You mean we have something specifically for that?!
Initially when we created this blog I wanted it to be a, you know, blog, where Jun and I could just share things we were thinking about. Things happen and that never really took off, but it's midnight now and I'm feeling muse-y so how about some embarrassing thoughts!
(By the way, does anyone else feel like they start sharing too much information late at night? I don't get deep-secrets-talky with drinking, but I do when I stay up too late.)
I've been so, so happy to have a real hobby for once (YouTube) that it's become a bit of an obsession and it's distracted me from the fact that I haven't done anything else I enjoy for a long, long time. I don't know what's happening in the news, I don't know what games are out, I don't even know what SYSTEMS are out. The past few months every time I try to paint my nails I only have time to get the first coat on and it looks all crappy, and then I don't have time to redo them so I end up with chipped/half-painted nails for weeks.
I love where I am in life. I have a hobby that's productive (produces something, affects people, sometimes makes differences [both good and bad], and even brings in a little bit of money), which is something I've been wanting for a long time. I used to really enjoy spending my evenings surfing the internet and playing video games, but at the same time there was always a vague sense of dissatisfaction and slight feeling of anxiety that I wasn't really doing anything of value.
I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time and have a series of events occur that led to shedding my laziness (the AF got me exercising, Jun got me making videos), and I kind of feel like I'm in a moderately successful place in my life now. But I have a slightly obsessive personality, which means that as time has gone on I've put everything, and I mean everything, into this video-making hobby.
And it took a thoughtful Facebook post (lol wut) to suddenly remind me that I haven't been doing any of the other things that used to make me happy. One of those things was learning new things (to a slightly obsessive level of detail). This may not surprise you, considering some of the videos I've made that required a significant amount of research into areas I hadn't studied since 8th grade (biology). I loved reading the Wikipedia page, and then reading the links at the bottom (very frequently half-nonsense sites/half expired links), reading the top pages on Google, and then reading the scientific studies. And then repeating the Wikipedia and Google page look-up for every other word in those scientific studies! I did this over and over until I understood every piece of information, which is how I was able to explain things so (I believe) clearly and simply. The difference is, I didn't used to do this only for Japan.
I absolutely love what we do with YouTube. And I absolutely love learning about Japan. Even now learning new things here still hasn't lost its appeal. But honestly, this is all I know now. I didn't used to just focus on things about one country. I initially studied all of Asia (for my major) and then expanded to major world region hot spots for the military. I kept up to date with everything, on a variety of subjects. I would read books in two or three days. Now I read one, maybe two books a year? I used to muse indefinitely on tons of pointless, dumb things (like this blog post right here). I had my period of angsty, no-one-else-understands-the-world-like-I-do teenage thoughts, which resulted in an entirely horrible livejournal that I believe no longer exists (at least I hope it doesn't).
Granted, most those thoughts were stupid and embarrassing, and I probably wouldn't be able to even stomach my way through reading a whole post now (I'm sure this will be the same later on down the road). But it was fun. I don't feel like I've really thought about things like that in a while. My life has been very fast-paced for a long time. I'm a very anxious person. Even just taking a break now raises my blood pressure! Can you believe it? I feel like I'm wasting time. Jun will ask me to just come sit with him for a few minutes, and I'll be thinking, "How long is this going to take? I'm not done responding to people. I still need to watch that video for that one person. We don't have our next video done yet." And I can't sit still. My eyebrows start scrunching upward together, I start breathing a little faster, and I start fidgeting. This is somewhat of a problem.
Jun and I tried to take a vacation during the New Year holiday. First we wanted 5 days, and then thought to settle for 3, and then 2, and then it just didn't happen at all. We went out together one day... and we made a YouTube video. It was fun, but it really wasn't a break at all. I've forgotten how to take things slowly. I was hoping, praying that a vacation with no internet and no camera would finally force some relaxation time on us. But with planning it, any decent place to stay overnight was $200 a night per person. PER PERSON! And then the area would be so crowded in a city, with people. We'd take a train and not the car so we'd be walking in the cold. And could we really afford to take that many days off right now? We couldn't.
