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being a multipotentialite

A multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life.

A few months ago, I watched a TED talk about having too many passions to just settle on one. I immediately identified with the speaker, Emilie Wapnick. I identified with her rationalization that not all of us have that one true calling, and that it’s okay to not feel like we have to specialize in one thing.

I highly admire the musicians, artists, doctors and other people who know, from a certain age, that that’s what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Having studied music allowed me to mingle with deeply devoted musicians, and I admired them for their passion and perseverance in their career. Most of these people were my age or younger; they were barely in high school when they knew that they wanted to pursue music (cello, in my case) for as long as they could. And that really amazed me, because I knew from an early age that I wasn’t like one of them.

I think many of us are able to identify with this, as there are increasingly more things to learn and be in this world.

“Realize that everything connects to everything else.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Multipotentialites are not specialists; they don’t settle for one thing to focus all their energy on. While this may mean that they don’t become as good of a musician as someone who dedicates his life to music, for instance, a multipotentialite has the possibility of merging all his knowledge and discover something even bigger and more novel.

As a self-proclaimed multipotentialite, I believe that we should specialize in a field that sweeps us away, but I also believe that that specialization shouldn’t be fixed.

What I mean is that we go through different stages in our lives, and in each stage we prioritize different things. This means that while we may be more suited to be an athlete during our adolescence and/or early adulthood, we may be more suited to be a businessperson later in life, and a philanthropist even later in our adulthood. These are extreme examples, but it means that we have the opportunity to dedicate to different things at each stage of our wonderful life cycle.

me, a multipotentialite?

At 19, I consider myself a multipotentialite because I believe that the sum of my passions will allow me to blossom in the one field that I choose to specialize in my careers. And I say careers because I know I’ll have several careers and pursuits throughout my life.

Right now, I am a polyglot, bibliophile, blogger, cellist and fitness enthusiast. Not all of these are ‘serious’ skills, such as being a bibliophile (I mean, anyone can be one as long as they can read) and a fitness enthusiast (note the word ‘enthusiast’). But somehow, naming these particular skills that define my lifestyle makes it more concrete and real. I know that these are five things that I know will make me happy, and that I will continue pursuing irregardless of the level I reach in each of them.

i’m also an amateur photographer and fashionista, and I call myself these names to remind myself that these are other hobbies that make me happy, and just add to the creative persona that I’m trying to be.  They also complement the five skills I’ve named above, so yay!

Finally, there’s also other things  that I aim to become when I’ve gained the experience and wisdom to be. These include being a psychologist, author, entrepreneur, activist and humanitarian. Not necessary in this order, but it seems like a reasonable sequence. I aim to major in Psychology, so that’s first in the list. The following ones simply professionalize my current interests and align with my moral values and intentions in this life.

what this means for you

I know I probably went off topic at the end. I went on talking about the things that I aim to be in the future, big dreamy goals *sigh*. But, so what? Being a multipotentialite means that there are no limits to what we are and aspire to be. It’s a way to denominate this bursting feeling to learn and create without feeling like we don’t fit among others. And I like it.

-Michelle

on making this year great

This year is going to be great. I love setting myself high goals – sometimes as a continuation from last year, but I always try to make them as realistic as possible. Because, let’s face it – we’re not superhuman. We have high expectations, we are flawed, and we will be disappointed. You may not lose the amount of body fat that you hoped; you may not travel as much as you want, and maybe you’re not exactly in the place where you hoped you would be.

That’s why it’s so important to always be kind to yourself no matter what, and to enjoy the small things each step of the way. The following are a list of (small) things that I think will help me make this year great. These don’t necessarily involve my ‘bigger’ goals in life, but I know they will help me in becoming a happier person, so 🙂

I hope you can find some of these useful, too!

On self-love: 

  • sleep, eat and exercise well – remember that how you feel is always more important than how you look
  • meditate daily; just 5-10 minutes each day is all you need
  • stop looking back, you’re only hurting yourself
  • pamper yourself one night every week. you’ll feel all refreshed for the upcoming week!
  • become more independent and happier with solitude (more than you already are!)
  • improve your EQ through reading and understanding others
  • continue volunteering and giving to others, no matter where you are
  • go out more!

