(Not) Your Typical Year-End Note

So in approximately three hours, it’ll be 2014. I’ve never been one to get all excited or misty-eyed when entering a new year — I’ve always believed that if you want to do something, you don’t have to wait till a new year comes around to make resolutions you’ll likely end up not keeping, anyway.

But I’m writing this because 2013 has been a particularly peculiar year for me. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a love-hate relationship with any other year of my life. I tendered my resignation from a two-year-old job on my first day back at work in 2013, after which I spent some months as a freelance writer, part-time private English tutor and full-time “bum”. I eventually got around to doing what I’d left my job to do: become a creative writing and speech and drama teacher, while still freelancing as a writer and focusing on my personal projects.

I went into the year with my heart smashed to smithereens, and spent nine months (take that, lousy, unsubstantiated survey) gradually piecing it back together with music, exercise, booze, dancing, literature, and even a little prayer here and there. I fought like hell for what I wanted, and learnt to let go of what I couldn’t have.

I did the most travelling this year, compared with previous years: Johor, Bangkok, Den Haag and Köln all experienced a little touch of Typhoon Tay (come on, indulge me a bit here). I came back from Europe broke and jobless, but richer for my experiences outside of Singapore.

I (rather gleefully) incinerated a few old bridges, and cautiously — and sometimes, drunkenly — constructed several new ones, documenting much of the process with my photos and writings. I became a redhead, and fully embraced the power of impressive cleavage display. And now, at the end of the year, I have plans that just so happen to be achievable only in 2014. So I guess you could say I am actually looking forward to the new year, not because it is a new year, but because of the potential it represents for me. But though 2013 has been the most challenging year of my life so far, I’m not quite as eager as I thought I would be to leave it behind.

I’ve loved, lost and learnt much. I finally learnt not to give a good goddamn about people or what they think of me, unless those people sincerely give a good goddamn about me. I learnt to snap my fingers and say, “On to the next” after every setback. I learnt to play it so cool, I am easily akin to a Russian winter. I learnt that I know more than I think I know, just as I know less than I want to know. I learnt to live fearlessly and unapologetically. And above all, I learnt to love myself with equal parts self-reproach and equal parts wild abandon.

So before my night descends into considerable intoxication, I would like to say, from the dark, dark heart of the baddest bitch on the block: a sincere “thank you” to both friend and foe — the former’s help has built me up immensely, and the latter’s harm has made me tougher than I’d ever thought I could be. My friends may or may not receive a tipsy text proclaiming my love and affection in the wee hours, so I’d best say it now.

Now excuse me while I light a cigar and pour myself some good old single malt. Happy new year, people. Let’s kick (more) ass in 2014.


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