I’m Burning . . .

I’ve been feeling aloof as the days begin to blend into what seems like a never-ending process of toxic refinement. I start my days with morning news and a two-hour ritual of eating, breathing, listening, watching, and caring for my dog. After those two hours, I begin to deep-dive into this state of extreme focus, applying to jobs, sending emails, and working on the next thing off my list. And you know what? I’m afraid that I’m burning too much at once.

Among my crazy routine, I’ve been finding solace in my bed, doing nothing besides placing my head next to my dog and breathing. In the fleeting morning moment when I put my head next to my dog while the cool blankets shimmy against my skin – I am content. The abundance of joy I get by annoying my dog is unnatural, to say the least. However, before watching the video below, I wasn’t sure whether I would write my blog or not. I’m learning so many things at an incredible rate, but I still feel emotionally lacking something? The video below shares a dialogue between two of my favorite artists, Alicia Keys and Shawn Mendes.

In the video, they share their thoughts on love, anxiety, inspiration, amongst other topics. The wisdom and vulnerability you can sense in their demeanor is something I hope to achieve! In today’s world, we are given a skewed and romanticized definition of a perfectionist, which Shawn Mendes eloquently said. Another element of why I believe I’m burning is this nagging feeling that everything I do, I have to be the fastest, wealthiest, smartest, or any other -est word that places an extreme objective to be at the very top – in other words, perfect. Take notice in the video when Shawn discussed his disposition arriving at the upper echelon of his industry.

Many factors bring out this nagging feeling that inextricably binds all of us, including me: jealousy, social media, and globalization. The rapid globalization of technology and social media has given us a new world of possibilities with underlying detrimental behavior or emotions. Again, I’m no expert. These are my opinions that I share through writing, and you may disagree with what I say. However, I am attempting to say that the underlying emotion that rapid globalization weaponizes is jealousy – a natural human instinct. I think it’s safe to assume that we all have some level of jealously, even if it occurs without even realizing it.

Being jealous has always been negative, but I think somewhere along the lines, it became internalized that people should feel shameful for being jealous. However, people quickly forget that it’s such a fundamental human quality known as one of the seven deadly sins – envy. I’m not saying being jealous is a positive thing either. Still, I’m attempting to demonstrate that the unnatural longing to be “perfect” or the best was created through seemingly innocent elements slowly affecting our unconscious state. Jealousy or envy is an emotion that we, as humans, should understand but shouldn’t be used as fuel for an “unjust” action, so to speak.

I want to be burning with passion rather than letting this unnatural social shift snuff out my soul before my physical body follows.

Today, I hope you enjoy the ramblings of my inner thoughts on the matter and my creative burn-out. And tomorrow will be another day for the sun to rise, and so shall I.

1 Month into 2021

Good morning minhions. It’s been a pleasant time balancing between applying to jobs, friendships, binging shows, and personal goals, but I found myself lacking in contentment. I’ve been so hyperfocused to chase after my dreams that I forgot what it means to be present. It’s only been a month in 2021 and already has its challenges personally and globally. Let’s break down some critical topics that have been circulating in my mind.

The short-squeeze on Gamestop, AMC, and other notable companies have circulated all media platforms from Wallstreetbets’ decision to “rally the troops,” impacting hedge fund managers to lose millions! What exactly does that mean? In an unprecedented event, retail investors have banded together and pitted capitalism against the wealthy. However, this has caused significant problems on Wall Street, SEC, White House, etc., signifying the corruption behind the wealthy and seeing the few control over the many. As a result, Robinhood, a known e-platform for retail investors, and others face class-action lawsuits for denying the public the ability to opt-in and allow only to sell. If you haven’t seen comments everywhere, the masses want to hold onto these shorted stocks to force the wealthy to lose millions in favor of the general public. This opportunity is slowly giving rise to cryptocurrencies that don’t rely on a central banking system. I’m not educated in this subject to further break these things down, so you must research yourself.

