Stay at home Sundays

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Hello.

It is yet another Sunday night and whenever I don’t go out on the weekends, I will end up having a lot on my mind. I didn’t have any plans this weekend (probably to make up for going out too much the previous weekend) plus I’m also not the sort of person that likes having packed schedules. I hate planning (or perhaps desire flexibility more) and I like to decide what to do for the day when I wake up (or when I feel like it). As a result of that ‘randomness, I ended up in the kitchen for about 4-5 hours on Saturday afternoon – making earl grey scones, lemon dill compound butter, greek yoghurt honey ic(y) cream [it was a failure], pizza and pizza bread plus lemon-mint cold-dripped tea. On Sunday, I made earl grey bagels. In case you’re wondering what’s with the earl grey obsession.. well, I happened to buy 2 boxes of earl grey tea by accident last week (I ordered online but I forgotten about it and bought it in the supermarket, only to receive my delivery that afternoon). As there’s no way I will be finishing 50 sachets of earl grey tea, I decide to incorporate these tea leaves into my bakes.

*A week has passed since I wrote the paragraph above (Yes, I am a procrastinator and it is common for me to start something and stop halfway). Today is yet another Sunday, and the only difference is that it is still afternoon (which means that if I don’t get distracted too much, I can actually finish this post and click on ‘publish’ but let’s see). Similar to the weekend before, I baked Earl grey recipes – Earl grey scones (again! with a different recipe) on Saturday and Lemon Earl grey pound cake on Sunday. This is the second last weekend before our ‘Phase 2 heightened alert’ measures end. No one knows if it will get extended (again) like last year but I’m feeling hopeful that we can at least have some outdoor dining in restaurants/food establishments soon. To be honest, the current safe distancing measures are pretty ‘acceptable’ as we are still allowed to visit friends’ places and have outdoor picnics – just that we had to keep our groups to 2 pax. The only difference right now is that I have a lot more work in my day job and I find myself spending extended hours in front of my laptop each day. As ridiculous as it sounds, work keeps me somewhat entertained and time sometimes appears to pass faster. I still keep to my nightly ‘drama schedules’ which is kind of a routine for me. I stopped doing drama binging which is why I only watch ‘live dramas’ that release episodes by the week.

Anyway, the ‘topic’ that I wanted to write about last week was relating to work woes (not in my own perspective, but from a celebrity/idol perspective) and how tiring it was if you had to live your life for others – but what if that’s the ‘idea’ that you have gotten accustomed to? The ‘topic’ that I want to write about this week was still with my idea of wanting to write an autobiography n years down the road and what are the stories that could be worthed sharing. The thought came back to me on Friday night after I shared with my friend the unluckiest accident that happened to be in 2013 and she was like ‘Woah, that was intense. Okay let me not get distracted and start on the first topic.

The topic started when I was discussing with my friends how the ‘perfect’ job does not exist – maybe it does, just that we have not come across it yet (or perhaps it was all up to your own perspective). There are jobs that make you feel refresh, recharge and excited about (cause it is probably something new) but chances are such jobs comes with high responsibility and stress level. On the other hand, you can be doing a job that you really love doing (like you love the scope, you love your customers and you see results to your effort) but somehow the environment is somewhat toxic – sometimes there can be politics, sometimes it is just someone from the higher-ups that keeps pressurizing you to do ‘better’ (but seriously, when does ‘better’ ends and is there even an end to ‘better’?). There are also jobs that are slightly less stressful and intense – but it can come with lesser job satisfaction and fulfillment – are you really spending your time meaningfully or are you ‘just getting by’? Sometimes, you get stuck in an environment that is so comfortable which makes leaving.. difficult. You may no longer be learning new things but you’ve gotten so used to the routine that ‘life ain’t that bad’. You may be stagnant in your career growth but you’re happy – assuming you don’t compare yourself to your peers who are earning X more than you. There are so many variations and factors contributing to our career life and there are some new learnings that I re-discovered or perhaps learned about during my 16-months break.

Anyway, so the discussion(s) with my friends went on to.. there are pains/sufferings in perhaps all types of jobs – just that different people choose to deal with it differently. If life was totally smooth-sailing, and ‘happiness’ was the constant, over time, ‘happiness’ would have lesser and lesser meaning to the individual as you will just get ‘used’ to the feeling of happiness which id not much different from your day-to-day. So the first thing we need to somehow ‘accept’ is that.. we need to have the ups and downs in life as this would make us derive greater satisfaction from the ‘ups’. So when life gets tough, we just need to pick our ‘pains’ and figure a way to overcome these pains – finding ways to reduce the impact of the pains or figure a way to ‘live with it’. Anyway, so the discussion went on to.. what are the things that celebrities/idols/singers could possibly hate in their jobs? There was a snippet on an interview I watched where this person said that back when he first debuted (entered the industry), he didn’t imagine himself to be doing this singer/idol thing for a long time. After all, your contract is only for 7 years – and there’s no certainty of your success/fame or guarantee of a future; and he thought he was only gonna do it for about ten years, before doing something else. However, now that he is 13 years in the job, he can no longer see himself leaving the industry by choice. I also remember this article I read about Super Junior where someone asked, isn’t it ‘better’ to leave the industry at the ‘peak’, rather than letting your fame/popularity slowly erode? To me, it felt like a really hard thought as there’s always a desire to be remembered ‘at your best’, rather than being forgotten over the years but the guy (can’t remember who he was) said that he would want to be in the industry for as long as possible; as long as there’s still one fan willing to see him on stage, he will want to continue.. It is pretty ‘heart-warming/breaking’ to know that celebrities.. mainly thrive from their fans’ support. It is like their success cannot be determined by their own benchmark/expectations, but rather by the standards that other people give them. It took me a while to digest this thought that is really rather painful to acknowledge, given that I do support celebrities to a certain level. There had been many mental-health issues surfacing, especially in recent years and it pains me to know that people are not discussing this topic enough – we need to normalise the need for seeking support and we need to stop the ‘comparison’ and entire mindset to always seek to be ‘better’ (at least to an acceptable extent).

