The Ocean

I’ve been meaning to share this for a long time now, ever since I stood on the shore in Florida and watched the ocean.

That was in December.

And now, it’s April.

But it doesn’t matter. Because even now, I can close my eyes, and I can still hear the waves rolling, and I can still smell the salty sea air. It’s dark, and I’m a part of it. A part of the ocean. It rises and falls in my heart.

The ocean is big. Really big. I know that sounds painfully obvious, but it didn’t strike me until I stood on the shore and watched it for a while. It’s just so vast and endless… especially at night. You know something? When the ocean is all you can see for miles and miles, and it’s dark and ominous instead of a happy tropical blue, it’s a pretty scary place. All you can hear is the splash of the rolling waves, and it’s hard to tell what’s water and what’s sky… kind of makes you realize how insignificant your GPA really is.

One of the most relevant moments I had when I went to Florida was just watching the ocean. Seriously. Yeah, it was calming, but that’s not all. I felt small and unimportant when I stood on the shore… but I also felt free. Any worries that might have clouded my mind were gone. The smell, the sound, the sight… I felt more human, more alive than I had ever felt before. And yet… still different. Still me.

I don’t know… maybe this doesn’t even make sense. Maybe I’m just rambling on about something crazy, and maybe you don’t think the same way as I do.

But it doesn’t matter. Because either way, I know what I felt when I stood on that shore, and I know what I heard, and I know what I saw and what the air smelled like. And I know that I’ll never forget it.

That’s what matters.

Edit: The ocean photo is from Key West. Southernmost point of the United States.

Each Word Carefully Chosen

I read this poem once, and I wish I could remember what it was called, or at least who wrote it. I can’t even remember how it went exactly. But the reason I bring it up is that one thing stood out, and that one thing is something I’ll never forget, something that I’ll keep in mind for the rest of my life. Whether I’m giving a speech, talking to my friend, or writing an email. It doesn’t matter. That poem had a beautiful way of saying it, and it was something to the extent of this:

 Every word that comes out of your mouth is like an arrow shot through the air. You don’t know where it will land, and it could easily pierce someone’s heart.

Sometimes we say things too quickly, without bothering to think about how someone will feel. You could carelessly toss a word away, thinking nothing of it, but to someone else it might mean a great deal. Maybe you say something, thinking it’s a joke, but your friend doesn’t feel that way at all.

I’m not saying that you have to think carefully about every single word that comes out of your mouth. But just be aware that what you say might affect someone, even if you don’t think much of it.

I was taught in elementary school – and I’m sure you’ve heard it at some point in your life – the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

But here’s the thing: what might not affect you might affect someone else. Maybe you wouldn’t mind if someone made a joke about the way you look or speak or act, but maybe someone else would mind. But… how the heck are you supposed to know what the other person is thinking? You can’t read minds. How do you know if what you say will make someone feel bad or not?

Obviously no one is perfect. No one expects you to be. But as you talk to people, as you talk to your friends… you notice what people’s personalities are like. Especially among people you know really well or are close to – you know if someone is more sensitive than you are, you know if someone will be able to handle the joke or not. And if you’re not sure… then maybe it’s best not to say it.

Choose your words carefully… try to anticipate where the arrow will land.

But you know something? It’s true the other way around, too. Maybe you say “hello” to someone, just to be polite, but to that person, it means a lot more than just “hello.” I know for a fact that my friends have done seemingly small favors for me, but those favors have meant a lot to me.

A birthday gift, a letter, a small handwritten note… they all mean a lot. A kind word from someone can mean a lot too.

I think you have a choice with your words: either you can shoot arrows, or you can bestow unexpected gifts. It’s up to you.

Left vs. Right

So, I was thinking about life today. And I started thinking to myself… why does it matter? Why does anything matter, really? We’re all going to die anyway; we might as well kill ourselves now-

Without further ado, I’d like to wish you a happy April Fool’s Day. 😛

I would never think anything like that, and I certainly hope you wouldn’t either… life is a beautiful and precious gift, and we should treasure it.

Anyways, now that that’s taken care of, on to what I’d really like to talk about… this whole left brain vs. right brain business. I’m sure you’ve heard that if you’re a left-brainer, you’re a mathematician, logician… engineer… that sort of thing. And that if you’re a right-brainer, you’re creative, you’re a dreamer, a romanticist, etc. And boy, don’t pictures like these make you want to be a right-brainer?

A week ago, if you had asked me whether I was a right-brainer or a left-brainer, I would have said right for sure. I hate math, love writing, love dreaming, love creativity…

I always thought science was for boring realists. And then I got around to reading some Albert Einstein quotes… and I realized something.

Well, first of all, let me make sure I say that Albert Einstein was much more of a dreamer  than I thought. I must say, I am quite impressed with his emphasis on imagination. Just read this:

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” ~Albert Einstein

“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” ~Albert Einstein

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ~Albert Einstein

And well, I realized that you can’t just be one or the other. Because if you don’t dream, if you’re just a left-brainer, then you can’t invent new things because you can’t see past what already exists. And if you’re purely a right-brainer, purely about dreams and whatnot, you won’t get anywhere because you’re not actually doing anything. You have to use the science to make those dreams happen.

So, I guess the message is this: You were given both parts of your brain for a reason. You have to use both. Use the right side of your brain to dream and come up with new ideas; then use the left side to make those dreams a reality.