“It’s only one life from birth to the burial ground – from the womb to the tomb.”
– Shanti Zaveri, A Book Without a Title.
Each of us is merely one human being, merely an experiment, a way station. But each of us should be on the way toward perfection, should be striving to reach the center, not the periphery.
– Hermann Hesse, Magister Ludi/The Glass Bead Game
– Lady Maclehose Centre, Hong Kong
“No one has the right to give anything to anyone; for each of them has every right, and the right to everything.”
– Jean-Paul Sartre, The Wretched Of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
Everyone’s on the bandwagon of resolutions for the new year. Honestly, I spent more hours on social media this week than the time I’ve ever spent going shopping for clothes. Even Snapchat had a special stream of “New year, New Me.” I watched the snaps sardonically. Previously, I believed quite strongly in that concept like the innocent person I used to be. I believed that as the new year rolled in, I’d be magically renewed to be able to become someone I aspired to be. It never happened though. I never allowed it.
These past few new years that I experienced were not about creating a new me, but various opportunities to clear up the steam on the mirror to know myself better. At various points, I also picked up new accessories to better embellish this person I have come to become. I also left behind old habits I wasn’t happy with. I realised that a new year didn’t necessarily mean a new me, it could just mean I could create a better version of me, an enhanced version.
“the clothing he had worn, by now unbearably old and too tight, could be discarded at last. A new suit was waiting for him.”- Herman Hesse, The Glass Bead Game.
Last year, 2016, was an eye-opening year for me in so many unimaginable ways. 2016 marked the start of my final 2 years in a formal education system. As exhilarated I was when I started it, I am now struggling to continue being motivated. I’ve come to meet many interesting people – all with different stories and experiences. Some make me smile, some drive me up the wall, some guide me when I assume there’s a dead-end. I also was introduced to the world of philosophy through Demian (thanks to BTS) and then Yuri On Ice. I finally found out what happens when I break under pressure. I started doing what I loved – writing and photography. I committed myself to a space to freely express myself. I finally become aware of world affairs and even local ones thanks to the introduction of General Paper. I finally stepped out of my world to become one with our world, the world we share. The year also completely proved that I was not crafted to appreciate the sciences in any way. This realisation brought about the post-promotional exam crisis where I intensely deliberated about staying back another year and doing subjects I actually liked and felt motivated to study. After some heated debates with the family, I succumbed to my fate. After all, it’s only one more year. ONE MORE YEAR of struggling with things and people I disliked. I also experienced new cultures and educational environments through my Junior College (JC) journey and a trip to Hong Kong University (HKU). In all, 2016 was an important year in crafting who I am.
The new year literally started with a bang with the Turkey nightclub attack. I wasn’t surprised. As much as I wish to not admit it, 2017 will be the year that will ultimately define my path in life, for I’ll be attempting the currently unsurmountable A-Levels. After writing that examination, I’d be set to go to university. PSLE & O’s were child’s play to what I am going to write this year. As much as I wish to argue that society emphasises too much on grades, ultimately that’s not changing this year so I still need to channel my attention to attempting to pulling up my socks. The result of this year will create an irreversible chain of decisions. Also, I’m turning legal this year. I’m going to be 18, a person whose decisions would be recognised by the country. I will now be seen as someone who has adult-like maturity. The thing is, I don’t have that. I never actually explored that concept of maturity, except when I make age-inappropriate jokes. I’m actually convinced that this year would be a rollercoaster, hopefully just not one that goes down all the way.
& all of this is purely in my hands. It’s a lot of pressure, a lot of drama, a lot more mental persuasion and control needed. I’m scared, to say the least. I do realise this is an elusive attempt. The past year, late nights held secrets I do not ever wish to revisit. It spelt times of despair, loneliness and confusion like a lost deer coupled with blinding headlights. Knowing beforehand that there would be more times of this intense self-questioning doesn’t help me look forward to the year. Let alone motivate me to strive to achieve my goals.
Since it’s a new year, I thought it would be apt to make resolutions, especially because it’s an important year for me. The chances I finish it through the year is highly unlikely, I’ll put in my utmost effort in keeping it up. It’s a promise to myself.
The years I’ve spent in secondary school and now my junior college have allowed me to experience a lot of activities. I gathered a lot of hobbies in that time, just there was one mistake I made every single time. I would find any reason to discredit my efforts or ability and abandon my hobbies all together. The thing is, a hobby isn’t meant to enhance your abilities. If you are able to make your hobby your talent, you’re one of the lucky few but the purpose of an hobby is not that. It’s for you to discover yourself and take you to another place, away from your reality. I really want to use this year to spend some time with useful (Keyword: Useful) hobbies and get in touch with who I am.
I spent last year in a daze. I spent most of my time on shows and music. I’m going to cut off the dramas, just for this year. Note: I’m not saying shows, but dramas specifically, because other shows come once a week and do not ruin my schedules. I binge-watch dramas. Having to wait for another episode hurts me deeply, especially those with cliffhangers. Guess who has all the time after A’s to binge. That’s right, I do. So, let go of the dramas now.
Make realistic schedules. Having my calendar filled with colour columns stretching across three hours is aesthetically beautiful but I never stick to it. I lose patience once I exceed 1.5 hours. That’s my golden number. Stick with it.
Previously, I wrote about my fears in which I mentioned that I was afraid about being the odd-ball of the group. I still am afraid, but I need to spend my time more usefully. It’s important for me to understand that no one constantly thinks about me being weird and questions it. Everyone has their problems and checklists. I should think about the bigger problems I have – here’s a hint, my grades. Just go with it, your actions shape you. It is my choices brought me here, shaped me to become who I am. Spending time blaming myself over past is the best waste of time. I know that, I just forget it 99% of the time. Also, it’s fine to be a terrible person – saves you more trouble than you think. Just respect everyone around you, but their opinions do not ever dictate who you are.
This doesn’t even apply for the first 11 months of 2017. Recently I have wanted to learn new skills like dancing (largely due to my attraction to Korean pop dance breaks), to explore new places, etc. I never got down to it, for various reasons. Or should I say extremely convincing excuses. It’s not getting me anywhere really.
This year would be a year of challenges for me. I have to deal with things I wished I’d never had to experience. It’s okay. Take a deep breath there. Hear me out. It’s only for less than a year (< 365 days). Don’t break. A couple of cracks is inevitable but never shatter. Depending on the circumstance, what I just said could give you a panic attack. Sorry about that.
I can’t emphasise on this enough. Words give me peace. Having my thoughts strung in a way I can understand it gives me a sense of security and satisfaction. Write whenever you can, it’s one of the best things I can do for myself now. Pen against paper & the chatters of the keyboard give you more solace than human interaction. & that’s completely fine. Don’t ever feel like you have no way to express yourself. The only person you’ll ever need to express yourself clearly to is yourself. Others do not matter, especially this year.
When in doubt : Write
When in need for emotional support : Write
When confronted by new ideas : Write.
When expressing your thoughts : Write.
That’s it for my resolutions for this year. I’ll try my very best to be committed, for all of that helps me to become a better version of Shrey.
@2017, please don’t test me this year.
@Shrey, you can do this…hopefully. I’m praying for you.
– Doctor Manhattan, Watchmen Issue #1