I think certain therapies such as occupational therapy (OT) have their place, but sometimes I feel like it’s too focused on what I perceive to be “fake growth”. Instead of making internal shifts, I feel like it’s too focused on accomplishments and goals. I think it’s fine if it’s something you want to do. But otherwise, I’d much rather focus on “real growth”, which stems from internal shifts.

How do I define “fake growth” vs. “real growth”?

Fake growth is basically anything that can be a bullet point for a list of accomplishments or for a resume. It could be a blog/website you’ve worked on, a book you wrote, a degree you’ve earned, money you’ve accumulated, jobs you’ve possessed, the next step in a romantic relationship, weight loss, muscle gain, etc. It’s something external that you can measure.

But, real growth is typically an internal shift. And, there’s no real “ego” or attachment to it. It’s about how you relate to life. You may start having a deeper understanding of life. You may grow past your fears. Or, you may learn how to better deal with negative emotions.

Eventually as you make these internal shifts, you may see it reflect externally. But, simply making an external shift doesn’t necessarily indicate internal shifts. For example, you can go from being broke and depressed to rich and content. But, could you stand to be broke and content? Did you make that mindset change first, or did you achieve making more money, which caused the mindset change? Depending on your answer, it would make the difference between fake growth and real growth.

Some people pursue fake growth in the hopes that it will solve everything. They go through years of working hard on their goals, only to achieve them and be left feeling empty. The achievements only mask what was hiding under the surface. The only purpose of the state of busyness was to avoid their internal reality.

Think about it. What is the purpose of fake growth? It might be to stroke our own ego, or to feel as if we have contributed to the world in some way. But, what if the world didn’t need any contributions? What if everything would be perfectly fine or even better without you contributing anything at all? Your list of accomplishments would essentially be meaningless.

Even real growth can seem meaningless, but it doesn’t have that same attachment that fake growth does. With fake growth, it’s all about showing and proving what you’ve done. With real growth, there’s no need to prove it. Still, it impacts your life and indirectly affects the people and situations you interact with.

Also, fake growth is sometimes focused on this idea of “leveling up” or “achieving a higher frequency”. With real growth, there are no levels. There is no comparison between individuals. Everyone is on their own journey. It may relate in some ways or not at all. But, there is no race to the top. It doesn’t matter what you possess or what you have achieved. It doesn’t even matter if you’re trying or not. As I mentioned before, there is no ego to real growth.

But what about being productive?

According to Google, the definition of productive is, “Producing or able to produce large amounts of goods, crops, or other commodities.” It’s just essentially making more of what isn’t there. Is that necessarily good? Do we need to have all this stuff? What are we going to do when we have an abundance of everything we need? Do we just keep going?

Plus, how do you decide if one activity is more productive than an hour? Some people may define it as the opportunity cost, maybe based on how much money they are making per hour doing a particular activity. But then, isn’t that just values-based? You’re prioritizing money, so you try to align with more activities that earn you more money.

What if you decided to focus on something else besides money? Would that still be considered productive? Again, what is the point? Is it to drive your ego, or to contribute to society? If it’s driving your ego, then when is it enough, or is it a constant battle uphill? If it’s to contribute to society, is it something actually meaningful or are you just doing it for the sake of doing it?

Being productive just for the sake of being productive doesn’t really make much sense. It’s better if you are working on something that matters to you or that aligns with your values/interests. It’s more purposeful this way. Simply checking off a box on your to-do list isn’t actually meaningful in itself. It may help you keep track of your progress, but again, it’s still focused externally and doesn’t really mean much in the end.

How do I start focusing on “real growth” vs. “fake growth”?

There’s no easy way to do this, but basically, you focus on how you’re relating to life. Do you hold onto resentment? Do you act in ways that feel aligned, or do you often feel conflicted? How do you feel about yourself? What are your beliefs, and do you find these beliefs to be serving you?

You may notice patterns in your life that you want to change. Maybe your boundaries are always being crossed and you want to learn how to enforce good boundaries. Or, maybe you have a pattern of lashing out on people you love, and you want to learn how to communicate in a healthy way.

The only thing I want to call attention to is that no one point of your real growth journey is better than another point. It’s just different. There is no attachment, as the journey of real growth is constantly going in ebbs and flow.

I hate to say it, but sometimes, I look at how others are doing in similar fields to me and use that as a way to gauge my own abilities. They say comparison can kill, but honestly, sometimes it motivates me. Sometimes, I get inspired by what others do. Sometimes, I even get envious or judgmental. I always acknowledge it, and I tell myself, “Hey, if they can do it, so can I, if that’s what I really want!” I wish I wasn’t envious or judgmental of other people at all, but I figured if I’m feeling this way, I might as well spin it into something beneficial. And you can too!

Sometimes, it may be a person you know in real life: a friend, an acquaintance, a family member, a bully... Other times, it could just be some random person online, or that you may only know by name (e.g. a celebrity, an influencer, an author, etc.). It doesn’t really matter who. The point is, sometimes they do something that you’ve been dreaming of, and you see their success. You see them doing well. And then deep inside, you’re like, “Wait, that could be me.”

And uh, no offense, but sometimes, you feel like you could do a much better job than the person in question. I’ve had a few acquaintances who have started businesses, started blogging, published books, created merch, and so much more, and I’m like, “Hey wait a minute, that’s what I’ve been wanting to do!” And then out of curiosity, I look into what they’re doing. I read their blogs, check out their social media, and view their merch designs. When I read it or view it, I’m thinking, “Wow, this is really average or bad quality. Do they seriously make money this way?” Hey, maybe it seems brilliant to them, just as what I’m creating seems brilliant to myself. And you know, maybe their advice actually works for some people. So rather than scowling at their work, if I think I have much better ideas, why don’t I create something of my own and put it out there?

Most of these people who write books or start businesses have no clue what they’re doing when they start. Even after they execute the idea, it’s imperfect. There may be many flaws. But you know, that’s how you get started. And, I guess the reason I get so critical of others is because I’m constantly trying to make sure that what I put out is of good quality. I’m a perfectionist in a way. But today as I was tuning into Steve Pavlina’s 5th Amplify Zoom call (I know I’m rambling, bear with me), I shared the realization that it’s better to share an imperfect creation than not at all. Who is going to benefit from your creations if you keep it all to yourself?

