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Reminding Yourself

With 2019 just mere days away, I’m trying my best to make goals and plan out the year according. It’s practically impossible seeing as how opened ended next year can be, but that’s what makes it exciting. Speaking of excitement, I finally get my car back from the shop after being involved in an accident.

The downside is the lady is not cooperating anymore and in all likelihood, this will have to be handled in small claims court. I’m only minorly annoyed there are people who can be so dismissive and not take responsibility for their actions. I’ve given her a month to make this right, but now I’m just irritated. The upside is I get to dress in a full suit and tie in a few months at my court hearing and my boss is nice enough to let me miss half a day to get this settled. Sweet.

Little things tend to make what otherwise was a stellar year less great. I think it’s only natural we fixate on the negatives and have it bring you down. It’s hard not to, but a friendly reminder might help. The year can’t all be bad afterall. I saw this post on Facebook to write a note everytime something good happens and throw it into a jar so you can read what an amazing year you you had. This idea is pretty fucking cool and I’m totally going to do it with a few alterations done my way.

Sometimes I do need a reminder to let things go and focus on the bigger picture. Most issues or annoyances can be fixed without much effort. There’s always those weeks where shit really seems to hit the ceiling without an end in sight, but that’s just that — a series of unfortunate events.

Realistically, you can never be certain what the future holds even if you plan to every little detail. Parts of life are out of your control and you’re bound to have a few bad days and bad apples. Some people you meet might make you lose your mind or worst, people in your family let you down. You might fall short, miss out on reaching a goal, or simply fail at something you gave your all. It doesn’t deter me the least bit and shouldn’t anyone else for the matter. All that’s good would be dull and uninteresting. A few sad moments are necessary and this is coming from someone who’s pretty optimistic.

I think if I approach next year with the same mindset I have now, everything tends to work out more or less. Might not be perfect, but who really wants that? I’m just being realistic.

There are things that happen everyday that genuinely concern me. Our nation is under the control of a man who has no idea how to be President, the stock market is down, the recession is coming, and there’s an ever growing problem with women being victims of sexual assult. Shit bugs me just reading about it and you can’t help but wonder how it managed to get this bad. It’s the world we live in. Imperfect and on the verge of civil discourse.

I believe 2019 will be a great one — the best one yet. Hopefully, I can see all the people I want to see and share in the moment with them. People tend to say the year is ending, but it doesn’t. Nothing ends. Just because the date changes doesn’t mean you have to treat any day differently. Lives move in only one direction — forward. With that, I’m ready to continue journeying, some days lost, some days adrift, some days stormy, but usually with a bright blue sky out at sea.

Later world.

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Finding Meaning

What is my purpose here?

I’ve spent a great deal of time pondering this at night, looking up at the moon, and before going to bed. This was my goal after taking every philosophy class back in community college, yet, I’m no closer to answering this. In the end, I’ve come to realize I’ve set myself up in some kind of paradox. There is likely no meaning to everything and to keep searching would just be futile.

The vastness of the universe is absolutely incredible. Stars in the sky are merely large gas giants with incredible mass and energy. Some of the stars you see aren’t even around anymore — merely remnants of light still making it’s way to Earth. It’s crazy to think about, much less fully grasp. What you see isn’t even physically there. The moon I’m so fond of controls the tides and reflects off light from the sun. You can say I love space and the cosmos — I am. I love it all and I wish others felt the same.

The stars make me feel small and unimportant. With several billion on this planet, I’m just another ant at the mercy of the world that encompasses everything. It doesn’t terrify me to think, but gives a lot of relief. I’m another fish in the sea. Our ego makes it think we have some greater purpose here, but it can be the case.

If we don’t have a purpose, the best course of action would just be to live long fruitful lives, full of happiness, love, and personal fulfillment. It’s my perspective on what it means to be alive and I’d be hard to find someone give a better response. It should be everyone’s worldview in my opinion. I see all religions as incompatible with one another and all it’s many followers don’t believe it with any less energy or enthusiasm.

What I’m certain is I have this life right now. Knowing that, I work on myself every year with the intent of being the best person I can be. Goals are made every year and I work towards completing every one of them before the next year comes. The worst anyone can do is to live and be stagnant.

