Thursday, August 19, 2010

saying goodbye

A few days ago, I found out that my grandfather has passed away. It is odd that I feel sad as I am not close to him. Nor am I particularly saddened by death in general. I am happy that he has gone, I believe he's in a better place. And after the story that my father told me, I believe he chose to go at this time.
My grandfather was a hard working coal miner, living a very modest life in Taiwan. His wife passed away when my father was just a boy, and he worked hard to raise 3 boys on his own. I don't know much about his life, but I know that during my grandfather's childhood, into his late teenage years, Taiwan was occupied by the Japanese. As a result of that, grandpa could read and understand Japanese. 
For the better part of the last decade, my grandfather lived with liver cancer. He used to come and stay with us for months at a time, and underwent treatment for his cancer. Although he never beat it, he still lived a very active life. His philosophy was kind of like "if I'm gonna die anyway, I might as well enjoy myself in the mean time." I saw him as a strong man, and though he was reticent to show any kind of emotional affection, he always did stuff for us, that showed he cared.
Once, when I was very young, he took me on a bike ride to go visit with someone. During the trip home, he had stopped to buy me juice because he knew that I had never tried it, and thought I would enjoy it. Then, when I was a teenager, visiting Taiwan again, he surprised me and my sisters by riding into town to pick up a case of a special Chinese soda we all enjoyed. Then, during one of his later visits to America, he also brought us some special treats that we never asked for but he noticed we had enjoyed during our stay in Taiwan.
It is odd to me that people grieve the dead. I believe that we grieve for ourselves, and not for the loss of life the other person experiences. Life on Earth sucks, and maybe we should celebrate the dead and grieve for the living.
I am not religious. I'm not Christian, nor do I believe in the Heaven/Hell concept. I believe that the soul lingers after it leaves the body, similar to a Buddhist concept of reincarnation. 
The passing of my grandfather makes me sad because I believe that he did not experience all the joys that there are to be experienced. I am sad that I got to grow up in America with all the luxuries that our country enjoys, while he lived poor and suffered much hardships in Taiwan. It makes me wonder what makes it that someone gets everything and someone gets nothing.
I'm not trying to get all philosophical or anything, it just makes me think.
His memorial is to be on September 12th. My family will all travel back to our home country and meet to do the customary things that Chinese people do when someone dies. I am not going. I don't feel the need to go.
I was never close to my grandfather. I never shared intimate laughs with him or talked of past and future. My grandfather did not play a huge role in my life growing up, but stands for the strength that my father brought to America, and the sacrifices that parents make for their kids to have a better life. I love my grandfather. I feel closer to him now than when he was alive. I am at peace, and I feel like he is happier now on the other side.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ripples in the pond

The past is the past. Is it better to leave it behind us? Some say that when you turn your back on who you were, you will never become who you are suppose to be.
I recently had a discussion with a dear friend of mine about the darkness in our past. There are so many people out there who are hurting. Sometimes the things that hurt us become so ingrained in our souls that nothing is the same ever again. Sometimes we perpetuate the hurt, and our future doesn't stand a chance.
The danger of forgetting our past lies in that our subconscious never forgets. Our subconscious is like the hard drive of a super computer. We have been programming the operating system for many lifetimes. When something happens to us, good or bad, we create a new rule for our subconscious and our subconscious follows it perfectly. The only way to change that rule is to go back and find the original code and reprogram it.
If we burn our hands on the stove, we remember not to touch a hot stove again. However, if we came to the wrong conclusion and made the rule "never touch a stove again" or if we remember to "never touch food" again, then what happens? Sometimes we come to the wrong conclusions and sometimes we forget about the incidents that created the "rule" in the first place.
Imagine all the things we have learned along the way. What lasting effects do they have upon us? What if, at a very young age, someone you love and trust tried to hurt you? How any ripples of effect do you think that has had upon your future ability to trust people?
I have issues. I am sure that you do too. In some way, I am sure that all of us do. So the next time that something bad happens, the next time that you react in an unexplainable fashion, try to think back and see where and when you created the rule.
The next time someone is cruel to you, instead of creating a new rule of "don't trust anyone", realize that that person has been hurt before and don't perpetuate the ripples in the pond.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

today and the next day

I have a hard time answering the question "what do I want?" This is a struggle I've been having for as long as I can remember. I'm pretty good at achieving my goals once they are set, it's just that once I get down past the superficial stuff, I get stuck.

There is a wonderful independent film called "Mr. Nobody". There is one scene where the main character Nemo, as a little boy, is in the bakery. He has only enough money to purchase one treat, and is having difficulty deciding if he wants the cake or the cookie. He explains that the future is not written. We have infinite options as long as a choice is not made, but once we choose we are stuck with the choice so we must choose wisely. Then, he leaves the bakery without buying anything.

This is kind of what I feel like at times-like there are infinite possibilities but since the clock is ticking, I must choose wisely because I would not be able to go back and correct things. Of course, this is all a load of horse shit.

I have a few passions at this moment in time, that I could realistically choose as my next career. 1) I have a passion for marketing, with quite a bit of experience and expertise in the field. I lack, however, formal certification aka a college degree. 2) I also have a passion for graphic design, integrating web development. Although I do not have all the technical knowledge I would need to flourish in this field, I'm smart and I learn quickly. 3) I have substantial knowledge, experience, expertise, talent, etc. in the martial arts and working out but my heart isn't in it at the moment. I'm good at it, yes, but I feel like I would be limiting myself and the successes that I can attain if I choose to pursue this field. 4) Then there is writing and music. Writing, I'm decent at. Music, I have the passion but not the knowledge nor the technical skills at.  There are other things on my horizon, but these are the main things occupying my interest at this moment.

The illusion that I've tricked myself into believing is that I can only choose one. I realize that for every day that I'm stuck in procrastination is another day that I've allowed to pass by without taking a step towards ANY of these goals that I claim I have. Who said that I can't pursue all of my passions at the same time?

So today, I am taking advantage of my time. I have eyes, ears, hands, a brain, and I have all the interest in the world to learn and accomplish new things. I'm researching online. I'm downloading ebooks. I'm perusing magazines. There's a plethora of information out there on how to do stuff. There are no limits to what I can do except for the ones that I place upon myself.

Today is my day. Tomorrow is always a day away, and as long as I keep things for tomorrow, I will never do them. If I say TODAY I will do them, then when I wake up in the morning the next day, it will once again become today.