staying afloat

At the risk once again of sounding like a broken record as I succumbed to over-rumination, the mental image of a piece of driftwood out on the rough turbulent seas surfaced. Perhaps that is what describes the state I am in, physically and mentally. I really do admire people who put in the effort to live each day meaningfully and with some purpose because I think that is not something easy? I have chosen to be weak and whine about my predicaments, that my mental fog somehow prevents me to squeeze that ounce of effort from my self to do so because the dreams I have each night that oddly remain fresh in my mind when I awake in the hours of pre-dawn leave me bewildered and more weary than I was when I laid myself down to rest the night before.

I need to consider relocating my living quarters. I do not know how to handle the various sets of neighbours who create so much noise disturbances that even for the short few hours I am at home, I cannot enjoy a single moment of peace even when I try to drift off to slumber.

Change is internal, and it needs the person to want to change and make an active effort to change, starting first from the mindset before anything will see any results. I know. Many years ago, my sister-in-law told me that “change comes from within”. I had scoffed at that back then, my insolent and stubborn self who rolled my eyes and made a joke out of that with my friends. It was only after I had embraced Christ, and only after working for many more years in a role that sees me having to engage in sector development work, that I began to appreciate the veracity and value of that phrase.

Maybe it isn’t me that will effect the change, rather it is God who will bless me with what is needed to change, that I would be able to because I believe He will cause all things to happen for my good, for I have been made righteous in Christ. Head knowledge is something I have a bit of, where biblical truths are concerned (I am not that conscientious when it comes to reading the Bible I will admit that as much) but trusting and believing in what those verses say is an altogether different concept because it requires alignment of the thoughts, words and actions. How often have I confessed myself to be a blessed child of God, only to grouse to every living thing around that I am stuck in a rut I cannot get out of, then praying to God to remove me from the valleys that I am in?

That said, I came across this the other day, which made me think of what others have always talked about on self-love. What exactly is self-love and how does one demonstrate that or ‘get better at it’?

Also, is it that I am just not being resilient enough or too idealistic, and not veering on the edge of burning out as I sometimes feel, that I am just so unhappy at my workplace. Many have told me to be thankful for what I have, and perhaps then that would take my mind off the negative aspects of the role, that according to them, are just part and parcel of working that we all have to learn to accept, that if I were to stop expending so much of my brain cells on such thoughts, then maybe this “isn’t such a bad place after all”? Is it really?

This is just another set of useless thoughts that nobody needs to read about. But I don’t know where else to put them down otherwise, so this will have to do for now.

happiness can be simple

It may seem like the most complex concept yet simultaneously the way to it can be amazingly simple.

I understand that it is a state of mind that we have the ability to influence and change but far too often, we are given to a multitude of external factors that impair our perception of this and make us feel so worn and tired that it is far easier to succumb and submit ourselves to the defeat.

Happiness, joy or perhaps contentment – it is never a constant unwavering state, because even the Bible says that we will have trials and trouble. That is why we need our saviour. But it is also easy to speak thus while practising it is another totally different ballgame.

I cannot fathom and comprehend the unkindness that some people are capable of. The frequent alternating of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde treatments just leave me completely exhausted and taken by surprise. I cannot anticipate such situations and have zero defence against these that leave me bewildered, befuddled and fundamentally, hurt. Maybe it is part of my schema that I am wont to return to such unhealthy relationships/friendships, even though I know these people are just not good for me and they are not worth my time and effort. Yet time and again, I have let myself slide back into the comfort of their friendship when they are in a good mood or when I am in their good books. Then when they decide to cut me off one fine morning, I have to suck it up and deal with it.

I wrote this to myself and I hope it is something I can always remind myself of, like a permanent sticky to adhere to myself in my mind/chest/forehead:

“Dear self,

Do not let someone repeatedly make you feel like a worthless piece of shit. You are more than enough.

Once is enough so please, I beseech you, please learn. Do not keep committing the same mistakes and allowing these people to treat you so badly as they wish and fancy. You are not responsible for their mood swings and if they do not see and appreciate the value of your friendship, so be it. Do not grovel at their feet. Learn, please! They are just not worth it.

Ironically, it isn’t what people whom we frequently complain about (at the workplace) who make it hard for us to carry on. It is the people who we were supposed to be closer with, the ones we spend more hours and days commiserating about our woes and complains over lunch, who drive us to leave eventually because of the emotional abuse they subject us to, because of the callousness with how they treat us, because of the disregard they show when they take my heart of friendship and trample on it like it is dirt.

