Happy New Year everyone! It’s already over one month since the New Year, time never ceases to amaze me at how fast it can go as I grow older. Here’s the tea on the first month of 2022 -- Stephanie
If I were to look back at the moment, I would feel like not much happened in my lifestyle (I’ll explain later on in the post), but I am glad I have my notes app in my phone to remind me of the little everyday moments that made my lifestyle worthwhile in Jan.
Starting January with a big bang with Jin, a v adventurous flight experience and many laughs along the way. While the events were fun, I think back to the trip and the best parts are often the little moments, like getting ready together for the longest time in the bathroom or trying out and reviewing every item we picked up at the buffet. I am thankful to have had the time to celebrate New Years together and to have someone to experience, create, and enjoy the beauty in these moments. Even the extremely stressful moments we had, while I still wished we didn’t have to go through it, it’s now a fun memory to laugh back on!
For the other ¾ of January I was mostly either trying to find a PCR testing site that had availability or finally testing lol! It was insanely hard to find a place available that had enough tests, something I learned in the process was to step outside the box and just start grabbing my phone and calling a ton of local clinics lol this eventually helped me find a couple places. Because of that, most of my January was filled with the family I lived with, and it was actually not bad in fact I had the chance to make green tea macarons with my mom. (75% Stephanie, 25% Mom haha). I suck at baking most things in comparison to my mom, but for some reason my macarons always turn out better than hers hehe. I haven’t made these since High School, and they are definitely far from perfect, but I think they came out good on my standards. And of course I enjoyed bonding with my mom in a different way throughout the whole process.
Contrary to popular belief, I’m actually much more of a coffee person and lived most of my mornings making a hot cup of coffee (bc I’m lazy to get ice lol) but this month I changed my lifestyle of 95% a matcha each morning. I really enjoyed the recipe I situated with (matcha powder, a tablespoon of honey, milk and ice) that I ended up making and drinking this on most work days. Today I made a coffee and it felt weird, it feels weird to even say this lol.
Towards the end of the month I finally got to reunite with Ashley (a month apart isn’t much though we pretty much see each other a couple times a week so this was a weird gap), I ended up seeing a random movie I didn’t watch the trailer for with Sadie (and Belle was a good movie! It was a nice change of pace to just be unplanned and spontaneous), and a lot of sanrio hunting at daiso and miniso lol. I at some point discovered the daisofinds hashtag on tiktok and got real obsessed with finding random but useful(?) and cute things at daiso LOL. I have nowhere to share this in my blog but another big highlight was winning this huge rilakkuma. With a bit of math, a bit of science, a bit of creativity, and a mix of luck -- I won my first big rilakkuma in only 5 tries hehe
Lows and Lessons:
Going to switch up the structure a bit for this post bc why not. Lol jokes aside! I think so many of this month’s lows were coupled with great lessons and I think it makes more sense to pair them than section it off.
1. Low: Catching Covid
On the first week of January I started feeling cold symptoms (runny nose, phlegm throat, etc) and I took a rapid test and got negative so I didn’t think too much of it. I tried getting tested for two weeks but the lines kept getting cut in half before my turn. My whole family then started having similar cold symptoms. By week 3 we were mostly fine and I could FINALLY get a PCR test, and I sadly came out positive. Some members of my family also tested positive while some did not (idk how that came to be), but my low wasn’t really feeling unwell but getting the people I care about sick. We didn’t see my grandparents or aunts and uncles the whole month until we were able to get a PCR test, which further informed us not to visit. My grandfather was sad he didn’t see us for so long and with Lunar New Year around the corner he wanted to give red envelopes early. So one day in mid Jan, he snuck out of my uncles house and took the bus across one side of the city to the side we live in, bought bags and bags of take out (bakery items, entrees, etc) and red envelopes to visit my family and I. It warmed and broke my heart seeing this surprise visit. My grandfather rushing here, unafraid of getting sick from being in public places and also unafraid of getting sick from our household, traveling such far distances and carrying so much at his age. But that’s just the type of person he is, unafraid and caring. I don’t deserve my grandparents and feel so lucky to have been born into his family.
Lesson: Caution and Responsibility
I always knew the risks of covid, but it wasn’t until catching it myself did I truly experience a profound responsibility to protect those around me. I ended up taking not just my actions but my household’s actions to an extreme to not visit my mom’s side of the family, and to get tested every week even past 2 weeks. It actually became such a routine I ended up going every Saturday that it feels weird to think about not going for a saturday, this past saturday my tester actually mentioned ‘long time no see’ so I thought the staff had remembered me from visiting weekly LOL. Turns out it was actually someone I met in 2017, and that encounter led to a random but nice encounter and potential reunion. Catching covid made me think less of myself but a sense of guilt and a big need to protect others from me.
