Growth always inspires me. New experiences, learning, and self-improvement are things in life that give me life, but the part about growing that especially pushes me forward is overcoming past struggles. Renewing an old, tired mindset or identifying a destructive pattern that no longer holds me is powerful.
An aspect about growth that is somewhat staggering, though, is the rhythm of it. I feel that there are times that I’ve grown at different paces and in different ways in my life. Sometimes, it’s a steep launch upwards, and at other times, it’s a slow, gradual process that can feel painful and sluggish. My maths-senses are telling me that this would be some variation of y=mx + b, if that helps you visualize. Other times growth is irregular, with periods of learning and change, between stagnant times when complacency and comfort seem a bit too familiar.
As I explore this clean slate (tabula rasa) time and grow through it, a couple thoughts regarding this come to mind. They’re as follows:
How do we distinguish between stability and complacency?
What’s a healthy balance of pursuing growth/change and needing stability?
What does that look like for you?
I’ve been arriving at this weird spot of “feeling” like I want stability (namely a ‘stable’ job, simple schedule, and consistent routine… and also a more secure wallet). Every dreamer-bone in my body screams against it. But the safety-logical parts of me are tired of dreaming about starving artist passion-chasing. I think that pull between both, the conflict of it, is important to notice. And a feeling that I don’t have often.
My mother tells me that “everything in life is a balance.” And she’s 100% right (you’re welcome, and hear that Kevin?) I think the interesting part about this is that on either side of this, there’s growth. Stability and growth are not exclusive from each other. Nor is complacency stable. There’s a lot of “nonstop grind” sentiments in entrepreneur, young adult, and career-focused cultures. But I’m finding that rest time, challenging myself to pull inward, and not going 100% of the time is pushing me way further up (and onto way more difficult things emotionally/spiritually) into growth.
Some friends came to visit a couple nights before flying to Thailand. Really great to see familiar faces. And also to flex my new elementary-school-aged-child Korean with them at the market and restaurants. It was nice to show them around. We also got to do somethings that were on my list that I hadn’t gotten to yet! Thanks guys, for being adventurous and curious friends!
I’ve also gotten pretty close with some friends I’ve met through church here. I’ve noticed that I’ve started thinking about my relationships with people here more than nonstop survival thoughts like “how do I get from here to here, how do I say ______,” and “make a mental note about where to buy toilet paper.” My friends and I enjoy our time together, and I particularly like our shared meals.
Eating out and restaurants here are a really important cultural piece. Sharing meals and drinks at a cheap restaurant happens way more than it does at home. Well, for me anyway. I went from liking about five restaurants to liking every restaurant. It’s been fascinating, eye-opening, and refreshing to get to know people on a close, person-to-person level. Especially other Asian-Americans who had grown up in the States or had spent enough time there to have shared middle school phenomenon like Hot Topic or angsty punk music.
At the end of the week, I went to Eastern Child Welfare, the office where my adoption was processed. I’m going to have a second post about this, since this one is getting long. But it was emotional to say the least. And the current day I’m writing this (Monday of week 7), there have been wholly different changes and emotions.
With that, cliffhangers suck, and my life’s not a movie, sometimes I forget.
Thanks for reading, bit of a long post.
5 thoughts on “Korea Notes : Week 6”
Angsty punk music 4eva 🙌🏻🙌🏻
Good stuff. Can’t wait for the next episode!!
Karl, you’re the best. Thanks for posting all this and yes, your friends are as photogenic as you are. Much love.
Karl, It is great to read about your journey. You have a gift for writing…and authentic, writing from-the-heart, writing. Thank you for being you and including me. Love you