Chaos versus Order

Have you ever had one of those days that just ends up being magnificent without having planned a single event? As if the day couldn’t have gone any better than if you actually did plan it.

Have you ever noticed that those days end up being magnificent because of the fact that you didn’t plan anything?

Some of my best and most memorable days were the unplanned ones. The days when something great would happen and I didn’t expect it at all. They were great because I wasn’t trying to control anything or think ahead of what should happen next.

Yesterday, me and my sister’s band, Until Love, played at our favorite open mic spot called Pete’s Candy Store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We’ve been singing there for a few months now and have made many friendships through continuously going and connecting with other singers and musicians.

There is a certain degree of intimacy that we lose with people after we’re done with school. Friendships often tend to die out if you don’t make an effort to incorporate them into your ever-changing life. We’re less inclined to reach out to people as we become busier.

I’ve always agreed that the best way to really get to know someone is through forced togetherness. And I’m not referring to the notion of physically tying someone down and holding them hostage against their will. I’m referring to the notion of being around someone all the time and just naturally becoming closer to them because they are in your immediate environment. When we see the same people, we often develop a specific relationship with them. It may necessarily be a positive one, but a certain type of relationship develops. You get to know their mannerisms, the things that bother them, the way they react to situations, etc.

Yesterday, my sister and I hung out with friends that we’ve gradually become closer to in the past few months through our involvement with music. On top of that, we became friends with people who were visiting from another state. We had amazing conversations with these people whom we had just met and it ended up being the most fun I’ve had in quite some time.

One of the topics that we came across while conversing with our new friends was the idea of chaos versus order and how the world goes through a natural cycle of destruction and rebuilding. It, then, got me thinking about the cycles that we go through as humans. In our lives, we need chaos and order. They go hand in hand and you can’t have one without the other.

This unplanned day, although not to be termed chaotic, was somewhat chaotic in the sense that there was no order, no plan.

Sometimes, we need to shake things up in our lives to avoid stagnancy. We need to step outside of our comfort zone for the possibility that something truly magnificent can come out of it.

After all, life is about taking risks. You should do one thing every day that scares you.

Something’s Missing

My whole life, I’ve always felt like a part of me was missing – Like there was a piece that I had to find to make me feel whole inside. I’ve searched for this piece through various hobbies, friends, relationships, jobs, and so on.

To this day, I haven’t found one thing that brought continuous fulfillment to sustain my happiness. It was always temporary. A fleeting moment.

I always make lists for myself just so I can cross things off and say I’ve done them. In my eyes, that was my definition of accomplishment. And I figured that accomplishment would bring me happiness. Creating goals and then meeting them was always the idea I had of finding happiness. Of course I always felt that instant moment of satisfaction, but I can’t apply that same moment of satisfaction to my current state of mind.

I made my list – I graduated high school, graduated college, got an internship, had a long-term boyfriend, got a job after college, moved to New York City. I did all of the things that I set my mind on and now where did that leave me?

I’ve gone through countless boyfriends, jobs, apartments, etc. and none of them brought me enough happiness to carry me through my bad days.

Some people may say that happiness is a series of happenings, but I beg to differ.

I’m fully aware and confident in the fact that true happiness comes from within; that you must feel happy with yourself whether you have the things you have or you don’t.

I recently went through a breakup (or ten) with someone that I had been dating for several months. The breakup itself lasted almost 2 entire months. The reason being is that I couldn’t stand the fact of not having him around. I couldn’t imagine the possibility of being happy if we weren’t together. This is never the type of person that I wanted to become.

How could I, or anyone else, define their happiness through another person? If we do, then we clearly don’t have any control over our lives.

Over and over again, I ask myself, “Why can’t I just be happy with myself? Alone.”

To this day, I still can’t answer the question.

I don’t think it can be taught or explained. I don’t think that anyone else can show you. You simply have to experience it for yourself. I just wonder how many more shitty mistakes I’ll have to make before reaching some sort of epiphany.

Dinner Table Talks

I was sitting on my backyard porch with my parents, Aunt, and Uncle earlier this evening after we barbecued for dinner. I sat there talking with them for several hours just catching up on life and talking about random dinner table topics such as politics, religion, etc. Throughout the conversation, I kept thinking back on how I never really felt comfortable speaking openly about my beliefs, feelings, and thoughts on these kind of topics before. I guess I’ve always felt outnumbered or too immature or maybe that my opinion didn’t matter to them, but over time, I’m realizing that I’m able to speak more confidently about these things now – I guess this would be considered growing up.

