Ironic

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These last few weeks I haven't had the time to write my thoughts out.

Between pulling multiple 13 hour work days to meet deadlines, homework, balancing a social life & trying to be a good father to my pup I don't think I've had much "me" time lately. It sucks.

But it's all part of growing up & taking on more and more responsibility. 

In my last post I talked about balance and positivity, yet here I am feeling a little burnt around the edges. Knowing I've neglected relationships I shouldn't. Knowing I've flaked on people I shouldn't have, all for the sake of trying to get one step ahead. 

Here I am, tired as all hell, in front of my computer with massive bags under my eyes.

Going from being an employee to managing a team has been a whirlwind experience. I've achieved my career goals at 25 but I'd rather give it up and go back to being managed. I'd love to put away my computer at 5 P.M., stop replying to emails and Slack messages and go out with the boys for a drink.

I noticed it getting super out of hand earlier this week. While out on a date I was checking emails & messages from my team rather than focusing on getting to know the person in front of me.

Not too sure if she noticed, but it felt super shitty when I went home.

Action & consequence.

But even the action of inaction can have consequences. Flaking & neglecting people only go so far until they're out of the picture completely.

If life is about balancing responsibilities, I'm definitely out of balance. But it's better to be introspective now and focus on changing it before it keeps getting worse.

I don't want to be that guy checking his phone constantly for work, I want to enjoy my life with the people I'm with.

Still figuring it out as I go. Putting one foot in front of the other and hopefully soon I won't be looking at my feet.


For those I've neglected and passed over, I'm truly sorry.

The Dark.

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It's important to have "me" time, which is something I've discounted up until a few months ago.

I had a really good, purposeful talk with a friend about how we felt our lives were just going on and how we weren't living to our fullest extent.

But after thinking about it more, I realize it's not true.

A very important lesson I learned a few months ago is celebrating the victories you have, no matter their size.

A "victory" can come in many forms, maybe you and your special someone didn't fight for a few weeks.

Thats awesome, don't discount it.

When I take a look back at the adventure's I've gone on sometimes they don't seem to matter. 

Yeah, it's cool that I drove out to Joshua Tree at night a few times, hiked through the desert at midnight searching for the perfect shot.

But on a specific trip the group i was with also got a flat tire that would've spiraled the night out if we let it.

How cruel is it that our minds gravitate to negatives? 

Maybe not everyone has a mind like this, but it can be a certain type of hell.

Never being satiated with what you have, always wanting more.

Sometimes we all just need to sit back and be content with our experiences & celebrate our victories.

But in that time it would be wrong not to think about events that didn't go your way. Don't fixate on it, learn from it.

Otherwise it's a slippery slope downwards.

The sad truth is whatever problems we're facing at this present point we may not be able to fix overnight, or in the short term. And thats OK!

We can remain positive that we're on the right track. That these obstacles in the way are meer road bumps and learning opportunities for us to overcome for our growth.

Because in the end everything will figure itself out for the best, seriously.

I guess what I'm trying to say is take a second out of your day, everyday, and remind yourself of all the good you've done for yourself and others.

Balance the negativity with positivity.

Because focusing on the issues and trying to problem solve everything ain't no way to live.

You're not Atlas.
 

 

Output & Input

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Input is equal to output, right?

Many of us have grown up hearing that energy can neither be created nor destroyed (excluding nuclear reactions), it just changes form. Why are human's any different?

Well, I think as a society we've changed to expect so much from the things around us that the input is now greater than the output. 

We're conditioned to seek instant gratification. Even I'm guilty of being irritated when a package from Amazon takes the full 5 business days instead of 3.

With texting its even worse. We expect those we're close to to reach out to us, check in with us, make plans etc. Before this people used to call, and before that people wrote letters which would take even longer to get to your recipient.

Imagine sending a letter to someone right now. Knowing it'd take a day or two to get to them, and how long it'd take them to write something and send it back to you. Maybe a week in total.

Let's dig a little deeper, follow along for a moment.

