According to my parents, I can now officially date.
Back when I was younger, my parents encouraged me to focus on living my life first and keep my eyes open before finally choosing the One who will be with me for the rest of my life (romantic eh?). They felt that I can make a better decision if I observed more and dated less.
They were right of course, and I still shudder at the thought of actually marrying my first boyfriend-a penniless Japanese student (money was never an issue in my dating choices) whose deal breaker was that he didn’t try to make it work (or so I may say in hindsight, the feelings were weak in the first place).
So a week shy of my 28th birthday, I agreed to start dating a man who wanted to stake his claim on me. Yes, I know it sounds quite barbaric but it was romantic when it happened. If he left the decision all to me, we would’ve been tip-toeing till I was 32. For some reason, confident, assertive men are more of my cup of tea. Frankly, am too passive and laissez faire to date anybody who isn’t as keen to be with me.
Work-wise, I’ve been traveling to Hong Kong more often these days. The last time my boss told me that I was going to be sent to Hong Kong for a week, I almost groaned. Hello 6:30 am wakeup calls!
Nonetheless, the entire exercise has also been an adventure. The energy in Hong Kong is electrifying and after being in my present job for 2 years, it was just the jolt I needed to jazz my days up. Here in Taiwan, have been so used to my job that I can do it with my eyes closed. Unfortunately, challenge is the major motivation for staying in any firm, more so than money or prestige. Hence, there was a point in time where I’ve seriously contemplated about jumping ship or moving on to business school. My boss’ call just came in time, and shifted my path once again.
Of course, the recent financial crisis was a downer and I was also affected by the market crashes, hiring freezes and job cuts. Fortunately, I am still legally employed (knock on wood) but plans changed. At present, am biding my time and waiting for the green light for my next career step. Abangan ang susunod na kabanata…
As for my friends, the pattern is noticeably funny.
Last year, almost 80% of the people who attended my birthday party were males. Unfortunately, most had jealous girlfriends and this year, the tables turned and managed to build closer friendships with fellow females. Table conversation usually revolved about finding one’s purpose in life, career paths and not so much as one’s dating experiences. It seems that as you get older, dating gets old and you worry more about where life generally leads you than who’ll be beside you as you get older.
Socially, I am less active and don’t participate in many parties (compared to years past). I do have a slight inclination to house parties and attend whenever possible. Personal growth wise, I’ve been more comfortable doing things alone – watching movies, eating, reading a book in a noisy café, or strolling along the streets of Taipei.
Subsequently I care less about what other people think or feel about me. If they like me, wonderful. If they don’t, well tough. And this mindset has kept me sane in the last few months. So long as I am doing what I love with people who I like, then who cares about the rest of the world? Selfish, I know, but would like to think it’s part and parcel of growing up.
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. Was 2007 better than the last? Mostly, the past year has been a period of contemplative self-exploration. It may not be the most exciting year ever, but then again, it was necessary for me to simply grow up.
26 was a roller coaster ride. 27 was like riding a stable boat in a pristine lake surrounded by wonderful mountain ranges. 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 27 that you’ve never done before?
– Studied like crazy for the CFA Level I and surprisingly passed the exam on my first try. I looked at the results that evening and just said, “You gotta be kidding!”
– Started dating a non-Asian. Just to be clear, I do not have the Caucasian fetish and have only dated Asians till this one.
– Traveled to New York for a business trip. Spent a week there. Saw Lion King and Les Miserables (slept on the last section because I was so freaking tired). Didn’t even see the Statue of Liberty before flying back home. Big regret. Should’ve stayed at least one more week.
– Spent the new year’s in a foreign country!
– Discovered Ayn Rand and her books. Totally loved Atlas Shrugged!
– Liaised with top Taiwan regulators for a project. Realized just how comfortable I was working with high level officers as I was with the receptionists and secretaries.
2) Did anyone close to you give birth?
– Not within my relatives, but my new colleagues have been popping out babies like crazy!
3) Did anyone close to you die?
– Thankfully no… but my dad’s best friend’s wife passed away. Sad story. Cancer.
4) What countries did you visit?
– U.S. (New York) in November, Laos in December/January, Philippines for Chinese New Year, and Thailand last August. My list the year before was a lot more interesting but heck, this was the best I could do given my hectic work schedule.
5) What would you like to have when you’re 28 that you lacked when you were 27?
– The constant discipline and energy to take and pass the CFA Level II (Lord help me!) and the determination to finally take my GMAT and apply to a decent B-school.
– The maturity to make the right decisions for me and for those I care about. The wisdom to choose wisely on who I want to settle down with in the far off future. The patience while I wrestle in my indecisiveness.
– The ability to travel more and having a backup at work so I can freely do so.
6) What date this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
– Shall I get back to you on this? At this point, the memorable date is surrounded by some volatility so would like for things to stable a bit first before jumping the gun.
7) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
– Overseeing a successful conference and training two wonderful assistants who have so much potential. I love being in a mentoring role, and take great pleasure in building people up.
8 ) What was your biggest failure?
– Hiring a bad assistant and couldn’t train him to shape up because I couldn’t ship him out given company policy. Lesson learned: if it’s not working, who cares what HR thinks. Just get rid of him.
9) Did you suffer illness or injury?
– No but need to exercise more. Since Alexander closed, have been quite lax with the exercise.
10) What was the best thing you bought?
– My Canon 950 camera and my kitty-cat silver necklace.
11) Whose behavior merited celebration?