You tend to see this a lot — especially now. People fixate on the less important aspects of life like, money, fame, etc. Who cares how much you have? Everyone chases money and wealth, but it you no one to share it with, then it’s a desolate and lonely life. If I condense life into one word, it would have to be “relationships”. It’s central to living and being felt loved and happy.

Most of my family has lived to be 70+. My great-grandma lived to be 98 and outlived two of her husbands. It’s a remarkable feat and I hope if I’m as fortunate, that my life is one of fulfillment, love, and joy. Getting old can be terrifying, but I’m looking forward to it. There’s much to do, much to accomplish, and someone out there who shares the same soul as me. For that, I don’t fear anything in life.

Later world.

 

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Grasping At the Word “Fortunate”

My friends have all told me at one point, I have an inability to fully grasp how fortunate I have it. They’re completely right. My mindset has always been “everyone has it better than me” and it hasn’t changed in years. I find it alarming when I hear a co-worker, friend, or someone I see tell me they have issues paying for gas, food, rent, bills, etc. The necessities of living. I know everyone’s living situation is different and I’m not one to judge. Far from it actually. I never think I’m better than the next person over. We are all people of this Earth and are therefore equal. Our fates are the same after all.

Back in my senior year of college, my roommate during the summer, called me to say she didn’t have money to eat. She asked if she could borrow a couple hundred. Without a second thought, I said yes and she was over the same day. I withdrew an extra hundred and handed it her. She was completely overwhelmed and repeated she would pay me back soon. I didn’t even care to be honest. If she needed it urgently and I had the means to help, I could never really asked her to pay me back by a certain date. I told her not to worry about it and just rest a little easier. She left me one huge (and long) hug and a kiss on the cheek. You can say this was my good deed for the year.

This month alone, I spent a few Gs without a worry or concern. My $1000 bill to fix my car? It didn’t bother me the slightest. Fixing both the rear struts on my car? I had my car at the mechanic the next day. My new stereo and speakers? Had it done the same weekend. If I had a comprehensive list of the amount I spend on the necessities, it would probably be long and shocking to some. It hasn’t registered that I am that fortunate.

My friend and I are in downtown LA about every weekend. You see the disconnect between neighboring cities and now quickly the landscape changes from the haves and have nots. There are homeless people on the sidewalks in their tents who literally have nothing to their name. It does bother me. It bothered me as a kid and it still does. They were at one point someone’s baby and child. What happened is only known to them and each person has their own story yet to be told. If I had all the money in the world, I would do something about it and fast.

Someone told me “I give and give and expect nothing in return” and it’s stuck in my head ever since. I’m not so sure how to respond to that, but I’d take it as a complement. A few months ago, I sent my best friend several hundred for a plane ticket just so he can go to a concert with the guys. I wasn’t even joining them. Truthfully, if he needed several thousand, I would have sent it to him regardless. His mom gave me a ride back from from the airport after we dropped him off and said, “What you did was very generous. If it weren’t for you, I would have not been able to see him.” I was touched by her sincerity and spent the long drive back bonding. Some may see this is generosity; I see it as simply being a friend.

I guess this is me in a nutshell. I never feel “fortunate”. Yet, I wouldn’t hesitate to give money to a friend who needs it. I always feel broke even though I’m told by my friends and family the absolute contrary. Does this make my goals something of a delusion rooted in falsehoods? Maybe.

I think I’ve always had an affinity for helping others. I remember when I was a kid, I’d wake up around 5 or 6 AM to not miss a minute of Saturday morning cartoons. Usually, they always played infomercials on helping poor starving children. I’d see images of kids with their belly swollen from hunger and flies landing all over their face. “For just eighty cents a day, you too can help feed America’s hungry children.” That’s always stuck with me even til now, some 20 years later.

If someone I care about is in trouble, I wouldn’t hesitate to take action. What bothers me is inaction when something can be done. They say money makes the world go ’round and I’m just here to help the people I love and care about. Everyone ought to be a bit more caring and compassionate. If that somehow makes me great or amazing — great, but I’m not looking for praise.

Later world.

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Thanks, if you’re reading this

You can say I’m having a bad couple of weeks, but relative to my entire year, it’s still going great. My car is getting fixed and the lady that hit me is cooperating — at least for now. While I was browsing through a few Instagram stories, one of my friends said she’s giving up smoking and was seen taking a hit from a vape. I left a simple, “I vape too.” What followed next made my day and week.