As I voiced my opinion and listened to the opinions of my family members about the ever-changing ways of my generation in comparison to theirs, I noticed that I was beginning to agree a lot more with what they had to say.

When we’re young, we often refuse the advice of our elders. We’re too naive or too arrogant to want to believe that our parents could actually be right about the things they tell us when we’re young. We tend to learn things the hard way – through experience. As they say, experience is the best teacher. Until you experience something for yourself, you can never truly understand what someone else is talking about when they try to explain it to you.

I’ve found that as I’m growing older, I’m able to accept many more of the truths that my parents used to tell me when I was young, but refused to accept. The mental age gap is becoming much smaller than it used to be. When I look at my parents’ generation in comparison to mine, the most significant difference that I’ve noticed is how selfish my generation is. Apart from the fact that my parents are immigrants from a foreign country, my generation will be the last to really see what a simpler life looked like.

Talking to family today felt like one of the more eye-opening conversations that I’ve had in quite a while. It’s different than talking to your friends or other people your age because they have the same mentality as you.

The topics that my family and I touched upon had to do with current world issues; Things that actually mattered like natural disasters, disease, and civil rights. Meanwhile, the first thing that I do on a Monday morning is complain about my seemingly tragic problems such as, “He didn’t text me back last night. I hate my life.”

Talking to my family really made me step outside of my life and think about how differently their mindsets were when they were my age in comparison to my mindset on things right now. It seems like it was a much more simple life back when we didn’t have to create our own drama by checking social media and making up stories in our heads about the person we’re dating.

I wish I didn’t have to unnecessarily complicate my life that aren’t actually complicated.

I’m starting to think that my parents’ generation had it right; Their morals, manners, and respect (This may also be skewed because I’m Asian)

I wish I listened to my Mom before making some of the mistakes that I’ve made when it came to relationships, friendships, and reactions to situations.

Maybe if more of my generation would take the two cents from our elders, we’d be a little better off.

Sure Things

It’s strange how distorted memories become when you look back at them. In that exact moment, you may have been so sure of yourself. Everything seemed just right. Then, when you reminisce, those moments seem so hazy and you can’t separate what was good from what was bad.

They say, “there’s no such thing as a sure thing”, so how do you ever really know what’s right or what’s meant to be?

If sayings like these are so accurate, such as “anything is possible” or “anything can happen”, then how can someone ever put all of their faith into something or someone?

It’s hard not to become jaded lately now that we live in a time where people are constantly re-locating, changing jobs, and refusing to settle down.

It’s common now for people to put off the serious stuff. Instead, we just want to stay young and be free. It’s becoming harder and harder to find people who want the same things.

So, how do we keep up with anyone these days?

We meet hundreds of people who come in and out of our lives. All of them somehow contribute to our experiences and growth. We pick and choose which ones we want to hold onto and which ones we should let go.

Often, we try to hold on as long as we can. We don’t want to let go of the feeling, the connection. Then all of a sudden, when it’s gone, we don’t know whether to go back or move forward.

Because nowadays, it is much harder to really connect with someone the way people used to.

It’s rare.

I used to think that I had a pretty clear vision of where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be. It was easier when you were young; to think that things won’t ever change. You envision that you’ll end up with a certain person or live your life a certain way. But it’s never that easy.

It makes me wonder if I ever really knew what I was doing.

Results

I’ve always taken pride in my ability to get things done quickly, but with efficiency. I always anticipate results to manifest as soon as possible. Call me a control freak, but I have to admit that I try to do everything in my power to make sure that the results that I want to happen will happen. Unfortunately, I never take into account the fact that things don’t always go the way you expect them to. You can’t control certain situations.

It’s actually counter-productive to be “too hands on”. I convince myself that constantly holding hands every step of the way actually drives me further away from the results that I want. I guess this is why I’m so consumed in running and training for races. I’m in complete control of how far and long I run. I can plan every week with how much I want to get done and if I fall short, then I have no one to blame myself.

Yet, even in running, you still can never predict what your results will be. Even after all of the hours, days, weeks, and months of training that I put into a race, things can still go wrong along the way. I don’t know why I can’t accept this truth when it comes to life.

