23 things that come with age

I turned 23 years old on September 20th, 2015.

And all I’ve been feeling ever since then, is OLD. Oh my god, how do older people deal with their age? When I was 15 years old, I always thought I’d have a stable career and be married by the time I was 25. I’m left with 2 years, and I am absolutely nowhere near that goal. It’s not even in sight. I’m approaching my mid-20′s, and I am completely freaking out. I have always felt older than my age, since I was a teenager, and it stopped being a “cool” thing after I hit the big 2-0. When you’re 22, you want time to stop.

“I can’t wait to get older!!!!” – said no one older than 20, ever. That’s the kinda dumb shit only wistful teenagers say. When you actually become an adult, you want to stay at your peak and prime forever. You don’t look forward to wrinkles, saggy breasts and eventually, menopause.

Okay, maybe I’m taking it a little too far. But assuming a lot of my blog readers would be about my age, I thought I might get a chuckle or two out of my fellow early / mid twenties people by sharing from personal experience, a post inspired by myself being the oldest, and also yet the youngest I’ve ever been…

23 things that really do come with age:

1. You need to love yourself.
You need to love yourself before you can get anything done. You need to love yourself in order to have a healthy relationship with your significant other, fruitful friendships, self esteem, a successful career, or anything good in life. You can’t blame the world for your faults. You just have to offer your best, and even when that’s not good enough for other people, it has to be good enough for you.

2. Preferring to wear sensible clothing, and lighter make up.
Less is not more when it comes to clothing. Maintain your decency and leave more to the imagination when dressing yourself, ladies. Class, not crass. Unless you’re a sexually deprived male, nobody likes cleavage being shoved in their faces. Short shorts are okay as long as your butt cheeks are not hanging out.
But less is definitely more when it comes to make up. Apart from formal events or photoshoots, I prefer wearing very light make up these days. I have no idea how I used to wake up in the morning and pile on the full works: colored contact lenses, thick plasticky fake eyelashes, foundation, thick lipstick, eyeshadow, eyeliner, under eyelinder… wtf? Nowadays, I just put on concealer for my dark eye circles, draw my brows and some lip color so I don’t look lifeless. And false lashes if I’m feeling fancy. Keep it natural. Clean straight teeth and clear, healthy complexion is already half the battle won. Invest in skincare and braces instead of make up, which doesn’t fix anything – it only covers things up.

3. Weight gain becomes easier.
I think it gets harder to lose weight and easier to gain it as you grow older. Something to do with slowed metabolism rate and your body just not working as well as it used to. This is completely factual and not me failing my diet and conveniently blaming it on science, right? No one in their 20′s can eat like they used to when they were 15 and not grow fat. Unless you’re the rare breed of human that eats whatever they want and doesn’t gain weight, well then I have news for you: everyone hates you.

4. Getting sleepy by 12am.
I used to stay up till 3am every night without a problem. But now, no matter what time I wake up, I find myself sleepy by midnight. No wonder old people are asleep by 10pm. I try to fight it as much as possible, though. I’ll sleep whatever time I want, thank you very much. My youth is mine to own. You will not take me down. DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOODNIGHT.

5. Quieter music.
I still like my angsty bands like Blink 182, Simple Plan, Linkin Park, Yellowcard but…. my most frequently played playlist on Spotify these days is “Acoustic Covers” (which are mellower renditions of their original mixes) for day time, alongside “Deep Sleep” and “Spa Music”. What can I say? I like falling asleep to the sound of the ocean more than heavy guitar solos.

6. Intense drowsiness after a meal.
This never used to happen. But now whenever I have a meal, especially if it’s carb-laden or heavy, I get SO DROWSY after eating. It’s like, wow, I’m so tired from shoveling food into my mouth, now I need to lie down and recover from all that exertion of energy.

7. Staying home on weekends cuddled up with a movie instead of hanging out late.
16 year old me at 1am: WOOOO I LOVE STAYING OUT LATE, THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!!! Let’s never go home, the night is still young!
23 year old me at 1am: Whatever it is I’m doing, there’s a very real 90% chance I’d rather be at home watching a movie while lying on my bed instead.

8. Comfort over fashion.
Sandals over heels. How did I even used to walk in those sky high stilettos and not fall to my death?
Boy shorts over thongs. Nobody sees my underwear anyway.
Do not care if my hair looks uglier tied up, the weather is too damn hot. I’ve spent my years suffering in the name sake of fashion, but I officially declare I do not give a flying fuck anymore! I’ll wear whatever looks AND feels good, not just what I think is more fashionable to be seen in.

9. Moisturizing becomes a thing.
Goodbye oily skin, hello dry skin! It used to be ARGHHH pimples. Now after a shower imma be like ARGHH I need moisturizer or my face feels so dry I’m afraid it will crack if I smile.

10. It is important to be on time.
I used to always be really late for every appointment. I regret to admit that I still do arrive late for some of my appointments in recent time, but I realize how unprofessional and irresponsible that is. It instantly leaves a bad first impression that you’ll have to make up for later on. Being early has never hurt anyone.

11. Recognizing who your real friends are becomes way easier.
Your bullshit radar becomes more accurate and effective as you get older. When you’re in school, you’re like, “who are my real friends???? T___T”. For some reason, when you’re adult, it’s so much easier to read people and know who’s full of shit and who’s sticking by you for the long run. Thus making it easier for you to prioritize your time, and remove toxic people from your life.

12. Appreciating the value of hard earned money.
Because you’ve spent the last few years working your ass off and spending your own money is not the same as spending your parents’. It hurts every time you remove dollar bills from your wallet. It also makes purchasing stuff you really want all that much satisfying, because I EARNED THAT WITH BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS DAMN IT.

13. Your peers all seem to be one step ahead of you.
The pressure to save, have a stable career and start a family, is real. I blame this on Facebook. Scrolling through your feed, you be like “WTF she got married already?! She’s like my age! When am I ever going to find someone who will love me wholeheartedly for the rest of my life?? What if I never get married?!??” or like “How do these people my age even afford buying a house and starting a family, when I’m struggling to just get by?!”.