On the other hand, this plays into a risky game of quick-money schemes versus wealth! Although impressive for retail investors who could reap the short-squeeze benefits, I fear many do not understand the long-term financial wealth. If you happen to be a healthy investor reading this, then what are some of your thoughts on day-trading or short-term investments versus long-term?

In my professional life, I have lost count on how many times I’ve been rejected! Oddly enough, I gained confidence from being dismissed because it illustrates that firms look at my application and know that I tried. I am not sure how it correlates, but I suppose it’s the acceptance and knowledge that I should not be ashamed of myself. I interviewed with two firms, and both described me as a strong candidate but had to evaluate the business needs versus the ability to take on a junior designer. However, I’m still astonished at the people I speak to, whether that’s interviewing or making introductions! Like the other day, I talked to the Chief Financial Officer of a large architecture firm located in Richmond through a referral! Still, you can find me anxious when I think about the new graduating class of architecture students because the market is becoming more saturated and difficult to find work.

In writing news, my role at ArchiHacks has slowly increased by writing over 20+ articles; meanwhile, almost reaching 40 followers on this blog without sharing it!! The first month of 2021, so I’m super excited for what’s to come through writing!

Overall, my life is so uncertain, making me both excited and anxious! At the same time, I binged all the shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Anime, so I find myself going through post-depression binge a lot these days. We have 11 more months to this year, so I’m praying for miracles, new shows, and exciting news for all! Follow my blog for more updates, thoughts, and ramblings on all sorts of topics and personal development.

Quick or Slow Financial Success?

Good morning everyone! I hope this week has treated you well amongst the growing civil turmoil in the United States of America. Although it is necessary to discuss what is happening, I lack the knowledge and awareness of the situation. However, I will be talking about what’s lately on my mind—the notion of quick versus slow financial success. I know there are countless, more credible blogs or articles discussing financial topics. Still, I will be sharing personal anecdotes, knowledge, humor, and ranting to bring an essential issue to light.

With the increasingly accessible stock market knowledge and countless “get rich” schemes, I’ve grown tired of unnecessary comments from individuals who believe they know all and annoy you to jump on the next trend. I understand and appreciate where they are all coming from, but what they suggest is an unknown market to me. It’s important to know where your money is going and how it will benefit or hinder your financial success. I was having lunch with a dear friend the other day, and the conversation led to passive economic growth. We shared knowledge, but I also indicated that my strategy for financial success is long-term.

I’d choose a slow but foolproof way to increase my assets. Believe me. It’s difficult not to join the quick-money stocks or schemes, especially when society shoves down our throats to live a certain way. It’s also important to know that 1% of America’s wealthy individuals come from generational wealth. Unless you are the next Elon Musk or Bill Gates; otherwise, trying to chase after the “big money” will only leave you continually chasing after a figment of wealth. I’m not saying you can’t have that wealth, but it’s an important reminder that what you are building can be for future generations. According to Census Bureau, the median household income in 2019 was $68,703, increasing from $64,324 in 2018. This small amount may not be much, but adequately managed will become a great asset for your children or family.

However, let’s talk about quick financial success and the implications I believe it can cause. An example, let’s break down what happens to lottery winners.

According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, about 70 percent of people who win a lottery or receive a large windfall go bankrupt in a few years.

Loewenstein, George. “Five Myths About the Lottery.”

Why is this the case? Amongst a myriad of legalities, an individual without having a firm grasp of finances that come into a large sum of money will spend more than they should. Of course, it’s not entirely their fault, but financial literacy is a difficult topic to understand. This is why chasing quick money will result in temporary gains. Besides, lottery winners don’t take the full amount of winnings. A good amount goes to the IRS and state taxes, but who wouldn’t want to give a fair share of their winnings to close friends and family? Next thing you know, they are buying a mansion, boat, or a luxury car. They aren’t friendly to their “wallet” at all.

