A Challenge for the Mind

It happened like a spark, a metaphorical slap to my face, another thing that has always been right in front of me and yet, I’ve somehow, yet again, managed to not see it until now. The Manly Switch that was in the OFF position, that desire to move forward with my life and yet unable to shake that ‘stuck’ feeling. It’s all because of one thing: Challenge.

My Mental health was completely ill, and that’s because I have nothing to think about. And then it happened.

Earlier tonight, my mom was feeling ill and my sister and I went to check on her, and her mind ran rapidly, she knew exactly what to do and how to do it. I stood there like a child at the experience and knowledge of my sister, and she doesn’t have a formal education, didn’t spend hours reading textbooks until her eyes bled, and didn’t put herself into debt just for that.

I thought to myself, “What have I been doing with myself?” Knowledge that would bring people to envy is right at my fingertips, and I could become an expert at the entire human anatomy, if I but just reached out and grabbed one of my books that’s literally within arm’s reach of me. I’ve been working my body, trying to become stronger, and yet, I’ve neglected my mind, everything I’ve worked towards, for the last couple of years is slipping from my grasp and when I try to put myself back into it, I’m going to stare at the information and look like a complete fool!

It’s really because I want to be someone that I’m not currently. I wanted to be a reader, so I started reading, and I’m really enjoying it, but now I want to be that kind of person who would throw seemingly unnecessary information at a simple question, I want to apply knowledge that I’ve learned into real life situations, what I’ve defined as true intellect. Seeing my sister do what I’ve wanted to do with my knowledge has opened my eyes to the fact that in order to be that kind of person, I need to remember what I’ve lost and to always strive to excel at what I should know.

So now, I’m going to start studying my books again. I’m going to return to my nerdy passions of learning and knowing things that the people around me would scratch their heads at. I will learn and re-learn and integrate it into my mind the human anatomy, until I can’t speak without throwing some random science fact in nearly every sentence! Not so that I can show off my knowledge, but so that I can challenge myself mentally and get rid of the feeling that I’m wasting my time, which I really was doing, mentally, at least.

My drive to learn will know no bounds!


Cook? I can cook!

It’s Sunday morning… I’ve woken up just in time… I put on some clothes and head downstairs to the kitchen, I see my father turning on the stove, and setting up the ingredients: Chopped onions, green and red salsa, Parmesan Cheese, and Tortillas… It’s Sunday morning, and we’re going to make Chalupas.

Although often overlooked by many, men can cook rather well. My Father in particular learned how to cook various Mexican dishes simply because he needed to when he was younger, but now when he cooks… Ohh… When he cooks, every flavor has a special spice, I’ve yet to place my finger on it, but my only conclusions are some blend of spices, or Fatherly Love.

But if someone, like me, told him that I couldn’t cook, he’d say (after hitting me upside the head) that cooking is easy, just follow the instructions and that’s it. It’s an important skill that every man must learn, for a man who is not able to cook is not even a man.

Cooking is far more than merely firing up a grill and throwing a steak on there, cooking also includes baking, seasoning, roasting, it’s involves a level eye for ingredients, knowledge of the differences between a ‘Pinch of salt’ versus ‘a Dash of salt’ and so on. To my Father, these things were necessary, simply because if one didn’t know what he was doing, the food would taste terrible!

Which often made me wonder, if my Father was particular about the flavor of food, how is he able to eat 3 helpings of whatever was made? It’s like, he’d tell you, “Ehh, needs more salt” after his third plate, and if I ever offered to take the food back and re-season it, he’d say, “Well, I’m hungry now, so I’ll eat it!”

Ha ha ha, I’ll never understand it.

But I’m glad that he placed that idea within me, now I’m glad to say that I can actually cook! I can make anything from Mac and Cheese, to Orange Pot Roast, to the Godfather Spaghetti! I must admit I rather like cooking, it’s interesting, heh, kinda like Chemistry, you put in various things together in their respective proportions and you wind up with a new concoction, or in this case, a tasty meal! There’s even fire involved!

but one thing is for certain, as in cooking, when one is doing anything, however small or miniscule, it should be done right. I have no dreams of being a chef, but when I do cook, I’ll make sure that everything tastes good and flavorful. So when applied to other things, when one is cleaning, or studying, or even driving, it should be done properly, observing that each part of said activity is given its respective attention and care. Otherwise, you’ll wind up ruining it and in flames. Sometimes literally.

