February 12th marked the first day of the 2021 Lunar Year, the #YearOfTheOx 🐮
The oxen are described to be hardworking, honest, and humble; earnest, dependable, gentle.
This is a special year because it's my own zodiac year, and the zodiac year for all of my fellow classmates who were born in 1997 - so, most of my friends too 😌
In other words...this is our year :')
Our year to start the projects we've always wanted to.
Our year to be a little more like someone we want to be.
Our year to put a bit more of our hearts into what matters most to us.
Our year to gather some more little pieces in our lives and fit more of them onto our life story.
Our year to build a slightly better version of the world we know. 🌟
Let me dive into a little reflection of this year 😌 I do often reflect on moments and things, but I also find it hard to encompass this whole year in a reflection.
So much has happened this year, it feels like an eon.
Heaven gained a middle-school friend and a family member;
There was a time when I felt like I was losing every one of my closest friends. That time has since passed, but my heart hurts to the core each time I relive it;
I witnessed my friends go through heartbreaks and sorrows, as well as moments of pure joy and pride.
This year has also been a lot of growth for me. I've grown in peace, in understanding, in patience, in friendships and in love, beyond its usual understanding.
Three things I've learned:
1. Only the people within a relationship understand what it means to them. Outside eyes can only guess and infer, but never know the subtleties within.
Each relationship - whether it be family, friend, or more-than-friend. Is unique and only fully experienced by those within it. These words, so complicated yet so simple.
This was very clear to me at one point in my life this year, and this quote from one of my earlier blogs captures what I mean by that:
"I realize that wanting to be a good friend and actually being a good friend are pretty different. I realize that truly, only you know your situation the best, and a dozen outside eyes can't compare to one within. I realize that each relationship with a person is different and only the people within it can know what it really means. Truly, incomparable." ~Vicky Huang, 2020
I feel like I've said it all in that post, here :'P
So, for this year (and beyond) - let's focus more on building our own relationships, strengthening the bonds in our lives that matter, and being the type of friend, family member, partner, coworker, teammate, and person that we want to be.
2. Peace is a process to both create and maintain. It requires active intentionality, a priceless currency of the mind. It is not a one-time achievement, but a day-to-day establishment. It's an internal battle, where winning is taking the vulnerability and courage to grow.
There are a lot of interests that I have -- everywhere from drawing, painting, sketching, sculpting, pottery, piano, guitar, other instruments, singing, song-writing, music-producing, photography, videography, content creating, sewing, archery, sailing, martial arts, track and field, various other sports, cooking, writing, and honestly...so much more ^ ^"
There are a lot of people I want to be friends with -- my classmates, teammates, housemates, coworkers, that-person-I-saw-once-and-had-a-few-sentences-conversation-with, even people who may not even want to be friends back.
There are a lot of projects I want to do -- from recording my songs to filming my own videos to my The Gryphon Greenhouse (@thegryphongreenhouse) project to my Wildheart Land (@wildheart.land) comics to my sewing projects and designing my own clothes, not to mention the knowledge/skill/value-transfer I want to do with this website. I have so many to-do lists and goals, and some days it's inspiring and motivating -- but other days, it can be hard to not be overwhelmed and not know what to do about it all.
To do all the things I want to do, intentionality is not a question: it's a necessity. I have learned that to have peace -- which includes being on track with goals; having routines and habits that fulfill you; being happy with your support system, your purpose in life, your progress towards your aspirations; having meaningful relationships; being happy with who you are -- is not a one-time achievement. My one day of being super motivated and happy with life, is only a temporary feel for this peace, which I have experienced many-a-times, only to see it fleet away and leave me with existential questioning a few days later.
I've been to dozens of conferences, each fully engaging, empowering and inspirational - only to feel it ebb away during the weeks following the high of the experiential learning.
This is why peace is a day-to-day establishment. It's not an easy one either. It's waking up day by day and choosing to not let temptations take the reins. It's not always positive feelings, but it ends it a positive feeling. It's a constant and consistent mindfulness to create your perspective, attitude and actions.
