A Self Care To-Do List

If the only way for you to be happy is getting into your dream school, you will never make it: because the reward that you are dreaming of won’t survive the distance of time.

In the final month of college apps and semester exams, I know that all the high school seniors need to be reminded of the little moments that makes us happy. We are valuing our self worth by the college that we get into, delaying our gratification by working until burnout, and dreaming of opening the acceptance letters. But what are we seeking? Happiness? The praise and recognition of other people?

The restless nights reminded me that I should do things just for the sake of it, and believe that happiness is fulfilling what I want to do at the moment. All the positive changes I can make right now, and it doesn’t have to wait until college. Happiness doesn’t live in the future.

Things that makes me happy:

  1. journaling and writing blogs
  2. self-care app
  3. showering
  4. candles
  5. taking walks
  6. hanging out with my cat
  7. running
  8. listening to music 24/7
  9. talking to friends online

There’s no perfect formula and sometimes it’s not clear if one activity will make you more happy. You have to be really aware of how your body is feeling: don’t grind homework if you overwhelmed, do something active instead.

Live in the moment, not for others nor the future, even when you are doing it unconsciously. You have to believe that at every moment, there’s something that you can do to make you feel better.

Freedom from the Routine

Whenever you feel like you are trapped in the same routine, remember that you have the freedom to do something different and break out of the mundane situation. You should never be bound to anything, especially your own expectations and worries about the things that you can’t control.

The morning walk happened without a goal. It was an important journey for me to feel better after such a long time of being trapped in business. I ahead time to think about why I’m so stressed and what things I should let go of in order to lighten the weight on myself. What good is it to set a deadline that isn’t even reinforced by reality. I recognized the world outside of the worrying mind because there are infinite ways for me to make my day different from the past by seeking out new experience and becoming lost in the moment instead of hurrying everything to get to the next self-enforced goal.

Seriously, you taking on so much right now, but what are the things that really matter?

It’s a tough question but I think it makes me better prepared for the day. I was freed from the all or nothing mentality that trapped me in my own expectations and ripped me of the freedom of my actions.

Life on A Boat

A dot on the horizon

in search of a reason

Dragged by the turbulence of waves

And pushed by the force of the winds,

To where are we being guided in the dark

By the mysterious forces of our lives?

Perhaps the truth lies before us,

it is not meant for us to know.

We learn to navigate swiftly 

between the ocean and the sky

In indecipherable code in above,

In the blinking stars and the twirling clouds,

We search for a clue.

Awaiting for a sudden glimpse 

into the abyss beneath

in the darkness that holds 

the answers untold.

Want to talk hopes and dreams?

What am I supposed to do?

Where am I supposed to be going?

I want to stay here. Can I at least do that?

but at the end of it

I just don’t ever want to think

that “i have to become this”

Not even being able to earn a living

I’ll be okay with that as long as i’m doing the work i love

so the destination doesn’t matter in the slightest

keep doing the practice problems

and pass the exams

because it’s all that I’ve got at this point

see you guys on the other side.

Defined as Numbers: Exam Season Stress Relieve

I’ve been struggling with major stress because I’m facing 4 AP exams, SAT, and finals over the course of 3 weeks. I’ve never experienced so much restlessness during the day but failed to do anything due to the lack of motivation.

I was in a helpless and lonely state when I turned to my friends. Even though they were kind enough to respond to my texts, the dread of sadness still lingered and haunted my mind. I noticed that this feeling is coming from inside of me and no amount of pity and encouragement from the outside will help me if I, myself, don’t chose to change it. So I hopped onto the treadmill again.

The first 10 minutes I was making it: not too intense nor too slacked off. But a few seconds later, something clicked inside my head. I set a goal for myself, the last time I worked out, that is to burn 200 calories in 20 minutes. I’m not sure about how accurately the system measures my efforts, but I didn’t care about that. All I could care about is getting that 200.

