It takes me, on average, 2-3 months before I get wind of a social media trend or news. My other family members who still have active social media accounts are the ones who would clue me in on it. I was at a work-related conference on AI recently and the guy I was speaking with was asking me what life without having a regular social media account feels like. It was during that moment in the conference where people were exchanging Linkedin profiles that I realized how differently I use my internet connection now. I guess I finally attained the JOMO state (and flipped the FOMO state), short for the joy of missing out.

I was right beside a lake and a volcano last weekend, and I saw this lovely sign which encapsulates what I do with the time I regained after I ditched my doomscrolling habit. These lake rules are also my daily life rules now:

Life Rules, Not Just Lake Rules

The most common remark I get is this: “It must be hard. How do people still get a hold of you?”

Surprisingly, it was not hard at all once I settled into the groove of being a hermit. Because the people who actually wanted to find me, managed to track me down through many other ways. The ones who were able to stay on respected my need for prolonged periods of peace and quiet and did not judge me for being missing in action for so long. I am deeply grateful for their indulgence. I realized that I could have that much room in my soul for silence and deep work and I will not lose the fiercest and dearest of my loved ones in the process. The people who are meant to enrich your life and love you will not judge you harshly even if you take an unconventional route to things.

I had adjusted to my new digital behavior. I did realize though that I have not really been living up to my commitment to update this website regularly with stuff I am learning, exploring, and building. I still have that desire to write tutorials on various technologies and learn in public.

It’s time to change that energy and switch it to a paradigm where “I can regularly make time for this no matter how busy I get.” I am in a much better place, and it was not in small part to the last 2 years where I had been trying to be more mindful and enriching my inner world with soul-sustaining activities. It’s almost 4 years of meditation practice and I am happy with the changes that manifested outwardly in time. I still slip back into toxic habits from time to time but most days, I am able to be self-aware and lovingly steer myself back to Love. My daily meditation practice ensures that I stay aware and grounded.

2024 customary proof of life

It was March 2023 when I decided to kill all my social media accounts, effectively making this blog the only tiny window or public digital space where I park my thoughts. For the people who still manage to talk to me regularly, I give the impression that I am very open. Contrary to that notion, I have turned into an almost recluse. Few people only truly know me in the truest sense. The Cal Newport deep work protocols is now part of my daily life, I have daily personal metrics to monitor my productive hours, and I have stopped eating rice daily since June last year. I replaced my rice with shredded carrots immersed in apple cider vinegar and sought out alternative carb sources for energy. Curbing my sweet tooth is a much longer road, but I am getting there. Mindfully, I make tiny daily choices to do what’s best and what’s aligned with the things I want for my life.

I still write regularly on paper, with as much as my time can allow. I’d use my modestly growing collection of fountain pens and washi tape to document bits and pieces of my life so that my children can grow up looking at how I viewed the world when they were growing up.

Journaling for Grounding

I used to write profusely using a Panda ballpoint pen as a high school girl. That time, it was mostly for survival. These days, I found my favorite fountain pens and the nice paper but I literally fight for the time to write even a single paragraph especially on extra demanding days. This month, I had the fortune of trying to use a fountain pen during an international flight (I had been usually afraid that the ink converter will explode mid-air during a flight, so I never ventured to use my pens there.) and discovered this to be a good time to collect my thoughts and reflect.

Journaling for Grounding

I find pockets of solitude in writing and traveling such as these as a saving grace, a way to solidly anchor the rest of the day. There will always be a business meeting, there will always be something to do as a parent, there will always be a place for me to go, and there will always be a new skill for me to learn or a new rabbithole of hobby to chase. The moment I accepted to be complete in the incomplete was the moment I started to truly live.

I owe myself these strategically crafted breaks, slow minutes where I can just briefly stare at a sky full of stars, or take in the sights and sounds of a strange city. I had this particularly intense set of business meetings but before I dive deep into the work tasks, I took a very tiny window of time to explore a new place and just enjoy a little me time. I will not be guilty with taking these moments because these are the tiny moments that allow me to savor my humanity. In these moments, I tell myself internally: “You are not your job, you are not your roles in society, and you are not just a physiological body. You are a soul and your soul thrives in being and in beauty.”

A Slow Afternoon in Marina Bay Sands

Occasionally I still hear people asking me what happens to my kids when I am on business travel. I realized that I can never give my personal best as a parent to my little kids if I am not happy or fulfilled. I needed to embody genuine soul work and fulfillment for my kids so that they will not grow up seeking validation or approval elsewhere in the world when they grow up. They also have to exist in a household where a woman’s professional dreams may not necessarily have to take a backseat. I am not conventional, not in this side of the world, and maybe not even in other parts of the world. And I am perfectly okay with that. I am perfectly okay with being who I needed to be under the terms that resonate the most with what my soul longs to do.

Organically, I hope to find time to squeeze in my soul in between typed words on this blog, in the same beautiful and effortless way that this purple flower blooms and calmly sits atop a still pond.

A Purple Flower in Marina Bay Sands