On learning: 

  • go on more adventures – in your hometown, other countries, or through books
  • journal as much as you can; this is the best way to learn how to tolerate yourself
  • read, read, and just read
  • never let go of your cellist self, please
  • stick to the good habits you have developed before, and get rid of the old
  • become a better writer and blogger

On being creative: 

  • always have at least one creative hobby at hand
  • paint in an adult coloring book; it’s easy, soothing and therapeutic
  • go roller skating at least once a week; I know, you suck at it, but you will get better
  • learn as much about photography as you can
  • improve your handwriting and faux calligraphy!
  • what you do in your spend time defines who you are, so make sure your hobbies represent who you want to be

These are my simple reminders on leading a better and more creative life. I fervently believe that our passion and creativity is key to our happiness, as it’s what and how we chose to do things that defines who we become.

-Michelle

absence makes the heart grow fonder

When you’re distanced from something you’ve grown so accustomed to and thrust into a new environment, it’s almost impossible not to miss what you left behind. This old adage resonated with me when I realized that, after spending 7 weeks in Taipei, Taiwan (my country of origin), I actually missed Lima, Peru the city I grew up in.

What you need to understand about me is that I never really have much to say about Peru – despite having lived here for over 17 years – besides “the weather’s relatively stable” or “oh, the food is pretty good” (seriously though , the Peruvian culinary is yum). Having lived here for so long actually made me see the country for its deficiencies: the poor education system, lack of artistic development, lousy traffic, and oh, the government… I could go on. Overall, Lima seemed blunt relative to what so many other countries offered: more developed education systems, more attractions and places to visit, better technological advances, among others.

For the first time in my life, however, I actually feel fond of Lima. Distancing myself from the place I had grown so used to allowed me to see its benefits with fresh new eyes. Here are some of the things that I really appreciate about the country that raised me:

  1. My house. It’s a spacious, comfy house right in front of a beautiful park. The place where I spend most of my time writing, reading, thinking, creating, working. It’s the place where I can find solace at all times. I’m grateful for this house because the land here is not as scarce as other countries (therefore, my parents were able to afford it).
  2. The vast, open spaces. Despite the horrible traffic congestion, during non-rush hours you can walk around peacefully, especially at parks. My district is full of them; besides the one in front of my house, there are bigger parks located at walking distances from me. Whether it’s walking, jogging, biking or skating, these parks are such a relaxing an detoxifying way to spend by myself.
  3. The *relatively* stable weather. It’s getting hotter in the summers and colder in the winters – like everywhere else, but besides that, the weather is pretty stable here. You don’t have to brace yourself for a sudden rainfall, whooshing wind, or any other drastic changes that force you to hide inside your house. Nope. You just have to ensure you’re wearing the appropriate clothes for the season. Comparing Peru’s weather to other countries – namely Taiwan – has helped me appreciate this.
  4. The simplicity. This is something that I never thought about until now. The fact that Peru doesn’t import as much things from other countries means that it doesn’t really have much to feed consumerism. This means that we’re forced to lead a relatively minimalist lifestyle, which is essentially healthier than being indulgent. Though this is frustrating for someone who loves to hoard things such as stationery, it allows me to resort to other means. I rarely buy online, as shipping costs are expensive (and shopping online is always dangerous), so that helps too.
  5. A lack of something isn’t necessary bad. The generally poor education system has made me question. over and over again, the validity of the education systems worldwide. The generally ‘relaxed’ atmosphere in Peru has given me ample of time to think and ponder about the way we live. Though living in a more developed country would give me more accessibility and perhaps more opportunities, living in Peru has taught me to get what I want myself. Feeling like there’s a ‘lack’ of things has taught me to ponder about what I can do with what I do have. After all, in the modern world we don’t need to be at one place to get the job done. We can get the job done anywhere – as long as we’re willing to.

