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 by since I signed with my current employer to officially land my first full-time gig.
With all that had happened for the past year, in this particular occasion, I’d like 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 on my undergraduate, unlike many of my classmates did. 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.)
Back in my undergraduate years, my galaxy-printed tee and pink chevron-patterned tee are the kinds of clothing I’d pick to go to my university classes. Along with my peach-coloured Jansport backpack, a chevron-patterned wooden necklace from a local brand, and a pair of textured plastic flat shoes with ornamental ribbon which I didn’t hesitate to wear to my geology classes. I loved splurging my money on fashion items, and loved wearing them even more. My particular preference was probably anything that did not typically scream “basic.”
As I grew older and finally discovered more meaningful means to allocate my money to, I decided that one of the best ways to effectively put more budget to those things is by reducing my spending on clothing. I’d still be into fashion, but from that moment on, I would try to support my passion in different, hopefully more responsible ways.
Despite being still way too far from living minimally (and hopefully, more ethically, consciously, and sustainably someday), I decided that at least, getting rid of my clothes from those fashion-holic eras was a must-do, in order to convert my wardrobe into a capsule one. I also started collecting mood boards on Pinterest, such as here and here, to help myself choose some modest basic styles that would still bring pleasure when I wear them.
But what is a capsule wardrobe?
This article defines capsule wardrobe as “a limited collection of clothes that coordinate well and can be worn in a number of different ways to cater for multiple occasions.” Essentially, the idea is to keep only the most essential pieces of clothing that would go along with each other regardless of the occasion, therefore keeping the number of your clothes to a minimum. It also typically includes only items with earthy colours, since these tones are the ones that can be easily combined with each other.
Winter has witnessed me blossoming into a better version of myself, and the opposite. It’s the season where I got to explore new boundaries of what I was capable of feeling. Some of my best days indeed involved a sight of endless pile of white ice, but some of the worst did as well. It has seen some of my loudest laughs and some of my worst cries, and every confusion in between. It brought along some of the days that I’d miss a lot, and some others that I’d rather completely forget.
Winter, for me, was a time of forgiveness. Of independence, of figuring out what truly matters and what does not, of redemption. When there was too much emotion, yet too little space in one’s heart to process.
But it was a beautiful sight. Regardless of seconds, minutes, hours, days, which turned into weeks, which might turn into months, where I was aching; it was nonetheless always a beautiful scenery to remember those times by.