Plus, usually you improve over time. I say usually, because it does take some conscious effort. You have to be aware of where you’re at, what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, what’s landing with people, etc. I’ve dealt with so-called professionals, I’m talking about people with PhDs or who have been working in a field for 25+ years, and they continue to give outdated advice. They don’t really learn anything new. One example is a psychiatrist that claimed to have had training in CBT. She really only knew the basics and thought that that was sufficient enough. I received treatment from her for a couple of years. She shared a lot of ideas that I just couldn’t see eye to eye with. I couldn’t understand some of her suggestions. Well much later, I went to an expert on CBT and he was able to help me make significant changes in my life with what I had been struggling with. And a few times even, he would say the complete opposite of what my psychiatrist was suggesting. I could rant about this in a whole different blog post (or maybe even a video), but anyway…

The reason I’m rambling about this is because honestly, it takes little to no effort to be ordinary, to do what everyone else is doing, to be average… So honestly, if someone else is able to do something with such low effort, imagine if you were the one doing that. I’m not saying you should strive to be average. I would hope that you would try to become better. But, I’m just saying, there are so many average singers making song covers on YouTube who have thousands of followers. There are so many average life coaches making hundreds or thousands of dollars a month with their coaching business. There are so many average merch designers making hundreds of sales every year. If they can do it, why can’t you?

Also, you don’t have to do all the work yourself. Don’t know how to set up a website? Ask someone. Don’t know how to create quote posts on Instagram? Ask someone. Honestly, I’m working on this myself because I get a little nervous to work with other people. I tend to do most of my creative work by myself (blogging, setting up a website, creating Instagram posts, creating a bio website, producing music, putting my music on Spotify/iTunes, etc.). But, I have a friend who helps me with music artwork. It started with her approaching me and asking me if she could make artwork for a song I was covering. We have a good friendship in general, so I feel comfortable going to her continuously for help. I’ve collaborated on a song in the past with someone I knew, though we weren’t particularly close, and I felt awkward trying to push for the project to be completed by a certain time. So, I’ve learned I like working with friends, or at least have that openness to be transparent/honest about what your expectations are. You don’t necessarily have to be friends though. You could find someone to help you in whatever area so that you can focus on what you do best / what your interest is.

It took me a while to start my “music career” on YouTube. I was haunted by this memory in 7th grade when a boy, who I considered to be a good singer, heard me singing with friends, and commented that I sounded terrible. I was so embarrassed that I was shy about singing in front of others if it was by myself. Honestly, thinking back, I realized that my style of singing was different, much softer. I was in tune. I was in choir. I didn’t have a “pop” vocal, I had a choral voice at the time, and I didn’t know how to sound like people did in pop songs.

ANYWAY, long story short. Eventually, I got into K-Pop, and I remember putting out my first cover (2NE1!). A while later, a couple of friends heard it and encouraged me to post more. It took another year or so, but I started posting more bad quality covers. I thought it was so cool that I could figure out some songs by ear. But oh my goodness, the instrumental quality was horrible. Anyway, I received feedback from random internet strangers that it wasn’t that great either… >< (I set those videos to private, haha.)

But then, I would go see other YouTube cover artists who were not even producing their own instrumentals, who had terrible English translations (I thought I could do so much better), and with poorly edited vocals. They had thousands of followers, and hundreds of likes. I was wondering, how on earth were they doing this? And how were they not getting the terrible feedback that I was getting?

I kept going, and eventually, some of my song covers were landing (though admittedly, improving in quality too as compared with my previous covers). One was even shared by the original artist! In my head, I was like, “How’s that Bob?!” (That’s not his real name, but I’m referring to the boy who told me my singing was horrible back in middle school.)

Even now, I consider myself an average singer. I’m not a good belter. I don’t have this dazzling tone. My head voice sounds weird when recorded. Heck, I use pitch correction on my vocals. I hardly sing live to people. But I told myself, if others can do it, so can I! I don’t need to be the best. It’s not like I’m doing brain surgery where it’s life or death. And hey, you don’t need to appeal to everyone either.

I don’t want to throw names, but there are a lot of people for example in the personal development field who I consider to be quite average. They talk about very basic concepts and share these ideas as if they’re the most profound ideas ever. And you know, for people who are learning these ideas for the first time, it can seem groundbreaking. But I’ll be honest, I consider myself an intermediate in terms of what I know in the self-help field, and I feel like I know just as much or even more than some of these “experts”. Truthfully, I don’t like that I’m being so judgmental about these people. They’re probably just trying to help others. If I feel like I can do so much better, then I should just do it.

Some people make a living out of criticizing others. It can be funny or entertaining honestly. There are vegans who analyze non-vegans’ “what I eat in a day” videos. There are film critics, reaction videos, and course/book reviews. Some of these can be done tastefully. Though, some can be outright obnoxious, so I would tread carefully into this path if it seems like something that interests you. Personally, I want to do reviews/criticisms of my own, though I’m trying to find a tasteful way to accomplish this. I’ve tried doing this in the past in college / post-uni, but it came across as harsh, and I didn’t like that. I wouldn’t want to receive such harsh criticism myself so publicly, so I’d like to tone that down.

I went on a tangent, but my point remains. If someone else can do it, why can’t you? They might not even be as talented, as skilled, as experienced, as knowledgeable, as smart, as clever, as whatever! But if they can find a way, surely you can too. Sometimes, this is what motivates me to get started. This may seem petty at first, but honestly if it inspires you to do something for yourself, then that’s great! Eventually, you may even find those feelings of jealousy and envy and comparison go away as you begin to focus on accomplishing your goals or dreams in life.

For January 2021, I planned on hula hooping 5 minutes a day. That ended up not working as planned because the weight hula hoop hurt my abs after 15 seconds, and I couldn’t imagine continuing with that pain. So, I attempted to build up to 5 minutes a day. Though, I didn’t hula hoop every day. I hooped maybe 3-4 times a week. By the end of the month, the most I could hoop at once was 2 minutes before the pain would set in.

Then, I thought maybe I could make use of the set of dumbbells I had. I thought I could alternate days of hooping with reps of exercising with dumbbells, maybe even do squats, every day for 30 days starting February 1st. And, I could start with just 1 minute a day for the first week. Week 2 would be 2 minutes a day. Week 3 would be 3 minutes a day. You get the idea.

So today, I hooped for 1 minute with the weight hula hoop while watching a 1-minute timer video on YouTube. I hope to keep up the momentum. I tried to make it as simple and as easy as possible for myself. It’s a small start, but it’s more than what I’ve been doing. You have to start somewhere.

The hula hoop and dumbbells are in plain sight in my office room, where I go every day. And with COVID-19 still raging on, I doubt there will be a day that I will miss going to my office room. I have no travel plans. I’m in this room every day. And, one minute is not hard. You know, even if it seems hard, it’s doable. I can talk myself into doing it, like rationalize, “Well, it’s only one minute!”

I decided to do these activities because I stopped going for walks outside ever since the weather dipped in temperature. I’m still not motivated to go out for a walk, especially today when snow is still fresh on the ground.

I haven’t gone to the gym in over two years. And, I don’t intend to during this pandemic. Though, I will consider going back when times are better.

I considered other options such as planking, pushups, or yoga. But, I feel like I have to push myself to do those things. I wanted to do something that I could do with little willpower. I kind of enjoy hooping, and lifting dumbbells doesn’t seem so hard when it’s right there and it only takes a minute of my time.

