December was possibly one of the most eventful months I’ve had, it feels like such a long storybook yet also a blur at the same time. I’m actually taking a different environment to writing this time -- usually I’d be writing these entries late at night at home -- but today as I’m typing this (also lowkey freezing lol) I’m actually writing this at a coffee shop in the daytime bc vibes.
It’s currently the start of the new year which makes me feel like I have an extra amount of things to reflect on.. If I were to summarize December 2022 in one sentence, I’d say it’s one of those rare months where I experienced various seasons of emotions.
Let’s jump to it -- Stephanie
Each week was a different vibe! If not every few days lol was a different vibe. I’m going to derail from the usual Lifestyle, Lows, and Lessons structure this month and instead group this entry by the range of emotions I felt. I would usually write my entries where I’d introduce events in my life in the chronological order they occur, but the last few weeks of this month had been difficult for me and I didn’t want to end it on a sad emotion so let’s start the entry with sad and end it with happy.
The biggest low of this month is that my grandpa -- the one who is a big part of my childhood and raised me, who’s usually super healthy and can walk without needing any support, suddenly fell ill towards mid December - present day. It’s definitely taken a toll on my family, especially my mom, and both my physical and mental health. I found myself not really able to enjoy being present and my days became frequent visits to the hospital. If I wasn’t physically at the hospital, I would hear my mom communicating on the phone at home with her siblings and getting into disagreements about the situation at hand, it was/is tough to hear about these disagreements and remain focused on my own things at the same time.
Additionally, I ended up talking to someone and going on a date -- I won’t go into details here, but it didn’t end up working out. I think what makes it sad is less on it not working out, but me questioning myself as a person. Work-wise, I had quite a busy load this month and I think at some point this month I spoke up for myself because of overcapacity, but to be honest my memory’s a blur because on the topic of sadness all I can think about is the situation at hand with my grandpa.
I hate to admit it but this month I also felt emotions of anger, probably my least favorite emotion and it’s often stemmed from emotions of sadness for me. It was tough for me to grieve on my grandfather’s situation and also see my mom upset, but what made the situation tougher is that I felt like a lot of people were relying on me and I felt so much pressure. Being first-generation, and with my mom’s side of the family not having a lot of children, especially most younger than me -- when my grandfather fell ill, I ended up being responsible for communicating to the medical staff, picking up calls and calling the doctor and nurses, making decisions for areas I don’t even feel like I should be, and today I just got off facetiming my aunt on how to troubleshoot one of my grandfather’s medical devices lol. I want to help out, especially because I know they never had the chance to go to school and not knowing much English is such a barrier. Knowing this is the reality of my why, why I want to help because they can’t, and because I love my grandpa -- despite knowing my why, I still feel ashamed to be feeling anger and feeling like I just want to be a stereotypical grandchild and let the adults in the house do the adult work. But that’s not how reality works, I am the ‘adult’, and I have to do this because I care for my grandpa. Oh how I was thinking how difficult and heartbreaking this will be when the time comes and the roles are reversed and the ones I’m caring for are my parents. I hope that future can come as late as possible.
This month was a mix of unexpected surprises, both positive and negative but I’d like to just focus on the positives. For starters, at the beginning of the month -- I got to attend my first corporate party at my company and it did not disappoint. I went with no expectations and honestly thought it would just be a nice mix and mingle dinner with my colleagues. I invited my friend Pearl as my plus one and it was so crowded, definitely did not feel like a casual mix and mingle dinner with my colleagues lol then I heard a rumor around 8pm that we’d have a guest appearance by Katy Perry. Part of me couldn’t believe it, and part of me wanted to believe it. My friend wanted to believe it too, so we went all the way downstage to the first row (my heels were killing me, especially because I thought I’d be sitting most of the night lol) but we went all the way down with a hope that the rumor (as crazy as it sounded) would be true. And much to my surprise -- it was true! We ended up jamming out to Katy Perry at the very front row, we were so close I couldn’t believe it. She played her classic songs that I grew up listening to as a kid, and I sang and danced my heart out with Pearl. I do feel bad that I didn’t stick with my team the whole night because I wanted to go down to the first row with Pearl, but I don’t regret it. It was such a magical night that I’ll forever keep in my fond memories. I think what made the surprise so good was that I literally came with no expectations or any idea that Katy Perry would be performing until literally an hour before. It’s so hard to not have any bias, opinion, or expectation these days -- and this surprise was truly one I did not think of until the time of. My other surprise of the month is not so glamorous and probably cannot top off the first surprise of Katy Perry lol, but this month I ended up talking to someone and going on a date. I really was not looking or expecting this, I wanted to take a break given December is month full of holidays and I wanted to spend it with my family and friends. However I decided to reply just to see where a conversation could go, and I ended up learning a lot about myself. Surprisingly this person asked a lot of questions about my personality (confirming to myself again I do lean towards being an introvert these days lol) and it was just a nice surprise to get to know someone new and quite different from my usual circle, as well as myself better. My last surprise was actually catching up with a friend who I haven’t seen since I graduated in 2020. We had a bit of a rough patch and I would’ve never thought to hear she’d be in sf and that there’d be a chance for us to catch up on that short notice. It’s so cliche but surprises really do happen when you don’t expect it, hence the term surprise.
