|View of Kokusai from the Starbucks|
Free from the Quotidian
Since I've had so much free time at my apartment without a TV or Internet, I've taken to very long walks throughout Naha and beyond after I get home from work. I decided to explore areas of the city and this island that I have not yet seen. We are such creatures of habit, to the extent of doing almost the same things on a daily basis. Eventually that grind wears on you. The new, exciting life ceases to be and you find yourself in the same circular situation you were in wherever you were before in your life. It's the way the human brain works I think. It's important to find ways to break away from this, be it in your work life, career path, daily life, love life, etc. The quotidian will find you and carve its ways into you, marking itself eventually on your body and soul. Finding ways to break away from the mundane is essential. I've been seeking newness everywhere, especially since I've been at a loss as to the direction of my life. I'm coming up to the point of recontracting for another year here in Okinawa. I really am uncertain about it. Not because I am not enjoying my life here. But I feel that JET is no longer a good environment for me. I know it's just a support system, but there is something incestuous and immature about it. It's like being in high school or maybe freshman year of college again (except it's like being at a school where you have no good friends -- so it's probably more like my senior year of high school felt like). I'm at one of the many crossroads that we come to in our lives, and am not yet certain which path to choose, but I suspect that I've probably already chosen it half-hardheartedly.
How to Deal with Disappointment
Yesterday, Okinawa prefecture had the annual skit contest. It's not a big deal in comparison to the English speech contest that happens in the fall, but it means a ton to me. Unfortunately, it also coincides with Interhigh - the prefectural sports tournament. My school is really big on sports and places an emphasis on making certain that our teams rank in the top 3 of Okinawa. We did end up ranking 2nd overall, and 1st in a number of sports categories. That's great, but it also means that I have only a week to practice with my skit contest team because they are too busy practicing every day for the tournament. I can't really complain. I mean we did spend hours on the skit and they looked great. They received compliments from the judges who lamented the fact that they unfortunately did not qualify for finals because they received a major deduction for going over the allotted 5 minute maximum. This could have been avoided if I'd had more than 1 week to practice with the boys though. We knew going into the contest that we were really close to the 5 minute, but we'd made a few changes to the song and dance number (they sang Freddy Mercury's "I Will Always Love You" in a robot dance style). We decided to just give it our best shot, knowing that perhaps we'd go over time. Unfortunately, we did and the boys didn't go on to the finals. But deep down, I could feel their disappointment. I think they were a little bit upset at me as well, but maybe I am wrong about this. I can't ever interpret other people's unhappiness correctly. I usually over internalize things and view it through my own issues. Anyways, my boys knew they were good enough to make it to finals and probably place in the top 4 teams (barring no major mistakes), but they didn't even get the chance. I felt sad for them and also wondered whether this was more of a reflection on the lack of support they were given by the school towards this contest. I usually practice at least a month or more for the speech contest, so having only one week to do this for the skit contest is kind of a joke. I plan to talk about this with the English department. There is probably nothing that can be done because of the Interhigh tournament, but I just wonder if we could find a way to schedule the process a bit better.
I've dealt with so much rejection and disappointment as an artist and performer in my life. It's the norm of living this kind of life. I still am not certain how to remove the sting of it though. Most of the pain from rejection and disappointment has to do with ego. I've been trying to encompass a view that the process is more important than the end product. Removing the ego from the actual creative process is important, but not completely removing it is also important. You have to save some room for ambition and desire and those two things are ego-related. Still, I want to emphasize to my boys that going through the actual training of the skit was more important than the award they would have received. To garner the praise from the judges, despite the fact that they did not move forward is just as important as having moved forward in the contest. I don't know how to make that seem important to my skit contest boys. Maybe it's a lesson one has to learn on by oneself. The award isn't as important as we think it is. Yes, it does officially distinguish you from the masses and it will help advance you in your life, but the process...the journey...is just as significant.
I think so many people in this era seek the wrong things in their lives. I've been trying to figure out how to elevate the process. I think practice is the best way to do this. To make the process a part of the performance. To just enjoy the experience of that process.
In other news I am making a series of videos for you, my dear readers. I've wanted to do this for a while and have put it on the back burner, but have decided that it's time.
Until next time....