2016, what a ride

it’s one hour to midnight here in switzerland and i am currently on the train from Bern to Geneva as i am writing this on my phone, using the measly 1GB mobile data i have to post this before 2016 ends in my current timezone, per tradition. 

the fact that i am currently in switzerland as i write this fully summarises the year 2016 for me – too many things have happened this year, both good and bad of varying degrees, which helped shape this year to be the most eventful year of my life. 

2016 in itself felt like 3 different time periods – january to june was the second half of my first year of uni, and i sometimes still habitually refer to that phase of life as “last year”; july to september were summer months spent at home, constituting a different experience of returning home after having been in manchester for a year; and then finally, september until now saw me growing at the rate of an exponential curve graph, to the point that the past four months since i came back to manchester for my second year of uni felt like they barely passed at all. 

i was constantly busy, and i wanted to be, thinking that every second that wasn’t spent meeting new people, joining new events or going to new places was wasted time. coming back to manchester, i was a part of the mnight 2017 committee as a scriptwriter, working as a wordsmith for the nals 2017 committee through online meetings, volunteering at various events around town, applied for two jobs, and grabbed the chance to travel whenever i could. unlike last year, i was out of the house more than i was in. unlike last year, i said yes to everything first before contemplating the pros and cons of doing something. 

there were both good and bad consequences of this relatively reckless bravery i coerced myself into possessing this year: good was of course the fact that i learned so many new things, went through many new experiences and met many new people which ultimately, helped to boost my self-esteem and confidence considerably. a calendar became a necessity in order to keep track of future dates as well as past entries so that i didn’t forget anything that i did this year. i had more memories made, and more importantly, more stories to tell of my second year of uni. 

on the other hand, the bad: exhaustion. both physically and mentally. physical fatigue was a given – in order to juggle everything i had on my plate, i was constantly rushing, constantly running through dates and times over and over again in my mind obsessively so that i didn’t leave out any important things to do. and then came the aftermath inadequacy that was bound to hit after weeks of constantly Chasing. i would come home some nights, recall all the things i’ve done in retrospect, and then feel like i hadn’t actually learned or grown at all, contrary to what i thought. i’d feel like everything i’ve done, the leaps i’ve taken, the risks i’ve endured, all of them were for nought. i’d feel like things weren’t moving as fast as i would’ve liked them to, to compensate for all the opportunities i’d missed in my first year. 

despite that, currently sitting on my train seat and looking back at the year, i can objectively say that i am a very, very different person from who i was last year, even the previous time periods of 2016 before my second year of uni. i definitely still have a lot to learn in comparison with my current growth progress, but i think this year has opened up a pathway that allows me to be braver, more progressive and less afraid in the future. 

in the new year of 2017, i wish for more memorable and unforgettable experiences, for more chances and opportunities to meet new people, go to new places and do new things. i also wish for healthy growth, in both personal and relationship aspects. 

before 2016 officially comes to an end in a few hours time, i want to take this opportunity to give several shoutouts to the people who made my 2016: to my parents, who are always, always there for me unconditionally; to my dogs, heart, ah boy, yuki, constant shining beacons in my life (i hope you’re doing okay wherever you are, heart); to my housemate, rumin, who has put up with living with me with graceful patience for the past four months; to the ballerz and law gang, for being a family away from home; to ken fui, who has listened to all kinds of shit from my side; to joe, whom i reconnected with this year and had a whale of a time with in the uk this year; to bellyn, for a great summer in malaysia; to sakina, whom i had the honour of watching bangtan with in bangkok; to only children & firstborn and g3, for a great reunion of catching up in summer; to cpy, for coming over all the way from melbourne to spend winter break with us in the uk; to the mnight committee, for being great people to work with towards a successful 2017 mnight. 

thanks 2016, for an insightful year. here’s to another great year ahead, to you reading this, and to everyone else in my life. 

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Author: Michelle Teoh

21-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

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