The Way We Were


I’m chilling out with a glass of my own concoction: korenwijn, elderflower concentrate and mineral water while listening to some music in the background. I had dinner earlier with my friend from Adelaide Bank days, Mark at Scoozi in Rundle Street. He and his wife and son are heading over to the US for a holiday next week; we thought it would be good to catch up before his trip. As always, we talked about work and we talked about our mutual friends and acquaintances. Then we ended up talking about our stage in life …

I’m no longer a young, urban, professional – well, if I say that to some of my friends, they will protest me and say that I’m still a spring chicken compared to them! However, I know that my spot in the limelight may have long gone. I’m no longer the young bright golden boy at the office who had a Manager title when he was only in his early twenties. I told Mark that we, the Gen-X’ers, might be entering our plateau of disillusionment. We’re no longer considered the bright, young shooting stars because we’re not young anymore. We’ve tried our “dreams” and found that they were not the paradise that we were looking for. We have worked in the areas that we thought we would florish. We changed careers. Now we find that it’s a bit too late to change tact and try something totally different. We’re caught in a “Now what” moment – an early midlife crisis of realising our true life’s calling.

The topic then revolved about how different we were to the way things were ten years ago. Ten years ago, in 1999, I was one of the ambitious Managers at Citibank in Jakarta: self-sure or dare I say, cocky, and had only travelled to Australia, New Zealand and Singapore so far. I worked until 8pm or 9pm on most days, taking a taxi to and from work. I lived with my third sister’s family near Kelapa Gading area in North Jakarta. Falling asleep in the taxi on the way to work and from work was quite a normal occurence. I was managing a major project at that time and I had learned about stock options and double-digit pay-rises early in my career.

I was yet to experience the rest of the world and at that time, it was very easy for me to detach myself from one spot and plonk myself in a new country. I was young, ambitious, eager, without any ties – life was relatively easy. Flash forward to my current situation – I’m three and a bit years shy of my fortieth birthday, single, a member of the mortgage crowd for the next twenty five years, and it’s not so easy for me to uproot myself from my current spot and replant in a different country, or even a different city! I remember a funny quote from one of Bruce Willis’ movies, The Kid – in the movie Bruce’s character somehow faced himself when he was a boy and when the boy realised how he would become when he grew up, he said, “So, I’m forty, I’m not married, I don’t fly jets, and I don’t have a dog? I grow up to be a loser.” :D. If I were ‘reunited’ with myself when I was a boy, I wonder what he would think of me. *grin*. I hope I have made ‘him’ proud. There are a lot of things that I can teach him though … not to be too insecure, to love life and to enjoy every day of it.

I don’t regret my life at all, it has been a blast. It’s just a stage that I’m entering in, I suppose.

Of course, there’s still a good chance that I live or work elsewhere and not in Adelaide – it won’t be as easy to do compared to how I did it in 2000 when I moved to Singapore or in 2003, when I moved from Singapore to Australia … if or when I move again somewhere, I will move with the accumulated wisdom and cautiousness — I am no longer the twenty-something guy who looks at things in wide-eyed wonderment. I may look 27 still (especially after a good haircut) :), however, the amount of experience, wisdom, follies that I have gathered in the ten years tend to reveal my true age  …

“Obladi, Oblada, life goes oooonnnnn …. la la la la la life goes on ….”


Published by fuzz

I've finally relented to the lures of blogging - and for those who care, well, I'm a self-confessed geek who's a wanderer at heart, who thinks and analyses too much, and who's trying hard to hold on to his 7-year old inner persona.

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