I had the answers back in kindergarten

…but they were neither right nor wrong.

It doesn’t matter where I am, under my blanket, in the shower, aboard the metro train, walking to my office, eating nutella sandwich with milk at our lone table at home, or out somewhere a space only I knew of. My kindergarten teacher’s question would always ring like a recess bell, “When you grow up, what would you want to be?” And I’d see an imaginary canvass, white, clean, and empty.

gowns

I had the answers when I was a kid, a pocketful of confident answers, but only back then. Now, in snaps of introspection I would find myself, and how those bits of thoughts stitch themselves together consequently tosses me into an overload of realization. Mind-boggling, somehow irritating, but a fairly good way to waste time.

At this point in my life, where [perhaps] I’m supposed to have already figured what I would want to do for the next half a century, I’m only finding myself stuck with a fair display of options, not with a headstrong decision. Admittedly, I would want to be all the options – a fashion designer, a wedding planner, an entrepreneur, a novelist, a marketing director, a professor, a performer, an actress (kidding) and many more coming to mind. But fine – there’s no way I can be everybody, that’s absolutely and regretfully understood. :)

I recall the main point of Dr. Meg Jay’s book, The Defining Decade. It suggests that the twentysomething stage is so crucial in the sense that the decisions one makes at this twentysomething period are what would stir up all the succeeding decades of one’s life. Reading that book put on a lot of pressure to my self-evaluation and honestly, it was scary like I wanted to shred the pages down to strips and bury them deep.

Scary because if my kindergarten teacher would ask me again, “When you grow up, what would you want to be?”, I would only see myself laying down the cards – my options for my future (which has now grown into my present); one item to represent each of my dream figure – and it stops there. “I don’t know.” Bad news is I’m most likely just a few days away to my future.

Such an anxiety-borne circumstance ain’t new but is rather ironic coming from someone adored for being smart, gifted, multi-talented. Indeed, that’s the picture (with no intentions to brag, just a little bit) and perhaps the problem of indecision rooted from the burden of having multiple choices. I recall an artist mom mentioned that to me and I also recall agreeing to it right then and there.

My family, friends, workmates and my boss recognize my skills and it does flatter me to know so. How could I not feel good about being appreciated, sometimes even overly? My heart would swell, but true as well that the praises would oftentimes make me palpitate. Maybe it’s just me, but they often come in as overwhelming. Then that would set me off questioning myself again, “So which one do I do best?”…”I don’t know.” But I honestly want to do all. But knowing that I can’t, there is then that fear that I would miss out on all the other in favor of one. Or two.

Then there was Aristotle, Benjamin Franklin, Einstein, name the all-time geniuses, they were all over the early society, each of them an expert of almost all disciplines, the renowned of almost all professions. They were everybody that they wanted to be. Nah, that is acceptable though. Apparently, I’m no genius, end of story (and that’s frustrating!). :D

Now it seems that I’m only seeing the options and the challenges attached to them, but not every possibility that could unfold like a red carpet that would lead me to my chances. I feel my doubts on my own gifts, my fears, which I don’t need at all, and which hopefully I’d come to conquer no later.

Tomorrow I still won’t have it all figured out. But the thing I’m quite sure of is that I won’t have to go back to kindergarten to collect the answers I once had. No, that little kid didn’t know much, not even enough. Perhaps a few more twists and turning points, then I’ll get myself an answer as to who I would want to be for the most part of my life.

It’s a whole new world I’m in now, totally different from my kindergarten. And it looks like I’m going to need a whole new set of answers.

Wish me well, folks! :)

Love, Ayna

Man of Tai Chi and Tiger Chen: A Commentary

 

 

Bear with me, I’m no good at movie reviews or commenting on an actor’s screen performance but I’m gonna have to try for my newest favorite kung fu flick, Man of Tai Chi – Keanu Reeves’s directorial debut in 2013, starred by Tiger Hu Chen.

Three pointers and this is done.

One: Unless I misunderstood it, there was a tiny loophole in pointing out the fine line between a fighter and a warrior. In the introductions before Tiger’s fight with the twins, the script said that while one fights for reason, the other fights for purpose. It might have been part of the intentionally discreet logic and the brain-racking part, as to who was the fighter and who was the warrior. And it could only be just me, but I found that point falling short of clarification. If you look at it just through the surface, Tiger must be the warrior fighting to save his temple – a great purpose – by money’s way. Plus, “warrior” sounds more fit for a lead character than “fighter”. But it wasn’t about that of course. And it wasn’t bad at all, I mean the vagueness of that part. In fact, it was some kind of a stirrer, at least for me.