It’s quiet sad because of how bad my fitness level is. I mean, I’m not crippled or anything, but I barely have arm strength. My abs are pretty much non-existent. I guess the only thing I have going is that it can only go up from here, right? 😂

In the past, I got frustrated because I would go to the gym frequently and feel tired or gain weight. I couldn’t even tell if I was gaining muscle. It seemed like fat to me since my body pretty much looked the same, with my round tummy going nowhere. I hope I don’t coincidentally gain weight and think that it’s related to this. I talked about it in a previous post, but I really don’t want to reach a situation where I’m over 160 lbs. That would be my breaking point. I would truly wonder where I went wrong. I mean, I wouldn’t complain if I had a toned belly and weighed more. But if I still have a round belly and somehow push beyond 160 lbs, I would feel so angry, confused, and betrayed. Like, somehow my body turned against me and decided, “Welp, now you’re going to be officially overweight according to BMI!”

Technically where I stand now, I’m in the upper normal range for my BMI. But, I definitely feel as if I’m already overweight. My stomach is not toned at all. I honestly wouldn’t care about the number on the scale if I had a toned belly. But if I want that, I know, I have to actually take steps to get there considering where I am now. And my first step is getting into the habit of being active, no matter how little it is!

In November, I did a 30-day book reading challenge (20 pages or more). In December, I learned a new word every day. This January, I was planning to hula hoop 5 minutes a day. But unfortunately on Day 1, I realized that this goal was too ambitious for my level of fitness. 😅

You see, I haven’t hula hooped for three years or so. So when I first attempted to hula hoop on January 1st, I could only get through 15 seconds before the sore stomach pains really got to me. So instead of doing 5 minutes a day, I thought it would be nice if I could work up to 5 minutes gradually over time.

Well, today I was able to do 2 minutes straight without stopping! That’s progress. It’s not even halfway to 5 minutes, but considering how I would only hula hoop 3-4 times a week, that’s something. I felt a little soreness towards the end of the 2 minutes. I thought I could keep going, though I wouldn’t have a timer. (I was watching a 2-minute timer YouTube video with music, so I didn’t have my actual start time from the clock to follow.)

I was planning on buying a regular hula hoop so that I could comfortably go through 5 minutes a day. Plus apparently, you can burn as many or even more calories with a regular hoop versus a weighted hoop. So I thought, what’s the point of extra pain when you can burn extra calories anyway with something less intense?

I thought you could find regular hula hoops for cheap in places like the dollar store or Walmart or even Amazon. But, a lot of hoops go for $20 or more, and they tend to be weighted. Or, they’re in bulk. Or, they’re kid sizes. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to find a cheap basic adult hula hoop.

So, then I thought maybe I should just continue with my weighted hula hoop. I don’t have to do any 30-day trial or anything, but just gradually work my way up to 5 minutes by hooping 3-4 days a week like I’ve been doing. I mean, I can already do 2 minutes, and I think I could have pushed for another 30 seconds or so. So, it’s possible.

I’m curious to know what long-term hula hooping would do for me. I’m talking about hula hooping every day for 10 minutes or more a day. Would my belly tone up? Would my abs be stronger?

Aside from hula hooping, I thought about also trying to jump rope again. Though, I don’t really have much space at home to do so. If I did jump rope, it’d be easier to do it outside. I’m not really motivated to work out in the cold. I know you can warm up by working out, but I tend to avoid the cold whenever I can. 😅 I think when it gets warmer, like during the springtime, then I will buy a jump rope and time myself doing that. Maybe I’ll even do a 30-day experiment with jump roping.

I wanted to get into some sort of physical activity that’s fun. That’s why I decided to try hula hooping again. We had a hula hoop for a while, but I didn’t know where it would fit in the house. I ended up being able to make space for it.

I eventually want to join a gym again and try some classes, probably zumba. And if I do take classes, I’ll make sure to only do as much as I can handle. If the class is an hour long and I can only handle 20 minutes in the beginning, I’ll do that. I don’t want to burn myself out like I did in the past when I would attend intense workout classes.

Anyway, I still have a prominent belly. My body is not toned at all. Some people think I look skinny, just because of the way I dress. Like obviously if I were wearing a crop top or a tight shirt, you’d see my round belly. I mean, I don’t have the most overweight body or anything. It’s just obviously, I could be healthier and do better.

I don’t really watch what I eat. I’m trying to cut down on sugar though. I usually have breakfast and dinner, unintentionally intermittently fasting out of convenience. I used to eat cereal every day, which is funny considering I used to condemn cereal, again out of convenience. And then, I tried having healthier breakfasts with vegetables or fruits for the past month or so. I didn’t realize how much sugar was in the cereal, or how much sugar I’d consume outside of breakfast and dinner if I just felt like having a snack. If it’s fruit, it’s fine. But, it’s usually not fruit, so that’s no bueno.

I know people have been gaining weight during the pandemic. But, to see my weight constantly going up for years was so frustrating to me. I remember when my goal was to be less than 120 lbs, and now I’d just be satisfied with being less than 150 lbs. I’m scared that it will somehow go beyond 160 lbs. It’d be one thing if my belly were toned and it’s just muscle weight, but to reach that weight and still be out of shape, that’s just my limit. I’d be so angry.

I don’t really believe in dieting unless it’s part of a lifestyle. For example, eating vegan makes sense because it’s about not exploiting animals. And, cutting out foods that you’re allergic to makes sense. But otherwise, I don’t think restricting calories is the way to live. Or only eating green foods.

Aside from eating vegan or vegetarian during parts of my life in the past, I’ve never considered dieting. I’ve always eaten as much as I felt like eating. And before, that worked fine. I was generally around 120 lbs or so. Sometimes, even less. And then after I had been put on meds, I consistently gained weight. It didn’t matter the dosage. I’m actually at the lowest dosage, but pretty much at my highest weight. So if it’s not the meds, I don’t know what else it could be, because my weight in the past was not really an issue.

I thought about returning to a vegan lifestyle one day, for ethics and for health. Like honestly, there’s no reason for me not to be vegan. I’m not lacking any nutrients, and it might even help me to lower my bad cholesterol.

Anyway, I’m thinking about what I should do for my next 30-day trial, if I should do one at all. It’d be nice if it were health or fitness related. I just don’t know what. I want it to be simple so that I will actually do it every day. Even if it’s not health or fitness related, that’s okay too. Maybe I could try a songwriting challenge, or a journaling challenge, or even another blogging challenge. We’ll see…

2020 was a relatively stable year for me. It wasn’t my best year, but it definitely wasn’t my worst. And if anything, it was better than the two years prior to that. Admittedly, I didn’t achieve much, but it went a lot better than I expected despite the pandemic still going on here in the United States.

In 2018/19, I didn’t use a planner or an agenda. I kept reminders of my appointments on my phone’s calendar app and I’d keep notes in my Evernote app. But this year, I wanted to try using a planner again just to see if it helps me in any way.

