17 Aug i’m fully vaccinated! (or not…) and some thoughts on LIFE, being NOT SPECIAL
As of Aug 13, 2021, I’m a fully vaccinated being! 🙂
Well, at least to the clinics, because I would no longer be expecting another jab from them. My status now is “waiting to take effect”.
To the country I live in, it takes 2 weeks for me to be an officially vaccinated person because only then would all the effects of the vaccine kick in and I’d be safe enough to dine in enclosed spaces and air-conditioned rooms. I can still roam around malls and dine in at hawker centers (read: open-air spaces) till then of course, so no complaints from me. Anyway, this 2-weeks wait makes me really excited for the day that I can actually dine in restaurants because I’d then feel like I actually “earned” the right to mingle with the rest of my vaccinated pals. I hope this makes sense to the rest of you.
So it’s d+3 after my second jab and I’m feeling slightly okay, but only with the help of my Panadol extra. It seems like the second jab brought along stronger side effects like fever, body aches, swelling, and headaches that feel like horrible migraines, which is far worse than my first jab where I only felt body aches on the left side of my body. Generally still okay with no rashes and high fever so I’m glad this is the worst it’ll ever be.
Since I had the time to rest and recuperate, I’ve been doing some thinking which I wouldn’t normally have the time to if I was “busy” with life (“busy” in my context is not exactly true since I’ve been freer than I’d ever been since starting uni but I can’t think of any other words to replace the idea of having “filled my time with” something so let’s make do with “busy”). So yes, I’ve been thinking, because I’ve been listening to more strangers online talk and discuss the different and little facets of life.
To give some context, my brother recently signed my family up for YouTube Premium and the cynic in me originally thought I would have zero use for it because watching YouTube had always been a recreational and casual activity for me, not exactly an activity I would put my money down for. But he offered to pay the monthly subscription (which allowed premium access for up to 6 accounts iirc) so I gladly handed my email over. And to my surprise, this premium access allowed YouTube videos to play in the background, which I thought was really cool, so I decided to give it a go while commuting. Today I listened to Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, summarise his own NY Times Best-Selling book in 30-odd minutes. (btw isn’t every other book a NY Times bestseller lol)
There were a few lessons that I can briefly recall from the top of my head. I’ll try to be accurate in my description but I’ll be using my own words because paraphrasing helps me understand my thoughts better haha.
Lesson #1: The reason why you worry about what others think of you is because you have nothing better to worry about.
Absolutely valid. In his other video How To Stop Caring About What Other People Think, he gave the analogy of saving a baby in a building that was on fire. The premise of the analogy being that we’d still rush in to save the baby in the burning building because it was the right thing to do, regardless of what other people had to think or say. In this short example, he illustrated how humans would react if we only cared about what mattered strongly to us, and not every little perspective people had of us. But that isn’t to say we dissociate completely and become sociopaths. In fact, humans from eons ago could only survive when situated in tribes, so we must by some way be connected to other humans emotionally and physically. So how do we balance this dilemma of needing social interaction, approval, and belonging with the fear of what others think of us? Manson answers that it’s down to the things you stand for, or in his words, give a fuck about. The more detailed and precise you are about the handful of important things you give a fuck about, the less likely you are to give two shits about the smaller things, like whether your coworkers liked that comment you made in the afternoon, or whether the cashier felt pissed off when you held up the queue because you insisted on digging for your 20 cents coin.
Essentially, pick the things you want to worry about, so other things matter less.
Lesson #2: “Happiness” is not a destination because your definition of happiness changes over time.
This is a phrase I’ve heard one too many times but only fully registered this time round. So basically we shouldn’t pursue happiness as an end goal because we often attach different things to “happiness”. For instance, at age 23, we might think happiness = having a stable job, drawing a 6k salary a month, and going on staycations every 2 months. Fair enough, these things do make me and certainly some of my peers very happy at this age. But at age 28, I’m not absolutely certain if my criteria for happiness are still the same. Would I still want to draw 6k, or do I want to be drawing perhaps… 8k? Do I want to be going for staycations every 2 months when I should, like my friends on IG, go on staycations every 2 weeks? You know, small little fluctuations in numbers like these can certainly make or break my “happiness”, which then begs the question – is “happiness” what I’m really going for?
Another way to understand this would be to imagine yourself saying “If only xx happened, then I’ll be happier”. I’d be lying if I said I never spoke to myself this way. In fact, this was always how I justified what happiness meant to me, that a certain event had to happen in order for me to feel the full effect of “happiness”. The conditions of my idea of “happiness” were constantly changing because I had no idea what happiness stood for in my life. I was in some ways obsessed with pursuing this notion of happiness just like everybody else that I’d willingly attach materialistic gains as a semblance of “happiness”.
So tl;dr, happiness can’t possibly be an end goal for me at least, because I am too volatile and my idea of happiness changes way too often.
Lesson #3: You’re not THAT special.
I feel like too many of us, we were told, educated, instilled by people around us, that we were born to do special things, something earth-shattering, life-changing, epoch-making. To the people who said that to me while I was growing up, unfortunately, this is not happening, and I sincerely hope you were not at some point convinced enough to live a life like this.
So PSA, you’re not special. I’m not special, you’re not special, and we live a big part of our lives doing boring things like doing household chores and settling bills so let’s be conscious enough to acknowledge that and not forcefully believe we have to make massive changes in the world in order to validate our existence on earth.
Rather than explain why we’re not special, I’ll explain what is it that hoodwinked us into feeling special in the first place. Asides from the deceitful adults who have wilfully ingrained in us this “you’re special” narrative, Manson blames it on our use of social media for all its promotion of exceptionalism, consumer-centric culture. I think I felt less of it from Facebook because back in the days, I mostly used the platform to play games like Pet Society to interact with my friends after school. This effect was more prominent during the heydays of IG when you would feel compelled to share and edit your photos, earn likes, comments, and repeat the whole process. It was a whole identity-affirming process to get people to “agree” with your actions and celebrate your absolute uniqueness, pretty pose, or witty caption. All these actions when done collectively by a generation make it seem acceptable when it shouldn’t be the case.
Manson goes on to talk more about the concept of entitlement, of how people on either ends of feeling special, either as a narcissist or victim, go on to lead entitled lives because of their belief of how “special” they are.
To this end, I’d say it’s one thing to feel like you’re capable of making change, and another thing to sincerely believe you were born to make change. One deals with competency and capability that can be learnt and built, while the other deals with delusion.
I’ll be ending my post here cos it’s almost midnight and I’m rebuilding my sleeping schedule. Something about circadian rhythm and habits. I’ll be back soon (I PROMISE REALLY) and I hope to deliver more insightful stuff lol. Ciaos!