For a new year
Roughly nine years ago, boarding the plane to SG from my home country after the new year holidays, not for the first time, but I remember I cried. I remember it was cold, it was dark. My flight was early in the morning, so to reach the airport on time, I had to wake up at 3 to catch a bus to airport. Each time like that, my mother would prepare both breakfast and lunch for me because she dislikes the unreasonable pricy food at the airport, my grandma would wake up also because she usually sleeps in front of the TV from 9PM the previous day, then she would give me fruits and milk. Then my mother would hold my niece — tiny, still sleeping soundly — in her arms and give her to me to hug her the last time before I go. She would then take the bus with me, and hug me to sleep on the bus. We would then be too early for the flight that we have to sleep on the bench waiting for the checkin counter to open. And I would cry my eyes out every single time that I have to walk pass the immigration gate and wave goodbye to my mother, there’s no “good” in that goodbye. Nine years ago, boarding that plane, I started to feel even lonelier than I had ever been, thinking how many times left will I still get to see my family, how many goodbyes more will I have to say.
New year Eve of 2021 and 2022 were probably the loneliest I’ve had. Last night was the new year eve of 2022, I wasn’t alone, but I was far away from home. I have been reading a few books at the same time, but nothing would help to sooth the loneliness and the burning out feeling from work and from the pandemic. In my despair, I picked up a book on Stoicism again, the book called “The Daily Stoic”, the page for the first day includes this Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This idea wasn’t at all new to me, nor it was the first time I’ve read this book, but somehow this time it soothes me a little. The road ahead seems to be still rough, the way home is still far, but there’s no need to weep, what I could do then was to sleep, or maybe I could read on a few more pages, then sleep, early.
I don’t like social media, I don’t like posing for photos or talking about what I eat last lunch. Not before, but only a few years recently. Well, I probably hate posing for photos ever since I was born (so Instagrams is always a No), but only 6 or 7 years ago, I started to dislike posting on social media. It happened as simple as this: I scrolled down the homepage for 2 mins and started counting: out of 30 posts or so, none of the posts is from my friends, or at least from the friends that I really care. Then 30 posts more, for the posts that are not advertisements, but from real humans, people are mostly showing off: someone shared they bought the first house — which would make their poor and less lucky friends sad and jealous, I think; other girl shared 50 careful edited photos of herself which make me wonder what message she’s trying to convey here; some others (eg: me) would share pictures from some latest trips (what was I thinking, what was the point? my pictures weren’t even artistic, they were merely for showing off, they would probably hurt my friends who didn’t have the time and money to travel — admit it, I would be happy for my friends who are lucky to have this and that, but it’s hard to avoid not feeling a bit depressed about what I can’t have, though I would mostly feel normal because I don’t care or don’t need. There are many reasons for being sad when looking at other people’s success, and they’re not necessary all bad, even having some insecurities isn’t wrong, it’s just part of growing up, which even at 30-something many of us are still growing up.). Well so in the end the good things here (mostly) are probably just cat videos and jokes from 9GAG. I did actually end up finishing a few online courses thanks to the advertisements and gathered few good information shared from my friends though.
What I am trying to say, is be more sensitive what you post on social media. What you post there could make other people sad, jealous, depressed, lonely, or could inspire people, or could make people closer to each other by sharing what you feel, or simply make knowledge flowed. Imagine in offline life, you would (probably?) never go to a group of good friends and shout out that you earn a lot of money or even hint about it (seriously, be humble and considerate, or you might not be invited again), but you would more likely want to share something funny, something inspiring, something sad that you need your friends’ care. Or you could write, write something meaningful, or something just to get it off your chest. Just be careful don’t hurt your dear friends.
For a new year and always, be kind.