2022 Year-End Review

Happy New Year!

Another year, another year-end review post (You can read my 2020 post here and my 2021 post here). I didn’t blog, cosplay, or draw much/at all, but I had a busy year and I’d like to think that I’ve accomplished some things.

I paid off my student loans.

I wrote a post about it and how I did it. You can read the post here. I also set a rainy day fund for the first time after I paid off my student loans, and I’ve reached it. I have a new year’s resolution of saving a good portion of my monthly income, so we’ll see how it goes. Inflation is wild, so expenses are higher while the quality of life is more or less the same.

I got a new job.

It’s a full-time job with benefits, and I work three days at the office and two days from home. I hope I can continue to keep this hybrid model, as this was a COVID thing. For those of you who don’t know, I have a BA in Psychology and a Bachelor of Social Work. You can probably guess that I work in social services. It’s stressful indeed, but rewarding at the same time. The job keeps me busy and I like my coworkers.

I got my full driver’s license.

In British Columbia, we have to take the knowledge test, the Class 7 driving test, and the Class 5 driving test. The Class 5, full test is taken at least two years after you pass the Class 7 test. It has been a long and rough journey to get my full driver’s license. I actually got Covid during the time I was supposed to take my Class 5 test, so that had to be canceled and then rescheduled. I was so happy when I got my full driver’s license.

Celebrating my graduation (two years late!)

I graduated with my BSW at the start of the pandemic in 2020. There was no closure. Everything ended so abruptly that I 100% believe it impacted me negatively. I didn’t bother attending my virtual graduation.

The university held an in-person graduation ceremony for my class in late 2022. I didn’t attend that one either. I didn’t celebrate my graduation at all. In December 2022, I thought about it some more and changed my mind. I thought that I should celebrate my graduation, so I bought a charm for myself. I wear it on my bracelet every day. It’s the Celebration Cake Dangle Charm by Pandora, and it has the word “Congrats” on it. There’s a strawberry on the cake, and I just really like how the charm looks. I like the idea of collecting charms that represent the milestones in your life.

I’d like to thank my boyfriend, family, friends, and WordPress family for your love and support. Thanks for reading!

Obsession

I recently had a conversation about obsessions, and how I would even like to have an obsession. Hear me out.

I think life is more fun and enjoyable when you are obsessed with something. I find that you are most creative because you are driven by your sheer determination. You are passionate about something! (Or someone.) I was obsessed with The Phantom of the Opera when I was in high school. I didn’t like Christine, so I read every single Erik x Meg fanfic that existed. I even wrote my own fanfiction, which I never published. That was the only period of my life where I wrote fanfiction.

I have been trying to get into fanfiction writing for a while now lately, but I lack motivation. I don’t have something I’m obsessed with. (Is obsession the right word?)

I recently came across a Tweet that said that the fastest way to improve your art is by being obsessed with something, and I wholeheartedly agree with that. I haven’t drawn in a couple of years, and that’s something I used to do. Cosplay is another hobby that I haven’t done in a long time.

I used to be really into celebrities, but I’m too jaded for that now. I’ve been disappointed by too many scandals to count! πŸ˜‚

Anyway, I think I just need some motivation. Writing this post is a step, so at least there’s that.

Authenticity? Part 2

This post is a continuation of an earlier post of mine from November 2020. I became inspired to write this post after finishing a route in a game and being too shy to write about it publicly.

That made me think a bit. What we post online, when attached to our real name and face, will be filtered most of the time, if not all the time. Would I have written about the game if I was using an anonymous account? This filter that I/we engage in is pretty interesting. I have friends who know me in real life, online friends, and there’s an overall feeling of discomfort around disclosing too much information. So yes, I’m completely aware of the filter that I put up on social media. And this isn’t just for potentially embarrassing or unhinged topics — the effort and time people put into editing their photos and making them look nice also counts. Sure, they might be posting for themselves, but part of it might be that they want their content to look presentable for others to see. But if it is posted just for yourself, would all of that still matter?

You’ve probably heard of the old phrase “Think before you speak” and I totally agree with this statement. But what would people look like if they didn’t have a filter at all? Judged and/or outcasted would be my guess.

I might try an experiment to see whether my content would differ if I used an anonymous account, specifically around photography. But I might be too lazy to go through with it. I guess only time will tell.

A blur

It’s surreal to think that a lot of us spent a year at home. Online work, online school, online meetups, online everything. I’m trying to remember how my life was at the time but it’s all a blur. I don’t think life was that bad for me for because I had a lot of sources of entertainment, but I’m much happier now that I can see people in person and explore the city.

Before in quarantine days:

  • I got into letter writing and stamps
  • I got into various crafts
  • I watched a ton of shows
  • I went hard with online shopping, to escape the everyday
  • Small joys: Anything out of the ordinary brought me joy. During this time I came to appreciate a lot of things.

