The original idea of this post was taken from something I’d written years ago. The inspiration for taking it and rewriting it is from events that have occurred since then, and most obviously, people that have entered my life. Hopefully this concept is easily understood and everyone is able to identify the gamechangers in their life.
He arrived at the airport with plenty of time remaining, checked-in with no issues, and made his way into the departure gates. It was nearly 2 years ago that he was in this same place, getting ready to leave what was, to him, his home. Not the place he’d grown up in, not the place he was born in – but the place he felt he should have been born in; the place he felt he’d grown up in.
The past week had been a whirlwind on the road. Moving from place to place every few days, never in one place too long. Long days and nights of walking and exploring, chatting and eating. All good things, but they took their toll on him, as he given himself no time to be alone; to be peaceful. But this place he was in gave him energy. It recharged him, revitalised him. The sights, the smells, the people, the food; the colours, the sounds. All at once; not overwhelming the senses but uplifting them. There was never a day that went by that he didn’t appreciated it all. Everything around him. He knew where this was where he wanted to be. In all the days he’d been here, there was never a place he regretted going; never did this place make him feel like an outsider, even though that’s exactly what he was. It simply felt like home.
Now inside the departure gates, he was surrounded by shops and people. Some on their way out of this country. Some on their way into this country. Everyone had their own place to go, their own things to do. Except him. He just stood there for a few seconds, taking in everything. Taking in where he was. And he thought “it’s time to eat that lunchbox I bought”. He’d bought it at the train station right before getting on the bus. Knowing it was his last meal from this place for at least a long while, he had been determined to get a meal which meant something to him; a meal which he had eaten in many different places, a meal which never once tasted the same; a single meal which sometimes had sustained him an entire day. A meal which from the last time he’d been here and learnt so much.
As he wandered into the waiting area with lounges arranged in S-shapes, he spotted a seat at the end of a curve. This was where he was going to have his last meal, and he knew this as soon as he saw it. Settling into the seat, he put down his backpack which weighed down on his body, at once both part of him and a burden; it contained all his memories. Sights he’d seen, places he’d been. He unpacked his lunchbox, and took a bite.
It was then that the tears started welling up in his eyes. Suddenly, he felt so alone. So alone in all of this airport. This city. This country. This world. He didn’t want to go back. It wasn’t his home, he’d never felt like he belonged there at all. Most people around him hadn’t considered these questions; for him, it weighed on his mind every day. He pulled his cap lower to cover his eyes, and continued eating his lunchbox. Mouthfuls of food inbetween sniffles and tears dripping down his face. The food wasn’t this salty the last time he’d had it. But that’s probably also because he wasn’t feeling this way the last time he was eating it either.
Questions ran through his mind non-stop. “What am I leaving behind here? Why do I have to go? Why can’t I just stay? Can I just leave the airport again? How long will it be before I can come back? Will it all be different? Will the roads I walked be the same, will the stores still be there, will the people I met still be around?” There was nothing he could do to stem the flow of tears and thoughts, both pouring as out as one. It had been a long time since he last cried, or even felt an outburst of emotion such as this. He just let it keep going, and he kept eating at the same time. It probably looked pretty silly, if anyone was watching. Crying and eating. Nobody cares, anyway.
As the tears dried up, so the lunchbox ran out too. And then, he felt peaceful. No, it wasn’t all right now. But he knew that he had work to do. Dreams to achieve. And going back was going to help him achieve those dreams. And one of those dreams was to come to this place again. This place which held his imagination, this place which occupied his mind, this place which had captured his soul since he was just a young boy – and had never let go.
Photo credits: skyline at 五分埔, 台北，台灣 (Wu Fen Pu Wholesale Markets, Taipei, Taiwan)
After 20-something years of life, I think we all realise there are some rules that seem to guide how things work, and it was during one of my interesting (deep) conversations with the mysterious JK, I gave Rule 1 as a joke, and I found myself churning out 2, 3, 4, and so on…
Whether they are rules that we gave ourselves, or rules ‘of the universe’, these are rules to live by.
So, in no particular order, here are my rules:
Rule 1: No ragrets.
