Month: October 2016

Lots of things to explore, not enough time

By Thamizhpparithi Maari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Since my last post, a lot of dust has settled emotionally and in results from the 2 big decisions I made. Unfortunately I still can’t disclose details as of now.

However, what I can disclose is that I’ve found myself running out of time for all the different things I really want to explore.

What are the things I really want to explore?

  • Film making (cinematography, and eventually other aspects of film making, like directing, writing, background music, sound effects etc.)
  • Financial Advising for family / friends
  • Teaching ToK
  • Stand-up comedy
  • Counseling

Film making

I don’t think I’ve really disclosed this to a lot of people, but I’ve actually co-directed two videos for my company. One was for internal purposes so I unfortunately can’t share to the public space, but one is for external purposes which I hopefully can share in the next 2-3 months once my company posts it on official social media channels.

And one of the pleasant surprises was that it stirred up an interest in film making that I never realized I had before.

One pleasure that I’ve always had but never really shared with anyone is studying what constitutes good film (eg. Every Frame A Picture, the nerdwriter, Sam and Niko), exploring topics like themes, camera angles, color grading, writing, storyboard, sound effects, music, use of off camera movement, use of on camera movement etc.

What both projects did for me was really give me a taste of putting what I learnt from all those videos about what constitutes good film into action, and it was really fun.

And the reason why it was fun? Good film is damn hard to make since it involves so many moving parts (see all the topics mentioned above). And that’s what’s interesting to me, because not only the challenge is interesting, I also like the fact that it involves so many moving parts since I like enjoying multiple interests at the same time rather than focus on just one aspect (eg. photography, storytelling, music).

From the get go I already have a few video ideas in mind, but I’m only seriously exploring 2. One involves a song called “Home” by Explosions In The Sky, and the other another song called “Opera#2” by Vitas. I’ll leave the details of “Home” and “Opera#2” in a separate post as this post is more focused on the different interests that I can’t seem to find time to manage.

Financial Advising for family / friends

One other thing I usually do in my spare time when I talk to friends is advise them on how to manage their personal finances and invest the money.

Personal finance and investing has always been something I love to think about ever since I started self-funding my tertiary education, and even more so when I almost went bankrupt on my self-funding journey. So to see my friends struggling, I naturally like to share my knowledge and experiences as a lot of their challenges I’ve already faced or thought about before.

What’s surprising is that something that I just casually brought up from time to time with friends has manifested into a more time consuming project since now I’ve got quite a list of friends who want to be on a monthly mailing list that essentially guides them on how to invest.

And I really feel the weight of responsibility in this, since a lot of questions start popping up, which is what should be the format of this monthly mailing list, what content should be in this monthly mailing list, how do I incorporate the step by step instructions in this monthly mailing list, how do I remind my friends about the importance of the personal finance aspect for their financial planning besides investing.

I’ve got a vague idea what I’d do, but I haven’t really hammered out the details yet, and I think that’s going to be another post for another day.

Teaching ToK

Teaching Theory of Knowledge (epistemology course that’s compulsory in International Baccalaureate program) has never occurred to me until one day I was having dinner with my ToK teacher.

Anyone who knows me knows that my interests are very broad, and I read and think about how to synthesize all the big ideas from different disciplines into multiple frameworks which allows me to reduce psychological biases and improve my decision making and forecasting skills.

So when my ToK teacher saw glimpses of my multi-disciplinary thinking that I’ve acquired since high school, he immediately told me that I was destined to teach ToK, since ToK is all about the different areas of knowledge, how people know and factors that transcend individual ways of knowing and areas of knowledge.

And I must say, the idea was very tempting to me.

I’ve always been told that I’m pretty good at breaking down complex concepts and explaining it to people, I’ve always loved multi-disciplinary thinking, I love people, I love to see the meaning behind my work, and to have a stamp of approval from my ToK teacher who’s the Asian representative for the International Baccalaureate curriculum committee really made me think that maybe I really can do this.

But of course for now I’ll put this idea in the back burner as I’m having too much fun with my current career. I will however not rule out this option as a possibility, and who knows what would be in store for me for this path.

