May 19, 2018

My Recent Self Reflection Was a Reminder That We All Peak Differently


Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst the good things. Meet Mikka Wee, a former food editor-turned-working gal in Singapore, who’s about to share all the ups and downs that come with adulting and living. Welcome to Bless This Mess

A few weeks ago, I spent Labor Day weekend at the beach with one of my closest friends. It’s been a long time since I’ve been anywhere close to the sea, and it was good because I was able to do a lot of reflection—something I haven’t been doing for a while because I like keeping myself busy. Being near the ocean and listening to the sound of the waves opened up the dreaded “Can of Denial,” which is a slew of things and emotions that I’ve numbed myself to feeling because it would lead to an existential crisis, which is happening at the moment. I thought I’d share it with you today because I know it’s not something I’m going through alone, so maybe we could talk about it.

I tend to overthink A LOT. No, I don’t “tend to,” I really do. There’s something about me trying to do as many things as I can before I turn 30 because I feel that 30 is some kind of finality. I know, I know; so many women in their 30s tell me it’s awesome, but I look back and realize I felt the same way during my teens before turning 20. So I did a slight assessment of my journey so far.

Honestly, I’ve always felt that I was a late bloomer. During high school, I felt really out of place, especially not being able to find a circle of friends that I “vibed” with. As an adolescent, it was quite a struggle because I’d make friends outside of my school and be thrown into different social circles. As a result, I couldn’t keep up with those friendships and I had difficulty find my own voice, so I just waited and counted the days until high school graduation. Thankfully, I finally found a circle of friends during my university years. I learned that it was okay to be vulnerable and share my feelings about growing up with a trusted group with whom I felt acknowledged and supported.

So during that weekend beach trip, my friend and I got talking about our lives and what is really keeping us from just doing what we love. Apart from the practicality of having a day job because we live overseas, we realized that there is a certain something that is hindering us from sharing our art to the world. I am grateful to have this online space where I can share with you some of my struggles and we can talk about it, because I know I’m not the only one who goes through these humps and bumps. But this is just a single aspect of it. There is still so much I want to do, but on my end, the biggest thing that has been holding me back is fear—the fear of rejection, humiliation, embarrassment, negative feedback, and the fear of not measuring up. It’s been something I’ve carried with me since my childhood, I guess. And being able to acknowledge this right now, I feel, is a step forward.

There’s also a fear of running out of time, and I feel it now especially in my late 20s. It’s ridiculous, I know! During high school, I thought my 24-year-old teacher was already super-mature and maybe she’s figured her whole life out and has her life plan on point. And here I am, a 28-year-old that is the exact reverse of how I pictured a 20-something to be.

There are still days (lots of them), when I feel stuck, lost, and jaded. I guess it’s really part of life, and one thing I am still quite guilty of doing is comparing my lowest lows to the highest highs I see on social media. We are all in a journey of becoming, and we all peak at different periods, but sometimes, I can’t help but question what I am doing and if this is really where I’m meant to be. There are so many books I’ve read, online articles I’ve plowed through that have encouraged me to “just do the thing,” and I know I need to get over the hesitation and self-doubt—this takes time.

I recall writing about stillness in the season, and perhaps, being “still” and figuring things out is where I am supposed to be at this point in time. My location pin could state I am “nowhere” right now, but it’s still somewhere. I just need to remember that life always looks different for everyone, and while I am waiting for my rocket to come, I am at a great advantage to learn and build, help, and connect. Sometimes I forget how much purpose each season of our lives bring to our overall well being, and maybe this season of existential confusion and crisis is just what I need to get the gears grinding again. So I am writing this as a reminder to myself as well to not worry and to just relax because we peak at different ages in life, and maybe being “nowhere” is my “somewhere” right now.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.


Art by Marian Hukom

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