The past 12 months has been nothing but mad.
I haven’t had the chance to (or more like have been avoiding), sitting myself down and reflecting how the past year has gone, but I guess ‘nothing but mad’ seems to sum it up pretty well.
I always say that I’m blessed. What I failed to realize is that those blessings can also be taken for granted, and that’s something that I’ve slowly learnt to accept and deal with.
I’ve learnt that some people are for certain seasons. This is something I admit I’ve been struggling with understanding, much less explain it in writing, but here’s how I’ve come to see it as:
It’s not that you outgrow people, it’s that maybe they were only there to teach you certain lessons no matter how big or small. They were only given to you for a certain period of your life, and when you’ve reached the end of that period, you have to let them go.
So does that mean that you’re constantly going to be like an air bnb and have random people in your life every few months or so? No I don’t think so.
I have to refer to my favourite TV show ever to aptly describe it:
“You will be shocked to learn how easy it is to part ways with someone forever and that’s why when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.” — Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother (Season 9, Episode 21: Gary Blauman)
I guess the last part is the most important one. When you do find someone to keep around, you do something about it.
I remember the middle of the year where I was just…directionless. That I was going nowhere. I didn’t remember what my goals were, I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing at work, and ultimately I just felt lost. I was writing for the sake of writing, and it didn’t fulfill me. I felt empty.
Quick segue, I was at a Starbucks doing work outside of the office, when I just took a breather and paused from an incoming headache. And I just began people watching, and my eyes eventually landed on the baristas. It was a fairly slow afternoon, and they passed the time by bantering with each other. What stuck with me the most was the sudden realization that…I wasn’t happy where I was. I physically dreaded going to the office. I was a magazine editor, but my only goal was to just get another issue out, no matter how shit. And that scared me.
A month later, I resigned.
I then worked as a graphic designer for a startup, and that was good for a couple of months. I was stimulated, I felt like I was doing something I enjoyed, and for the first time in a very long while, my heart was at ease.
Eventually though, as happy as I was, something was missing. The ideas weren’t coming, my work became repetitive, I took weeks just to design something simple, and it rocked my confidence. The doubt just came and made itself at home again.
I stuck to it for three months, before returning to my roots as a reporter for a new online news portal.
In case you were keeping count, that’s three jobs in a year.
It’s crazy because I never really thought I’d be the job hopper that moves on every year or so, but I guess I haven’t got an excuse. I just felt…like they weren’t the right fit, until now?
Where I am right now, it keeps me doing what I relatively love to do. I say relatively because I realize that it’s alright to find flaws in what you’re doing, or where you’re at, or who’s around you.
Maybe this last part has hit me the hardest now that I’ve thought about it.
Another quick segue, I was reading an article on Jay Z’s interview with Dean Baquet for the New York Times Style Magazine.
When the topic of his marriage with Beyoncé came up, he said this:
“The hardest thing is seeing pain on someone’s face that you caused, and then have to deal with yourself.
“So, you know, most people don’t want to do that. You don’t want to look inside yourself.
“And so you walk away.”
For the majority of the year, some days have been difficult to go through, especially when you have very little to no control of your life. And I don’t mean control of the larger things like your career, but just the small everyday things like your emotions.
When you’re not in control of your emotions, you hurt a lot of people that don’t deserve it at all.
And that’s the hardest part. That guilt. That shame. That creeps up on you and arrests you. It condemns you. And you can’t do anything but just let the guilt wash over you and try to be better.
Those months were filled with tears, with self hating, and with the kind of self reflection that makes you wince every time the truth hits you.
The only person that can help you crawl out of the hole you’ve dug yourself into is yourself. And when you finally realize that, and take responsibility of your words and your emotions, only then can you hope to get better.
Wow that was depressing. Anyway.
This year, I travelled to Japan twice — once to visit my sister who was on exchange, and then for a work trip a few months later.
Both times, Japan was nothing but amazing. I have a very odd relationship with Japan. I love the food, but the culture sometimes can still eludes me. Some nights I’d just walk on the street at night, the cold weather hitting my face, but just the sheer buzz around Tokyo gets you stoked. Maybe I’m a city boy at heart that’s not willing to admit it out loud.
I finally came back to my ‘hometown’ for a good friend’s wedding, and reconnected with my close group of friends there. It was a whirlwind weekend, but it was a much needed pick me up (even though I almost missed my flight back).
Seeing people you care about in the flesh, and months of being away, it just does something to you. I remember just wanting to tear up when my friends picked me up from the airport. It’s like, I want time to stop, and I want to tell you all about how my life is going from the moment I last saw you to the moment I walked through those arrival gates.
And my biggest blessing (there’s that word again) of all this past year, is having someone to board with, and go through all the ups and downs (more downs than ups actually) with. Someone that has been extremely patient through my spiraling, nonsensical rants, and love of all things lame. Whose love and support is something I thought was selfish enough to go without and take for granted. The one who basically taught me to get my shit straight.
So that’s been my 2017.
A year that’s apparently themed around immense loss, but also unexpected gains. For much of the year, I wasn’t in control of…I guess anything. My life. My feelings and emotions. My career. My family and friends.
Slowly and surely, I’m regaining control of the shipwreck that is (or was?) my life.
What about 2018 then?
I want to be healthier. It only took about a dozen hospital and clinic visits (and about half a grand) for an undiagnosed lump on my neck to finally scare me enough to change my diet and lifestyle. I’m starting simple, laying off the sugar, junk food, fast food (sigh), and slowly going back to MMA.
I also want to be more productive. Like boarding more on the weekends, and come back into photography — two things that I’ve slowly started to return to after a long absence.
Finally, I want to write more. Plain and simple.
And I guess that starts here?