Love is like having a Dog

A couple of weeks ago I had a coffee date with an attractive girl. We talked and the conversation flowed as well as it could and then we played ways. Several members of my family (mainly the females) asked me how did it go with her. And I gave my assessment of the young girl. Unfortunately, I didn’t really connect with her and although there’s nothing with the girl, I just couldn’t see her as a potential for me. One thing I did get out of it though, was an idea as to what kind of girl I’ll be looking for in a potential girlfriend.

A few days ago, I was having a phone conversation with my sister and it shifted over to relationships. As it turns out, my brother also went on a date and his assessment of his date was similar to mine, essentially we just didn’t click with our respective dates. But he is taking her out on another date. I was confused due to the fact that he also reported to not having any chemistry with his date, yet he’s planning on taking her out on a picnic.

You see, I knew walking away that my date and I didn’t click and that a relationship with her wouldn’t be possible. So there was no reason to have another date, this was just one and done. My sister knows how I think and reason (to an extent), and upon telling her this, she’s not surprised in the least. She even helped me try to understand why my brother would take his girl on another date. And then she explains it like this:

“To be in love with someone is like having a dog.”

(My sister always uses her own personal experiences as an example to explain.) Having a relationship is like having a dog. The dog provides a special connection and establishes a relationship with its owner. The dog (usually) doesn’t provide any special services or fulfills any vast need. It doesn’t work, provide financial assistance, or even that good of a conversational partner (depending on how one talks to their dog). But at the same time, you want to be around it, you love it when you spend time with it, even when you’re just sitting down not doing anything. I love our 2 dogs, I’ll take care of them and care for them, not out of any obligation but because I want to. They make me smile and laugh just by being who they are. Even when they do something bad like eat off of the table or go to the bathroom inside the house, I’ll be frustrated with them, but I’ll always forgive them.

My sister and her husband have a surprizingly similar bond. She’s very independent and yet she misses her husband terribly. She has a need for him just to be there. As much as he gets on her nerves, she still loves him and needs him to be there with her (her words). Even if they do nothing at all, she’s perfectly content with his mere presence.

This is very unusual in my eyes, most likely due to the fact that I share no such bond with anyone. And yet, here I am seeing it firsthand, a relationship that I would like to emulate.

Although I won’t contact the girl further, I have what kids now say, “Relationship goals”. I have an idea as to what I would like my future relationship to be with whoever becomes my significant other. It’s interesting, to have this thought. I honestly find this whole subject fascinating.

“I don’t care.”

There are many factors that separate me from the average individual. (Based on how often I hear about it from others) The way I walk, the way I talk, a sense of punctuality, reliability, the vibe that I’d prefer scotch, or to have a causal drink over partying. It’s interesting what information people can gather based solely on observing me. I had no idea I could reveal so much info subconsciously!

And at the current moment, I’m enjoying wonderful moments given to me by the common flu, I recall when I was at work, and something dawned on me. I had spent the previous 2 days bedridden and feeling unproductive in every sense, I even had my meals prepared for me. For some, this is a life of luxury, for me? This is agonizing.

I hate feeling like I’m a burden upon others, and granted, this is merely a sign of their love for me, and their willingness to display it by taking care of me. I hate this feeling of dependency, despite it being a rather big part of my life (I live with my family, my truck is a hand-me-down, I do rely on others on a daily basis, but this is different), I feel like if I’m capable of performing an action, then I shouldn’t have someone else do it for me. I can cook, despite my feeling slightly dizzy as I stand, yet my meals are prepared for me. It irks me.

And yet, Today I felt well enough to go to work, so I did. It was interesting, My energy was immediately down to a fraction, and I wanted to see how long I can last under my current condition, I lasted about 5 hours, before they sent me home, aware of my current illness. My reaction time was slow, my movements slow, my very thoughts and speech was sluggish, to say the least. I want to think I gave off the air that I was quiet today, but I think if one looked closely enough, they’d see that something was off. But that’s not what made the day interesting.

