Four months. It’s been four months since my last post, and I sincerely apologize for my impromptu hiatus. But please don’t think that I was lazing about, skimping out on time that should have been used for a flow of writing. No, the last four months have been an absolutely awesome period of change and self-discovery. Ask high school me if he thought he’d ever be able to experience this. He’d be more dumbfounded than a priest in hell (woah, edgy).
So what exactly has The Ex-Otaku been up to? Well, following my return to Japan and the start of my school-year. It’s an interesting thing: starting a new life in a new place with new people really starts to shift the frame of what’s important to you. One of those aspects is personal enjoyment.
It’s not hard to lose yourself when life continues rushing by. It’s not shameful to have done so either. Too much to keep in mind, and even more to maintain a livable status quo, forgetting just what makes you happy is almost guaranteed. The ones that avoid this? Saints. If you’re lay-man like myself you’ll start finding that emotional-dependence starts creeping up when you can’t stand on your own two legs.
For me that was a constant battle of pleasing two such people at once… and did it take its toll. When I woke from the trance and realized what I was doing, I discovered that none of my former interests were at all intact and the path I was taking was one of self-mutilation (not literally so). I didn’t care what I ended up doing. There was no reason to improve myself because after a while, I lost all self-respect for myself. I honestly did not love myself. It was around the time of a horrendous low that I felt the need to get out of.
That I did. It wasn’t easy, and I suppose that a full recovery of not only my independence but also of my motivation to live hadn’t returned until this very post. These four months had highs, lows, and every conceivable level in between. Looking back now, I might enjoyed it if it wasn’t for the pain that came with. However, I guess it was one of the greatest gifts I could have received from this magnificent world.
And so dear reader, allow me to hammer in some ideas that most of you have probably heard time and time again. I do believe, though, that repetition is the only way we can actually remember. That or trauma.
Simple isn’t it? Yet so effective to keep in mind. Life throws so many complications at you from every angle of existence. For example, I almost got late to a meeting with the embassy this morning. Then when I came back, I realized by bike got towed for parking in the wrong place? Shitty situation? Yes. But since I made the meeting on time and am able to get my bike back for a measly $20, it’s hardly anything to stay stressed about.
A few months ago I was studying for the EJU, a test required to get into a Japanese college as a foreigner. I clocked in 150 hours over 2 months of studying. Everyday was nothing more than a mash of papers that I looked over once, twice, maybe even four times. High prestige universities needed scores so lofty that I knew I had to study my eyes to death. I’m not made for studying the Asian way and it showed when I got my results back. It was my fourth time retaking and I still barely got a 75%. Little need to say, I didn’t get into Tokyo U.
Now I realized that I shouldn’t have stressed so much. Over that time, I didn’t enjoy a single one of my hobbies nor made any progress in my Japanese speaking ability. I actually lost more than I gained (which was a mere 50 points or so). Instead of focusing on a college with no definite merit, I should have taken the time to work on me.
Thus, when I say It’s OK I do mean that there are fewer things more important in life than taking care of yourself. Schools, careers, even taxes (oh no, here comes the IRS) don’t come close. There’s always going to be problems in life from this, and if you let it they will run your life. Take a breather and tell yourself everything will be fine. It will.
Surround Yourself With Joy
One thing I believe is that it’s impossible to be happy unless you choose to be happy. Even then, it’s easier to make that choice when there’s nice things occurring. I mean, get stuck in a middle of a group of dead-eyed Salarymen and tell me how much fun you could have. Oh wait, there’s World Order.
Keep yourself in an environment where the lifestyle is against morals you hold dear, and that starts messing with you. More so, be stuck with people you aren’t fond of or aren’t necessarily keen on having you around either and you’re in for a very stressful time.
So what should you do? Get out of there. Remove that which causes pain and sadness as quickly and efficiently as possible. Of course, it’s easier said than done. It might require a lot of emotional or even physical pain to clear out what’s injecting your life with a toxic cloud. But remember, what stays longer? The pain of continued unfulfilling comfort or the pangs of removal? One definitely passes faster.
It’s really not that hard to figure out what to do next. Just follow what makes you happy.
Although I absolutely adore the song of the same name by Justin Beaver (I know and I’m sorry), this is not about that. Now, I wasn’t able to realize this by myself. I had help. I had this same help multiple times. Almost makes me wonder if that person got sick of it after the second time.
Dear reader, no matter how tough life gets always remember that you are an important individual to yourself. Your needs, aspirations, and wishes matter. Although this world may not be able to grant everything, remember that it doesn’t have to. The world is not in charge of your happiness. It only takes one in this entire reality to give you the strength to seek out what makes life worth living for you. As they say: If you can’t love yourself, no one else can either. Boy is that true.
Three doesn’t cover all of it, but it should be a good foundation. Again, my apologies for the wait. Although I’ll set it to the side. No use stressing. I mean, I just came back from a trip to Korea. That was fun.