2022 the year of taking chances

I seem to always post my year in reviews a few days late because the draft of this post usually starts somewhat like a thought dump of what I did in the past year, and it becomes too much of a task to get it distilled into concise and readable document. It still isn’t much of a polished thing now, but I need to move on from the previous year and focus on the now.

Word of the year: Courage

I’ve continued to dive into experiences that I’ve not done before. This year holds many firsts for me. Performing in a dance recital. Living out of my suitcase and trialing the nomadic life. Riding a scooter. Saying no to things and people that aren’t good for my mental/emotional energy.

For the past few months I’ve repeatedly had people tell me, “you’re so brave for doing what you do”. Maybe I am starting to believe this, and will continue taking chances and taking brave steps. I feel truly alive from having agency to make these choices and thriving in the unknown.

How was I different?

Took leaps of faith, and embraced the highs and lows.

Looked back at my last review, 2021 was the year I felt balanced. After finding that footing, I took the chance and ran with it to experiment with life again. This time, equipped with coping mechanisms and support systems. It showed through how I bounced back to baseline from the highs and the lows I felt.

I felt safe enough in my own mind to venture out into the unknown. Sometimes running into things a little too blindly and jumping into the deep end, not anticipating some turbulence that could throw me off course. Sometimes things didn’t go too well, but most of the time I encountered pleasant surprises.

So many rich and fulfilling experiences took place towards second half of the year that I had honestly forgotten what the first half of the year looked like.

Life happened when I stepped out of my comfort zone to actively participate.

Took chances on people and events that paid off handsomely. Fulfilled my love for wonder and exploration. Learned a lot about myself and what my limits are. Pushing these limits bit by bit, drawing a clear line for myself when I see fit.

Meaningful moments

1/ Having conversations and sharing energy with people from many different backgrounds through some kind of common thread. The common threads being dance, travel, digital nomad-ism, love for adventure and life, seekers of knowledge, trauma and healing.

Most importantly, I felt their energy invigorate me. It has helped me refine the kind of energy I want to have in my life. Previously it was difficult to understand what it meant be ‘vibing with someone’. This article by Patricia Mou explains it aptly!

  • Shame, anger, fear, pride -> these generate negative energy
  • Courage, Willingness, Acceptance, Peace, Love -> these are the positive energies that we want to be around to elevate our own energies

I can now clearly see why Bali gave me a lot of positive energy that I cannot find or maintain in SG. General vibe of people in SG, even at home, are generally angry, fearful, prideful. There’s always something wrong with something, even if things are actually working just fine. We expect things to work, because they usually do (lucky us) but when they don’t, hell breaks loose. (I admit I also contribute to this problem. I’m guilty of complaining and feeling angry about the train services getting delayed and a lot of other matters.) But we get really caught up with the little things that inconvenience us, or angry about rising costs. Everyone has a little bit of pent up frustrations, mixed in with a dense city where people are getting in each others’ ways. A perfect storm for conflict and rage. Just like how the entire family had to stay indoors and face each other 24/7 during lockdown. Singapore seems to be just the larger scale of that.

After investing in good relationships, I felt the power of genuine check-ins and having friends who understand me. The safety in vulnerability. Being able to keep my own emotions in check with more rationale-minded friends. To access the wise mind.

2/ Spending those precious meal times with grandparents, knowing how limited those moments could be. Daily calls, video calls bring short sparks of joy to know we’re all safe and sound. We’re still breathing, eating well, and doing ok.

3/ Getting comfortable solo time to think and write in beautiful, good-vibes environments, without feeling the dreadful loneliness that I used to feel a lot more.

New learnings:

The theme is prioritising.

I can’t do it all at once.

Something has to give if I were to take on more. There were periods where I was obsessed with doing and pushing myself to do more. I wanted to pile on my schedule (sounds like a very familiar pattern, just in different forms every year) and I neglected to listen to my body. It was telling me I was exhausted and at the brink of another bout of burnout but I didn’t want to give in. When I finally took that break after external feedback, I realised how fucking exhausted I was. Even during my year end break, I stressed out about not decluttering enough. I need to chill.

Reduce and Simplify

I saw how people can live a contented life with little possessions or wealth. That inspired me to aggressively declutter my own belongings, and relook at how I spend money. Feeling a lot lighter. Feeling a lot less compelled to add things to my life.

Case in point: The 2 hours of stress I felt while packing my luggage before my 2-months Bali stay was intense. I was feeling very attached to things and wanted to bring my pillow, yoga mat, crochet tools, and books with me. No way everything including my clothes and other essentials could fit in a cabin-sized luggage and a backpack that’s meant as everyday carry. That was a big lesson on letting go of routines/nice-to-haves and letting in new activities, or let existing ones expand, to fill the gaps. I can confidently say I felt the most energetic and joyful in those 2 months, even while working at almost the same capacity in my full-time job.

Relying on Systems instead of willpower and feelings

Wrote a few versions of my manifesto that can act as my filtering mechanism for what I want to be. Saying Yes to things that fit my ideal life, and saying No to make space for the Yes-es. I’m finally able to reject without feeling too bad about it. After many painful and costly lessons of saying yes to things I don’t really want.


This year I’ve also started to discover and acknowledge what I’m good at. Claiming my strengths and getting more cognisant about the saboteurs that distorts my perception of reality. Unsubscribing from the success of metrics that others may hold for themselves, and finding my own.

I can see how it’s not a linear path to feeling this way all the time. But at least now I have a better understanding of how this state of mind serves me well.

Keeping track of past years’ review posts:

Looking back at these yearly posts, I see how much I’ve grown and evolved over the past 4 years, and I don’t feel too bad. Hopeful, even.

For my 2023 self, here are some prompts that I want to answer again. A rough form of comparison for my evolving being.

  1. What’s the word you’d use to describe this year?
  2. How were you different this year from the last? What caused the shift?
  3. What were the most meaningful moments?
  4. What was something new you learned this year?
  5. What are you grateful for this year?
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