No, what made it interesting was something else entirely. You see, I care about my job, about the people around me, regardless of who they are. If someone was sick, I would show concern, if someone’s behavior was off, I’d take notice. Hell, if it was cold outside, I’d tell the people leaving to “Stay warm out there.” And I do this, because I genuinely care. I don’t expect anything remotely reciprocal, and in the long run, I know my extended efforts will go forgotten. No one is going to remember the guy who seemed like he listened for about a minute or so, and I don’t expect them to. It’d be ludicrous to, and it would make my efforts hollow if I did them expecting some kind of reward in return, that’s not the kind of man I am. I don’t do favors for others expecting a favor to be done for me. I’m not the Godfather.

But what made this day interesting was the fact that people were ‘surprized’ to see me. You see, no one noticed that I was sick and gone, they simply thought that I had a different schedule. They had only noticed that I wasn’t there, “Oh hey, I haven’t seen you in a while” But this was as casual as can be. I aim to be as punctual as possible, and always aim to arrive early, I often volunteer to be the last man on the clock to close shop. They expect that from me. And yet, I find myself surrounded by people who hadn’t “seen me in a while” I guess, I shouldn’t look too much into it, I was only gone for really 2 days. It wasn’t long enough to really take notice.

To be honest, it’d take me a week to realize when someone has left the job, but then again, I’d work a week straight a shift in which I would never see them. And I’d be the one saying, “You know, I haven’t seen ___ in a while.” I guess I shouldn’t take it too much to heart because I’m guilty of it too.

I took a gamble on my health to work, because I wanted to work, and because I wanted to feel useful again, but to be honest, they don’t need me. This organization can function as perfectly fine as if I was never there.

So I spoke to a coworker, saying that I feel a bit out of it, and she replied, “You should’ve taken that extra day off (today). I would’ve, I don’t care.” Her words left a echo in my mind. Not necessarily what she said, but the concept of it.

Why did I risk my health and went to work today, when I knew I wasn’t well?

What good would it have done?

Nothing special happened today, I didn’t have some philosophical conversation, nor gave wise words today, as a matter of fact, I didn’t talk very much today. So why did I risk my health?

Before you think I’m getting cynical and detached, let me tell you my train of thought.

The very first thing the heart does when it is full of oxygenated blood, ready to send it out to the rest of the body providing life, function and purpose is this: It sends it through the Coronary arteries. A branch off the aorta goes straight back into the heart itself, replenishing the heart because it too, needs that same oxygenated blood. The very thing the heart does when it is full of blood intended for the body is to take some of that blood is give it to itself. It takes care of itself first. Because if the heart doesn’t get that blood then it dies and then the rest of the system goes down, so not only does it want to take some blood for itself, it has to.

It has to take care of itself first, “I don’t care how much blood the rest of the body needs, I need this for myself.”

There’s no shame in taking care of yourself, as a matter of fact, that’s why airplane emergencies require you to put on the face mask on yourself first, rather than another, because if you don’t make it, then both of you will die. But if you get yours on first, then you can help others who still haven’t.

There will be many times in one’s life where you can dedicate every moment to someone outside of yourself, but that does not mean that there won’t be times when you need to dedicate this time only to yourself. Because how can you help or work, when you’re having difficulty doing the very actions that are required of you? If I’m sick, then I need to make sure that I’m 100%, otherwise, I can miss a vein when I stick someone, I can mislabel a product (which is very serious) and lose my job. All because I wanted to feel useful? No sir, this isn’t valid. I have sick days in the waiting, I can afford to not work.

I have to remember that although I’m planning on a life that’s dedicated to helping others, I cannot forget that sometimes the one who needs help is me. Sometimes, I am the one who needs saving, the one who needs to hear wise words.

I can’t be the hero all of the time.

Nor should I be. Because then that means that I have no faith in humanity, no faith that there are other genuinely good people out there. And I can’t believe that. I want to live in a world that houses good people, I know I’m not the only one. And I believe that this world is here and now.

