On the night of my 30th birthday, instead of welcoming my big three-O at a party filled with friends, family and flying confetti, I spent the night at the ER of a hospital with my grandmother who was diagnosed with a dialysis catheter infection.
My grandmother has been a dialysis patient since 7 months ago after she’s diagnosed with kidney failure. I live with my grandmother, and the whole family take care of her. But ever since her health went downhill in recent years, rushing to the hospital at midnight and waiting at the ER until dawn has become part of our lives, and it pretty much changed everybody’s lifestyle and priority in the family.
Oftentimes, you’d spot me sitting at the ER waiting area, typing away on my laptop. I was trying to meet a few urgent project deadlines, and let’s be honest here: there’s no such thing as “emergency leave” when you’re working for yourself and you’re under a tight deadline. Or, “you-have-flexible-time-now-that-you’re-your-own-boss.” In fact, life could be so overwhelming that you sometimes lose all control of your own time. There will always be ideas, plans and ambitions that you wanted to do but often feel powerless because of timing, exhaustion and demotivation.
Okay, I’ll stop sounding like a sad man now. But it’s really important to tell you my story because it has changed my attitude towards life, especially on works, style and this blog.
You probably noticed that the blog has not really been updated for the past 4 weeks. We were on a 4-week sabbatical, and I’ve taken the time to wind down, and to really look at my life in retrospect. During the break, I did a self-auditing, and I tried to answer these questions for every single item/person/routine I found in my current life: “Why do I have this? Do I need it? Does it make me happy?”
Turning 30 might have something to do with it. Perhaps when you get older, you tend to question more, and want to invest your time and effort only in things that really matter to you because you know you’re getting closer to the finishing line. (Haha, it sounds terrible mentioning “finishing line” but it’s true.) But at the same time, at 30, you’d be more confident of yourself and be more certain about the ways you want to live your life.
So I’ve been turning down projects that I wasn’t really interested in; I discontinued the contracts with several clients who brought more heartache than satisfaction; I tried to replace appointments with emails; I reset my wardrobe and gave almost 80% of it away; I stopped checking (and posting on) Facebook and Instagram as frequent; I also stopped reading the news as frequent.
And as time’s gone by, the decluttering made quite a significant change. I now have more time to think, to read, to connect with people and close friends, and most importantly, to be more present in everything that I do. (Remember those times when you’re stressed out planning for your supposedly relaxed vacation? Those time when you don’t even remember what you had for lunch? That’s what I’m talking about.)
It’s this kind of detachment from the “GO! GO! GO!” world that makes me feel like I’m being myself again. The hamster has finally jumped of the running wheel and it’s really liberating.
I now march to the slow beat of my own drum, and I guess that’s also reflected in how I dress and how I look at the subject of “style” now. I’m so much more relaxed when it comes to dressing myself (I’m pretty much immune to fashion trend and fashion labels now) and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for someone who’s running a fashion blog. As someone once said to me, “you now dressed more like a pattern cutter than a fashion blogger.” Haha!
Of course I still love interesting pieces and looks, but moving forward, this blog will be more about “style” than “fashion.” More specifically, it will always be about minimal and elegant style, no longer about the latest trend or the boldest fashion statement. And style doesn’t only exist in outfit – it exists in your lifestyle, in what you do and how you act – that’s why we’ve recently branched into Lifestyle and Stories section. Every style has a story, and everyone has a style of its own, and I believe telling you those stories are so much more interesting than regurgitating what you’ve seen so many times on other sites.
So, let’s just stop and smell the roses.
* Sweater by ZARA, Printed Pants by David Naman, Nail Bracelet by Giles & Brothers, Sneakers by Superga, Leather bag by Diesel
All photographs by We Freeze