As the new year draws closer, and this year draws its curtains, I’ve been looking back through 2014, trying to make some resolutions I can actually keep. Maybe this time, it’ll be better. It’s a brand new beginning, a fresh start. I’m writing this on Christmas night, and I wonder if it might be a bit too early to think about ushering in 2015. After all, I still have six more days of 2014 left. Six more days filled with grand possibilities. Anything can happen.
Sure, nothing significant or life changing will probably happen. I probably won’t be able to fall in heart-pounding, soul-crushing love, finish writing an entire novel, or, I don’t know, open a bustling cafe in one of those hipster-ish neighbourhoods. But in these next six days, I will be able to cheer on as my friends in Hall rush through the Inter Hall Games for glory, help host the Doctor Who Christmas Special Viewing Party with more than 40 strangers who are bound to turn into friends, and still have time to spare to catch up with the family whom I’ve never known, visiting Singapore for the first time.
They aren’t the resolutions I made last year — write your novel, become a best-selling author, go make some award-winning short films (okay maybe I’m exaggerating) — but these little things count too. I never expected to be helping to host a Doctor Who event. Hell, I didn’t even avidly watch Doctor Who last year. I didn’t know my two long lost grandaunts from Indonesia would ever want to come visit us with their family in tow.
And while I’ve loved covering the games last year, I mostly went for all the games because of the responsibility I had in the committee I was in. With those responsibilities lifted, it’s kind of liberating to have time for myself when I’ve been so busy for the past two years. But I never expected to actually be looking forward to travelling all the way back to NTU just for a few games. Two hours just to get from one end of Singapore to the other end of Singapore is not fun at all.
So yes, these little things do count. They are unexpected and lovely and surprising and exhilarating and they make life so much more interesting, and what makes a year meaningful anyway. Yet I can’t help but think that I’ve wasted yet another year. It’s a little bleak to be thinking that on Christmas, when anything seems possible because I’m Christian and we believe in the greatest gift of all, but all you need to do is look back at my track record, and you’ll probably be feeling the same way as I do.
Perhaps your goals weren’t set as high as mine… I mean, write a best-selling book? I couldn’t just say “write a book” because that wouldn’t sound cool enough, I just had to say “best-selling”. Maybe you wanted to spend more time with your family, and have a work life balance, or maybe you wanted to score all As in your exams. But maybe you haven’t done so. Work got busy, and As were impossible to score. A book was difficult to write in itself, let alone a best-selling one. Inexplicably, the words just never came.
Then the hours flew by, and they turned into days, then weeks, then months… and somehow an entire year has gone by and you haven’t accomplished anything you set out to do. No YouTube videos you promised yourself you’ll make, no scripts written and hidden in your desk drawer, no dinner dates with your loved ones. Just an empty calendar, a horrible ticking clock and a sinking feeling that something is definitely missing.
You don’t know why you haven’t done any of those things you were so psyched about on the first of January. Procrastination, mostly. A lack of motivation? Maybe. But you know you feel awful right now, like there’s a gaping hole in your heart because you’ve broken yet another promise to yourself this year. And you don’t know where to go next year because you don’t want it to be a sad repeat of this year’s epic fail.
But I say we move on. We move forward — push forward with hopes renewed. It’s a new beginning, after all. A new calendar to fill. A fresh start. As long as you remember that life can be unexpectedly good at throwing you lemons, you can probably make lemon meringue pie from scratch. And with that horrific metaphor, I’ll leave you with a list of things I hope to do this coming year:
- Write an actual novel. And not say I have writer’s block. Edit it. Then maybe send it out. I say this every year so actually do it this time.
- Do at least 12 short videos on hidden places in Singapore. Upload them. Because accountability.
- Continue writing this column. Write about things that matter. Maybe ask other people’s opinions on love and life because God knows I’m not an expert on these things.
- Fall in love… with something. Or maybe someone. Something or someone I’m not picky. Okay maybe something is more achievable than someone. So… Probably try something new.
- Plan and go on outings with all of my friends from different parts of my life.
What’s on your list? Write it below so we can keep each other accountable, and we won’t be feeling so bad for ourselves this time next year.