“Life is just a work in progress. The boundaries between success and failure, between normality and abnormality, between possibilities and impossibilities become so thin and fragile. I felt a new sense of freedom in living life. Fewer self-imposed restrictions, fewer boundaries, just open space and a set of options to make.”
It has been a while since I last wrote. It has already been a week. Time has been rich but rare, hard but clarifying, intense but also tranquil, passing as I also changed and felt the change within myself incessantly. Life seems so accelerated when we are so engaged and consumed deeply into a task, a project that we feel intrigued and entrenched in excitement to make progress in it. When the world has become so connected and accelerated and information and content is just within miliseconds away, we feel even more of an urge to work faster than ourselves, outrun our thoughts, chase after some goals with extreme sense of urgency, in order to be efficient, productive, like what people all say and value nowadays.
We often forget how some things just need to take time and require time to cultivate, strengthen, and last. Some things can’t happen overnight, after one conversation, after a few encounters. A garden needs time to grow and flowers can’t bloom overnight.
Quality takes time.
Success takes time.
Building meaningful relationships takes time.
Unlike how fast it can be to push any content out with just a few clicks, quality content takes deliberate efforts, intention, and thoughts over a life-time.
After ceaselessly reading hundreds and thousands of online posts, blogs, and books, I came to realization that the best writers are also those who are the best critical thinkers who have constantly nurtured their thoughts and deepened their learning with clarity, focus, and admirable commitment for years or over their cumulative life-time experience. They don’t simply just write and publish. Similarly, building new habits, learning new skills, and maintaining strong healthy relationships takes time. Quality takes time.
We only observe a slice of things on the surface. Some content creators can just publish and attract thousands of likes and shares for their posts. But behind that curtain, behind that content, there are lots of hidden, undiscussed sacrifice of personal time, personal relationships, and any other alternatives that these content creators can choose to engage in. It’s so visible to just see the numbers, and be amazed and impressed by how appealing and magical these numbers can be. But behind these content, there are lots of moments of silent efforts, quiet sacrifice, and intense mental discipline.
In today’s connected world, introspection is so difficult to come by and to make the time for. There are so many distractions, so much noise, so many advice, so many Snapchat stories or Instagram pictures to absorb our time with. Patience becomes a rarity and is so hard to acquire and maintain. Emotions become ignored and invisible in conversations as people’s minds are scattered and drained with different distractions or work. Self becomes secondary to outward goals and achievements. Solitude and clarity become elusive. Style and language of writing favor more practical, concise, dry, emotionless statements.
It’s a beautiful opportunity to take some time to step back and think about our accomplishments, struggles, anxiety, worries, challenges, and warm memories from a distance. To gain new wisdom, insights, and ground in our on-going journey. To feel what solitude is really like. To see ourselves alone among the crowds of people but to not feel lost or externally focused on what others are doing. To compare ourselves with the person we wake up with and see how we have grown different. To appreciate big and little things in life. Because life is rich, meaningful, present, surprising, fun, and can be funny also (hahaha).
Perception matters so much to our emotional well-being. Taking active control of your perceptions and how we perceive the world can be transformative. How we feel about something is not necessarily influenced by the real experience but lies in our perspectives. We have an option to pick which perspective and which angle to view life with. The decision is in our hand. We grow based on what decisions we make. The harder the decisions the more we grow and become clearer of ourselves, our threshold, our limits, our ambitions, our goals, our purpose.
We have infinite power to choose and shape our perception, to transform our perspectives, and to drive our lives. Because life is just a chain of reactions. Each decision, each thought, each day we spend influence how we spend the rest of our lives. We don’t have 100% control of anything else in the world but our perception.
We seek validation from other people and we all need to be connected to people in our everyday life. However, there are things about us that others don’t know. Things about us that other people know but we don’t know. Things about us that all of us don’t know. Defining ourselves based on others’ standards, work standards, companies’ standards, community standards can be limiting as we seek validation from others when they are not necessarily what truly make us be aware of who we are, authentically, and what we are capable of.
I’ve had a lot of fears, anxiety, uncertainty that I struggled with right out of college. I’ve hit some of lowest points in terms of emotions. I’ve felt lost in countless questions I asked myself that I didn’t spend time thinking about before. I’ve been so lucky enough to have other people ask me very eye-opening questions to reframe my thinking or just to be there for me to listen. It was strange to realize that I have always been super positive in life yet at some point I can still experience some very negative thoughts that made me scared to even think about because I thought it was never part of who I am. I distracted myself from thinking about these emotions and resolving these emotions that kept bursting out in my head. I couldn’t resist these emotions. I knew they were irrational. But I couldn’t resist. All the questions multiple and proliferate in my head, until I felt so numb, sleepless, and anxious.
But also through hard decisions and hard times that I found myself come out with a new confidence, new sense of clarity and purpose, and new boundaries of how to live my life. For the first time, I felt like there was no decision I could make that is the wrong decision. Life is just a working progress. The boundaries between success and failure, between normality and abnormality, between possibilities and impossibilities become so thin and fragile. I felt a new sense of freedom in living life. Fewer self-imposed restrictions, fewer boundaries, just open space and a set of options to make.
I always defined my happiness based on what I can do for other people. I worried and felt so conflicted in having to take in too many things in considerations while making decisions. I was terrible at saying no, of saying what I really want to say, of knowing what I really want. I confined myself in my own perception of what is acceptable and what is not, of what is something I should be doing to please others or to be safe.
It’s a bit silly for me to think that such simple questions of who I am and what I want I can’t even answer yet I am trying to help other people figure out through travelling and other mini projects. Haha.
There’s always a voice within me that urges myself to perceive time differently. It’s so hard nowadays to take time, to be patient, to really engage in meaningful conversations with people to know them in-depth, to think about who they are, to critically think about all the overwhelming content we are exposed to everyday, and to question whether we are living the life as who we are.
Writing has helped me so much in figuring out where I am and to think deeply about what is important to me to confront with, to answer, and to find meaning in. I feel myself through what I write. I am a work in progress. I am where I am. Breathing and living and sensing everything happening around me. Feeling alive that I can experience life as it is. And trust that I’m living the best life and making the best decision I can.
This past month has been a homecoming experience for me. Coming to learn how to communicate with myself. Coming to recognize my own fears and respond to them. Coming to know what I really want and how to communicate it better. Coming to know my own potential. Coming to find hidden passions and interests that I didn’t recognize before. Coming to believe that life is infinity. Each day I can look at the world with fresh perspectives, unending curiosity, and deeper sense of purpose for living and creating leaving an impact in this world.