Just Be

Monday, October 31, 2016

Initially published this piece on the day of writing (31 October), but took it down a while later because I thought it was way too convoluted for something with no real purpose. But I actually really like this... and I need to stop thinking that others will judge me for my writing so here it is again. Also just realized that my hesitation is completely going against the concept of "just being". How ironic. 

Today played out strangely well. 

Oh, and please be warned that this post is not going to be very coherent... as of now I don't actually have any clear purpose for being here and writing this. I simply want to. 

It's 11.51pm as I type this sentence, and who knows what time it'd be when I'm done with this blog post. (I'll be sure to include it at the end, if anyone's even... well, interested) I have an 8am class tomorrow so being here is probably not the smartest move either. But sometimes the worst ideas you form in your head - the ones you constantly dismiss - end up being the best ones in reality, if you actually muster enough courage to carry them out. 

So, hello. Somehow, I have this strong, compelling urge to describe how my day went. "Oh, Li Yin, nobody cares," my left brain - the sleepy one - is trying to tell me. While it's probably right, hey, what's the point of an urge if you don't satisfy it? 

Just like tomorrow, I had an 8am lesson today, with a graded presentation to boot. Truth be told, I'm a morning person (yes, I'm not really nineteen... I'm a granny) and don't actually dread early classes unlike most of my peers - in fact, I find myself a lot more energetic for these lessons as opposed to the mid-afternoon ones. 

That aside, my groupmates and I decided to meet at 7.45am to practice our presentation. We chanced upon the perfect quiet spot - a tiny room located beside the stairwell, reminiscent of a janitor's closet (not that I've seen one myself, and not that Singapore calls our janitors janitors). This strange room was labelled "fire exit" but if it was really up to me, I'd call it the Room of Requirement (cue Harry Potter music). It was just right for what we needed at that point in time. 

As we were rehearsing, I decided to pull the door shut... without realizing that there wasn't a door handle from the inside of the room. (Seriously, what kind of strange room were we in?) That meant we - or I -  basically locked ourselves in this claustrophobia-inducing place. I couldn't stop laughing at my own stupidity... although right now I can't remember and desperately would like to know if my groupmates were laughing with me then. Thankfully, one of our classmates walked past the room, spotted us, and saved us all. The whole situation was hilarious and I couldn't stop smiling throughout the lesson at the sheer thought of what just occurred.

The lesson, and our presentation went by quickly. Quick and painless. As did the lecture that followed. 

Then, I headed to the arts canteen to meet my long-time best friend for lunch together. Despite being in the same school, it took us three whole months to realize we should take advantage of our geographical proximity to meet. We talked and laughed before making our way to YIH to grab Starbucks. I'm not that huge a fan of Bux, but if they are marketing one-for-one promotions, accompanying Christmas vibes and cosy wood furniture, I'd gladly order a Peppermint Mocha. 

We spent the next four hours there and I'm not sure if it was the caffeine (that I usually try to abstain from) but I was being surprisingly productive and accomplished more than I did over the past weekend, workload wise. 

The happy vibes lasted through my very smooth journey home (the peak hour was over by then!), and I was really looking forward to not needing to do any more work for today. As I walked home, I was struck by the calming quality of the night and made the unlikely decision to go for a late-night jog. For anyone who doesn't know me personally, note that this is extremely out of character, and I have actually not gone jogging since A Levels ended.

"Jog? Am I hearing things?" my brother laughed.  

"Eh, someone say you fat ah?" my mother expressed the same disbelief, not convinced I would do it on my own accord. 

I took the same route as I did during a period of time in J2 when I actually made the effort to exercise daily. It felt familiar yet distant - I've actually missed jogging. Or maybe I was just missing that particular period of my life. Halfway through, my path was obstructed by the appearance of a pasar malam, which got me very excited. Do allow me to contextualize this. After moving to my new neighbourhood, a relatively young estate, more than two years ago, I've never seen any pasar malams around. And I have actually lamented about its absence from my life more than once. 

There's just something about pasar malams that appeal strongly to me. The primitive concept of a completely random pop-up of carnival rides, food stalls and shops hawking mattresses and bolsters is so novel. (Also, come on, don't you wonder who actually buys those mattresses considering they are always a permanent feature at night markets? Well, I do.) Pasar malams are always bustling with life and activity, and never fail to bring out the kid in me (I still enjoy eating cotton candy... just something about its texture). 

I diverted from my usual jogging route, not before making a mental note to properly visit the night market sometime this week. And of course, I ended my short session at a little exercise corner with a couple of sit-ups, as I used to do. After every set of twenty, I'd lie flat and stare into the sky. It's such an amazing feeling staring into the vast, open darkness (occasionally dotted with twinkling stars... or more possibly their more unromantic cousin - satellites) and feeling so awfully small... yet so present. Being aware of my own existence in this huge world is something that I don't think about often enough, but whenever I do, I'd usually find a newfound appreciation of life, and I'd marvel at it.  

It was a great day.   

And I feel like I should attribute this to my unconscious adoption of the state of just being. I didn't intend to have such a mindset, it just happened to be the best way I found to describe the way I lived today. 

No doubt, it's an abstract concept. But in my own personal understanding, I see it as a way of living in the moment and making the most out of that single moment, without fear or excessive concern over what's to come next. And I hope to keep this in mind. 

It's exactly 1.30am now and somehow my entire family has been awoken by the heavy rain. Snooze time for me though. Goodnight. 

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