Happy New Year!

Well, I know it’s kinda late but it’s still January, right? So, happy new year! 明けまして、おめでとう ございます. 良いお年を. Happy New Year!

Well, to be honest, I don’t feel like writing or posting, but I’ve decided that I would do this kind of post every year, right? So now I’m pushing myself to write one, to actually do something instead of nothing. Well, it’s not that I do nothing. Watching movies, dramas, and anime is actually doing something, right? But recently I realize that perhaps my enthusiasm in writing/posting/sharing it with others is in line with my mental health state. When it’s okay, I tend to write long essays voicing my thoughts no matter how silly, bizarre, creepy, dramatic, foolish, exaggerating, even unorganized, etc. they may sound. When I feel done, I just don’t feel like doing it. It’s like I’m shutting myself out – or in? – and not let people know what I actually feel. Perhaps I am afraid that they won’t care. Or perhaps I no longer care if they care or not. I don’t know, but I’m so done. And when I feel done, I tend to be passive and at the receiving end, i.e. doing “things” passively as I don’t want to think too much about things, I just let things flow and happen as they are. I’ve become so indifferent and grown numb. The thing is that I know how I don’t like things the way they are, but either I’m putting up and pressuring myself too much or I am giving too many excuses to not work hard and change things – now I wonder if I should start seeing a therapist, a psychiatrist, or a psychologist… But I mean, I used to post weekly, but now my posting turns to be monthly 🙁

Well, anyway, let’s just try to get this done quickly. This is just a “traditional” post anyway. I’m not a celebrity; who’d like to know how my 2021 went by? Not sure that it will have a good impact on others. If anything, maybe this will backfire on me, but let’s hope it won’t. After all, I’m just trying to be honest, right?

So here we go with the highlights and reflections (?):

Academic/Study: This aspect might be the best thing happening to me in 2021. I finished my Ph.D. Finally done with my study. I remember feeling so stressed about doing my dissertation, not sure if I could finish it on time. Then there’s the scholarship. The pressure was real. I couldn’t afford to prolong my study. I didn’t have the money if I had to return the scholarship money in case I failed to finish my study. And some people have been looking up to me, I just couldn’t afford to disappoint them (thought I might be now). To sum up, I’m just glad it’s over. At least I don’t have to think about finishing it anymore. And now I’m safely home. So I am thankful. (Oh, btw, one of my dissertation committee invited me to write a chapter for a book they edited. I was excited at first, but now I don’t know what and how I should write it; and the deadline to submit the abstract is approaching 🙃).

Travel: Covid is not over yet. I couldn’t go to Canada or Mexico, but somehow I managed to go to Hawaii and the East Coast. No worries, I was fully vaccinated and kept my mask on. I didn’t violate any regulations either. I was always Covid-negative so I hope nobody got any Covid just because I went traveling. But I guess, this should be shared in a separate post in case I decided to write about it later. (Oh, I traveled back home too after I finished my study in the US. There was some drama with the flights and the quarantine, but let’s not talk more about it.)

Family: My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby so I’m officially an aunt now! <3 Other than that I think I’m really blessed with my family. It’s such a privilege to have a family like mine. My parents are awesome. They don’t rush me to get married. They don’t pester me to get a job that requires me to commute to “an office.” They are pretty chill. They even say something like, “Even if you don’t work, we’re okay with that. We can still feed you.” I don’t know if this means they don’t believe I could get a good job or sth and they don’t want me to feel pressured about it, or if this is simply another form of “sarcastic” motivation or encouragement. (To be frank, I don’t know how to explain this, I mean, perhaps it’s something like, you know, when you’re trying to tell someone to do something but instead of telling them to do it you’re saying the opposite? But maybe this is just my fear and anxiety that makes me see it negatively). Well, I don’t know. My parents sorta let me do anything I want. They won’t even bother me with housework. If I do it, they let me. If I don’t do it, they aren’t angry. I’m not sure if I am happy or sad about this. But now I can’t afford to think negatively about stuff so I decided to just take things “literally.” Don’t misunderstand, we didn’t fight or anything like that. Not at all. My family is very warm and accepting. We shared stories; we talked, we joked, we had meals together, etc. They’re proud of me. But I don’t know, I feel like I should’ve done more to make them proud. Maybe I’m the one that’s not proud of myself. Maybe deep down I don’t feel okay about how I am now. I feel like I’ve become a-good-for-nothing person. A disappointment. A “failure.” (Well, of course only I am allowed to say this because if anyone else says exactly the same thing to me, I know that I’ll turn defensive and come up with so many excuses and I know I’m right (that I’m not a failure and with so little privilege I had, I could achieve more than some people, etc.). So, well, it’s kinda complicated. But to sum up, I’m thankful for my family, esp my parents (I’m glad that they’ve got the first shot of Covid vaccine too!).

