Flow amidst Change

It’s been a while since I write. I have been busy trying to gather pieces of life together, only to realize that Life is not a destination, but a journey. As we enter into so-called Endemic era, our lives have slowly inched back to normalcy (or so I thought). So much had changed and evolved for the past 20 months, and I dare to say we are better than we were.

In the past 20 months, I experience some of the most profounding life lessons:

1. I learned that we can embrace change even when we don’t fully understand it.
2. I learned that TIME is the most precious non-renewable resource.
3. I was affirmed of my Worthiness, during the time when I was languishing in my career.
4. I experienced the art of slowing down, which further catalyze the idea that I do not want to slow down, there are just so many things worth valuing, and so many paths worth pursuing.
5. I learned to share my story, in return, it became someone else’s survival guide.
6. I encounter my inner strength: to be brave, to show up, to take chances; and to always choose courage over comfort.
7. I develop a radical shift in perspective having experienced the impermanence of things, and know that we have to keep on moving and propel forward.
8. I learn that while money is commensurable, life decisions are not.
9. I found my flow, which is depicted in this picture, drawn by my 9-year-old for all the adventures that we have had during the last 20 months. Our happiest time was when we were fully immersed in the peak moment of flow having fun with the people we love most.

To new beginnings, to more adventures, to never-ending flow.



If only I knew.

I just couldn’t understand the level of difficulty in teaching my then 7 years old (whom we didn’t know that he had ADHD then). I mean how hard can it be to just stay still and hit the shuttlecock?! It’s not just that, the meltdowns, the crying, the-rolling-on-the floor as the result of him not being able to hit a single time just got us so frustrated. No amount of coaching, cajoling, encouragement has worked in changing this child’s ability to play badminton.

That was 2 years ago. Today, he has improved so much, and we can have a really fun session playing badminton together as a family activity.

If only I knew then, that it was his neurological condition that prevents him from listening and taking instructions;

If only I knew then, that he has trouble staying still to focus on the game, thus the constant body whirling, squirming, and fidgeting;

If only I knew then, that he’s feeling emotion more intensely than others and having difficulty in regulating it;

If only I knew then, that part of the deficit is in hand-eye coordination;

If only I knew then, that the reduced levels of neurotransmitters to create dopamine and serotonin in his brain can make him feel demotivated and give up easily;

If only I knew then, that it must be very hurtful for him to have wanted to play so desperately, but just couldn’t;

If only I knew then, that he has ADHD.

The days are long and the years are short.

Today I resented my child, so much so that I have to walk away from him in exasperation. I just need a moment, to not needing to remind & nudge him of his homework, assignments, tasks, submissions that he needs to do daily. Each online session at home seems like a nagging camp. I have to constantly remind him to pay attention, remembering the homework, and following instructions. Of course, he does everything but all the things I’ve asked him to:- doodling on his textbooks, reading Hamlet short stories while the teacher is conducting spelling, clicking all the buttons he could find in Zoom window. It just felt like he’s so paralyzed in this kind whole virtual leaning setup.    

Parenting him full-time takes an unbearable amount of patience. I’m becoming short-tempered, irritable towards my eldest. I did not like the parent that I was becoming. Honestly, I felt like I’ve given 100% and he’s hardly trying. I felt so gutted, empty, and awful.

Then during the late shower tonight, somehow these sentences came knocking to me: “The days are long but the years are short.” I remember all the good episodes and the bad incident that had brought us where we were 9 years ago. From getting complaints from school teacher, being bullied, uncontrollable meltdowns until the day we diagnosed his condition, we have come so far and worked so hard in accepting and embracing his ADHD as a gift, not a curse. It is during that moment that I know deep down I love him to the core but on some days it may not feel like it.

I’m sharing this very personal story, to remind myself that I can appreciate him, without appreciating his impulsive action; I can celebrate his strength, without having to embrace all his emotional dysregulation; and mostly, I can detest all of his behavior issues (that comes with ADHD) and still love him unconditionally. 

Mental Strength

Last night, we received some unsavoury statement related to our side business. Knowing that we could have been more cautious and alert when it comes to money & figures, and we did not, I went to bed feeling shit, and I remembered the dreaded feeling to wake up. I just can’t seem to shrug off that shit feeling. At this point, I am conscious that my mind is dwindling and I need to do something to control my reaction over my thoughts. So I started to watch some Ted Talk about ‘How to Control my Mind’.

I watched Albert Hobohm speak about how to stop our thoughts from controlling our life through meditation and restraining our mental-physical input.

Then I stumbled upon another Talk that was life-changing. Listening to Amy Morin’s talk unlocks a certain part of the brain on acknowledging the deeper meaning of mental strength. Compared to her life story, my own ‘problems’ seems minuscule. Nonetheless, I discover that as much as I believe and advocate for mental strength, I still don’t know-how. We spend a lot of time talking and working on physical strength and health, but much less time on mental strength & health.

