Around a year ago I was sipping on some sake, eating some chicken, and joining in for the Obon dance with my brother in Hiroshima. It was in August and pretty much the only thing we had to worry about was the heat. Other than that life was good. We were on a mini vacation. I didn't get a chance to hang out with my brother very often so it was much needed.
This year was a little different. There were no fireworks, festivals, or many occasions for for friends to meet up. I miss getting food and drinks. Instead many of us changed to cooking or baking, drinking, and finding other things to do while staying at home or indoors. During the lockdown, we'd order take out or items online and wait for them to arrive. For some of us, going to the store or signing for a package would be the most real face to face interaction we'd get.
Recently, I found myself browsing through the liquor section and a brand of sparkling wine was on sale. Initially I was drawn to it by the price, but what sold me on was the covering of the cork. The top of the cork had a cap intertwined by a thin, rope-like, metal. It didn't look expensive, but the image was nostalgic. It had a drawing of four friends, toasting together, while watching the fireworks. It felt bittersweet that this 1,000 yen bottle of champagne had me recalling previous times of drinking with friends during the summer, all the while I was standing in the liquor section of a department store.
We think we have all the time in the world, when in fact the world is full of uncertainty. Will you get that job that you want? Will you really have enough time in the future to go back to that store or coffee shop that looks interesting. Will you really find the time later to start practicing a new skill/or hobby that you will eventually need? How are we spending our time to make sure that we are productive, while at the same time living in the moment and enjoying ourselves? I don't always know what’s the right thing to do, but I've found it helpful to set three types of goals in varying difficulty: ones that are easy to attain, ones that are possible to attain, but it will take some effort, and ones that I would like to attain, but it won't come as easy as the first two. This last type of goal is the one I struggle with the most because I can't see the progress made as easily as the first two.
After reflecting on this for a bit, I've come to realize that while it's important to also set goals for your career and future, it's equally as important for your mental health to set goals that make you happy in general. This goes for doing things you like throughout the day, to throughout the week, and even monthly goals, that are just for you. Go on that walk or hike in that park that you've never been to, but you've been saying you've been wanting to. This allows you to be more patient and happy while working on those challenging life goals.
Create those memories so you can look back on them and be happy with where you went, what you did, and be inspired to do more in the future. Care for a socially distanced drink in the park with me? It's still summer right? Now to just find a day that isn't raining 🤔😄