I am more like melt…ing. It’s crazy hot in Phnom Penh. And there are no trees around to absorb some of the heat or to provide some of the shade. Made it back to Singapore today, and although similarly high temperature, it was a lot more bearable. Maybe because of the trees (rus-in-urbe!). Maybe because of the green (visual relief!). Or maybe just because it is after all, home (!!). Or maybe, I am enjoying some quiet and peace at long last.
It has been a long trip – Wednesday morning all the way till this morning. But that was not the draining part. Normally I would have time to myself to collect and think about the day, about the students, about the work, and then figure out the next steps how to approach things. Normally, I enjoy that time-space because I fly back alone, enjoy some chill-time at the lounge catching up on myself, my world, and the world (although this weekend has awful news 😦 )
Last week was long too, but there were more people and more interesting conversations. This week was just one colleague and it is too much for me. Used to call him senior, but shrugs, I don’t think I have much respect left for him as a senior, so I’m going to just call him a colleague. Hehe. Labels are my little ways of mitigating/tempering my uneasiness of dealing with certain people – bitchiness in mini doses 😀 .
So now, I try to reduce contact time. When conversation topics revolve around 1. the same things all over again; 2. especially meaningless/pointless topics on repeat (I am okay the first time, but not on repeat); 3. people who should not be of concern to them, or people who do not have any direct impact on their lives, or just plainly talking about people, be it good or bad, it is after all behind their backs; 4. too much focus on other people’s business, I really cannot deal. For the first time round, I will just be polite and respond with answers, so as to avoid awkwardness (for the other person, because I really don’t care if we do not talk. I care when we talk about things that are none of their/our direct business). For the second time round, I will just be polite and avoid the conversation or change the topic. At the same time, I will avoid the person / reduce contact time. Do not try a third time, I really do not want to scold or tell off anyone. Quietly in my heart, or maybe under my breath, I just want to say, “mind your own bloody business”.
There are people who are leading very unfulfilling lives (okay, this one is my personal judgement, because well, I am really quite peeved, and counting the minutes and seconds of my life wasted on words of zero value-add), and then instead of trying to make their lives more fulfilling by taking positive action, they would rather build their lives on the dramas of people who are just down-to-earth-ly minding our own business and getting our stuffs done. So much brainspace wasted, why not just work on your own drama and create your own drama and stories of your empty unfulfilled life?! Why the heck do you want to talk and know so much about others’?!
At first I was feeling guilt, but now I am feeling very proud of myself. Last week, I made it through the same number of days, with full number of meals. This week, I cut out as much contact time as I could bear to, but still polite enough to share a number of meals, just quieter and quicker (haha!!!!) and taking lots of naps on the tuk-tuks to cut down conversation time. This morning … drum roll … I went to the lounge on my own. RELIEF!!!!!!! OMG. Never felt so much relief in my life. Never realised how much stress having those meaningless conversations were. It was such a quiet peaceful few hours – at the lounge, then on the flight. So much such that I messaged to say “I gotta run, see you next week” and then scooted off immediately upon disembarkation. OH GOSH > RELIEF IS SO DARN SWEET. And now I feel really proud of myself. Bye-bye guilt, hello boundaries. 🙂