Monday, 24 March 2014


It's hard to believe that just seven years ago, I was feeling more lost than a puppy that had just been adopted. I had no idea where I was heading in life, and what the consequences would be of quitting law school. I was terrified of being a failure, scared of being one of those stories that relatives would whisper about at family reunions of "that 30-something-year-old cousin's cousin who lives in her parents' house and is still unmarried and has no job" etc, etc... etc. For months, I would go to sleep crying and wake up crying because I felt so painfully useless and hopeless. Of course, there was no instant solution: it was a long road to recovery, to build my confidence again, to start feeling like I wasn't a failure and wouldn't be a failure, to even have the courage to take up any challenges.

Almost a decade later, I find myself wondering if I've changed. Have I grown stronger while growing older? Do I have more courage now and more self-confidence? Was it all a part of growing up, was it something everybody goes through in some shape or form?

I was 20 when life threw a curveball at my neatly charted path: all I knew was how to be an overachiever, I didn't know what failure was. And I think ever since then, I've had a newfound appreciation for trying. Just trying, even if I don't succeed. And I've tried my way all over the world, tried to get into top communication schools in the U.S. and now I'm in Los Angeles trying to get a Master's degree at one of these schools. It still gets hard sometimes, and I always feel a kinship with others who are struggling or have struggled, because you never quite appreciate success until you endure failure.

Seven years ago, my dad said to me, "Just keep setting goals. You won't be a failure if you just keep setting goals and striving toward them."

I know kids don't usually listen to what their parents say, but that's one of the things my dad said that always stuck with me. I've since become a goal-setter. I set deadlines and work toward them. I set out my to-do lists for the day, the week, the month: my entire calendar is always planned out and always organized. I set out to try as much as I can, and try my best every time. 

But I think what sets apart the successful from the adequate is always going the extra mile. And I've never been okay with just being okay -- of course I'll keep trying to be successful. Beyond just my obligations, I set goals for self-improvement and side projects so I keep my life colorful, never boring. Like designing and writing more creative projects and keeping them on Pinterest. Or coming up with a #MYcountdown hashtag on Facebook to post a picture a day of something about Malaysia I miss while counting down to the days til I visit home, and something more people can relate to than just myself. Hopefully I'll be able to encourage other Malaysians abroad to post about what they miss about Malaysia, in a countdown form. The word "MY" is a local shorthand for "Malaysia," but it also is very much an individual "my" -- it would be a hashtag that plays on both a personal and national level.

I guess I just wanted to say that I wasn't always so clear on what I want out of life. I wasn't always so goal-driven. So if you're reading this and you're at a point in your life where you feel as lost as I was... just keeping setting goals and working hard. Everything will be okay.

My #MYcountdown project, with all pictures prepped in advance to post each day!


切切切鱼 said...

Your dad is so damn right