The air-conditioning easily available in public libraries and shopping malls have long been taken for granted. Separated by the mere walls of this newfound safe haven, the PSI outside must be somewhere in the ‘Very Unhealthy’ range– the last day of prelims has brought me to the Tampines Public Library in a hopeful attempt to be with myself. Now that I think of it, I can barely recall the last time I typed in my iPad just because, not to search up answers to a mock paper or refer to an Atlantic article hopefully for insight before the General Paper examination, but just… because.
Thankful for this day faraway from home, I’m hoping to press ‘pause’ on this cassette tape of a journey towards A levels that has been running on inadvertent fast-forward. From the June holidays, a slow but steady detachment from all the things I have loved to do have been difficult, to say the least. I fail to find a word that accurately describes the challenging restraint that has been short of depression. I miss the days to the museums, the adventures to new places to eat and have fun, the days dedicated to just reading, the volunteerism that recalibrate my otherwise myopic lifestyle or the every other school day I learned in order to know more (and not to master the machine-like mechanics of computing tedious problems in record time). The quest for self-affirmation about my discipline has slowly transformed, evolving into a careful balancing act: one that comes with the wake up call from the cliche need for moderation.
It’s like walking on a tightrope, or treading the thin line that they so often speak of between polar opposites. This is the grey area of trying to do ‘just enough’ without suffering the brunt from the guilt of ‘too little’ or the anxiety of ‘too much’.
In no more than a week ago, I revisited the Esplanade for a brilliant night of country music, and walked through half the city, hoping to, in the words of a counsellor, “refill the beaker of energy that’s draining out, …fast”. Walking through the most beautiful lights I’ve seen growing up in Singapore, I tasted the uncertainty towards the promise of ‘more beautiful things’, ‘better places’ and ‘a good life’ that we exchange with whatever we are working so hard for (whatever that is). The familiar walk through the nighttime city-goers and the tireless tourists, with no less laughter than I had remembered was timely reminder of the bigger picture– that of the community around us, the home we are lucky to have and the people I am so thankful to have found.
Here’s to a little more than a month of balance, hold up and give me a couple of days to reframe.