One of the things about blogging that Heartland Boy is thankful for is the opportunity that it provides for reflection. Reflection is an important process to examine oneself, gain new insights and learn how to improve going forward. In keeping with the end of year period, here are 10 highlights of 2019 that Heartland Boy is particularly grateful for.
1. Collected HDB keys and completed renovation
Heartland Boy remembers that a friend who is home-owner once said that the feeling of owning your own abode is “very different, to the extent of being indescribable”. On the very first night in his newly renovated HDB BTO flat, Heartland Boy finally understood what his friend meant as he experienced the same feelings.
It is truly satisfying to have a place that you can call your own home. However, the journey to get there was really tough as there were simply too many tasks to accomplish. From collecting the HDB keys, choosing a trustworthy interior designer to purchasing the furniture all while trying to keep to a finite budget- it was definitely a time-consuming affair. Guess that’s what makes the sense of home-ownership even sweeter.
2. Witnessed Olympia’s developmental milestones
2019 was also the year that Heartland Boy got to witness Olympia completing several developmental milestones. It was indeed a privilege to have ringside seat to watch her make a first toss, take her first step etc. While these are indeed highlights that would be firmly imprinted in his mind, Heartland Boy also realised that the burden of parenthood is heavier than he had initially imagined. He even penned down his confessions as a hands-on father during Olympia’s first birthday.
3. Olympia placed third in KKH Baby Photo Competition
Like any parent, Heartland Boy couldn’t be any more proud when he learnt that Olympia emerged third in a photography competition organised by KKH. They had originally taken part to show their support to the breastfeeding movement as well as have professional photos of Olympia taken affordably. Besides achieving those objectives, it was indeed a welcome surprise that she also managed to go home with a gift hamper and trophy!
4. Holidayed In Tasmania With Our Travel Buddies
When Olympia was born, Heartland Boy made 10 promises to her. One of it was to allow her to see the world if it is within his financial means. In 2019, Olympia did a short trip to Bali and a longer trip to Tasmania. Tasmania has always been one of the several destinations on Heartland Boy’s bucket list, so to do it with Heartland Girl and Olympia made it all the more memorable. To make it more manageable travelling with a toddler in tow, they travelled with another pair of parents and a baby so that they can all look out for one another during the trip.
5. Had Our Chinese Star Astrology Read
Having his Chinese bazi read has always been something lingering on the back of Heartland Boy’s mind and he finally got down to doing it this year. Together with Heartland Girl, they had an Emperor Star Astrology (Zi Wei Dou Shu) session with Master Ang from Yuan Zhong Siu. The Master dispensed some general advice that could help them in areas such as their personal relationships, health and career etc. While this is a divisive topic, Heartland Boy’s take on this is that it doesn’t harm to always bear his advice in mind.
6. Hired A Domestic Helper
Interestingly, one of the recommendations from the Master was to hire a domestic helper in the household to “serve” Heartland Girl. This would relieve her from the burdens of housework and allow her to devote more time to pursue her career- which would be one of her strongest suits. Regardless, the domestic helper has been a great help and is proving to be one of the wisest financial decisions that they have made in 2019. Heartland Boy was equally pleased that he hired his domestic helper without going through a maid agency, saving him thousands in handling fees.
7. Presentation at Hello CPF! Event
A key reason why Heartland Boy was inspired to blog was the opportunity to give back to the personal finance community. That is why he readily agreed to CPF’s request to speak at the Hello CPF! event earlier this year. Engagement events like these are perfect opportunities for him to sharpen his knowledge on the various personal finance topics. For instance, he shared about his own retirement planning strategy at this event and learnt plenty from the audience in return.
8. Shortlisted Finalist At SGX Orb Awards
Heartlandboy.com was also nominated as a finalist in the SGX Orb Awards. This was a noteworthy milestone worth commemorating after 4 years of pursuing writing as a hobby. Receiving the nomination is a firm recognition by outsiders of the efforts that Heartland Boy has put into this endeavor thus far.
9. Celebrated Dad’s 60th birthday
2019 also marked the year Heartland Boy’s dad turned 60. The truth is that Heartland Boy is just glad that his dad was able to reach this milestone in relatively good health despite decades of poor lifestyle habits. While this was a happy occasion where everyone got together over a good meal, it also served as a reminder to Heartland Boy that he should take active steps to reinforce his dad’s integrated shield plan.
10. Yatch Party With Secondary School Friends
Finally, another major highlight was the opportunity to attend a yatch party organised by his secondary school friends. As his group of friends are at various stages of their lives, Heartland Boy is acutely aware that occasions like this are getting harder to come by each day. Therefore, he is simply thankful that he could spend a lovely evening with his secondary school friends under the stars as they updated each other about their lives. As each of us chase our own career, build our family, it is important not to forsake your close friends as well!