I'm sitting here in my plush suite, staring at the Los Angeles skyline at sunset, fully aware of my privilege. But it is privilege well-earned, so I accept it and allow myself to bask in the moment.
I'm on Day 33 of a 5-week long vacation, again something that I feel deeply grateful about. After 21 months of being isolated on a 25*25 km island, and taking not a single day off from work in the entire year (what's the point if you have nowhere to go, right?), I have welcomed travel with open arms. And the world has welcomed me in return.
But, a pause allows one to relook at things that become habit. And isolation did the same for me when it comes to travel. I can't rush around every month anymore. So when I do travel, I see the world with new eyes. I notice more. Shiny yet rough in parts. I relish in the joy of walking along paths untrodden, finding hidden new restaurants in a city that I don't call home, and yet I clutch my purse close and keep my eyes open as I navigate the relatively rougher neighbourhoods that Singapore has kept me bubble-wrapped from.
I traverse a country that media painted as irresponsible, and find that everyone's wearing masks and is triple vaccinated. I visit homes of very dear but ageing family members where I have always been pampered silly as a child, and realise that it is now my time to pamper them. I spend time with cousins, nephews and family I meet every 5 years or so and find solace that we still have a connection, we get along despite the people we keep transforming into as life goes on.
After wandering through beaches and vineyards, cosmopolitan cities and quaint towns, as the year wraps up, I finally make my way towards that which is most important. I end the year in the arms of my people, divided by oceans, united by pieces of our soul that fit together like a jigsaw. And I realise that at the end of the day, family is all that matters. The privilege is great, but I can live without. The rush of travel, the joy of food, the beauty of nature, everything pales, and all that truly stays are people.
As I step into 2022, I take along with me this slow-mo perspective on life. For now, I'm done rushing. Pause. Reflect. Rethink - this is what I take into the new year with me. To see things with a bird's eye view... take time to rethink things I continue to do out of momentum. Pick and choose. Conserve my energy, my time. Do only what gives me pleasure. Meet only those to whom I matter. Take care of my health, my sanity, and my family. And do work that makes me happy. Stop living on auto-pilot. Be present.
They say new year resolutions are usually followed for an average of 21 days. Let's see how this goes.