Contributor on ‘2020 – A Year’s Worth of Ruminations’

WB – Washington, D.C.

January 31, 2020

Question 1: How did you feel today? (What thoughts are on your mind on this last day of each month and what stimuli caused you to feel that way?)

On January 31, I was kind of deep in thought about a talk I had gone to the day before put on by Rightcare Alliance DC, a grassroots organization that put on an event that detailed Democratic presidential candidates’ strategies around healthcare reform. After working at a healthcare consulting company for about 5 months now, I’m starting to better understand the different players and stakeholders in the US healthcare system, and I feel like I just had a different perspective from the other people in the room, who were very gung ho about the single payer Medicare for all model, but didn’t quite have great insight into how it would actually be implemented. I asked a few questions that got rather quickly dismissed by the moderator (who, I realized, I’d spoken to about a job opportunity last summer). We can’t ignore the reality of big, rich stakeholders in the game. I think the question is: how do we incentivize them to rework the healthcare system? How can we design reform so that they have some stake in it, too?

Question 2: How would you frame your day (answer to the first question) to a complete stranger?

My January 31st felt like any Friday, really. Work wasn’t too busy so I got a little early as usual, reveled in the fact that it’s the weekend, and that I got paid today! I still feel pretty lucky that I found a relatively decent-paying job where I get paid to do work that isn’t too difficult. I still wish the work was a bit more interesting but for now, I’m getting a pretty fair deal. After work, I got dinner at this Asian food hall out in Virginia, a hearty-sized portion of braised beef, rice, and some pickled mustard that made me nostalgic for Taiwan. I went with a guy I’ve been seeing for several weeks and enjoyed my time with him. After dinner, we ended up at HMart–a Korean grocery store–but I’m not complaining. Going shopping in an Asian grocery store reminds me of growing up in Vegas and accompanying my mom and family to Chinatown. Plus, they sell stuff that I can’t get in the DC area. It’s both a fuzzy nostalgic feeling and a practically good experience so I can stock up on some good food for the week.

Question 3: What are some aspects of your routine now (daily/weekly) that you think should be changed (for health reasons, stress, etc.) and what are some things you do that you would recommend to someone else? What are a couple things you would want to add to your routine to enhance your lifestyle?

I’m still trying to wean myself off holiday-level eating, but it’s been hard. My roommate AK got me addicted to these Tate’s Bakery cookies and we discussed earlier today how they were “a paradise and a war zone:” they’re so, so delicious, but because of that they are so, so dangerous. I’ve been trying to work out around 3 times a week, but just eating these cookies might as well make it once or twice a week. So: fewer cookies. I also want to maybe start intermittent fasting again–I really did feel a lot more clearheaded and lost some water weight, and it also felt almost nice to follow some kind of discipline or regiment. 

In terms of non diet/food related habits, I do want to start reading more often. None of the books on my bookshelf are really calling me to me right now, but whenever I go to a bookstore, I always tell myself I have books at home. Maybe I’ll start a book and if I’m not into it, I’ll buy another one. There’s an Amazon bookstore (!) across the river in Georgetown, and I feel really conflicted about it. It’s a nice bookshop, but it seems like a really big fuck-you to all the physical bookstores that closed because of Amazon. Anyway, I used to really be into fiction, but recently I’ve been on a non-fiction kick. I still haven’t started that podcast life, mostly because I feel like there are just so many good ones that it’ll be difficult sifting through all of them initially.

February 29, 2020

Question 1: How did you feel today? (What thoughts are on your mind on this last day of each month and what stimuli caused you to feel that way?)

This month went by just as quickly as I had expected. My friend AK and I had planned a trip to New York City this weekend for a food tour. She pointed out that we chose to eat our hearts out on our extra day of the year, which I thought was both hilarious and accurate. Highlights from this month included having my mom come back safely and soundly back from China where she had spent Chinese New Year in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, spending my first Valentine’s Day with a special someone, and feeling progress from working out consistently.

On this last day of the month, we toured around New York City and had some really, really incredible food. We were thinking that Flushing, our first stop of the day, would be empty, but much to our surprise it was completely packed. Highlights from Flushing included a mouthwatering big plate chicken dish from a Uighur food stand that cost only $9.99, and a brown sugar milk boba stand that was worth the 20 minute wait. We also walked around the SoHo area and popped our heads into strange concept stores before eating a smaller dinner–fresh steam rolls and delicious cream puffs!–at the Canal Street Market. We got a few drinks at bars in the nearby area and reflected on our lives from the past few years.

A few years ago, we would have probably gotten smashed and gone out somewhere. Today, I felt content just relaxing and chatting, even though it did feel old to be in a bar with NYU students who definitely weren’t 21. AK and I returned to her friend’s place tired but extremely content with our day and happy with where we were in life.

Question 2: How would you frame your day (answer to the first question) to a complete stranger?

I felt awesome today, mostly due to the amazing food and company from the day. AK’s friend’s S and J graciously hosted us for the weekend, and it felt refreshing to be in a different city. I feel like sometimes I get sucked into the DC bubble; it’s when I travel or go to other places that I realize that I’ve settled down here in a way, with my commute and familiar biking paths and workout schedules. It was nice to get away to New York to not only get a slightly different perspective but also to reaffirm that it was good idea to not move to New York after graduation.

When we arrived the night before, we went through Penn Station, which was so different compared to DC’s transportation hubs. In other words, I was completely shocked. It was 11pm at night, but there was a construction crew jackhammering away and a shoeless homeless man sleeping less than 5 feet away. This image is still emblazoned in my mind–the sounds, the smells, the sights–and I’d never felt more grateful for DC’s public transit system.

Question 3: Two paths diverge in a yellow wood… which do you choose? One winds into a dark canopy headed towards a beautiful valley, and the other heads straight for the top of the mountain. Choose wisely 😉

If alone, I  would probably go to the valley because it’s downhill! But if I were with a group of people, we’d probably tackle the mountain. I love the views from mountains but am less than enthusiastic about the hike sometimes. I need a crew of people who can hold me accountable and encourage each other to get to the top!