33.

I turned 33 yesterday.

One day recently when I was cleaning up my apartment, I found some dusted packaged home objects that I bought from Ikea years ago when I just moved in but never managed to put up – a small window blind, two short photo shelves. I never put them up becoz they all require hole-drilling in the wall and having to rely on some worker to just do that is something intrinsically annoying to me that I chose to procrastinate. Then the procrastination (of 4 years) turned a bit out of hand.

I decided to just get it over with this time. I went to a hardware store in the neighborhood and asked if someone can help me drill some holes. The shop owner looked at me and said: “you know, having a worker make a trip to your home would cost you minimum 500. Why don’t you just buy a drilling machine and do it yourself? You can drill as many holes as you want from now on.” I knew he was just being lazy and trying to up-sell me, but somehow the idea of gaining hole-drilling-autonomy got the better of me and I ended up coming home with a case of new hammer drill that was almost too heavy for me to carry.

I hastily took out the drill when I got home, couldn’t wait to try it out when the tutorial instructions were still fresh in my head. I moved the furniture, assembled the drill and plugged it in, held the drill against the wall, activated all my non-existent biceps to hold it upright, and pressed the power button. There it goes, I drilled the first hole in my life into the wall. Then a second one, a third one, a fourth one…… It wasn’t as easy as it might seem, and it wasn’t a pretty scene at all. My finger eczema were cracking from over-dryness, my wrists were shaking, I stank of sweat and I had to spend twice the time to clean up the mess afterwards. I have to admit, the newfound hole-drilling autonomy was exhausting. But it did make me feel good. I feel so physically empowered and independent that it spills into an overall sense of empowerment and independence, something I thirst for all these years.

The holes I drilled in my walls are so insignificant that no one would pay any attention to, but their existence is also so indispensable to the home structures that make my place notably more functional and aesthetic. I can’t help but feeling this little anecdote of hammer drill is a miniature of this past year, the year of my 32.

On face value, the past year was a placid year with my personal life. I’m at the same weight, seeing more or less the same people, watching the same shows, frowning over the same problems. Other than the job, almost everything remains unchanged in my life, I’m as alone as I was this time last year.

My relationship with solitude has evolved from a rocky one to a much more stable one. I have built up pillars to support this castle of one and I keep strengthening them in my daily practice. The music exercise, the fitness routine, the home decor execution, the regular grocery trips, the food-making explorations, the instagram story improvs, the one glass a day, the Saturday mornings and the Sunday nights. A younger version of me would probably disapprove of life of such plainness; and yet, the 33-yo me, on the contrary, is truly appreciative of the strength and poetry in such plainness. In some way, I have been drilling holes with my life throughout the year, holes that are almost invisible in their own existence, but only I’d know how crucial they are to my inner space, the core system I spent so long to build up brick by brick.

Other than the eternal project of straightening out my self-relation, one of my new year resolution this year is to develop more genuine relationships out of the romance sphere. It’s kind of a missing piece in the past few years when I was too preoccupied with the romance turbulences. I’ve allowed romance to dominate my world to the extent that I’ve been on autopilot mode with almost all my other relationships, with my parents, school friends, work friends, internet friends, people that I appreciate and adore, people who nurtured me in the most earnest way, people who keep me grounded.

In the meantime, my growing cynicism about people had cost almost all my interest in making any new friends, and my demanding requirement for purity in a people relationship makes it even harder. I was so worn out by the app-intoxicated hypocritical social relation atmosphere that I stopped at all to look for any potential meaningful ones.

With human, I understand there’d always be people who’d disappoint. Often, the closer you are with someone, the bigger the disappointment. Having been on both sides of the disappointment, I have come to accepted that developing the allowance to be disappointed is part of the path for any meaningful relationships. And it takes a strong core system to dissolve the potential disappointment and to remain as intact as possible. I guess the bottom line is, never let the disappointment consume your own passion in life, however sparse that is, nor let it impair your faith in deserving anything good.

After a shift of focus to relationships other than romance, I have relearned to enjoy the simple pleasure from being open-minded and earnest with people and the magic of it. I have reconnected with people I’ve lost touch with and I even made one or two new friends, who I genuinely appreciate.

I guess in the past year I have been subconsciously practising one thing, that is to acknowledge that love is not the only subject and source of pleasure in life. In the absence of it, there are always other sweets in life to be cherished.

Yesterday I hosted a small party at my place and invited some friends over. I was debating myself a lot over the idea, but at the end decided to go ahead despite the amount of work implied. I didn’t do it becoz I feel compelled to have some sort of birthday celebration (there are easier ways to do that), but rather out of an urge to connect, and the hope to reinvent the sort of ideal human connections that I’ve been yearning for. In my imagination, it does’t take being a social animal to enjoy a party. It should only take good music, good space, good intention and of coz, good wine.

After my guests left, I had a little after-party of myself with all the leftover wine and loud music. I was so drunk and so happy, one independent of the other.

Waking up with an expected hungover today, the first thing I did was to check what ridiculous contents i posted on instagram last night. And I was somewhat amused by my own drunken toilet cabaret, and decided to leave it there (instead of deleting all and pretended nothing happened).

It’s a bliss to have the power to entertain oneself. At 33, I do understand youth is a fleeting bitch. If there’s anything I wish from time, I genuinely wish it’d never take away my superpower of dancing narcissistically on my toilet lid.

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