Looking back on 2017, turning to 2018

Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Cheers to 2018!


Time flew, as time does, and we are into the third week of the month, which is the third week of the year. If you subscribe to cliches, as one does, then here we are, on the 3rd page of our 52 page book, 49 blank pages to go.


It’s nice to think that when we wake in the morning, every day has a potential to become extraordinary, but the truth is, so rarely do we begin with nothing on the page. We live in lives of routine and plans, with schedules and events. Some days are destined to be more eventful than others (the words ‘birthday!’ or "graduation!” scribbled across) and some days were always going to take a little more spirit to get through. The fact is - not all days are created equal.


And that’s okay.


2017 was a year that was filled with extraordinary days, with heart-wrenchingly sad days, and ordinary, plain days. I began the year telling myself that it was all about the attitude I brought, that good or bad days were entirely up to me. This meant that when I did have a bad day, I was weighted by the guilt of not having made it a good one. But over the year, I was humbled over and over again when I went through days where I did all the right things, yet all the wrong things happened, and days where all the wrong things I did led to joy. Truly, so little was in my control, and whilst I could control the perspective in which I saw these days, there was very little else I could do. This doesn’t by any stretch mean that we should stop trying to chase our dreams, or make decisions (I mean, if God’s gonna decide everything anyway), but it does mean that the pressure’s off when it comes to outcomes.


It was my favourite lesson of 2017 and I’m very happy to bring it to the new year with me.


Just briefly, for posterity, here were some of my 2017 highlights!


Exercise


Probably the most extraordinary thing that happened this year for me was the incorporation of regular exercise in my life. Long time readers have heard of my battles with coordination and my oft-repeated new year’s resolution to get off my bum and get the heart racing, but all the while, the closest I got to that was when my heart would pump faster to help me digest all the food I’ve eaten.


I certainly didn’t eat any less in 2017, but what I did do was exercise more and left my comfort zone far behind. I took part in a 5km run, and later on in the year, took part in a 7km run. I must confess that in both those runs I probably only ran half of it and walked the other, but it was a huge milestone for me nonetheless.


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I also started playing badminton more often and whilst I still believe I put the bad in badminton, I’ve also lost a lot of the fear I had for it. I don’t know if you can relate, but I used to get really anxious whenever I had to participate in a sport (1) because I’m a terrible terrible athlete and I’m always worried I’d end up being the hated team member, (2) I’m the queen of choking and even if it were a sport I could somewhat decently play, by the time it actually mattered my body would find it opportune to stop coordinating with my brain, and (3) because I have had very bad experiences with being hit by passing footballs, over enthusiastic shuttlecocks and don’t even get me started on the time I got whacked in the head by a racquet.


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But hey, ho, thanks to the patience of those around me, I’m less fearful and am more willing to try!


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Regular exercise also had to happen because I have an energetic dog who loves long walks. To keep her from ripping up my pots and plants (and my clothes), we try to take walks together up a neighbourhood hill.


Travels


I got the chance to do a fair bit of travelling, with a trip to Singapore to check out Google’s office. My dad had a meeting there and we were invited to tag along, getting the chance to try out their free cafeteria food and tour the massive space, equipped with spa, gym and snacks galore.


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America was once again paid a visit in 2017, this time to sit for my New York Bar Exam. There was so much to read and memorise that I got headaches from the sheer bulk of it. But glory to God, all went well! While I was there, though most of the time, I spent it indoors by the books, I did manage to sneak some fun in every now and then.


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Trips to the neighbourhood park to get some fresh air in the cool American summer.


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Attended the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with our seats sponsored by an anonymous philanthropist. He/she booked out an entire box for every day people to have the chance to watch the orchestra. Charity comes in all forms and hey, if you're all about turning society cultured, that’s one way to do it.


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I had my exam in Buffalo, New York, which was miles away from the iconic NYC. By the time I was released from the shackles from my 2 day exam, my sister (who kindly accompanied me all the way) and I only had time to call a quick taxi to Niagara Falls for a bout of tourism before our flight out the next morning.


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Speaking of my sister, she got engaged in 2017! Not exactly my news, but I’m going to have a brother-in-law so that’s grounds for excitement, right?


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I took some time after my exams to fly to the UK and visit those near and dear to me in heart. Summer in America and summer in the UK mean totally different things and although I got to wear shorts and a t-shirt in America, I stacked layer upon layer for the cool UK. Thank God for Jocelyn because I was not equipped for the weather and had to rely on her generosity in sharing her clothes (3 sizes too small for me FYI - that jacket never managed to zip up LOL).


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At the gardens of the Horniman Museum.


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Queuing for Padella at Covent Garden.


Boarded a cruise headed to Phuket with my mom and had a great time. We got to dress up and eat loads, so really, what more could I ask for?


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Friends


One of my favourite people paid a visit to Malaysia from Hong Kong and we touristed all over town!


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Rocking the baggy Asian trousers like any good ol’ foreigner would in front of the National Monument.


I’ll share our schedule later on for those who may have foreign friends visiting but although we barely had 3 days (a little more thanks to the typhoon in HK which delayed her flight back), we had so much fun together!


Threw a “just because” party for fun which was, well, a lot of fun! In 2017, I made it a point to call my friends rather than wait for plans to happen and I hope to continue this in 2018.


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Speaking of friends, we introduced a new furry one to the family. Meet Cookie, our tiny Maltese. She’s so small and blends in so well with the marble floor of our home that we had to tie a bell around her neck so we’d know when she was near. I don’t even want to think about all the times we kicked her by accident because we didn’t see her coming.


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I celebrated a quiet birthday in 2017. I was blessed to have surprises by my colleagues and bouquets by my loved ones over the week, which reminded me how much I had and how lucky I am.


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In 2018, I want to be more. I want to give more of me in the things I do. I want to be in the moment of all my moments. I want to write more and write well. I want to be healthy and live fully, finding enjoyment and purpose in all that I do, and finding strengths in the difficult people around me. I want to quit complaining and start thanking.


After all, there’s so much to be grateful for.

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