This is such a strange world to be living in, isn’t it?
There has never been a better time than the present to check in with each other. How are you doing? Me? Honestly, I am not doing ok. So much has happened in the last few months, I don’t even know where to begin.
In the grand scheme of things, I am fine. I have a home, families who care for me, and an able body and mind. But I can’t help but think that I am merely surviving instead of living fully. It’s a strange feeling. Everyone is used to just saying ‘I’m okay’ when asked. We are taught to keep it to ourselves. It’s especially true in the Korea culture that I grew up in.
As we are going through this COVID-19 crisis, it helps us to focus on what’s really important in life. Family. Community. People. Someone to lean on. Someone to care for. I always knew that was one of the most important factors in my life. Ultimately that’s why I left my miserable life as a mechanical engineer in Korea to find ‘my people’. That’s why I started a blog: to connect with similar-minded people. And I did, successfully.
All the people I met on the road, friendships that last to this day, virtual community through this blog, things I learn from them, those are my treasures. Ironically, now I’m living in one place which is the longest that I’ve been anywhere since I left Korea, but I am still searching for ‘my people’. I don’t feel that I quite fit in here just yet. I love so many aspects of this place that I call home now, but I’ve yet to find the community. Maybe that’s why I feel not okay going through this period right now.
Well, there’s more going on too. I’ve been working at a local DMO (destination management/marketing organization) since I moved to Anchorage but along with millions of Americans, I got furloughed. It’s not as a dramatic change as some of my colleagues who got laid off, but it came as a drastic change for me. The job became a big part of my life since I started working there only two weeks after we moved. I felt weirdly alone after I got the news, even though it didn’t come as a surprise. Without the job, the community I thought I had suddenly disappeared altogether. I had left my family across the ocean. I chose to live away from everything I knew. And felt like I was left in a void.
And that’s why I’m not doing okay. But oddly, this challenge gave me an opportunity to find out that I do have a small group of ‘my people’. I do check in with them as often as I can and I’m not afraid to say ‘I’m not ok, how about you?’.
I’ve been trying to be productive and efficient for the last few weeks, diving into different projects, revitalizing old goals, looking back at my strengths and weaknesses, but I’ve also been apathetic which isn’t normal for me. What is this feeling? What is this void? There are many articles out there that encourage people to think that it’s ok not to be so productive right now because basically, we are all going through a crisis. Like, everyone we know is affected one way or another. It is a big deal. But I guess it’s a matter of listening to the advice and being kind and understanding of yourself. Trying not to accomplish so many things right now.
It’s okay not to be okay. How could we?
This is uncharted territory to the highest degree. No one knew this was coming (maybe some smart people like Bill Gates knew) and how it would affect the world. It is still not the end and more changes are coming. We don’t know what direction it’s going to go. We are all bound at home, gas is cheap but nowhere to go. We don’t have jobs but can’t travel anywhere. I don’t know when I’ll see my family in Korea, I don’t know if my best friend will have her (already once postponed) wedding in August. I don’t know if my new business ideas will work. I’m terrified to think about living without health insurance or paying a lot of money for it. Most of all, I’m worried that my parents will worry about my wellbeing. So many unknowns.
But I am trying to be okay. I’m accepting the fact that I feel lost and scared and trying to be okay with it. Trying to be kind to myself and accepting that I don’t need to achieve greatness at this moment. I believe I will achieve great things, eventually. This may have been the little push I needed to move along. Take some time to wallow and be okay binge-watching Schitt’s Creek for days (thank goodness for Dan and Eugene Levy!).
I was surprised to see how my parents acknowledged this difficult time for me, saying that this might have been the universe telling me to take a little breather. If you remember how we had our differences in the past, this came to me as a shock. So we are all learning what is important in life and how to take care of each other.
So, how are you really doing?
7 thoughts on “How Are You Doing? Me? I Am Not Doing Okay.”
well its tough isnt it. i feel like life is a bit paused right now. I still have a job, im regarded as an essential worker and so ive been trying to save. As a regular traveller not knowing the future of that is hard. And there have been some scary life events that happened just before lockdown with my mum nearly dying which have made the whole year surreal. im hoping just to get through the next few months and then hopefully being able to forge ahead more positively.
Oh no! I hope your mom is ok? That’s scary. Yeah, not the same thing but my mom also did get a major surgery right before the whole pandemic happened, so I was dealing with taking care of her, trying to maintain the house, and protecting everyone from contracting COVID-19. It’s a stressful time for sure. I’m glad you are doing ok overall, but it is a difficult time. Try to be kind to yourself too! 🙂
Andrew, hope your Mom is Ok.
It was nice to see an email notification from you again, especially during these tough times.
Agree, I find personally it has been a challenge trying to keep positive and not get depressed. I try to remind myself compared to the struggles my parents, grandparents and ancestors faced in the past that this is a minor inconvenience, but sometimes the reminders just don’t work!
Hope your family and friends are well.
Hi Donna, Thanks for reaching out. Glad to hear from you as well. As we are all social animals, it’s hard to be cut out from human interaction. But I think we will get through it and come out stronger than ever. 🙂
Hi, Juno. Glad to get your email and read your post.
A lot of things happened here too. We got married about 3 years ago, and my wife came back to Australia from Vietnam with me and is slowly settling in here. But without her circle of colleagues and friends.
Yep, it’s tough moving to a new country isn’t it, so thank goodness for the internet and video calls, even though it isn’t the same as a hug from a friend, or a cafe meetup. And while we are not so ok all the time, we really are ok and truly lucky as well.
Looking forward to more of your posts and wishing you and yours all the best
Jeff and Huong in Melbourne
Hi Jeff, good to hear from you! Yeah that’s a big change, from Vietnam to Australia. Hope she’s adjusting it ok though. I understand what she’s going through. Yeah I phone my parents almost daily but it’s never the same to share a same space. I hope you are setting it ok, Huong, and wish you all the best!