Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

2018: The Year of Heart

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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We humans are funny beings, ascribing arbitrary meaning to dates and seasonal periods. For whatever reason, we chose to celebrate the coming of a year at this time of the winter (I know there’s some convoluted history behind that but let’s not get into it now).

We get all excited about this transition that happens in an instant. Boom, it’s a new year. Out with the old, in with new.

I don’t quite understand the timing of it and its significance has waned for me over the years, but I can appreciate the value in closing a chapter on your life, reviewing what happened in the past revolution around the sun, and anticipating the next one.

2017 was a pretty monumental year for me. I’d say the one word I could apply to everything that happened was transformational. I explored what life in NorCal could be like, went on an incredible trip to Israel, got a chance to befriend my new bestie and travel work husband, experienced Taiwan, China, and Japan with classmates, had a fun summer interning at Cisco, lost my way when I didn’t get a return offer, began to question my identity and dreams for the future, struggled to get back into recruiting, began therapy, threw myself into building a tribe of friends, lost connection with Panda, got involved with an incredible startup and found some purpose, had an amazing getaway to Mexico, and came home to VA after a year to turn 32.

The first half of the year was so much fun and wonderful. I was making so much of the MBA experience and having a great time. The second half of the year was full of challenges that I’m still working through. A series of events triggered an identity crisis for me and I found myself drifting aimlessly, listlessly. I was still functioning at the surface level, attending to my duties as a student, eating normally, and enjoying everything I could about the social part of my program. But deep inside, I was often overwhelmed and uncertain. I clung to whatever I could that made me happy or kept me distracted. I spoke to some friends about it and eventually started therapy, but it’s a process I’m still working through.

In light of all of that, I’m looking to 2018 being the year I lead with my heart. I spent too much time caring about what other people would think, how they perceived me, and what the world expects from me. I’m trying to get out of my own head and let me heart guide the way. I want to do what feels right and good. I want to express myself authentically and vulnerably so I attract the right people to my side. I want to figure out what I need to love myself.

I’m really looking forward to two classes I’m signed up to take that I hope will help me on this journey: Fostering Creativity and Leading with Mindfulness and Compassion. It’s been a tough path for me to disassociate myself from others and learn who I am, what I am on my own. I always think in terms of how I relate to others, how they react to me, and what they think of me. So who am I stripped of that? What do I think of myself? Who do I want to be? I’m hoping that a dive into my heart will help me find these answers. It feels incredibly selfish and self-centered, but I guess that’s exactly what I need right now.

Value is arbitrary

laelene Posted in mba,Tags: , ,
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I’ve been having some fascinating conversations this week about what makes something valuable. I personally believe that value is a human construct – nothing inherently has value or not, but we assign meaning to each component of our lives. Of course, with people being as different as they are, this means that everything’s value can be interpreted vastly differently.

Granted, it’s not completely arbitrary and certain things are valued for their usefulness. However, we also have such different opinions on how important uses are that the prescribed value of anything could vacillate tremendously. I mean, just look at the stock market and VC funding.

This even extends to less tangible things like relationships and experiences. We each choose to put more or less value on the people in our lives and the activities we choose to do. Someone who sees a relationship as highly valuable will be more willing to invest energy into it. Someone who treasures certain experiences would be willing to spend more time and money on it.

This can be rather tenuous – the moment we change our minds about the worth of something, it shifts our world view. Just like that, we can stop caring and pay absolutely no heed to what was once a priority. We’re really just living in a world where people generally agree to certain standards. But at any point, that could all come crashing down on us if we stop believing in the worth of whatever it is that props it all up.

The world is what we make it to be…

Family

laelene Posted in relationships,Tags: , , , , , ,
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I’m such a bleeding heart.

If I ever got measured for sentimentality, I’d probably be off the charts. I have a soft, squishy part of my soul that is reserved just for 6 very important people: my parents and my grandparents. Whenever I see them, I leave feeling a little nostalgic and pensive. It gets more pronounced as we get older and I think of all the love I have for them. How strange that I can feel so loved that it makes me tear up every time.

Growing up, I always thought of my parents as 35. In my mind’s eye, they didn’t age and my impression of them was frozen in time. Then at some point in my 20s, I realized they were hitting 50. Ever since then, they’ve been stuck at that age for me and they probably will for many years to come. Something about that changing doesn’t sit well with me, so I like to keep them in a little time capsule in my mind. Luckily, when I see them in person, they still look 50 to me so it’s easy to keep up the illusion.

Throughout this time, I’ve started to appreciate everything they’ve done for me more and more. We’re not an affectionate type of family, but I’ve taken to hugging my dad and kissing my mom on the cheek whenever I greet them. Just typing that makes the tears well up. What is it that makes me so sappy??

I’ve pretty much always been like that. I’ve written about how I love tenderness before and I shared some stories about my laoye, my nainaimy mom, and my dad and yeye. I guess I should add in a story about my laolao to make it complete. Thinking about each of them tugs on my heartstrings in ways that I don’t understand. Each of them has given so much to get me to where I am today and I feel close to them, yet I hardly ever see them.