Thinking about this post has made me realize that, even though I would most likely choose to live in Peru over Taiwan (if I had to choose between the two), there are definitely things that I will miss from my birth place Taipei that I never noticed when I was younger:

  1. Living with a big family. I have grown up living with just my parents and my brother, at most (in the last few years, it’s been mostly just my mom and I). Coming back to Taiwan and being in constant companion of my family has helped me understand the functions of a family and be more empathetic, as I’m surrounded by people of all ages (even including my insufferable 4-year-old cousin).
  2. Using public transportation everywhere. It’s so convenient here in Taiwan. I can bike (easily rent one anywhere), use the bus, metro and walk around to get me pretty much anywhere. It’s cheap, more environmentally friendly, and favorable as Taiwan is just a tiny island.
  3. The relatively safe atmosphere. Like every country, there are some dangerous districts to avoid; but, generally, I can conveniently go anywhere without worrying too much about my safety. And as someone raised by Asian parents, safety concerns are the first thing I notice when I step into a country.
  4. The food. Oh, yum. I have more of a Western palate, but the food in Taiwan is really good. Whether it’s eating at home, restaurants or the night market street foods, you can always find delicious appetizers and drinks anywhere you go.
  5. The beautiful mountains. This is by far my favorite place. Though the weather gets really violent and bipolar up there, the fresh air and scenery is so worth the hike. The mountains are pretty much the only places in Taiwan where you’ll find nothing more than landscapes (unharmed by human touch), so it’s very refreshing every time you get up there.

This is why traveling is so good for us. The moment you step into a foreign country (even if you have been there before), you are subjecting yourself to new experiences that will stay within you; and through these experiences, you will get to know the world around you, and yourself, a bit better.

-Michelle

tokyo 2017 | travel diary

Wanderlusting is inevitable. Adventures and experiences create lasting memories that will remain ingrained in us for as long as we want. It is not a luxury that we all have, financially and time-wise (among other reasons), but if you ever have the chance to travel, the experience can be worth every penny. Whether it’s in the form of books or real-life adventures – they’re a price worth paying for.

I’ve seen  many travel diaries (both blogs and videos) lately,  and I’ve been inspired to document my latest experience. I recently visited Tokyo, Japan, for 7 days and there was so much to see. I got a glimpse of Shiodome, Sumida, Asakusa, Gala Yuzawa, central Tokyo in itself, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya, and Hakone (pretty much in this order!), and a few other unplanned places as well.

It was a lot to go through in less than 7 days, but it was a glimpse that has left me longing with the desire to go back and explore less-saturated and more cultural Japanese cities.

Highlights from my trip to Tokyo:

Tokyo Skytree
Sensoji Temple
Akihabara, the electronics of Tokyo (and the place where I bought my first camera!)
The exterior of Tokyo Station – not just a ‘station’ 😉
The University of Tokyo – campus
There was a pond in the middle of the uni!

SHIBUYA

The famous Shibuya Crossing (aka the Tokyo of Times Square)
This is Hachiko, my beloved dog
MoCHA Cat Cafe :3

TAKESHITA STREET, HARAJUKU

Takeshita Street, Harajuku

GALA YUZAWA

Vew from the ropeway at Gala, ski and snowboard resort :3
Skiing here was ABSOLUTELY amazing.

HAKONE

Streets in Hakone – so traditional and peaceful

Random photo to show how tiny the bins are in Japan (use my feet as reference). You are encouraged to throw toilet paper – which are made to dissolve quickly in water – into the toilet. Talking about trash, are no trash cans in the streets, as people take their garbage home (and presumably recycle them, like everywhere else in Japan).
Hakone Sightseeing Cruise – so beautiful! (btw, I took my new camera to Hakone – hence the dramatic effect)

Though I only got the ‘tourist’ glimpse of Tokyo this time, the perceived differences between Japan and Taiwan (where I’m currently staying at with my family) are so notorious. The respectful social conventions and technological advances are what stood out to me most, and these really left me with a longing desire to go back.

The one thing that was an issue during this trip, though, was the subway system. Even though I had Google Maps to help me navigate, the app didn’t always work – especially on bad weather days. It took my mom and I 2 days to get the hang of the system, and even then, we had to pre-plan every trip we made.

Overall, it was an amazing trip, and I’m really glad I got to capture many of these moments in pictures and memories. I’m someone who loves traveling, both through books and in real life. The latter is the most daunting one for me, as I have to put myself completely out of my comfort zone, but it can also be the most rewarding thing.

-Michelle

We All Have Masks

By this point in your life, you would have undergone a range of learning and relationships that define who you are today. But do these experiences mean that we know who we are, or have we just gotten better at putting on masks?