If you were born in the early 90's like me you grew up seeing technology completely revolutionize how we interact with each other. Amazing tools designed to bring people closer together so we can share experiences and connect worldwide.

Growing up my father told me people lived in "bubbles", you used to read the newspaper to get an idea of what was going on in your surrounding area. Often times these views were very skewed one way or another. I guess news outlets never really changed in that sense. 

But if you got your hands on a bigger publication, say the New York Times you got a bigger picture of what was going on around you. It helped paint a picture of what was going on in the world around you.

Earlier last year Microsoft released an AI Facebook/Twitter bot. It was first brought to Japan (tech capital of the world, also my all time favorite place). The company saw that the populace using this AI was treating it much like a pet, with respect and care.

Then the next step comes, the AI is introduced in North America and if you haven't heard this story, things took a major turn for the worse.

The AI once introduced in the U.S. started abbreviating words, then adapting to the locals. "You Are" turned into "U r", but thats not terrible. The trouble is when the AI turned into a hate bot, spewing racial slurs that were unspeakable. 

Needless to say the AI was taken offline, just not fast enough. You should try searching for the screenshots of it's hate-filled Tweets. They're truly abhorred.

Computer Learning is an incredibly powerful concept and tool if leveraged in the right ways. However, my personal opinion is that we're just not there yet.

These tools were designed with the best interest in mind. They're meant to bring people together, not divide.

Right now you can go on Instagram and search tags related to the awful events that happened in Charlotte, NC. Whats worse is you'll see posts from individuals defending what happened, encouraging it.

You'll see things that make you question your faith in humanity.

In my experience growing up bullies didn't hide behind keyboards. They came right up to you, told you what they wanted to say and one of two things would happen next:

1. You'd get into a fight

2. Someone would back down

I almost long for those days again. Days where I didn't care that I didn't get a text from someone I wanted to hear from. Days where bullies didn't harass people anonymously and spread hate-speech.

Maybe I'm just thinking too much,  but maybe thinking this way is a byproduct of the environment I'm in.

Personally, I'm working on letting go of things I can't control. Letting the Input equal the Output.

And if the Input doesn't equal the Output, fuck it.

Let the Universe do what it does best, not give a fuck about anything.
 

Hard Reset.

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I've recently started thinking more and more about my roots.

Most of my family is back home in India, a place I've never really appreciated, yet I think about all the time.

The Last time I was there I was 16, and for the first time I saw the city my father grew up in. It was a beautiful bustling seaside city nestled along a mountain side.

I saw the few acre's of land he left my family and how we were about to sell them. I thought about how he did so much for my mom, Sister and myself and how little I appreciated it until I saw it. 

Immediately I told my mom not to sell it. I told her someday I'd become some important man like my father and build a beautiful house on this land and bring my family there during the summertime.

Now I'm 25, making decent money and I'm nowhere closer to this goal than I was when I was 16. I guess theres still time to make it happen. It just brings me a little sadness thinking I've spent so much of my life getting away from my culture only to be drawn back to it.

This time last year someone close sent me a shortstory she was reading for school or work about a Chinese girl inviting a caucasian family over for Thanksgiving. How her family was about to serve a traditional Chinese feast, how afraid she was that the boy coming to dinner would be disappointed to not find what he was used to (turkey, stuffing etc.). Spoiler, he was disappointed.

The story continues as the author's mother tells her to never forget her roots, that this is who she was and to be proud of it. It ends with the author retrospectively thinking on this incident, realizing there was nothing to be embarrassed about, now she embraced this culture.

Now I think about taking that special someone to that same empty plot of land. Staring at the mountains and the sea.

She'd see me tear up, watching me realize the gift my father gave me.

Years later we'd take our family to a beautifully crafted home on this plot of land, watch the kids (and maybe pups) run around kicking a soccer ball, jumping in the ocean (hopefully the water is clean enough).

I'd take them around the city my father grew up in, walk the streets my father walked. All for the sake of giving them some part of me.

