Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Get busy living life to the fullest

Taking the big step

One year shy of my big three O, I decided to finally put my foot down and do what I’ve been yearning to do while I’m still young. I’m going to fulfil as many of my dreams as possible and even if I don’t carry out any of these dreams to their full term, I would want to at least give them a shot and know that I’ve tried.


In order to fulfil many of my dreams, I had to make a huge decision.

I handed in my resignation letter.

Some of you who have been reading my blog since forever would have known that I’m constantly wavering over whether to leave. At the end of the day, I’m really very happy to be able to take this huge step.

Many of my close friends gave me strong support to leave my job and to pursue my dreams. I’m also glad that my hubby is supportive of my decision. My family was supportive too and I was pleasantly surprised that my mum did not flip when I told her my decision. She did nag and drop hints these few days though, about how I'm wasting my degree but I just hope she would be able to see where I'm coming from. After all, quitting without a job is something to be frowned on in a society like Singapore.

These loved ones who have been my pillar of support over the years felt that I was working too hard and that my life revolved too much around work. It got quite tiring for some people to have to constantly match my schedule. I missed many short weekend trips with friends, missed some important family occasions, lost contact with some people but I’m thankful beyond words by how my good friends would accommodate to my schedule and arranging meet ups on my off days.

My hubby would sometimes get annoyed by how we have to plan trips and outings such that I do not affect work too much. He thinks that I’m too responsible at times and I admit that this virtue had become a fault in more ways than I can list out.

You see my Maldives updates recently? Why I kept calling it my “so called honeymoon” and not my honeymoon is because I’ve always wanted to visit a few cities in Europe and I decided that Europe would be our honeymoon destination.

Unfortunately two years after our wedding, we still could not find a compromise to our schedules. Before the Maldives trip earlier this year, the last time my hubby and I travelled together was in January 2008 to the nearby Genting Highlands for a short trip. My hubby decided to just go ahead with Maldives and told me that he was going to book for a resort no matter what I said. It was only after this “threat” that I arranged my work schedule around the trip and not the other way round. You know what, I was still working that night we flew off. I reckoned that since it was a night flight, I would continue to work in the day. He shook his head in defeat to that.

It was actually me myself and I who was making my life harder than it really is and not the job or the company or the bosses per se because in reality, I do enjoy working in this company. Great bosses, great colleagues, great subordinates... Really, what more could I ask for?

Nevertheless, these should not be holding me back and in fact it is precisely because I’ve got such wonderful subordinates with great potential to grow and a really wonderful team which made it a lot easier for me to throw my responsibilities aside and live for myself now.

I talked to my bosses about my intention to take a break and even drew out a big concept map to show how everything connects and that I really had to take this step in order to fulfil my many dreams and goals. They were so understanding about my situation and were amazed (or should I say amused) by my whole thought process. I thought they seemed quite entertained by my concept map as I showed all the linkages. At last, they thanked me for holding on for so long, helping them throughout the years and shaping many things in the company. Though sad to see me go, they told me to go out and pursue my dreams.

What I’ve been doing the past 5.5 years

Since I’m out of the company as a full time staff, I think it is fine to let all of you know more about my job. Over the years, a few blogger friends had asked me what exactly I am doing when I say I’m in the education line. Some had the misconception that I’m a teacher since I talk about my students in my posts every now and then. Well, that’s half right. I’m not a teacher in a formal school. Together with my team, we create the worksheets for the primary English curriculum for the company. We are allocated classes to teach too. As for me, I’m in the management role as well so there are a lot more stuff to do at work besides curriculum and teaching.

What I’ve been up to recently


It has been two weeks since my last day and instead of giving myself a big break, I’m busier than ever. The only difference is that I'm sleeping a lot more per night now and I’m not as insomniac as I have been for years. I’m also busy doing things that I like and that itself is very fulfilling.

Working on a project while working part time

I’m still teaching my classes as a part time teacher for 3 days a week so marking and lesson preparation takes up quite a bit of time per week. I’m also doing lots of research every day for my mega project coming up. It is something which I’ve not done before so I’ve got a lot to learn and it takes immense time and effort to work towards this goal. I would definitely let all of you would know what it is when the time comes.

