Thursday, June 23, 2011

For the Kids

“Kids, you can do anything you want to do when you grow up.” This is the single, most elaborate lie that society tells its children of the day. Think about it—we’ve all heard of this quote, of this concept. And some of you probably believe it’s true.

“If you put your mind to it, kids, you can do anything.”

But society doesn’t tell you the rest of this quote until you’re older, say, in college. It actually ends like this: “If you put your mind to it, kids, you can do anything…”

…except get a job doing exactly what you want. You’re going to have to compromise your ideals, sell yourself short, and settle for a mediocre job that you don’t really want, but hey! At least you’re doing
something. Compromise your interests just this once, put your head down and bite that bullet through college until you have an acceptable job. Then you can do what you’re interested in.

But this is a lie.

Once you get that acceptable job, hey, compromise just a little more, reduce your expectations even further, settle for less just one more time, until you get that promotion.
Then you’ll have the time and money to finally do what you want.

But this is also a lie.

Once you get that promotion, just work a little bit harder at the job you didn’t really want anyway, and look! You’re so deeply involved that if you switched careers now you’d be crazy to throw away everything you have worked for.

But what have you worked for? When you turn around and look behind you, what have you done? Succeeded at a job you never really loved? And
have you really succeeded?

And so, the joke society has pulled on us is complete.

This whole time, while you could have held out for a job you
did love and gotten there slightly delayed (according to society’s expectation for you, anyway), you settled and compromised your way through life, until finally you wasted years of that life doing something you only cared for halfheartedly.

As Ayn Rand stated in
The Fountainhead:
“Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world—to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.”

We can’t let society’s expectation for us stand in the way of what we want and love. Maybe those expectations are pressing on you from a parent, relative, teacher, or friend. But really think. What do you truly want for your life?

And how much are you willing to fight to achieve it? 

Friday, April 1, 2011


What is music?
What do you think of when you think of music? Marching band? Choir? A rock band? Sheet music?

I think music is all of these things, absolutely, but there is an element of music that can't be defined. Music is the combination of some kind of instrument (voice, piano, guitar, etc), musical notation, math, and sound waves, but these elements would be nothing without people. Musicians don't read music- they make music. Technically, music is not notation on a page. Music is this indescribable energy that you share with people, which COMES from a person's internalization of notation on a page. A musical performer of any kind (and I'm not talking Britney Spears lip syncing on stage. I'm talking REAL musicians) has the potential to connect with maybe thousands of people in an audience at one time, and at the same time, all of those audience members are connected with each other. This is why I love concerts- each show has a unique atmosphere that will never (and can never) be recreated. The audience changes. The instruments change. The performer changes. Each performance is a moment in time that has passed, never to be experienced again. To me, that's pretty special.

As Victor Hugo said, "Music expresses that which cannot be said, but on which it is impossible to be silent."
I think this idea captures the essence of music. You can't speak what music brings, but you can rather connect with people on a whole different level than through using words alone. I think laughter is similar to music in that regard.

As a performer and audience member myself, music brings people together and provides a level of personal fulfillment that can't be found many other places. And it touches you to the core.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

(No title)

I never meant to cause you any sorrow. I never meant to cause you any pain. I only wanted one time to see you laughing- I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain.

I never wanted to be your weekend lover- I only wanted to be some kind of friend. Baby, I could never steal you from another. It's such a shame our friendship had to end.

Honey, I know times are changing; it's time we all reach out for something new, that means you too.

Purple rain, purple rain, I only wanted to see you bathing in the purple rain.

--"Purple Rain", Prince

Monday, March 21, 2011

Oh look, more late-night ramblings...

"Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go." —Herman Hesse

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the process of letting go. It's scary to leave behind what you've considered safe and familiar for a long time. When you're in the midst of those safe and familiar times, the idea of letting it all go seems ridiculous, but eventually there will be a time when letting go is necessary, either involuntarily or by choice. Because oftentimes there's a delusion that some things will last forever, when in reality, life is change. Things change, people change, relationships change. Sometimes it's for the better, other times it's not.

