Proximity, or being in the very midst of a situation creates a sense of connectedness, belonging, and urgency. It’s natural not to feel the urgency of people, situation and matters we’re not in close proximity with. A natural catastrophe happening in a distant continent thousands of miles away from you is less likely to raise your alarm and concern as an earthquake that happens 10 miles from where you live would. We’ve heard that global warming affects all of us, but until we live right in the very midst (or close enough to) where glaciers are melting and water level are rising and threatening to drown our modern village, we probably think that it is someone else’s problem.
One too many failed attempts in making friendships or relationships work doesn’t mean we stop trying. A toddler learning to walk knows not to give up trying - he takes a couple of baby step, fumbles and tumbles, gets back up on his feet, takes more steps forward, fumbles and tumbles some more, gets back up again, and keeps at it until he’s walking steadily. A baby doesn’t give up - why should we, as adults, give up when we fail in one or more areas of our life?
In this fifth installment on the topic of the rise of depression and loneliness and what we can do about it, I draw from personal experience to present this point: if we view life setbacks as mere temporal stops, that could just be the breakthrough we need in battling our lowest moments.
It’s easy to talk the talk, it ain’t easy to walk the walk. This is especially so for a depressed person to get out of the funk - it’s so much easier to say, oh you can do it, just get out of it, but for the sufferer, it’s a real debilitating issue which he or she has little control over.
In this fourth installment, I propose certain foods to eat and activities to do to boost a downcast spirit but the real butt-kicker is this, you gotta hit rock bottom and be so desperate you can’t help but to move out of your current predicament into a position of change.
I refrain from writing about my personal practice of gluten-free, intermittent fasting and meatless eating firstly because I’m not religious about it, i.e. I don’t practice it strictly (especially when I visit family and friends in Singapore and Malaysia) so I can’t make a full advocacy for it, and secondly and more importantly, I recognize that a gluten-free, intermittent fasting and meatless eating it is not for everyone; in fact, no one diet or method of eating should be recommended for everyone.
Whether you’re reading this article or any other articles by anyone concerning their meal or diet preferences, take what that person has to say either at face value or with a pinch of salt. Don’t listen, follow or adopt blindly. Figure out what works for you and what don’t. Even if an idea is the best in the world, but if it’s gonna cost you an arm and a leg to do it, turn your world upside down, break your bank or cause riffs between your family, spouse, loved ones or friends and you, is it worth it? Perhaps not. So you be the best judge for how you live and run your world.
Every year we see an increase in depression among teenagers in America and around the world. If depression was something that happens in the brain, caused by chemicals including serotonin and a lack of dopamine, then why is it that higher doses of drugs could not alleviate the situation? Why are people increasingly depressed despite taking medication? To echo the words of Henry David Thoreau, “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”, it’s more true now than ever, people are more disconnected from their fellow men.
There is something tremendously powerful about showing up for what you decide you would show up for. The natural human tendency is to stick to a comfort zone and, to put it bluntly, to be lazy. When I make it a point to show up, I kill my natural human tendency for creating excuses.
I’m an expressionist. I have this insatiable need to express myself. I’ve found my journal to be my best therapist, a most faithful listener and companion who is present rain or shine, snow or drought. My journal neither judges nor despises me. My journal listens, accepts and loves me no matter if I’ve been good or bad. And it’s cheaper than a cup of coffee.
“Teach a child to read, that you may set the foundation for an empathetic and impactful human being.” -Angeline Tan.
A writer is first and foremost a reader. You ain’t building a skyscraper till you lay a solid and deep foundation. For all the pain my father inflicted me growing up, he did one thing well, and really well - he made sure there were no lack of book in our house. He would rather his children hungry than to go without books in our home. And for that, I thank him.
Admit it, we can’t end 2018 without having heard of or desired to watch two of the biggest musically-related movies of this year. In fact, they’ve both so impacted me I’m writing my first ever movie review on both these movies.
He carries an air so heavy around him it feels like a dark, stormy cloud wrapping us in its cold strangulation.
Every word out of his mouth carried such negativity they hit the listener like a ton of bricks and cause minor lacerations on the heart.
Every moment in his presence felt like a surrender to the sharp pierce of a hundred needles to which I had no shield. Our communication became bloody sword fights; we saw less of each other as we tried to busy ourselves with activities that kept us away from each other.
