Chinese New Year (CNY) for 2021 would fall on Friday, 12 February. This year would be a quiet one due to the alarming rate of Covid19 cases hitting Malaysia. Perhaps you may find, for the first time in your life that your celebration would be quiet since you are not able to go back to your hometown.
You may start to feel a little miserable when you see your friends posting on social media on their own preparations for the festive season, while you are stuck all alone. I know the feeling as I used to feel it too a long long time ago. But for many years, I have actually used my CNY holidays to take a rest, then start working on my personal projects.
I wish to share my story here, to show that festive season may not be miserable time of the year, especially for single folks. There are a lot of things you can fill up your time with.
My experience in spending festive holidays unconventionally for years
When I was in my teens and early twenties, I used to feel that CNY are time where we dress up, go visiting, collect ang paus, eat snacks and watch the latest Hong Kong blockbuster. On the first day of CNY, my mom would use to bring us to visit her friend who have an open house and makan makan. Some would be watching TV, chatting and some would be gambling using cards.
My brother and I felt out of place and really did not enjoy it. Until when I got old enough, I told my mom I would just drop her off and go home to spend time at home. Initial years it was just my brother and I quietly watching television at home. It used to feel lonely sometimes but I would rather spend time in my home than in a merry home with strangers and feeling that I don’t belong.
So the initial years was more of quietly watching television or just borrowing books from the library or renting books and reading them. This was before the time of the internet.
When I got into corporate world, I was working hard for most times of the year. Prior to CNY, workload was super crazy as everyone was rushing up to wrap up before CNY and at home, there was a lot of preparation work (baking and cleaning) to do. So when come CNY first day, I find it happy to really finally relax. I’ve also picked up the habit of crafting and would contentedly spend my time catching up on craft works. I am usually back at work by the forth or fifth day of CNY. I always happily let my outstation colleagues take longer leave so that they could go back to their hometown to enjoy their holidays.
Eventually I picked up blogging and grow to love it very much. As CNY is quiet and is a time I could really relax, I ditched watching TV and spend more time producing content. I would write a batch of content and then schedule them. CNY was then associated with ‘me’ time where I could have quiet time to work on stuff that I otherwise do not have time to do.
During this period, many are trying to make a living by going online. While it is now extremely competitive, if you have the interest, it is still worth considering if you have the interest. Because even if you do not make it, at the very least you would be able to gain some new skills for example in writing, managing video editing software, building blogs, copywriting, etc that may come in handy for future.
Using festive holidays or time alone to work on your interests or goals
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. You may associate that CNY is a time of social activities, collecting/giving ang pows or travelling. But all these activities have come to a halt due to MCO (Movement control order). Since we cannot alter the condition, we can change the way we react to them. Change our perception can turn a potentially depressing situation to be one of my productive one.
If there is something you wanted to do, or a venture you are interested to explore, why not take this time to start? Over the years I’ve build blogs and wrote thousands of posts. These are not accomplished in a single day but took years as I not only need to write content, but I was involve in the technicalities of my blog as well.
I have seen friends of mine who, even though holding successful corporate careers, decided to explore their interest in cooking. In the beginning, the food they made was hardly editable. But they never gave up and continued to learn again and again to improve themselves. In a matter of months, they are able to cook a variety of dishes with ease. After a few years, they venture into other forms such as baking cakes/bread/muffins/cookies/mooncakes. I have even seen a few of them trying their hands in nien gao which is very expensive if you buy from outside.
A friend of mine who is going through a lot of grief due to loss of loved ones poured her energy into yoga and knitting. In the beginning when she tried yoga, her body was stiff and unyielding. But she tried and tried and posted her progress. Today, she is super flexible and have her own support group of wonderful friends who cheer her own. At the same time, she also took on to knitting and produces very beautiful pieces of work.
It is important to realize that in most of the things we do, we would not be able to see results immediately. It is practice, practice and some more practice. If we feel that we are stuck on a profession that we dislike and wanted a way out, how would we be able to ever hope to transition if we are not willing to take the first step?
When I left my job to be a full time caregiver in 2017, I lost my source of income. Blogging, which is something I had done casually on the side, came to the rescue. Not only my blogs became a respite, but it offered me a little income (through monetization). I need not start from scratch because I already have build a foundation for myself.
It is the same for you in another areas. Perhaps you love to bake on your free time and did it on weekends and on offdays. When you find yourself suddenly losing your job, you may then bake and sell your cookies or cakes online or through friends/former colleagues. If you take the time to hone in your craft and be willing to learn always, people would be willing to pay for it.
All the best in your new adventure. Happy CNY to all and please don’t let the MCO get you down.