February is definitely proving itself to be an interesting month. From birthdays to Galentine’s and Valentine’s, February is teaching me a lesson in the art of letting go.
During the second month of the year 2019, are you learning to let go?
From a personal standpoint, this month has been a steep learning curve. For starters, my birthday almost brought on an age crisis (‘Oh-where-has-my-childhood-gone type’)…this mere number that seems to have so much importance…at least if you let it control you and your perspective. Galentine’s Day made me reflect on the women in my life… the ones that inspire and challenge me, and also the ones that proved themselves to be a toxic nuclear meltdown. Next came Valentine’s Day – a day so highly revered by multinational corporations as a money-making machine, yet instead of harbouring this sentiment this year, I viewed it in a light-hearted manner, and took the time to appreciate the key people in my life.
If I could sum up my February in a few words, ‘the month of letting go’ would definitely be a good fit. Letting go of toxicity. Letting go of vices. Letting go of personal faults that have long been undealt with. Letting go of the past. Learning to take care of and appreciate my body for once. I wish I could master the art of letting go, but at the same time, I now realize, that like every other artistic discipline, it requires time, patience and dedication. Let this be the start of a beautiful, new chapter.
Currently listening to: The Parrots – Soy Peor
So I started 2019 unemployed. Many people would absolutely baulk at this idea – associating it with a tonne of things: laziness, the problem with Gen Z, etc. Others would use this fact to smirk and prove themselves right when saying that a degree in the humanities doesn’t lead anywhere. In a society where the spirit of late capitalism reigns supreme, and where your salary seems to define what you are and who you are, an unemployed individual is expected to almost play the ‘sick role’ in society.
However, I viewed my unemployment as an opportunity to reflect on what I really want to do in life…an opportunity to spend some time indulging in my passions and actually doing things that have long been delayed, including:
- Spending more time on my musical projects.
- Kickstarting a possible path in writing and starting this blog. I’ve been writing in a creative manner all of my life…however after a series of unfortunate rejections, I never found the courage to write publicly until now.
- Starting a de-cluttering campaign (see my second post).
- Going through some major life-changing episodes with a clearer head.
- Discovering and exploring the world of freelancing.
- Finding the time to catch up with some long-delayed appointments.
- Nurturing my mental well-being.
- Spending some well-needed dates with myself.
I guess every cloud has a silver lining…and while unemployment leaves a dent in your pocket, I believe the key is to appreciate it as a window of opportunity for self-development, and not to perceive it as an in-between phase lost in a frenzy of panic, CVs, and interviews. Who knows, maybe unemployment can be the key to finding your next passion in life, leading to something truly worthwhile, after all.
The modern phenomenon of dating apps has stopped being a phenomenon at this point and is now so ingrained in normality that it’s like expecting that everyone has a social media profile or an email address. Yet, how are dating apps affecting our daily lives and psyche, and is the digital persona more important than your ‘offline’ persona nowadays?
I have always been divided about the concept of these apps. The immediate gratification offered by a simple swipe often leads to a lot of disappointment afterwards. Useless messages and exchanges, the occasional uninvited photos, the meetings that never come to fruition…it’s safe to say that it’s an endless cycle. We can compare it to a ‘window-shopping’ exercise for potential partners… like going on Amazon or eBay to purchase something thanks to a simple ‘Search’ button.
However, are these digital personas turning into a marker of social status? After watching the Black Mirror episode ‘Nosedive’, I couldn’t help but wonder whether dating apps are the new social credit system in the dating world; where people are ‘disposed’ of if they don’t get enough swipes or likes, and where the constant pressure to keep up a trendy digital persona leads to inner conflict. All that seeming plurality creates a tonne of expectations…and a hell lot of dating fatigue.
So what’s the moral of this story? It’s easy to judge and say ‘Delete all apps, and do it the old-fashioned way’, however, I believe that that comment is very misleading since one cannot reverse back to how things were. On the other hand, I would say that at a point, it would be useful to remind ourselves that our own self-worth is not based on any social credit system and to truly invest in our self-worth. A recent post by The Artidote states that ”Inner peace is the new success” and this is totally applicable to the inner turmoil that can be caused if the imposing digital persona and social credit pressures aren’t taken with a pinch of salt. In the end, no one can truly judge you in a few seconds by a few photos and a stupid caption…it takes so much more to discover the inner core of a person than this.
In the midst of a major spring clean (or would it be a winter clean?), it dawned on me how much clutter we accumulate throughout the years. From ten-year-old receipts to nostalgic memoirs of the past, to photographs of long-lost pets and tattered love letters of individuals who have long been absent from our lives…clutter seems to constantly pile up and manage to hide itself in secret drawers, until one day, the mere knowledge of its presence is utterly suffocating.
This burst of de-cluttering was partly inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s self-help book ‘The Happiness Project’ – a book particularly apt for this time of year when the concept of resolutions is practically shoved down our throats. But while resolutions are fine (if you can keep them, that is), Rubin attempts to dedicate a year to discovering the true meaning of happiness and implementing monthly goals that, while not being overly monumental in an Eat, Pray, Love way, incrementally lead to a better attitude towards life in general. At least, that is the aim of the book.
The first thing that Rubin did was to carry out a major de-cluttering campaign in her house….and that really made me reflect on my own clutter. As soon as I started de-cluttering, in spite of the initial gasp at the humongous task ahead, a sense of relief swept over me. It almost felt cathartic – as if the outside de-cluttering was having some effect on a holistic level. This, in turn, led to a major reflection on whether in reality, I was truly de-cluttering the negative thoughts and the toxic people in my life, or whether like the hundreds of things that I found carelessly piled in my drawers, I was still clinging on to them. Furthermore, I found myself questioning if, on the other hand, I was still lovingly feeding the black dog of self-victimization growling sulkily in a corner…
I am not sure whether or not I believe in the myth of New Year resolutions. However, one thing is for sure: as we’re fast approaching the new year, I will try my best to think twice before purchasing anything (challenging the odds of targeted digital marketing), and will also do my very best to think of alternative ways of gifting – with an effort to opt for the immaterial or the sustainable. On a more personal level, I really should remind myself to take that black dog out for a walk more often, and teach it a trick or two. Who knows, maybe by time, it will learn not to take life too seriously after all…