Heh, now I’m often complimented, not for my cooking, but for the fact that I can cook. My Mother’s friends would say that I’m ready for marriage because my culinary skills are rather developed, also since I’m the only one in the house currently, who can cook, I’m glad that my brothers and mother don’t have to starve or waste their money on fast food, even though Norm still does.

I’ve also come to realize that there’s a genuine peace when you’re cooking, it’s kind of hard to explain, but there is a moment when the food is cooking, and you’re in a moment of tranquility, just watching the pot cook. There’s also a passion when you really get into making the meal, everything is coming into place, the process is bursting with flavor, and you’re not even done yet! Ahh, it fills you up with a flame!

Cooking can even bring people together, particularly grilling, they help open opportunities to converse, to teach, to learn, to appreciate, even to laugh and to love.

“For those who fight for it, Life has a Flavor the sheltered will never understand.” – Wise Man from Sucker Punch

Feeling too comfortable…

It’s been weeks since my MCAT test… or failure for that matter… And as time pass, I find myself feeling… comfortable.

Comfort in this less-than-average existence, comfort in living as a leech and not aiming for the Stars, comfort in not going out and exploring my options. I’m comfortable where I’m at, at this very moment.

… What a terrible and horrid feeling this is…

Yes, it is terrible to feel comfortable, because at this point I’m no where near doing anything I wanted to do in my life. I’m not helping people, I’m not risking anything, I’m not improving my own life nor the lives of others. I’ve become stagnant, tranquil, apathetic.

A chemical reaction is a display of furious energy displaced on various scales, yet when it has reached perfect balance, what is observed is nothing the fury of reactions that once dazzled the sky has finished and all that is left is simply dust settling. A Grand Flame is the result of an insatiable beast growing and rising challenging all, and defying Life and Death as it takes wave after wave of watery attacks only to seem unstoppable, yet, then all of the wood has turned to ashes, when all it can feast upon are gone, where is the beast? A soldier in battle fights, not for the cause of the politician, but fights for his family back home, for his friends who are beside him on the battlefield. Stone, steel, mortar, bullet, fire, fists, he braves them all for the sake of his return home. And yet, when he does… He feels as if he’s lost something back there, something in the fog of war, something stolen by his fallen friends and enemies alike, and all he is left with is loss and regret.

I feel like I’m standing in quicksand. I’m sinking slowly and I’m afraid that when I realize that I’ll die, it’ll be too late for me to pull myself out. Has one event deterred me from all further attempts? Why am I so comfortable then? What happened to that Burning passion that lay within?

I remember this feeling made me feel like I had to run half of the time. Just bolt, not knowing where, but wherever I was headed, that was where I needed to go.

I need to remind myself of that feeling again. That imbalance that causes a ferocious display of energy and enthusiasm. I need to set myself on fire again and Run! I also need to find out what’s causing me to be in such a sorry state. Am I tired? Burned out? What could it be? I have more than enough motivation to inspire 10 people! Yet all I want to is just sit still and fade away… Fade into the wind like the ashes of my past did… Be forgotten in the rivers of time… Such a sweet death, nice and quiet… To have my fate unknown by everyone…

Except I will know…

I will know that I gave up, that I’d quit my dreams, that not only will I not make this world a better place, but I will add to it by becoming a blank face among the sea of neutrality.

Heh, I guess it’s a good thing to start feeling angry at such thoughts. But anger isn’t the right emotion, because anger is negative, I should start feeling passionate about doing something with my life. Passion is what truly cases one to move forward, passion is what lies in the heart of all those who vow to change the world, and without passion, we become apathetic, still, neutral.

Life isn’t meant to be comfortable in mediocrity. Ships and sailors aren’t hardened by smooth sailing. a good Sword and a good Soul aren’t made, they’re forged. Ayn Rand put it best,

Do not let the fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the Hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It is yours” – Ayn Rand