Tuesday, April 23. 2013
First, The Fountain's official soundtrack. Seemed appropriate.
Most of us struggle our whole lives to be complete enough when we die to achieve a measure of grace. Few of us ever do. Most of us end up going out the way we came in, kicking and screaming. But somehow Izzi, young as she was, achieved that grace. In her last days, she became whole.
Lily Guzetti, The Fountain
We’ll drive. Keep driving. Head out to the middle of nowhere, take that road as far as it takes us. You’ve never been west of Philly, have you? This is a beautiful country, Monty. It’s beautiful out there, like a different world. Mountains, hills, cows, farms, and white churches. I drove out west with your mother one time, before you was born. Brooklyn to the Pacific in three days. Just enough money for gas, sandwiches, and coffee, but we made it.
Every man, woman, and child alive should see the desert one time before they die. Nothin’ at all for miles around. Nothin’ but sand and rocks and cactus and blue sky. Not a soul in sight. No sirens. No car alarms. Nobody honkin’ atcha. No madmen cursin’ or pissin’ in the streets. You find the silence out there. You find the peace. You can find God.
So we drive west, keep driving ‘til we find a nice little town. These towns out in the desert, you know why they got there? People wanted to get away from somewhere else. The desert’s for startin’ over.
Find a bar and I’ll buy us drinks. I haven’t had a drink in two years, but I’ll have one with you, one last whiskey with my boy. Take our time with it, taste the barley, let it linger.
And then I’ll go.
I tell you, don’t ever write me, don’t ever visit. I tell you, I believe in God’s kingdom and I’ll see you and your mother again, but not in this lifetime.
You’ll get a job somewhere, a job that pays cash, a boss who doesn’t ask questions, and you make a new life and you never come back.
Monty, people like you, it’s a gift – you’ll make friends wherever you go. You’re going to work hard, you’re going to keep your head down and your mouth shut. You’re going to make yourself a new home out there.
You’re a New Yorker. That won’t ever change. You got New York in your bones. Spend the rest of your life out west, but you’re still a New Yorker.
You’ll miss your friends, you’ll miss your dog, but you’re strong. You got your mother’s backbone in you. You’re strong like she was.
You find the right people, and you get yourself papers, a driver’s license. You forget your old life. You can’t come back, you can’t call, you can’t write. You never look back. You make a new life for yourself and you live it. You hear me? You live your life the way it should have been.
But maybe – and this is dangerous – but maybe after a few years you send word to Naturelle. You make yourself a new family, and you raise them right, you hear me? Give them a good life, Monty. Give them what they need.
You have a son – maybe you name him James, it’s a good strong name – and maybe one day, years from now, years after I’m dead and gone, reunited with your dear ma, you gather your whole family around and tell them the truth.
Who you are, where you come from...you tell them the whole story.
Then you ask them if they know how lucky they are to be there.
Because it all came so close to never happening.
This life came so close to never happening.
James Brogan, to Monty Brogan, 25th Hour
Just before the Miracle, when I was in the ICU and it looked like I was going to die and Mom was telling me it was okay to let go, and I was trying to let go but my lungs kept searching for air, Mom sobbed something into Dad’s chest that I wish I hadn’t heard, and that I hope she never finds out that I did hear. She said, “I won’t be a mom anymore.” It gutted me pretty badly.
I couldn’t stop thinking about that during the whole Cancer Team Meeting. I couldn’t get it out of my head, how she sounded when she said that, like she would never be okay again, which probably she wouldn’t.
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
His father died, but Moses wouldn’t believe it. He said if they dug his father’s body up, he would be gone.
They planted a seed over his grave. The seed became a tree.
Moses said his father became a part of that tree. He grew into the wood, into the bloom.
And when a sparrow ate the tree’s fruit, his father flew with the birds.
He said that death was his father’s road to awe. That’s what he called it: “the road to awe.”
Izzi Creo, The Fountain
What are you doing here?
1. I’ll Give Up Something Else, and Maybe You Won’t See
I sank, thrashing, into the dark gloom of the water, frightened beyond all reason, so frightened you couldn’t even call it fear.
I couldn’t swim, and I was underwater, alone, starting to fall towards something I couldn’t fathom.
I was seven.
In some parallel universe…
My roommate and I have conversations that eventually lead to that line all the time. We’re old friends, stretching all the way back to our first days in college. It feels weird, today, to say he’s an old friend, considering I first met him as an adult (eighteen counts). But ten years are ten years, and while they’ve passed quickly, they’re filled with a lot of shared history: quotes from shows we’ve rewatched dozens of times, anecdotes from our shared exploits and adventures, stories only we know the ins and outs of well enough to ever write down someday.
One of the benefits of shared history is that you can puzzle over a seemingly infinite number of hypotheticals – different ways that your futures, which inevitably became your present and your past, could’ve unfolded.
If you’d had the guts to ask for that girl's number…;
if you hadn’t stayed out here…;
if you’d stuck it out a little longer…;
if you hadn’t stopped running…
It’s a game, an exercise in imagination, but we’re both creative types and have never gotten bored with puzzling out existence’s infinite unrealized possibilities.
One thing will set us off – some prior acquaintance we both lost touch with years ago posts something that hits our NewsFeeds simultaneously – and soon enough, after the stories and anecdotes and commentaries have been exhausted, one of us deploys the line:
In some parallel universe, I’m working in the 49ers’ draft room this Thursday.
In some parallel universe, I blew that decade working for the government.
In some parallel universe, we’re writing for Grantland.
In some parallel universe, you became a teacher too, and we’ve been coaching together for years.
In some parallel universe, I already have kids.
Some of the parallel universes are unnerving places. Most of them, however, sound pretty nifty. And I’m genuinely sad our real universe didn’t chart the same course as a couple of them; there are definitely some roads not taken that held at least the promise of something better than this.
Yet, for one reason or another, I didn’t follow those roads.
My travels led me here.
And every so often, long after the conversation circles back from alternate realities and into the existentially-safer realms of Mark Trumbo’s value to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (and whether that name’s any less ridiculous all these years later), whether IMAX truly increases the Jurassic Park dinosaurs’ awesomeness (and whether we’d want to know if the Tyrannosaur’s roar didn’t actually sound the way it did in the movie), and whether we should start writing collaboratively this summer...
...I find myself peering into the shadows lining the roads not taken, and wonder whether I truly understand how, or why, I’ve ended up on this one instead.
My parents had taken me to the park bordering the middle school a couple of blocks away from my home. I loved that park. When I was six, they built something called the Super Playground there. That was definitely too lofty a title for it – there’s only so much you can do with playground equipment, no matter how much sand, gravel, and woodchips you scatter around it. But the words rolled off the tongue so easily, even for those of us with speech impediments, that the name ended up sounding as natural as anything else.
My family had a stake, literally, in the place: when the town allowed people to carve names into the fenceposts lining the playground, my mother paid a small fee to have her recently-deceased father’s name on one. I could never remember where it was, but I liked looking for it when we’d visit. I’d loved him, at least as much as a little kid could. (In retrospect, I couldn’t have seen him for more than a few dozen days, if that…but I wasn’t exactly generating complex emotions at six or seven, so love’s what it is.)
Now that I’m older, I know more about him, and I know I would’ve loved him today on his own merits had he lived long enough to see the rest of my childhood. He lived a life worthy of literature – opening a bar in a dry Utahn county with his brothers, never drinking himself; raising his three daughters well enough that they attended college, something nobody else in the family had ever done; fighting off an armed robber with his bare hands during his milkman days (earning a bullet to the leg in the process, and becoming the first Feraco on television afterwards). And even if he hadn’t done any of those things, he was that seemingly rarest of quantities: a good man.
And we lost him, just like many others lose many others: too soon.
There’s still a black-and-white picture of him in his younger days hanging in the hallway outside my bedroom in my childhood home. He’s in his late twenties, with a thick, dark shock of wavy hair pulled back only half as well as it should be, smiling from behind his glasses, even raising his eyebrows a little.
I’ve put my hand over the image’s chin, and the rest of the image looks startling, almost unnervingly, like me.
I wish I’d known him better.
In some parallel universe, I was brave enough to pursue the career I wanted.
Whenever I finished running around the playground (when did I ever have so much energy?), my parents would take me to the pond beyond the fenceposts. While the Super Playground definitely had its charms – a mazelike system of tunnels connecting a series of castle-esque structures, complete with embedded microphones so you could excitedly shout at your friends in the tunnels across the park – the pond was just a concrete bowl full of some pretty unappetizing water and a single plant-supporting island.
Didn’t matter. I loved it too.
I loved watching the tadpoles swim; I’d even raised some into frogs at home before releasing them into “the wild” there. I loved the ducks that nested on the island and swam in the pond; we would feed them breadcrusts we kept in the freezer, and I’d invent elaborate backstories and adventures for them in my head. My favorite was one with a fluffy patch of feathers on its head, a little tuft that looked for all the world like my unruly curls, the byproduct of my ongoing (at the time) fear of barbers. It was my little kindred spirit. It obviously didn’t love me the way I adored it, but that’s OK; when you’re little, love can be a one-way street.
So my parents had taken me to the park, then let me run down toward the pond to look for my duck-friend while they went for a walk. I remember that the murky pondwater had receded for some reason, even though it was cold and cloudy out, exposing a dry, thin rim of the concrete bowl beneath the sidewalk.
When I got to the pond, my duck-friend was nowhere to be found. There were other ducks, though, on the other side of the island. Upon running to that side, however, I found that the sidewalk didn’t curve inwards enough before bending back towards the playground for me to get a good view of the birds. Disappointed, I hopped down onto the concrete rim; maybe I thought the extra two feet would give me a better vantage point. It didn’t.
I turned and started running back towards where I’d come down to the pond in the first place, trotting along the water’s edge on my little-kid legs. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was a good runner for my age. (Second-most laps in the school during the jog-a-thon? That’s a claim to fame.) As a result, I was moving at a pretty good clip as I approached the drainage vent for the sewer.
There was only one gap in the concrete rim, and it was where the ground fell away to allow the water to recirculate through a sewer drain. It wasn’t complicated-looking from the outside. It was just a big, dark hole.
And I was heading right for it.
In some parallel universe, Harvard accepted my sister on her second try.
She got into her dream school.
And she never met her husband.
I hadn’t learned how to swim because I was afraid to put my head beneath the water’s surface. Water didn’t scare me – I actually loved it – but something about being submerged always filled me with white-hot fear. I’d end up panicking, gasping for breath underwater and swallowing a whole bunch of liquid before someone pulled me, sputtering, back into the air. It wasn’t a conscious, intentional response that I could control. Terror would take over, instinct would command me to breathe now, and the end result was always the same: a lot of sniffling and tears. I couldn’t even put my head underwater in a bathtub without freaking out.
You would think, given this highly specific fear, that I would steer well clear of the pond’s drainage hole. But I was trotting along happily, thinking about ducks, not about water.
As I neared the gap in the rim, though, I realized I was approaching the sewer. The smart thing to do, obviously, would’ve been to hop back up onto the sidewalk. The foolish thing to do, equally obviously, would’ve been to try to jump over the drain.
I misjudged my launch point.
And I plunged into the drain.
In some parallel universe, you never left.
I sank, thrashing, into the dark gloom of the water, frightened beyond all reason, so frightened you couldn’t even call it fear.
I was underwater, alone, starting to fall towards something I couldn’t fathom…
In some parallel universe, you kept your mind long enough to remember I became a teacher, to remember I’d moved away, and you didn’t think I was trying to avoid visiting you.
It couldn’t have been that long. Maybe a few seconds, at most. I think I remember what I was thinking, which just proves to me that I have a fertile imagination; there’s no way I can remember what I thought as I dropped.
So what I pretend to remember goes like this:
A blur of murk surrounding me (how could I have opened my eyes in that filthy water and been fine afterward?);
A quick thought: I’m going to die;
Flailing desperately, both arms and both legs frantically going every which way;
My right hand breaking the surface of the water first and landing, completely by accident, on the edge of the concrete rim;
Somehow pulling myself with one arm halfway out of the water;
My chest flat against the concrete as I gasped for air, my legs still floating in the water behind me, not even able to scream for my parents;
And one thought, repeated over and over again with urgency:
In some parallel universe, I cheated on the take-home test.
My parents didn’t see me fall. My father told me, later, that when he’d looked down at the pond, for a single incongruous second, he thought someone’s dog had fallen into the water and was struggling to get out.
Neither of my parents are particularly athletic, something I frequently cursed them for when I hit high school and had to start giving up my sports, one after another.
But when that second ended, and both he and my mother realized they were looking at me in the water, they ran towards me.
And my father reached down, pulled me the rest of the way out of the water, and held me close, even though I was still soaking wet with dirty pondwater.
In the memory that can’t be real, I felt the reverberations of his heart slamming against his chest, faster than I’ve ever felt my own heart beating.
He held me while I cried.
In some parallel universe, my parents lost their only son.
In the memory that can’t be real, I lay with my chest flat against the concrete, gasping for air, my legs still floating in the water behind me.
And I saw both of my parents running towards me, looking for all the world like they would have done anything in that moment – anything – to save me.
As though they’d seen their world obliterated in a noiseless flash.
As though they’d never be okay again.
In some parallel universe, I hop up on the sidewalk instead of running along the pond’s concrete rim.
I never fall in.
I never see that look on my parents’ faces.
I won’t replay those expressions in my head until I fall asleep the night they tell me, three years later, that they’re ending their marriage.
And when I’ll think they didn’t love me enough to stay together, I won’t use those expressions to banish the fear.
I won’t know.
I won’t see.
2. Soon Enough, Work and Love Will Make a Man Out of You
The funny thing about clichés is that most of them have some sort of basis in truth. (Otherwise, how would they ever become clichés?)
Most (if not all) of us have felt as though, to dig up the old cliché, “the grass is greener on the other side.” We’ve seen greater possibilities beyond our current situations, yearned for a chance to have something else or have done something else, perhaps in the company of someone else. We watch Eat, Learn, and Move from school desks and feel the rush of knowing, conclusively, that there’s a larger, challenging, Technicolor world out there. Our imaginations race when greeted with possibility and promise. It’s what keeps our eyes on the stars instead of the ground.
But in the end, we’re bound by the tyranny of time. As best I can tell, we get one life, and we get one path. We can only take one road. We go left, and our life unfolds the way it has, erasing every other possibility as we walk.
But what if we had gone right instead?
What if I never promised a cross-country coach named Troy Engle that I would visit him at Occidental?
What if my version of Summer Finn had waited until after I’d committed to a college to ask if I wanted to resume our relationship?
What if I never fell for my fellow Lit Center tutor in college sixteen months later?
Never met the fourth-grader who I couldn’t help?
Failed the standardized teaching tests I secretly hoped I’d fail so I wouldn’t have to become a teacher?
Landed a student-teaching placement in any classroom other than David Bellos’s at Francisco Bravo?
Applied for the English teaching job Arcadia High offered in June instead of the one it offered in August, competed against Matt Woodin, and lost?
You never would have met me.
And I never would have met you.
And neither of us would ever know what we’d missed.
Take any of those steps away, and the whole Jenga tower crumbles, falls away to ash.
You all have Jenga-tower lives yourselves, sequences of moments and memories that could’ve branched into a million parallel universes only to combine to form this specific one instead.
