Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thoughts From A Late-Night Drive

As I was driving home from my weekly pilgrimage to San Francisco, I couldn't help but realize that the time I spend in my car are my most self-actualizing times. It is only me and me only, enclosed and separated from the outside world. Because of this, I get the opportunity to just spend time thinking and reflecting.

As an often-introverted person, I enjoy these quiet moments alone. Though I admit that it does get kind of lonely and maddening sometimes to be stuck in your own head. But by having these moments of self-reflection and contemplation, I find that I have a greater sense of who I am and who I am not. I understand all the strengths and weaknesses that make me the person I am. And it's in these moments that I love and hate myself. But ultimately, I am who I am, nothing more, nothing less.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thoughts of Happiness

What is true happiness?

In my opinion, it is finding things in life that give you a sense of joy, long-term satisfaction, and contentedness. These things are very subjective and vary from person to person. Some people find happiness out of the simplest things in life. Things such as being with your boyfriend or girlfriend, playing with your kids, being at the beach on a sunny day, going to a show to see your favorite band play, eating ice cream, you get the idea...

When am I the happiest? My answer would be when I am with my closest friends. I remember hearing this quote from someone a long time ago, "your friends are God's way of apologizing for your family". I love this quote and still remember it after all these years. There is so much truth in that statement. I think everyone can relate to it. I haven't met anyone who hasn't had family problems. No one out there has the perfect family life. There are always ups-and-downs. Maybe there are more ups that downs, or downs than ups. But you can always count on your closest friends to be there for you when you've got no one else to turn to.

Reflecting on my life, I've had more downs than ups when it came to my family. Growing up in Chicago, I was surrounded by a very unstable household. Constantly being surrounded by negativity just made me want to distant myself from my family even further. I always wonder how different my life would be if I was raised in a different family environment. Would I be a significantly different person? I remember in high school, always going to my best friend's house after school and staying there until 11 or 12 at night. My friend's parents were always so warm towards me and acted more like parents to me than my real parents. It's sad when you come home after being out all day and your parents don't even care to ask where you've been. Thus began the decay of my relationship with my family. Luckily, I found comfort with my friends and their family.

To this day, my relationship with my family is still fractured. I haven't talked to my dad in years after I "moved out" here to California (which is a long story that I might write about someday). My mom and I get along, but we're not very close as my mom is to my siblings. I am thankful that I have the friends that I have, or else, I probably wouldn't be here today.

"Happiness Only Real When Shared"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Thoughts

As I sit here, trying to figure out exactly what I want to write about in my first blog, my mind is just a storm of thoughts and feelings about various things. I'll start off by saying what I hope to accomplish with this blog. I hope to open up an outlet for all my innermost thoughts and feelings. By doing so, I could release some unwanted stress and concerns.

For a long time, I've struggled to express myself openly to others. As far back as I could remember, I was always the quiet, shy, socially-awkward kid in the back of the room. I could rarely holdup a conversation (I still have problems with it now) and I dreaded initiating conversations with people. Because of that, I was constantly teased for being the "weird kid".

I think part of the reason was due to the culture that I grew up in. Being the son of first generation Vietnamese-American parents, they were deeply conservative and traditional. My parents were very introverted when it came to talking about their feelings. They were taught by their parents to deal with things on their own. You can find this true of most every Asian culture in the world. I guess it is suppose to build character. Make an individual independent, strong, and able to overcome any obstacle they encounter in life. I can understand this to a degree. But really, who wants to keep things in and deal with things by themselves? I sure don't. But that's what I was taught to do from an early age. Because of this way-of-thinking, I've had to bear sometimes overwhelming weight on my shoulder. If I was having a hard-time in school or was being bullied in school, deal with it. If I was feeling sad because the girl I liked rejected me, deal with it. If you had a question about something and couldn't find the answer, deal with it. And if you couldn't deal, you were looked upon as weak.

Looking back at all my past failures (which there have been many), I wish I would've gone to someone for help without the thought of being judged or the thought of shame. You might be telling yourself, "but that's why we have friends". And that's true. However, I felt this way around them as well. My mind was conditioned to deal things on my own. Even now, I still have a hard-time opening up to others. But the good news is, I'm working on it :)