The future was more intangible than ever, and so I wrote the future I wanted.

photo via Pixabay

The pandemic, for me, birthed two books.

One was under contract with a publisher already; a nonfiction compilation of the uses of cinnamon, a continuation of an already existing series and borne out of my childhood with a mother whose roots lay in what I now know as Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The other came out of absolutely nowhere.

I’d always known I wanted to write a novel; had known this since I was six years old. “Writer” on my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up came right after “Princess” and “Ice Skater.”

But I could…

get ready to “add to cart” on all of these.

Anti-Asian hate crimes have seen a spike since the pandemic started. Hate crimes against our elders, against Asian women. We are left with the question: what can we do to help?

Check in with your AAPI friends. Read up on our country’s history of racism (yes, that includes racism against AAPI as well). Donate to organizations like Heart of Dinner and Stop AAPI Hate (please consider monthly donations). And make choices with your spending dollars — support minority-owned businesses.

We, as AAPI women, are so powerful. And I’m so inspired by all the women founders listed here, who built companies…

love via cut fruit, choice cuts of meat, quality time, and more.

Asian parents are notoriously bad at expressing their feelings in words. I can count the times I’ve heard “I love you” or “I’m proud of you” on one hand (hint: I’m pretty sure it was zero) before I left for college.

It took me a long time to realize that they express their love in different ways, ways that I took for granted growing up.

My parents’ love languages can be described as “quality time” and “food” (not that food is an official love language, but I’m sure you know what I’m talking about).

1. Cutting up fresh fruit.

Sliced fuji apples for an after-school…

hint: boundaries are important.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

To be honest: my work routine during lockdown is more normal now than it was before.

I’ve been lucky to work remotely since the end of 2018—it was always a goal of mine.

I thrive on independence and having the ability to put my head down and work; I understand my energy rhythms and work modalities enough to get things done efficiently on my own time.

I attribute that to accomplishing a lot during the day, but it also meant that my schedule was all over the place.

However, now a stricter schedule is a necessity for me in order…

when every day during lockdown feels the same, create something to look forward to.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

I am lucky to have kept my full-time job during this time, so Fridays are special for me in that I have the weekend to myself.

And that means that on Friday night, I close all my tabs, exit out of my Slack desktop app, wrap up any projects or outstanding items, and get any thoughts into a Note on my Mac or an actual Post-it note in my planner.

But even then, Fridays can still kind of feel the same. And if you’re not working during this time, they can especially feel just like any other day.

There’s the…

I run to remember, and I run to forget.

04.29.20 6:16am, just past sunrise in Santa Monica, California

Photo by Robert V. Ruggiero on Unsplash

In the middle of the hazy morning mist, my shoes pounding a familiar rhythm against the pavement, I feel free.

I pull the headphones out of my ears. The fast-paced hip hop feels wrong in the quiet near-solitude of the early morning. The sunrise is hidden by the clouds, but I feel like the day has dawned with new possibilities.

I want to hear myself think this time. To hear the sounds of the city waking up.

The thing about rolling right out of bed and putting your running shoes on…

you can’t have FOMO if no one else is leaving their homes either.

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

I’m a happy introvert, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get lonely.

In fact, loneliness hits me suddenly, like when a wave smacks you in the back while you have your back turned away from the ocean.

Like when your friends are all hanging out without you because you’re the only one who couldn’t make it.

Or when you see your ex’s Instagram story and you’re rudely reminded of the fact that they exist.

Or when you’re feeling like an absolute piece of shit and you just want your mom, but she’s miles and miles away and can’t give you…

Don’t patronize me.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Age is a tricky thing.

I’ve written a lot about birthdays — how I felt like each one marked another year where I didn’t accomplish as much as I wanted to; how each year made me less impressive in the eyes of society, that my accomplishments would no longer shine in the light of, “Wow, you’re so young!”

Since I was fifteen, I’ve felt like I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Sometimes I wondered how exactly I got so burdened.

Was it the heaviness of expectations from my family (and more importantly, myself)?

Was it my…

what is about immersing yourself in a completely foreign place?

Image by Joey Velasquez from Pixabay

Hemingway traipsed through Europe and came up with his (arguably) most notable works — The Sun Also Rises, A Moveable Feast, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls.

An entire generation of writers (suitably dubbed “The Lost Generation”) left the United States to make their home in Paris, gifting us with works from Fitzgerald and E.E. Cummings.

They’re just examples of times long past.

& how to stop letting to-do lists control your life

Photo by Marijana1 from Pixabay

“Wake up.”

“Brush teeth.”

“Make coffee.”

If you get great satisfaction from checking boxes, your to-do list may look something like this: full of tasks that you’re going to complete anyway, so you can get the feeling of completing something.

Unfortunately, that leaves the more important tasks that you actually need to accomplish or the ones that you are difficult to tackle lost in this plethora of other things to do.

It also makes for endless to-do lists… which creates the feeling of running on a hamster wheel, fighting against time to get everything done.

Here’s a secret: Your to-list…

Nancy Chen

author, fitness instructor & email marketer. I get weirdly enthusiastic about productivity ideas & human psychology.

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