Category Archives: Year of Quitting

Quitting the Year of Quitting

Well it’s been a good run. I’ve learned a lot. But now it’s time to end the Year Of Quitting and Unplanning Project. I might write more about what I’ve learned later. But right now I don’t feel like it.

Part of the point was to get rid of some of the things that don’t serve me to make space for the things that do and discern which things I really want to keep in my life. I’ve minimized my activities to the point where it’s time to start adding things back in. So that’s what I’m focusing on for now and for the rest of the year as I transition to a new phase of my life.


Quitting YouTube

This month’s YOQ task is quitting YouTube.

I’d been doing a lot of youtube binging the last few months which was interrupting my sleep routine. So this month I blocked it on all my browsers. So far it seems to be helping  me to get back on track. Although, to be honest,  I think the trip to the tea festival made the biggest dent in whipping me into some sort of routine.

The nice thing is I have more time freed up for blogging which I’ve been doing more of this month. I am starting to collect blogs like I collect notebooks.

I have this tendency to compartmentalize. I like to have separate notebooks for separate things. One notebook is just for my dreams, another is for my morning pages, another is for my therapy sessions, etc.

Now I have a handful of blogs on various platforms. I’ve got my photo blog, and my poetry blog, and this one where I blog about the year of quitting and the unplanning project, and a handful of others.

I guess May will just be the month of blogging.

The Stages of Grief

Somewhere I read that the stages of grief are the same as the stages of forgiveness. This makes a lot of sense to me. It also explains why I have such a hard time forgiving people and why it takes so long to process.

If you never let yourself mourn, you can never reach the final stage. And if you never reach acceptance, then you can never really forgive. I’ve never really let myself mourn before.

You can’t rush the stages of grief. And you can’t skip any of them. You have to let them wash over you in waves. Once each stage has hit it’s high tide, I promise you’ll feel cleaner.

I know because I feel like I’ve been in a constant tsunami of grief for the last year. I must have gone through the stages at least 4 or 5 times now.

I’m crossing my fingers that I’m riding the last wave of the season. It’s unclear if I’ve reached the acceptance stage for any of the previous run-throughs, but maybe they were all just dress rehearsals leading up to the final performance. I’m hoping this is the final performance.

Last Sunday, I asked a question in yoga class and I didn’t like the answer I got. I don’t know if it was even the answer so much as the question itself, but something triggered a flood of tears that didn’t stop for a good 20 minutes. I was sitting there on my mat sobbing and my teacher was telling me to stop fighting the battle that was eating away inside of me. I was mad at him. I was mad at myself. I was mad. And then he said, “You’re dying.”

It didn’t click until later, but he was right. I’m mourning my old self. Again. And when you mourn you go through the stages of grief. And right now I’m dead center in the anger/ depression stage. That’s what’s been keeping me up all night for the last month. That’s what’s been keeping me numbing on youtube videos and tumblr posts. That’s what’s been making me feel bad that I couldn’t get up before noon, or go to bed before 3am.

At last month’s open mic, I performed this poem that was about anger and depression and forgiveness and the stages of grief. And in the poem I said:

“I deserve to go through every single stage of grief, even if it takes 100 years to do so.”

In the poem, I was speaking to someone else, but I was really just trying to convince myself that it was true.

It is.

And I’m slowly learning to believe it and live by it.

I’m stuck in one of those stages right now. And even if it takes 100 years, I’m allowed to be here. Right where I am. Awake at 1am in the morning, angry, sad, sleepless, unproductive, not crossing things off my to-do list, whatever. It’s ok.

I’m a glass-half-full type of person, so I predict this stage will last less time than 100 years. It might turn out to be closer to 100 days, though, and that’s ok too.

Midnight Musings

I’ve been having major sleep routine struggles for the last month. I wrote about how I’d given up on getting up early when I tried to quit sleeping in a few months back. Letting myself have no sleep routine seemed to work really well for that month. It was quite freeing to let myself get up at noon and stay up til 3am.

But somehow between then and now I reabsorbed my feelings of inadequacy for not being able to get up early and establish a morning routine. Everyday I’d try to set a new alarm to get me up earlier the next day, and everyday I’d snooze and then stay up later and later, continuing the cycle.

This month I gave up fighting.

It’s good that this month’s #unplanning task is unplanned. I had been stressing out about what to unplan, so I decided I just wouldn’t plan it.

Now I just unplan things whenever I feel the need. Like I’ve stopped planning when I get up in the morning. Or writing down my to-do list the night before. Or trying to stick to the morning routine I’d been slowly building up for the last few months.

I don’t know how long this staying up til 4am and sleeping til 1pm habit is gonna last. But for now, that seems to be what’s happening. And I’m just grateful I don’t have a job, so it doesn’t matter.

The Uniform


The Uniform (sans grey shoes)

February’s YOQ task was to wear the same outfit everyday. My uniform.

