One More for the Books

I'm sitting in Seoul Dance Center, waiting for my instant noodles to cook. It's past midnight, but I'm hungry. And who sleeps early anyway?

It's been two years to the day since I left full-time employment with Frontier Danceland.

Funny. The 31st of March has become almost more significant than my birthday to me. Maybe not almost, but actually. I'll have to think about that.

It's been a pretty wild two years, I must say. Blogging certainly hasn't featured very prominently during this time. Not as much as I'd have liked, anyway. Wondering what I'm doing with my life certainly has been quite a time-consuming activity, though. As well as YouTube and Netflix. Anyone bored and want a recommendation for a good video to watch?

Flying from Singapore to Seoul, October 2018.

Flying from Singapore to Seoul, October 2018.

It's been a blessing, having family and friends who have supported me during these two nomadic years. I literally wouldn't have been able to live like this for so long without them. Literally, not just emotionally, cause do you know how much rent, among other things, costs? Of course you do. You're adulting, and doing it well. I'm the one who has to look at the digital copy the bank has of my signature so that I can copy it to update my phone number. (Yes, that happened, twice in two days. My signature hasn't gotten any more consistent since.)

I'd love to write a long, deep, moving tribute to these friends and family, or a piece that brings you on an emotional rollercoaster as you read about stuff that is happening in my life; this is really more of a blog post for myself, though. A bit of a commemoration, a bit of reflection (do those two words mean the same thing? I'll have to ask Google) on how things have played out.

Thinking about how time has passed, I remember a conversation with one friend, who was talking about what he was doing with his life at the time, and how he divides up the days by hours, and which task needs how many hours in so many months, and which hours are free to use as he chooses, and which aren't. It was pretty heavy, conceptually, hearing how he thinks about his time.

It's not a method of thinking about time that works for me. Not that there's anything wrong with it; I'm just not very disciplined when it comes to time. Things that need to be done have always been approached as things that need to be done. And once they're done, it's probably time to watch a movie on my computer, while I eat supper at some random hour of the night.

Do I get to pull the "it's cause I'm an artist" card here? Haha! Perhaps. But I do think it's cause I'm lazy more than anything else. The only thing I seem to be not lazy about is dancing, which is, I guess, why I'm working in this line. And when I say I'm not lazy about dancing, dancing is what is meant, not creating dance. The latter is supposed to be the bulk of my work now, but it's pretty tough sometimes. It's not as fun trying to figure out the structure of a piece, or your motivations in a dance work, as much as it is trying to figure out what's wrong with my backflip or why I look like a baby giraffe who forgot how many legs he has. The physical puzzles are more easy to tap into "in the now" than the creative, conceptual puzzles. I'm trying to figure out how to translate the qualities of a physical puzzle into the choreographic riddles, so that I work better (and more efficiently, time-wise, going back to my friend who divides up his time very neatly), but I haven't figured out how yet.

Some random fluffy things I found in Seoul last year. Haven’t found any fluffy things yet, this trip.

Some random fluffy things I found in Seoul last year. Haven’t found any fluffy things yet, this trip.

A puzzle to keep working on.

Instant noodles are done. Seoul Dance Center is a great place to have a residency. Really neat rooms, lotsa space, fast WiFi, and a fully equipped kitchen (unless you wanna bake a cake or roast a turkey) that you can use at any time of the night. And 7-eleven nearby if you wanna buy stuff to add to your noodles in the wee hours of the morning.


Another friend who I was talking to, this time about myself, remarked that he was half-impressed, half-perplexed, by how I can take things one day at a time. Financial matters, specifically. It's not easy being an independent artist, and it's even stranger when you're not based anywhere. I've been blessed enough to not have to worry about things too much for the time being, though.

But, truth be told, money does worry me sometimes. My situation will likely not always be as favourable as it is now. But at the moment, funds are available for me to continue pursuing what I want to do with my life (and yes, though it's not regular, I actually do get paid to dance and choreograph, you skeptics!) and so I shall. What else do we have, but to rage against the dying of the light and not go silently into the good night?

