Up until a certain point in my life, I always thought that money was the way to show your affection for another. You spend so much of your time (more than 8 hours a day) earning money that it only makes sense that you would want to spend it on activities you enjoy and the people whom you treasure.
But then I think I grew up a little bit and realised that it’s not not money that’s important, but time. I know there’s a saying that “Time is money,” and it’s true to some extent, but isn’t time so much more valuable than money, the older you get?
We seem to get busier and busier with our lives. There’s always work, family obligations, taking care of your household, life with a significant other, pets, etc. We seem to have less and less free time to spend as we wish as we move up on the corporate ladder, earning more and more money as time passes.
And at some point, your time becomes more valuable than spending money. Sure it’s great to have nice things, but in the end, aren’t they all just things? Can’t they burn up in a fire or get lost, or break?
I guess it’s a sign that I’m getting older. If you are important to me, I will spend my time on you, and I want you to spend your time on me. The gifts are just nice bonuses.
9:37 pm • 22 November 2013 • 5 notes
Inconsiderate or Self-Absorbed?
I am completely baffled by people who fail to make plans ahead of time and either like to “play it by ear” or do things completely last minute. I am a classic Type A personality and like to have everything laid out ahead of time, especially when it comes to meeting up with friends. I like to discuss when to meet, where to go, etc. My mum has always taught me it’s the polite thing to do, to give the other person a chance to make time for you, or to tell you when would be better for them.
According to her, it’s rude to just assume that everyone is available to meet whenever you want to.
Sometimes I can understand “playing it by ear” because maybe you have work to do and you’re not sure if you’ll have time to meet because work might require more time than you think. That’s understandable. I’ve tried squeezing personal visits during business trips and it’s not easy. You might have to do some kind of networking dinner thing last minute and have to cancel on your friend. Or things at the office might take a lot longer than you really thought and you can’t just drop things and meet your friend for dinner.
But what about people who are on holiday and just can’t bother making plans ahead of time with you? Are they really so uncoordinated they simply can’t figure out their own schedules ahead of time? Or are they just so self-absorbed that they don’t want to bother thinking about someone else and their schedule?
To be fair, I have been that person who has contacted a friend last minute to meet up. I know that I’m being a jerk when I do it, too! In my mind, there’s no excuse for doing it, really, especially when you go on holiday. You have the ease of planning ahead of time and figuring out when you might have some time and offering it to the other person ahead of time.
You don’t just ask them the day before you want to hang out.
I feel like it’s a sign of immaturity and not being able to get your sh*t together. I don’t really know what “adults” do, but I think that “adults” might want to give everyone advance notice.
When you ask someone last minute, doesn’t it make them feel like your original plans fell through and you’re looking for a backup plan?
Or maybe I just like to complain a lot.
Talk about self-absorbed…
11:06 pm • 21 November 2013 • 3 notes
Yesterday as we were leaving jidoukan, at 5pm when it closes, I dropped and forgot the kiddo’s hat in the rush. Luckily, I was only a block away when I discovered we were missing it and we rushed back.
Just as we entered the building, the elevator opened up and out spilled a bunch of people we know from jidoukan. They all saw us and exclaimed, “帽子！” (hat!), so I replied, “はい！忘れましたよ！” (Yes, I forgot it!)
After going upstairs and retrieving the hat, we headed back home and caught up with a couple people walking in the same direction. I guess they all had enough time to examine the hat before I came back to get it and realised that it was handmade, because then I got a flurry of questions asking me if I made it and then exclamations about my scarf that I also made. 良い色ね！作った？すごい！What a nice colour! You made it? Sugoi!
I am very curious as to what will happen when we show up with the sweater I am about to finish making.
9:58 am • 20 November 2013 • 1 note
I mostly think that alcoholic writers, when espousing about their alcoholism, are pretty much drunk people writing drunkly about things. How can you respect that?
And yet, is it possible to feel like you’re having some kind of revelation, the deeper you go into a bottle of wine? Sure, maybe you’re having some kind of deep realisation about your life. Maybe you’re finally coming to terms with the mistakes, the issues. Alcohol numbs you, but is it possible that it breaks down your defences, makes you more open to seeing your problems in a different light?
