• Squid Wan

How to slow down? Singapore leh.

When we have enough, we want more. And we want it fast. We are constantly exposed to "rich" lifestyles and the demographic is getting younger. Gucci now sells Doraemon goods, what more can I say? This guy is wearing a USD 1,950 jacket. No biggie.

In a world where the younger generation is expected to have it made, loaded and not fail or speak about failure, sure. No wonder mental health is deteriorating, unusual behaviours and suicides are rising, and those who are not in a toxic capitalistic culture rat race mania are protesting for a better world. They are also supposed to dance for TikTok, be business owners, be activists and be financial and tech-savvy, juggling everything like a pro, and still be expected to have healthy relationships, adequate sleep and look fashionable in branded garments they cannot afford or alternatively look dope in "thrift-store" clothes. Some would argue that every generation had to go through a similar struggle of sorts, but I disagree. What this current generation and basically anyone alive has to deal with is way more demanding than previous generations except for the generation who had to experience world war 2, plagues and holocausts. Am I exaggerating? Maybe.

Right. Why did I start off this article talking about the woes the younger generation have to go through? TikTok is starting to affect me, I guess. I think of my nephews and nieces, my friends' children and I want to contribute to creating a better world for them to grow older in. Recently, an ex-colleague's son lost his battle to mental health struggles. It broke me, I felt heavy for days, and it has kept the fire in me lit (unfortunately, keeping me up at night) to do and create more for mental health awareness. My generation and the generations above me are more resilient, but only because we are known to sweep our problems under rugs and max out our credit cards living on leverage while pursuing instant gratification and virtual validation. Not many are willing to slow down, or even get into the conversation of mental health or to question outdated practices that no longer serve us. Most of us, really do not have the time. Juggling children, careers, our elders, and keeping our finances afloat, we are trapped wondering what other upgrades in life we need, a new house, a new car, this and that new gadget... and HOW to make more MONEY. Collectively, we need to slow down. Let me tell you a story (about me of course)...

2012, I tried to take my life after a breakup. She cheated on me with someone she met at a friend's farewell party, and that someone ended up harassing me with text messages claiming how my ex never loved me. It was peculiar but now I understood why. She probably had some inner personal issues, and I was an easy target because then I had lack the self-love to stop people from stepping on my head. Anyway, after I popped too many pills in complete darkness (my room), I stepped out to get some water to wash them down, and that's when I saw my grandma, who was sitting in front of the TV watching the 8 o'clock news smile at me. It was no ordinary smile, because of the pills I had ingested, my vision was fudged up. Her head was floating dreamily above her regular sized body and her smile was wide like a Chesire cat and that's when I snapped out of my doomed trance, ran to the toilet and barf everything out. I was 27 then and I promised myself that I would never do such a thing ever, because my grandma, the woman who loved me unconditionally and had brought me up, did not deserve to feel the pain of losing a granddaughter. This is where my journey to achieving better mental health started.

2016, 2 ex-girlfriends later, living off maxed-out credit cards paying for my "party" lifestyle and an almost failing part-time degree, I felt like a complete loser, again. Instead of ending it all, because I promised I won't ever, I went off the grid to compose myself and heal. It was only then that I discover the concept of self-love. I also rebuilt my finances again, bit by bit.

2019, 1 more ex-girlfriend to the collection. I thought I was doing better, I thought no one could ever step on my head, I thought that in the last 2 years, I had built enough self-love to break the pattern of toxic relationship misgivings. This last one was the most unfortunate. She was a class act. She betrayed my trust, took my money, strung me along while she was with someone else, lied over and over and over again, and by the time I finally came to my senses, she had wiped out all of my savings, broke me into pieces, and unremorsefully moved on to her next "love". I struggled with rebuilding my mental health, I struggled with coming to terms with the money I never got back.

2020, instead of taking my time to heal, I pushed myself to earn back all of the money I lost. And then Covid-19 came along and spared no one. By June, I lost 80-90% of my income. Once again, I was miserable, I could not achieve my 35-year-old goals. I had wanted to own a house and buy a used car to replace the one I was scrapping. I was bitter, angry and depressed. So, I went for therapy. My first ever therapy. It wasn't great, in fact, I left the room feeling heavy and it did not help that my therapist didn't seem like she cared much. However I did leave with a few realisations; I was told that I was experiencing a surge of anxiety, that I was always reacting on the extremes of the spectrum, that I had to be more patient with myself, forgive myself, be okay with being in the in-between and I needed to slow down.

So this is me, slowing down. Taking time out to journal my thoughts on this blog, and thinking of you, the one person I hope to reach, hoping that by reading my words you feel less alone and more empowered to also slow down and focus on You.

Have compassion for others and love yourself,


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