05/20/2018

Answers are intriguing. Nay, answers are addicting. So then, does looking for that next hit makes me a junkie? I suppose it does, in a way.

Life appears to be moving so slow these days, and yet, I feel so rushed. I feel the need to slow down, to clutch to my books and retreat to solitude. Why the scrambled thoughts? Why the lack of focus, or rather, the lack to desire to focus on the necessary tasks? Distractions certainly aren’t hard to come by. I’m the guy who plays the games for side quests and ignores the main storyline. Unfortunately, in the game of life, that’s a foolish thing to do!

Only so many days of promising myself tomorrow is the day to fix the problem before tomorrow’s too late…

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04/14/2018

I guess I’m overdue for a tear-jerker every now and again. As the roommate reminds me, I am most likely overly predisposed to describe heart-warming moments as ‘wholesome.’ What could be more wholesome than character growth and development? We started and finished Violet Evergarden in just two sittings, and my word, the latter half tugged at my heart strings with the eternity of longing that I can empathize.

But there is peace too. Emotional turmoil, the hopelessness and lost sensation, they all give way to peace in their own time and through others. Perhaps I’m becoming biased in wisdom acquisition, but it does appear that a common theme resonates among the arts, literature, and entertainment I adore: we grow, we heal, we find our best fulfillment in light of others. Even the highest highs of achievement, a sensation I crave with each and every passing project, what more are they than building blocks to a sturdier me to share with a world of others?

I imagine you would like this anime as well. And perhaps all too fittingly, it would remind me of you, as much as Violet misses the Major. And like her, I find the peace of addressing an entity more abstract now than real, and that’s okay.

One conference now concluded. One more to go next week. Between now and then and the week afterward, I have to press onward with my little ‘Saga of Hours.’ So far, it’s shown promise, albeit less than fully desirable results (could truly be a theme of life in my 20s, hah). We’ll get there though. We as in physical me and the narrator me, plus our cohort of lifelong cheerleader friends and family.

04/11/2018

Trying something new today, birthing it with a cutesie name as I am wont to do with all my pet projects: Saga of Hours. If we can make it last 4 weeks, the possibilities for extension will go from there.

Life has been tough love of late, with all the lucky breaks going elsewhere. I’ve stalled and kept on stalling, promising for tomorrow what I could have done (with some effort) today. Failure on my part, to be sure: talent wasted is worth as much as a lack thereof. Physically, I look and feel great, but mentally, my capacity has certainly diminished. Like exercising the body, the brain too needs its workouts for focus and output. I shouldn’t be my own antagonist when there’s a whole world of problems to choose from.

So here’s to a start of something new and gimmicky. But hey, gimmicks are worth their flair if results can back them up. We adapt and incorporate ideas to help us grow and thrive, and I got plenty of room for both in my life.

04/06/2018

Well, that was fun: an expression of skill and critical thinking, the making of a process that takes 6 hours into 1.5. It’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but just enough to bolster confidence in myself that I have something tangible to offer for my supposed talents. It’s a start – got a long way to go.

Happy belated birthday! Here’s hoping things are swell, as I’m sure they are.

I have so many distractions these days…but isn’t that my fault for allowing these sources of vapid entertainment interfering with my productivity? This whole week has basically been a waste in that regards. And yes, while time spent enjoying one’s self is hardly wasteful, it can be excessive. I’m becoming addicted to speed, to the flow of information rather than its comprehension at deeper depths. Projects like the one I just spent time on helps to slow the pace a bit, but ultimately it’s a battle I’m losing, and in no small part due to my own choices for entertainment. I keep making solemn vows to change things, but change has been found wanting.

The more things appear to stay the same then. It’s like I grow in a circular pattern of making strides and falling wayward, up and down that ladder to the next level. Is self-motivation not enough? Gosh darn it.

03/12/2018

Curiosity is itself a curious thing. What makes it such that one concept engrosses us and another failing to register, even when neither seem particularly relevant to our lives at the given moment? One minute, I come across a seeming trivial fragment of life; the next, I find myself after 2 hours of Wikipedia and Google searches, learning information that will most likely be forgotten within a year or two.

