Hello folks. It’s Friday, December 15th, exactly 10 days away from Christmas. Are you ready? I’m getting there. Actually this year, I’m ahead of the game – we have a tree. This time last year, we were living in temporary housing. There was no tree, no Christmas decorations, and I was having a super hard time adjusting to the empty nester way of life. And it was freezing in California! Not so this year – we’ve been experiencing 80 degree temps, and sadly, many have lost their homes due to uncontrollable fires northwest of Los Angeles, near Ventura and Santa Barbara. Last night, we heard the news of a fire engineer from San Diego who was killed while battling the Thomas fire. Evacuations continue as fire teams struggle to contain the blaze. My heart goes out to Cory Iverson’s wife and family during this difficult time. I don’t think things could get any worse than losing a loved one during the holidays.
It seems that there is news everywhere that’s downright depressing. Friends, family, and people I’ve never met going through hard times. How do you cope when things look grey? I, in no way, am comparing my life to those who are experiencing truly heartbreaking circumstances, but I definitely feel sorrow when I hear of other’s suffering. I work in a profession that day after day is troubling. The way I look at things is frequently skewered due to my own conflicts and personal life experiences. Here are five things I’ve been doing lately to help me keep from feeling discouraged:
- Listen to music
- Listen to podcasts
- Movie therapy
Music is the cure for everything. Spotify is like my best friend. Absolutely no conversations needed that might end up making you feel even worse in the end! It’s free, or you can upgrade, which I highly recommend, so that you can listen to the songs you want to hear, any time. I created multiple playlists and follow dozens of others. Lately, I’ve been stuck in the 80’s, so my Classic Rock playlist has been my go to. It’s an upbeat playlist, and I never get tired of listening to classic rock. But I’ve also been into Show Tunes, ALT, Acoustic, and She and Him Christmas. Zoey Deschanel rocks. This is my Acoustic playlist. It has an introspective, self-reflective kinda vibe and is the kind of music that, for me, inspires creativity.
Listen to podcasts. Three months ago, I didn’t know what the heck a podcast was. Clearly, I was behind the times, as podcasts are particularly popular these days. There are a handful of adoptee-centric podcasts that I really dig: Adoptees on, hosted by adoptee, Haley Radke; The Rambler, hosted by Korean adoptee, Mike McDonald; Out of the Fog, hosted by Ethiopian adoptee, Kassaye MacDonald and Pascal Huynh; and Adapted, hosted by Korean adoptee, Kaomi Goetz. Please stop by my Resources Page to get the links to these awesome podcasts. I also listen to Second Wave, hosted by Thanh Tan. Second Wave is a new podcast from KUOW Public Radio and PRX where Tan talks about how the Vietnam War is still affecting the Vietnamese community. She just wrapped up Season One. I also like the The Actor’s Diet podcast, hosted by Taiwanese actress, Lynn Chen. If you’re a foodie, you might like this podcast. Chen struggled with an eating disorder in the past, as did I, so I can totally relate to her obsession with food. Others I enjoy are NPR: Fresh Air and Books and Boba, a bookclub dedicated to books written by authors of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. You can subscribe to all of these podcasts on iTunes. I recently started my own podcast, Global Adoptee Talk, and will be posting episode 2 soon. I was inspired by Haley’s, Adoptee’s On and Mike’s, The Rambler. This podcast is seriously a work in progress – podcasting is like a full-time job, and I already have one of those.
Pray. Well, I’d like to say that I feel like prayer always works, but I frequently feel as though I’m praying into a deep well. I’m sure that I don’t spend enough time praying, and I certainly could work on patience, definitely not one of my strong suits. That’s all I’ll say about prayer for now and will come back to it in another post.
Read. I used to be a complete bookworm, but I’ve slowed down a bit, mostly because I’m so exhausted at the end of the day that I can’t stay awake to read. And furthermore, when you get to be my age, reading in dim light is no longer an easy task, even with progressive lenses. That being said, I’m dabbling in a few books at the moment: The Colour of Time, an adoptee anthology published by International Adoption Service Australia; Fish Heads & Folktales, a memoir written by Korean adoptee, Peter M. Moran; Don’t , or You’ll look Puerto Rican!, a work of fiction written by one of my besties, Ruth Lucas; and Parenting as Adoptees by Adam Chau and ed. by Kevin Ost-Vollmers. My favorite genre is fiction, specifically magical realism. Just haven’t had time to get to the library.
Movie Therapy. Okay, this is an actual therapy, folks. It involves the ‘therapist-directed’ viewing of movies for therapeutic purposes. Apparently, the combination of thematic elements, such as music, dialogue, lighting, and images, has potential to evoke deep feelings in viewers, allowing for personal reflection and providing new perspective on external events (https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/movie-therapy). There you go. I’m not seeing a therapist at the moment, but I definitely see how catching the latest installment of Star Wars is therapeutic. I’ve got a list of movies I’m prescribing myself to see during the holiday break – The Disaster Artist, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Shape of Water, Justice League, Blade Runner. I’m not even sure if some of them are still in theatres.
Anyway, I hope this holiday season you take care of yourself and your loved ones. Consider getting a little ‘movie therapy’ in, or listen to a new podcast, or read a new book. Do something that makes you happy, and share it with others. Happy holidays everyone and stay safe.
Photo by MARK ADRIANE on Unsplash