Life is a Grocery Store

I’ve been having some life dilemmas recently

Regarding my education, career path, vocation, existentialism…

and I talked to a professor at Villanova today who is the head of the Honors department and he gave me this great analogy:

A lot of people think of life as a sprint. But life isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon.

And then after you realize life is a marathon, you then realize again that life is actually a grocery store.

A lot of people can see the finish line in a marathon. They know where to go. They know that it will take a long time. But the path is predestined. I want this job. I’ll get married at 28. I’ll have kids by 30. Be a millionaire by 35 and retire early at 50. I’ll travel the world, go volunteer, do work for the government, or a bank, or a non-profit.

Life isn’t a sprint. And it’s not a marathon.

Actually, life is more like a grocery store.

There are many aisles. And you are perusing, checking out items, meticulously (and sometimes non-meticulously) putting items into your cart. And sometimes you’ll get random items in your basket and you’ll have no idea how it got there. Maybe a kid put it in. Maybe YOUR kid put it in. Maybe it just fell in from a shelf. All the different items at the grocery store are unique and sometimes your cart will be full of items that you weren’t planning on getting.

Even more so, you might end up at the checkout and decide you didn’t want that pasta or cereal anymore.

Sometimes you’ll be 20 years into your career and realize you want to be a Buddhist monk instead of a banker.

I think the most important thing this professor told me though, was that I should call myself a seeker.

Life isn’t black and white. There is no right or wrong. No simple Yes or No answer to the dilemmas of vocation and purpose that I’ve been having.

Because yes, some of us will be Buddhist monks, and some of us will work for a big bank, and maybe I’ll be the one in the middle ground and be a Buddhist Banker.

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Another podcast episode

Hey guys. So I did another podcast episode because Tuesdays are for podcasting and I plan to stick to my schedule! (Be a DISCIPLINED half-ass, NOT a lazy perfectionist). It still feels very weird but I think I’m getting better at this…
 
Anyways, I spent my spring break in Switzerland, and besides noticing how beautiful and hellishly expensive Switzerland is, I also spent a lot of time traveling on the train almost through the entire country. And if you are like me, you can only do two things while on the train: listen to music, and THINK.
 
So I did a lot of thinking. And in this podcast, I talk about the philosophical questions I’ve been battling recently and how I’ve just felt lost. Camels, Nietzsche, and Deserts are also included in this episode!
 
You can listen to the podcast with the link below or search “The Jawesome Life” on Spotify/Apple Podcasts/Overcast/Wherever you listen to podcasts.
 
Thanks and have a great life!

Here

I wrote a poem. “Here”

I hope you like it


When the ghosts of my past have left my body

When my dreams no longer keep me up at night

I will notice

That I

Am here

Here

The human sound we make is everywhere

I hear it at the restaurant I go to every year on my birthday, the same mundanely beautiful human noise

I hear it as I walk through the streets

The human noise is familiar in Switzerland, in New York, in Singapore, in Hong Kong, in Toronto

I hear it at school, at parks, at the local grocery store when the mother beside me is telling her son that they can’t buy too much candy. Even if I don’t understand her, because she is speaking German, I can hear the human noise

It’s a universal language, this human noise

I’ve spent most of my days wondering how life could be better if I only did this

If I were only somewhere anywhere else besides here

I shoulda

I coulda

If I only…

These thoughts will disappear and then rear its head again every time I realize that life is unfair

I walk and walk and walk over many zebras

Thinking that the next street will be better

Not realizing that sometimes life is a one way street

And even if the other side of the street looks better, I wonder what they are thinking about my street

The bus doesn’t stop for me, and neither should I stop for these ugly thoughts

On the nights I am alone and meditate, I see so much clearer

I am here

The human noise I make, I hear it

And it’s screaming: “I exist”

“I am here”

And so I spend more time appreciating the beauty of the present moment

Even if I don’t know why yet

Even if I don’t know how

Even if I don’t believe anything else

At the very least, I know that I am

Here

Succeed with too little or struggle with too much

My freshman year of college I had a 3.94 GPA. I had all A’s and two A-‘s.

But if I am being completely honest, that doesn’t mean as much as people think. Because there’s more context to it. And I don’t want to say any of this to gloat, because there are still people who graduate with a 4.0, and there are people who work way harder than I do–which is essentially the topic of this post.

Let me first give some context. My freshman year of college was easier than I expected because:

  1. I came in with 5 AP exams (4 of which was self-taught) so a lot of the hard work that I missed out on my freshman year at Villanova was shifted to my high school years. And that made sense because I was chronically stressed my Junior year of high school.
  2. Villanova School of Business is known for having a significantly easy 1st year (relative to STEM).
  3. My second semester I went to Singapore to study abroad, which meant I only took 4 courses rather than the 6 I am taking right now.

I barely remember studying for any of my classes. My final exams went and came in a blur as if I didn’t even take them.

