25 years may feel an awfully long time, yet in the context of a lifetime there remains so much to accomplish. In the past year alone I started my stint at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and ended another stint at startup e27, began writing for The Middle Ground again (after the Breakfast Network experience) and have begun to wind down my responsibilities in UNASMUN, and finally fulfilled the promise of bringing my parents to Europe (landing in Berlin and Munich, Germany, going through Zermatt, Switzerland, and winding up in Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome, Italy). The privileged me also spent two weeks in Berlin, Germany visiting tech companies, as an extension of my six-month startup experience in Singapore, and a week in Jakarta and Bandung, Indonesia, learning from leaders who – I reckon – will shape the future of their country and our region in a positive fashion. I even fell in love.
But these developments also make me nervous, especially when you grow in the present. The insecurities of the past – the arrogance and the hubris, the woeful inability to hang onto relationships, the lingering regrets and mistakes you cannot let go – persist. The quicker you run from them the quicker they come chasing, even when you try to make sense of the ambiguities of the future. And it is a future where the school no longer provides insulation from what they term “the real world”. “Of all men’s miseries the bitterest is this: to know so much and to have control over nothing”, Greek historian Herodotus mused, a quote which was referenced by a friend a week ago.
It is not all gloom and doom, though. The one thing almost seven years of blogging has taught me is that things only get done – things only change – if you buckle down and get to work. So even when circumstances remain no less daunting, the will to carry on will still be strong. And I think after a quarter of a century I’m slowly learning to be okay with being unsettled, making do as I go along.