2021 Recap Featured Image

2021 – Ups, Downs and Everything in-between

Setting aside part deux of Covid-19 that was 2021, it was a typical year, of ups, downs and everything-in-the-middle.

There were times when the force was strong in me, and my energy levels were on par with the big dreams I had. And other times, when I had so many things I wanted to do but the foggy mind kept getting in the way.

The best thing about 2021:

The highlight has to be the launch of This Feeling – my deeply personal album featuring 4 songs about my mental health journey. I am part of Buddha in the Balcony, a music collective spearheaded by my husband, Julian who does all of the composing and production behind the songs while I write and sing most of them.

I still remember waking up on Sun May 1st, jumping on to Spotify and jumping up and down the bed, so excited to see our year-long effort finally out there. My authentic words, and Julian’s intense commitment to making the songs shine, the hours and nights he spent because he wanted the album to be perfect for me.

This was also where I spent the most effort in marketing our music. I found kind souls who helped design the album cover, who did amazing Lyric Videos for our Youtube channel and all the like-minded organisations who supported my efforts so willingly.

Title track This Feeling is about Childhood Emotional Neglect. I wrote it in 10 minutes after a therapy session.
I wrote Fade Away about my brother’s schizophrenia and how I can empathise but I will not let it impact me anymore.
Written by my husband for me, Won’t Let You Fall is a song about supporting your loved one.
The final track, Always in Me is about resilience and breaking free of society’s shackles.

Advocate away!

As an advocate, opportunities to share personal stories to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health is important, and in 2021, I had a few good ones. Appearing twice on CNA 93.8’s Singapore Stories radio show was great, even better was hearing the host say he found my sessions entertaining and meaningful.

Part 1 is all about what it’s like growing up with mental illness in the family, while in Part 2, I share my learnings from therapy, such as Self-care techniques.

World Mental Health Day:

October last year was a different ball game than this year. Last year, I was new in this space, and I spent a lot of time working out my own WMHD campaign. Cold-calling other advocates to be part of my initiative, creating grand marketing plans to entice participation, then delivering the whole campaign to the best of my ability and having people share it and receiving the positive news that it was helping people was brilliant.

This year, I was lucky enough to be invited by a couple of organisations who wanted me to be part of their initiatives. Which was great because I was a little out of it myself, energy levels to do another full-on initiative was not there, so I really appreciated still being part of WMHD on other people’s campaigns.

I really enjoyed my 1st ever IG Live session with this initiative from I’m Friendly Co, a peer support program led by university students.

And just like the stock market…

Speaking about energy levels, the dip started in October, during WMHD (rather ironic for a mental health advocate), where I felt that I didn’t achieve all that much.

(See what I mean when I say mental well-being is a work-in-progress? I still forget what I preach about balance, self-care etc).

Since then, I’ve been floating by, like a leaf drifting wherever the wind blows. Don’t get me wrong. I have had a few exciting professional and personal activities come my way, but as a result, I’m feeling a little scattered, not sure of what I would like to focus on in 2022.

My Buckets Runneth Over:

I’ve said for some time now that I have a few “buckets” of focus.

1) My marketing consultancy business, The Buzz Network.

2) Mental Health Advocacy – both in terms of working on my own well-being and advocating.

3) My music collective – Buddha in the Balcony, where I work on writing and singing songs. And also, any marketing efforts for it.

4) My food and travel blog – The Diva Eats Prata, though it’s more social media driven, but it still takes time.

5) Improving my French – big dreams of fluent tète à tète with Francophonics.

6) Writing that play – in fits and starts as it stands.

Now throw in time to exercise, run errands, deal with family matters – and gah.. there’s too many things! Mon petit cerveau and its neurons are in overdrive and in the end, I spend too much time planning or thinking and not getting the 1 or 2 things done “properly”.

What of 2022 then?

I will have to prioritise. Reduce my distractions. I don’t want 2022 to be another year of being mentally pulled in many directions.

Ok, as far as I can see. First, there is the impending surgery at the beginning of next year to remove my swollen tubes and endometriosis. It’s a major surgery, with a few weeks’ recovery, and I’m certainly not looking forward to it.

Well, hopefully I’ll recover fast enough and be able to move on in my professional space by confirming  a couple of clients and their projects.

Gilmore Girls Prioritise

Picking the personal projects to focus on, though, is more challenging. Coupled with my ongoing existential crisis which seems to have taken a firm grip the past few weeks.

Thought I had my Values down pat and it should have been showing me the way, but I guess that’s still a work in progress. So, I will be spending the last two weeks of December revisiting purpose and values (asides from all the festive boozing and munching) and hopefully, get some clarity on what’s next for me in 2022.

2021 Year End Post

Till then, raising my glass to all of you who have shown me that love and support in one way or the other this year. Here’s hoping you have a smooth and restful last couple of weeks before it all starts again!

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