I have a vague recollection of descending into crying fits throughout the second grade -- sudden, silent, solemn tears borne from inexplicable emotion. I wasn’t crying to solicit care or attention. I was crying just to cry. My teacher, the kind woman that she was, attempted to locate the source of my despair by asking probing questions about my home life, but there was nothing wrong. I was just sad.
Though my preferred experience of life is when it washes over me like a fine mist, life unfortunately cares very little about my preferences. Recently, it has been settling on my tongue like the aftertaste of an ill-timed nap, or the enduring alliaceousness of a particularly garlicky curry.
Put simply, I am having what is colloquially known as “a hard time”.
There’s something lightly, mischievously taboo about having an extravagantly nice drink: the strawberry lemonade slush at the patio restaurant, the $7 flavored latte on a busy city morning, the overpriced but well-packaged experimental drink that you finally let yourself buy because hey, isn’t that the reason why you’re working so hard in the first place?
Sitting on a bench overlooking the Yanagawa canals, willow trees swaying in the humid evening breeze, a friend asked me, “What are you passionate about?”
Normally, I’d regurgitate a rehearsed answer along the lines of alleviating human suffering, or experiencing and building community, or Dane DeHaan in the 2013 film Kill Your Darlings. But an off-hand thought entered my mind and stuck -- I am passionate about enjoying beverages.
a month of good habits
Like most personal growth enthusiasts, I am highly susceptible to fad challenges. That, and my willingness to sell out for the sake of content creation, would have made me an excellent BuzzFeed employee circa 2016.
As I approach my 6-month anniversary in Japan amidst coronavirus halting all travel plans, I figure that March is an opportune time to hunker down and establish sustainable habits for a settled life. This time period also overlaps with Lent (March 2nd - April 14th), and the part of me that was trained to be a good little Catholic girl is always keen for fear-induced penance. Over the next month, I’m hoping to reset my lifestyle using a guiding framework that I am coining “practical asceticism” - more on that in a later post. I plan to be on my best behavior for the next 31 days as I experiment with grounding practices for intentionality, balance, and holistic wellness.
I’m putting it here so I can hold myself accountable.
hi friends. i am deep in the weeds of ethical philosophy, fervently wading through hundreds of hours worth of content in my quest to live in alignment with my morals. sounds very dramatic, but it's really me nodding in front of a laptop or along to a podcast for 4+ hours a day. in any case, i'm synthesizing and digesting and emoting (and writing) -- but badly and slowly -- so i'm uploading this instead of an actual piece.
click "read more" to see my january journal, which contains one (1) half-baked, barely comprehensible thought i had on each day of the month. i do keep a private journal for musings that are less cryptic and faux-poetic, but this format was a fun exercise in writing without the pressure to communicate. it's just me playing with words! enjoy!
It is very tasty, being held in suspense by my own life. I’m beginning 2022 as a newly-single English teacher living in middle-of-nowhere Japan, whereas this time last year, I was plodding towards marriage in Napa Valley and permitting T-Mobile cell towers for $21/hour. I hope that in a few years, I’ll have fallen into even more happenstance situations, like being a polyamorous flight attendant based in the Middle East or a commune farmer crying through an Eat, Pray, Love moment somewhere humid and vaguely spiritual. Or maybe I’ll be back in San Francisco, selling my soul for stock options. In any case, I’m writing to you with optimism and anticipation, ready for the adventure to unfold and the Universe to steer me towards a greater (or just different) next chapter.