I grew up being a ‘worry-wart’ (still am) – my panic button is big bright and red and its tactile defensiveness. But slowly, I fully accept it and I want to learn to take control of my mind and train my brain to think differently. In Amy’s 15 mins talk, she mentioned the 3 basic factors of mental strength and taught us to perform mental exercises that can help us learn to regulate our thoughts, manage our emotions and behave productively despite our circumstances.

If you’re keen to build mental strength to reach your greatest potential, below are the links for further reading:



Hang in there.

The best thing that has happened lately is probably our family getting our first dose of Vaccination (including our folks). Can’t believe after more than a year we’re entering into another full lockdown. This time around, however, I started to feel a little less overwhelmed. To have been through last year and witnessing all that’s happening around the world, I just want to hug my kids tight and be grateful that we’re still alive and together.

I started MCO 3.0 wanting to be more productive, but being with the family 24/7 over some time slowly wears down the motivation and inspiration. But this time around, instead of letting my mind dwindle into a rabbit hole, I am fully aware of my mental state. Whenever I feel low and lull, I reach for self-care habits to seek calm & clarity. Little things like put on a face mask, applied lotion, read a proper book (instead of Blinkist), put on the diffuser, make a cup of tea/coffee, Meditation, Yoga workout in between all the chaos and noise brings me little joy that enables me to reset my mind. It is during this time that I realized I have been so busy taking care of my family’s needs that I neglected mine. I was so busy filling my family’s cup that I forgot mine’s running low. During the entire pandemic, my mind is constantly on Autopilot – KIDS SCHOOL, WORK, HOME. Everything I do, it’s about these 3 things. Slowly, Anxiety filled up my cup, I’m constantly worried: My kids are not catching up with their academic works, are we financially secured enough? Am I careful enough so I don’t bring home the virus to my folks? How come my home is always a mess? Did I finish my drawing/design/submission? All whilst scheduling home chores, grocery runs, and babysitting in between.

Of course, there are the good times… having lots of Memories with the family, which is precious and irreplaceable. But as every hour pass, we rummage through the day fulfilling our daily duties and responsibilities, it can be difficult to remind ourselves to focus on the light and the good.

As time pass, I’ve learned to sieve my thoughts and navigate my emotion. I’ve learned to accept that some days are good, and some are not so good, and that’s okay because we can always start again. There are many people out there that find themselves struggling to just tread water through very difficult circumstances, I’m pretty privileged to be able to sit down and write down these thoughts. So whenever you feel heavy, take a pause, deep breathe, and know that everything will be okay.

Stepping forward or backward?

Last night, I had a MELTDOWN.

Prior to that, I’m consciously aware of my emotion, but I Chose to React, not Respond, because I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t know how else to communicate with my eldest of his behaviour, but to bawl myself out of all the disappointment and frustration, in the hope that he could Hear it.      

For the last 5 weeks, I had been consistently working from home for at least half a day, to monitor and guide him for his virtual classes, making sure he attends every classes on time, completing and submitting his homework. If you’re the parent of a child with ADHD, you know how hard it can be to get your child to follow instructions.  Due to their brain chemistry, ADHD people lack of Executive Function skills, which makes it hard for them to get organized and get things done, it is especially hard to get started on tasks they have little or no interest in.  

Yesterday I needed to be at bank to settle some urgent paperworks, so I thought maybe he can attend his classes in daycare. I felt that he’s ready, that he’d be independent enough to know what needs to be done. He’d bring his IPAD with him, and we made a deal, that he’s allowed to play with Minecraft games when he’s done with classes, tuition and homework.

When I arrived home from work, he’d so excitedly tell me how his friend taught him to ‘mined’ the field and ‘unlock tools’, and I’m really happy for him. Towards the end, I asked him if he has any homework and he says no, I further asked what are the works he’d done in class, and whether it’s required to submit to GC, in which he stunted and revealed that he did not attend the classes.

My heart sank, not just because he’d miss just one class. The disappointment I feel is the fact that when I think he’s making progress, he shows regress. Just the same morning, he was doing so well in his online class, engaging with the teacher and communicating with his classmates, then making friends in daycare, only for me to find out he did not attend class because ‘my classmate did not attend’, I’m not able to log in to the wifi’. The One day, when I needed to take some time to do things for myself, my 9 year old failed to manage his most basic routine.  

More than anyone, I know ADHD is a life-long struggle. But to take one step forward, then two steps back felt so disheartening. The only thing I can do is to brush this feeling aside, and get right back on track, and restart, Again.

Be Myself.

