Equilibrium

Over the past few weeks, I’ve felt like I’ve moved to an overall better place mentally. My resting state has less anxiety, less sadness and less frustration. In all honesty, I don’t think I’ve been this good in a long time.

Despite this, I know that this isn’t the best state I can be. My emotions are still incredibly volatile. In the span of a few hours, I can go from feeling like I’m on the top of the world, sauntering along to the drumbeats of a joyous Jack Johnson to feeling anxious and hiding under my covers listening to Drake. Of course, the best part of my new state is that this happens less than before, but I just wish I could minimize it further.

In discussion yesterday with my religious group, we got onto the topic of how it may be better to find an equilibrium, and instead of getting too attached to the highs and lows, to focus on an equilibrium of the two and try to stay balanced. That way, it won’t hurt when we fall as much. I’m torn by this concept.

On one hand, this level of equilibrium in my emotions sounds like it would help me to leave myself and become more associated with a higher power as I detach myself from the world. On the other hand, detachment has always been one of the concepts of spirituality that I’ve struggled with. I’ve been a huge advocate of melancholy and sadness in the past because I fell in love with it and the depth and vibrancy of the emotions, especially when they helped me to connect with art. I don’t know if I can completely abandon that part of me that loves to feel so strongly. If we are meant to detach ourselves from everything, why do strong emotions feel so right? Why does sobbing in my bed over breakup feel so real compared to emotionlessness in the face of a small loss?

On Sickness

As I come back to campus after fall break, I can’t help but think about how different it looks. This isn’t because anything has changed. Nothing has (except for the location of the constant construction). What’s changed is my level of health. I’m sick with some bad cold that can’t really be treated with anything more than rest and time. I am constantly congested, making hearing more difficult. My voice is altered due to the large amount of mucus in my body, so communicating is more energy-intensive, as I must repeat many things I say. Unfortunately, energy isn’t something I have huge supplies of right now since a lot of it goes towards fighting the illness.

In my state, the world appears differently. Everything is a bit more difficult and uncomfortable. Despite this, it all makes me feel… hopeful. If this is the common cold afflicting me, my basic function, my ability to exist as a human being, my view of the world are all being altered by something so small it should be less than insignificant. However, it isn’t. At all. Isn’t it incredible how something as small as a virus can have such power over us?

On this massive planet, could we be like the virus? We are each a single being in 7 billion, but could we have the possibility to change the world as the virus changes us?

Done but not Done.

It’s been nearly a week since I finished my daily writing goal of 100 days that wasn’t really daily and you can look at all of those posts to see what it was all about. In the last couple of days, I’ve been contemplating what to do next. I want to continue writing with a level of regularity, but I doubt I can sustain daily writing in the same form that I was doing with #the100DayProject.

Beyond the difficulty of sustainability, writing daily doesn’t net the best content consistently. Recently, I’ve been trying to comb through everything I wrote through the course of the project and see what some of my best work was. Unfortunately, I found myself thinking that a lot of the work could’ve been significantly better. The time constraint often made me finish a post for the sake of finishing it, leading to less than high quality content. More time would have undoubtedly improved my writing and netted articles that I would be proud of, rather than just saying that it happened. Of course, it’s not like I didn’t write anything that I actually liked. I know for a fact that Chicago Thursday was one of the best pieces of storytelling that I’ve written. However, I just wish that I had written more than just a handful of quality pieces among a sea of mediocrity.

Of course, this is an expectation that isn’t really founded, but I think can be remedied as I improve. My current photography strategy can be compared to my writing strategy from the project. I would write a mass quantity of posts, but they weren’t necessarily good. The removal of the editing step led to the lack of consistent quality among the posts. Of course, if I edited my writing as much I edited my photos, I would be left with maybe 4 to 5 posts from the entire project, after hours upon hours of work.

Just like my photo strategy though, my writing strategy could go for a change. Since I won’t be bound by any difficult self-imposed writing deadline of a day, I will be able to put in a lot more effort into each post, hopefully increasing the quality of each while using a similar level of energy that my previous writing strategy did.

In order to improve the quality, I thought about what went into my best pieces. The main ones that I considered were Chicago Thursday, Why I Love Clothes, Kendrick as Joyce, and “Death in Dignity.”

They were pretty much all over 400 words. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but when a lot of my posts (especially the bad ones) were defined as finished as soon as I hit 270, it’s fairly important. Despite the fact that the length generally led to a better piece, I don’t want to push myself to write when I don’t want to. With those high quality posts, I never paid attention to the word count until I felt like I was finished and found myself astounded by how much I had written so quickly. Certain topics made it easier for me to do this, like music or clothes or experiences, but I hope to be able to learn how to get into that flow regardless of the topic. I know that with enough research, I can gain an immense interest into nearly any topic, so that may become a part of my writing process.

The future of this blog holds longer form pieces that may be reposted to Medium. I own several Moleskine notebooks that may be bequeathed some of the more personal, reflective type of content that was found here before. As I move on to the next chapter of my life, I know reflecting on my life will be vital for my success and believe that it’s a lot easier for me to re-read a notebook than it is my own blog. The malleability of blogs make me likely to start editing it rather than really focusing on the content. The ink in notebook can’t be changed.

