Nearly 10 Years Later and How Things Have Changed

I always talk about how much I have changed, but what about the people around me? This was something I realised when my friends and I started talking about how different the people we know are now.

Back in the day, a lot of our schoolmates who never wore headscarves now wear them, a lot of those that did have now long taken them off, and those who seemed to be heading in a career-driven direction have settled down to become housewives instead. It’s weird, isn’t it?

I look at myself, remember how much I lacked direction, and look at myself now and how I know exactly what I want to do and when. And I look at old friends, recall how adamantly career-minded they used to be, and see how they’re now contentedly carrying babies, their previous ambitions cast aside. Life has a really weird way of changing things.

It seems I have a knack for picking close friends who are heading in the same direction as I am, though. They are all single men and women who, despite not being totally against having a casual relationship at this point in time, have absolutely no desire to marry right now and would much rather focus on their careers. To us, furthering our careers and saving money are much more important right now than raising a family. A life choice that may shoot us in the foot later on, but hey.

We’re happy exactly where we are.

We’d just like to get as much out of our youth as possible before we have to start thinking about caring for other people, if at all.

Though who knows, maybe life will decide to pull a joke on us and this time next year we’ll all do a 180 on  our life choices. Haha. (God, I hope not.)

My Experience Trying Out Tinder

My Experience Trying Out Tinder

For anyone who knows me, the idea of me using a dating app is nothing short of hilarious. Mel, the woman who actively avoids men? Mel, the woman whose favourite answer to men is the word “No”? Mel, the very same woman who’d sooner raise a robot baby on her own than settle down with an actual man? This perception is especially acute with people I work with, as I do not like mixing my personal life with work. Friends, on the other hand, believe that I’m simply fussy, while those who are closer to me know that that isn’t the case.

Anyway, what prompted me into signing up for Tinder was actually work. Some of the best-performing articles nearly always have to do with love and relationships- and seeing that I work for a social media company and that online dating is interesting enough to write a lot about, I thought that writing about Tinder could be good.

I was initially reluctant to sign up for the app because I couldn’t be bothered to speak to anyone new, so I asked around if it’s possible to write about it without being a member (lazy, I know haha). I was told that it would be much better to try Tinder out for myself. Understanding I was fighting a losing battle, I eventually relented and downloaded the app.

My experience on it so far has been interesting, to say the least.

For one thing, I’ve not gotten matched with any perverts. This probably has a lot to do with how stringent I am with my swipes. I’m nearly always swiping left. The only ones I swiped right on are the ones interested in friendship or the ones I feel I can talk to.

As a result, I got matched with fairly decent men. Most are pleasant enough to talk to, so Tinder really is a good way to pass the time when I have nothing else to do lol. Exp: I’m usually on Tinder during my long af commute to and from work on the train.

I won’t go into too much detail about my interactions with them, but just so people won’t misunderstand me, I don’t go on Tinder with the intention to catfish or manipulate. That would be highly unethical. Plus, I’ve never liked wasting time by beating about the bush, so I’ve been genuine and very honest in my communications. I just treat Tinder as another way to meet new people and make new friends, much like how I use other social media.

That said, if a potential relationship is born from this, I will not oppose. After all, I’ve met some of the best people online, and these very people have become some of my best friends. But because Tinder is an app, I’ll exercise a lot more caution than I would with someone I got to know irl rather than online.

5 Things Most People Don’t Know About Me

5 Things Most People Don’t Know About Me

Thanks to lack of time and I guess, having to churn out new article ideas at work on a daily basis, my well of ideas for this blog has just about run dry. To remedy this, I decided to search for easy blog post ideas to shoot out, because honestly, I don’t have the brain capacity to write anything overly complicated at the moment haha.

Which is precisely how this blog post came to be. I picked out “What are some things that most people don’t know about you?” from this list.

It seems fun enough, and hey, I don’t need to bother with taking pictures either. A win-win situation, I say 😀

So with that introduction out of the way, lettuce move on to the list.

I actually dislike being close to people

Even though I like having friends just like everyone else, I also dislike (or fear?) being close to people. I really, really do. And it is because of this quality that it takes me an exceptionally long time to open up to someone, let alone consider them my friend.