This is a good world, full of good people. Heh, I don’t care how little, nor if I’m really the only one, because Ghandi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

The Owl

The sky’s blue becomes deeper and darker, as it’s fiery red horizon fades into darkness, I sit here on a rock and find myself in the company of an unusual creature…

In my three-hour summer college course, during the 15 min break, I’d often go and sit outside, particularly on the large boulders that are strewn on the hillside. No one, save for the occasional random hikers, come here, so I’m alone with a fading sunset and my thoughts.

But lately, I’ve been seeing a silhouette of something bigger than the normal birds and they didn’t like it.

I was in the presence of an owl.

I knew by the general shape it was an owl, it had “horns” and the way it turned it head only confirmed it. But I couldn’t really make out which of two species it really was, but that thought didn’t cross my mind, until much afterwards.

No, the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Am I going to die?”

I remember the various myths and stories of what an encounter with an owl means, and the sum of all that really is just plain: Something bad is going to happen. Death, Illness that leads to death, child is about to be abducted into their doom, just pretty much Death.

So, naturally, for a brief moment, I thought my timely death was imminent. But I’ve always associated Owls with wisdom and not doom. Something about their stance, their presence just echos with knowledge, in most cultures/myths that’s knowledge that you’re going to die, but I digress.

I’ve been nothing but fascinated with my new company, despite the angry cries of the local birds that see only his predatory side, I tried to get closer to him, at least enough to get a good look at him. But I liked having him near, it felt interesting, that I was somehow wasn’t emitting an energy of hostile, ignorant human energy, but that my energy was somehow, ever so slightly more tolerable to him, less like a human who’d throw rocks at him, and more like the rocks he rest on, or the trees that he’d perch on from flight.

That thought filled me with content, that I can be more in tuned with nature, to the point of being accepted by the animals that surround me, even the wisest of them. Heh, I don’t know what form of the mythology the owl represented while it was around and then looked at me, but I’m just content in seeing one in person, and in the wild, not in some zoo or preserve.

If one really thinks about it, there are millions of images on the internet, but that’s no where near anything close to the real thing. like the late Robin Williams said in Good Will Hunting:

“So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that…”

And this was before the internet, now people have become more arrogant about knowing about these things, but in reality, they’ve hardly ever experienced them.

This one case is a small one, sure, but I’ve experienced that owl. I mean, it was right there in that tree and I was right there beneath it and we occupied the same space in the same time and I wasn’t looking at it through a screen nor was his presence there artificially, or with cages, it was there because it chose to be there, and I just happened to be blessed enough to be in the vicinity when it did.

To think, this will probably be the smallest experience I’ll ever remember, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is, and always will be, an experience, and one I will always remember.

 

Three Days Forward, Two Days Back

Alright, so I’ve been a bit ill lately, so now I’ve gotta catch up on my AoM challenge!

Day 13: Perform a mind dump of everything you’re worried about. From the leaky dishwasher to your family member’s poor health — get it all out. Dwight D. Eisenhower did it, and it significantly helped him manage his stress. Just as your body needs to…cleanse itself of waste, so does your mind every once in a while. Getting all your stressors on paper may alleviate some of that pressure. Use David Allen’s GTD trigger list to help you out.

OK Worries! They are: Loans, Finding a Job, being rejected from Med school, going back to regular school, finding ways to pay for it, that “presence” coming back, making a permanent mistake with Marlena, making a permanent mistake with ANY girl, utterly failing at Life, dividing my family, losing the girls, giving into temptation, wasting my time and money on useless things, wasting my family’s time and money on useless things.

Day 14: Write a review of some form of entertainment you recently took in. Whether book or movie or TV show or Broadway play, write out what you liked and didn’t like about it. Was the acting/writing good? Could you follow the story? Is there anything you can take from it about life, or was it purely entertainment? This is often one of the most enjoyable entries to write, as it’s especially fun (and quite nostalgic) to go back and read these in the future. I can imagine that 10 years from now I will thoroughly appreciate my thoughts from this week on Roy Baumeister’sIs There Anything Good About Men?.

