Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Slaying the Stress Monster: The Road Ahead

So here it is - Entry #5 in the Stress Monster series.

I haven't been really keeping track of my blog "birthdays," to be honest with you; all I know is that I started this blog in 2005 because I needed the challenge of having an outlet for my creative thoughts, especially when it came to makeup. Believe me when I say that writing a blog on top of all the crazy stuff that happened between then and now - from graduate school, to building a career, to my current move to the Philippines - was no joke. We're talking about changing formats, schedules, layouts, the whole thing. There were even a few times when I actually thought about shutting the blog down.

The question now is this: Why didn't I give up?

The closest I'll get to an answer, though, is saying that I knew myself well enough to understand why I wanted a blog in the first place. In a way, I did start this blog to get attention... but there were only two things that I knew were infinitely more interesting - and easier to justify - than the nitty-gritty details of my life: my writing, and my love for girly things like fashion, makeup, dark chocolate, and intensely hot guys.

Tempted as I was to write about the mundane but heart-wrenching personal stuff on this blog, I decided that I wanted my blog to be a happy place. That's how I came up with the tag line about "island hospitality": I wanted Domesticity to be a safe haven from the sturm und drang of everyday life and mainstream media. It was the closest thing I had to actually opening up my own outdoor lanai, where everyone can hang out and relax while I dish out gossip and beauty advice.

And now, five years later, here we are.

Life's different for me now. I've gone from contractual teaching and tutoring gigs to full work loads as an ESL instructor. I've swapped my retail-therapy walks around Ala Moana Center for actual jogging around my neighborhood. My financial concerns now revolve around car payments and building up my personal savings. And instead of whining about how I should be studying or lesson-planning while I'm actually writing something else, I now appreciate my time for creative writing - and blogging - for what it truly is: a challenge.

I see my parents' friends and neighbors in our home town, and it amazes me how these people in their 60s and 70s have managed to keep themselves on the up-and-up; they may complain about rheumatism or diabetes, but they're still getting up every morning to go walking, play chess, head outreach ministries, travel around the world. No severe illness - not even stroke, or cancer - could stop any of them from wanting to go out and try new things, the better to keep themselves from being lonely. Can't drive? Let the young pups drive you around. Can't buy cute clothes at the mall? Hire a seamstress and let her do all the altering - or, heck, buy the fabric yourself, give her your measurements, and go from there. There's always a way.

All of these things are happening around me, and it does make me wonder: How much further can I push myself - to challenge my body, my mind, my heart, my spirit? How much more can I explore this world around me, and the relationships that make me who I am? How else can I find meaning and purpose in my own everyday work?

Then I look at this blog - and the many pages of HTML I've generated in the last five years - and I think: Well, here's an answer for you... one of many, but still an answer.

There's still a long road ahead of us. Let's make it an awesome journey.

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