Living Your Words

Lately I had encountered more instances of people not keeping their words, than I hoped. It has led to a general feelings of disappointment in people, sadly.

Most of them happened along the lines of people inviting me to outting/dinner, but I only found out they cannot make it or it’s canceled in the aftermath of me showing up at the appointed time and place. I called them people because I am considering if I should still call these people friends.

Whatever happened to keeping our words, seriously.

Was I mad? You bet I was. Briefly. From the initial moment of shock, and then some disappointment and frustration. But I quickly rationalize, “This is not my problem. This is their problem. Hence, this is their responsibility and consequence.” Then most of the negativity inside myself dissipated. Poof!

The truth is that I treated them with the respect as friends, or anyone would deserve. I considered them friends and chose to spend time with them in the expense of not doing other things. I value and trust them. I am paying respect and building my integrity by keeping my words. By doing otherwise, they destroyed the trust that I had for them and their own integrity and trustworthiness. As a result, it becomes their problems, not mine. Why should I be angry?

It definitely sounds like keeping your words sounds pretty important!
Not for some peope apparently.

As such, I will diverge my time and effort to people who deserve them better. People with consideracy. People who know respect. People with integrity. People who keep their words.

This reminds me of the words in the samurai code of Bushido, quoted by Tom Cruise in the Last Samurai interview.

When a samurai has said he will perform an action, it is as good as done. Nothing will stop him from completing what he has said he will do. He does not have to give his word. He does not have to promise. The action of speaking alone has set the act of doing in motion.

It is not that I am advocating everyone to wield katana and follow strict traditions like the samurai in the old days, but it is the exact attribute described above that makes true samurai as respectable as they are, and other people who also possesses that attribute. Call me old fashion but that is something I adhere to also.

It is not only keeping promises.
It is meaning what you say and practicing those same words.
It is not what you said.
It is how you act.

It is what I think how a person should act. Not talk the talk but walk another walk. It is about doing what you say, and what you say should be exactly what you believe and mean. This gives me a sense of fulfillment. This gives me satisfaction. This makes me feel good about myself. Why shouldn’t I do it?

Perhaps this is the one of the many flaws in the current society…
People no longer mean what they say anymore.

What about you? Do you live your words? Or do you constantly throw your words away?

Appreciation Of Simple Things

Today (a Friday) I left work at around 7:30pm, which is the latest I’ve done in a VERY VERY long time. Mind you, my day usually starts before or around 9am, and it’s always my endeavor to maintain 40-hour work week but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

As I was leaving and driving along the highway 680-N with traffic, I looked out the window and saw this beautiful sunset sky with the mountain hazy in a opaque mist in the distance. And I think, “What a great view!” And it doesn’t seem so bad to have to leave work so late anymore.

But how many people actually notice it? And ALSO genuinly appreciate it?

Sometimes we are so busy going places that we fail to notice and appreciate these simple things in life.

We are so hasty in getting somewhere – maybe a physical place, maybe an abstract goal – that we neglect things and forget to live the moment.

These simple things can be a gorgeous scenic view like this case…
Or nature itself – a comfortably green tree, a cool breeze brushes by, a passing dragonfly…
Or good companionship – family members, friends who understands you, colleages who are great to work with…
Or simple things that happened – a good conversation, simple gesture of kindess, an exchange of smiles with passerby…
Or the most basic thing in life – your arms, your legs, your eyesight, being able to breathe, or simply being alive.

Not only that, we all have goals, right? Like:
Becoming millionaires…
Losing 20 lbs…
Becoming the next American Idol…
Buying the most expensive sports car out there…
Whatever…

And you spent all your blood, sweat, heart and soul in working toward your goal… But suddenly, some superior being suddenly gives you what you have always wanted so badly. After all those effort, you are given just what you want in an instant. Well…

You would be estatic for a moment but then, wouldn’t it be devastating after that initial moment? Wouldn’t it be boring? That’s it? I got it just like that? What do I do now?

