I’m about to cross over to a new decade of my life – so before I do so at the stroke of midnight, I feel like revisiting my achievements and losses in the last ten years. A lot of things have changed since 2002: when I celebrated my thirtieth birthday, I was still in Singapore – on the last stage of chapter there before I moved back to Adelaide – Australia in 2003.
In September 2002:
- I was a single 30-year-old yuppie, living in Singapore. I had enjoyed travelling in business class to various parts of Asia and enjoying how ‘exciting’ and tiring business trips could be.
- I was about to travel to the UK at the end of the year, as my last hurrah after leaving Singapore, to return to Australia.
- My dad had already had his stroke then – but he was still around to reluctantly give his blessings for me to migrate to Adelaide.
- My younger brother was also still around, and was only three months into his marriage to Sianne.
- I didn’t know how to drive and was too afraid to.
Looking back, this decade has been a decade of achievements, triumphs and losses and only when I stop, think and inventorise everything that I realise how truly blessed I have been. Although there were days in the last ten years that I felt were truly bleak, they didn’t negate the fact that God has always been with me and guided me every single moment. It’s impossible for me to list all of the things that happened during the decade, but these are some of them:
- In December 2002, I travelled to the United Kingdom for a holiday: my second trip to Europe after the one in July 2002. I visited London, Newcastle, York, Oxford, Cardiff, Torquay, and Bournemouth via Amsterdam.
- In 2003, I relocated to Adelaide, Australia and rented a townhouse in Black Forest. I also completed a Graduate Diploma in Applied Economics from the University of Adelaide – as my ‘year off’ from corporate life.
- In 2003, I began my involvement and ministry with the Bethel International Church Adelaide.
- From 2004 – 2008, I restarted my career at Adelaide Bank, starting from the lower rung again as a Research and Data Analyst and left the company with my last position being the Manager, Market Intelligence and Research at the Bank.
- Between 2005 and 2008, I was asked to be a panel member and a speaker at Customer Analytics conferences. Who would have thought?
- In November 2005, I bought my house – I faintly remember dreaming about a house with white-picket fences many many years ago. I was looking for a townhouse to rent when I came across the picture of the house in the Adelaide Matters magazine. The picture showed a house with white picket fences. I made the offer, was beaten by another buyer who put forward the same amount. I was heartbroken – the house at that time had its faults already but I had fallen in love with it. I got a call from the agent a couple of days later, the other buyer couldn’t secure his financing, so he offered me the house whether I was still interested. The rest, as they say, is history.
- In 2006, I started my blog and went back to Europe for a holiday – I travelled to Amsterdam (the Netherlands); Copenhagen (Denmark); Oslo and Kongsberg (Norway), Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia), Vilnius (Lithuania), Prague (Czech Republic), Berlin (Germany) and Delft (the Netherlands).
- On 28 February 2008, I lost my younger brother, Handy. He was only thirty-four.
- On the 14th of July 2008 I steeled myself off to ask Yani to officially go on a date with me and start a relationship. 🙂
- In July 2008, I also made my last major overseas trip (for now) – I went back to Europe – revisiting some of the old favourites and exploring new places: Amsterdam (the Netherlands); Oslo, Kongsberg, Bergen, the Lofoten Islands, Rosendal (Norway); Budapest (Hungary); Bratislava (Slovakia); Vienna (Austria); Munich (Germany); Maastricht (the Netherlands); as well as Brussels, Brugge, and Gent (Belgium).
- In September 2008, I left Adelaide Bank when it was merging with Bendigo Bank – I took a step into the unknown and left the financial sector. The next four months were a great period of soul searching and character building for me.
- In 2009, I switched to Market Research and joined a company called newfocus – heading a team of two researchers and expanded my relationships with people in the market research industry and making further business acquaintances.
- On the 27 December 2009, Yani and I got married. I ended my long years of bachelorhood to the shock and surprise of some of my colleagues who didn’t expect that I would get married. Haha.
- In 2010, I decided to study again and took Master in Business (Marketing) by Research at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Research at the University of South Australia. It’s another step into the unknown as I didn’t have any formal Marketing background.
- In July 2010, I was elected as the Chairman of the South Australian Division of the Australian Market and Social Research Society (AMSRS).
- In July 2010, I re-discovered my passion for teaching and working with students. I discovered how much I enjoyed sharing my knowledge and empowering them for the future.
- In November 2010, I travelled to Christchurch, New Zealand for a conference. It was so great to get out of Australia to a different country again!
- 2010 was a year of courage for me – as I also mustered enough courage to learn how to drive.
- In 2011, I was asked to manage the team of Research Assistants at the Institute, and to help inventorise the data as well as other responsibilities that I appreciated (and still do!).
- In May 2011, I found my dream car, a second-hand PT Cruiser – that I could afford by selling the shares that Adelaide Bank gave me when I was still working there. Isn’t God grand? He’s a master planner! I named my car ‘Burton’.
- On the 5th of June 2011, I lost my dad after a period of illness. I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye personally but I was there when he was buried.
- In August 2011, I adopted Indy, a three-year-old black-and-white Staffordshire Bull Terrier to be a part of our family.
- In June 2012, I finished my Masters degree and decided to continue on to Doctoral degree at the Institute, in a different field to my previous research field.
- In August 2012, I was re-elected as the Chairman of the SA Division of AMSRS.
As you can see – I have been blessed beyond measures and although I also experienced deep valleys of grief and soul-searching, I was never truly alone. I have been allowed to experience and receive things that I had never ever thought about or dreamed of. Sometimes I do miss my old life – I miss travelling, I miss my freedom and the bravado of youth. However, I am reminded that I gain so much joy from the things that I never contemplated in the past. I look forward to the next decade, whatever God has in store for me and for my family.
So now, in September 2012:
- I am a married 40-year-old doctoral candidate, a tutor and an occasional lecturer.
- I miss my younger brother and my dad still but I know that they are in a better place.
- I live in a 1940’s house with a character, driving a 2001 PT Cruiser. Yani and I are accompanied by a sooky 4-year-old staffy and plenty of fish in the aquarium.
- I realise that I have always been very much blessed.