Now after three vaccine shots and with restrictions lifted:

  • I’ve met up with a lot of my friends and had opportunities to dress up again. One of the first things I did was get a hair cut.
  • I’ve visited numerous cafes and restaurants, something I had missed
  • Fun dates with boyfriend
  • I got to see the cherry blossoms this year. There are none in my neighbourhood, so I explored other parts of the province to see them.
  • New experiences: I got a shellac manicure with my coworker yesterday. After hearing that I had never gotten a manicure before, she encouraged me to try it out.

The importance of taking pictures

Without pictures, I feel that a lot of the things I’ve done would have been lost on me. “Put away the phone; enjoy the moment without the phone” is the opposite of how I think… I think it diminishes photography, ignores that people may have poor memory, and ignores that people may want something to look back on. Personally, I get a lot of satisfaction from capturing a good photograph.

2021 Year-End Review

I started writing year-end review posts last year. Click here to read my post from 2020.

1. I got into crafts, and I credit the pandemic as the main reason. I’ve been into art since I was a kid, but I didn’t do much of it. Since I stayed home all of last year and the beginning of 2021, I had to do something with all my free time. I attended a virtual workshop for clay, and I became interested in learning how to make a bunch of different crafts. I mostly learned how to do everything by myself, and I’ve made a lot more than what you see here. I still do all of these things.

2. I got a boyfriend. In early 2020, I started writing letters to a guy I knew but was not close with. Becoming penpals was random and spontaneous, but it brought joy to my mundane life. Again, I stayed at home for all of 2020. The guy lives in the same province, so he sometimes brought me bubble tea to my door, socially distanced-style. For this reason, he was the person I saw the most in 2020. And I guess one thing led to another.

Moya knows him as the four-leaf clover guy because my boyfriend surprised me with four-leaf clovers before we started dating. He knew that I like four-leaf clovers, and it was his first time finding them.

3. Blogging and cosplaying were hit negatively. I’m not sure if these were because I have other interests now or because of other reasons. I haven’t been to a convention in a long time, but at least I’m still posting every once in a while. Oh, and you will find me most active on my Instagram or Twitter.

I’ve been thinking about the future directions of my blog and social media accounts. Stay tuned for a post about that in the near future.

4. I am still enjoying the little things in life. This was one of the points I made in last year’s post. The people around me have told me that they’ve noticed this about me, and I’m grateful for what I have and who I am today.

Please let me know how 2021 has been for you. Send me a link if you make a post like this!

2020 Year-End Review

2020 has been an unexpected, life-changing year for most of us, if not all of us.

1. Time seems to have slowed down for me. Pre-Covid, I was busy. I had school, practicum, three part-time jobs, and was an exec for my university’s anime club. On top of that, I watched anime, updated my blog, and cosplayed.

I recently wrote about my day-to-day life (Click here for the post). I am now at home all the time and my work is flexible. I have completed practicum, graduated, and am no longer an exec for anime club. I feel like I’m on an island, removed from the busy city.

2. I am enjoying the little things in life. Pre-Covid, I always felt like I didn’t have enough gratitude. I didn’t know how to change. Looking back, I was so busy that I didn’t have the time to process things in the moment.

Now, I’m always finding small things to appreciate. Trying out a new recipe, for example, or receiving a package. Pre-Covid, I bought things I liked and tossed them aside.

A positive post

Good things that have happened to me since quarantine PartΒ 2

3. My social media habits have changed. Pre-Covid and several months during Covid, I posted on social media for other people to see. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing because I still had fun.

I’ve changed, I think. I still think that posting on social media is fun, but my intentions are different. Lately, I’ve been looking at my old photos with friends. Photos of daily life serve as reminders of what happiness means to me. To me, photos are precious.

There’s still a lot that I can improve on, but that’s life. I’ve felt all sorts of emotions this year but I think I’ve been holding up well given the circumstances. I think that out of everything, my attitude and mindset have changed the most.

To my blogger friends and readers, I encourage all of you to reflect on what this year means for you. If you write a year-end review post, please let me know. I would love to read it. πŸ™‚

Good things that have happened to me since quarantine Part 2

You can read Part 1 here.

Today was supposed to be my graduation ceremony. I have gone through it once already when I got my BA in Psychology in 2018, but I was still looking forward to it. I’m glad that it got cancelled because it’s not safe to do it right now. At the same time, I’m a little upset. I’ve seen classmates write that they are grateful and other positive things, but I’m allowed to be mad, aren’t I? Sorry, but I’m not as cheerful as others.

Anyway, perhaps writing this post will brighten my mood.


8. I’m grateful to be able to work from home.

I quit one of my jobs, and I was able to do that because of my other jobs! I feel fortunate that I can shop online (one of the things that brings me joy) and more importantly, pay my bills during this time.

