Leave password field empty to keep your existing password!
INFJ. Taurus. Please feel free to leave a comment on my writing. I’m happy to have a space to be open and authentic by expressing myself in a way I deeply enjoy: writing.
A lot has changed since I wrote the post entitled "No Time to Write". Things fell apart with my old job, which was pretty stressful as you could imagine. But you know what they say? Sometimes things happen for a reason, so perhaps this was one of those times, or maybe I'm just a hopeless optimistic. Anyway, I started a new job just two weeks later. That meant I had two weeks of freedom. Open-ended freedom for me to basically do whatever the heck I wanted, despite the whole stress of searching for a new job and going through the whole interview process. As I had ironically complained about not having enough time, a plentitude of time was gracefully, well not so gracefully, given to me not long afterwards. At this point, I'm sure you're wondering what I did with my free time. Instead of writing, I used my time for making social plans and resting. As a matter of fact, as much as I hate to admit it, I ended up taking my free time a bit for granted. One day felt just like the next one, and there was no push each day to get up and get to work on any creative projects. It felt like I had all the time in the world. Since it was still summer, I took some long hikes in the sun, which absolutely rejuvenated my entire being. I also watched a lot of TV. I've been working full time again for almost 2 months now. After getting back into the rhythm of working, I miss freedom and regret that I didn't use the short time in between jobs to lean into my creative side that often gets neglected. I regret that I didn't wake up each morning, pour myself some coffee and immediately start grinding out creative project after project. Yet, maybe rest is exactly what I needed. A break from the urgency that time has placed on me. I wasn't thinking much about time and schedules, and it felt good. You could argue that there's always time if you make it. Maybe it's just self-discipline that's missing. For instance, some people say they have no time to read, yet these are the same people who spend at least two hours scrolling through social media every night before bed. I could always be more intentional with my time. However, it's okay to rest, and I think everyone needs this reminder. I think resting means not thinking about making time for things and just enjoying the present moment, whether that means taking a long walk or binge watching a TV series. If you needed the reminder that it's okay to rest sometimes, to not feel guilty about "wasting time", then here it is: it's okay. If you're going through a stressful time like I was, be gentle with yourself.
I remember taking a walk one day and seeing two young people, probably teenagers, sitting on a bench in the beautiful forest, gracefully touched by the sun. They were staring down at their smartphones. Internally, I judged them pretty hard. “Why would anyone spend time in nature just to stare at a screen?” I thought. This memory came to mind as I caught myself sitting outside during my 15 minute work break, eyes glued to my own cellular device. I stopped myself. For once, I decided to look around, to take in the present moment. Sure, I wasn't surrounded by beautiful nature, but it was still a chance to breathe in some fresh air - and more serene than inside my workplace. I realized I never paid attention to the sizes of the trees to the not-so-distant right -or the fact that one tree is shaped like a heart- even though work is somewhere I go every weekday, and my car is always parked by the same tree. Normally my 15 minute breaks seem to go by in an instant, barely giving me enough time to reply to a few texts. What gives? However, the end of this particular break felt as if I had just finished meditating. It turns out meditating doesn't always mean sitting in a special posture on a meditation cushion, breathing rhythmically or going “ohm”. And I needed this. Lately, I sense that time is slipping away from me, that somehow I slipped up and hit the fast forward button, failing to find the right button. Sometimes I wish I could press pause – sometimes I miss quarantine. When my complaints ebb and flow, I remind myself that I'm happy to have a job. Yet, sometimes the complaints come knocking at my door like an uninvited salesman. They say that there's no time to write. I make up for it by writing in my head at work. You know how they say the best ideas come when you least expect them? Well, in my experience, I would tweak this quote by saying, “the best ideas come when it's least convenient”. The other day at work, doing monotonous tasks, a beautifully scripted poem splashed in my mind like red wine on carpet. Since I was wearing lab gloves and had just touched tubes of bodily fluids, it wasn't the time to write. And when it is the time to write… Coffee ready, candle lit, I write and write until mere moments later I have a fresh poem??? I wish. Instead, I have nothing. NOTHING. My ideas have vanished. Maybe I'm too distracted by my phone. Maybe I just put too much pressure on myself. Probably both. With a job, my available time has become sacred, so whenever I sit down to write I have an expectation to create something worthwhile. Although, I know very well that the best ideas aren't forced, but the opposite. What even is my problem anyway? I can barely put it into words, other than stating that the working world has left me feeling cluttered. Why did nobody tell me that life after college is so hard? I wonder. Maybe this is what people mean when they refer to pursuing a career as the “real world”. Sadly, the real world has made me antisocial. I wasn't always like this. I went through a phase the beginning of 2019 where I hung out with people about every other night, and during this time I was thriving. I felt like I was on top of the world. Of course, I had the time for this because I decided to take a gap year after college to be an Au Pair as a nice adventure, or so I thought. My host mom ended up getting frustrated with me because I was going out so many nights. “We've never had an Au Pair that went out so much!” she told me. I took this to mean that she discouraged social Au Pairs because this meant less attention for her kids, or maybe she just wasn't used to having Au Pairs that made friends so quickly and didn't know what to think of it. The whole Au Pair adventure didn't last long and my little social circle I had built went crumbling along with it. I guess you can't have too much of a good thing, or really there's just not enough time for it. There wasn't enough time to upkeep my socially ideal self because consequently this meant I wasn't committing enough of my energy to my responsibilities. Not enough time. What a slap in the face that realization was back then, especially since I hoped working as a babysitter/ housekeeper in another country would've been easy, flexible, and fun. Nope. Also, there were some communication issues too, but that's another story. Now, I should go because I have stuff to do, like laundry. The reason for writing today was just to prove that there IS time to write. I need to stop making excuses, because writers don't make excuses. They write!
