I guess writing about your own birthday shows that you are really an egotistical prick with nothing better to write about. But then again, I think one of the perks about being in your 30s is that you start to realise that life is too short to worry too much about the rest of the world and to do what makes you happy. I have Vinod Shekhar, Malaysia's 16th richest man according to Forbes and sometimes magician to thank to this reminder. He always said, "The people who never liked you won't like you and those who were your friends all those years ago will still be your friends, as long as you have not changed."
Well, I suppose, now that I have reached the age of 33, I should probably reflect how much I've changed since I was 17. I like to think not that much about me has changed. Yes, I'm a little bit more jadded, or realistic in chasing what I want and don't want in life. Superficially, I've changed alot. When I was a young man, I was very insistant that I could only be involved with older women and that was pretty much true into my mid-twenties. Carra, perhaps my last true love, is six-years older. These days I'm more relaxed about being in the company of younger women - Han Li, the clossest female bit I have around me these days is 7-years younger and I don't worry that I'm developing secret pedophilic tendencies.
On the financial front, I think I've become a little more realistic. When you're 17 and living of Daddy's generosity, its easy to dream of financial figures. Somehow its nice to talk about a million or two as it were like talking about used condomes. Suddenly, when you're dependent on a few insane cases in the market....being able to keep a couple of thousand here and there in cash seems like a major achievement.
You also know you are getting old when the army seems less keen to touch you. I realised this when I ran into an army MO who insisted that I get my high-blood pressure examined. If there's an institution that reflects society, its the army. When you are 17 and you're lazy about doing regular excercise, you tend to get cocky because the army will knock you into shape. When you are in your twenties, getting pissed at 0300 and waking up to book into camp at 0600 is like ...second nature. But suddenly, in your thirties, the body starts to give off warning signs that enough is about to reach the stage of enough and somehow, you got to figure out a way to stay happy. - I'm still stubournely clinging onto the belief that I'll live out my days with not much healthy living, rich food, booze and a couple of floozies all over me....but I think there are times when even I don't get too turned on by this.
I know many would say that I've probably become a better and stronger person from the boy that I was at the age of 17. And it would be pretty sad if I was a carbon copy of who I was when I was that age.
But I like to think there are parts of me that have not changed since I was that kid. I like to think that I still see the best in people, even when they appear awful. Call it naive but I think everyone has a way of benefiting you. Its a case of looking within yourself for answers.
I also like to think that I'm still mentally curious. As long as you don't fall into a routine, you're brain will continue to work.
So, here I am at the age of 33. I had a better dream when I was 17 but I'm now in a better position to be a better dreamer.