They’ve said we can go out. Lockdown is over. I thought this is what I have been craving for three months. Yet, now that I can, I’m not sure I want to.
For the past few weeks it has been raining non-stop in Singapore. There is even a rumour that the Singapore Government has been seeding the clouds to bring so much rain down, that it stops people leaving the house. If this is the case, I want to thank them. Because I have become so comfortable inside. I’m not ready to join physical society yet.
All this rain has made me reflect on the past three months. What have I seen? What have I learnt? What will I be going forward?
The first month truly revealed how I cope with crisis.
I sprung into action. My personality became manic. My focus was to seize control of the situation. I saw this crisis through the eyes of a professional problem solver. I churned out helpful business content with urgent speed. My husband, who had been pretty absent for 15 years, on account of his work taking him overseas every other week, was now home. Every.Single.Day. We were all in the same space for the first time. It took a while to adjust. I had been very used to running the household and handling the children my way. The children did not respond well to the sudden parenting by their father. We had to work through it ( Code for: I took back control of the situation!). Order was restored.
I had another project to work on – moving house.
We did a major declutter and packed 175 boxes to be ready for the move in 4 weeks’ time. Organising a house move during lockdown was far from ideal. The children were struggling with homeschooling. We cancelled all upcoming trips and special family events. The children started getting depressed. Two of my children fell apart. One revealed himself to be stoic and much more resilient than his siblings. My only solution was to control what I could. I focussed on my health and went on a diet. I lost 5kgs. In the midst of all this chaos, my creativity exploded. I co-wrote a song. I started writing a business book and a novel. I even started a private talk show with a friend for stressed out homeschooling mums.
We moved house. We had no internet.
Without being able to get online properly for school, the children totally refused to homeschool at all. Lots of tears and tantrums. The daily routine turned into one of boredom. I realised that COVID has traumatised my children and they will need therapy. No internet meant that all my video and audio content creation had to stop. But I needed to keep busy for my mental health. I worked on my writing. I worked on my health, losing another 1.5kgs. I put in an effort to show up to networking zoom calls, using my phone data. There is still a huge pile of clothes next to my bed that I haven’t unpacked yet. I’ll try chip away at that…
In amongst all this, racial tensions in the US exploded, COVID cases continued to climb, businesses and economies collapsed. So it is any wonder that now that we can leave the house, we may not want to. Collectively, we are drained.
I try to put it in context and sometimes I feel ashamed. My family lived through the Holocaust and World War Two. They had to endure horror for 6 impossible years. Do we have the right to feel drained and traumatised from 6 months of COVID? I don’t know. But we are, and it is real.
Who knows what the next 6 months will bring. As a mother, my sole responsibility is to protect my children and help them feel safe.
All I have ever wanted to do is feel a sense of stability and security. I don’t like chaos. I don’t like anarchy. I don’t like arguments. Having said that, I am very passionate, and will gladly explode if someone or something threatens the stability and security of my family. I will roar if you mess with me or my children.
Seeking stability and security may seem totally at odds with being a risk-taking entrepreneur. But for me, taking risks is about expanding my creativity and my potential. I am first and foremost an innovator and a creator. If I am not expressing this part of myself daily, then I am off-kilter.
I have had a lot of time to reflect on where to now for me. I have realised that I am happiest when I am writing and creating. I have never had lofty ambitions. I am not competitive. I am not driven by ego, but by service. I am certainly not driven by other people’s expectations of me. But I do have high expectations of myself.
Last week, someone I recently came to know dropped dead of a heart attack. He was posting on Facebook and sending texts right up until his demise. He was quite an outstanding human who spent the last three months of his life pivoting his tailoring business to sew hundreds of thousands of cotton face masks for Singapore’s down-trodden foreign workers. He lived a life of generosity and there was an outpouring of grief following his sudden departure.
The overriding thought in my head was just how much impact one can make in three months. And that you must never put off things until retirement, as you may not get there. With the world in such a state of chaos, many wonderful people have emerged to make a significant impact over the past three months.
I have realised that it is my creativity that makes me happy. Being of service as an entrepreneur also makes me happy. So I am going to stop apologising that I have many strings to my bow. If I want to write a business book and an erotic novel and create dance music, all at the same time, then that is what I am going to do. Because that is the truest expression of who I am at this point in my life.