But now, here I am, a sophomore.

Taking a full course load of 19 credits, 6 courses.

A lot of this content is new to me, so it’s not like I can skimp by without actually studying. Last semester, I definitely struggled. Near the end of the Fall semester, I was constantly calculating how my grades fell within each course, hoping that my GPA wouldn’t fall too heavily.

So here’s the dilemma I’ve been having with myself as I approach course selections for next year: should I try to succeed with less, or struggle with more?

A lot of people would consider a 4.0 GPA “successful”

But as I said at the beginning of this post: we need more context.

I can get a 4.0 GPA. A lot of people can. Granted, the best way to do that would also have an asterisk next to that GPA, because that would mean I’d have to drop my humanities courses (which I love, but, it’s really hard to get an “A” in a class where the central thesis is “what is God” or “what does it mean to be Human?”)

But what if I choose to overload every semester, and continue to challenge myself with 6 courses. I’d sacrifice my time to do other things. I want to write more. I want to do more podcasting. I want to create content for YouTube and magic. I want to read more.

There’s nothing wrong with taking more courses and challenging yourself.

At the end of my 4 years of university, if anything, I hope I can come out with not only a diploma but also the ability to say I took interesting courses and challenged myself intellectually.

But the asterisk is this: what am I sacrificing to do that?

Is it better to succeed with less, or struggle with more?

At some point, I think I need to realize I have to level up and go to the next level. I can’t stay in this stage, because if I stay in this stage, I know I’ll “succeed”, but I also know I won’t grow.

The more I struggle, the more I learn.

I definitely think I’ve been too complacent. With my time. With my energy. With my resources.

It’s time to kick it into high gear…

But after I come back from Spring Break 🙂

 

Relegate

Don’t relegate your teachers to only people who look like teachers

Don’t relegate creativity to things you believe are traditionally creative

Don’t relegate beauty to aesthetics

And don’t relegate life to externalities

Stop being negative

Jeff Bezos donated $2 billion to charity last year.

And somehow the keyboard warriors of the internet love to point out the bad.

“It’s for tax purposes…”

Even if it were for tax purposes, does it really matter? Either way he is parting away with money. Those same people saying that Bezos only donates money to avoid taxes are the same people who want a tax deduction. Inherently no one wants to pay taxes… so dumb

“$2 billion is such a small % of his $136 billion. It’s the relative % that matters, not nominal”

Albeit they didn’t use the words relative % and nominal, because most keyboard warriors are seemingly illiterate, it’s this arguement that is so dumb to me. Yes, someone who gives 50% of what they have is considered more generous. That’s a fact. It’s relative. But in the REAL WORLD, no one cares. $2 billion is always going to be better than 50% of $200. You can’t bash Bezos for donating a smaller % of his wealth when the nominal donation FAR exceeds anyone else’s contribution. And Bezos isn’t done… who’s to say he won’t leave most of it to charity when he retires or in his will???

“He didn’t give as much as Bill Gates”

That’s true. But Bezos is trying to grow his company, innovate, and create economic growth for all of America and internationally, while Gates has been doing meaningful philanthropic work internationally and in America for 20 years. Comparing them is apples to oranges. And why are we comparing? So what, Gates donates more than Bezos, do we can discredit Bezos’s $2 BILLION DOLLARS??? Do people not realize that that is freaking 9 zeroes???????

Seriously. I know it’s ironic that I am posting on social media complaining about other people complaining on social media

But in a world of so much fucking turmoil with Trump calling a national emergency to build a wall while North Korea and Iran are international threats and China-US trade war is looming, can we not just pause, and reflect, and APPRECIATE those people who are doing GENUINE good for the world? I don’t think starving kids in Africa care where the money is coming from when their lives are dependent on sanitation and healthy nutrition.

It’s not always black and white.

But seriously, let’s bring more gratitude in our lives.

Let’s go do some good.

Anyone who knows me knows that my ultimate ultimate life goal is to cure poverty and discrimination. I think that’s how I can create more world peace.

Anyways… go out there and donate $2 to a charity

Even if $2 is all you have, or if you’re a multi-millionaire.

Because for those who need charity, $2 is $2, and in a lot of places, $2 can save a life.

Side note: here’s a tip on how to be less stressed. DON’T READ INTERNET COMMENTS. You’ll lose brain cells.

Taxes???

I literally had a dream about taxing the rich last night. And while I don’t necessarily have a firm position on tax, I think there’s more to the picture than just tax or no tax.

I believe an honest major issue in regards to tax politics in America is that majority of the people who throw their rage of attacks on the “leftist liberals” is that they don’t truly understand how tax works in America—Marginal tax bracket.

And believe it or not, there’s actually an economic benefit (called Laffer curve) to the recently quoted 70% tax on the ultra rich ($10 million+)

Look out for a future DTF post where I try to shed some more light on this entire issue.

Thoughts?