Enriching myself

In the personal development aspect, I’m going to pursue some art-related courses of my interest when I find out more about the next intake and whether these could fit into my current schedule. I’m also going to enrich myself more and equip myself with more skills. Yet, I’ve to also take note of my budget since my income has dipped significantly. There are simply too many things I want to learn but with only limited savings.



Many Singaporeans love to travel and would travel once or twice a year. I guess it’s due to our small country. It’s unlike in the States or in Europe where people travel within states and continents. All the Singaporeans I know from all walks of life and all income level travel a lot too. It makes me feel very ill-travelled.

There are a few trips lined up this year and I’m almost ecstatic that we are finally going on our true honeymoon to Europe. The only gripe is that instead of 3 weeks, the hubby could only afford 2 weeks but you know what? Better than not going at all.

The hubby is currently out at sea on a mission and so I’m left to do the planning for the whole trip. I’ve never ever planned a trip before coz I’m a rather impromptu kind of person when it comes to travelling. I only need a general itinerary and everything else is all about the side trips and wandering off from the beaten path. For Europe we can’t really do it this way coz we would be visiting cities in different countries and so planning and coordination is inevitable.

Is going to London, Paris and Rome too ambitious for 2 weeks? It would only be a touch and go thing right? I’ve to take into consideration that we’re going during winter and that the days would be much shorter.

I’ve been meeting up with friends these few days to get information and it seems like Paris and London itself would take up a full 2 weeks since I’m those who would spend days at museums. I haven’t even factored in Bath and Stonehenge and that quaint little book town Hay-on-Wye which is many miles away from London. (Google image Hay-on-Wye to see the many beautiful outdoor bookshelves lining the quaint streets. I wonder what happens when it rains.)

Not to mention, Italy itself seems like there is simply too many to see in the country besides Rome and Vatican City and I think I should just leave Rome out for now and concentrate on Paris and London.

Suddenly the long awaited honeymoon Europe trip seems to have shrunk with only 2 cities eh? On the one hand, I want to immerse myself in the whole experience and not touch and go, yet on the other hand I kept thinking that I would not be going Europe again for a long time to come and so I’ve to cover more cities. I’m in a bit of a dilemma here and it doesn’t help when the hubby is not able to receive calls at sea. Any advice from you is welcome too.

I would also be going to Hong Kong and Bangkok this year. It seems like the ill-travelled girl is finally gonna unleash her potential to travel more. Hong Kong is confirmed since tickets and hotels are booked. Bangkok is tentative but we’re gonna make it concrete soon. I will be travelling with friends and not the hubby and he’s totally cool about it. How lovely! I loved Hong Kong the last time round and I know I would love it again since I’m going in the cooler months. As for Bangkok, it would be my first time there. It’s almost a given that most Singaporean girls/ ladies have been to Bangkok a few times especially for those weekend shopping trips. I do not know of any other girls around me who haven’t been to Bangkok yet except myself so I’m looking forward to it too.

Doing volunteer work while travelling is something which I’ve always envisioned myself doing. Help out in a village, teach the children, build a school etc. Most of these require a few months commitment. Initially I had Vietnam in mind when I knew of its few days commitment but when my friend and I saw the cost needed just to volunteer, we got stumped. All research over the internet seem to signal the same high cost of doing volunteer work so I’m still on the look out for somewhere where I can lend a hand for a short period of time and without having to fork out too much from my pocket.

Spending more time with friends

I hope to be able to spend more time with friends during this period and I’ve already met up with a couple of them. Many of you upon looking at my pictures with so many activities and meet up with friends would think that my life is very happening. Well, it’s a challenge to balance work and social life and it can get so tiring that sometimes I just want to coop myself along at home with a good book to read or to catch up on blogging. Now that I've got a major responsibility being axed from my life, I hope that meeting up with friends would be done at a more leisurely pace.

I want to blog more

Needless to say, I need to find the time to blog more and catch up on all my backdated posts. This LOOOOONG post sorta make up for my many impromptu posts the past few weeks. I guess verbal diarrhoea is catching up on me again. I wish I could catch up with time too.

I wonder how many of you read up till here?


  1. Hey LOVE,

    i am going to make you feel better by telling you that i have never been to THAILAND... it's just that it's so near by i always told myself i could go whenever i wanted to...