That would suck.
At least in my mind.

Anyways, what I want to say is…

Enjoy the process on the way to your goal.
Live the moments.
Learn to appreciate.
Live your life.
Don’t be in such a hurry all the time.

I appreciate that I have come to be more aware of and able to appreciate these things.

Tomorrow will be another good day.

Hectic Schedule But Not Giving Up Priorities, Such is Persistence

Lately work has picked up quite a bit, and I have gotten busier on the job. While I continue my endeavor to keep work at work and maintain 40 hour work week. Nonetheless, I have had to take home a bit of work, and the hectic schedule has left me a bit more worn out, together caused by the recent vacations).

With work consuming more of my energy (amongst other things), I still try my best to keep up with commitments for myself – workout & exercise, piano, singing, keeping up w/ the readings & news & Business week, and blog (I know I’ve slacked off a bit lately…)

I workout and exercise because health is importance and my body (and the mind) is my most important asset.
I play piano and sing because they are my passion.
I read and keep up w/ news & business because I want to learn and it will probably help with my financial future.
I blog because it helps me in comprehending myself, and I love to share and communicate my experience and knowledge with others (hopefully help people in some ways in the process).

Just like everybody out there, there are times I wonder “Why do I do all these? Seriously…”

I can have it much easier if I just wake up, go to work, finish, go home, eat, watch TV, vegetate, sleep …
What a great life. It does sound appealing, mmmm.

And honestly, I am not sure how to answer the above question except the things I mentioned are things I have chosen to do. I could label them personal goals. These goals… they may not matter now, may not matter any time soon, or may NEVER matter… but just like I put it, they are my choices, my personal commitments, and therefore I will persist. I have mentioned before, persistence is very importance in life, along faith – believing in the things you do.

Persistence lets me outlast everyone else.
Persistence allows me to surpass myself and everyone else.
Persistence is what gets things done.
Persistence is what gets me somewhere.

At least, that’s what I sincerely believe.

Yes, doing all these things simultaneously will certainly leave me w/ more fatigue. But by following these commitments, I feel more fulfilled and enriched. Because of that, I don’t feel like a slump. As a person, I am more content and confident with myself. Generally speaking, they all contribute to make me a better person.

It is not easy. But who wants an easy way out anyways? Easy is plain. Easy is no fun. Easy is not exciting. I can be lazy, but I don’t want easy. I aspire to greatness.

What about you?

Seattle Trip Report – LONG!

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How much it costs:
Car rental – $163
Gas – $200~
Lodging – $60 (meal for friend who hosted me)
Food/Water – $60~
Parking/Toll/Entry Fee – $50~
Total – $533~

General things and thoughts from the trip:
– I got this exciting sensation and adrenaline about the trip while driving in the AM after midnight toward Seattle and singing my tunes, which were what kept me going at those crazy hours with no sleep. Why? I came to realize that the job and all the money I make/save is to allow myself to do these things – going on these little adventures, having the chance to visit different places, and seeing different people and friends.
– Yes, it may seem like it costs me a bit, but I think very well controlled. Either way, I still think this trip is worth it. No guilt about any of the spending. It’s important to know that money is not for hoarding. Money is an enablement. We save so we can invest in our own happiness.
The best part of the trip came at the end of…actually, I should say after the trip. The friend I met up with is from UK, who I knew from my undergraduate days on the fencing team. He was there during my junior year. I’ll call him J. J wrote me an email about how we haven’t seen each other for about 4 years and 2 months but “Despite the long time, it seemed to me like we got on as if there’d been no time at all.” WOW! It’s amazing because I had the exact same thought when I was on my journey home. I thought about how there are people I see everyday but never came close to getting along like with J. And I doubt it’ll ever happen. I suppose that what real friends are. It’s not about how long, but about how well you can share with, communicate to, and understand each other. I will never trade a friend like J for anything.
– 12 hours continuous driving is about my limit, which is one way from South Bay to Seattle.
– Never ever ever get a Mazda3 for long drive. Actually, I don’t recommend renting or buying for thie following reason… Their seats are so bad ergonomically that forces you into a hunching posture, which in turn causes serious neck and shoulder pain and tension. My warning for buyers of Mazda3 2007 model.
– For long drive on rental car, bring one thin AND one thick pillow/cushion for rental cars so you can get comfortable if the seat and its adjustment are horrid.
– Long Beach, WA is not that impressive and definitely not worth the 3-4 extra hours diversion from driving to Seattle . The beach is really long, so you can go there if you want to try drifting your car. There is also horse back riding but that’s about it… I thought Half Moon Bay is a lot nicer. Oh yeah, I was the only Asian I saw in town while there.
– Report your frequent traveller credit through Hertz by going to their website –> Customer Support –> Frequent Traveler Credit. Good for mileage in the last 6 months.