The most incredible thing about my life, about all our lives, about this intersection point in B2 where we’ve all joined forces, however temporarily, in pursuit of whatever you’re pursuing, is this:
It all came so close to never happening.
During the first semester, we discussed the concept of inevitability as it related to choice, destiny, and time. If, in fact, time exists as a point rather than a continuum, everything that will happen is happening; everything that will happen has already happened. We don’t have a choice. Things play out the way they’re supposed to, the way they have to.
Even if time exists as we perceive it – as seconds and minutes and hours, not as a single concentrated instant – there are certain rules to existence. Every lifeform dies. It may take a matter of minutes or a matter of centuries (I grew up near a redwood forest, so I’ve seen some pretty spectacularly old trees), but everything ends. We only have so many grains of sand in our hourglasses, and it’s not possible to get refills.
I told you before that I really, really didn’t understand the “future” storyline in The Fountain during my first viewings. Part of that is due to my weakness for all things sci-fi: I understood that it was supposed to be a metaphor for the grieving process, but I also really, really wanted it to be a real story, in which Tommy’s experiments on Donovan with the tree extract yielded a cure to aging. In other words, I wanted Tom-in-the-bubble to be Tommy literally, not just metaphorically. (I’d figure out how he jammed Izzi in the tree later, since nobody’s been able to do so in a literal sense just by planting something over a grave.)
In that interpretation of the “future” storyline, Tommy hasn’t played by the rules that govern life, death, time, and the universe. He wants to undo the course his life took, undo the tremendous loss he suffered, one he cannot begin to accept and recover from. So he fractures time’s normal hold on us and defeats death – “curing the disease,” so to speak.
Darren Aronofsky asserts that Tommy robs himself of his humanity in the process of “becoming immortal” – that he loses himself, a la Sören Kierkegaard’s famous warning, to grief – a feeling of desire for the violation of all the aforementioned universe-governing rules. With no end point in sight, he has no reason not to continually fixate on his loss, no reason to live for anything else; we’re reminded of Gilgamesh standing over his friend’s body, or Siddhartha staring hauntingly across the river for traces of his son.
As a result, the love that once bloomed between him and Izzi, the thing that once helped sustain him, becomes a desiccated, dying husk. When he eats the bark of the tree, he’s merely chewing on his obsession, and it’s not a nourishing meal.
But when Tommy accepts that he should play by the rules – that he shouldn’t forget the wonderful times he spent with Izzi or render them meaningless merely because he didn’t get enough of them – the tree erupts into beautiful, verdant life, bursting through the bubble that had served as its prison for who knows how long.
And Tommy remembers a time when he made the wrong choice (going back to work in the lab) and imagines he makes the right one (walking with his wife in the snow).
Death comes for all of us, the movie argues; we can choose to rage against it in an ultimately futile and too-costly battle, or we can accept it and live on in the face of it, enjoying the moments we have for what they are instead of raging against them for what they are not.
For maybe all of this –
all the good and the bad,
the work I’ve done,
the love I’ve shared,
the things slipping down the memory hole,
the infinite possibilities that never came to pass –
Maybe all of this is how it was supposed to be.
+ How would your life have been different if you hadn’t enrolled in this class, if you and I had never met, if you’d never had the chance to meet and work with your former Housemates? (If you jokingly say, “Well, I would have had a lot less homework,” I will be forever displeased with you.)
+ Do you believe something lies beyond this existence – that we experience something after our corporeal forms expire? What is your “awe” at the end of the road like? What would you want it to look like?
+ How would you want to pay tribute to your family members? Would Moses Morales’s method – planting a tree over his father’s grave – resemble what you plan to do? Do you know what they would want?
+ How do you feel about The Fountain’s central hypothesis: that life gains meaning because it ends, because these moments of ours are all we have? Is life, in fact, beautiful because we cannot enjoy it forever?
+ If you knew, heading into a relationship, that it would mirror Tommy’s (i.e., you would truly love your time together with your partner, that it would end earlier and more painfully than it should, and that his/her loss would devastate you), would you let yourself fall in love?
+ Would you react differently than Tommy does if you lost your loved one?
+ Would you want your partner to fall in love again if you passed away first? What if, in the old quandary from The Lady, or the Tiger?, it costs you a shot at eternity together?
+ Do you believe you’ll achieve “some measure of grace” before you go, as Izzi does…or will you go out kicking and screaming?
+ Write an alternate or symbolic narrative of your life and future (think of what Aronofsky does with Tommy’s conquistador and traveler, or Monty’s father does as he drives). You can be as blunt or oblique as you prefer, and end it where you choose. (Please keep it school-appropriate for my sake.)
Please try to post insightful, specific, and polished pieces. Your post should be at least three seven-sentence paragraphs long, and punctuation, grammar, and mechanics all count towards your grade. Compose your replies carefully, and always remember to build your credibility - use proof, not hypothetical statements. Write the why for every what!
As always, you are not required to respond to every question.
For this post, written feedback for at least two of your peers is required! Congratulate them, praise them, ask them questions...reach out! There’s no comment limit for this thread, so if you feel like talking to your peers, follow your instincts! Check your work to see if someone left feedback for you, and start conversations with your readers – and classmates!
As you develop as writers, your pieces should demonstrate both knowledge of writing as a craft and an awareness of how to profoundly express yourself. Practice writing not simply as students, but as creators; experiment with writing, in other words, as writers do.
Finally, please remember to nominate two of your peers for their excellent work.
The due dates for the respective components of the assignment are as follows:
+ Your main post is due to both the blog and Turnitin.com by 11:59pm on Thursday, April 25th.
+ Your feedback is due by 11:59pm on Friday, April 26th.
+ Your nominations are due by 11:59pm on Sunday, April 28th.
As always, write well, think well…and good luck.
1. “Lonely One,” Cartel, Cartel
2. “Soon Enough,” Constantines, Tournament of Hearts
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The Labyrinth of Living ? Suffering ? Dying?
“I don’t know how! I don’t know….”
“You do…You will…Tommy. I am not afraid anymore.”
“ I am gonna die. I am gonna die…”
“Together we will live forever! Forever…forever”
“Ok, I will…We will”
- The Fountain
“We are all going, I thought, and it applies to turtles and turtlenecks, Alaska the girl and Alaska the place, because nothing can last, not even the earth itself. The Buddha said that suffering was caused by desire, we'd learned, and that the cessation of desire meant the cessation of suffering. When you stopped wishing things wouldn't fall apart, you'd stop suffering when they did.”
“That didn’t happen, of course. Things never happened the way I imagined them.”
― John Green, Looking for Alaska
If die, don’t cry. Death is a happy thing. It makes life beautiful. “As much as life sucks, it beats the alternative” (Green, PT). When I die, I hope I have already done everything I need to do, I want to do. If not, I have already lived the best of myself. Cheer t he ceased one for what she has done. “The world would be much quieter”(Kevin Tsang) if I am not here.
Life is a complicated thing. It’s not simple to understand what, why and how we walk on the path we are walking on. There are times I just want to stop caring. There are times I stop thinking about others but myself. There are times I just want to lay down and think about nothing, let the broken be broken. It’s tiring to make things right. And somehow, death is that one things people try to fix.
Wouldn’t it be much easier if there is no ending?
We can take all the time we want to understand life. There won’t be any more deadlines. There won’t be any all-nighters. We have forever to finish Artium Magister, Senior Project, Baseline…
But, if we have forever, why would we bother to do all these work?
Take a soma and have a good dream sounds much more appealing than Feraco’s homework.
If there is no limit, no ending, no death, will life still be worthwhile?
If Tommy and Izzy have forever, will they love each other forever?
In the parallel universe, I have a complete family: a father who loves me more than his work, soccer, a mother who is willing to see my perspective of life, a big brother who answer his call whenever I call him, a dog that wakes me up every morning by licking my face.
In the parallel universe, my grandma didn’t die.
In the parallel universe, I was born here, grow up here and never need to move or leave.
In the parallel universe, I am just a conventional girl who does conventional thing, never know the worst.
Life is simple if I live in the parallel universe. Life sounds beautiful this way.
The labyrinth is not about living or dying. It’s about suffering. The Almighty does not promised us forever. What the Almighty has promised is that we cannot live easily. We don’t get to choose whether to live or die.
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” ( MLK Jr.)
Age is some scary stuff. But we cannot stop it. Likewise, death may fear us. “We are all going” as President Mckingley said in his last words. And life is never going to be the way we think it will be. It will suck. It will suck badly. The people whom you let into your heart would hurt you badly once they leave you without coming back.
Buddha says all suffering is caused by desire. So if we don’t want to suffer, shall we not desire at all? Shall we stop making friends? Shall we stop caring? Shall we stop fixing the broken strings?
(You know the thing about quotes is that they put all these tangle thoughts in to one beautiful sentence that comes from another person’s mouth which makes your beliefs more convincing.)
“The labyrinth blows. But I still choose it” (Green, Looking for Alaska).
“You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.” (Green, TFIOS)
I really liked reading what you had to say. I think it is true, that although suffering is brutal at times, it leads us to something more. Sand is exposed to a massive amount of heat to be transformed into glass.
I think there is more to life than suffering. When we suffer for the sake of suffering, we are unchanged and miserable. Our life only becomes with accepting that sorrow. While when we work to change, the suffering changes us. My water polo career would have been a lot shorter if I had accepted my slow stroke. Instead, I became stronger because I was willing to endure the pain. The situation did not change me, but I allowed myself to change in response.
Sometimes we let ourselves suffer continually. We grow comfortable with that amount of pain. If we change, we could feel more pain. We could fall farther.
At the end of the day, the parallel universe is a galaxy away. Rather than drowning out our sorrows with soma with what we don't have, we should appreciate what we do have.
My question to you is why do we let people in if they hurt us? Why do we risk pain for happiness?
Nice job my friend!
"Pain is demands to be felt"
“Without pain, how could we know joy?' This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”
“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”
― George Orwell, 1984
“What you need is something with tears for a change. Nothing costs enough here.”( Huxley, Brave New World)
“Because maybe, in a way, we didn't leave it behind nearly as much as we might once have thought. Because somewhere underneath, a part of us stayed like that: fearful of the world around us, and no matter how much we despised ourselves for it--unable quite to let each other go.”
- Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
To answer your questions:
why do we let people in if they hurt us? Why do we risk pain for happiness?
and the three questions of Feraco:
1) What has given to us?
2) What are we doing here?
3) Do we dare to disturb the universe? why?
We are given one life. Some of us are given a complete family. And maybe some of us are lucky enough to have someone we love dearly and someone who loves us so dearly.
We get one life to do the things we want to do, to look for the purpose that is meant to be ours. Kevin Ha said to me "The purpose of living is to find a purpose." Bobby Mac said to me "The purpose of living is to love and receive love"
We are here because as Bobby put " the parallel universe is a galaxy away." We are here because we are trapped inside the labyrinth, whatever you think that is. We are here because we did not have a say to whether to come out from our mamas' bellies. The purpose of living is to live and believe you will always be okay, suffer or not, love or not, found the purpose or not, feel the pain or not.
Literally speaking, living is just breath in and breath out.
"The fault is not in our stars...but it's in ourselves. "The Great Shakespeare has said.
Though trust is fundamentally dangerous, we still let people in our heart. Hence we will get hurt. We let people in and love people for what GK Chesterton has said " to love is to realize that it might be lost" At the same time, we will be okay. "Everything is all right." (Tommy)
We risk pain for happiness just as Winston dares to disturb the universe, John demands tear and the right to age, to catch diseases, and Tommy finish the book "The Fountain".
It's hard to let go. It's hard to want something different.
Siddhartha gives up his "10" to achieve Nirvana
Macbeth gives up his "8" for a "10"
Beowulf gives up himself for his obligation
Winston gives up security for risks
John gives up the apparent happiness for tears
I would not spoil Never Let Me Go for you.
I think I know why you want us to watch The Fountain at Brave New World now. And I hope I answered your question, Bobby Mac.
I like your extensive use of quality quotes and supplementary analysis and connections to your post! The delivery is outstanding!
The quote from Martin Luther King Jr was just something anyone can learn from in the most simple words.
Are we defined by time?
It feels as time goes on, the years are shorter and shorter. They go by quicker and quicker. Every year, I have more pleasant memories. The next year being better than the previous one. Maybe the reason why senior year has been so meaningful to me is because it is the end of my high school career. In a short two months, I will never be a high schooler again. No matter if I visit or talk to my friends. The school will seem alien and they will never be exactly the same as they now.
The moments I have with my friends are limited.
We are in the calm wind before the rushing storm.
This school year is Izzy, dying out slowly but inevitably. No matter how much I want to hold on to the present, safe her from her fate, I have to let it all go. This year is going to end whether I want it to or not. My life, like Tommy’s, will be forever changed once my Izzy is no more. I have to do what Tommy couldn’t. I have to make the most of what I have. I need to make this moment matter. What makes high school matter, what makes Izzy matter, is the fact that we make them matter.
“I thought I’d gradually miss him less, the way
a craving for a cigarette lessens a little after weeks
of going without. It’s not like that.” You paused,
drawing in a breath. “It’s like a thirst that deepens
as each day passes. Like water,” you finally said.
“I want him back the way I want a drink of water.”
Like Water by Elizabeth Spires
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “We all have that longing to be loved. We want to feel special, feel safe, and feel like we are not left alone to face the trials of this life. As much as we want money, want power and popularity: our desire for love is so much greater and different. We need that love. When we have that love, we can face whatever the world wants to through at us.
We seek it with all our hearts because we know that true love is the only thing that will make us whole again.”
Bobby McDaniels With Love We Will Survive (Blog 5 Semester 1)
Love comes with sacrifice. That sacrifice is inevitable- no matter if it’s for family, friends or significant others, many things are given up for the sake of love.
Mikaela Santos With Love We Will Survive (Blog 5 Semester 1)
Falling in love is one of the most terrifying things in this world. The one person becomes all you think about, capturing your very thoughts. You begin to sacrifice your wants for sake of the one who holds your heart. Your heart beats faster when they are near and you become self-conscious, “Do I look good?” “Am I good enough?”
There is nothing that compares to that feeling when you know they feel the same way about you. Seeing them, being with them, brings a happiness that nothing else can. Tommy and Izzy dancing. My dad taking nightly walks with my mom. Love brings them something soma never could. You will always need to take more soma, wake up and repeat the cycle. But for true love, it only takes one person.
“I like being on my own. Relationships are messy and people’s feelings get hurt. Who needs it” (Summer, 500 Days of Summer).
Falling in love has never been easy and often the road to love is clouded with heart breaks and failures. Even the strongest of relationships end. “Even the best of friends cannot attend each other’s funerals” (Mr. Feraco). At every wedding, the words “Till death do us part” are shared. No one knows when exactly that will happen. In Tommy and Izzy’s case, it happened sooner than they wished. Was that love worth it? Is love only bound to being with that person?
Or is there more?
The journey that the couples take, the changes in their lives that they make, lead to something greater. With love, you discover who you really are. You learn to see the world in a different way and you become a better person because of it. You do crazy things for that love. I invited a girl I am interested in to come over to my house and bake banana bread with me. That entire morning, I cleaned my kitchen and every part of my house. The trash cans, to my brothers’ bed were all cleaned up so I would not make a bad impression. I made myself better for her.
