Meditation: Day 4

New year, new resolutions. At nearly 30, I am starting to think that these resolutions don't feel so new and that they are just a reminder of what I didn't accomplish in the last 365 days. Regardless, it's good to check in and see how are you doing with your personal goals every now and then, I suppose. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about things that I aspire to do and be. More time thinking than doing if I'm being honest. I think about what I should be eating, what I should be doing to exercise, what I should be wearing. 

Not too long ago, I had a friend who was trying to figure things out for herself. I gave her the advice that it's okay if you don't get it perfect the first time around. Just try things and you'll make it perfect along the way. Of course, I haven't thought to apply this advice to myself. Until now. I've realized that the goals I have in mind are not about accomplishing a single task or checking something off a list. It's about making a change in my lifestyle that will continue as time goes on. I want to create habits that I don't have to constantly think about.

To share a little bit about me, I'm terrible at having any sort of habits. I'm not the type of person who can follow the same schedule every day of the week. I don't take my vitamins at the same time every day. I can't make a meal plan and stick to it because my mood changes and I won't want what I planned for Tuesday. I'll probably eat Friday's meal and then it screws everything up. (Dramatic, I know.) It all feels very unnatural to me,but I've found that not having daily habits makes things harder to balance when you have a family to take care of.

Remember how I said I wanted to start meditating a while ago? Yeah, well this is the 4th time since then that I've done it. Go me. Today was more productive than usual. I woke up at around 7:30 as usual but instead of browsing the internet to start the day, I asked my husband to wake up and see if he wanted to do some yoga with me. To my surprise, he agreed. I pulled up some videos on YouTube by KinoYoga who I have been following on Instagram. Kevin wanted to do about 30 minutes so I chose Gentle Yoga and Meditation, Beginner Home Practice.

I love Kino's soothing voice but something about today, (maybe doing yoga with my husband for the first time) made it so I couldn't take it seriously. Kevin and I laughed our way through some of the practice, telling each other that there was no way this was beginner level. I think we've just been off our game for longer than we realize. I could feel my muscles crying out, "Now you finally want to stretch us out?!" It was 30 minutes well spent though. I assume this productivity is what is giving me some much needed clarity & inspiration to write. These last few years I've found it extra challenging to write because it's just 'too loud' in my mind.

For anyone who is interested in meditating, I recommend an app called Headspace. A friend suggested it to me and I think it would appeal to a more general audience. People often think that meditating has to be this ancient ritual of where you burn incense and sit cross legged on the floor with your fingertips touching while repeating "om". The app allows you to develop a practice to fit your modern day life and with just 10 minutes a day. Try it out!

Meditation: Day 1

I’ve been wanting to begin meditating for a couple months now. I recently saw Arianna Huffington speak at a conference and she spoke about how well-being is an important part of success. I have her book Thrive and while I have yet to finish reading it, one of the first ways she says that you can change your life is by practicing meditation. She emphasized this in her talk as well. Everywhere I look, it seems like more and more people are doing it and it’s the well-kept secret that I wanted to be in on.

So I researched a little bit about it and how you can get your family to meditate, making it part of your daily life. I was excited to see that even children can practice meditation at a young age. My husband agreed we should do it and we tried to set a time first thing in the morning so that we could start our days refreshed. I even added it to my Google calendar! Unfortunately, we are not morning people. Even our 1 year old tends to sleep in until 9AM. Maybe he is still on Pacific time, who knows.

I’ve been trying to get motivated to do it and each day I tell myself tomorrow – I’ll start tomorrow. And finally, today is the day that I did it! I figured I should take advantage of the quiet time I have to myself and just go for it, with or without them. I decided that I would start with just 5 minutes and then slowly increase the time whenever I felt ready. To my surprise, the 5 minutes felt like 1.5 minutes and it was over before I even felt like I had found a rhythm.

