Happy New Year

Right on time.

I have a bunch of drafts sitting around. I haven’t finished them.

I have a list of other topics I’ve been wanting to write about. I haven’t started them.

For the longest time, I’ve found the right words quite hard to come by. Thoughts come and go. Sometimes before I can complete them.

When I was in high school, I made a bet with my boss at McDonald’s that I could eat 4 angus burgers within 10 minutes. I finished in 5.

I eat really quickly. Less so than before, but my grandpa used to joke that I had a hole under my chin; I was going so fast that my mouth couldn’t hold all the food I was eating at once — there was always a pile of rice right below and all over my mouth. It’s also the reason why I can eat so much. If you don’t pay attention to the food — you don’t feel full; it just goes down and turns into poopoo.

It’s not uncommon — I think a lot of people do the same. But it isn’t a good thing. There’s more to eating than filling your macros and calories. Eating isn’t just to satisfy hunger — there are a lot of colours that come with a good meal. Hopefully not from your bum.

I’ve noticed recently that I’ve been breathing quicker. I’m certainly not short of breath, but the cycles are unconsciously faster, and when I pay attention, I can hear the rapidness of my heartbeat. Sometimes I can hear it when I’m not paying attention too. Oops.

Breathing is no different than eating. Satiating primitive needs is only one part of why we seek food; why should air be any different? But lately, my air has just been going through my lungs and going out as poopoo (CO2). Nothing else.

Last year, sometime around December, I remember sitting on the track of the local University by myself. I’d just arrived in Chengdu after a few months of a very fast-paced, go-getter lifestyle, and for the first time in a long time, I stopped. Wind whistled beside bird song, sunlight danced between branched leaves. Ambient laughter filled neighborhood streets, Sunday laundry kept buildings busy.

I sat there for a few minutes.

I breathed. There was something different about the air. I took a piece of Chengdu with me that day.

I’m trying to do that right now. I’d like to take a piece of everyday, everyday.

When I’m in the city for too long, my awareness gets diluted amongst noise and the skyscrapers. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of the environment — it washes you away in its current. And the city likes to move fast; sometimes you can’t help but be pulled along. When that happens, it’s time to revisit, and breathe again.

I’ve realized that the reason why I feel so different (sometimes a very profound high) when I hike or travel is that I’m kind of meditating. My awareness is directed outward and I’m attentive. It’s like I’m eating with my senses than just with my mouth, breathing with my body and not just my lungs.

And while the past year has been a little chaotic, I’ve been able to find a bit of order within that chaos. I’ve always said that the best way to find balance is to find the extremes, and experiencing this dichotomy has given me a chance to understand some best practices for enjoying life.

Sometimes minutes, days, even years go by without noticing. And with the advent of a lot more noise these days, it’s a lot easier for time to skip past. Recently I’ve felt like I’ve been losing track more than usual, but today I’ve kept rhythm with the dials. Today was a new day. The fact that I’ve noticed that is an accomplishment — really.

And tomorrow will be a new tomorrow. Passage of time is meaningful once you’ve become aware of it. Just like the passage of breath. Or the passage of food. You don’t want it just to turn into poopoo.

Happy new year.