Curious still is what happens when your curiosity fails to be satisfied. The information you sought cannot be found or accessed. What then but disappointment? And yet, the internal source of curiosity does not fade. Perhaps that is the curse that keeps us moving, ever pushing at the edge of our desires for a fragment of the unknowable/unaccessible.

Knowledge for an empty void though. Knowledge that brings no joy other than a joy in knowing. And yet, I seek it anyways. Curiosity is a curious thing.

02/12/2018

I think it’s fair to say I’m frustrated. 2 steps forward, 3 steps back. 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. Success feels ever fleeting and just out of reach. Another lesson learned, yes. Another characteristic to improve upon. These are victories of a certain sort, but not the kind I fancy at the moment.

I suppose if nothing else, I get to learn another lesson in patience. If I give up, which doesn’t seem acceptable…but if I give up, nothing gets easier – I would merely be giving myself a pass to flounder. For some things, we can find worth in needing to quit. But things within my control, improvement within my capacity…that’s worth hanging onto. That’s worth bowing my head down and keep on moving. That’s worth refusing to give up.

It’s late and I need sleep for the week ahead. I had my one week of vacation, as it were. How many wake-up calls would one need before getting on with adulthood? Excuses and entertainment – I am more than just these two components. Why not prove it?

01/26/2018

I can be proud so far this week. Exhausted too, but proud nonetheless for meeting a fully-packed schedule head-on. Personal time may very well go the way of illusions in the next few months or so. So it shall be then – another letting go? You wouldn’t think I have much left to give, but the limit has not been reached quite yet. Maybe I’ll feel differently after tonight’s workout, and then hosting a long-time friend the whole weekend. Next week shall repeat as early as Monday morning…onward then!

Feeling intensely nostalgic for you of late, and not particularly sure why. Perhaps it’s because I missed our weekly phone calls, and with all the little pockets of time in transit the desire to speak and hear from you carved an inner path towards longing. The lack of adequate sleep undoubtedly contributed, though I shouldn’t blame my body for troubles I impose upon it. We’ve come quite far, even as your various joints and muscles aggravate: let’s keep moving, yeah? Maybe the inner paths will lead towards some outer gardens, or not.

So two of three themes figured out for the year then: Graduate, and some variation of “letting go.” Relinquish? Desist? Relieved? The third one sounds quite pleasant actually, probably the best connotation so far. Just one more theme to go. Perhaps another theme to do with perseverance or something else aspirational and just as cheesy. Like all good stories go, the characters have to believe in their mission. The thing about your own hill to ascend is that you are always free to stop. But that also means you alone can choose to look beyond the current trek and climb. So then, is this the stopping spot? Maybe someday, the answer will be yes. That doesn’t feel right for today though.

01/24/2018

My airport misfortunes has not ended yet I see; one on the way forth, one on the way hither. So long as this return trip doesn’t end up being another overnight venture, it’s the best one can hope for…the learning experience has been wonderful of course, but now I eagerly await a weekend that is still a few days out. Tomorrow is long yet, and the day after feels not an hour shorter.

Looks like I must once again say bye to T…and for good this time most likely. Another dose of letting go for 2018, an altogether familiar sentiment of late. As the saying goes, I can’t control others’ actions, only my own. I wish you all the best you can conceive of.

For now though, I’m just tired. Not all progress is linear – it could be weeks, months, or perhaps even years before the labors from these localized days of exhaustion (mental and physical) pay off, assuming they do at all. So precious few things in life are guaranteed, and perhaps that is why our ancestors never banked too much on the future as they tend to satisfy with the moment. And why shouldn’t we? At least the moment’s here when we get to have a good one; tomorrow could be just as great as it is gloomy. Should it be great, a good moment now is surely not much less – if it’s gloomy, then the moment now is surely preferable.

