I need to breathe again
Maybe it’s time to pack my bags and head out to the unknown once more…
It’s been a year since I came back to Singapore after a work stint in Bangkok, and frankly, I’m getting the same kind of vibes as I did 3 years ago that maybe it’s time I considered looking for someplace else and just head off once more.
To be honest, I can’t really put a finger as to what it is that compels me to want to go away: I don’t hate the country I was born and raised in, but I somehow refuse to fit into the mold of a ‘regular life’ in Singapore.
While the past year has been fruitful and productive in terms of work and business, I feel the gridlocked and highly-structured lifestyle is really beginning to stifle me once more, and I’m not kidding when I say every now and again, I find myself having to catch my breath because things just really get to me.
Every limit is a beginning as well as an ending — George Eliot
Some people would think me feeling this way would only be counter-productive, since I’m essentially just moving around in circles. But here’s the thing: life itself has a strange way of coming back in circles, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. We like to think of a life journey as a linear progression, but I’ve come to realise that it’s really about coming around in circles. I suppose that’s why in so many cultures, a circle symbolises completion, because there are no beginnings or ends, only a widening of the circle each time you complete a cycle, and embark on the next phase of the ritual of life.
I don’t see it as I haven’t progressed anywhere: each new circle I start walking just starts getting bigger, and each time I go past the same familiar milestones, I find I learn new things about myself; and I’d like to think every new circle comes with more wisdom, built from past experiences whether they were good or bad.
I hate cliches, but there are some sayings that are evergreen. Like the one by J.A. Shedd that goes “a ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
While many people I know are happy (or convince themselves they are) to live day-to-day routines because it’s probably the safest thing to do, I find myself constantly asking what else is out there — I may be in a comfortable stage in my life, yet I’m always asking if this is all to the equation of me in the grander scheme of things.
I don’t think of myself as wanting to achieve greatness or doing something that is going to radically make a difference to the world, but I do ask what else can I do with all the gifts and talents bestowed upon me by the Almighty, and if I can be put to a bigger purpose.
Paradise comes with clear air and water, and nothing else needed.
I went on a trekking trip to Nepal almost 5 years ago, and it was undoubtedly the most enjoyable life experience I’ve had thus far: never felt freer being so close to the wild and away from all the usual hustle and bustle of city living, and even when stripped to bare necessities, the entire experience was more enriching than any other travel experience I’ve had.
The experience of being free is priceless. I’m not a person of faith or religiosity, but those fleeting moments when you are some 3,000m above sea level, being so close to the gods, and as you gather your breath of fresh clean air and sipping water that tastes like ambrosia, you can’t help but think there are far greater divine forces at work, and everything else that burdened you in your life — debts, bills, career worries etc — are so insignificant.
And that’s what I find I’m missing: those moments of intimacy with the divine, where you start to appreciate the real beauty of life, and when you believe if only for a moment, that perhaps the whole purpose of life is making those connections when you truly are at peace and in harmony with Earth and everything in it.
Of course, I’m not saying I’m going to go out there and be a hermit. I’m saying I need to be in a place where if and when I feel stifled, all I need do is take a roadtrip and be in some place else where I can get the same feeling of breaking free from a gridlocked city lifestyle (as opposed to having to wait for an annual vacation), and be free to do so whenever I please.
I had that while I was living in Bangkok, and roadtrips are always enjoyable for me.
Searching for my little piece of paradise…
No, I haven’t quite decided where I need to be, although there is a shortlist. Unfortunately at this point, the practical aspects have to be addressed, and that means having to go to a place where I could establish an overseas office for the business.
One thing though: I know it’s only a matter of time. Cause I need to breathe again.