Singapore Diaries: My not so perfect life as an expat wifey
It has been almost two months since I have posted in this Expat Diary. Truth is, I haven’t felt like I have anything to write about. Life goes on, actually 2020 just flies, and yet there is nothing I can talk about. Living in Singapore has turned out to be very different than we had ever imagined it to be, and I unfortunately don’t mean that in only positive ways. Singapore is great. I consider myself very lucky to live a luxurious life, with all the comforts that an “Expat Wife” gets. Driving around in a Grab, warm weather all year around, and excellent cuisine at every corner are just a few things that I get to enjoy on a daily basis. And I have to admit, I have kind of gotten used to these things. But just because my life seems comfortable doesn’t mean it has made me any happier. Actually, it is the contrary. The luxuries have created a burden on me – they make me feel like I am not allowed to complain, given many others are in worse-off situations during these tough times.
Lately, I’ve received comments from family and friends about “me living the best life ever”, based on stories on my Instagram. The truth is, I haven’t posted for the longest time as I just felt so uninspired and depressed about my life that I couldn’t be bothered to share anything. After a while, I recognized that by turning off Social Media, you also kind of turn off from ongoing life. Especially since I cannot meet and see my friends in Singapore regularly in person due to the pandemic, let alone those in Germany. So I figured that I was only promoting the path to a downward spiral by not posting anything, as it only emphasized my so-felt useless (non-)existence. Hence, I decided to just try to enjoy myself as much as possible and start to share things again, as trivial as they might seem to me. Since we can only do so much in Singapore, this led to me posting drinks, city views, and the poolside on a regular basis which – to others – might seem picture-perfect. I have heard so many Instagrammers and Influencers disclaiming that whatever they share on Instagram is not representing their actual life but only a fraction. Never have I felt how true that is.
Just because I post stories of a drink in my hand, that doesn’t mean I live the best life. I might be crying behind the camera, yet people will assume that I am super happy. But in fact, it is quite sad for me to admit that lately drinks, views, and sunbathing have been the only things that bring me fun at all. Also, attentive story viewers may have noticed that I don’t share any pictures of myself anymore. I feel that I lost my sparkle. It doesn’t help that I have to wear a mask 24/7 in Singapore, which prevents me from smiling (imagine I haven’t seen any friendly, smiling faces in over six months, let alone any faces other than those of people I dine with) which after all doesn’t lift my emotions. Actually, thinking of this, I cannot remember the last time I was strolling through Singapore’s streets, smiling. Nobody would notice it anyway.
I feel exhausted. I need a break. And the absurd thing is, that I don’t even have a job that could burn me physically. Yet, that’s probably exactly what it’s about: I feel emotionally drained, uninspired, and just unmotivated. And at the same time, I put so much pressure on myself to keep on going, “hang in there”, find a job, create something, be ambitious, get out stronger. After all, this is my job as expat spouse, right?
I know, 2020 has been a really rough year for all of us. We’ve been inside a lot, we’ve been worried about our jobs, concerned about our health. We couldn’t see our families and friends as often as we might have wished. We’ve all experienced such challenges. Our mental health had to deal with a lot in 2020. And as I said in the beginning, I don’t really feel myself to be in the best position to complain as – compared to others – my life seems pretty pleasing after all. Except that right now, it is not. Period.