The New Blog

As many of you know, I have created a new blog to document my experiences in Japan (“Life Abroad in Rural Japan“). Even as I type this entry up, I’m in the middle of another entry for said blog, so suffice it to say, I will stop updating my Facebook page with regards to posts on this blog, even though I’ll continue to update it periodically. I’ll eventually return to this blog ‘permanently’, but that won’t be until my time in Japan has expired.


Synapses Firing In My Brain

“Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.”
– Arthur Miller

A lot has been weighing on my mind lately, but something has been made clear to me during this time of stress and problem solving. I don’t believe anyone can live without any regrets. By definition, the word regret means: ‘to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.)’ or ‘to think of with a sense of loss.’

I believe we’ve all experienced these things, whether they’re remorse for our choice of words, our lack of words, our lack of action, or even in our choice of action. In the end, we may justify what we did by telling ourselves that we chose the ‘best’ logical option, but what qualifies as the “best”? Is it an option that doesn’t compromise at all, compromises a lot, or compromises a little? What if you were told options 1 through 10 existed (with number 10 being the ‘best option’), but you could only choose between 1 through 4; Would that automatically make “4 the ‘best’ option”?

I think life is about choosing to live with the most minimal regrets possible. I remember (at the time) I felt so much regret for not talking to a recruiter soon enough regarding my re-enlistment into the Marine Corps; however, had I re-enlisted I would have never had the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing and influential people in my life, as I pursued my Bachelor’s degree. Not only that, but it was my pursuit of higher education that lead me to working in Japan, which in-and-of-itself has given me a wealth of new-found experiences that I would have missed out on – had I re-enlisted. In the end, I’ve come to realize that I’m happy with my choices, and I’m happy with the regrets that have lead me to where I am, today. Regardless, I believe at the end of it all, I know I’ll be right where I need to be.

End of rant.

You might want to rethink that comment you are about to post about Ferguson, MO

Originally posted on beccyjoy:

I, like you, am heartbroken about what happened to Michael Brown, and what’s happened to so many others. I have read the posts, watched the videos, and prayed for justice and peace. It is so sickening that it’s hard to sleep. I have so much to learn about how I should even think about these tragedies and I am choosing to listen rather than express my opinions about most of this issue.

The part I do feel I understand well enough to speak to is the invalidating commentary by my fellow white people.

People of privilege, aka white people, aka my friends and family,

I know you might think your comments are harmless, or maybe you think it is fun to debate or “play the devil’s advocate,” but please keep in mind that in a land not so far away, people…teenagers even, are actually dying over this.

You might mean well…

View original 448 more words

Rest In Piece

Life has propelled me into a new chapter of my life at such a break-neck speed that I haven’t had the chance to really slow down to let the woes of the world catch up to me. I can recall when I lost my aunt, my grandma, and then my grandpa – and how much I wished the world would stop spinning just for a brief second, but life cycles on. Often times, it feels as though your friends leave you in the dust to let you cope with things, but I’ve come to realize that sometimes that needs to happen in order for you to truly find healing.

We are such evanescent beings when it comes to the duration of the universe.
In the span of it all we are more evanescent than the flowers that bloom in the spring,
More evanescent than the ripple effect of a drop of water onto the surface of a pond;
More evanescent than the cool and refreshing morning dew;
And more evanescent than the mildly visible smoke that appears as the dew vaporizes.
I feel as though many of us forget about this.
We forget that our lives our finite
We forget that we’re not promised tomorrow,
Or today, or even yesterday;
Yet we’re still here.
Willing and able to experience life and all of its miraculous wonders.

People I’ve known, as well as people I’ve known indirectly
Have passed within the last few months.
Uncle Fred, Lynda Vanderbilt, Michelle’s dad,
Brittany’s mom, Alejandro’s grandmother and friend Philippe Nguyen
(And to the many more that I have failed to mention)
May your souls rest in piece
As well as remind us to cherish what we have
Prioritize our lives accordingly,
And enjoy every second Life has to offer us.

Stiff Upper Lip

It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.”

- Ernie Harwell

I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t shed a few tears over the course of the past few weeks as I thought about everyone I’m going to miss. For some reason, whenever I see other people start tearing up or breaking down, I have an almost innate trigger inside of me (thanks to societal norms that imply men shouldn’t cry) that prevents or hinders me from crying. Granted, I always try not to think about it for too long, otherwise I trigger the waterworks. Thankfully, I’m fully aware of the great opportunities and adventures that await me when I get to Japan and the new bonds I’ll be forming. It definitely won’t be easy moving away (again) but I know myself well enough that I’ll transition to my new way of life almost seamlessly.

There’s a saying I heard when I was a kid and it went along the lines of, “show me a man’s friends, and I will show you the man.” I pride myself in the variety of different people, perspectives and intellect of the people around me. Returning home after the Marine Corps, I didn’t think I’d create strong bonds with any of my fellow college students, but I am proudly mistaken.

  • Megan, Taran, Savannah, Jomi, Brittany, Andrew, and Michelle – you guys have been such a pivotal part of my life over the last 3-4 years that I’m awe-stricken at how tight our bonds have formed. I Love you, guys.
  • To Juan and my Mom, although we haven’t had the chance to really spend as much time together due to distance and my college courses, I’m just glad we had a few weeks in July to make up for that. I know you’ll do well in whatever you choose to do, Juan, but just make sure that you stick to your decision. Be decisive and don’t be afraid to communicate. I love you both with all of my heart!
  • To Pat, Robin, Kara, Kessa, Colton, Caroline, and grandma (Clara) – words can’t describe how much I’m going to miss you guys, but I already know that you will do everything in your power to come visit me, should I actually be in Japan for the long-haul. I’ll miss your company, your sound advice and knowledge on various topics, and our conversations about almost anything and everything. I love you guys, dearly.

This chapter of my life has allowed me to grow so much as a human being and as a Christian. I’ve created new lifelong bonds, nurtured long-term relationships, lost my grandparents, said goodbye to malignant and unhealthy relationships with people, increased my capacity for knowledge (to include Japanese), developed my hitch for photography, as well as a countless array of other things. It would be impossible to mention everyone that I want to thank, but know that if you’re still a part of my life that I am incredibly grateful!

Lastly, I feel it wouldn’t be “me” if I didn’t make this post ridiculously long, so for those of you that are reading this – I figure that I’d share some important life lessons I’ve tried my best to implement into my life that could very-well help you live a much more full and happy life.

  1. Don’t be selfish with your Love. Love with your entire heart, even especially when it’s difficult. You’ll eventually come to realize that most of the people that are difficult to Love, need it the most.
  2. With #1 in mind, don’t let people hold you back from who you are, what you want, or who you want to become. If you can’t come to love and take care of yourself, it will be close-to impossible to Love others.
  3. Spend some time alone and get to know yourself. Pray, meditate, ponder… whatever you need to do – do it.
  4. Smile and smile often. I like to think that even when you’re on the phone with someone, they can tell when/if you’re smiling.
  5. Have respect for yourself and give others the same respect. Respect is earned and is not an entitlement.
  6. Don’t always choose to do what’s easy. Adversity is a blessing in disguise.
  7. Be Yourself. Some people might be repelled, but you’ll also attract the right type of people too.
  8. Lastly, (I have so many more but am running out of time) surround yourself with people that don’t look like you, think like you, or share the same beliefs as you. Once you do this, you’ll come to find that beneath our beliefs and fears – we’re all the same.