Reflections of 2007…

2007: An Amazing Work-Centric Year

As I look back and recollect the highlights of my year, it surprises me that most of the ups and downs were almost related to work!

For example, here were some of 2007’s most notable figures:

* Countries visited: 5 — 1 work-related and the rest to de-stress myself from hellish months slaving away from the office!

* Maximum hours of overtime in a month: 192 hours

* Largest number of attendees in a project: 450 participants

* The latest I’ve ever lasted in the office: 6:30 am

Nonetheless, I am especially proud with what I was able to accomplish this year, work-wise. Though my job contained high levels of stress and made my heart stop a couple of times, I ultimately enjoyed my work.

Not only did it give me the opportunity to try and enjoy Taipei’s most delicious restaurants, but it also gave me the chance to get to know some amazing people, some of which have turned into personal friends.

I’ve hobnobbed with people you sometimes only read about in the paper, realizing that ultimately, if you take away the status of their position, power and wealth, they are people just like you and me: at times lonely, insecure, and who just want to make a difference.

Two of my biggest projects in June and September stretched my capacity to its limits, almost to exhaustion. However, instead of crying to myself in frustration, I embraced the challenge, almost killing me in the process, and yet, opened myself up to my potential.

I loved it!

Personal Life: What personal life?

However despite being relatively successful in the career front, my personal life somewhat suffered.

Though I’ve made tons of acquaintances in the professional front, I’ve also lost a handful from the more personal front. “Friends can be cheap,” I used to say and it’s all the more true now.

After 5 years in Taiwan, I’ve seen countless of friends come and go for various reasons, and this year was no exception. I’ve lost a small handful of some of my closest ones this year. One notable friendship that suffered was with one of my best guy friends — I had a blowout with him last October and we have yet to talk.

What’s more, as my work caused me to spend more time in the office and less time socializing, I saw that a lot of my so-called friends were mere “happy acquaintances.” This meant you would only see them when you’re out having fun, and they’re not really as great a friend as you think they are. Not that it bothered me that much; I have long accepted this jaded reality and was happy just minding my own business.

Not that I didn’t enjoyed and partied hard this year.

I did — the effect of the Linkin Park concert last November still reverberates, making me fall in love with their music all over again.

Barcode and Room 18 were also my two most frequent party spots this year, with me spending almost every weekend at the former for a brief period of time given a handful of friends who were born just about the same time.

Nonetheless, I felt myself slowing, overall partying substantially less than before. Only once or twice did I manage to get that exhilarating high that comes in staying up late till the crack of dawn, dancing to the latest pop tunes and meeting yet another mutual acquaintance. Actually, change that — I’ve realized that 27 is no longer early 20s, and my body couldn’t take much of the abuse and still feel rejuvenated in the morning.

No way.

By the end of the year, I found myself declining invites to keep partying on, perfectly happy in going home even when the club has yet to close. Change that, I’ve actually discovered how much better it is to stay at home: you’re more productive, your laundry gets done and yes, there are joys in watching a DVD you bought months ago but never had the time of watching.

The Year of Me

Come to think of it, I’ve changed a lot last year.

When 2006 wakened up the joy of being comfortable of being alone, 2007 enhanced it.

Whereas people feel I’m this social butterfly fleeting from one party to the other, 2007 proved them wrong. Most of my days were spent in the public library, nearby coffee shops or strolling in crowded Taipei streets, most of the time being alone.

I quit the non-profit social organization I’ve shared over 2 years with, handing my responsibility over to my right-hand. On other organizations, instead of taking charge and initiating things forward, I took the backseat, finally content in letting others call the shots.

In return, more time was spent devoting to things that were important to me, and only me. For example, studying for an important exam that enhanced my knowledge in my field of work, re-opening up my love of learning.

Now, that took a LOT of time.

How about choosing to spend time with those who I cared about? Sure, I had less “friends,” but they were friends who cared enough to throw me a surprise birthday party, come to my defense when I was down, and in general, stayed behind even when the party was over.

In addition, I remained true in making time for my interests (a tough feat, but I did manage it with much difficulty). Rock climbing is now relegated to a once-a-week occurence if any, but at least, I still kept at it. Dining well is another, but I’ve managed to mix the pleasurable act with business. Reading, I tried to sneak in a few minutes before bed… and yes, whacking golf balls is another, which I hope to do more in 2008.

And yes, of course, traveling was a luxury I fought to indulge despite the busy schedule. Up to a record high, my travels included trips to New York, Hanoi, India’s Jaipur, Agra and New Delhi, Laos’ Vientiane, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang and several cities in Mainland China.

I also discovered many aspects about myself that surprised even me, often in light of the actions of others.

For example, I learned how tolerant I can be when one of my friend abused another’s drunken state and tried to make fun of her. My stomach curled, and never will I treat anybody like that.

I learned how much I respected myself after I wouldn’t stand for my guy friend’s lack of respect and emotional abuse. He has yet to apologize, we have yet to talk, and I don’t regret any of it.