She told me she found my post about quitting cigarettes inspirational and thought of me as she made her no smoking commitment official. She even bookmarked the link to her homescreen. My eyes lit up and I had such a big smile reading that message. I had a very long day too. I woke up around 7 to meet with a claims adjuster at 8. Sat and did some required paperwork with my insurance. Then I had to drive in heavy rain to the repair shop where my car was inspected and dropped off. I took an Uber to work and spent the rest of the day scrambling to finish multiple projects. I really need this after having another hectic day.

I normally write just to pass the time and put my neverending thoughts on to paper — or in this case, an online journal of sorts. I don’t really consider it helpful advice or anything more than rants with the occasional life update. I use this as means to deal with all the ills of living and to self-reflect. My recollection of events is already very vivid, but putting words down helps me see things differently and with a new perspective. If you don’t know where you came from, how could you see yourself in the future? My life has no autopilot and the only direction I move is forward. I usually think talking about yourself is rude, but if you must ask, I think my best quality is my honesty I have towards everyone.

I’m sincerely touched someone out there thought my past experiences helped them in some way. I’ve always thought that if you’re able to make a difference in at least one person through out your life, you’ve done your service to humanity. Thanks for the kind words if you’re reading this.

Bad habits are easy to develop. Good ones are hard to maintain. If you find the means to quit, you have all of my support and to a more healthy and mindful lifestyle. There’s always a better you. You just have to find it.

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Gripes with Humanity

With every passing year, it has been apparent modern civilization has been heading towards a slow decline. Every time I go out, you see families eating together, but they’re glued to their phones. The biggest offenders are parents who buy their children smartphones and tablets. With everyone’s busy schedules, people ought to turn-off and put their glowing rectangles down. Is the fear of missing out that strong in them? What is honestly so important on the likes of Facebook and Instagram that warrants ignoring real physical people in front of you? It seems in the present world, we lack the desire for real-world face-to-face communication — almost as if it was a chore more than a regular bonding activity. It’s the pitfalls of living.

We are connected now more than ever and yet, the online links put our physical intimate connections on the back seat. Who gives a shit if your friend from high school whom you haven’t seen since graduation posts a picture of his vacation. Why give a shit if the guy you use to party with posts a video of his night at the club. Digital electronic communication bothers me, but people don’t understand the dangers. We want affirmation, confirmation, acceptance and will forgo talking to get our fix of dopamine.

I’ve experienced this a great deal with my friends and some women I’ve dated. It’s pretty rare me and the guys are all together, with everyone off in different cities and states. No one really puts down their phone and we find ourselves talking about some dumb ass shit meme more than catching up. That’s not to say we don’t bond, but it’s different now since smartphones and social media has taken over. No one makes the time needed to listen and we should. Some women I’ve dated have an addiction to their phone. I find it refreshing when I meet someone willing to put their phone away and zipped up in a purse. At least I know they’ve given me their full undivided attention. A few spend more than 10 minutes taking a large number of pictures to post on to Instagram. Why? So their girl friends can see what they’re eating. One girl I remember ate next to nothing I ordered, but her Instagram feed told a different story. We didn’t last.

When someone tells me we’ll meet up and catch up, I almost never believe it will happen. The few people I know that do follow through brings me a big smile and I’m thankful they take action — not just talk. I’m jaded, but anyone would be if you hear the same thing every week or month. It’s not to say I don’t care about them, but we honestly don’t see or hear from each other all that often.

I suppose this the reality of living. Our lives have moved from the real-world to the digital. I don’t agree with this and never will. Later world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rainy Days Call for Accidents

I’ve always told myself, no matter how much of a Boy Scout you are while driving, there’s always someone less focused who’s bound to hit you. Tonight’s the night — and it’s raining no less.

Honestly, I’m hoping and praying insurance takes care of this so I can put this behind me. The lady who hit me only has a bent license plate so this should be pretty cut and dry. I can’t say that about my passenger side door though.

After any bad event, I usually retrace my day in my thoughts to see if I did anything differently than my usual routine. Well, today I stopped for gas at the corner gas station on my way back home. I really should of done this in the morning, but I had neglected to. Did my laziness cause this to happen? No. You tend to combine two unrelated events into one to justify what happened. Today, I’m just very unlucky.