14. Liking fast food less.
Because, holy crap that’s a lot of grease that will take me 2 hours on the treadmill to burn off, and you finally understand fast food has the same nutritional value as cardboard.

15. You require less sleep.
Even though you get sleepy earlier, you can’t sleep for 12 hours straight anymore. Remember how you used to spend your weekends just sleeping? Yeah, those days are gone. Even when you WANT to sleep, sometimes you’ll just toss and turn in bed… painfully awake.

16. But then you get tired easily, all the time.
Afternoon naps are a requirement. Can’t seem to do anything as fast or as long as I used to. Even using the computer for more than an hour is exhausting. Can’t stop yawning, too.

17. Understanding the difference between needs and wants.
We want a lot of things in life. It’s human nature to be demanding. But we don’t or can’t always get what we want. As long as we have what we need, that’s enough. Anything else on top of that is a bonus that we should be grateful for. Those unnecessary materialistic desires and childish longing for superficial validation fades away eventually, because there’s this thing called life that takes up all your time, leaving you too busy to daydream about things that don’t actually matter. If all you can think of is the next expensive designer bag you want to buy but can’t afford, you aren’t doing enough with your life.

18. Your idea of love becomes a lot more realistic.
Sure, it’ll be just superb if I find a super tall, handsome, rich, charming, loving, romantic guy that’s also a 10/10 in bed… but really, I need someone who is mentally mature, someone who will be able to meet me halfway, accept me for who I am, and treat me the way I deserve. He’s not going to be perfect, and neither am I, but what’s important is that we both try with everything that we have. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. Sometimes we don’t get to choose our battles, but at least we have a say in who we fight those battles with, or for. Don’t forget that your heart is forever yours to give or keep. He does have to have a great sense of humor, though. Your life is the longest thing you will ever experience, you’ll want to be laughing throughout most of it, or it’s going to be a miserable journey. Him being good looking is a plus, but even the best looking person could have an ugly heart. Find someone who is not just kind to you, but everyone around him. If he’s wealthy, that is fantastic, but there are some people in this world who have a ton of riches and nothing else to be happy about. The acceptance of imperfections is part of loving somebody. We accept the love we think we deserve.

19. Hygiene is really important.
Daily showers and flossing are a must. My record was 5 days of not showering when I was in primary school. I didn’t discover flossing till I was about 20 and now if I don’t do it, I feel disgusting. Nothing is a bigger turn off than body odor or bad breath. I don’t even keep long nails anymore, because I’m paranoid about dirt trapped beneath them. Cleanliness is a BIG DEAL.

20. Birthdays aren’t as cool to celebrate anymore.
Every year, it becomes less and less of a hoot. All-out parties become quiet dinners with close ones. Sometimes, it’s almost embarrassing or shocking.  …You mean I’m THAT old already?

21. Periods, unfortunately, do not get better as you get older.
23 years old and every month my periods still feel like there is a tiny masochistic gnome hiding in my womb making gleeful squealing noises as he hacks away inside of me. Cue Leona Lewis’ “Keep Bleeding”.. PMS does not get better till you’re WAYYY older.

22. Water is your number one beverage.
Water isn’t tasteless. Water is the taste of life. Water tastes great. Water hydrates and fuels your body. As for chemical-laden sugary sodas, well.. they fizzed out in my list of preferences.

23. Being productive is the most gratifying feeling in the entire world.
Sleeping in till 2pm, playing games all day, shopping, movie marathons or just luxuriously lazing around are all great activities. Relishing freedom and play time has never been a problem for any of us. We’ve all learned how to play since we were kids. But learning how to enjoy doing hard work, well, that’s something else. Few things you do for leisure will feel more fulfilling than doing what you’re supposed to do. Knowing you’ve achieved the goals you’ve set for yourself gives you a sense of fulfillment and purpose that aids your growth as an adult. Surpass your own expectations. You’re 20 something now, it’s high time to get your shit together. Hard work is meant for the young, who still have the drive and energy in them. Fight, while you still can fight. Chase after your dreams. If they don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. No matter what you’re doing, whether you love or hate it, think of the bigger picture. Think about how this will affect your life in 5 years time, and if it’s worth what you’re going through.

Now is the right time to start thinking about the rest of your life.


How to Overcome Emotional Dependency

As most of you would have observed by now, I’m going through a pretty rough patch in life. Rough would be an understatement, most days it feels like I’m crawling on my knees through shattered glass just to get by. I’m 50 shades of confused, frustrated and miserable a lot of the time. I struggle with self-esteem, staying positive and finding purpose in life on a daily basis. I blamed everyone around me, including myself, and spend more time wallowing in self-pity than I’d like to admit. I didn’t understand why all of this was happening to me. I always felt like my happiness revolved around how someone else treated me, probably largely due to how my previous relationship panned out.

In a desperate bid for some clarity, while sobbing to myself on the bed in a relatively hysterical state, I googled “Being emotionally dependent on someone” just to read up some quotes on people who have gone through a similar situation, hoping they’d make some sense for me. Yes, I google everything. Recipes on how to make food, to self-diagnose myself when I’m sick, and when I need life advice..

What I did not expect was coming across this FANTASTICALLY AMAZINGLY GREAT EMPOWERING ARTICLE called “How to Overcome Emotional Dependency”. I expected generic advise that would slip away from me the second my eyes left the page, but after reading through the whole thing, I feel so grateful towards the brilliant and wonderfully empathetic author of this article for helping me regain a substantial amount of self-assurance and sanity. You know how you can listen to the advice of many, but accept none until you come across something so true and logical that you can’t possibly ignore?

Yeah, this was it for me. I feel absolutely compelled to share this article with you, in sincere hope that it will help whoever’s been feeling as shitty as I have. I hope that after reading this, you will find new direction and begin rebuilding your life, piece by piece, as I am trying to do. These are words I will refer to time and time again, over the next few months.

How to Overcome Emotional Dependency
(source: click here for the original article on howtoforgivepeople.com)

When your happiness starts to rely on any person, achievement or outcome (or a fragile combination of these) then you may discover that you’re emotionally dependent. It’s not an easy thing to face, nor is it your fault but it is a challenge which is vital to address.

