on-going mostly unedited stream of thoughts

out of control

I don’t know about other people, but my relationship with life is as though I’m in an abusive relationship. I feel like I am always walking on eggshells, I am almost fearful when it seems nice to me, and I don’t know when it is next going to rear its ugly head.

Perhaps I lived through a similar life with plenty of other people, but I have always been exceptionally sensitive to its effects on me. Other people seem better at shrugging things off, whereas I dwell, and everything that happened in the past makes me afraid of the future.

We’re having an Omnicron surge in Singapore right now, suddenly tripling our cases from 5K+ to 13k+ in a day. There is a narrative that it is mild, but everyday I read about people who suffered devastating consequences despite being tripled vaxxed.

I worry about my loved ones everyday. I try to nag at them to practice social distancing more prudently, but it has been more than two years. How can I expect them to keep postponing their social activities? I am pretty hermitish, and I am tired myself, much less people with actual social needs. I resent that I could not even properly enjoy a chinese new year reunion dinner without calculating potential transmission probabilities in my head. I get upset looking at photos of reunion dinners in pre-covid years, where something as simple as eating with my parents in a carefree manner is no longer available to me. There is the worry about Covid, and then there is the wondering about how many reunion dinners are left for me.

So it is entirely understandable that people want to believe Omnicron is “just a flu”. They would rather gather with their loved ones and risk catching it. I too, want to believe that, but my internet habits are not allowing me to do so.

Every day I subconsciously brace myself for the worst. I am not sure when would be the last time I see a person. Externally everything seems like the same. I go on the same routines and live as though almost nothing has changed, but once in a very short while I get a stark reminder that everything has changed.

But I try to remind myself of the inherent impermanence of life, that there are many things out of my control. We can all do our best, and things still fail tragedies still happen. There is a sort of cold-blooded cruelty about life that most people have learnt to ignore, but I feel it everywhere. There is also beauty, love and joy – but me being me, I wonder if it is all worth it in the end.

The other day I was reading and I came across this quote:

I think that our human organism was designed to take in only so much suffering. For tens of thousands of years we lived in small tribes or villages that had maybe one or two hundred people. But now, through the media, we’re bombarded with much broader human suffering. To cope with that and live a life of freedom and happiness, we need extraordinary help, extraordinary medicine.

Source: The Mind’s Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation by multiple authors | link

It is quite thought-provoking to consider what we are actually exposed to in this day and age compared to our ancestors just a couple of generations ago. Perhaps without the internet I would be a lot less anxious about the virus and overall I’ll be a much happier person, instead of reading things like this:

Is the attitude of “ignorance is bliss” a better way of existing? Is knowing the truth and seeing reality as it is really that important? I don’t have firm views on this anymore, compared to my younger days when my belief in truth was absolute.

These days I take the view of: “do whatever it takes to survive life and make the most out of it with as little harm as possible to others and yourself”. I guess everyone has to weigh their priorities. Maybe to some people spending time with their loved ones is more important than long-term health – I can’t fault that, perhaps as long as everyone is willing?

I am not sure when I’ll tire of avoiding the virus myself. I just want to have a meal with my family. But I know I won’t be able to forgive myself if I pass on the virus and things are all mild and dandy for me, but not for them. Neither do I want to risk chronic issues arising from the virus, since I am already having chronic issues of my own.

But I also know we can do our best and still suffer the fate I most want to avoid. Such is life, though. This is the price we have to pay for living: to endure the beauty that comes with the fragility of moments.

3 thoughts on “out of control”

  1. Em says:

    “…but my relationship with life is as though I’m in an abusive relationship.”

    This resonates really strongly with me. I often try to quash this feeling because it feels defeatist/self-pitying (and elicits nothing but condescension from others when I express it out loud), but it always comes back to haunt my thoughts. I think about the suffering I am exposed to (and that I have been a cause of!) and it does make me feel hopeless, though not necessarily in a bad way (if that makes sense). When I can be honest with myself about these kinds of things, I think I can “see” a little clearer than before.

    I’ve been reflecting on this (i.e., hope in a world of suffering) a lot over the past several days and it is comforting to stumble across another person who has also thought deeply about this. Thank you for sharing.

    P.S. Maybe you know the short story “Those Who Walk Away from Omelas”? What do you think of it?

    1. Winnie says:

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Also glad to know I’m not alone in these thoughts.

      Yes, I know about “Those Who Walk Away from Omelas”. My partner actually made a painting that was inspired by that story:

      Personally I am disturbed by the existence by the world’s Omelas and also the Omelas in my own life, but I also recognise historical and systemic influences on the whole and there are many things out of my control.

      1. Emma says:

        Thank you for your reply, and for sharing your partner’s painting! I love the whimsical styling of the city. It’s very evocative.

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