JH’s school was closed for 1.5 weeks due to positive covid cases in his school. Hence he’d been attending daycare for his virtual classes. Last night, the conversation below happens:

JH: “Mommy, can I bring the charger to daycare?”
Me: “Why do you need the charger?”
JH: “Because I see all my friends bring the charger for their computers & phone. I want to bring it too.”
Me: “We always make sure your IPAD is fully charged, it’s enough for you to use it for the whole day. Also, you should know yourself, the more things you bring, the more you forget to bring it home.”
JH: “Yeah mommy, I think you’re right. I don’t have to follow other people. Teacher HX said I should be myself because everyone is different.”

At that moment, I felt proud that he learns to see himself as an individual person, not having to succumb to the peer pressure of ‘’just because others do it.” It might seem like nothing to most parents, but given the same situation 2 years ago, my kid would probably throw a tantrum if I told him that he shouldn’t bring the charger. Even after undergoing behavioral therapy for the last 2 years, he still tells us that he doesn’t have any friends or that his friends didn’t want to include him in their playtime. As much as it breaks out heart, we know it will be a continuous journey to help him develop social skills and competencies to make and keep (true) friends.

A story about Empathy.

It was a usual Saturday where I needed to bring the kids for their usual piano class and therapy class. Hubbs was away for a work trip so it was just the three us. They both ask to bring a piece of transformer figurine to play and I casually said yes. It all went well in the car until I heard a ‘SNAP’. I turn around, JH lets out the biggest outcry, and he buries his head into his hands, I can already feel the meltdown creeping up. Before I could say anything to get him to calm down, his sister who witnesses the whole ordeal said: “It’s ok Gor Gor, you can have mine.” Immediately his eyes lit up and thanked his sister profusely.

All this happen at the back of the car while I was driving. In that instant, i feel so proud of my little bunny with her emotional capacity. What Junna did have soothe all those big feelings that rise within his brother.

It is also then I realized empathy can’t be taught, it’s nurtured. Children cannot be what they can’t see, it’s important we show them compassion, kindness. We need to take greater care to nurture a child’s soul. Help them thrive emotionally to create harmony in this world, starting from our home.

The Golden Hour.

They say that the first hour after you wake up is known as the ‘Golden Hour’. So many researches have been published that corroborate that waking up early increases productivity and your well-being.

For as long as I can remember, I suck at waking up early. Somehow my body response to waking up when the first ray of sunlight hit me (i.e. 7am). Things changed when my eldest started morning class this year, and I have no choice but to drag myself out of bed every morning at 5:30am.

After settling him to school, I start my morning hike at 6:25am. I loved that it’s pitch black, with the street lights still on, I could sometimes catch a glimpse of tiny stars in the sky. The best part of the hike is not just the quietness and the crisp air, but that small window time where I can listen to motivating podcast to reset my mind and re-shift my perspective. So far, my favourite is this. I complete my hike/run within an episode and I will have a good 30 – 40 minutes to myself before the little one wakes up.

During this time, I will usually watch YT videos/TED Talk, read on Blinkist/Curio/Lucid/Sintelly app, while having bread & coffee. For me, morning is the best time to absorb as much knowledge and goodness as I can, whilst setting the intention of the day.   

Benjamin Disraeli said: “Nurture great thoughts. For you will never go higher than your thoughts.”

With this routine, I find my morning so reposeful & purposeful. I have time to think, and gather my thoughts, and do some reflection (journaling), and also do some brain-dump so I can set out what I need to do for the day.

Family Picture.

Today, we had our usual car conversation along the drive to daycare, which usually includes reminders ie finishing his homework, have good table manners, bring back all his belongings, etc. We also talk about movie effects in which after he saw a giant Jurassic poster on a building). From there I explained the role of a director in orchestrating the process of filmmaking. I asked him if he wants to be one since he loves watching movies, creative, and has a great imagination, which he declined, he said he wants to be a scientist. I asked him why doesn’t try to focus and pay attention more to Science subject since he loves it so much, in which he revealed that he finds it boring as he doesn’t understand most of the context in Chinese.

We continued to talk about how we need to wake up earlier starting next week when school starts. Then the conversation below happens:

JH: Do I still have to wake up so early when I attend University?
Me: Not necessarily, that depends on where you live.
JH: Ohh yes, when I’m at university, I will live on my own, in a room with a bed and a table.
Me: Who told you that?
JH: You mommy. You said that before, that I have to live on my own during university
Me: Ohh right… (I don’t even remember saying that). Yes, that room is called Hostel.
JH: Mommy, when I’m staying in the hostel, can you give me a family picture of you, dada & Junna so I can look at it?

At that moment, my eyes got teary. My child, who’s 9 years old, wasn’t thinking about his transformers, or his Lego, or his comic books; he was thinking about his family, 10 years down the road, when he’s alone, in his hostel room. At that moment, I couldn’t care less that he’s forgetful, careless, impulsive, or inattentive, instead, I’m gleaming with pride with his empathy, emotional perception, and how close he held his family to his heart.

As my heart swelled with gratitude (& joyful tears), I smile, because I know we must have done something right in parenthood.