hours. A full year ago, just the sight of you could turn my insides out. Now, I live my best life, in my own time, in my own peace - I run and climb and do whatever the fuck I want. I go out for dinners with different friends 4 times a week. I unapologetically claim to be the prettiest girl in the room, even if it isn't true. I smile at strangers. I treat friends with kindness, and accept endings with grace. Now, hearing your name, seeing you appear in someone else's Instagram story or bumping into you doesn't have the same effect on me anymore. I admit, I still pause for a second and reflect to think of our separate lives now, and though I don't feel sad about it, I still feel something. A few days ago, a friend was driving me home at 1AM through the city. His car stopped at an intersection and as I looked up, instantly I recognized you, crossing the street. What are the chances really? At first, I thought it was just another not-the-haha-type of funny story I usually tweet about. But now since I am on this website that is meant to dig at every corner of my soul, I feel like it is worth another post. (this isn't a post to trash my ex, at least it isn't my intention. I was no saint either let's be real) There I was, coming back from a party with friends you don't even know I have, in this guy's car whom I met after we cut each other off. And there you were, at 1AM, 13 degrees in T-shirt and shorts. A full year ago, I could intuitively tell what your exact feelings were at any given time. Now, you're living your best life, in your own time, in your own peace. I couldn't even begin to guess where you went, or who you met. A full year has passed and I was still compelled to ask myself, "What were you even doing at that time?". But a full year has passed, and I was no longer compelled to find the answer. Here we are, at an intersection, living our separate lives, a full year later. (*cue my tendency of drawing parallels from the most obscure events*) I've come a long way since. I no longer check on your Facebook, my days are no longer numbered by you. But I wonder if I am fully healed, or if this fleeting sense of nostalgia that hits every once a while means I am still not out of the woods just yet. I've had waves where I think about the good times we had, when we were young and mystified by this thing we called love and I am left feeling wistful. Sometimes, I get hit by pangs of fury, angered by fights blown out of proportion, words we claimed we didn't mean, love taken for granted and I am again convinced that my life is now better off. And yet, I get frustrated when I walk past that Mr. Kitchen store and am reminded of your excited face when I come home and surprise you with a red bean donut you like so much. I get frustrated when I see someone's Instagram post of Earl Grey Milk tea with coffee jelly and think about the times we used to get that exact order after gym. I get frustrated when I see a red car drive by and I reminisce over the countless car rides and karaoke sessions we used to have in your red car. I get frustrated when I see a couple on the street reaching out for each other's hands with such assurance and I think about the first time we held hands and the many times after that I took for granted. I get frustrated when you appear in my dreams and I am reluctant to get up and start my day now that you're no longer part of it. I get frustrated that even after a full year has passed, I could recognize that slight hunch you have in your stride, even from a passing car. Small relapses for perennial progress, is what they say. My mom tells me that one day, it won't matter anymore, and I will look back at us and laugh. I am half relieved half scared. Relieved, that eventually, the imprints of my first boyfriend from high school will no longer shape the formative years of my 20s. Scared, that there will be bigger and worse heartbreaks to come, like this one wasn't bad enough. While I hope my mom is right, I am still grateful for the indelible marks you left me, for the love you gave that took me a full year to recover from its loss. Can't say the lesson was worth the agony, but I got through it nonetheless, a full year later.
Jan 28, 2021
In Thoughts in my 20s
Like 54 other people I know (jokes, I don't know that many people), I too took up the habit of running during lockdown. It started out as a sad way of consoling myself after two full months of binge eating, a terrible sleep pattern and gaining all the weight I tirelessly burnt off crying after a break up (and then some). Truth be told, I hated it. I still do for the most part even though I run 5 times a week. It never gets easier. I constantly cheat on Strava, pausing whenever I stop to walk, ending the route each time I reach 3Ks or when my pace falls below 5.3mins/km. I think a lot before I start a run - is the weather good? do I have the time today? should I shave so I can wear my favorite tank and bike shorts? I think a lot about what comes after my runs - what's for dinner today? how long should I run for? But very rarely do I expect of what happens during my runs. I just switch my headphones on and run. Though, I can't say my daily les cours are entirely mindless and passive - I do think a lot, about myself, about work, about the guy I was seeing for 8 months before I found out he had a girlfriend. And lately, I've been thinking about the parallels of running and the stage of my life now. For every run, I start knowing I wouldn't be on this run forever. I am aware of when and where this run starts and where it ends. Running feels transitory and very much like how I feel about most things in my life now - passing strangers in transit, some so fit and strong (people who make me feel sorry for myself), some barely catching a breath (people who I feel sorry for) and some who have turned into slight familiar faces we share awkward half smiles with once in a while. Life in my 20s now feels temporary - I won't be in uni forever. This job placement will eventually end. I take subjects and be done with them every 3 months. I will outgrow boyfriends and move on. This guy I'm seeing will probably be tired of my commitment issues. I have so much control of what happens before these few, yet important years of my life, and so much certainty of what I want to happen after. And much like my runs, I unfortunately have no control of what happens in between - the turn of events, the people passing through and the chances of meeting them again. Will I make it to grad school? Will I make my parents proud enough by the time I'm 29? Will I bump into my ex in the streets again with plastered unwashed hair dripping with sweat after another half-assed run? I've been running for almost a year now. I make time for my runs and work my daily schedule around them. And while the transient pain of running gets the best of me sometimes, I religiously record them on Strava to make the kilometers count, and I am as determined to make these years count the same.