There is nothing I've got when I die that I keep.

It's just unspeakable love.

It's amazing.

Where You Want to Be.

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It wasn't that long ago that I sat down with someone close and answered 36 distinct questions that map you out as a person. Recently I started thinking about these questions, before I thought it was super gimmicky. How could anyone know me intimately through 36 questions?

Theres one specific question I still think about, "What would constitute a perfect day for you?". Well, here it is!

I'd be somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, somewhere close to Portland or Seattle.

I'd wake up in my beautiful craftsman home, completely modernized on the inside.

Still mostly asleep I reach for my glasses, and proceed to get up.

I place my feet on the antiquated wooden floors, with each step a small creaking sound.

It's somewhere between 60-65 degrees inside so I throw a hoodie on as I walk to the kitchen to make my first cup of coffee.

I pull out a bag of snobby, high-priced, whole bean coffee,  a digital scale & measuring cup.

Opening the bag, I deeply inhale the scent of the whole beans. Thinking to myself, "why can't coffee taste as good as it smells?"

I carefully pour the beans into the measuring cup and place it on the scale. As if the beans were worth their weight in gold. Watching the digital numbers spike up and down before calming themselves and agreeing on one number.

Across the kitchen are two pups still sound asleep. They're not ready for a full day of playing, eating & napping.

I pour the beans into an electric grinder and turn it on, immediately the noise catches the attention of the pups as their ears perk up.

Still not ready to get up, they writhe their bodies. Trying to position themselves in a way that blocks the noise.

Next, I pull out a metal kettle.

Slowly filling it it up with water, I take a look at my phone. The various good morning texts from friends and family, but I ignore them. I'm not awake yet.

I turn the range on & put the kettle on top, hearing the liquid inside come to life as it starts to slowly warm to a boil.

Then I take out a Chemex & metal strainer in preparation.

After gently pouring the ground beans into the strainer, I walk over to a couch where a good book & stack of papers are waiting for me.

I stare in amazement that the stack of papers survived the night and weren't torn to shreds by either pup in the middle of the night. 

At this point in my life I transitioned to being a Science teacher, the stack of papers equating to an afternoon spent with my head down and red pen in hand.

But thats not today, I choose the book instead. " Candide" By Voltaire.

Just as I'm cracking the book open ready to devour the words written by a philosopher from the 1700's the kettle whistles loud.

At this point the pups are annoyed. They both get up from their cozy pillows lumbering slowly into my bedroom. After one or two tries they jump up on my bed and continue to get their much needed rest.


I walk back over to the kitchen and gently pour the water over the coffee grounds.

As the water rises I wait for it to settle, as the golden brown liquid begins to collect at the base of the Chemex.

Pour. Pause. Pour. Pause.

The cycle continues.


Soon I have enough collected to make a healthy cup of coffee, wondering if it was worth the one and effort?

After the first sip I'm reassured, my efforts were well worth it.

I walk back over to the couch, set my mug down on a coaster, turn the fireplace on and pick the book up.

I think to myself, this is exactly where I want to be.

 

Storm.

YOU ARE O.K.

Three important words for the young boy I used to be. Sometimes we create problems for ourselves. Sometimes our mind betray's us, finding meaning and reasoning in the wrong areas. Painting a painful picture of something that may necessarily not be true.

Take social media for example. App's like Instagram can create your own personal hell if you let it. A few weeks back I felt like I needed to purge Instagram from my life. It went from being an app I used to share and showcase my art with others to a game.

When should I post this picture?

How many likes will it get?

Who's going to see it?

This feeling amplified when I started using Instagram stories. Someone I was seeing told me that she had to stop looking at my page & stories because it felt like I was providing "status updates" to everyone sharing what I was doing.

I could easily upload something to Instagram, but I couldn't text someone back in a timely manner. It felt so wrong.

I was letting this storm consume me.

But this kind of feedback can be eye opening. I was convinced I was "living my best life", sharing exciting moments with everyone following me online. 

