It’s the end of the year. My makeup kit sits in the drawer. My shoes probably need some dusting. And the cars parked on the street? I see each of them in the same spot every single day.
I’ve been in this neighborhood for over 4 years but I just discovered that the beautiful house by the corner of the street is empty. My neighbors in the house on our left are beauticians working in a salon nearby. Sometimes I hear them argue, but oftentimes they laugh out loud that hearing them would make us laugh too. They smoke cigarettes a lot and sadly we smell the smoke coming through our windows, too.
Oh, the house across ours? They like to change the color of their house exterior yearly but they never finish. Last year it was painted pastel blue and pink. One day we noticed the second floor of the house is painted bright yellow-orange, the middle part is still painted pink, the bottom is still in pastel blue. Interesting, isn’t it? It’s been looking like that since June maybe? Mind you, we never catch them in the act of painting. We’d just wake up one day and a portion of their house is already sporting a new odd color. This neighbor of mine has dogs that bark really loud. My family thinks these dogs are overly dramatic in a comical way. They’re the reason I apologize to whomever I’m talking to whenever I have a call or online meeting.
During afternoons, one of our neighbors would setup his barbecue cart by the roadside. Even when I’m not feeling hungry, the inviting smell of the grill makes me want to eat.
These are details that have always been around, but I never paid attention to before. I’ve spent days where 24 hours in a day were never enough, and other times it’s like the same 24 hours never end. My phone alarm rings at 6:30 in the morning. Sometimes 6, other days 7. Well, it depends how long I stayed up the night before but I aim to have at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Some nights I get only 6 hours.
You see, I am not very consistent but I’m working on that.
If the objects in my room could speak, they will probably tell you nothing about me that’s out of the ordinary. The curtains are wide open as soon as I awake to let the light in. That’s the only way my body knows it’s already morning. My other clothes are probably jealous that I haven’t used them at all. I’ve only been rotating about 10 sets or so of my comfiest shirts and shorts since March 2020. Ah, and my bags. If only they could complain to me, they already would have.
The ukelele I bought in 2019 (or was it 2018?) hasn’t been touched at all this year. I wanted to learn how to play this instrument, but the strings would tell you that my fingers are too lazy to do so.
Yes, I’m that person who starts taking on projects passionately and also very quickly loses interest. I’m persistent when it comes to things I really want. The problem is I haven’t been interested in anything lately.
Routine has become an important part of my days. Without it, I’d feel like time ticks by too slowly. On the other hand, because my days are already dictated by routine, there are mornings I still feel like sleeping in. Again and again and again. My body would tell me it’s time to get up and get today started, but my mind refuses to. It hopes to wake up only to a post-pandemic world.
If only I can fast forward and skip the monotonicity of this present life, then I would. If only.
“I don’t want to show up today. Nothing’s new anyway.”
“I don’t want to show up today. I don’t feel like it.”
“Do I really have to start today again?”
An internal dialogue with myself sounds like this at times. I do know there’s hope but there’s this part of me that feels unmotivated and defeated even before the day begins. I talk myself deeper into this but then my phone snoozes just in time to disrupt my negative self-talk; I snap out of it and get up. To take my thoughts captive to Christ is not an easy feat, but thank God that He enables me.
Maybe I’m confused. Maybe I’m a little disoriented. Maybe I’m a little tired. I know for a fact that the pandemic won’t last forever, but the uncertainty of it is a struggle. I’m barely getting through each day.
I’ve watched tons of series and movies this 2020 — maybe more than the number of films I watched in the previous years combined. I’m not proud of it, okay? If I compute the hours I spent sitting on my bed looking at the screen, I know for sure I’d feel like I’ve completely wasted lots of time. But on second thought, I’m glad how I’m learning more about myself as I watch these stories unfold.
I can ramble all day long about drama and anime. In a gist, below are two characters I definitely saw myself in:
Sung Deok-sun in Reply 1988. I can confidently admit now that I don’t have any particular dream I want to achieve. I want to write, I want to travel, I want to speak publicly. But I don’t think I want to be a writer. I also don’t think I’m gonna love traveling forever. Speaker? Hmm, I don’t know. We’ll see about that.
Even back in college, I hadn’t set my eyes on a specific career goal. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life (in terms of career) so I tried accountancy. When that didn’t work, I shifted to marketing even when I don’t know where I’ll go from there. I’m sure I’ve convinced myself well that I wanted to do this and that, but honestly, I’m okay with learning where to go as I continue.
This episode of Reply 1988 gave me that sense of relief that I don’t need to know exactly what I want in the future. Eventually, I’ll be certain of what I truly want.
Kita Shinsuke in Haikyu!! manga. He’s more concerned with the journey rather than the destination. I admire how he treats the mundane things as equally important as any other things. He’s not flashy yet he has a strong presence. Somehow, I feel like consistency and care are qualities I am establishing in my current season, and his character made it clearer to me.
The perks and connections drew me in when I started this blog. But what kept this blog aren’t those things, just the satisfaction that I am enjoying what I do. The same with the podcast that my friend Demi and I have started just this year. It doesn’t really bother me if it get tons of people to listen or not, so long as I know it’s worth listening to is enough.
One of Kita’s most famous quotes: “I am built upon the small things I do every day, and the end results are no more than a byproduct of that.“
It’s the end of the year. It’s also the beginning of another.
Maybe next year I’d have a few new stories to tell. Until then, the adventure I’m in is not a discovery of the world out there but an exploration of my inner self.
Consistency and care may right now mean I will show up today, for myself, even when I don’t feel like it.