To grant you perspective on how long it takes for me to consider someone a friend: years. I’m really not joking about this. I think it took me maybe 3-4 years of solid communication with my current best friend to consider her as such.

So while I might make a show of being nice and friendly to someone, the truth is that I might not be that interested in being friends. At least, this was true in the past; it no longer is now. In the past, this can be shown in how I’d purposely sabotage chances at friendship by using humour to maintain distance and by claiming I have no interests outside of eating and sleeping (Funnily enough, people never cottoned on to this and just believed me). This is an issue that I’m working on, and I’m already seeing the fruits of my labour. My interactions are now more genuine, and I’ve gotten to know more and more interesting people- something that I see as a blessing. That said, even though I’ve stopped joking and making such claims, change can’t be made overnight, because I still hold back in one way or another.

I believe I’ve changed a lot, though, so I look forward to making more friends with time. My own need for space/fear of vulnerability is a hurdle, but it’s not impossible to overcome. Because I do want to change, and I know that once I set my mind to something, I can make it happen. 🙂

I’m a (recovering) commitment phobe

This is a funny one because people usually peg me for an asexual, a man-hater or a lesbian- because you know… it’s so unnatural to see an “Asian” woman who is still single past the age of 25. Especially when the majority of the Malaysian population wants nothing more than to settle down early (I will never understand this mindset but w/e works for them, I suppose).

The asexual conclusion might have some merit to it because for the longest time, I felt like I was borderline ace. But I guess if you look even deeper into the issue, I’m probably commitment phobic. Well, a recovering commitment phobic now.

I used to look at relationships with a sense of repulsion, the thought of marrying someone the equivalent of being sentenced to death, and having children a form of imprisonment. This is no longer the case now, but again, change does not happen overnight because I’m still not in a rush to jump into a relationship. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t happen, also great. I’ve been with myself long enough to feel comfortable with it, and I certainly don’t need a partner to feel complete.

Sorry for not having a more marriage-oriented mindset, mom. I know you’ve been wanting grandkids for ages now.

I sometimes envy those who belong to one racial category

Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m immensely proud of my mixed heritage- it is just that sometimes, sometimes I wish I could feel that instant sense of community that comes with those who belong to the same category. Feeling like the odd one out has always been something I’ve struggled with since I was a child; I don’t look like everyone else, I don’t have an in depth understanding of certain cultures, etc. It certainly doesn’t help that my interests tend to deviate from the mainstream and that I don’t have a more Asian mindset.

At the end of the day, though, I feel thankful for being different. I get to enjoy different cultures/celebrations, there is a stronger familial bond in my family (I guess it’s because we’re the only ones like each other?), and I get to escape from cultural expectations.

Yes, it can be hard to feel like I truly belong sometimes, but once you look beyond race and just try to get along with people for who they are instead of what they are, it’s fine.

I have a fear of becoming fat

Hahaha. While I’m not the type to obsess over my calorie intake, I do have a fear of becoming fat- and especially becoming unhealthy. Honestly, seeing the number of older people who are out of shape and struggling to even move is enough motivation for me to change my lifestyle. So in an effort to prevent myself from suffering the same fate, I’ve cut down on fast food, pretty much greasy food in general and sugar in my diet. I’ve also been taking more fruits, grains and vegetables.

So far, I’ve enjoyed the benefits of having more energy and a smaller appetite.

I sometimes miss eating whatever I want, but as I get more and more used to this style of eating, I no longer crave junk food as much as I used to.

I regret how long it took me to realise what I want to do

This will always remain my biggest regret. If I had just taken Japanese classes 4 years ago when I wanted to, I would’ve been 4 years into the language instead of just half a year now. And I would have probably realised my calling much earlier, thereby saving myself a lot more time.

Alas, this wasn’t what happened. But that’s alright, I suppose. In a way, I learned a lot more lessons that I needed to in that one dead-end job I was stuck in, and grew mentally and emotionally because of it. Something that might not have happened if I had just gone on with Japanese from the get-go, and it is really, in my point of view, more valuable to me than a skill. Personal growth has always been something I hold in high regard, so I guess time and Japanese are the trade-offs in order to get that.