It takes great courage to learn how to overcome emotional dependency but it’s worth doing so that you feel more in control of your life. Becoming gradually more independent and less attaching takes time and practice but it can be done.



When you’re struggling, it’s tempting to reach out for the wrong answers to life’s problems. These include leaning too much on people or trying to escape how you feel through self-destructive habits. It’s good to take stock of what you become when you’re dependent.

That realisation can also be useful when you’re struggling. For example, may be tempted to contact someone again just because they didn’t reply to your first message but then say “Okay, I don’t really want to be that person”. The more needy you become the more you realise:

“The secret to happiness is freedom”

It starts with embracing the concept or ideal of freedom. That doesn’t mean you can never depend on anyone at all in any situation. But it does mean making a commitment to gradually overcoming dependency and becoming more emotionally free in whatever way you can.

You might look at the path to independence as a learning experience that leads to greater peace, hope and happiness. The good news is that you’re already on that journey and will gradually be able to feel calmer and happier more often without relying on any outcome or anyone being there for you.



The ironic thing about wanting to be less “needy” is that the solution may be to recognise that your needs are actually very important and won’t go away if you neglect or ignore them. Dependency is often a result of both neglect and self-neglect of important emotional needs.

Emotionally speaking, we all need certain things such as calmness, a feeling of safety, a sense of purpose, self-acceptance and opportunities for connection. It’s good to keep your needs simple but it’s also important to do something about them and to prioritise them.

“From now on my happiness comes first”

Feeling needy is usually a sign that you need to be doing more for yourself. The path to emotional independence involves figuring out not only what you need but how to constructively help yourself. There are always many different ways to make yourself feel a little better, one step at a time.

Part of looking after your needs is regularly measuring how you feel and doing something about it. You might decide that one thing would be great for you but then it starts being stressful so you decide there’s no point forcing yourself to carry on. So it’s good to adapt to your changing needs.



People who haven’t learnt how to look after themselves emotionally are more likely to reach out for someone else to do it for them. But no matter how good someone makes you feel, it’s still a good idea to preserve and develop as much emotional self-reliance as you can.

“It’s my job to look after me”

It takes a lot of practice but eventually you will be able to take care of yourself in situations where you might normally depend on someone else. For example, if you feel lonely or stressed you could experiment with different ways of making those negative feelings dissolve.

There are many ways to make yourself feel better: calming breathing, gentle massage, consciously switching off thoughts or meditating, enjoying films or music, talking on the phone, going for a walk and so on. Make it your project to figure out and repeat what works best for you.



An important step along the road to freedom is allowing other people to be free rather than holding onto resentments about their behaviour. It may be tempting to get angry with someone who isn’t there for you during a crisis or lets you down in some way but it isn’t the solution.

Consider how many times you may have passed a homeless person in the street and not even thrown them some loose change. When you become an “emotional beggar” you’re in a similar situation. You can ask for help but there’s no point demanding it because nobody owes you anything.

“The only way to free yourself from other people is to free them from you”

Part of the solution is simply accepting that people have natural limitations when it comes to friendships, relationships, humanity and understanding. They may find it hard enough to stay positive as it is already without having to look after those who can’t seem to look after themselves.

Imagining that anyone “should” help you when they haven’t explicitly agreed to do so can come across as manipulative because it confuses your needs with their responsibility. It’s not worth testing anyone’s limits by pressuring them to be someone they may not even be capable of becoming.



It’s likely that children learn a lot about how to become emotionally independent through the simple act of playing. As as adult, there’s no need to be any different. Alone time can be seen as “playtime”, a chance to rediscover that child-like sense of authentic joy and spontaneity.

How much you enjoy your undisturbed playtime depends partly on how willing you are to improve the experience. It can become the ultimate chance to look after yourself, unwind and explore hobbies and interests. Some people even get addicted to being with themselves. As Maxwell Maltz said:

“If you make friends with yourself you will never be alone”

By transforming the experience of being with yourself you can make a new friend for life. You can practice doing things just because they’re fun rather than to achieve anything. Loneliness may be little more than boredom combined with self-pity or with wanting companionship too much and too soon.

A good start is to stop resisting the fact other people aren’t around and see it as something sacred and vital to growth. It takes time to get into it but fascination, exploration and creativity are great substitutes for neediness. You could even make a list of interesting things to explore:

  • Books and articles
  • Music and music videos
  • Movies and shows
  • Comedy videos and shows
  • Games and diversions
  • Fascinating facts and info
  • Educational videos and courses
  • Creative projects

You could also become more playful in your everyday life, experimenting with retro dance moves, dramatic singing, silly voices, funny faces, crazy phrases or humorous observations. Less serious music can also create a fun atmosphere, whether it’s James Bond theme songs or Flight of the Conchords.

A hermit’s true discovery is that anyone can eventually become perfectly content on their own, far from the imperfect outside world. Realising how much you can give to yourself and remembering you are the only person you can totally depend on can free you of the much less reliable human race.



Negative mental habits are one of the main factors that cause people to run away from their own company and depend on others. Maybe you punish yourself by dwelling in the past, overthinking negatively, being impatient, insisting on perfect results or stressing yourself out in some other way.

Self-harshness is a product of trying to forcefully control things, which includes being angry with other people because it affects how you feel within your interior world. The alternative is learning to talk to yourself positively, dwell at peace with the present moment or find constructive distraction.

“I’d rather relax than control anything”

Two kinds of self-pressuring to watch out for include forceful insistence (“pushing” sensations that go with thoughts such as “I need this!” or “It must be like this!”) and fearful resistance (“pulling” sensations that go with thoughts such as “Oh no!” or “It can’t be like this!”).

We all beat ourselves up every now and then but it’s important to catch yourself in the act and let it go. You can gradually replace self-punishing behaviours with acceptance, playfulness, self-encouragement, self-calming, positive focus and positive self-talk examples of which include:

I’m willing to make the best of any situation
I’m so proud of myself for facing all these challenges
I’m willing to do the best I can to be as happy as I can be
It’s amazing what I can achieve with work and patience
I am open to all the good things that can come my way
I am learning to be stronger and more positive
I am so grateful for [whatever it may be]
Everything is going to be okay
I am a cool/nice/great person
I deserve to be happy
I love myself
I can do this
Another way to reduce self-harshness is to cultivate a sense of fun and playfulness around other people. Activities might include playing board games, card games, computer games or light sports. The key ingredient is not “playing to win” but taking everything less seriously.



