Embracing Resilience and Choosing Our Responses

Life's Crazy Rollercoaster: How to Dodge Drama, Embrace Calmness, and Keep Your Sanity Intact


8/25/20239 min read

body of water under sky
body of water under sky

In our relentless pursuit of a peaceful and steady life, it's kind of like a rollercoaster ride with unexpected bumps and loops that mess up our zen.

Life's this wild thing that sometimes throws challenges at us, and a lot of the time, they come packaged through the people we know. It's like a surprise package of responsibility lands on our doorstep, even when we're not the ones who ordered it.

And here's the thing – we need to get that even though we're not the main actors in these situations, they can still drain us. It's like feeling the weight of something we didn't sign up for, and it can mess with our peace.

But hang on, let's take a moment to get real.

We're all part of this intricate web of life, and the stuff happening around us affects us, whether we like it or not. It's not about playing the blame game; it's about acknowledging that life's like a giant chain reaction.

So, even when we're not at the center of the storm, understanding that we're not immune to its winds can actually make us more empathetic.

It's like giving ourselves a break while also realizing that we're all in this messy, intertwined dance of existence.

Striving For Tranquility

In my family, the pursuit of tranquility is our guiding principle.

We're all about taking things slow and steady, minimizing risks along the way – you could say "low risk" is kind of our mantra.

My wife, in particular, is a stickler for planning. She thrives on crafting meticulous travel itineraries that spell out our activities by the hour and securing hotel bookings well over six months ahead of time.

This penchant for calmness also extends to our approach to retirement. We've meticulously filled up our CPF retirement sum to the brim, aiming for the Full Retirement Sum (FRS). And when it came to our house, we opted for an unusual path.

Instead of following the financial gurus' advice of leveraging loans to invest, we chose to pay off our house in full. It might not align with popular financial wisdom, but for us, it's the ultimate peace of mind. No worries about monthly mortgage payments or debts – just a clear slate.

Debt-free living is our way of life. No car loans, no installments – just the essentials. Our only subscription? Well, that would be the internet. And of course, the regular bills like electricity and water.

We've also made a conscious decision to steer clear of drama – not just the TV kind. We're selective about the company we keep, avoiding those who seem to attract chaos like a magnet.

As for me, I'm not a fan of dramas on screen either. Those cliché-rich, emotionally-fraught tales of love and power struggles? Nah, not my cup of tea.

All in all, I'm all about embracing the quiet and breezy side of life. It might not be the path everyone takes, but it's our personal oasis of calm.

Unpredictable Turmoil

sea waves
sea waves

Yet, life possesses a knack for hurling those unexpected curveballs right at us, even when we're on a steadfast quest for serenity.

Sure, we can try to dodge and avoid making all sorts of wild connections, but let's be real – sometimes, it's like destiny itself is playing matchmaker.

Take, for instance, the fact that we can't exactly handpick our family members.

Among them, there might be those genuine drama enthusiasts who hold onto relationships so toxic, they could scorch anyone who gets close. Or those kinfolk who tango with alcoholism or chronic gambling.

You want to steer clear, but you find yourself getting pulled in. Then, there are those situations that tug hard at our heartstrings.

Imagine a child, innocent and caught in the crossfire of family turmoil. It's a scenario that doesn't just knock on our door – it practically bangs it down.

Our conscience nudges us to intervene, to step in and be a guiding light for that young soul. But here's the rub: diving into the fray exposes us to a whirlpool of toxic family dynamics.

The result? Our emotional reserves get drained, leaving us a little less whole.

It's a bit of a head-spin, really. You might not be the mastermind behind certain events, but thanks to the invisible threads of blood relations or moral compasses, you're suddenly the ultimate caretaker.

Imagine someone dropping a baby at your doorstep. You didn't sign up for it, but there you are, responsible for that little life until proper help arrives.

You see, it's about recognizing the fine line between influence and limitation.

There's a point where we have to give up the illusion of controlling every outcome, where we bow to the whims of life's wild unpredictability.

Harnessing the Strength of Responsible Resilience

When life tosses us into scenarios where accountability isn't ours to shoulder, yet responsibility lands squarely on our backs, that's when the power of responsible resilience comes into play.

Here's the deal: we step into the role of stewards, safeguarding our own well-being by making deliberate choices in the face of these unexpected challenges.

Picture this as a dance where we're choosing when to sway, when to pivot, and when to simply step back. The goal? To conserve our precious mental and emotional energy, directing it where it truly matters.

We learned this lesson through personal experience, like that time we dove headfirst into a family crisis. It was a whirlwind of family violence, depression, and the threat of something even worse.

Our intentions were golden – we wanted to help untangle the mess, piece by piece. But guess what? It turns out, not everyone wants their issues resolved.

We thought that inviting their child into our home could offer a temporary escape from the whirlwind of their daily struggles. It felt like attempting to shield ourselves from a hurricane with an umbrella – both futile and draining.

We extended the offer to host the child, met with lackluster responses from the parents. What stung even more was the absence of a clear rejection, leaving us to wonder if they were considering it or acknowledging their own circumstances but hesitating.

Both the parents were giving us confusing responses. At one moment, they made us feel like they wanted to, then the next moment ignored us. Then it turned out, they had no intention of keeping the child away from them in the first place.

They felt that there were no problems with them.

The big revelation?