There will be hard times and tears will be shed. Hearts will be broken and fears will come to life. Our life is made for more than fear; we were made for more than fear. The chance to find love is worth more than a possibility of pain. What the relationship leaves behind is more amazing than can be fathomed. We give that time that we spend together meaning. A moment, a memory is significant because we make the most of it.
With love we will survive.
“Our world is centered on love for a reason, we crave perfection and the only path close enough to witness that is through love.”
(Joey Soedomo With Love We Will Survive)
Hey, Bobby Mac,
"With love we will survive" is what I put for my senior quote.
"We only accept the love we think we deserve."
What if I say, " I have never felt love. I don't deserve anybody to love me. " How do you know when you fall in love? How do you know life is centered around love not anything else, for example " desire".
Just to play devil here. No offense meant.
Great Post, Buddie.
I would tell someone that love takes time; different people reach it at different times in their lives. When you are ready for it, you will find it.
Everyone deserves someone who loves them. The people who seem to deserve it the least, need it the most. No matter what has happened to you or how far you have fallen; you can never fall from deserving love.
You know you are in love when you truly care about the person. To the point where you are willing to sacrifice your wants for their happiness. Like giving up not seeing them that day, so they can study for their test. When you look at them and say, “You are the one I want to spend the rest of my life with” When you want to be the best person you can for them.
There is a balance between loving someone and making them the center of your life. Desire happens when it only becomes about fulfilling YOUR wants and YOUR wishes. It is when you leave your friends and family behind, not looking back. Love is not a one way street, it needs compromise.
“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Thank you, Bobby.
Your post was beautifully crafted.
I love how you described the school year as being "Izzy, dying out slowly but inevitably." We're going to miss high school and this insightful class.
"Falling in love is" definitely "one of the most terrifying things in this world." We may end up embarrassing ourselves sometimes in the process, but it is indeed worth pursuing.
Yes, "for true love, it only takes one person." Love is a blissful feeling, and it is worth taking risks.
It's nice that you see love as a way of making yourself, and other people, a "better person."
Your post is very deep and it even made me shiver. That was how difficult it was to read through your post (in a good way of course). There is so much insight and your post hit me really hard philosophically.
I loved your post because of your incorporation of your own work and the work of others to emphasize your point. And your connections to the movie were a nice touch. Bravo, Bobby.
I think the way you described how our final high school moments are very similar to Izzy really hit the issue on the head. I also like how you were able to incorporate other people's work from other blog sources into this one.
Bobbayy, I always love your posts! Reminds me of when Feraco asked the class, "Who in here thinks they're one of the top 30 kids in my classes?" And you raised your hand, while most everyone was too afraid to raise theirs. You are definitely right! Your writing is great, and your ideas are thought-provoking. I love how you compare our last days to Izzy's death, inevitable, coming no matter how much we don't want it to. We have little time left, and it is time to do the things that matter, and I love that, because in my opinion, meaning is great, but like you said, making it MATTER is what matters! I also really liked how you took quotes from your previous self and other peers! That's a great idea! And your ideas about love are really interesting. Love is worth it. Sharing love is what makes it matter. I think that's a vital aspect of life as well: love. And in these last few days of high school, love matters. Great post!
hey bobby! wow i really enjoyed reading your post this week! i loved the structure, language, and the quotes that you incorporated into your piece. good job!
I enjoyed how you related the inevitable to our senior year. I must agree that this year is much more meaningful, because it is the year that we split up at the "crossroads".
Dang Bobby, another amazing blog post, as usual. I really liked how you went back to your previous blogs and chose quotes from them for this blog. Really nice indeed!
“Listen; there’s a hell of a good universe next door: let’s go.”
-E. E. Cummings
In some parallel universe… things are different.
What is there to life? I would be a liar if I said I knew.
As far as I am concerned, life revolves around going to school. You go in at eight, you’re forced to remember useless information that you’ll never apply in real life, you stress yourself out worrying about rigorous tests, and after almost seven hours, you leave at 2:45. If you’re lucky, you don’t have homework – you’re not lucky though, so there goes another one-and-a-halfish hours of your day. Let’s just round it to eight hours of school a day.
In some parallel universe, eight hours of school would be unheard of.
So, if you take out eight hours for school and another eight for sleeping, you’re left with eight to: clean, study, bath, eat, exercise, do chores, be with friends and family, and do anything else that needs tending to. If you’re lucky, you have an extra five minutes to relax – you’re not lucky though, so you go to bed exhausted and wake up tired, hesitant to do it all over again. As your head lays wearily on your pillow, you open your bloodshot eyes and realise something crucial… it’s only Monday.
In some parallel universe, Mondays aren’t dreaded.
In some parallel universe, school doesn’t suck the life out of you.
In some parallel universe, “learning” is fun.
I think about how my life would be without this class – to be honest, it would be vastly better. While the lectures may be intriguing, the creative projects vivid and fun to look at, and the different perspectives interesting, overall, I do not really get anything out of it besides a lot of work… tons of work, actually.
In some parallel universe, I am a workaholic.
In some parallel universe, I love crunching out double-digit-paged essays.
There’s a problem though - this isn’t a parallel universe… it’s Earth.
“If it’s boring, then it’s tiring”
In reality, I am not a workaholic who loves going through the trouble of writing gigantic essays – I’m just another student who’d rather daydream than scrutinize lessons. To be honest, I never really liked school. As a kid, I did not go to school because I loved being there, I went because “The Man” put a metaphorical gun to my head and made me. It was the law. Not much has changed regarding my outlook on school – it’s an obstacle, not an asset.
As I think about the complexity of the universe – all the infinite possibilities – I cannot help but think…
In some parallel universe, I am sleeping soundly at 11:59 P.M. on a Thursday night, rather than worrying about whether or not I remembered to turn something in to turnitin.com.
In some parallel universe, the thought of my printer running out of ink or paper doesn’t strike fear in my heart.
In some parallel universe, I watch my peers pour their blood, sweat, and tears into a fifteen-paged essay, while I merely have to read a couple pages of my Women’s Lit. book.
In some parallel universe, I am not unlucky enough to get stuck in both Search for Human Potential AND Myth to Science Fiction.
In some parallel universe, I never had Search so I never had to worry about knowing exactly who Hrothgar, Halfdane, Hrethric, Hrothmund, Hrothulf, Hygelac, Hygd, or King Heremod are .
In some parallel universe, I have a different English class and I am less stressed out.
James, Your post this week was really interesting. You really expressed your views well. Feraco is infamous for giving a lot of work, but there is more to the class than that. If you let yourself be open to what the work offers, you will be amazed what you will find. The amount of work does not matter, it is what you do with it, that does.
This class is bold. It does something we are uncomfortable with; it challenges us to grow. In a time where we really want to check out of high school and relax, we need to be pushed. This is our childhood end. After this, we are adults. We make our own choices. Life will be challenging. Just look at the news.
What we want is to relax and enjoy our senor year. What we need is to become the people we were born to be. That is where this class comes in.
Just something to think about. I really liked the format of your post and your voice.
Apparently I came off as lazy - not what I intended to do.
I just wanted to point out that I don't appreciate having so much (an excessive amount, in comparison to my peers) work.
The workload itself is intimidating, but take into account that I also have a personal life where I must babysit, do chores, take time to visit one of my cousins in the hospital, learn how to drive, get a job, do college stuff, etc. Keep in mind, I also have 5 other classes.
Simply put, I have a lot on my plate already - I believe I'd be way better off without all the responsibilities that come with this class.
That totally makes sense, you did not come off as lazy. You definitely have a fair point. I feel where you are coming from. We all have things on plate. Balancing so many things is hard work. I'll keep your cousin in my prayers.
In some parallel universe, I wish I have never born.
In some parallel universe, I didn't have to go though Freshman year.
In some parallel universe, people would understand me perfectly.
No, I am stuck in the reality. I am stuck in this universe. So, I have to do what's right, what I am supposed to do.
No, you didn't come off lazy. You came off honest; you came off bitter.
And Yes, life would be so much easier if Feraco has never happened. Life might be so much better even.
But the Almighty has not permitted us to live easily. HE wants us to suffer, to stuck in the labyrinth of suffering.
Nobody is ever bigger complainer than I am. I believe Feraco would give a thumb up for my self-realization. And yet( I have to give him this), I have never enjoy writing this much before.
I respect your opinion. And I am sorry if you feel offended.
Uh, I'm not saying Mr. Feraco shouldn't give as much work as he does (let him do whatever he wants, that's his choice), if that's what you're implying.
-just saying I probably would have been better off in Women's Lit., or something, just out of preference.
Thanks for the feedback, by the way.
For what it's worth to anyone else who's reading this: I've known James a long time. We've talked about these things face-to-face, and I know exactly where he's coming from here.
Nice job James, I was very interested in your blog this week. The topic that you picked and the way you expressed your feelings towards it would probably be a lot harder for some to do but it seemed that is was very simple for you to speak your mind and let us know how you felt about the topic. Great Blog!
hi james, your post had some good points and bad ones as well. I liked the structure and the way you decided to use the parallel universe ideas and points in your writing, but the actual points you made didn't exactly come off that well to me.It almost left a bad taste and i strongly disagree with what you said about this class. Although our opinions don't math, the post itself was solid.
You Determine Your Own Happiness
I remember times during which I had not taken the initiative to execute the plans I had accumulated into galactic masses days before. Those thoughts had lingered in mind for what seemed to be an eternity. Tears would sometimes well up in my eyes as I lay in bed, pondering of the steps I would find necessary for me walk through in order to carry out my decision. I was truly determined to do it every time. I mean, the perfect path would be mapped out in my mind every single time. Nothing could have possibly gone awry in those brief moments. Nothing except for potential embarrassment or ridicule.
Yet nothing could have hurt more than a missed opportunity.
The chance to just unveil the plan into reality without thinking too much about it. Sometimes, I would ask myself, what would happen if I really found the guts to…
Oh, how frustrating and terrible it was for me to keep these feelings all to myself! Each time, the opportunity would always be hovering in my sight like a clear light bulb, but I would just foolishly back down from the ideal decision and let it slip away into nothingness. The darkness that suffocated and engulfed me during my earlier years was mostly a product of my own indecisiveness.
There was a point when I was just so dreadful of the possible emotional pains striking me down into a glob of dirt that I just kept everything to myself. That was around the first year of high school. I was much more shy back then. I was stripped of all trust in people due to the harsh treatment I received from individuals I once thought were my “friends”. Even when certain people tried approaching me in a friendly manner, I would have shrunken away from them in adherence to the notion that no one can be trusted. I would sometimes even react in a relatively hostile manner when a peer was teasing me without meaning any harm in particular. It was not because I held contempt towards others. It was just my means of self-protection as I felt like the outcast Bernard in Huxley’s Brave New World.
I was what you would have called the typical hermit or “loner”. What I had not realized was someone’s garbage could also be another’s castle. Besides, I also came to understand you did not have to be chosen by people; you could also reach out to others. Those people I wrongly labeled as my “friends” approached me first. I did not actually take the time to really know them before committing myself into the friendship.
After acknowledging my mistakes, I tried my best to mend them by opening up myself a little more, taking chances in small intervals. I began building up more and more confidence in myself and in others. I was appreciated to a much greater extent by the friends I sought through my own will, and my social life was quite satisfactory by the time it was my junior year in high school. Life suddenly became more enjoyable, more meaningful, and more worth loving. That same year, I also managed to voice my dream career to my parents. The career I always embraced in my mind since middle school. Those seconds were most soothing as I felt like a fish being dropped back into water after gasping for air and flopping around on the floor tiles for years.
But I knew life could still be better.
I knew there was still room for me to achieve more both in my little social world and in my life outside of school. The little tinge of sensitiveness and worries pulling me back from succeeding fully in anything still haunted me at times. I attempted to dig out the courage and to eradicate the unwelcome self-conscious characteristic I still held on to…but I failed to do so in utter completeness.
Everything was going on fine during first semester of senior year in high school. There were not too many ups and downs. It was tranquil, but it felt too mundane a life at times. First semester was to me just as the World State lifestyle appeared to be. No strong emotions. Just plain static days.
My yearn for some excitement, something new, began increasing. Life was just too dull first semester. I could not imagine how it would be if life were exactly like first semester. It is true that I found myself faced with less anxiety. There was not much work first semester compared to this second semester. I knew people I could just chill out with when there was not much work in certain classes. But it is actually the ups and downs in life that makes life meaningful. If we were all “happy-tappy” every day like the World State citizens, we would not know what true happiness was. There would not be anything as unhappiness to define happiness. Thus, life loses meaning. We, as individuals, lose meaning since we are doing and “enjoying” life the exact same way: the way we were conditioned to do so.
Thereby, life is indeed beautiful in the aspect that it ends as The Fountain’s central hypothesis states. We enjoy things we cannot truly grasp. It sounds pretty insane, but it is actually true. That is why some people reach the zenith of their fame after death. That is the reason why first loves are always the most vivid of memories in human relationships. That is the reason why some people say “marriage is the tombstone to love.” Not every marriage is bad, but most people say dating is more pleasurable. In part, this is because dating is short lived in comparison to marriage, in which two people promise to unite together for life. Seeing someone you love every day is indeed what you would perceive to be paradise. But too much “happiness” can be overbearing. That is why people always complain about needing more space. Having a routine thing happen in life is just too boring. Having eternal life is, as you can imagine, even worse.
Every person is always looking forward to summer vacations. The reason being that it provides a stark contrast to school and work life. But what if it were always summer vacation? That would be like saying you are always on soma holiday. And what is soma anyways? Just false happiness.
It was during second semester that the “answer” presented itself to me. The key to living my life to the fullest presented itself in the form of Mr. Feraco’s many meaningful lectures. I recall I wrote something along the lines of “security first, and then go for your dream” in my post to the first blog. But after receiving more encouragement from Mr. Feraco, telling us to go for what we want instead of hesitating and regretting like Myron Rolle did, and feedback from insightful peers like Katie, my perception on how I desired to live my life shifted. My eyes were opened as I was able to look at the bigger picture more clearly. I came to understand there was much more to life than merely having bread and a decent living.
Money and food is not everything that matters in life. Besides, what else would matter if I could not obtain what I had so wished for? I began to tell myself to not settle for less. It was the first time I truly put down the armor my mom had so carefully woven for me. Every time my mom would tell me how much she regretted not doing this or not doing that. Yet whenever I brought up the job I wanted to have most, she always denounced my talk as being unrealistic.
Nonetheless, after being in this class, my thinking was brought to a whole other dimension. I did not want to remorse over the past the way my mom did. I decided I had to put out all my efforts to get what I wanted. Besides, there is nothing to lose. But I will always regret if I did not even try.
That being said, I would definitely achieve “some measure of grace” before I go as Izzi did, acknowledging I had done everything I could to make life worthy of living.
"We enjoy things we cannot truly grasp."
I love this. You have no idea how well this fits - not just into the second-semester work, but into the whole year-long arc of the course.
Hi Mr. Feraco,
Thank you for the feedback.
I just kept on writing, and the idea suddenly just popped into my mind. It is strange that we would think this way, but it is quite true.