I found an alternative way though of understanding the logic behind it. I took it that it was Tiger’s fight against himself, and not against the twins. If you think of it, Tiger was both a fighter and a warrior in the story. A warrior who wanted to save the temple, he would sooner or later become the heir of. He wanted to tell the world that Tai Chi is not just a lousy form of exercise and meditation for the old. He wanted to tell the world that Tai Chi is powerful. And maybe part of his purpose was also to lift his family? On the other hand, when Donaka Mark (Keanu) asked Tiger after one of his underground fights, why he wins, Tiger said, “Because I’m better.” Reason. Of a fighter. Or I could be wrong. That’s how it appeared to me at least. Mr. Tiger Chen, please confirm. 😊

Two: Not wanting to rather have Tiger died in the end (because I love movies where the good man always lives and the bad forever dead, hahaha), but what if Tiger died in one of his fights? What if some other fighter or warrior happened to be “better”? But just what if? Then how would the movie have ended? Except really sad.

Three: Despite some comments that Tiger was a bit too stiff in his acting, I totally loved how he played around the Man of Tai Chi’s character naturally. Not the kick ass, murderous fighter, but the way he seemed so detached from the worldly. I like how the aura appears to be so peaceful yet strong at the same time. Tiger was Yin and Yang in the entire movie. Rooms for improvement, yes, but as far as how he did in Man of Tai Chi, Tiger nailed it!!!

Very honestly, I think he is by far the most graceful Kung Fu martial artist I’ve known, apart from Jackie Chan being the funniest. Two thumbs up for Tiger and may Kung Fu live long through you! :)

A Year To Myself

February last year, I became single after closing an 11-month long relationship, which was beautiful enough to last for a time but not forever. And funnily as if there wasn’t any better time, on that perfect lovely day when exclusively (or not) dating young men and ladies, boyfriends and girlfriends, engaged and married couples, and all other kinds of lovers were celebrating their love – February 14, 2013 – I declared to all my systems from my split ends to the callouses on my toes that at least for one year, I will have no other lover than myself. That was a deal.

And I made it to a year all to myself.

During little gatherings with friends or side chats with officemates, a usual question would make its way to the convo, “Don’t you miss dating someone?” Damn it, of course I do, even until now. I miss that feeling, you know what I’m talking about.

But such question, though tempting and strongly suggestive, also appeared to challenge me as to how far I can go with the deal. And I’m glad I managed to keep myself at pace.

Through this period, albeit relatively short, I believe I’ve come to understand a lot about loving myself and the lessons keep coming.

1. Love yourself and love it more each and every day. Because it is wise to realize that if in case no one else will be there to love you, you have your very own self who will never leave you come what may.

2. Those who leave are not meant to stay. So please don’t allot an eternity to mourn on a breakup. You don’t have forever to fool around a drama not worth crying for. Always be ready to get your shit together and love again, with a little bit more caution than before.

3. If you love yourself, you become a sturdy foundation of a lasting relationship. Otherwise, your lack of confidence, trust, and respect for yourself might even cause your partner to question him/herself how s/he did even come to like you.

I know it sounds like I recommend staying single. Well, up to you. We all have our own preferences in life.

As for me, I’m up for anything. If love from another human being comes my way, then let him be my guest. And if he’s worth it, I will let him see the grandeur of having me. 😉

Love,
Ayna

To be turning 25 is like…one helluva party!

…and finally.

It’s been a fairly lengthy layover since my last post and it feels awesome [and a bit strange?] to be back! I’m sorry to disappoint myself though [and if anyone else] that nothing much has happened except for at least four vivid and vague circumstances:

  1. I am now officially a slave of my corporate designation, which I kind of expected.
  2. It took me by gigantic surprise that my very good old friend, who’s been away for like 13 years, came knocking on my quarter life door and asking me out to explore possibilities of spending time together for like a period of forever.
  3. And just when we were about to kill the annoying distance between us, like a hemisphere far, he went –errr– gone?
  4. I’m turning 25 next week, be officially vested with the rights and responsibilities of womanhood – and I’m taking it like a severely ridiculous joke.

But how does it feel to be turning 25 anyway? Ha, the same question I asked this very good old friend slash short-time long distance lover. I never got the answer anyway…’cause that was supposed to be discussed on mornings over coffee. Which never happened. Don’t ask why. So I’ll try to answer it for myself at least. And I thought I wasn’t going to talk about turning 25 here. Gah!

Default feeling – scary. “Both scary and exciting,” so to complete the cliche. I have been swayed to believe by whatever force that those are somewhat “required” emotions from anyone experiencing QLC (quarter life crisis). Otherwise, you will be thought of as someone who doesn’t care about plans, timelines, goals; doesn’t care that you’re not getting any younger and you could be exhausting your life span anytime soon. But the question is, is the pressure @#$%^&* real?

Precious YES. For myself at least. Career. Education. Relationships. Acquired skills. “Nice” hobbies. Lifestyle. Health. Promotions. Degrees. A place to call yours. A car to drive. Engagement. Wife, husband. Family. Kids. Investments. Insurance. And the list just goes on and on, you surely know. Drives you nuts!

