About one month ago, I opened up and shared about how I was struggling to cope with the extended lockdown imposed by Singapore due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. I’ve just been so very, extremely lucky to be surrounded by my network of support group. My family have always been there for me, but friends reached out to let me know that they were there for me too. That was very reassuring to know. What warmed my heart more, was that in being honest about my struggle … it helped to bring to attention what we most of us were feeling, but hadn’t been able to articulate so.
If we took a step back and look at how things have unraveled to this point, I’d say it’s extraordinarily surreal. If I told you back in 2019, that the year 2020 would bring the world to a complete lockdown because of a coronavirus, I’m 100% certain you’ll laugh at me. But hey, here we are. When you put it into that context, we are living through a historic period right this moment. This will go down in the books of history and studied by the generations to come.
I’m almost certain we will make it through these times. But just like everyone else, I am clueless about what the future holds. When this ends, we may awake to a completely different world than what we know. That scares me, a lot. The imposed lockdown have already taken so much of what I love. To imagine a world like that in the future? My heart aches.
But, I’m thankful. The past few months have taught me so much. I developed a mental resilience, took care of my well-being, ate consciously, exercised creatively, been more open about my emotions, learnt to be vulnerable, embraced my lows, rediscovered my passion, appreciated nature … there’s so much more I could list down. However, I’m not here to say you have to do / feel / be what I had.
We all have bad days, it’s inevitable. What you need to know is that you’re always stronger than you think. And you will be damned sure to make it out a better person. Reach out to friends, develop your coping mechanism. One baby step a day, just one small action will create a ripple effect.
One of my friends comforted me and mentioned how we are all in this together. To some extent, that gives me comfort knowing that this something larger than just my feelings and emotions. So many lives are impacted by this and as much as I’m struggling, someone else is as well.
In case you haven’t heard Singapore recently announced the easing of the lockdown, although essentially the first phase was still very much the same arrangement as we currently are. That means, it may potentially be another four weeks in isolation. As prepared as I was for that, that news when it was first announced still hit me and affected my emotions. I was struggling to imagine having to endure another fours weeks living like this.
And recently, it’s announced that the first phase may end earlier than the full initial 4 weeks anticipated. I’m hopeful, but at the same time very cautious about it. That’s the thing about expectations, right? At the same time, I had moments where I felt torn about the easing of the lockdown. Would I dash right out? I wouldn’t. I’d most likely meet those select few friends and then, pretty much stuck to the same routine as I used to for the past few months.
These past few months have given me an insight over what mattered to me. Oddly enough, it’s not a long list. There is work which took up most of the time, then followed by travel, food and lastly, fitness. In the pre-virus days, these four elements coupled with travel back to Malaysia took up most of time.
So with the imposed lockdown, travel overseas and even back home was out of the equation. I’m left with food and fitness. Just like 123456789 other people, I turned into a Quarantine Chef. I have always meal prep my own food but with the past few months, I attempted more ambitious cooking adventures. I’ve also been inspired by a fellow photographer to pick up my camera and document these in pictures, I’ll share them in a separate post.
Honestly if it wasn’t for that inspiration, I reckon I would not have started documenting my cooking adventures. That just shows how important it was to surround yourself with things that may inspire you. The pictures of his cooking was shot wide open and edited with a moody, cinematic feel. I thought that touch was a different approach than my clean, sharp images. You can see that I’m experimenting with the faded, moody look as well just to see if this was a style I’d like to develop further. We’ll see more of these pictures in another post where I’d talk specifically about that.
As for fitness, I started with resistance bands then made the plunge to get stackable fat dumbbells to incorporate into my workout. What I hadn’t realize was how important gym was to me. I’ve been keeping to a routine as much as I could, so that when the gyms reopened I wouldn’t have to start from the bottom again. I probably underestimated how much an impact fitness is to me, this lockdown have made me realize that this is something I’d consistently want to prioritize in life.
These past few months have allowed me to reflect deeply about various different parts of my life. I wrote about photography & what it means to me, click on the link to read more. My foundation to gym started back when I dabbled with crossfit for a while but I never pursued it actively. I just kept working on the foundation of the different exercises and continue doing so for the sole purpose of getting stronger. I think it’ll be an interesting post to recap about my journey, because oddly enough, I feel like I am the best shape I am right now. I’ve hit my target body fat of 20% although that has increased slightly because I decided to bulk up. I’ll share more in that next post then.
Having these realization and reflections really helps to put things in perspective and potentially change the way I would continue living my life, in a world where we’re recovering and have recovered from the aftermath of this virus. At this point, I have not figured it out yet, and I’d likely use the coming weeks to continue actively thinking about it. Have this virus changed your life in any way, I’d like to hear about it if so and as always, if you need a listening ear, please reach out.
Black Lives Matter Protests
I thought it’d be inappropriate to not touch about what’s happening in America (including the various protests around the world) and the death of George Floyd. If I can be honest, I’m pretty torn about the whole thing. It’s extremely upsetting that it happened and it’s disturbing to think that a living breathing human is capable of an act as cruel as that.
I’m torn because I was brought up in a very privileged and protected environment. It’s like I live in a nice little bubble that shielded me away from all of that. It made me very ignorant towards these kind of issues. It’s not that I don’t relate, it’s that I would never be able to imagine what it is like to be on the receiving end.
I’m torn because as much as racism is so rampant in America, back in my homeland, it exists within our seemingly harmonious society. Unfortunately, back in Malaysia, it’s deeply rooted and institutionalized into various policies and laws around. But that’s just one element, there are so many various aspects of it around.
I’m torn because I don’t feel like I contributed enough to raise an awareness or make a difference. Sometimes I have even felt like I’ve betrayed my own country by leaving to work abroad. But I’ve come to terms with that and in this regards, I’ve made a decision to be more consciously aware of what racism is like in my homeland. It starts a small step, after all.