Aging (2021 in Review)
First of all, I’ll try to keep this short. Partly because I don’t have much to say, partly because I should maybe start learning to use fewer words.
Second of all, hello there it’s been a while and here we are again.
Taking a break
I took an 8-month long sabbatical, a privilege young me could only dream of. Some things fundamentally shifted after the break and I’m still trying to figure out how to move forward.
Apart from sleeping a whole lot, my time was split between hanging out with folks in the middle of day (hooray), starting and running an experimental Discord server with a group of awesomest peeps, and doing whatever the hell I felt like. Old hobbies mostly, and then learning some new stuff I don’t know if I’ll need. Turns out, I like liking many things. I’m never going to be great at them but I’m totally fine with that.
In the end, I fell back in love with making, and a lot out of love with busy-ness. There was no big aha moment, no grand epiphany, just a quiet change of current.
Was it worth it? 100%. Was it hard to get back to work? Not really, nobody said anything about the break. I think everyone wanted one, too. Will I do it again? For sure. Many times over.
The best thing that happened to me this year was therapy, or should I say, being able to afford therapy. It is SO expensive y’all and I wish it weren’t.
I felt fine, and then gradually, not. There are things I couldn’t resolve alone so I got help.
Having a fixed time to reflect puts some structure in place and another human to listen, to guide makes sharing easy. What used to feel like a burden on the people I love, instead becomes part of the work of care and living. So there’s still burn-out, so there’s the toddler tasks of learning how to rest, to sleep, to quiet the self-hate, to do the work that gives meaning, to make friends, make time, to be alone, to see the space between colors. There are mountains to hike up but now, even when I feel low, I know I’m merely at the foothills waiting out the rain. That must count for something.
Most of all though, I’m grateful for people. Friends shared freely about getting help, because we all do need it. My partner never ceases to listen, and carefully nudged so I could take that first step, albeit anxiously. My family understands and accepts all that I am not so I could be all that I am. Even when all I am, is tired and a little worn.
I hope if you’re struggling, you too can get the support and care you need.
Let’s hold hands and walk into the sunset
I don’t have a great lesson, nor a grand goal. I did stumble upon this great piece a friend shared on their IG called Apocaloptimism, about doing the work without the grip of preference, hope, or needing to know that our work will make a difference. Something timely and pertinent this time of the year.
There’s a specifically temporal shift to be made here, too – a change of perspective in which we surrender the expectation that we might get to find out, within the span of our own lifetimes, whether our efforts were worth it, or whether humanity will make it. [...] The environmental activist Derrick Jensen vividly captures the bracing sense of possibility that can result from moving past this internal demand for hope: “One of the good things about everything being so fucked up,” he has written, “is that no matter where you look there is good work to be done.”
— Oliver Burkeman, Apocaloptimism
So maybe there’s that.
Let’s set out again; however dreadfully dull, tiresome, probably even a little frightening the future might look, let’s lend a hand and together maybe we’ll do some good work.
I abandoned reading half way through the year and have only recently found the joy of reading again through fictions.
The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir – Thi Bui
Inside Out & Back Again – Thanhha Lai
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives – Lola Shoneyin
The Politics of Design – Ruben Pater
Design Struggles: Intersecting Histories, Pedagogies, and Perspectives – Edited by Claudia Mareis, Nina Paim
Social Matter, Social Design: For good or bad, all design is social – Edited by Jan Boelen, Michael Kaethler
Self-Made: Creative Lives in Southeast Asia – As told to Stephanie Peh
Further Reading Print No.1: Identity
Further Reading Print No.2: Boundaries
Claymore – Norihiro Yagi
Demon Slayer – Koyoharu Gotouge
All You Need is Kill – Hiroshi Sakurazaka
The Promised Neverland – Kaiu Shirai, Posuka Demizu
Movies, documentaries, TV series I love
Watched a whole lotta Marvel movies and TV series. The rest of the time, I mostly binged mindlessly.
Spiderman: No Way Home
Shang-Chi: Legends of the Ten Rings
Rurouni Kenshin film series (1,2,3 & 4)
Demon Slayer: Mugen Train
Documentaries, Youtube series
Death to 2021
True Crime series on Youtube
Never Too Small on Youtube
Happy Merry Whatever (rewatched)
Albums I've been digging
Alpha by CL
Anything by Lofi Fruits Music
Podcasts listened to
Designed This Way
Spark & Fire
Drop Your Verse
Late Nights with Trav and Los
Twenty Thousand Hertz
Favorite things I own
Lots of things went out the door the later part of 2021, including my goal to stick to shopping second hand. I’m learning to be kinder to myself, to try again. When the urge to fill whatever void I felt subsided, only a few things remain important.
Thrifted jackets during sabbatical and thrifted jackets I bought with my mom from Vietnam (old new, 2 years)
My first pricey furniture piece - Omnidesk (new)
North Face and Timberland hiking shoes (new)
Blundstones boots (new)
A milk forther for the coffee as of December I can no longer drink, but when it was possible, it was good (new)
Shure sm7b and Audient id4 (new)
Nikon L35AF (2 years) and Fujifilm Tiara (old new)
Kindle Paperwhite (3 years)
Bluelounge backpack (7 years)
A cheap but mighty Quechua hiking bag (3 years?)
iPad Pro 11 inch & Apple Pencil (2 years)
Baggu totebag, gift from Figma (1 year)
Favorite softwares and apps
That is all, see you next year?
Find me at www.zoeydraws.co or check out other journal entries.