Ninja Warrior has returned! I’m so glad that it has! Nothing motivates me more to exercise than seeing someone put their body to the test! Although all of the contestants hardly ever make it to the finish, it’s inspiring seeing them try! And every time you see one of them fall, they always say the same thing, “I’m going to do better next time.” These athletes who’s levels I don’t think I’ll ever reach, fall and rise again and again. I always say to myself, ‘One day I’ll do that too’ And I still have that in the back of my mind, to become the grand Ninja master and achieve Total Victory!

Day 15: Come up with your own Cabinet of Invisible Counselors. There are innumerable great men from history who we can learn from today. When thinking about your life or pondering some question or problem, yes, go to actual mentors and friends, but also take in the advice of men of yore. Write out who you would have on your list and what you admire about them. Having trouble coming up with a list? The comments in the post should offer plenty of ideas.

Hmm… I suppose my Cabinet would consist of:

  • Jesus – The Son of God, what better moral teacher than that?
  • Goku – A man who trained for the sake of improving himself, not for bettering others
  • Bahamut – Another Motivator, King of Dragons with an ancient Wisdom
  • My Father – My par for what I think it takes to be a Good Man
  • Sun Tzu – Master Strategist of Life and War
  • Theodore Roosevelt – Took a bullet and didn’t leave until his speech was finished, another Good Man
  • Giuseppe Moscati – Italian Doctor and patron Saint of the Catholic church, my par for being a Good Doctor
  • Albert Einstein – A slow learner who changed the world
  • Robert Frost – To remind me to take the Road less traveled
  • My Mother – To remind me to be kind to others
  • My Sister – To remind me that nothing is impossible
  • Aristotle – Philosophy is where I treasure this guy
  • Marcus Aurelius – Roman Emperor who believed that we are all connected by one singular energy
  • My Brother-in-law – Another strong man who fills the room with laughter, he bears traits that I admire
  • Balian of Ibelin – “What man is a man who does not try to make the world better?”

Piece by Piece

In the last few days, I’ve been able to obtain 3 letters of Recommendation, 1 from a Physician, and 2 from former employers, now I just need one more and then I’ll have a complete set!

Also, I’ve surprizingly made my sister-in-law cry and my eldest brother tear up with my Personal Statement. So now, I’m hoping that if the people reviewing my application would get teary-eyed as well, then I’d be set, but Vicky told me that it was because of the memory of my Father that was written in the Personal Statement. So I’ll need to modify it some more, and then I’ll have my application completed.

And then, it will all come together, like a completed puzzle, the Final Step in my Application, The One.

For now, anyways.

It’s strange being so close, and yet, I know in the back of my mind, that this is merely another step towards a VERY long journey, but how funny is it, when each of these steps only reveal themselves to be insignificant when passed, yet utterly unforgiving when you fail them, regardless of by how little or how greatly.

I guess that’s how Life is, if you don’t complete a step, you cannot move forward unto this particular path. For unless you complete this particular step, you will not be able to taste what is on the other side, those are the rules, this is what you’ve signed up for, this is how the game is played. Most people are so bound by the rules that they will never see an exit, they’ll never think that it was ever possible to break the rules, so lost in the Matrix that they no longer see it.

Heh, Piece by Piece…

Over the span of several years, I’ve laughed, cried, fought, bled, tasted defeat and victory, utilized science and religion, stood tall and fell short, made friends, enemies, and seen them both disappear, I’ve had my eyes blinded with rage and opened with wonder, my heart melted with love and broken with loss, my soul rekindled by hope and lost with sin, and my mind has remembered each and every sensation. each and every memory, and little by little has put them together, to inspire me, to teach me, to help me, and to guide me.

And everything I have done and thought, and haven’t, everything relevant and everything completely insignificant, all of it has, and will in the end be the building blocks, the foundation of who I am, and who I will be. People aren’t singular beings, they’re the sum up everything they’ve experienced, both good and bad, all of it, pieced together to make a Whole. We are literally walking worlds interacting with each other, each of us as individual and unique as the stars and planets themselves.

