I write one of these every year. I read last year’s and was slightly amused how serious I sounded. But this is typical of me, I oscillate between thinking I take myself too seriously and not taking myself seriously enough.

Perhaps it is the consequence of reading too many psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and zen books – in recent times I have found myself observing myself in a third-party observer mode. Maybe it is the start of developing true empathy and compassion for myself. It is not the self-pity and outrage I am accustomed to, but a sort of sadness and acceptance…

This essay is divided into three parts. The first part is on history and context, second part is on how I want to develop psychologically, third part is on what I actually hope to do.

The why

It is interesting how everyone is talking about Marie Kondo now because of her Netflix series. I think more people are beginning to sense that despite the capitalistic narrative, the secret to our happiness is not more and more.

If you watch the series, it is obvious that having a lot is overwhelming. It seems so obvious on hindsight: every single thing we have will…

To be honest, I am not sure how I want to write this. Maybe that is the point about 2018, a year when I discovered I am no longer sure about anything. I was not even sure whether I wanted to write this, because I am beginning to believe life shouldn’t really be about stock-taking. I am also not sure if one could really like an accurate retrospective of the past 365 days when I can barely remember what happened last week. But I think it is interesting for me personally to read what I’ve written over the past few…

Ground-up Initiative (GUI) is a non-profit organisation that occupies a 2.6 hectare plot of land in Yishun, Singapore. That’s about 5 football fields. In case you didn’t know, Singapore is so small that you cannot even find it on the map, which means it is covered with tall, tightly packed buildings, so it is unusual for one single non-profit, non-governmental organisation to have that much space.

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One of the learning ponds at GUI. Image credit: GUI

I care for a lot of things, which is also another way of saying I don’t care a lot about one single thing. But I care enough about GUI to write this, and to…

I started running, out of desperation. I suffered from an array of chronic health issues including migraines, and I was tired of being powerless. I read a bunch of books and they told me that exercise of a certain intensity unleashes a ton of positive health cascading effects including reducing inflammation and growing our brains.

I read those books a few years ago. It took those years for them to sink in, and for me to begrudgingly admit that I could do no worse than to try it out. I’ve also tried almost everything else, because I hated running. I…

In memory of Lai Hock

How often do we notice the beauty of the sunrise and sunset? But if one day the sun ceases to exist, we would all experience profound grief and regret.

My friend Lai Hock was like the sun. His being and presence was so large, he seemed he would always be around. He was always a text message away, and he often told me he would always make time for me. At his memorial service yesterday, several people delivered eulogies, sharing how they had regular coffee and tea sessions with Lai Hock, and these sessions would often run for 2–3 hours.

I was intrigued by “The Myth of Sisyphus” by Albert Camus when I first knew about it. It tells of Sisyphus being punished for eternity, repeatedly rolling up a boulder up a mountain, only for it to roll down again. Hence the famous line, “One must imagine Sisyphus as happy”:

“One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night…

I’ve been running consecutively for 29 days now. I have been trying to run on-off for more than a decade, and this is the first time it has gotten some legs. My previous streak was just 4 days, so this feels like a quantum leap for me.

I think we all have stories we tell ourselves. I told myself I’ll never be a runner because I hate running, so I believed it. People told me stories about me, and I unconsciously moulded myself to their stories. I couldn’t tell which stories were theirs or mine anymore. …

Most days I wake up anxious. I didn’t label that uncomfortable feeling until I googled, “a general sense of impending doom” one day. A few weeks ago I started running as an experiment to build my fitness, and as an unintended positive side effect I started observing my anxiety reducing dramatically after a run. It doesn’t last for the entire day, but for someone used to experiencing anxiety most of the time, a few hours of relief — no, even a few minutes is a significant effect.

Endorphins that are produced after running has been attributed to why running decreases…

For most of my life I have been afraid of conflict. I didn’t really understand why and I thought it was part of my nature.I accepted it and didn’t seek to change it. Because of this fear, for a lengthy part of my life I lost my voice. I kept quiet in conversations and didn’t dare to express my opinion. I developed acute social anxiety for years I didn’t meet new people. Due to a serendipitous change of events I got over my fear of meeting new people but I retained my fear of conflict. I was nice to people…

Winnie Lim

Publishing more regularly @ http://winnielim.org Support my experiments & writing @ https://www.patreon.com/wynlim

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