It’s been 5 days since I’ve flown out of China, closing the chapter of that crazy adventure in my life.
Last words? What can I say…It’s been a GREAT two years of struggle, strength, and survival. Pounding my fist persistently against a brick wall, getting more and more tired after each effortless blow "WHY CANT I GET YOU?!" And then finally stopping myself before I break. Slumped and heaving, admitting with humility that I can’t make an impact at this point right now. Retreating yet shouting to the universe, fists up “BUT when I am ready…I will somehow procure a shovel and dig my way through!!!”
During my last week of goodbyes, I felt a whirlwind of emotions from FREEDOM to GUILT. The hardest part wasn’t justifying to my peers about why I needed to leave. It was combatting my own internal complex, saying “I AM GOING” and actually doing just that. It’s the journey trying to find the way back home and following through. It’s rediscovering that path again to color when you were so accustomed to seeing in black and white. Navigating half blind and trusting your gut that you remember by instinct how to get to your happy place. Doing all of that with a guilt-free conscience wondering “did I really close this chapter?” and not looking back.
Is it okay that I feel so uninhibited and free right now? Everyone else seems to be so miserable and working so hard...Am I a horrible person for leaving them behind?
In my last blog entry "Returning Back Home" I mention how good it feels to have Freedom again...but I knew intuitively it's not going to be so easy. To come out of a nagging complex of being subjected to listen to too many voices from other people's expectations for me, let alone my own expectations for myself. I have issues that I'm working through.
Being in a complex is like being inside a black bag. It is dark. You cannot see what has hold of you. All you could tell is that you’re held captive by something. Temporarily unable to organize your thoughts or priorities, acting without contemplation or mindfulness for your wellbeing and for those around you.
Believe me, finding that yellow brick road when you’ve been thrown into the deep dark jungle isn’t easy. I’m still working on it and before embarking on the plane to Taiwan, I told myself three things:
- I am so lucky to have a support system to be there to listen, encourage, and guide me whenever I falter in self doubt
- I need to use this transitory time to RECONNECT with friends/mentors and to spend some time on MYSELF
- I have to work on finding the right BALANCE between work and play while still sticking true to what i believe in
So I hit the ground floor running in typical "the world is my playground" fashion, relentlessly pursuing life again while absorbing as much as I can along the way.
I woke up at 6 AM in China. 2 hour ride to Hangzhou. 3 hour plane ride to Taipei. 45 minute taxi back to Grandma's for a quick shower, Hi, Bye!! 30 min Metro subway to train station. 2 hour bullet speed train ride down to Kaoxiong, South of Taiwan.
I realize now that this might seem aggressive. But I'm a firm believer that the energy you derive comes from an inner infinite place of passion, curiosity, and exploration.
All of this hustle was to reconnect with my previous inspirational mentors turned close friends from my old community creativity lab BECOMING TW. I immediately prioritized seeing them as soon as I landed because I believed in the importance of surrounding myself around like-minded people who "get it." Through storytelling and catching up, I was able to drop the little remnants of remaining guilt I had of leaving China behind and open a whole slew of "exciting opportunities for the future" conversations. We were bonding and laughing in bed like a bunch of little girls again. Swing dancing and doing the Charleson at night and tarot card reading until midnight. Amazing. I needed that!
The following night and day was spent hanging around my friend Zona's cross-cultural coworking space InBETWEEEN. Being around community again and feeling the energy radiate was uplifting and gave me the energy and momentum to carry on till even now- 5 days later scrambling to write down all that I've learned....
For the past week, I’ve been branding the BALANCE band to ease this transitory period in my life. For my own accountability, I’ve been taking notes of what I’ve been able to do and what I still need to work on.
I figured one week seems like more than enough time to focus and work towards personal growth while grabbing enough enriching storytelling experiences to nurture new healthy habits.
If I need to work on something, I'll take note and adapt.
I don't know about you but I think this is a pretty cool social experiment. Feel free to take what you can out of it.
Social experiment: Party of 1.
What does BALANCE mean for you?
To feel centered, grounded. To feel like my heart, mind, body, soul isn’t being pulled in 5 different directions. A thought or feeling that can be sustained instead of being torn away because something else is demanding my time and attention. Balance is calm and peace of mind. It’s knowing that I’ve got everything I’ve prioritized in my life at a healthy counterpoint. It’s knowing when to say no and when to say yes.
How do you find your BALANCE?
Great outline I took straight from Tiny Buddha.