This world will change, of this I have no doubt, but what a lot of people don’t realize, is that these changes are simply pieces of smaller changes that have come together as a whole. Brick by brick, Hand by hand, Soul by soul.

Piece by piece.

Trust lies in Services Rendered

When I first helped my Father on one of our cars, I was not allowed to do anything. I wasn’t allowed to tighten a screw, I wasn’t allowed to hold a wrench, I wasn’t allowed to pour the oil into the funnel, I wasn’t allowed to do anything, nothing but to sit there and watch him, maybe, just maybe, I can hand him a tool he wanted, but that was when I was able to correctly identify which tool he wanted.

When I finally got my license, I wasn’t allowed to drive for anyone. Regardless that I passed my test, I wasn’t allowed to drive for the family, even to the store nearby, I wasn’t allowed to drive for my brothers to pick up something quick, I wasn’t even allowed to drive myself unless it was absolutely necessary for me to, which it wasn’t until I finally got my own car. I wasn’t allowed to do anything but sit there and watch, maybe, just maybe, I can give the driver some help by telling them whether or not it was safe to turn, but that was only when I can see the road correctly, and only when asked.

This was years ago. And as time passed, slowly I was involved more and more into being trusted upon in doing things.

My Father first let me give him the tools he wanted, then he let me go underneath the car with him to see what he was doing, then he started letting me tighten the nuts and bolts and screws that needed it, then he gave me small jobs to do on my own, then in the end, when a job needed to be done, my hands were right there in the car working along side my Father’s.

Initially, I took the Bus to get to college, but then my family let me take the van to get groceries with supervision, then they let me go without it, then they would let me drive for small recreational things, like pizza, while they simply went along for the ride. When I finally got my car, I was allowed to drive myself to school, then I was trusted to drive myself and others to school, and then in the end, I’m considered the “Patient and Good Driver.”

I was, at first, the one who wasn’t allowed simply because I didn’t know any better, I had no experience, I could have hurt myself if I was trusted with something while not seeing what its purpose is initially. But, my patience and curiosity, gained me the trust that allowed me to not only work alongside my Father and drive my family, but to an effect, display that I am someone to be trusted.

Now, rather than worry about trusting me with things, I am now currently the first person to go to in order to get something done. I’ve become someone that everyone can rely on, a dream of mine that also  has ties to my wanting to be a doctor. But, I always feel honored and glad when someone trusts me, it not only brings said person and myself closer, but it tells me subliminally that I’m still a good man, something that I’m constantly striving to be.

It’s strange really, It’s not being given a thing that tells me that I am trusted, it’s being given a responsibility, a chore even, that tells me that I am trusted, that tells me that I’ve shown maturity and patience, that I’m worthy of being given a higher responsibility. This is solidified by two separate sources, one, a quote: “In order to become a great leader, you must be come a great follower.” I can’t remember who said that, although I’m certain that I have the author in my Quote Book. The second source, the Bible: Matthew 23:11 “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Now, this was spoken by Christ, himself, and I know for a fact that I am not the greatest in this household!

But the idea is there: in order to grow strong in this life, you need to start at the bottom. Heh, something I started saying over at NerdFitness.com “Everyone starts at Level 1.” And in my case, I’ve faced Death in my youth several times, perhaps even more than most people, and all that I got when I remember these near-death experiences, refined by my faith and Catholicism, is a wonderful desire to earn my life here.

I tell everyone, I have to do good, be good, keep trying, try harder, can’t stay still, keep moving forward, keep looking up, keep reaching, pushing, fighting, laughing, smiling. And usually in these moments, that’s enough for some people, but no one asks me “why?” and why I keep doing all these things, why I’m suffering like this with a smile on my face, or why I keep going forward despite the odds, and that’s because I haven’t earned my place yet. If I were to die, right now, my last thoughts would be, “not yet” because, I haven’t done enough to repay my debt to God, to earn this life that was spared from Death’s grip on numerous occasions. This is why, I’ve chosen to live an honorable life, I don’t disrespect my parents, I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs or even sleep around with promiscuous women. I’ve chosen to live a life without regrets and a life with as little selfish desire as possible… Because, let’s be honest, being a doctor is something I want, I don’t know what God has in mind for me… But this is why my mindset is vastly different from other people my age, it’s strange to see them find some ironic sense of accomplishment in doing self-destructive things, while wondering why I don’t follow suit.