Finance: Okay? I’ve completed my financial report with my scholarship and everything. And I saved too. I actually decided to take some break and not work for a while until I found what I really wanted to do. I planned to live a frugal life off my saving. But I got a chance to teach online and got some money from it, so it helped me too. But I won’t say it’s bad, though. I mean, I could still pay for the electricity. I could still buy some groceries for my family. I could spoil my parents with things we couldn’t afford back then. So I don’t really see myself being a burden. At least not financially. (Though maybe I’m a burden to my family in a way, like, mentally? I mean, not everyone can understand and accept the concept of “taking a break.” And even if I said I was working online, some people might think I was jobless because they don’t see me “going out for work.” If I see it this way, I feel sorry for my parents that they’ve got a daughter like me. I might as well live far away. Sometimes it’s better to shut people up that way. But now that I’ve tasted the comfort of working from home and not having to pay rent, I find it a bit difficult to work offline somewhere especially if I won’t be rewarded decently. LoL)

Romance: LoL What do you expect? Maybe it is just not for me. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to fall in love for real or if I’ll get convinced that somebody has fallen for me. (Will there really be someone, though?) So maybe I’m just fated to love my celebrity crushes 😉 Anyway, you know I love Hey! Say! JUMP especially Chinen Yuri, right? And some favorite people I’ve posted in this blog. But nearing the end of 2021, I also fell for Sakuma Daisuke from Snow Man, and eventually, I fall in love with all Snow Man members 🙂 They’re so fun and lovely. Maybe if I am not lazy I can write about them later and share it here 😉

Health: I’m actually worried about my health. Physically and mentally. Physically I feel like I’m bleeding internally. But, I’m too scared to do a general/full check-up, especially because I don’t feel any pain or such. So maybe it’s just my feeling? Affected by my messy mind? But I mean, Covid is still out there, and I can do pretty much everything, including my work, so I barely go out of my house (n even my room?) unless it’s necessary. Well, I love walking. But you know how walking is seen in my country, right? Bad pavements, people parking and selling stuff on the side of the roads, and they stare at people who walk. Man, I hate people’s stares. Well, I can just ignore it and act indifferent, I know. But you know how I am, right? I’m such a lazy ass. I really love to shut myself in at home, unless I’m traveling (to new places). But Covid is still out there, right? I’d feel bad if I travel n then people get Covid because of me (even though I’ve never got it myself and am fully vaccinated, but we never know, right? Not to mention people’s judgment, the guilt-tripping…Man, I can’t imagine it.) So yeah, I’m stuck. Thankfully I’m good at making excuses and having some by myself. Thanks, internet. Thanks, technology.