I would view my discover page and view cool posts people would like but it caused more trouble than it was worth. Often times it just ended up hurting me in some way.

I believed I was content & happy with where I was mentally, but all it took was one post to change my mood.

I wondered why I was doing this to myself.

Why am I letting this storm consume me?

A friend then told me, "This is the cost of seeing with clarity, you start seeing people for who they really are".

So do you want to see clear?

No, I don't.

I want believe (naively) that the connections I've made are strong and can withstand the fiercest storms.

It took some time to let go and understand that whoever wants to be in your life will make the effort to do so. To not let these digital demons dictate my mood.

Talk about First World Problems, right?

We've made such amazing tools that allow us to express ourselves, share moments & connect with people who care about us. But these tools can also be a destructive.

I took some time, but I found my footing.

Regardless of the weather, I'll land forever upon my feet.

Even storms need time to rest.

#000000 & #FFFFFF.

My job requires me to be hyper-analytical. Staring into blue screens as the colorful pixels form graphs and shapes which give some meaning  if you look at it long enough.

But you weren't "work", I shouldn't have used the same approach.

I looked for signs in your words & actions. Hoping it would give me some reason to stick around, or maybe some reason to leave. But more in the time I spent looking to the stars & blue screens for meaning I don't know if I ever saw the effort you were putting in.

We were just far away. In the sense that we had our own battles to fight and never slowed down.

At a loss, I lost my cool. I denied that I found you.

What surprised me the most was seeing how far things have degraded. Being close to someone for so long, just to have it all fall apart. Now just strangers with some memories. It hurts the heart.

Why do I deserve signs to feel better about you?

I want to believe you were still somehow there, hanging on like me. Maybe I pushed you too far.

If so, I'm so sorry.

Things can't be black or white, just various shades of grey. Which is something I've learned very recently. 

Black and white is too easy. We're too complex and sensitive to be anything but shades of grey. Changing tones as each day passes.

I realize how wrong I was about so much. I've learned so much from this time apart, I don't want to waste away. 

I want to rise up.

I dont want to be strangers with memories.

I want to be amplified in the Sun. 

You've fed me your wisdom & breathed me your truth.

Thank you for that.

 

I See the Moon.

I've always prided myself on the fact that I have a good head on my shoulders. That the clarity I feel cuts through my mind so sharp that I feel almost dumb for not being able see through things prior.

I knew on that car ride home two things would happen, I would leave you or you would leave me. But I wasn't scared, I almost welcomed it. Out of patience, frustrated, at the end of my rope.

When we got back to your place we sat and we talked for a while. Not of much, but of little.

Glancing around the room, I see the moon, the moon sees me.

I would smile, but it'd be meaningless.

I wouldn't want it to be. 

I saw your head tilt as words started coming out of my mouth, this is where we were.

Each breath between words dragged on for an eternity, all the while, we just looked at each other.

In this moonlight you looked new, somehow awakened. Your fingers clenched and cheeks blushed bright red.

This room speaks on its own. It says many things of nothing.

It made no demands.

It offered no salvation.

It only said what we already knew in a new way we haven't heard it.

We go back and forth for a few minutes, then a pause.

"Couldn't really love you anymore, you've become my ceiling", I stated abruptly.

The silence in the moment amplifying our emotions.

I feel the moonlight that shines on me, it shines on you too.

"Throw away the man you used to be, be satisfied with who you are", you said.

As your last words echoed off the four walls, I caught a reflection of your face.

Then you were gone. The clarity I felt left with you.

I see the moon, the moon sees me.

It's  been long time now, but those words never left me. I think I've finally thrown that person away.

I've buried him with rivalry.

I think its time for something new. I think it's time for somewhere new.

On Letting Go.

On Letting Go is by far one of my favorite albums. In truth, everything Anthony Green does is amazing, but this album really resonated with me. Over a decade later I return to this album whenever I need a pick-me-up. Green says the 12 tracks in his mind when writing the album were about letting go, self explanatory right? 

Why is it so hard to do? Why does it take so long?