I bought my planner from Five Below. There’s a note page in the beginning followed by monthly calendars. Each monthly calendar is followed by a page where you can write lists, notes, events and priorities. And then after all that, there are weekly spreads. After each spread is a page to write more lists, notes, priorities, plan for the upcoming week, and a weekly habit tracker. There are a few more blank pages at the end followed by stickers that you can use to remind you of days when you have appointments, birthdays, lunches, etc. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking for when searching for a planner, but this seemed good for me.

At first, I wasn’t really sure what to write in my planner. So, I marked important events/appointments. I wrote a list of states I’ve traveled to, though I’m not really sure why since this will probably be an odd year to travel. And today, I wrote a list of possible goals I could work on. I came up with more than I expected actually. And, I didn’t really create stretch goals. I tried to keep them reasonable, something that I felt like I could easily achieve. For example, I read 3 books last year (towards the end of the year, and one book was really short). I haven’t really kept up with the habit of reading, so I thought 5 books seemed achievable.

Here are the list of goals I came up with:

– See what it’s like being off meds completely and continue if sustainable.
– Consistent body weight of under 150 lbs.
– $1K+/month in passive income through music streaming/downloads.
– One year in Conscious Growth Club.
– Read 5 books.
– Grow my one Instagram account to over 10K followers.
– Release 2 more songs on Spotify.
– Finish Success Triggers, an online course.
– Finish DAI, a webinar series on living an abundant life.

The goals I came up with are within the scope of the current circumstances I inhabit. I have other goals in mind, but I’m not sure if I’ll achieve them this year. For example, I would like to move out to someplace with relatively warmer climate. I would like to lose weight, but I’ve been consistently gaining over the past 3+ years while being on antipsychotics. So, even losing 5 lbs this year would be amazing for me.

I thought about learning another foreign language, or continuing to learn Korean. But, I don’t know if I’m really interested in that. I did purchase a cheap Udemy course on Spanish, but I’ve only dabbled into it here and there. I’m not entirely opposed to learning, just kind of on the fence about it.

I thought about doing more 30-day trials of various habits. One idea would be to make music every day for X amount of time with the goal of coming out with a song at the end. Another trial would be, if I find myself drawn to the idea again, to spend 5 minutes learning a foreign language. I mean, it is only 5 minutes, so it wouldn’t be so hard.

This month, I was actually going to hula hoop 5 minutes a day. Unfortunately, I could only last 30 seconds the first day because it hurt more than I expected. I used a weighted hula hoop, that’s why. And, I haven’t hula hooped in forever. However, I’m tracking it as a habit to see if I can build up to 5 minutes. I haven’t been doing it every day though after realizing how painful it is starting off. 😅 I mean, that happens. Sometimes, you have to reject an idea when it doesn’t go as planned.

I want to do more 30-day trials this upcoming year. It will take me some more brainstorming to come up with some good ideas. I could even repeat previous 30-day trials such as blogging every day or reading books every day. I just thought it’d be more interesting to try new habits.

Steve Pavlina did a few 365-day challenges. He exercised every day for 365 days, and he blogged every day for over 365 days. He said it serves as a positive reference point. It sculpts your character. I’m not even used to 30-day trials, so I think I’ll hold off a few more years before I attempt a meaningful 365-day challenge. It’d be interesting to try one time though.

Beyond 2021 (after COVID-19 subsides), I thought about traveling to each state in the United States. I’ve been to 19 of them for sure. Though, some states I just stopped in for maybe an hour before moving on to the next state (such as when I went by bus to Florida with family for a cousin’s engagement). I want to spend at least a week in each state. That’s achievable in a year, though I thought I’d want time in between to just chill at home. So, I thought in the future, I could achieve this goal within 2 years. I imagined vlogging/blogging about it or sharing pictures to capture the experience. Maybe I would go with a friend or with family.

I don’t know about this year, but eventually I would like to try to become vegetarian again and then even vegan. I stopped just because I thought maybe I’d stop hearing voices if I ate animal products again. I thought maybe I was missing something. But you know, it’s been over a year of me eating meat again, so that definitely did nothing for me other than blending in with my family more. These things happen when you get sick, so I’m trying not to be hard on myself. But, I’m realizing that I don’t have a real reason for eating meat other than it just feels convenient now. The reason I say I want to work on this goal beyond 2021 is because hopefully by then, I’ll have moved out and it’ll be much easier to work on as a goal living by myself vs. living with other meat-eaters.

I thought about writing a book a few months back, but I’m not really sure about the idea now. I could write about my life experience with hearing voices / being possessed, whatever you would like to call it. Maybe I could do this in November with NaNoWriMo. They challenge you to write a novel, but I could just write a non-fiction. I’ll hold off from the idea for now.

I think once I join Conscious Growth Club, maybe I’ll be able to come up with some more aligned goals. I was briefly in CGC back in 2017 when it started, and I opening myself up to new ideas I never thought of before. I had to quit shortly after unfortunately because that was the year I became “sick”. But now that I’m feeling relatively stable, I’d love to give it a shot again and see what I could learn.

I think buying the $5 planner was worthwhile. Right now, I have a tab open for Success Triggers. So after I publish this blog post and drink some water, I’ll watch the next video and review the study questions. I only have 9 more lessons to go, so if I continue doing this every two days, I can finish by the end of the month. And then finally, I’ll know if it was helpful or not.

I think if COVID-19 subsides by this year, I’d like to travel downtown and try going to a new place once every week with one of my friends. I was doing this at the beginning of the year. My friend and I went to Reading Terminal, then Chinatown, and then suddenly we heard the news about COVID-19 and we cancelled our plans. But if things turn around, I’d like to visit as many places as I can downtown.

Anyway, those are my plans for 2021. It’s not anything crazy. Nothing super ambitious (at least I don’t think so). Just simple goals, aligned with what matters to me, and that will benefit me both in the short-term and long-term. Most of my goals are experiential in nature. I don’t know if I’ll have materialistic goals this year since I’m trying to build up my assets first. Maybe in the future, I’ll have a goal of buying a car or buying a house. But, I don’t see a real need for it now.

Recently, I completed my challenge of reading 20 pages or more of books every day for 30 days. It wasn’t always easy to stick to the challenge, but I made it through. I’m not going to mention any particular books I’ve read, because I don’t really recommend them. They were just okay.

The first week was fairly easy. I used a tablet. I chose a book that I thought about reading for a while, and I guess because of my curiosity, I was able to read a fair chunk of the book in the first week. Each chapter was roughly 15 pages. So, I would read two chapters every evening usually. I figured it would be better to complete a chapter rather than read a third of the way through and then have to refresh my memory of what I read.

By the second week, I was getting bored with the book. I thought I’d find some interesting insights by then, but the story seemed to be dragging for me. So, I’d read one chapter, and then would switch to another book to finish up my 20 or so pages.

Eventually, I finished the first book (thank God). I mean, it wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t as great as all the hype I’ve heard about it. And, I was just glad I could finally say I’ve read it, and could decide whether it was good, okay, or just plain bad.

