In my teenage years, whenever I try to imagine what I would be when I grow older, I will always picture a 23 years old bloke driving a convertible down along a coastal road. That to me is an image of a well-accomplished adult. Hence, I cannot really understand or reconcile what became of me since 2002. Not only am I not well-accomplished, I do not own a car and I have yet to learn how to drive.
When I started pre-school, mum and dad were in their late twenties and I thought 30 years old is considered old age. Yet when I celebrated my 30th birthday, I felt like I was still a child. I believe one of the filial piety acts is to let my mum mother me, however old I am. Her recent chants are “you’re not young anymore” and “you need to seriously plan and prepare for your future”. Yet, that is follow by the “have you eaten” and “don’t stay out too late” chorus. In parents’ hearts, they look forward to their children all grown up; in their eyes, their children will never grow up.
Friends around me have started to get married and I have lost count of the wedding receptions that I have attended the last decade. The ceremonies are pretty much the same (read: unoriginal). Good food and reunions are what I look forward to. These days, it has become impossible to meet up with school mates outside of these heavily-planned events. After all, weddings are still better events to host school reunions than funerals. Of course, there are the baby showers which I am usually and coincidentally out of town.
Having lived in cities outside of Singapore only makes me want to stay away from my own country even more. My first overseas stint was in 2008 when I was seconded to Bangkok. While I was only working full-time in the Bangkok office for half a year, the subsequent year of monthly travel back up, allowed me to nurture my love for this city of angels. Till date, whenever I have a chance to visit Singapore, I will always sneak in a side trip to Bangkok. I have now lived in Sydney for more than two years. Fortunately, there is a good community of Thai people and food here to continuously feed my obsession for things Thai. My best mate is Thai. To me, he is more Aussie than Thai since he lived here for the last decade. But I shall settle.
As much as I want a greater certainty on what is to come in the next few years – specifically if I will and can still stay in Sydney – I do not wish to force out a decision. I have been receiving remarks asking me to return back to Singapore. Yet ironically, these friends will not meet me more often than now even if I would to live in Singapore. Modern telecommunication and social media platforms have allowed me to keep in touch with people whether they are staying miles away or on the move when they travel. My conversations with some close mates never cease whether I am residing in Sydney or travelling in Laos; whether I am at work or in commute.
While I still live in denial and still looking forward to reach my ideal 23; the real me at 34, automatically inherit the mindset that I better start to plan for the future. Defiantly, I shall plan not to have any major plans for the next one year… till I am 35!