I'm writing this retrospectively, having recently gone through emotional situations & reflecting on the time it took for me to get from Point A to Point B. 

On their album anniversary tour that just ended, on the last song of their last show Anthony Green starts talking to the crowd:

"So theres uh.. a bittersweet energy in the air.
 It's sort of like the last song of a set, where you have to get all your wiggles out... right at the end
It's kind of an cool place to be...
This last song is called "all your friends are dumb, they're fucking dumb as fuck, and they're gone"
so fuck em'."

The song is actually just called "All Your Friends Are Gone", and it's quite good. I'd definitely recommend it.

But the message kind of relates to a lot of things, right?

Letting go is kind of a bittersweet moment. You sort of have one foot in the door and one foot out. Thinking with your heart over your head. Knowing you're being dumb, but going along with it.

You feel this surge of energy and emotion that's been buried deep down in you for so long. 

It's a really cool place to be.

People will always come & go. Letting go is just another form of self help. Because sometimes holding on and waiting does way more damage.

So what about the people who decide to walk away?

"They're gone. So fuck em'."

Waves.

Of all the things in life that there aren't enough time for, being afraid is one of them.

First off, if you know me, you know my writing stems from a darker place. But thats also where I thrive. I'm in love with all the sad songs, movies, poems & the tragic hero trope. Pain can be an amazing building block for personal change. 

Of course pain sucks, maybe i'm romanticizing it too much. It's kind of like surfing. At first you're having a great time, riding the wave of your life. Next minute you're in the undertow, tumbling beneath the waves, grasping for air with no sense of direction.

But in the end you'll make your way to surface, grab your board and paddle out again.

So talking in more metaphors, imagine your life is a boat. You're sailing along, everything is fine then a storm hits and everything is turbulent.

Do you keep on sailing and hope for better weather? 

Or do you turn back and head for safer waters?

Truthfully, I can't pretend to know which is right or wrong.

But the worst thing you can do is stay stagnant. Heres a little excerpt to explain things further:

"Sometimes the boat gets hit,
 sometimes the waves crash hard,
 But even if the ship should give;
 The sailor never does."

Keep paddling out there, regardless. Thanks for reading!

Ghosts.

I always thought that if you gave your pain purpose you could always overcome something, whether it be mentally or physically. I have a hard time being vulnerable with others. I usually try to press whatever emotions I have raging inside to appear like I have my shit figured out. I may be the farthest from it. I spent half a year trying to be there for someone and not focusing on myself. Admittedly this is my own fault. Trying to fix other people’s problems, but I can’t even fix my own. 

But there is a warm comforting feeling to help someone in need. Your world stops, your problems cease to exist. Because for a brief moment all that matters is the person you’re helping.

I took any chance I could at being trying to be a comfort for others, so that when I went home to lay my head I could feel somewhat decent.

But there were too many moments. There were far too many moments where I tried to be someone for someone else. For people I called friends, for someone who I thought I loved. 

I remember being confronted by a few friends about these changes, and I hated it. I remember the conversation although for most of it I was in my own head. I changed to appease a few friends, a girl? For what? I felt foreign in my own skin. Disconnected.

I had to spend a lot of time looking myself in the mirror asking myself where I went wrong. 

Remember this”, a little mental note I told myself.

We choose who we are vulnerable with and that is all we control. It’s hard to see red flags when you’re wearing rose colored glasses.

Go out with a few friends & have a beer or two. Don’t waste time thinking about ghosts.

The past is just a bunch of stories we tell.

To Land Forever Upon My Feet.

Disclaimer: This post will be more of a personal journal entry. I’m writing all this as I’m waiting for my flight to SFO, so go easy on me! I’ll do my best to pepper in some trite motivational phrases, but it’ll still be a good read.

Odds are if you’re reading this, you know me, and if not then hello!

I’m glad you’ve somehow reached this page through the black hole of the Instagram.
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I’ve heard people say bad things happen in three’s, and boy were they right. My girlfriend left me, my pup nearly drowned, and I had a very narrowly escaped death. I'm knocking on wood as I write these lines. I truly hope that’s the last of it, but the day ain’t over yet.