The second book was more interesting to me. It was a self-help book. I didn’t really learn anything new about myself per se, but I thought some of the exercises in the book could help me in the future if I ever decide to embark on ambitious goals or dreams again. It helps you solidify plans and take action. And also, the chapters were longer, so I could finish my goal of reading 20 pages easily by just reading one chapter. So, that was a relief.

And then eventually, I started on my third book. There was one particular day that was stressful for me. I was feeling tired earlier in the evening, but I didn’t want to go to sleep yet. I knew I had to finish reading 20 pages. I really struggled this day. As some of you know, I experience something like hearing voices, but more intense. Basically, the voice kept distracting me from the text. I would read a sentence, and not even comprehend it. And at one point, I was reading each word one at a time, really emphasizing it in my head. But the next second, I would literally forget the last word and would not correlate any connection between the words. It was horrible.

But still, I didn’t want to fail just because the voice was getting in the way. So, I soldiered through. I hardly understood the text, but I kept going and finished the 20 pages anyway. And no, I didn’t go back to re-read. I don’t really find that necessary, unless you’re studying something, or unless you think that you will gain some valuable insights.

Speaking of not comprehending the text, there were some times when I would read the first book (an autobiography) and would either zone out or just not really absorb what I was reading. I didn’t go back to re-read those parts either, for the most part, unless I felt like I missed something interesting. I like to just power through and move forward. If it’s a text I really enjoyed, I might re-read it. When I just continue reading the next thing, I feel like it might teach my brain to focus and if it misses something, oh well. Maybe that’s not how the brain works… But anyway, that’s just how I read. I’ve heard others advise something similar, of not going back to re-read something, but just to move on.

After the 30-day reading challenge, I think I read the very next day, and then missed like two days of reading. The first day was because my hearing voices experience felt intense and I didn’t really feel in the mood to try to concentrate on reading. So, I didn’t push myself. The next day was Thanksgiving and we were out, so I was tired and didn’t feel like reading. I thought this was strange because I thought the habit would stick, right? Why wasn’t I in the mood, even if I was tired? Like, I didn’t even have a thought of, “Ooh, maybe I should read, even just a little bit.”

Well, I guess it had to do with the tiredness because the next day (Black Friday), I felt the urge to read. I felt pretty stable, not tired or overwhelmed by voices. It’s still too early to tell the overall effects of this reading habit and what it has done for me after, but I’m hoping it’s like a habitual urge or something. Does that make sense? I mean, I just hope that I feel more inclined to read than to just play games or to just watch videos in the evenings.

I’ve mentioned this before, how if I could re-do the challenge, I would read less pages, maybe 10 or 15. Even 15 is ambitious, considering I was barely reading a book a year. 5 pages is an easy goal. Maybe that would have been nice. Though, I did finish 2 books within the 30 days by setting a higher target. I don’t even think I would have finished a single book if the target was a measly 5 pages. I might have just gotten bored with the first book and abandoned it altogether. But because I was reading at least 20 pages a day, I thought, “Well, I might as well finish another chapter.”

I’m not officially doing another 30-day or any kind of challenge for reading. But, I think on days when I’m doing fairly well, or even if I’m feeling a little tired or overwhelmed by voices, I can set a soft goal of reading 5 pages a day. It’s not a lot to commit to. I remember pushing through, struggling to understand what I was reading when the voice particularly distressed me one day. So, I think it will help me build up strength and power through, doing a task despite how I’m feeling. And, maybe it will teach the voice, “I’m not gonna give in just because you’re acting out.” I think of the voice as a child. So, maybe reading like this every day despite how it acts will discipline it. That’s my wishful thinking.

I’m not a disciplined person or anything when it comes to these 30-day trials or challenges. I try to make them as simple as possible. I actually tried to tag coloring to my reading habit, which I did do successfully for I believe 24 or 25 days in a row. But then, I had a bad day of just feeling tired and overwhelmed by the voice the next couple days (after finishing reading for 30 days). I added coloring days into my challenge, so I thought I’d spend a few extra days reading and coloring together. It didn’t pan out that way. I should have just stuck to reading. That was me not keeping things simple, which I should have done.

I recommend, even if you think you can do more, keep a baseline. Don’t push yourself to do more. Don’t tack on more goals needlessly. I thought I was being clever by planning out evening activities to distract me from hearing voices. But, it became a checklist of things to do in the evening before sleeping. And, it kind of took the fun out of those two activities (reading and coloring). I think it’s better to stick to one goal or one habit at a time. Because then, even if it doesn’t seem fun in the moment, you eventually grow to enjoy it or learn more about it or just naturally do it anyway. But when you’re juggling two or more goals, you never fully focus on doing your best with just one. Eventually, you could build up to do more. But when you’re first starting off, it’s better to choose one goal to focus on.

I was trying to read every day as a coping skill, and also I guess as something “productive” to do. And honestly, it worked pretty well for me. The voice didn’t bother me most days. Though, the voice still bothered me when I was tired. In my head, I’m thinking, “I don’t want to fail my goal.” But, the voice will play devil’s advocate and say, “Sleep is a priority!” I hate when the voice tries to justify doing things differently. Neither option is wrong per se, but if I want to read, let me read in peace. I take a while to fall asleep anyway, even when I’m tired, so I might as well accomplish my goal. That’s my line of thinking.

I want to do more of these 30-day trials or challenges so that I can build up some discipline, and also assert my power over the voice. I want to show it, “I’m gonna do this thing, and whether you agree or not, it’s gonna happen.” I’m so tired of the voice influencing me just because I don’t want to deal with it. It’s my body, my mind, let me do what I want.

Honestly, I don’t really feel accomplished after reading for 30 days. I mean, it is something because I have had trouble sticking to habits and goals in the past. And, I finally completed an intentional 30-day challenge. I feel satisfied that I read a couple of books and will probably finish one more by the end of the year. But, it’s not anything great. I don’t feel elated or surprised. I’m more so like, “Yeah, that’s a thing I did.”

I am glad that the voice did, for the most part of this challenge, calm down in the evenings. Though now the challenge is officially over, it tries to convince me that I don’t have to read. And yeah, it’s true, I don’t have to read, but I still want to read. I still want to have a long-time habit of reading, so that I can finish reading all those books I was curious about or will be curious about in the future.

December is approaching soon, and I don’t yet have a 30-day challenge set in stone. Maybe I will research a few ideas. I did think about writing a book about myself and my experiences with hearing voices, so I thought of doing something like NaNoWriMo but for non-fiction and in a different month. I thought though that maybe I should give myself more time to plan it out. Some other 30-day trial ideas include some form of exercise, practicing piano again, producing music, livestreaming, drinking more water, and blogging (again, because I did do this last August to September, but it’s no longer on the web). I’m not really leaning toward a particular goal. I do want to do something though.

