So I just celebrated my 28th birthday.
I’ve lived for 28 years.
But what is living actually? What kind of life?
My family isn’t rich and I was brought up in typical Malaysian fashion, education first and other things second. I studied in a mainstream school and later on went to private university, mainly because my grades weren’t “good enough” for the public tertiary system. I can say for sure that when I was growing up, I wasn’t a very driven individual. I have no goals and no dreams of becoming someone. Nothing inspires me and at most, I was a “kinda” person. Most of the time, I got pretty okay grades because fortunately enough, I am pretty smart (or so I think). I sailed through my whole schooling life pretty much that way. I started taking school a little more seriously in Form 6. I started being really into school when I entered uni.
I think that being in a working class family, my parents’ didn’t have time or energy to focus on our education and inspire us to dream big. My siblings and I were more or less raised by our grandmothers and left to our own devices after school. So that could be a reason for my disinterest and lack of drive.
It just sort of feels weird to me right now that at that point of time, the future never really seem to bother me. I did remember that I wanted to enroll in Limkokwing University (prestigious design uni in Malaysia) when I finished my Form 5 but my mum said “No money, just go to Form 6”. I didn’t even try to find out what other options I have.
So all that aside, I wanted to study in the city. I did receive some protests from family but a real big part of me really wanted to go out and “see the world”. You know, the whole grow up thing and you’ll never get a chance to do it once you don’t do it sort of idea. My dad supported me financially while I took an education loan from the government and finished my degree. Fast forward to now, I’ve been bouncing back and forth getting job experiences and pretty much liking what I do.
Now is that living?
I’ve done the typical Asian “life path” plan thingie. Study, graduate from university, get a good job. Next in line would be to get into a relationship, buy a house and get married. I wouldn’t be able to afford a house in my current situation. “But you can always find someone and share the house between the two of you”. I’ve been in a few relationships and let’s just say, I’m pretty contented with being single right now. Relationships seem to get more complicated as you grow and at times, being without one means having less drama to deal with. I’ll just have a glass of wine and go to sleep with my “imaginary boyfriend” pillow, haha. So nope. Not sure if parents will be disappointed but I think they understand.
Living – in my context is living your life in the path of your goals and dreams. You may not have achieved your dreams but you are driving yourself towards it. We can all have numerous dreams and waking up everyday knowing you are doing something to make it happen is living.
I have dreams now, plenty in fact. I want to travel to places. Try different food. See different views and faces. Move out of the country. Spend more time with family. Have a house with a garden. See the northern lights. Eat crabs in Alaska. Dabble in new hobbies. Learn diving. Learn new languages. So many things that many people have done but so many have not.
I want to live.