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Birthday Reflections 2022: 30 Things I’ve Learnt

Sunrise, port Macquarie, birthday reflections

Watching time at Port Macquarie.

It’s been a while since I did one of these birthday reflections.
Since it is a special milestone year, I thought I’ll do something different by writing down 30 things I’ve learnt as a reminder and testament to living thus far.

I’ve grouped them according to themes, but they are in no specific order:


Outside World

1) Finance
Invest early and for the long term. Speculate in small amounts, as it’s always fun to watch something go up by 90%. Not as fun when they go crashing down the very next day.

2) Insurance
Who knew I’d need insurance one day? *Stares at body* Premium coverage with a top-up for women’s cover it is.

3) Health
I was indestructible in my early 20s, but that is no longer the case. In most cases, I’ve won the genetic lottery, and in others, I am working on it.

4) Rest
Somedays, I put off my to-do list and do nothing. I love those days.

5) Driving
When I first got in the driver’s seat. J asked me to put my foot on the brakes. I asked him which one.
I’ve since learnt where the brake, accelerator, and horn are located. Spacial awareness for parallel parking? Not so much.

6) Reading
Getting the KOBO was one of the best things I’ve bought. I’ve done 62 books this year and had a blast losing myself in them.
I read lots of non-fiction with a healthy dose of fiction in between.

7) Impermanence
Impermanence is a part of life, and I still struggle to embrace it. But I take comfort in acknowledging it as much as I deny it.

8) Communication/ Vulnerability
Some things need to be said lest they fester and explode. Communicating with vulnerability could also mean saying many words to try to explain what is going on. It is still a work in progress, and I struggle with it but baby steps.

9) Birthdays
Comes with 2 yummy meals and 100 red balloons. It’s one of my new favourite days.

10) A 30 Seconds Dance
A dance done in between serums and moisturiser applications.

11) Rain
Clams me and puts me to sleep.

12) Singing
When I had covid and potentially couldn’t perform my solo, I learnt how much singing meant to me. It is always a privilege to be on stage.



13) Competition
A bigger house, more money, marriage, a proper job? I’ve learnt that I will never fit into the conventional ‘Singapore Life’, and it is ok.

14) Generalist
This is a word I’ve been using to describe what I do these days. I’ve learnt to embrace it as my strength and am thankful that my clients agree.

15) The Arts
It keeps me sane.

16) Community
As a freelancer, having people you can trust to work with is so important. The jobs I took this year would not be possible without my community, and I am grateful.



17) Steaks
The joy of a steak on a barbie. I’ve been ruined and will never have steaks in restaurants again.

18)  Garlic Prawn Pasta
My speciality dish. I’ve become quite the cook of late, which is funny given my disastrous attempts when I was learning to cook. I love experimenting with different flavours but still believe in a rustic mashed potato.


Inner World

19) Grief
It stays with you; you grow around it.

20) ADHD
A new discovery for me which made so much sense. Somedays, it is my superpower, enabling me to hyper-focus, take on multiple projects at once, and conquer the world. Other times, I get shifting thoughts, heavy procrastination, and brain fogs; not as fun.

21) Adulting
I’ve learned how much power I have as an adult vs when I was a child. I am no longer trapped in a narrative where I am helpless and stuck.

22) Childhood
I’m finally coming to terms with what happened to me and how it’s shaped my life. Knowledge is power.

23) Meditation
ADHD makes meditation almost impossible, but the techniques I learnt are useful for calming down and re-framing my mind.

24) Compassion
Something I picked up from meditation and what I’ve gone through is that everyone is struggling. I’m trying to be kinder and have compassion for people.

25) Anxiety
Is something I deal with and manage. I have to say I’m doing much better than before, and I am proud of that.

26) Joy
I used to have a lot of foreboding joy. I’ve learnt since to spot it and reframe it, to stay in the moment.

27) Love
Comes in many different forms. In a relationship, love is something you choose every day.

28) Children
I love children when I can return them.

29) Family
You can choose your family. That is such a powerful thing to know. I choose mental sanity over blood any day.

30) Gratitude
I am grateful for being here. Grateful that I do not have what I thought I wanted. Everyday.



31) Potato Scallops
There are no scallops in a potato scallop. They are just flat-fried potatoes…


Birthday Reflections

Woma Python, Birthday Reflections, Jamie Chan, Leica

Such a happy day for me at the Australia Reptile Park with the Woma Python

This year has been such a great year for me, work-wise. It has not been easy, but I am finally comfortable with what I do and do not feel like a fraud with every meeting I walk into. I’ve also fulfilled a childhood dream of visiting the Australia Zoo in Queensland. I am very grateful for the people around me who continue to be my no 1 supporters.
To the friendships I made and kept, to healing from traumas and for learning every day. Here’s to the next year!

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