what 2014 meant to me: madness, mud & magic
Posted on December 25 2014
Christmas-time 2014: this year I felt a lot more content, & a bit less guilty about not having achieved anything in my 28 years of existence. My birthday falls on this day so it is always my yearly checkpoint to think about what I've (not) done or achieved in the past year. I've had this unnerving sense of urgency to push myself & step into unfamiliar territory these past 2 birthdays, to build & achieve something beyond what I can imagine.
I have enjoyed this Christmas & new year's eve more than ever before as it has been the hardest I have ever worked in my entire life to get to it!
It has been surreal seeing 2 of my dreams come true: making it through 6 interviews to work at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), & finally being able to create & launch my own sports apparel brand.
When I graduated from University 7 years ago, the dream was always to eventually wind up at the big consulting houses like McKinsey or BCG or Bain. But along the way there has been this innate & growing need to create & be entrepreneurial, fostered by my parents & many friends & mentors I've met along the way.
It has been a bittersweet year as I have put in so many hours, sweat & tears into these two colliding dreams: working on powerpoint presentations during the day as a management consultant, & finalising design sketches, setting up my online store & packing customer deliveries by night. On weekends I would set up store at as many markets & events as possible, & pull out my laptop to do BCG homework whenever there would be a lull in the stream of customers.
Minimal sleep, no TV & constantly multi-tasking to maximise my hours, reminding myself to eat, and also a tight budget: no fancy holidays, clothes, accessories, car ... the most expensive thing I've bought has probably been my trail running shoes :)
I have had a few angels swoop in to help me out amongst this madness: my crazy beautiful friend Joy staying up till 4am helping me prepare for my first ever pop-up store set-up; crazy fit & pretty Karen from KiaKaha who has been a huge champion from Day 1; my bro & best buddy CJ who helped me with a small loan which was HUGE in my first month; BCG colleagues Colin, Steph, Amy, Andrew whom I had only known for 3 months happy to help run my store; Su who helped me pack all the first batch of deliveries, & would always visit my pop-up stores & bring friends. Gerrie who stepped in & took a big load off my shoulders second half of 2014, with an ever-present smile & the best product write-ups :)
Not to mention the myriad of friends, strangers-who've-become-friends, customers-who've-become-stockists, media-who've-become-customers, who have helped spread the word, personally vouched for me & given endless support, advice, free pop-up stores, air time & momentum to keep on going!
And need I even mention my rock, my counselor, my husband who asks me all the difficult questions & makes me think through my decisions with brutal honesty. Without whom neither of my dreams would be possible. To him I owe too much.
People always ask me how I find time to still do my trail runs. It actually is a necessity. 2014 was significant in seeing me achieve another notch in my ultra-trail running distance, hitting the 70km mark at the Bromo Tengger Semeru Ultra in November. After 10 intense months of constant work & incessant brainstorming & problem-solving, 15 hours spent running the 70km turned out to be the perfect mental retreat.
Just before sunrise, there was a difficult stretch of a constant climb from 3-5am, where the trail skirted endlessly around a mountain. Every turn I hoped would result in a descent to the lake as per the trail map, but I got disappointed at least 20 times. In the dark, alone, it is pretty exhausting. But when dawn breaks, and you are there to witness it & soak in the moment all to yourself, it is pretty magical. What follows is sheer beauty, as the path descends into a serene lake at 2300m above sea level.
What struck me is that life is just like that. It is not for the weak. Every exhausting challenge, every moment you feel alone, when it all seems relentless & you are screaming for a break, just remember that dawn will break, & your reward is on its way.
Here's to 2015, to a year full of more madness, but even more mud, magic & meaning. It is only just beginning!