Gap Year

Fears and reflections for the new year

Happy 2021, dear reader!

I wanted to get an update out before I lost the courage to write. I think I’ve faced more fear and monotony in 2020 than in any year before. My fear originating the realization and re-realization of my lack of control, monotony from the circumstances we have all been facing.

Just as an update, I spent the latter half of 2020 working part-time at Glenstone and a bubble tea shop, interning at the Japan-America Society, reading (41 books from August to November, but who’s counting?), and memorizing Chinese vocabulary. Leila came up to the DMV and spending time with her and Carolyn was the highlight of my summer. Ella came to DC in the fall and spending time with her was so wonderful. Some days, when I was working a double shift, I would be on my feet and wearing a mask from 9 AM to 10:30 PM. I gained a newfound and deeper respect for service workers. I stared at works of modern art. I fell a little bit in love with Goldsworthy. I (finally) got my driver’s license. My Bachan and Jichan passed away. I went to Southern California to celebrate and remember their lives, their dedication, their perseverance, their love. I still haven’t fully processed the fact that they’re gone. My dad got a Shiba Inu. Her name is Akiko, and I love her. I went on picnics, brunches, and walks with friends, and when the weather got colder, I sat in the car in parking lots and caught up with people by talking across our rolled-down windows. I started learning how to play 笛子 (thank you, Cheryl!). I reorganized and reoriented my taste in music. I discovered the joy of reading and listening to poetry. I stopped reading the news. I did yoga, I meditated, I journaled. I tried not to feel utterly lost and furiously upset. I tried not to think about the past or the future.

But I don’t want to write about COVID. I don’t want to write about the little ups and downs of my daily life at home. Actually, I don’t really want to write at all—I’m afraid of the judgement that comes with externalizing my thoughts. I understand that this judgement might not come from anyone outside of myself (I have no idea who’s reading this), but that doesn’t make writing any less scary.

I don’t feel much different than I remember feeling in April, yet I know I have changed. I hope with time and more perspective I will discover that I have grown through the chaos of last year.

I’m grateful for the sense of community I got from Glenstone and Teado. I’m also grateful to have been employed and actively engaged with the people around me. I’m quite tired now. I’m grateful to now be able to take a break from work and stay at home, figuring out what the next six months might bring.

My resolutions are to drink more water and eat at least one fruit daily—the same as last year. I have hope for the year to come.

Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and at peace.

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