the advent of twenty

hello, my little corner of the internet. I’m so sorry that I haven’t been here in a while. I wish I could make up some excuse that I was really busy doing meaningful things, but we all know that’d be a flat-out lie. once I sort out my pictures from New York and California (god, has it been three months ALREADY?) I’ll post the highlights up here and hopefully revive this ghost town.

a few weeks ago, I was at a convenience store getting some beer, and as I approached the counter for payment this feeling of excitement rose within me:

“I wonder if she’s going to card me. oh goodness I think she’s going to card me!”

and do you know what I felt? I felt excited at the prospect of getting carded. what a stark contrast to how things were two years ago.

approaching twenty hasn’t been great, nor has it been easy. growing up, losing things, losing friends, losing myself. all I have is a yearning, a longing for the days gone by.

as I thought of myself approaching the great 2- and not being a teenager anymore, I penned this down:

“…two years in ACJC also gave me the scariest and most dangerous thing— a daring to dream and hope for something. even after a year through NUS, I still feel the same crushing disappointment I felt when I realized that I had to stay in Singapore for my undergrad studies. if I could write a letter to 18 y.o. clar now, it’d probably sound like this:

“hey 18 y.o. clar, I’m really envious of you. envious because you’re brimming full of hope and dreams and you’ve sat your SATs twice and feel ready to take on the world after ACJC; your only worry right now is getting through the shitstorm that is H2 physics, and how many days are left ’til the A Levels begin. I’m really envious at how you’re able to tell yourself that it only gets better, that your life will drastically change (for the best) when you finally get to leave. you’ve been through some terrible things that no one should have to experience, and you are working hard towards the fresh start you imagine you’ll finally have once you step on the plane and never look back; you’re thinking of all the cool new friends you’re gonna make when you’re finally rid of this dusty old place.

I’m also angry- not with you, but with the college, for making us believe in chasing our dreams and telling us that the sky has no limits; they tell you that receiving an education is more important than the five letter grades you get on a shitty piece of paper you’ve to refer to every once in a while. what they never told or taught you was how to deal with the disappointment of being told that your dreams are too lofty to chase, and that you have to settle for what is within your reach. SETTLE. they don’t tell you how to deal with the nights you spend crying and thinking of how to make everything go away, or how you depend on melatonin to keep yourself in slumber so you can live in your dreams instead of having to deal with the real world. they don’t tell you how to deal with the depression you might possibly sink yourself into. but I don’t think I can blame them for encouraging us to chase our dreams; I can only blame myself for being inadequate and unable to manage my expectations.

I’m sorry that I have failed you. you’ve never imagined yourself to be where I am right now, two years down your road. I wish they’d invented time travel, so I can come back and tell you that there are worse heartbreaks than what you’ve experienced, or maybe even give you some tips on how to achieve your dreams better because the methods I tried sucked and I’ve sunk further below just looking at all the happy people around me.

I wish that I could’ve given you the world; I still do. but look at me now: I don’t have an anchor and I’ve lost all my drive and motivation, I’m slowly drifting away from everything and everyone I used to love, I’ve even managed to gain back all that weight you worked so hard to lose when I started binge eating my depression away last year; I have nothing good to show you about future you and I can only hope that you’ll be able to navigate the pathways better than I did.

I turn 20 tomorrow. hah. two years ago feels more like a lifetime ago. please hold on to the joy you’re going to experience as you turn 18, because you’re not really going to get any better news. 18 will be the best year you’ve got; everything else that came before and comes after, sucks. in fact, please stay 18 forever because you’ve got the guts to dream and you’re still hungry and you’ve got that real zest for life. please hold on to your friends and loved ones the way I couldn’t hold on to mine. please smile more— enough with the 😒 face that keeps people away just because you think it’s cool or that it’ll protect you from others. twenty is approaching and it feels terrible and really all I want to do right now is cry until my eyes hurt because there’s nothing else I can do.

love everyone, but please love yourself the most. please don’t rush into feelings and shit. please just live your life the way I couldn’t live mine, and if you get the chance to leave, TAKE IT and have no regrets.””

so very negative. I yearn to be as young as I was dumb, to truly feel free to do whatever I wanted to do. I actually miss the excitement that came with being able to procure alcohol despite not being of age (and sometimes it wasn’t even for drinking).

as twenty approaches I’m beginning to wise up to the harsh reality that is often synonymous with ‘life’; I’m beginning to make some tough decisions and ask myself questions regarding my future (“should I take that internship even though it means I’ll graduate later and enter the workforce later?” / “what are the tradeoffs for not deciding to continue onto honours year?”)

I know that the left sidebar of this page says that I meet the real world and form some opinions about it, but honestly it feels more like I was thrown into the deep end of the deepest, coldest pool that you can find that’s probably 1.8m deep. I thought whatever happened last year was the real world. HAH. how wrong I was, and probably still am

as twenty approaches, all I want to be is young and stupid and carefree and happy again. I miss the feeling of weightlessness in my heart and mind and I miss being told what to do. hell, I even miss doing math.

I want to stay a teenager forever.

I don’t want to grow up and realise that my life will never be what I wanted it to be.


header image credits to educational innovations

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