Bi-monthly life update: September 1-15 2010

Hey folks, so this month’s first bi-monthly life update (and the first of a new blog post category!) is a bit late because life’s been rather interesting the past couple weeks. I missed my job interview because I was too sick with the flu to leave San Francisco in time, so I lost my chance to work with STA Travel and they had no time to wait for me and re-schedule the interview. It wasn’t the best news, but I started pushing myself, because my friend Will did give me a deadline until October 1 to move out.

Within ten days, I managed to get a new apartment in Koreatown, and conveniently, secure a job on the very same date of September 10 as a college counselor, editing students’ personal statement essays. Although it’s only part-time, it’s something to pay the bills and feed the hungry. It was actually quite funny: I woke up and was going to sign my lease at the new apartment, checked for jobs, sent out a resume at 10:00am, at 11:00am as I was walking out the door, I got a call to come in for an interview, signed my lease at noon, came in at 2:30 for the interview and test, then got hired at 3:30. That had to be the best Friday I’ve had all year, and it was also the first day of Rosh Hashana (Jewish new year) as well as the first day after the end of Muslim Ramadan. That’s synchronicity.

The weekend of September 11, there were no crashes like there were 9 years ago in New York City. This was great for me because I was taking my motorcycle skills class and test, which I passed! The next goal is to take the written exam for the license at the DMV soon once my certificate of completion comes in the mail that waives my requirement for the road test and gives me a discount on motorcycle insurance.

How could I not be tempted to get a motorcycle when I met up with a friend who took me on a ride from Little Tokyo to Santa Monica Pier in 20 minutes at 160kmph on his sports bike? The thrill, the excitement, the fear; that’s the adrenaline high I love from breaking out of my comfort zone and will be a symbol of my freedom and independence when I get my own motorcycle, which will either be a Kawasaki Ninja 500R, Suzuki GS500, or Vespa Tourer. That’ll make trips up and down the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco or San Diego all the more fun.

I’ve also got a potential chance for employment at Enzo’s Pizza in Westwood–ironic that I try to broaden my prospects for work and living, and I end up right back where I started, which is the west side of Los Angeles, and both jobs right here in Westwood.

Not all is a bed of roses though: several months ago in May, I thought I had completed all the essays needed for UCSD’s requirements for the program I am applying to, the Master’s of Pacific International Affairs, but this year’s application for Fall 2011 changed the requirements and essay prompts. As a result, my two essays are obsolete and now I have to write five more! On top of that, they updated their website and now the link to where to send my recommendation letters is gone after their site update; so as a result, I’ve lost one letter from a professor who had no address to send to, and he is on sabbatical in France until next year, long after the deadline for everything to come in.

Well, it’s a challenge I’ve got to meet. My friend Erin pointed out one very good insight that lifted me up a bit: I’m doing pretty well for someone who lost his father, was homeless on the streets, and completely broke and in debt all within a three-month period.

I’m also dealing with some depression now, but I’m not afraid to admit it. Why? Because the stigma people give depression is quite silly. The whole normative approach “I shouldn’t be depressed” and “people who feel sorry for themselves are wasting time” doesn’t pull me out of depression, and I’m sure most people don’t like being told “quit your whining!” since that’s not the support or encouragement we need or should seek when emotionally troubled.

I believe in harmony: not intellect ruling over emotions, or emotions controlling my rationality. So instead of saying “it’s stupid to be depressed” I say “I’m depressed, but I’m not going to let it control me or deny it, I’m going to work with it and let it take it’s natural course.” Believe it or not, depression is healthy, because it lets you be honest with yourself and take a good look at what you need to do and what’s missing, what should be worked on and improved.

It’s also a good way to see who is truly supportive of you, so all the people who say “you’ll never be stable” or “quit complaining, you won’t get anywhere feeling depressed, get out of it” are people I ignore because they have no idea of how other people feel, and that we all operate on our own time. You can’t just stand there calmly then suddenly yell “I’m angry!” and expect to be angry because you say you are, which is just as silly as being angry and gnashing your teeth while roaring “I’m NOT angry, okay?!” Be honest with your emotions, that’s what I feel, and seek the people who truly care for you. That’s how I’m dealing with my depression now and when it’s over, we’ll see where I go.

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