After the initial shock and subtle rise in blood pressure for shouting “WHAT THE FUCK” at the top of my lungs at the lady, I’m more or less fine. She refused to hand over her information until I called for police. Essentially, adding insult to injury. Why a police officer has to come to hand over information is beyond me. On the bright side — if there is one on this cold dark and rainy night — I’m not hurt, no one was injured, and at the end of the day, it’s just an old car that can be fixed. Optimism prevails.

To be fair, my car already had paint peeling on the hood and seemingly everywhere else that I give a closer look to. Now instead of bubbles, I have a nice long white scratch on blue paint. It’s almost artistic. Almost. Hey, I have an excuse to drop $1500 to repaint my entire car. Ha. I’m semi-serious.

I think the only thing I’m bugged about is my family’s lack of concern for my well-being after breaking the news to them. Not so much as a simple “Are you okay?” or even bother to see the damage to my car. They didn’t care then and they obviously wouldn’t care now. I’m flying solo.

I can count the number of unfortunate events that happened to me this year. From having my radiator leak, my tire blowing out on my birthday, to being a passenger in a vehicle involved in an accident, and getting a BS parking ticket — life has a lot of downs. Some days I’m not looking to put up a fight. Hell, I want plain, boring, uneventful days. My old roommate from college said it best, “You’re incapable of being boring. Shit will happen.” I’m tired physically and mentally with bad habits I’m trying to keep under control. Give me a fucking break. Days like this make me think if I need to go back being Christian and believing in Jesus — yeah right.

Later world. I need a drink. It’s late. I’ve had another long ass day and just wanna knock the fuck out. November really won’t let up, but hey — there’s always December.

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To Love & Be Loved

This is my Grandma in the kitchen. I’m always amazed at her love and affection. The kitchen and cooking is all she really knows. She grew up in the countryside in China without any formal education all her life. She loves to cook and is excited I’m here to eat with her. Words cannot express my love and gratitude for her.

Her reality is different. She’s very superstitious, is vocal about her beliefs, and misses everyone. Growing up, I knew she had a lot of joy cooking breakfast for me or the celebratory dinners she single handedly made for Chinese New Year. She wishes we all can come together more often, but everyone lives separate lives with their busy schedules.

She usually listens to no one except me. She repeats herself constantly, but she just likes talking as much as I do. She gets shorter every year and her hair gets grey. I can say I get my skinny body from her. She’s in her 70s and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. She rambles on and on about the good old days — reminiscing about the simpler times when I was just five and her only concern was if I was fed. I’ll never forget that about her and hope I never will.

I missed her then and I miss her now. Sometimes all it takes for someone to come out of their shell is just a visit — one I’ve been needing to do the past few months. To love and be loved is one of the best feelings there is. Knowing she’s around and has been such a fixture in my upbringing makes all the troubles life carries disappear. I’ve stopped to smell the roses. She is my grandma and I love her.

I’m killing it with the new Grandma slippers. Coming soon to a Saks near you.

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Stardust

Think of life within the confines of space. Much of it goes unexplored and there’s only so much one can see — either from a telescope or atop a mountain. There are billions of stars out there and you’re one of them. You’re hurling towards the emptiness of space and sometimes alone. On some years, something amazing happens. Another shooting star crosses paths with you. The stars align and the universe is in your favor. For that very brief moment, you meet someone very special. You are no longer alone.

The forces of gravity lock you in and you two are now intertwined. Whether it’s at the speed of light or something faster, you two are inseparable. You now go exploring the outer reaches of space as two. Cosmic. It’s an interstellar voyage into the unknown. Everything you do and see in this time feels new because it all very much is. Some nights you peer off into the distance and see another attraction on the horizon. Maybe it’s a planet, moon or galaxy — anticipation grows. Excitement is coming. Star-crossed lovers.

Although the memories are new and the excitement grows, space is chaotic. Black holes and quasars lurk everywhere. Space debris is everywhere floating aimlessly. Unfortunately, all hidden away and ready to knock stars out of alignment. The moment comes. A collision of sorts — a black hole rips the two apart. Tragic, yet however unavoidable. Your paths now diverge and grow farther every moment. Gravity is no longer on your side. Just stardust — the memories from days past.

Like most shooting stars, they return after some period of time. Their trajectory is parabolic and will grace the same path once again in the future. Maybe the two will cross paths again, but not for a very long time. It’s an assuring feeling however small the chances. Nothing really ends if you think about it. The stars are endless after all. How alone can space really be?