happiness is simple

On days it is difficult to remember, I want to try regardless. Happiness is as simple as

  • a restocked pantry with a container full of milo powder
  • a text message from a person you love
  • hugging your stuffed animals
  • having good nasi kukus ayam berempah
  • sipping bubble tea at the side of the road
  • eating a home-cooked meal with family
  • bubblegum sunset skies
  • a cat that rubs itself against your calf
  • remembering to breathe

Look. You were happy once, and you’ll be happy again. Some adjust quicker than others, but some cry many nights before finding home. A colleague at work told me that he still doesn’t feel at home here – it’s been more than a year, and that’s okay.

When I left London, I feared I won’t ever be as happy as I was back then. To some extent, I still feel the same. But I’m trying not to. I’m trying to be okay. And that may take time. But I’ll find it soon enough.

end points

I’ve been thinking a lot about end points lately. The end of a drawn line, or the end of a road, or the end of a dream, or the end of a life. With abruptness, it felt as though I was pulled back into reality. Can we accurately identify end points in our relationships? When did we stop talking? When did your eyes stop seeking mine? When did we stop enjoying each other’s company? When did we start scrolling past each other’s names in our contact lists? When did we stop replying to each other’s messages? When did we stop?

When I asked my friend whether he’d miss me next year when I’m no longer in London, he said no. He said something along the lines of “Maybe will think of you occasionally lo, but like that only”. Of course, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel sad. There was a slight tinge of palpable sadness at the statement, but also overwhelming understanding. He is right after all. Emotions are fleeting. What we feel so intensely in this very moment is something that would eventually fade away as we concentrate on what is right in front of us. That’s just human nature, that’s just a survival mechanism. After all, we’d drown in the intensity of past emotional baggage.

I hate the fact that I am unable to “live in the present”. I find the entire concept of “living in the present” an artificial one. It discounts the importance of the past and its relevance to the future – feels like an irresponsible way to live, by narrowing your perspective to just consider life in this very second. To have full awareness of life in its entirety – what a full experience, what an all-encompassing way to live. Every second passed becomes the past and every movement of the clockhand births the future. Yet how incredibly sad, to be in constant mourning.

Sometimes I think about the past and I feel sad for not feeling sad. There’s a sense of nostalgia which separates your present self from your past self, and you can never truly embody the feelings past you had felt so intensely anymore. The moment came, and the moment died, and you are left wondering – “what happened? I am, surprisingly, happy now. And this happiness doesn’t even include the people I thought I could never be happy without”. The person you are at every single point in time dies as time moves forward – the existence of the self is not a continuous event. There are no constants to be had.

There is a tension between past you’s desires and present you’s preoccupations – past you never wanted to let go of what her perception of the present was and yet present you understands that it has passed and you have more current happiness to concentrate on. There is only one way to bring the past into the present, and that is through ongoing desire. But how rare it is to find such ongoing desire. I have so many people I wish to love endlessly, if only they would love me back – I’d never let them fade into the past.

But – we’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time. And that’s okay. I’ll still love for however short a time we still have with each other.

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Turning my feelings into a controlled zone.

ice kacang days

It’s all everyone is talking about – it’s been snowing in London. It’s already spring – but it’s been snowing in London. The days have been very cold, the kind of cold that seeps into your bones and turn all roads into ice – danger for the body and danger for the soul. But I have been so happy, the kind of happy that transcends words.

There is something so honest about the snow, in how you can see the movement of people in the footprints they leave behind, in the all-encompassing purity of the blanket of white that descends under the cover of the night – and how it leaves just as silently as it came, melting away in the warm glow of the after-storm and in its wake, washes away a layer of dirt on everything it touches. The immense and unrelenting cold only amplifies the warmth I find in friendship. From the endless laughter of silly jokes, to quiet nights philosophising about life – I am so lucky to be alive.

Bryan called these days as “ice kacang days”. He was probably referring to the snow, but it made me think of sweetness and contrast and simplicity. The sweetness of the company I’m blessed with, the contrast of cold and warmth, the simplicity of ABC and how simple the things which make me happy are – good company, hot food, nights in playing card games, stupid jokes. A friend once commented that he likes the transition from cold to warm the most, the converse is just less satisfying. I have been living that transition every day, and I am so grateful to be surrounded by such good people.

I came home at nearly 1am yesterday, and I started crying – I was so happy, just so, so happy. This pure, undiluted joy – as pure and honest as the snow, as simple as ice kacang.

p.1 cover pagep.2 what is ice kacang.jpgp.3 the beginning.jpgp.4 possibilities.jpgp.4b dancingp.5 song jun throwing snowball.jpgp.6 snowball fights.jpgp.7 hasan snowballp.8 chicken wings.jpgp.9 bryan snowman.jpgp.10 bryan head.jpgp.12 bob.jpgp.11 snow beaverp.13 snow bae.jpgp.x i am so happy.jpgp.xii conclusion.jpgp.xiii i can't wait for the future.jpg