Ever since I was a rosy-cheeked teen, I’ve been the queen of extra-curriculars.
While I work hard and play hard, even my play is multifaceted.
Sometimes I wonder, is it bad I can’t relax with a bubble bath?
What does it say about me when I prefer to go-go-go instead of let go?
“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
– Sydney Harris
I guess it’s quite telling that I had a diagnosed burnout at 25 years young.
It’s human to rely on external validation, but I craved it despite myself.
My mental health was suffering so much that I dropped everything and went solo backpacking in Southeast Asia for 6 months.
But even then did I not allow myself to let go! I took along my laptop and along with other projects, started vlogging my travels (check them out here).
But if it wasn’t for my drive, I wouldn’t have all these experiences and memories to look back on!
“I’ve acquired a kind of madness
Daylight fills my heart with sadness“
– Jamie Woon
As a child I would stay up til early in the morning, just to hear the night breathe.
During the day I was constantly rushing around from table tennis practise to piano lessons to theatre class. But at night, I was alone with my books, my journals and the vast sky.
I would be too tired to overthink, but awake enough to enjoy the quiet.
Still today, I catch myself thinking of the sun as poisonous: come night, there will be no more pressures, no more incoming messages, only letting the day bleed into another.
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life,
live in the moment, live in the breath.” – Amit Ray
Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of pizza and movies.
But at the same time, I will be getting back to people on my phone, doodling on my notepad and checking the news on another tab.
I’m uncomfortable with just being in the moment, but much less so today.
What has helped is meditation: feeling my breath move my body, and ADHD through my thoughts.
I keep finding the solution to all my worries whenever I take the time to just sit and listen to my breath.
And whenever I miss my practice first thing in the morning, I am distracted all day.
“Sometimes it happens that you become one, in some rare moment. (…)
Moving in the Himalayas, seeing the virgin snow on the Himalayan peaks, suddenly a coolness surrounds you and you need not be false because there is no other human being to be false to.
You fall together.”
Ultimately, my real recharging is done alone, surrounded by nature.
I felt it when I solo trekked Everest Basecamp (yes, even during the day!).
I count my relaxation in moments of gratitude – be it a cloudless sky, a hug from a friend, a meal I cooked from scratch, my plants blooming, my pets falling asleep in my lap.
Letting go is just as active as all my other pursuits.
It takes patience, honesty and compassion. But it gives those back tenfolds.