*Backdated October 16 — so do forgive me if a few things are already outdated:
In light of this blog’s annual tradition, a brief rundown on how my year of being 26 is in order and what have or have not changed over the past year:
I spent 26 completely single.
There, I said it.
My best friend Mike C. blames it on my 2-year dating rut. What was different from my first year of also being single was, despite having gone out with a handful of interesting men, I had no major crushes and was lovingly, yet completely single.
No “It’s complicated” on my Friendster or Facebook pages, you hear?
Ironically, it’s the latter part of my being 26 that the arrows of Cupid started knocking again, and I found my heart beating strongly again.
Okay, so I’m a human after all.
Now that we have that awkward fact behind us, let’s see what else has changed.
I’ve also realized I am capable of becoming an insane workaholic.
To a certain extent, I’ve shed my life as a social butterfly and instead donned business suits and practically slept in the office.
For the month of June alone, I clocked in a horrific 192 hours of overtime (equivalent to almost 2 months of regular work!) and don’t even get me started on August where some days were spent till 4am or 5am in the office.
It was crazy.
To my credit, my major project was an absolute success, and everybody was happy.
But I was on the verge of work fatigue.
To top it off, I was again given another project that was as time-consuming as the last one. When it was finally over, I couldn’t help but feel a sigh of absolute relief, and started spending more time with “me” again.
Third, I was more comfortable with my own skin, and in being alone.
Weekend afternoons were spent in a coffee shop studying, or strolling around the city.
For a social butterfly who previously couldn’t stand to be alone (even incredulously shaking one’s head of the prospect of being alone), this was a big thing for me, and I realized with this came freedom to do whatever I damn wanted, and being more productive for it.
My life gave new meaning to the phrase, “It’s not as if I have nothing to do — it’s because I choose to spend my time with you.”
It was liberating to choose what to do, and what NOT to do for a change, because yes, you’ll always have options.
Regardless, I am even a lot less nice this year, again to the chagrin of close friends with the exception of the loveable Mike S. who told me to tell them to go to hell (thanks Mikey!).
I am a lot less patient because who has the time to smoothen feathers if you are working under a tight deadline?
I’ve lost touch with quite a few friends and made a few enemies because of this.
I’ve also shed off the burden of leading a volunteer organization.
I’ve made a handful of new good friends I hope to keep for a lifetime.
I’d like to believe I have a better head on my shoulders.
Overall, 26 was a year of continuous transitions, mainly me as a workaholic and a glorified single woman in Taipei.
So anyway, in accordance to my blog’s tradition, I’ll ask myself the same questions I’ve asked exactly a year ago and see how different things had become.
26 was a great year overall, an am looking forward to being 27!
So C’est La Vie and thanks for not giving up on me and this blog when things got really busy!
1) What have you done when you were 26 that you’ve never done before?
– Wakeboarded, tried out lasertag, learned poi (fire dancing), leisurely biked along the Huazhong Riverside Park and ate at the most delicious restaurants in and out of Taipei.
– Beat my goal of traveling to 2 places I’ve never been to before — at 26, traveled to 5 cities in China including Shanghai and Wuxi (February); Hanoi, Vietnam (April); India (July); and to New York, USA (September).
– Worked till the sun came up.
– Learnt to say no, and stick to my guns, despite the emotional blackmail of some manipulative “friends”
– Oh and spent a lot of time like a nerd, studying.
2) Did anyone close to you give birth?
– Not really, do colleagues count? Our office is practically a baby machine! Regardless, a lot of people close to me got married! Geez, it’s started…
3) Did anyone close to you die?
– Yes, my half-brother. We weren’t that close though.
4) What countries did you visit?
– China, Vietnam, India, the Philippines (twice!) and to the USA.
China didn’t really change though I was impressed with Shanghai.
Vietnam didn’t live up to my high expectations while India simply blew my mind away.
New York was just a cultural experience — I was surprised how the Big Apple could have an olden feel despite being extremely metropolitan!
5) What would you like to have when you’re 27 that you lacked when you were 26?
– More discipline and energy to achieve more and get ahead, more focus on getting my priorities straight, continuous encouragement to reach the stars, the luck to make the right connections and somebody wonderful right by my side while I’m out conquering the world! 🙂
– Emphasis again on more focus and self-discipline — I have a handful of goals I’d like to achieve as a 27-year old and the adage is true, “No pain, no gain.” Hence, a lot of the time would be spent crouching with my head towards a book studying. So I need all the energy I can get not to drift off to sleep if it gets too boring.
6) What date this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
– June 25-26 — can’t believe how two days require over a month’s preparation and hours over hours of overtime! Same goes with September 6 and 7.
– October 2 — a great non-date. Too bad there’s no Date #2, yet.
7) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
– My department’s flagship event which was attended by 90 companies and over 200 clients globally — it went very smoothly and everyone was happy of the results.
I never knew that with adrenalin, one is capable of sleeping so little!
8) What was your biggest failure?
– Pissing people off while trying to peal myself off from a volunteer organization. Hey, I thought it was a volunteer organization?! But then again, some were absolute jerks. So honestly, not having sufficient focus and time to complete my studies…
– Crumbled in the presence of someone I really liked and made a total fool off myself (idiot!). God, I can be vulnerable at times.
9) Did you suffer illness or injury?
– Do chapped lips count? Yes, am still harbouring a cold.
10) What was the best thing you bought?
– Changed my camera to the latest Canon SD 950 — magnificent colors!
11) Whose behavior merited celebration?
– DC – who stuck by my side in the wee hours of the morning without any complaints. I credit her help for my project’s success.
12) Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
– PN – for not calling when I thought he would. I’ve misread the signs and had such high expectations; I was setting myself up for disappointment.
– MC who I have a hard time connecting anymore. I don’t know if we’ll ever be friends again.
