Tuesday, August 30, 2011


A friend of mine recently sent me something that gave me a pause:

Projection is the biggest danger.. seeing what you want instead of what is actually there is what causes us to invest when we shouldn't. Better to take it slowly. I think a lot of these problems occur because we don't value ourselves enough to make the other person take equal risk, then we beat ourselves up for trying.
He was, of course, talking about love and relationship, but I think the general idea also applies to everything else: career, friendship, goal, etc.

As an idealist, I'm guilty of projecting - a lot. Instead of focusing on the moment and taking in what life has to offer, right now, I project. I immediately launch myself far in the future and interpret things according to what I want to see, instead of what is actually there. Facts become signs and signs becomes destiny and destiny becomes action items. And the results are not always good, because when we project, the vision is blurred and skewed, thus the signs are often wrong, and the outcome thusly turns out not as we expect.

There's another thing: expectation, which goes hand in hand with projection. When we see something that may or may not be there because of our projection, we begin to expect something in return, something to happen.  A + B must = C....  The problem is, even if A and B are correct, C may never happen. Worse, A and B might be all wrong because of our projections. The result is a whole bag of disappointment and frustration.

Now, does that mean we should never invest? Of course not. There are things that is worthwhile to pursue. And we know in our heart what is real and important. When we make a connection with someone, we can most likely instinctively tell if it's real or not, instead of just empty infatuation or "daydreaming." Same with our career goals: it's good to fantasize, but deep down we know what is an attainable dream and what is just empty fantasies. The trick is to figure out which is which, and to know the facts and understands what is real and what is not, and then invest thusly.

Take it slow.

Part of my own problem is also that I am impatient. While some people may wait their entire lifetime to find "the right one" or excel in a profession, I tend to want it to happen quickly. 20 years to write a great novel? That's taking too long. And I'm not alone. Many people "settle" for the first person they "fall in love" with even if their instinct tells them something isn't quite right. Many people don't want to invest their time and energy in a long-term goal. In this fast-food nation, everything has to be instant and gratifying or else ... oh shiny....

But there's a saying: "Good things come to those who wait." When we heard of overnight successes, chances are there's nothing "overnight" about them. When we heard about a match made in heaven, chances are it wasn't borne of "love at first sight" (we're all so spoiled and screwed by fairytales). For example, most successful couples I know started off as friends, and their love grew from that simple friendship. Many people I know who "fell in love at first sight" ended up in divorce court. So I think there's merit in "good things come to those who wait."

Alas!  Given that I'm an idealist, a perfectionist, and impatient, I'm doomed.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Heart Is Stoopeed

There's a cliched, old saying: "Follow your heart" which should not taken seriously. Why? Because the heart is stupid.

I say this because I'm a man who has followed his heart all his life, and my heart is stupid. My heart has always led me to places I shouldn't be, or people I shouldn't be with, or situations I shouldn't have to encounter. While my mind is sound (and my intuition is sharp), my heart always comes and screws things up. Why? Because I project.

Projection: how a person sees what he wants to see and feel instead of the facts and what is real.

My heart is the biggest and bestest magician in the world, and it fools me every single time. It twists the facts my mind has collected and the signals my intuition has received, and turns them into something irrational and complex and, often, wrong. Because the idealist in me sees what he wants to see, and his heart starts to make things up in his head. Messes it up. A becomes Z. Red becomes blue. And what's not there becomes a mirage, and what is there becomes a wisp of nothing. The heart fools, and by following my heart, fool becomes me.

And you know what is the greatest accomplice to the crazy heart? Expectations. With great expectations come great disappointments and disillusions. When the mind starts to analyze and criticize, the heart would insist on saying it is right, and the expectations are real and logical and reasonable and right because the heart is always right.

No, it's not.

Some days I wish I weren't so controlled and led by my heart, but instead of mind. I fail to listen to my intuition before I take the leap of faith based on what my heart tells me.

And that, my friend, is a dangerous habit.

You'd have thought that by now, I should have known better and graduated from this "follow my heart" nonsense. Instead, I find myself falling into that trap consistently. The heart is not only a great magician, it's also a dictator. Once it takes control, there's nothing to stop it except for, maybe, heavy sedation and a complete lobotomy.

Be still my heart. Better yet, go somewhere and disappear.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The End of the World

I've been having the kind of week where I feel like it's the end of the world. While there's absolutely nothing wrong -- no major health problems, no pending bankruptcy, no visits from mother-in-law, no bounced checks or foreclosures -- I keep having this nagging feeling that something isn't right, or something bad is going to happen.

This anxiety is driving me anxious!

