Choosing Lightness


^^ A pep talk from M on Joe’s street in Seoul. ^^

I spent 40 hours traveling from South Korea to New York City last Monday. As JJ and I joked, it was the longest Valentine’s Day of our single lives. There was the first plane, a layover in China, ice cream and no wifi, another plane ride to LA, Mexican food with my family followed by a delayed flight until 1am. 40 hours and a subway ride with a screaming kid later, I dragged my jet lagged, plane pressured body across my apartment threshold and immediately went into a coma.

My jet lag set in and good God, did it make itself at home. I’ve probably slept more in the last 8 days then I did in the entire month of January, and come 7pm the first couple nights, I was like a hibernating bear that had been told its cave was occupied. I would wake up everyday at 530am (the cats love it and have unfortunately made it their new routine), eat at random times, and be so exhausted by the end of the day that every goal or deadline I’d set over vacation felt like it was drifting farther and father away.

A bit dramatic? Not according to last week Carly. As someone who’s not used to needing lots of sleep and who writes almost every single day after work, this new schedule was something that made me notably upset. It made me feel heavy, incapable, frustrated — a complete 180 from anything and everything I gained on vacation.

But after a few days of really rooting into my gray cloud mentality, I realized my body wasn’t the enemy, it just needed sleep. And after all its given me, who was I to be so upset of this fact-of-life need? So I gave in. The vacation-inspired articles could wait, the grocery shopping would be done in the morning, and I’d see friends when I was actually capable of being awake and present.

It was a choice towards lightness, a feeling that was my constant companion while I was with the boys in Taiwan and South Korea and seemed to vanish the minute I touched back down in my daily life.

I’m coming to realize that lightness is an active choice influenced by tiny decisions made everyday. It’s taking a breath in the face of stress and saying no to opportunities that don’t serve me. It’s taking actual time on freelance pieces and working to grow an active personal life. It’s dance classes and blogging and photography and friend brunches and late night phone calls to the west coast and ukulele songs. And it’s sleeping and changing the way I think about this normal human function.

The obnoxious tidal wave of travel blog posts are coming, as are the stories that all begin with “I tottaallllyyyyyyyyyy understand, when I was in Asia …” — you’ve been warned or you’re welcome depending on how this news strikes you. But until then, may you and I take today to be light, because despite all preconceived notions, Lightness is one elusive nugget to find and it can be a real stinker to hold on to.




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