To-do list when I came back at 10pm:
Shower, of course Quiet Time with God Iron my shirt for tomorrow Check my work emails Email the Secretariat
- Blog – reflect about the day
- Research about the issue we are addressing
- Think of users that we have identified and identify their needs
- Update my notes on my learning for the day – guess I’m not doing this anymore because I have no time
If this goes on for the rest of the days, I’ll probably crash one of these days. Good thing though, is that I get a room to myself so the introverted side gets some time-off.
Today was the day that I worried about the most, and it’s also the day that I can’t wait to get over with. Worried because I know I have my insecurities when it comes to meeting people with accent, not to mention getting into a group and working with them for the rest of the innovation lab. After attempting to enunciate my words the entire day, I sound rather different in my head now, as if there’s an accent going on in my head. Also can’t wait to get this particular day over with because, at least now I know who’s on my team, and I know who to focus building relationships with – pretty settled in a way. Shall not dive into my insecurities; I’m leaving them with God, and also because I need to get back to work.
Two interesting observations for the day:
#1: As a part of the process of forming teams, we went through some activities to understand ourselves. One of it was this segment where we categorised ourselves according to the way we operate majority of the time – namely Say, Do, Feel and Think. I went into the one that says “Think”.
It was an interesting experience to be gathered in a group like that, because all of us identified ourselves as Introverts. What’s more interesting is that we also identified ourselves as “Forced Extroverts”, in that we force ourselves to behave like extroverts when we have to, and then we have to retreat later on to recharge. While I would expect the Thinkers to be Introverts, I wouldn’t expect Thinkers to always be Forced Extroverts. I guess in this setting where we signed up for this innovation lab on our own accord, having understood that we will be in the midst of a thousand delegates from around the world, Introverts who signed up are likely those who are ready to bring out an extroverted persona.
Also, two common traits we found were that we need structured/methodical approaches, and that we need to have all options considered before we act upon the decision. There was also this interesting sense of comfortableness, which is different from what I would feel when I’m in a mixed bunch of people. I guess that comfort came from knowing that everyone’s as introverted as you are, and that everyone’s feeling as uncomfortable about interacting with strangers as much as you are. In a way, you’re for once, not an odd one out in the party.
#2: After we settled into our groups, five of us made very intentional efforts in getting to know each other and getting comfortable with each other. Yes, I’m the only Singaporean, and the rest from Costa Rica, Denmark, Australia and a Hong Konger who’s doing his PhD in the UK. We went round to share about our passions and what we do. Through the time of sharing, I realised many things about our differences. For one, I felt sheltered, in a way that I’m unexposed to the troubles in this world.
The other difference I noticed was that in the stories I’ve heard in these two days, there were quite a few instance where people shared about how they simply leapt into action once they discovered a gap. As for me and the people around me, we wait for the opportune time. And when’s the opportune time, I gave a quick thought about it and realised, I have no idea. Had it been the past when I hear such things coming from fellow Singaporeans, I would have argued that it’s because these people come from more privileged backgrounds and they can afford to gamble with life options but I can’t since I got to support my family. But no. I’ve heard of how some of them are refugees, some of them were deprived of opportunities because of where they came from – basically problems that I don’t encounter in my life and in fact, I would say I had a more privileged beginning in this life than they did.
And I wonder why there’s such a difference in our attitudes. Not that either is absolutely better or worse than the other, but I just wonder what are the factors that shaped the way we are.
I’m in this state where, I am in no excess of strength to dash through life and get to the finishing line. I wrestle with my hurts and disappointments, and I have to make a choice every step of the way. It doesn’t flow; it doesn’t feel natural.
I have just enough strength, and grace, for the here and now. I don’t know what’s coming my way. All I know is if God is staying out of this, I’m pretty screwed and gone. But for now, He is here and He is speaking. His grace is sufficient for me today.
In the crushing
In the pressing
You are making new wine
In the soil I now surrender
You are breaking new ground
I wonder why, You would not heal my leg. That fear of tipping over when I walk down a step, or when I alight from a bus. That worry of re-injuring the ankle when I accidentally kick something or just scrape my soles across the ground.
I envied the actor in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. I saw the way they jumped from a height; I wanted to be able to do that too. He dashed across the stage, from the left to the right, from the right to the left; I wanted to be able to do that too.
I don’t understand why wouldn’t You heal me. When You are able to.
I’ll wait, I’ll listen to what You have to say.
