It was the last two weeks of December 2018 and I spent my days in 2 foreign countries – Finland and Norway and experienced something which I have never experienced before.

Was it a “wow” experience for me? Some may ask. Honestly speaking, I didn’t enjoy the trip as much for I’ve come to realise that it was not something worth the money that we have spent. But from an experience perspective, at least I’ve been there, done that.

When the first streak of aurora appeared in the dark sky (can’t remember was it the third or fourth night), everyone was excited. Those with cameras like me, were caught off guard and started to set up our tripods and cameras. Thankfully, I did manage to capture some of the mystical moments.

Subsequent days were spent capturing all the white sceneries that surrounded us. It was indeed an unusual experience for I experienced the extreme cold weather, the pain of frost bite and the itching dryness of my skin.

And every night, we continued to hunt and hoped to see the northern lights again which never came.

This video came slightly late as things took a change in my life when I came back from the holidays and did I choose the path?

Yes, I chose it without regrets. But what really triggered my thoughts in this trip and what happened after I came back is that we are always chasing for something external, hoping that these things can fill our heart with happiness. Well, sometimes they do bring us happiness, but they are so short lived, when this happiness comes from something that we thought will make us happy, but not our true heart desires.

So now as I look at the pictures and try to recall how I was feeling at that point in time, I begin to wonder have I really appreciated that moment when the northern lights were dancing in the air? Or was I too concerned on capturing the moments in the camera and neglected my own excitement?

It is a thin line, to be honest. Those who didn’t have a camera may be feeling that it was a regret not to be able to capture that moment, but for me now, I have regrets of not being present at that moment. I was blinded by the excitement of fiddling with the settings, checking the clarity on the camera screen, worrying that I have not captured the best shot. And through these actions, I have totally ignored the cold weather, with my hands bare in the cold weather and gotten frost bites on my knuckles.

In the midst of chasing our dreams, haven’t we often neglected the present moment as we put in lots of efforts thinking of how to achieve our dreams?

We then let the unknown overcome us and begin to worry that we have not prepared ourselves fully, or we might have missed the golden opportunity, or we will be disappointed by the turn of events. So we stood in the cold weather, torturing ourselves in anticipation for that very moment that never came. And when it happened unprepared, we were so busy trying to get things right, forgetting that the best moment was to fully appreciate the beauty of wonders and let it stay in our mind for as long as we can remember.

Then, we realise one day, that what remains is just a few photographic memories of what have happened. A slight sense of regrets begin to fill our heart.

I had a short break in Taiwan last week, again in a cold weather, though not as cold as in Finland or Norway. But I wasn’t prepared for the cold weather. And as I shivered in the streets, I wondered what have I ever learned in my life? Have I been repeating my mistakes? I asked myself.

I met up with a friend who threw me a question that I could not answer: What is it that you really want?

What is it that I really want? What am I chasing after? I have had dreams for myself and yet today I’ve accomplished none. I am not after fame, nor am I after money. Then what is it that I want?

It is a very big question.

Many a times, when we drill deep down into our hearts or souls, we realised that we are lost in a dark arena, not knowing what we really want. What we know is that we all want happiness, but how many of us are truly happy or how many of us know what true happiness is?

I continue to think of that question and I’m surprised of how well I am facing all the things that are happening right now.

I may have found what I really want but one thing for sure that I have found is courage. Then I realised that I am stronger than I thought I am.


Francis Lim


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