    But you know here in SINGAPORE whether or not your interested in the rat race your part of it... and people living here and in HK are always on the move...

    it's nice that your finally getting to do what you want to... but i am pretty sure you had thought very hard about it!!! not a easy decision...

    about the invite. i was the guest of MRS Debains, the wife of Jean Debains who is the President of LV in ASIA PACIFIC... the party was exclusive to CLIENTS,Celebs, Family, ASIAN royalties(not many) and Socialites... but it was so nice that i bumped on to people i haven't met in ages... so it was a good break...

    yes and i just had to mention PEHSUN!!!

    HAPPY birthday in ADVANCE babe!!!
    and i pray for your GOD DAUGHTER CHARMAINE... all will be well ...

    Label me ADDICT ♥

  2. HA! I did! XD

    I want to ask did you draw that? lol.

    also, if you want some info on travelling europe can contact my bro. he backpacked europe for a month so maybe he can tell you what you can do/where you can go in two weeks or something ;)

  3. i did! I bet it was a hard decision but you just have to enjoy life and not work too hard. Glad to see that you are fulfilling your dreams!

  4. Label me Addict,

    It was definitely a long thought process before I came to that decision. Thanx for your encouraging words. Ah, I thought you're quite the shopperholic and would have gone to Bangkok. I need more Singaporeans telling me this too. =D

    Wow, you're the guest of the wife of the President of LV in ASIA PACIFIC?! That must be really something. I didn't know I was all along talking to someone famous (you). Haha

    You're so cute, that's a really advanced happy birthday wish there. Thank you for your prayers for Charmaine too.



    Hahaha... I thought you usually skip my wordy posts. Yup I drew that last year for some activity at work.

    Thanx for your suggestion. kh managed to call home just now and we've decided to just do 2 cities for this trip. There really is too many beautiful places to visit in Italy itself for us to squeeze Rome into this.



    Indeed it was a difficult but right decision. I've never felt happier and more fulfilled in my life.

  5. Jo: I said it before but I will say it again that you are very lucky to be able to choose a path your life and to make a decision that you did. I love that dream/goal board, I need something like that to help me stay on track. I am excited to hear about your new chapter in life and what life will bring. Everything on your list look exciting.

    I wish we could meet while you travel to Bangkok but most likely I won't go until March of next year. You are def a blogger I wish to meet in real life :)

    How is your god daughter?

  6. Nelah,

    I like it when I'm replying and then I see a comment coming in. It feels like we're behind our screens at the same time even if we're distance apart.

    Drawing out your goals is really effective. I did a rough dreamboard once in 2007 when I was facilitating an enrichment course. I drew the dreamboard you see here last year coz of some company activity. When I was clearing my work station, I came across the 2007 dreamboard and realised that many things overlapped with 2010's one and some were already accomplished. Drawing them out instead of merely writing allows you to visualise which is even more powerful to the mind than just words. You could probably try drawing one too!

    We will meet if we're fated to. =)

    My god daughter had got her ventilator removed today so she's breathing in atmospheric oxygen with just 0.5% help. That's a great sign considering the ICU doc used the "d" word 4 times when she was first admitted. She just removed all the tubes and her throat is wounded with lots of phlegm. She was in such discomfort that she could not help but cry which aggravated the phlegm more. Towards the end of the night, she was a lot better. Symptom wise, everything is definitely brighter than on Sunday but cancer wise, still spreading. =(

  7. Wow, this is kind of shocking--and yes, I read every word! =)

    I know so many people who work too much, want to step away, but don't. You're the first person I've known who took such a dramatic step. I'm so happy for you, to get the chance to explore your dreams, enjoy life with your hubby and friends, it's wonderful.

    I have changed jobs so that I can be at home more, but then I get sucked back in to feeling responsible for too much and then working too much. It has happened again with my current job. My wife is so happy because I've been promoted twice since May (she says it's my destiny to be in charge), but I didn't ask for it and I know it will make my life miserable. I'll probably look for a new job again.

  8. I always read your posts Jo. :) I have previously stated that I like the way you write, did I not?

    - First, it's your life, your call. I know you have your reasons for quitting your job. I do hope that you find something that you would enjoy doing in the future. :D

    - Secondly, I think moms we're programmed to nag LOL! I can never stand my mom's nagging. And I somehow ended up in her favorite list of persons to nag. :P So, you aren't alone on that one.