Work: Ok, maybe this is the most important highlight. Something that’s been driving me “crazy.” Well, actually not that crazy if people do not look down on people who “take a break” from work. Like I said, I felt exhausted after Ph.D. so I planned to not work for a while and just live off my savings. As long as I don’t ask my parents for money and can still pay the bills, it should be alright, right? But then I get anxious about how that would make my resume look like. A gap in the CV? It stressed me out. But thankfully my friend invited me to co-teach with them at their university. Teaching graduate students and it’s online. I’m okay with the time difference, and teaching with them felt so fun and great. Like, I really enjoyed my work. And the money wasn’t bad either. If I had to compare to my experience teaching several classes in my own country in one semester, I could actually get the equal amount of money for only teaching two classes. (Yeah, considering that I had lots of “free time”, I should have been able to write several articles to publish into great journals, but I didn’t. I’m so sorry for being so impaired). But like I said, I finally experienced working from home with a decent salary. I didn’t have to spend money on rent. I could spoil my family with my money. Life was good. When I think about this, somehow it made me feel so pathetic that I had to work out of town with so little salary to pay the living expenses. It felt like I exhausted myself only for the sake of living. Living to work? Working to live? I don’t know. Did I enjoy myself? I want to enjoy the little time I’ve left in this world, you know. You know what? Sometimes I just want to work as a waitress. I don’t need a prestigious profession. As long as I’m useful, helpful, n happy, that should be enough, right? But I need money. I want money for things that can make me happy: Traveling, buying nice things for my family (Oh, they never ask, but I really want to do that because I love them and as a token of gratitude for the love they’ve given me). Unfortunately, working as a waitress in this country won’t enable me to live a decent and happy life. And people look down on such professions. But even when I’ve got a prestigious job (well, being a teacher in a university is kinda prestigious in a way), there’s no guarantee I could get paid well. I’ve heard from some friends how little money they’ve got. They’ve also told me how bad the system and the “working condition.” It makes me question whether I want to go back to doing such a job or not. Well, actually I feel like I could handle such things they mention better. (If my friend reads this, sorry for saying this! But…) Like, I’ve grown numb, so basically I don’t care and could just shrug things off. And I’m not that good of a person, as long as they don’t wrong me, I think I can pretend to turn a blind eye to the shit that’s happening. What’s important is that I do my job well, that should be alright. But if overall it’s not worth it, I won’t push myself to do it. Am I being too complicated? Am I making things difficult for myself?

Oh, by the way, there was this test to be a civil servant. I did join that, but I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to be shackled forever into such a system within the government. Somehow I love freedom, I want to do what I like and what makes me happy. I don’t want to be burdened with responsibilities that I can’t do and then end up neglecting them while getting good money. Well, I love money, yes, but I don’t want to be such an irresponsible person, you know. I want to do my job responsibly. That’s why I didn’t study for the first stage of the test. Well, I know this is contradictory to what I usually say. I always say that it’s important to give our all so that when we fail we’ll have no regrets. Well, call me arrogant, but if I studied for real, got the job, and ended up not taking it because I wasn’t sure, I’d feel bad for those who really wanted the job and couldn’t because I took their spot. So when I registered, I was like, “Ok, if I pass this test, maybe it means God wants me to have this job. If I clear this stage, I’ll study and give my best for the next stages.” I know it sounds like a lame excuse. But 1) for someone indecisive like me, I think it can help me find my resolve. 2) The test was about “general knowledge,” logic, and personality/characters. What is there to study? I can’t memorize things in a short time and even if I did memorize it, there’s no guarantee it would be on the test. Logic? Well, I’ve trained my logic every day when observing various everyday occurrences. Personality? Well, do I need to pretend to be someone else? I really didn’t see any point in “studying” for such things. Well, maybe that’s because I didn’t really want it, Idk. (Apologies to those who really wanted it and studied hard for it). Well, only three people at the top ranks were selected to continue to the next stage of the selection. And guess what? I actually ranked fifth! Am I allowed to boast and feel cool for placing fifth without studying? Maybe I’m really a genius. LoL But, well, thinking about it, I am both sad and happy. After all, it’s a matter of perspective and I tend to see things from more than just one perspective. I’m sad because I can’t help thinking that maybe if I had studied, maybe I would have gotten a better result. Sad because, since I didn’t pass, now I have to think again about the work I want to do. And thinking like that started to exhaust me. But I’m also happy. It means I’ve still got a lot of options, right? I can take my time deciding my future.

Ugh, by the way, actually there’s this job that I’m interested in. My junior seems to love that job so much. But it has nothing to do with teaching/education, so I kinda feel bad for my Ph.D. especially because I got it via scholarship. If I end up not using my PhD expertise, would that mean my PhD will go to waste? This is what makes me feel so bad and guilty. (Anyway, if I decide to apply for that job, I might share my blog with them. If they read this, do you think they will/not hire me? But it’s better to be honest, right?) Also, actually there were some teaching jobs I wanted to try, but my friends were like, “You’re overqualified.” Hmm, is taking a Ph.D. a wrong decision I made? I don’t regret it, though. It’s better to have it and use it in the future (if I can’t now) than needing it but not having it. Ugh, I wrote too much? Should I just be a trophy wife? LoL