I learned how non-judgmental I can be when I give others the freedom to make their own choices despite my thinking it’s a huge mistake, and how I can be caring enough to console them when tears fall… though not without playfully telling them, “I told you so…”

I frustratingly learned how conservative I really am especially when it comes in the romance department — No, I just can’t shut off my mind and let my feelings flow.

Nah… not really…

This reminds me when I was spending time with one guy pal.

He asked me about my love life and was dismayed in finding out how long I’ve held out. After learning about my near-escapades of recent days, he told me to stop thinking and just start sleeping. “Carpe diem! Just do it!” he repeats over and over at the course on the evening.

He takes the bus with me, going out to see a woman who he has been cheating his girlfriend of almost a decade with. He intends to get screwed, and he will be.

When I get home, my phone rings.

I answer it.

It’s him.

Remember what I told you tonight about just doing it?” he starts. “Well, fuck that. Forget about what I said.”

As I was on my way to see her, I started thinking about our conversation tonight and realized, ‘If Raven can wait for the right guy that long well fuck it, I can wait another day to get laid right,'” he continues. “I respect you even more for standing up for what you believe in, no matter how hard it is to do the contrary. So forget what I said. Keep doing what you’re still doing, and I envy whomever that guy you choose to be worth that wait.”

Now, that’s encouragement. 🙂

So if the guy can’t wait, or don’t call just because he had his ego broken just because I have declined his first offer to sleep with him, well then, there’s nothing much I can do. Sorry, but it’s just not me to jump into bed with any wealthy, sexy, cute guy that offers… no matter how tempting it is to do so.

False leads — or maybe not?

And there were a few offers this year…

In terms of romance, I’ve met some of the best guys yet in 2007…

Some of these eligible bachelors were well-educated, held high senior positions, made tons of money, were cute/sexy, loved fine dining and are simply on top of female wishlists’ everywhere.

Credentials looked good…

…or at least on paper.

I’ve long realized that money, good looks, and/or a great job does NOT make a man, so guys that do impress me come far in between.

In addition, given the nature on where I’ve met most of these men, I demurred from grabbing these opportunities. I was very careful to keep my personal and professional life separate, even though it was so easy to jump over that hurdle, sometimes even tempting to do so.

Sometimes however, my self-control crumbles and my principles were put to the test.

Fortunately and unfortunately, my values and upbringing placed the brakes when I needed them the most, filtering away the guys who just wanted the easy lay to those who were not only great in paper, but also in reality.

Sure, I may have knocked my head on the wall, berating myself for not grabbing the chance with such an eligible partner, but afterwards, I’ve realized it’s definitely not wrong to wait till you’re ready, not when he’s ready… because hey, he’s ALWAYS ready.

So we patiently wait, and looking forward to seeing if 2008 brings a guy who is indeed worth the wait! 🙂

Time flies…

So to end, 2007 was a great year, albeit it ended so fast. One day it was January, and all of a sudden, it’s over… it’s now 2008.

Where the hell did 2007 go?

People say that time flies when you’re having fun, and it’s true: 2007 was one exhilarating joy ride.

Not only was my inner workaholic released out in the open, but I’ve also realized so many things about myself and those surrounding me.

Sure, it came at the cost of hideous eye bags (more from staying up too late) and the start of the loss of childlike naivety, but there’s a worldliness I now possess and hopefully the wisdom to carry on.

I learned my limits — Upon leaping, I learned just how easy I bruise and literally learned what I liked and didn’t. At the same time, enjoyable moments were savored even further, because there’s nothing more you’d like to do than to do what you like with people that you love.

You had less cookie-cutter “fun,” and ironically gained more “fulfillment.”

You had less friends, but the few you had more than made up for the loss.

So what about 2008?

From this point, 2008 lies in front of me.

Honestly, how could it ever top 2007?

Regardless, I’ve asked myself a similar question the end of 2006 on how 2007 will come to be, on how 2007 can be the best year yet… and yet 2007 was both harder and better in so many ways.

Just can’t wait to be pleasantly surprised on how 2008 will turn out…

At present, I’ve already started planning for 2008. If everything goes to plan, 2008 will be another joy ride, hopefully in the realm of the intellect and self-discovery, filling itself up with three-lettered words.



Among others.

2008 holds promise, and if all goes well, by the end of this year, I have already applied to several choice schools.

By December, at the very least, I should already pass the CFA Level 1 exam.

And maybe, after 5 years in this island, the prospect of going home for a brief respite lies on the horizon…

So what about 2008?

What about it?

As I look at my future, for the next 6 months to a year, the prospects overwhelm me. For these plans to come to fruitation require much discipline, focus and hard work. Blood, sweat and tears indeed.

However, to move forward, tears are usually shed.

To improve, we fight the trap of staying complacent.

To succeed, there must be some discontent in being ordinary.

Honestly, 2008 scares me — There is still so much to do and so little time to do it.

But to stay right where you are, to be left behind, scare me even more.

So I brace myself, welcoming the 2008 challenge with open arms. Hope you’re the same…

Here’s wishing to a fantastic 2008 to all!

Happy new year everyone!

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