I see my mom the most, at about every other month when I go home for a day. I see my dad 2-3 times a year, whenever he is visiting from China. Two of my grandparents died many years ago. I see my living grandma and step-grandpa and other grandpa on average once every 3-4 years. The closeness I feel is certainly not reflected in the frequency of our interactions.

Perhaps this distance is why I enjoy expressing nuggets of love to my friends. Absent cousins or grandparents to snuggle with and share my thoughts, I cherish the friendships that give me that outlet. As an only child, I craved the intimacy of a sibling and I’ve spent my life on the lookout for friends who could fulfill that desire. Maybe that’s where my sentimentality comes from, as I try to derive meaning in every moment, every interaction. I love inside jokes and pet names and hugging and sharing food. All these things that casually indicate a deep level of comfort with each other. To me, that’s love and it’s what I seek. More on that another day.

Back to my family though – the most mundane interaction with them can easily make my heart swell. I don’t know what it is about them that is a huge trigger for me, but I feel it more strongly with each passing year. I mean, just this weekend I had brunch with my parents and I felt incredibly sad to part ways. Did anything notable happen? No. Is either of them in poor health? No. Is there any specific reason to be sad? No.

But I’m a softie with a giant trigger on my heart that is basically a big CRY NOW button. And hanging out with my beloved family activates that for me.

Shock and awe

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,
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24 hours ago, I went to bed stunned. I really did believe that America would vote Hillary Clinton into office. Perhaps I was too naive.

It’s been a rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions in the ensuing hours. I’m pretty sure I went through all the stages of grief and then started all over again today. For a period, I also blocked out the memory and managed to forget. I’m still grappling with how exactly I feel and what I think. It’s pretty insane.

I know it’s not the end of the world, or even the country. But I do truly feel that we could be headed down a dark path. Based on what happened in the campaign, there’s a lot to worry about. Luckily the government has power spread out and things don’t generally move very fast. I’m hoping the more extreme ideas never come to fruition and I know we’ll be looking out for ways we can help ensure that’s the case.

At this point, I think it’s important to remain hopeful and to be strong with those who value humanity without labels that separate. There has been so much division and disagreement in the discourse. I can empathize that certain Americans have been unhappy. I do not pretend to understand their plight, but I would certainly be upset if I felt marginalized and ignored.

However, I wish that this election wasn’t the way for the disenfranchised to lash out. Will they really get what they want out of it? I’m doubtful… only time will tell. I personally could not ignore the consistent bullying and belittling. That is not the temperament and character of a president. I cannot respect a man like that.

I’ve seen a lot of people shocked, disappointed, upset, appalled, disgusted, and in disbelief. I am many of those things too, but at the same time, I have hope that the next couple of years will pan out in a more positive way than we expect in our fearful state. I know many will be working to secure a better future than we might foresee right now. I believe that’s what we’ll need.

For now, I’m taking a moment to mourn. There will be some tough roads ahead.

Zooming time

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: ,
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I don’t know what is going on, but my sense of time recently has been all out of wack. Was it already two days ago that I last posted? I feel like it’s been a blink of the eye. The hours at night always seem that way, yet the daytime hours drag. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was blogging?

Ooooh! I just realized that the clock is after midnight…

Well I guess this is a sign that I’m too tired to be up much longer. At least I know I’m not completely crazy. Nonetheless, time does feel very odd these days. Too fast yet too slow all at once. You ever feel that?

In search

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,
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I’ve been watching a bunch of YouTube videos for the past couple of weeks (yeah, I’m only like 10 years late to the game). While much of what I’ve seen is inspirational and/or thought-provoking, it’s actually made me rather sad. So many people talk about doing what you love, being passionate… and they seem to have it figured out. They’ve been driven to do the things they do from something deep inside. They know what they just can’t live without. They know their passion and they embrace it.

Meanwhile, I have struggled. There are plenty of things I am passionate about: business culture, sustainability, animals, technology. I’ve considered career paths in each, but I struggle with seeing myself completely devoting my life to any one of those. So perhaps I’m not approaching it correctly; perhaps I should be considering how I can balance the many passions I have. That’s not easy though, since if you want to excel at something, you really need to dedicate a lot of time and energy to it. And then I get caught up in the little details, like how I want to avoid working in an office because I love being outside or how I want a somewhat predictable yet flexible schedule so I have more control over when I work. Am I asking for too much?

I guess I’ve been stumped all this time because there might not be something out there that is consistently outdoors at least 20-40% of the time, doesn’t generally require early mornings (or any mornings), allows for and might even require periodic travel, and is pretty stable. The criteria for a job that would be ideal might not be attainable. Then again, I’m probably focusing on the wrong things. After all, when you’re passionate about something, all those other details seem to fall away.

So there it is again, that idea that you need to figure out the passion of your life and do it. If only it were so easy for me to decide what that passion would be. Others make it seem effortless. It’s the thing that they’ve loved since childhood. They don’t even need to think about it. They just start talking about it and their eyes light up, they smile broadly, and they could go on for ages. When I think about what my passion might be, the ones I’ve thought of never hit me like a lightning bolt of inspiration. I haven’t thought, “I must do that. My soul needs that.” That’s sort of the moment of enlightenment I’ve been hoping for.