For the party to whom that hurt is projected onto, it often feels like it’s much easier to walk away, and it takes so much more understanding, humility and strength to stay.
Growing up as a highly-driven and motivated child, I often see men and women accomplishing great successes or feats of wonders and thought to myself, wow, that's incredible - I want to be like that. What I didn't realize then as a child, is that behind their accomplishments, behind the scene, away from the public eye and spotlight, is a journey riddled with doubt, discouragement, and disappointment, topped with incredible amounts of sweat and grit, pain and conflict, determination, and perseverance.
Turner and Carol are two amazing individuals living in San Francisco, who have very courageously opened up their lives to speak with me about their take on Love. And not just any kind of love, but a non-conventional kind of love…
I asked where I could find the best thosai in Tekka and was told the one in the middle of the food center. I found the stall, ordered a thosai, plus a cup of teh tarik halia (ginger milk tea) and promptly scouted for an empty table. That evening, I would discover a story that affects 1.6 million men in Singapore, or 36 percent of the country’s labor force.
For a long time, it’s both puzzling and hurtful that my closest family and friends would judge me for my accent or the way I speak. I’d usually keep quiet and not defend myself. The thing is, they don’t know what I grew up with; neither are they aware of my love affair with the English language.
We live afraid of owning up to the reality of our non perfect lives. I’m tired of hiding in the shadows. Here’s the truth, and though they’re not pretty, they’re real, and they’re mine. I own them, every single one of them. For better or for worse.
As I hit midlife, a huge discovery hit me like a ton of brick - I have changed from an ultra extrovert to a reclusive introvert. Is this what mid-life does? Turn things around and throw you on the other side of the fence?
The first day went by in a blur. I was excited to be getting on the road and covering as much distance as possible, having spent 6 months preparing for this day. We rode along the magnificent Oregon coast which lined the Pacific Ocean. I had lived in California and ridden along the Californian coast and thought the Californian coast to be beautiful - the Oregon coast somehow seemed more beautiful. Maybe because it’s way more north on the hemisphere and seemed more blue, I can’t be sure.
My first impression of San Francisco when I first visited in April 2012 - I was in the passenger seat, while my husband drove; he asked me: What did you think? to which I responded: Underwhelmed. Contrary to San Francisco’s efforts to enchant its visitors with its unique attractions, I was underwhelmed by its many lack of. Here I briefly ramble off 10 things. But of course, San Francisco is not without its charm - it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Now here's my take of this amazing place I now call home.
Never again will I look at the Grand Canyon in the same way ever again. I first set eyes on her on a road trip in December 2011, during which I exclaimed to myself, this must be the most majestic place in the United States. And now in October 2017, almost 6 years later, to be able to get right up close and personal to her, not driving, but hiking right into her bosom, feels almost unreal. It's like a dream come true; a longing that's finally fulfilled.
In 2001 I was in a desperate place in my life where I was isolated and the only relationship (an unhealthy one) I had hung on the line. I was scared of losing my only life line, and when the relationship ended, I couldn’t see how I was going to survive without it. This is my confession.
“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” -Edmund Hillary. Thrown to the elements, away from the convenience of technology, comfort of home and safety of civilization - there’s something about being vulnerable that makes one come alive.
Check your ego at the door. Don't be a martyr. Stay in a group. Stay connected. Following my previous post on How I Almost Got Lost: How To Stay Safe In The Mountains, here's an update with more safety tips and lessons learnt.
Last weekend I went on an outdoor trip which nearly landed me in a life threatening situation. I took some time to chew on it before writing it down. I’m sharing this because there are several important lessons that anyone heading into the remote outdoors could learn from my experience.
Never been on a cruise before? Neither have I. All I've heard is that it's really expensive to sail to Alaska. Busting these myths, I found a way to secure the cheapest cruise tickets to Alaska, and truly enjoyed the trip.
You notice what you love. The crease on his brow. The scowl on his lips. It doesn’t mean that you dislike that about him or that you’re negatively affected by his outward expression. It means that you care about him to notice the things that frustrate him.
I realized that my living in California is not a matter of chance or coincidence. There is a purpose for being where you are, doing what you do, meeting the people you meet. Thus I’ve taken upon myself a new mission - to speak with, discover, and deliver the voices of amazing people I meet in various cities in California. In this blog, I bring you three short stories from Bishop: a former marine turned country songwriter, a teenage fly fisherman, a group of sunburnt men hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.