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?