Perfection is a plague that we bring upon ourselves. We waste all our time focusing on what may or may not go wrong that we mess up the timing and hurt ourselves more. Over and over again we design a rocket that we never build while we sink farther and farther into nothing. It gets worse and worse until every day feels like the worst day ever. We look around from our swing and see everyone has somewhere to go. Everyone but us. We look for our friends but they have left without us for their own brave new world. It as that moment we know what it's like to be alone, and it hurts like nothing else. It hurts so much that we become indifferent, we choose to become so empty that we don't feel a thing. Unlike you though I wasn't able to bring others close to me, I was only brave enough to stop running away. And soon I was surrounded by people that cared about me and I could both see and feel the sun again. My friends gave me a strength I could have never grasped if I didn't stop digging my own grave.
You're post really resonated with me, except I don't think you chose to be an annoying punk like I did, but I hope you go far.
Thank you for the feedback and for understanding how I feel.
We detemine whether or not our life is meaningful, and your step in being "brave enough to stop running away" already proves you are on your way to living a much grander life.
I think our mortal enemies are ourselves. As long as we can overcome those mind-splitting thoughts in which we become too worried about perfection (which is impossible, but we always seem to forget no one is perfect), life will be so much easier.
I'm glad you have found your true friends after being determined enough to "stop digging [your] own grave."
You may appear to be a "punk" on the outside just like I used to be a "loner", but I'm sure you definitely have much value as a person, who is strong enough to get back on your knees.
I hope you go far, too.
Sorry, I just realized I wrote "strong enough to get back on your knees."
I meant to say "get back on your feet."
I love the way you wrote it and that you pursued through so much, the blog you wrote is interesting and I like how u wrote it.
Thank you for the feedback.
I'm happy that you enjoyed my writing.
I could sense your feeling under your little bit strange behavior,
actually i am in the same boat, only my mind is more crazy and more dehumanized.
I used to eliminated human emotions in the pass, and now i was very regret about that because i couldn't get those emotions back,
therefore i created a new one, which is far different from the original version of me.
i believe you can eventually overcome your weakness and reform yourself as close to perfection as you could possible reach, and i hope you could reach that stable point if you satisfy about it
I wish i could write my blog in a more realistic way like what you does, but my mind just mixed with too much fantasies, and i know clearly my logic is laughing at romantic part of me.
Time dictates our lives. As long as we keep on living, there will always be an end waiting for us. However, if there is no end, will we ever begin?
It's coming to an end. The years have gone by fast and I'm left with memories that I can never relive. However, when I look back, I don't want to lose what I already have. I don't want to let go of it all. Inevitably, I can't. No one can.
But I'm glad that I can't.
I'm glad to say that I enrolled in this class. Honestly, I blindly chose this class, thinking that it would be an easy A. Instead of getting a class with an easy A, I got a class that gave me new perspective of the person I am.
This wasn't the first time I had Feraco. I had him during freshman year, and the blogs today are no where near as challenging as it was before. Not only has the work changed, but myself in particular. When I look back now on the old blogs from freshman year, I realized how simple minded I was and with little thought, I would answer those questions. I passed the class but I failed to put effort. I rarely spoke and disappeared in the shadows of the classroom. The years went by, and I have changed since then, and now I'm faced with Feraco again.
Search for Human Potential was truly a search for my potential. Although the workload is unparalleled, I felt the revisit with the blogs. This time, I didn't just go for the minimum requirements. I pushed myself to write until I got my word out. I didn't want people to just read a post, but I wanted my voice to be heard. I didn't want to go back to being the silent boy who sits in class.
I didn't care about the grade I earned, but more about the effort I put to turn in something. The Creative Project, and Artium Magister were the two assignments that pushed me to work more than ever before. (Maybe because of procrastinating too much) However, it showed a different perspective about myself. It showed that I had character.
Reentering Feraco's class, it showed that I did grow. My life has changed from being the simple freshman, to an individual senior.
Above all, the class did show me something that I'm glad I've learned. Life has no meaning until you put meaning into it. With every project or assignment, I tried to put meaning into it.
The same went throughout my life. I'm glad I can't hold onto what I have.
I know I'm going to leave. I know that I'll never get this opportunity again. That is why, I want to leave my mark on the school, and to not forget the memories I set behind. I want to continue growing, but at the same time, I want to remember the steps I took to make it this far. There is still more room for improvements, but that rests in the future.
Life continues going, to eventually reach its end. I challenge myself to better my life, and myself. Life is short, so discover what the meaning of life is to you.
“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” Marcus Aurelius
So make it count.
For what it's worth: I knew this was you before I reached the bottom line.
It's been a heck of a ride from your freshman year onwards.
And I'm proud of you for finding your voice.
It's nice knowing that you're finally finding meaning in this class. This is a very mind-stimulating class, getting us to "challenge [ourselves] to better [our] life, and [ourselves]" and to find out who we, ourselves, actually are.
Congratulations for finding yourself transform from "being the simple freshman, to an individual senior." Keep up the good work.
Well Joesph it looks like you have come along way from your freshmen year and it seems that you have gained a lot more knowledge from what has been taught to you by Mr. Feraco from when you first entered High school. I'm glad you have finally found your voice!
You know a lot of people don’t know how to walk. They don’t really walk, but they teleport or phase from one point to the next. They see only a checklist of destinations filled with annoying distractions between them. They are so focused on where they want to go and what they want to do that they lose the world around them. They don’t see that rushing towards your final destination is not the goal, but neither is cowering away from it. The end will always be there for you when everything else is dead and gone. You don’t really have to pay it any attention. I’ve found that if you just walk about and about until someway, somehow you end up where you always wanted to be. Even if you where you wanted to be was not the direction your first step took. As long as you enjoy the scenery around you on your walk through life you’ll end up somewhere good. And it is the memories that you build along the way the make up your life as you approach the end. Walking is living.
When you walk around, no matter how hard you try to escape them, you will always run into people. They all walk at their own pace and that’s fine, that’s the way it should be. Yet some people always get in the way. Some people think that they have all the secrets, and not that you should use them, but that you have to use them. They are too blinded with the end result of wealth, fame and power. As if life could ever be measured in such simple terms. If they have all the secrets then they should use them, not me. I want to go through life doing things my way.
When I see people fall I’ll be the one to lend out a hand but don’t expect me to choose your life for you. I have enough trouble managing my own life to waste my time controlling someone else. Plus if you really like someone wouldn’t you let them do what they want? Of course you would, but then you realize that you don’t let too many people do things out of their own free will. You see the potential they have, or the plague that haunts their life and you always find yourself leading the way for them. You think that you won’t let them fail but pretty soon you’re the one in the way. But what if they wanted to waste the day away, would you let them? Or would you waste the day with them? It takes someone really precious to give them everything, especially when they want nothing at all.
I want to walk along the path of most resistance, not only because I’m a punk, but also because it seems the most interesting. Walking through the forest of life where there is everything to see and nothing to lose. And I will leave no sand or trace behind, so that if I get lost I can just keep walking somewhere new. I will walk around and burn every bridge I see and leave nothing to be followed by. I will lead a life that no other can follow because that is a life worth living. That will be a life truly my own, truly great.
I want to live life as more than just alright, because life is not alright. But death is. And I will not be a crawling deadman where every day is the same. Every day is just alright. Nothing changes and everything is indifferent. There is nothing to love and nothing to hate. Instead of working to live I would live to work. Live to maintain “alright.” If I lived like that I would be alright. But if you are alright, then why are you crying? Because it is not alright to be dead by choice. Why would you live dead if you can choose to live alive? Death is static. Nothing moves forwards of backwards and everything just stays the same. Life, however, is the opposite because when you live you can change the world.
I want to walk through life living fruity so that one day when my sweet nectar rots I’ll be the cocktail of some stranger’s conversation. Death is death, nothing more, nothing less. The dead can never touch the living, but the living can always touch the dead. In fact the living can even let the dead touch them with a memory of that favorite bar or that book about that sad story. The dead do not force you to remember them or read their works, but you do it of your own free will. And that is truly amazing, that is the road to awe. Free will makes the end significant. When you stop walking in life for the last time you have no energy to move yourself. You still move forward, carried on the shoulders of those that choose to take your burden.
I can see our posts do resonate in similar ways.
I like your first sentence: "You know a lot of people don’t know how to walk." It's quite true; we are just too preoccupied with "rushing towards [our] final destination" or just so scared of life's difficulties that we shrink away from anything else that may be potentially beautiful. We should always find a right balance in life.
Yes, "walking is [indeed] living" (nice statement).
I totally agree that "Death is static. Nothing moves forwards of backwards and everything just stays the same. Life, however, is the opposite because when you live you can change the world." It's kind of like what I said about eternal life.
We most certainly must "live life as more than just alright" to shape us into who we are and to find meaning in life.
I love this sentence:
"I want to walk through life living fruity so that one day when my sweet nectar rots I’ll be the cocktail of some stranger’s conversation."
You definitely will "walk through life" in such a wondrous manner, judging from your strong will.
Keep up the good work and continue the walk through life!
Wow! I really liked your post. I like to walk like a child, just looking up at the trees and around and the passing people but not really paying attention to where I'm going. It's much more fun that way. Yes I get lost almost everywhere I go but it has lead me to so beautiful places, people, and experiences. That moment before i find my way is scary but it is the difference between being alive and truly living for me.This one hit home and I enjoyed reading it. Great job!
I really liked your last paragraph the most and this quote "Death is death, nothing more, nothing less." Overall your post was a great read and I enjoyed reading it! Good job!
A lot of nights I think about dying, not for suicidal reasons or anything. It’s more of a contemplative thing.
I breathe easy at night. There’s nothing to stress or worry about while in bed. Wrapped up in my comforter, I feel light, all the weight of the day suddenly off my shoulders. That is, until my mind begins to wander; some nights, I end up thinking about death and what comes after. Many of these nights I don’t sleep either.
The way I see it, there is nothing beyond the lives we have right now.
Often within just a few minutes of thinking about death, I end up a cold sweat, my body suddenly seeming much too cold but the blanket also much too warm. My heart starts picking up the pace and pounding much, much faster; my breaths come short and fast, as if there were suddenly less oxygen in the air. I find myself wanting to run to my parents’ room and give them hugs, but I’m also too scared to move.
In short, I start to panic.
When I think of what comes after death, I see a pitch black nothingness; I won’t have my conscience, and I won’t be able to use any of my senses. It won’t be just for a few hours either, like going to sleep, but forever. I won’t even know I am dead, because I won’t have thoughts anymore. My brain and the chemicals in it that form my personality will have stopped functioning. Eventually, my body will break down, crumble into the earth. Then that will be the end of everything: my body will become part of the earth and my mind erased away.
This thought of never existing again, just fading into the darkness, utterly terrifies me.
I have tried time and time again to convince myself of some kind of heaven, of a beautiful afterlife where I won’t become nothingness. It never works though, because there always remains the nagging belief in my head that a heaven is inconceivable.
If I could have a heaven though, I’d like a place where I could keep all my friends, all my family, and my existence; I’d also like to think that it would be in a forest maybe, or one of those huge, windy plains with tall green grass. There’d be lots of friendly bears to hug, and lots of cats to cuddle with.
Yet what follows me after death is most likely, unfortunately, nothing like this dream.
Through all my thinking though, however morbid and depressing, I understood that I needed to make use of the small amount of time I have on this earth. Maybe I have yet to accept my end, or at least the end I think that awaits me, because I have yet to live enough, see enough, of the world. There’s still quite a number of items on my bucket list of things I need to eat, places I need to see, and things I need to try doing, and I have yet to fulfill even a good number of my goals.
Maybe after I fully utilize the years I have will I finally accept the inevitable.
The imagery you used is great, I felt like I got to understand what happened to you
Wow I agree ^^ your imagery is GREAT! I would never personally contemplate my death, but great job!
You really painted a picture with your words, good work Jessica - it really appeals to one's senses.
Wow, your images are clearly shown through your writing this week. We all have that same thought of what's after death.
I enjoyed the read. It gives a lot to think about, and there are so much to wonder. But we are alive now, so there's still a reason why we aren't prepared for death. Great post.
I have dislocated my knee hundreds of times along with having broken bones and scraped elbows, but never have I felt a pain as strong as that moment. The moment my hands were beating against the ground and I gasped for a breath because life as I knew it had been sucked out of my throat. The moment when I lost all hope because holding onto it wasn’t healthy anymore. The moment when I lost faith because it wasn’t logical anymore. The moment when I wished she was asleep because being awake was far too hard to witness.
I have felt death. It lurks in the dark shadows of my grandmothers’ orange lamp lit house. When she falls asleep on the couch I can feel a heavy in the air. I used to hate being in that house at night. I was afraid. I was afraid of death and that hers was coming on my watch. I’m not afraid anymore.
I’m afraid for her when she is awake.
The thing that I fear the most is not death but living without being alive. I have seen death too many times and that’s not what makes my eyes swollen from tears or stomach cramp from anxiety. Its merely existing. My grandmother has sever Alzheimer’s dieses. She has witnessed something far more terrifying then death. She can’t remember her grandchildren’s names and has to look us in the eye and carry that shame. She has lost all control of her house and herself. The delusions scare her into lashing out at the people she trusts. She talks in circles and can barely read anymore. I will always remember her hand writing because she would put LittleMachineShop printed post-it notes on everything, just so she wouldn’t forget. She always took the time to twisty-tie, bag, double bag, twisty-tie, and bag again everything. Her house hasn’t change since 1982 with the giant “hauntingly stoic” senior portrait of my mother hanging in the den, which she has hated since the day it was taken. She was the preserver of the family. Now I am just writing to try to preserve what’s left of her.
“But I don’t know how it ends” and her eyes are screaming at me to finish it.
I’m banging my hands against the bark for too long that hope for a breath has passed and my faith has been put to rest for far too long. I don’t know what tomorrow brings and that is a scary thing but hopefully it comes with peace. Hopefully it comes with life instead of living because life goes on after death, living obviously does not. I lost my faith in religion long ago but I have to believe something. It’s hard to have faith when it has been absent for so long but I think that’s all that I need.
I have faith in my family. I believe in the moments and melodies that run through my head because this woman existed. I believe in the moments and melodies that run through my head because of the path and opportunities that this life has given me.
I have faith in life and I think that’s all that matters.
wow, that made me really sad, because it all so true and i though that you did an awesome job with just letting go and writting whatever you wanted even tho its a touchy subject.
“When my parents pass on”
Assuming that I do not pass before my family, I feel that my parents would want me to pay tribute to them by bettering myself. All my life, my parent have instilled certain beliefs and would not want me to dwell on their death, but would want me to remember what I have been taught, and to do the right thing(meaning not cheating, stealing, breaking the law, or even lying) in difficult situations. After watching The Fountain, I told my mom about the idea of the tree of life, and what Izzi Creo said about the Mayan King’s father who was growing in a tree. My mom agreed with this idea that even though she will die, her spirit will always be with my brother and myself.
My parents are religious, but they have allowed me to develop my own beliefs about life, but I will always have the Hindu faith. When it comes to the Hindu faith, there is not much in terms of afterlife, but there are a lot of stories which talks about great souls and how they will stay with us. After my parents die, I would like to think that they would want me to move on, but always remember that they would always be a part of me. I genuinely agree with the lecture Mr. Feraco gave about being a partial part of our parents. Sure we may look a lot like our parents and may even be like a clone of them, but we are all destined to be on this planet and be individuals. We all have dreams and aspirations we are destined to do, but ultimately we take a piece of every person we meet. The people we are close to will be in our hearts FOREVER.
