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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