This is a continuation of the entry Lost and Found from last month, where I posted photos I took of my good friend Wendy at Shinjuku Gyoen. Now, here are the beautiful pictures taken by Wendy for me. I can't believe at that time, the cherry blossoms were still just starting to bloom... now, with the rainy weather and winds in the past few days, most trees are now pretty bare. The sakura season passes so quickly! Much too quickly. It just emphasizes the unstoppable flow of time, brings to light the changes that can occur as if in fast forward.
Having just passed my fourth cherry blossom season in Tokyo, I have found many things and lost others up to now.
I have found confidence and perseverance, or perhaps a sheer stubbornness. I have rediscovered my love for creating and appreciating nature. I have found a way to make time for things that matter, in the blinding everyday rush of life.
I have lost some initial hopes and dreams that I held on to when I first landed in Tokyo. I have lost certain ideals after seeing how things really work in the world. I have lost time, celebrations and key moments that I could have spent alongside my family and friends in California, but passed up to come here.
Whatever I have found and lost up to this moment, I can still say - I have no regrets thus far.
Irrevocably, the tide of time washes over us in just one direction, forward, and the movement plucks away certain pieces of us and attaches new pieces occasionally. That is what happens to anyone who lives. If I look back, I can imagine any of infinite possible roads I could have taken, ways I could have chosen. But what's important is that I do everything I can with the road I'm on.
As a cognitive science major, one course I took in college was regarding social psychology. I remember the professor emphasizing to us during one lecture: Your biggest regrets won't be about what you did, but what you didn't do. And that makes perfect sense to me. Even if you risk embarrassment, ridicule, harsh opinions and words, physical exhaustion... if at least you gave it a try, you will know what you could have done. If you never tried, then you will forever wonder what could have happened at that lost chance.
Recently, that concept has started to really sink in.
Don't fear failure itself. Fear the failure to even make an attempt.
The me while living in California and the me after moving to Tokyo are essential still the same person. But some core parts of me have also been transformed through my experiences here. Before coming to Tokyo, I spent much more time thinking about what would happen if I actually did something, how I might succeed or how I might fail. Many times, I ended up holding back and sticking with the familiar route. If I got disappointed or failed once, I usually didn't try again. I was always very sensitive that way. I wanted to be good at something, and to have that skill be acknowledged. It hurt to be burned, to be proven wrong.
It was only when I came to this huge city, struggled to work and be creative and find my place all at the same time... that was when I realized what a waste it was to give up after failing once. Or to give up before even trying.
Here, I felt like if I actually wanted to get somewhere at all, I had to keep trying multiple times. If I wanted to get chances, I had to be the one to reach out and make them, not wait around for others to contact me. Being proactive is not easy for someone who was always used to being curled up inside her own shell. But I'm learning to do it, little by little.
Personally, I'm no longer worried about failure. If you look at the big picture, and see that life is limited, that all this - the flowers, the light, the air - all comes to end for you one day... well, there's really nothing to lose, is there? If you're not going to live, if you're not going to try now, then when are you?
Sure, even if you rush forward and try to grab opportunities, you're not guaranteed to get them. Falling down will hurt. But you can learn to transform that hurt into strength, add it to your determination to make it the next time. And the next. And even the next.
Eventually, the doors will open.
Photos by: Wendy
Wendy, thank you so much for the amazing photos :) It's always so much fun just hanging out and lately shooting photos together! <3
These days, I'm mostly behind the camera instead of in front, so it's fun to model a bit for a change. Random, but I kind of miss having long hair for the versatility, and the flowiness that looks so pretty in photos! But now I'm kind of in this shaggy state where I'm trying to retain some shape in shortness, yet tentatively hoping the hair will grow long enough to be slightly flowy again. Haha :)