Issue 68

Dear friends,

Burnout can be so freaking subtle. We're all boiling frogs, if we're not careful. The temperature can rise so slowly that we don't notice it till it starts to really hurt. 

So am I burnt out? I think I am. 2019 has been so insane. But is it self-created? It is. I took on too much, without considering my own limits. Everyone is different and need different amounts of down-time -- I just happen to need more of them. It's too easy for me to get over-stimulated. When that happens, I crave for my silence and solitude. When I don't get these, I grow resentful and angry.

The solution is simple, which is to know myself better and to enforce boundaries. Self-knowledge leads to self-care. And what makes it all gel together? Discipline. Loving discipline.

Self-knowledge is not easy to achieve at all. The smoke and mirrors are everywhere, both externally and internally. We have to filter through both the world's messages and our own messages and discern what is true and what is not. Is it a wonder then that so many of us don't know ourselves? Or that we continue to live lives in which we're confused and not quite at ease?

So self-knowledge is a prime task. It should be at the top of our to-do list. And we should do whatever it takes to get closer to knowing ourselves. Therapy, if it suits you. Solitude. Less time working. Nature. Less social media. Reading. Meditation. Space, lots and lots of space, to think and contemplate. And finally, ruthlessness. By that I mean, be ruthlessly honest when engaged in this task of knowing yourself. Don't accept the lies that you tell yourself. If you're a piece of shit, acknowledge that you're a piece of shit. Then you can move on, but this time with honesty.

There is great joy in being a truer version of yourself.

If you don't know yourself, how then do you know what charity to give to? What work to pursue? Who to wake up to? Where to go next?

The work of self-knowledge is not easy at all, but it's important, important work that we must do, and we must not let anyone dupe us into thinking that there's a quick fix. The work is life-long.


Some inspiring things

1. My favorite TV show is back -- Season 3 of Atypical. I really love this show. And speaking of good TV shows, This is Us is also really good. I don't get into TV shows easily, but I've been recommending this to everyone I meet recently. Get prepared to cry your eyes out.

2. Social media as social control. Yes.

3. Yip Yew Chong is an excellent local mural artist.

4. Currently reading: "Hyperfocus" by Chris Bailey.

5. Quote to think about: "Stop leaving and you will arrive. Stop searching and you will see. Stop running away and you will be found." — Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching


I'm Rebecca Toh. I write on​

I am a 
photographer who works around the world shooting for clients such as The New York Times, Facebook, Monocle, Conde Nast Traveler, etc (if you like my work you might even want to hire me!)

I am also half of the LITO Podcast.

This is where I am and what I'm doing now.
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