Love, Me”

rain rain and more rain

The rain finally stopped after what became an almost never-ending weekend of rain. The weather was gloomy right from Friday afternoon and when the first drops of rain spilled, there was hardly any respite.

Through the sploshing through puddles while trying to make my way from office to yoga class on Friday evening as dry as practically possible, maneuvering a complex network of underpasses and sheltered walkways, to braving the relentless drizzle that fell in light and heavy spurts for a family dinner to celebrate Dad’s birthday on Friday the 13th no less, the drastic dip in temperatures definitely signalled the year-end. As much as I am not fond of getting my footwear wet from traipsing about in wet weather, or even having my clothes feel damp and clammy from the specks of rainwater that inevitably fall onto me, I really enjoy how this whole thing makes the whole Christmas season seem more real.

On both Saturday and Sunday, the rain pressed on in the early hours of the morning when I roused from bed, blinking my eyes open to a cloudy grey sky and shivering under the thin duvet cover (without the quilt inside) that I usually used as a blanket. Hot yoga in such weather felt like an awesome idea to get myself warmed up, and it felt good to just sweat for a couple of hours before once more stepping out to the cold atmosphere.

I read something online about how when we feel a lack of connection to the people at work, whether we just do not connect on a personal level or feel that maybe there is too much toxicity that we don’t really want to be a part of, the article recommended building up on relationships outside of the office. In such situations, we are not going to remain in touch with the people in office the moment/day we leave, so while we are in the midst of trying to leave, it is much better to be able to focus on work while looking forward to forging deeper ties with our friends outside. It is true I suppose, that this could be a way to take my mind off the disappointment or sadness I feel at being left out of cliques or with co-workers who fail to or are simply unable or unwilling to demonstrate the same kind of empathy I display to them. But friendship is never about equal reciprocity, in or out of the workplace. Yet this unequally yoked relationship automatically subjects one party to an automatic disadvantage when this person attaches too much weight or invests too much emotionally into the connection which the other party probably doesn’t at all.

It seems trying on too many fronts at work. Short of being able to finally discover and identify what it is that I want to do that can be a professional pursuit, the simple thought of continuing at this current place for an indefinite length of time certainly makes for a depressing one right at the start of the week, as we count down to the last 15 days of 2019.

Friendship at work?

I wonder if that is fact or myth.

I would like to believe that it is possible to form friendships at work, because most of the friends who I have now with whom I contact often and meet up with, are from work. There are just a few who have remained friends after we stepped out of the schools’ gates, whether by choice or by circumstance. But the ones I count as close friends now are mainly from my past jobs.

The thing is, we didn’t become friends or grow closer after we leave the companies that we worked together in. Which is why I have this faith in friendships formed at work. Yet, it is with examples that I also start to lose the faith with it.

It does seem now, that developing friendships is becoming an almost impossible feat. People seem to be guarded with information they divulge about themselves, and they seem to not be totally forthcoming in conversations, whether it’s about work or play. I know that we ought to be mindful of what we say, especially when we are still working in the same company, but shouldn’t friendship be characterised by trust? I don’t sense that feeling of trust here somewhat, and there is a lack of candidness. There is still that overall civility that is proof that we are still on ‘colleague’ terms, not friends.

There is certainly no need to feel sad or aggrieved at this, but I just find it strange. Having people at work whom you can talk to without that barrier helps to make an otherwise dreary job more bearable. Perhaps I just tend to trust people too easily, despite my professional background where I was meant to exercise scepticism in my line of work. But yet that is not to be.

How about this alternative?

Somewhere along the way, I dreamt a dream – to work in a cafe. Not as an owner since I don’t harbour lofty dreams of a proprietor, but just as an employee, calling that role a barista, service crew or what-have-you. In a place like Singapore, unfortunately, it isn’t a ‘dream’ that is quite practical or realistic. It isn’t that this can’t be a full-time, permanent job but it requires a great deal of adjustment in many aspects.

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Being someone who has worked in the corporate sector for more than ten years post-graduation, in an air-conditioned office sitting at a desk for the most part of the day, it would definitely be a big change if I were to say, become a service crew at a cafe. Type of work aside, which instead of facing the computer screen all the time to facing people, customers, who can range from nice to nasty (which is not so different from people we encounter in our corporate working lives, but sometimes with more complicated characters and situations thrown in the mix), it also means a lot of changes that need to be made to adjust to the possibly big gap that will result from the pay differences.

