Last year, I won second place of a poster competition and received a $100 gift voucher to be used at the university bookshop. I was so happy. I bought some books and saved the remaining money for another time, thinking that I would buy more books in months to come.

As I’m nearly at the end of my university journey, today I went to the shop with one objective: I would spend the rest of $39.44 and never think of it again.

I didn’t realise the experience would bring me so much pain.

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After submitting that thesis, my life has been put on hold. I’m still not yet done with university—there are two more assignments due on June 7th—but for the most part, I’m living like a college graduate. I cook, I bake, I clean the apartment, I watch TV, I spend the entire morning drinking coffee and staring blankly at ‘Add New Post’ page and I send a few emails.

So what’s on the agenda for this bright and beautiful Monday morning? (I have no work and the sky is literally blue; I can say that it’s a beautiful Monday.)

Today, the agenda is decluttering.

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All throughout childhood, we can’t wait to grow up. But now that we’re of adult-age, why does it seem so hard to fully embrace adulthood?

Here’s a confession from your fellow gen Yer: despite having been an adult for six years, sometimes I still feel like I’m a fraud. I’ve always thought that being an adult, I would dress better. I would have deep and meaningful chats with friends and acquaintances every time we have Italian dinner. I would walk pass the salespeople on the street and politely look them in the eye and say, ‘No.’ At the very least, I thought I would be able to go to the liquor store and buy a six-pack without getting asked for ID.

Some weeks ago, after having dinner with a friend, we stopped by the supermarket and I was thinking to pamper myself with a bottle of beer. I marched as per usual to the counter, and the Caucasian lady in her late 40s took one look at me and asked for my age identification.

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In the month when I turned 24, I embarked on a project: asking people from various walks of lives on their take on adulthood. I aim to get 24 responses, and ended up getting 50.

These are their answers, and together, they account to over 10,000 words. For the sake of readability, I’ve broken up their answers to ten on each page (hence, five pages in total). The answers are of random order.

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Two years ago, I wrote and published a short ebook titled Swimming with The Sharks. It was a 20,000-word PDF file containing stories of my life after graduation—how I got my first full-time job and threw it away, and how I got my second full-time job and threw it away. Ah, life was good.

Two years later, like all writers out there, I Googled my own name to see what the world know about me. (Ahem, don’t tell me you’ve never Googled your own name before.) I found my website, my LinkedIn profile, my Twitter account and this: a Goodreads page on my ebook.

There was a review on it, a good one, and I was excited. I took a screenshot and sent it to my fiancée. He disappeared from the What’sApp chat for two minutes. The next thing I knew, he had straightaway went to Goodreads to rate the book.

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I have only been to two funerals that I remember. One is my grandfather’s funeral from my Mom’s side, who died of lung cancer when I was eight. I didn’t remember the songs we were singing, but I remember we did sing some songs. I remember going to the funeral house at night and talking to relatives and strangers alike. I remember sitting down on the side of the casket, my sisters sitting beside me, listening to the pastor talking. I remember looking down the casket and seeing Kung Kung lying there, wearing a flawless black suit and white gloves, his hands folded on top of his chest. There were two white cottons stuck on his nose holes. I remember the funeral the following morning, where we throw flowers and water to the freshly dug earth.

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Having been engaged for almost one week, I want to tell you that life’s pretty much normal. Despite what my friend told me on the day, I slept very well, thank you very much. I cleaned my apartment and had coffee and went out with friends.

I’m happy that I’m engaged, but apart from being self-conscious about the ring on my left hand’s fourth finger, life’s still, pretty much, the same.

A lot of people see proposal as something life-changing. It’s such an important day, and there’s so much pressure to make it perfect. It has to be a surprise. It has to be something very meaningful. It has to be grand. It has to be magical. And remember the year where everyone seems to propose with a flashmob? Yeap, good luck topping that off.

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It was our fifth anniversary.

We actually never knew the exact date when he first asked me to be his girlfriend. I thought it was on a Thursday night. He thought it was on a Wednesday the next week. So we settled on something: let’s make our anniversary the day when he first asked me out for coffee.

Our fifth anniversary, or five years after he wrote on Facebook chat, ‘Let’s have coffee’, started like any other day. The only thing that was weird that day was the fact that he was already on my doorstep at nine-thirty in the morning. Usually, we would have just started saying good morning at nine-thirty on a Saturday. As he lived one-hour away, he would have woken up at seven that morning. It was weird, but probably he was just wanting to prove something.

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I walked inside the office room – the room in the corner of the first floor which window looked down directly to the front gate of the university. At one end of the wall was a huge bookcase full of academic books, and at the other end, well, the big window.

Professor Mark sat down on his L-shaped office table, glued to his Mac, as per usual, before he noticed me, smiled and said, ‘Ah, Marcella, come on in.’

I smiled and mumbled that I’ve been good, and put down my two bags and took out a draft of my third chapter. It was the most important part of the thesis. I was so proud of it, but I didn’t know what he would say about it. I had sent the piece on Friday and enjoyed the long weekend. Today was Tuesday, and I would find out the verdict.

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Are you one of those people who are very scared to disappoint people, namely, the sales clerks with whom you have accidentally made an eye contact and now asking for ten minutes of your time to let them talk about a certain item you’re never going to buy, like, ever?

Well, welcome to the club.

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