February 2008

7. My favorite store in the whole wide world is 7-11. Any country, any flavor. Oh, thank Heaven for 7-11. I have photgraphs of 7-11s (the authentic and the inauthentic) from every country I have visited.

6. I love Sharpie Markers even though they seep through paper. I love their permanence and the resultant disregard for errors.

5. I smell everything before I use/wear/touch it. This has spawned many discussions and in some cases some tricky situations. This includes boys and Sharpies.

4. I do not have any debt/I love my job. I believe these are probably linked somehow. I am fortunate to do work I enjoy, which is not to be confused with wanting to work all the time or support people who are not working.

3. I dry the sink after I use it, always. Kitchen and bathroom and I am talking about the basin not the counter, though in all honesty, I dry that too.

2. I read books and watch DVDs in the order in which I get them (and therefore stack them) on my shelves. I will not deviate from this.

1. I often feel that inanimate objects have feelings and this changes the way I look at them and what I do with them. I may be more considerate of the inanimate than the animate at times.

Amanda, 37, freakishly normal in HK


… in the traditional sense of dreams being, you know, ‘dreamy.’

He was sick. Really sick and sick in ways that people around him didn’t know, couldn’t know. And even if they had known, would have been able to know, they would have chosen ignorance over reality. I know this. Ignorance is so much easier sometimes than the realities we create and endure.

People are always confusing ignorance and stupidity, which is a shame. They are very different concepts most notably in the element of choice.

I am not stupid. But I was ignorant about some things and then there was the dream, and after that you can never go back and then ignorance doesn’t seem so bad because it is a comfortable place back there that you can never inhabit again. Everyone around me believed they were neither ignorant nor stupid, which somehow equated to enlightenment in their mathematics of personality. The derivative of this was that I was subject to a lot of “helpful” problem solving which was both misguided and inappropriate. But I see now it was not their fault, it was no ones fault, it was just the different ways people chose to see the situation, what I am now calling the dream.


Using my own TARDIS to go back in time, here’s what I would tell my younger self:

1. Don’t take life so seriously. Skip a class once in a while–it really won’t matter that much in the future. Live a little. Make waves.

2. No matter what your parents tell you and what other Chinese kids your age excel at, you suck at math and science. Take some humanities courses; you will find solace and inspiration in art and literature. Ultimately, you’ll find the creative arts much more rewarding.

3. You really aren’t as noble as you think you are. Get off your high horse and stop being a hater. Stop taking pride in your unselfishness and just do it because it feels right–not because you think you deserve more.

4. You really won’t become a Republican when you’re older and more cynical, no matter what your father says.

5. Your culture is a beautiful thing. Don’t reject it–learn about it and enjoy it. And keep up with those Chinese lessons.

6. Change piano teachers. Now. Suzuki is just one of many methods to teach music, and it’s not for you. Find a different teacher and you might actually learn to enjoy playing music. You might learn to sightread. You certainly won’t give your mom and your teacher an ultimatum and quit. Someday you’ll be glad you developed an appreciation for classical music.

7. Don’t be a fashion victim. Find your own style. Guess jeans with zippers on the leg are not for everyone. Especially if they’re green pastel ones, and you’re not quite five feet tall.

8. Youth really is wasted on the young. You have no perspective at all. There’s so much drama, so much angst and fear and pain–and yet it doesn’t matter one iota. One day, you’ll understand this. I know this is the worst kind of advice, and exactly the type my younger self would never listen to–but it happens to be true.

Helen, 34, Glenview, USA 

While I was training to be a coach, our training consisted of mostly experiential exercises, one of which is a visualization called “Future Self”. The idea is that you conjure an image of you 10, 15, 20 years later, and ask this older (and presumably) wiser self for insight, guidance, maybe even comfort.

It was all new to me, so my expectations for this exercise were both high and low. High in the sense that I hoped my future self was kick-ass and bold, (a Helen Mirren basking at the Oscars), as well as wise (a Judi Dench who doesn’t necessarily bother with the Oscars). Low in the sense that never having done a visualization before, my concept of what it would be like was wide open and unattached.

The visualization part of the exercise was incredibly relaxing — darkened room, post-lunch, soft background music — so much so that I nodded off for a minute or two. The woman reading the script had a lovely voice, round and warm like a cookie fresh from the oven. The part of the exercise that didn’t fly was the star of the show, my “future self”. She was a no show. (more…)

1.  i have two favorite colors – one to look at (orange) and one to wear (green).

2.  i am only able to clean my house one way…  start in the master bathroom and work my way out the front door.  if the kitchen needs a cleaning, gotta start in the bedroom.

3.  i strongly dislike the sound of chewing.  a very bad thing to dislike when you live with other people.

4.  i am no where near as confident as i have learned to appear.

5.  i love to bake, but have no oven.

6.  i’m not good at saying no and sticking to it. (that’s why we now have 2 dogs)

7.  i never, ever thought i would live anywhere other than texas.

monica, 37, chiang mai, thailand

there are a few things that i believe the whole hindsight is 20/20 thing about.  but i fear if i hadn’t made the screw ups that i did i might not be the me that i am.

so, some advice to me, only younger.

  1. finish college.
  2. there are some friends i should have stayed in touch with and some that weren’t worth the effort.
  3. set personal boundaries – don’t wait.
  4. maybe eat just a little less while pregnant.
  5. avoid the curb at the grocery store.
  6. don’t be afraid of change.
  7. continue to excercise.  it’s a lot easier to keep going than to restart – again.
  8. don’t worry about having a third baby – everyone turns out just fine and he’s a hoot
  9. spend more time with extended family.
  10. take more pictures.
  11. don’t waste time on stuff just because everyone else is doing it.
  12. be more confident!

monica, 37, chiang mai, thailand

I am not one for regrets but there are quite a few things I wish I had a Tardis to go back to tell my younger self. I probably wouldn’t have listened anyway..

  • Worry less. I know its hard but seriously try.. not much will ever get solved with worrying.
  • Concern yourself less with boys – the right one will come along and you’ll pick him for all the right reasons instead of all the wrong ones like before.
  • Get rid of baggage – lose the friends who drag you down, who are wrapped in their own negativity – don’t bother holding on to them just because of longevity.
  • Remain in contact with family members – great aunts, grandparents – despite struggling to know what to say. You will regret it when they have gone.
  • Write more but don’t ever submit anything to an online writing critic – her overly cruel words will crush your enthusiasm for a long time if you do.
  • Give up smoking now – you will in November 2006 but why wait and waste all that money and do damage to your health?
  • Moisturize more frequently.
  • Think about the tattoos you get before you do it – you will not regret them but wish you made different choices.
  • Moving to America will be the best thing you ever do – don’t be scared it WILL work out.
  • You are not as fat as you think but should try to maintain a good body image and reasonable health.

Not Goth, 34, Redondo Beach.

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