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Life anywhere can become overwhelming. We don’t have to live in a big city where a crowded subway can cause morning commute madness, and a day that started happy quickly turns sour because we forgot our lunch rushing to catch the number 2 train we just missed. Likewise, it’s winter and another morning in New England arrives that calls for scraping the car free of ice in frigid temperatures that fall below freezing, because the windchill broke another record. It’s too hot, too cold, not enough choices, too many to choose from…wherever we are, the grass will always be greener elsewhere. Someone will always be richer, poorer, in a so-called ‘better situation’, happier, luckier, etc. If you think about where you were a week, a month, or even a year ago this time, I’m sure you could think up some situation or remember an emotion attached to that time period that was probably quite different than you feel now.

It’s all about perspective.

I do a lot of reflecting. A lot of thinking back, to the past, which some people may not consider healthy. I think what it comes down to is how we choose to use this information and those memories we’re looking back to. It’s been 6 months since I returned from Korea and not a day passes where I lose consciousness and awareness of where my two feet are standing. I think back to a year ago and how I’d considered returning to the US before completing my 12 months, or how staying for 6 months more fell as one of my options during various stages of my contract. And now I consider how some people return to Korea because to them, that’s where they were possibly their happiest. For others, like me, it was my most challenging year. Happiness and challenges aren’t mutually exclusive but we only usually come upon this conclusion in retrospect, and my case, they were.

Here in Brooklyn, NY, life has not been overwhelming. I started a new job at The Foundation Center, have artwork hanging at Choice Restaurant in DUMBO, and was selected to participate in a juried exhibition earlier this month through VERGE Art Brooklyn. According to the cards, I have nothing to complain about and I’m not about to begin. But it hasn’t always been like this is what I’m saying. And while I am lucky compared to MANY, things will get better for many of them. Life is overwhelming but it doesn’t always have to be.

What makes this blog post different from others by me is that I am usually weighed down with the sorrows and tragedies of countries turned upside-down by natural disasters, conflict, political or economical instability. Guilt begins to generate because I am here, writing from the comfort and safety of my home, whereas those whom I am usually writing about lack this security and I end up doing little more than cogitating on this morass of seemingly infinite global plights. And while we won’t forget the devastation that struck Japan, nor overlook the earthquake in Burma, or stop pursuing peaceful agreements amidst the uprisings in the Middle East, we have to look for a silver-lining somewhere. The world is an unpredictable place and for us to keep ourselves and each other afloat on a global-level, we can’t overlook the success happening in smaller, less-publicized parts of the world: in Liberia where bridges bring access, and the AU’s aim to provide laptops to children across Africa. I’m not a politicist or specialist in foreign affairs, so I don’t know if these decisions are all ‘right’, but we can’t constantly look at humanity’s struggles and people in the context of adversity. We have to keep moving, and to look in between stories and scenes we normally pass by to see that even in the midst of chaos, beauty does…and can exist.

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2 thoughts on “looking back, looking in between

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