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Midnight Musings

Monday, September 05, 2016
Sometimes I feel like... I wish I could redo things all over?

Start all over from when things were really simple, where all you did was follow instructions & your biggest decision was when to do your homework. Where you didn't have to make decisions that could affect the rest of your life. It's ironic but kids, your parents are right. Study hard, do well. I'll always regret not studying harder. I didn't do terribly, but the idea of not having done better, done more, done my best, will haunt me eternally. I can't say I would be happier if I had pursued a different academic route or career; life compromises of a lot more than that. But it would be one less thing to think about.

I perpetually find myself at a crossroad. Do I settle & make the best out of what I have right now? Or do I give it my all, say heck it & pursue something new, even if it means wasting another 4 years doing another degree and/or moving overseas? I did genuinely enjoy studying Sociology (my major), but interest & reality don't always coincide. And majoring in Sociology was never my goal. It was a lucky outcome because it turns out I enjoy it, but because it wasn't ever my plan, I have a never-ending list of What Ifs.

Sometimes I think about furthering my studies. I enjoy school, I always did. But again, interests & practicality often don't align. And I ask myself, maybe it's just time to suck it up & move on into the real world. Get a normal job, climb the corporate ladder... stop wasting time.

I try to console myself by stalking my peers. Of course some turned out to be overachievers. I feel jealous, with those feelings of That Should Be Me. At some juncture in their lives, they had a turning point & suddenly flourished. On the other hand, I look at some with prestigious backgrounds, promising prospects... & then just an average outcome. Maybe it's better to be one of those people who hit their peak later. You spend your early life feeling average, believing you're average & at some point, you develop your passion or skills & excel at them. The other group, is consistently above average at most stages in their lives & is above average at most things, but never excels at any of them. Yet there is a greater level of expectation placed on them due to the fact that they were comparatively above average from the start, which would lead to a greater sense of letdown.

I sometimes think I've already hit my peak. Or rather, my chance to have peaked. That that time was probably in my late teens to early twenties, when I was young & still studying. I had the luxury of time. I could have explored a million different things, maybe found something to concentrate on & excel at. Instead I dabbled in everything & excelled at nothing. I did some modelling, but never explored it seriously. I did decently well in school, but not enough to make something serious out of it. I could have done more with my blog, but it just ended up as a hobby & mild sideline.

I struggle with this inclination to want to do everything & anything. I end up doing a bit of everything & never fully concentrating on one thing. It's always safer to do a bit of all, to not put your eggs all in one basket. I could have taken a loan, gone overseas & studied something I really wanted, rather than sticking with what was safe - a degree at a local university. It's easy to say "follow your dreams". But reality hits you with constraints like time, finances, family, opportunities forgone... Did you know an overseas degree can easily cost half a million dollars (schooling + living cost)? It's an insane debt to start your adult life with. But is it worth it if it means you got to live your dream? Maybe. Is it too late now?

People always say it's never too late. But come on. It comes to a point where uprooting your current life to pursue your dreams just gets increasingly difficult. So I try to learn to settle. My peers seem happy, they tell me they're happy. We could all have achieved more, but we didn't. So I'm waiting for new priorities in my life to come; waiting for them to overshadow all my What Ifs & relegate them to It Doesn't Matter Anyway. Because right now with nothing in particular to be looking forward to in my future, my past is still casting its shadow of regret.

10 comments on "Midnight Musings"
  1. Oh how i understand you!
    i'm on my last year of college and i don't know what i will do with my life. All my friends already have plans and goals but im just sitting here waiting for a miracle , a sign that shows me what i should do.
    my 5 years of college just went by in the blink of an eye, i wish i did more just like you. Im full of regrets.
    Hopefully we'll get over this phase. Wishing you good luck , don't give up ♥

  2. I would say... Put down your What Ifs, and explore the unknown. I graduated with the same thoughts as you - I had plenty of opportunities to pursue things - I had a few scholarships to study overseas but turned them down because I was afraid, so I stayed in Singapore. Alas when I graduated I found myself regretting. While I liked what I studied here, I felt that I have wasted many opportunities. When I had time, I didn't do enough. I was wasting my time away. So after a while I decided to straighten out my life and am now pursuing my second degree. While my peers may be moving on with their life, and although sometimes I feel that I should have done the same, I think it was a right decision. Good luck, and take the leap of faith, instead of looking back 20 years later and regretting not having done that when you still could and stakes are not as high.

  3. Anonymous6:34 PM

    i would agree with mich Sophie, go do it now when you dont have children or really old parents

  4. Sophie,

    I hope you're doing well, but it doesn't sound that way. At least I hope you're doing better than you were before.

    This may relate somewhat:
    May be you're familiar with Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs.

  5. I agree with Anonymous, if u really have a dream + confirm that u will really love it forever , then take a 2nd degree or whatever when there are no kids. I am trying to change my career path but can't secure a job of the new path . So the reality is that I may have to settle n go back on the old path , but I am content that I tried . Good Luck !!