I’ve had a fair share of individuals close to me find money through gambling or “trend-investing,” yet unable to visualize a long-term financial target. I’m not a financial specialist whatsoever, but I am tired of being bombarded with “invest in this, monetize this, or do that,” all to make a quick buck. It goes without saying that no one will fully understand your personal and financial goals, which is why it’s crucial to evaluate yourself first. I think it’s safe to say financial planners would tell you the same. I know this was a somewhat informational rant, so thank you to those who took the time to read this

Review #1 Alice in Borderland

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Good Morning, everyone. Today is a different blog post as I tucked myself in the confines of my room working, writing, and endlessly applying to jobs! Most of you may not know, but I go through dozens of shows and movies in a month. I wanted to break down this Japanese show, Alice in Borderland, that took three days of my life and premiered on December 10. It’s a short series consisting of 8 episodes and 48 minutes per episode; a total of 6:48 hours.

It’s a must-watch for those who loved Battle Royale

Ryohei Arisu, the main character, acted by Kento Yamazaki, was an unambitious young man dealing with societal and familial pressure to be “successful.” After leaving a discussion to meet his friends, little, did they know that everything will change.

Alice in Borderland is a dystopian thriller series filled with death, murder, and psychological fear, leaving you on the edge of your seat wanting more. Placed in a parallel world resembling Tokyo, people must partake in sadistic games to live. However, each game has its own risk, so participants could end up losing their lives regardless of winning other games.

There are several ongoing themes throughout this series; humanity, survival, and hope. Reasonably similar to another classic Japanese film, Battle Royale. The show revolves around Ryohei Arisu struggling with a universal moral question, “What will you do to live?” An honest struggle in a dystopian life or death scenario.

As I’m sure, everyone would believe they know what to do in that situation. However, our instinct to survive can disregard the moral values that society has created and placed trust in. As hope lingers for our contestants on the brink of death, they realize that to find the game master, they have to win all challenges.

The show was a hit on Netflix that they already renewed the contract for a second season! I’m so excited and can’t wait for the new season to come. Anywho, for those who typically read my blog about my life, hang tight! There’ll be more life, news, and lessons for the future.

Ephemeral MoMinhts of 2020

Good beautiful morning minhions, I hope these past few days have been cheerful for you. I was struggling to find motivation to do work between Christmas and New Years. Ironically, I saw a tweet from Eugene Yang saying that there are 6 days between the two celebrations. 6 days of no work to allow yourself to start fresh for the coming year of 2021, unfortunately, I couldn’t bare to sit still. Through a conversation with a dear friend of mine, she jokingly said, “You and I share the same mentality that America has raised us to be constantly producing.” Although not entirely wrong, I shared that it was a discontentment towards my personal position in regards to my long-term goals. Don’t get me wrong here, I understand taking breaks is necessary but wanting to move forward and progress is second-nature to me.

Don’t you find yourself wondering how far you can achieve if you put effort towards a certain direction?

As I ask this of you, understand, I cherish every passing moment of my life that are important yet fleeting all in a blink of an eye. On December 27, 2020, I was pleasantly listening to music driving down interstate 81 with my college friends. We were on our way to go snowboarding at Massanutten and every mountain we passed felt like another memory left my brain. These inexplicable fleeting moments that I experienced in that car will be forgotten, yet our lives are revolved around these moments.

In fact, I recall a conversation with another friend about the notion of “simple-living” with every passing farm. She finds herself in a predicament of comfort and complacency, meanwhile feeling pressured to pursue an ideal notion of success. Please keep in mind, I’m not lessening anyone’s experience, but to purely enjoy a hard day of work and enjoying oneself without “feeling” judged is freeing. On a road trip, I wondered…

Will I be satisfied at death’s door step?

