“No one cares about your opinion” — a belated recap of 2018.

I didn’t write much about my personal life or travel in 2018.

After turning 26, my urge (or my millennial entitlement) to project my opinions onto the world has subdued. My ego has taken a backseat for many reasons: a toxic relationship, the unexpected loss of a childhood friend, the second wave of my quarter-life crisis.

When I arrived home in New York in mid-April 2018, bruised by a recent breakup, I felt unwelcomed. My parents had been too used to my long-term travels that my presence at home seemed invisible. Spring was delayed for a month. And New York was too sassy, too fast-paced, too intolerant of someone like me — slow, absentminded, or “idyllic” as someone described me (because I look lost eternally even in my own city?).

But I wasn’t one to dwell on negativity. I moaned about life and lived like a sloth for about four months while traveling in Asia — that pathetic life needed to stop.

New York’s toughness drove me away two years ago, but its tireless energy saved me two years later — because it takes a hustler to survive New York. I poured myself into work and journalism school, often working 12 or 14 hours a day in various projects. Dating a guy who’s about 100 times more driven and hardworking than me has helped dragging my feet along, too.

As a result of hustling, here are my 2018 highlights:

  • I built The Only Social, a women-run travel publication dedicated to the digital nomad community, from scratch. At the beginning, I had a team of 1.5, myself including a silent partner Tarene, who’s at my rescue at important moments. Fast forward to five months later, I have a team of 10 freelance writers, plus a good friend who complains and fixes our website speed all the time. The Only Social is a growing community and will continue to bring more valuable content to our audience in 2019.
  • My summer feature writing course with the Harvard Extension School was not only a writing therapy class, but a space to connect me to other aspiring writers/journalists. It was my first attempt to write stories from a journalistic angle without asserting my opinions. “Allegedly” — my professor would write “allegedly” whenever my imagination went too far.
  • The class led to the publication of my first long-form article: “In the Back Alley of Mondernity and Gentrification”on New Bloom Magazine.
  • And a second one on the LGBT referendum results in Taiwan. More investigation in progress, though.
  • I started working for a literary agency in foreign rights. It’s my first-ever work experience in the publishing industry. Although it’s not a position that allows me to grow as a writer myself, I love pitching to publishers and discussing new books (sometimes books that I haven’t even read myself but have to pretend like I did).
  • I had the honor to edit the English translation of a photography book, The Mirror of Times, for the National Taiwan Museum. My name wasn’t credited, but it was a minor achievement.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned in 2018:

I wrote a whole essay about this and deleted it because I couldn’t force an inspirational ending. 2018 had taught me humbling lessons about deaths, health, and rejections, but these only mattered to me… privately.

In a news reporting class, my professor had assured us that “no one cares about our opinions.” It was in the context of being a professional journalist of course, but it rang true in the other aspects of life. We’re all too vocal online, too eager to prove our opinions valuable.

Bear in mind that no one cares about what I have to say — only then will I say the most important things in a precise way.

My 2018 Favorites (if you care):