It’s no secret that I have had to move houses / flats / hostel rooms several times in the last 8 years. Although I find packing and moving an extremely stressful, I am, in a way, grateful for a reason to purge a lot of my belongings every now and then. For some reason, however, I always seem to have way too many things, especially clothes.
Since I came back from India after my ear-op, I decided that I had too many clothes and would try out a little experiment. I would not repeat even a single outfit to work / when going out with friends for as long as I could. Night / home clothes don’t count. It’s been thirty-seven days and I have yet to repeat an outfit. I still think I can do about twenty days more. That is really something, even for me.
I certainly have a reputation for being a shopaholic and very easily attracted to clothes and shoes and bags and all that good stuff, but not having to repeat an outfit to work for two months is a bit obscene if you ask me.
I’m kind of embarrassed
and have decided that I cannot purchase any more clothes.
Let’s face it, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. Sure, I did top my school in the most hyped up tenth grade examinations that every Indian kid has to take - the ICSE - and I did get a scholarship to study in another country soon after, and I did move away from home when I was 17, but that’s about the extent to which I can go in calling my life a ‘success’ thus far.
I mean, think about it, when I moved here, I didn’t even know that over 60% of the population was Chinese. I didn’t even know that Malaysia and Indonesia are Singapore’s neighbours, and I sure as hell didn’t think that I’d need foreign currency to function, well, in a foreign land. Or that US dollars wouldn’t cut it.
More about that fiasco later, but here I am almost 8 years later, and I’m as unsure of myself as ever. And to think, that hardly eighteen months ago, just before graduating from university, I thought I was so. damn. together. Like I had my shit all figured out. Because I was so sure my career lay in public health, and that I would work for six years and then move to some other foreign land and so forth.
And today, with my dream job in hand, and financial independence, and a decent sense of where I’m going and want to be in the next few years, I’m not exactly shining in all my put-together-ness.
I’ve never been the smartest or the brightest of my friends, but I’ve always been the most hardworking. Honestly, there’s no shame in admitting that, although I do look up to smart people, especially if they are smart and hardworking (I have a pretty condescending view of the smart, lazy ones though, wishfully believing that their comfy little bubbles will burst one day when the tortoise beats the sleeping hare). However, one thing that really handicaps me is not the fact that I’m not the smartest or most intelligent person in the world, but my lack of confidence in my own decisions.
Here’s what the problem is: I need to be not only a 100% informed of what I’m doing (which I suppose is a good thing), but also need to make sure, that I am making the BEST possible decision or choice.
Easier said than done when you’re looking at just one variable - like the choosing the thickest book, or the sweetest brand of honey. Not so clear when the complexity of the decision extends beyond just one thing - the best book - what’s best? Longest? Easiest read? More interesting? What’s most interesting? OH. MY. GOD. How about the best choice of cereal? If only labels came with clear indications: Lowest sugar / fat content, healthiest, but second highest in price compared to all other brands available in this supermarket; also has a lower nett weight than 80% of all other cereals by an average of about 150 gms. WHAT? Tyranny of choice, much? I swear, that is my thought process on a regular visit to the nearest FairPrice on a Saturday morning - I need a quick n easy pro-con list generator in my head. Or maybe an app. That assigns a weighted score to each pro (+) or con (-), and gives you a net result. And a relative net result compared with other choices. Pardon me, I need a moment for my thought process to catch up with my thought process and then another moment to go bang my head against a wall.
But here’s the thing, there are tonnes of people way dumber than me, and they don’t even need to be a 100% informed of what they’re doing - they just boldly strut forth like Beyon-flippin-ce in some ‘Crazy in Love’ music video and just seem like they’ve got it all together.
And here I am, timidly trying to make sure I know every single thing there is to know, for example, about mutual funds vs. bonds vs. fixed deposits vs. god-knows-what, and only time will tell when this impending decision on the financial management of my future will be more or less settled. Until then, I’m going to go finish reading the forty-page information booklet on personal investing that I downloaded off the internet and making highlights as I go along. Cheers mateys.
The world of the independent adult is so intimidating - you start working, paying taxes, paying your own rent, your utility bill, your phone bill. On the one hand, you feel a sense of financial freedom, not having to ask anyone for money, not having to be accountable to mum and dad for how you live. And yet, you know that you cannot continue this way forever.
Suddenly you are bombarded with financial jargon like the ‘power of compounding’ and ‘mutual funds’ and ‘retirement nest-egg’ and what not. You struggle to decipher what all of this means.
You start reading about investments, and you wonder what the hell you are doing - you, a young punk, trying to wear these big shoes that are supposed to make you look and feel like an adult, but you just feel stupid because you can’t fit into them yet and they keep slipping off, and you’re not fooling anyone, not even yourself.
So how do you go forth? Do you shy away from entering the big big world of money? Or do you go in, despite looking like a noob who knows jack about what she’s doing, and ignore the snide looks the world is giving you, and take those risks, and try your hand at it, because this is the only way to learn?
I am really, really trying to choose the latter. I’ve always been a late-bloomer, but things have always happened for me at the right time, when I’ve been able to cope with new things. I just have to ignore this gnawing embarrassment and anxiety of entering the sea of sharks, and hope for the best.
Last week was super challenging for the two superheroes of my life - my Mum and Dad.
On Friday the 13th, I was scheduled to undergo a tympanoplasty op and the night before my Dad got a bad case of the chills. Whilst my Mum stayed with me during the surgery at the hospital, my two sisters took care of my Dad - his condition didn’t improve for days - he was bed ridden, shivering and suffering from high fever. Finally, we found out that he had malaria and possibly dengue and typhoid all at the same time.
It was scary and exhausting for all of us especially for my poor Mum who not only had to bring us our meals in bed because both of us were bed ridden but also because she had to take care of my Dad and make sure his blood count was stabilizing, especially because he had a fall in the washroom.
Today, after a week both me and my Dad are much better thanks to the love and support of our family, especially Mum’s.
Dad asked me if I could play him some old Hindi songs and at first I was a bit stumped as our internet has been slow for days and YouTube is not an option. Then I realized that we recently bought a Tablet and so I downloaded 8tracks and played him his Dev Anand playlist and he was awestruck at how simple it is to do things these days.
Sometimes I feel like technology intimidates my parents - it’s like this big scary world that came into being after they grew up, and it grew so fast, they couldn’t catch up. Looking at my dad enjoying his childhood songs I realise how life comes full circle - your parents bring you into this big scary world and teach you to face it, and suddenly it’s your turn to do the same for them.
This photo was taken at my graduation in 2012 with my two superheroes - mum who is like a Duracell battery that runs 24/7 and dad who has done everything to give us girls the best he could. It’s our turn to step up now.
This photo summarizes all of my favourite things. Except coffee.
One of my many dreams is to get a Masters in Public Health from Yale. Look at how beautiful it is in the fall..
If there can be ambition in the remotest corners of the world, why are we, the privileged not reaching for the stars?