Recently, I had edited a thesis and a report. It was arduous and fun; arduous because I undermined the actual time it would take for me to ease into the role; fun because I felt like I’m on a ride, on top of the words, picking “gems”—some I throw away because they were mere debris, cluttering the scene, while some I polish because they have a place in there.

There was frustration at first while skimming the material, but simultaneously, in a strange, profound way, it made my heart flutter. I’ve discovered my love for words in high school, but only started writing after school. And now I’m editing.  Education, for me, has only just begun.

These days have been pivotal. Before, I felt it best for people to partake into my indecision—I let the world decide for me. But now I discovered I can make a solid decision for myself.

What I have learned from editing and proofreading someone’s work was meaning: It made me feel, even hope, that I’m adding a sliver of value to someone’s life through words, sometimes painfully omitting them, or peppering some in elusive crevices, similar to treating my own work.

It makes me think that improving ourselves and extending it to others, however small or subtle, is true art.

Seven days into it made me realize how much I assumed I know, what in fact I don’t, and how much I could do about it. My job in research made sense. Citation, indeed, is an art and it pays to know them well whenever necessary.

It also taught me how to be flexible, i.e., without relying heavily on computer. Doing most of the revisions on paper—slashes here, insertion there—allowed me to detect errors more easily. Despite the lack of space to insert words or phrases (line spacing was single), the limitation in itself helped me stretch out of my comfort zone. It was quite messy but interesting, tactile work.

I think I’m beginning to understand what connection means. Because it made me buy a blue pen.


Do One Thing

Mono task—this was Markus Almond’s advice and I followed it with a pen and a blank paper.

The ink as it first touches the inviting white space was revealing. Thought coming to life. The fluidity of our hands and minds working in confluence—laser-focused on a single task, putting every stroke, letter, word, thoughts—was amusing.

Most days are usually mundane, mechanical even. Our bodies are built for habits, automatically making us get up, eat, work and snooze. Perhaps we have chips inside us designed to keep doing essentially a variation of the same things. Unwrapping novelty, a little bit of a difference, progress, require an intentional muscle.

At that particular point, catching myself feel, curiously prying into my consciousness, taking it apart, I felt I’ve put a finger on something tangible and freeing—my breath, the coldness, the idle bright screen, the windows brightly lit, my sweaty palms, the solidity of the table against my pulse. Mundane details, defined.

Immersing myself like taking every nanosecond of onerous details of a plain event has stretched the time, if only for a short burst of moment. The fleetingness only made it special.

And the moment, indeed, need not be grand. It can as simple as sitting still, but being curious about it, slowing down, and doing one thing (or doing nothing at all) is what will spear us back to calm and, eventually, to clarity.

No destinations. No deadlines. Only the present moment.

It’s only sitting, dissecting the sensation, wondering and appreciating the cellularity of one action.