When I am alone, I do things. Things I don’t usually expect myself to do. For example, cooking. Lots of cooking. And the cleaning thereafter. Most of the time, I am amazed by my own (unknown) capabilities. Back home, or in Singapore, I don’t get to experiment with recipes, or do many things my way. I procrastinate, for reasons I know not. Ever since I got here, it is almost as if I took on new responsibilities, new vows, new resolutions to keep myself in check. I cook up storms in the kitchen and though alone, I never feel lonely to resent what I was doing. The melody of that silence while I chopped, sliced and diced kept me going. I enjoy the sizzle that brings me such happiness in each sprinkle of salt, or the tossing of my ingredients in the pan. So far, all my dishes have turned out quite well, if I may be so proud to say. Even Mom is surprised with what I’ve cooked up so far.
I realized that there are many lessons to be learnt in having to live alone. While I may miss the company, I also enjoy the solitude.
“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”
― Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
And I can’t help thinking: ‘tis the life of my youth. Life is too short to wail and whine about things that displease us. There is always a take-home message from each point of our lives. If I have to live alone, it clearly means I have to perfect my independence. For example, looking at the time I am spending in the kitchen, I am bound to be chef nurse (I quote my mother) by the age of 24. Lol. After all, practice makes perfect.
“Sometimes life is too hard to be alone, and sometimes life is too good to be alone.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
Since I’ve been out here, I have had a lot of thinking done (when do I not?) about the way my life is unfolding and how I am doing my best in appreciating every single moment. I notice I am always talking about cherishing the minutes, the hours. I can’t help it. Every morning when I wake up, I thank the heavens for allowing me to witness sunrise but…in actual fact, I am pretty much plagued by the mere thought of a thousand possibilities that I won’t be alive to enjoy the sun setting the very same day.
Morbid, I know.
It is exactly how I am feeling. Like my time’s running out. Tick tock, tick tock. “The trouble is, you think you have time.” But I don’t. You don’t. We don’t. It is this fear that makes me want to go out there, do things that my heart desires and come back with no regrets. It’s all about living in the moment. While I worry for tomorrow, I also worry if I would still get to worry about it in the next hour. Do I make sense?
This wall has been my biggest inspiration since I first saw it at Borough High Street. It is an amazing wall of art and if only there was a chalk there, I would definitely not hesitate to scrawl my heartfelt words out. Kudos to Candy Chang for this creation, for she has created a multitude of these walls all around the world. It all began with her loss of a loved one, but with this tragedy, she has managed to spark hope and inspiration in others through this wonderful creation. It also reminds me of the precious time we have left in this world (not much, I daresay) and the numerous things I want to live up to, before I die. I also began to wonder if even a quarter of the people who has chalked their dreams here on this wall are still alive.
Candy Chang has then went on to produce other great projects, like this one: Confessions. Sharing your deepest, darkest secrets to the public; anonymously. It is proof that we, as humans, are not perfect, never are and never will be. We all share the same damn emotions – raw and deeply rooted – inside us, longing to break free. To be free of the guilt and burden of carrying them in our hearts. In other words, we want to know that we are not alone. This project is simply beautiful to showcase to the world that we are simply, never alone. And we take gratification in that.
Photo courtesy of Candy Chang: Confessions.
*I TOTALLY FEEL THAT PERSON WHO WROTE THAT CONFESSION*
If only I have an inkling to what I am doing, or what I am about to do. But that’s what life is all about, isn’t it? Working out our own journey, each and every one of us.
In the midst of figuring out my life’s path, I noticed something about myself. A week back, out of boredom I painted my nails dark red; the nails on the left side of my hand. I attempted to do my right hand, but then I couldn’t do it properly. I gave up, also because I was already bored with that too, lol. For that entire week, I went around with just my left hand’s nails painted. It was fairly odd, to be honest. It was almost like seeing 2 sides of me – just by looking at my hands. On one hand (pun intended), I am who I’ve always been – clean, clear and safe. No mess, no fuss. On the other hand (haha!), I am a different me – wild, daredevil, a go-getter. This dark side of me was challenging my other half to do more, be brave. Unlimited. Hand in hand, together we’re unlimited.
It was an interesting week of self-realization, self-discovery…whatever you may want to call it. Almost as if I was watching my own inner battle. One part of me telling me to stay clear of danger, the other’s pushing me to fireball ahead! Oh, the conflict! *dramatic hand gestures* But, by the end of the week, I did manage to muster all the courage and confidence I have and cannonball into a dodgeball session of another university! Wooooo! *three cheers for zunny!* However, I ended up with a very sore arse and aching legs which I managed to lug to Paris the very next day! Amazing? I thought so.
Oh, did I also mention I got dragged in to join KCL’s Harry Potter Society? When I say dragged, I MEANT dragged. By my coat, arms, and ears. But it also turned out to be highly amusing and interactive! My knowledge of Harry Potter has been challenged! Rawr! Time to buck up, lol.
So the moral of the story?
So, before I die, I am most certainly going to take a risk, take a chance, and make a change. Leave no room for regrets and plenty for love. It doesn’t matter if I have to do it alone, sometimes…
“If you wanted to do something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone.”
― Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road