– MQ, whose words you can’t trust. Selfishness with a capital “S.”
13) Where did most of your money go?
– No change from last year — Traveling, fine dining, entertainment (e.g., clubbing, outdoor trips, eating out, movies, etc.), rent and most recently shoes, bags and clothes (Oh no!).
14) What did you get really, really, really excited about?
– India, which was amazing — and I only spent a meager USD1,000 for a 7-day trip including accommodations and flights! Now, that’s cheap!
15) What song will always remind you of this year?
– Kanye West’s “Stronger,” Nelly Furtado’s say it right “All Good Things Come to an End,” Linkin Park’s “What I’ve Done,” Bed’s “J-Holiday,” Gwen Stefani’s “4 in the Morning,” Mim’s “Like This,” 50 Cent’s “Ayo Technology;” Justin Timerlake’s “Love Stoned and What Goes Around Comes Around;” Timbaland’s “The Way I Are” and “Apologize” and the ubiquitous Rihanna’s “Umbrella;” Fergie’s “Glamorous;” Ne-Yo’s “Because of You”
16) Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier then sadder
ii. thinner or fatter? Neutral – I look fitter though
iii. richer or poorer? Richer.
17) What do you wish you’d done more of?
– Taken more risks and kissed more guys (yet again!). Stayed longer instead of hugging him goodbye because it was late.
– Traveled more, particularly, stayed in New York longer and watched The Blue Man Group live!
– Studied more fastidiously.
– Wakeboarded when the water was warmer.
18) What do you wish you’d done less of?
– Overanalyzing my relationships and just damn it, kiss the guy!
– Spent less time surfing Facebook!
19) How will you be spending Christmas?
– Hopefully in vacation — am looking at Laos and Egypt. We’ll see where we go.
20) Did you fall in love between October 2006 to October 2007?
21) How many one-night stands?
– No comment 🙂
22) What was your favorite TV program?
– I haven’t been watching TV as much, as am usually out and about.
23) Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
– Yes, though hate is too strong a word. I disliked a colleague who was just a bad event organizer. The problem was, she was my central laiason in the United States, so it was all I could do to scream!
24) What was the best book you read?
– “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey – he was lambasted by Oprah for citing it was a memoir though there were some fictional little pieces in the book. it still doesn’t change the fact James Frey is a damn good writer. The book was moving and is a shattering memoir on what it’s like to have a fatal addiction.
The worst book? “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy – maybe I don’t get Indian literature but though the prose was beautiful, that book just didn’t make any sense. When I laboriously got to the ending, all I could say was, “That’s it?!”
25) What was your greatest musical discovery?
– Timbaland – I liked his collaborations with Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake and other pop artists.
26) What did you want and got?
– Dined in the nicest restaurants. Yummy.
27) What was your favorite film of this year?
– “Blood Diamond” was gripping, and I was totally drooling over Leonardo di Caprio. “300″ (March) was really good as well. Loved the visual effects and the story. Surprisingly, I liked “Georgia Rule,” Lindsay Lohan’s film. You guys should check it out. Felicity H. was fab in it.
28) How did you celebrate your birthday?
– Celebrated at People Restaurant last Saturday. Funny, just realized how segregated my groups of close friends are, and had to introduce most of them around. Afterwards, danced the night away at the nearby Carnegies, where I bumped once again into this Swedish sexy god. Stayed up late till 5:00 am and slept over.
– On Sunday, woke up early for a brunch (oh why did I have to go?) and later on, my closest friends organized a house birthday party for me. They cooked and blew the balloons while I ate and reveled. It was great!
– Birthday itself, had a company dinner where I slurped delicious Chinese chicken soup and relaxingly shared a glass of wine at Cain, while shaking my booty. I saw PN that day, but that was another disappointing story. Please pass me again that glass of wine.
29) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
30) How would you describe your personal fashion concept this year?
– Sexy one piece dresses in classic yet flirty styles (they now number over 50!), tanktops and shorts, and tight jogging pants for wallclimbing. Power suits and colorful cardigans for work. Regardless of what I wear, high heels are a must-have!
31) What kept you sane?
– Mike S., Lily H. and Ann T.
– REALLY LOUD music! Dancing wildly and a glass of red wine when stressed.
– Citizen Cain – delicious pastas and mojitos, and their manager lifts my spirits up.
– Wallclimbing — really had to make this a priority to stay in my regimen.
35) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
– Tough. Actually none. Everyone was a disappointment.
36) What political issue stirred you the most?
– What the government is doing with Chang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall. They now call it with a stupid name.
37) Who did you miss?
– My mom and PN
38) Who was the best new person you met?
– Ann T. — she’s been extremely generous to me this year, and always says she can be my “Plus-1” whenever I need it.
39) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned between October 2006 to October 2007:
– Manage your expectations – if you set them too high, you’re bound to be disappointed. Sometimes, you have to set them low and find yourself pleasantly surprised.
– People don’t change – deal with it.
– The only person responsible for your failures/success is yourself. Don’t depend on other people and the best person you can depend on is yourself.
– Follow your gut – especially when dealing with people. If something bothers you about that person, even if that person has a Harvard MBA, don’t hire him.
– Murphy’s Law – computers and printers break down the day before your biggest project. This happens. Breathe deeply and relax. There’s really nothing you can do. Everything will turn out well in the end so don’t sweat it.
– You make your life. Hence, you can’t blame your happiness/depression on anybody else. Things change, situations change, but oftentimes, it’s up to you to make the best out of it!
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Stronger – Kanye West
Now that don’t kill me
Can only make me stronger
I need you to hurry up now
Cause I can’t wait much longer
I know I got to be right now
Cause I cant get much wronger
Man i’ve been waitin’ all night now
That’s how long i’ve been on ya