A Year of Loss: 2018

The Persian poet, Rumi, wrote: 

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

This year has caused a lot of wounds, but I have yet to feel any Light. Perhaps I can only trust that this mysterious Light is in motion, transforming me into a better version of myself as I heal from all the wounds this year has caused me, but I am not hopeful.

When I look back on this year, if I were to pick a word to define it, it would be: loss.

It's not just the most obvious loss of the year, though it's the most defining. There are also other losses that I've incurred in 2018, both good and bad.

I do not like to think back on this year, but memories will interrupt me anyway. Here is a list of losses that I remember clearly from this year, in no particular order:

1. The Loss of a Parent

The defining loss of the year that has coloured my every thought and action, from pre-loss to post-loss. Read more here.

2. The Loss of a 7 Year Old Laptop

I don't know about you, but I like my technological stuff to last as long as they possible can. My Sony VAIO, a companion from my university days, suddenly stopped working in January. At the very least, though, I could withdraw all my important pictures and videos from the device before it completely died.

I now have a new (and expensive) laptop which I am still paying for, so the benchmark is also for it to last at least 7 years.

3. The Loss of (Some) Toxic People

You know how you have toxic people in your life, purely because you have to be "nice" to them to make life comfortable for the sake of someone you love?

I would put up with them further if I had to, but now...



Perhaps this can be considered a form of Light.

Of course, I still have to deal with SOME toxic people in other parts of my life, because they are EVERYWHERE.

I have to say, though, that getting rid of toxic people is so much easier when you don't have to put up with them for someone you love. I have put up with toxic people for the sake of money - and still do - but money can always be found elsewhere.

4. The Loss of Unconditional Love

There will only ever be less than a handful of people who loves me as unconditionally as possible, and one of them is no longer around.

One less person who will fret about dragging me to the doctors when I so much as get a cough.

One less person who will continually ask me what I want to eat for dinner every day.

One less person who will give me things without expecting anything in return.

A daily unwavering presence, now lost forever in 2018 and after.

5.  The Loss of Interest

I used to care a lot about random issues all over the world, such as talking about American politics and how Iceland has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. I TOOK interest in the world at large - I was fairly apathetic, but I had an appetite for learning, an interest in how I could make the world a better place by offering my opinion and changing my lifestyle.


My scope of interests, however, has now narrowed this year. I stopped reading the newspapers - simply because the person for whom the newspapers came for is no longer around.

What little news I read and consume online, then, I filter only to those that fall under specific interests, such as "animals" or "books". I have lost a lot of interest in world affairs - even country affairs. My only interest these days is in surviving on a day-to-day basis. I am a lot less vocal now, because I have stopped consuming news to be vocal about.

The world continues to turn as per usual, no matter what I have to say.

In a sense I think this is a good thing for me - a narrowed scope of interest means that I have more expendable time to spend on things I actually care about. Time... and money, to spend on causes that are close to my heart.

In fact, now that you're here, why not consider donating money monthly to Sea Legacy? The polar bears need you!

I am more careful about where I devote my time, energy, and money to, and to spend them all only on things I care about or that makes me happy.

Thinking about death constantly really puts things in focus, if you ask me.

6. The Loss of Control

Having death brush your life closely is like watching a puzzle fall apart - you think you've already completed a puzzle, but now you're just watching the pieces pop out of your carefully curated puzzle piece.

2017 was, all in all, a pretty good year for me, despite the low lights of the year.

I wanted to visit Melbourne for the first time in my life, so I went to Melbourne for 6 days. I wanted to go to Japan with my favourite ex-colleagues, and we were all there for 9 days. I achieved my fitness goals. I had a job with people that appreciated my contributions, and they really showed it - physical gifts, words of affirmation, and etc.

I thought 2018 would be more of me building on the same foundation that I created in 2017.

It was not as planned at all, and it all fell apart. The foundation gave out.


I don't think I achieved anything I planned for 2018.

I gave myself a simple goal, actually. I wanted to "eat well, travel more".

I threw up several times this year from stress. I also had to force myself to finish food, even when I absolutely didn't want to eat.

I also travelled less than 10 days this year - a first in my 20s - and I don't really think I absorbed anything new from my travels. The "travelling" I did this year were just attempts to maintain my sanity as I distracted myself by hanging out with my friends.

So much for eating well and travelling more, then.

Nevertheless, I am still a goal-oriented person who wants to stay in control of my life - desperately scrambling for control, really.

I recently started a vision board for 2019, and included some goals and words of affirmation on it that I hope to achieve in the new year.

One of this is to regain control - physically, mentally, financially (😂).

Finally, there is...

7. The Growing Loss of Inhibition

Throughout my life, I have inhibited (deter, stop) myself from doing things, because it is the "right" thing to do, that it is the "socially acceptable" thing to do, that it is the "unselfish" thing to do.

I mean, you know the deal with Asian society. The nail that sticks out gets hammered in, and all that.

Nearing the end of my 20s, I realise...

I tire.

I tire of people telling me to act a certain way, to behave a certain way, to "remain strong", to act in a way that is "responsible", that "this is life and life goes on", bla bla bla. I have grown used to a lifestyle that is dictated by other people, one that is "safe".

I hang on to this lifestyle the way that people hang on to bad relationships, even though I *REALLY* want to be doing something else. I daydream about my life changing, in the way that people in bad relationships daydream about their other half changing.

Newsflash: the other person will never change. The only person who can change is YOU.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” - The Summer Day, Mary Oliver


There are indeed things I want to do that I feel I cannot do, because according to society, it is not the "right" thing to do.

Like before, however, death has a way of putting a perspective on things.

This is my one wild and precious life, and there are things I want.

2019 will be my year to rebuild my foundation again, this time, for the life I really want, not the safe one everyone wants for me.

In 2019, I will not let anybody place more inhibitions on me, most of all, myself. If the Light does not enter my wounds when I am still, then I shall go search for it.

I wish you all a Happy New Year.