A lot of neediness may stem from difficult events that happened during childhood or adolescence. Identifying these events and the way you responded to them as a child is a great way to recognise why you may have got stuck in a place of emotional dependency.

You don’t want to get lost in the past but exploring it to some extent can help you to let go of patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour that you may have formed when you had no idea how to deal with what was going on. It’s good to avoid “re-living” the same story over and over again.

“The role of the present is not to reverse the past or compensate for it”

Therapy can help. Part of the solution is learning to distinguish between present situations and past situations they may remind you of. You can also increasingly distinguish between the helpless child you once were and the self-calming, self-caring, self-approving adult you’re becoming.

You may identify certain “triggers” that make you feel helplessly attached. You can then start seeing such things as an invitation to a trap you don’t have to fall into rather than as something irresistible or impossible to ignore and which inevitably pulls you into dependency.



Emotional dependency can create overwhelming and confusing emotions. Reacting impulsively to that internal state can be very dangerous. What seems like a great idea when you’re in a “reactive” mood could turn out to be a really bad idea so it’s worth stepping back from that.

When you feel calm you can think things through carefully. But feeling needy, upset, sad, stressed, angry, manic, tired, hungry or drunk isn’t a great basis for drawing conclusions or making snap decisions. To avoid consequences you may regret, it’s good to heed the advice of Winston Churchill:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going”

When you’re in the grip of intense feelings it can seem as if they will never go away. But the truth is that they always do when you give them enough time. This is why people often remind themselves “This too shall pass” rather than doing something reckless merely to escape.

The irony is that desperately reacting to make feelings go away often escalates problems with people. Rather than becoming involved in a potentially never-ending cycle of drama, it’s often better to allow emotional “ups and downs” to run their course by avoiding the temptation to do anything rash.



You may sometimes need to confront painful emotions that you are experiencing. A lot of people push away their physical feelings rather than trying to sense them directly and this causes them to “run away” from their emotions and become dependent. The solutions include:

Expressing and embracing your vulnerable child-like self
Suspending all thinking and just resting for a while
Relaxing your body and breathing deeply to help experience emotions
Saying “Mmmm” a little while breathing out through the nose
Sensing your physical feelings and letting go of resistance to them
Focusing on staying calm even while physically feeling emotional pain
Not focusing on or creating any associated thoughts or mental images
Not suppressing, pushing away or reacting against your emotions
Not identifying with or trying to amplify or prolong emotions
Radically accepting and loving your emotions whenever you can
Seeing yourself as a survivor and recognising your strength
Confronting and dealing with feelings like this may seem like an impossible thing to do but it’s healthier than trying to ignore them, repress them or escape from them. By learning to acknowledge and physically feel any emotions you can learn to move beyond them.

It may also help to talk to other individuals who struggle through a support group for codependency, love addiction or substance abuse. People who have been through similar issues are less likely to judge you when you’re going through a hard time.



A bit of adventurous self-introspection will often help you identify patterns of dependency in your thoughts or behaviour that you can work on overcoming. An example might be having an attitude of wanting “all or nothing” from people instead of appreciating whatever is freely offered.

You may also recognise how you start thinking about what you want so that you can nip some of that dependent thinking in the bud at early stages. Spending too much time or energy focusing on what might be good for you may seem positive but it can be dangerous for one reason. As C.S. Lewis put it:

“Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose”

If you start attaching to anything or anyone too much you’re giving them too much importance and so you may need to give both yourself and them more distance in order to avoid becoming dependent. The sooner you realise this risk the easier it is to avoid getting into trouble.

You can even recognise and let go of neediness in your everyday thoughts. Changing your language is one way to tackle that. Instead of saying “I need to” you might start saying “I’d like to”. Instead of saying “I need this” you might say “I would quite like that”.



It’s easy to get carried away by the idea of wanting things to be a certain way. It starts with
a mild preference but then it gets twisted in the mind, going through several stages:

“That might be nice” → “That couldn’t possibly be bad for me” → “That would make me happy” → “I probably need it to be happy” → “I’m starting to feel strangely unhappy without it” → “Nothing else could make me happy” → “I could probably never be happy without it” → “I’m unhappy, that just proves how much I need it” → “I need it so much that nothing else exists anymore”

An example is meeting someone and starting to imagine that they are “the one” instead of “just one of many” and not necessarily even good for you. It’s better to avoid wanting anything too strongly. To stop yourself jumping between the steps of desire mentioned above you could say:

“That might be great but I can survive without it just fine”

It’s very dangerous to believe that something can “make me happy”. What’s really happening there is that you are making your happiness depend on it and that dependency then makes you unhappy. The more you focus on what you think “makes” you happy the more you start to depend on it.

People often try to inspire themselves by focusing on a personal goal. Focusing on what inspires you is a great idea and a goal can be part of the fun but you can still do that without making everything depend too rigidly on a particular outcome. The solution is inspiration but without “goal fixation”.



We all sometimes experience a feeling which, on a subconscious level, might be explained in terms of a child jumping up and down and screaming “I want my ice cream!” It may be that the child is spoilt or just so distressed that it genuinely seems as if ice cream is the only possible answer.

To any adult observing the scene, it is obvious that the child could be okay even without getting any ice-cream. And so it is important to observe the child within yourself and to recognise when you might be holding your own happiness to ransom by insisting on something you might not actually need.

“I am willing to try my very best to be happy in spite of X, Y and Z and even without A, B or C“

Identifying what you have recently made your happiness rely on can be an eye opener. For example, a troubling thought like “People are driving me crazy!” can be reinterpreted as “I can’t be happy unless everyone is great” which is clearly a little overdependent and unrealistic.

Another example might be “Nothing is making any sense!” which is another way of saying “I demand that everything always makes sense” and not strictly necessary for a happy life. Recognising which arbitrary conditions you keep placing on your own happiness can increasingly set your mind free.



