Every year end, I would invite the Hubs to pen his thoughts on the year that has passed. Here’s his review on 2022.
Photo: Cozying up at Queenstown New Zealand. June 2022
We all lamented the opportunities lost when the world came to a Covid stand-still in early 2020. But what were the first few things you did when Singapore and the world started reopening?
Since the passing-away of my late father 38 years ago while I was still 13, I have always lived with the reality that tragedy can strike any time and I should not take life for granted. The pandemic has brought this reality home – it has shown me the stark reality that these sudden events at the global events can also impact us swiftly, significantly and personally.
Photo: On ‘top of the world’, New Zealand. June 2022
As I review 2022 and look forward to 2023, I thought about how the pandemic has influenced my perspectives and priorities in these key areas of my family life:
Spouse – The Last Lap.
We celebrated our 21st and 22nd wedding anniversary during the global pandemic lock-down. My wife commented during this year’s wedding anniversary, that just in a blink of an eye, we have crossed 20 years together and if God-willing, she would really love to have another 22 years and more together as husband and wife. That would mean by God’s grace if we can be alive and well together till our 70s. Truth is, we are soon entering the last quarter of our lives together.
Photo: First couple trip to Spain. Photo taken at Monserrat Spain. Dec. 2021
Marriage and parenting are also wrought with challenges. While we struggle to build a home and career together, I must remember to cherish the ‘us’ that first built this life together.
When the Vaccination Travel Lanes (VTL) were opened, we did the ‘unthinkable’ – we went on our very first solo couple trip to spectacular Spain in Dec 2021. Risk adverse me have always deferred going on overseas couple trips as I do not wish to ‘orphan’ our kids should anything happen but since the kids are slightly older and more independent now, I reckon I can seize the moment to cherish couple time more.
Photo: Taking some time out from the kids at Penang. Sept. 2022
Going forward, I have scheduled time into our hectic days for each other. Evening walks, bedtime talks, weekend breakfast dates or just going on long drives in between parent chauffeur duties, we need each other in our later years as much, or perhaps even more, than in our earlier years.
Video: Stealing some time out from the kids in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Dec. 2022
Never since World War 2 has the world seen so many challenges at so many levels – climate change, wars, economic recession etc… The pandemic has shown that these global challenges do not discriminate – they hit you just the same whether you’re an adult or a child.
Photo: Clearing Jurong Lake with the family’s Canoeist. July 2022
The kids are growing up fast and furious while the world is getting more VUCA. As parents, we try not to molly-coddle our kids. I am convinced to ‘up the ante’ to prepare my kids for this complex world through nurturing a greater sense of self-efficacy – the ability to start something, follow-through and respond to its outcome come what may. It’s a great way to nurture self-ownership, resilience, and self-confidence in our children.
To that end, the eldest has followed me to work since a year ago during her school holidays helping with office admin work. This holiday, she started working part-time at a friend’s restaurant, serving customers, cleaning tables, clearing dishes. All these over and above her canoe training and being out there on the waters when the yearly monsoon rain rains down on her. Tough but she seems to be relishing it.
Photo: A weekend tradition: Cleaning our own car. 2022
The boy too has had his fair share of challenges in doing more housework, making his own decisions in his daily routines and in his school life etc.
Photos: Learning sewing from Grandma. Sept. 2022 Penang.
Going forward, I am even more convinced that beyond just my presence, I should continue to engage my children more meaningfully through activities that nurture their self-efficacy.
Photo: On a heritage trail. Katong. August, 2022
“Strap the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others.”
We are all familiar with this instruction that is part of a passenger aircraft’s emergency procedure. In some ways, it has some profound truths. The pandemic lock-down saw me turn from 49 to 50 and then 51 years of age.
Just before the global pandemic, I was battling obesity and coping with the onset of depression. In a bid to lose weight, I exerted myself, ironically with the ‘help’ of a personal trainer and tore my right hamstring meniscus.
Photo: At Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Dec. 2022 Always love travelling to World Heritage Sites with the family.
Thankfully, I started doing some home-based fitness with the kids (in a bid to tire them out so we can have some peace at home for our online Zoom meetings) and started to lose weight consistently. Exercise has also helped me to battle depression and have since brought my 102kg frame down to a healthy 78kg over a period of 2+ years.
Photo: It’s always nice to bring my kids back to my hometown – Penang. Sept. 2022
All these have taught me to have a certain respect for my body’s physical limits. So, no matter what dreams, plans and resolutions I have, they are not going to happen unless I ‘strap the oxygen mask’ on myself first. Going forward, I’m going to continue my home-based exercise regime – no trainer, no gym, just me and my willpower, eat mindfully and specially for 2023, to focus on getting quality rest and sleep.
Certainties Towards An Uncertain 2023.
As we enter another year with recession looming, one thing is for certain and that is relationships. Relationships are the bedrock to weather the uncertainties of life. Nurturing healthy, meaningful relationship with our loved ones and more importantly, with ‘yourself’: nurturing a healthy lifestyle and self-image, are key. As parents, we hope too that as we manage our stresses and priorities that 2023 brings, we can role model to our children how to cope with a mega dose of grit, self-efficacy and faith.
Photo: Discovering Ho Chi Minh City in a vintage car! Vietnam Dec. 2022