I’ve been trying to build up my uniform for the last few months ever since I read this article. I’d finally settled on a color- grey, and have been slowing scouring the vintage shops for grey items to add to my wardrobe.

I finally had enough pieces for one outfit. I kept thinking I needed to find more pieces before I started wearing it. But then I thought, Why do I need more than one outfit? I’m not that dirty. I’ll just wash it weekly and change my underwear. So the one-outfit-month idea was born.

This is my uniform: grey pants, grey shirt, grey sweater, black peacoat, grey tie, grey scarf, grey socks, and occasional grey hat. I’ve even got grey shoes.


Featuring the 5,000 won sweater and coat

It worked out nicely with my new haircut which I got at the beginning of the month. I’m most proud of my 5,000 won grey sweater which I found at the same place as my 5,000 won peacoat. (I remind myself of my halmoni, bragging about the bargains I purchased my clothes at.)

At some point, I’d still like to get a suit tailored. I need to do a bit more research for the best deal because they are quite pricey. My initial research averaged a full suit around 400,000 won minimum.

Until I have more money saved up, my one outfit uniform suits me for now. And it’s fun to explore the thrift shops for items to add to it. I figure it will be a slow process and it doesn’t have to happen all in one shopping spree. I might not have a full wardrobe built up for a few years, but it’s fun to start looking.

My Halmoni is a Trendsetter

“It’s been 28 years since I stopped eating flour,” my grandmother says to me proudly as she scoops some home-made dwenjang into a jar for me to take home.

“It’s not because it didn’t taste good,” she explains.”I really like eating udon and noodles. But after I eat them my stomach hurts.”

My grandmother has been listening to her body since before I was born. Other things she’s stopped eating- milk, sugar, meat. Basically my grandmother lives a gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, mostly vegetarian, organic life. And she started before any of those things were a fad. I’m always impressed that no one told her to do these things because they were good for her. She just knew.

“Korean food is good for you,” she says. “Don’t you feel better now that you eat more Korean food and less bread? Your skin has cleared up.”

I nod. My skin has cleared up since quitting sugar. One of the reasons I quit sugar in the first place was because I heard it can contribute to pimples. I recently heard gluten can also cause pimples. So perhaps the gluten free month will kick my break-outs once and for all.

Quitting gluten has proven to be a lot harder than quitting sugar and becoming vegan. But if my halmoni can do it, so can I.

My Date With A Gluten Free Pizza

Tonight I had my first date with a gluten free pizza. I’d been looking forward to this night for a while. I first hear of Ppuri on the plate, the vegan, gluten free, sugar free cafe  in hyehwa about a month or two ago when I was researching vegan restaurants to try in Seoul.

My first attempt at Ppuri was thwarted by the fact that you had to make reservations for dinner and it was a little bit far to visit on a weeknight. But I knew I wanted to go at some point and was waiting for the right opportunity.

My wish was granted last week after yoga class. While walking to the subway with my friend U, we were discussing vegan food and vegan restaurants in Seoul. She mentioned she was going to Ppuri the following week and I mentioned I’d been wanting to go there. When she invited me to join I was thrilled! I put in my order for the vegan pizza with the gluten free crust made with brown rice flour and have been looking forward to it all week.

I’ve been suspecting I might be gluten intolerant for awhile now. A month ago, I self diagnosed my symptoms and decided to definately cut it out. The problem was, I hadn’t prepped for it and so I kept succumbing to my bread cravings quite regularly. I had to make an adjustment.

I realized I couldn’t just go cold turkey. I needed to prep myself mentally like I had when I quit sugar and became vegan. For both of those diet changes, I knew in the back of my head for months ahead of time that I was gonna do it, which helped the transition go a lot smoother.

This last week, I had another bought of depression which I’m half convinced is correlated with gluten. Gluten makes me tired and brings my energy down which throws off my sleep schedule and routine and makes my life a hot mess. I’d already decided next month’s Year of Quitting task is going to be gluten. But starting this week I’ve resolved to start avoiding all gluten more strictly.

Last night I had the opportunity to eat bread and turned it down immediately, although I was sad about it. My friend B did that nice thing where he pretends it doesn’t even taste good as he takes another slice. But it doesn’t help because I know he’s deliberately lying. So I whined a bit and lamented the loss of bread in my life.

Today’s much awaited date with the gluten free pizza couldn’t have come at a better time. As soon as we got to the restaurant I was so excited. I walked in and saw all the cakes labeled as brown rice cakes. Before we even began eating I couldn’t wait for dessert!

Everything was delicious and the gluten free pizza was sooooo yummy. We got a slice of GF banana bread as service and I ordered a slice of GF chocolate cake for take out. I’m glad I got to eat there to celebrate the beginning of my new GF life.

After dinner, as I was walking through the subway I noticed I was joyful. I think my body was happy with the food it had received. This year has been about listening closely to the signals my body gives me. I think my body has been screaming at me to give up gluten for years. And it’s so grateful that I’m finally listening.