Change is the only constant, but change is not always easy.
The pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another, some of us had experienced it in ways greater than others. It is a time filled with uncertainties and helplessness, frustration, fear. It is important for us to realise that this too will eventually pass, to hold on to grit and hope, and more importantly be prepared for the post-pandemic world.
I hope all of you are doing okay.
We make the best out of what we have. That is the attitude I held on to since the beginning. This pandemic is almost like having a panic attack – let’s cope – come to terms with reality, stay calm, be smart about it, learn from it, and know that it will come to an end eventually. And then prepare ourselves for the next big wave after we come out of this. Make the best out of what we have.
2020/2021 is just chock-full of big changes for me – in work, in relationships and in my general outlook on life. All these were also inevitably amplified by the pandemic, from small changes like not being able to head out for that much-needed drink with close friends, to real issues like watching people whom I hold close to heart leave the country without knowing when they can return. I feel grateful that the people around me are healthy, and that we still have the resources to cope with the adversities as they come at us.
“You are talented, you have a lot in life”, is what many close friends will say to me when I tell them that I feel lost with my future. I reckoned that everyone MUST feel like this every once in a while. Like I’ve said before, I might not know what I want in life, but I know what I don’t want – so that is still a good guide to my next step in life. I feel that there are a lot of things I can do and want to do (or maybe this is just the ENFP in me), I am the Campaigner and I sure have a lot of campaigns I have for myself albeit them being just ideas or grandiose daydreams with no concrete game plans.
In 2020, I officially walked away from one of the most important relationships I had in my life. The end of that relationship was difficult, filled with sadness, anger, blame, disappointment, and in an almost-twisted way, love. It was also a cathartic release. I look back upon it now with nothing but gratitude.
I have made mistakes along the way and realised the times when I could have handled things in a better way, been a bigger person, communicated better. Esther Perel said that we are all going to have more than one marriage in our lifetimes, and it is up to us to decide if we want to do it to be with the same person or not. The ship had sailed. She and I did not make it.
Time only moves in one direction. Accept the past, learn, and move on. I have gained a lot, and these are things that will be with me for life. Sadness is transient, gratitude lasts forever.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. I think the pandemic did this to me. It’s not a bad thing. I had been living day-to-day, just cruising for too darn long. Why? Because it has been easy. I almost cannot decide whether “easy” is a good or a bad thing. There has to be some sort of comfort we get from “easy”. Is comfort a good or bad thing? How do we chase after ease and comfort knowing that those are not exactly the best for us?
Everything is in transition right now. I’ve lost friends. My marriage failed. As a result, I also feel unsure about my so-called career. I feel old. I feel fat. I bought a flat under the HDB Singles Scheme (can’t they come up with a better name?) and I am unsure how long the renovations will take because of the pandemic restrictions. On bad days, I just blame the pandemic for everything. I cannot have dine-in at the cafe because of the pandemic, I have lost all of my tourist-customers, I feel responsible towards my staff to make sure no one loses their job because of COVID-19. In a nutshell, I blame. And I try to catch myself.
I caught myself.
There is a silver lining. Goddammit I bought a flat. I am employed. I am an entrepreneur; Aileen and I built a brand that had been through quite a bit of shit but still loved by many. We did not lay off a single employee throughout this pandemic. We have the resources and knowledge to make adjustments to business operations to cope. My family is healthy. I am healthy. I have the means to book a staycation even when I cannot travel. I am able-bodied and can exercise any time I want. I have people who care for and love me for who I am. And I found Jesse. I have hope for the future. The future still excites me.
My life is a novel and I’d like to believe that we haven’t even reached the best chapters yet. The past is history, the future has yet to come. Today is a gift, and that’s why we call it the present. Make the best out of what we have.