To those who are reading this now, I hope you have a happy new year! Now that it’s already 2020, it is time to reflect on what a year 2019 has been for me.

I met new people in 2019, some of whom I become fairly close with. I opened up to more people and was rewarded with some interesting point of view I’ve never known of. My research became more interesting; I have even reached a point where I dreamed about it, although my dreams haven’t given me some inspiration to tackle a proof I am struggling with lol. I travelled to some new places. I stepped out of my comfort zone a lot in 2019.

Overall, 2019 was a good year!

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though. My relationship didn’t work out. Sometimes I found it hard to sleep because I felt unloved and unwanted. My grandma passed away, from which I still feel a sense of regret at times. Every single time I tackled a problem in my current paper so that it could get submitted immediately, I found another one; to the point where I almost gave up (well, that’s research for you).

Without any intention to complain, I would like to focus this post more on the bitter pills. It’s these life lessons and realisations that hopefully resonate well with you guys and have made me a better person.

Expect less. People keep saying this but I think I fully understand it now. 2019 was the year when I was hurt by my own expectations the most. The problem with me is that I live in the future. I overthink a lot and assume people will return the same amount of energy and affection I pour into them. This creates a conflict within myself. I feel like I am being selfish by insisting that they return the same amount favour I am giving. At the same time, telling myself not to expect anything in return has become harder than usual. It’s like ‘I want to be selfish just this once’. Still, selfishness is selfishness. Nothing can justify it. The solution has been there all along: don’t assume that all people are the same as you. They have their own way to show their affection. I wish I can keep this in my mind all the time.

Don’t expect people to love you if you are not content with yourself. The desire to be loved and accepted is one of the most fundamental feelings we all share, but I learned the hard way that it is not others’ job to love me; it is mine. It is their choice to love and care for me, something we cannot impose. You will attract people who will truly accept you if you accept yourself in the first place. I now think that people who have accepted themselves emanate a more positive aura. One simple thing I am currently working on is to be more opinionated, just not in the bad way. I tend not to show my preference, keeping everything neutral because I am afraid to lose friends. I learned that people who are not afraid to show their preference are more attractive. Articulating your opinion does not necessarily cost you some friends; it lets people know who you are.

Being lonely in the sea of people is the worst feeling. I don’t know if this is because of my age or what, but lately I feel a strong urge to be in a meaningful relationship, be it a friendship or a romantic relationship. I was just doing fine with my alone-ness so this is a very alien feeling for me. Sure, I was in a relationship before, but one of the main reasons why it didn’t work out was because I enjoyed my time with myself more (I worked a lot and we had a long distance relationship). That sudden need, together with my ‘failed attempts’ to garner some, has made me anxious and feeling lonely. Some nights I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t stop overthinking all the what-ifs you could possibly think of. That feeling, so far, is the worst; even worse than what I felt when I lost my dad some years ago.

Overall, I am at this age where I just feel adulting has never been this hard. I feel like I am not ready to fight all these battles but I have no option that to keep going. But to come think of it again, aren’t we all never ready? I’ll just do my best 🙂

Looking forward to what 2020 has in store for me. May this year be a good year for all of us!

Sydney, 4 January 2020

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