Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Vignettes of life (part 3)
The Case of “Been There, Done That”
I have always felt that one of my most endearing and admirable trait is how steadfast I can be in my goal to find true love. I do not set goals easily because I know once I do, my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) will auto-pilot my way towards the target. My past goals include getting a good university degree, a good body, leaving Singapore for greener pastures, and of course finding true love. You will see that I have achieved all those owing much of course to my OCD. However the thing about goal-achieving is once you have done that, what else is there to do? Well, one can always start enjoying the fruits of his labour or make goal-setting the next goal. These are all good advice but there is more.
I was in the Gold Class cinema lounge watching “The Mummy” with Ision the other night and a plus-sized black woman came and sat beside us. Immediately after that, she asked if we were married as she overheard us talking in married-couple-lingo (about my ugly cuticles being a manicurist’s nightmare). It was such a sweet question and both of us started talking to her as she went on to express her views against the opponents of gay marriage.
That scene in the cinema lounge was what I have never ever imagined being something accessible to me just a few years ago and now it is all happening. The bits and pieces of life seem to be falling nicely into place. When you have fought so hard and wanted so much for something to come true, you cannot help but feel a vacuous sensation in your heart when that dream is finally realised. Other than happiness and contentment, what else is there in the pipeline? What then can fill that void? In the first place, is there really a void and even if there is, is that void really a problem? With regards to my goal of finding true love, is it a clear-cut case of “been there, done that”?
Fortunately (“fortunately” might not be the right word) as Ision and I start our new lives together, there are new challenges that we have to face and they become nice distractions to fill that void. One perfect example would be the maintenance of my lean, toned body. When I was still living in Singapore and after my periodic Sydney visits, I always find myself having to work extra hard to lose the weight I have gained during the vacation. It is no different this time round except there is no post-Sydney space and time for me to starve and exercise all that fat out of me. Mind you, I am doing twice as much cardio as in Singapore but the fact that even that does not help prompts me to conclude that there is something fundamentally fattening about Sydney or for that matter, living in a Western country. It must be the food portions, the cold weather, cheap comfort food (as opposed to more expensive health food – especially when your wallet is suffering from the shock of a surge in cost of living), my feeling happier and more well-adjusted or all of the above. Since I have arrived, I have put on more than 2 kgs and I have lost a little of the definition of my pride and joy – my abs. Luckily the weight-gain seemed to have stopped but unluckily this means that this unsatisfactory new steady state might have to be my future from now on.
And here lies the conflict that has been playing in my mind for a long time. Years ago, I started making the gym my church to boost my self-esteem (shallow I know, but it did the trick) and also to land myself a partner with the improved body. I have always wondered whether I should ease on my gym-OCD now that I no longer have self-esteem issues (I think I might have issues of narcissism now – ah, the wonders of OCDs) and nights lying alone in my bed. Should I be contented with my body’s definition-loss or should I continue to work hard to improve it for the sake of myself (ie. to feed my ego)? Sometimes I think I should choose the latter as we all need to maintain our looks to keep ourselves attractive to our partners but I also get bogged down by thoughts of starving myself and slaving in the gym. I have a big ego, don’t get me wrong but in the face of a change in one’s phase of life (new country and new “married” life), should one’s self-pride be quelled in tandem? I find myself continually trapped in the middle of this tussle.
I used to always lean towards the working hard side but of late, I am heeled to let myself go with the flow of life. But then again knowing myself, can I possibly stand losing something that I know I have absolute control over? I think it is now evident how such mental struggles can serve as perfect distractions to the “been there, done that” syndrome.
Even if I do attain no clarity on this issue, I know in my heart that life is made up of both goals as well as the paths that lead to those goals. More importantly, I know that most goals in life (at least the important ones) are non-static. You can lose the love of your life, lose your figure and lose all the successes that you have toiled day and night to achieve in an instant. Once you can see this, there will be no such thing as “been there, done that” because “there” and “that” are such fleeting concepts that they simply do not exist.
So Ision, I will strive hard not only to preserve but to fortify our love using all means possible. And body, I will continue to make you proud of your owner (and vice versa).