    - If you can do visit Europe. I have only been to Italy, Germany and Paris once but plan to go back because it's just so wonderful and so different from Asia. :)

  9. Dear Jo,

    I know it sounds strange but I am happy that you made the decision to resign. You sound very at peace with your decision which is a good sign. In fact, many times in your past posts entries, you have commented on how tired you were and the sleepless nights and constant struggle with your schedule. In fact, once I felt so sorry when you posted a picture of yourself with your head on the table, knock out of exhaustion.

    There are so many things that one wants to accomplish in life and not many have the chance to do so or even brave enough to do so. I totally understand when you said you were concerned your mom would freaked out. Most parents are like that because it brings in a lot of uncertainties. However, it not an issue here because you know exactly what you want to achieve & do in life. ..and I am pleased to hear that (in fact, I am inspired with your lists....dont worry, i am not quitting my job but there are things that I have ignored and procrastinated which I need sorted)

    Speaking of travel, I think Paris and London in 2 weeks seems reasonable, in fact you could probably squeeze in another Europe city..... I remember when I was 14, my parents took us on a pyjamas Europe trip for 10 days in 10 different countries including UK. It was called pyjamas because you travel non-stop in a coach during the day and by night sleep in the hotel, wake up again at 5am/6am for the next destination. it was insane but you know what I had the best memories ever . And when I visited Milan and Rome last year, it brought back a lot of lovely memories despite the 1st hectic trip.

    For the record, I read the whole post....twice. How not to?? These are important things being said here.

    p/s: I know this is in your dream list, but please please don't get a tattoo (butterfly/flower or what not). They fade and can become saggy through time. Just don't want you to regret.

    pps: I am very sad to hear that Charmaine cancer is still spreading., I just don't what to say...

  10. Hi, Jo! thanks so much for following me also left some lovely comments. I'm so glad((:

    Wahh.. left a company and job you like so much is a hard decision. But dreams should be pursued. I think I would choose the same path if I were you. Besides, you have hubby, friends, family, god daughter who need your presence.

    Oh, I really wish could go to Eurroooppee toooo...!

    I sincerely hope you can balance your life as you pursuing your dreams. Go Jolene!!;D

    Dreamy Princess

  11. Rick,

    My 1st paragraph in reply to Nelah applies to you too! Check out the timing. It’s just that I was waiting for more comments coming to reply them altogether.

    It feels good to be the first. Hehe... I’m honoured. Actually I have got 3 other good friends who all quit earlier than I did in terms of months even though I was the first to signal my intention. My bestie quit her very demanding job with horrible boss and frequent zipping in and out of Singapore to pursue her dream of taking a beauty-related post-grad diploma. She had an engineering degree. She did not find anything a waste and is enjoying herself studying. My other 2 girl friends quit to take a break and to travel. They would eventually be finding new jobs though. All of them were doing very well in their previous jobs too. It seems like we are all taking that first step to work towards bettering ourselves and our lives.

    Do you mean your current museum job? Ooh... But it’s so exciting right? You want to look for a new job? I understand totally what you mean about feeling too responsible that you got sucked back in. I also felt that I rose quite quickly (I didn’t ask for it too) and got a lot more responsibilities in the process. Of course the increment would follow but sometimes when life gets tough, money isn’t exactly everything.

    I hope you manage to find a balance soon.


    sugar sugar,

    Yup, you did. Thanx dear! My 1st paragraph in reply to Nelah applies to you too! Check out the timing. It’s just that I was waiting for more comments coming to reply them altogether.

    Lol on your mum. I just dunno why mums do that. I keep on wondering if I would do that too when I’m a mum. I mentally told myself that I have to always make sure I don’t follow all the annoying ways of my mum in future.

    The hubby managed to call back home last night and he’s fine with just 2 cities. It makes it a lot easier to plan. Coz if I were to fit Rome in, I know it would be too much to see and do. Italy is too beautiful to be just confined to Rome.

  12. Peh Sun,

    Thank you for your heartfelt words. It means a lot. My 1st paragraph in reply to Nelah applies to you too! Check out the timing. It’s just that I was waiting for more comments coming to reply them altogether.

