The deepest dreams

I was never much of a dreamer as a kid. Forget being a princess, pilot, pop star or police officer. All I ever aspired to was to be an accountant – a short degree with strong job prospects.*

I’m not even kidding. To tell you the truth, I was an unambitious and cynical child.

The funny thing is that somewhere along the way into adulthood, I did start dreaming.

I dreamed of changing the world. Perhaps it was born of a desire to prove that my unambitious and cynical younger self was so, so wrong.

Changing the world hardly seemed a dream to me, though. In my early-to-mid-twenties, I started to appreciate that changing the world is within reach of each of us, that the smallest gesture can be a part of a bigger picture. That it doesn’t have to be dramatic or headline-worthy to be, well, worthy. To count as real change.

And since it was something I was already in the process of doing, it never seemed a far off reality. It never seemed far away enough to be called a dream.

So whaddya know – it seems I’ve been living the dream.

But there are also dreams I’m yet to live. These are not things I hope I manage to do before I die, nor will I feel unfulfilled if they don’t happen. Far from being a bucket list, this is a set of six longings that speak to the core of who I am.

I’m sharing them with you here, to encourage you to discover (if you haven’t already) and reflect on your own dreams. Continue reading The deepest dreams

Going for glocal

The other day my dad kindly informed me that if I ever stood for politics I’d need to renounce my Malaysian citizenship. This, of course, occurred in the context of the dual citizenship debacle that has kept Australia entertained for the last few months. Now I’m not sure how to feel about the fact that my father thinks a political career is a real possibility … Continue reading Going for glocal

City love (and lack thereof)

There are lots of things I love about you, Sydney.

I love your dazzling waterfronts, stretching out from the Sydney Harbour that the tourists see, all the way west up the Parramatta River – simply spectacular, even on an overcast day.

I love your cafés, even if you’re no Melbourne.

And I actually love your trains, even if people are always complaining about how these are always running late.

Royal Botanic Gardens-6

When I thought I might be leaving you for good last year, it was easy to list the things I would miss.

But loving things about Sydney isn’t the same as loving Sydney.

Now that I’m back here with you again, I’ve realised that I … Well, I don’t love you.

Unfortunate, hey? Continue reading “City love (and lack thereof)”

From travelling light to living light

Packing light Coming back from 12 days away over the Christmas-New Year break, I realised that I only used half of what I’d brought along with me – the rest could have stayed at home. I really thought I’d gotten good at packing light. When I travel with others I often get comments about how little luggage I get by on. I’m a bit chuffed … Continue reading From travelling light to living light

What have you done for the first time this year?

Five firsts for 2016

I have a friend who, at the age of 29, saw, smelled and heard the sea for the first time. And then, for his 30th birthday, he went ten pin bowling for the first time.

Which got me thinking: is this what my life has come to? Is there, as Solomon laments, nothing new under the sun for me? What significant “firsts” have I experienced this year?

I racked my brains and they are few but fine …
Continue reading What have you done for the first time this year?

Getting down and thirty

For one glorious year, I was almost-no-longer-twentysomething – but 29 is still twentysomething. Alas, those days are behind me. I desperately wanted to write an uplifting post about how excited I am about this new decade of life. But milestones seem to lend themselves to melancholy – they’re about past achievements rather than future hopes and dreams. Birthdays provide me with a forced moment of … Continue reading Getting down and thirty

Re-entry. Still from the movie Gravity.

367 days after re-entry

Ten years ago, a lady named Debbie asked me if I was studying Spanish because I wanted to be a missionary in South America. At the time it was a seriously long bow to draw – I in fact had no better reason for studying Spanish other than Age of Empires and the Spanish national football team.

Once I started learning the language, I discovered how beautiful it was to the ear, the mind, the tongue. But even then I didn’t have any particular interest in Latin American culture. I had even less interest in becoming a missionary.

Debbie and I are unlikely to cross paths again, but what she said turned out to be rather prophetic. Continue reading 367 days after re-entry

Revised thoughts on unemployment

Unemployment was a humbling but strengthening experience. It was definitely character-building. With hindsight, I can see that it was a kind of sabbath, one my spirit needed. But at the time, after a certain point, it was a challenge to embrace and enjoy the time off, resist the need to be somehow ‘productive’ – forgetting, of course, that rest is productive in its own way. By … Continue reading Revised thoughts on unemployment

How to grow ambition

I grew up with a lot of positive reinforcement and believing in Jesus has both shrunk and supersized that.

On the one hand, ambition can be a bad word because it implies arrogance. I have become less self-effacing, more confident, over the years, but I doubt anyone I know would describe me as ambitious.

There is still this idea that ambition is a cut-throat attitude, seeking to elevate yourself regardless of the cost to others.

Um … not me.

But y’know what, I am ambitious.

And I’m going to start owning that. Continue reading How to grow ambition