Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Self Care

I consider myself well adjusted. What does that mean exactly? Well, I guess it means that I’m functional, rational, productive. I’m doing quite alright with minimal breakdowns or life emergencies. But then there are moments when I realize that I’m just as crazy, insecure, needy, impulsive, dramatic as everyone else.

It’s a good thing. I’m human.

Lately I feel as though I’ve lost myself. I find myself wasting so much time doing nothing. When I know that having a back to back schedule would keep me happy.  I haven’t planned my weekends or free time well this year, and I’m reminded that planning is what excites me. Thinking ahead gives me something to look forward to. And not doing that is creating great dissatisfaction.

Aside from weekend warrior shit, let’s start with a list of regular weekly actives for the sake of consistency. I love lists.

  • Monday: Evening dinner with lost touch friend
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday: Early morning workout
  • Sunday

There’s a problem here. The two days that I have goals are based on times that Jimmy is unavailable to spend time with me.

So maybe we should start there.  Why does my schedule have to be based around him?

After work, I would fill the time by cooking at home for us to save money and eat healthier. Jimmy would show great unsolicited appreciation and affection when I cooked chicken, salmon, curry, steak… etc. and we both lost some weight. It’s a winning activity. But his understandable exhaustion from work + his disinterest in cooking is wearing me down. “How can I help?” he would call out with a tone of reluctance while on the couch in the living room. I was chopping up veggies.

“Come into the kitchen first” I said sharply. He didn’t understand why I was so short. “Wash these vegetables.” What I wanted to say was, “be present first and then I can give you step by step instructions."   He always jumps to do the dishes after - which I love.

Point is -  cooking for him us was something I thought was related to self care, but being a good chef isn't a personal goal and obviously it's not a bonding activity.  So I should find something else.

“Self care, self care, self care.” He says this at least 10 times a week while he watches his foreign films, meditates, exercises, walks around target, edits photo, sees other friends. “I need to take care of myself.” He reminds me as if I’ve forgotten what that means and as if he's asking for my approval and as if I'm suffocating him. Because his happiness is never dependent on anyone else and he feels guilty leaving me to do his own thing. And that’s my problem. I have forgotten what self care means.

I’ve become too dependent on him; doing things that I think would make him happy like cooking, or sleeping in on weekends thinking that it would make me happy: to make us happy.  I'm being too accommodating and revolving myself around my perception of my boyfriend's happiness. And that’s not what SELF care is.  What makes a relationship strong is both compromise and individuality.  And this is probably part of why I’m starting to feel incomplete.

Okay. What activities can I do on my own?  Let's start with blogging. Yes.  Therapeutic.  And with this entry, I already feel better and closer to myself again.

Let’s give this list another try
  • Monday: Evening dinner with lost touch friend
  • Tuesday: Organize pictures and cook 
  • Wednesday: Exercise, Plan the weekend: hikes, beach plans, road trips
  • Thursday: Go to a new restaurant with or without Jimmy
  • Friday: Movie Nights on the projector
  • Saturday: Early morning workout
  • Sunday: Volunteer somewhere. Blog about the week. Write Yelp reviews. Read LA Eater

Looks more complete. 2017 starts with April 1.  Let's go!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Eulogy for My Grandpa

I took a $220 one way flight to San Jose about a month ago to visit my grandpa because my mom texted me that he didn't have much time left.  Frantic, I bought a ticket and landed 5 hours later after begging the airline to let me on earlier fearing that I would miss him.  But when I arrived my mom told me that he is eating again.  But it wasn't a wasted trip.  It was a trip to say good bye.  I held his hand and told him that I loved him, wondering if he even recognize because of his Alzheimer's.  I watched my mom affectionately rest her hand on his head.  Every day for the past year she would visit him at the nursing home.  She would wash his linens and help feed him.  She would make friends with the staff to ensure that he was treated well.  

But now that he passed, she is relived.  Only burdened by the funeral that she planned months in advance with no siblings to help her.   I'm currently on the bus to San Jose and I've written a simple eulogy.  My dad told me that I would be saying a prayer and that I should prepare "something nice" to say about my grandpa in English while my mom did her in Vietnamese.


This is my eulogy:


My grandfather didn't need much to be happy.


He was an amazing gardener growing giant squash that hung in our patio.  He grew chilis that would be used for dinner. He liked plants so much that he would go on walks and pick them from the neighbor's yard until one day he was caught.

He didn't say much, but he was the type grandfather that would walk me and Shannon to school when I was young and sit quietly observing the people around him.

When he smiled it was bright, but probably because he had the best looking dentures.

He would pick things off the street and recreate them into something new.  Bend wires into some contraption.  My mom told me that it was a habit of his.  Because that's how he survived in Vietnam.  Find, recreate, build... never waste.   He taught me that nothing should be thrown away if it could be reused in a different way.  And that's how you make a lot out of very little.

And this is probably why he lived this long despite being so deaf that you have scream into his good ear.  Despite being so blind that he couldn't recognize me.  He found other ways to create a life out of nothing.

But he knew that it was his time to go and to be reinvented into something else. Thank you for being here to celebrate his life with our family. 


My last four Christmases with him:

2013


2014


2015



2016