– T.S. Elliot
For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.
We are finally here on December 31st – the last day of 2019. This year has been fairly tumultuous for me, but through great difficulty comes great growth. Or something of that nature anyway. 2019 marks the first year I’ve truly lived on my own as a financially independent adult. I must confess that there are vastly more things involved in being one than I originally thought. Who knew a car requires an oil change every three months? Well, probably everyone, but certainly not me. Gradually, I learned and evolved over these past 12 months. There are decisions I made which turned out horribly, but other decisions turned out wonderfully. In this post, I celebrate my top moments of 2019, and contemplate visions for 2020 (pun intended).
- January – At the advent of the year, I decided I would try and make friends in Austin. Thus, I joined Meetup groups and started joining events. I met some great people through the app and expanded my social circle. We’ve done various activities such as learning traditional Korean cooking (japchae and kimbap), as well as held more laid-back gatherings around bonfires.
- March – During this entire month, my whole workplace took on a challenge to walk more. The team who tread the most steps would win. Now, I had no interest in taking part. At all. To me, “exercise” was simply a trisyllabic word. Upon urging by my colleagues, I reluctantly agreed to join the competition. The first few days of walking outside in Austin springtime temperatures did not go well. Even half a mile ended up being too much for me. Nevertheless, for some odd reason, I persevered and even sought to improve. So I continued walking daily and made it a habit. Before long, I could walk 1.5 miles without pause. At the end, my team didn’t win, but it was a personal victory. This healthy habit is one I have kept to this day; I find it enjoyable to head outside and take a stroll while blasting music through my ears.
- May – On May 10th, I embarked on a solo journey that proved transformative for my entire being. I took the day off from work, hopped on a flight, and made my way to Chicago, Illinois. All of this was in preparation to see BTS live in concert the next day. Since 2009, I loved Korean pop music but after the disbandment of DBSK, I could never find a group to fill the huge leftover void. That is, until I discovered BTS in 2017. They left a major impression on me with their charisma, musical ingenuity, and themes. The major message they sent out – “Love Yourself” – sparked something within me. Of course, with all the Computer Engineering coursework and my paltry income from being a Student Research Assistant, attending a concert remained a pipe dream at the time.
So… fast-forward a few years, add a fulltime job, unlimited free time, and a tax return – a pipe dream? No longer! On May 11th, I had the time of my life! For three continuous hours, I stood, jumped, danced, screamed, clapped, laughed, cried, etc. Not even the bitter Chicago winds slowed me down. The positive energy in the entire stadium was infectious. I cannot wait to see BTS perform live again, but in the meantime, I am privileged to see them today through my television screen performing in Times Square for the NYE concert!
- June – June 4th marked my one year work anniversary. A milestone, if you will. Moving to Austin in 2018 was a massive endeavour, and also quite psychologically taxing. Regardless, I get to live in my own apartment, make (and spend) my own money, and generally do as I please. A couple years ago, after graduating from art school, I never imagined this would be possible. Thanks to hard work and determination, I pushed myself through Engineering school and am here now. Gratitude gets you far!
- July – It cost me an arm and a leg, but I finally upgraded my 6-year-old MacBook Pro. The older laptop was too slow to handle all the creative softwares I wished to experiment with (namely the whole Adobe Creative Cloud Suite). Oftentimes, it flatly refused to do so and simply shut itself down. As you can imagine, a whole disaster. Now with my new machine, I can let my creativity run amok!
- August – In August, I changed my mindset to eating healthily and working out on a more frequent basis. For many years, I’d been suffering from poor body image and lack of self-confidence, as well as the depression which comes hand-in-hand with those factors. Finally I hit rock-bottom, and I decided “enough is enough”. With my mom’s help, I learned how to cook a few simple healthy recipes such as lentil stews, veggie omelettes, and grilled sprouted wheat bread sandwiches. I also cut out cow dairy and upped my protein intake, while supplementing my diet with daily vitamins. In terms of workout, I incorporated 30 – 40 minutes of cardio 5 days a week, alongside some Pilates and weight exercises I found on YouTube. From then til now, I’ve lost around 20 lbs. The weight less, however, is not the greatest effect. The best bit is: my outlook on life has completely changed! I feel incredibly positive and energized. In sum, I am so proud of taking initiative to better myself.
In 2020, I seek to continue bettering myself mentally, emotionally, and physically. I truly appreciate my healthy and mindful lifestyle. Due to the changes I made in August in conjunction with the message sent forth by BTS, I can definitely say I’ve started to love myself and accept my body. I learned how to focus on me, how to stand up for myself, and to never accept anything less than what I deserve.