I read this article about How Millenials Became The Burnout Generation recently and parts of it hit me kind of hard. As an Asian kid, I have been prepping for “my future” since I was young. I excelled at school, but as I grew older the naive thought that school could lead to my “dream job” led me in random directions. I finished post-secondary school with a Bachelors of Music Degree and then went on to do a diploma in Entertainment Management. While I regret neither of those decisions (the latter led me to my husband), it was a life in the early 20s that wasn’t easy, required a lot of working for free and long hours. I’m doing okay today, but it’s nowhere where my parents were when they were my age.
I’ve been living online, “optimizing” my presence on the internet since I was 12 or 13. I became fluent in the online world wherever I went. I taught myself to code my own websites and blogs at 12 (hello Geocities), mastered the economy of Neopets, sold a popular Ragnarok Online account and had a lot of Asian Avenue/MySpace/ICQ friends. By the time smartphones and Twitter/Facebook came around, I was ready. I had been building a personal brand and online content for more than half my life without thinking about it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love social media and appreciate what I have in life right now, but I’m starting to step back a little on my own channels. Life doesn’t always have to be content. Not everything I do has to be productive. I started to feel the burnout for real last year after years of blogging every day. I loved sharing all the products that I had used up every month until it started to feel like a chore writing it all down that I stopped trying to use up stuff altogether. I even haven’t finished building the set of Nintendo Labo because I kept thinking I was “too exhausted” to document the steps.
Despite my dog having a fast-growing Instagram account, he’s the one that has taught me that life can be slowed down, not everything has to be documented and that sometimes you miss laughing at the best moments when you’re behind a screen.
This year, I’m making a conscious effort to do more of nothing. It’s hard because sometimes you can accidentally “optimize” the nothing, which makes it again feel like work (like when I tried to do self-care Sundays). I want to do more of truly nothing, staring into space, cuddling and taking more naps with the dog and going on more walks. I don’t know if that’s really a resolution. Can I make a resolution to “do nothing”?
We’re relaxing up North and watching the Olympics. I’m proud to be Canadian and it’s super inspiring and exciting to see that our women are currently owning the medal count.
Despite this, the media has a long way to go when covering the success of women and the commentators are often cringe worthy. Instead of talking about their hard work training to get where they are, comments focus too much on trivial things.
Dumb #Rio2016 commentating in womens skulls: “she suffered so much this year she had a child”
I love the business of the city, but I will be in the middle of nowhere this weekend to refresh my brain and release the anxious need to be doing 10 things all the time.
I don’t know if it’s the heat or whatever but I have been feeling so many different emotions this summer: anxiousness, happiness, sadness, nostalgia.
Part of not falling into a hole of depression is realizing that it’s ok to not be happy all the time. It’s like the movie Inside Out. Life is made out of all different thoughts, feelings and experiences that are ours alone.
There are some weeks (like this one) where I don’t know if I’ll make it through without having a panic attack. I become overwhelmed with all the things I have to do, people I need to see. I conquered it though and now am on the other side feeling pride. Part of my secret: pretend I can.
When I feel the stress coming, I take a big breath, write down lists and even go on long walks to get rid of any nervous energy. Keeping a positive mindset is important.
Now that it’s the weekend, I deserve to relax and have some fun with Teddy!
One of my favourite ways to inspire creativity is to let myself be distracted. It’s harder for me than you think because doing nothing makes me anxious. Some of my best ideas come when I’m not doing anything!
I loved this Kanye tweet so I put it up at my desk at work.
I had previously set a goal to take a photo a day for 2016 and upload in tookapic. I did this for approximately 47 days in a row and decided that this wasn’t the best challenge for me. I wasn’t proud of my output and it became a game of quantity over quality.
Taking a photo a day isn’t as easy as blogging. With blogging you can have a catalog of ideas that you write later. Taking a photo a day requires going out and doing stuff often and something that is unrealistic when I work 9-5. Sure, I could take photos of things on my commute and at home, but that becomes stale fast.
Instead, I decided to stop uploading to my tookapic account. I pledge instead to take more thoughtful photos when inspired. Where I upload them shouldn’t matter, plus that’s what this blog is for. That way I only have one daily goal (which is to remain blogging every day) and still have enough time in my day for relaxation and exploring all other creative avenues. I’ll still take my cameras everywhere I go. Taking a photo a day was starting to stress me out and create work that didn’t inspire me.
At first I considered stopping a failure of my resolution but in reality, it’s perfectly fine to adjust your resolutions to fit reality.
If you are wondering why your life isn’t moving along the way you wish it did, that could be driven by the people you decide to surround yourself with. I love seeking positive, inspirational people to hang out with and learn from. I’m always willing to meet new people, have a coffee and discuss what makes them spark.
One of my favourite groups of people is the Toronto women in music group, where everyone has so many different backgrounds but always open to collaborating and helping each other navigate an industry that is often full of men. None of us treats each other as competition, and the environment is so loving and positive. I always walk out of a hangout super inspired.
In the beginning when you start off a creative career of some sort you might take that opportunity that pays absolutely nothing to get your name out there. A few is fine, I mean I’ve done my fair share of free work. However, once you are established or been around the block a bit there should be no way people are still asking for favours in terms of exposure.
In fact, I’d say the second that you learn how to make money from doing what you love is when you stop accepting to do it for free. If you’re doing it for free, you might as well be doing it for yourself and retain all your rights. Post it on your own blogs, portfolios etc but don’t let people take advantage of you on something that they totally have the means to pay you for.
Today is the 216th day in a row that I’ve been blogging. I zoomed passed 200 and didn’t even notice. I also happened to have passed the 200 vlog mark!. Both are amazing feats.
Last year, I never would have dreamed to even go one month blogging everyday. Now I don’t really see an end in site. When I started vlogging (though I’ve slowed down a little now) I was very camera shy and didn’t really like speaking to camera, now it comes a bit easier.
I recently read an article about how someone wrote a haiku every day for 100 days and she learned some very similar lessons as I have. I learned to put myself out there even if some posts are dumb and there are frequently mistakes. No longer do I have a notebook or lists full of ideas that went no where. I made them go somewhere, I hit publish, even if part of me thought some things were unfinished.
I’m really excited to continue doing this every day. I feel like there’s enough in me to find something everyday. You really do have time to do the thing you wish you did “more” of, whether it’s writing, drawing, reading etc. Start by setting a goal. To do it every day.