After the countless number of races that I’ve ran ever since I first started running, I’ve come to understand that things happen outside of my control. Over the years, I’ve let go of beating myself up if I don’t get the time that I want. I used to be really hard on myself in cross country and track when I was in high school. Thankfully, I’ve matured since then. I just wish I could grasp this level of maturity for the rest of my life already. I can simply apply this understanding to relationships, work, etc…but I don’t. And I don’t know why.

I look back on every relationship I’ve ever been in and I’ve tried to control every single one of them. And where has this brought me? Nowhere.

I continue to drive people away with my continuous anxiety, impatience, and over-eagerness. I don’t know how to remove myself from the situation and just let things fall together (or apart) as they should.

It’s so easy for me to write about this, but applying my understandings to the other areas of my life seems like an impossible task.

It’s ironic that what I really need to do to progress is just slow down, not speed up. Results will always come in time.

New Born

I’ve never been too keen on the idea of being alone. I’m blessed to say that I’ve had a strong support system throughout my entire life. I’m not the type of person who was a part of a large group of friends who does everything together. I was never in a sorority. My Facebook page isn’t bombarded with pictures of thirty girls stacking on top of each other to get into one picture. I have strong ties with a select number of people, and those ties are ones that I know can never be broken. I’ve been so dependent on these people every time things in my life have gone awry. I’ve always known that someone was going to be there for me; to listen to my complaints, to pick up my broken pieces.

Now, I’ve reached a point where these people aren’t so readily available to come to my rescue because they have other things in their lives that take priority. I didn’t like the feeling of it. For the first time in my life, I’m learning to adapt to self-soothing. I kind of feel like a new-born baby who’s crying, but no one is picking them up. Eventually, that new-born is just going stop crying. Well, I’ve learned to stop crying. I guess I can say I’m officially entering a new level of maturity?

It’s weird to admit, but I’m starting to be okay with knowing that there isn’t always going to be someone to catch me when I fall…and that’s the part that scares me. I’m okay with being alone.

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

If there’s one aspect of my personality that you can take away from reading everything I’ve written in this blog, it’s this:

I am an impatient person.

I’ve never been the type to sit around and wait for things to happen. My entire life, I’ve firmly rooted myself in the mentality that if you want things to happen, you have to go out and make it happen. Having this mentality has brought me success in several areas of my life; School, work, running.

The one area that constantly contradicts this mentality is relationships. Specifically, romantic relationships.

Before I left for New York City, a very close friend of mine bought me a mug that had the words “Live with passion” on it. It sits on my desk at work and I look at it almost every day and absorb this phrase into my mind.

I believe that anything you do in life should be done with deep passion, whether it be your part-time job or your favorite hobby. Otherwise, what kind of results can you expect if you don’t put deep passion into anything you do? There’s a reason why fast food doesn’t taste as good as fine dining.

Getting back to the point that I was trying to make…Romantic relationships have always been something that I really care about. I’m obsessed with the idea of giving your whole heart to someone and giving them all the love that you can offer.

Someone once said to me, “You seem like the kind of person who follows through with exactly what you say you’re going to do”

This is true.

I will never give my word to myself, or to anyone else for that matter, unless I really mean it. And for this reason, I expect other people to do the same. Unfortunately, that’s not how the world works. And that’s most certainly not how everyone else thinks.

Since I’ve been single in New York City, my ongoing goal has been to find “the one”. Well, I haven’t been the least bit successful in finding that person. And the reason for this is because I don’t even care who “the one” actually is. I’m more involved in the idea of giving my heart to anyone who will take it. I’m impatient.

I don’t actually care who this person is. I just want to be able to dedicate my time to someone and smother them with my whole heart.

Yes, that might sound psychotic, but I can’t grasp the concept of sitting around and waiting for “the one” to walk into my life. I’ve carried my go-getter mentality with me in terms of finding a boyfriend, or a relationship, or just someone to spend my time with.

Well, I’ve learned that this approach yields a 0% success rate.

I’m familiar with the saying, “Good things come to those who wait”. Well that’s never worked for me in terms of school, work, or running, so naturally, I assume it’s an unsuccessful tactic. I’m used to putting in the time and effort and seeing results from the hard work that I’ve put in.

Apparently, that doesn’t apply to finding the right person for you.