I hope that in the near future, there can be more ‘normalisation’ in this entire celebrity culture too and that we have to remember that ‘we are all human’ too. True, the ‘hustle’ culture can be a motivating factor for some, but it should not be normalised as a goal for everyone. You can’t be questioning your friend/peers/loved ones on whether ‘are you doing enough in your life?’ and ‘should you be doing more?’. There are days I feel sad when I think I am not doing good enough, not trying hard enough but.. so what? So what if I don’t smile in my photos and so what if I don’t use filters in my photos and so what if I don’t look appear the image that you have in your mind? Everyone should be given a chance to live/be whatever they want to be and you shouldn’t need to be answerable to anyone else but yourself right? Now that I am ranting, I do see a need to do some self-reflection as well as sometimes I do judge people and I do say out loud and regret the moment I say it. I am pretty much a ‘complain freak’ and I do whine and gossip often (to a limited group of people) but I do have to agree that such behaviour isn’t ideal either. At times I remind myself to hold my thoughts and think in a different perspective, but at times I just can’t help myself.

No idea where my conversation is driving at again but I guess it is really rough being a celebrity, being someone in the public eye or perhaps being a role model to someone (anyone) at all. At times, I do feel a certain pressure when people tell me they are jealous/envious of my life (which is pretty ordinary). A lot of people exclaim at my bravery for taking a gap year off work, tell me how lucky I am to be able to do media trips (something of the past) or perhaps having the courage an desire to write and maintain this blog. There are many times I pause and question myself.. really? What’s is it in my boring life that is worth you to take a second look / a second mention or even wanting to ‘follow my footsteps’ (my blog’s old catch phrase). When rare times like this happen, I feel a silent pressure to keep myself ‘in line’, to want to live up to the expectations of what others have of me. It is very subtle, but sometimes I do think twice before I post anything on my social media. I have a ‘reputation’ to maintain, to showcase that I’m worthy of being the person people could possibly ‘look up to’, or ‘find an inspiration’ from. If I (with barely 400 followers on instagram) could feel this way occasionally, what about the tons of celebrities/public figures who have an even greater reputation to upkeep? I try (and I’ll keep trying), to keep myself as human as possible, as transparent about my emotions (but it’s hard), to remind the people on social media.. what normal is like and what ‘normal’ should be. Yes, it is true that the fancy photos and artistic shots with pretty things are highly desired but we do need some sort of ‘balance’ too. I will be the one sharing and talking about my baking failures. I will be the one complaining if I had a bad day. I will be the one feeling nostalgia while I look back on the old and fun days and I will be there to remind you about the ‘realities’. That the weather can be rainy during your vacation, that you can get your new boots stolen at the ski resort, that your car can break down and you’re all alone overseas. You know the saying of ‘double joy and divided sorrows’? It is important that we face our feelings and not bottle it up inside. You don’t have to ‘tell the whole world’, you don’t have to share on social media, while it is better to tell someone (a human) who can emphasise with your emotions, you can always ‘tell yourself’ too. This is the reason why I type (blog) and write (often). Whenever I’m having a bad day, a good day, an emotional day, a day where my emotions messes up my thinking, having an outlet to express myself is very useful. Often, I find the emotions reduce (or sometimes even forgotten) after I’m done ‘recording’ it somewhere. It is important to be aware of your emotions and know how to get over it. [doing my own preaching on mental health awareness yet again]

Apart from being aware of your own emotions, it is useful to be conscious about the people around you. If you see someone posting negative thoughts on social media – ask yourself.. could it be a cry for help? Could he/she be asking for some care/concern/attention? It does not take a lot of effort to check-in on someone. It does not take a lot of effort to acknowledge someone’s effort (like telling me my baking looks great). It does not take a lot of effort to ask ‘How are you?’ to people you have not heard of in a long while. We are humans in a society and the society shapes the way we are so I guess it would be everyone’s responsibility to be part of this human eco-system. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and don’t be too shy to lend a hand when you can.

[Somehow I lost inspiration on the idea I had with my book] I guess I can continue to procrastinate on that as I probably have yet to collect sufficient life experiences to write anything of proper substance.

It is now Sunday night, the first Sunday of June and.. when June ends it means that half of 2021 has passed and possibly the world is still in a rather bad shape with the battle against covid-19. Although I am feeling rather unhopeful about traveling this year, I have started to save locations on Instagram as a bookmark of the places that I wish to visit some time in.. the future. It’s time i introduce some positivty into my life!

Okay that’s all I have for my random post. Let’s hope I get to share good news in my next entry (e.g. dining out is possible in my country again).

(:

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