2016: From the Other Side

2016: From the Other Side

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY SEVENTY

2016 December 30 [Friday]

The end can bring such freedom or torture, unless freedom and torture are the same thing. She wakes. She soon realizes, however, that she has not awoken into her life, but rather, she finds herself at the beginning of her death. Confusion seems reasonable enough. “I must have died last night,” she recalls. Grief. She searches endlessly for an answer, and after an unknowable amount of time, she comes to terms with the likely situation that she is, in fact, dead. A person, of course, experiences much about his/her own life when forced to contemplate it [their life] while laying on Death’s bed. She, however, has been denied this opportunity, thus, she decides that she will start at the end and remember what she can about the last year of her life, the year 2016.

What does she remember? What are the stand-alone moments? Where does she live? How does she feel? What did she accomplish? What did she learn? What were some of her favorite things? “Is a chronological remembrance a good way to do it?” she ponders. “Probably not,” she concedes, “Randomness is always the most interesting.” “Where, though, should I begin? Perhaps … somewhere in the middle?”

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*caption below [photo i]
The summer was ridiculously hot in Seoul, South Korea, for far too long a time during this last year. I accomplished much, however, regarding the yoga practice. My favorite posture last year had to have been any sort of backbending.  In other physically-capable-related news, I am also a huge fan of pull-ups. The song that resonates throughout my mind more frequently than others is Adele’s “Send My Love.” The lifemate consistently commented about how the song made me bop. It’s so hip … in the subtlest of ways. My favorite movie of the year was Captain Fantastic. If only I could’ve lived long enough to eventually live my life in exactly that way. My favorite book was hard to decide because I enjoyed quite a few of them this year, but the book I had absolutely no qualms with from cover to cover was An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks. I made little to no progress on the piano. So the stagnation there is embarrassing at best, humiliating at worst.

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*ii

During the spring we finally saw our families after three years of being apart. We all met up in Vancouver for the most epic vacation ever. Much of that has already been reminisced about to the point that it’s burned into my mind. However, I will reiterate how amazing it was to see and be in the presence of my spirit animal! I also participated in my first yoga challenge that spring. I completed little to no writing during all of the last year, and so, if I have to have a few regrets, that would be high up on that list.

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*iii

The fall was, by far, the busiest time of year of all the years of my life. I published my first book, which was essentially a huge failure [as far as making me money and whatnot], but obviously, the release of my first novel-length piece of fiction was a huge triumph. We also hosted our first party here in Seoul, which was also an epic success. Oh and we also moved apartments from 608 to 308. The fall also rang in a time of true horror and mind-blowingly unbelievable … what’s even the word? … revelations about the “overwhelming” [in quotes, obviously, because that’s not actually true] lack of character within the general population of my homeland. And that’s enough about that. As I hear the echoes of people saying that 2016 was by far the worst year ever, I don’t share that sentiment now as I look upon that last year of my life.

Now as I do, in fact, sit and ponder how I lived until my dying day, I don’t regret as much as I had initially expected. I regret simple things like how I wish I had worked harder, wrote more and read more. I’m not overwhelmed by regretful feelings about how I lived my life or treated people. If anything, I truly feel as though I learned and incorporated that learning into my life very effectively. I’m sort of bummed out now, though, that I can’t or don’t get to use all of that new-found betterness. For starters, the last year of my life was clearly all about patience. At every turn, my patience was tested, and as painful as it was, I know that I ended up a much more patient person. I don’t really know what that says as a whole because there’s a strong chance that I didn’t end up all that patient. I was just more patient. *sigh.

Oh, I was able to see my brother twice in my last year, so that was sort of perfect. I saw my entire family during my last year of life, and that makes me happy. My brother, however, is someone about whom I will do much worrying, as far as his future is concerned. As for my parents, I will also worry, but not because of the decisions that they make, but rather, I will worry about the way that the world will treat them and [not] take care of them now that I’m not there to do it. I can’t even think about the lifemate and how I left him when I died. I refuse to go there at this time. I just can’t think about it.

I also learned too much about myself and life and everything to acknowledge each piece of learning. I do think, though, that the most important thing I learned was that I really stopped caring about what other people think of me. First, I realized that people don’t actually think of me, ever. So … there’s that. Second, life’s way too fucking short to be scared of your social life going down the shitter. I mean, the people who care about that sort of shit are not living their lives. And that’s really sad to me now.

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*iv

Honestly, I don’t know why I spent so much time writing. I never wanted to become a writer, but I also never really wanted anything else. If I hadn’t spent so much time writing, I don’t really know what I would’ve done instead. My favorite new thing to cook was definitely chicken soup. I sort of can’t believe how easy it is. My favorite person will always be the lifemate, but that’s because he’s my favorite person. As far as a new person whom I adore dearly is concerned, I would have to say that the “favorite” person of 2016 was my student, SJ. My favorite thing to eat was sort of irrelevant, but my new favorite thing to drink was broccoli juice spiked with vodka. My favorite place to go during our weekend outings was definitely Wangsimni. I acquired a new past time this year, as well as a new skill. I spent way too much time playing poker [Hold ‘Em], but I thought that it was worth my time because it’s an interesting skill to have.

In the general sense of “end,” with a quick glance back at the last year, I feel immensely proud of the life I led. Sometimes I was definitely too lazy. Other times, however, I was extremely productive. If I could’ve found a good balance, I think I would have actually, eventually found myself as someone. I suppose I have an unknowable amount of time to continue looking back at what was, unless of course, there’s actually some form of responsibility or things to be done in this afterlife. It’s just sort of dark and cold at this point. There is a small blue light, though, twinkling off in the distance, so I guess I’ll go check that out now.

Despite the twinge of grief I feel for my life now lost, I don’t feel all that bad. If, however, for some reason, I could go back to my life for one more year, I honestly don’t know if I’d really do anything all that differently. Upon first thought, the things that I would do differently revolve mostly around taking risks, finding those jumping off points and jumping, continuing on the path of not-caring about what anyone thinks, growing ever closer to the me I want to be.

If you ever hear from me again, I guess I didn’t actually DIE die. If, however, you never hear from me again, all I hope is that it was good to know me. Happy New Year!, to those of you who are lucky enough to see the sun shine on that first beautiful day of 2017. Best and farewell!


i. the last yoga pic of me in a posture I came to love

ii. seeing and experiencing my spirit animal

iii. the book I wrote

iv. the lifemate