If you have no interest in visiting Seattle area or details about my trip, then you can stop reading here. Otherwise, read on!

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07/13/2007 – Touring and things about Seattle:
– The area is much smaller Bay Area. I stayed in Bellevue and thought it’s 30 minutes apart from Seattle because I was looking at the map with Bay Area scale. It only takes 10+ minutes. I enjoyed the short distance while it lasted.
– The city is also much smaller than San Francisco. I can walk everywhere quite comfortably and maybe even bare-footed. Can’t say that for San Francisco.
– City parking is quite outrageous. I saw $3 for each half hour…what…
– Starbucks charges sales tax in Washington, which I never saw here in California (Do they include it in the price here?)
– The underground tour at Pioneer Square is interesting and worth it. You can get to understand the city’s history a bit while seeing the old Seattle that the current city sits on top. The guide of my group cracked a lot of subtle jokes and puns that were not understood by a majority of the crowd. I suppose people are either not paying attention or just lacking a sense of humor. Tour fee is $12.
– The aquarium is quite nice inside and worth a visit. The variety of organisms is decent. It can take up 1.5-2 hours depending how much time you spend trying to capture the animals in photos. Entry fee is $15.
– There are a multitude of pig statues around the city, to which I am not sure why.
– Pike’s Place Market is just a fancier farmer’s market.
– There were a mad amount of people visiting the 1st Starbucks but most of them did not get coffee.
– The observation deck at Columbia Center (aka. the Bank of America building) that oversees the city closes at 4:30pm. The one at Smith building near Pioneer Square opens longer and also provides a good view to the city.
Gaswork Park is a wonderful area that’s across Lake Union from the main section of Seattle. It provides a great view of the city and the skyline. I actually made the best use of my tripod so far there taking pictures of Seattle at night. It also has a playground area for family fun. I only wish there is such a park near me here in Bay Area.
– Housing price is on par with Bay Area’s. But there seems to be so much more things in the Bay Area, which leads to me to think that it’s also outrageous.

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07/14/2007 – Hiking Mount Rainier:
– Mount Rainier is an excellent choice for a view of nature and hiking, gogogo if you are visiting Seattle.
– It takes a little over 2 hours to get to Sunrise area from Bellevue.
– I went to the Sunrise area and then hiked up Mount Burroughs Trail which was not too difficult in my opinion. there was a nice view of a variety of greens and Mount Rainier that I never got tired of looking while hiking. There’s also the Frozen Lake along the way. I was able to reach the second summit of Mount Burroughs(8000-9000 ft high) in 2 hours, which had a few slippery(dangerous?) spots of ice & snow along the way but the trail wasn’t too bad in general. It can be probably done faster because I paused frequently for taking photos.
– I got sun-burnt a little, which is rare so pack your sunscreen for Mount Rainier!
– I also suggest some bug repellent if you are afraid to get stung by wasps and what not. Who knows if they carry mutated virus/bacteria at that sea level :P

Well, I think this should be long enough… to make up for the past 2 weeks :) Hope you haven’t fallen asleep reading.

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