Thoughts on Life & Late-Night Reflections/Ramblings

Nature & Writing

I’m still going off the runner’s high from playing basketball, but thought I’d spend the last bits of dawn before bed writing. There’s been a lot on my mind that I wanted to organize into less spontaneous flashes – writing always helps! Depending on how I feel, this may or may not be a longish post, so I’ll play it by ear…

So the past few weeks, I’ve been injured (ankles), and it hasn’t been fun. I’ve grown up with injuries (almost daily in elementary school), but they’ve always been scrapes and bruises for the most part. I’d say college was the first time I felt the effects of my age, which is kind of sad because I’m not even old.

But still, being injured…is terrible. It feels like something is taken away from you and you’re not the same. It comes with a lot of drawbacks – the constant icing the first 48 hours, the early morning wake-ups from the pain, the swelling, the loss of mobility. I hate being injured, because when I’m injured, I’m broken.

So after a couple of weeks of (relative) rest and lots of ankle exercises and stretches, I decided to test my luck by playing in a full IM game tonight. And it felt amazing. Even though we lost, the high I got especially from the closing minutes is almost indescribable. I felt whole again.

There are many things that cause happiness in people. For me, the feeling of oneness with the environment is a big one. I just love that connection, whether it’s manifested through sports, biking, moving. It’s addicting, and in that moment, everything feels natural and right. In the zone, as I’ve written before.

I find that after a certain time, my “tools” and I become one. It’s hard to describe, but these tools become an extension of me. Take my scooter for example. I’ve been using it pretty much daily since the injury (it’s easier on the ankles and beats crutches – also, I have a flat on my bike tire that I’ve been meaning to fix…). Whenever I navigate sidewalks, roads, whatever, I float, yes float along and I don’t even have to consciously think about it.

Which also explains why I love going to high places and the water – Grizzly Peak and the Berkeley Marina are two of my favorite places in Berkeley – because the feeling I get from the vastness of the amazing views makes me feel insignificant, yet special. I’m just a tiny dot in this universe, but I am living, thinking, growing.

It’s time to spool up the turbo. I’ve mentioned in the past that I operate very similarly to a car turbo (with the turbo lag). I tend to go into something quite slowly or more reserved, but once I get the hang of things or feel like it’s time for action, the monster wakes up and I create that boost. I can’t tell what the exact trigger is, but usually it’s an impending deadline or amazing insight.

In this case, midterms seem to be the culprit.

I confess, I’ve been cruising this semester, despite taking a full course load. I guess senioritis has hit. But in my mad scramble today to study for my two midterms on Thursday, everything clicked into place and I felt it. It’s a pretty noticeable transition that’s easy for me to notice – my entire mindset changes and my brain goes into hyperspeed. And the adrenaline rush, oh the adrenaline rush. People get stressed out from these kinds of pressure, but I find that I just naturally embrace it. It’s when I feel I’m in my element.

Of course, there’s always a pressure threshold, but I see this change as a good one for me. Hopefully I get the motivation to start doing things that I’ve been putting off, whether they are big projects or little actions. Let’s see if that boost continues…

In InterVarsity small group tonight, we shared a lot of what’s been going on in our lives. It was quite a wake-up moment for me and led me to realize that to feel pain and hurt is to be human.

No matter how things seem on the outside, everyone (and I mean everyone – no exceptions), is fighting a hard battle. I’m making an effort to do a better job recognizing this in others, and recognizing my own feelings too. Life is not easy, but I don’t think we’d trade many of the supposed shortcomings in hindsight.

But that doesn’t make it any less painful at the time – we just have to stay strong and support each other, and most importantly, understand. I think understanding is a huge part of it.

Although I consider myself a very optimistic person, I am a realist. It’s interesting but I find I’m drawn to a lot of art (music, paintings, books) that express angst or a nihilistic view of the world. Whether it’s Nirvana, Radiohead, Dali, Watchmen, or Dostoevsky, I feel like I can relate on some hard-to-pinpoint level. My guess is that these people see the worst of humanity, and they often capture that sentiment well.

But at the same time, my optimistic side tries to balance it out. To me, there is always a way out, a purpose, a hope. Still, I think I appreciate these works of art because pain can be a very beautiful thing.

I’m getting really tired, and I think my runner’s high is wearing off, so I’ll end this monstrously-long post with one more topic – that of kindred spirits. A quick search on defines kindred spirits as “individuals with the same beliefs, attitudes or feelings as oneself.”

These are the people that we treasure, because there is an almost instant and unspoken connection that is more than meets the eye. My hope is that my last semester in college, as well as my future as a working professional, will allow me to run into more kindred spirits, the people who understand without having to put into words. It’s quite rare so we should treasure those moments when we realize such a thing is happening.

My other thought is that on a deeper level, we’re all kindred spirits, because we are human. Despite what may seem like a vast difference, I still believe that anyone can become good friends with someone else. That may be the optimistic side of me speaking, but with time, trust, and mutual experiences (good times and bad), I see it as near certainty – it just takes honest effort from both sides.

If you read to here, I commend and thank you. Good night and wish me luck with those midterms. And best of luck with school, work, life, whoever you are and wherever you may be.

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