Reflections

January 5, 2018

But being away has also given me opportunity to internalize my thoughts instead of distracting myself with all the things that give me comfort.

Lately, my thoughts have been shifting. Maybe it's the gloomy weather outside or the clear signs of global warming that's affecting my mood but I've been thinking a lot about my role on this planet. I'm thinking about my footprints and how my experiences are shaping me.

2017 has taught me so many things about people. We've been living here in SF for almost 3 years now, isolated from family and long-term friends. There had been days when all I wanted was to go back home. But being away has also given me opportunity to internalize my thoughts instead of distracting myself with all the things that give me comfort.

Being a responsible adult is so much more than paying the bills. So to remind myself of all these lessons, I've written them down for future reference. I still hesitate to share these personal thoughts but my goal is to get out of my comfort zone and do something I normally wouldn't do. So here they are:

1. You can't save everyone

People have to realize that they have control over their situations. No matter how much you help someone, if they don't want to pick themselves up, then your efforts are useless. Sometimes, the best way to help a person is to allow them to struggle on their own. Give them space to grow and solve their own problems.

2. Losing friends (even the ones you never expected to walk out) is normal

There are people that I used to be close to that I no longer interact with. In my early 20s, I would have reacted differently, feeling sad and betrayed. But now I understand that it isn't just one person's fault that friendships fall apart. You need to look at your own actions as well.

On a positive note, I've gained new friends that I'm starting to feel comfortable with. I tend to have my guard up when it comes to new relationships but once I get past that, everything just falls in to place. I have a handful of people I can turn to anytime I feel like losing my head and I'm grateful for that.

3. It's okay to be irrelevant

In a time when people value followers and likes, it's hard to avoid wanting the same thing. I mean who doesn't like having quantifiable proof of your worth towards other people? Admittedly, there were times when I felt disappointed in myself for not being influencial enough. I've cycled through thoughts of self-doubt and insecurity.

Is it me? Do people find me annoying? Am I using social media wrong? Am I supposed to just post selfies and attach a thousand hashtags to gain people's approval?

The monologues keep going. But once I have cycled through these thoughts, I stop myself and ask different questions.

Do I really want to define my self worth through these shallow numbers? What am I trying to prove? Isn't having more intimate relationships better than shallow ones? Who were you in this world before this became the "norm"?

With these thoughts, I'm pulled back to reality. I understand that media can change the way we think about ourselves. It's hard to avoid but we can't allow it to define us. We have to be present and aware.

4. Don't compare yourself to other people

Again, with social media, it's so easy to see people succeed without learning their full story. It's so easy to forget that we only see a snippet of a person's life. They might make it look easy but there's a big chance they spent hours working towards their achievement. Always remember that you are a unique individual with your own unique experiences. You are shaped by your past and have control over your present. Just focus on your own goals and be happy for other people.

5. Appreciate the little things

It sounds cliché but this is one of the biggest things I learned in the last year. After breaking my foot during a climbing accident, everything became harder than they used to. Merely getting from point A to B was a chore and the timing wasn't good too because a week after the accident, we went to Hawaii and this had been a dream of mine since I was a kid. The heat and the sand made it difficult to move around and we couldn't go on long hikes. I had a choice to be miserable or to accept my situation and laugh about it so I chose the latter.

It turned out to be one of the best trips we'd taken. I saw so much good in people who allowed me to take their seats and made me feel better through their words. Seeing the good in humanity after reading all the negative stories on the internet was refreshing. I've also learned to appreciate my husband more as he patiently let me use him as a crutch when I was exhausted from our walks. Not once did he complain about how slow I was or how disappointed he was that we couldn't do any of our initial plans.

Forward

This year, I'm approaching my third decade of existence on this planet. I'm not aiming to become something big but to become a better version of myself.

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