While I can’t say that I feel refreshed or that I found my inner light, I can say that it’s a start. I have to admit that during my first meditation, I thought about how I should have brushed my teeth before starting among other not so calming things. I wish I was confident enough to believe that from this day forward, I will do it each and every day… but I know myself and I expect that it will be a challenge. I’m not one who is a creature of strong habit. But I wanted to remember that I did it and how it felt, in hopes that it will keep me going.

Theo's Dol (Korean First Birthday)

We've shared before about how our family is a multicultural family. We are Chinese, Indonesian and Korean. Growing up with two very different cultures, I felt really proud of my heritage because my parents instilled certain values and customs in us. I want our son to have pride in his roots and so it was important to me to honor these traditions.

Dol is a colorful celebration of babies' first year of life. It marks a major milestone and serves as a blessing for the child's future. My uncle got Theo a beautiful hanbok (Korean traditional clothing) sent from Korea. My mother prepared the food while Kevin and I spent two weeks painstakingly making the dolgoim (decorative towers). We made three: one with his Korean name 'Juwan', chosen by my mother meaning 'perfect king', a second that says happy first birthday, and a third with a horse for his zodiac sign.

One of the highlights of these parties is the doljabi. Several items are placed in front of the baby and whichever they choose is a sign of their future fortune or success. Thread for long life, money for wealth, book for knowledge. In modern days, we add a couple extra fun items like a basketball or car, whatever the parents dream for their baby. What did Theo choose? The stethoscope! Who would have thought! Although it's an Asian stereotype, It'll be interesting to see if we do have a future doctor in the making. :)

Time For A Change

By the end of 2014, our life was so different from what we remembered it to be. Not only did we have a new baby, we commuted farther to work and had our parents staying with us in our one bedroom apartment because daycare was just too expensive. Our lifestyle had completely changed. Going out less meant that I could spend my time with our baby which is more than worth it in my book. We knew it would happen and we were okay with that. We weren't okay with our circumstances and so we decided it was time for a change.

We had always planned to move back East once we were ready to start a family. This was obviously sooner than we had thought but life gave us a sign. Shortly after Theo's arrival... We went to visit our friends. They asked when we would move home (which they always do) to which we responded when they all had kids. To our surprise, we found out that 3 of our best friends were having babies too... And they would be all boys! Who would have thought?! We didn't want to miss out on the birthdays and the little moments in between. So as promised, 4 little boys have entered our lives and here we are making the effort to be close so that they can grow up together from the start.

This road that we chose isn't the easy road. Most people may assume that moving home back to where we grew up would make life much simpler. I have friends that are hesitant to move home because it seems like your life would revert back to comfortable and boring. I actually find it to be a lot more challenging than our life in the Bay. Yes, it's familiar territory. But for us to keep our jobs and stay where we were is comfortable. We gave up the nice weather, our favorite restaurants and the carefree lifestyle. We live in the suburbs far from the city now and it is definitely quiet. Finding a new comfortable isn't easy. With this new road, we have new expectations upon us. We have to pave our way forward and we exactly don't know where it will lead.

There are many moments every day that I miss our old life. I question whether we made the right choice. The people we met and the experiences we had in San Francisco were one of a kind. It's hard not to compare. I am hopeful though. Hopeful that this change will inspire us. That the course of our path will take a turn for even greater. And most importantly, that this will give us the perspective we need to be grateful to be where we are.

Our Farewell To The Bay

We didn't fall in love with San Francisco at first and most people don't. It's foggy and cold at times, especially in the summer when people expect warmth. It takes time. And until you've given yourself the chance to experience the true unrelenting beauty of the Bay Area, you'll never be convinced of what it has to offer. And it doesn't expect you to get it right away. Because it knows that once you do, you'll never forget it. 

As heartbreaking as it was to make this decision, we felt that it was our time to move back East where we grew up. We knew how much we were going to miss it but I don't worry too much... I know we'll be back again. It is where we found love and started our family. No other city can ever take its place.

We were so lucky to do one last photo shoot with the darling and lovely, Cassie Green.