A provoking and silly question while driving, to say the least, but necessary to answer a contrived notion of being present. The present is a gift that turns into a memory, eventually becoming a forgotten story imbedded into the depths of our unconscious mind. Whether we remember or not, a fleeting memory will have shifted our mind impacting our future-selves to progress or regress.

Don’t worry though, 2020 will be recorded in history so we will never forget. This year has impacted us in several ways and I implore you all to ask yourself, what have you learned? I gained a new profound sense of self, confidence, and excitement for the next portion of my life. To summarize the accomplishments that are important to me:

  • Graduated Virginia Tech with a Bachelors of Architecture, Cum Laude
  • Gained 28 followers for my blog
  • Gained 45 followers for my Instagram
  • Made 125 new connections on LinkedIn
  • Made 17 connections on LunchClub
  • Wrote 14 articles for ArchiHacks
  • Received a freelance design position at SL Haus Group where I’m working on 10 projects
  • Became a venue manager & events associate at 718 Venue
  • Sent over hundreds of emails and job applications with or without response

Hopefully, 2021 will bring more opportunities for all of us. Thank you so much for those reading my blog! I’m excited for the stories, lessons, and new beginnings that I can share with you all!

    My Asian-American Experience

    Good wintry morning to you all! I hope the holidays lifted your spirits by spending time and reconnecting with family. I got to experience a less-than welcoming Christmas morning with a mixture of snow and sleet, but hoping for a nice white christmas for everyone else. Today, I wanted to talk and share about my Asian-American experience and some thoughts I have on this topic. This post touches lightly on complicated subject that requires an in-depth holistic view of one’s life, upbringing, politics, and priorities. However, I do hope you enjoy what I would like to share with you all today.

    Majority of my life, I grew up in a suburban area with little to zero asian diversity making it very difficult to understand my identity and a target for bullying. Whether it was students or teachers, I knew there was a difference when another individual of lighter tone was given special treatment. Eventually I didn’t give it much thought and accepted all remarks, aggressions, or unfair treatment while pushing forward by developing myself. Now I grew up watching some of the biggest Asian youtube stars at the time like Ryan Higa, Bart Kwan, Tim Chantarangsu, Joe Jitsukawa, and David So. They helped establish a foundation more-so of what it means to be “Asian” than Vietnamese. Nonetheless, I still consume their content to this day for their insightful knowledge and mettle.

    I was recently listening to a podcast episode, “Do Asians Crap On their Parents Too much, Leave Lizzo Alone, Opening up about our obesity” hosted by David So on GeniusBrain. In this episode, So expressed his disagreement toward Asian-Americans that have a certain level of privilege that their parents wasn’t afforded. The lack of perspective from Asian-Americans upset by the mentality of immigrants parents can hold, is a selfish and privileged notion that can create a divisive and strained relationship. So begins to explain his argument further on other ideologies that Asian-Americans tend to believe they are entitled to.

    This was mentioned in the podcast, but I was upset to see a similar comment on a Instagram post discussing how Asians are passive. “Asians don’t stand up for other Asians or themselves.” So is annoyed how Asian-Americans can make a blanket statement on Asian life when the “Asian identity’ is so nuanced; Korean, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Mongolian, Indian, and countless other ethnic groups. Both So and I think believing that the previous generation should have took a stand against racism is a privileged thought. The previous generation had to assimilate into American culture to survive giving their children, like myself, an opportunity that was better than theirs. The narcissistic ideology that our parents are the worse is a privilege within itself.

    Before my Europe trip, I was one of those young americans who was narcissistic, but grew to realize that the upbringing I had was much less difficult than what my parents had. They did the best to their knowledge in raising me and it’s an honor to be where I am in this moment and time.

    A few years ago, I had an opportunity to study abroad in Europe with my school. This unique program consists of traveling to 7 countries (Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, and Spain) and countless cities in a matter of 2 and half months. While traveling, I dealt with sickness, loneliness, homesick, and relationship troubles while trying to balance my academics! I remember waking up at 5:45 AM everyday to call back home to my girlfriend at the time and sleep at 11PM after 10+ miles of walking and sketching. While dealing with all of this, I was in foreign countries where thankfully people were patient with me, but otherwise without my peers, I felt like a child lost in a supermarket.