I don’t know how to do this whole sitting, waiting, wishing thing.

I know it shouldn’t even be like that though. I should be focusing on myself, living my life, and eventually the right person will come my way. It’s just a matter of when.

Similar to finding the right job, the right apartment or house, the right workout regimen, or anything in life, it has to be the right time and the right fit. This holds true for everything.

One factor that I’ve overlooked in regards to the success I’ve had with school, work, and running is that I’ve had success because these things happened to be the right fit. Life kind of just let it happen. Of course, I still put in the time and effort, but everything happened with the right timing.

I guess all I can do is just let the chips fall where they may and trust that “the one” will find me in good timing. And then, and only then, will it be worth it.

At the End of the Day…

I can’t tell if this is just a phase that I’m going through right now. This phase of lonliness. If it’s the same phase that any person goes through in their twenty-somethings. Who am I kidding? Of course this is just a phase. At least, I hope so.

This is how we relate to other people. We experience certain things at certain ages that other people our own age can relate to. And when we get older, we look back and realize how silly we were during that period of our life (which is why our elders look at us knowing that it will pass)

I always got frustrated whenever my Mother would lecture me on how ridiculous I was acting towards a particular situation. (She still does that) My immediate response was always, “You just don’t understand.”

Well, that’s a ridiculous thing for me to say because she was my age once and she has most certainly gone through the same, or similar, experiences as me. It’s human nature to be able to feel certain emotions when we see someone going through a familiar struggle that we’ve once been through. It’s called empathy.

People write songs about it, make movies, television shows, etc. We produce these things because we want to make people feel a certain way. We all want to relate to one another.

It’s difficult to go through this life without being able to really connect with someone. This is exactly what I’m constantly searching for. And I’m almost positive that it’s what everyone else is searching for as well. Even if they don’t want to admit it, or if they do a remarkable job at portraying that they don’t care; what we need in this world is to connect, to relate, to feel.

Ever since I’ve moved to New York City, I’ve found it much more difficult to really get to know someone. Everyone wants so badly to have their space, yet we all seem so lonely once we get it.

It’s a fast life here, living in a large city. To constantly be surrounded by thousands of people who don’t really care to get to know you.

Ever since I moved into my new apartment, though, I’ve become very attached to certain restaurants, bars, coffee shops. I’ve found a comfort in seeing familiar faces and being recognized. What I have noticed is that it truly makes someone’s day when you acknowledge them as an individual; when you notice them, when you make an effort to get to know them. It’s an amazing feeling to be noticed.

At the end of the day, it’s just good to know that someone is thinking about you. In a large city like New York, it’s easy to get distracted by other things and people.

I hope to never lose the ability to connect, to relate, to feel. If I did, then this city would just completely absorb me. I can’t give in.

When to Call it Quits

As a public confession, I have to admit that I haven’t been a very good friend lately. To my friends who are actually reading this, I’d like to say I’m sorry.

It’s understandable that as we get older, our priorities change. As we acquire more responsibilities, we lack the down time to see or even speak to our friends as frequently as we did when we were in school. We become busy and too involved in our own lives.

Throughout the many changes that I’ve been adjusting to in the past few weeks, months, and even year, I’ve been putting my friends on the back burner. I’ve been rescheduling on set plans or even completely dodging them. And it’s because I’ve been focusing all of my attention on performing well in my job, adjusting to a new living situation, and avoiding a mental breakdown.

The question I ask myself though, is at what point do we give up on making an effort to keep our friends in our lives? Is it when we start our career? Or get into a relationship? Move away? Get married? Have a family?

And how much time will pass until our friends stop responding to our efforts?

I guess it depends on the person.

As I’ve gone through these waves of change, I’ve done a fantastic job of shutting my friends out of my life. I can only blame myself for not reaching out to them when I was having a hard time. I tried to be strong and deal with it on my own. Because it was too frustrating for me to explain what’s been going on when all I really wanted was for them to be by my side to get through it all.

Like any relationship, friendship involves reciprocity. It only works when both sides are making conscious efforts. And like any relationship, friendships can involve break-ups.

It’s natural that people grow apart, but when do you call it quits? As sad as it is, not all relationships or friendships have a happy ending.

I guess all we can do is try our best to hold on until someone gives up.

To my friends who have already given up on me, I do miss you and I’m still thinking of you…