Which is fine, but it still sucks hahaha. This is something I’ve accepted and have decided to make do with what I have.

Which also explains the insane amount of things I do during my free time. Filling up my schedule is my way of making up for lost time.

Interlude: Off for Vacation

Phew. Here’s the first unscheduled post I’ve done in a while (yeah, a couple of the past few posts were written as early as a month before. The birthday one 2 weeks prior).

Anyway, I’m exhausted. In preparation for my vacation, I spent the past few weeks with my eyeballs up in work. It got to the point where I started scheduling hang outs and meetings with words like “Well, I’m free for 2 hours on Sunday”, working well past midnight, missing/forgetting meals because I was so busy working, working on the LRT and despite it being weeks, I’ve not had time to just sit down and pack. My God.

(As I sit here typing this on my mobile during my ride on the LRT, I still haven’t had the chance to pack.)

Though to be honest, it’s not like it’s any different even when I don’t have a vacation to prepare for. I’m always out, whether for work or classes,  and I barely spend any time in my room. My calendar is filled to the brim, and if anyone wants to meet up, we often have to plan weeks or a month in advance – even then, it’s for a few hours, never the entire day. Getting to plan just a week earlier is considered lucky. Hell, even scheduling a phone call is horrendous. I struggle to squeeze a simple phone call into my schedule. At one point, I told the guy I’ve been speaking to for over half a year that I could only talk to him on the phone in a week. There was one time I couldn’t even answer his one little call omg I’m horrible 🙁 It’s miraculous that we still correspond pretty regularly. Almost daily, really. (He’s flying over from Japan in about 2 months. Hopefully I’ll be able to pry myself away from everything then)

My Japanese friends have even commented on more than one occasion that I “work like a Japanese”. RIP me.

So yeah. I’m thankful that tomorrow is the start of my vacation in Japan. As much as I love my friends and family, doing charity/volunteer work and of course, my job, I need a break. A break from all the constant rushing about and attending to every tug on my sleeve. A break from just doing. I need some peace and quiet, man.

Turning 27 and My Thoughts On It

Turning 27 and My Thoughts On It

It’s crazy, but I recently turned 27, which is a bit too close to 30 for comfort. Way too close. And because I recently pulled myself out of the slump I’d been in for years -the long depressive slump where I didn’t know what I want to do in life- over half a year ago, I feel as though I’d just started living. Just started living my 20s like I’m supposed to when, according to society’s idealised timeline, I should’ve settled down and have children of my own by now.

A thought which, needless to say, terrifies me. This supposed timeline is also the reason why I feel as though I’m pressed for time. Pressed for time to study, pressed for time to achieve at work (it’s one of the sole reasons why I chose to work for my current company. I’ve always had a good impression of it, plus I knew there’s a lot of room for growth in the role), pressed for time to have it altogether.

And to a certain extent, pressed for time to find a life partner, though this point exists more so because of societal standards than anything else. Left to my own devices, I’d be very nonchalant about the entire idea, and would unwaveringly continue with my “if it happens, it happens” mindset. You know, all while my mother excitedly chatters in the background about her desire for grandchildren. LOL.

That is not to say I behave any differently because of those standards. Sure, I might feel the pressure internally, but I don’t act on it. Because at the end of the day, I’d rather be single than be with the wrong person.

I feel absolutely comfortable in my own skin- maybe a bit too much, because my own friends have started lecturing me too. 🙁 And strangers… I swear, there’s no peace for single women over the age of 25. I’m just thankful my parents don’t do this to me, despite my mom’s excitement over the idea of grandkids.

It’s times like these that I wish I’d been born male pffftt.

That aside, here are other things I learned over the past year:

Never have any expectations

It doesn’t matter what you do, people will always disappoint you- whether on purpose or without meaning to at all. It doesn’t matter if you’re the nicest person on Earth, there’ll always be someone out there who hates you. It doesn’t matter if you’re super pretty, not everyone will think you’re attractive. And heck, it doesn’t matter if you’ve done nothing but be kind to someone, there’ll always be someone who’ll talk shit about or backstab you.

Humans come in all shapes and sizes, not all of them are pleasant, not all of them have the same interests, not all of them come from the same background; there’s bound to be some conflict along the way.