But that’s casting doubt on moments to be had, moments to be built toward and earned. And like any work of construction built with just one soul’s effort, it takes time and effort to achieve mastery, if not in function then at least in look. Thus, patience and pain are both required, and both must be cultivated and sustained in the trials coming up ahead. Today’s me is tired, and tomorrow’s me will be sleep-deprived. Perhaps next week repeats the story. But at some point, a threshold will be reached, a punctuation smashing past this current equilibrium. By then, this will appear trite in retrospect, the same way the first mile of a marathon is barely worth noting by its 26th. Question is: do I believe this?

01/19/2018

A six-day week…This is the life I chose to experience. It’s hardly even begun; a mere taste of what the future morrows may soon bring. So be it. Ours is not a caravan of despair, but a caravan of hope.

A wonderful conversation with T.H. the other night about values and value systems, a topic both of us have spent much time musing over. Always at the edge of any thought we seem to discuss is the notion of agency: do we choose? Seems simple based solely on intuition, and yet the more we learn the more we find that our choices are influenced by oh-so-many factors.

Take values then. I grew up with Catholic parents, both devout and every-Sunday worshippers. I went to Sunday classes, where I grew increasingly disillusioned by my peers who couldn’t seem to care a sand grain less. Being Asian, I had many sources of Eastern influences: the culture itself for 8 years, various movies and shows, my predilection for certain reading materials growing up. My upbringing here in the US also plays a part, certainly a far bigger one during the teenage years than the first eight overseas. So here’s the question: take another person with all the same influence sources. Would their value system closely approximate my own?

How much of a ‘choice’ is it that I find certain themes like redemption desirable? Did I choose elements throughout the years that appeal to these values, discarding others that did not sync up nicely? Or did I grasp upon them because they appealed to me at some intuitive but not-so-deliberate level? How many of us, myself included, actually go through life choosing deliberately the values we operate with? If merely going along with our default settings is considered choice, it sounds awful passive. That said, I’m passing a value judgment here on passiveness being inferior – an indication in itself that hints at the larger web of values I sally about with.

This of course devolves into one of my favorite questions to ponder: is it better to have always been good? Or to achieve goodness through great effort? Given my orientation, the question may be biased toward the second half on first glance. Indeed, the second path sounds intuitively more appealing, signifying suffering, growth, redemption. Doesn’t that punish the individual who never wavered from the path of good though? Why should being good constantly the lesser or less compelling story?

On a side note, another hair turned gray some time recently. That’s three now (that I can readily see), all on the right temple side of my head. So long youth, we had a good run. I must learn to shelve you like so many passing yesterdays, and so many letting go’s of just this month: my old state’s license, my car, and quieting the flickers of a ghosting past. Among the seven sins of memory: the inability to forget for our own sake. Were it so easy to forget though, I’d live a happier yet shallower life (or so that ‘chosen’ value system of mine would suggest).

01/16/2018

If you repeat a truth you’d rather not hear enough, will it finally be palatable at some point? Or is there some virtue to be found, silly as it were, from resisting reality’s overwhelming odds? This seems especially pertinent at a societal level with regards to our era of “fake news” – it’s also especially relevant to my own life and my myriad of decisions. Simple enough then: all else being equal, a bleak truth will ultimately leave you better off than comforting falsehoods. At least, that’s what all individuals steeped in wisdom tell us. Has this actually been empirically tested against reality?

Faced with all the ambiguity, I could just waddle about aimlessly and grasp the insight that occasionally surfaces. Sounds rather tenuous. Like the repetitions of exercises for the body then, I suppose a better system is to create regiments for the mind. Shockingly original, I know — only every single person ever of any real mental caliber has already arrived at this truth ever since recorded human history and most likely long before. So here’s one prime example of a truth I have confronted but not embraced. Sleeping well is another. Letting go a third…fourth…fifth…and onward. Perhaps there’s a link between the last few: I resist sleep because I hesitate to let go of my wake. Even now, at the edge of a day spilling over, and energy fading fast, I cling with words to push off my own body’s desire for rejuvenation.

I often joke that my blessing is being “normal” for a doctoral student. Maybe refusal to letting go is my kryptonite. No, not maybe, it is. Repeat this truth then. Find a way to channel its virtue (resilience? Determination?); find a way to avoid its failings (stubbornness? Rigidity?).