My belief is that, I’m not being a good man because I want to, but ultimately for God. This one small belief has an unbelievable large range in various places in my life, from hanging out with friends, to when I’m by myself, and believe me, there are moments when I want to do something, but then I’m reminded of this, and the next moment finds me forcing myself to step away from something I would really want to do, but cannot because said action or thing would go against this belief. And I can’t go against the ideal, because that would be thinking only in selfish terms and I cannot think selfishly because I was given a very important responsibility: A Life.

Ultimately, my final honor and responsibility, is the very life that I live. I’m trusted with this vessel of vast potential, and it’s up to me to make sure that at the end, it’s as good a vessel as possible. Not because I want it to be, but because God wants me to; without even asking me in some grand vision, I’ve found that I’m meant to not live on what I want, but on what I believe is morally right and just. The best way to repay God for all the times he’s saved this life is to return it to him with as much good works and faith as I can fill it with. And when I do return it, I’ll return it with a smile on my face, because of all of the things I will have seen, the smiles on the faces of the people I will have interacted with, the strength people will say I have given them, and all of the things people will say I have left them, when I imagine that God will have made me a witness to all these things, I can’t help but smile. I smile because I will have been useful, because I will be able to rest in peace, and because I know I will have finally earned my place in Heaven, simply because I was trusted with this one small thing.

I want to face the end of this Journey with the ability to say, “I have no regrets…”

A Wonderful Doubt

I was talking with a friend of mine last night and it passed over my picture on the heading of this journal, I jokingly brought up a concern of mine that if my pictures keep showing only my back, then everyone is going to forget my face and only recognize me by my backside, to which she replied, “a wonderful doubt!”

Speak of doubts, in terms of my old laptop, I’ll lend it to my mother, so that she can hold on to it and use it whenever she pleases, this is a bit of a relief, because I don’t want to give/sell/get rid of my laptop. After I clear all of my stuff on the old laptop, I’ll have no qualms letting her hold on to it for me.

Anyways, I remember in Animes and Mangas, when a person remembers a particularly driven character, they’re always depicted as walking away from the screen, in resemblance of their motivation and efforts of trying to achieve blank goal. So now I wonder if I’m remember as such? Of course, this is something I’ll never know unless someone tells me, but I highly doubt that’ll ever come up in conversation.

So the idea is how can I live a life where, when remembered, will be as if I’m always moving forward?

If I am to gain this imaginative attribute of always walking away, I need to manifest all of the aspects of ‘always looking forward’ so this means, I need to be Optimistic, Driven, Motivated, Happy, Energetic, Enthusiastic, Purposeful, Confident.

Heh, I’m not too sure if I bear all these traits, but it’s good to know what it takes to have people think of you in such a manner. In order to be seen as a strong person, you have to first show how strong you are to yourself. All of these traits are things that cannot be faked, not really, you can’t pretend to be happy when you’re really sad, it’ll eventually come to light that you’re really depressed. I believe that everyone displays a sort of energy or aura about them, when you’re energetic, others get excited, when you’re laughing, others laugh too, this is definitely observed when there’s a mob and a singular mentality. But the idea is that you need to be the example of Determination when it came to your goals and beliefs, constantly striving for bettering yourself, or perfecting a goal, or achieving an accomplishment.

For now, I’ll settle for having pictures of myself stationary, smiling, and enjoying the present situation that I’m in, because I really am. I’m glad to be right here, right now, but I can’t stay still. Not for too long. I still have a long ways to go, and I can’t stay here and watch my opportunities fly away from my grasp. I need to fight stagnation and keep progressing, even if it’s only little by little. I still have things that need to be done, and I still have progress that hasn’t been made yet! I can’t stop now! I can’t even slow down, not yet!