- living slowly: what it means to me
After a few expensive therapy sessions, everything could be summed up into two words: slow down.
Even though it’s a foreign concept to me at first, I think I’m getting the hang of it. I guess living slowly means appreciating life as is, finding wonder and joy in the now.
I was too focused on crafting this perfect future for myself that I forget that I have no real control of my future because life is full of surprises. Disruptions, whether technology or life events are inevitable and there are things you could never predict. I was naïve to think that I could. And that landed me in a reality that I couldn’t understand, a reality that taught me that amount of work you put in equals the benefits you get. Funny how life can turn you upside down without warning.
So instead, I accept whatever comes to me as it is meant for me. The trials and tribulations that came my way were meant to teach me life lessons that I need to be a better version of myself. And once I changed my mindset, I learnt how to slow down and I learnt what it means to slow down.
I begin to see life as is, not pathways of decisions to reach a certain destination. I appreciate the people, the events and the environment that I am in. I realised that I could never get back this exact moment, so savour it and live it. Stop worrying about things that might not happen, or spending energy to figure out how to avoid such things. Learn to accept and adapt instead.
Now I see every change as an opportunity or detour to a different adventure. And not a distraction or a setback towards my goals. Because if you put in the work and trust the process, you will eventually get to your goals even though the journey is not what you planned in the first place. Things change, plans change, and that is okay.
Living slowly allows you to take a step back and be intentional. To be grateful for where you are and appreciate the journey that led you here. This life is precious, and you are precious. So let yourself live slowly and intentionally.
- what i learnt in 2022
The expectation for perfection is the sexiest illusion.
We are all idealists in our own way. Some of us dream of being our own boss, some want to be that hot person everyone wants, and some chase the life we’ve always wanted.
We have an idea of what a perfect life looks like. I bet you can imagine yours right now. It sure is fun to dream.
Mine looks like having my own home where I can do whatever I want with it. Fill it with creeping plants, pets of different species, comfortable furniture, and automated appliances. There would be the comforting smell of coffee as the curtains open, letting in warm sunrays to wake me from my slumber. And of course, to share all these with my partner, Jo.
It seems simple huh? I guess it is. That is my idea of perfect.
But the thing about me is that I have a vision of what it looks like. And it is not cheap. So that is where my problem lies.
I had a plan in 2021, which was to maximise my income in every way possible. I was ready for a freelance venture while holding onto a full-time job. Everything was pretty set. I promised myself that 2022 would be my year of consistency, my year of action. There was no excuse, everything was perfect. I was comfortable with my flexible remote job and had everything else planned out, except that I was retrenched in early 2022.
The bomb dropped, and I realised that all my planning was for nothing.
Brute force is never the answer.
After finding out that my plans were foiled, I was stubborn. I convinced myself that I have goals to achieve. I must keep going, keep doing, and I have to be consistent. I never let myself stop and understand the damage of realising that my perfect plan for my perfect life is no longer viable based on circumstances beyond my control. I didn’t understand the mental toll it had on me.
I stuck to the plan, which was to start a full-time job and freelance at the same time. Little did I know that doing those things together at the same time (and it didn’t help that I worked with start-ups) was going to be an uphill battle.
I thought I was ready.
But when I contracted COVID on my first day in joining both jobs at the same time, that broke me. I was lagging in both my main and side work, and I couldn’t catch up. And when finally, I could catch my breath, I broke my left pinky finger and that was it. The pain and fatigue of enduring that were too much while I worked day and night (and weekends) to catch up with both of the work that was falling behind because of the previous weeks.
I was desperate to find a rhythm, to find that flow that I longed for. Instead, I was pulled into a tornado and then a whirlpool, sinking in deeper and losing all of my bearings. Dramatic, I know, but that was how I felt and it was terrifying.
My self-confidence and self-esteem crumbled under pressure. Suddenly I was not myself anymore.
But thanks to therapy and the support of all those around me, I managed to pull through. And all it took was everyone telling me to slow down.
This experience made me realise how fragile life can be when built on a shaky foundation. I thought I could build my stronghold on wooden stilts so that I could upgrade it to bricks when I could, only for a storm and termites to whack everything to nothing in a split second. It was tragic, and that was my 2022.
With that being said, thank you for reading my grandfather story. Here’s the recap of the lessons I learnt this year in a nutshell.
You are you, feel your own rhythm and flow.
All in all, I learnt that what is meant for you will be yours. Forcing the universe to run on your terms may or may not work in your favour. In my case, it did not. And that was not in my control.
You see, I thought that if I willed it enough. If I put in the work, the fruits of my labour will be recognised and I can reap it. But it doesn’t work that way. Expectation was my downfall, especially when it was unrealistic. Don’t be like me.
If life gives you signs to slow down, you slow down. Forcing it won’t help you reach your goals any closer or sooner (unless luck was on your side yknow).
If you’re someone who is intuitive, listen to that intuition. It knows things that you don’t know. Sometimes the heart knows better. And trust it, trust the process. Learn to let go of things that do not serve you even if they served you well in the past. Changing plans and your direction doesn’t mean you’re being inconsistent, you’re simply adapting. How I wished I knew this back then but oh well, live and learn.
But that’s the takeaway. If I did not try, I would have not known. Because I’ve tried, that meant I lived, and I got life lessons sooner rather than later. All the things that you do are your choices, your narrative, and your story. It’s unique to you.
So, listen to yourself, find the rhythm within and flow. That is your pathway, your journey calling.
While I still hope that I can achieve my little dream of having a place to call my own with all the amazing gadgets and gizmos, I’m content knowing that even if none of that exists, life is an adventure and we have no idea what will happen next.
For 2023, I’m going to trust the process, wherever it takes me and play by my strengths. Follow the experiences and people that bring me joy, embrace the messiness of life and put myself out there even if it scares me. And that starts with me posting this up, and you reading this.
Thank you, and may 2023 bring fulfilment to you and me, friend!