It’s very easy to suddenly become psychologically addicted to anything, such physical intimacy, companionship or external approval. Nobody can blame themselves when this happens because they often do so without fully realising the precise role that they played in making that happen.

If you start telling yourself that you “need” something this is likely to alter your “reality”. You can persuade yourself of anything but it’s good to take responsibility for doing so. When you depend on something, your mind creates a system of self-reward and self-punishment around it.

“I did this to myself”

For example, I could keep telling myself over and over again that I “need” to see a black cat run across the street. If I genuinely start believing that and hoping for it then this will affect my emotions. When I finally see a black cat run across the street I may even feel blissful.

I could say that the black cat “makes” me happy but it’s not really true. I made my happiness depend on it by strongly persuading myself it was what I needed. I rewarded myself with happiness at seeing the black cat and punished myself with disappointment if I didn’t see it.



The more we idealise what we want, the the deeper we sink into the quicksand of desire. The more you imagine anything to be perfect or put anyone on a pedestal the more you are setting yourself up for a disappointment. What seems like the Holy Grail can sometimes turn out to be a poisoned chalice.

Worshipping anyone as if they are some kind of “saviour” figure is particularly dangerous. Imagining that someone has a magical ability to make you whole is really a way of persuading yourself that something is wrong, that there’s something you can’t live without or that you can’t be okay.

“Nothing is ever quite what it’s cracked up to be”

It may seem like idealising someone is a great compliment but you’re not doing yourself or them any favours. Sliding into dependency will make you feel like a stalker the moment they change their minds about having you around. Focusing on their flaws for a while can help offset such over-attachment.

Idealisation is a form of escape from life. Rather than coping with reality, we create a fantasy in which we can lose ourselves. It’s easy to become addicted to a fantasy but it’s inevitably disappointing. Anyone we worship in our imagination can be boring once we get used to what they’re really like.



Some people believe that they can’t love themselves unless someone loves them or that they don’t exist unless someone acknowledges them or approves of their existence. They mistakenly assume that their survival depends on being attached to someone on whom they have to depend.

Imagining that you can’t live without someone or something only gives them power over you. You may subconsciously think that being denied what you want would cause you to fall apart but it’s an illusion that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy only when you start strongly believing it:

“Everything is going to be okay”

As long as you’re determined not to abandon yourself then you never have to fear anyone else’s absence. You may sometimes go through a hard time but you also have the ability to get through it, comfort yourself, soothe your distress, learn positive lessons and come out stronger.

You might even visualise yourself without having what you want but as a strong and self-caring person with high self-esteem. If you feel dependent on someone who is also dependent on you then it may also help to visualise them being okay so that you can both detach a little.



Independence doesn’t always have to mean that “happiness comes from within”. It’s okay to have a few people and activities that inspire your happiness. In fact, working on having a few stable interests and buddies in your life is very much part of the solution to becoming more independent.

Even if nothing seems wildly exciting to begin with, there’s something very healthy about gradually building up different sources of contentment rather than single-mindedly chasing one particular goal or short term “fix”. It also means heeding the following advice:

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”

When there are a few things to focus on then it doesn’t have to be devastating if one area doesn’t work out for any reason. Without complicating your life too much, you can make it interesting in a number of different ways rather than having one or two outcomes on which you strongly depend.

It’s never too late to develop new hobbies, passions and friendships but it’s also worth remembering that sometimes you may need to put a sustained effort into these areas before you can expect to get anything out of them. In the long term they can become very rewarding and fulfilling.



It’s not usually worth needing anything from the wrong people or situations. You may sometimes find yourself “barking up the wrong tree” but sometimes the solution is to figure out what it is that you need and to accept that it doesn’t have to come from that particular source.

When you start being a bit clingy ask yourself what it is about a person, situation or outcome that you like so much. This allows you to figure out how to substitute that by looking for it elsewhere rather than seeing them as having some kind of monopoly on that benefit.

“Nothing is irreplaceable”

For example, if you love how much someone empathises with you then you could look out for a few more people like that and learn to do it for yourself and others. Any need can be met in a variety of different ways so learn to identify what you want and patiently go after it in more than one form.

A relationship breakup is one of the hardest challenges and similar to overcoming drug addiction. As in “rehab”, the most effective approach is “cold turkey”, giving up all contact with the other person, starting a whole new chapter in life and remembering that time eventually heals all.



When you’re emotionally dependent, you’re more likely to have unrealistic and slightly intense notions about what you can expect from others. This may be driven by a naive idealism about what friendships, romantic relationships and other arrangements are “supposed” to be like. It’s easy to:

Confuse mere friendliness with friendship
Confuse a casual friendship with unceasing loyalty or availability
Confuse being attracted to someone with them being right for you
Confuse romantic curiosity with serious romantic interest
Confuse a romance or relationship with unconditional love
Confuse any cool experience with the start of something greater
Confuse doing someone a favour with them having to do something for you
For example, you may think friendship must always be “true” and involve “being there for each other” in hard times or always being genuine or kind. You may think that a partner should love you forever, can never turn their back on you or must forgive you just because you’re sorry.

Needing more from people than they feel ready or able to give just isn’t realistic and it can also make you appear unreasonable. Even in a crisis, it is pointless to push on someone to do something for you just because you would be willing to do the same for them: no obligation strictly exists.

“A bond can be beautiful even when it’s temporary and limited in scope”

Everyone is good for some things and useless at other things. Some people will be great at empathising with you or boosting your confidence. Other people will be useless at that but they might be a hilarious travel companion or the perfect partner for a new hobby. Nobody can be all of these things.

There’s nothing wrong with “fair weather friends” as long as you remember what you can’t expect. Nobody can be a substitute parent and their idea about how everything works may be much more casual. Many friendships are about occasionally amusing each other and nothing deeper.



Disappointment is a common human experience but a good way to recover from it is to look at what you expected in terms of virtues that aren’t possible for everyone, given their natural weaknesses and limitations. Instead of accusing anyone of a moral crime, a better conclusion might be:

“They’re only human, they have lots of good points but x is clearly not their forte”

For example, if someone lets you down when you feel sad then you might be tempted to think “What a bad person!” A better way to look at it might be: “They have many good points and sometimes they are kind – just not in an unlimited way or in every situation. I can work around that”.

