Blue and White China Pattern Swing Dress // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

One of the scarier things I’ve realized lately is how little time each individual has to make an impact on society.

It’s so easy to think that we’ll be our current young and vibrant selves forever, so we don’t treat our time with respect — we go shopping or play video games just to pass the time. We hang out with people we don’t really care about. We take substances because we’re bored. We spend hours on the Internet tagging our friends in memes and watching those pointless videos that pop up on our Facebook feed.

We do this stuff because it’s easier to be in a state of slight apathy than to make the leap to living fulfilling lives. Figuring out what you want in life, and then having to jump through every hoop to get there, can be both terrifying and exhausting. This is especially true if you have existing obligations — for example, if you work a demanding job for eight hours a day, you may be so tired when you get home that all you’ll want to do is chill out.

Blue and White China Pattern Swing Dress // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

I get that. I’m actively pursuing two careers at once right now — one as an iOS engineer, and the other as a tech/lifestyle blogger. I wake up at 6 AM every day, write a blog post, then go into the office and code for eight hours a day, then go to Pure Barre for an hour, and then go home to do administrative and marketing work for Asian Barbie.

So many of the technical things I’m touching at work are completely new to me, so the cognitive toll is incredibly heavy. I had plans to come home last night, create Pinterest pins for the rest of my posts, get started on the next morning’s blog post, and start introducing myself to everybody in my 52 Weeks of Momentum course. Instead, I ended up having dinner and quickly going to bed because I felt too drained to do much else.

I could have easily let last night’s temporary setback bring down the rest of my week. I was so tired today when I woke up — there was honestly nothing I wanted to do more than crawl back into bed, take a cozy nap, and watch Netflix all day while the rain came down outside. But then this post wouldn’t have been written, and those tickets at work wouldn’t have been done, and I would have wasted an entire day of my life making excuses for myself.

Blue and White China Pattern Swing Dress // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

It’s really easy to get sucked into mediocrity, and even easier to blame your shitty life on the lack of privilege you were born with. You could spend your entire life in the same town you grew up in, surrounded by the same people who don’t really get you, and have a meh job where you earn enough to live and spend the rest of your time scrolling through Facebook or indulging in some other means of escapism.

Or you can say “fuck that”, and put up with feeling tired and out of your element for extended periods of time in order to be your truest self. Being young is an illusion. Every minute you spend doing something aimless is another minute of your life that you can’t get back. Every meme you look at is thirty seconds of your life, gone and lost forever.

Of course, you shouldn’t be “on” 100% of the time — I enjoy the odd meme time and again myself 🙂 It’s when you’re spending the majority of your down-time on nothing-activities such as scrolling through social media that it stops being a nice pastime and starts being a drain on your life.

Blue and White China Pattern Swing Dress // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

A short, strange motivational exercise

Here’s a small (and freaky) ten-minute exercise that I like to do whenever I feel discouraged, or when I want to waste a day on stuff that will get me nowhere. Close your eyes and imagine that you’re really old, like in-a-nursing-home-looking-back-on-your-life old. You can barely see or talk; all you can do is reflect. Think back on your “past” (your present in real life). If you could change something you did “back then”, what would it be? If you could go back and tell your “past self” something, what would you say?

Now open your eyes. Surprise! You’re that “past self” again, and you have the power to change your present situation. Listen to your imaginary old-person self and don’t waste your life away! Present laziness should never bring about future regrets.

Blue and White China Pattern Swing Dress // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

The majority of your time should be spent doing things you really want to do, or working towards long-term goals. If you don’t know what you really want to do or what your long-term goals are, then the majority of your time should be spent figuring out those things. [1]

It’s hard, but so, so, so worth it. I’d like to say that I spent my twenties learning crucial skills, getting to know myself and what I want in life really, really well, hanging out with people who deserve my time and attention, and building a legacy I’m proud of. I deserve a life of great things, so I’m going to create it to myself.

You should do the same.

Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

How to Stop Settling | Fake & Basic

Notes

[1] There may be significant resistance with this, but pushing through is worth it. For example, whenever I first start a programming project and my code isn’t working, every second feels like it’s dragging by slowly as everything I write breaks and frustration builds up. I take frequent breaks to offset the dizziness that creeps in from staring at colored text that doesn’t make sense. Then, when I figure out what I’m doing, I can stay in “the Zone” and be one with the creative flow for hours. Rather than drain me, it energizes me — but it does take a lot of effort to reach that sweet spot.

This article is part of the Morning Content Challenge, where I write a blog post each morning before going to work. It’s an exercise in imperfection, timing, and self-discipline. If you have any questions or topic suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out!