2. Low: Failing when I was over halfway there
In the middle of January I was in the middle of moving forward through rounds for something that was my ‘dream’ org (and I don’t have many of these), what seemed to be the perfect next growth opportunity and challenge, and I loved the people I spoke to. I haven’t felt this confident in a while, so it was quite the shock and upsetting when I heard I didn’t make it to the final cut. What made this harder to take it was because I was over halfway there and it was something I’ve been looking up to for years.
Lesson: It’s about the journey. And to allow myself to grieve and seek closure
This rejection / failed attempt was a good reminder to me, that it’s about the journey, not the end result. The end result is an additional plus and another story. In the moment, it’s about the journey and I truly enjoyed all that I was able to learn and explore by going after this opportunity, and the cool, intelligent, and kind people I was able to meet along the process. I don’t need a title or reach the end goal to have a good time and learn. The end result doesn’t change the fact that I enjoyed meeting with these people. But I should also allow myself to grief before picking back up the pace. So i did just that, I let myself be upset for a few days and reached out to the people I met to stay connect and any improvement feedback. This was the most mature comeback for me, especially for something that held so dear to me.
3. Low: Feeling misunderstood
I won’t share too much about this case because it is a bit more confidential, but the general gist is that for something I tried my best on and received positive feedback at the moment, I later reheard this month that I was the topic of gossip for some groups and it wasn’t necessarily pleasant gossip. This ended up getting to my head and left me surprised and saddened.
Lesson: “Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”
After cooling off for a few days, I thought back to this classic cheesy quote, because it is so true. Those who matter to me, shared their positive feedback on the spot. Those who I barely even know, share their not-so-positive feedback months later when the situation isn’t as relevant and behind my back, I really should not be getting upset over something like this and just focus on those who matter.
4. Low: feeling lazy and wanting to back down
Something I’ve always been passionate about outside of work is volunteering, especially for organizations I resonate with. With all that went on this month, to be honest I lost my passion for a hot minute and wanted to back down on a volunteering committee meeting and make an excuse. I hated feeling this way because I like to think of myself as proactive, a person of my word, and driven. At the last minute, I decided to show up anyways (I really was not planning to).
Lesson: efforts do not go wasted, they do count!
I ended up having a really good time, seeing old familiar and new faces, and so glad I went. I left feeling inspired and interested in joining some upcoming events to make a difference in the community. And to think, I was about to not show up and not learn any of this. The next day I ended up receiving good karma, a monetary raise and an opportunity to meet with a place I’ve been eyeing. While I am not sure what is out there, I am a believer in effort and karma!
5. Lesson: This too, shall pass.
I shared this quote at the beginning of the month when I was editing my Year in Review video, this was before I knew of all the events that were to unfold this month. I simply shared it to all those who may not started their year with a bang or looked back on 2021 not feeling much has happened.
Little did I know, I would need this quote so much for my month of January. From getting sick, failing, losing motivation, and more (looking forward to a fresh cut for lunar new year but then getting a v sad and ugly and painful haircut, feeling distant and mia from friends, etc), this quote gave me so much strength in my present day. That this difficult time too, will pass. I’m not sure who needs to hear this or what you’re going through, but if you’re also going through a tough time, know that it is only temporary. As I’m writing this piece, I actually do not feel bitter about any of the events in January (maybe the haircut lol but it was my decision to get it so I own up to it).
But overall, I do not feel bitter. I’m left feeling okay and in a way have adopted the mindset that in this journey called life -- as long as I take on each day at a time with my best, I will leave room and let the universe handle the rest.
My pick of the month: rilakkuma
A big part of my random daiso trips was revisiting my childhood love for sanrio and rilakkuma. As I grow older and really dc what people think about my interests, I see the joy in revisiting these things that I enjoyed as a kid and still am a fan of today :) Here’s my shameless plug for the rilakkuma I won in a claw machine. I claim my success as a reflection of my strategy not just on claw machines but in how I operate: a mix of creativity, math, science, and a chance of luck.
Again, I somehow end up writing a whole essay with these. It's always a nice catch up and reflection so I hope you enjoyed reading up to here!
Usually I'd share a song or mix I've been listening to often but today I wanted to share this 2by22 blog. It's crazy how I've been reading this since I was 19/20 and it was created for students - 22 year olds (though it contains content relevant throughout that age range). This month I found myself revisiting the blog, and it has changed in look, but the content is still very relevant. I found the information here still very helpful, especially the ones about perspective and handling rejections and discontent, so I wanted to share it with you all as a resource: https://www.careerlaunchpad.io/blog