    Whatever that you have procrastinated on, please find a time to do them or you might just look back and wonder about why haven’t you done them. It just sparked me all of a sudden that it’s my life and if I really want to do certain things, I’ve to do them when I’m still young or when I wstill do not have family commitments. Only after fulfilling these goals would I really settle down and plan for kids. Getting really quite old to have kids already.

    On travel, this is the first time I hear of pyjamas Europe trip. How very interesting. We’re going free and easy as I cannot stand the constraints of tour packages but I guess it makes it a lot easier to cover the countries though not in depth. 10 days in 10 different countries is amazing! I’m glad you hold lovely memories to that. I managed to speak to my hubby and he is fine with 2 cities. Now, it’s a lot easier for me to do the planning. London and Paris itself has got too many things to do even after striking off some of them on my list. Factoring Bath and Stonehenge and Hay-on-Wye, I think the number of days devoted to London and Paris on museums, immersing in their neo classical world, experiencing the culture of the locals and of course SHOPPING is just nice to squeeze in Rome. My mindset would be we would not be able to travel to such far away destinations once we have kids but the hubby told me that could be arranged and so we’re putting a tentative Italy tour in the near future. Italy is too beautiful to just be visiting Rome and Vatican City only.

    I know you read the post in its entirety based on the time difference between this comment and the other one. And I supposed you read the wishes, dreams and goals post as well since you mentioned about the tattoo which got me puzzled for a while. Lol... Well, to tell you honestly, I really think tattoo is an art but then sometimes when I look at my body and envision a permanent tattoo there, I wonder if I would regret. Plus the hubby is dead against it (though my parents are fine) and so I’ll respect his views. No worries on me getting a tattoo.

    We’re trying a treatment that is not available in Singapore. Cynthia mommy specially requested it from Germany and Charmaine is the first in Singapore to try that. It’s approved by HSA just that Singapore’s medical system is a little too traditional and many cancer treatment methods are still the same even after years. Charmaine is doing a lot better in the ICU now and is almost back to her pre-ICU days.

    I appreciate you taking the time to read my post and leave me such a long and sincere comment. I know how busy you are at work. =)


    Dreamy Princess,

    Thank you for your sincere words. Yes, I would gambatte! Seriously, I thought that I had been following you all along. I don’t know what happened to blogger that night. You will have the chance to go to Europe in the future. Just make sure you work towards saving money and having the time to go for a few weeks. Personally, I feel that touring about a few cities in Europe should be at least a 3 week period. Then again, I’m those who will get lost on museums so I know that itself could take 2 days per city.

  13. Yay! You did it!!! You are following your dreams. I did the same thing like you a couple of years ago. I left my well-paid job, my family, friends and my car and my apartment, etc - to go travelling from UK to Asia and then Australia...and along the way, I met my Husband and now, I'm living in Oz...although we're struggling financially as I haven't been able to find a proper job...and he's studying again, it's still good :)

    Funnily enough, our honeymoon was London, Paris & Rome but we did it in one week...toooooo short!!!

    Can't wait to read more of your adventures :D

  14. Dear Jolene,

    You finally did it. It feels so unreal reading that you finally decide to quit after knowing you on your blog for so long. I feel as if I really know you as a friend and follow you thru your stories and your life.

    I take 20 min to read your post everything. Am I very slow? ^_^ I'm so happy for you that you are doing things that you like and you feel happy doing them. I cant wait to see what you are up to after this.

    Take care my dear friend. Chase after your dreams!

  15. Ling,

    Thank you, dear. I'm so happy to learn that it was what you did years back too. Isn't it great that you put down everything else and met your hubby? Look at the joys that happen when you're willing to take that first step.

    You know, seeing so much about Rome made me feel like putting Rome back into the picture but I really feel Italy is worth a whole country to visit.



    I think I've never told you before but your name always reminds me of one of my ex colleague. Also the same spelling. I see her almost every day back then when I was still working at the HQ.

    20min or not, I'm glad that you took the time to read. Thank you!

    Thank you once more for your lovely words and encouragement!

  16. Re your upcoming Europe plans: 2 weeks is a wee bit short, but that said, you can always concentrate on just a few places (within the cities you chose) and do those. Even though I'm a very tourist-y tourist and I always visit all the must-see places, I hate the touch and go sort of holidays. It just doesn't feel as if you've visited at all, right?