– Live like you mean it, grab every opportunity with both hands and don’t let it go until you can’t hold on any longer.
Rule 2: #YOLO.
– Because one of the worst questions you can ever ask yourself is ‘what if?’.
Rule 3: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
– If you don’t do it, nobody will do it for you.
Rule 4: If it’s not a yes, it’s a no.
– Yes is a yes, no is a no, and maybe is a no.
Rule 5: Do your best to support and guide someone, but don’t try to change them.
– Unless they ask for your help, otherwise refer to Rule 4.
Rule 6: Lovers may come and go, but your friends will always be there.
– True except for the person you marry; also true unless your friend(s) is a little b!tch.
Rule 7: Don’t settle for second best.
– There’s nothing wrong with second best, but you want the best for yourself.
Keep these in mind with you and everything will be a little easier.
And if you’re still not sure?
Header photo credits: taken by skyline at 高美濕地，台中，台灣 (Gao Mei Wetlands, Taichung, Taiwan)
This one’s going to be slightly tangential, drifting, and philosophical – A.K.A this might mean nothing to you.
Today, I had one of those moments; where everything just feels right, and there were no worries on your mind, and you were just in the moment doing what you loved. Let me set the scene. I’m a burger lover, and today I woke up with one thing on my mind for lunch: a nice juicy burger (or two). So off I went to the shopping centre and bought all the ingredients; some nice chuck steak, lettuce, cheese – and to top it off, I found brioche burger buns after searching for months. I knew it was going to be good today. As I set off home, the sun was shining, the breeze was slightly cool and very refreshing – i didn’t care for traffic at all, just took my time.
After getting home, I get myself setup. I love to cook – I just love the process of it all, and of course, the result – but sometimes I think I love cooking more than eating itself, and if you knew me then that’d tell you something. I bring out my speaker and attach it to my phone, and choose my playlist. This week, I have absolutely been listening to one thing only – 甜梅號 (Sugar Plum Ferry), a post-rock band from Taiwan (discovered them through KKBOX, which is a story for another day!). With nobody else at home, I turned it up full blast. I love to cook, and I love to sing (I may not be very good at either, but I love both nonetheless), and one thing I love even more – cooking and singing at the same time. It just soothes the soul.
Anyway, I digress, because Sugar Plum Ferry’s songs don’t have lyrics. They don’t need lyrics, because their songs speak to the soul like no words can. And as I was dicing, seasoning and mincing the beef, I rocked out with not a care in the world, not a worry, not a feeling of urgency. Just going at my own pace, enjoying the moment. It was in those moments that I felt peaceful and happy, and content. I’m struggling to fully express what I felt with words, because I just can’t seem to frame it correctly with words. I was listening to music I loved, I was making food I loved, I was looking forward to eating it, I had a full day ahead to do whatever I wanted. After some recent turbulent times, this was exactly what I needed, and I had it.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we’re often so busy with our work, social engagements, and various other responsibilities and commitments to even sit down and tend to ourselves. You know how sometimes you’re just sitting outside and a bird lands nearby and it starts to preen and clean itself? Let’s take that as a metaphor for our psychological wellbeing – sometimes we just need to stop flying, get on the ground and have a break and get the dirt off, straighten our feathers before we go fly again.
So in the end, what is my point? I’m not sure, because I can’t really sum it up either. I just wanted to write out my thoughts on this day as I haven’t enjoyed a day like this in a while.
Oh I realised I still haven’t finished telling my story. So, I rocked out, riding the symphony in my mind like a surfer rises to the crest of the wave and cruises through the barrel – it was one of those surreal moments. I made my burger, sat down, ate them both, and let the music continue. I sat there for a while, basking in the sunlight with a full stomach, happy ears, and a peaceful mind. There was nothing else I wanted, and nothing else that could be given to me to make me more content that I was at that moment. It was more than that though. I just enjoyed the process of everything I’d just done, so much that even if it tired me out, I didn’t feel it.
And then I returned to reality – I had to wash the dishes. I hate washing the dishes.
Photo credits: taken by skyline at 橋頭海攤公園 (Chiao Tou Beach Park), 台南，台灣 (Tainan, Taiwan).