For me, it is enough for me if I’m nice to people. If they don’t reciprocate my good will, that’s fine. At least I can go to sleep without a guilty conscience, knowing I’ve already done the best I can.

People and companionship are important

As a true introvert, I find the thought of socialising with people exhausting. Don’t get me wrong; I do enjoy hanging out with friends and family. It is just when it’s on a constant basis and with people I don’t know that it becomes a chore. Thankfully enough, I’ve forced myself to overcome most of my shyness when it comes to conversing with someone new, and have learned to speak and carry a conversation. It took a couple, or a lot of tries over the past year, but I finally managed it.

At first, I started small. I spoke to my parents’ friends, my colleagues, then worked my way up to strangers.

The reason for this 180 is that, along with the fact that I wanted to improve my social skills, I understood that people are important. My friends aren’t always going to be around. They’re already busy as it is with work, it’s only a matter of time before they move on with their lives and have families of their own. I’d hear from them even less then. And as selfish as it sounds, networking is essential to succeed in the working world.

As a final point on this matter, while this may conflict with my own nonchalant attitude towards marriage, I do acknowledge that it is important. Which is why I have a plan for what I’ll do should I end up still single well into my 40s-50s. I’ll just have to continue working hard to ensure it’s possible.

Health is an asset

And because I’m a bit of a vainpot, I have this fear of becoming fat. I don’t want to become morbidly obese, and I definitely don’t want to be so unhealthy that I’d have to struggle just to get up. That is not the future I want for myself, so I’m doing what I can to stay fit and healthy before things get out of hand.

I’m proud to say that this is a lesson I’ve not wavered in so far. I’ve improved my diet and have been exercising pretty regularly since last year, and hence have been enjoying the benefits that have with it so far.

That said, I kind of slacked off this month because I had a pretty bad fall two weeks ago and injured my knee. Eugh. So upset over the amount of exercise I had to miss out on. 🙁

Never stop growing (skill acquisition)

This might sound terribly condescending, but I’ve seen people who, despite being in their 30s, do absolutely nothing for themselves. They’re content to stay exactly the same way they are. They have no interest in learning, no interest in becoming better, no interest in even saving money. They’re fine with spending money left and right and have absolutely no intention of moving out of their parents’ house.

I mean, I know times are hard. It’s not that easy to buy property, and even with renting, it’s hard to save with the size of our salaries. But when you’re living with your parents, you have the golden opportunity to save up for your own home. Why waste it? Something about the whole thing just reeks, and the fact that many of these people are content to just do pointless, easy work makes it worse.

People have the right to live life the way they want. But seeing something like this makes me panic. It was an intense wake up call that led me towards always striving to learn. I’d always prided myself for placing importance on personal growth, now I had growth through skill acquisition to balance it.

I honestly don’t know how some people can be so calm about living in such a way, though. I’m always painfully aware of just how disposable I am as an employee, especially since I’m in the writing industry. I’m sure that if I’d continued relying on only English, it will backfire on me in the long run. I might be able to enjoy a couple of years just writing in English, but once I reach a certain age, my age will play against me. What employer, in this era of globalisation, would want to hire an expensive, English-only writer when they can hire someone younger, less expensive and who has more languages under their belt? This change is already happening. Less and less companies demand for only one language. More and more are demanding for employees who can write and speak in 3-4 languages. Some even ask for a whopping 5!

The job market is getting more and more competitive, and I have no intention of becoming so easily replaced when I’m older.

Never stop growing (personal growth & skill acquisition)

I’m always, always finding fault in myself. Not so much because I have low self-esteem, nothing like that. It’s more because I know that as humans, we’re flawed. Myself included. I’m always mulling over a flaw I have, or something I’ve done wrong, and wondering what I can do to improve or fix it.

Another thing about me is that I love looking up to people who either have great personalities or are highly accomplished or both. Looks don’t matter to me. Which stands to reason that if I were to wish to pursue a relationship, I’d place importance on intelligence, hard work, ambition and kindness.

And with that in mind, at some point I knew if I really wanted to find and have someone like that in my life, I’d have to be like that too.