9. I have more time to watch shows.

If it wasn’t for quarantine, I wouldn’t have the time to watch this many shows. Watching a show is like exploring a whole new world. I’ve learned a lot about various topics through different series… Now to think of it, I think I’m quite knowledgeable about a wide range of topics.

10. I have time to replay my favourite video game.

My brother is still doing high school online and he uses my laptop to complete his assignments. I naturally ended up playing on the Xbox 360 whenever he went on my laptop. I’ve started replaying Lost Odyssey and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

11. I have time to try out new recipes.

Cooking is quite fun. It’s satisfying when your food and drinks turn out good. I think I’ve improved as well.

12. I’ve improved my driving.

Since public transit isn’t super safe right now, I’ve been waking up at 6 AM six days a week to drive my mom to work. I also pick her up from work and do all the driving for grocery shopping since I’m the sole driver in my family. My sleep schedule is not ideal, but it is what it is.

A positive post

I thought I would write about the good things that have happened to me since quarantine. I’ve been at home since around March 16. I encourage you all to do the same!! Feel free to write in the comments about the positive things that have happened to you.

1. I’ve had more time to cosplay.

2. I’ve drawn stuff! I also quickly stopped drawing after that but I still drew three drawings and I’m happy about that.

3. A couple of blogger friends watched Yesterday wo Utatte after I wrote my Episode 1 Impressions post. Thank you! It always makes me happy when people watch the shows I recommend.

4. I’ve started working out regularly at home. I haven’t exercised like this since grade 11 high school… That was 7 years ago…

5. I’ve been video calling and voice chatting with my friends. We’ve played games, exercised, and watched shows online together. Before I mainly ate at restaurants with my friends so these are kind of new activities.

6. I have a penpal now. I wrote a post called The Significance of the Letter in December 2019 and now I’m writing letters to a penpal.

I’ve also mailed out a birthday letter and a ‘I’m thinking about you’ card to my friends. While I could have just written my messages online, I think there is something special about having a physical copy.

7. I’ve ordered a kalimba. I want to learn how to play Wu Ji, a song from The Untamed. A couple of my friends have ordered it with me. We’re going to learn how to play this song together.

.

.

I’m sure there are more good things that have happened to me this past month. Maybe I am not as pessimistic as I think I am. :p

Tonegawa’s Speech [Kaiji]

I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram (this is nothing new) and I came across this meme.

I immediately thought about Tonegawa from Kaiji. So I rewatched his speeches and I really like this one.

Normally, those people would never wake up from their fantasy worlds. They live meaningless lives. They waste their precious days over nothing. No matter how old they get, they’ll continue to say, “My real life hasn’t started yet. The real me is still asleep, so that’s why my life is such garbage.” They continue to tell themselves that. And they age. Then die. And on their deathbeds, they will finally realize: the life they lived was the real thing. People don’t live provisional lives, nor do they die provisional deaths. That’s a simple fact! The problem… is whether they realize that simple fact.” – Yukio Tonegawa

Frankly, I felt called out. I often tell myself that I don’t belong here and that I wish I could teleport to another world. That I feel like an alien sometimes. I frequently think, “If only I could do this… If only I had this…”

Tonegawa’s speech makes a lot of sense to me. Whatever fantasy world I’m dreaming of, I need to wake up from it. I need to recognize that I am living my real life right now. It is a simple fact…

Let’s say you recognize that you’ve been wasting your life away. Then what?? Thinking is easy, but taking action is not.

ReLIFE: My Life

ReLIFE is about a 27-year-old NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) named Arata Kaizaki, who is given the opportunity to return to high school for one year. He takes a pill that gives him a youthful appearance. The perks of agreeing to this is free rent for a year and a job when the year is over. He will retain his memories of the year but the catch is that everyone else will forget that he existed. ReLife is an experiment that allows people such as Arata to start over.

If I participated in the ReLife program, what would I do differently?

I graduated high school in 2014. I got accepted into a good university and I’m currently in my final year of my second degree. I think I am doing well but there are things that I would do differently.

1. I would take Chinese and Japanese language courses (if my high school offered them). I would do this if I had to redo university too. My Chinese is not bad, but it could be better. If I could read Japanese, I would read so much raw manga and untranslated light novels and novels- the same for Chinese too. Knowing these languages would help with my hobbies so much.

2.

Actually I don’t think I want to dive too deeply into high school. I’m pretty content not thinking about it LOL. I am happier now than when I was in elementary school and high school, so I think that I did some things right to get to where I am now… πŸ™‚

High school is also the time when I created this blog. If it wasn’t for becoming close with my dear friend Maya, who inspired me to start my blog, I’m not sure if I would have started one.