13 March 2017
It’s beginning to dawn on me that perfectionism is really just fear and laziness draped in really fancy clothes. I felt a shiver travel down my spine as I typed in the title, as some synapse in me started to short-circuit, crying out, “Code Red! Error 404! Did you mean:73/365?”
I am a big worshipper of Beginnings. The beginning of everything means everything to me. Mornings must start off on the right note; perfect playlist, good weather, stepping into familiar routines and breezing past to the start of a new day. The first five pages of a book is immensely important to me. Similarly, I must nail the beginning of my stories, or I’ll never be able to envision the end simply because I lose steam right from the start.
It’s exhausting, I know. Why put yourself through this mental torture? I’m almost repulsed by the idea of starting a new conquest in somewhere as insignificant as – I don’t know – the middle of March. To me, Beginnings and Middles are mutually exclusive.
But I’m starting to shake off that horrid mentality because it’s stupid. I’m slowly realising, and accepting that while Beginnings do hold potential, it is the actions and the drive in the “in-between” stages that allow this potential to blossom. This applies to friendships as well – a spark, in the Beginning, can only kindle a fire, but it cannot sustain its flame for too long.
(Also, Anne Frank didn’t start her diary on 1 January, and it became a big hit anyway. Why start something when that very day when everyone’s trying their best to start something as well? That’s like so basic. Kind of like queuing up for llao llao during the frozen yogurt craze.)
Two (Three?) reasons I wanted to begin my daily musings on the 13th of March. The first may sound dumb but – I have to be honest – everything beyond this point of time has muddled together into a blur. Fibres of thoughts have entangled together and it is simply hopeless trying to detach them from each other, so I’ll let go.
Secondly, it’s the birthday of an important friend. We’ve had our trials and tribulations; stable beginnings, rocky middles, but I’m thankful that our flame is still going strong. You remind me of what it means to truly have a “low-maintenance” friendship, and your struggles allows me to question what is truly worth letting go.
Low Maintenance isn’t long stretches of silence with the expectation that the magic of the friendship has been protected from the forces of Change. Low Maintenance is an accumulation of small efforts, so small that it doesn’t even feel like an effort at it. It fits seamlessly into your daily routines, flows easily into your system like air rushing into your lungs and water trickling down your throat. The moment when you become conscious of your breathing, it gets difficult, somehow to breathe. Likewise, the moment you are conscious that the friendship is becoming an obligation, and there is a subtle friction between you and your friend, that’s the moment you should be aware that your friendship is far from the “low-maintenance” that you yearn for.
Be clear about what are excuses, what are priorities, and what are essential to your life. And sometimes, it might be hard to acknowledge, but understand that people place different values on top of their lists, and you have to forgive them. After all, it’s their life. It’s their loss.
Stay constant like the river in the currents of change. Keep going forward. Let go, let go, let go. Surrender to the crests and waves of the ocean. It takes you where it might, and you let it. Sometimes this is better than putting up futile fights – choose your battles and conserve your energy for things worth fighting for.
Five glass balls. We all have them, but we can’t possess all of them. At one point of time, it will become too heavy to hold in the capacity of your hands. Love, Friendship, Family, Career, Health. Which one would you willingly let go?
Lastly, 13 March is a day where I came to the revelation that the Universe sometimes throws you a curveball, without rhyme or reason. As much as you try to rationalise it, you simply can’t. The impact of the curveball may bring about intense pain and suffering, and you may feel like The Boy Who Cried Wolf; but take it all in stride.
Bad days all have 24 hours. When you wake up the next day, take pride in the fact that you’ve survived all your worst days so far.
Sometimes I hear the things that are coming out from my mouth, and I go ‘Oh my god, can you believe what you’re saying?’ Most of them are ridiculous, on hindsight, like the time when I complained about not being diagnosed with anything after all the pain I’ve endured and all the time I’ve spent waiting in the hospital. Then it struck me: God, please get a grip. It’s a blessing that there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s like you’re obsessed with a bad ending or anything.
Today I learnt that not everything needs a full stop. Not every question mark is followed by an answer. And that’s okay. The rules of English do not apply to the rules of Life, and the secrets of the Universe, and the mysteries in You.
“So many big questions, so small brain.” I’ve read this somewhere, and I laughed at that time, but it makes so much sense looking back, in all its simple, unrefined glory. Give your brain a break and stop wrestling with questions that don’t necessarily need an answer.
All in all (Yes, Jean, a wonderful, eloquent, totally-not-contrived way to conclude this musing), beginnings and conclusions are overrated. Focus and enjoy the process, because there is something to be learnt in the good and the bad. Choose what you want to fill yourself with – but do yourself a favour, and don’t pick any of the following: Friends that treat you like a task to be ticked off, Unnecessary worrying and resentment, Big Questions that are better left a mystery so that there is still some wonder left in the world to live for.
Song of the day: Bye // Cheeze
Quote of the day: “So many big questions, so small brain.” // The Memory of Light – Francisco X. Stork
Art of the day: Ruby Sparks // Screenplay by Zoe Kazan