I learnt that when I am stressed, I need to be in nature. And that usually means going on hikes, because all I need is my own legs. I don’t need other equipment like a boat, car, skis or whatnot. I am immersed in nature and I get to forget about everything and just be present.
Money can’t buy happiness
Everyone knows that. Money just makes life easier but it can never buy happiness. In the last 6 months of 2022, I was so busy at work and incredibly stressed that I spent many nights crying myself to sleep. It is the fastest way to reduce stress by allowing the chemical hormones regulate itself. To reduce stress, I’d buy ice cream, indulge in sinful food that happy Lisa wouldn’t touch, purchase things happy Lisa don’t care about. I knew I needed a real break to sit down, open my heart and reflect about what’s causing the stress. But since the marco market conditions were changing so fast, I feel like I am unable to afford the time to slow down and reflect. Instead, I went on tripes to nice resorts and villas, hoping to reduce stress. It only caused more unhappiness and frustration in me. It created even more anxiety (a topic I will talk about in the future, since I am just learning about it).
Finally, in the last week of the year, I forced myself to reflect and think. I guess my body knew that and I fell sick, spending more time in bed than ever. I even had to see a doctor and was prepared to see a cardiologist if it doesn’t get better. Allowing my mind to wander and slowing down because I literally could not do anything else, I came to a realisation that I knew what I needed. I need to be in nature. I need a hike, a trek, alone time with nature. And so, I got up from bed New Year’s morning, covered in cold sweat and recovering from my fever and starting writing down my breakthrough cycle and then started to look for a weekend hike so I can recover mentally and emotionally (instead of physically with medicine by the doctor). It took a couple of days, but I found the perfect place to be.
I decided to go to Sarawak, rented a car upon arrival and went off to the rainforests. I haven’t driven in ages, and I’m glad to be driving again, because when I drive alone, I start reflecting and engage in happy self-talk. Hanging out with me is really fun, and when I am alone and in my happy space, I am even weirder than ever. Anyway, I give myself some awesome prep talk when I drive, and sing terribly to entertain myself. (No idea how to connect spotify to the car.)
The next day, I went on a hike. It was a 4h round trip and seemed pretty easy. In hindsight, I should have (1) not gone alone, (2) actually that’s it. I’m pretty well prepared. The hike was tougher than I thought but it was always manageable, of course. There were lots of fallen trees with rotting logs that I have to go over. I also had to climb the various boulders and cross waterfalls. The boulders were huge and slippery, and my “golf” shoes were not the best for hiking. But whatever, I love the hard journey and see myself go through it.
I learnt that I love hiking because it is the time nothing matters. All my worries about the macro market is nothing in the grand scale of time. The trees continue to grow, and animals live their lives. Also, it is the time I have to take care of myself. I have to depend on me and really make sure I am okay. See, I am so used to taking care of others. I have to be hard on me so I can take care of others. All 2022, I was doing so much of that, and forgot about me. I forgot to take care of me. Finally, I make the space and time to take care of me. I feel safe and comfortable again. I feel me again. I feel like the me in 2015/16, where I was peak me. I was happy, relaxed, content and curious about exploring the world. 2017 onwards, I became focused on growing my professional life. It is all fine and good, I just love to rebalance my professional and personal growth more often. I came out feeling more alive than ever. I am genuinely so happy.
Fear and Laughter
Since I repeated this story like 10 times now, I no longer fear snakes the way I used to. I had a great fear before. And I realised it was because I find them really ugly. I fear them cause they’re ugly as hell. Why is this noodle sliding around. You can’t even walk or run. How stupid is that. That realisation made me laugh so much because it is so stupid and mean that I have less fear now.
Anyway, the hike was meant to see monkeys in the wild. Those that you only see in the zoos. Instead, I saw a fucking huge colourful noodle going pass me. I was shaking in fear, then when the noodle left, I screamed and I could hear my heartbeat in my ears. Then I calmed down and reflected on how ugly it is and couldn’t stop laughing.
Fear is something we create in our headspace. And we can always disarm those with laughter, for it is the best medicine. Then I kept saying “sorry I always hated you cause I thought you are ugly” as I hiked and reflected on the noodle.
I feel so grateful to be back to who I am right now. I am content, happy and open to what lies ahead. I forgot about being curious and I’m glad I got that back. I stopped being curious, especially in 2022. I’m glad to be back now. My friends were so worried before when we were chatting cause they could hear the sadness in my voice. Now, they can hear that I am back, and they are really happy for me. I’m grateful. Lisa’s back in her element. More great things to come!