Coping mechanisms when nothing feels right.

Shoes may be made for walking, and that's just what they'll do. Clearly they never met the Fit Flops.
Shoes may be made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do. Clearly they never met the Fit Flops.

I’d love to talk about the new Psycho Pass movie trailer that was released over the weekend, and the publicity campaign at Shinjuku station that actually measures your crime coefficient. But instead, I’m going to abuse this update by sharing my personal ways of coping with blahness and the nagging, cynical realization that this quarter-life crisis isn’t about to go away anytime soon, years after passing that quarter-life mark.

So forgive me for this upcoming rant, and if you wish to continue reading this narcissistic bantering, then thank you for your patience.

I’ve come to the realization that I am an uptight person who finds it hard to relax. I tense easily (and my shoulders are paying dearly for it), and lately I’ve realized that my introvert ways are stronger than before. I used to not mind going for lunch with people. But I’ve noticed that I enjoy spending time alone far too much. Apparently this has given the vibes that I’m not someone who allows people to get close to.

I don’t blame them really. It’s the questions that come after that annoy the hell out of me. What if I don’t get married because the interested party was just intimidated at first sight? And to that, I’d say it’s his loss for not having the balls to try in the first place.

I also realize that I hate planning and organizing my life. I like to let things come as they go. Who could foresee what will happen in the coming year? But alas, work has forced me to think about my objectives, my desired achievements, and my proposed action plans to see them through. I’m scared shitless about this, because I don’t like to be a person in control all the time. And if things don’t work out at the end of the day, I have to justify them in a quantifiable way. This may be the way to go in the corporate world, but in this private life of mine, I want nothing to do with it. My mind shuts down, my eyes roll back, my heart races at a slightly faster pace, and I freeze, stuck in limbo for the next few hours, or days, depending on how bad it gets.

How I cope with all this varies. Normally I spend lunch away from the office, and find the most secluded place I can find in the financial business district. And because such a place practically doesn’t exist, I take the train out to the nearest library, or the mall to go window shopping – or at least, that’s the plan, because I usually end up buying something.

The slightly cheaper option is to go home, turn on this MacBook, and dig up some old series that requires no thinking or afterthought. These would usually be MTV’s Daria or SKET DANCE! or even *shudder* Ouran High School Host Club. But they were funny, and you didn’t need to ponder over anything. It was mind-numblingly therapeutic. Anime series like Parasyte, Tokyo Ghoul and even Fate/Stay Night may be awesome, but I can’t help but feel that watching each episode once is already enough. They push the boundaries of animated storytelling. There are characters that change, personalities that get developed, plots that thicken to the point where you start to wonder which side of reality is real anymore. They make me think, and they are exhausting as much as they are exhilarating.

There is also one other thing that I’m truly thankful for, and that’s accessible music. And I’m not talking about Spotify.

iTunes has been a real lifesaver. Everyday, I log in to the iTunes store to see what new releases are available. And if that’s not enough, other online record stores like Recochoku (pronounced re-ko-cho-ku) give you access to the latest Japanese music, and the best part is that it has what iTunes doesn’t always have – especially with new releases. And all you need is to register a credit card to pay for items within Japan on Rakuten (Japan’s Amazon), and use that as a payment option on Recochoku. The songs may cost twice of what you pay for on iTunes, but with a fuller archive of music, I’m definitely not complaining.

I may be over-glorifying all this, but making purchasing items online that would have otherwise been completely inaccessible is strangely empowering. I found this hard to comprehend at first, but as soon as I made my first online purchase from halfway across the world with my own credit card, I felt unstoppable. That chunky one-of-a-kind necklace made by a fashionista in LA is now within reach. Is that book discontinued at your local bookstore? You can get it cheaper (even with shipping) somewhere else. And that new amazarashi album that’s been out since last October? Just hit a few clicks.

Of course, at the end of the day, all these measures – shopping, watching anime, listening to music – are merely temporary. If deeper issues are at hand, the next best alternative is to proactively shake it off (no pun intended, Taylor Swift). Find some motivation to wear those jogging shoes and get out of the house, even if the run is barely a crawl for 15 minutes. Wear colorful makeup, and pick the most colorful outfit you can find. Drink fancy tea. Or coffee. Eat fruits, or have a smoothie. Do something to yourself that makes you look at least twice as glamorous. Read – there are so many books and magazines that inspire. Give the impression that you’ve got your shit together, even if you don’t. Because as flaky as it sounds, there’s nothing like someone on the street complementing the way you look – and that’s a mood booster on its own.


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