It doesn’t feel quite right saying this, but if there’s anything good that the pandemic has taught me, it’s about self-compassion.
I guess we can all agree that the entire world collectively tearing apart is one acceptable excuse for how you haven’t been behaving like the “better,” more functional version of you. I myself have been abandoning so many things that were once a part of my routine, that I now feel guilty about.
It’s funny that ironically, the reason why I’ve come back to doing something through writing here is because I’m posting a tedious trilogy of self-loathing regarding: 1) how I haven’t felt good in months, 2) how I’ve been hating myself due to my extremely low level of productivity, and 3) how I hate myself for judging me based on my level of productivity when in fact, I’ve also done a few personal milestones that I never expected to do otherwise. Sure, these things aren’t resume-worthy and more of a leap forward in my self-healing journey, but these really are the things that define who I am when any resume-related labels such as work positions or school are stripped out of my identity.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I had my fair periods of bursting productivity. I completed my step-one fixed step training at work ahead of time, aced my French exam, went to the class twice a week virtually, wrote more than 20 poems for my portfolio website, revamped my childhood bedroom to an adult workspace, started a new obsession with houseplants and even created Excel spreadsheet to document its well-being updates, got myself a piano keyboard and taught myself from zero, regularly read papers and articles about planetary geology, started volunteering again, and the list goes on.
Yet a few months later, here I am, spending all my free time in the last few months either cuddling with my cat or binge-watching some shitty TV shows because I’ve run out of the good ones to watch. There’s no crap left to be given for things other than these two. Work hasn’t felt stimulating in a while either – and I probably haven’t been very receptive to new challenges too recently. I didn’t even have the willingness to spare some time to write here again. I gained some weight because I don’t exercise, I haven’t put my skincare on in months, and I’m only capable of the bare minimum of household tasks in the house, i.e. drying clothes and vacuum-cleaning. I’ve let my parents water my houseplants, a few died, and it’s been a month since the last time I checked on each one of them carefully.
There was this conversation between Randall, the adopted son of the Pearson family, and Kevin, his non-biological brother in This Is Us S05E13 that had been stuck with me for a while. It’s when Randall admitted that the fact that he was adopted by a family he loves so much makes him feel that he is bound to show nothing but gratitude at all times, while that feeling, truthfully, feels like an emotional prison because oftentimes he still couldn’t help but thinking about all the what-if’s had he been living with his biological parents instead his whole life. And Kevin said he sounds “wildly ungrateful.”
And I’ve been thinking about that ever since. The feeling of having to constantly show gratitude because people might perceive you to live a somewhat ideal life, when the truth is, sometimes you just want to lash out because things haven’t felt okay in a prolonged time, and let the world watch you go nuts in 4K if they please.
Does it really take the whole world to crumble for two creatures to coincidentally find a home in each other’s presence, two siblings to make long-overdue amends, and a mediocre character to take their first step towards digging what should never have never been buried for nearly two decades?
A lot has happened since the last time I was here. Most of the time I was occupied by office workloads, but there were also exciting times where I got to explore new hobbies and interest – which you’d have noticed from the title of this post, and I will share in a bit as well.
We’ll get to the fun and colourful part in a jiffy, but before that, I kind of wanted to share the more *depressing* part of these past couple months as well. Only as a reminder that behind all these pretty pictures you’ll see in a bit, I didn’t always have good days. My working hours, for example, have practically doubled – which is thanks to the combination of my crappy time management, my perfectionism, and the increasing workload. I also skipped so many French classes and didn’t continue to B1 level since I didn’t even have time to study for the final exam. I bought a piano keyboard and planned to learn how to play it but it has been three months since it’s only sitting awkwardly in my bedroom, since I do not have the time to learn. I don’t exercise, the amount of times I’ve left the house since March (even to convenience shops) is countable by fingers, and I haven’t met A or any of my friends since March. It’s stressful, but I’m hanging on. Oftentimes by a thread, but at least it’s not torn apart (yet).
Like many of us, I’ve been searching for a coping mechanism amidst these insane times. Especially one that is doable from the comfort of my own home. And like many people out there, the answer is: houseplants!
It barely feels like a year has passed since I signed with my current employer to officially land my first full-time gig.
With all that had happened in the past year, today I’d like to try to reflect a little bit on this very short amount of time that I have invested in building my career as a geologist. A position that truthfully, I never really knew would fit in or not, that I was never too confident about. Not because I thought I sucked at it, but because I personally never thought that I was exceptionally good at it.
I didn’t graduate cum laude in my undergraduate, unlike many of my classmates. The ability to find an interesting research question in this field does not come quite naturally for me. Any geology-related achievement that I ever made was more of a result of being scared of failure and becoming a disappointment, instead of a purely natural drive out of passion and curiosity. I’m lucky that I seem to still do pretty well in the past eight years which was mostly thanks to my innate perfectionism and commitment, I guess, but truthfully, I just never expected to really succeed in this field.
Maybe at least until a year ago.
(This title will be split into two-piece articles since apparently I had refrained so much from writing about my career, hence I’ve got so many thoughts to be poured now. This first part will mostly talk about my process of finding my entrance into my first full-time job. Buckle up if you decide to follow along, because this post isn’t particularly a short one.)