I know it isn’t impossible. It’s just like how I often relate stories of friends who have become SAHM, where the family becomes a single-income household, that it is not impossible to cut back and cut down. There are of course the more well-to-do ones who even with a single income, they are still able to enjoy a fairly good and above-average lifestyle, including luxurious shopping treats and vacations. Then there are those who just make do with what they have already been blessed with, and limit family outings to local excursions.

With financial commitments just inked in the recent years, and without proper planning for the near and longer medium term, it will be a hard choice to make, which at this juncture, could jolly well mean a point of no return. Yet it is often said that, if you don’t try, you will never know. So then, it again goes back to the choice. To do or not to do. It really depends on how ‘adventurous’ one’s character is to throw caution to the wind and follow the heart?

Flashback to March

I don’t know if I actually posted about the first vacation that I took this year, which happened in March, when I went for a short trip to Perth with my family. I think it’s the first time that I had ever joined them on a trip, aside from the drives up to Malaysia when I was a kid. It so happened that this was also the first that my dad decided to join in, all thanks to a new addition to my family now, my nephew, whom has successfully to make my dad a more homely person. They left for Perth a few days before me, and I just joined them halfway through it so I was only there for about 4 days or less. But nevertheless, it was a good and relaxing trip. This was one trip where I just woke up each morning and then after a hearty breakfast with the family, hop into the rented vehicle and be on our way somewhere. Somewhere was the itinerary that my brother and sister-in-law had planned out together with my other brother, and I just tagged along. The last time I went on a road trip of sorts, excluding Malaysia, was probably the only other time, when I visited the US in 2011 and my friend’s family and I went on a drive out of the city of San Francisco.

I really miss travelling, and since I resigned and left my previous job in December last year, I had been suffering withdrawal symptoms of the travel bug. I know I’d complained about the fatigue that work travel brought me, but perhaps on hindsight, or even while I was at it, I knew it wasn’t just the travel that made me tired. I wasn’t into the job, and more so, I got tired working with the team that never really connected or which I never ever felt a part of, plus being on my own going to all those places that required me to stay vigilant 24/7 probably took its toll. I don’t know if I will ever get another job that will require me to travel for work, whether if it’s because I will apply for such a job or if I can ever get such a job again. Life is fraught with decisions that we make that veers our paths onto ways that we may never imagine ourselves to be on, but I would like to believe that God has a greater plan for me and will guide me towards the path that I should be walking on.

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Sift Patisserie, Hong Kong

This is the second time I’ve visited Sift, and the only one I’d ever been to even though they have outlets elsewhere in Hong Kong that are probably more convenient. But it is a convenient stop along the way as I make my way from the top levels of Horizon Plaza downwards. Usually that is how I proceed, take the lift up to the highest floor and start my way downwards on the stairs, until I reach perhaps level 18 or 17 and then take the lift either all the way down to the ground level or stop on level 5 where the IT outlet is. Again on this trip, I didn’t buy anything. I don’t know why I still visit Horizon Plaza despite that I never seem to be able to get anything even though everyone seems to love that place and emerge with great buys. I think I am a scrooge, so that even at discounted prices, the designer togs, shoes and accessories still seem pricey to me. Oh, and for most of them I can’t find my size either. I’ve actually bought stuff at the SPACE outlet that is a short distance away from Horizon Plaza but on the last trip I skipped it because there wasn’t enough time.

Sift serves really nice cupcakes in sizes that are too sinful, especially when it is shared. This is probably red velvet, and the best thing about it is that the top is most likely frosted cream cheese, like those used on carrot cakes and not sweet icing sugar. Whether it is less sinful or not I don’t know but it definitely tastes nicer.

20140107-230135.jpgThis would go very well with a cup of coffee.

My vacation in December was so short that I didn’t really feel like I had any proper break. Right now, I’m still missing the idea of holidaying and part of me is already missing the prospect of travel. These days, I’d wonder if I’d made a wrong choice and if there will be any room for regrets. Much as I try hard to keep the positivity and optimism high, it is definitely an effort to do so as I struggle to stay afloat and combat the stress of uncertainty and not knowing. Sigh.

Too many random thoughts darting about in the realm of my mind. I guess this is going to be another sleepless night. When will I ever get a sound night of slumber.