Lessons I Learned Over a Decade

As 2020 starts off a brand new decade, people are taking the opportunity to reflect on the previous one. The idea of ten years feels like eternity. But when I think about myself ten years ago compared to myself now, the distance seems even more vast. To map the journey from 13 to 23, here are some of the most formative lessons I learned over the last decade.


When I was 13 years old, I learned that some friendships don’t fade; they’re broken to pieces. At the same time, I realised at 14 that new bonds can quietly materialise when you’re unaware.

Ultimately, most people in life come and go. That’s just how it is. And at 15, I learned that walking long distances isn’t as difficult if you’re walking with the right people.

At 16 years, I learned what it’s like being alone despite being surrounded by people. Still, there’s hope. Old places can be imbued with new memories. At 17, the same paths I once walked in exhaustion later led to new adventures.

Continue reading “Lessons I Learned Over a Decade”

On New Friends // Letters to October (14)

Dear October,

Before I started my final year of university, I started praying for friends again. What was the worst that could happen, I reasoned.

At some point, I started having plans again. I explored life as I wouldn’t have dared to by myself. I found myself with more hands to support me than in many years. In the meantime, further precarious fixtures in my life fell away. Most had been fading since high school years — unanswered messages on both sides, conversations abandoned midway, as if we had gone out of breath from running around the same track. It was a long time coming. Others went abruptly and loudly, leaving scars that will keep opening before they heal.

Either way, it hurts when ‘is’ becomes ‘was’. And it’s even harder to leave those rotting relationships behind when they keep reappearing, when your guard is down, through threads of social media. Keeping someone around like that, labelling them friend even when the word is empty of meaning, makes it easier to leave a window ajar in case the real thing is ever revived.

It’s easy to scroll through moments of their life and sink deeper into the what ifs. To wonder if they think of the past at all.

Continue reading “On New Friends // Letters to October (14)”

On Losing Friends // Letters to October (10)

Dear October,

Some moments in life happen within a heartbeat. Others take their time, crawling at first within the edge and rooting into your life while you’re looking the other way. Losing the first of my best friends happened so gradually that I was surprised when the word ‘friends’ didn’t really fit with their names anymore. Why did it happen? Physical distance, to some extent. Something shifts when the rhythms of a friendship aren’t dictated by the regularity of school schedules and shared experiences within classroom walls.

Suddenly you don’t know detailed aspects of the other person’s life. The names and faces they embrace in familiarity are foreign to you. Doubt emerges. Where do you fit into their new life? Will your continued presence bother them? Will they read your words and care about what you say? And the childish speculation of whether new, immediate friendships take precedence over those steadily growing distant. After all, there’s only so much that can fit in the palm of the hand before the excess starts to slip away.

Continue reading “On Losing Friends // Letters to October (10)”