isabelle thye

What I know now at 30

I arrived at 30 at a peculiar juncture of time: global pandemic, nationwide lockdown, being pregnant and confined at home for over 6 weeks.

On my 30th birthday, I woke up in an ordinary morning and carried out my ordinary routine of sun salutation sequence followed by meditation.

There was a little thing that I did differently in that beautiful morning — I sent love and gratitude to my parents, first and foremost, in the Metta meditation.


Now that I am becoming a parent, the thought of my parents filled me with so much love that it brought tears to my eyes.

I was finally able to comprehend the greatness in my mum and dad for their courage and commitment to bring me into this world as new parents.

I recently had a bad dream about an argument with my parents that made me wake up and weep in the middle of the night, astounded by how a dream could cause pain in real life.

Even though I scribbled ‘I love you, I forgive you’ repeatedly in my diary, I subconsciously took stock of all the sweet and bitter memories with my parents to make sense of what that pain was about.

That morning, with my full heart, I honour my parents for holding space for me despite all our differences — all my life.

None of us is perfect, but we are all striving to be a better person, to shed the layers and arrive at our truest self no matter how long it takes.

In the core of all our differences is love. In love there is forgiveness. In forgiveness there is liberation.

Letting go

Amidst stillness and a slow-pace life, I knew that I am right where I’m supposed to be and yet, I lacked the confidence to feel 100% sure of my ‘hollowness’.

It’s a gift to have all the time and space during the movement control period to reflect upon ‘how I got here’ and face the fear tickling inside.

Even though I’m now far from the life I’d imagined in my early 20s, every decision that deviated from that imagination guided me closer towards the person I truly enjoyed being.

l know now that every decision based on intuition is always right even when it feels like walking a tight rope with a blindfold on.

As much as life is about accumulating experiences, it is also about letting go. As much as it is about learning, it is about unlearning.

I have to measure my life based on who I’ve become and not to let the ideal of an old self make me feel not enough.

The only way to reach deeper inside myself is to let go of who I was, again and again.


Looking back, I am really grateful for all the ups and downs in life, especially the downs, because they showed me that there’s always a secret door at the dead end, and on the other side of the door are possibilities.

From a business school graduate with the ambition to build a professional career and later started a business, life took a sharp turn when I gave up everything I’d built and restart with a clean slate at 26.

Maybe, it was life’s way of telling me that there is something else that serves my soul better.

When I let creative expression drive my life, I gradually understood that the law of nature is the law of life — everything is always changing.

Through different episodes of feeling ‘lost’, I learned to navigate uncertainties with less anxiety knowing that ‘this too shall pass’.

Now, I live by the saying ‘ there’s nothing that you can’t breathe through in life except death’ — I’ll be okay.


My younger self would never believe that as I turned 30, I would say that my superpower is to be utterly honest with myself and face my inner fear.

First of all, they enabled me to have truthful documentation of my life and lead to the birth of 2 self-authored books.

There is tremendous freedom in being honest and acknowledging that I don’t have an answer for many things.

In my first job as an auditor, I told people that I didn’t have a 5 years plan and I would do things that bring me joy.

It might sound ‘millennial’, but the life that unfolded in the next 5 years was so ‘eventful’ that it was beyond what my logical mind could ever imagine.

I’ve learned that the best things that’d happened to me are a function of opportunity and courage — being presented with a wild opportunity and having the courage to seize it.

The willingness to face my fear doesn’t make me fearless, it let me see the shape of fear, where it comes from, how it makes me feel; so that I learn to live with it and even enjoy its company.

Now, when I don’t know what’s next in life, I’ll tell myself, ‘relax, pay attention to what life is presenting to you.’


There is a lightness in arriving at 30 because I am able to laugh at many things that used to keep me awake at night.

I am now more willing to embrace the flow of life and care less about how I am perceived in people's eyes.

All those heart-based decisions in the past decade created an interesting curve that feels like an abstract artwork — my life is both a masterpiece and a work-in-progress.

At the start of a new decade, life has given me more comfort and stability than ever, taking away the ‘fight mode’ that used to serve me well.

I am taking all that I am, all that I’ve learned into a new decade, a new way of life, exploring new territory, answering new questions.

‘Planning’ is still something I haven’t mastered, but whatever lies ahead, I wish that I’ll always be able to find peace within and to wonder what could be.

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