Month in Review

Month in Review: November 2018

Money

November saw some huge expenses that ate up a lot of my budget. In my last review, I mentioned that there’s going to be bigger car expenses in November. Can you imagine, I spent RM2k just on my car??

As time goes on, I become more bitter about owning a car. Back in college, a car felt like a privilege, now it feels like an unnecessary burden.  A few times I’ve thought about selling off my car but other people in my family depend on the car as well.

Adui, I feel a bit sakit hati looking at the numbers. I spent about RM200 on a facial (under personal) in November that wasn’t necessary. I always get sucked in when the facial therapist hard-sells to me. It’s difficult to say no when I’m lying down, all relaxed with a soothing facial mask on. These people and their sales tactic, I tell you.

Entertainment expense in November was also higher. Urbanscapes festival is one of my favorite yearly events. Somehow I’ll find a way to go for an installation or a concert. This year was no exception, I visited their installation at Medan Pasar in Kuala Lumpur and attended some gigs at The Bee as well.

Keeping track of expenses while having one foot in two cities is going to be challenging. The past few weeks, I’ve made mistaken entries into my Malaysia account for my Singaporean expenses. Confusing sial!

After moving over to the island, I’m starting to see a lot of discrepancies about Malaysian cost of living, specifically in Kuala Lumpur. One example is finding economy rice for SGD2 (!!!!) near my new workplace. Even with the conversion rate, I still pay less for daily food expenses than I do in KL. This is so obviously unsettling to experience.

I’ll be keeping a close eye on the differences in food costs and daily living expenses between Singapore and Malaysia. Just based on cursory glances in the grocery store, I think I’ll start feeling outraged as a consumer whenever I go back to KL.

Career

Starting at a full-time job after a year of working freelance takes quite a bit of adjustment. For one, sticking to someone else’s schedule was a difficult transition. It’s also a hard pill to swallow when you no longer have any say in the decision-making process of a company.

But starting again from the bottom (quite literally) teaches you to be humble. Pride is a hard thing to swallow but it’s a trade-off I made for a better quality of life.

There’s a misconception of what it means to be funemployed. Many associate that word with freelance work, working for yourself, being your own boss, doing a job you’re passionate about and so on.

While that’s not a wrong way to look at it, my interpretation of the word is more about how you approach work and how you want work to take shape in your life.

I used to think the measure of success is how far a person advances in their career. By all accounts, it is an easy and socially acceptable measure.

It’s not the only measure.

For the time being, I am happy to stay at a job and at a place that allows me space and freedom to explore other areas of my life without worrying about my finances. This blog, for example, is one space where I want to freely express myself and experiment without having to think about whether I should monetize it.

Right now, I’m content. Ask me again in six months, the answer might be different.

Health

I walk more lately. I enjoy it so far! I posted about it on my Instagram. I’m trying to make it a habit because I am sitting in an office for 7 hours a day.

I am also trying to go vegan. I know, make fun of me all you want, I deserve it. Much of my attempts over the years to eliminate meat from my diet has failed miserably. Here I am giving it another go.

Mentally, I’m probably in the best place I’ve been in the past few months. Moving to Singapore has really helped ease some of my anxieties. The transition here has been smooth. I have a great support system here consisting of close friends and relatives who are unexpectedly kind and generous to me. So far, I feel so incredibly grateful, content, relaxed and happy.

Personal Growth

I did a lot self-reflection the past two weeks. I don’t know how often people contemplate life, existence, death and the meaning of it all but I do it quite frequently.

Some of my fascination with philosophy is finding out the many ways humans have interpreted our existence, what we assign meaning to, and how we behave culturally over the centuries. My favorite pass time is getting under people’s skin and asking them some uncomfortable questions.

Since moving here, I’ve been having a lot of deep, meaningful conversations. I like hearing about people’s life experiences and how they view the world. It never ceases to amaze me that people put enough trust in me to share some of their deepest fears and joys. I feel so privileged to be a part of that, I really do. I hope to continue sharing that connection with people.

Additionally, making a huge life change naturally comes with a lot of questioning. A lot of people have a hard time adjusting to a new environment, I’ve been lucky enough to have family and friends in Singapore that made the transition feel like barely a change at all. In fact, I feel more at home and at peace here than I did living alone in Kuala Lumpur.

This revelation obviously made me feel bittersweet. I have a very close attachment to KL but over the years, like any other relationship, a lot of bitterness has festered under the surface. I think it’s good to be away from the city so that I will miss it a little bit.

Recommended

I didn’t consume much content this month, what with the mad dash to pack and move to a new city. Here’s some stuff that I liked in November:

You can find more recommendations and sharing on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I hope your November went smoothly. I am looking forward to December. I hear jingle bells! Who else is excited for the month ahead?

Image via Unsplash

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