Stand-up Comedy

Another thing that I rarely share with people is my love for stand-up comedy. I’ve watched multiple shows (even on repeat) of well known or unknown stand-up comics, I’ve watched live shows of stand-up comedy, and I love watching interviews of stand-up comics sharing how they think, what they think comedy is all about, and how to get better at comedy (which if you have an hour to kill and are interested, I highly recommend the group interview / chat session called “Talking Funny” involving Louis CK, Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Jervais and Chris Rock).

But interestingly enough, for all my love of stand-up comedy (I’ve had it since Secondary), I’ve only done one live stand-up comedy routine.

It was actually really fun sitting down and just thinking about a theme, and then coming up with the different stories that all tied to that one theme so that there was not only structure, but just laughter all through the routine.

And I’ve actually kept practicing and honing my comedic timing and material ever since. Ask anyone who has had a conversation with me, and if they enjoy humor and the setting’s not formal, I guarantee you I’ve made them laugh. And I mean real laughter, not laugh at your lame jokes just because that’s the pilot thing to do.

And having done this over and over again has given me so much feedback over the years that I just know when a great comedic timing is coming or not whenever I have a conversation with someone. Essentially I’ve been doing more improv comedy rather than stand-up comedy.

But I really wonder why I never pursued stand-up comedy considering how much I love the art form and how much I love practicing the art of comedy. Not having an English speaking audience isn’t really an excuse anymore considering there’s a English Hong Kong comedy club called TakeOut Comedy that has open mic nights every week.

It would be interesting if I explored this as well.

Counseling

Reading the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” was life changing for me, as it opened my eyes to the world of logotherapy, and it showed me the power of what humans can endure when they have someone they love, something important to do, or if they see meaning in their suffering.

Personally I can relate to this as I still remember that moment when the 1st person I ever fell in love with told me during exam week that she thought I knew that she didn’t like me all along in the past 3 months of being madly in love with her. I just remember when I hung up the phone, I was alone in Beijing (parents were out of town), and I really felt like jumping off the window.

And I remember vividly that the moment I really wanted to jump off the window, I immediately thought of my mum, and I realized that if anything, I had to live on at least for my mum. And that immediately killed any thoughts of suicide then.

And funnily enough it was vice versa, because during the toughest emotional moments my mum had to endure, the thought of my sister and I was literally what pulled her through to endure.

So to me, logotherapy is something I strongly believe to work, and so counseling is an interesting option for me. I’ve gone through some very very tough moments emotionally in my life so it helps with the empathy part, I’ve always enjoyed guiding people to see a different perspective of their current situation and releasing them from their emotional dead corners, and just like what I mentioned above in “Teaching ToK”, I love people.

This option seems the farthest stretch to me though since logotherapy courses aren’t easy to find nor easy to enroll without any philosophy / psychology background in bachelor’s degree. But we’ll see.

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Opening Pandora’s Box

By F.S. Church. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I realize there are things that still make me profoundly sad, and that shocked me considering how much Stoic calm has been part of me over the past year.

So a few things were brought up during the past few conversations I’ve had:

  • Almost no one ever asks me if I want to hang out or have lunch / dinner
  • Numerous reasons that led to me rarely disclosing how I really feel
  • The effect that the lady I led to Christ ending up committing suicide had on me
  • The near miss moments where I almost did commit suicide
  • At my time of need, how family was not family and how non-family was family
  • The anxiety of how my relationships will change in dynamic in the near future
  • The realiziation that time is really ticking now

Almost no one ever asks me if I want to hang out or have lunch / dinner

Memory is always fallible, but there’s only three people of all the people who also live in Hong Kong that I know who really proactively out of the blues asks me if I want to hang out or have lunch / dinner. That’s out of the 286 Facebook friends I have left from the original 550+ that have remained based on the simple criteria of we both would be willing to meet up if we’re nearby.

And that’s sad. Like really sad.

I mean, sure, I know that in life, the person who wants it more should take action, but when only 1% of your real friends that you still keep in touch with finds you to meet up rather than the other way around, it does hurt I must say. There is such a small statistical chance that it’s my friends’ problem when it’s such a drastic % of a relatively large sample size. Statistically it seems like I’m the problem.

Either I’m not approachable or I’m just never top of mind. I really don’t know the answer.