Dear Grandpa, It's been 2 weeks since you departed from this earth. They say only time can heal grieving, but I find matters may grow even more sad with the passing of months. The more time goes on, the longer it's been since I heard your voice on the phone or experienced your laughter. I never want to forget the sound of your voice. The last time I talked to you, there was a problem with your phone. The last words of yours I heard were "I can't hear you dear" as I repeated, "Hello? Hello??? HELLO?". I didn't know at the time that would be the last chat I had with you. I didn't know that would be one of your last days. I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. I remember when I was a little girl and would hug your legs really firmly from behind. That feels like a separate life, long in the past. Yet, it feels like a vivid, not so distant memory all at once. Oh, how time flies. You lived your life and you lived it well for 89 years. What more could anyone ask for? Now, I'm relived to know you're free from isolation, boredom, and pain at the nursing home, even though it aches my heart to accept you're not here. Writing may seem untrendy in this modern day, but as far as I know it's the only thing that helps me cope, a medicine. We must never forget our dear loved ones. I continue to write about our memories together. Grampy, watch over me and please stay in my heart. Love, Your Granddaughter
The beginning of 2020, lots of people set off fireworks, brilliant displays of everyone's anticipation for the new year. As many admired the open-air art, maybe it seemed that the world slowed down a little bit, allowing time to reflect on career goals, relationship goals, routines, and diet changes. However, after the celebration, the world sped up, becoming just as fast as ever before (if not faster), like a constantly spinning merry-go-round. Everyone's chasing something, whether it's more followers, more likes, or more to add to our professional profiles, the world is infused with a "more, more, more" mentality. Don't get me wrong. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Of course, if nobody had this mentality, there wouldn't be any books being written, businesses being created, and so on. On the flip side, some people never take a breath. If you've ever seen the 80's movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, you know the quote, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Now, since the COVID-19 crisis was declared a pandemic, the world has come to a pause, like slamming on the brakes, even though nobody wanted this. Nobody predicted 2020 to go this way. The question, "What would you do if your life was put on pause?", a seemingly theoretical question, now becomes real for many of us during this eerie sci-fi movie time. Side note: This post is by no means being written to take the situation lightly as I understand lives are being taken by this virus. This is a devastating, frightening time that poses tremendous uncertainty about the future. Since I'm not a healthcare worker, I feel I cannot write about the situation, but since I'm stuck at home without a job, I can write to those also stuck at home looking for a brief distraction. If you've ever said, "I wish I could ‘blank' more, but I'm just too busy," now's the time! Fill in the blank. It could be read, draw, workout, call friends on the phone, declutter, cook, blog, learn a language, or whatever! Get creative. Also, if you're feeling discontent spending so much time at home and are willing to try something new, what about hygge? Hygge, a Danish trend meaning "wellbeing" in Norwegian, describes the concept of enjoying coziness. If you're stuck at home, there's no better time to make your atmosphere as cozy (and clean) as possible. You could accent a room with string lights, light some candles, prepare yourself a warm beverage, and get some snacks out to set beside you. It's important to take time to slow down and simply be present instead of rapidly scrolling through your phone or frantically replying to text messages. There's nothing better than setting the phone aside and snuggling up with a good book and maybe a blanket if it's not too warm. Other cozy activities to try are journaling, writing someone a letter, or watching one of your favorite shows either alone or with someone else in your house. Atmosphere is key. Perhaps, when it's safe to go out again, at least you'll emerge with a newfound appreciation of your home. If not, you could be absolutely sick of your home and dedicated to spending every waking moment out of the house (that's fine too). Either way, hygge could still provide some sense of comfort during this stressful time. And when the world speeds up again, slowing down every once in a while should come naturally. Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash
According to Webster's dictionary, nostalgia means "a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to some past period or irrecoverable condition". When asked about college, many graduates reminisce with a sense of nostalgia. The funny things about looking back is sometimes the smallest, most simple memories scream into the abyss of the so-called "college memories" folder in my mind. We should take pictures of such moments, perhaps as a way to feel big in the wide world by the vastness of our own memories. Not just for social media but to be able to nurture nostalgia one day. If I had captured snapshots of nostalgic moments in college, then they would have evoked memories such as the following: 1. A Friday on Campus As if looking back at a series of sepia prints, I see a tornado of backpacks among brick walls, printed-out lecture notes appearing as the latest fashion staple, and roaring group circles. Walking to my last class of the day on a late Friday afternoon, the sun dances on my skin as the Friday feeling builds inside of me like an inflating balloon about to burst. The first warm day of the semester graces the campus and one thing's on everyone's mind: spring is here. You can see it in the way people skip down the sidewalks. You can hear it in the way people talk. You can smell a freshness in the air that dusts away the brutal complaints cried out the past few months of coldness. You can feel it in the palpable oneness of the students. Music blares out the speakers of fraternities. Rowdy guys in t-shirts and shorts are either sipping beers or throwing a ball around. It seems their weekend has already started. Well, actually it started as soon as 9am when I heard the speakers chanting the lyrics, "my girl wants to party all the time, party all the time, party all the tiiime", before entering the library. I think that little bit could be their motto. Beep beep. "Happy Friday!" a bunch of girls packed into a compact car shout out the window. Only one more class, I tell myself, although every cell in my body refuses to sit in the gray computer lab and work on a statistics assignment for a whole hour. After turning my assignment in and bolting out the door, my soul dances, floating above each "have a good weekend" exchanged around me, feeling lighter knowing the weekend has finally arrived. 2. A Beloved Study Spot A quiet place to study on a Monday serves as a nice retreat from the beer-littered lawns and people raving about their bumpin' weekend or whatever the college kids say. People raving about their "man that's sick dude"-weekend. People talking about getting trashed and having to walk their overly drunk roommate back to the dorm. Based on personal experience, it's not the best background noise for studying kinetic energy. Sinking into a cozy cafe chair, I can dig into my science textbook uninterrupted. Sometimes the background chatter comes from wannabe philosophers. "Why is this important?". What a great diversion from earlier discussions. Of course, I can tune it out and focus on my work. As usual, I savor my safe haven of note-taking and productive energy thanks to the sea of students studying around me. 3. A Fun Club Activity After class, I find my roommate sitting atop the steps of the tiny front porch while jotting some notes down. "What are you studying?" I ask her. "Oh just organizing my French notes." "That's funny," I reply, "I was actually going to ask you if you wanted to come to the French club party tonight." She squeals, "Oooh!!! I would love to! Let me get ready." Cue the French music. We go inside along with the sound of pre-party entertainment playing from her iPhone, and she announces that she has the perfect shirt, a striped shirt with the word Ibiza, known for its European nightclubs. Then, we walk about 10 minutes through campus to the small party where we enjoy some finger foods and a glass of wine while chatting and taking turns choosing the music. "Did you know she's a good dancer?" my roommate puts me on the spot while twirling her wine. Laughing, I awkwardly shake my hips a few seconds to the beat of the foreign song and mention that we both do swing dancing together. The variety of college activities facilitated the process of connecting with people. Making connections was so much easier. I took this luxury for granted. Looking back is like steeping a green tea as memories diffuse out of our brains, spreading like tea aroma. After a few minutes, there's a warm cup of happiness. If steeped too long, there's a bitter after-taste. Time frames can be recalled by music, smells, pictures, and even the power of your own mind. According to Scientific American, a healthy dose of nostalgia provides an increase in self esteem, sense of purpose, optimism, and ability to cope with obstacles. However, there's no reason to fixate on the past, neglecting to see that the present could be equally cherished. What are you nostalgic about?
Subscribe and stay tuned.