“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think, ‘Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore. The ‘hurt’ part is an unavoidable reality, but whether or not you can stand anymore is up to the runner himself.”
– Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Is my life just a collection of anecdotes featuring Murakami quotes? Maybe.
So I kind of have this thing for metaphors.
I like pondering about the significance of things and comparing my relationships with people to ‘leaves falling away in the midst of autumn, too weary to keep holding on’. I spend a significant amount of time finding quotes on Goodreads and saving them in my blog (it’s like tumblr for non-teenagers, right?). Murakami is my religion because I too, believe that people’s hearts are like deep wells. When I need a pick-me-up on especially tough days, I read Billy Joel lyrics on google.
This particular habit is usually self-contained but once in a while, someone else comes up with a metaphor that I especially delight in, and it’s worth a blogpost.
Do you know someone who compliments you like this?
“I don’t like talking to so-and-so, they’re so annoying, but I like talking to you.”
“I don’t actually think a lot of other people smart, but I think you’re smart.”
“Girls in this city are so shallow, I’m glad you’re not like that.”
I downloaded “Introduction to Psychoanalysis.” by Freud but never managed to get through it. The language is difficult and it was hard to remain invested in his teachings, given the information is from the early 1900s and psychology has advanced significantly since then.
Instead I’ve been delving deeper into Jungian psychology. In particular, reading about the cognitive functions. There are eight cognitive functions which represent how people observe the world – each person uses four of the eight functions in order to respond to things. These four functions are used in a dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior order. I used to be a little skeptical of the function stacks because it seemed inflexible – but the more I read about them in relation to myself, the more valuable the information becomes.
What’s the deal with aging?
I turned 27 a few months ago, and all of a sudden people around me have started calling me ‘old’. This to me is nonsensical – each day I’m only 24 hours biologically older than the previous. In fact, at 27 years, I’m only 24 hours older than 26 years and 364 days of age, yet I guess on paper the difference seems bigger.
The first instance came when people kept wishing me ‘happy 21st birthday’ on Facebook or joking that I was 19 again. I didn’t really understand … why do I want to turn 19? I was poor at 19, had low self-esteem, and my life was at the whimsy of others. Even at 21, I was a bit of a derp and spent much of my time making big deals out of small things. (yes, even more time, can you believe it?) Don’t get me wrong – I still am prone to emotional meltdowns, but I’m much happier where I am, doing what I do today, than I have been in the past.
I work in a military band where the average age is between 40-50. Almost everyone there is older than me by decades, and I get a sense of contentment and peace from them. People there will gently make fun of themselves for their age, “I used to have more hair 10 years ago, etc.” but there’s no visible anxiety or denial over growing older. I guess they’ve had more practice, after all.
It’s been 15 years since I wrote.
When I was 12, I wrote fiction religiously each day. I would spend hours at my desk with a pencil and paper after school and fill up a 3 ring binder with pages of story. The next day I would bring my works to school for my (two) friends to read. When that wasn’t enough external validation, I wrote stories on fanfiction.net. I had over 10 stories and was really proud of the readership I received. Several of my works had over 25,000 words and hundreds of comments.
Check out this view.
This is the view off my balcony. On sunny days, I can sit outside and gaze at the people biking or running along the seawall. I can watch the Pride parade go by from the comfort of my own home, and in the summer when there are fireworks. I just take the elevator downstairs to the private concrete terrace and avoid the hundreds of thousands of visitors.
I can go for runs along the seawall, and there is no housing closer to the beach than mine. It’s almost literally my front yard.
It’s pretty swell.
Growing up, I was always taught that if you don’t know something to ask someone else. Ask your parents, ask your teachers, or just google it – someone on google always has the answer! Even as I moved into my first few job roles, there was always someone more senior to make decisions on my behalf. Nothing was my fault unless I didn’t do what was asked of me.
Envying others is a waste of time. Why waste time focused on what someone else has when I could be spending that time on my own happiness?
That being said, I am a person who is prone to impatience and anger. Sometimes, I can become really annoyed by just a comment someone has made, and it baffles those around me. “Why is this such a big deal?”When I examine the source of the anger in retrospect, I realize that there’s a little green-eyed monster underneath after all.