Even after embarking on my third novel, after I’ve accepted that the first draft will always be shit, after living through the mantra that writing is rewriting, I still have days when I find the process just a tad frustrating.
I’ve went through life just going through one goal after another. Every time I achieved one, I just relished it for minutes before moving on to the next one. It took a few tries before I realised that checking things off my bucket list wasn’t as exhilarating as I thought it would be. Then it hit me.
The goals were never the point. The process was.
After all, what good did becoming a salon supervisor do for me? Or becoming a travel writer? Earning my blue belt in jiu-jitsu? Finishing that book? Getting published?
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“You gave me the new guy?” the lady said, her big hair swaying like loose springs as she glanced from one receptionist to the other. “How dare you!”
I stood beside the receptionists and the salon manager, taking particular interest in my nails, not just out of embarrassment, but also because this lady had complained about my lack thereof throughout the entire hair wash. I quickly learned that customers like these only liked it when you raked the shit out of their scalps.
Ever since 2020 turned into the year of Covid-19, my social media feeds have evolved into a never-ending stream of home-cooked food, bodyweight workouts, and forwarded challenges of all types.
There have been a handful of people who’ve picked up seven new languages as well as those who’ve turned into three-star Michelin chefs overnight. Then there are the ones advocating self-care from the couch, assuring everyone that it’s okay not to be productive.
I say fuck it. You’re old enough to decide what you should or should not do with your time, regardless of all the flexing—both figuratively and literally—you’re seeing on social media.
“Maybe your writing sits better with westerners than with Asians,” Nick said, comparing between the lacklustre performance of my blog posts against the attention (read: more than five readers) for my Medium articles.
I nodded with reluctance, only half-agreeing. It’s not as if there wasn’t a thriving reading community in Malaysia, and there was also a good amount of westerners on WordPress.
But yet there was no denying it: I’d posted the exact same works on both platforms only to get much more traction on Medium. As much as I’d like to believe that hard work and talent trumps all, I’ll bet that more people will read this article on Medium than on my blog.
It seems as if my life’s just about making one blunder after another.
Things have took a turn for the better compared to ten years ago, but the mistakes keep coming. I still have issues to work on, wounds to heal, and a life to improve, yet I often mess them up by doing the wrong things.
Looking back, I wish I’d studied harder, worked harder, and didn’t waste so much time just loafing around. Who knows what I might’ve become had I applied myself much earlier in life?