2016: 52 Weeks of Gratitude - Part I


at the beginning of 2016, I told myself to do two things: 1. to capture as many moments as possible and, 2. to be thankful.

okay at this point I think many friends who are reading this feel highly suspicious of #2 because... I complain a lot, about 50% of the time because I'm a firm believer of "complaint leads to improvement". but that is also why I feel thankful for a lot of things. just... #bipolarRuo

anyway, this entry wasn't supposed to be published until the end of the year, though I reckon no one wants to read something as long as my research assignment. however, by Week 17, I realized that we are somehow integrated and it is important for us to be both thankful and helpful towards others. (ahem, to put it in a not-so-deep way: my car battery went flat and none of my friends were nearby so a stranger helped me and I wanted to cry and while he was fixing I swore that next time some stranger need some help I will convince my paranoid mind to try to help).

okay, anyway, after that incident, I decided to break the post down into two parts to share this six months earlier in hope that - omg this is so cheesy, but I hope that I somehow inspire you to do something similar. I missed out some of the weeks (because I haven't experienced being stranded alone in Bangsar ;_;) and most of the time I'm grateful for more than one thing but I only wrote down the one that I think impacted me more.

so, here you go:


week 1: 03.01 - 09.01

the sheet of my sister's bed because my mom wouldn't let me get a plain white one. spending the beginning of New Year with the company of my family just like last year. the weather is getting hot and dry and it feels like summer, although it is summer all the time here.

grateful for people. call me a bipolar, but being almost 20 when I'm no more a teenager soon and expected to act like an adult, I'm so glad to have met kind people who patiently settle what may seem to them simple but is complicated problems to me.

week 2: 10.01 - 16.01

grateful for meeting old friends and catching up with them. when we thought each other had already forgotten certain memories but it turned out that everyone remembers it... that felt great. 


week 3: 17.01 - 23.01

taken during a car ride home with Tay and Haox. I connected my phone's bluetooth and the first song that played was 世界上最浪漫的一首歌, then I was searching for the next song and a "high" one comes on and Haox said he's in the mood for emo songs, Tay agreed, so we continued singing emo songs under the streetlights until we were home.

grateful for being able to be myself and be happy at the same time. I guess I'm more gentle and forgiving towards myself, which in turn makes me a happier person.


week 4: 24.01 - 30.01

grateful for happiness. very simple - everyone around me happy. although at some point in life happiness will not be unaccompanied by a little bitterness anymore, in these moments, everything seems perfect, at least for a while.


week 5: 31.01 - 06.02

sunlight slanting into my room. for a moment you can't really tell which side the mirror is facing. a fresh perspective after so many afternoons here.

grateful for books. turning page after page. staying late into the night. engulfed in an imagined world that is shared by many others.


week 6: 07.02 - 13.02

one Chinese New Year afternoon. the weather is too hot so we moved to the backyard where it's breezy. it's sort of like a secret courtyard there. 

grateful for friends, companions, mates, allies, whatever you call them. they may just stay a short while in your life, but you remember the times you spend with them and most importantly, how they make you feel. and even if each of you chose a separate path, know that you only need to give a call and they will be there, if not in person, then in their thoughts.

week 7: 14.02 - 20.02

grateful for existing. for being given the opportunities to feel and experience. for being my sister's sister, my parent's daughter and my friends' friend. to smell the pages of a book, to feel the fear when I switch off all the lights at home and have to run upstairs so the monster would not get me, to be so embarrassed that I want to dig a hole and hide, to try to protect my loved ones.

week 8: 21.02 - 27.02


week 9: 28.02 - 05.03



week 10: 06.03 - 12.03

grateful for imagination. "logic will get you from A to B. imagination will take you everywhere."

week 11: 13.03 - 19.03

grateful for dream. I had this dream which definitely won't happen in real life because of the consequences. that's how it is in dreams, you get to do what you want.

week 12: 20.03 - 26.03

grateful to both be a listener and have a listener. sometimes we don't want anything more than to let out. and I'm glad that there are people who are patient and willing enough to go through this with me. and I'm glad that I can be that person to someone else.


week 13: 27.03 - 02.04

woke up early and the sunlight was perfect. I always love this but I also sleep a lot, missing this sight.

