Thinking about April and progress, reading ‘The Book of Joy’.

The next four days of April will look exactly like today- reading, watching interesting and outdated shows (that mostly premiered in the early 2000s), eating and wondering how to structure my bullet journal. Hence, I decided to do the April review a little earlier, and to combine it with my thoughts on reading the first one-third of The Book of Joy.

April was uneventful actually. I finished school, finished final exams, fell sick for more than a week. Trimmed my hair, sold my old textbooks. And I studied the book of Daniel, went to church, signed up for children’s church. Drank a lot of coffee, booked flight tickets, read books and watched shows. Started a no-snacking program, lost 2kg in 4 days. But I still look the same. 56, 58 kg, does it make a difference?

On my mental health: on good days, I’m motivated. On normal days like this, I get this 20-minute increased-heart-rate-painful-chest just before dinner. On bad days, I stay underneath the covers on my bed. I don’t feel very centred, but anyway life does not come with a guarantee that it will be comfortable. I am more comfortable than most already.

It could be any other month, but this is life. Not all months are exciting, and even if I were an events planner and had weddings every other week, it would also feel mundane after a while. Don’t all weddings feel the same after a while? And then you wonder if your clients from a few years back are still together. There is nothing I want but peace and understanding but the thing about good feelings like ‘understanding’ is that I have to first seek to understand, then be understood. “I learned to be a human being from other human beings.” In the next week, I just want to stay at home and do nothing. I only want to understand the writers of Suits and Grey’s Anatomy.

3 lessons to build up my mental health, from the book.

  1. Reframe my situation more positively
  2. Experience gratitude
  3. Choose to be kind and generous

Maybe this is why the elderly are calm. It might be easier to see the totality of your life and accept it as it is, when you are nearing the end. Those I see sitting at void decks and hawker centres, sometimes with their grandchildren and a maid. Most of them have lived their lives fully, or wasted it, but they have lived through it. 80 or 90 years on earth, exposing them to new political regimes and new buildings and fads that come and go. It is a calmness that comes with living and understanding, I hope. Their experiences are all unique and only they will remember the people they have met and loved and spoken to, all the old neighbours who are no longer around. I wonder if they think of the kampung days, if they can remember them well.

From The Book of Joy, there is a religious way to get up and start on the day. This applies to everyone, especially those are starting out on adulthood- I would imagine them to be particularly lost and in need of guidance.  The method is to give thanks to God when you wake up in the morning, and set about doing His will. For the non-religious, the Dalai Lama recommends that we only have one intention for the whole day. That this day should be meaningful. “What is it that is truly worth pursuing?”

It’s nice to think about all these progression happening in daily life. That nurses will learn new skills and care for patients, that mothers will mother their children, that students will play and study. But for those who are past their prime or are neglected by society, anyone who is living in a hospice or asking for coins by the bridge, what never disappears is the feet. I wonder how the uncles selling tissue paper feel. The sound of footsteps and of people passing by and ignoring them, year after year. The older they are the less people notice them, there are other things to worry about.

And God weeps until there are those who say I do want to try to do something.

I wish I could do something, but I don’t have the energy to do anything. I just want to sit at home and sort of cleanse my mind of things. To spend May and June just silently sitting and trying to build up my exercise routine again. For a large part of May I’ll be overseas, not sure if my skin can tolerate a trip to Australia because I am awake for most of the night. But regardless of where I am, I wish to be present. And to not snack so much. ):

Oh and

Things I enjoyed this month

  1. Crispy char siew bun! The flaky pastry version
  2. Head massages
  3. Earl grey milk tea
  4. Caramel macchiato
  5. The SMU SOL function hall chairs, the ones for the accounting exam- super comfy. NTU has rock-hard chairs, it’s like a granite competition. SMU knows that comfort is correlated to grades.