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!

am I the idiot?

I’ve recently been wondering how I can battle the question of telling someone they are wrong.

This is very pretentious, but here I go:

As an economist, I’ve learned a lot about how the world works, both in the social human behavioral aspect (behavioral economics) and also in the way the world works in terms of products, supply, goods, money, people, countries, firms, etc. (micro and macro).

As someone who studies philosophy and humanities, I’ve also learned a lot about how humans work. There is no answer, but I’ve contemplated this probably more than the average 19-year-old. I meditate, I read every day, and I’ve studied great philosophers and theologians.

Needless to say, I feel like the past year, I’ve become way more immersed in the world than I ever thought I’d be. I’ve collected more knowledge, more information, more books.

And so when I hear people giving their “opinions” on a topic of debate, I can respect it. But at the same time, I also often hear “opinions” which are just flat out wrong. Full stop. No debate here. There is just no evidence to support the opinion.

We are all entitled to our own opinions. But we also must be open minded and subject to new information or evidence to help shape our opinions. Only with the willingness to be skeptical about the world can we learn and adapt.

Yet, I also think I need to take a step back and not be the one to tell people they are wrong. Especially if the person isn’t willing to be corrected–people don’t like to be wrong. I also have to be skeptical about my own knowledge.

And so if I choose to argue with someone who isn’t willing to have an insightful debate–people who are fixated on their opinions regardless of the evidence–then perhaps am the idiot here.

The true idiot is someone who tries to argue with someone clouded in ignorance.

I know I sound super pretentious in this post.

But I have to be blunt.

Because if you have conversations with me, I hope you’ll understand: I don’t really care about being right or wrong. I care about understanding the world a little bit better than before we have our conversation. I love insightful debate. I love learning from other people. But I hope you’ll come into the conversation with me with an equal open-mindedness to learn from my perspectives, prior knowledge, facts and info from readings, and yes, opinions too. And I will also respect your opinion. But let’s get to a better understanding of the world–that’s the true objective. And isn’t that all we are trying to do in this world?

 

Passing

I sat in on an Econ class last semester and sat next to someone who passed away in December

Today I woke up to my friend texting me that school was cancelled because it was a snow day

I was ecstastic because I hadn’t studied for my micro theory test and woke up early to do so. Instead I got that text from my friend

And then I checked my email and saw that a senior from the CLAS had passed away. A senior. She was just a few months from graduation.

I don’t know these people.

I don’t know most people.

I don’t know what it feels like to be close to someone.

I don’t know what it feels like to have someone you love leave.

There are over 10,000 people that walk on this Villanova campus.

There are over 7 billion on this planet.

We are all connected by the same fate. Just the thought that we will all die one day should be enough to let us love one another.

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.

Reflecting on my “loneliness”

This post is quite sappy and melodramatic (but let’s be honest, if you’ve read any of my writing, you know I do this a lot).

It’s Valentines Day today and another reminder from society that I am single.

Granted, every year, I’ve felt this feeling.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve never been in a relationship. And although I thought I was ready to be in one last year, I think the more time I’ve spent understanding myself and life, the more I realize how important it is to learn to love myself before I can expect anyone else to.

I’ve been contemplating a lot. Not just about love, but about life in general.

The global economy. I could go on for hours about Sino-US trade relations, or the global political-economic trends, or why some countries are poor while others are thriving.

Religion. Because I’ve been taking a course called “God” for my humanities minor. And now I have the omniscience objection against God, the religious orthodox faith proof, the argument of design, the argument of evil and 4 miseries, and the cosmological argument. I’ve read Descartes, Plato, Aristotle, Hume, and German Philosopher’s works.

I can talk to you about finance. Money is just a construct. Credit and debt are fallacies. And compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world.

And finally, I can talk to you about love.

Why love can be poisonous. Why love is often an external projection of our internal selves. How love can be corrupted.

But also why love is the greatest power we can possess–but also dangerous when we allow love to possess us instead.

I’m single for another Valentine’s Day but I’m also happy that it’s a day for a celebration of people in love.

I believe deeply in love. I believe that having a good partner is integral to a happy life. And I’m happy to see other people live through relationships.