We all have them. The one we show our parents, family, friends, significant other, teachers, strangers, etc. We don’t act with the same level of familiarity with our parents than with strangers. We don’t talk to our teachers like we talk to our friends. And we definitely don’t behave the same way with our best friend than with everyone else.

We have different mannerisms in regards to the people we interact with, and it has naturally become ingrained as part of our behavior – so much that we may rarely notice it. Maybe you’re a vivacious person, just as open with your friends as with a stranger. But, as for me, the lines are bolder. It has come to my attention that I treat everyone with at least slightly different: my mom, dad, best friend, close friends, 4-year-old cousin, uncles, teachers, etc. Does this mean that I’m not truly myself when I’m interacting with someone I’m not as close with?

I believe this difference in personality is what enables me to figure out who I am, and only I need to know that. I may be shy, more held-back and polite when I’m around people I’m not too close with, but I know that these characteristics don’t put me in a box. They see a side of me that I want to portray, a mask that I put on for the given situation. Not everyone may see the lively side of me, and that’s okay.

So, what do these “masks” ultimately suggest about our behavior? I think they come in different ways, levels, and intents. I don’t try to put on masks to deceive people, and neither do you (I hope). I don’t use masks to pretend to be any other person other than the one in the present moment, and even if that person is not who I am when I’m at home, that’s alright. I don’t need to be 100% “myself” at all times. It’s exhausting, and it’s unnatural.

If you’re known to be an outgoing person, it’s okay to not want to go out sometimes. If people always see you as the understanding person, it’s fine if you are tired of listening to others. We all need a break. And most importantly, we all change.

With every form of interaction that we have, we get to know ourselves better. And as you get to know yourself better, your sense of identity becomes stronger.  That, I believe, is the key to gradually nurturing better and healthier relationships.

-Michelle

 

 

 

Making New Year’s Resolutions That Last

A new year for new beginnings, adventures and growth.

It’s easy to fall into this novelty trap and set yourself goals that will only inflate your ego for as long as they last. I read somewhere that after the 1st week of January, a quarter of us will already have abandoned our New Year’s resolutions, which can be quite disappointing. Here are ways to help you improve that!

1. Write your New Year’s Resolutions down.

By printing them down somewhere that you can often check on (e.g. a Word document, or as a poster on your desk wall), you will think more thoroughly about your resolutions, instead of just making resolutions for the sake of making them.

Also, if you ask me, you don’t need to make your resolutions before or on New Years. I have been quite busy with traveling around New Years, so I only got around to making my resolutions just recently. Because, really, who cares?

2. Share your resolutions with someone.

By sharing your resolutions with your friend(s), family, blog or any social media site, you will feel that your resolutions are being accounted by others (even if no one actually reads them). This self-beguilement is an effective and easy way to enforce this positive behavior.

This pretty much applies for anything you want to achieve as well. For learning a new skill, waking up earlier, to exercising more – you might as well take advantage of the mainstream web to share your goals. You will be motivated by others’ achievements, and you can motivate others with your advances, too.

3. Break down your resolutions into goals (and share these too!)

Resolutions, to me, are well-intended but full of fluff and bullsh*t. E.g. I want to lose weight, spend less, travel more, etc. Most of us want to achieve these things, but without a clear path on how to achieve them, you will most likely push them aside as more urgent demands command your attention.

My suggestion: After you have thoroughly thought through your resolutions, break them down into goals.

Want to lose weight? Good! What exercise(s) are you going to pursue, and how many times a week? How many meals will you eat each day, and how will you track what you eat? Have a concrete plan that you can build on and stick to.

Want to travel more? Great! What are the top 3 countries that you want to visit? How are you going to pay for these trips? How long do you want to spend in each of these places, and what do you hope to get from all these amazing wanderlusting?

Oh, and don’t forget to WRITE THEM DOWN. Doing so (electronically) will enable you to edit them as your ideas and plans change and, before long, you will have a well-planned out list of your goals for 2017.

4. Be grateful for what you have.

This is soo important and the key to your happiness and wellbeing. If you appreciate all that you have at the moment, instead of focusing on what you’re lacking, you’ll be much more satisfied with your life. Need help with this?