(You also may be surprised how many hotels have nice bathing areas... but only communal ones. That's not a problem for me, until it's gender-segregated [hint: they're pretty much all gender-segregated] which means that on a vacation with my husband I'd be sitting naked in a nice bath with strangers, and not the person I wanted to spend time with the most. What's the point of that?!)
And you know, even though I feel like the insane price-tag of a vacation is one of the big reasons we decided not to do it, even if we had a lot of money, I still don't think I'd be comfortable spending $200 a night, per person, just to sleep in a room with a bath. My parents divorced when I was 7 (no biggie) but after that, neither of them did quite well with their jobs. We were on welfare on my mom's side for... pretty much all of it, I guess. We weren't dirt poor, but I shopped mostly at thrift stores. And the thing is, even after becoming an adult and getting a real job... I still shop at thrift stores. Everything I make goes into the bank. There's no spending budget--the budget is everything gets saved, and every now and then we can treat ourselves to a meal or a little bit of shopping. Jun asked me the other day what I would do if I was just given $50. I of course said I'd put it in the bank, and when he said that wasn't an option, I couldn't think of something else to do with it. (He said he'd put his into one of his aquariums, btw).
This does not bode well for future vacation planning. Someone could literally give us money for a vacation, and my thoughts in order would be:
1. No, I don't want your money for vacation.
2. Okay, look, I don't need your money for vacation.
3. If you give me that money, I'm going to put it in the bank.
I'm not quite sure how to get over this hurdle. Even Donna and Tom's advice didn't work.
Well, it almost worked.
I had the time to research all those videos in the past because I was living in America, which made making videos about Japan a bit difficult. That meant my best option for video making was finding interesting things I could talk about, like facts and statistics. At the same time, I was also horribly depressed and dealing with anxiety, so the obsessive research every waking second helped keep my mind off the fact that Jun and I were apart and were still going to be apart for an indefinite period of time. Now that we're together, there are so many things we're doing and so many videos we're making that I don't have those large chunks of time to put into research anymore.
That issue I've been working to solve. I finally made the "What Souvenirs Should You Bring to Japan" video, which took reading through a few hundred comments, translating them all into English, sorting them, and then organizing the video. But that was a relatively "simple" research video, since it didn't really require much actual digging research--it was mostly just conducting our own survey and analyzing the results. And I do have one subject that I've wanted to talk about for a long time, that is somewhere near the top of our mental which-video-to-make-first list. It's just been hard finding the time to do the research, and when I think back to how much time I put into those other videos, it feels a little daunting knowing how much effort it's going to take. I'm not in the military anymore, which means I don't have a reliable income. YouTube isn't reliable at all, and calling it an income would be stretching. So can I even afford to spend that much time on a single video now? (The answer doesn't matter, because I'll make the video anyway. No guarantees when I'll be able to finish it, though.)
Well, those are just some questions, and some thoughts. I'm really horrible at conclusions, but I realize this is all basically just a giant ramble with absolutely no point or formatting and so it really should end now. The longer I make this, the more vaguely dissatisfied I think people will feel if they manage to read the whole thing, realizing they wasted all that time on pretty much nothing! Sorry. If this really sucked or was confusing, sorry for that, too. And it's probably embarrassing, I can't tell right now, so I'm sorry to future me, too. And if it sounded like just complaints, sorry, because it's really just some thoughts. I absolutely love what we do, and wouldn't trade it for anything. I wouldn't be able to obsessively work day in and day out on something I didn't love.
(By the way, that reminded me, I realized a little while ago why the big bosses at companies work such long hours and so obsessively, when working for those companies feels like torture for us. It's because the company, or that department, or that responsibility--it's theirs. It's their baby. They probably even love it in a way. I relate so much now. There are no quitting hours with YouTube. You just work until it's done, and then you have a thousand other things to do so you end up continuing to work even after finishing your project. Its success depends on you. The more time and effort you put in, the more you're going to get out of it. It's the same with video games. To be successful you have to be able and willing to put that work above everything else [or get lucky; usually a combination of both (oh, or be early, i.e. be the first; being early is also a pretty big factor in success)]. Well, those are just thoughts, too. Guess I shouldn't have said it like it was some secret truth-reveal or something. And that's an entirely different subject for another time. Or not, depending on how horrible I think this is in the morning.)