In my particular situation, I've been disappointed in one aspect, yes, but I'm coming to realize that letting go will release me from the burden I've been carrying around for so many months now, which can actually a very GOOD thing. I'm tired of hanging on to something that is ultimately bringing me down. But like I said, letting go is scary because there are uncertainties and doubts that I can't seem to shake. Like, what if I let go and end up closing a door that can't be reopened? Or, maybe if I just wait out a couple more weeks (on top of the time I've waited already), the situation will rectify itself... 

I know letting go is a good thing. In the wise words of Albus Dumbledore, "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live," or in this case, it does not do to dwell on the past and forget to live. It is just taking longer than expected to reach that point and be at peace with it, but I know I'll get there eventually, and when I do, it will be a freeing day. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011


It's one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and I absolutely believe one could argue it to be the worst. I'm not actually going to do that in my blog, but I do think that pride (negative pride, not "I'm so proud of myself for setting the world record for the fastest assembled bookshelf!" pride) can really be horrible. I'm thinking pride in terms of, "I need help (mentally or physically), but I'm too proud to let others see me as vulnerable," or, "I would like to apologize, but I'm too proud to confess to a wrongdoing." It's times like these where I'm not angered by pride (which, coincidentally, is also one of the Seven Deadly Sins), but rather it disappoints me. It disappoints me that people are so susceptible to pride. I don't exclude myself from that group of people either--I can be an extremely proud person, sometimes to fault.

I just wish that people could put their pride aside, bite the bullet, and take ownership of their actions or emotions. A person doesn't have to be Superman all the time. It's okay to be vulnerable and humbled, and I wish people (myself included) could realize that and act on it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night

Utica Lake in northern California. 

Slept out under the stars on this beachy island.

"These things, they go away, replaced by every day."

It's nights like these that make me want to just walk around at night forever.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


In just a matter of days, I will be twenty years old. On the small scale, from year to year, I am just one year older, and that process is absolutely nothing new. However, on the large scale, on the timeline of my life, turning twenty is kind of a big deal. From the time I was in elementary school, my perception of "teenager" was always that it is the be all, end all of my existence. Life revolved around being a teenager. Now that I've just about passed through that stage in my life, there are many unknowns I have to face. Granted, I am still in college so my life is still planned out for me for at least the next two years, but then what? Do I go to grad school? Get an internship? Buy an RV and travel around the United States for a year?

Honestly, I couldn't begin to tell you. I know what it is I want to do, and that is travel. But is that what's practical? Probably not. But finding an internship or applying to fifty businesses does not appeal to me in the least. And that is, I think, because I don't think that one can really grow as a person through working in an office. I do agree that a person can learn there and grow to a degree, yes, but what fulfillment for the soul can one find in a 9 to 5 job enclosed (trapped, if you will) in an office doing the same thing from day to day, year to year? That regularity is NOT what I want. I want to be spontaneous and meet new people, experience new things. I believe that life is a series of experiences, but it's not a one-way street--it's our responsibility as people to meet these opportunities halfway to make them experiences. For example, if someone were going to hand me a pencil, he can only do so much--he can push it at me, throw it at me, or just hold it in front of me, but I will not acquire the pencil until I make an active decision to put my hand out and receive it. I believe life is very similar to this. Unless we make an active decision to accept the opportunities that life hands us, we will never really experience them and receive what they are trying to teach us.

Turning twenty has drawn my attention to the fact that my life is going to be changing drastically in the next few years. My years of teenager-dom are going to be behind me, just memories (mostly great memories, but memories nonetheless). As I move forward, I want to do what I want. As Ayn Rand explains in The Fountainhead, it's crucial to be selfish. Don't be selfless--selflessness leads to the definition of one's self in everyone and everything around you, except yourself. Literally lacking a self. I don’t want that, and I don’t think any self-respecting person would either. It's so important to do what you want. It may be crazy, it may be unconventional, it may be against every expectation society has for you (grade school, high school, grad school, internship, corporate world), but at least you find fulfillment in it. Because that's ultimately what life is for isn't it, to be enjoyed?