But then, of course, I make my escape from the mental and emotional riot, especially when all these are becoming inhumanly overwhelming. As if it’s torture, yea? Well, believe me, if you don’t handle these thoughts well, they can do for you a bloody imaginary hemorrhage.

On a more serious note [and this popped up just now], to be turning 25, for me, is taking advantage of this little time to recap, reevaluate, and reorganize your plans if necessary.

  1. Recap – How has life been since the farthest past you can recall? What did you do with your 25 years? How did you do coming along through all these years?
  2. Reevaluate – So, you think you made the right turns, right decisions so far? Did your decisions make way for you to a better future life? Were you right at choosing this and that person to let go?
  3. Reorganize plans – If necessary, why not? Plans are plans, not curses you sold your soul for. If you realize you suck at making life decisions, ask for help. I swear you will die bored figuring your own life all by yourself. You need your family, friends, and perhaps a few more strangers to mess up your life a bit more. LOL! If you realize you’ve hurt someone, don’t go on pretending like you aren’t feeling guilty at all. Pick up your phone or drop a message. A sincere “I’m sorry” won’t bite. Right, it’s not easy but it’s not like you’ve got to find the end of infinity first before you say it.

And all that I’m saying to myself as well. :) Those three Rs (recap, reevaluate, reorganize) make me shiver, at the same time, giddy – scared and excited. Well, that’s how it is I guess. Life is meant to be imperfect, otherwise it’s just one monotonous …boring… something. So embrace yourself for who you have become – either you celebrate it or forgive and make peace with yourself. Acknowledge your being part of a universal system and be grateful that you’re a part of it. The universe doesn’t exclude anyone nor anything. In fact, we don’t have a choice but to join it, dead or alive. You know, no one is given the right to be so alone.

So how do I conclude how it is to be turning 25? Well –[thinking]– I’d say, “I’m throwing one helluva grandiose party and the universe is my crowd.” ;)

Oh yes, you are cordially invited!

 

See ya! Love,
Ayna

Planning Out A Few Firsts

I don’t quite understand how I should feel for 2014. YET. Because it’s going to be the year of the great Quarter Life Crisis…for me, and of course for those my age, particularly those who will be experiencing QLC on time like poor me here. I’m expecting much of driving-myself-crazy and troubling my friends with emotions I couldn’t possibly contain, oftentimes uncontrolled stress eating and then feeling stupid for having eaten too much, crying quiet and out loud, decisions, decisions.

I’ve felt QLC even when 2013 was yet ending and I found myself looking kind of stupid staring blankly somewhere. And then I had to realize as well that I was looking like I’m in deep thoughts, like deciding whether to pursue a crime or planning out how to end the year in a way nobody could have imagined. This is a weird world, haha!

So…so…so before more of this QLC take me to I-Wonder-Land, I thought I should list down a few things I wish to do for the first time. :) Down there.

1. Spend a weekend in a local island “alone.” Of course, I wish for some me-time. I’m a believer of solitude and that we need it from time to time. Nothing much, but to simply enjoy the comfort of being alone, the quiet, the space and everything in it – fresh air, bird songs, sea breeze perhaps, the greenery, and all that. Simple precious bliss of that kind.

2. Go out of the country “alone”. I’m not a loner, let me clarify that. But I believe those people who testify that traveling alone could reveal to you unbelievably many wonders about the world, the humanity, and one’s self. I want that experience. Badly enough. I could imagine myself somewhat lost in an unfamiliar place, figuring out where to go with the help of a handy-dandy map, smiling or nodding or “hello-ing” at strangers I’d find weird and amazing. I’d taste the local street food, visit public hubs and get a feel of how it is to belong to their community. I’d buy a few knick knacks as souvenirs, click here and there, just take photos of this and that. Make friends! Ohhh, make new friends, and see for myself how I would handle the strangeness of being suddenly friends with strangers. Lovely! :)

3. Mold a ceramic. I’ve watched fairly several movies and series with scenes where characters are making pots and vases. I remember one movie played by Demi Moore and a co-actor with a slightly intimate scene while doing pottery. Ghost? Or some title like that. Anyway, I want to experience the process of making something beautiful like ceramic vases. I love vases, that’s one. Because I love flowers and I love flowers in vases perched somewhere by the window or wherever the bloomers could bathe under the sunlight passing through doors and windows. I thought I envy the experience of your own hands’ grace shaping something out of mud, which has to turn out as something pretty. There’s one province just outside a border of the metro, which as I’ve heard is home to makers of ceramics. I don’t have to do this one alone. I could go with my sister and my brothers, mom and dad, if they’re here in the north by that time. I wish to learn it with my family, from where I got these bits and pieces of creativity. :)

So, good wishes to me and may I be able to add some more along the way so that by the end of this hopefully wonderful year, I will have been so done with my dear quarter life crisis.

Wishin’ you all the best,
Ayna