19 November 2014


It has been a very interesting year. I did not always say the same for any other year, so it means this year is quite special in a way. I have set my feet on my career path, which seemed so blurry most of the time. It has been a very shocking phase also. I left behind my family, my friends, and my life to work in JB. It was not how I expected.

Living for about 18 years through formal education system and 3 months of National Service render you somewhat unprepared for living alone without your peers. So I was in JB for a few months, and it was neither the best phase in my life nor the worst. But surely it taught me lots of lessons I never thought I would learn.

During this period, I was appointed to undertake more or less 15 environmental, safety and health projects, including those in Singapore and Indonesia. My passport, for the first time in forever (yeah Frozen reference) has at least 3 different country stamps. I went alone to Batam, Indonesia by ferry. Unlike taking flight, it feels surreal to pass through different time zones slowly. And I drove my car to Singapore.

I hated the weather in Singapore though. The heat was more extreme than in Malaysia. You could almost feel the scorching sun bite through your skin, and the heat felt literally sharp, pricking like small needles. I was all alone in JB and sometimes it felt really strange. There was no transitional stage from my student days to my working days.

The unfamiliar faces and the empty house I go back to were signs that I was alone in a strange new world. But the good thing is, I learned new things. I challenged my limits. I no longer rationalise my fears, but instead, I challenged them all. Every day forces me to be a better version of myself, and slowly I can feel the changes. And just like an eraser, you feel like the stress and the mundane tasks of working began to wipe the real version of you. They change you by giving you new experiences and skills, but along the way, bit by bit, they replace your dreams, your passions and your sentiments. I was beginning to forget the happy memories

I shared with the people I love, the feelings I felt when I was not working. My passions and dreams were slipping away from me. Worst of it all, I began to not care. I had to stop and reflect back to remember who I really was at the end of the day. I don’t want to lose myself. I forced myself to blog, to see if it is still me under this skin. I don’t want to stop tweeting, because if I stopped, I will cut my connection to the social life hanging by that one single thread that is twitter. Some friends, suddenly seemed like they never existed. Those years we shared with laughter morphing into a strange silent. I was contemplating lots of things, and never in my life have I been so confused and unsafe. I felt like walking through a very fragile bridge, and one wrong step will lead to my untimely demise. I wanted to stay so badly, but I also missed the old me. My working days sometimes simply extend into a full one week, and working days would also mean working nights. I could handle the stress, but I began to hate it. I began to sabotage my work – doing half-assed reports, coming late to work, did not focus.

My superior and colleagues noticed it. I didn’t. It dawned on me that I could not force myself to be happy even though I could survive the stress. I am unhappy to calculate and plan so carefully just to go back home to see my parents. It was then I read this entry of Shey’s blog. It opened my eyes that have been shut by the obligation

I hold towards my company. By that point, I already received another job offer closer to home. But it was a very tough decision, the one that kept me awake at nights. I would love to live near my family, but it also means coming back to my comfort zone. I wanted to prove to everyone that I am strong and resilient, that I could survive the stress.

My thoughts were in shambles, day in and day out. I wanted to be better, but I also wanted to be happy. And finally, after all else failed, I sought the one deciding Oracle. What my mother thinks. My mother, as understanding as a mother would be, asked me to do the job that will make me happy. BUT, she would be happier if I stayed near home so she could meet me frequently. Some people would say I’m giving external reasons like this to make sure there’s something to blame when something goes wrong.

I was thinking the same thing, but what will go wrong if your intention is to make your mother happy? So after a few istikharah prayers, I finally found the courage to resign my previous job. Believe me, as much as I hate it, it rifled me with sadness to leave a job that teaches me a lot of things and given me so much opportunities.

But my superior took the resignation open-heartedly, and he wished me the best for my future. Truth be told, I was not looking forward to resigning so early. But at the same time, I know that my heart was not there. I can pretend as much as I could that I’m OK, but I could not hide it. Sooner or later, I would simply sabotage my job unintentionally – at best, and intentionally – at worst. I figured that it was the time to say goodbye.

I could stay for another year, or another two years, and even a decade, but that would not change how I feel about this. It was a hell of a year. But it teaches me a lot nonetheless. One thing for sure, I know that my emotions always got the best of me, and I hate it. Ironically enough, it defines me.

 As I walk through my new workplace, I could not help from feeling awed by the notion that every single decision, everything that I did in my past has brought me to this point of life – this point where I stand. November is my birth month. And this November, it brought me my new beginning. [6 days before my 25th birthday]

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