2019 has been a profoundly challenging year. This was a year of new beginning. Although a lot of my skeptic friends would say “many year is a new beginning of something”, there were more fresh starts throughout 2019 than recent years. It was also a year of contemplation. On the contrary to my expectation of education leave, I ended up with a lot of time to reflect on my life choices, my identity, and my beliefs. By forcing myself to step out of my comfort zone so many times – and trust me, I still am pretty much a chicken like I always am – I have learned so many things about myself and the reasons for a lot of my life choices. As always, it is also another year that my new year resolutions were blown away by the wind of forgetfulness and ignorance – so dismal that I could not even recall what they are anymore. With that said, I am still am as pleased as ever with what has happened to me this year. INSEAD may not be the best year of my life, but 2019 may have just changed my life forever – and hopefully, in a transformatively positive way.
One of the biggest achievement that I successfully checked from my list is to graduate from a 200-hour yoga teacher training. I was especially fortunate that I was able to be among the last group of students taught by both a Briohny and Dice, who were my virtual teacher since I first started practicing two years ago. Despite giving presentation for a living as a consultant, I still am not comfortable with public speaking, and I was very scared of teaching a yoga class – especially my first exam in front of my idols – Bri and Dice. However, determined to pursue my passion, I managed to co-teach yoga classes at INSEAD for the past 2-3 months. I do not know whether or not it could be considered “successful”, but I am quite pleased that I got to do it – especially because, through my classes, I was able to introduce the style that challenge general perception that that “yoga is just stretching”.
On the other side of the coin, as a practitioner, I managed to achieve my goal to do forearm stand (Pincha Mayurasana) without a wall support. There was a short period that I could do this anytime, but nowadays, I could only do the pose on a good day – perhaps it’s all the alcohol… My aspirational goal to achieve a handstand though still was not that great. I could do it on a very good day, but I would risk hurting myself quite a lot. I hope to practice more starting next year. A lot of these, to me, has to do with self-confident as well to be honest…
Music has always been my passion. Singing in my own room has been my remedy for stress and sadness – especially as a very private introvert. Having picked up singing lessons for two years ago after my mother passed away, my teacher for the past two years asked me to participate in the school’s recital. It was not that I am a great singer or anything, it is just customary for all students to perform. My song choice was Once Upon a December from Anastasia in male key. Despite having practiced that song for a hundred times, I am still scared even until after the performance. I was so scared that I planned out in my head calling in sick and not joining the recital anymore. Everything went well… although my hands were ice cold, shaking the entire time. I couldn’t even look at the camera that was recording. All was fine. Despite such a stage fright, I still want to try again through the Music Club at INSEAD. As much as I fear rejection and failure, my passion for expressing my emotion through music may just be greater than my fear. I hope I can make the cut!
I have always feel very awkward going to clubs. I have never thought that dancing is my thing (on top of introversion and general social anxiety of course). This year I gave myself a goal of trying to learn how to dance. I signed up for a private hip-hop course. It was not too bad, but memorizing the steps and getting my body alignment right is so difficult for me, especially since I have never really been gifted with athletic ability. At this point, I’m not sure whether or not I should continue with hip hop or just try contemporary, which is perhaps closer to home with yoga… or should I continue to break my comfort zone further.
While working at the firm allows me to travel and work in many countries without having to deal with language barriers, I have also been quite trapped with knowing only two languages – Thai and English. Being accepted to INSEAD is a blessing, but it also made me worried for nearly half a year by the fact that I have to learn a new language in a span of one year. At first, I attempted to learn by myself through みんあの 日本語. However, as I progressed to the second book, self-study becomes near impossible especially given I have other passions that I need to do as well. I signed up for a 30-hours private course, and miraculously, I was able to pass the exit language exam. However, I don’t think my skill is adequate to be called “conversational” though. I guess I will have to find time to study more again. This will continue to be in my bucket list in the next year.
The biggest revelation for me in 2019 is about coming out. In Thailand, I don’t feel the urge to come out as I believe my colleagues pretty much all have quite a good sense (I hope – otherwise, it would be such a loss being a Thai haha). Coming to INSEAD, apart from the wine club, being in OUTSEAD is perhaps the most rewarding as far as life experience go. While being quite educated with pop culture, I have never had a lot of gay friend. Furthermore, I have never had a friend whose relationship has been successful, so I have never really thought that the same could ever happen to me. I have never been in relationship ever. I have never really talked to other people about relationship – hiding behind the frequently said sentence “I can take care of my own orgasm. Thanks.” May be it is a fear of rejection. May be it is a status-quo bias. May be it is self-confidence that I do not think I am good-looking or worthy enough for love. May be it is a combination of everything altogether. Do I need to find out the exact reasons? To me, I think it may be more important for me to just get going and try experiencing this side of life. After all, I feel like I have been hiding for long enough, and I think with helps from my friends, I perhaps can try.
Being a consultant for five years has turned me into a person who can fake confidence very easily. However, deep down, I still am very nervous about everything in life. I hate uncertainty and ambiguity. I am not at all confidence or comfortable to try new things – including meeting a new person. My belief in my own capability is very low – unless it is something that I have done before. Being in INSEAD, making new friend is great and all, but I am still terrified every time I have to come go and talk to new people. Even at lunch, it is not very organic for me to ask someone to join me for lunch. This is something very new and strange for me, but I think it is still better than eating alone. Will this going up and talk to people ever become a normal thing for me?
Despite being the minority part of my year, INSEAD has change me in a very questionable way. In the past, I could go on a trip alone for 15 days without feeling lonely or the need to show find company. After four months here, as I am writing this reflection, I do not know why, but I feel like it might even be a better experience to have a friend joining this trip. Solitude is not as peaceful as it used to be for me. I am wondering whether this is just me being changed, or I am thinking too much?
2019 has been a great year. Despite feeling heavy-hearted, I believe I am growing as a person questioning myself a lot. I may not even find all the answers to all these personal mysteries, but I really hope I can find a way to move forward. Cheers to 2019 that is passing, and cheers to the coming 2020.