As of 1 Jan 2015, I am officially a bummer, a.k.a. unemployed or jobless. While family and friends returned to work after their respective year end breaks, I had nothing to return to. As everyone started school or work on 2 Jan, I did not know what to do with myself. Not teaching this semester meant there were no classes to prepare. Classes for my part-time studies have yet to commence so there was neither readings nor assignments to keep me busy. There was, for the first time in a long while, and possibly for the first time in my life, NOTHING TO DO. And that does not feel exhilarating at all; it feels scary!
For the first time in my life, I am not needed anywhere. I no longer an part of any profession and I no longer have a career. I am still me and I still have my family and my friends but it still feels like a big piece of me has been ripped away. You know, all those blog posts encouraging folks to take mid-career breaks and sabbaticals to arrive at another breakthrough and reach new heights, they sure forget to highlight just how unsettling this phase will be.
Honestly, it took a lot to stand by my decision to not work in these coming few months. The desire for a work routine and stable income can be overwhelming. Even overtime and office politics don’t seem to be all that bad anymore. As long as I have something to do. It certainly feels awful to wake up to nothing, and wonder why do I even bother to wake up. (No, there isn’t any suicidal thought in that statement.) I kept wondering if it was wrong to be unproductive, and if I am becoming lazier by the day, growing dumb and dumber. See, this is what happens when one has too much time on one’s hand. Self doubt, fears and insecurities can wreak havoc in one’s mind.
And it is during these tumultuous times that I truly experienced the power of counting your blessings. That was a habit I started in 2012 and which I restarted at the close of 2014. (I have shared a bit on this in an earlier post.) In counting my blessings, I intentionally remind myself the good things in life and focus my attention on the positive, instead of drowning myself in the negative. And if there is anything I learnt through this exercise, it is that the best things in life are (almost) free.
What brings me the most joy these days? It turns out to be simple things in life such as good weather. Clear blue skies and warm sunshine reminding me of the good times at Stanford. Gentle breezes that not only bring cool comfort to the body but also refreshes the spirit. Voluminous clouds that brings my imagination to life. Being able to take walks, waking up earlier than expected, exploring parts of Singapore that I have never been… all these bring new perspective as to how life can be when we keep things simple.
And I am writing this because I would really like to encourage everyone to cultivate a habit of thankfulness and experience what it can potentially do for you. For a flavour of how I do this, you can follow me on Instagram (@piyo2811) where I post my thanksgiving daily using the hashtag #365daysofthankfulnessSG. Enjoy ~