One year in the R.O.K…

August 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hard to believe, but I’ve been in Korea for almost an entire year. I have a few more days of work and then I’m USA-bound for a month of vacation before a return to deal ol’ Seoul for round two.When I came here I was really needing the opportunity to reflect about some pressing things in my life, and I definitely have had that opportunity here. I want to take a minute and write about some of the things that have been on my mind this year, and some of the better ideas that have occurred to me.

So, the main thing that I was feeling confused about a year ago was what direction I wanted to pursue career-wise. This is what I wrote on September 13, 2009: “Essentially what I’d like to use this year for is to find a way to connect my illustrator/designer self with my sustainability and world affairs self.” No major breakthroughs there, but after reading up on a lot of relevant issues, I have realized that communicating a message is a huge part of creating a change in society. I do have a skill that could be useful in bringing a lot of social problems into focus for the public at large, and I don’t have the skills to tackle these problems in other ways, and I’m not inclined to go back to school just yet. Also, quite frankly, I’ve met a lot of well-meaning but directionless people this year, and it’s reminded me of how much I like working hard for something I feel committed to.  I’m very happy with my choice to spend sometime wandering around and exploring things before I ‘get serious’ (and I will be taking more time for that purpose), but I can see that I’m going to want to buckle down sooner than later, and illustration / design really is the best route at this point, which is a huge relief.

I want to mention a few other realizations I’ve had in the past year:

– “free time” is overrated. I’m a project person, and I need to be working on something to be happy. The flip side of this is that I like to overwhelm myself.

-adequate sleep is not overrated.

-living abroad has made me skeptical, but skeptical is just another way of being open-minded.

-Marathon training has been hugely beneficial for me, mentally. I have a bad habit of getting overwhelmed by the bigness of a challenge, and I also tend to expect too much from myself at too short notice. Marathon training is good because you progress in small increments and you can’t slack off at any stage. Like drawing, running for long distances requires a certain mindset and level of discipline.

-For next year, the most important thing is to spend many, many more hours drawing and working out my ideas visually. I didn’t spend near enough time doing that this year, and I badly miss it. I’ve done a lot of thinking and scheming this year, so now I need to turn to the work for answers. Also, blogging. I’ve tried some different approaches to blogging this year and I’m not 100% excited about any of them, so I need to work on that.

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