It was a low key 27th for me. Used my birthday pass this year to go out for a run after work, then locked myself up in a room playing the guitar for God knows how long. I've been swamped with school work every day since January, and I told myself that I'd spend today doing anything but. It was nice to – at least for a night – do things that I've enjoyed doing since I was 15. My mind was blank this evening. I missed that.
Thank you all for the birthday wishes. I don't like making a big deal out of my birthday when it comes, but I do make it a priority to express my thanks for those who recognize it.
I remember that night well.
I was still at work, trying to get through the last hour before heading out when I got the call that my grandpa was not going to make it that night. For the past couple of years, he was battling Leukemia and had suffered an infection a few days ago. As a family we gathered around him and spoke to him, despite the fact that he had slipped into a deep coma. After a while, we decided to leave for a quick dinner in hopes that when we come back later that night he would still be there. We got the call as we were about to leave that he had left us.
This morning we had a beautiful ceremony for him, and as tragic as the night he died was, my mood was different today. Leading up to the funeral, we all got a chance to look at photographs of him throughout the decades. A healthier, more vibrant him complete with some of his grandchildren and my uncles awesome 80s mustaches. He was there in Vegas. We saw him underneath the Eiffel Tower, in the middle of Tiananmen Square. I was in awe. I looked around the chapel today and it was completely filled. He lived a life we all dreamed of having, and he clearly left an impression on people. As for my relationship with him, I spent more time with him this past year than before. I was there during his last breaths. And I would be one of the six to carry him to his final resting place. I felt content in knowing that I had very few regrets with him.
On the night he passed, as we were driving back to the hospital after dinner, my mom reminded me of what he appreciated about me. One of the things he would ask about me is dragonboating, and I guess my athleticism was what he enjoyed about me as a person. She told me, paddle hard for him.
There is no guide on grief, no simple formula to help us understand it. We all have to figure it out on our own. For me, to continue doing the things he admired about me and doing them well is enough to carry me forward.
From that night on, I knew what I had to do.
I wish I could like a Final Fantasy game again.
One of my goals this year is to be more creative. I’ve focused so much this past year on training for my marathon and dragon boating that I neglected the other part of me that I’ve known much longer than either of those two: music. I want to do more in that sphere, and since September I’ve been riding this wave of momentum with my guitar playing that I hope to sustain well into 2014. Maybe actually perform out in public.
Oh, and also clear out this horrible back log on my Amazon Kindle app. I have a handful of books I have yet to read that I bought over the last year. Unacceptable.
I don’t know how to define 2013.
Which is somewhat of an odd thing for me, because I’ve been able to categorize every passing year in some way. 2013 was tough, but not without a sense of accomplishment, growth and of course, happiness and peace that I didn’t know was there. It was a mixed goodie bag of a year for me, but I think what I had achieved was what made this year special. I guess when I think about it in that sense, it was pretty good.
Farewell 2013. 2014, please be kind.
I'm closing in on five years since I've had this blog, and I guess that number in of itself is a milestone. I remember when I first started this: it was during my third year of university, my grand father had passed away earlier in the year and I was closing out on what was one of the shittiest years I've ever had at that point in my life. I find myself in a similar situation this time around, but with different circumstances, one where I'm beginning another transitional period in my life.
A lot has changed since then, but the only constant that I've noticed that seems to repeat itself is the fact that I'm still fighting through life. Which I guess is a good sign that I'm still thinking and trying to live as opposed to 'letting things happen.' I'm not running around scared about what's going to happen tomorrow, I feel as if I'm in control and compared to when I was 21, there is clarity in the things I'm actively doing.
What's interesting about maintaining a blog over a long period of time is having something to observe the change that you go through as a person. It's one thing to see it over a year, but it's another over a five year span. I've noticed my values, beliefs and morals, things that I've held onto forever, have all been challenged at some point. Some of those things I either continued to hold onto or I simply allowed it to die along the way. In the end, I'm happy with who I am as a person right now, which I guess is a blessing in of itself. I still have a lot of work to do to become the person I want to be, but I feel like I'm getting close.
Here's to another five.
I gave gold to someone for the first time on Reddit for what I thought was an incredibly profound comment made by him. It's a rare thing for me to have my values and understanding of myself as a person shaken like that but congratulations to him, he did it. And judging by the number of gold stars above his post, I'm not the only one who felt shivers down their spine.
I'm not sure if he fully realizes the impact of his words yet.