Sometimes, even when they're crying out for help, they're not interested in the lifeline you're throwing. And you know what? It's okay to step back, to reassess, and keep our doors open without letting the chaos sweep us away.

The truth is, getting entangled in someone else's drama, as noble as our intentions may be, can be like getting pulled into quicksand. They might revel in the turmoil, but for those of us who cherish tranquility, it's like a tidal wave crashing over our peace of mind.

It's not about running away or being heartless. It's about understanding that problems can only be solved if the players involved are truly ready to solve them.

It's like trying to nudge someone into exercising or shedding weight – it doesn't work until they feel the urgency from within.

So, we learned to take a step back, to observe from a distance, and provide a listening ear when needed. Offering unsolicited advice or help often lands flat, no matter how well-intentioned.

In the end, responsible resilience is like dancing to life's unpredictable tune with grace. It's about knowing when to sway, when to step back, and when to lend an ear – all while keeping our own well-being intact.

Turning Challenges into Opportunities

person holding black iphone 4
person holding black iphone 4

Amidst the chaos, it's important to reframe these challenges as opportunities for growth.

Instead of feeling victimized or overwhelmed, we can embrace these situations as chances to learn and develop resilience. They provide valuable insights into human dynamics, boundaries, and our own capacity for empathy and compassion.

With such drama, we learn to handle it better and be more aware of completely investing our energy at the first sight. We will try to learn and understand the situations better first. Also put our family first.

By shifting our perspective, we empower ourselves to find strength and meaning in the face of adversity.

Gaining Perspective Through Distance:

Isn't it funny how sometimes we're so engrossed in the middle of a situation that we miss out on the bigger picture or the true essence of what's happening?

Take the time when I was there for a friend, trying to untangle the mess of his issues after he opened up to me. I approached it with the assumption that he was the innocent victim, and I was ready to swoop in to save the day.

But here's the kicker: it wasn't until much later that I decided to hear the other side of the story. I stepped back, parked my personal involvement, and set aside my preconceived notions about my friend and my biases against the other party.

That's when the real truth hit me – my "victim" wasn't as innocent as I had thought. In fact, he had played a significant role in creating the mess he found himself in.

It's like he was selective in what he disclosed to me, only sharing the parts where he felt wronged. I should have expected this as we humans tend to show our shining side while conveniently shoving our skeletons in the closet.

It was only when I let the dust settle, took a good look at his responses, behavior, past actions, and listened to different perspectives, that the real picture emerged.

Through all this, I learned something valuable – to listen, pause, and then reflect before leaping in to help. It's like stepping back from the canvas to see the entire painting.

Instead of rushing in with a rescue plan, I now take the time to gather insights, contemplate the scenario, and ensure I'm seeing the situation from all angles.

So, here's the takeaway: distance can offer a fresh perspective, a clearer view of the whole canvas rather than just the brushstrokes. And in a world where chaos and quick judgments often reign, it's a skill that adds depth to our understanding and wisdom to our actions.

The Art of Thoughtful Engagement:

Mastering the art of choosing our battles is a skill that carries significant weight. It's all about realizing that we don't have to charge into every conflict and that not every situa

tion needs our direct intervention.

Think about it this way: it's like being invited to a battlefield. You could rush in guns blazing, but hey, do you really need to be a messiah or a superhero? Sometimes, it's better to take a step back, assess the lay of the land, and understand what's actually unfolding.

Sure, the invitation might be there, but it's not a ticket you have to cash in. And here's a truth bomb: often, no one actually needs to be saved from themselves.

Pouring our energy into such situations often ends up a one-way street to disappointment, frustration, and a pounding headache.

So, instead of diving headfirst into every fray, let's practice some discernment. By thoughtfully selecting when and where we engage, we're not only conserving our energy but also directing it to the battles that truly resonate with our core values and purpose.

It's like walking a tightrope between asserting ourselves when it's right and safeguarding our own well-being. It's all about maintaining that delicate equilibrium, where we're not just responding but actively shaping our world in ways that matter most.

Embracing the Journey

Life's challenges, those unexpected curveballs that come out of nowhere, they might just be our greatest tutors if we approach them with an open heart and a willingness to learn.

Instead of grumbling about the rough patches, why not see them as essential chapters in our growth story?

Here's the thing – we all have our dream scenarios for the kind of life we'd love to lead. But reality has a way of sneaking in uninvited, like a storm that suddenly ripples through a tranquil sea.

We might not choose these challenges, but they're part of the deal.

But hold on, don't mistake this for throwing in the towel on control. Nah, it's about cherry-picking the connections that matter and navigating through life's challenges with mindful choices.

Because, guess what? Things will happen, and we'll be ready with our responses.

Here's a secret: the most uncomfortable moments are often our greatest teachers. They're the ones that peel back the layers, revealing who we truly are beneath the surface.

Each hurdle we overcome isn't just a roadblock; it's an opportunity to dig deeper into our own psyche, to fortify our resilience, and to steer our responses in line with what we hold dear.

These moments of trial and tribulation? They're like mirrors reflecting the richness of our character and our remarkable capacity to not just survive, but thrive.

So, whether it's a storm or a calm day, each experience is a chapter in our journey, teaching us, shaping us, and revealing our strength in the face of life's uncertainties.

Hope your life is filled with tranquillity but also chances to grow.

With love.