I know I’m super late in writing this post and it’s not like it’s a must to write a post just because it’s a new year but I feel the need to write one for this year because so much has happened and I would like to share my happiness and my growth process.

2016 was a rather trying year for me as I’ve mentioned many times before in this blog. Firstly, it was dealing with the grief over the death of my beloved Suzie for a whole year. I was never whole again after that. I felt a sense of emptiness no matter how many happy moments I had. Secondly, it was just being an adult – I started my first full-time job in March 2016 and although I am incredibly thankful to be given a job, I also felt a sense of anxiety. How long more of this routine of waking up early, working hard, going home late (because of Muay Thai) and sleeping late could I take? Sure, the spending power is fantastic and the saving power is even more incredible. But it was the routined days that scared me. Would this be my entire life? And it’s not like I hate routine, but I need a good balance of both. Lastly, my relationship was something I kept questioning because I felt like I wasn’t in a good place and I felt responsible if Marion became unhappy in this relationship. I kept questioning if it was the right thing to do to cut myself off. It was a lot of back and forth on this question for the both of us. It was emotionally tiring especially when you feel like you are not loved as much by people outside of the relationship.

Towards the end of 2016, it became a lot clearer to me on the decisions I made to improve my life and my happiness. The first was to quit my Instagram account because it was toxic for me. I didn’t quite like knowing about people’s lives especially when I’m not close to them in the first place. It made me feel nosy and it made me feel like I was addicted to know more about what people were up to. I can’t help the mean/judgemental thoughts that came with it and I hated that I was having such mean thoughts about people. This wasn’t me and it isn’t who I want to be. So I decided to quit my main account because if people were really interested to know me, they would make the effort and not just sit there scrolling through my gallery of what I’ve been up to. Don’t get me wrong, I still have 2 Instagram accounts – 1 for my baking adventure and the other is a super private one which is only accessible by my closed ones. That account was there from before as I treated it as a private (only-me) photo diary and I didn’t quite want to let that go as it was the memories it held were too precious.

The second change I made was to allow myself to take the space I need when I needed it without feeling sorry for asking for it in the first place. I realised having my alone time and my space is often for people’s safety, more so for Marion. It’s where I recharge and reorganise my thoughts to make sense of things. Without it, I am capable of being easily agitated and snappy and sometimes saying things that are so blunt for the purpose of hurting someone. I would spend my alone time in my room writing which was why I wrote a lot towards the end of last year. I would spend my alone time over lunch breaks going to the roof garden with a book in my hand and home-cooked lunch in the other. I would also spend my alone time just watching series on Netflix  or online which I’ve always wanted to watch such as SuitsThe Crown, Game of Thrones, Naruto (influenced by Marion), Luke Cage, Stranger Things, a little bit of Narcos and Black Mirror. This year, it’s A series of Unfortunate Events only thus far. More to come soon hopefully! Marion and I also had a talk about having our alone time. I think we always felt the need to call each other goodnight because it was the routine and it is what almost every couple does. We also felt bad if we had to ask each other for our alone time. But some nights, we don’t have anything to talk about and all we want to do is our own thing. So we decided, on nights like that, we will not be afraid to ask each other for our alone time and it has worked out perfectly. We would just call to literally just say goodnight. I can imagine our married life – him in one corner of the room playing his PS4 or something and I on the other watching my series, or him on one side of the bed listening to his podcast and doing work and I on the other reading a book. And we’re both perfectly happy with that because it’s just being near each other that makes us happy.

So 2017 huh?

Okay where do I begin?

Every year, I come up with a theme to live by. This year, my theme is ‘to be unapologetically me’.

How did I come up with that?

I wanted to stop apologising for things I shouldn’t be apologising for. I wanted to stop letting people step all over me at work. I wanted to stop trying so hard for people who have some kind of unspoken issue with me. I wanted to stop feeling like I was unlovable because of my brokenness. I wanted to stop punishing myself for the way some people treated me.

I wanted to accept the fact that I am sensitive and that it’s okay because being sensitive is always better than being insensitive. It makes me empathetic to people’s hurts and plights. I do, however, realise that being too sensitive is bad, but at this point I can’t even begin to “balance” myself because I am still working on accepting the parts of myself that no one claps for. I wanted to accept the fact that I love deeply and the way I show my love is through my actions. I like to splurge on my loved ones because I love seeing how happy they get when they receive it. This is not to say that I like buying materialistic things because the gifts I buy is from pure observation of their likes and dislikes and this amplified the meaning behind the gift. I wanted to stop feeling like shit when people commented about how much I spoil my loved ones with such disdain because they probably think I’m such rich “uptown” girl born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I wanted to stop feeling sorry that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth as if that’s a bad thing. I embrace the fact that I am incredibly blessed but people often mistake that for me not knowing what poverty or being less fortune is like. I do know what being less fortunate is like and even if I cannot relate 100%, I do empathise and I do my part to help in whatever way I can. I am not oblivious to people’s struggles in life and I do not look down on people’s finances or status. I wanted to stop feeling the need to explain myself to people who don’t deserve an explanation from me, although I probably failed on that just a few seconds ago. *chuckles* Well I said it was a goal, it isn’t automatic!

So here I am and I must say I am liking how this year has been going by so far.

My family and I finally opened up our hearts to another dog. I am proud to say that the new member of the family is adopted from Causes for Animals Singapore. His name is Max. He was previously named Bush boy because they found him in the bushes half-dead. He had 12 maggot wounds and he didn’t reject any help when they took him in and rushed him to vet. He didn’t even struggle at the vet. All he wanted was probably love and affection from compassionate humans. When I read his story, I immediately knew that Bush, now named Max, was the one for us. When we went down to meet him on a Friday night, 13 January, he was his foster mum. He had this limp and he was a quiet boy. He just wandered around the grass as we walked him and he was very obedient. Chels and I even started kissing him on his head and cheek. We were drawn to him and I thought his slightl limp was a cute quirk. Later on, we would realise that the limp would be there forever because the vets had to cut a ligament from his leg due to the wound. The ligament was rotting away and the wound was so bad that you could see the bone inside.

