This is probably the first post that I’ve ever written that is neither related to travel nor to food. All credits go to my favorite writer, Donttakeitliterally, for once again nudging me to write something.
Life is about making choices and for that reason alone, I have recently made a decision that has caused most people to frown in confusion or worse, disgust. I have chosen to become a NEET. Now, those of you who know what a NEET is without having to google or wiki it, you’re officially an otaku *nod nod* 😛
I only know a handful of people who neither frown nor blink in disbelief when I told them of my choice of lifestyle. On the other hand, I constantly come across friends, ex-colleagues, relatives, acquaintances, salesmen, insurance agents who have trouble accepting this. How can I blame them? After all, I don’t have any children of my own or an ailing parent to take care of at home (thank God for that). My reason for doing this is simply because I don’t see a point in sitting in an office taking instructions from other people for at least 10 hours a day when I could have spent those 10 hours doing other things that please me more.
The first thing that comes to a lot of people’s mind is that I must be rich. How do you define rich? In Singapore, a family of 4 can survive with a combined income of S$2,000 a month. Yet, with a few million dollars in his bank account, a millionaire may not think that he’s rich enough. Rich or not, everyone decides for himself.
The second thing that I’m always mistaken as is a tai-tai. As far as I know, the definition of a tai-tai is a lady of leisure who is married to a wealthy man and who loves to shop and regularly goes to the spa. Ahem, you’re welcomed to look up more criteria of what a tai-tai is and I’m sure I won’t meet any of them.
I may not be rich and nor do I have a wealthy husband, but one thing I know is that I am lucky. I am lucky and grateful cos the person who is affected the most by my change of lifestyle has always been very supportive of my decision. He loves his job so much that the word NEET does not exist in his dictionary. But secretly, I think it’s because his non-existent waistline is benefiting from all the yummy goodies that I’ve been making ever since I have more time to spend in the kitchen 😉
So, here comes the fun part (and the part that most people are very curious about). How have I been spending my days in the past 2 months? Well, obviously by spending more time in the kitchen and by planning more trips. We are officially going campervanning in NZ for 2 weeks in July. I’ve recently discovered that SIA was offering return tickets to Nagoya for slightly more than S$600 per person and I seriously considered fulfilling my longtime dream of seeing the cherry blossom. I’ve even come up with a 10-day itinerary, but decided to shelve that plan at the last-minute for a possibly bigger plan next year. Besides that, of course I’ve also been reading much more than I used to. And now that I have more time, it’s only right that I exercise more frequently as well.
Now comes the not-so-obvious activities. Doing a refresher in French has always been one of my top plans. But I didn’t realize how good I used to be at it until I happened to dig up my old workbooks and find a mock travel journal written completely in French by me (albeit with plenty of grammatical errors). My goodness, where did all my French disappear to? I got so mad from seeing this that I set myself a target of 2 hours of French lesson a day, a target which I’m trying very hard not to fail.
Of course I wouldn’t dream of being able to play the piano as well as a certain someone who lives in the same house as me 😛 But hey, I wasn’t so bad myself, like 15 years ago. My fourth and fifth fingers definitely have a lot to catch up to, but I wouldn’t want to spend an hour or two everyday with boring old Hanon and Schmitt. So nowadays I interlace them with the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s Sonata Pathetique (I am still so very obsessed with this, thanks to Nodame Cantabile) and with the 1st movement of Mozart’s Sonate no.15. I still need to figure out how to properly play those trills, but I think I’m ready for a new target soon. Perhaps something more contemporary?
Last but no less important is the time I’ve been spending staring at my recently acquired hydroponic potted herbs that are slowly dying without me knowing why. Do they need more sun or have I been giving them too much sun? Do they need more nutrients? More water? Or perhaps they just don’t like being stared at so much by me. I couldn’t stop sighing every time I look at them these days. I feel like shaking that little styrofoam box they are in and screaming “Why are you dying??”
Recently, a good friend of mine asked what my ambition was. I was taken aback. I didn’t think I had ever set an ambition for myself and thus, I had trouble answering her.
Oscar Wilde once said that ambition was the last refuge of failure. For me, ambition has always been such a huge word. It connotes the desire to chase after something very high up, like the sky or the moon. Something that involves changing the world or saving the planet. Something that only a Steve Jobs can do. I don’t think I’ve ever felt the desire for any of those. Does it mean that I don’t have any ambition?
So I asked my friend what she meant by ambition and she told me her ambition was to set up her own business. Oh, that sounded more simplistic than I thought. Apparently ambition doesn’t always have to involve chasing after the sky or the moon. It could also be chasing after the Eiffel Tower, or perhaps the top of the tree in front of your house. It sounds more like something you dream of doing in your life, or something you wish to do with your life. Of course I have a few ambitions of my own, most of them involving travel to certain places at least 5 hours’ flight away from my current place 😉 But truthfully, all I have ever wanted for my life was to be able to live it by my own choices, to not be dictated by external influences such as culture and norms, and above all, to be happy.
Happiness is a choice. For as long as I can remember, my other half has always appended this quote at the bottom of his email signature. Yes, I agree that you can make a conscious choice to be happy in whatever circumstances the world has thrown you into. But wouldn’t it be better if instead of just making a choice, you could tailor your circumstances as much as possible so the path of choosing to be happy is of the least resistance? Regardless of how much money I have, when my life flashes before my eyes someday, I for one wouldn’t want to see myself spending most of my time sitting in an office cubicle till the last day. I guess that is my ambition in life; that when the Shinigami comes to greet me, I will be able to gladly say that everything that has taken place in my life is of my own choices.