When my parents, my brother, or even my best friend passes, I feel that my initial response will be exactly as Tommy’s was. Especially if my brother and my best friend pass at a young age, I will fall into a mini depression and I will want to bring them back. However, with my parents I know that they want me to move on and I do not mean to be insensitive but I feel as though it will not affect me as much as my best friend and my brother. These are the two most important people in my life. The problem with my parents is that we are just too different and I cannot be my true self around them. I feel as though if I truly told them everything they would lose all respect for me. I know they have my best interest, but being honest with them is difficult. I know that what they truly want is for me to remember them by being honest with myself so that would be the tribute to them. When it comes to my time, I hope to pass on knowing that I have meant something to someone in this world. LIFE GOES ON…
At the beginning of this blog the quote from 25th Hour is there to help us find out who we are. In this monologue James Brogan talks about his perception of himself and the situation. This is supposed to help us figure out who we are. To be honest, I really do not know much about how others view me. In our lives today, perception is everything and I get paranoid. I feel like people are constantly judging me on my quirks including Mr. Feraco, even though they may not even notice these things. I am surprisingly excited to do this define yourself project which is part of the reason why I think this quote was inserted at the beginning of the blog.
I really enjoyed reading your post. It was really well written. Keep up the good work
Sometime ago, Mr. Feraco, you said that you liked second semester seniors best because that’s when seniors start to reach out and meet people they’ve always seen but never known. And because grudges that always seemed to matter so much, magically disappear.
And it’s because as time goes by we realize how little of it there is. There just isn’t enough time. I don’t have enough time.
“You know the name of my favorite editor is Les Ismore, not to be confused with Mor Isless.”
As the chapter of my high school life slowly comes to an end, I find myself desperately trying to cram as many lasting memories and adventures into those last few pages as I can. It’s the last chance I have to go out with first high school friend, David Liu, my last chance to go to my first high school dance, my last chance to uncover my Great Perhaps.
I remember back in the November of my sophomore year I was crying. It was the Senior Tribute for Band, which is our farewell to the seniors. And I cried because all the upperclassmen I knew were going to leave, I would never see them again on the field, or in uniform. Sure there were another seven months until they graduated and finally left, but they’ve reached the end of their journey in marching band. I would miss them, I do miss them. And the fact that I would no longer march with them again, gave the season so much more meaning. There is value in having an end because when things come to an end at least I have the memories of before it ended. “It was fun while it lasted.”
That’s why we always get souvenirs on trips, or give gifts on anniversaries. Because it says: look where we’ve come, how far we’ve made. A mug from New York may mean nothing more to me an odd mug, but that same mug means something completely different to the UCLA student from Brooklyn. I see a mug, he would see a part of his old home. His time there ended.
And that time was beautiful, because it’s over.
I liked your posted because it was short, sweet and simple. you gave a great short explanation for a question that is so big. I really liked it.
Hi Ryan. I agree with your belief that having an end adds meaning to a memory. It is important to treasure something that is impermanent, because doing so often leads to a more fulfilling life. I enjoyed reading your post. Nice job!
I wake up, in the middle of the golden wood.
I can see nothing, but pieces of golden sun shine twining around my eyes. I stand at the same point for a while until my soul finally comes back from my dream. The wood in front of me separated the dirt into two roads, extending deep into the forest.
I turned around, and ……and there wasn’t even a road out there. There is only a cliff where there seems to have no end down to the abyss. I can see the land across the deepness; it is so clear as if I just passed it yesterday, yet it is fuzzy that I couldn’t tell what is exactly is our there.
“Where am I?” I shouted towards that abyss.
There is no answer comes out of my echoing voice.
I sit down, wondering what’s going on, but as I am about to do so, suddenly, a gust of wind blows some bubbles from the opposite side of land. It comes by my cheek and bursts……..
“I’ll see you in the other side of the day” said Feraco.
The class bell rang, it was 9:55 on Wednesday. I went out of classroom on B2 and said goodbye to Victoria. “Today I got a blog, I must finished it tonight. Oh, the fountain, parallel world, and the road to awe, how can I merge those together? I wished I didn’t take Feraco this year……”
Gradually my voice vanished as the things I saw faded.
After moment of a blink,
I was sitting in my calculus classroom while Mr. Millar was standing in front of the classroom lecturing something I already know.
Kevin was sitting beside me, playing his games on the phone.
“I am glad that I didn’t take Feraco this year, calculus is so easy,” I said casually.
Suddenly a strange sense of change ran through my brain as thousands of electrons are accelerated by their own electric field inside my body.
“Where am I?” I said
This time I got an answer
“You are in calculus classroom, remember that? Alright stop your daydream and listen carefully. Tomorrow we have calculator allowable section of final, remember to bring……” I didn’t quite listening to Mr. Millar because I bring my calculator all the time.
After I come home, I opened the website, searching for Feraco’s blog. But there is no Feraco’s website because I didn’t even take his class.
“Oh what am I doing, so, I don’t have any homework left.” So as I said, I lie down on my bed. I don’t have anything do to; therefore I don’t have anything to think.
However lying on the bed or playing computer games do not throw that sense of emptiness out of my mind. The sun disappeared from the horizon; my body turns cold as the color of sky turns dark.
My life reached its stable point where I don’t have to struggling at anything.
“But I don’t feel alive,” I said to myself.
“Why?” a sound appears in my room.
“Because……because I don’t have anything to do,” I said
“Isn’t that what you wanted?”
“……. Then why am I feel so cold, so empty, and so meaningless?”
“Because you avoided it.”
“No, take me back, this is not my life,” I cried out, “……”
Then I wake up again.
I stand and turn around, looking at those two roads in front of my eyes.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
“And I believe, the hardest challenge is one that could reform me into a better person; that hardest challenge is one less traveled by.”
“After all, that struggle makes me feel the sense of alive……..”
To be honest, that sense of emptiness occurred every time when I missed something, as if part of my heart was dug out, exposing in the cold air. Tommy feels that sense of emptiness too when he is avoiding facing Izzi’s death. He sees his hand where his wedding ring was supposed to be on there and turns crazy, kicking and screaming. He tries to ink his skin with pain and sadness; however the ink for writing does not cover his sadness, instead, it reminds him of the unfinished final chapter in The Fountain Izzi left. Tommy, instead of finished that final chapter, do the same thing as Gilgamesh lost Enkido; he puts himself crazy on doing the researches as well as other things even though the purpose of doing that has gone completely. He is afraid that memories in the pass would hurt him; however, avoiding that measure of grace hurts him even more than facing that pain.
I used to think about something such as “I wish I never took Feraco’s class,” (I didn’t actually say it) but when I actually think about not having Feraco’s class, I feel my life has suddenly dead. Those interesting philosophy question is challenging me, helping me clamping up the ladder towards maturity will never appears in my memories and merges with my central thinking system; without Feraco’s challenge there won’t be a person sitting in front of computer typing those believes and I won’t be so addicted on thinking and growing. After all, suffer makes us picking up the sense of alive. Without those struggles, my life would looks much different from what I have now. I believe even if I try to avoid them, they will eventually come back to me. Because I cannot pretending living a life that does not belongs to me.
In some parallel universe, I might not choose to go to the U.S. and I might never meet my friends and Feraco…
In some parallel universe, my father might not have abandoned me when I was young, and I might have a much better life…
In some parallel universe, I might goes and fight against those three bullies for saving that boy who seek for help…
In some parallel universe, my mother might marries to a rich people, and I might not even need to worry about anything…
But in those parallel universes, I would never become me anymore, but someone I don’t know.
Therefore I would face my fate and bear my extremely bad luck, and I think it is the death that lie on the end of the road dense the concentration of meaning.
After all, a valuable thing would always be those we could never reach completely.
Great intro and imagery. Wow, what a nightmarish dream!
Man, your blog posts are getting more and more interesting each week. Every word was placed in a perfect spot at the right place and at the right time (it could have been made into a scene in some drama!).
You are correct in saying that "lying on the bed or playing computer games do not throw that sense of emptiness out of my mind." These are just temporary escape routes from reality. The more you play games, the more downcast you're going to get. Why do people play games? Because they are not fortunate enough to find meaning in their lives akin to the reason why the World State citizens are obsessed with soma.
It's definitely much more productive and healthy for us to be writing our blog posts than goofing around. We'll always discover some meaningful things in our lives we have always overlooked during this process. At least, we'll be living in reality, being whole in soul and mind. And most importantly, we'll find ourselves.
You know, sometimes I feel that way, too. On days "I don’t have anything to do", I find life just too static. I'd much rather find a balance between the leisurely aspects of life and my busy work schedules than lie around with nothing to do.
I'm glad you're "addicted on thinking and growing" (although addictions are usually bad, this one can actually help you in the long run).
I'm sorry to hear how much you had to go through.
I'm proud of you for not giving up hope.
Don't ever lose hope. At least you've had the chance to know about GOD and to have this once in a life time opportunity to have Mr. Feraco as your teacher. We'll always struggle in life, but when you keep thoughts of what makes life your life in mind, you'll find life's value.
Live your life in such a way that you can say, "This is Simon's life" and not any other person's. Be brave, build up your courage, and always think about GOD's grace. Then you will have the courage to live on.
Hi impression Victoria,
you are always curing the scar carved in my soul while i have nothing to do in return,
i have never read holy bible, so i cannot say that i truly believe in god, even though i would rather agree with its existence.
i know all the things i have been through is like a Purgatory that purifying my mind and soul,
i wish i can finally grant that power to speak my life with proud, i wish i can turn those suffer away leaving only space for happiness and grateful
thank you Victoria,
I always hear a lot of people say the whole “once in a life time” thing. But what does that mean? Why is it that only when really special things happen people say it?
Well maybe it is because we do believe that we will experience the most beautiful things in life only, once in a lifetime. This is different for everyone though. For some it might their true loves first kiss. But it isn’t always about a romantic kind of love because for others it might be something such as spending the day with someone who they know has already been assigned an early expiration date. Or even the other way around, knowing that someone is on their last days in this world and spending the day with them because they decided you were the one human being in this world that they wanted to dedicate some of their countdown time to.
The one amazing thing that happens only once in a lifetime but seems to be so common because of our obvious population is giving birth. Parents always say how amazing it was to have a child together; that there is a feeling which comes once in a lifetime when they first saw their baby’s face or heard their baby’s cry. Even the people that have more than one child say that each was a once in a lifetime experience. I just ask myself, how can giving birth to 3 different children at 3 different stages in your life still be considered a once in a lifetime experience. If you’ve done it once shouldn’t you know what to expect and not be surprised at what is ahead?
I thought and thought.
No, you don’t know what to expect.
Every time it is different.
Every time it is unique.
Because there will come a time in which your babies become adults, when they only visit you every now and then, but also there will come a time when you are no longer able to give birth to another human being.
You cannot keep on repeating the process.
The limit comes.
You eventually just can’t anymore.
That’s what I have come to think about giving birth. It’s not so special just because it is something you created or something which you are able to give the gift of life to. It turns out to be something special because it is something you can do once in a lifetime with each of your children. But it turns out to be more special because eventually you will no longer be able to do it anymore.
Maybe giving birth is to much for our age group right now to be thought of something special. Just because we haven’t lived through it we might not fully understand it (even me and I’m writing it). There are other subjects however that I feel many more can relate to rather easily. Such as “ childhood. ”
Why do we miss it?
Being seniors on our way out why do we sometimes act like we’re five?
Why do we sometimes “wish we were little kids ”?
Some might have not had this thought but I know I have and I still don’t exactly know why, or maybe I’ve never really thought about it. I do know that when I say it, it is often at times when I am stressed out, sad, or even when I’m in a situation in which I don’t know what to do when I’m lost. The only question I have for myself and any of those who have had the same thought before is, why go back to being a child? If you’re going back because things are difficult now, you’re sad, or lost then why not go back to yesterday, to a couple of weeks before you felt this way, or why not avoid all these feelings and fast forward to the next day?
No, why go back to “ childhood ”?
We might like to go back to childhood because we know that our time in that section of our life has completely and officially expired.
We try to relive the process.
We wish we could relive the process.
But we know that it happened only for a couple years, and that it only happens once in a lifetime.
For some reason we always want to go back to the things in which we have limited time. It only leads me to believe that yes those times, those moments, those experiences are so beautiful only because they are limited. We want them back so much only because they happen once. We wish we could relive them because they might be forgotten throughout life and we will not be able to experience them again.
Not now, not ever again.
We want to keep having the things which we cannot have anymore.
That’s why our life gains meaning because it will eventually end. That is why our moments are beautiful because we cannot enjoy them or even remember them forever.
Alma, The way you spoke about childhood and the why we often want to become one again, (Sometimes) really stood out because last year i found myself wishing that i could do the same.
I really like how you formated your blog and also enjoyed your connections with the youth of our younger souls as well as how our souls developed
Thank you for the read alma, It was good
When I first read your sentence, "Even the people that have more than one child say that each was a once in a lifetime experience," I was thinking the exact same thing you were thinking: "how can giving birth to 3 different children at 3 different stages in your life still be considered a once in a lifetime experience. If you’ve done it once shouldn’t you know what to expect and not be surprised at what is ahead?"
But I finally got why they'd say that after getting to the part, "No, you don’t know what to expect. Every time it is different. Every time it is unique."
Then I realized it's like us having a blog about every week. Although we do the same thing (write) each time, we always gain new insights. It's like us living each day of our lives. We do the same thing: live and breathe. But we see things differently each day.
I like how you used the word "expired." Everything has an expiration date, like milk. That's why we'll remember to drink it instead of just putting it aside. That's why we'll "finish it." The milk's value lies in the fact that it doesn't last forever. That's why we cherish life.
Great job on the blog!
I love your connection you made with childhood and how it loops around back to life as a person and who you are today. I wrote something similar about how the things we do before define us and if it were to change, we wouldn't be the same. Great post!
That’s why our life gains meaning because it will eventually end. That is why our moments are beautiful because we cannot enjoy them or even remember them forever.
Sorry, it entered before I could finish. I wanted to say after reading your blog this was a great finish to it. I really enjoyed reading all you had to say, it was deep and meaningful and I can tell that you really enjoyed this blog. Thank you for the great read my fellow Hufflepufferrr!
The Fountain proposes an idea that things that end have meaning because the fact that it ends creates meaning and significance. The threat of losing something close to you makes that thing important.
This theory is present in multitudes of literary works and real life. In The Fountain, Izzie’s life is important to Tommy because all of a sudden it is made clear to him that the end to it is near. He values his wife’s life so much that when he is confronted with the end of it, he almost strangles a doctor and constantly pounds Izzie’s chest with the hopes that she will come back. In 1984, Winston constantly reminds the readers that he and Julia cannot last forever and that the end do their relationship must be near. This explains why he values his time with Julia so much, because he knows that it is limited. Another great example of this is found in the epic Gilgamesh. Before his best friend, Enkidu, dies, Gilgamesh does not clearly see how much meaning is present in Enkidu’s life. However, when Enkidu is on his deathbed, it is made apparent to Gilgamesh that Enkidu is very important to him and after his death, Gilgamesh goes crazy in an attempt to try and resurrect his best friend.
