Recovering Nihilist
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Dear Self,

So it’s been five days into the new year, and, um, let’s just say it’s not quite ideal right now.

The habit streak didn’t last more than three days. The alarm was snoozed. Anxiety knocked down the entire door.

Listen, Breathe.

In. Out. In. Out.

There, there. It’s okay. We can start again. We will start again. It’s okay to stumble. It’s okay to fall right smackdown on your face, (avoid doing that literally though).

Just make sure to get up, dust off the mud and keep walking.

The habit streak broke? Start again tomorrow.

Said something unkind? Say something kind and balance it out.

Balance and perseverance are good friends. Befriend them.

It’s okay to stumble. Get back up again.


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Dear Self,

What story are you telling yourself right now?

Drop it. Let it go. Good or bad, it’s holding you back. Stories act as crutches. Hope is a handle. Anticipation gives you a rush of dopamine.

It feels good, at least in your mind. But it’s not worth it. There’s a world beyond your mind. Try living there sometimes.

Drop that story. You are more than a beginning and an end.

Let go of the stories you tell yourself.


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Dear Self,

If most things could be boiled down to their simplest forms, they would all be reduced to choices. As every second passes, you are being asked and constantly beckoned to choose. Even on days when it feels like you have no choice to make, you can still choose your perspective.

You could witness time withering away or you could choose to harness it. You may not be able to determine the consequences, but the choice will always be yours to make.

Every moment comes with a choice.

Choose wisely.


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Illustration by the author

$200 Billion

That’s how big Japan’s Pachinko industry is.

And if you’ve never been to Japan or read Min Jin Lee’s ‘Pachinko’, you are probably wondering– what the heck is Pachinko?

To answer that question we need to go back to 1924 when the Corinthian Bagatelle, a billiards-derived indoor table game was brought to Japan from Chicago. It became popular in candy stores to lure little children into spending more time (= more $$$) at the shops while they played with the arcade game. …


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Dear Self,

The skies stretch into eternity. The ocean is vast, the forests dense and the world too immense to be held in a fist. Unheard stories, unseen paintings and unexperienced moments abound. There are a million ways you could look at the same thing.

The water seems blue, but is it really? The sky is like a canvas of hues, but is it really?

There’s just so much in the world waiting to be known. There’s so much for you to find out, to figure out and to wrap your tiny head around.

You could never be right about it all.

Isn’t that glorious?

There’s always something waiting to be discovered. If you want to aspire, then aspire to be less wrong — a little less wrong every day.


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Dear Self,

The new year has dawned and you are standing at the threshold with a bunch of plans and promises. “This year,” you tell yourself, “This is the year it all changes for the best.”

Listen, don’t get too excited. When you start, the adrenaline surge is high and it doesn’t take much to delude you into believing that you can do it all. But you can never do it all.

Yes, you can do certain things and you can do them well. But doing it all? Stop kidding yourself.

So don’t let the high of new dawn distract you from what is actually achievable — taking small steps. Take it slow. Keep walking. You don’t have to climb every mountain. You don’t have to perfect your gait.

You just have to keep walking.

Don’t forget to have fun while you are at it.


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Dear Self,

Why do you write?

Why do you create?

Why do you do the things you do?

In this world of views and followers, it’s easy to judge your craft on the basis of arbitrary metrics. Praise and criticism are two sides of the same coin. Nothing more than noise on your path. You can always choose to accept or reject the world’s response.

Perhaps the observer does define the worth of an object, but you aren’t an object. You are art. You create art. Your existence and experience of this world deserve to be captured, encapsulated and expressed.

Don’t ever stop creating because the world refuses to care.

Remember Why you started. Don’t lose track of it.


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At this point, words such as “unprecedented” and “uncertain” have been overused a gazillion times. But they were overused for a reason. 2020 truly was a time of great uncertainty. The year presented us with unexpected challenges forcing us to adapt to the new normal. (uff, another overused term).

Most of the plans we made at the beginning of the year went flying right out the window. We had to spend months cooped up inside. Loss of lives and livelihoods made gloom a rather stubborn visitor as the pandemic plagued the entire world.

In short, it was a tough year for many of us. …


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Dear Self,

You can feel the softness of a warm blanket. You can taste the sweetness of a good cup of tea. You can feel the joy of someone else’s success.

You can read tales of bravery and hear songs of affection.

You can dream of the wildest stories in that little head of yours.

You can think, ponder, question, marvel.

You can wonder.

Step back, and look at the glorious, wondrous mess that you are.

Yes, you are human. And as much as you like to think it sucks to be one, deep down you recognise that there couldn’t be a better blessing.

Wonder often, about such things. It makes you human.


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Dear Self,

Life’s journey is a long and winding one. It’s one of striving and succeeding and suffering — and repeating that cycle all over again.

But before you embark on that journey, accept all of your reigning glory and all of your pitiful dismay. Accept every shade etched on the canvas of your existence. Accept every note of your life’s symphony. Especially the one’s that sound a little off tune.

Let go of the stories you have been telling yourself. Your present reality will always be more beautiful than any fantastical dream you could conjure. Why? Because it’s real. It’s happening right now, weaving itself into the fabric of “you.” Everything that has happened to you has shaped you, moulded you, birthed you — it has made you who you are today.

Learn to accept it. Learn to love it.

That’s the easiest way out.

Amor Fati.

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