  6. Anonymous5:49 AM

    Hey Sophie, I don't usually comment on blogs but I feel obliged this time :) I've always enjoyed the things that you post here, and actually the seemingly mundane like your OOTDs and makeuppy things never fail to make me feel more light-hearted.

    But it seems here that you're feeling guilty about taking life easy! Which is a normal crisis actually, especially when we see our friends doing more successfully in their careers. I'm in a similar position, though perhaps a step further because now I can't be bothered to think too much about what I SHOULD do. All that matters is making every moment count. Doesn't matter if it's choosing a soup recipe, or studying illustration by scrolling Instagram, or taking a walk ... I agree, it's not very glamorous, but if this is how you like to spend time, then who's to say that it's not right? We only get one chance in life ... yes I agree that we could all potentially be the next Einstein or Vivienne Westwood if we work harder or decide to take a different pathway, but quite honestly, all this is just ego. Many of these people strike lucky, believe it or not, that's why there's so many hardworking and talented people yet would never appear on Time or Vogue. Would that be failure? If you're aiming for recognition, then yes, but if you're doing it for the pleasure of it, then both situations are win-win. This is an extreme example btw ...

    For me, I learnt that the best way to deal with What Ifs is to swot them away like flies. Don't take them seriously and carry on as you like it. If you hit a peak, fab, but don't freak out; life is a bit like trekking mountains so you'll be hitting more in the future anyway. But you're right, we can never ignore responsibilities. For me, I try to "cheat" by blending my interests with a social cause, so not only do I have a good excuse to pursue my many interests, I also get to distract myself from myself! (Less self-doubting and more focus on other people I mean.) So if you have a dream, but feel like it's clashing with the seriousness of life such as financials, maybe you can work out a new lifestyle that blends them all nicely? :) Anyway good luck, I'll be cheering for you!

  7. Sophie, I'm completely in the same boat as you. I can't offer any concrete advice because I'm trying to figure a way out for myself too but, I just want to say that you're not the only one feeling this way. I hope you find solace in that there is at least one other millienial (me haha) who wishes there was a way to turn back time and redo it all over again. Thank you for such an honest post and may we find the courage to keep moving, even thought it may not seem like we're going anywhere.

  8. Hey Sophie, I'm about the same age as you, and I just wanted to say that I understand what you are going through. I graduated with Bachelor in Health Science because that's what my parents wanted me to do. I got a decent job, but I was never happy. I then dabbed around with bridal, design, photography.....etc, only after having worked for a few years did I realise that psychology is my life calling, and have the courage to go back to University. It was certainly not an easy decision emotionally & financially, but it was the best decision I have ever done in my life, and I have never looked back since :) We only live once, so it should be be spent on thinking about endless 'what ifs'. Yes it becomes more difficult as we age, but we are only as young as we feel ;) You have a good head on your shoulder, so listen to your intuitions. It will be the road less taken, but I can promise you it will be worth it.

  9. Shaun Gq7:47 AM

    Sophie, there are many things I would love to do differently if I had the chance to... rather than stupidly following my head and my pride, I should've listened to my heart more. All I'm asking for now is just a chance..

  10. Anonymous6:58 PM

    Hello, Sophie.

    I think I understand what you mean in many different ways, and that's why I'm commenting here in your blog. I'd like to offer a few suggestions, if I may.

    Take some time to get to know yourself, your interests and your passion in life. You may need to get away for a few days to really think, and maybe you can take the remaining days of the year to do just that.

    Try to narrow down your interests or passions into one or two priorities. You also have to commit to become an expert at it in the shortest amount of time possible. Although I personally think it's better to be good or above average in many (or all!) things, the world unfortunately prefers experts and specialists. So decide on what you want to be an expert in, and work your way to the top in that field/industry.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." It's one of my favorite quotes in life, and I think it's true. You may think you're too old to pursue a new dream or change the course of your career or whatever at your current age, but your ageis something that is out of your control. Five or ten years from now, you would be your current age plus five or ten years, and you know what, it would be great if you're doing something you love or you're truly happy with your life.

    At the earlier part of our lives, there's a specific path to follow (go to school) and there's a clear way to check if we're doing okay (passing to the next level, getting into the best educational institutions, etc.). Perhaps that's why it's harder for most people to deal with the latter part of our lives, because there are many paths to take and we aren't sure what one fits us best.

    Make peace with your past, and accept the choices your younger self made at the time. You seemed to have analyzed it, so just try to apply what you've learned to the present and prepare for your future. It's no use thinking what you could have done differently then, because you can't go back in time and make different choices.

    I would also like to suggest that you watch "A kinder, gentler philosophy of success" talk by Alain De Botton at It can give you a different way of looking at things, specifically about your life and career.

    I wish you figure things out soon, Sophie.