    I came to the realization of the hardships both mine and countless other immigrant parents went through coming to America just to give a better life for their children going to Europe. Funny enough, my parents constantly told us their struggles growing up, but I never understood until after this period. I didn’t have to worry about anything besides sleeping and academics. On the other hand, my parents had to worry about feeding their families, jobs, and a whole slew of problems by the age of 18.

    I understand that my ethnicity and race has its own problems and advantages, but this is my Asian-American experience. Instead of worrying about food, I worry about reaching my aspirations and career and to me that is a privilege already. I am a testament of American and Vietnamese culture combined; an Asian – American. A unique cultural blending of blessings and problems that the previous generation might not ever understand, but can respect.

    To those reading, please understand this is only the surface of the complicated subject regarding Asian – Americans. As I mentioned above, the various ethnic groups under the classification of “Asian-Americans” is so nuanced that everyone will have a different lived-experience. This post served as a thought-provoker for anyone who is interested or identifies as Asian.

    I’m signing off now! I hope you enjoyed what I wrote today!

    Contradictory Choices

    Good morning Minhions, I apologize for missing last week’s post! I made a promise to myself that I would write a weekly blog, but felt burned-out from all the news and things coming my way. Nonetheless, I’m back to share another thought in my head, so sip on your beverage of choice and enjoy my thoughts.

    I’ve started watching this popular K-Drama called, “Start-Up” on Netflix. The premise of the show explores the complicated relationship between several people while in the world of entrepreneurship and startups. The ups and down creating a business against all odds while facing the uncertainty of love, life, and loss. I recall a scene between two significant figures; one is a senior investor, while the other, is a young CEO of a startup. The senior investor is a mentor and shared a bit of advice with the young CEO, “there are no good or bad CEOs. A CEO can only make choices, so if you can’t make a choice then you aren’t a CEO.” Obviously, this was a profound moment in the series, but it gave food for thought in my head…

    On a completely different note, I’m a mentee in a new AIA program called “Operation Reach, Retain, and Develop.” This program supports new architecture graduates of the pandemic to stay within the profession by providing mentors and guidance. I had a meeting yesterday with AIA along with other professionals discussing their alternative careers to architecture. Nick Serfass, an executive director at RVA Tech, presented his unique alternative career originating from architecture. The presentation was lighthearted and comedic with great input for achieving an alternative career. In a 15-minute presentation with only 15 slides, Nick touched on thoughts that seem so simple, yet we forget about them all the time. One slide had,

    “Choices”

    Coincidentally, I was writing an article for ArchiHacks discussing alternative careers to architecture. The article focused on careers distant from architecture giving a unique perspective on the possibilities of the design and technical degree. If interested, you can read the article by clicking this link.

    By now, you are probably wondering where I’m going with this. Well, it all boils down to choices, careers, and ourselves.

    As children, everything was black and white. There were right and wrong answers, now there are only choices. We are defined by the choices we made, will make or didn’t make.

    Normally I don’t look too much into astrology, but I read a post about my astral sign in passing. Whether you believe it or not, it opened up thoughts. I forgot what was on the post, but it left enough of an impression for me to think about my position, choices, and future.

    There is fear and uncertainty with every step I take towards the future. I am full of contradictions and this makes me human. Don’t you find it beautiful that this mix of emotions entangling our short lives is the entirety of our existence and what we know?

    I think humans contradict themselves all the time. Who they wanted to be growing up dealt with the choices that they are faced with. We can experience a mix of emotions in one day based on a decision we made in a millisecond without any real thought.

    How do you think we would feel if we can remember all the choices we made?