As I’ve been going on with my 30-day reading challenge and have been keeping up with Steve Pavlina’s NaNoWriMo challenge, I’ve been thinking more about writing a book of my own. I hesitate to start it early or to make it too challenging. But, it’s been a goal of mine for years to write a book. Just over time, my ideas on what I should write have changed.

Currently, I’m thinking of writing about my life experiences with and after having psychosis. I don’t know how much of the past I’ll really include. I think my focus will be on how I’ve handled the challenges of dealing with psychosis when it first happened and all the changes it brought since then. When I compare my life from after psychosis to before, they almost feel like complete different worlds in terms of the way I’ve operated. I want to focus on what’s relevant to me now. So, I have a general idea of what I’ll write.

Writers usually set some sort of goal to write a certain amount of words or pages per day. I’m not sure when exactly I’ll set aside 30 days to write, but I thought I could write 1000 words per day. Though, then I wondered if this would be too ambitious given my current difficulties in keeping up with my reading challenge. I thought 1000 words was achievable because of how much I write in my blog posts. But, maybe writing for a book would be different. So, I thought maybe 500 words would suffice. It’s little enough that I can free write that much, but big enough that I would have 15000+ words by the end of the 30 days. That would be a significant chunk for a book. The only problem is if I want to guarantee that it’s longer, then I’d have to continue writing beyond the 30 days. But I guess after 30 days, it would be more ingrained in me to continue writing, right?

I thought about self-publishing versus traditional publishing. On one hand, traditional publishers, especially if they’re focused on mental health-related books, can help me reach a wider audience. Though, I might not make much money this way, especially as a new author (well, if you don’t count the short eBooks I’ve published on Amazon).

With self-publishing, there’s the well-known Amazon KDP. However, they take a large commission (30% for eBooks priced $2.99 – $9.99 and 65% for books priced outside of this range, not including the small fee for each time someone downloads an eBook based on its file size). So, I looked into other options.

One idea is to sell direct. I’ve been looking into PayHip. I haven’t tried it out yet as I do not have a digital product prepared. But from what I’ve read, you don’t have to pay any monthly or annual fee to use it, and they only take 5% of your sales. Plus, you can set your own price. I thought it’s worth a try. I’ve seen other YouTuber authors use similar services to sell their own eBooks, and they don’t always have a large subscriber base either. So, maybe it would work for me.

I was watching a YouTube video last night about how this one guy advertised his book and made about a $300 net loss. But then, he ended up converting those readers into $100,000 in other digital product sales and coaching calls and coaching program sales. So then, I thought I could set up something similar. I might add a coaching service to my website for example. I would try to start something simple, something that I could easily implement and build up from there.

I have a few different purposes with writing a book. One, it would help me to reflect and understand my experiences better. So in a way, it’d be kind of therapeutic. Two, I’d connect to and possibly help others who are either going through a similar experience themselves or are curious about these topics. Three, I’d create another passive income stream for myself, And four, there’s the possibility that this could open up other opportunities for me.

The part that I’m concerned about with writing this book is the potential criticism or ridicule I’ll receive. I think I can generally handle it. I have dealt with negativity when I started a body hair positive Instagram. For the most part, I get a lot of positive feedback. But sometimes, there are those who are plain ignorant or stupid (that’s how I label them). So, I guess if anything, I’ll just be more so annoyed/angry at the negativity then fearful or sad. When people spew their idiocracy, it usually has less to do with us and more to do with their twisted beliefs.

Ideally, I’d find a way to redirect that anger into something more productive. I’m reminded of Earthling Ed, a vegan activist who can get his views across without sounding crude or demeaning. Like if someone asks “but where do you get your protein”, which is sometimes considered to be a stupid question in the vegan community, he calmly suggests sources of protein in plant-based foods rather than rolling his eyes. I’d like to develop this kind of mindset myself.

So as you can see, I’m still in the process of planning how I’ll write the book and how I’ll publish it. This is a goal I’d like to reach before I turn 30. There’s no specific reason other than giving myself a deadline to accomplish my goal and make it a reality.

I think that the journey of writing the book will be enjoyable in itself. It’s like writing a blog post, but lengthier. I feel so relaxed and thoughtful when I write, especially when I type. And then, I enjoy going back and reading what I wrote in the past. It’s interesting to compare your past and present, and to track a moment in time.

I will probably hold off from writing my first draft until next year, 2021. I’m thinking about embarking on a different 30-day challenge (or well, trial) for the month of December. I want to build the momentum of completing 30-day trials so that when I get down to writing, I will actually commit to the 30 days. I don’t want to stop in between and give up. I want to ensure its success.

I know a few people personally who have published books of their own. And honestly, some of them are not even the type to write. Some of them have never even written anything online in the past. So if they could do it, then I certainly can with my writing experiences.

I’ve always wanted to publish a book, one that would do very well or be impactful in some way. I always thought it was a big goal. I have self-published a few books already, just to experiment with passive income. I took down two titles, one which was created out of uncopyrighted material from other bloggers, and another which was based off an old blog post I wrote. The last one, which I’ve kept up, was a short book with 100 beginner/intermediate Korean phrases/sentences. It sells maybe one copy per month. I didn’t put too much effort into it, in terms of the writing or promotion. If anything, I’d like to revise it. But, I’m not particularly invested in the idea.

I’ve had many ideas for books over the years. When I was younger, I thought about publishing a fictional story. Post-college, I leaned more into non-fiction.

These days, I think about writing a book about my experiences over the past three years or so, specifically about life with and after psychosis. I’ve debated about it. On one hand, I want to help others who have experienced something similar and educate those who know little about it. On the other hand, I wonder how much I should actually share. There’s some details that may be important, but I feel embarrassed to share. Though, there’s probably many authors who have felt the same. They probably skimmed over the details or just dove straight into what they wanted to share.

Recently, Steve Pavlina started writing about his participation in NaNoWriMo, which is an organization that promotes this event where you write 50,000 words in the month of November for a novel. At the time, I already planned to read for the month. And also, I didn’t have an interest in writing a novel. However, I did think about how I wanted to write a non-fiction.

I don’t really talk about my experiences with psychosis online. I mean, I’ve mentioned hearing voices. I’ve talked about mental health and coping skills. But, I never actually explained to strangers or even friends on the internet about what was going through my mind when I was experiencing psychosis. I never talked about the ups and the downs and how it affected my mindset.

I wondered if now is the right time to draft the book. I guess it’s never too early, technically. It’s better to document things early, so that you can always look back and see where you were. But when I think of a title like “Life After Psychosis” (the current title I’m thinking about), I feel like I should have accomplished more. I feel like I should be more stable, more independent, etc. But then again, this is real life, not fantasy. Sure, maybe life would look much different in a year or two, or even five years from now. But, this is my life now. This is my reality. This is my experience. I shouldn’t dismiss that.

