“Oh My God! You’re basically Carrie Bradshaw!” is what my friends said when they were told that I would be writing a column in the newspaper about relationships and health.
Except that I don’t own even a single pair Manolo Blahniks, and I have never dated 57 men.
I’m not really big on anniversaries.
I’m not sure why. I think it’s because my family doesn’t really celebrate anniversaries or birthdays (my Dad forgot my birthday last year, for example), and maybe subconsciously I never really associate time spent on something with the quality of that something altogether. I know colleagues who celebrate work anniversaries at an office they hardly like, so what’s the point? I also know a couple who has been married for 33 years but for the last decade they haven’t been together in every sense of the word, so what does it mean? Facebook tells me that I have a Friendversary with someone I hardly talk to anymore, and that’s a sad misinterpretation of what friendship is all about.
But once in a while anniversaries are meaningful from the perspective that it reminds us of a significant event that happened to us. And if we’re lucky, that same reason to celebrate is still relevant in present time. Healthy relationships are reminded of the many years they’ve endured and the lives that changed for the better because of them. Career anniversaries are amazing if it’s actually a job you love, letting you know that you’ve spent a significant amount of time doing something you’re passionate about. Birthdays can be meaningful if you’ve spent each year doing things you love and improving yourself as a person.
And on that note, here is an anniversary that means something to me – it is officially ONE YEAR since I first wrote for New Straits Times. In literal translation, it’s our first anniversary!
It’s amazing how time has passed since I first wrote for this publication. The feeling of anxiety the first time my article was on print is still pretty fresh in my mind. I wasn’t able to sleep well the night before, my thoughts on an incredible speed of what it might look like, how people might respond or the things that can go wrong. Although I had been blogging for years, I knew that writing for a paper means I couldn’t be just as nonchalant or careless about what I wanted to write about. At this point of time, I had also confirmed a publication contract for my freshman book. All these combined means I was extra anxious about the fact that getting a bad repertoire from this newspaper column could cause a ripple effect that would ruin everything else literature-related in my case.
On that day my column fist came out, M and I sat on the staircase at the lobby to look at it, staring at the newspaper like we were marveling something quite wonderful, grinning at each other. It was a good moment, still fresh in my mind.
Now a year has passed, and I still feel the jitters every morning that I know my column is getting published that day. My Tuesday bi-weekly morning routine is now to get to the closest newspaper stand around 10 am, check my column exactly there by the racks of daily papers (I bet the cashier thinks I’m checking for coupons #couponlady), pay my RM1.50 and walk back to the office with an extra spring in my step, knowing that today I am doing what I love and feeling so blessed for the opportunity.
Over the entire year I had written about so many things through my column, Amal Muses. All of the subjects are things that are close to my heart, sometimes even masked as a satire to what was really going on in my life personally as well. Amidst a full-time office job, writing books and maintaining a blog, I never failed to find snippets of time here and there just to make sure that there is a column submitted when it’s due. This is the point when I realised that I really love doing it – you will always somehow find the time when it’s something you really enjoy.
I had truly loved the experience that came from being a Columnist. It has expanded my creativity and opened new doors. Here’s hoping for more of these!
Note: I was also told by various parties to change my profile picture for the column (they said it's too "teethy"). Initially I wanted to, but now I think it's safe to say that I just can't be bothered anymore. Just accept me and my teeth, son.