13 before 30 – recalibrated

You know how sometimes you read news articles and they just seem so distant? I used to not be able to relate to similar articles. But today, I know I have made up the numbers. Yes – I have become one of the 68,300 unemployed residents in Singapore. When Channel NewsAsia reported the figures for Q2 unemployment in Singapore, I reassured myself that they must be right. That I have 68,299 comrades marching with me.

Hitting unemployment wasn’t exactly on my bucket list of to-dos before I hit 30. (I don’t actually have any list.) But corroborating the time and freedom (most areas apart from financial) that I have against some of the popular “30 experiences you should have before you turn 30” and “13 things to do before a woman turns 30”, it seems like I’m primed for accomplishing some of these. And I get excited.

My friends who know me know that I am quite the self-disciplinarian. As I write these, I sit next to a my weekday chart, mapping out my priorities for the week:


Yes, I started this obsession less than two weeks into my official unemployment. You might scoff at or feel sorry for the rigidity of my life. But trust me, I know what drifting along means. And how Netflix and chill can takeover and cause a different kind of brain freeze.

I shall endeavour to recalibrate Bustle’s “13 things to do before a woman turns 30” to be what is uniquely mine.

  1. Live Move abroad – The reason why I chose to cruise along this period of zero financial gains. Having lived in a few places for short periods, I have accepted the difference between traveling and living somewhere else. And I know there’ll be an even greater difference if you have to uproot yourself and move to a brand new place. Indefinitely. No comfort zone to return to at the end of six months. How. Exhilarating.
  2. Forgive your parents – The last I counted my chips, they were potato. Bummed off my parents. No bargain here. Free is the best lodging on earth. I’d like to discuss the different definitions of “free” separately. I’m writing monetary here.
  3. Read a classic novel about women by women – Checked. Little Women. Pride and Prejudice. Jane Eyre. Eat, Pray, Love. I have, however, recently read One Child by Mei Fong which brought into perspectives the One-Child Policy in China. I really enjoyed the book not just for its anecdotes and crisp writing but also, the fact that she is Malaysian, narrated a non-fiction novel so well, and won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.
  4. Learn a new language Be good at my third language – Yes, my German has faded. Berlin, here I come!
  5. Ask for a raise (Not why I had to leave)
  6. Learn more about your vagina body – Simply – as we grow older, we are forced to become more aware of how every extra shot of vodka exponentially worsens our hangover the next day.
  7. Learn how to budget and get out of debt – I’ve never really had to do budgeting and am generally not spendthrift. However, I do see the benefits of being fully aware of your personal cashflow. To be honest, Singaporeans are in a better place than most other nationalities with our CPF and minimal student debt. I’d love to explore this topic in a future post.
  8. Learn to trust your intuition – Listening to that inner voice right now.
  9. Create something – earthleng.com for a start.
  10. Try to stop criticising listen to your body – 30 is way past puberty. Always have been a straight ‘A’s student. What I’m trying to do now is more exercise, more rest, less alcohol, relax the mind, be more mindful. And I feel great. And that feeling is addictive. And it makes me realise how must I treasure not having the stress of working life.
  11. Having an OBGYN a group of friends you trust – Thankfully, one of my good friends is a doctor. I happen to think you need doctors for other aspects of your life than just your womanly health. I know I have friends I can absolutely count on when I need help. And this is a two-way road.
  12. Volunteer for Work on a cause you believe in – Time to stop shoving aside those mental twitches that surface each time I have to throw away a plastic cup. earthleng.com = my commitment. I believe in this earth and I shall work on helping make it better. Helping others understand it better. Hopefully, I can help a social movement.
  13. Befriend an older woman older people – They’re definitely my best mentors in life. When you have conversations with them, it is always reassuring because you know that at the end of the day, everything’s going to work out just fine.

This list kind of sums up what I’m trying to do here before I turn 30. Especially now that I am made mindful of my time and journey towards big three.

For this period of unemployment, I am determined to be gainfully unemployed. And I have decided to spend my time on the following:

  • Learning new things – Coursera, Codecademy and their likes
  • Creating new things – earthleng.com and my app
  • Reading – reading all the books and reading up on all the topics that value-add to my perspectives
  • Being healthy – doing a lot of sports like running, swimming, climbing
  • Exploring my artsy side – am currently taking an Interior Design Certificate course at NAFA and am planning to start painting. Pretty excited about that.
  • Committing to a cause – being green and being earthly.



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