This state reminded of what I am doing for school and academics. Pouring my body and soul into getting a 95% grade in my classes, 5 on the AP exams, and 1550 on the SAT. But I realized that these numbers are same as the 200 showing up next to the label “calories” on the monitor; they are all generalizations used to define goals. Numbers, in nature, are simplifications of the nuances of life, made for the convenience of sorting individuals by erasing their uniqueness. They are easy to think about and the simple statement of “getting another 5 point” serves as powerful motivation.

But it’s hard to avoid becoming the numbers. I didn’t make it to 200 calories, and I most likely wouldn’t get all my desired test scores, but I know I’m more than just the numbers. Moreover, I’m are not my goals, either, because placing too much emphasis on the expectation can only do more harm than good. There must be a distinction between the stereotypical anchor points that we pull ourselves towards and the invincibility of our competency by believing in our true, immeasurable identities.

There is no reason for you to stop believing in yourself. Use the numbers as motivations, but do not let it shrink and define you.

The Conversation with a Stranger

C: It sounds like you might also be holding yourself to the expectation to be in control of your cognitive state, and that might be stressful.

M: Should we not be in control of our cognitive state?

C: We are always under the influence of our surroundings. There are hundreds of people that we crossroads with, and thousands of things to take care of in our own lives. It makes sense how difficult it might be for someone to be in control of the constant twirling of life.

M: Yet we have to somehow push through it.

C: Just remember that you are heading somewhere. There’s a place waiting for you to settling in and to finally relax. Every emotion is guiding us somewhere and building our lives to have meaning. I’m so glad that your emotions guided you here today.

M: That’s an interesting thing isn’t it? Because our emotions do in fact guide us and we can see that everything that has ever happened to us led us to this very moment, yet despite the feeling that things do happen for a reason, my inability to see the whole of it or the end of it is really bothering me.

C: Perhaps it’s better not to see the whole of everything, for that might be overwhelming. Since no one can be completely all-knowing, how do we know that there’s a whole truth out there… Maybe knowing more just leads to more unanswered questions. This nature of life makes it infinitely subjective. Only we would know the endings of our lives and the places where we end up.

M: This is spot on. My issue is that I have hard time accepting that whatever truth lies before us, it is not meant for us to know, which leaves you to live in a sort-of blind faith that things are going to be fine. At the same time, since you have already had a glimpse of it, you can never truly return to the comfort of ignorance and as you said, it is entirely subjective, which often makes it lonely and hard to express with other people, especially if you do not have many close people by your side to begin with.

C: Wow…chatting with you makes me so happy…it’s often difficult to share feelings with someone else because it takes so much courage and patience to formulate such complex emotions into words. It would be the best feeling in the world for one to have a connection with another being without the restriction of such complications.

M: It really would. But perhaps this is what makes the game of life fun – the reward of doing the seemingly impossible. To both find another person you can delve into the abyss with and a way to express all of these intense emotions and thoughts into language.

C: That does sound very beautiful. + ❤️

7 Cups

August 2020

A Choice to Savor Consciously

We go about most of our days as empty-headed zombies. For me, being locked inside my room because of quarantine robs me of my passion and motivation. However, an interesting phenomenon I found was that it was easier for me to do creative work during the hour of the sunset. I think this is because of the immense passion I felt during one sunset walk; buried in messy thoughts from school, the beauty of nature captivated me and released me from my mental spiraling.

One View Outside the Window

Since that experience, I consistently go for a sunset walk, during which the warm lights enable the cultivation of many great ideas for my writing pieces. I also started a personal blog named Conscious Hour to record some of the ideas and compile them into my personal philosophy. I chose to savor the moment consciously because I believe that in a day of our busy, disorientating lives, finding a time of spiritual connection allows our creative mindset and passion to flow through the blockade of negative thoughts and emotions. Doing so, we can better ground ourselves through reflection and deep breaths, before moving forward.