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[BUJO] May ‘24 Recap



I started the month with pretty full, positive energy. I'm a May queen, born on Parents' Day in Korea, so there are lots of celebrations to be had. Spring seemed to be in full swing with beautiful colors everywhere. It alsmost feels like midsummer already on some days. I felt vaguely hopeful and excited about what was to come my way, although I had no idea what an adventure it would turn out to be. I decided to simply enjoy and soak it all in instead of focusing on accomplishing things.


Going into the month, I was single-mindedly focused on getting some dives in and eating lots of exotic Japanese food during vacation. I did that, so May is a complete success in every way. At the moment, making commercial progress is not a primary focus. Priorities, my friends.


I didn't track them at all this month. And that's totally ohhh-kay, too.


The trip to Japan was amazing. It was with a friend I've known for nearly 18 years. That was the first time we traveled overseas together, which meant a lot to me. It got me to appreciate him more as a person and a friend and reflect on how we and the friendship have evolved over the years. Also, I'm trying to evolve from traveling alone or with strangers. As many of you already know, there's so much value in traveling with your loved ones, which I didn't get to experience a lot for a long time, unfortunately. I'm trying to rectify that starting last year, hence purposely making travel plans with mom and besties.

Sapporo offered so much great food, and I felt like an ancient goddess sitting in the outdoor onsen on a mountainside in drizzly and foggy but beautifully crisp weather. The conveyor belt sushi dinner at Triton was unbelievable, and the ice cream parfaits made with the Hokkaido dairy were delightful. I would love to take Mom there in winter someday.

Okinawa was also kind to me as I got to enjoy four dives over two days. Being underwater puts me in a blissful trans, and I get completely mesmerized by the beautiful & quirky marine creatures. I also saw some young turtles - the first time since Bali back in 2018! In this day and age where plastic garbage overflows every corner of the vast ocean, seeing creatures like that feels like amazing luck. Diving, to me, is a literal embodiment of fully immersing in life. I feel there's really nothing like it. I just love this shit.

But I am very conscious of how my underwater presence has negative effects on marine life. It really bothers me how some dive masters and guides get so close to the precious creatures. I want to be more conscientious about how and with whom I go about it in the future.

In Okinawa, I also caught up with an old friend and his wife. I met him back in 2007-ish during my photography years. I stopped taking photos since, but we managed to savor this friendship over the years. He is someone I respect and can have interesting and intelligent conversations with. Drinking and checking out breweries were things we did back when, but thankfully, it seems we both have grown out of it. Sadly, I never got to meet his five pet goats in person, so I supposed that's something to return for in the future.

There's something really relaxing and laid-back about Okinawa and I love that it's only 2.5 hours direct from Incheon. The idea of taking frequent workations on the island seems absolutely attractive and plausible. Combining a bit of diving and remote work will perfectly serve my core values - creative expansion and mind-body connection. But all profundity aside, I just want to dive more often.


Then, I went to Chigasaki in Kanagawa prefecture to meet Kie(@seathesun_kie), who is a lovely Co-Active Coach in Japan. Initially, I just wanted to meet her in person and soak in her calm & peaceful energy. But then, she suggested that I hold the vision workshop for Japanese audience. First, panic set in. But soon, I remembered one of my affirmations - 'I welcome any opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and I do not let myself be guided by fear'. So I said I would do it, and after much preparation, translation, and many online meetings, we finally made it happen, and it was just really amazing, beautiful, exciting, and rewarding in so many ways.

I had a very small audience, but it didn't bother me at all because I was learning and gaining so much in the process. I mean, I was just flabbergasted that anyone would even show up. Who the hell am I anyway? I'm only a novice coach from Korea with absolutely no footprint in Japan. I don't even speak the language! I was endlessly thankful to those who showed up and trusted the process. I'm also grateful to Kie who made all of this possible. How could I have come across such a loving human being who offers so much unconditional trust and support? The love and friendship I felt from her were just so real and raw. She is the perfect embodiment of her core value of purity. I became so emotional and overwhelmed with gratitude when I hugged her goodbye at Yokohama Station and broke into tears. It's like I went to Japan to meet a colleague, but came back having gained a friend and a sister. This was the biggest highlight and the best souvenir from the trip for me, hands down.

