Dear you who are reading this,
It’s been a long while since I last logged in. It has been an unprecedented year for you and me both. In fact, the first half the year felt like previous life to me. The year passed by in a blur, like a rollercoaster ride. I’ve been through the ups and downs, but it always felt like I didn’t quite have the time to process what had happened before I was being thrown into another sharp bend or dip. The churning feeling in the stomach was probably the only constant. I’ve switched to the past tense already, as though I couldn’t quite wish to leave this year behind. 🙂
For a good number of years, I sought solace in this space. Mostly alone, but whenever someone reached out to me, I was always thankful. Every interaction was a new connection formed, and some turned out to be the people that would have my back for the past 10 years, while others blossomed into online friendships that transcend borders and timezones. I value every new connection and bond.
This space has also reflected my growth over the years, whether in language learning or beyond. It is a record of my lingering regrets, of what-could-have-beens and of the decisions I took (or didn’t take) over the years. The silence over the past few years were also illuminating and it reminded me of what I had sacrificed and what I have gained.
Back to language learning. The past few years were not great – mainly because I was always so busy and perhaps without really realising it, I had lost the spark in me. While there were short bursts of motivation here and there, overall, I had been in a bottleneck. When words no longer flowed out as easily, I struggled to put together my thoughts to write in this space and that’s when I know. The blog had been my “best place” (a Shaman King reference) and yet I didn’t return to it. Somewhere deep inside, I was withering a little. I didn’t want to touch that wound, and I chose to ignore it most of the time and focused on doing what I needed to.
I chose to be elsewhere.
I ended up withdrawing further into my own world, and spending less time on social media and blogging. While I like talking about language learning and I have made it a hobby to do so, I always believe that the actual language learning comes first. I can’t talk about something that I don’t do. As I spent less time on learning languages, correspondingly, I spent less time talking about it.
In the past years, the online language community has really become a thing, with #langtwt, studygrams, language challenges and a lot of content being churned out. The cynic in me feels that sometimes, there is an increased focus in talking about language learning rather than doing it. I also didn’t quite identify with the overly polished aesthetics of most content/posts, the deliberate branding / curation of content, the overwhelming positivity (gosh I sound so jaded!) and the competitive undercurrents. Oh, and the occasional “drama” inevitable in any community. I find myself strangely resistant to it, and by association, I begin to feel even more detached from this space I used to call home.
But now, I think that’s a silly sentiment. I wasn’t being me. I do things my own way. So yes, now I’m going to continue doing things my own way and at my own pace. I am not sure if I will find that same spark that motivated me to write almost everyday (who was that!), but it’s okay. All I need to do is to be true to myself and embrace the ups and downs of life, which includes language learning.
Today is Christmas.
Merry Christmas to those who have spared some time reading my long and barely coherent thoughts. I spent the day alone, doing the things I love. I read a couple of chapters of a Korean novel, I cooked my meals, I re-watched a couple of episodes of What’s Up Secretary Kim (damn Park Min-young looked so great) and I had a great chat / language consultation session.
Rediscovered my love for k-drama My Girl’s OST. It was seriously the best.
Best purchase this year was a Takoyaki pan. Can’t believe it took me years to finally get down to buying one. Now, I can have takoyaki anytime.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.