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Category: Life

“The Big Sea” by Langston Hughes

This is why it’s so important for me to write about things immediately after I experience them, or else I forget why I’m excited to write about something in the first place.

Anyway, I digress.

Ever since the inauguration of the new US president and all the hell that it has unleashed, I’ve been on a mission to read more about the Civil Rights era and to read more about Black history in general. I had purchased Langston Hughes’ The Big Sea years ago on a whim, and it sat on my shelf unperturbed, expecting not to be read like so many other books on my shelf.

But I picked it up at the beginning of last month and what a shame it would have been if I never read this book. I’m not great about writing about books or movies sometimes, because I find that when something gives me the feels, it stresses me out too much to try to do it justice, and so instead I just collapse onto that ball of feels and never attempt to dissect it, heh.

What I’m into: Jan 22 edition

What a freaking depressing week. These are things that I enjoyed/made me cry. It was very, very easy to make me cry this week.

May next week be better.

What I’m into: Jan 16 edition

I always manage to find new post-its I had forgotten I had purchased.
  • Why Anthony Bourdain Loves L.A. In typical New Yorker fashion, I was skeptical of this piece at first when I saw the headline and dek, but it turned out to be a really beautifully articulated piece from a hardcore New Yorker about why he loves L.A. My favorite passage: “As Roy Choi says, the spine, the very underpinnings, of the food here are Latino and Asian. This is not a European city: It’s not built on Irish, Italian, and Eastern European roots, with the French hotel system as a model. It never was. We all sneered at it in the East, because they didn’t have those fine dining Michelin restaurants in the same numbers as we did. We all begrudgingly said, ‘Yeah, their strip malls are awesome, they got all these kooky quote, unquote ethnic places that are kind of great.’ But we didn’t take it seriously.”
  • I’m not Marie Kondo-ing my life, but I am working slowly on getting rid of shit I own. I’ve hoarded a lot of stuff over the years and I want to own less stuff. These days there are moments when I’m overwhelmed by a sudden urge to own less stuff immediately, but as someone who has historically bought and owned a lot of stuff, the process of un-owning shit is a slow one, so I’m trying not to let the anxiety get to me. I’m breaking the process down into little sections to make it more manageable.
  • The Big Sea, Langston Hughes’ autobiography, which I am currently reading.

Bye 2016

Man, I was so bad at “blogging” this year. I feel it in my bones that I’ll get better next year though, I promise 💪🏽

The year is over! I had a great 2016, all things considered. There are things that I wish I could have achieved, but I did a lot of things that felt very fulfilling to me this year. I traveled so much this year. I went to ten different places this year, five of which were places I’ve never been before; I traveled almost every month this year; I took five international trips, three of which were work trips, two of which were personal trips. Traveling is immensely fulfilling and enriching.

Wrapping up 2015

20151227_books

A week from now, we’ll be three days deep into the new year. This year passed by so quickly, blah blah blah, insert typical end-of-year soliloquy-ing. But in the spirit of reflection and self-improvement, I’m going to indulge in a bit of plan-making. A little while ago I read this article from Quartz that stuck with me quite a bit: If you’re 30% through your life, you’re likely 90% through your best relationships.

Not saying this article was life-changing, but it does make me view time differently, particularly the part on how you get to see your parents about a few hundred more times in your life, if you’re a third of the way into a potential 90-year lifespan, and if you’ve already moved away from your parents. The second part that stuck with me was on the number of books left to read: if you average about 5 books a year, you only really will be reading another 300 books or so before you die. Three hundred books is an insanely small number of books, of all the number of books out there.

The post was quite morbid for me. Pessimistic, grumpy, grouchy narratives tend to stick with me a bit more than the optimistic ones, so my brain has been very wrapped around the idea of very few remaining possibilities to do certain things.

The books part has been especially sobering because I have hundreds of books in my room and I keep buying more, but truth be told I’ve been very bad at reading books. And I haven’t been particularly urgent about it either, because I keep thinking, I’m only 26, I’ve got the rest of my life to read books, I promise I’ll get around to it. But the reality is, based on what I’m averaging a year, there aren’t that many books I’ll get to read in this lifetime. And there’s a very still sense of finality in that idea, you know?

And you can extend this beyond books — the number of movies you’ll watch, the number of places you’ll be able to visit, the number of dishes you’ll try. I don’t think I all of a sudden have an urge to read all the books, watch all the movies, try all the restaurants, but it does shake me a little and make me think, “Don’t waste your remaining time doing useless shit.” Don’t go to a mediocre brunch spot for the thousandth time and get Eggs Benedict for the third time this month. Don’t just live vicariously through Instagram. Don’t just add more things to a mental check-list of things to do, buy, or say. Do more, do better. Time is precious.