(I've been trying to read some poetry on my phone, instead of wasting yet more brain cells reading unending articles about MMA and the NBA, but haven't been particularly successful. Slowly but surely, though, I hope the tides will turn. Send me poems that you like. And ask me about them. Maybe that'll help.)

This is me, looking for food. Literally and metaphorically.  Photo by Huneid Tyeb, taken at Dancebox Festival 2019, held in the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre.

This is me, looking for food. Literally and metaphorically.

Photo by Huneid Tyeb, taken at Dancebox Festival 2019, held in the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre.

(If you crowd-source self-help, is that still self-help? Or an intervention?)

I don't mean to get overly philosophical or metaphysical or inter-dimensional here. Having a house, a place to call my own, and a family (or at least a tight community) to go with it is a great idea. As well as being able to buy stuff that I sorta-not-really-but-it's-cool need when I want it, as well as a Ferrari to top things off.... That'd be sweet. But when thinking about how expensive everything is getting nowadays, how much owning a house costs, cause all the selfish rich people in the world buy all of them to rent to the less lucky at exorbitant prices (to be clear, I know there are non-selfish rich people out there who aren't extortionists, I'm not looking at you guys), trying to pursue that dream of a house and Lamborghini (ok, I'm not serious about the sports cars, everyone) just doesn't make sense. Devoting myself to the altar of the mortgage isn't how I want to live my life, so this is my attempt to do something that is meaningful to me.

(Edit: I realise, upon reflection, how my words may come across as a criticism of others. It is not my intention to say that someone who buys a house and takes a 30-year loan is devoting him or herself to the loan; I recognise that they accept the cost of the loan, both financial and otherwise, for the sake of having home, which is the true goal, and a good one too. For myself, though, having a home is not worth that cost. At least, not yet.)

And that means, taking each day (or week or month or year or decade or century) at a time, and seeing how things play out, financially and with how I use my time.

The ESV version of the thirty-fourth verse of the sixth chapter of the first book of the New Testament in the Bible says this: "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." As I understand it, a call not to worry about what's gonna come next, but to deal with what I have to deal with today. And also, not to worry too much about what other people expect of life in general; if having a home to call your own is your priority, and you're willing to do what it takes to make that happen, I am happy for you.

I just wanna make sure I can still backflip when I'm 80. That's my worry for tomorrow's tomorrow. OK, maybe there are more, but this is a big one.

You might think that I'm taking the quote out of context, flipping it on its side, then turning it upside down and making it headspin; that's alright. We can talk about it.

These are, in the end, my rather rambly thoughts on some conversations that have stuck with me over the past two years, and life too, from a bigger picture. There is much that we can choose to live for, in this world, and devote our time and energy to doing. For me, that's dance, and the relationships that crop up along the way, and for doing the best I can with the gifts that I have been given.

And this post, as emo as it may have gotten (that was not intended, I'm just not good at sticking to plans, as mentioned earlier), is written in thankfulness, to those who love and value me and who have been part of this crazy journey (I think a year ago I wrote something about considering all the meals people have bought me since life took its crazy turn, and that list just keeps growing and growing, because, contrary to what the news shows us daily, there are kind and generous people out there) in ways big or small, and for the One above all who is somehow involved and I don't really know how specifically, but I know I've got the best insurance plan there is. (Yeah, we can talk about that too.)

Thanks for reading. = )

And, if you want actual information about the tangible things I’ve done over the past two years instead of pseudo-philosophical ramblings, feel free to leave a comment or message me.

Me, running into life. Obviously, reading signs (or instruction manuals) isn’t what I do best.  Photo taken by a buddy of mine, Timelapse.

Me, running into life. Obviously, reading signs (or instruction manuals) isn’t what I do best.

Photo taken by a buddy of mine, Timelapse.

Wei-An HwaComment