– My 23 year old brother – who at the tender age of 22, bought my dad a car. Now, top that!
12) Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
– Top Climber who quietly removed me from his life because his girlfriend was uncomfortable with our close friendship, no matter how platonic and innocent it was. That is NOT the way you treat friends. I bumped into him and his girlfriend at Barcode one evening and was just disappointed on the superficiality of it all. “We meant to call,” he said. “But we were just so busy with our thesis.” Yeah right.
– AT who disappeared one day in January and we’ve only kept in touch sporadically. Still don’t know what happened to that one, but heck, you reap what you sow. I now treat her with casual indifference.
– The recent financial crisis, but then again, who’s not affected?
13) Where did most of your money go?
– Delicious food, some socializing, a bit of shopping and rent. How easy can money run out the bucket…
14) What did you get really, really, really excited about?
– Life and the many complicacies of it. It’s beautiful.
15) What song will always remind you of this year?
– Madonna’s “4 in the Morning,” Flo Rida’s “Low,” Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love,” Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” Chris Brown’s “With You,” User’s “In This Club,” and Snoop Dog’s “Sensual Seduction.””
16) Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier, but in a stabler way.
ii. thinner or fatter? Fatter. Blame it on Alexander’s bankruptcy.
iii. richer or poorer? Richer.
17) What do you wish you’d done more of?
– Took more leaves and traveled more! Unfortunately, given my increasing job responsibilities, found it more difficult to get away from work.
– Have the discipline to study more. Read more books by Ayn Rand.
18) What do you wish you’d done less of?
– Eat less. I need to exercise!
19) How will you be spending Christmas?
– Most likely in the office working on some tasks for our company’s biggest event. Groan!
20) Did you fall in love between October 2006 to October 2007?
– A week shy of my birthday, yes!
21) How many one-night stands?
– I don’t do one-night stands. Period.
22) What was your favorite TV program?
– Grey’s Anatomy, of course. Rediscovered Desperate Housewives and loved it! Became a total addict. Also liked Ugly Betty and CSI Las Vegas.
23) Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
– Not really hate but disliked a few people. They were too superficial. Nonetheless, who cares about them?
24) What was the best book you read?
– This year? “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand
25) What was your greatest musical discovery?
– Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love”
26) What did you want and got?
– Everything I got this year, I had to earn. However, I wished for peace of mind and that’s exactly what I got. Have been pretty content on how this year passed to be honest.
27) What was your favorite film of this year?
– “Wanted” starring Angelina Jolie was really REALLY cool.
28) How did you celebrate your birthday?
– I was in Hongkong on site during my birthday and my parents were coincidentally in the same country as well. Hence, after my project was over, we went out for some cheap porridge and Japanese eel rice. I was totally stuffed! Nonetheless, the real party started that weekend where gathered a few of my favorite people in Taipei for a night of good food and fun conversation, alongside some wild dancing at Roxy 99. Perfect!
29) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
– If I had taken and gotten a high score on my GMAT.
30) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
– Less sexier dresses as vowed to remove the caveman factor when I meet men. As usual, some cute one-piece dresses that accentuated the curves, balanced by simple shirts, skirts and comfortable sandals on casual weekends.
31) What kept you sane?
– Finding my center. My best friend Fi helped as she is the person I’ve been frequently hanging out every weekend with.
35) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
– To be honest, Angelina Jolie and her growing brood of adopted children. How do she and Brad handle all of them?
36) What political issue stirred you the most?
– The Taiwan elections – was afraid that Ma would be assassinated a day before the elections. Also, the US elections – are they finally going to have a non-Caucasian president?
However, have been more affected by the economical issues such as the Lehman bankruptcy, the fall of Bear Sterns and the caving of the global banking system. Unfortunately, the golden days of the investment banks are over.
37) Who did you miss?
– Recently, who else?
38) Who was the best new person you met?
– I rediscovered the joys of Fi, with whom I’ve gotten a lot closer this year.
39) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned between October 2007 to October 2008:
– The only person you can duly depend on is yourself. You have to find your center. When you know what you want in life, it’s a lot easier to get it. And when that happens, you become other people’s center. 2008 was the year where I became more like a therapist. It’s amazing just how many people are just so lost. They have no idea what they want. It’s a constant reminder that you have to first stop and think what it is that you want before you can go and get it. Otherwise, you’re just wasting everybody’s time.
– You can never make someone love you. All you have to do is to be worthy of that love. Pursuing a man is futile, and what they say is true, if a man isn’t calling, then he’s just not into you. Let it go. Sometimes, it’s better to be selfish and to ask yourself if he’s worthwhile than to accept any other offer out there.
– You have to sometimes make life happen. Non-decision is also a choice. For example, I wish I’ve taken more vacation days. However, took some breaks for granted because couldn’t get my lazy butt to organize my own tours. Nowadays, am taking a more aggressive stance to arrange my own trips.
– If there’s a chance to go and use the bathroom, just do it. Just go. You’d never know when you can go again.
– Shit happens. Sometimes, the weather will be beyond your control. Question is, how will you handle it?
– You cannot change your parents. But you can choose who you surround yourself with. Choose wisely. If you can choose the right job, the right partner, the right friends, then you’re more or less on your way to success.
40) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“Que Sera Sera” by Doris Day
When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty, will I be rich
Here’s what she said to me.
Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.
When I was young, I fell in love
I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead
Will we have rainbows, day after day
Here’s what my sweetheart said.
Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.