Ah, To Be Young and Stupid

I’ve been to Singapore six times this year, mostly for business. And yet, for someone who’s been to Singapore too many times, I realize I didn’t know much about the city at all. I certainly wasn’t prepared for the view atop 1 Altitude Singapore.

1 Altitude Bar boasts among the highest–and arguably the best–view of the city. Located at the 63rd floor of One Raffles Place, it offered an unprecedented 360-degree view of the city. It is also notably the world’s highest al fresco bar.

When everyone wants a view of Singapore cityscape, the standard was to go to Marina Bay Sands’ CE LA VI or the Sands Skypark Observation Deck. From my viewpoint at 1 Altitude, the Marina Bay Sands now dwarfed below.

Funny how at the start of my 20s, I was at the very Marina Bay Sands, the architectural marvel that defined Singapore; and it was there where I received a wedding proposal and I was crying, not tears of joy but more tears of utter confusion.

That night probably set off a series of rollercoaster events that would define my second decade.

Age–I know, I know. Age is just a number assigned by humans to organize and make better comprehension of an abstract concept called ‘time’. And yet, you could not help but look back on the past decade, assigned as your ‘selfish years’–where you are allowed to make stupid mistakes.

During the selfish years you have the license to be young and stupid. When we were younger, we are invincible: we are on top of the world, we are immortal, we can do anything.

FOMO is our existential default of our youth–there’s many things to do, many places to see, many people we need to meet. I used to get anxiety over not doing anything. What am I doing in my room, wasting my time?

The experience feels like a metaphor–MBS looks so small, far-reaching and so far-removed. I feel a lot less stupid, but no longer young… and there’s a lot of physiological changes that I can’t stop. I now get nervous in roller coasters. My energy needs more efficiency management. I’m starting to hate loud young people!

At 1 Altitude, I am surrounded with women in their hot number little black dress; while I’m shivering and wishing I brought a scarf with me. And oh no, there’s a tiger balm in my bag–now there’s no turning back. I’m nearing my 30th and I’m slowly becoming a tita.

“You don’t look 29! You look more like–22!” a girl talked to me in the bar after she asked to take her picture. She was beautiful and oozing with youth and in her prime, looking breathtaking in a red backless dress.

“How old do you think I am?”

“…21?” I guessed.

“Wow!” her eyes widened. “How did you know that?!”

“Because people normally guess the age closer to theirs?” I explained.

As if it was possible, her eyes grew even wider and she told me I was so mature, like some wise sage.

I guess one can expect that as we get older, we would start getting more ‘you don’t look your age!’ compliments from people. I knew they are all well-meaning, but frankly, I certainly hope I don’t look 22. I certainly hope I don’t look like the broke fresh-out-of-college girl version of me who shopped at Forever 21 and didn’t know how to properly do her eyebrows.

I certainly hope I have a better sense of style… and better taste in men.

Funny how when you’re young, you would be proudly gushing to your friends you’re dating this cool guy in a band, and your friends will get all ‘ooooooh’s’. Now when you’re 30 and you’re telling friends you’re dating a guy in a band, you would get shorter ‘oh’s. and fake smiles.

At what point in our twenties did women’s taste go from the cool backpackers, drummers and footballers–and evolve to bankers, traders and executives?

I sighed, because now I could no do things and blame it on my youth and naïveté. I sip at my cocktail and ponder: 30 is coming. Shit, I am no longer young and stupid–now I am just older and crazy.

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