Wednesday, 2 January 2013

a letter of instructions - to myself - for 2013

To my Self,

Please pay attention and read carefully. I didn’t want to write out a list of New Year’s resolutions (though I do have a few) this time, so I didn’t. Here instead are some simple instructions concerning your behaviour and your attitude for you to follow in 2013, and, hopefully, throughout rest of your life too. But we’ll just worry about 2013 for now.

1. Don’t make New Year’s resolutions you know you can’t keep. “Lose 20 pounds” would be a good example of such a resolution. I don’t understand why you insist on setting yourself up for failure in this manner but I am sure it is unhealthy. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, grammatically. That last line might be a quote from a movie, but I can’t remember and frankly I don’t care.

2. Stop freaking out about your future and moaning that you don’t know what you are going to do with your life. You are halfway through your junior year in college, you are going to graduate next year, and then, yes, you WILL go out into what people call the real world (apparently the world you have been living in for the past nineteen years is just an excellent fake, rather like the fake Michael Kors bag your mum gave you which she insisted was “the really good kind of fake”), so the sooner you suck it up, the better. Take active steps to discover what you like doing and what you are good at this year, and start making some real plans – either for grad school or for working. And pray. Hard.

3. Travel more. Use your breaks to go and visit other states, take advantage of the fact that you can’t go home during spring and thanksgiving because for you a plane ticket home costs as much as a California resident’s semesterly tuition at Berkeley (that may or may not be a slight exaggeration), take advantage of the fact that you even have such things as spring breaks, since you won’t starting in 2014 (wait, that’s next year, $#%&!). Unless you decide to go to grad school (see #2). So go places, do things, visit friends, make new ones, take hideously cringe-worthy tourist pictures and pretend you have no shame. (Or just admit that you really don’t have any.)

4. Read more. Read to make yourself a better person, a more empathic person, a more nonsensical person, a more believe-in-the-impossible kind of person. Read to educate yourself. Read to travel to the places inaccessible through Korean Air, even though after years of flying only Korean Air you firmly believe that it is the most superior form of cross-continental travel. Read to go backwards and forwards in time, since you unfortunately do not possess a TARDIS which can help you do that in real life. Read to fall in love. Read to meet people who aggravate you so much you wish you could throw the book at them, except that wouldn’t even hypothetically be possible because they would be inside the book itself (I think you still have some unresolved anger issues with Briony Tallis from Atonement). Read to be rebuked, inspired, humbled, and moved to tears. Read because you love reading. Most importantly, read yo’ Bible and do what it says.

5. Write more. Seven-year-old Yurie would be ashamed of the way you -- making excuses and being embarrassed by your own words. Most of whatever you write is and will turn out to be complete nonsense, but that doesn’t matter. Be bold and be unashamed, be the opposite of idle, whatever that is, and whether you post your writing publicly or keep it private on your hard drive or in a notebook or on a napkin, give shape and form to the various thoughts meandering around in your jumbled up head. Post in your blog more often; it’s okay that nobody reads it because you need to learn how to write selfishly, for yourself, before you attempt to write for others. Write because you enjoy writing and it brings you peace and purpose. Write because writing is one of a dismally short list of skills you possess and can use in the workplace. Write to remember. Write to forget. Write to express yourself and write to shape yourself. Write write write.

6. Please, for the love of everything healthy, do try your best to eat more vegetables. Eating all the broccoli your mum put on your plate – all three of them! – on Christmas (best present ever, thanks mum) was a big step for you, I know. I am challenging you now to take more such steps this year, even if they are the kind that are always narrated in books as being taken “gingerly.”

7. Consider everything in this following paragraph to be bolded text. Be more appreciative of the people you have been blessed with in your life. Take care of them, but also let yourself be taken care of. Lose the insecurities you still have about yourself. (A good way to do this would be to put them in a “safe place” so you never lose them; in just a few days time you won’t be able to remember where on earth you put them and will hunt about for them to no avail. This method of losing things has an excellent success rate, and has worked beautifully with such things as passports and small earrings in the past.) Love and be loved. Remind yourself that you are beautiful as God made you, regardless of what the world thinks about you and regardless of what you think about you. And above all, be thankful, for you have much to be thankful for.

Looking back on what I have written, it appears that these are simply New Year’s resolutions attempting to disguise themselves as instructions, an attempt about as successful and subtle as a girl wearing bunny ears and spandex on Halloween and trying to pass herself off as a rabbit. Transparent disguises aside, I still hope you follow these instructions to the best of your ability this year. Brush off failures like they ain't no thang, and, as those wise-quote-refrigerator-magnets say, laugh at your mistakes and learn from them. And I expect some kind of end-of-year report or evaluation from twenty-year-old Yurie on how you did when 2013 draws itself to a close. But that is still such a long way away, isn’t it?

Good luck, and please don’t give me too much reason to be disappointed in you, as you have done so often in the past.

From your friend/enemy/your very own