“don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it” -YK

This month, I’m going to write about something completely random:

Enjoyment.

Or, more specifically, enjoyment of something, assuming that it’s well-done and prepared properly.

As a person who’s always willing to go out and try something new, I want to say this: I don’t think it’s fair to say that you don’t enjoy something until you’ve given it a good, honest try. Things around you usually have a lot more depth than they may seem. Also, if those things are still around, then they must be around for a reason. It is after the try–and only after the try–that you can say that it’s not your “cup of tea.” I really don’t think you can pass judgement before that. This is especially true if you’re experiencing something completely new for the first time. Because if you have no basis for comparison, then how will you know for sure?

I’m also in the boat where if something isn’t your “cup of tea,” then you need reasons why. I don’t like when people say they don’t like something and say “it’s just not my cup of tea” and can’t provide any other reasons. It feels like a cop-out answer and that you’re not even going to try to enjoy the activity past its surface.

How do you define a “try?” Well, it depends on what it is. For the most part, you have to try hard enough to be able to appreciate some facet of it before you can point out exactly what it is that you don’t enjoy. That’s just how long it takes. But if you don’t like something and it seems to have no depth, then it takes at least a few tries. The classic example here is pho.

I’ll give a few personal examples.

Some things I didn’t think I’d like but enjoy now:

  • Ballroom dancing. I didn’t think I would enjoy it, even after the first few times I went. But after becoming more interested and investing some time into learning it a little more, I realized that I quite enjoy it, and it’s something that I’d be willing to spend money to learn.
  • Meeting new people. I used to despise leaving the house and talking to people face-to-face at parties. I used to keep my doors shut until it was time to go, and it was because I wasn’t willing to put in the effort to make it work. Now, while I still struggle a little bit with this, I have a much easier time talking to new people because I simply find it enjoyable.

Some things I’ve tried and disliked:

  • League of Legends is not my cup of tea. I like fast-paced games, and this game is rather fast-paced, but I don’t like the way they sped up the game by making parts of it easier.
  • Bowling. This activity pretty much defeats the purpose of a social gathering. You can’t keep up a conversation for more than two minutes unless you’re not playing.
  • Most movies. I prefer movies that are heavy in plot and low in fighting, unless it’s an Asian martial arts movie. If a movie has a weak plot or a lot of plot holes, then I’m not going to enjoy it.
  • Jeans. I don’t know how jeans became the most common style of pants. They’re so uncomfortable. They hug my legs and restrict my movement.

Some things I’ve afraid to try for fear of ending up liking it:

I’m not going to lie to you and say that everything I’ve given an honest try at all the things I dislike. There’s plenty of things I haven’t tried and don’t want to: not with the mentality of “I’ll probably dislike it anyway,” but “I don’t want to end up enjoying this.” For whatever reason.

  • Pop music. Because I’m a pretentious fan of classical music and jazz.
  • Spectator sports. Because I’m a pretentious fan of video games.
  • TV shows that people recommend me. Because I’m pretentious.

Anyway, if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. And think about some things in your own life that you enjoy (or not) and let me know why. I’m genuinely curious about why people like certain things.

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light is coming

I missed my post in April.

It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, but there were just too many things I could have written about. I’ll try to crank them them all out soon. Here’s what’s been most recently on my mind:

I’m starting to think that the blog migration from my previous site to this current one was a mistake. These next few posts are probably going to be about complaints I have about the professional scene, the industry, and growing up in general. Which makes me a little worried that a hiring manager will see this and immediately be turned off. I suppose I should remove that link from my website.

But really, why is there so much harm in complaining about things I don’t like about this industry that I’ve chosen? It’s not like everything is fine and dandy in every industry on the planet. Even the people who absolutely love their jobs have complaints from time to time. There’s no perfect place to be because there are no perfect people in the world.

If didn’t already know, I’m between jobs. I’m having a tough time finding a new job, now, because I have too little experience to be considered for anything at a junior level (which, for some reason, requires something like five years of experience) and too much experience to be considered for an entry-level position or internship. It’s so hard not to become discouraged.

Furthermore, the interview process is honestly pretty silly to me. I’d much rather do a test run where I can prove myself in the position than be asked a few questions up-front about things I won’t be using for the job. I can prove my worth. Just let me show you–take a chance and pull the trigger. People have told me that I should still respect the interview process but I still don’t think I agree.

