I remember three months ago, I took a brief break from my summer internship and returned to my college town for what could be the last time in a long while (I documented that weekend in an earlier Weekly Roundup).
During that weekend, I packed up my apartment, caught up with old friends and finally built up enough courage to bare farewell to a place that held my life and thoughts during a time that shaped and changed me, for better or for worse.
My first night back, I and three other fellow journalism school kids got together in our college town pizzeria (identical to the local brands all around the nation that thrive on college students’ cheap budgets and endless indulgence). We chatted over a cheap pitcher of beer. The four of us range from recent graduates to older alum to a fellow attending a year-long journalism school program. Some of us are moving on and away for good. The others are staying behind with hopes and doubts. We talked about post-grad life, housing and rent, love and significant others, fears and insecurities.
Another friend of mine, junior-to-be at the time, dropped by briefly during our talk. The next day he called me: “I could barely follow what you were all saying, moving to places and apartment hunting and all. You all seemed so grown up. Even the things you talked about changed after you graduated.”
Did they really? I wondered. I knew things would be different stepping out of my comfortable college campus. But how different were they, really? I simply carried on with daily routines (newer ones, perhaps), tried to settle down and make ends meet. But maybe he was right. Maybe without us noticing, our lists of priorities changed, and we followed.
If that is the case, how big of a trouble am I in if I don’t know what my priorities are, at all?
“What do you want?”
That’s been one question I’m asked the most since leaving college. My Asian parents ask me that, thinking my state of limbo is a death sentence to my future. My significant other asks me that, because *news flash* apparently no one can wait for you forever. My professors ask me that when they help fill out my fellowship recommendations. I ask myself that, often, even if each trying harder doesn’t necessarily yield a clearer answer.
Do those friends of mine, with whom my only connection is their FB posts, know what they want when they give out a ring, put on a veil or have a baby/babies?
Do those who are in Brooklyn, in Jerusalem, in St. Louis, in Chicago know what they want?
Do those who put on dress skirts and suits know what they want when they walk into their well-lit corporate offices?
Or do they, if they barely make a penny but oddly enough seems surviving just fine, know what they want?
Or am I the only one?
I really hope not.
Some things I’m watching
I don’t have wifi in my Myanmar apartment. I thought at first this would be something that brings me a lot of miseries, but ironically it freed me from a lot of them.
Because I use mobile data to watch YouTube videos at home, my consumption behaviors and choices are now directly linked to my money spending, which is something I’ve been learning how to be conscious and careful about during my first year as a full-time-working young adult (maybe another blog post some time later?). This connection made me very aware of what online content I choose to spend money on. A Vox story? A YouTube video? Which YouTube video?
(Weirdly enough, I always thought that I considered my time as a more valuable commodity than my money. Immense time consumption, however, never seemed to have stopped me from binging Netflix for hours in the past.)
I am now a lot more picky with what videos/podcasts I choose to consume for this reason. It didn’t lead to a lack of information input, as I predicted. Instead I feel like I’ve successfully downsized my “meal” and after a short adjustment period, I’m happier with “eating less” now.
Discussing this topic with a friend recently has made me think about the minimalist lifestyle many of us strive/claim to have. We throw away stuff, move to smaller spaces, but have we all considered the informational junk that we store in our phones, computers and brains? How can we practice the minimalism ideal with our thoughts and minds? I think that’s a question worth all of our time and energy exploring.
- I watched Ex Machina, a movie long been on my to-watch list. Exquisitely made. Beautifully written.
Some things I’m listening to
- #597 episode of This American life: One Last Thing Before I Go, made me cry so hard and then laugh so hard I looked like an idiot on my way to work.
Shoutout of the Week
- I started using Grid Diary and have considered this the easiest and most affective way for me to keep something remotely like a diary (oops).