I don’t know, I’m just really hurt even though I shouldn’t be. Anyhow, I’m going to keep finding people to meet up because relationships are too important for me.

Numerous reasons that led to me rarely disclosing how I really feel

This really hurt as well.

Sure you can always say that having an introverted personality probably contributes to the tendency of rarely disclosing how I really feel (I almost never share publicly my successes, failures, happiness or sadness).

But I think it’s just the numerous times where I was feeling really down and I try to find someone to talk to, and then there’s just many cases where the person wasn’t the right person to talk to.

Majority of the cases are that the person I end up finding actually is feeling really down too, so I for some reason end up usually being the counseling role or I can’t even find that person at all as he / she is just not responding, with the latter being more common than not.

Another example is when someone offers to lend their shoulders to listen to you, but when you do share you realize it was just lip service and so you end up just never bothering to share since you won’t be taken seriously.

And another reason why I end up rarely disclosing is as an INFJ, emotions are very volatile. I could be feeling very down at one moment and then feel completely fine the next moment. So sometimes I don’t even bother to share because based on experience the feeling would expire soon anyways.

All in all this has led to the rather unhealthy habit of almost always processing emotions by myself.

The effect that the friend I led to Christ ending up committing suicide had on me and the near miss moments where I almost did commit suicide

For me, the reasons for disbelief are three-fold (one is purely emotional, one is half emotional half rational, and one is purely rational), but when I was recalling what happened to the friend I led to Christ who ended up committing suicide, I just knew at that moment that there must be at some level an effect of my friend’s suicide on my faith.

There just has to be.

And the reason I was recalling that episode of my life was because I was sharing with a friend how for those who are in depression and end up committing suicide, there’s not much you can do but just do your best to show care.

At the end of the day, objectively speaking, one person’s effect in preventing someone’s suicide is only so limited. This comment from my counselor was what really got me out of the self-induced guilt of feeling like there was blood on my hands when I absolutely could see that my friend was having smiling depression but I didn’t do much to care for fear of her thinking I was showing intentions beyond friendship.

Speaking from experience, I just remember how there were quite a few moments where just by pure luck, someone showed care and I stopped the thought of suicide when I was about to do or commit to anything serious.

I count my blessings everyday since being alive today and doing well is absolutely not taken for granted.

But those conversations really made me re-live those emotions, and it wasn’t pretty.

At my time of need, how family was not family and how non-family was family

Another topic that was brought up which I rarely like to think about are those moments when I was absolutely broke (had $7.18 in my bank account left) because I only planned to self-fund my tertiary education for the original 3 years, but ended up realizing I need to extend it for 1 more year for job hunting as I realized I wanted to do B2B marketing too late for my final year’s job hunting season.

I won’t delve too much into the details, but let’s just say that experience really changed my perception of what it means to be family, and who are really the most important people in my life.

But it just reminds me that forgiveness is never an one-off thing, it’s a continuous thing that you have to commit to yourself to do. And I just can’t.

The fear of how my relationships will change in dynamic in the near future

One of my biggest fears has always been this picture I had that I got from a prayer when I was still a Christian. It was me at 40-50 years old, sitting on a throne-like chair, with lots of success and wealth, but very alone.

To this day, this picture haunts the shit out of me because that’s absolutely not what I want in life.

As much as I admire the Steve Jobs or Elon Musks of the world, I absolutely don’t admire how they were as fathers. I’m not saying I want to be a father (I actually really don’t want to be), but when I look at them I always think to myself that sure they’ve achieve such extraordinary achievements in life, but to what avail?

If all you have left in life is just your career, to me that’s a failure, not a success. If you ever lose a career you can always theoretically have the chance to rebound. But relationships? That’s a different ball game.

So if relationships are the end game for me, I really fear how my relationships will change in the near future, which is related to the last point.

The realiziation that time is really ticking now

For a certain reason that I still can’t disclose, time is really ticking. And that uncertainty of how the relationships I treasure will get affected by this event that’s going to happen really deep down bothers me.

So ya, I’ve had a lot of heavy emotions to process in the past few days (and maybe upcoming few days too), but all in all I feel much better after really giving my feelings some structure and capturing it.