If I tell you I’m burning out, can we not have the smoke alarm raised?
Recently when I met some friends one-to-one, I revealed that I’m on the verge of burning out. Just had one on the bus back to Woodlands, where this brother explained that he had planned to step down months ago because he’s burning out. I then shared mine, because I just wanted to let him know, I know how you feel. His response was, also, I know how it feels.
Not just the feeling of burning out, but also the considerations and fears involved. For me, this includes the fear of raising alert/concerns when really, I’m fine, I just need some time off to think through things. Maybe I’m wrong; maybe I’ve judged my needs wrongly. But allow me that time and space to wander and to wonder. Can I not have to explain what’s going on, at least not at the moment? I can’t really verbalise it.
Can I not, have to put on a facade of being strong all the time? I’m not as good as you think I am, but I feel like I have to live up to it so that I won’t have to deal with any panic that arise with the knowledge of it.
Started off the day with breakfast with some colleagues as usual. We had our first dive into a deep conversation. I can’t remember how the conversation flowed, but I saw an opportunity and wanted to hear from them if they really have a 5-year career plan, like what I’ve been hearing from others. Adeline gave her thoughts on it and Alan assured me that it’s fine if I don’t have one because we are on a journey of discovery, he said. We went on to talk a little about ourselves, about where we were and where we are at the moment.
Lunch time, a few of us decided to eat at the F&B outlets instead. The lunch conversation was filled with many mind-blowing discoveries about one another. Talked about sexual orientation, and the three married ladies shared about whether they would date another person outside of their marriage – to be honest, I still have no idea how serious they were when they said what they said. We went on to talk about choice of schools and opportunities in life rising from that. We also suggested a few good-looking guys/girls in the organisation. Quite rubbish talk haha.
After work, someone jestfully suggested getting a drink. To our surprise, the joke actually turned into an impromptu night out with us sharing a jug of beer. Talked at length about views on marriage and relationships. One of the things that was more impactful – though not exactly in a good way – was when the topic drifted to Christianity. The discussion started because one of them asked if I would only choose a Christian partner and I asked for some time to respond because I had to reply a text. To buy time for me, the only Christian at the table, they went around sharing about their unfortunate encounters with Christians. Very, unfortunate. So much so that it saddened me that they had such negative encounters – filled with condemnation and much fear. Sigh.
I’m glad they talked about it though. Now I know. As for me, to be faithful with my role as a Christian, and to extend the love of Christ.
What a day. A day full of meaningful conversations with the colleagues. Something tells me it’s God. It’s God showing me that He is here and He is moving in our midst. So awesome!
Walked from South Bridge Road to church with Bernice this evening. From what I can remember, it has been a long time since the last time I took a leisure stroll with someone with no concern for time/awkwardness. I should have been concerned about being late for prayer meet I guess, but I was pretty absorbed in the conversation to the point I lost track of time. Or maybe I just didn’t think that much time had passed since we left office.
Towards the end of the trip, she asked me a difficult (potentially sensitive) question that I have come to realise many people have at the top of their heads but just don’t dare to ask. She asked, and her reason was that she realised she was being evasive about it and she didn’t feel comfortable relating in that manner.
I appreciate the honesty. And not just that, her… can I say courage to be herself? The way that she seems to be so at ease with the way she is… not only do I appreciate it, but I want to be like that as well. (On this note, being yourself doesn’t mean being rude and demanding like some people take it to be.)
Her openness makes me want to open up to her as well. It makes me feel that a friendship is possible here? I feel somewhat of a trust here as well – like there had been times when we were both in office and she dropped a text (even though we are seated almost right next to each other) to suggest getting coffee together or having vegetarian for the day, that sort of thing. Trust in the form of being at ease.
I wondered if it’s because she sensed similarity – perhaps the relatively smaller age gap, perhaps my current stage of introversion reminds her of the past her, perhaps she could relate to my introversion, or perhaps we are both INTJ. I considered a few possibilities in my head. I don’t really know why though, but just thankful to God for sending a colleague who’s interested in starting a friendship. In fact, she was the one who popped over at my table to initiate conversations, to ask about me, in my first few days. Also a colleague who asked yesterday, “How’s your day?” Much, much appreciated.
Very thankful to God for this colleague, and another as well. They remind me of the sweetness in relating with people, just when I’m somewhat ready to just sail by and not relate to people as deeply as before.