The idea that seeing the end to something makes it more important is not just present when involving huge life events such as the aforementioned deaths; it can be found in everyday life. I believe the most prominent example of this is homework. If there was no due date, if there was no end, then completing homework would never be a priority to us, it would never have meaning. We all recognized that the Senior Research Paper part of the Senior Project was important, but how many of us actually started before Spring Break? After seeing all of the Facebook status’s regarding this, I’m pretty safe to assume less than 50% of us did. If there had not been a been a set due date or if the due date had been the last day of school, I am absolutely positive almost no one would have started by now.
Another example of this is just in the idea of senior year itself, especially second semester. A lot of us are now realizing how close the endings to our lives in Arcadia are and all of a sudden things like hanging out with our friends and making the most of our favorite clubs are important to us. Now that we are confronted with the fact that in a few months, most of us will be leaving Arcadia and some of us will never return, we find it imperative to enjoy our last few moments here. Now that the end is in sight, there is meaning in Arcadia High School.
Without death, life has no meaning. Without due dates, homework has no meaning. Without graduation, AHS has no meaning. It is obvious; without ends, there is no meaning.
Bro i admired the way you have tied everything that we have ever absorbed fro the Mighty Feraco~!
Your connections with the end also stood out to me which helped contribute to your great punch line.
Thanx dude, Keep up the Great work
I believe that everything that happens is for a reason. To be quite honest, I’m glad it does. I am even glad about all the things that have happened to me in my short lifetime, including the disappointing events and the parts I wish I could take back. For example, I have learned from the good times and even the bad times. This has led me to be the man I am today which is a person I truly admire and respect. I quite comfortable and proud of the person I have turned out to be. I wouldn’t change any aspect in my life even if I could.
Enrolling in Mr. Feraco’s “Search for Human Potential” and “Myth to Science Fiction” classes have played a role in me getting to know the person that I am today. To be honest, I was pretty nervous to be a student in Mr. Feracos class because I have heard things like “he grades very hard” or “his class is worse than an AP class” or even “you won’t have time to go out and have fun because of all the work he will assign you.” This made me feel that I should probably get out of Mr. Feraco’s class as quickly as possible. Despite being scared half to death for the first couple of days of class because of how much work he would assign us, pretty soon it didn’t even phase me. As time went by, I started to find myself becoming excited to see the what would be the next task he had to offer us. I went from being scared of Mr. Feraco’s class to being very involved. I have learned from almost all the work we were assigned this past year. I know I have become a better writer, speaker, and even a better thinker. My mind is now filled with a lot of ideas as well as more fictional stories, that I just want to put them down on a piece of paper.
I truly thank you Mr. Feraco for being the dedicated teacher you are because you have made a huge difference in my education. I wouldn’t have it any other way. You have helped me learn not only about all the stories in class but also about myself. I feel that I have gained so much more knowledge that I couldn’t get from anywhere else, and for that, I am very grateful. I have found my “human potential.” Thanks to you, Mr. Feraco .
Life is just supposed to be a place where people like us can have a place to be free and meet other people, find happiness and be happy! Life is too short to be mad at people or have feelings of regret. People on this earth and our bodies are not supposed to be permanent. We are just here for a very short amount of time. We are meant to enjoy life while it lasts because after death I believe we will go to a permanent resting place whether that would be heaven or someplace else. Wherever it is we end up, will stay there for eternity. I do believe there is a God but I am doubtful there is a heaven. I would rather not take any chances. I think life is our chance to prove to God that we are worthy of going to heaven. However, most people take life as a joke and act as if life is bestowed upon them because they are entitled to have the gift of life.
Unfortunately, we never get a “re-do” button on this thing we call life. The parts of life that we have every single day is definitely all we have to show for ourselves. I really don’t think people, including myself, understand how lucky were are to be chosen to be a part of this glorious world until it’s over, because as you know we only live once. I think we should make every second count.
As I am growing up in my own life, I become more mature with every second I stay on this earth. I used to think I would never be able to do half the things I have done in my life when I was at a younger age. Now, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me, because the things I think I am not capable of doing at this moment in my life, I will probably accomplish in two to three years tops. For example, where I am at right now in my life, I feel that I am not really at peace. I know there is so much more I want out of life, but I don’t know how or where to get it right now. I am positive that when I grow older and become more mature and wiser, I will find out how, and then I could be at peace. People always tell me that my life is just beginning and that I have so much ahead of me. While I do agree with them on most parts, I still can’t predict how long I have on this earth so before the time comes that I will leave all of this behind, I want to reach peace, and not always want more out of life. As I said already, life is such a great gift. I have been blessed with so much and I shouldn’t ask for anything more.
If I had not enrolled in Feraco's Inferno, the legendary room of B-2…
Well, I would have had a lot less homework.
I've always contemplated about life. In my thoughts, the same question kept repeating itself:
What if this never happened? What if I never met this person? What if I was born and raised somewhere else? What if I worked harder in school? What if I did this and this? What if I didn't do this and this?
The contemplation sank deeper and deeper until my head hurt:
What if I never existed? Would my parents be less stressed? Would my family be happier without me? Would my family be wealthier without me? Am I just dead weight?
Let's not get TOO complicated.
Let's go B-2: A bizarre class; a rarity in my high school curriculum; a peculiar course; a peculiar teacher (in a positive way of course); something fresh among the repetitive lecture plus test approach in nearly all my academic classes. This was a class in which the students determine the assignments' own values: whether they be life-changing and knowledge-fulfilling, or simply busy work. I had not realized this concept until recently, halfway into the second semester: the value is exactly how much you make it to be.
At the start, I stood in the center between these two ends of the spectrum. As the first semester progressed, I leaned toward the right side - the busy work side. In all honesty, I felt that this class was a sheer waste of time, and the mountain of workload did absolutely nothing. That was because I shut myself away from knowledge. I refused to search for that tree. I refused to pry the bark open for the sap to flow out. I had no craving for it. That was simply because I was me.
I was stubborn, ignorant, and foolish. I converted Feraco's work into busy work. I never changed, and I never opened myself up for that. So would my life have been different had I never taken this class? Heck no, well at least in the first half of the semester. I did everything I shouldn't have done. The class could have changed my life and my perspective. The books, with their engrossing themes, can only do so much as to change the perceptive of a pair of shut eyes. I could not even bring myself to fulfilling my own expectations. That was me back then.
Yet there was room for change. I could start opening my mind and eyes and gaining access to the immeasurable amounts of knowledge Mr. Feraco's class has for me, like how Tom finally moved on with life after his stages of grief. I could begin anew, like how Tom placed the seed inside Izzi's grave in order to sow it and spawn life from death. I had to shed my old, dead skin, and be reborn again: mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. What do I do with my dead self? Like what Tom did, I pass on my story to the younger generations, pointing them toward the right direction, filling them with life and making them turn away from ever walking on a similar path as I did.
The cycle of life and death continues.
Now it's second semester, and my mind is now alert. My heart is now receptive. I am now approaching closer to the point where I would truly miss this class after school ends. With my mind opened wide, I will continue to absorb what this course has to offer. Without those little tidbits of tips to survive in the real world, without the life-changing insights from the books, without the deep, philosophical teachings that forced my mind to think, and without a spectacular, influential teacher who delivers brilliantly, I would have never changed.
Hey Warren, I thought your blog was awesome. I really like how you deliberately disobeyed the exact words Feraco told you not to, even though you were joking of course. I think it is great to see how you have grown from then to now, and to see your appreciation for the class. I hope Mr. Feraco blushes when he reads that he is "a spectacular, influential teacher who delivers brilliantly," because he got one heck of a complement from you!
Awesome blog. haha
Too much homework? Bizarre class?
I don't think so. hehe. This class has given us a great taste of life hasn't it? Life is pretty hard and this class has prepared us for college and indeed we will excel. After taking Feraco's class for the school year I feel that no work (especially essays) will be as challenging anymore because we have experienced it all. Only regret I have is others that has not taken at least one semester of Feraco's class. This class is a great challenge and its a hate and love thing. I love the class hate how challenging it is but I am proud. We all should b proud of our work. Great blog.
Sup Warren. I applaud your bravery for saying the words that should not be said...
I also did the exact thing that you did first semester; I turned Feraco's work into busy work, but second semester I have changed, much like you did. For the first time, I actually looked forward to reading a book in English class which has never happened to me before in my life. And for the first time, English no longer tops the list of my least favorite subjects (econ takes that place now).
Hey Warren, I really like your ability to transition from casual writing to formal writing. But I've been different from you in the second semester. Unlike you, where first semester has been kind of a warm-up and second semester is your come up, I've been completely burnt out. I'm really hoping for and trying to bounce back. All in all, your post made me stop and think about my situation, and it really was a great post.
Your first few sentences caught my eye and made me laugh a little. Then I scrolled down and saw that this post belonged to you and I thought to myself, "Of course."
I admire your honesty in this post and the positive outlook you've adopted over the year. And I always enjoy the narrative tone of your posts. Good work!
I really like your post, it gave me a new perspective on how i should look at Feraco's work load. I also admire your braveness, having the guts to type out the first 2 lines in your blog even when it is prohibited! entertaining blog!
I like this change in attitude in this post compared to some of your other ones.
I gotta say as rebellious as your post was, I could see how you felt that Mr. Feraco's class was a waste of time, but then again all the connections you made in your blog obviously shows that you have learned something. Great Job!
This was a REALLY good post; for sure I'm going to nominate it. It really makes a lot of sense and you made a great analogy between you shutting your eyes to Mr. Feraco's class and Tommy shutting his eyes to the imminent death of Izzie. This was my favorite post on this blog, good job!
Very nice job Warren, keep up the strong writing!
The sound of the clock ticking. An eternal clock that countdowns how much longer you have to live. When you are young you don't really hear because you believe the world is at your fingertips. Your main focus is trying to get that toy you always wanted or going to the park and playing on the jungle gym. Oblivious to it all with nothing to worry about. When you get older, you begin to hear a faint ticking sound. You still don't really pay attention to it, because you are worried about whether or not the guy you like feels the same way or who is going to ask you to prom.
The sound starts to get louder when you are in college, trying to figure out what you want to do with your life. Do you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or how about a business person. Tick tock, you can finally hear the sound of the clock ticking away. By now you already have a family and working at an okay job, but is that what you want to do for the rest of your life? You feel restless, like something's missing.
Now you are nearing the end of your life. The ticking should be deafening by now, but it isn't. You can barely hear it. Instead you close your eyes and remember all of the wonderful experiences you've had. Getting married, having you first child, and seeing your grandkids. You feel content and happy.
Ironic isn't it? When we realize that we don't have that much time left to live you see everything in a new perspective. All of the little moments have a meaning to them, because you know that you won't be able to experience them again.
Hey Eman. I really liked the way you set your blog up. I really hope that I will be thinking the same way when I get older, but I doubt it. Somehow I don't think I could do it. But is a beautiful thing to think about- to not hear the ticking when you are older.
I really like how you formatted your blog this week. The ticking of the clock always reminds us that time doesn't wait for us. Ticking sound will become faster and faster when things come to an end. It is near the end when we realize that we don't have enough time left. Thanks for the read, your blog got me thinking.
Interesting format. I enjoyed reading your post. Good job.
I really liked the format of your post it is very unique and stands out the most. Also the way you incorporated the ticking sound of a clock to a person's own life. When I read your blog it also felt like the clock is a way to tell us ,we have so little time to do so many things we want to do. Great post!
Hey Eman, so as I read this I was picturing in my head how I would look. It's almost as if you made me look at my life in the past and in the future. It was weird but nice. I don't know which part I liked about it most but it was a very nice read.
I really liked reading your post. I really loved how you started out. It was really interesting. Good work as usual.
Two months of fun
Two years of pain
Add it up
And get a life of rain
Need to scream
But too ashamed
I'm gonna rain, I'm gonna rain
You wanna go, you wanna stay
You really blew my world
I wanna live and there's only one way
I don't wanna die anymore
I want to live it up
I don't want this high anymore
But I can't give it up
I won't live a lie anymore
I need to give you up
Won't you save me
Two months of sun
A life of rain
Add it up
I'm on my own again
Need to scream
I'm so filled with rage
Gonna rain, gonna rain
You wanna go, you wanna stay
You really screwed my world
I gotta live but you stand in the way
I'm pullin out now, uh
I don't wanna die anymore
I want to live it up
Don't want this high anymore
But I can't give it up
I won't live a lie anymore
I need to give you up
Oh, oh oh
Oh oh baby, do you think that I was strong?
Oh oh baby, can't you see that you were wrong?
Oh oh honey, do you think that I was strong?
I don't wanna die anymore
I want to live it up
I don't want this high anymore
But I can't give it up
I won't live a lie anymore
I need to give you, give you, give you,
You got me really going out of my mind
Oh oh baby, do you think that I was strong?
Oh oh honey, can't you see that you were wrong?
Oh oh baby, do you think that I was strong?
Oh oh baby, do you think that I was strong?
Oh oh honey, can't you see that you were wrong?
Oh oh baby, can't you see that's all we lost?
New Radicals- I Don’t Want to Die Anymore
The people you love will be lost- undoubtedly. You can’t stop living, because they do. You have to live it up. Live life the way they would want you to after their passing. Grief has a way of eating away at you, just like in The Fountain. Tommy’s grief becomes who he is, and he ends up reaping the past life from his wife to stay alive (the tree.) Is that a better way to live life? If a person is gone, you can’t get them back- not ever. Even if the past is worth remembering, you can’t go about life living in it. That is just not the way the world spins. Remember the good stuff. Remember the love. Keep it safe in the confines of your heart and memories, but life does not stop for grief. It moves around you without hesitation like the passing cars on a freeway. Stand up after being knocked down, put your love for the person carefully away in your pocket, brush yourself off, and keep walking.
It may take time. Death, or even just saying goodbye to a person forever, can feel like your life is ruined. You can be angry because they left you or because it just isn’t fair that the most beautiful people in the world are ripped from you finger tips. It seems as though the best, and most loved people leave this world young go too early. But life and death happen. Always. So, try not to live in the shadows of people who once were, but honor their memories.
I’m sure depression will hit everyone once they see death in a loved one. I know I will. Sometimes the weight of a persons passing is too much, and people shut down. They somehow die too. Not literally, but their soul dies along with the person as they float into the afterlife. We all see it- the blank face, and the basic loss of everything meaningful. I just know that when that time comes, I can’t sit around and drown in my own tears forever. I don’t want to die anymore. I want to live it up. It’s gonna rain sometimes, and it will hurt. You have to give up the life you used to have, and start fresh, but never let go of those memories. Memories never fade unless you want them to. They matter.
It could have been great.
My parents would have been happily married. We would have lived on the top of the world, still on Norumbega Drive, for the duration of my childhood and teen years. I might have gone to Monrovia Schools, and met different friends. My dad would have had his high paying job, innovating new gadgets and gizmos for airplanes. He would have never lost his job because 911 would have never happened. I would have been able to afford tutors, and the new knowledge would have allowed me apply to bigger and better colleges. I could afford to go anywhere I wanted, and I would never think twice about the possibilities life had to offer me.
It could have been great.