A lot of the time, I sit around thinking about how great my life has been, and how little hardship there has really been. There has been some hardship to be sure, but in the long run, aren’t things pretty damn easy for me? If the bottom has ever dropped out for me, I think I’ve been able to deal readily with it. Or at least, hide the truth from myself.
It’s on these lonely nights that I think about those people in my life that have died, especially the ones who’ve ended their own lives. I always have the hardest time thinking about them. They’ll forever be the same age as when they died. They won’t ever get old or grey. They won’t have children, grandchildren, problems, joys. Their lives have stopped, but the rest of us have gone barrelling forward down our own paths.
Sometimes it’s hard to think about these people whose lives are already gone, at such a young age too. I don’t feel old, but I have been around for quite a long time, longer than these friends have been.
I’m one of those people with a very short memory. I only remember the very essentials about someone in my life. I remember that my one friend M gave me the stomach flu and I spent the worst night of my life throwing up into a garbage can before finally telling my roommate the next morning that I really needed some help to go to hospital. I told him that I thought I had some kind of awful disease and that I was going to die (I was quite melodramatic at that point since I’d never been ill like that before). He dutifully hugged me while I was crying and smelling of vomit and then drove me to hospital to get an IV and some medicine.
(I love you, old roommate.)
But back to my friend M. After I’d left school, I’d heard he’s ended his own life, committed suicide, kicked the bucket, etc. When I’d found out how he’d done it, I remember spending a good hour crying about it. Well, I laughed and laughed first, and then I deteriorated and spent the rest of the time crying my eyes out.
I just couldn’t imagine such a scene, such a desperation in someone I knew.
I remembered the last conversation I ever had with him, how he had told me about his insecurities, his uncertainty about his future. And how I’d told him that it was normal, everything would be okay.
And yet nothing was okay.
I don’t think our last conversation was the straw that broke his back, but at the same time, I can’t help but go over the conversation in my mind, wondering if somehow I could have said something better to ease his mind, to stop him from killing himself.
I don’t like to pretend that somehow anything I said would have had any importance in his life. I know that I was just a peripheral friend, someone on the side who had so little impact on anything.
But on the nights when it’s dark and cold outside, I can’t help but think about him and his loneliness.
10:29 pm • 18 November 2013 • 1 note
There are many times when I’m so glad to live such a disconnected life from world news and events. Yesterday my iPhone, the device I use the most to stay connected with the world via the internet, decided to stop receiving wifi. It threw me for a loop, to say the least. I spent too much time last night trying to look up places to get it fixed in Tokyo.
But then I woke up this morning without an immediate connection to the internet, and well… it felt pretty damn good. I didn’t feel the urge to constantly check my online world to make sure it still functioned without me.
(By the way, it was doing just fine without me.)
Sure, I still have plenty of ways to stay connected with people, but it’s limited now (I have to wait until I can get on the computer to check my email). It’s a small thing, but it’s really nice to not feel the need to constantly be up to date with emails and online life. I can check it when I have the time to check it.
Of course, once I get my phone fixed or find another solution, once again I will be back online with a vengeance.
But for now, it’s nice to have a little break.
9:25 pm • 18 November 2013 • 3 notes
When your life falls down in ruins before you, you may sit there thinking that it just cannot be happening. If only you’d done this or that maybe you could have stopped it from happening, but to tell the truth, most of the time there’s nothing you could have done. It might have been caused by someone else’s decision, a natural event, or maybe it really was just a freak accident.
What do you do when something like that happens?
I guess you’re supposed to go through the standard motions that psychologists outline when you’re grieving, because in a way you’re grieving for what might have been, the death of possibility.
Can’t we all just skip straight to the accepting part where you take it in stride and move on with your life? If you are able to do that, are you somehow less human than the ones who need to go through the anger and denial phases?
Sometimes I think that when it comes to the human spirit, the will to live, it’s one of the most indestructible thing on earth. We bounce back from tremendous stress, faster and smarter than before. We quickly adapt to oncoming problems.
And yet, aren’t we also so fragile, falling apart at the smallest of things? Splitting from a spouse can shatter someone completely. Bullying on the playground can demolish a child’s spirit. Losing a loved one sends us careening into the darkest abyss of our souls.
Of course, I’m the eternal optimist.
There’s a way to reconcile being indomitable and endearingly fragile. It’s just how life is.
10:07 pm • 15 November 2013 • 5 notes