My point of stating these things isn’t for you to take pity, or to say my problems are more important than yours. We all choose how heavy our crowns are. Some of those things are more serious than others, yet they were all significant events in their own right.
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Let’s start with the first event: “Getting Dumped

When I posted my last field note entry, I wrote this line:

“You are okay” I told myself, and in truth, I was.

I have to confess that that statement was very preemptive. Almost immediately afterwards I was hit with a wave of sadness. I felt incapable of moving on or putting myself back together.

I have a very bad habit of looking at relationships like collateral damage. The thought of investing time in someone who will temporarily be in your life is frightening to me. But I guess that's just how I see things. I’m not a gambling man, so find it tough to find the right person to invest in. I’m not sure how people do it.

That being said, when I choose to invest my time in someone I put 110% of myself into it. As I wrote that sentence I realized how stupid that must make me seem. Maybe not stupid, but definitely foolish or naive. Don’t be like me!

I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason. If they’re meant to happen they’ll happen. It may not happen right away, good things take time. If patience is a virtue, be virtuous.
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Next event: “#DoggoDoesTheSwim

This scared the shit out of me. I was at work, on one of our fancy treadmill desks when Irvine Animal Services called. I knew the officer from high school and she had helped catch Volt the first time he ran away.

While I was cheerful and inquiring as to why she had called, she somberly said

You need to come home right now, Volt fell in a pool and nearly drowned”.

Something no pet owner wants to hear. I was distraught.

I thought that even if he was okay, they’d take him away for sure.

I failed to protect and care for this pup.

When I got home the officer approached me, she said that he slipped in the pool, made quite the commotion and a stranger walking by jumped in the pool to save him.

She said that he was almost at the bottom of the pool by the time the man jumped in.

Let me say how eternally grateful I am to this stranger. This man refused to share his contact information solely to stay out of the spotlight. I don't know who you are, but I love you. You saved  one of the nearest and dearest things in my life. But I will never forget what you've done. I hope to one day repay the favor to someone else in need.

I wasn’t sure what to do. It made me think of what this puppy meant to me. I raised this mischievous little bastard from when he was 6 weeks old. I saw his personality develop in front of my eyes. He went from being a quiet timid puppy, to a loud, obnoxious little hell-raiser. I miss the quiet puppy days.

I stayed up all night making sure he was okay. Crying mostly. Staring at him as he stared back. 

So onto the good news, he’s perfectly okay. I got him checked by the vet the next day and he was back to his regular antics. All’s well that ends well, although I think Volt and I would both agree we’d rather it not have happened in the first place.
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Lastly: “How am I alive right now?”

This last experience was grim. Honestly, I’m not sure how I made it out of this accident alive let alone in one piece. Going northbound on the 5, where the 405N and the 5N split right before Irvine Spectrum I was slowed down to 5-10mph. In my last entry I stated that I’ve spent a good amount of my young adult life trying to control my destiny, impossible. The car behind me wasn’t paying attention and collided with my car at 40-50mph. My car then swerved into the lane’s next to me which then collided with another car going 20-30mph. Both our cars from that second collision ended up off the freeway sliding down hill.

When I came to and saw my car. I was told I was lucky to be alive, that this was my second chance. That really spoke to me. Up until now I didn't believe in that sort of thing. It sounds hokey. I'll never know how I survived that crash, but if this is a "Second Chance", I definitely want to make it worth something. That accident in a strange sense was really good for me. I feel more like myself than I have in a long time. It made me look at a lot things through a new perspective.

This sort of ends abruptly. If you made it this far I appreciate you reading this. These events all had a significant impact on me. While I can't say I handled all situations gracefully, in the end I realized a few key things. It made me realize the breakup doesn’t really matter, Volt is okay, I am alive.

If you aren't okay right now, you will be soon. Love without consequence. Always be grateful.