I don’t want to dive straight into writing. I think I’d like to research it more. And also, I’d like to dedicate a 30-day challenge to it, writing at least 1000 words per day. Right now, I’m focused on my reading challenge (and my “coloring” challenge, if that counts). I also have other 30-day challenge ideas such as doing an Instagram Live each day, exercising daily (something short and simple), and trying various methods for improving my sleep (30 days to better sleep challenge). I’m not in a rush to write the book. Though, it’s definitely something I’d like to accomplish, hopefully before the time I hit 30. (Wow, 30-day challenge before 30! 😆)

I was thinking about going the self-published route. Though, working with a mental health book publisher wouldn’t be a bad idea. They’d definitely know how to market better. I’m not doubting my abilities, but for my first book, the publishing route might be nicer. I’m open to either of these options. I’d like it if it reached a wide audience though.

This would be the first time that I’d be writing something so long that is my own original content. I mean, I’ve written plenty of blog posts in the past. But, a book typically requires structure and organization. It requires more planning so that it will be cohesive and simple to read.

I remember writing fan fictions in the past. I never really organized them well. I just started with the story and went in sequential order, adding chapter by chapter. I never finished the stories, though. And, I couldn’t just jump ahead or go back. I had to continue where I left off, because I was publishing it online and my readers were expecting that. If I wrote it all beforehand, which I never thought of before, then I could have waited to publish it after I finished.

I think if I write this book, I’ll just write whatever ideas come to mind, similar to how I write a blog post. I’ll worry about the editing later. I have a few friends who might be able to help with that too. So, I don’t have to go it alone.

So, writing a book is on my bucket list. I didn’t really have a bucket list for the past two years because it was hard for me to accomplish goals. But recently, I’ve been becoming better at it.

I also think that because I’ve been getting back into blogging, I think of writing more. I think about having more of an impact through my writing. I think about reaching a wider audience of readers. I think about how I can help. I think about how other books have helped me in different ways, or have sparked something in me. And I think, “I want to do that too!”

I don’t know when I’ll start this goal, but now that I’m publicly announced it, you all know! Feel free to share your advice or your encouragement. I’m not going to work on publishing a book right away, but the idea is there. Everything in our reality was first an idea. Well, with the exception of the voice I hear maybe… which is another story. But anyway, I hope to bring this idea to fruition before my 30th birthday. 🙂

It’s been over a week into my 30-day reading challenge. I initially thought of reading 15 pages a day, but decided to bump it up to 20 pages a day because I wanted to make sure I’d finish the first book I would be reading in less than 30 days. But now, it feels like a bit of a hassle.

Sometimes my Kindle miscounts the pages (repeating numbers). I think it’s because I changed the settings of the font text, size, and spacing. Maybe under default settings, the pages would work just fine. But, I adjusted the pages so that I could read the text more smoothly.

A chapter of the book I’m currently reading tends to fall under 20 pages. I find most chapters to be around 15 pages. So if I set the goal to be 15 pages, easy, I’d just read one chapter. But since it’s 20 pages, I have to read more. And, I don’t like to leave myself hanging in the middle of text because it’s like listening to a quarter of a conversation and waiting until the next day to hear the rest. When you do that, you generally have to go back to refresh your mind. It’s better to finish a section at a time, even if it’s longer. So for days, I’ve been reading two chapters at a time. I didn’t mind this at first. But, I guess I’m getting a little bored of what I’m reading. So if it weren’t for me challenging myself to read at least 20 pages, I’d stop after one chapter.

One way to troubleshoot this problem is to just read another book. I do have other books checked out that I had yet to read. I tried this a few days ago. The second book I read was a little strange to me though. Interesting, but weird writing. There are a couple of other books, one I know to be good but never quite finished, and another that I anticipate to be good. I could read one of those texts.

Another solution is to read one chapter in the morning and another chapter in the evening. It might be easier to split the time. Sitting for an hour reading the same text requires some mental effort and concentration. But if it’s for 20-30 minutes at a time, it’s easier to complete.

A combination of both ideas is good too. I could read one book in the morning and another in the evening. I will probably end up doing this. I can read the book I’m currently reading first thing in the morning, and then read a new book in the evening.

Of course if I want to do this, I’d have to make time in the morning. This morning, I woke up earlier than usual. I still felt tired, so I tried to go back to sleep. But I didn’t fall back asleep for some time, so I got up and started researching things on my new tablet. And then, I decided to continue coloring a sheet I printed out a couple days ago. I didn’t really think to maybe read instead. So if I wake up early like this again, I can read.

I guess even if I don’t wake up early, I can read after eating breakfast and changing my clothes for the day. It doesn’t have to be the first thing I do every morning. Though, that would be a nice way to start my day. Sometimes, I don’t feel like getting out of bed. So if I have my tablet next to me, I can just reach for it, sit up and start reading. Then when I am more awake, I can get up.

A couple nights ago, I got into coloring. I don’t know what sparked the idea. I just remember searching for markers on Amazon and looking up adult coloring sheets one day. So far, it’s pretty fun and relaxing. I decided to add this as part of the 30-day challenge: read, then color (in the evenings). I started getting into the more “difficult” parts to color on this one sheet I’m working on, so I don’t know that will go. They’re really two separate challenges going on, but it’s just easier for me to extend the reading challenge and finish both by the end of the month. And then, I can decide if I want to continue both habits. I guess it’s still early to tell, but I think that I’ll continue these two habits.

There’s only one other person I know who is doing the reading challenge with me. Though, I believe they decided to wait to start on November 1st. I started early, because well… I had everything set up, and I wanted to do something to distract me from hearing voices, so I thought why not.

It’s nice to have an accountability partner. I check-in with them about my reading habits. I sometimes tell them about what I’m reading. Or, I learn about books they’re interested in. I can share my thoughts about the challenge with that person, and we can encourage each other to continue reading.

I also know of someone else who is doing a 30-day writing challenge. It’s with NaNoWriMo. He’s writing his first novel. He’s also been doing a 365-day blogging challenge since the end of last year. So, that’s also encouraging for me. When I see him making progress on his challenge, I think that I can also progress in my own challenge.

That reminds me, there used to be an app called Lift. It’s now called Coach.Me. I tried looking it up, only to discover that it’s not compatible with my current phone… boo. The reason I liked this app was that you could find other people who were completing similar habits, or you could see your friends’ progress and check in with each other. I think it’d be nice to do something like this again with my reading habit. It might motivate me to see myself completing a 10-day streak, and then a 15-day streak, 20-day streak, etc. I’ll have to find another app to use since I can’t use it. Maybe in the meantime though, I could print out a November calendar and keep track for now. I could mark it with a big red X for reading, and a big blue O for coloring. 😁

I think it’s still too early to feel the benefits of reading 20 pages of a book daily. I guess the major benefit is that I don’t have to focus on hearing voices. And also, reading on a tablet seems to be helpful. There’s something about a screen that allows you to take the focus off hearing voices and tune into what’s in front of you.

