Saying Goodbye to My Company
I used to live in Singapore. I lived there for a grand total of 14 months. And I truly loved living in Singapore. I made a few very close friends — one absolute bestie — and I had my own little house near the beach on the East Coast with a tiny, fenced front and back garden.
It was the first time in my adult life that I lived in a house of my own with a fenced in yard. I wasn’t sharing the land with anyone. I remember feeling really proud of myself when I leased the house.
I had a fence.
I felt very grown up all of a sudden at 49. Funny how little things make you feel “adult”.
I loved the jasmine I planted in my garden, the frogs that lived in the front yard, the bats in my mango tree, the cranky but somehow wonderful “Smudgey” cat that let me use “her” back yard after feeding her the correct amount of tuna fish, kibble and milk. (She was no amateur “homeless” street cat. She was a shrewd negotiator.) I really enjoyed my gardener Satish who worked very hard every week to keep the bamboo under control.
I enjoyed the quiet street I lived on and the friendly neighbors — particularly the couple that lived across from me who were from Belgium. They were artsy and eccentric and wonderful and made some of the best gin and tonics in the country.
I loved walking around the corner from my house, stopping to inhale the incredible fragrance from my favorite frangipani tree, to one of several cafes along the main road that served all sorts of delicious food and drinks.
I loved that you could count on a sea breeze to come up just about every afternoon that would somehow cut through Singapore’s incredible heat and humidity to offer relief just in time for a sundowner.
And I really loved that I had managed to get my work permit properly and my business registered. I was keeping accounts, following the rules, and Singapore was letting me chase my success. Singapore wanted me to work hard and it would, in exchange for hard work, go easy on the taxes. That is part of the lure of Singapore.
RCPMG — sounds very official, right? The Rebecca Chandler Production Management Group — it even has a website. www.rcpmg.com — yes, it was a “group” of one –but it was mine. A properly registered entity all of my own — all of my other companies were owned by myself and others.
RCPMG — global content consultant to Coca-Cola and a few other clients. I was proud of RCPMG and what it represented — me. I was really good at my work. My clients knew that I was really good. And knowing that you’re good, your company is good, and your clients are happy is a tremendous feeling. I felt proud.
And then COVID came crashing in all around me. It came to Singapore in January 2020 just in time for Chinese New Year and the “circuit breakers” began in February and in earnest mid-March. As the walls came up to keep foreigners (and COVID) out, my contracts started to disappear in quick succession.
It didn’t take very long for me to see that I was not going to be able to stay in Singapore but I didn’t speak the truth out loud for several weeks. I quietly got a moving estimate long before I ever dared to whisper that I might have to leave and I started to get the steps in line to dismantle my company and my work permit if I had to go.
When I actually said I had to leave — it was around the third week in March — just after I’d returned from my 50th birthday celebration in Maui. I was on a call with my guide/healer in Nairobi and I had to admit that it was over.
RCPMG was dying and I could not resuscitate it.
The investment of time and money to get to Singapore was not going to be enough and I had to leave.
It’s been 5 months since I landed back in America and it’s gone by very quickly. Maybe too quickly.
And while I am incredibly grateful for the refuge my family and friends have offered me — and continue to offer me — while I figure out my life, every once in a while, and particularly now, tonight, I find myself sad about the life I had in Singapore and the business I operated.
The little house with the fence — and how grown up I felt in that life.
I miss flying all over the world and working with different people from so many different cultures and I miss knowing what was next — what I would be doing and where I would be doing it.
I miss the confidence I felt in my work and in my life.
It is the constant state of free fall that has enveloped me since landing May 21, 2020, that has me missing the stability and predictability of my former life. Where will I live? What will I do? How will I do it? I really don’t know. I’m working on a website for a new business (life coaching) but, honestly, I don’t have any confidence that it’s going to work out.
Confidence stayed behind in Singapore and she’s not eager to join me in America.
Tonight I had to do some administrative work for RCPMG in Singapore as the processes to permanently close it and cancel my work permit draw near. And I feel a crushing sadness. I worked hard to establish myself and my company and sacrificed quite a bit over 12 years to make things come together. And it’s really difficult — tonight — to admit that it’s all over and what was will never be again.
RCPMG — the Rebecca Chandler Production Management Group — is permanently closing and it’s just really painful and sad to admit that it/I failed.