…Or would it have been?
The reality of life is that none of that happened. My parents divorced when I was five, and I spent my whole life (even now) dragging a bag of clothes too and from my dad’s and mom’s house. My mother and father detested each other for a long time, and a lot of the time I would hear horrible things about each parent from the other. I never had the opportunity to get extra help in school, but I still stayed an average student. I applied to decent colleges, and got into most of them. I spent months believing I would go to my dream private school in Minnesota, later to find out that we couldn’t afford it. After thinking I would just end up at a Cal State, turns out again that that won’t work out either, so the PCC life is for me. Don’t get me wrong, PCC is a good school and I am lucky do even have an opportunity towards college, but it’s a disappointment when I have been trying so hard to end up somewhere I never thought I would be. Sometimes I begin to think, “Why do I have to go through so much, and get so little back?” But, then I have to remember that everything that I have gone through, and will go through have made me the person I am today. If I were handed everything in life I would have a much different personality than I have today, and not one that I want. Though growing up was hard for me, I turned out okay (I think so anyway.) Why would I give up who I am, just for life to be easier? I’m glad that I had to take the road with a bit more obstacles to climb over because you can’t expect to be handed things in life without difficulties. The harder life is, the more it’s worth living sometimes. Like that old cliché goes, “Everything happens for a reason.” Right?
It would have been horrible.
I remember when you were so afraid of death that I couldn't even say the word around you. We would talk about it and tears would form immediately. Look at you now! I knew that you would figure it out someday and I'm happy that I witnessed it.
After I finished reading your blog I felt tears forming in my eyes. Your blog was personal and tugged at my heartstrings. The part when you were talking about your reality was so full of voice that I felt like you were literally talking to me. My favorite sentence in the blog was when you said "The harder life is, the more it’s worth living sometimes". It is true because the harder you have to work for something, the sweeter the reward will be. Great Job!
P.S. I'm going to PCC too next year. Hopefully we can see each other there.
Time in Reality
Minutes pass by so fast, faster than you could think of. This is what you called Time.
There are many events I remember and that I want to *relive*.
I want to go back to the time I was saved at TCHOC
I want to go back to the time I won my first gold medal.
I want to go back to the time I won a bronze medal in world championships (WGI World Championship).
I want to relive the moment in freshmen year when I had a companion that reached out to me because I went in depression mode for 6 months.
Time goes by really *fast*, it comes by and woosh it’s gone. High school is one of the huge events that will pass by fast. It’s two months before the end of senior year and it will come by pretty fast if you just keep kicking and screaming through it.
I remember when I was a freshman, my life flashed right before my eyes not because I was going to die but because of time. Freshman year was an example of that. During that time, I remember that I wanted to relive part of it. I wanted to relive my senior friend talking to me every night because he wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to dig deeper holes into my depression. What didn’t let me relive those moment was time, it doesn’t stop for you nor does it slows down for you. It made me realizes that you have to take advantage of the time, and don’t hold back. If I met that companion at the beginning of freshman year instead of 4 months before school ends, I wouldn’t have to want to relive that moment because I’ve been given enough time.
Going past through those experiences, I’ve come to figure out that time does come by very fast, especially in high school. There is no turning back but to keep moving forward and live as you are going to die the next day. I’m not saying I am going to go commit suicide or die on purpose, but I am saying that I want to be as lively as I can while I am still alive. Life always puts us in a situation where we should live it out so we can see the beauty of what it has to offer if we take advantage of what we have.
This then carries on into senior year
Starting this senior year, time gave me a reason to live it. I took advantage of the huge opportunities I was given, and one was to watch over 8th graders. Watching my 8th graders, I came to realize that this is the highlight of my year that I should take advantage of mentoring them. This is my last year to do something like this to help my group of 8th graders before I head off to college. I know that I don’t have much time, but this year I didn’t kick and scream. This year I made sure the beauty of life and helping those 8th grade kids of mine ends well.
I finished what I had started. I feel that I achieved that “some measure of grace”.
“Know how to live the time that is given you.”-Dario Fo
I lived it. I took advantage of it. Life will end, but the beauty of it remains through the meaning I spent on it.
If I knew, heading into this relationship, that it would mirror Tommy’s and would end earlier and more painfully than it should, I would let myself fall in love because…
I fell in love with a boy about a year ago and all I ever hear is, how do you know what love is?
You’re too young to have fallen in love so quickly?
How do you know it will last?
Do you know that he’s the one?
Well to all of the people of there, I don’t know what love is, I know how it feels. I am young, yes, but most of the big decisions that we make are at young ages; what college to go to, where will I move too, and what career to purse. If all of these things weren’t important, then teachers, friends, and family wouldn’t tell you, to get these things right. You wouldn’t spend time thinking and planning about these things if they weren’t important. Well, love at a young age is like this, full of thinking and planning, which is if, of course you’re in a serious relationship. I believe that I am in a serious relationship and because of this; I would do just about anything for the person I love.
I know he’s the one because he is like me, just in boy form. I’ve had absolutely amazing times with him and wouldn’t ever trade those moments for anything. But I have also been on an emotional roller-coaster this past year; thankfully I love roller-coasters. I would say that I’ve had an equal share of good and bad, but going through so much bad, has made me appreciate the good so much more. I understand his flaws and weaknesses and accept them, I forgive him for his mistakes and move on, and I love him for his strengths and personality. I’m in this relationship, with every intent, that it will last because if not, then I will become another skeptic of love, and never fully appreciate the ability to love someone.
A year ago I would have said no, love wouldn’t be worth all of that pain, but it is. Love is pain, you sacrifice, you change, you have ups and downs and you fight but it is the best pain you’ll ever want to feel. It’s also unforgettable; literally, I’ll never forget this last year and the many years to come. If he were to die in a month (He’s not but hypothetically) I would be absolutely devastated especially if it was painful and before me, but I would still have pursed this relationship even if I knew it wouldn’t have lasted. My first love is the best thing that I’ve ever played a part in, in my whole life.
I wouldn’t want to face the idea of death taking the person I love, but I would just keep reminding myself, that in that time, to die by the side of the one you love is the most comfort that you’ll be able to get out of that experience. I would rather him die beside me than anyone else, I would want to hold him and kiss him and I know he’d want the same. The slightest idea that he could actually die before me and painfully is unfathomable; I would probably try and do everything in my power to save him like Tommy did for Izzi. I’d regret times I didn’t spend with him like Tommy did with Izzi, but I would fall in love with him (even if it wouldn’t last long) over and over again if I got to be with him for even a month. I would go through all the pain just to have loved him.
He’s that amazing.
“To die will be an awfully big adventure” - James Matthew Barrie
I'm looking forward to the end. I hope that I can live for a long, long time, but when my time ends here, I'll be happy to go, and see what awaits, and if anything actually does.
“It's just as idiotic to say there is no life after death as it is to say there is one” - Jeanne Moreau
We don't know. And if it was told to us, then it would kill us. But the unknown is beautiful.
Yet knowing our mortality is a reason for us to live. We do not know what will happen, so we take precautions in this life to make the next life worthwhile. For Christians, they do good deeds and follow the bible in order to ascend into Heaven. For Buddhists, they try to break the Samsara cycle in order to achieve enlightenment. For me? Life ends and we fall asleep, never to open our eyes again.
“What is the point of life, if death marks the beginning of eternity?” - Husam Aldahiyat
Since we only have one shot, why not go for it? Knowing that we can die, and that we will die makes living worthwhile. I understand that my hourglass is flowing, and once the sand reaches the bottom, I will fade, I will cease to exist. I can't change that, so why not make every little grain count.
Even if I could change it I wouldn't.
Immortality is seen to be a gift, on the contrary it is a curse, probably the worst one anyone could have. Think about what immortality would mean.
No more deaths, and no more mourning
No more tragic stories like that of the Boston Marathon
With good there is always bad, because “only a Sith deals in absolutes”. With immortality, we may purge ourselves of the bad, but we lose sight of the good the bad can cause. We forget how the death of a loved one defined a young person to become who they are, we forget how the tragedy of the Boston Marathon brought the whole nation, no the
whole world, together. We, also, lose sight of the bad;
No more motivations
No more consequences
No more “once in a lifetime”
No bucket lists, and no moments that will take our breath away
No more defining moments
and most importantly, No more reason to live.
We become bitter about the things we can never enjoy forever, but we miss the sweetness of events that are once in a lifetime. With forever, Hailey's comet becomes just rock in the sky. The Aurora Borealis becomes just another trip. The Beatles' last concert together becomes just musical gathering. Climbing Mount Everest becomes just another mundane task.
We savor these moments because we understand due to our limited time we may never have another chance to conquer them, to witness them, to live them. Our journey curves around in a path. There will roadblocks, and detours. There will be hitchhikers we cautiously pick up, only to see them come along for the ride of their life. Passengers will get up and leave early. We will witness the unimaginable, and the ordinary. Each individual will travel an adventure so great, that it is unique to the person, himself. We'll love, and we'll lose. Every journey ends, some will end with a crash, other with no more gas. We ultimately will never reach our destination. We weren't never meant to reach it. Besides, we will see our share of things that are “once in a lifetime”
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away” -Anonymous
Water, 35 litres. Carbon, 20kg. Ammonia, 4 litres. Lime, 1.5kg. Phosperus, 800g. Salt, 250 g. Niter, 100g. Sulphur, 80g. Fluorine, 7.5g. Iron, 5g. Silicon 3g. And fifteen other elements. Those are the elements to make an average adult human body…Humans are made so cheaply. – Edward Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist
And yet, humans aren’t cheap.
What makes us human? Whether it ventured the route of a hypothetical dystopia or a war between beings wielding the force and a light saber in a galaxy far, far away, the science fiction genre constantly returns seeking to answer this question. The question remains a frontier unconquered. The answer, however, does not confine to one trait. We could say it boils down to the chemical components of the human body, but we have yet to find a method to create more of us besides the one we were naturally given. We could say it truly is about intellect and compassion, but we have cousins in the chimpanzees who display a great deal of both, differing in their DNA from us by just about two percent.
Therefore, the Lord God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and placed a flaming sword to protect the tree of life – Genesis 3:24
As humans, we pay attention to change, change from familiarity. We look up at the flickering of light, at the jolt of sound amidst the silence, at the discontinuation of continuity.
Death is one such discontinuation, constantly reminding us of our limited time here. Death is the one thing those above and beyond seem to lack (perceived from our limited vision). As Isabella states, there were two trees in the Garden of Eden, the tree of knowledge, and the tree of life. If we already inherited the tree of knowledge’s fruit from Adam and Eve, the only thing God holds from us is housed in the tree of life. Death, therefore, separates us from the omnipotent. As Aronofsky sees it, death is what makes our lives meaningful.
I see no reason to argue against this notion.
It takes a crane to build a crane
It takes two floors to make a story
It takes an egg to make a hen
It takes a hen to make an egg
It takes a night to make it dawn
And it takes a day to make you yawn brother
And it takes some old to make you young
It takes some cold to know the sun
It takes the one to have the other
- Jason Mraz, “Life is Wonderful”
As humans, we can only define through contrast. We have no highs without lows. We have no light without darkness. We have no life without death.
Death spurs more life. In our society filled with finish lines and expiration dates, we have no bigger deadline than the day we stop living. From the looks of shopping centers before Christmas day and the local accountants during tax season, deadlines still initiate action, not stagnation. The inevitability of death serves as our ultimate reminder to live, to love, and to imprint. This, combined with the fact that we usually never know our day, makes a motivating cocktail ready to serve. It is soma, without the side effects.
This is the reason deities rarely show up in the forefront of our books and movies. Sure, the Greek and Roman gods occasionally appear, but they display, among other human qualities, an undeniable fallibility. They can change. But in general, deities are still frames in our minds. They are one with the surroundings, just like what becomes of Thomas the conquistador as he overflowed with plants after drinking the tree of life’s sap. Our gods may be omnipotent, but in our day to day lives, they are relatively unimportant. Without the urgency of an end, things just stay as they are, becoming constants in our world. Even high school algebra taught us to pay more attention to the variables.
“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it's just too much. The current's too strong. They've got to let go, drift apart. That's how it is with us. It's a shame, Kath, because we've loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can't stay together forever.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
Everyday is a different day. There would not be any repeated moments of our lives. We try to hold on to these things, these people. But we can't; we have no control over what might happen. HE has not permitted us to see the future and HE has not permitted us to live without hardships. We might keep rolling but the question mark always hangs right next to our heads.
We all look back and wonder about the things that might’ve happened if we took a step to the left instead of going straight. Where would that step to the left have led us? The world has a weird way of sorting things out; we never know what might be out there waiting for us.
This class, although I may not seem as if my full heart and soul is poured into my writings like other people in this class, is still an eye opener for me. The way the class is carried developed me. It developed us all. Someone once told me “you haven’t experienced Arcadia High School until you have sat through one of Dr. Sutro’s classes”. Now, I’m beginning to believe that nobody has really experienced senior year until one has sat through Mr. Feraco’s class. It’s that one class that every senior posts statuses about in the middle of the night due to procrastination or you notice when everyone shows up to school in business formal attire.
Mr. Feraco’s class is a type of embodiment of the typical Arcadia High senior. Mr. Feraco is the rubber stamp of AHS approval or like one of those “I survived ___” shirts you buy in the gift shops at the end of a roller coaster.
I’m happy to be a part of this, but I can’t help but ask myself: what if this never happened?
Having been in both Search for Human potential and Myth to Science Fiction, I know the work can get pretty bulky at times, however, the way the class is carried is preparing me a lot more for college than any of my other classes. There’s pressure, but it’s the kind of pressure that pushes us all to learn. I, although I don’t appreciate nor welcome this pressure (yet), sure as hell will leave this school wishing that I took advantage of it. If I were to not have taken this class at all, my realization would be an utter regret rather than a wish.
There are defining moments in high school that shapes us as people of the future. I first knew about Mr. Feraco from my sister who was taught by Mr. Feraco her senior year as well. Then, he was my freshman English teacher, then my cross-country coach, then back to being my senior English teacher. It’s fair to say that Mr. Feraco is a large part of my high school career. If time reversed itself and I never had him as a teacher or a coach, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today.
Who would I be if the things in my life got rearranged? Would loves be lost and dreams be deferred or would life carry on as if nothing even happened? We all believe in a way that our lives are put together, whether it may be a fate, a deity, an ethnic belief, or a tradition. We want to believe our lives weren’t just sorted out arbitrarily. “You only live one” (sorry, I know this phrase is lame) people say, but what if that one life gets placed the wrong way?
I will walk these halls of Arcadia High marked by the way my life was placed through the course of high school. I want to say that I will move onto college with a clean slate where nobody will judge me for the things I’ve done in high school, but that isn’t possible. The things I’ve done in high school, good or bad, define me as a person. Sitting through Feraco’s class defined me as a senior and that will show in college, sitting through Sutro’s class marked me as an Arcadian and that will show in college. We move on to new things and get marked even more.
Congrats for another great post. My favoirte part was when you compared Feraco's class to a "I survived _" t-shirt. I couldn't help but laugh becuase it is true. Hmm maybe we should make a class shirt that says that. Anyways I agree with your description of Feraco's class. His way of teaching and homework load can be described as similar to how a college professor would teach. I actually feel relieved that I am in Feraco's class because I am getting an idea of what college would be like. Great Job and keep up the good work.
