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AUTUMNAL MUSINGS

Diana Khoo

Diana Khoo, Editor

The past year and a half of living in semi-seclusion has resulted in a new phenomenon called Cave Syndrome, an unofficial psychological diagnosis that indicate how the healthy and fully-vaccinated continue choosing to live in relative social isolation due to anxiety and fear about returning to society. With life and all its trappings — from traditional practices to the way we work, play and mingle — upended, we need to pay attention to and invest in the little things more than ever.

Domestic functions such as cooking a meal or rearranging one’s bookshelves now seem positively therapeutic while the trifecta of residential architecture, interior design and home furnishings wields more power than ever in affecting our daily mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. While upgrading one’s home lock, stock and barrel may not be feasible or practical for most of us at this point in time, we should never stop investing in our living and work spaces. Buy that beautiful clock. Upgrade the coffee machine. Purchase that ergonomically friendly chair for your workstation or simply treat yourself to a design-conscious piece you’ll love forever and which will make you smile every time you regard it. (My most recent self-care treat is Vitra’s Resting Cat by Swedish creative duo Front.)

As we slowly begin to open up, also take your time to re-emerge. The outside world may still seem scary, so adjust to the new normal according to the beat of your own drum. If you have read John Calhoun’s Universe 25 behavioural study on overcrowding among mice and rats, you will treasure the importance of space. So claim it, however big or small it may be, and infuse it with love, care and good things. The home will always be the safest haven we know. It just took a pandemic to make us realise that.