One of the videos I watched today mentioned the things that come naturally. Everyone has talents where things appear effortless. Mine include being cheerful, sharing, noticing details, and (over)thinking. If you count those as talents. They are certainly the traits I have that come naturally, without a conscious effort. I wish I had a more concrete talent like being artistic or being athletic. Those are easily translated into some type of work that you can pursue. But how does something like ‘being cheerful’ tie in to work? I can apply my skills to any job I have, but are any of them something I can do in and of themselves? Not really.

I envy the people in the world who just know what they want. They may not have had an easy time pursuing their deepest heart’s desire, but they had a goal and direction. I feel like I’m in the center of a glob, with too many spokes leading me outward toward the edge. Which one do I choose to go with?

 

Have you had this sort of challenge as well? What do you think would help?

If the world could be like us

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
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There’d be less judgment.

We’d get to do what we want, without sideways glances or raised eyebrows.

Openmindedness would fuel our way of life.

We wouldn’t constrict ourselves to “acceptable” standards to avoid scrutiny.

Empathy would drive our understanding and decision-making.

We’d be comfortable expressing ourselves as is.

Assumptions would not be made.

We could each thrive in what makes us feel happy – in what feels right.

One rotten apple…

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
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She’s a poison coursing through my veins. Each interaction injects me with more venom, until I can hardly take it anymore. My mind fights the toxins but my body is weak… and all too easily I become consumed. This negativity must stop.

When I look at her (if I have to) I see ugliness. If I stare too long, the snaking tendrils of Medusa’s serpents take hold. Oh, but she’s a multi-faced chameleon. She’ll do what suits her best and get everything to her benefit. She’ll play you if she can. It’s a mirage though, and the moment you lose usefulness, she’ll throw you aside. Another carcass on the road.

Careful to avoid those eyes. Those dark, black, soulless eyes. If you don’t get lost in the abyss and turn to stone, you’ll become one of her kind. Who needs a vampire’s bite when you have piercing eyes of fury? Eyes that haunt me in my sleep, thrust me awake from their cruelty.

They say that one rotten apple ruins the bunch (and it’s true). Indeed, I can see the disease spreading. It’s not crippling, but the limping it causes is certainly not ideal. How much struggling can you handle before you break entirely? Make this rotting stop, before all is lost. Let’s cut out all the browning bits of apple and remind ourselves of the beauty of a fresh, ripe fruit. Don’t allow that one to ruin the bunch irreparably.

Weary

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,
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Have you ever wanted to just give up?

Sometimes I really question myself. I put on my brave face and even fool myself for awhile, but then it resurfaces, that uncertainty. The child who often didn’t feel that connected with her peers. The girl who never really fit in. The woman who thought it’d be easier by now.

Why do I place such importance on the opinions of those who really don’t matter? Why can’t I revel in the love and appreciation I do have? We always want what we don’t have, don’t we? When I think about it, it’s silly, really. Wasting all this time and effort and heartbreak on the unimportant things. Expending so much energy worrying and forcing those closest to me to suffer the pouty moods. Why do I let it get to me so? Why can’t I stop caring?

I am worn, I am weary. I don’t want to trudge along like this. I used to be so happy; I used to be so carefree… and I wish I knew how to shake off the sadness and return to that place. So I write. I write and I write and I write. Then I read a little. And I sit and think until my brain protests. So I spill it all out as drafts of posts I may never share, or I put pen to paper and smell that intoxicating scent of ink. Maybe I can purge my mind that way. Maybe.

I just want to have fun again.

To be a bird

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,
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Ah, to be a bird

Where air is my element

And I flit about nay a care in the world

Light as a feather, nimble as a mouse

Free to go up, down, all around

 

I could put it all behind me

Escape to another world

If I please, if I please…

 

And if I tire, I’d find a perch

Gaze down at the world so far away

Noticing every detail with my razor-sharp vision

Letting myself be free

Free to be me

 

Oh how glorious it would be.

 

I didn’t set out to write prose that resembles a poem, but I guess that’s how my thoughts sort of gathered themselves. It’s funny that I began writing this last night and then this afternoon, a hawk glided along to a stop near me, right on a rock on the ground. It’s not often you see these birds of prey so low to the ground, calmly sitting. It watched as I walked around to get a picture of it and let me take one. Before I could get a better position and zoom in more, it was off again, sailing ever so gracefully into the sky. I’m so inspired by these great birds – in fact, I’ll be writing about them again for today’s 365great.

hawk sitting on rocks in snowy icy terrain behind iced over branches

Can you spot the hawk hiding behind the branches near the top of the rocks?

I’ve long admired these creatures, not only because they are so powerful and elegant all in one, but because they get to fly. I wish my body could allow me to go airborne whenever I want. It’s so beautiful up in the air and everything is so crisp and clear. They represent empowerment and freedom to me, which are things that I value deeply. Beyond that, I’d love to spread my wings and take myself away from this place sometimes. Wouldn’t it be nice to retreat from the world for awhile and find your peace? Get lost in your own thoughts and not worry about the rest of the world.

Oh, to be a bird…

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