In anticipation of the new year, I’ve purchased tiny pink cans of champagne, a blank Moleskin planner and a new purple ballpoint pen. With only two days left to overindulge in Christmas cookies and make plans for an overly anticipated NYE, I’ve set my mind ahead to 2014. Will my gung ho “fresh out the gate” enthusiasm for the next twelve months dissolve under the pressure of routine, procrastination and reliance on destiny? Only time will tell.
Glancing back at my 2013 planner, I witnessed small snapshots of my past year. I remembered meeting friends for the first time, auditioning for plays and dance groups, accepting a job, noting birthdays I remembered (or forgot), and a brief 3-month obsession with hot yoga. The experiences, mistakes, scheduled appointments– all filed away in the pages of months gone by.
How much do we change year to year, moment to moment? Years can pass us by without any noticeable change while a single event may alter the way we view our role in the world forever. My journal entry dated December 26th, 2013 read remarkably like my entry dated exactly one year earlier in 2012. I had the same feelings of nostalgia surrounding Christmas festivities as an adult, insecurity about my future, questions about the definition of home and the absence of romance in my life. Have I changed? How can I tell? Is change tangible, pencil marks on the wall for each inch and every year taller, or a continuous wave ebbing and flowing with the cyclical tide?
If I was to pick a New Year’s Resolution, it would have something to do with mindfulness. Mindnessful, “a state of active, open attention on the present (Psychology Today)” is linked to Buddhism and the practice of meditation. In his book A Gradual Awakening, Stephen Levine compares our thoughts to the cars of a train and encourages the reader to step away from the continuous flow of images and experiences, letting them pass by and disappear around the bend. I’m sick of being overbooked and underwhelmed. I will strength my resolve to live fully within these precious moments with a greater awareness of time and space. We have, after all, only ourselves to suffer with, to love with and to cherish.
Every year is given to us as a gift and it is up to each of us how we use the mystery beneath the wrapping paper.
I’m sitting at my desk watching the snow drift out of the sky and onto the two lonely minivans in the parking lot beyond my window. The office is quiet today. The world itself seems quiet.
I memorized a poem last week and wanted to share it with you, dear reader. Please close your eyes and imagine a warm place surrounded by the snow globe of your memory.
Like Snow by Wendall Berry
Suppose we did our work
like the snow, quietly, quietly,
leaving nothing out.
Pico Iyer, a writer and world traveler, gives an incredibly powerful 14 minutes TED talk titled “Where is home?” He begins with this simple question and delves quickly into a larger discussion on the global community and individual sense of belonging. If you skip the rest of my blog post, at least watch this:
Iyer’s poignant observation regarding movement and stillness rang true in my life as a traveler, a millennial, and a dancer. But his discussion on home also triggered another part of myself. That as a multiracial child in the 21st century.
Which brings me to the Race Card Project (racecardproject.com), a fascinating platform for people to speak about race. Michele Norris with National Public Radio started this project by inviting people to share any thought or experience regarding race. In six words. Some of the stories have been shared on the radio and online. I decided to create my own. What would your race card say?
“They only see the Asian half.” -My race card
My mother is of Irish and Italian heritage; my father of Japanese descent. Both of my parents were born in the United States as were their parents before them. Both consider themselves to be American as documented by their passports, drivers licenses and birth certificates. My mother and father speak English has their first and only language. And the American child they created and raised together? Well she constantly gets asked where she is “really” from because New York State is never the correct answer.
I learned to identify myself as Asian-American because that is how others categorized me. My classmates assumed Asian was the reason I got good grades. Asian was the reason I liked seafood and tanned like an islander. And Asian was the reason my grandmother was lived in a Colorado internment camp directly following the attack on Pearl Harbor. My history. Asian history. The rich Irish-Italian culture of my mother’s family never stood a chance.