The search for Rejuvenation

My nose has been running since yesterday morning, a common consequence of being “almost sick”. A combination of Chinese New Year, eating food I shouldn’t have, work and various other extra activities this week had my body calling for a time-out. I didn’t get sick but I did feel exhausted and my throat got a bit sore, a clear sign that I needed to slow things down for a spell.

But amidst the frantic hurricane that has been my life lately I do find some of the activities rejuvenating… up to a point. On top of my weekly singing lessons I joined a choral group and we’ve been working on Broadway songs. And I love Broadway, musicals and the theatre.

There is scientific evidence that singing releases endorphines i.e. the ΓÇ£feel goodΓÇ¥ hormone. Choral singing in particular seems corelated with higher life satisfaction. So fire up that karaoke box, itΓÇÖs good for the brain!

An illustration in Rejuvenation: Wreck-It Ralph VS Sing

I said that I find some activities rejuvenating up to a point. This has frustrated me because it spotlights an area where paradoxically I don’t have control over my own well-being.

An explanation is in order: A few years ago I was feeling down so I went to watch Wreck-it Ralph with a friend which was playing in the cinemas at the time. And I absolutely loved the movie. It was well-written, had great characters, was funny, touching and over-flowing with video game references which delighted me to no end. By the end of the movie I was as animated as the CGI renderings on the silver screen.

In contrast, I recently went to watch Sing. Despite getting good reviews, I did not enjoy this movie very much because I felt the studio relied more on popular songs to carry the movie through instead of writing an actual movie with fleshed-out characters.


Conditional Rejuvenation

This highlights my frustration: I like watching movies but just going to a movie doesnΓÇÖt automatically make me feel better; my enjoyment of the movie itself is also a significant factor.

So it is with singing. I am fortunate that right now I’m practising songs I enjoy but there have been times during my own music lessons when I didn’t like the song my teacher had chosen for us to work on. The experience of watching a move or singing a song has a direct impact on how I feel. Unfortunately, I won’t know if I’ll enjoy the experience until after I’ve gone through it.

Problematic Expectations: DonΓÇÖt make me think!

There is something to be said about recognizing my expectations and looking for things I can enjoy in situations I’d rather not be in but when I’m actively trying to make myself feel better I usually don’t have the desire or fortitude to spend energy reviewing my expectations or reframing situations. I want to feel better and I want to feel better now.

Which makes me sympathetic to people who abuse chemical stimulants. I can understand why they do it: ΓÇ£Feel good now while doing next to nothing.ΓÇ¥

What Rejuvenates me

IΓÇÖm collecting activities that rejuvenate me but the list is full of things that are unpredictable (e.g. movies, singing), unreliable (e.g. scheduling a massage) or requires significant ΓÇ£activation energyΓÇ¥ to get started (e.g. my favourite place to walk is a 30 minute drive away). Probably the only thing IΓÇÖve got that works nearly 100% of the time is simple colouring.

And so the search continues…