Friendship: Hmm, I think I’m surrounded with supportive people who, instead of judging me, try to understand me. Well, maybe there are people who try to look down on me, but either I’m too dense or maybe I’m just so good at playing dumb and pretend that I don’t notice it. I don’t know, but there’s no point in focusing on the ones that make us feel worthless, right? So yes, I’m surrounded with good people, thank God. For example, when I told a friend I wondered if I was too picky about a job, they said, “You are not too picky. What you feel is you know your self worth, thus you dont wanna receive less than what you deserve. You shouldn’t feel ashamed of this new feeling. It’s a good thing. … Once you realize what and how much you can give, stop wasting your energy to the wrong thing. Sometimes the best idea/path we can take is to do nothing until the right thing comes up. Just because someone is moving or getting busy, doesn’t mean they make any progress. Plus, it’s a good opportunity for you to get to know yourself more, find your passion, your purpose. After all those hard works during PhD, you deserve a break. Be kind to yourself, we don’t have to know everything in one go. One day, your PhD will make a difference, you just need to keep looking for what feels right for you.” I’ve got a great friend, right? There’s also a time when I wonder if I didn’t set my goals high enough because now I am feeling so content with my life. I don’t have a car. I don’t have my own house. I don’t have thousands or million dollars, but do I really need it? I might die tomorrow, you see. I want to enjoy the present and appreciate what I’ve got rather than brooding about what I don’t have. Well, I admit that sometimes I miss those days at schools where all I needed to do was solving Math problems. Or when I was in college while also working. I was ambitious. I had goals. I wanted to continue my education. I wanted to get the best GPA. Etc. But now it feels like I’m lost. I might have lost my passion. Sometimes I feel like I’ve got everything I’ve ever wanted. (Except for a great husband; I wanted it but I haven’t got it. LoL) That’s why I’ve been wondering: Did I not set my goals/dreams high enough? Was I that poor that now I feel rich even though there are many things I still don’t have? But we can only dream of what we knew, right? To this, a dear friend cheered me on and said, “You can always re-set your goals and work on getting what you want.” They’re right. I’m blessed with such great, kind, encouraging, and motivating people. I’m thankful.

But to be honest, sometimes I wonder: Do I actually want people to be harsh to me? Maybe if they slap me with harsh words, maybe I’d find the resolve to try and work harder? But I’m afraid I won’t care about what they say anymore. Am I making things more complicated? Sigh, this is just the way I am. Making things difficult for my friends? Like, usually I’d share my post in my IG and WA, but I don’t feel like sharing this one there now. I just want to know if anyone actually reads it. Perhaps if they read it, they’ll reach out to me? But even if they read this, I understand that it’s difficult to deal with my situation and feelings so to be safe, people would think that it’s better to just not say anything at all than say the wrong things and make me feel worse, right? I understand. I don’t blame them. In general, perhaps I’m simply someone that is hard to deal with. The thing is that I seem to know every little thing I need to hear and say and I’ve been telling myself that. But who knows it’ll be different if someone else says it? Maybe I need someone to validate my thoughts and feelings, I don’t know… 

But gosh, this post has been so long. Guess how many words I’ve written in this post? More than 3500 words! I wish writing journal articles could be like this. But the references…Aaaaaaa, I hate that part. LoL

Oh, by the way, I’ve got a cat. He’s cute. At first, I wanted to name him Kyou, my favorite character from Fruit Basket anime. But of course it felt weird. LoL And lately I got addicted to Nanba MG5 manga, and they have this cool badass dog named Nanba Matsu and it made me kinda want to name my cat Nanba too. Wkwkwk But, well, at the end, we just call him “Pus” ‘cause that’s the only way to get him to respond to our calling 😀

Alright, see you in the next posts. I actually have a lot of topics I want to discuss, but my ideas are scattered and organizing them feels so exhausting. Is this because I’m getting old? LoL

PS: No resolutions because I’m done making resolutions since some years ago.

About Author

I might have a lot of identities: a daughter, a friend, a learner, a traveler, a lover, a teacher, a fan, etc, but above all, I want you to see me simply as a human. I am no different from everybody else. But that's what makes all the difference. That's because everybody is unique :)

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