Good energy is super important to me.
In the series, #QuaysideStories, Wear Oh Where speaks with women-on-the-go about the importance of slowing down in our sped-up world to spend quality time with the people that matter, do things that matter, and invest a little time on self-care. How does each of these women define and design the best life for themselves? How do they reconnect and recharge? We invite them to tear away from the emails that are vying to be answered and battles that are waiting to be fought — and won — to indulge in a spot of down time with us — you know, have coffee, take a walk, watch the sunset and chat.
IN COLLABORATION WITH INTERCONTINENTAL SINGAPORE ROBERTSON QUAY
Katherina-Olivia Lacey is in two minds. She likes to keep herself busy — the state of idleness makes her nervous. “If I have too much time,” she says, “I start to worry, and I’d be like, have I done something wrong?” On the other hand, she acknowledges the necessity to slow down, to enjoy every moment lest she regrets it. Because life happens when you’re too busy being busy.
It’s 9am on a Thursday. The founder of Quincus arrives on the dot at our hotel room at the new InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay. It occurs to me that this girl is always punctual, if not early. And it makes perfect sense when you learn that hers is a business that provides logistical solutions. Precision and staying ahead (she gets up at 5am, seven days a week), I imagine, are non-negotiable in her world.
“Good morning,” she greets us in her gentle,
mellifluous voice from behind her glasses. Katherina and I are no strangers — I had photographed her earlier this year for another project, and we had met again for coffee afterwards. But she is a tad reserved this morning; her smile warm, but coy. That’s the beauty of this girl: She has neither the knack, patience nor penchant for pretence — a delightful truth she later confirms at our interview: “I don’t have the mental space anymore to deal with fakeness, or with people who don’t have the right energy.”
Well, that must qualify as some sort of self-care, surely — especially for an introvert.
As she gets prepped for the shoot in our super-cosy bathroom — glasses off, make-up and a gorgeous Emilia Wickstead dress on — she starts to shake her initial coyness off. Like, literally. As soon as Despacito blares out of someone’s phone, there she is, standing in front of an expansive mirror, a soft, warm mood light cast on her, bobbing, shimmying, twirling until her dress flares and pirouettes with her.
From where I stand, it looks as if we’re in a life-sized musical box. And just like that, her good cheer (and moves) makes our work an even greater pleasure. The camera is loving it, too. It is easy to see why she is also such a hit on her Instagram account, which boasts a following of 285,000. She’d tell you it’s the fruitful result of a “social” experiment of hers — a story for another day — but I have a feeling it has more to do with her affability, sense of humour and, more importantly, her authenticity.
Before she scoots off to another meeting, she is happy to spend the morning with us, getting dolled up, chilling in bed with her double espresso (no sugar) as we shoot the breeze about her idea of the good life, doing hard things (first), the perks of being an introvert, and her weakness for books, movies, gummy bears and warm cookies — preferably in a nice bed with her favourite people in the world.
I try to enjoy every moment… I know that if I don’t remember the happy times, when life gets hard, I will regret it and miss it.
What’s a day in the life of Katherina Olivia-Lacey like?
Katherina: My day starts at 5am every morning, including weekends. By 5:30am, I am at the gym where I put in an hour’s workout. I have a quick breakfast before I take a shower and get ready. I am at my desk by 7.30am, answering emails and spending a few minutes deciding on a picture to post on Instagram. By 8:30am, I am out the door for meetings.
What is one thing you will not/cannot compromise in the morning?
Katherina: Going to the gym. That’s the time of the day when it’s all about me — I work out, I sweat it out. My gym routine has to be the hardest part of my day. By just doing that, I feel like I can accomplish anything.
What do you consider to be a life well lived?
Katherina: A life well lived? That would be a life well travelled with my loved ones.
Can you share a few good tools/tips/habits you have found to be extremely useful (other than hitting the gym) in ensuring you live your best life every day?
Katherina: I try to give it my all and to be present for as many things as I can take on. And I remind myself every day that if I work really hard, life will give me something called success.
Jim Rohn famously said: “A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.” What are examples of “minor things” you no longer accommodate or tolerate in your life, and high-quality, major ones you make sure to keep close?
Katherina: I do not tolerate fake behaviour. I believe a lot of people spend time pretending to care about someone, and when they realise that you cannot give them what they need, they leave. I enjoy helping other entrepreneurs, I do it to learn and to give others what I did not have when I first started. Yet, on a few instances that I have given advice, instead of taking a hand, they take the whole arm.
I MAKE SURE TO SURROUND MYSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO HELP ME GROW AS A PERSON, PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT ENVIOUS OF SUCCESS OR JUDGEMENTAL OF FAILURE.
When you are hustling hard, you don’t have the mental space to entertain such behaviour. I make sure to surround myself with people who help me grow as a person, people who are not envious of success or judgemental of failure. Good energy is super important to me.
What do you think of when you hear the word “busy”?
Katherina: I like it when I hear the word “busy” — I think it’s a good sign. If I have too much time, I start to worry and I’d be like, why don’t I have meetings? Have I done something wrong?
As much as you like to keep busy, surely you do find time here and there and take a moment for yourself and the people and things that matter.
Katherina: I am a bookworm. When I want to be by myself, when I need a moment of reflection, I read. I also love watching movies. It’s my way of detaching and unplugging, and just focus on something else. As most of my friends and my fiancé live a similarly hectic life, we usually spend time together over dinner and a movie.
I LOVE READING A BOOK IN A BUBBLE BATH.
Increasingly, we find ourselves talking about unplugging from work and the distraction that is social media in order to reconnect with ourselves in a real way. Where do you go when in need of a sanctuary?
Katherina: Somewhere close to nature, where I can go hiking, and a fireplace would be nice.
What do you look forward to most when you check in to a hotel?
Katherina: Bubble baths. I love reading a book in a bubble bath. I also enjoy a good in-room breakfast. A cosy corner where I could do some work is nice, too.
Tell us about your “secret single behaviour”.
Katherina: I love to dance in the shower to really loud music.
Complete the sentence: Happiness is…
Katherina: Happiness is a gift. I try to enjoy every moment and soak it all in because I know that if I don’t remember the happy times, when life gets hard, I will regret it and miss it.
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InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay is located at 1 Nanson Road. Check it out or check in here.
“If I work really hard, life will give me something called success.”