  • Keep a gratitude journal every morning. Write what you’re grateful for (anything, really!), how you could make this day better, and turn your negatives and flaws into something positive! The key is being positive, as it will inevitably translate to your state of mind.
  • Volunteer. I cannot reiterate this enough. Explore different kinds of volunteering and giving, and you will eventually find the one that you feel is most rewarding. The opportunities are endless – volunteering at a hospital, teaching an instrument, giving out meals – help is needed and welcomed everywhere.

5. Baby steps. Always.

The fresh new year seems promising and exciting, but don’t forget that you’re a flawed (but beautiful) human being. This means that you cannot take Mozart leaps that you know are unrealistic. This is why it’s so crucial to follow point #3 – breaking your resolutions into specific goals.

By recording your progress each step of the way, you will watch how you grow in this year-long journey. It’s not easy, it’s probably going to be hard, but it’s possible.

Good luck!

-Michelle

16 Things I Learned in 2016

Dear 2016 me,

1. Taking care of yourself will always be your no. 1 priority. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. They are all as important, and taking the time to just be with yourself will be so beneficial for your wellbeing in the long run.

2. Shit may happen in your life, but it’s you who decides what you do with it. If you ask me, the word ‘failure’ doesn’t exist. Just because the path you designed did not happen accordingly doesn’t mean that the alternatives are the wrong path. Later, you may realize that the latter was actually the better fit for you, and that you needed to ‘fail’ in order to see that.

3. You are stronger than you think. We all are. When something particularly harsh in life hits you hard, all you want to do is crawl back from where you came from, and pretend it never happened. But each experience makes you stronger. You don’t really see the silver lining until the dark cloud comes, and when it does – you are gonna be so ready.

4. Your family will always have your back. (They have to, lol) No matter how bad things get, they are always there for you, regardless of where they physically are.

5. School does not determine your life. It was particularly hard for you this year – socially – because you were doing something that none of your friends were doing. Everybody else was at school or at college, and they all seemed to be solidly moving along in their lives, while you felt stuck in the void in your gap year. But, guess what? You did learn stuff this year, and you did grow into a more nurtured and knowledgeable person in 2016. You may have gone off track, but your time did not go to waste. College will not change where you are ultimately meant to be.

6. You’re Asian, but you don’t need to be defined by it. It doesn’t determine how you feel on the inside, and it doesn’t determine what other people make of you. Embrace your race proudly, but also unleash your beautiful identity.

7. Learning takes place anywhere and everywhere.  Regardless of whether you’re at school, playing, working, or just laying around, you’re absorbing all kinds of new information that, over time, will accumulate to help you become even wiser. You used to believe that most of your education would take place at school, college and at work – but having this year away from your typical lifestyle has taught you better. The real learning cannot take place in a class with a teacher guiding you. The real learning happens when you fail and pick yourself up on your own account.

8. You need a few close friends. No matter how many friends you have, without your closest friends to rely your feelings, trust and silly conversations with, you would not be as happy as you are right now.

9. It’s okay to let go of some people. It doesn’t always mean that you stop caring about them. It just means that it didn’t work out for now. Don’t ponder too much about why they didn’t work out, and please don’t dwell on them.

10. Books are your greatest mentors. Reading is such a seemingly passive and relaxing activity, but when your delve into a good book, fireworks actually go off in your head. You become more creative, are able to think more critically, and learn so much – all of that happening inside your head. Books are also one of the cheapest and most efficient resources for self-learning that we oftentimes take for granted today.

11. Social media is really not that important. You love the virtual interaction that technology offers today, but you also know that it won’t really give you the satisfaction that you  genuinely desire. It’s okay if you  want to make your Instagram look aesthetically pleasing, but it’s pointless to obsess over it. It’s okay if you use Facebook, Tumblr, and other social sites regularly, but not if you keep comparing myself to people who post flawless self-portraits. Having a pretty life online is just another mask that you don’t truly need.

12. You are a social introvert. You love doing things on your own,  such as reading, writing, exercising, learning (pretty much everything, to be honest), but you also love traveling, learning from others and experiencing new cultures. You shine from the synergy of these two, and you should continue striving to have a healthy balance of both.

