TO NEW BEGINNINGS

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Last day of 2013- definitely don't want to end this year on the blog with an outfit post or some meaningless photos. It's been quite the year for me blog-wise and personally and I admit it's been hard trying to maintain the frequency of this space with the growing intensity of school, it being my final degree year at Lasalle. As well as struggling to find more meaning in whatever is posted here. People, even myself, get tired of posting pretty pictures and not everyone is that keen to see what I cook or wear everyday. But the thing is, thats what I do. So what now? I've come to learn a few things along the way  during 2013 and I thought I'd share it on this last post for the year. 

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Never be defined by a number

I turned 20 last month. 20 has always been my ideal age for me. Officially being a twenties girl, able to finally have reasons to put on my favourite twenties frocks and just the idea of having a big 2 in front of the number that people use to define us by. But this year, I learnt that age is of no matter, no matter how old you are, you set goals, you dream big (a little even if you are a pessimist or too realistic for your own good). I cannot remember the goals I set for myself but in this year alone I've seen myself grow so much more as a person and the deal really is, never ever let a number define you from doing what you want to do. I wanted to travel. But never would I have thought that this year would be THE year of travel for me. If I were to look back at myself in January, I would have absolutely no clue how I managed to go to so many different cities by my own means. Jakarta, Bangkok twice, Seoul, London, Guangzhou, New York and Portland. Crazy right? Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to boast. I set myself pretty unrealistic goals for someone who gets an allowance of $100 a week and thought I was crazy too, when I wanted to spend my summer in 4 cities. But I had to make it work and I did it. 

See yourself at where you want to be, close your eyes and visualize it, feel good about it then go out and live the rest of your days like it is happening. Then you work towards it. That is how I did it. I have met plenty of people who live their lives day by day with nothing to look forward to in the future, they do not believe that they have the means to do anything so life goes on for them and I told myself that this is the last person I ever want to be so I made it an effort to always, always dream big.

It's never about the destination

I found myself struggling a lot with the unrealistic goals I set for myself for my entire future to the extent that I felt like I lost myself in the process. I stopped living in the moment, everything I did was 'for the future' - even the plates I bought would be perfect 'for my future kitchen'. While planning ahead is never a bad thing, I learnt the importance of living in the now and taking things step by step, appreciating the journey before actually getting there.

Challenge yourself

One of my biggest challenges this year was to travel solo. It was the hardest thing I had ever done and everyday it seemed like a neverending battle. I love New York and I had a good time but I remember that during my week there, I found myself on the verge of tears whenever it got dark and I had nowhere to go. I would ask myself what the hell I was putting myself through coming here alone. And I would go back, rest and start my day energized and ready to conquer the city. But before I knew it, same shit happens. Now that I am back, I think it is honestly one of the best things I have ever done. You learn things, even in the smallest ways possible. Never let fear get to you. That is always what happens to me. I let it get to me, I freak out when I know at the end of the day, God's watching over me and I can leave it to Him and trust Him.

I also challenged myself with other projects like school, trying to focus my final project on something I knew absolutely nothing about but so strongly believed in. I just never thought there would be so much into it. The process taught me to step my game up and it made me passionate about the topic. Still a long way to go and so many gaps to fill up but I'm excited.

Eat Plate Love was a challenge too, trust me. Buying over 100 plates at one go without telling a soul (outside close friends and family) about wanting to start a plate business… just think about what would have happened if I got scared and didn't go ahead with the plan.

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Get connected, and stay connected

This year, social media changed my life. I'm sure it has changed everyone's but Instagram in particular really took it to another level for me. I loved following the lives of strangers who took beautiful photos and documented their lives simply through an app. This year alone, I met several people just through the application around the world. It opened up so many doors for me to say the least but it also was inspiring to learn different perspectives of life and living from people half across the world. Some of the people I met are now my very good friends I talk to on a daily basis even though we have no clue when we will meet again. I started this blog with the idea of wanting to share my perspective of my life with other people and meeting these strangers who opened up their hearts to me was amazing. Sitting over a coffee, sharing stories about back home, copying each other's accents and exchanging dollar bills… the whole experience also taught me how important it was to stay connected. It has brought even more opportunties for me. It was what landed me my internship in Solestruck last year. And if it wasn't for that internship, I wouldn't have travelled back to Portland this year. Which means no New York. No solo travels, no meeting new people….the list goes on. When I got lost in New York or felt alone, some of these people literally saved me from balling out buckets of tears. To say the least, I am thankful to have met these people.

Never be afraid to meet people. I absolutely love bringing strangers around my Singapore even though I knew nothing about them. Had no idea what they saw in me but some of my best memories are shared with these people. Get connected and stay connected.

Stay true to you

This blog is a big, very important part of my life. No deny about that. It's been hard especially when the media has had so much to say about bloggers this year. Pin-pointing everything we do to the extent that the general integrity of bloggers is questioned. I'm not someone huge with millions of followers so thankfully, I do not know an entire livelihood at stake. But the bad press has made it increasingly hard to even want to continue blogging. I of course, snapped out of it and went on doing my thing. If your blog is your creative space then go on and do it. But just make sure you know your purpose.

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Reflect

It's that time of the year again where you look back and go through that list of ambitious targets you set for yourself last year. Then, feeling slightly bummed that you might not have achieved some of them. Don't beat yourself up about what you did not do, reflect on what you did do and how you can make it all better. Celebrate your achievements. Go on and start anew, still set yourself targets, still work hard and still aim to be the best but most importantly, leave it to God.

 "Work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God."

Here is to all of you and a fantastic new year ahead of us!