As I was leaving for London last year, I received a few heartwarming farewell gifts from loved ones. One of them was a list called “The Alphabets of Living Rights” that was brilliantly concocted by a dear friend. It’s a checklist of A-Z of the things I should accomplish during my time here. So far, I have more or less completed 70% of the list, most of which are pretty straightforward, such as eating ice cream in winter (that’s I), embrace your roots in Chinatown (that’s E), sing loudly, smile widely (that’s S), and so on.
Some, however, are not as literal. For instance, it took me awhile to accomplish A – Appreciate Yourself, and K – Keep Going. In fact, I wouldn’t say I have finished them because it’s a continuous process. I equate appreciating oneself to taking good care of our own physical and mental health, and being confident of who we are. And “keep going” consistently rings when I’m trying to get out of bed or meet my coursework deadlines.
So as I was sifting through the list randomly today, I came across N – Nourish Your Soul, and I decided that is what 2017 will be for me. For the past few years, I had hit some kind of a plateau – I wasn’t really getting anywhere. I clocked in and out of a routined job, got stuck in traffic most of the time, worried and hung up about unnecessary things, maintained a poor gym track record, ate out way too much, read way too little, spent too much time on my phone and not enough time with people that actually matter.
Now that the “Responsible Working Adult” tag is currently replaced by “Broke & Independent Student in a Foreign Land” – I can’t think of a better time to look inwardly and putting a new focus on learning to just be present in the moment.
It probably sounds really hippie and zen borderline cliche, but I find that harder to achieve than it sounds. How many times have I put that book I really wanted to read aside because I felt bad for not reading enough academic texts, when my thoughts have drifted away to should-would-coulds and what-ifs in the middle of a conversation, and spending way too much time dreaming about doing tons of stuff but never really got around to doing them?
I want to read more. Write more. Take better photographs. Be a better engineer/scientist. Be a better rock climber. Be a better cook.
Nourishing oneself isn’t just about focusing inwardly. It’s also about putting a better version of ourselves out there and let our environment respond in kind.
To spend more time with people who matter. To pay more attention. Be kinder. Take chances.
The soul is enriched just by taking every moment in.
This isn’t just the year to do all that. This is the year where I will begin to do all that to a point it becomes a part of who I am, not a mere resolution.
Will 2017 be kinder and better? I’m not sure.
But it can sure as heck start with me.