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Grounded | Stephanie's April 2023

Happy May! As expected, April was a month to remember and one that flew by full of events. I think back to the start of this month and while the month seemed to have gone by the way I expected (filled with events), I feel a tad bit different than last month’s march madness. March was a month of existing in the sea of events, a mindset I’ve adapted to April. Yet I feel like in April I didn’t only exist, I was able to put my own personal spin into things as well and have control over my emotions. Before I get too deep into my thoughts and my words, let’s get into the reflection. -- Stephanie


Similar to most busy months, this was a month where each week was different. Let’s go back to the start of April. At that time in my life, I was super active in running and taking fitness classes at adobe. Something I was intimidated about TBH, considering I’ve done my elliptical + youtube videos regularly for so many years. My dad broke my elliptical lol and suddenly I was super open minded to trying new things in April (well that and I had lovely friends and coworkers who were down to go to first classes with me). It was good, I was on a roll and it felt good to be new at something and all the emotions that come with it (being bad at something new bc I’m not naturally talented lol, the ambition to try again and again to be better, and getting a good workout in place). At that time in my life, I was also open minded in my romantic life too -- an area I’ve been quite private about for a long time. I think because I grew up so independent and always went after the things I wanted by myself, combined with never having a super serious relationship, I’ve become closed off in the romantic aspect and it wasn’t really an area of my life that I prioritized. Your friends truly influence you. My friend was telling me about how heartbroken she was with her last break up, but that she held no ill feelings towards her ex, and how she can go from being a girlboss to a kid when its with the right person, and how powerful love can be. That opened up my mind in a sense that I do one day want to find someone where I can feel like I can depend on them and to create a partnership, so I gave dating another chance again. I ended up talking to someone and going on a date, I won’t get too in the details here in this section but stay tuned in the lessons section later on in this entry ;)

Alright so first week of April and life in SF covered, onwards to the middle weeks of April → LA! It’s crazy to look back on my memories of these weeks because it truly wasn’t that long ago, yet it feels like forever ago at the same time. Around the second week of April, I flew to LA to visit Jin for our annual birthday reunion -- aka celebrating her big 25! After a day of settling in LA (or attempted to settle in) we went off to coachella weekend 1. Life is as cliche as it gets -- with a birds eye overview -- I can only hold onto the happy moments of the trip and laugh back at the struggles. I remember stressing out with Jin the day before and packing last minute for coachella (1 day prior to that, I was packing last minute for LA LOL) I was taking each day at a time during that week. We woke up around 6:50am the next morning, sleep deprived for the day ahead and I believe my anxiety was building up because I ended up having the worst cramps that morning LOL I was like wtf did I eat something wrong?? Am I on my period?? Pls not the period before coachella. LOL the pain was quite bad and the bathroom didn’t help initially. I felt bad bc I didn’t really know the friend who was driving and I couldn’t really get in the mood to socialize because of my pain and then I felt like a burden to ask for a bathroom stop but then at some point the pain was bad enough that I spoke up and went to the bathroom LOL ok thank you for listening to this iffy part of the story. Anyway the bathroom helped this time but I was still feeling iffy for a good half day and my anxiety was at an all time high bc I’m like girl how is coachella gonna go if this is the start, will I feel healthy in time today? But as I said, life is cliche. We arrived to our airbnb and everything else fell into place, I didn’t feel sick going into coachella and had a blast of a day 1. My favorite set was Kaytranada that day. Then came day 2, we were exhausted lol but somehow we were able to sustain this lifestyle for 3 days: eat a mid sized breakfast (eggs, spam, rice on repeat), liquid IV, get ready, get lit, sing and dance to our fav artists, get home around 2, eat dino nuggets and ramen, sleep at 4am, wake up at 9:30am, and repeat lol. What a life. I’m sure these will be the fond memories I will look back on many years from now. As for the music, going into it I was most excited to see Calvin Harris and dance to all of his throwbacks (which he did not disappoint and delivered, my fave was under control and slide) -- I surprisingly enjoyed blackpink a lot more than I expected. I am now a converted fan hehe. Can’t stop replaying all their songs now ahha. With all that’s being said, the best part of memories for me isn’t just the event itself, but the people we experience it with, and I am thankful I got to experience my first coachella with Jin and made new friends who were welcoming the whole weekend.

