Begin Again

"You don't appreciate what you have and you only focus on what you don't have." is one of the last things Monkey told me. 

That comment swirled in my head as I was stuffing my old clothes into giant bags... their destination: the consignment shop. As I was folding the pieces, memories swept over me: "This is the sweater I wore on my first date." "I wore this shirt to my first popping battle." "I can't believe I liked these cutout leggings, what was I thinking? Youthful indiscretions!" Every single item had a memory and emotion attached to it. It seems silly to me that I poured so much of my time, feelings and energy into material things that have no feelings. 

Ever since I got my first job at 18, I have spent most of my income on clothing. In a way, I think that buying clothes made me feel as if I could cover up my deficiencies. Didn't feel pretty enough? That's okay, you can buy a new dress. Didn't feel smart enough? Oh honey, just get some glasses~  It's as if I had a perpetual void in my heart that couldn't be satiated. The more I bought, the greedier I became so the piles grew larger and larger. There was always something shinier, prettier and newer to obtain and once I got it, I forgot about it. The hamster wheel of consumerism is so exhilarating and soul-draining at the same time. I focused so much on what I lacked both on the inside and the outside that I was unable to make peace with anything.  Eventually the wheel started spinning too quickly and before I realized, I fell off... I had prioritized trivialities over the most important things and in the end obtained nothing. What was I really chasing? Certainly clothes represented more to me than just pieces of fabric sewn together that look pretty. I pinned my self-worth to my clothes. When you seek validation from outside yourself, you will only end up disappointed. I had to remind myself many times that my physical possessions do not represent me. My naivety, my clumsiness, my curiosity, my ability to get along with lots of people make me the Lenapanda that I am and that is enough. I learned that acceptance for who you are and gratitude for what you have feels infinitely more satisfying than the temporary highs of shopping. 
When I dropped these overstuffed bags at the consignment shop, I felt liberated! Not only did I free myself from the burden of having to look after all that stuff, it gave me space to breathe and evaluate what is truly important to me.  From now on, I want to be more mindful of my life.

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”
― Seneca

Have you felt that insatiable void too? Is it just me or is it the human condition? How have you coped with it? I'm really curious because it seems like people don't talk about it openly.

Can't Say No to Noodles

 Words cannot express how much I love soup noodles! There's something about the minimal mastication required that really appeals to me: in one slurp, the noodle wiggles its way cozily into your hungry stomach :) I think I just brought laziness to a whole new level. 

Pho was my number 1 soup noodle choice until a new bad boy entered the neighborhood. Lemme introduce you: Nouilles de Lan Zhou! Since discovering it about two months ago, I've been back way too often for me to count. Every time a friend goes: "so... what do you want to eat?" they don't even have time to finish their sentence for me to exclaim: "LET'S GO FOR NOODLES IN CHINATOWN!" It's the ideal time to go now that it is getting super cold brrrr.

What's so special about these noodles? Definitely the chewy texture, flavorful broth & fresh but simple ingredients. It also helps that the servings are huge! I got the medium bowl once and couldn't even finish half. I've never seen such a big bowl of noodles for less than 10$! I also really enjoy watching the cook hand-pull and slap the noodles. I bet it requires a lot of stamina. That's probably how they trained Chinese soldiers during wartime :P 

The noodles come in round or flat shapes and there are different sizes. I always take the flat medium sized noodles because I really like the texture. You can choose between spicy broth or non-spicy broth.

Amused by the way Niv uses her chopstick to pick up a slippery tea egg. Hey it worked!

On our way out, we saw a group of elderly men taking a group selfie with their noodles. I thought that was the cutest thing ever :-P It always makes me smile when I see elderly couples or elderly friendships, it reminds me to make time for the people I hold dear.
Fueled by these delicious noodles, I'm ready to tackle another week of work!