This question is from Saboten Girl a fellow Japan blogger (and one of my faves) over at Saboten Girl and it is as follows:
What’s up, Loco!
These questions are more for the universe, but since you’re putting yourself out there, I’ll “what’s up” you.
I moved from Tokyo to Osaka last year. I’ve wanted to study my subject for years, and I finally got accepted into a graduate program. I quit my jobs (full time hostess doing very well, thank you) and flipped my whole life upside down. I now (try to) sleep at night and take classes during the day. I now have no money and can’t be the rich auntie to everybody. I now have no close friends nearby. I now have tons of free time to get all up in my head. It’s hard starting over. I’m getting used to my new life, but it’s still kind of tough. I want to go back to my old bad habits a lot, but so far I’ve managed to stick to this path I’ve chosen.
So, any tips on sticking with it and not giving up? (don’t know how to sign off, so I’ll just sign off with my blog handle) Saboten Girl.
First off, I want to thank you Saboten, cuz believe it or not, your writing, that is, the way YOU put yourself out there has served as inspiration for me on many occasions. In fact, your motto: You are as sick as your secrets, so live out loud lurks in my mind when I’m poised above the keys trying to decide how far I should go in this potentially cathartic practice of writing. So, thank you so much. You rock, beautiful!
I think you touched on a possible solution to your quandry in the outlining of it. You said, “I now have tons of free time to get all up in my head.” How does the saying go? “Idle time is the devil’s playground,” or “Idle hands are the devil’s tools” or something like that? Well, from my experience, minus the religious overtones, that is exactly how it is. Not to over-simplify things but if you could reduce your “tons of free time” to mere pounds or ounces of free time with something productive, preferably something related to over-achieving in the “subject” you’ve wanted to study for years and finally gotten the chance to, that might (emphasis on possibility) alleviate some of the desire to go back to the old bad habits.
You might also want to seriously and proactively address another piece of your description, the having no close friends nearby part. Keeping in mind the distinction between being alone and being lonely or lonesome, I’d recommend making the making of friends, or rather a close friend, a priority. Yes, I know, easier said than done, but from reading your work over the years I know you could if you put your mind to it.
Funny thing, I had a similar problem. Let me tell you a quick story.
Every month my company has a meeting that all ALTs are required to attend it. I’m friendly enough at the meetings but I couldn’t have a meeting of the mind with any of my fellow ALTs for some reason. Many of them are kids fresh outta college, which I’m way beyond, or all married and offspring’d up and dealing with trying things I wasn’t trying to be an ear for. You know?
But, there was one Cat at the meeting who seemed to have his shit together. However, he was standoffish and I’m not the type to push myself on people…at least not in person (-;
Then, damn near after a year or so, this Cat runs up on me outta the blue and says, “Yo! I read your blog, man!” And proceeded to tell me how similar some of his thinking was and how impressed and surprised he was to find that, as he put it, in this arena of japanophiles, japanophobes, pissing, moaning, ass-kissing, boring-ass, corny-ass motherfuckers there was actually someone who he could relate to. How cool is that, right? And he wasn’t merely a fan. The man is deep, challenges all my ideas, brings shit to the table that keeps me on my mental toes, chock full of experiences and knowledge that never ceases to astonish me. And the cherry on top: Turns out, this mofo lives one stop away from me on the train. Needless to say, his running up on me marked the beginning of a (so far) beautiful friendship, as Bogart would put it.
My point, good people are out there as long as you’re open to it, as clearly you are…your writing screams it. As did mine, apparently.
And, on a final note…and on this one I may be reaching so bear with me. I think we have to be careful how harshly we judge ourselves. While you’re all up in your head, make sure you question why you feel that the things you used to do are “old bad habits” as well as why you want to stick with it. You know? Make sure that this is indeed your judgement and your ambition not society’s or your family’s or your friends’. What’s best for you may not fall in line with what’s best for them or what those values that were impressed upon you as a child allow for. I mean, happiness is a personal thing, and may not bring happiness to those you care about. And if you were truly happy, in the most selfish definition of the word, then I would re-evaluate that judgement, and take from those “old bad habits” what brought you joy and leave the rest. Shit, life is too short (and too long) to be living it for everyone else. Time is the most precious commodity we have (please forgive any piety in my tone) so spend that shit wisely and don’t succumb to the dubious “values” and will of others cuz you better believe they wish they could be selfish- in the true meaning of the word- too.
Just kiss ’em, smile and as you turn to go your own way say, as Sly (of Sly and the Family Stone) would say: “Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin”
Hope this was helpful and hope you can live the life you want to live guilt-free on your own terms and look back with no (or very few) regrets!
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