#24 Thinking of There

I went to Berkeley Bowl last week to grab some fresh vegetables when I suddenly thought of how different American markets are compared to the ones in Taiwan. Even the farmer markets here seem more sterile and perfect, with all the carrots and cabbages laid out carefully side by side. The markets in Taiwan are definitely an adventure to the senses; the smell of fresh vegetables mingled with the delicious aroma of “small eats”, some vegetables are scrubbed clean, some still with soil lay haphazardly in their non-matching bins, the plastic bags hanging in a mass on the concrete walls. Something about the explosion of colors combined with the loud cracking voices of the Obasans make the marketplace one of my favorite places to visit.

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#23 Our Adventures

I’m trying too hard to define where I should be. Having to apply a definition to the state of being that I’m currently in is exhausting, but sometimes I feel that if I don’t, how will I know what I’m to become in the future? If the destination is not as important as the process of getting there, then there must be a considerable amount of risk to take. Who’s to say I won’t end up where I originally planned to? But, then again… who’s to say that where I end up is wrong? Perhaps if the journey is exciting and enjoyable, where I end up just becomes the period to the story, and not the definition of my entire adventure.

#22 Out to ?

Needless to say, I have hit a rut in the beginning of July and for some reason had stopped drawing or experimenting. Whether it was being out of creativity, out of enthusiasm, out of inspiration, or out of energy, I just couldn’t pick up that pencil and make magic happen. It was disappointing to say that least, looking back on 20 something days of non-productivity, but I can’t beat myself up too much about it. I still took that time to do things that I needed to do in order to maintain a peace of mind; exercising and staying healthy, working, making time for friends and family… all of those things were still incredibly satisfying in the holistic spectrum of things. I think I’m done taking a mental vacation though and I’m starting to get restless. Time to get rollin’ again!

So some random things on my mind to make up for lack of brain activity during July:
1. First of all, the above photo was taken on 3rd street, somewhere near HRD Cafe while walking back from my lunch with K. It was in a busy intersection but the whole beat-down atmosphere made it seem more private. People avoided looking at it since it was filled with trash and demolition.
2. I’ve made a list of 25 things to do before I turn 26 years old, and I think I can do an illustration series to accompany each of those goals as I make them! It’ll be fun, I promise, a lot of those things are quite adventurous (i.e. scuba diving, making a new friend at an unconventional place, etc)
3. I’ve re-learned how to ride a bicycle and will be bringing that with me to Berkeley sometime soon. Even though this summer has been chilly, it certainly will make traveling around town fun(ner).

#21 Escapist

Lately I’ve been bombarded by some challenging things, but instead of charging in head-strong like I used to, I’ve been mentally escaping everything. I have this idea that weekends are reserved for maximum-relaxation, when in reality, the time should be utilized to do catch-up work and other obligations. It’s so hard to dig deep and extract that motivation to get me through the week when my mind is left by the running water, wanting to just go with the natural flow of things. When dunked in a strong current, maybe its better to just let go of it all and be pulled along. Long enough for me to regain some strength to swim where I need to go again.

#20 Prep Time

I went to a concert this past Saturday night, and as I stood in front of the stage waiting for the headliner to come out, I noticed how much wiring and setting up was involved. Literally, there were drums, keyboards, speakers and other stuff I couldn’t name all connected together and it must’ve taken forever just to set it all up. Presentation is everything; it’s not just music shows, but job interviews, art shows, anything you need to prepare yourself for in order to put out a complete and polished presentation. Most of the hard work is done ahead of time, but it can help define your moment of success. So far within this month, I’ve experienced the outcome of both a good/bad presentation, and the difference is astounding. For one, I got to see a vision  realized, but for the other, I came close to the goal but wasn’t able to attain it. If I had spent enough time preparing, I could have spared myself some regret as well, but this is one important lesson learned. Nothing is unachievable, but if you don’t give yourself even prep time, you may come up short when you most need that last extra stretch.

#19 Spotting

One thing I learned with climbing is that when it seems like you’re making a scary decision, its always ok to ask someone to watch your back. No matter if you’re climbing with strangers or with familiar people, if it looks like you’re about to do something relatively risky, someone will come along to spot you. I find it extremely reassuring to be able to just run decisions through friends to get their outlook; perhaps they can see my questions from another angle, providing advice or warning on something I never saw before. With every decision scrutinized over and executed, I truly appreciate those who’re spotting me, taking care that I make it to the top alright.

#18 Playing Catch-Up

Sometimes I feel like I’m playing catch-up. It could be that when I create goals for myself I set it unrealistically high and that causes me to fall behind, or have the illusion that I am falling behind. In one sense setting a higher-than-usual goal can motivate someone to surpass their comfort zone, but in certain cases it just causes unnecessary stress and self-doubt. Could I do it? Why can’t I do it well? Am I going backwards instead of forwards? One thing to keep in mind is that even if you’re struggling with a challenge, the only person to compete with is yourself. After remembering this, I find it easier to pace myself, whether its for a project or a sharp incline hike up the mountains; everyone has their own unique pace, its not too fast, not too slow, but just right for them.