Jittering From Joy (or Coffee) 😬

Dear Friend,

Hey, how’s it going? Quantitatively speaking, my productivity metrics from this month are down compared to March. But it recently dawned on me during one of my daily walks that, no numbers can represent all the flowers I saw or the breeze I felt that day. April was a tough month in the beginning but things took an upswing when I got a job at Apple!

There are way too many thoughts and feelings about this milestone, so of course I sorted them out by writing it out. I’m a blogger, after all!

Here are some of the things I did this month:

  • I started a new job at Apple!
  • 🏃🏻‍♂️ Ran 13.74 miles (average 3.43 miles per run) this month, down from 40.6 in March.
  • 🚶🏻 Walked 51.64 miles (average 1.84 miles per walk) this month, up from 48.01 in March
  • 🧘🏻‍♂️ Meditated 19 days in March (average 22 minutes per session), down from 27 days in March.
  • 🕰 I haven’t been as diligent with my intermittent fasting habit ever since I kicked it up from 16 to 18-hour durations. But it’s still helpful give my body a chance to reset.
  • 📷 Here are some of the photos I took in March (link should be viewable in any browser)

Social Gatherings:

  • Surprise party with Rajvi & Vipul
  • Brunch with Chris, Dreya, and Shannon
  • Brunch with Melissa and Scott
  • Dinner with Esme and Kathleen
  • Quite a few work lunches!

Here are the things I enjoyed and would recommend this month:

  • 📺 TV: Green Eggs and Ham (2nd Season) (Netflix). Yes I’ve recommended this show before, and yes I know Severance is also an awesome show. But sometime it’s also good to just watch a silly show at the end of a stressful day. This season has a great “James Bond” theme to it, and the jokes are just as clever as the first. This is especially great with families (not to mention with Mother’s Day coming up)!
  • 🎬 Movie: Everything Everywhere All At Once (YouTube Trailer). I’m so glad this movie is doing well and gaining more traction by the day. While this movie is truly as its title suggests: everything, everywhere, all at once — what’s fascinating to me is that my friends who’ve seen this all have very different reasons for why this movie is special to them. I’ll spare you my thoughts (for now), because ultimately it’s more meaningful for you to experience this movie and see what emotions may light up for yourself.
  • 🎤 Podcast: Maybe it’s because my parents are still abroad, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Cantonese podcasts this month. For those who understand Cantonese and are interested, check out Not A Romantic Story (conversational from a newlywed couple) or Alohagwa (random topics from an ex-radio DJ). Then let me know what you think about these shows!
  • 🎧 Music: Solar Power, by Lorde (Apple Music) I’ve previously recommended this before as well, but truth be told I just keep coming back to this album. There was a week before receiving the job offer where I kept ruminating about how things aren’t going to end well. The music video for Secrets From a Girl (Who’s Seen It All) came out during this time, which this line of lyric jumped out at me, “Remember what you thought was grief before the call?” Needless to say, I held on to that line and remind myself to please just wait for the call — until it finally did!
  • ▶️ YouTube Sundries:

Sadly I still haven’t touched Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu this month. The book was recommended by Book of the Month Club (a bday gift from my friend Rebecca). I look forward to picking it back up in May! Please reply and LMK if you have a book recommendation for me! I’m currently trying to read more fiction.

🤔 A Moment of Zen: With everything one tap away and immediately within our reach, we sometimes rob ourselves the moments to anticipate, to yearn, and to savor. Close your eyes and picture something you’re looking forward to… this could be a mail package, an upcoming date, a new movie, etc. How does this anticipation make you feel? Exciting? Scary? Joyful? Or something else? What can you learn from this anticipation?

And that’s about it for the month of April! I hope it’s interesting for you as it was nice for me to recap for the month. What are you up to and how are you doing? Let me know what you’ve been up to please — it seriously makes my day 🙂

Love wins

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Love wins

I got a job at Apple! 

Dear Friend,

I’m fully aware how cheesy it is to want to work for a trillion+ dollar company. But before there was the iPad, iPhone, or even iPod, there was my very first Mac — a Blueberry iMac G3. I still remember that fateful day when my friend Tommy helped me unboxing it after school. I was so, so excited but neither of us could even locate the power button! And once we found it, we then spent another hour troubleshooting why the iMac kept crashing upon booting up (turned out it needed to update to OS 8.5.1). Anyways.

I’ve wanted to work at Apple ever since that day, and for so long it has only ever been a dream. I’ve lost counts of how many actual dreams I had about working there, and even more so how many times I’ve applied at Apple. The journey of these applications (and the hopes or dreams attached to them) would end the second I hit submit — into the void they went. It’s honestly more like lottery to me than anything else, but as my aunt once told me, “You’d need a ticket if you want to win the lottery.” Until a recruiter reached out to me one random morning…

My first day at Apple!

What’s actually more interesting to me now is to reflect on the chain of unexpected moments and people that had prepped me for a job opportunity like this. Honestly. If Tobin did not hire me at Research Now despite my lack of work experience in the US, I would not be able to find my footing and know my way around Salesforce. Then if Rick did not hire me at IGN to end my 10-month unemployment gap, I wouldn’t have learned how to put out fires across teams and realize “oh shit, there’s an actual role title for what I do and it’s called… a Program Manager?”