    London will take weeks (I'm biased because I'm in love with this city), but if you scratch off the things you don't want to do, you'll find you'll still be able to enjoy it a lot. I think London would take...5 days to cover the tourist-y sites.
    I would have loved to meet up just so I can put a face to a name, but I reckon you'll be busy with the sights and sounds of London ;)
    Note: The British Museum will take 2 days if you want to read and see everything. It's free, though!

    I love Paris, though, many people seem to be disappointed and claim it's overhyped. I went for the 2nd time last Dec (right smack during winter) and loved it even more than the 1st time. Paris will take maybe 4 days to cover? If you want some recommendations or tips, let me know and I'll draft an email. The boyf and I were on a student budget, but managed to find a lovely hotel that fit the bill.

    I really recommend Venice because it's so romantic, but the traveling can be quite a hassle.

    When are you going to Hong Kong? I'm going end of the year! So excited!

  17. Ok, now that the holiday bit is done (sorry, I got too excited for you hehe)

    Congratz on taking this big step! I really admire you for knowing exactly what you want and more importantly, having the courage to grab the opportunity to fulfill your dreams.

    It's great to hear that you family and friends (even boss and colleagues) were supportive. I completely understand how coming from our culture, people would rather work to their death beds than take the path less trodden.

    I hope after I graduate, I'll find a job I'll love and if I don't, I hope I'll have the strength and support to find something I want to do.

    All the best, Jolene!

  18. Joey,

    Haha... I can feel your excitement literally! That's so cute!

    The 2nd friend I met up to get info about London and Paris is also biased. She LOVES London so much; it's her favourite city. She helped me strike of a few places from what my 1st friend recommended due to me going during winter (1st friend been to London countless times and so told me to strike off as I deem since I can't possibly cover so much) and also some not worth the travelling time and gave me some local hunts and flea markets in return. And for my own research, I'm gonna find that Sherlock Holmes fictitious place!

    I would greatly appreciate if you could send me your itinerary or something. You needn't spend the time to draft it for me specially coz I know that takes lots of time. So I could just use your itinerary as a guide to save your time. I think I might go budget in London and spend slightly more in Paris coz I intend to stay in a lodge in the former and a hotel in the latter. The hubby is a bit spoilt though and I dunno if he would agree to the lodge. I researched upon my friend's recommendation and it's good.

    I heard about how people who haven't been to Paris always say it's so romantic but people who have been there physically say that's coz they can't smell it and experienced the rudeness from mere photos and stories. lol... I do know of others who've physically been there and love it too. I wonder which I would be?

    I'm going HK in October. I really don't mind meeting you up in London if everything could be arranged. In fact, I think it would be really lovely to meet you in person! We could even do a double date right? Ask your boy along. You've to let me know more on how we can arrange this coz I'm clueless. hehe... This is getting exciting!

    I wish you all the best in your studies and also to pursue whatever you dream of!

  19. Hi babe

    Omg. I love love love this entry of yours. Probably more so because I've been and still am on a journey to figure out what i want in life and the direction that I want to take. It's nice to know yet another person who has taken the step to venture out of her comfort zone to pursue her interests. It's obvious from ur comment page that many people are so supportive of your move. It's scary, but a daring step on your part and I'm sure you will feel so much more contented in life!

    In fact, I was just speaking to my friend who has taken a 4months sabbatical and is intending to travel to 4 different continents. Am so inspired by her that I decided to feature a faq with her so that I can share her unconventional move with the rest. Would love to feature a FAQ with you too, babe! :)

    Keep in touch!

  20. Steph,

    I actually was quite surprised when I saw your entry on the quarterlife crisis almost at the same time when I was doing up this post. Like what I told you before, sometimes I feel a sense of connection to you as many of the stuff you're learning and doing are stuff which I wanna do too and I find it really uncanny yet thrilled to find someone with these similarities.

    FAQ with me? Aww... I dunno if my FAQ would be anything inspiring.

    I'll check out your blog every now and then and if I missed anything, I would just keep clicking on the older entries till where I left off though I may not comment as regularly. So yep, will definitely keep in touch after this.


I love reading sincere comments and hearing your voice. While blatant self promotion of blogs and follow for follow requests are not advisable, I would love if you leave a mark here with a trackback link so that I could connect with you. I reply to comments here or on your blog so don't forget to check back on replies! =)


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