    Another slide that Nick Serfass shared during his presentation,

    “Perspective”

    Perspective isn’t just a drawing that’s in an architect’s arsenal. Perspective is a necessary vision that allows us to be free of imaginary constraints that we place on ourselves. An understanding that being receptive to opportunities and choices although it can contradict what we envision for ourselves can still lead us on a unique journey.

    It’s okay to be filled with contradictory choices; the world isn’t black and white. However, it is a choice allowing those decisions dictate our lives as we begin to grow and explore our humanity.

    The Duality of a First-Gen College Graduate

    The excitement, accomplishment, and reward experienced by any immigrant parent to see their child achieve this feat is unparalleled. These parents chased after the “American Dream” so that their children could have a better life than what was given to them.

    What is the “American Dream.”

    The term was coined by writer and historian James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book, “Epic of America.” The notion of the “American Dream’ was further pushed by the propaganda of Suburban areas and solidified within the founding document of the United States of America. There are handful of definitions, however I’d like to share what I believe. The American Dream is the belief that one can have everything in the U.S. or have the means and opportunities to have a “better” life. My parents are integral to that definition because I saw their dreams and I’m still seeing it unfold today.

    I’m in awe of my parents and understand how fortunate I am, but it came with its burden too. Growing up, my parents relied on family to translate documents, do tasks, and kept everything internal. Not all, but most immigrant families emphasize familial values which became harder to grasp as I grew up in the individualistic ideals of America.

    Family or Myself?

    I’m constantly engrossed with the thoughts of my family while pursuing my goals and wants. I realized the burden of family when I broke down my sophomore year with a stranger who is now my bestfriend.

    Men are highly valued in my culture, so my father being the only male in his line forced him to carry the full weight of our family. Likewise, I believed that I had to carry the family too. In situations, I am the calm in chaos and become the foundation. I convinced myself of this very early in my life for various reasons, known or unknown.

    I recognize my upbringing surrounded by American ideals within an traditional Asian household formed this duality of contradicting ideals; The Individual vs The Collective

    How do you manage trying to discover yourself while balancing an internal battle that dictate your thoughts and decisions? To be honest, I’m not sure at all. A part of me will never allow me to dissociate my family because I understand all the effort, decisions, and blessings to be here. On the other hand, I know that there are times to be selfish and times not to be. There have been multiple conversations with people that admonish and admire my familial love.

    Both?

    It can be a lot to carry. Some may call it a curse, I call it my virtue. I want the strength to uphold both and pay no mind to those who don’t understand the depth of my effort. At times, I can get very exhausted and it may be more work for me, but I have the energy to expend now. There are times to be selfish and times to place the needs of others above oneself. I truly believe that both ideals will push me to my full potential. The road may take longer, but it will be sweet when I arrive to my destination.

    The identity of oneself is constrained by the definitions of our surrounding. Which is why I am in a constant battle trying to be true and defending myself to those who want me to change. I am one who loves deeply for his family while thirsting for high aspirations and new discoveries.

    The vision of the future starts by understanding who I am through my past…

    Thank you for Forgiving…

    Good Morning beautiful Minhions! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with friends and family to the best of your ability. Food coma hit me harder than I expected this year and my favorite side dish has to be mac and cheese!! You are probably wondering what I will talk about today and it aligns with Thanksgiving. Bundle up in bed and grab your beverage of the day!

    In the name Thanksgiving, we are urged to be thankful for the people in our lives like friends, family, significant others, or even ourselves in certain cases. I tend to assume rather than directly tell the people in my life that I’m thankful for their existence. There were instances where an argument occurs because I didn’t explicitly call or text them.

    Now I’ve recently started listening to a podcast called “The Get Up” and today they were discussing about forgiveness. In this podcast, they were illustrating their definition of forgiveness, however one thing caught my attention. The main host repeated a quote from somewhere, mind you not word from word,

    “Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison hoping the other person would die.”