And lastly, If Chad did not hire me at Walmart, he wouldn’t have thrown truly random things at me to sort out (literally on day one right after new hire orientation) so I could meet everyone in the early days of WMG (now Walmart Connect) and to gain their trust. And if he didn’t know about my prior experience with Salesforce, one of those random things wouldn’t have been to work with Kenny — someone who (still scares the daylights out of me) gave me the space to grow and learn how to pull SQL queries, design Salesforce processes, Product Management, and eventually be able to talk the talk with Engineers as a TPM.

I don’t want to imply that this road’s been easy or straightforward. In between these milestones were full of tough moments where the best option was to cut my teeth and lean into the grit, in order to outlive the fires and learn to hope in hopeless times. It’s also true that this road hasn’t been all bad — through these thorny moments were very patient people who gave me space to grow and adapt. I’m lucky, and I’m humbled by their faith in me at times when I don’t necessarily have that in myself.

Looking back, there hasn’t been a job I felt qualified for on day one, and the imposter syndrome for this one is still running high. Just like I did when I started at Walmart, IGN, Research Now, Hallmark, hell even at being an RA back in college — an experience I truly believed was life-changing.

Times are so tough right now, but if a depressed, gay kid who grew up from one of the poorest neighborhoods in SF could dream and somehow stumble his way toward it years later… then maybe there is still room for us to dream today, knowing that Life may take us into a better tomorrow.

Love Wins

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Is March Over Yet? 🥱

Dear Friend,

Hey, how’s it going? Maybe it’s because March is the first month of the year without any national holidays, but it’s always been a long difficult month to get through. And this year’s March is no different — I’m just so tired!

But in a way it also means I’ve just been doing a lot this month. In addition to housesitting for my parents to stepping up in my running and meditation routines, things have also picked up a lot in terms of work. Because of that, I haven’t been able to write as many poems or read much in general. C’est la vie! (Fun fact: Growing up I thought the saying was “Sailor V” for the longest time. So gay! 💁🏽‍♂️)

Here are some of the things I did this month:

  • 📱 10 new photo/poem posts in my public Instagram account.
  • 🏃‍♂️ Ran 40.6 miles (average 3.12 miles per run) this month, up from 32.2 in February.
  • 🧘🏻‍♂️ Meditated 27 days in February (average 23 minutes per session), up from 24 days in February.
  • 🕰 Kept up with my 16-hour intermittent fasting habit to help give my body a chance to reset. Up from 13-hour in February.
  • 📷 Here are some of the photos I took in March (link should be viewable in any browser)

Social Gatherings:

  • Coffee and Walk with Jessica
  • Impromptu lunch with Tommy and Judy
  • Movie with Priscilla and Ian

Here are the things I enjoyed and would recommend this month:

  • 📺 TV: Jujutsu Kaisen (HBO Max). Ian really likes this show and there’s a new movie out, so we watched this 24-episode season in preparation for the movie. You’ll love this show if you’re into amazing fight scenes, high school tournaments, and beautiful Japanese animation, of course. If you love Demon Slayer, My Hero Academia, or even Yu Yu Hakusho, you already love this show.
  • 🎬 Movie: Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (YouTube Trailer). The movie is technically a prequel to the aforementioned tv show, but you don’t absolutely need to know everything as the movie is fairly stand alone. That said, this movie is awesome and it was the perfect first movie to watch in a theater since the before times.
  • 🎤 Podcast: Wild Things: Siegfried & Roy (Apple Podcast). Before there was Joe Exotic and Tiger King, there were only Siegfried and Roy. This 8-episode podcast for sure detailed their rise to fame and impact in pop culture history, but it also reminded me just how much scrutiny they had to endure regarding their sexuality in a way that simply wouldn’t fly today.
  • 🎧 Music: Songs of Disappearance (Apple Music) Now for something completely different: This is an album of birdsongs featuring some of Australian’s most threatened species. I normally go for long walks on days I’m not running, and sometimes it’s just… nice to put this on to complement my otherwise quiet scenic walks.
  • ▶️ YouTube Sundries:

I’m still working on Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu, recommended by Book of the Month Club (a bday gift from my friend Rebecca). Please reply and LMK if you have a book recommendation for me! I’m currently trying to read more fiction.

🤔 A Moment Worth Pondering: Close your eyes and imagine a place you want to go. Where is this place and what is it like there? Is the air cold, warm, dry, or humid? Who is there with you, or are you by yourself? What do you want to do there, and how does this place make you feel?

And that’s about it for the month of March! I hope it’s interesting for you as it was nice for me to recap for the month. What are you up to and how are you doing? Let me know what you’ve been up to please — it seriously makes my day 🙂

Love wins

Please also share this newsletter if you think other people can benefit from it! They can also subscribe to the newsletters directly below.

Love wins

I Traveled Back in Time

I traveled back in time
to a place much rosier
yet the first thing I saw
a lone boy weeping on new year’s day

Further back in time
I saw darkness deeper still
and in every abyss
this boy struggled but emerged always

Now at this succinct moment
nothing makes much sense
the world’s gone haywire with
all this man-made suffering and pain

Holidays aren’t marked by peace
but by the ends of wars and turmoil
may we continue to persist
in time a bright future shall follow

— Winson Shuen

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I Wish to Bawl My Eyes Out

I wish I can bawl my eyes out
if that’s any use to you
alas these tears do not flow, for
they can’t flush away your grief

I wish to have the perfect words
that can make everything proper
alas the more love I pronounce, mere
shrill sounds proceed to your ear

Oh how I wish to move this mountain
one you deem impossible to climb
alas it’s this obstacle, that can
mount evidence of your might

For now I’ll simply be with you
lend you my ears and my heart
Til that moment arises, when
you can love you like I do

— Winson Shuen

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