In the past few days, I started to remember what makes me happy. It could be that free time has opened over winter break. And the students have gone away, and with them the pressure to always be working. Solitude, which seemed so unbearable in the first day or two, so much so that I ran away to my parents’ house to spend time with them rather than be alone, has once again become pleasurable.
One of the things that gives me the greatest joy is the hours in the morning, where I get to wake up relatively early and make myself breakfast. I will wake up and even make my bed (rare), go downstairs to a kitchen that is unoccupied by my housemates (important), where I can make myself a bowl of oatmeal with nut butter and a soft boiled egg. I will enjoy this meal in absolute silence, uninterrupted by anyone, and read few chapters from Murakami’s memoir “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”. And I will remember again what gives me joy.
I don’t exactly know why mornings, specifically the “lazy” mornings when I can actually cook breakfast, are so meaningful to me. I think back to my undergraduate years at Berkeley when this habit of making breakfast started. It all started with reading “French Women Don’t Get Fat“ book. It feels embarrassing to say that I’ve read this book repeatedly over the last decade or so. The book is really a meditation on joyful living, as Murakami’s book is a meditation on running. I like these books that talk about the mundane in specific terms. These artists and writers remind me that the true joy lies within the smallest moments. And this thought helps me pause from relentless striving and reminds me that being an artist, which I want more than anything, is also living your life artfully with beauty, quiet moments, joy, wonder, awe… all the things that feeds one’s soul.
When I look forward into the future into the life that I want to live, I see a myself waking up early to spend the early morning hours in solitude writing in a beautiful Maybeck House with tall ceilings and lots of wood, with windows that look out into nature. And then the day begins with loud, busy breakfast with my family, meetings with other creatives to collaborate on projects, then a long run in nature passing through quaint houses, little hills, small animals, brooks, and lots of trees. And it’s important to remember that this kind of life doesn’t require fame, prestige, fortune… It would more be about having the respect of my peers who are also creating, a loving family, luxury of time each day for myself as well as time for work, and moderate savings to live a healthy and balanced life, while also being able to help others who are in need.
I don’t yet know how the confluence of my skill sets in writing, producing, directing, and technology will come together to create this lifestyle for myself and my family. And maybe I already have part of this life… I just have to remember to exercise it. What I can do now is wake up early to write, make myself breakfast, collaborate with lots of creative people, and go for a run even on a treadmill. So this essay is really a note to remind myself to do so when I’m in a funk. To wake up early, make myself some good breakfast, write, converse and collaborate with interesting and creative people, and go for a run to refuel my soul.