And my "day of depression" seems to be shifting from week to week, too. It used to be very predictable -- either Wednesday or Thursday. I'd stay in bed and feeling the weight of that day pulling me down, and it'd take me hours to get up and do something. At least it was predictable. Now? It's as if my brain can't decide. Sometimes it's Monday. Sometimes it's Saturday. Sometimes it's Friday. It's driving me mad. I'd have the whole weekend planned and then BOOM! I'd feel depressed on a beautiful Saturday. What the eff?

But I wouldn't say I have full-on depression. A weekly funk is also not correct. I think I have a sustained, low-grade mood depression, which is not unusual for people my age, especially during this part of the year, or when we are going through some existential musing about our lives.  I went through a period like that about 5 or 6 years ago, and it seems like I'm up for another.

It's strange. While most people would go to the nearest pharmacy the minute they feel a cold coming, but they won't do anything when they feel depressed or in the funk. They just chalk it up as "having a bad day."  The problem is, if it's not just an occasional day or two, there's something wrong.

According to some statistics, most people in the US suffer from one form or another of depression or anxiety or mood swings. Prozac is one of the most prescribed drugs in the US.

I don't want to take drugs. I don't even think I have depression. But something isn't quite right. I didn't used to feel that way when I was younger, even when I was going through some really tough times. I always thought of myself as an optimistic, happy-go-lucky guy, and I still am, by and large. But something isn't quite right. This weekly funk is alarming, especially when I'm taking care of myself otherwise -- eating right, exercising, sleeping well.

I'm taking some precautions now. Supplements, mostly. The problem is, I'll have to keep taking them for at least a few weeks to start seeing results, but I'm really bad at taking pills or supplements. I forget. I hate it. But much like my gym routines, I know that I'm no longer 25 years old, and I have to start being religious about my "regimens." It's for my health, and it's not something I should take for granted.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thanks for the Delete Button

As Erica said to Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, whatever we write on the Internet is written in INK -- it gets archived, cataloged, indexed, or reported on other sites, etc.

It still doesn't mean we can't just "delete" it. It only means it may be difficult to completely eradicate what you wrote at 3 a.m. in the morning, drunk, bitching about your girlfriend who just dumped you.

That's the darnest thing about the Internet or social networks, especially places like Twitter or Facebook: you just don't know who is reading. Sometimes you don't really think, and you don't remember that your tweets are archived and broadcast to everyone (not to mention "retweeted"), so you'd better be careful when you talk trash about somebody or some group of people. Words (or in this case, texts) travel really fast on the Internet. And friends of friends of friends could see what you posted on your Facebook status updates, and they may turn out to be in the group of people you just badmouthed. Now, granted, you may not want to be their friend anyway, but still, you have no idea who they will talk to, or who they know. Perhaps they are your boss's best friend?

The idea is, if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it, especially on the Internet. And that goes with doing it anonymously -- so many people nowadays hide behind a fake screen name and they spew whatever garbage they can think of. First amendment right without the responsibility, that's what the Internet has become. And if you're silly enough to post something derogatory under your own name, well, then don't be surprised if it comes back to bite you in the ass. People have been known to get fired over what they posted online.

To me, that seems harsh. But the line between what is private/personal and what is public is really blurry, and as far as the Internet is concerned, whatever is Googleable is considered public anyway, so we do need to be careful of what we say online. Bitching about your boss on your blog may not be a good idea after all.

Then again, there's that "delete" button.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

This weekly thing is kicking my ass

I'm running out of things to say!

OK, something a bit more serious this time. Maybe even somber....

Over the years I've noticed something... people tend to warm up to me rather quickly and I've made some very good friends, but eventually, they all either moved again or stopped corresponding. I know that's part of life, where people come and go. Still, I kind of wonder, if there's something wrong with me. I notice that sometimes people irritate me because all they want to do is talk about themselves. And when I get irritated, I kind of shy away from them, too. Now that I think of it, I wonder if I have the same personality flaw. I know I can be rather self-absorbed.  I know when I'm excited about something (especially something I'm working on, an achievement, etc.) I may not stop talking about it. I wonder if people are genuinely tired of me, and that I should remember to be low key and stop talking about myself so much (thus the irony: I'm blogging about this! LOL).

Yes, we should be exactly who we are, and we shouldn't change for anyone. But, at the same time, if we have flaws and we can improve ourselves, why not? It's not "changing ourselves" per se, but to make ourselves better people. I'm not an asshole, I don't think. But I'm also not the most loving, selfless, understanding and gregarious person either, and I wonder why people seem to drop out of my life unannounced. I have friends who I see on Facebook all the time and who literally live blocks away from me, but they never call or invite me over or accept my invitation for dinner or say hi on my Facebook wall. Did I offend them? Did I smell or something? Was I so hideous that they don't want to hang out with me?