If empathy, humanity or some other virtue does not always come naturally to a person then needing it when they simply don’t have it in them involves demanding something that is in a sense “supernatural” for them. It’s unrealistic to insist that anyone should rise above their limited nature.



The power of focus is what can get you both into trouble and also out of trouble. A good way to prevent yourself from becoming too attached to anyone or anything is to practice switching your focus regularly or asking “What am I going to focus on?” so that it never becomes too narrow or selective.

A good way to ween yourself off anything that starts becoming addictive is to throw yourself into some other area of life that can keep your focus balanced. If you’re willing to find something inspiring enough to totally distract you then you probably will succeed.

“Maybe it’s time to spread my wings”

It may help to consciously stop yourself from focusing on, thinking about or visualising whatever you need to depend on less. You may need to give up bad habits such as compulsively checking phone messages and remove reminders such as photos, social media and so on.

If you never focus on something it can’t control you emotionally. You don’t want your life to be about one person, situation, goal or outcome. A good way to change that is to decide what you should be focusing on less and what you should be focusing on more and proactively making that happen.



Outcome-independence may well be the essence of freedom. You can develop a more independent frame of mind if you practice imagining the main outcomes a situation could have and then embrace each of those scenarios by looking at them as positively as you can.

“Whatever happens could be a good thing in some ways. It may even be for the best”

The funny thing about life is that you never really know what’s good for you. Sometimes you need a “bad” experience in order to learn the amazing lessons that will result in becoming a much happier and more independent person in the long term.

As Oscar Wilde put it, “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it”. Sometimes we get exactly what we want and it is a disaster. But when we don’t get what we want, we often forget that it might not have resulted in a fairytale ending.



Putting any kind of forceful pressure on others to meet your needs can ruin good situations or make bad things worse. You can often avoid such consequences simply by making it a rule to outwardly behave in much the same way as someone who has complete emotional independence.

No matter how you feel, you can make an agreement with yourself to communicate in a way that allows people to relax and feel totally free. By doing so you are refusing to let any personal feelings or difficulties get in the way of things going smoothly and you are also following a simple rule:

“Go with the flow”

A good way to take things slowly with people is to imagine what it might be like if you were already way too busy or had too many friends. You are less likely to “come on too strong” or need “too much too soon” when behaving as if you already have everything you need from life.

Playing the role of someone who “has it all” can help you avoid giving anyone a sense of being inappropriately pushed or relied upon. You can “fake it till you make it”, using the appearance of totally casual behaviour to allow people take things at their own natural and often gradual pace.



It takes time and practice to become more independent. Part of it is improving what you can do for yourself and part of it is having the patience to wait for some things in life to fall into place rather than depending on the next person or outcome that might be good for you.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day”

There is often a risk that people will feel punished just because they aren’t the kind of person you’re hoping to meet one day. So rather than trying to change anyone it’s better to be patient, diplomatic, to accept that “everyone has their uses” and to look out for people who are good for you.

It’s okay to struggle and to make mistakes. But one of the biggest mistakes you can make is setting yourself some artificial deadline such as “I should already have what I wanted by now”. Some people don’t end up with anything they wanted but discover a far greater happiness later on.

“If you continuously compete with others, you become bitter.
But if you continuously compete with yourself you become better”

Everything will get better if you’re willing to slowly but surely build a simple, good life with a flexible attitude towards contentment. As long as you never want too much there will always be enough time for everything you want. Above all, it’s never too late to start feeling joyful.



Nobody is entirely independent and even people who seem very “strong” are not as free as they imagine. Their sense of emotional well-being often relies on what’s going on in their lives and on knowing that someone who cares about them is a phone call away should they ever need help.

But it is possible to learn how to overcome emotional dependency, at least enough to feel much better. At some point, even when things aren’t going very well, you’ll be able to say “I’m happy not really because of what’s going on but in spite of it”. Developing that attitude takes time and practice.

The answer is a combination of greater emotional self-regulation, self-encouragement and a willingness to broaden your horizons while prioritising your happiness.


Olympus Baking & Photography Workshop

In conjunction with Olympus and Baker’s Brew Studio, I held a cupcake baking workshop with some photography tips for some lucky followers who RSVP-ed for this Father’s Day themed event!

During these 3 hours of fun, I taught them how to bake deliciously moist red velvet cupcakes from scratch, frost them with decadent cream cheese buttercream and then take tantalizing photos of the #foodporn they’ve created with loaned Olympus E-PL7 cameras!

The RSVP response for the event was overwhelming to say the least, and I’d like to thank everyone that expressed interest in attending, unfortunately we had to limit the number of invites due to the capacity limit of the venue! I would’ve loved to meet all of you. But I’m sure there will be similar opportunities to get up close and personal with you guys in the future.

Knowing how to bake and teaching other people how to bake are two very different things. The first is a personally acquired domestic skill, while the other relies more on clear cut demonstration while executing the activity.

Doing public speaking while trying to juggle demonstrating the activity live as well sure isn’t easy for someone who struggles with multi tasking like myself, and while it’s always a challenge, I do enjoy conducting the various baking lessons I’ve done!

My biggest worry of any baking class, more than “will their bakes turn out alright?”, is “are they having fun?”. But there wasn’t any need for concern that day, I was thrilled to see smiles and laughter all around from enthusiastic participants!

Much to my relief, most people seemed to tackle the baking task rather efficiently, it’s not easy to handle such a large group of people and it helps a lot when people have prior experience in the kitchen and the willingness to learn!

While our red velvet cupcakes slowly cooked and rose to little red puffs of perfection, we enjoyed refreshments provided by Baker’s Brew Studio and I shared more with these girls more about how I take my #shibertybakes and #shibertycooks photos on Instagram with my Olympus PEN cameras!

I love Olympus as you can always trust the image quality to be amazing with an easy-to-navigate user interface. Having had a PEN E-PL5 before, the PEN E-PL7 is the perfect camera for me and my lifestyle! With a super convenient flip-down screen & 3-Axis Image Stabilisation, taking high quality selfies have never been easier. Also, I can edit and upload my photos from the camera straight to my phone with the Olympus Imaging App! As I’m always on the go, this is a great feature as I do not like to compromise the quality of my photos.