13. Money can distort reality. Buying materialistic things makes you be such person. Try not to buy more than what you need. But buying experiences, or things that create experiences, is totally worth it (like traveling).

14. Life without passion is existing without living. There’s no better motivator than getting up in the morning knowing that you have a passionate purpose to work and fight for. Passion is your biggest intrinsic motivation, and it’s what will get you through even when everything else seems dark. After all, with passion comes action, and with action comes change.

15. You’re actually a rebel ;). (Gurrl) Not in a bad way – you’re not that kind of rebellious. But you are actually starting to stand for what you believe in, instead of going along with what others believe is best for you.

16. You’re gonna die. Eventually. It’s the honest truth, and we can try to hide it as much as we can – exercising, using beauty products, becoming a monk, etc. But you’re gonna die, anyway. And who knows what will happen when it happens. So live your effing life.

Michelle

Traveling Home

After 9 years, I am back in Taiwan. A tiny island it may be, but it’s the home for my entire family and the land of all yummy food. 9 years, and I braced myself for the changes I was sure to see in my country. But it wasn’t my country that had changed; it was me. I am visiting and seeing everything with an oddly familiar scent; one that I can’t shake off. Everywhere I look at, I know that I have been there at some point. But I remember those places with the innocence of a child. I must have been no more than 10 years old since I was last here, but stepping back in Taiwan is the proof of how much I have changed, and how much I will keep changing.

It’s been a bit more than a week since I’ve been here, and my life ‘style’ just feels so drastically different to the one I had concocted back in Peru. I have visited the bay, an huge 5-floor bookstore, two museums, went mountain-climbing, gone shopping, and eaten delicious Taiwanese food in this amount of time. I love the memories that each of this experiences will bring to me, but I’m even more grateful for how this time has helped me realize what kind of person I am.

I consider myself a social introvert: I like being independent and doing things on my own, and many of my activities are solitary, e.g. blogging, reading, exercising, learning, etc. But I also see the value in surrounding myself with all kinds of people, which is why I try to make some of my activities more sociable, e.g. attending classes, joining communities online, etc. Back in Peru, I was mainly on my own, which gave me a lot of time to invest in my reading, blogging and personal development in general. Once I arrived in Taiwan, however, it was a hectic fast-paced life with too many things to do and too little time.

It was in these moments that I realized I needed my therapeutic morning routines. My own ‘space’ to read and write. My own form of hectic lifestyle dictated by myself. Because it is only then that I am in control of what I do, and that’s the kind of order I need in my life. This, what I’m doing now in Taiwan, is something that I will continue seeking in my future travels, but not at ‘home’. I wasn’t sure of this while I was back in Peru; I was too busy worrying about my life not being socially hectic enough. But now I know.

My ‘home‘ cannot be a physical place, ever, because I am always slightly a foreigner in my homes. In Peru, where my Asian face gives away my origins. In Taiwan, where my slight Mandarin accent suggests I was not raised there. In wherever I set my foot in, because my multiculturalism will shine through my personality. As long as I know my true identity, I can find home anywhere I am.

Michelle (aka Misty Prose)

To New Beginnings

Two weeks away from a new year, and it feels like everything is ending. Christmas decorations everywhere, the festive vibe that surrounds us, and the excitement about things coming to an end is already prepping me for 2017.  These are some things that are getting me excited ready for an amazing new year:

I revamped my blog design to the one you’re seeing right now. This is the first theme that I have ever purchased, and I finally settled on this one because of the multiple layout variations (6, to be exact) that this design offers. And knowing myself, I’m quite prone to changing my blog design every now and then. I’m still getting the hang of it, and I’ve realized that most of my images suck (it makes my blog look like a piece of sh*t, to be really honest). At the beginning I tried using the pictures I had taken on my iPhone, but I grew tired of spending so much time editing them that I guiltily switched to using pictures I found online. But because of this, I lack a ‘consistency’ in my aesthetics that I have yet to find, and I hope I can improve my photography skills for 2017.

I am almost done with college applications. This is my second attempt to get into college (long story), and I’m much more certain about my choices this year. I should be able to say good-bye to all college-related stuff in a few days and, man, won’t I be glad about that. Well, at least until the decisions come out in March-April.