I know, I know. I shouldn't try to please everyone and if they don't want to be my friend, I should just accept that and move on. But I can't help but feel the problem is mine, and that I've caused such a rift, or how people shy away from me, the same reasons why I shy away from someone.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Random $#!7

I just saw a woman with a possibly 44FF chest jogging past. Yup, it's right... JOGGING!  Incredible, isn't it? Who jogs when it's so hot (note: it was 90+ last week)?


Random tweet:  When you're 20 and fit, leotards are marginally acceptable. When you're 45 and 30 pounds overweight, you owe me my eyes. [see above]


I felt like such a Zombie when I peeled a piece of loose skin off my lip this morning. I called it super exfoliation.


Wouldn't it be outrageously "dated" if I wrote a novel where everyone lives in town MySpace, while they Twitter around the Blogger near FourSquare?


If I could have a dime every time someone says "Neat, I want to write a book, too" when I tell them I'm a writer, I'd be able to buy an iPod Nano. Maybe.


I was talking to someone, who is also a Libra this week (no, not you, Sara - paranoid much? :-P )  and I just realized something... oh my, we Libras can be quite full of ourselves. As I listened to this person talk, I couldn't help but think, "When is this conversation going to end? Or at least change to be about someone else? When did it become a self-interview?"

I got to think... do I come across as so self-absorbed, so full of myself?  I know I do have a tendency of being self-absorbed, but I don't think -- or at least I hope -- I'm not full of shit. Or at least not holier than thou. In a way, I admire people who are so genuine and more concerned about other people than themselves. They are so refreshing. People who are full of themselves could be very interesting, sure. I've known plenty of fascinating people who only talk about themselves. But after a while, I'd tune them out and lose interest. I mean, do I have to listen to you talk about how you feel more superior than other people? Or how your view carries such weight? Or do I care if you have such and such accomplishments?

I certainly do that -- it's part of being an artist/writer/creative type. We must keep selling ourselves. Personally, I HATE self-promotion and I'd pay handsomely for someone else (such as a publicist) to do that for me if I ever become rich and famous. I HATE talking about myself (at least in person -- on the Internet, I tend to do that more often since, well, the conversation seems to often be one-sided anyway). But when I do talk about myself, I do have a tendency to try to impress. Hey, I did this, and hey, I did that.  Ugh.   Sometimes I catch myself doing that, and I'd like to crawl under a rock, and can see the virtual eye-rolling of my audience.

So where is that line? How do you talk about yourself and your life without sounding like a pompous ass? Or how do you talk about something other than yourself without sounding like you're evasive?

Communication is so hard. I just want to be myself, but is "myself" good enough? Do people think I'm full of shit?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Random Thoughts

Here are random thoughts of the week...

1. TV shows such as Seinfeld or Friends or Sex and the City are setting up such unrealistic expectation about friendship. I'm sure, it's not enough that these people have one or two best friends that they get to hang out with regularly, if not DAILY and multiple times in a day. They have 3 or 4 or 6!  And they live in NEW YORK where people are busy just taking subways and minding their own business.  Not to mention they completely ruin my self-esteem. Um, let me count how many such friends I have... OUCH

2. That said, there are people you just met who make you feel like you've known them all your life, and time and again they'd finish your thoughts as if you have some psychic connection with each other. I've met quite of few, and interesting most of them I first met online!

3. Why is it that after 2 years, people want to vote back into Congress the political party that screwed us for 8 years? Are people's memories that short? Or are they just stupid?  [Not to mention voting for some of the nuttiest people in the world who wants to get rid of everything from Department of Education and Social Security and believed if you have no health insurance, you should just let God take care of it... WOW!]

4. I wonder if when you were born has something to do with how you feel about the seasons. I was born in autumn, and I love fall, and I also enjoy winter (honest) and spring. I think my least favorite season is summer (but not hate... it has its good points). Meanwhile, a friend of mine was born in the middle of winter, and he hates winter, but loves spring and summer; autumn reminds him of the inevitable winter so he's overwhelmed with dread. I have another friend who was born in summer and she loves summer and fall and winter, but kind of hates spring.  I find this unscientific observation (with a sample size of 3) very interesting...

5. I just realized someone swiped the left side of my car... I'm not talking about some ding or dent or even a small scratch; I'm talking about a 7" by 3" worth of scratches. #$Y%#%  Why do people do that, and then not leave a note or number or anything. And how on Earth would someone do that in a parking lot? Are they drunk? Can they see? Why are there so many ASSHOLES in this world?  I hope they meet their karma really soon... like soon... like NOW.