This was a month of brave moments in my own terms I must say. I’m not really one to date casually to be honest, I usually feel a mix of anxiety and because of that, I’m proud of myself for being open and putting myself out there this month despite the result. Talking about putting myself out there, this month was also attending A LOT of happy hours with colleagues (I even initiated on of them, very surprising given my character), as well as attending lunches with people I did not know. I’ve always done better in smaller group settings so I’m proud of myself for putting myself out there in large groups of people where I barely knew anyone. This past month I also got to spend some of my holiday break with Tiana and Tammie in Concord and Brentwood. Leading up to it to be honest, I was fearful of the rain (we don’t get much heavy rain here). Especially because as you all know, I’m not the most confident driver in general, and driving in the rain -- especially moments where I’d have to drive alone in potentially heavy rain, was very scary to me. I was about to cancel if I woke up and felt bad about the rain, but I pulled through! We don’t get to see each other often and pre-planned this date, I’m so happy that I was able to pull through and I had a fun 2 days just catching up. When I’m with the right people, it doesn’t matter what I do. From having a set place to go out to, or even doing every day things like watching TV / cooking/ playing card games/ walking dogs -- all were so fun. I also got to pat myself on the back for driving an hour back and fourth in the rain. Speaking of trying to be brave with driving, frequent visits to the hospital got me not wanting to always pay for their parking lot, so I started parallel parking(!) by the hospital. Bless the big spaces I’d always luckily spot when I visited. I never truly understood parallel parking and always avoided it with lots, but constant visits to the hospital had me giving parallel parking practice. That and despite growing up shy, constant visits to the hospital also taught me how to go from timid, to shamelessly asking medical staff a ton of questions to understand and get care for my grandpa. It’s bittersweet how the power of adversity, prompts me to be brave.
Happiness and Gratitude
Amidst all the emotions, I definitely wanted to end this writing piece with positive emotions of happiness and gratitude. Because if I look back at the month, despite the unfortunate aspects, I also had a lot to be thankful for.
Starting with my company party and Katy Perry, stemmed a larger theme of how thankful I am to be in my current role. My kid self who was so stressed out about her future and being successful in career would not believe this. I know how lucky I am to be in this role, thoughtful team, and at a place that cares about their employees. It’s no easy feat to get Katy Perry to perform! What’s more, I was given a much needed time off away from work at the end of this month.
Then with my friends. The night the unpleasant news broke down to me, I was actually hanging out with my friends Pearl and Sadie -- we planned a whole night of events, funny enough, none of those plans followed through because of crowds and we ended up changing all of our plans on the spot. Even though nothing was going as planned, we all easily pivoted and just enjoyed time together. They don’t know how rough that night was for me after hearing the news of my grandpa in the hospital, but I am so thankful for the energy I was able to have with them that night that helped ease the sad thoughts in my mind. I was also able to spend quality time with Ashley this month and it really had us reflecting how far we’ve come, from busing to places and meals like the cheesecake factory would seem pricey as kids, to now growing up together and experiencing our 20s together. As mentioned earlier, this month I was also able to see Tammie and Tiana -- we weren’t really a group growing up and it’s kind of two friends I only recently brought together over the past year and I’m glad to see how it’s been working out. This hangout we had a mix of plans but also a lot of doing every day things like cooking together, rewatching tv shows, grocery shopping, etc. It’s quite telling for me when we can enjoy plans but also everyday things together. To end off the month, I also got to have a brief reunion with Jin this month. It sucks how we can’t regularly have hangouts because of distance, it always feels like a short but also long time since we last saw each other lol (tho it really only has been a little over a month since my birthday). However whenever we do reunite, we always have so much to catch up on and literally talk about so many topics endlessly. It’s crazy how with some people you just never run out of things or topics to talk about.
And of course family. This month was a lot of needed family time. Seeing my grandpa who is a strong figure in my life, ill and in pain, is difficult. I was always thankful for him growing up, but this month it really had me extra thankful and caring towards him. Given the condition he’s in, my family and I are just so thankful for the hospital/medical staff for their care, and for the life chances given to my grandpa to continue healing and spending time with us.
I was also able to go on a trip to SoCal with my family of 4 this month, we were contemplating about whether or not to follow through with this trip -- up until early in the week of our plans (given all that’s going on with grandpa) but we decided to go with our plans. I think my family of 4 at home needed this trip to help us with healing and I’m glad I was able to take it with them. My dad was often the sole planner and driver of trips growing up, its crazy how the tables have turned now and we’re more like people on equal grounds now. During this trip,I probably drove the longest b2b hours I’ve ever done before, and talked to my dad through most of the drive. It definitely reached another level of bonding for me. While my date didn’t end up working out, I am thankful for the conversations we had as it helped me reinforce and understand what matters to me. Something I found myself repeating like a broken record was how much I value quality time, and it’s not so much about doing something specific or grand. It could be doing regular everyday tasks or doing nothing, but with the right people -- spending time with them is the greatest gift. For that, I am so thankful for the gift of people and quality time. I am thankful for friends I was able to see this month, and for my family, especially my grandpa -- for the continued time I am able to have with them.
My pick of the month: Wellness journal
I started this month filled with so much gratitude, especially after seeing Katy Perry early in the month had me deep reflecting about how thankful I am about my life chances. I had a new wellness journal at home, and my friend Pearl also had one, so for the past month -- we’ve been holding each other accountable to journal time. While I’m not perfect and have not been journaling every single day, this month is the most consistent I’ve been with journaling. It’s been nice reflecting and debriefing on my day, which can easily get overlooked. I’m looking forward to randomly reading these journal entries in the future and getting all nostalgic and feeling all the emotions.
I always somehow end up writing a whole essay with these entries even though initially I try to keep it shorter. I guess I just get too sentimental.
I wish everyone a Happy New Year! May this year bring us good health, successes, and new adventures.
Till February 2023,