I want to acknowledge my courage here. Even just a few months ago, I never imagined that I would be able to put together a workshop like this, let alone carry it out in another country! I'm a bad B, proud of myself for just making things happen. Go me.


Upon returning, life caught up with me pretty quickly to teach me that death is a natural part of it. On May 26th, my maternal grandma passed away. She was the only grandma I knew because the grandma on my dad's side had passed away long before I was born. She was such a force, a decision-maker, and a dominant matriarch of the family. She lived for 97 years. Ain't that crazy? Just three years shy of a century. That means she was born in 1925 when Korea was still under the Japanese Imperialist rule! I don't even pretend to fathom the depth of what that means. If you know anything about contemporary Korean history, you know that there is a lot of rich history and remarkable progress she's lived through. Her death means a closure to a significant chapter in a century's worth of history - family and national. I can't wrap my mind around it.

She used to run a small inn, and the vibe over there was always so weird and peculiar with all these rooms I was not allowed to go in and the mysterious guests going in and out, some friendlier than others, and I used to wonder who these people were and what brought them to this particular corner of the earth. Whenever I visited her, she used to go to the local market and get a chicken butchered and fried up. I still think it was the best fried chicken I've ever had. She always called me Miss Kim because, to her, I was a fancy educated city girl who deserved respect. She was gregarious and loud, so perhaps I got that from her. Like with many of my family members, I never really knew her and her life deeply, but from what I hear on occasion from Mom, she loved dancing and music very much, although I never saw the side of her myself, so again my creative feats can be traced back to her I think. I dunno. I guess I'm trying to connect more dots.

I got to say goodbye to her a few days before she passed. Lying in her bed, her eyes were open, but it didn't seem like she was coherent or conscious in any way and she certainly wasn't responsive. But, sometimes, she would squeeze my hand, which felt warm in small spots but mostly cold. I wasn't sure if she could tell I was there or even who I was. But I said goodbye to her and wished her peace and comfort. Strangely, I didn't think about what could be on the other side at all. I had, and still do, a blind faith that no matter what's on the other side, she'll be rested.

My mom and uncle are catholic so we called a priest and got her baptized. She probably didn't understand what was happening to her, which seemed a bit unfair and forceful to me, but the religious ritual seemed to put her children at ease more than anything, which carries some value I suppose. It was another moment of realization that a funeral ritual is more for the living than it is for the dead.

When I went down to see her for the last time, I got to take Mom and her brother and sister out to dinner. It felt nice to be the big niece and daughter who treated them to a nice meal and showed emotional support amidst all the internal & external chaos they were going through. But I also got to see the side of them that I hadn't seen before. They had always been a nice uncle and an aunt to me, but, this time, I saw them getting upset and bickering over small things. I guess, given how unsettling and sensitive this time is, it's not unusual that family members fight, but it turned out they bicker all the time between themselves as do all sisters and brothers. I just never got around to it myself and saw that in person in the past. Rather than being disappointed, I found it refreshing once the initial shock wore off. They came off as deeply human, and I felt intense empathy for them.

Now Grandma is gone, and my 76-year-old mom laments for being an orphan, and I'm here and fully immersed, soaking it all in and dancing to the rhythm of life, the joys and the sorrows all in full blossom, dancing in this moment.


Wanna chat about bullet journaling?



Joonyoung Kim is a Productivity and Leadership Coach based in Korea. Through her private coaching program for women leaders Redesign Productivity, she shares her deep passion for helping women leaders rethink what being productive means so that they can spend their time and energy meaningfully to drive fulfillment and abundance in life and at work

She is one of the first Korean-English bilingual coaches in Korea to be certified by Leadership Circle Profile™, the most innovative 360° leadership assessment tool available in the market.

In addition to developing women leaders, she also partners with EZRA Coaching, Leadership Circle, and Coachdot as an executive coach and develops corporate leaders from diverse industries across APAC. She's certified by the International Coaching Federation, Co-Active Training Institute & Leadership Circle, and she coaches & trains in English or Korean on Zoom across time zones.

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