Surviving vs. Thriving

I’m ashamed to look and see how long it has been since I last wrote a post on here. I do have quite a few posts to write about so I will probably spread them out over the week. For my first post…

Recently, my dad’s friend from Chicago (let’s call him Reader) came to visit with his daughter who is two years younger than me. He is a very intellectual guy who has loved to learn since he was a child back in India. He’d pick up any and every book just to expand his knowledge – and boy, did he really expand my mind when he came and stayed for a few days.

One night we were all chilling by the kitchen counter and he gave me a speech about how I should choose to go into my future and nothing has ever struck me as much as what he said that night.

As many people say or have heard from others, you should follow your interests and do what you enjoy. That was the message Reader gave me essentially but worded this way:

You need to find something you’re obsessed with. Something that interests you so much, and something you are so passionate about, that you will wake up in the mornings and chances are that THAT is what you will think about. It should be that way. Anyone can do any job in the future, humans are capable of adapting to their environments.

But if you choose something you obsess over, you will excel no matter where you go. You will be promoted sooner than later, you will get a higher salary raise if that’s what you care about, and people from other fields will come to consult you because you are one of the best in your field. But most importantly, you will have fun.

You can be really talented in one field, but if you don’t obsess over it or have fun with it, then in the end you will be surviving, like everyone else, when really you should be thriving and making a difference in the world – regardless of the field you are passionate about.

“Don’t just survive. That’s what we immigrant parents all over the world have done and are doing right now for you kids. All these immigrant parents have left the comfort of their home countries and are merely surviving right now. Don’t be like us, that’s not why we brought you here. Be better than us, make a difference.”

His speech hit me hard. I’ve always heard people say follow your interests, but it what how Reader put it that made me rethink my entire future. I had plans to go through the English field and become an editor of some sorts, because I enjoy going through the editing process and also that is one of my skills. But.. I don’t obsess over it. I don’t wake up in the mornings wondering what literature I’m going to read next (as much as I’m trying to read more nowadays) nor do I pick up and read any of the books on writing/grammar that I have received as gifts from family.

The one thing I obsess over is paleontology. I love it with all my heart and have since I was a little kid. Paleontology is the subject where I willingly go and WANT to buy books on and read on the train. Every time I go to a bookstore, I always search for a paleontology section. Currently I am reading a book on the Tyrannosaur family that I found at a thrift book store and I am learning so much.

Reader’s speech didn’t just affect me though, it seems like my mom was also enlightened by it. To my surprise, my mom, who had once strongly suggested neurology as a career path, is now encouraging me to follow paleontology. First, I should finish my English degree and get a masters, but afterward – go get that paleontology degree and maybe become a professor.

To be honest, I have yet to look at schools that have good paleontology courses and am still feeling slightly lost despite knowing what I want to do. But I have a good feeling about it.

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Quiet

For one of my class assignments recently, I had to choose a song of my choice and write a 3-4 paged paper on the meaning of it. I had to break down the song down to its core meaning and just really explore it. Song-wise, I decided to choose the song “Here” by Alessia Cara. It’s personally one of my favorite songs because it’s catchy and I also relate to the introverted meaning of the song. The singer essentially is talking about how she’s sorry if she comes off in a negative way, but really she’d rather be doing something else. It’s a great song and you all should check it out (Although, I personally prefer the cover done by SoMo and would recommend that version. It’s more mellow and suits the meaning of the lyrics).

Anyway, I presented my song and afterward talked a little bit about how I too am an introvert so I was able to really connect with the artist. My professor remarked how he is also an introvert and that he knew a great book about introversion that I should check out.

It’s called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. I checked out the summary of the book just now, and I’m really looking forward to reading it after my paleontology book. It partly seems to be about introverts in general and what they’re really like, and another part of it talks about how we owe many great things in society today to introverts – such as van Gogh and Dale Carnegie (who ironically set off the idea that the ideal successful person would be an extroverted type of person). And in the end, apparently she discusses how to empower an introvert and when it would make sense for one to be a “pretend-extrovert.”

I think this has been a recent change, or maybe I merely grew up, but I have become a text-book introvert (and to get it out there: no, I’m not shy or anti-social, I actually enjoy talking and meeting new people). The epitome of introverts. And with that, I’m often told that I should try to be more “outgoing” so as to make it in the world (like making connections and moving up successfully). My mom has tried advising me on being more active/bold, and even my cousin, who is successful now and works at the U.N., told me that she used to be an introvert but changed herself slowly in her college years.

I’ve always felt that I had to be more outgoing, or that as a text-book introvert, I probably will lag behind my more extroverted friends. And honestly, yeah I have extroverted friends who are making so much more progress in their career life than I am (I feel like, at least) – so that doesn’t help.

But seeing this book and reading the summary, I’m really looking forward to reading it. I think I need something like that in my life. To tell me “Heck yeah! I’m an introvert, and I’m proud of it, and I can definitely make it!” I get that in a fast-paced, somewhat competitive society, you need to be bold and initiative and such. But I think reading this book will help me realize that I don’t need to completely change myself. I just need to, as the author would talk about, know when I should be a bit more extroverted and how to utilize my introverted tendencies in various situations.

I have already embraced my introverted self since the beginning and love being an introvert, but I’d be lying if I said that I felt completely 100% confident that I’ll do well being an introvert throughout my career.

I’ll let you guys know how I find the book when I finish it! Not that I’ve started yet haha.

The Ho Phase

I’ve tried to distract myself, doing things to make me happy again. And they work, but it’s not a genuine type of happiness. Well, I feel happy at the time, but sooner or later it just dissipates into that empty feeling. If there’s nothing to distract me constantly, my default feeling is emptiness.

I won’t lie, I’ve turned into a bit of a ho. I jumped back on the tinder game and have been messaging numerous guys at once and meeting up with a few of them. I never used to be like this. Before, I used to always just stick to one guy even if we didn’t have a label and it was casual. But there was a period a few months ago where I would talk to several guys at once, ignore them once I was done talking to them, and/or meet up with them for a fling.

I’m not proud of it. But it did help. As you know, I did meet Gamer and I still am meeting him casually as a friends with benefits kind of thing. But it’s not enough. Since Magician, I’ve been going around gathering this shallow love from guys. Like I have this need to know that I am likable and that guys do like me.

Yes, it’s pathetic but it helped me cope for a while. It’s been a while though and now I don’t feel satisfied by just that. I can see that shallow love isn’t going to fix me, and that I need an actual person to care about me genuinely as a lover. At the same time, however, I don’t think I’m ready for a relationship. I still have severe trust issues, and I can already see that sparking with Gamer.

We have something casual and yet I think I’m starting to grow feelings for him, which isn’t good. I’m still in recovery mode and I recall he doesn’t want anything serious. Besides, I think he’s found another girl he’s talking to, so I’m trying hard to not let that bother me.

A middle school friend and I started talking late last night, and it turns out he’s going through the same thing as me. And he said something that stuck with me. He mentioned that he’s picking up the broken pieces of himself, but as he’s doing so, he sees that there are some pieces missing that he’ll never get back.

Perhaps that is what is causing my empty feelings. The fact that something is missing, that I’m missing a broken piece I’m trying to find to no avail.

I’ve stopped my tinder grind and instead am trying to focus mainly on my career side of life. I’ve decided to focus on my internship this semester and take only three classes. I’ll probably repeat my junior year, but I’m okay with that. It’s worth building up my career and keeping up my grades simultaneously.

Besides, mom did always say to focus on myself. To be surrounded by the best people, and sooner or later the right person will come along under good circumstances.