Looking forward to 2019


A bit late to this.

Not quite “resolutions”. More a re-orientation of the mind and heart—a reminder of how to be better for 2019:

-To learn to unpeg my identity as a person from my identity as a writer. Writing has the singular capacity to affect how I feel about everything else. When writing goes well, everything feels sunny. When it doesn’t, nothing does.

-To work even harder. To pitch for what seems out of reach and aim for 100 rejections. Because then I would have pitched that much more, and land more commissions.

-To not avoid imperfection and to find more joy in the process of just doing things. To try not to control the outcomes.

-To collaborate more and learn from others.

-To find a little bit of that 22-year-old left in me who was so open-hearted to the world, and engage more emotionally in the everyday in terms both personal and professional. Remember the words of Mary Oliver: Attention without feeling is just a report.

-To record conversations with my parents about their lives, and inner lives.

-To not assume that I already understand the friends I’ve known for a long time. People change, aspire, and need the space to do so.

-To write letters again, even if it’s via email.

-To “play” more often. To dance more often.

-To read more fiction and poetry to balance out the nonfiction. To embrace imagination and wonder more.

-To improve my spoken Malay, Mandarin, and Spanish.

-To minimise how much writing determines the amount of exercise or sleep I get.

-To explore my city on foot, on my own, the way I would any foreign place, to see it with new eyes.

-To not let others impose their world views on me, and to be frank with them when they are.

-To call out someone’s bullshit when I see it, even if it means they get butthurt and everyone gets awkward.

-To not just shrug people off if they are fundamentally misunderstanding my position on something. I usually can’t be bothered to engage in debate with people whose opinions don’t figure importantly in my life. But maybe it’s worth doing, for the sake of a greater integrity of person within and without. Remember a news editor’s multi-purpose advice: Wear your heart on your sleeve. Defend your position.

-To be honest with myself, always.