I guess also, the book I’m currently reading has inspired a new idea for me., which is working for a crisis helpline. I found out there were volunteer opportunities for just a few hours a week. I think that’s pretty doable and easy. I can see if I enjoy it, and think about getting paid for it if I do. It can also give me some experience later if I decide to coach people virtually.

I’ve deliberately avoided naming the books I’m reading. I only want to name them after I’ve finished reading them and can for certain say that they were enjoyable books. And also, if I were to recommend them, I’d have to think about applying for Amazon’s affiliate program again so I could get a commission. 😂 (I’ve never made any money through that program even though I’ve tried in three times in the past, just a disclaimer… I guess not enough traffic or interest.)

I remember when I was reading books back when I was living in Korea, I would take notes. I would write down thought-provoking quotes or outline the main ideas. I didn’t do that with this particular book. There’s a highlight/note feature on my tablet, but I haven’t used it. I think if I were reading a book with a certain purpose (e.g. improving my success with habits), I’d use the feature. But, the book I’m reading now is simply an autobiography. If I’ve learned anything particularly useful, it’s already in my head through story.

I haven’t really thought about the long-term effects of reading daily, other than I can finally say, “I’ve read X books (since Y / this year / over my lifetime).” I don’t know how many books I’ve actually finished before this reading challenge. I can remember some, like certain book series, or ones from a particular author. And then, there are the many books I’ve read in my childhood. So I guess if I’m going to keep track, I’m going to count it from now on. Maybe I’ll save a list on my computer. (In fact, I created a spreadsheet for this just now.)

I didn’t read this morning, so I’ll probably read two different books tonight. I hope it goes well. I have had trouble completing 30-day challenges in the past. Starting late this summer, I’ve succeeded at two other informal 30-day challenges. So, I’d like to stick to this challenge too.

I’m not in any rush to move out. I don’t have to. I currently live with my parents. It took me some time to get used to, after having lived in Korea for a little over a year on my own (back in 2015-2016). There’s pros and cons to living with parents, and although I don’t mind it, I think it’s better for me to live independently again. When I’m on my own, I feel more motivated to be social, to create new habits, to try new things, to travel, and more. And, I think I would feel more comfortable creating songs or YouTube videos for example, which could contribute to my livelihood.

I’ve looked into cities that have lower costs of living. For example, the rent is cheap in Oklahoma City, and the cost of real estate in general is cheap in El Paso. I think I’ve also read that Texas has no income tax. I think in the short-term, I would move to a place that is cheaper to live. It might be anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. And then as I would grow my income, I would look into places that seem interesting.

Even though I’m looking for a place where the rent or cost of real estate is inexpensive, I still want to be careful about the climate. I prefer warm weather. I’m not a fan of the cold. When it’s cold, I don’t feel like moving or doing anything. And also, I wouldn’t have to necessarily sign up for a gym membership if the weather is nice outside year-round. I could just go for a walk, or eventually build up to a run.

I think by the time COVID-19 subsides in the US, I will be in my early 30s. That seems like a good time to live independently. With mental illness, it’s a little trickier, but these days I feel more stable. Speaking of which, I’d also want to live someplace where there is accessible mental health care.

I’m not interested in a roommate situation, but depending on my housing, I could provide an airbnb of some sort. And also, it’d be nice to have extra rooms for if friends or family visit. Or, have extra space for an office or workout room. I’m not too fussy about it. I don’t own a lot, and I know how to maximize small spaces. I lived in a studio when I was in Korea, and I could fit a bed, a piano, and a table with my computer/TV in the main space. So I’m sure that even if I ended up living in a studio again, it wouldn’t be an issue.

When you plan to move, it’s good to know what you’re looking for. I kind of already mentioned it earlier in this post, but this is my basic list of wants:

– Live by myself (though I’m open to renting out another room if I own it)
– Washer/dryer in-unit
– Mental health services available in the city that accepts insurance
– Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s, or some good grocery store / farmer’s market with organic produce available in the city
– $750 or less per month if renting
– Preferably warm weather year-round

There’s other things I have to consider, like will I rely on public transit, walking, get a car, or use Uber/Lyft. It can vary from city to city. Some places are more public transit friendly. In other places, people might rely more on a car.

Previously, I’ve considered moving to places like Los Angeles, Phoenix, or Seoul. Los Angeles is a little out of my price range at the moment. Plus over there, most people recommend a car. I guess Phoenix and Seoul are technically not out of the question. Rent can be found on the lower side in both areas. I know Seoul is cold in the winter, but I’m willing to live there in the winters because of all the fun places you can visit there.

Moving out of the country is tricky because I’m still on meds. Though ideally, by the time I move out, I would be completely off meds. I’m at the lowest dose right now, and I’m not exactly sure if the medicine is doing anything for me (other than preventing me from shedding all the extra pounds I gained ever since being on meds).

Though if I wanted to live in Seoul, I’d need some kind of visa. I’d probably attend a language school there and would see how it is for 6 months to a year. Moving my stuff would be tricky, though not impossible. Some things, such as my keyboard (piano), I wouldn’t take along with me. I could probably find a used one cheap there. I’d have to look into how I could ship my desktop computer all the way over.

I’m not opposed to moving abroad, but I think for convenience sake, I’d like to stick to the 48 states for now. Plus, it’d be a way for me to see how well I could handle living on my own with mental health challenges.

I know I’ve talked about being opposed to jobs in the past. I’m open to it if it’s something that interests me. Like recently, I’ve looked into helpline jobs. I thought it’d be nice if I could help someone through a simple text or phone call. Right now, I’m just looking to volunteer to see what it’s like. But if I like it, I wouldn’t mind getting paid for it.

Ideally, I’d work remotely so that I could move whenever I feel like it. It’s nice when you have that flexibility. Helplines can be remote work.

I’m guessing it will be a year before COVID-19 really settles down in our country. So in the meantime, I’d like to continue finding ways to make money online, preferably through ways that are more passive.

I’ve considered maybe becoming a habit coach of some sort. Though first, I’d want to become good at completing 30-day challenges of my own. So far this year, I’ve succeeded at completing two 30-day trials. One was to blog every day for 30 days, which kind of happened spontaneously. It was before I revamped my blog, but I still have the old posts stored on my computer. I also got into a face care kind of routine. Other habits I got into were changing into daytime clothes every morning and going for regular walks (when it’s not cold at least). I’m maybe a week into my daily reading challenge. My next challenge might be to go on Instagram Live every day for a month.

Anyway, that’s a tangent. But basically, if I could become a habit coach online, I could work remotely. I wouldn’t have to rely on finding employment nearby. I could freely travel.

I thought about how cool it would be to live in a different location every so often. I don’t know if people do this now with COVID-19, though I’ve read of people doing this in the past. They’d live a few months somewhere, then would pack their bags and move somewhere else. I think if I did this, I’d live in each location for 6 months to a year at a time. How cool would that be if you timed it so that you would live in a warm place during the winter months?