The Chic Void’s fellow city dwelling friend Helin Lee, joins us today from her apartment in the Lower East Side. For this interview we decided to have a virtual cocktail hour, and needless to say, we struggled to stay on track. Our conversation was a lot of fun, and in true Chic Void fashion, Helin took us to deep places.
TCV: Where are you living, and who are you living with?
HL: In Manhattan, in the Lower East Side with my significant other, two cats and four plants.
TCV: What do you do for work?
HL: I work for a media company doing data strategy, but I should also mention that I started this new job the first week we were all quarantined. So ya, it’s been interesting.
TCV: How has Covid-19 changed your day to day?
HL: I work from home all the time now (she laughs). I love working from home, so I’m very okay with this. I spend more time with my cats, I cook a lot more, and I wake up earlier than usual – at least before my significant other. Each day, I make myself a light breakfast and then I start work. I’ve also been spending a lot of time by my window – I look out the window a lot.
TCV: What is your biggest fear in this moment?
HL: My fear is losing people I love and people that love me. During this time, a lot of things are out of my control. But I fear people I love dying and I fear not being there. For example, I couldn’t go to a funeral right now for someone I love. That’s really, really tough. It’s my darkest fear.
TCV: During this global crisis, there have been a lot of religious or spiritual people talking about End of Times and other prophetic messaging. How do you feel about that?
HL: I’ve been calling this WWIII. From what I’ve learned about the past two world wars, it’s an opportunity for this world to choose which side they want to be on. In the last world war, technology advanced significantly. In this world war, the weapon is facing all of us, and it’s our time to figure out how we want to interact together as humans. It’s a war every person has a position in. Its a war that shows us how far we’ve gotten, but how much we have to step back, especially when it comes to mother nature.
TCV: Has Covid-19 made you think differently about certain aspects of your life?
HL: 100%. Let’s see, how I consume time has been something I have been forced to pay attention to. I also appreciate my significant other way more, in that I value my relationship in a different way. For example, this weekend, I declared a vacation. So right now, a big thing is having different routines from our work days to our weekends. Our usual weekend ritual is laundry on Saturday, cleaning on Sunday. But this past Sunday, I said we are on vacation and I baked an olive oil cake instead. We are just learning to be more flexible as a couple, and as individuals.
TCV: What are you doing to connect with yourself in this moment?
HL: Umm, looking out the window (she laughs). I am doing a lot of baking, which is a different type of art, movement, and thought process than I am used to. It’s like a meditation. I’m also doing more yoga, and really looking and paying attention to my two cats. I am appreciating things like that, they are small, but meaningful.
TCV: What are you thankful for in this moment?
HL: Ooo, I think i’ve answered that, but let me think more about it. I am thankful that I have a job that needs me. I am thankful that I am an introvert, because right now it’s a superpower in this world. For that matter, both my significant other and I are both introverts! I’m thankful that both myself and significant other are happy to be home. There’s this Korean phrase that means – a person who prefers to do things at home – 집순이집돌이 . I’m also thankful that we have cats instead of dogs. I’m thankful for people I love and I can talk to during this crisis to say, “Dude I feel like an asshole.”
TCV: If you could hug one person right now, who would it be?
HL: My mom.
TCV: If you could give one piece of advice to others during this time, what would it be?
HL: Face your fears. For example, settling down was a fear of mine. Growing up, we moved on average once every two and a half years – and we are not a military family. We are a very proper Korean corporation family. So, for me, settling down is a fear, I don’t know what it looks like and I never thought I was missing something from it. This is now a time to settle down, and look at it straight in the eyes. I appreciate more and it’s a good thing for me. I have been entertaining all thoughts that I usually would like to avoid – like death and other things I can’t control. So I have been facing my thoughts and fears. That said, my advice would be to face your fears, but don’t feel like you necessarily have to overcome your fears in that moment. Just face them and contemplate them without emotion as best you can. Like a meditation.
TCV: What is one positive you see for society coming out of these times?
HL: Oh, mother nature! Greater greens! Huge advancements in environmental protection when we literally did nothing, as humans. And people breaking out of this silence, ideally in the most positive way possible considering that self-reflection has had it’s way with people. I’m hoping for more honesty and respect during social interaction because now face-to-face conversation is no longer an entitlement, its a privilege.
TCV: When all of this is over, what is the first thing you’ll do?
HL: I would like to throw a huge dinner party with friends – potluck style. Share germs, share food, share drinks and whatever else! I want kids to be around and all types of people. Like a neighborhood party all spending time in the same place together.