Monday, January 21, 2019

What A Difference 10 Years Make

10 years ago is a long time ago.

I had just started working.

This blog didn't exist yet.

And yet, I'm not that different today as I was back then. There's still hair on top of my head. My skin still glows pearly white. My face breaks into full smile as often as the night sky breaks into full moon.

Of course, there's a simple reason for it. I'm not so young that puberty hit me just recently. Nor am I so old that aging has rendered me unrecognisable from my past photos.

And speaking about photos - yes, this post is largely inspired by Facebook's #10YearsChallenge. But no, I'm not going to bite to the challenge because, well, my Facebook Photos is just a chaotic collage of snapshots mostly uploaded by my friends which do not really represent my life trajectory.

10 years ago

* * *

I still remember how my life was 10 years ago.

The best moments of my life, back then as well as now, is firmly imprinted into my memory.

Fresh out of law school, I was struggling to make sense of the real world. Like a caveman out in the light for the very first time, facing new monsters and new companions at every turn.

In 2009, I became my own man. Fighting my own battles. Paying my own rent. Charting my own destiny.

And 10 years later, I'm still alive and healthy. Maybe I've lost a spring in my step or two. But my mind's as sharp as ever. Mind you, it's not a humble brag but a plain fact. Wisdom, after all, builds over time.

* * *

Of course, bad habits also build up as we age.

Have I grown more cynical? Critical? Cantankerous?

Maybe. It's a jungle out there. Humans, as civilised as they try to be, still tend to pick up fights and dominate each other. The struggle to reach the sunlight invariably requires climbing over each other. There's only so much room at the top.

That's life for most people, and mine in my early years.

The last 5 years of my life has taken an unexpected turn. I've abandoned the corporate jungle, to wander through the desert, into uncharted territory.

Along the way, I've discovered pockets of oases here and there, and bumped into hopeful explorers like myself. The desert is not as terrible as people say. Once you make proper provisions for the journey, and keep an open mind - you're good to go!

But on many days, I get lost and lonely. The merciless glare of the sun saps away your energy. The cold of night paralyses you mind with fear.

I wouldn't recommend trekking through the desert to everyone. It takes a fair dose of patience, faith, and yes, insanity.


* * *

Whether you're a kid or adult, 10 years is a long time.

Especially in a dynamic world with technology and culture rapidly evolving. Blink a moment, and you'll miss the hottest trends on social media. Stray too long in the wrong part of the jungle or desert, and you'll be left behind in the darkness.

It's both exciting and scary for us to think of the next 10 years that lie ahead of us.

For me? I face that feeling every day. In the desert, every day is a new adventure. A lion can suddenly spring out from a bush. The shimmering light in the horizon can turn out to be only a mirage, not an oasis.

Again, I don't recommend living in perpetual uncertainty to everyone. I'm not advocating you give up your entire career. But you can - and you should - make little adjustments in your life. Learn new stuff. Take new challenges. Meet new people.

Make every day worth looking forward to, and remembering once it's passed.

Make every moment count.

And in the end, you should look back fondly at your life not in a matter of years, but of days and the precious little moments within each day.

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