Day 100: Done.

I can’t believe it. This is it. After 100 days, I’ve written 100 posts on this blog. This isn’t exactly how Elle Luna or I envisioned it, but that’s okay. Things never turn out the way that they’re expected to. What matters is the fact that I’ve written a hell of a lot of content in the last hundred days. When I began this project, I was bored on a Saturday night and decided to write my first post and synthesize my personal beliefs with a pretty book I read. The next week, I found myself with a ton of homework and was considering giving up, less than a week after I had started.

That action would’ve been super typical of me. I was really used to starting things and giving up on them soon after. However, by giving myself the lax rules of being able to catch up if I missed a day was extremely important. I’ve continued to use that rule a lot, especially today with these 8 posts, but the rule has helped me to stick to this project more than anything else. If I ever felt like I failed for not writing one day, I doubt I would’ve come near to Day 10, let alone 100. It’s been incredible writing so much and seeing my posts get likes and my blog get follows from strangers. It serves as a great ego boost to receive likes, because I know at least one person has read what I’ve said. I want to say thank you to everyone that liked or followed or commented or reblogged any of my posts just because of how much it means to me.

I don’t know what the next steps are for my writing “career” but I do think this was an important part of it. I know I want to continue writing in any way possible, be it in my blog, or pieces on Medium, or maybe for my collegiate newspaper if possible. Whatever path I take, I want to become a better writer and continue to get better. I’m going to keep writing as much as possible and start reading as much as possible to do so. Writing may not be my intended career path, but it continues to be one of the most important things to me.

For now, I’m just happy to be done.

Day 99: The Future of this Blog

After this project, I really have no idea what I will do with this blog, or if I want to really keep using it. By housing this project, this blog has more of my writing than any other single resource that I have. Google Docs may come close, with every single draft of every single college essay I turned in or threw away, but this is still larger. I don’t want to get rid of this blog, but I wonder if I can really follow this project with anything worthwhile, writing-wise. In the tech industry, it is common convention for developers or engineers or just anyone to have a personal website with a blog. However, I don’t think I would want to use this one simply because I can’t change the domain name in an economical way, and would prefer to have something consistent.

Maybe I’ll convert it into a photoblog, like my friend Sahaana did with her namesake wordpress site. Another option is to continue to use the site as a place for my rough drafts of my posts to other sites. I did that for my analysis of “Death with Dignity” (final here). I do want to continue to write consistently, like a couple posts a week if possible. That would make it easier for me to write longer form pieces where I can really dig down into a topic. I skipped out on a few days of writing when I was working on my piece on millennials, so it would rock to have flexibility to do more things like that.

The nice thing about writing final drafts on a different platform like Medium is being able to have the piece as a part of a linked community that is made up of people who are in the industry that I’m looking into. By being able to write for them, I might be able to build some cool connections and maybe land some sort of writing gig. Who knows what I’ll do with this blog and with medium? I’ll just see what happens.

Day 98: Friendships

I’m an interesting sort of person when it comes to friendships. The people that I’d call my closest friends aren’t the ones I hang out with most. In fact, most of the people I hang out with are the ones that I barely consider friends. They’re more like acquaintances. No, for me, the closest friends are usually the ones I’ve gotten to know just through texts or some other form of electronic communication.

For some reason, it’s really easy for me to open up to others when I’m presenting the information in written electronic text. If I were born 10 years earlier than I was, it would be likely that I wouldn’t really have the same sorts of close friendships that I do. For example, a good friend of mine is someone that I barely talked to until she graduated from my high school and I have sustained consistent correspondence with her throughout her freshman year at college far away from where I am. This would’ve been impossible a few years ago, and yet now it’s so easy.

As I will soon start college, I know that it will be a million times easier to hang out with people and thus will probably actually hang out with close friends because of closer proximity and just a lot of factors that make it easier. I’m unsure of what collegiate friendships will be like for me, but from what I’ve heard and seen, the friends you make in college are some of the most important and best ones.

Day 96: Photo Strategy

I got back today from my trip to New York City and of course, I took my camera. I wanted to capture all of the beauty that was the Big Apple and take as many pictures as possible. This resulted in hundreds of pictures over the first few days of the trip. As it wore on, I began to take fewer pictures and stop taking my camera everywhere I went. Today and the end of yesterday, I didn’t even take my camera out of my bag to upload my pictures.

I don’t want to say I’m getting burned out, but I do want to reevaluate my photo strategy. My current strategy consists of me finding a cool scene and taking a thousand pictures of it while walking and anxiously changing settings, focusing, and praying that one of the shots is good. More often than not, the shot isn’t good and I delete it. This strategy nets a lot of good pictures, but is super energy-intensive and tiring after a while, and I don’t feel like I learn a whole lot from it.

In particular, although I do get some good shots out of it, I don’t really get the types of shots that I want. I want to adopt a clean minimalist style to my photos, like the first two pictures in this post. In order to do so, I want to 1) travel with people who are okay with me stopping to take pictures, 2) find a way to carry my camera in a convenient way, and 3) take pictures in a slower, more deliberate way that will net better photos and make me think about what goes into each shot rather than just rapid firing like a goon. My current strategy doesn’t feel like art, but just capturing what I see.