I am going back to my homeland next week! It’s been 8 years since I have last been back in Taiwan, and I can’t wait to see my entire family. I have waited long enough. I’m so ready to eat all the food, visit all the amazing bookstores, relish the Taiwanese culture that has been missing from my life, and just enjoy the change of environment. There’s also a possibility that I’ll be traveling up North to Tokyo! Japan is one of the top countries I want to visit in my lifetime, and though I’d be going for just a few days, I want to see and learn as much as I can in that time. We’ll see how that goes.

2017 will be drastically different for me. Besides going back to my country, I’ll also be attending my brother’s graduation in California later in the year (another exciting event!). Mainly, though, 2017 will be the year I pull myself out of the comfort zone of my country. Up to this year, I have learned so much from school and on my own – but most of that learning has taken place in the country I grew up in, which is nice – but it’s time I stepped out of my shell.

I’m planning to go traveling (solo) on my own at any given opportunity (or opportunities). I originally intended to go backpacking, but because that won’t be financially feasible nor put my parents at ease (me? a girl traveling alone? ya crazy?), I am considering traveling via an NGO or organization that allows me to work or volunteer in exchange for living a food. I want to travel, but reduce the costs of doing so as much as possible.

Finally, 2017 will be the year I begin my college career. I have been out of school for a year now, and being unemployed nor enrolled in any school has brought out all the possible fears that I used to dread horribly. My worst case scenario (not getting into college) happened, and I have learned my lesson and so many other things by being out of an arranged system that I can’t say I genuinely feel bad for not following the traditional track. With this experience, I do feel more confident about my choices once I go into college. I’m worried about how I’ll adjust to the academic life again, but in terms of ‘life skills’, I think I can survive better than I did last year!

How will 2017 be different for you?

Misty Prose

Finding Home in Yourself

Home. The place where you go to at the end of the day, knowing you are safe. Or the place where your family and friends surrounds you. Or the community you grew up in. The country that raised you. Home means different things to everyone, but we can all agree that home isn’t classified as the physical place where you live. It’s an intangible feeling that nurtures you with love; it’s the home within you.

Everything around us often changes faster than we want it to. The places and people that surround us are constantly evolving, and so are we. Regardless of how much we surround ourselves with – family, friends, things, work – we are on our own at the end of the day. If we always keep searching for that physical place of solace every time we’re in despair, we’ll end up disappointed if one day, we can’t find it anymore.

To me, home can simply be the house that I live in now. I call the country that bore me my second home (as it’s not the country I was born in). But I know that soon, I’m going to college, and everything around me will change. The place I call ‘home’, my new circle of friends and ‘family’, my everyday life. Though I’m extremely excited for this change, I know that it will also be a difficult transition for my introverted and shy self. I’ll take my time to adapt to all the changes, and hopefully I won’t miss my current home too much.

This anticipation got me thinking about how I should cope with this change. It was the kind of moment that makes you realize that you can’t keep being the same person if you want to propel forward. As cliche as you may feel when you read this, I searched within myself. I read, researched about spiritualism (meditation, specifically), meditated, and I realized that being at home means being at peace with myself.

You can’t find home unless you dig deep into your soul and personality, and try to understand everything and anything that you may have pushed away in response to the urgent demands of our daily life. I was fortunate enough to have this (bridge) year to do so, and I’m glad I gave myself the time to ‘tolerate’ myself (as I like to call it).

The breaking point of this situation was possibly when I got into meditation. I don’t take it as seriously as I should be, but research led me to unveil an understanding about the philosophy of meditation that helps me cope with daily situations. I plan to pursue this understanding further, as I think that it’s so important to invest time in ourselves, especially if we are living in the midst of the increasingly chaotic society of today.

Once you’re comfortable with your own self, you can be thrust into any unfamiliar situation and you can assure yourself that it’ll all be okay. You’ll know how to go back to your place of solace within you when you need it, and you’ll change with the circumstances in your life.

In contrast to popular belief, it is when we stop and reflect what allows us to see who we are, what our purpose is, and what we’re passionate about. It is not living a hectic life, possibly dictated by the demands of other people instead of those dictated by yourself. Not all of us has the opportunity nor luxury to live the tangible life that we want, but we can always find the purpose in what we do if we search for it.

Misty Prose