Part Of Me

I’ve had a rough year. And it’s only July.

Understatement of the century of course. Everyone is having a really tough year.

I’m sure nobody’s plans are working out and a lot of people have worries and concerns and stresses that they can’t really see an end to.

And yeah me too. I won’t bore you with my COVID era sorrows though. I’m sure you have your own.

But in the face of adversity, especially one that seems long and relentless, I feel it’s important at some point to stop for a second and reflect.

I reflected on myself in the face of adversity. I realised that I’ve spent so much time being low and stressed that I’ve forgotten the parts of myself that are important to me.

I think it’s always important to think about the things that make up who you are. And hold onto that.

For instance, I’m usually an avid reader. I LOVE reading. My happy place is literally me and my kindle lost in some corner of the world facing much greater adversities than my current ones and ultimately coming out stronger.

But in the last few months my reading has been woefully low. And forget about studying. I just sit and stare blankly at something for hours on end waiting for something to happen.

I don’t want to lose this part of me. There’s nothing quite like the experience of starting a new book and devouring it and learning something new. In every single book. Each book is a fantastic experience.

Another part of me I had forgotten recently is my imagination. I’ve always felt blessed when I think about my imagination. Growing up I loved thinking up stories and scenarios and events that were weird and wonderful. Castles and dragons, going to Jupiter, seeing the things around me and imagining it to be so much more than it is always brought me great joy. As I grew up I imagined other things, where I would live, what I wanted to see, even how it would be at my best friend’s wedding.

I found during these tough times my thoughts are rarely abstract. They’re stunted and box-like. More robotic like here is another problem today. May as well dwell over how to solve it with what I have. Rather than imagining bigger and better things than this particular inconvenience.

My imagination is the source of my creativity. I can’t lose that. It’s a big part of what makes me, me. I tried to imagine good things. Bright and colourful. They’re quieter than before. As though there was a screen between me and my imagination.

And then there’s music. These days I just listen to music on the way to and from work. And that’s more to keep me awake rather than for my enjoyment. But with the arrival of the new Taylor Swift album, I realised how much I had missed listening to music and actually enjoying what I was listening to and singing along. That’s super important to me.

Passion for work. Since COVID, my work has become so mechanical. The daily frustrations have become twice as annoying and work is extra exhausting. A useless call from a nurse causes a physical reaction in me and brings me down. I barely notice the things I used to. Like how important it is when a patient thanks you for what you’ve done for them or learning something new from a patient’s condition. The other day I fought all day long for a patient to get a scan she needed. And when she finally did, my diagnosis was correct and she received the treatment she needed, and I learnt something new about her condition and the scan she had. I felt satisfied that day. It reminded me why I love what I do so much. I need to hold on to my passion.

Photography. Since being in lockdown, I’ve struggled to take my camera out and capture the world around me. But when I did, I realised how important photography is to me. Especially macro photography, and seeing the little things and making them look amazing.

But perhaps the most important part of me that I don’t wish to lose is being able to appreciate small things and find joy in them. Like a sunset, like watching a TV show from my childhood. Like helping a stranger with something or a stranger helping me with something. Like being able to tell my friends and family how much I love them, doing something to make them smile. Like a perfectly made cup of tea. Like a good conversation. A good joke.

Like a good hug at the right place at the right time when it was really needed.

Life is full of these little moments that can be so significant. They are the ones that you have to hang on to in times of adversity. That’s who I am as a person. Someone who focuses on the little things that make something or someone so amazing to me.¬†

These things are a part of me. And these are the things I need to remember. That will help me get through it all.

lavender with bee

Here’s a macro shot of a bee doing what it does best when I finally got my camera out. Little things with significance.¬†

My Life Is Average 

So today I was mulling around thinking about the current state of my life. Basically kind of bored.

I just finished a 10 day working stretch including weekend and then slept for 11 hours straight.

I woke up and it was hard to get into a mode where I don’t think about work.

You know people bang on and on about “work-life balance” like it’s some magical equation that’ll make your life perfect. I bet all of them would agree that I don’t have such a “balance”

Mostly because people think that this “balance” is either being able to have babies and being a working mom (if you’re a woman), or being involved in some kind of group activity like sports or tree planting club or something.