Mind: Challenging yourself intellectually vs. creating opportunities for my mind to rest
Heart: Giving love vs. receiving love
Health: Eating, drinking, exercising properly vs. resting and treating yourself to some extra yummies
Work: Pushing yourself to achieve goals vs. seeing the bigger picture and enjoying the ride
Social: Satisfying your social desires vs. taking time for yourself
Family: Fulfilling your familial responsibilities vs. creating healthy boundaries
Fun: Allocating time for things you enjoy doing vs. making sure you don’t overdo it
For this past week, what did you do to feel balanced?
- Reading personal essays, started and finished a book on self-love, still pouring through WWRW
- Unplugged with technology and people watched during commutes on the subway
- Writing in my journal, writing poetry #verbalvombomb on instagram, writing a personal memoir with intention to submit to blogs
- Opening my mind to new exciting opportunities ahead wherever they may be
- Putting my heart back into the game and creating an openly honest and communicative sphere as the foundation for a new relationship.
- Slowly removing my conscience of past trauma and worries for what the future may bring and being grateful for being present now.
- Lots of giving and receiving. Feeling good.
- Exercising with Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide workout (again!)
- Being more conscious of what I eat and staying away from oily foods
- Slowly transitioning into becoming a vegetarian (again...)
- Going to the eye doctor (finally). Legally blind in my left eye (+8.25). Will start to (seriously) wear glasses (again) and take more rests away from computer/phone screens.
- Working on my writing style and voice
- Updated resume/CV/Applied to jobs (2), telling myself being too hasty about job search, no rush
- Attended Women Start Up Lab Tech Conference and networked like a “lost but enthusiastic” champion, fuel for inspiration
- Finding potential partners to collaborate with and setting dates to meet up!
- Visited and hanging out at 2 coworking spaces (InBetween Project0.1)
- Interviewing female entrepreneurs, learning and figuring out how to give back
- Reconnecting with old friends (trip to Kaoxiong/birthday KTV/wedding) and making new friends along the way
- Making definitive future plans with positive and inspiring people (give/learn/share relationship)
- Spending some nights happy being alone and some nights happy to embrace someone
- Spending quality time with my cousin visiting from SF and showing him around Taipei
- Making plans with estranged cousins to rebuild connection
- Hanging out with grandma and entertaining her with my day to day
- Working out
What can you do moving forward to create more balance in your life?
Be kind to myself. Acknowledge that I am not perfect but I am trying. Take more time to reflect and be mindful of my surroundings. Understanding it takes time and effort to overcome habitual patterns and create new ones. Finding balance in just being present in the moment. Finding that success is nonlinear and so long as I set small achievable goals, I mind as well take a chill pill and enjoy the ride.
Yeah, so that’s my 5 days in a nutshell. Ultimately, I’m happier and in a better place.
Finally outside of the Great Firewall, I’m beginning to see that the world has a lot going on. Technology. Community. Creativity. Art. Collaboration. Love. I’m starting to feel again that I have a lot I can contribute.
I could by stereotyped as "lost millennial" but hey, who isn't? I'm embracing my uniqueness as I am totally killing it with change. Maybe it still seems like I am “all over the place” but I'm happy to say I'm in a more balanced “exploration mode” where I can nourish my interests and creativity and not be so crazy into making immediate decisions right away.
NEXT WEEK #BANDCHALLENGE: LEARN
So I think I'm going to keep this up. It's fun. And I need accountability in my life.
Please join me! I'll also be posting on Instagram every Tuesday #BANDCHALLENGE @remindmebands. I can't be the only one blabbing away. Email email@example.com your story and your take on the word LEARN.
SHARING IS FUN! SELF IMPROVEMENT YAY! CHALLENGES WOOO!
The power to take control of your life lies in your capacity to LEARN. Don't underestimate the lessons you can take away from your peers, your environment, your own self introspection. Growth comes naturally when you open yourself to infinite possibilities.
What do you secretly want to learn but you've never had time for? What can you do this week that will encourage you to learn and open yourself up to what you want to do? What can you do today that will encourage you to learn, to be one step closer to pursuing your dreams? Think about it. DO IT.
#balance #reflection #truth #BANDchallenge #wordsandaction
“Somehow, we’ll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be. But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.”
— Brandon Sanderson
We are all in this world together. Practice empathy and remember to breathe often. For those who juggle so much all at once, the struggle can be real. Start by slowing down and guiding your actions with mindfulness and compassion. Life will balance itself out once you take a moment for yourself.