    Time and time again, we are reminded that hate will only be a burden on us. Forgiveness is not for the other, but for yourself because it allow the power to be in your hands again. A similar buddhist quote,

    “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

    Coincidentally, forgiveness was a topic of discussion in the living room between certain people as I was half-asleep from food coma. I recall the moments with people who felt hurt by my lack of vulnerability and assumption because both sides had to forgive each other for not understanding one another. In this case, someone I know can’t forgive the actions of an individual although they are striving to improve albeit slow and failing at times.

    Do you judge a person’s character on their past wrongs or do you adhere to what you see in front of you?

    Can a person who has done awful things in their past attempt to right their wrongs? YES. I believe this can happen because I’ve seen it. You can call me naive or optimistic, but understand that no one is perfect. For someone to judge my past compared to who I am today then you will never recognize me.

    As my older cousin and I were just talking, he told me, “Tommy, you hate deep, but you love deeper.”

    He described me as strong for being able to love deeply. He even used an example where if I was given an opportunity to love an individual who wronged me or hate them, he knew I would attempt to love them.

    In hearing this, I immediately thought that I could only love deeply because someone else has shared their love too. I’m not perfect. There are things in my past that I failed to see my wrongs, but in recognizing these things allowed me to move forward. No one had explicitly forgave me, but I had to find a way to move forward knowing that there’s a possibility my past will come back to haunt me.

    My character today is a result of countless of people’s forgiveness and love. Why can’t I be the one to do the same for someone else ultimately changing their life?

    Thanksgiving became a lesson of Forgiveness this year for me. How about you?

    Let this year be a realization to let go of the shackles of anger that weigh us down in order to be content within our space.

    The 2020 Holi-Dazed

    Good beautiful morning Minhions! I hope your family and friends are healthy, physically and mentally. These have been difficult times and will only be more difficult especially as winter is coming. Please snuggle in your beds and blankets with any drink you prefer and enjoy the short read of my thoughts!

    With over 11 million cases and about 250 thousand deaths in the United States, we see certain states have begun to shut down in fear of the coming holidays which is very understandable. Although I grew up without large celebrations for the holidays, I’ve grown to love these times. The feeling of family, cheer, and love has captured me yet this year, all I feel is fear, doubt, and anxiousness.

    I recently reconnected with friend who visited from another state and reminisced about the summer trip the year before. Mind you, this trip was the first time I met everyone! I began talking to this group of friends who live in other states through Facebook. Some were from Michigan, Florida, Virginia, and Missouri! We decided to rent out a house, fly down to Orlando, and just party! As we were talking, I felt the mental strain exude from their demeanor. They were discussing a possible trip to visit a state in the south around New Years to relieve the stress of confinement. I jokingly mentioned that it would probably be more fun visiting a state that doesn’t believe in the existence of COVID.

    It later dawned on me that this is the problem. Humans are social creatures and never meant to be confined. Although joking, a part of me wanted to disregard COVID so that I may have some normalcy to my life. This is a double-edged sword type of position; do we place our individual needs for our sanity over the physical health of the collective?

    Sometimes, I find myself relocating to my favorite coffee shop, Curitiba, to write or do my work just because I miss seeing people! I take all precautions for others by continuing to social distance and wear my mask. The news of Moderna and Pfizer creating a vaccine is a silver lining, but it is uncertain when it is readily available to the masses. Christmas movies have been important to remind myself of happier emotions when it is easy to let negativity consume my mind.

    So, what do you do when the holidays have revolved around family gatherings?

    I’ve already cancelled my Thanksgiving with my cousins, but I’m sure other families will attempt to see each other. This holiday will be the test on our society; do you choose your sanity or the health of the collective? I understand both and have no right to deem what is wrong or right. The lived experience of others with their situations is something I will never know. However, I can only hope that everyone takes precaution and do their part as best as they can. How will the chapter of 2020 end and how will 2021 start?

    It is truly the Holi-dazed…