In the meantime, I’ll still be applying for jobs, pretending I don’t hate the process. Practicing, studying. Working on my hobbies, listening to music. Sitting, waiting. Wishing.

See you later this month.

Welcome to the End

It feels like it’s been a long time since I posted anything, but I’ve had a lot on my mind lately.

Mostly death, though.

Death has been the subject matter of most of my creative outlets in the past few weeks (this blog included), and with all that’s happened around me recently, it’s been rather difficult to suppress the thoughts from creeping into my mind. There are two trains of thought that have kept my mind so busy:

First, that we live in a culture that idolizes…no–worships violence. Our movies, books, shows, video games, even our music, to some extent… are about war, “action-adventure” and “the underdog tale.” Frankly, it’s absurd to me that violence has become ubiquitous in our media, despite being something that causes so much grief. Perhaps it became this way because it’s so exciting, because war is a “thrill” that many will not experience.

Following this outlook on violence comes the normalization and, ultimately, watering down of death in general. We now have adages like, “get busy living or get busy dying,” or “live every day like you’re going to die.” People on the internet are telling each other to kill themselves, people are jokingly using “kms” or “I’m dead.”

It’s abhorrent. I hope these phrases are nothing more than a trend, and we can move on to more positive things as a society.

Secondly, I’d be lying if I don’t constantly have “live every day like you’re going to die” in mind. That being said, I’m currently not advancing my career and I’m spending more time and effort on pursuing my hobbies than on finding a new job. I’ve been lounging around at home, playing video games by myself, listening to music and working on personal stuff. If I died tomorrow, I’d die happy knowing that I didn’t leave behind anything destructive, doing what I love: nothing.

And, well, maybe it’s rash of me to be doing this and that I should be planning for my future, but there’s a slippery slope there. At which point does planning for my future turn into striving for success for the sake of it? How much money do I have to make in order to live comfortably?

My answer: not very much. Not now, anyway. I’m living comfortably in my pajamas every day while everybody else is out on the grind. Because if I cross those lines and never turn back, I’m going to regret much, much more than I do now.

If you think I should take more chances in life because I’ll benefit from the rewards more than I’ll suffer from the losses, then maybe you should have just said that in the first place.

Stress level: zero.

In the Bleak Midwinter

These past few months have been a stark reminder to me that nobody knows what they’re doing.

I don’t mean technically, or in terms of stuff in which people are trained. But everything else. Literally everything else.

We don’t know how to behave, to act, to portray ourselves when we’re out of our comfort zones. And for some of us, our comfort zones are small–incredibly so.

Even so, everybody’s got a comfort zone, which means everyone can feel uncomfortable when certain things happen.

Sometimes…no matter how much you prepare for what’s to come… you just aren’t ready for the sheer agony that follows.

You tell yourself, “I’ll be okay,” or “it won’t affect me that much,” or “it’s not a big deal.” But it’s not that easy.

Nothing is ever that easy.

3000 Shekels or 6000 Drachmas?

I’d like to discuss the idea of wasted potential.

When we think about people who have “wasted potential,” we think about people we know who are astoundingly lazy, or have “wasted” their talents or gifts in one way or another. I’d like to address something slightly different.

We’ve got all these people in the world now who seem to have a natural talent for things like computer science, new genres of music, or extremely specific types of video games. But if these people had been born a hundred or even a thousand years ago, how would these talents have been realized?

I operate under the belief that everybody’s got a talent in something. I also operate under the belief that many people who realize their talents can only do so because they have the access to the tools that will help them do that. What if someone’s got talent in something but doesn’t have access to it? That potential is wasted.

Here’s another scenario: what if someone’s got incredible talent in something that is effectively useless, either in the sense that it’s not able to be commercialized or otherwise undesired? I’ve got a friend who’s gifted at the yo-yo. Where is that going to get him in life? What about that friend I’ve got who’s gifted at underwater basket weaving?

This leads us down a rabbit hole of a thought train. What, really, is talent? Is it innate or developed? Is it specific to just one specialty or can it be applied to a wide range of activities? In other words, would these talented people have been able to strive in a different era with other tools in more or less the same manner? What if all the wasted potential in the world was suddenly realized and everybody was able to contribute to the world in the way in which they were naturally able?

Regardless, maybe it’s not so constructive to think about what “could-have-been” than thinking about what we can do now.