Isn’t it amazing how there’s no one way to live your life?
You can practice positive affirmations, hoping that they’ll manifest in the real world and lead you to your pot of gold. Or, you can live the rest of your life preparing for the absolute worst.
It’s these contradicting beliefs that divide the “self-help community” into two halves:
Would you rather have an easy life or have the strength to endure a difficult one?
In an ideal world, wouldn’t we all go for the former? After all, a life full of happiness is the one that’s devoid of any pain or misery. Put simply, an easy life=happiness.
However, rarely do we get to decide what the next chapter of life beholds. We only get to choose how we improvise, adapt, and overcome all the odds life has stacked against us. And that’s where Bruce Lee’s divine insight comes into the picture:
“Do not pray for an easy life…
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” — Jorge Luis Borges
Infested with green-shaded lamps, papyrus dust, and deafening silence, the library sure was a peaceful place to be. But only when the flywheels of my mind were slowed down by its hush, I could suddenly hear a thousand voices buzzing stories of old:
“Arrrr!!” of the pirates,
Totting cannons of the bandits,
Neighs of the unicorns,
And the turning graves of the daemons.
The land paved with paper and leather had it all. In there, unlike the real world, anything could happen. …
The downtown Naval Officer’s library was no mosque, church, or temple. But for the 12-year-old me, it did start something of a religion. I would religiously visit it after evening soccer practice. I would religiously skim through its repository of horror fiction. And I would religiously take home a bundle of R.L Stine and Stephen King novels, only to devour them all week.
In my well-protected home and relatively privileged neighborhood, I remained naive to the perils of the real world. …
I was about 12 years old when I watched The Ring. Later that night, my mother drowsily walked into my dark room, her long messy hair flowing down her face. She was almost unrecognizable. And as ludicrous as this may sound, she looked exactly like the movie’s antagonist, Samara.
With splayed fingers, I watched her creep towards my bed. As any 12-year-old would at the sight of a vengeful spirit, I screamed my lungs out and moments later, so did my mom. …
“But often, in the world’s most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course.”
― Matthew Arnold
Nick’s life heavily revolved around his work. Each day — be it weekday or weekend — he clocked in at 9 am (sharp) in the morning and clocked out an hour ahead of midnight. He had an undying hunger to be amongst the top 1% of the 1% employees of his high-end tech company…
Zann was unlike any other writer out there. He wrote religiously, day and night, rarely fretting over fortune and fame. Even when the tedium of his days stretched beyond his iron will, he didn’t budge from his desk. And neither did his sweaty palms from his keyboard.
In his room, studded with old soundproofing rugs, only his fingers could be heard, dancing on the keyboard, like a Julliard pianist warming up.
But as fate would have it, the universe tested him one day. An earthquake devoured his abode, along with the desk he loved so dearly. Bereft of anything but…
If there’s one word I could use to describe my overall writing experience, it’s ambivalent. I have mixed feelings about it. I hate it at times and love it during others.
Some days, while I skim through all the ideas I’ve gathered in my catalog of drafts, my chest swells up with pride. Other days, I scoff at the same drafts, thinking about all the great ideas I left behind on lost paper napkins, parchments of paper, $1 notepads, and forgotten dreams.
The plain realization that my best work was lost in the void of inaction makes me reconsider this…
It was the summer break of 2010 when my father helmed the responsibility of making me less of a serial late riser. “Oh, what a beautiful morning…♬ ♫ ♪ ♩,” he chimed at 6 a.m while drawing the curtains. When that didn’t work, his voice suddenly went from pleasant to rasp as he boomed, “Get uppppp! You lethargic fellow!”
I carried the weight of being a “lethargic fellow” throughout college. The guilt was real. And so, I bought an alarm clock.
Soon, I met others of my kind — the self-confessed sluggish slumberers. One of them was my college roommate…
Well-meaning folk in the online writing community disapprovingly shake their heads. “Stick to a niche,” they say. “You’ll never have a targetted audience.”
But after getting tired of the same old advice, I decided to write an article that’s a mishmash of different niches. The result surprised me. Although it isn’t (yet) among my most read articles, it is one of the few I’m proud of.