2009: Happy & Counting

So it’s that time of the year again, the time to take stock and look back. Funnily enough, for a compulsive organizer/list-maker like me, it isn’t coming naturally this time round. Even funnier considering it isn’t just year end but decade end and actually end of the first decade of the millenium and all that. Perhaps I’m changing.

2009 has definitely been an eventful year (in retrospect, which year hasn’t?). These changes have been big, life-altering ones but funnily enough they haven’t been looming high on my consciousness. What does that mean?

Well, for me obviously the biggest transition in this year was quitting my job and taking a sabbatical. And yet, there was no major build-up. I’d been feeling like it was time for it, for a long time and one fine day I just woke up and said, “This is the day!”. Just like that.

That was the single, discrete point that marks this year as a special one. But there have been other things. Of course I turned 30 this year which in itself is a special event. But I’ve been covering this phenomenon for awhile now, as befits a gradual but important phase.

One of my biggest thoughts this year was that I had achieved all the things that I had wanted a decade back. And in sum, that achievement didn’t make me happy. That is to say, it was satisfactory and all of that but I didn’t like the person I had had to become as a result. So I decided that I wanted to go back to the person I was, about a decade ago.

I think I’ve succeeded..mostly. A decade ago, I wasn’t a compulsive organizer. My thoughts were scattered, my actions aimless and my attitude open and curious. It was not a position that commanded respect from other people but I liked the person I was.

Six months since my break, I have a half-begun (not half-complete since I have no idea how long the book is going to be) book. I have a number of other book and story and writing ideas shooting about in my head. I have achieved high Farmville and Mafia Wars levels. December has been full of parties, meetups, coffees, dinners, lunches, fun n’ games.

I’ve made my peace with a number of people. I’ve cut out a lot of poisonous habits and people from my life. I’m not making sense most of the time and I’m generally riding on ‘inappropriate’ setting. But it’s great. I love my life.

One defining idea I had this year when I looked back at the past decade was how much I was struggling, how much suffering and angst there was in my life. I’ve made some rubbish decisions, I’ve been at the receiving end of some bizarre stuff from people I trusted. And I’ve been so angry, so much in pain. I tried everything I could think of to explain why all of this was happening to me. Why me? Me who had never broken a trust or cheated or wanted to hurt anyone?

The karmic theory of retribution was my last attempt and finally around my birthday, I looked up at the heavens, shook my fist and yelled,

Okay, enough already!! I’ve paid all my dues and I’m not standing for any more rubbish in this lifetime. No more! I’m going to have an awesome time from here on.

And would you believe, I did. It’s not like everything turned out swimmingly. Well, perhaps it did. Or maybe when stuff happened, I just felt able to skim over it. Let me see, what’s the bad stuff in the past six months? (Okay the lists are back at the first mention of ‘bad stuff’…hmm)

  • Mum’s hospitalization
  • My malaria attack
  • Dirty lies
  • Writer’s block
  • A nasty fight apiece with two close friends, both of which I thought would end the friendships
  • Failure (no details, there were multiple and they were bad)

But then there was other stuff

I don’t care to figure out in what proportion they balance each other out but somehow the good stuff seems to out-weigh the bad.

Life is good. I have God (even if religion finds it an uncomfortable fit in my life). I have art and inspiration. I have friendship and some love (even if it isn’t always the way I thought it would be). I have time and energy. And I have an idea that the next decade is going to be wonderful. What more do I need?

A very happy new year to all of you!

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