During the event, there was a range of accessories and props available to suit the different looks you can pull off with the customization properties. You can choose different strap patterns, bright coloured camera skins, various camera body colours and lens selection according to your own personal style and flair!

With the My PEN, My Style Online customization service, you can carry your PEN E-PL7 as a fashion accessory to suit your getup! Choose from a wide range of colourful and exciting strap options from the likes of floral prints to patterned shapes and a handy assortment of premium leather camera bags from American brand Jill-E, and chic, colourful Cath Kidston pouches to keep your camera well protected from dust or scratches!

Customize your own camera fashionable PEN E-PL7 at https://www.shopatolympus.com.sg/mypenmystyle.html!

With the flip-down selfie screen, it’s so easy to take a flattering photo of yourself & your friends now!

I really enjoy bringing around my Olympus PEN E-PL7 these days, because despite being lightweight, it packs a punch delivering high quality photos. You can choose between 4 different lenses to suit your PEN E-PL7 but I chose the M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f1.8 lens as it’s great for food photography! Not only does it let me take my food images up close, but, it creates a soft defocusing effect which brings out the finer details in my photos. Also, I don’t have to worry about dimly lit areas as this lens has got it covered!

I also shared with them some photography tips that I find extremely useful when I’m taking food pics for Instagram: in short, always style your food item making use of the elements on the table (or other tables nearby!), fill the frame leaving little white space, up the contrast and saturation of the photo, and play around with your angles so as to gain new perspectives.

We had a mini contest whereby they had to upload pictures of their freshly baked red velvet cupcakes to the #OlympusXShibertyevent hashtag on Instagram, using the convenient in-built Wi-Fi function the Olympus PEN E-PL7 offers, that sends the pics straight to their smartphone where they can upload to social media immediately, and I would pick a winner with the best photo to win a box of macarons by shibertybakes! I was very impressed by several entries and had a hard time picking just one winner..

But pick a winner I did, and rightfully deserved it was!

Congratulations on taking such a good photo and I hope you liked your box of macarons!!!

Thank you sweet girls for your wonderful presence and participation, I had a great time teaching you how to bake red velvet cupcakes and it’s always a blast meeting you people in real life!

Special thanks to Olympus for organizing this afternoon of baking and photo taking for us to partake in!


A 4am letter to no one in particular

Tonight’s one of those rough nights.
On a scale of 1-10, I would say tonight could be a 4, which isn’t very high on the Miserable scale to be honest. I’ve had a few 8′s or 9′s that rocked my world this year.. So tonight is still quite manageable, I guess. I don’t feel the need to talk to someone while bawling my eyes out, but it’s still nice to have a form of release, so here I am.

As I lie awake in bed with only my bleak thoughts for company, I start to wonder to myself, why is it so difficult to find someone whom I can hand my heart to and trust them not to be careless with it? Relationship problems have messed me up so much, even I am shocked by its significance. Why has my confidence diminished? Am I placing too much of my self worth and value in being treasured by someone else? Do I really have to stop loving myself because someone I love stopped loving me the right way? If I give up on myself, who would still bother placing their faith in me?

It hurts inexplicably to love someone so much that you lose yourself in the process, forgetting that you’re special too. I guess I now know why self love, self respect and self worth all begin with “self.” These things can only be found within you, and not anyone else.

I will be turning 23 years old in a month’s time, and I feel like I’ve hit a quarter life crisis already. I am without purpose, without direction and most definitely without motivation. I’ve never been the sort to have my life figured out (study hard, do the right thing, get in the right uni course, find a stable job), I’ve always accidentally or inadvertently taken the whirlwind route. Skip school, do reckless things, fail exams, become self employed since 16, go to a private school, apply for university overseas then withdraw my application after being accepted, to sell cakes online.

But I’ve always taken a leap of faith and believed in myself. Even if I didn’t know what I was doing, I knew that I would make sure it all worked out in the end. Even when I flunked my O’levels like some delinquent joke, I told myself, “It’s going to be okay. You don’t want to work in a job that relies on certifications anyway.”

But this time, I’m really not sure if I’m going to be okay. I’m scared. Fuck that, I’m terrified. I told myself I would take a few months to feel better. It’s been way longer than that now, and I don’t seem to feel much better. In my bloody defense, most people go through a break up (and that alone is heartbreaking enough) but for me, all of a sudden, I’m also out of a job and place to stay. It’s a lot to deal with all at once. Unemployment, sudden singlehood and relocation. See, me and him, we had everything. By everything I mean we shared our entire lives, including income making ways and housing together. I thought we were set in concrete. I thought he was the man I was going to marry and have children with. But now I’m going to have to move out soon. I’m leaving literally everything behind. Soon enough, we will be complete strangers. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that concept. Spending 6 years of your life extremely intimately with someone, and then having that person thoroughly removed after that, does things to the way you function every day.

I have been without income for awhile now. Maybe I should be worried about how I’m not that worried about money. Money has never been a priority to me. As long as I am able to live comfortably, I’m happy. These days, I just try my best everyday to feel as normal as possible on the inside. Where got time to think about money?

Sometimes I wonder if that’s considered being irresponsible. My friends and mother throw interrogating questions my way, “What are you doing with your life? How long are you going to continue like this?”

The truth is, I’m just getting by, guys. I’m getting by, and perhaps I’ve turned into an under achiever, but for now, that’s damn well good enough for me because you don’t understand how not crying to yourself to sleep can be the best part of your day until you’ve been in a situation that hopeless.

Get a grip on yourself and move on, they always say. It’s easy when you have bigger, better and brighter things to look forward to. But what if it’s the entire life you used to know that you’re walking away from? What if you had to let go of what you considered was the best thing to ever happen to you because it was also ripping you apart from the inside?

