My flight to Austin, TX, where I’m spending my last spring break just got delayed for a bit, so here I am writing this – because it’s my birthday today! And the annual birthday blog entry so-called tradition continues, one where I look back over the past year and share my thoughts for growth and ch-ch-changes bound to happen in the year ahead.
Come mid-June this year, I’ll be done with grad school – with my hard-earned masters degree; god, finally! – and headed home for good to Malaysia after six long years in Stateside. Enough of a nomadic, wandering life; I need to plant some permanent roots.
I’m not going to lie – twenty-three on the twenty-third was a rough year. It was hard. It was amazing and fulfilling and chock full of life-lessons and adulthood growing pains and confusion and- it was many things, basically. Like the years before, I didn’t come out of the storm exactly where I started from – in fact, honestly, I think this year’s my most significant yet, realizing that my starting and ending points are a ways off from each other. I can’t say I wouldn’t have it otherwise – I do wish I had done certain things differently – but above all, like always, I am grateful for the experiences and opportunities I had received for the past year. And you know, ultimately, I am most grateful for the love and kindness that I have been so blessed with from family, closest friends and even here, online, with several blogger-friends and readers. I spent the weekend with an old friend so dear to my heart that our time together was painful, for all the honesty, but also poignant, for all the lyrical sentiments we waxed about our younger girlhood heydays. Then I welcomed my birthday, by that I mean midnight proper, via Skype with my dearest, dearest lifelong friend Housemate #1. I say this often and mean it each time, that I don’t have a lot of friends in my life and it is true – my circle isn’t wide but boy, is it deep. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m now officially at an age where I’m no longer so open about wanting to admit my age (kidding- twenty-four! Oh my goodness, twenty-four!) and I’ve learned a thing or two about privacy – grieving in private, for one – as well as taking myself less seriously. I’m nowhere near to the person that my teenage self had imagined herself to be when she’s in her twenties, but you know, while she might not be immediately proud of her present self, I think she’d nod quietly at me with a knowing, comforting grin. You turned out alright, is what I hope she tried to convey through those gestures.
I just, I – I try not to mix my Asian dramas interests with my personal entries anymore, but this one’s apt. This not-so-little paragraph from a gem of a show I watched recently encapsulate my twenty-third year so on-point.
“Sometimes I think back. What would have happened had I not picked up the phone and what if I didn’t go to the bus terminal? Life is about making decisions. Even if it is a one-way street, a decision must be made. Will we continue onward or turn around? Or will we stop? Where I stand right now is the result of the countless decisions I’ve made in my past. That day, I picked up the phone and went to the bus terminal. And because of those decisions, I am the person I am today. No matter which path you choose, you are bound to look back on the choices you didn’t make. So there is no such thing as living without regrets and exactly why there is no answer to life. What matters is that you believe in the choices you make and make the best of the outcome of those decisions. Living without regretting the choices I’ve made is the answer to life.”
— Samcheonpo, Reply 1994 (episode 7)
What a year the past year’s been. Twenty-four will be uncertain and as it is (obviously), filled with more questions than answers but you know what? My heart’s open to any ch-ch-changes to come. Life, count me in. I’m all yours.