I basically stay home and browse the internet and talk to my friends. I’m not part of any club and I’m not particularly athletically inclined. I’m sure most of these balance people will say that’s not good enough.

I kind of disagree. I think work-life balance is more about being able to give your best at work and outside of it. And let me tell you, I am giving 100% to being lazy right now.

But also it’s that point in my life where there are no big goals and nothing much to work towards.

Like I spent a lot of effort and time working towards becoming a doctor and it’s like, well now what?

So that’s what work-life balance is kind of a question mark for me. Now what do I do with my life?

A friend of mine said it may seem a bit messy but if you sum it up, it doesn’t sound that bad. He proceeded to say “I’ve got a good job I’m about to be promoted in, I’m engaged and planning a trip to Japan this year”

I had to laugh.

Mostly because that actually sounded great and my summary wouldn’t sound as good.

“I’m a doctor, working in Middlemore hospital… and uhh….”

Yeah I don’t know. It required much more thought after that initial sentence. Like yes I’m a doctor, and that’s pretty good I suppose. I’ve just started, I’ve got my whole career ahead of me, working towards becoming a gastro consultant etc.

What else do I do? I’ve got my blog. I’ve got my writing. I like taking photos, I like playing the guitar.

But I’m not exactly fantastic at any of these things. I’m basically average.

I’d like to be someone who does a lot of things. But I don’t know what.

Oh well. Today I at least made a point to play guitar, write, and take photos.

Macro shot of my bamboo plant/tree thing!

I’m going to get back into taking photos I think. Macro today. But hopefully will get back into going places and taking landscape photos. After all, the season is perfect for some soft, pastel photography.

The guitar shop expert

Today I decided to do go buy some new strings for my guitar. Apparently you’re supposed to replace guitar strings around every 3 months or so to ensure your guitar is at its best musically. I’ve err.. been not too disciplined with this. Being quite new to acoustic guitar and the whole changing strings myself business, I haven’t quite been changing them every 3 months.

Excuses? Oh definitely. I’m mostly just lazy and forgetful and pretty much deaf (I’ve been told you can hear when you’re strings are quite old while playing, but I guess I’m not that advanced yet. My motto is – if it sounds good, it is good.)

Anyways! So I paid a visit to the Rockshop (for all your musical needs!) to buy new strings. Like I said, I’m pretty new to this so I always buy the most standard set that have been recommended for me as a beginner. But the ‘friendly’ helpers at the shop are always a bit condescending. I think they think of themselves as the ‘Guitar Gods’ that are all-knowing. They give you the “look” when you bring something up to the counter. I once got the look for buying two different sizes of picks. I’m quite a pack rat when it comes to guitar picks. And I always seem to lose them, so I have a million. But I desperately needed 2 more of course. But this guy with the look asked me “Are you sure you want both of these? This one is quite thin and that one is quite heavy.” I assured him that my eyes are fine and I was perfectly aware of the thicknesses of the picks, having read the numbers on them. But it was so nice and pointless of him to ask me that. And I would be ever so grateful if he would give me permission to buy them.

Okay I didn’t say that. But I think I should have. Instead I just smiled and said “yup I’m sure” and he let me buy them. How nice and helpful of him.

But back to the string story! So anyway I asked for my usual string set and the ‘Guitar God’ went into his lecture about the strings. “Yup these are phosphor-bronze and they’re quite good, gives you a nice warm sound” and I smiled (Yes I know. Hence I’m buying them). But he proceeded to suggest I buy another set of strings instead. “These are also phosphor-bronze, but they’re coated and a bit heavier and more expensive, but they’ll last you much longer and you wouldn’t have to change them as often.” Now this I was interested in. I thought well that sounds good. I’m pretty useless with this 3 months thing so maybe if I get these I wouldn’t have to worry about them for a while. So I asked “Oh so how long would they last?”

The God smiled brightly and said “Well if you get them, you won’t have to change them for the rest of the summer!”

I cannot explain how hard I had to work to keep a straight face. I politely declined and bought my standard strings and ran.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him… I hadn’t changed my strings in 9 months…

Guitar expert, I am not.