He has some similar traits to Suzie. He started his trial period homestay with us on January 15 2017. This week is the third week with us. His first day with us, he was so confused and he was so uneasy. He kept going toward the door and trying to get out to run to the volunteers. He refused to sleep in any of our rooms because he wasn’t sure if our home was a place he could walk freely. We tried to invite him in but to no avail. He ended up sleeping on the towel we placed for him in the living room. We didn’t have a bed ready for him yet at that time. The next morning when Chels and I woke up at 5am to take him down for a walk, we wagged his tail at us. We knew he was starting to get familiar with us so we gave him the space and time he needed. Today, he’s very well loved by our family and he sleeps in Chels’ room. Sometimes, he comes over to my room in the morning to lay by my bed side. It was the spot Suzie used to lay when she waiting for me to get up. I read online that when you adopt a dog, you should keep the rule of 3’s in mind. They are estimated marker points.

The first 3 days (at a minimum) is the initial “detox period” as the dog transitions from the shelter to your home. After 3 weeks, though, your dog is probably getting used to your comings and goings, learning the daily routine, and starting to figure out when the next meal is coming, that you walk at the same time every morning, that he gets to go out for regular potty breaks.  At 3 months, most dogs know they are “home.” It’s a process to get there, but with a good behavior plan, the right tools, patience and a sense of humor, the two of you can scale the mountain together and enjoy  the journey toward a great relationship.

I cannot wait for the 3 months. I want Max to know he is good hands now and that we will always protect him from harm, danger or any sort of abuse. I think he knows that we love him but he’s probably still skeptical if this house is going to a permanent one for him. But we will continue to be patient with him and to love him with everything we have. He responds to Max now which is a good sign. He knows which gate is our house. He comes to the door to greet us when we come back and in the mornings, he runs, jumps and gives us kisses. He has some weird quirks and sometimes, some behavioural issues, but we accept him for whatever he is and whatever his past was. We know he’s in good hands now and we will rest in that fact.

Max filled this emptiness in my heart that was there for year. This is not to say that he replaced Suzie or that I have forgotten Suzie. Not a day goes by that Suzie is not on mind. I will always love her and she will always have a special place in my heart. Max isn’t Suzie and Suzie isn’t Max. I love Max for Max and I love Suzie for Suzie. I love them both and I know there will be a day that Max will come to pass to. When I leave this world, I will be blessed to be welcomed by two of my furry companions in heaven and maybe more.

With my relationship with Marion, it’s been swell. We communicate a lot better and we enjoy our moments together a lot more because there’s been more laughter. We talk openly and honestly – not like we didn’t do so before but more so now. You would think after 7 years together, you’re more or less settled but that’s not how life works. Obstacles will always be there, it’s whether we want to keep going through hell still holding hands. We overcame hell and all our demons and we are still fighting some of them together. He assures me of all that is good in me and he forgives me for my wrongs. He loves me firmly but softly at the same time. He does his best for me to make me happy and I do all I can to bring happiness to his life each time. We are in a better place and we are glad. I’ve stopped caring about people outside our relationship that have not been treating us kindly. I’ve stopped trying to get them to accept me or to love me.

We may still have a long way more to go and I am excited for a lifetime of journey and memories to build with the man I love. I am at peace knowing that this is the man I will eventually marry because I know he’ll make an amazing husband and an incredible father of our kids. He will love his daughter fiercely and gently. He will love his son and teach him important life lessons. He will plan activities for our family and he will always prioritise us and ensuring we grow into a wonderful family. It’s not too soon to think about marriage for us because we’ve been together for 7 years now and it’s been a discussion we’ve had from before. Of course anything can happen and I am aware of that so we shall see where life takes us.

The other thing I’d like to do more of this year is to start reading more books again. I was such a bookworm in my childhood. I remembered asking my parents to buy me books after books and I would read infront of my dad to earn this Papa Booklet Award. I would even do the character voices such as the evil stepmother from Snow White. I’d read to him every morning because I loved it. I stopped reading when technology got in the way. It started with Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Barbie, MyScene, Neopets and then Friendster, Facebook, Blogspot. Becoming a teen distracted me from the joys of reading. I would buy so many books though because I was interested but I’d keep them on the shelf. Starting late last year, I began to read books I bought from 3 – 5 years ago. I’ve finally read all my Mitch Albom books I bought for myself 3 years ago, A Good Woman from Danielle Steel which Chels got for me on Christmas maybe 6 years ago, and I just finished reading Totto-Chan, a book I had as a kid but Chels lent it to her friend and I never got the book back so I never got the chance to read it. Marion gave that to me on my 21st birthday, which was 4 years ago? My latest read is A Dog’s Purpose from W.Bruce Cameron that Marion got for me on Christmas last year. It’s a book I’ve been wanting to read since it came out but I never managed to find it in stores whenever I visited.

These days, I’m always armed with a book. I’ve stopped listening to music on the train journeys back home because I’d much rather read instead. I become so engrossed in the world the writer creates that it’s hard for me to put the book down. I feel like my younger self again. It’s good to keep busy by reading and watching movies. It just transports you to a new place and for awhile, you’re free. I’m really happy to be picking this past-time up again and I hope I am able to finish reading the 30++ books I’ve been hoarding. *chuckles*

I am looking forward to the rest of 2017. Everything is looking up for me and I am spilling with gratitude for all the blessings thus far.

I wish each and every one of you a blessed 2017.