He cleaned up the house and made a nice dinner tonight. It was extremely nice of him. He tried to hug me and do normal couple-ish things, and it broke my heart to have to push him away and pretend like I didn’t care for him anymore. I’m the one who wanted this, so I have to grit my teeth and go through with it, right? I have to admit, some days it feels like it might be easier to just forget about everything that happened and get back together. After all, we are so familiar with each other. He knows how I like my foot massages, I know how to finish his sentences and he knows what my farts smell like. I know the food items he would order in a menu, and he knows I can’t sleep without a bolster at night.

Why would you want to erase all of that and start over again with somebody new? But I have to remind myself, that I gave it all up because it became too painful to hold onto. Too many things were said and done, that I will never forget.

I may have forgotten what he said or did specifically on the many different occasions, but I’ll never forget how it made me feel (and still makes me feel). I have tried my best to forgive and forget, but too much damage has been done. I wish I could put all these negative emotions locked away in a chest that I could throw into the deepest part of the ocean, but I can’t.

I carry the fucking baggage around with me every damn day, and when I think it doesn’t matter so much anymore, I’m proven wrong when I look into your eyes – all I see reflected in them is my disappointment and silent resentment.

Recently, I find myself questioning my own decision. The decision that took me months & possibly years of tearful pondering to get to. Was it really the right thing to do? Will I ever find somebody who loves me as much? What if in a bid to pursue greater happiness, I was leaving the best thing in my life behind? What is more important, somebody who loves you to the ends of the earth and back or someone who can love you the right way?

To whoever is reading this, I hope you find someone who knows how to love you when you are sad.
Someone who makes the bad times better, and great times, the best.
Someone who has the words to say to make you feel better, even if sometimes they can’t actually help.
Someone who won’t take you for granted or their frustration out on you when they’re upset.
Someone who will constantly remind you that you’re extraordinary, someone who loves you in a way that makes you feel complete.
They should always be your better half.
They should be the reason why you wake up in the morning with a smile on your face, and not the reason why you cry so hard, you can’t even breathe properly.

I’m not saying they’re not allowed to make mistakes. And I certainly am not implying the right one will never make you sad. But a healthy couple fights fair and well, even when times are bad. We do not resort to belittling the other person and making them feel worthless. We are all only human after all, and to err is what we were born to do.

But when a person makes a mistake, they should be willing to fix it, tell you they’re sorry without being asked, and try their best not to do it again. Someone who cares about you should not choose to deliberately hurt your feelings over and over again.

By no means am I the perfect girlfriend or partner. But I gave fucking everything I had. I have nothing left to give, and perhaps for this reason alone I shouldn’t let myself be ridden with guilt, blaming myself for walking away. No matter what other people say or think, I loved you with every cell in my body. It’s just that now, I have absolutely nothing left. I wish I did, but I have no more love left to give you. I am an empty shell, a shadow of the person I used to be, and I am not the same girl you met all those years ago anymore.

I am so sorry.
I’m sorry for you, and I’m sorry for me.


NIVEA Extra White Body Lotion

Fashion trends come and go, but having glowing and healthy skin is fashionable every day of the year.

Instead of just focusing on products for our face, we should give equal attention to focusing on body care as well. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, after all. And every woman dreams of having skin as soft as silk. As someone who deals with a range of body problems – dry skin, stretch marks, flabby areas, these NIVEA serums & lotions are my daily go-to. NIVEA ia a trusted name in skin care that everyone has heard of, and it’s not difficult to see why they are so popular. Their products are extremely affordable, reliable and straight to the point. It doesn’t oversell what it cannot achieve.

NIVEA has relaunched its whitening body moisturisers to help you get fairer and firmer skin with a new ingredient, Coenzyme Q10. The range has two body lotions and three body serums, with the latter promising to give you fairer and firmer skin in just 14 days!

Don’t know the difference between lotions and serums?

Serums have better product efficacy than lotion as it has higher concentration of active ingredients. NIVEA’s whitening body serums contain a special concentration of up to 95% Vitamin C for fairer skin, while Coenzyme Q10 boosts cell energy and provides added anti-wrinkling and antioxidant benefits.

NIVEA EXTRA WHITE FIRMING BODY SERUM SPF 33 is the new best-selling star product, With 95% Vitamin C, this product contains the highest concentration of Vitamin C amongst NIVEA’s body care arsenal. With just one quick application, the skin on my body feels rejuvenated and with continued regular usage over 2 weeks, I could see a visible difference in its texture and pigments!

My skin was noticeably more supple and fairer, much to my own surprise. I personally prefer the texture of the serums better, as I feel it is a more potent product that doesn’t feel too sticky on my skin. Sunscreen is also vital in maintaining fair skin. NIVEA’s body serums for day use come with SPF 33, UVA and UVB protection to shield you from the sun’s damaging rays.

Want brighter skin right now? This serum gives just that with Titanium Dioxide, an ingredient commonly found in your BB creams which acts as micro light reflectors to immediately brighten skin.

Think of these as tiny mirrors to make skin ‘light up’ with radiance right where you want it! I put extra emphasis on application on my arms (the entire arm, because I am so flabby) and my thighs because I’m hoping to firm these areas up more! With the right diet, exercise and firming serums, I’m hoping to reduce the jiggiliness of my arms soon.

NIVEA offers 2 day serums (with SPF33 PA++): Extra White Firming serum (star product) & Instant White Firming Serum. 1 night serum: Night White Firming Body Serum for night time rejuvenation. Your skin recovers and renews itself during the night, so give it extra love with this serum.

NIVEA is hosting a #ultimatefashionstatement event on 22nd Aug, 2-5pm at Capitol Piazza B1-36! They have invited celebrity makeup artist, Clarence Lee & fashion stylist, Keith Png to give tips on how to get hydrated, fair, firm skin, which colours to wear or avoid and which outfit flatters our body type most! To win a pair of tickets, post your blue ootd and hashtag, #NIVEAsg, #ultimatefashionstatement. Contest ends 18th Aug!

Your skin is the ultimate fashion statement. Possessing beautiful skin gives you that additional confidence booster in everything you wear. Your skin shouldn’t be the limitation to what you would wear.

NIVEA body serums and lotions are available at Guardian, Watsons, Cold Storage, NTUC Fairprice outlets, and other major retail stores.

Find out more about their vast range of products on their Facebook page!

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