grateful for electronics/technology. currently Skyping with friends in Aussie while I type this. also, have been planning Bangkok trip through screen and Google Sheets with my friend in India. all these time zones making me crazy but I'm glad we're still able to do all these although we're couple of hours and thousand of miles apart.

week 14: 03.04 - 09.04



week 15: 10.04 - 16.04

curtain change. I like the other set better previously because it keeps my room dark and cool until I saw this. 

grateful for having someone who shares the same interest as me. reminds me of the song 《52 赫兹》 (52 Hertz) by The Verse. I'm that whale, and even though whales don't call at this frequency, at least I have something close.

week 16: 17.04 - 23.04

grateful for stories. everyone craves for one and everyone desires for theirs to be listened. it's beautiful when people cut their wounds open and pour out their secrets.


week 17: 24.04 - 30.04

taken while I was driving in a slow traffic, on my way to pick up my housemates for dinner after my car was fixed. I was trying to focus on the raindrops on my windscreen, but it's difficult to hold a steering wheel and a camera. 

grateful for stranger's helping hand. when you lend someone a hand, even if they have nothing to thank you, just know that you'll always be remembered. the guy with curly hair at the train station, the woman who offered to walk together, the men outside the police station... I remember them. 


week 18: 01.05 - 07.05

my bouquet of dried baby's breath. took this as light test.

grateful for 1. platonic love or 2. any kind of love that's similar to this. back to 1., imagine meeting someone who connects with you so much, you don't have to explain things only to get disappointed later because the person doesn't understand, and 2., ain't it wonderful that there are so many kinds of love that's not romantic or physical?


week 19: 08.05 - 14.05

I took this photo before the sunlight shifts and this shadow disappears. I thought I missed it, but it caught my eye when I got down from the stairs. I hated how most Malaysian houses have grills but I guess grills have their beauty too.

grateful for growing up with my uni mates. one message asking where I can get a food caterer in Subang/Puchong - which I'm still not familiar with - and I got so many replies from them, some even gave me two. how can I not be grateful for these people?


week 20: 15.05 - 21.05

waves on my bed. my family finally accepted the idea of a plain bed sheet without any design, so I chose a blue-grey one.

grateful for my family. there's been lots of things happening recently but I know I can always count on them whenever I need help and support.

week 21: 22.05 - 28.05

grateful for photographs and pictures (yeah, even screenshots, haha). it's been a rough week but scrolling through my phone's gallery never fail to make me smile. right now I'm going through photos as far back as 8 years ago, nostalgic!


week 22: 29.05 - 04.06

taken while waiting for the traffic light to turn green at the junction that me and my uni-mates always pass by. I forgot what topic they were on but I remember putting a lot of focus in capturing this with the sound of their laughter as the background. 

grateful for being stuck at this age. I really loved being sixteen and it took me so many years to finally feel comfortable with my age again. it's awkward - not playing the rye game anymore, but not exactly at the bottom of the cliff. we know what's down there, perhaps because some of us are already there, or we've heard stories about people there but we're still clinging onto what's up on the cliff that those down below have already lost.


week 23: 05.06 - 11.06

the notebook I've been using since 2014. I like that when I turn the pages, I see how I changed over the course of two years.

grateful for people I've met in my life. including those you've only met once and it's hard to feel grateful for the people you hate as well, but they show you what you don't want to be, so I guess for that, I owe them a thanks.

week 24: 12.06 - 18.06

grateful for the trust that people give to me. I may not be the best listener, yet they spill their heart out and don't mind showing their vulnerable side to me.


week 25: 19.06 - 25.06

my camera focusing on the net instead of my brother-in-law, whom I was trying to sneak a photo of after the wedding. 

grateful for togetherness. no, silence is not awkward, in fact, it's comfortable. there's not much talk needed, mere sight will leave the heart warm enough. 

week 26: 26.06 - 02.07

grateful for simple little things. anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. I hurt my toe badly, my sister missed her parcel, etc. which makes me extremely glad for all the small things, like walking normally, that I may have taken for granted in the past.



... and that's it for the first half. I guess the last entry sums it up, it's always the little things that we take for granted. but now I'm learning to appreciate them. and I hope you do too! :)

also, I can't wait to unwrap the surprises that life is giving for the remaining half of 2016. all the best to you!

Ruo Ling