(moments with Jin at Coachella below)

Coachella came and went, then came my week working in LA leading up to Jin’s birthday. Even though I mostly worked that week, I had a blast changing up my pace in life and catching up with my coworker and college friend Thuan. I spent my days working, but it was nice changing scenery -- was I the best employee this week?Possibly not lol, but I did deliver what I had to. I got to visit our LA office and catch up with a coworker, it was nice and showed me how wherever I go (in the US) there seems to be a work family and office for me -- it made me happy :’). I also got to catch up with a good college friend who I haven’t seen since 2021, I love that we have the type of friendship where we’re able to catch up right where we left off. We talked about endless topics and it felt natural, I love hearing that my friends are doing well. I would spend my evenings with Jin, going to her local yoga studio mostly daily (which has been an experience of its own, since doing all those other fitness classes, I forgot what’s it like to do yoga and found myself forgetful of some steps, not flexible in some areas anymore or tight in certain areas, and also learned new styles of yoga beyond corepower), eating dinner together every day again, watching shows together, and talking about endless topics. It felt like we were roommates again, but at the same time, not quite the same as 2020 -- it’s sentimental, we grew up, but we’re still able to bring together our differing growth and intertwine our daily lives together again. Who knows what’s to come in the future where our lives physically cross paths again.

(more coachella moments below lol)

I had a blast celebrating her 25th birthday and meeting old and new friends from Jin, and seeing her Culver City life. Time is ever so short and it was time to go back to SF. Hands down LA for the food and culture, this time around (maybe its bc I’ve visited SoCal so many times now, or maybe its bc I can drive better now) but I actually love LA a lot more. But then I come back to SF and I’m always welcomed by the cold crisp air that I’ve grown to love. It’s been a week since returning, and I used to think I only loved SF for my family who resides here and the tech career I’ve built -- but my past week has reminded me of all that I love about this city itself vs the family and career. The walkable city, the cold air and water, even the office lol, and the charm of SF that I can’t quite put into words. I feel so lucky to have a sense of familiarity in both SF and LA. And that’s the recap on how I lived life this month, it was a lengthy one -- but now onto the emotions, AKA lows and lessons.

Lows + Lessons: Take things as they are, let go of ego

I think back to this month and while I had moments that were sad or stressful, there wasn’t one specific event that overpowered it all, and instead it was a combination of smaller events that surrounded a similar theme.

It was a mix of small things. From being upset at the way someone would respond to me after mustering the courage to speak up when things didn’t feel right, from getting my hopes up, from feeling swamped at work, from feeling unequal in a friendship, from living each day go go go and from feeling unreciprocated. With that being said, the same theme of taking things as they are -- and letting go of ego -- always seemed to be my biggest lesson in overcoming the thoughts in my brain and releasing myself into solace.

It’s hard because I had recently learned to speak up for myself when things didn’t feel right in a situation or relationship. While it’s good to speak up -- in the way I prefer to live life, maybe I don’t always have to speak up. I’m not going to change people, but learn to accept them for who they are. Now it doesn’t mean I’m always going to excuse bad behavior or bad events, but I had to learn this month that it’s not always black and white -- to learn to let go of ego and to pick which battles are worth battling for vs when it’s better to be the bigger person and let go. I felt like this month I was always at crossroads -- do I speak up (especially since I only started feeling comfortable speaking up in the recent years), or do I let go (but am I reverting to my old self?). I’m neither, it’s situational.

Everyone has their own way of tackling life -- but I found it comforting and powerful for myself -- to accept situations and people as they are. To be the bigger person and to let go of the ego to always have to explain my side of the story. Now it doesn’t mean I’ll go back to always being silent, but to pick and choose what I will spend my emotional energy on. Life is too short and I want to spend more of it being happy, while we can’t control life or unfortunate events, I do believe to some extent -- happiness is a choice.

Here is a quote a dear friend of mine shared with me, I find it quite fitting in the way I learned to live life this month:



My pick of the month: Blackpink

Everyone who asks me ‘how was coachella’, will by default get the response that I fell in love with blackpink! Prior to coachella, I knew a couple songs but didn’t not know much about each member (not even their names lol I felt bad going into coachella tbh). BUT i was astounded by their live performance and I fell even more deeply after watching their documentary and learning about each of their stories. From the 4, I actually love Rose the most. I was surprised to hear she wasn’t as popular but idc. I fell in love with her story and now I am obsessed.

Gosh I’m so sentimental. But I don’t mind it. My sentimental side has taught me how to live life and love the little things, no matter what stressful or unfortunate event comes my way. April was a month full of events in all aspects. Life can be exciting with big events like coachella and celebrating my best friend Jin’s birthday. Reality also hits with stressful events or people, but we have the power to let go and not let it get to us. From planning fun events, to combating stressful times by choosing what to focus my mental energy on -- all I need to create a life I enjoy, is my family and friends I intentionally hold dear, and continuously improving my mindset. Everything I need is within my grasp. Everything I need is on the ground.

(haha I just had to quote that last line, ifykyk).

Here’s to continuing to create a life worth living.

Chat soon in June

-- Stephanie

One last share of pics bc I can lol


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