There is a lot to mark with this decade just passed.
Ten years ago, I was on a plane back to Singapore having rung in the new year with my best friend, who I was visiting in Melbourne. Only days before that, whilst still on my long-awaited, hard earned holiday, I was on a skype call with my mom where – with the full moral, emotional and financial support from my extended family – we made a decision.
That in the beginning of 2010, I would be packing up my bedroom into two cardboard boxes in preparation for the sale of our home; I would be packing what I needed into a 35kg load of two suitcases. That in February, I would be on another plane back to Melbourne. That in March, I would begin a postgrad at the Victorian College of the Arts.
That I would, in the next ten years, go on to live far more lifetimes than I would have imagined for myself.
Meandering through a city I felt incognito and invincible in. The privilege of living and working across Australia, traversing landscapes and cultures that constantly nourishes and inspires me. Holding multiple identities, finding home in more places than one. Being a better guest every day.
Love. And a marriage to a man whose mental health – whilst not for me to discuss – had such an impact on my world and what I would go on to learn, both for and about myself. Of the beauty of always choosing love, over and over.
Grief. How deep one can dig to unravel – on days when all I can do is howl; or how still I can feel when I surrender. And often, the things that trigger my grief aren’t the things I am truly grieving for; and so you sit with it, and dig a little deeper.
Forgiveness. Is the fulcrum between Regret and Love. And a sliding scale of surprise – when I find out that I am far more willing to forgive things I never thought I could.
Ambition. Fearlessly, I dream. The voracity of my appetite builds upon itself. And every time I feel like something has landed in a big way, the sense of a new starting place thrills me beyond measure. And at the precipice, I leap. I always leap.
Kindness and Generosity. Are bedfellows I will keep close to me. They cost very little, but are some of my most prized possessions that I want to share with the world. And I’d like to believe that the mutual exchange of this is why my life is marked by truly intimate, deep friendships. And for that my world is full.
Joy. And with Joy in my heart, I’ve got Joy to give.
More than full, my world is ever-expanding.
I’m beginning this decade with a packed calendar. For the first time, I have back-to-back work and projects lined up. Projects that I have been leading and co-leading, work that I am driving, and things I am saying yes to because I really want to say yes for.
This year, I will also be making and presenting a work back in Singapore. When I think of that skype call that determined the course of my last decade, then ten years on – this is the homecoming.
And when I think of that skype call that determined the course of my last decade, the anchor which is that of my family, and their unconditional (whilst evolving and complex and layered, but always unconditional) support for me amazes and humbles me – and at the same time, continually emboldens me.
In one more sleep, I’ll be on a plane back to Melbourne after spending Christmas and New Years’ with my family. The first Singapore Christmas since 2011. Almost like a mirror, or of the cycle of comings and going in this past decade – I will be brave.
While grateful for this past fortnight of family time, food and friends, I long for my cosy little home and sanctuary that I have built for myself this past year, and am eager to find some slow, gentle, quiet, down time.
But I am also conscious that I will be returning to a country on fire. And my heart aches. I am angry. I am devastated.
And in the scheme of things, I am truly but a speck in this ever-expanding world. And everything I have experienced in the past ten years mean so much and so little at the same time in the face of catastrophe after catastrophe.
The world as we know it has already changed.
And into the next decade, we are going to need courage:
to love / to grief / to forgive / to dream / to be kind and generous / to remain joyful, and to bring joy / to live.
Now then, are we truly ready for the lifetimes to come?