For me, it looks like a perpetual search for my perfect 'system' - for example, a morning routine; how I organize my days (i.e. which kind of agenda, calendar, schedule, to-do-list); how I plan for my goals. I've tried so many ways and reset myself so many times to be motivated, but the perseverance to stick to what I've set for myself seems to always dwindle away.
"I realize that sometimes when you try to avoid something, you can end up creating that very thing." ~Vicky Huang, 2020
While the above quote (also from the same earlier blog) was in relation to something else, it applies to this too. For example, I try so hard to not be unproductive, that I don't end up doing anything because there are too many things I want to do > <
To be fully honest, I don't have a solution for this just yet. I'm crafting a new system currently - which I might share with y'all too (to help me be accountable ahhaha) - so wish me luck! :'P
But while I don't know what my 'perfect system' will look like - you bet that I know it will need a day-to-day commitment ✨
3. Every person sees their life differently, and as long as it bring them meaning and fulfillment - that's what matters most. ⠀
Nobody but the person itself can truly say what brings meaning to their life. Many people are trying to find it -- myself included. During the times when I question whether my life has meaning, I try to remember that the journey to finding the meaning is precisely part of the meaning as well. Simultaneously, I remind myself that I create my own meaningful meaning, and the "search" is not an outward discovery but an inward exploration.
To some, others may not see what they find meaning in and try to tell them other things to find their meaning(s) in - even though to those people, those aren't it. We need to recognize that what is important to one person may not be important to someone else -- but that doesn't make either of them not important. We deem our values based on so many things, from our experiences to our cultures to the teachings of our mentors -- and as long as those bring us real, fulfilling meaning -- then that's what truly matters.
Don't get me wrong though :'P This "meaning" that I mention goes deep. Superficial values such as money and power are still not values I fully believe should be most important for someone. I want to know what people want the money and/or power for. Is it so that you can spend more time with your family? If so - family is the value that brings the meaning. Is it so that you can create an organization that can make the world better? If so - social change is the value that brings the meaning.
To me, like I said, I'm still trying to find my meaning. I feel that a lot of things bring meaning onto my life - and you know what, that's okay! :'P
Here, let me share you something:
"My purpose is to bring out the good -- the love, joy, passion, care and genuinity -- in people." ~Vicky Huang, 2019
This is something that I wrote over a year and a half ago -- a so-called "charter", or map, for myself at a workshop type event. I feel empowered and fulfilled when I see this and I remind myself that, if I live a life where I've done this to as many people I possibly could -- I don't need to be a certain kind of monetary rich, because I'd already be so rich in experiences, friendships, love and joy. And those things, money certainly cannot buy. Only my actions can :')
So I implore you too -- find the things that bring you purpose, meaning and fulfillment, and remind yourself that regardless of what other meanings people try to sell you, these ones are so much more valuable and important. And they're not worth trading for a certain status quo.
(*I meow when I'm sad)
This year's pandemic has ravaged through plans and opportunities to meet up with friends and family. Not being with people in-person has changed the way we communicate, regardless of how tech-savvy or how much of a regular you are on virtual platforms. There's a real kind of difference in being with someone in person, a kind of "I'm here"-ness that cannot be conveyed through text, emojis, or on-screen facial expressions. There's a sort of loneliness that can't be cured by conversations through a screen.
Keeping myself motivated and productive has been a real struggle, not that it wasn't before already. Countless times, I've been disappointed at myself for not doing the things I'd have outlined for myself and just moping around instead.
I want to actively change that though.
What this coming year means for me:
This year, I want to start anew. I always struggle with having too many things I want to do but never doing enough; with unproductivity leading to feeling useless; with my self-worth determined by other people. It's time to renew these mindsets and strengthen new habits.
This year, I want to empower myself. I always talk about empowering other people, and while it is a lifelong goal - I need to empower myself to empower others. I need to find my own worth within me and I need to be my own artist.
This year, I want to be proud of my work and work to be proud. I want to be easily and meaningfully productive, while not letting productivity determine my meaning.
This year, I want to cultivate more self-confidence, self-assurance, and self-empowerment. I want to build an internal support system that is just as strong as my external support system. I want to not need to base my motivation on others' actions and words, but feed it with my own.
This year is our year, and this is me taking it.
You do it too :')
With love, gratitude, genuinity and faith,
~ Wildheart 🐾