I looked for your post because you said you wrote about something similar to what I wrote about. Wow, you left me thinking on what if I had never had this class either. Just like you I am glad I am taking this class. No matter the work amount I'm still glad.
If I knew that I was heading into a relationship that had the same faith as Tommy’s I would still fall in love. To begin with I’ve always been that person, I’ve always been the type of person to over love someone or something even if that someone or something angers me. I was always told that I have a big heart and that even when things do anger me, I end up letting it go.
I’ve grown in a family that has taught me to always enjoy those moments that you have that are given to you rather than think about the future. I’ve always had a hard time with that because I have always been the anxious type and always worry about what’s going to happen next and never fully enjoy what’s in front of me. So, yes, I’d always have anxiety attacks.
My parents have also sheltered me with never ending love which I guess has made me exert that from my life. My parents have always taught me to have a positive outlook on things rather than the downside of it all. My parents have always told me that everyone needs love in some way, shape, or form. My parents have taught me that love is strong and is what keeps us together. I’ve learned that love plays a really big role in anyone’s life and with learning all that and with the personality that I have, I would fall in love and even if I did try to stop myself it wouldn’t happen because love truly does conquer all.
“A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.” - Max Muller
“To be loved, be lovable.”- Ovid
I agree with you completely, i would still give it a shot even though the ending might not be pleasant, because at least you know you have tried your best. All the happy memories you guys spend together would be priceless.
Love is definitely one of the greatest emotions in mankind. It's powerful enough to allow people their overcome their basest qualities. In fact, love is what makes us human. No other species on Earth can love like we do. Keep up the great writing!
I see things that are unlimited in supply are invaluable. If money didn’t have a limited supply, it would have no value. The same rule goes for a movie. There’s a reason movies like (500) Days of Summer and The Perks of Being a Wallflower are deemed to be called beautiful creations. That reason being they all have an end that leaves us wanting more. And the mere thought of there not being anymore of that movie to enjoy, makes the entire movie as a whole even more valuable.
We cherish the things that are limited. Including life.
We cherish life to a point to where we are killing it in the process. Some people even cherish life so much, that they fear anything harmful to them. If we only have one life, then why would anyone spend it on protecting it? It’s the same problem Tommy failed to solve the first time around with Izzy’s impending demise. One life isn’t worth another. We have to learn to use our time on Earth effectively. Every second of our days should be spent on things we will look back at later in life. The more time you spend on protecting life, the more parallel universes are created in which the other versions of yourself are happier than you.
Learn to see beauty in the limited.
Look at an unpredictable summer rain not as depressing or out of place, but rather as a beautiful miracle.
Look at high school life not as a social disaster, but as a place of peace.
These things are beautiful because they are limited. Embrace the limited with open arms. Never let anything stop you from enjoying those limited moments. You’ll never know how long you’ll be able to enjoy them, so make them memorable. Don’t let anyone put you into a scenario in which you aren't enjoying your life. Live as you see fit.
Never let anything stop you from enjoying life.
It’s only here for a limited time.
I really like your post, Nick! I love that you find beauty in things because they are limited. I'm starting to find the "beauty" in high school, but it's a bit late and there's not much time left, ahh. Thank you for the enjoyable read!
I had read your post and thought, "Yo, this dude's crazy."
It's interesting, because I think myself as an optimistic person, but then I read a post like this and I realize that my optimism is really weak. I congratulate you on your post and your optimism in general. Something I should really learn to do.
Most things have meaning to someone because they know that one day they won’t have it anymore. The same thinking goes for life itself. Someone who can live forever probably will never appreciate life to the fullest because the person would probably say, “I have all the time in the world. I never have to worry about it coming to an end.” Compare this thinking to someone who only has a few years to live their whole life. They will spend every single moment of their life like it is their last. They will most likely appreciate everything that is given to them.
When people look back at their lives they usually remember the moments they most appreciate because those are the ones that give them the most meaning in their lives. If you really think about it, when you take someone’s precious moments away, what do they have? They won’t have much left. Sure, they can have many possessions, but these items are just common objects that other people can also easily have. All those moments experienced with loved ones, or the ones that make a person’s character, are what truly defines a person.
For example, I can use myself as an illustration of this principle. To me, all the memories I have about the things or people I love are treasures I would keep forever if I had a choice. I actually tried imagining my life without any of the memories of the moments I have had and I feel like I a cold empty shell of nothing. There is really no meaning to life unless you have things that you can appreciate and find meaning in. Everyone has a life, but actually finding meaning in one’s life is really up to the person.
Life is truly beautiful because we can’t enjoy it forever. I think this is because anything beautiful or great will eventually have to come to an end. Knowing that it doesn’t last forever is a big part to why it is beautiful. The temporary span creates a greater appreciation for the obtained goal or item because it is known that the moment or time will not last forever. For example, gems are beautiful because they are rare. They are not typically seen every day. Gems are beautifully displayed in stores where they are taken good care of because they do not commonly appear in one’s daily life. However, common house items can be easily replaced and people usually take them for granted. Once the item is gone it can be replaced, but when a person passes the created and shared memories are irreplaceable. People should appreciate life’s beauty because they only live once.
I really enjoyed reading your blog this week. I agree with your view on why life is more meaningful because it will ed. My favorite part would be all the comparisons you used to justify your view. Great job!
Your post was very straightforward; I wish you added a bit of creativity into it to spice things up, but it's still good. I did not agree with you about the part where people tend to remember the good things, because people usually bring up bad memories that they felt significant to them. Anyways, nice post!
I really like your post. Your blog is concise and to the point. I agree with you that life is short and beautiful. we really should take our time to enjoy life.
We only truly savor the joy of having a vacation after months of rigorous labor. Sweets taste much sweeter after weeks of abstaining from sugar and barbeque bacon burgers excite one’s taste buds far greater after a year-long vegetarian diet. Some of the greatest paradoxes in life lie in these apparent dichotomies. Yet, on the contrary, these forces influence and amplify one another in a perpetual cycle. This phenomenon of life exists because the sensations we feel in life gain meaning through our appreciation of knowing that we have access to a privilege that not everyone else has; holding on to something that is strictly limited, we feel that we possess a distinct prerogative and therefore, we value that item to our deaths. Our modern economy perfectly exemplifies this phenomenon as a supply's rarity, amidst high demand, is directly proportional to its value. It is precisely that so few people possess the item that those who already possess it feel privileged to have it. Conversely, the overabundance of an item destroys its value since our minds refuse to regard something that is perpetually available as treasurable. Our reasoning is that if something is in abundance, then we can always get it whenever we want so there’s no sense of urgency to claim it. And if everything was in abundance, then there's no urgency to have any item at all and consequently, no items will have value.
Now what if this item is not a tangible commodity but life itself? Unsurprisingly, it makes no difference. Life holds meaning because an omnipresent, spiritual timer floats above each one of us during every moment of our lives and ticks down second by second as we exhale on every breath. Under the pressure of limited time, our greatest fear is that we will depart the world and miss out on accomplishing the feats that are meaningful and define us; in short, the limit on life is what gives us our identities. Under a world in which death is nonexistent, every single person can and will have the opportunity to become the president, astronaut and CEO of every company in the world. With unlimited time comes unlimited potential and every individual can and will eventually accomplish everything possible in humanity. Under a time limit, however, people are forced to pursue something they enjoy most and exempt the rest of their lesser goals because they know that they cannot accomplish everything in life. Thus, with varying ideas of what makes life unique and enjoyable to each person, people pursue different paths and careers and, ultimately, construct their own identities. Albert Einstein is renowned not because of his revelatory scientific discoveries but because he was able to discover them in only 76 years of life when it would take an average individual arguably many centuries to make the same discoveries. However, expand lifespan to infinity and Albert Einstein’s significance will be lost since each and every individual will, with effort that is, be able to make the same discoveries eventually, perhaps after centuries or so. Everyone will reach their maximum potential and our choices in life that would have defined us will be vanquished. Thus, our loss of identity in society deprives our lives of meaning and value. Only under time pressure does one feel compelled to achieve his/her lifetime dream of becoming a professional drag racer and another feel compelled to become a university professor. Because people have different interests, they choose to fulfill their ephemeral lives in different ways and by the end of their lives, although they will not have accomplished everything, they will have died with identities and unique meanings in their lives.
Your life was special because no one else in the world could’ve lived it exactly the way you did in the same amount of time.
Appreciate life right now while you still can and strive not to accomplish everything but only what is precious and meaning to you. Only then, can you truly enjoy the experiences you have in the flesh and live your greatest life.
yes, amazing. I enjoy reading your blog AA ron. your second paragraph took a while for me to soak it all in but once I did, I can really relate to what you wrote.
Hey Aaron, I really like the way you phrase things, and the specific word choice that you use. I think you are absolutely correct in the fact that the things we hold the dearest are the one we worked the hardest. Time is not on our side, and we understand that we must use what we have to try and accomplish what we want.
The day before Mr. Feraco explained this weeks blog, Clay Brockmeyer and I were coming back from picking our lunch from In-N-Out. We were making small conversation and I was surprised by one small question.
“What’s your view on religion? I mean, are you religious, because I’m pretty sure, you’re not. Right?”
“No, I am agnostic. But, I do think that I’m spiritual, in some way.”
Clay had a look of confusion, “What do you mean? Like, superstitious?”
Being agnostic, I don’t think of a heaven or a hell based upon the actions of the individual. I feel that it’s a little strange for a higher being to create something and expect it to follow a certain path to receive a reward.
But, of course, there are things that science are not able to explain in detail, but nor does it automatically mean that there is a deity in the clouds. As I was growing up, I had a strange experience with being surrounded by religion, but still accepting the truths of science. I would visit temples and shrine whenever I visited Japan or Hong Kong during summer. I had also been inside churches and, even a Mormon community when I was at a Washington D.C. trip in seventh grade. I even spent some of my free time looking through myths and other religious stories through the internet. I was extremely curious, how people viewed faith and using fantastical stories to portray them. Not to mention, the mythical creatures, spirits, and the gods were always interesting to learn about. I love to watch CW’s Supernatural, because it was the portrayal of the different types of magical beings that are featured in the episodes.
While, these are all just cases of human generated tales, I couldn’t shake the feeling they were all eerily truthful.
Something that I’ve felt throughout my life is that there is something waiting for us on the other side of the light. Because, there has to be something. Something much more after death, than just being a corpse in the ground or a pile of ash in an urn.
In my house, I’ve always had a feeling that there is something behind me, dating back to when I was in kindergarten. Whenever, I brush my teeth in my bathroom, I had to consciously make myself think that there is nothing behind me. But there is this presence, a presence that makes you think that you aren’t alone. It wasn’t until I was twelve, when I brought this up to my dad. He told me, and I did go look at the city records to confirm this, the previous owner of our home, she died inside the house. Even, my own father had the same feeling and claimed he even sees a ghost of her. Which, just freaked me out even more and made me think that. It’s possible. Just possible, there maybe something more than meets the eye to death.
Really nice post, man! I too often think there is some sort of ghostly entity lurking around in my house. Then again, I might just be a scaredy cat.
I feel about the same way! I get to visit a lot of churches and shrines when I travel too. Although I'm not religious, I do have a bit of fascination for religion and understanding it.
You know, Joji, I think you and I are a lot of like. Religion has always been a slippery slope for me too. Sure I don't believe in a necessary omnipotent being, but I am a little more spiritual than other claimed "atheists" or "agnostics". Sometimes things get to me in the world, in a way that stupid horror movies are trying to get at, but fail miserably.
Anyway, a great, relateable read, Joji-kun.
I like how you added a personal touch to your work by providing a little insight into the places you've visited, experiences you've had, etc. - it was an entertaining read.
Four years ago my best friend and I were playing our weekly game of truth or dare. It seemed like a totally normal game, until I decided to choose truth instead of a dare. I never chose truth because dares were always much more fun, but I was tired of doing the same embarrassing things over and over, so I chose truth.
My friend asked me, “What are you most afraid of?” I don’t think she meant for my answer to be well thought out or anything special, she probably expected me to say spiders or bugs, but her question really made me think. Death came to mind, and then I said, “I’m scared of losing my parents.” She was caught off guard and looked at me like I was crazy for even saying that out loud. Then I just continued the game and tried to pretend I never said anything. We left it at that. It didn’t seem like a special game to her, but it was a turning point for me.
That was the very first day I thought of what truly scares me in this life. Death was always scary to me, but I never linked it to my parents. When we are little we see our parents as super heroes and think they will live forever, but that day was the day I realized they are human to and will have to face it just like everyone else.
My parents meant the world to me because I knew how much they loved me and I loved them too. I was scared that I would be left alone in world without people who loved me.
I was 12 and didn’t know any other kind of love was out there, but there is.
I’m not saying that out parents love isn’t the best, but there is another kind of love that can change lives forever, one like that of Izzy and Tommy’s.
Love is something that I always saw as a fairytale, fiction, and make belief. Sure I had hope I would fall in love someday, but I never thought it would actually happen this soon.
I had my whole life planned out for me; well I thought I did. My life was turned upside down when I found love in a complete stranger.
I was ready to leave my parents for a life in the Philippines, knew what college I was going to, and I was not afraid. When I met him, my fear returned. I was scared to leave him, to lose him. I ultimately ended up believing that I just couldn’t leave him.
I had a choice, unlike Tommy and Izzy. I could choose to stay here and be with him. I am lucky to even have this choice. Izzy was going to die without a say or decision. She had to leave him.
I’m taking my chances by staying here for a boy I love. I don’t know if we will be together forever, but I’m taking my chance because I was given one. A love like this doesn’t just come without reason. In my heart I feel that finding love was God’s plan for me and that it will lead me to something amazing.
Losing him is a completely different kind of scary. Every time I thing of it, my heart sinks. If I were to be asked that same question I was asked when I was 12, I would definitely say that this is my greatest fear. I’ve accepted the fact that my parents will die and I will be sad, but losing the man I love would be devastating. Losing that kind of love can damage a person, but it’s worth the risk. This kind of fear is what makes every moment precious, it makes every date mean more, and it makes our love stronger.
“The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.” –G.K. Chesterton
In a parallel universe I would be getting ready for a completely different life. I would be counting the days until my departure and starting a new beginning in a different country. I would be excited, but I wouldn’t have love. I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today. I wouldn’t feel the feeling I get every time I hear his voice, see his smile, or feel his love. I would be happy, but I wouldn’t be in love.
Love is a powerful thing and with it anything can happen. Sometimes we just need to follow our hearts and see where it takes us.
With love we will survive.
It's touching to see that you've been able to find and put such faith into him. It takes a lot of courage to take that risk. Kudos to you.
Yes, I definitely agree with Ryan for once, trusting him this much that everything will work out all right takes some serious trust and faith. You must be very serious as well! I notice that your guy is a subject for many of your blogs, and getting to know him and being together with him seems to have changed a lot of aspects of your life, including your plans and expectations. That's big! What you guys have is special, and I bet you already do this, but work hard to keep what you have. Things may come your way that you don't expect and you can't control, but I believe that with your guys' love you truly will survive.
Even though you're both extremely young. I'm being very optimistic HEHE. But I really do commend you for being so all out in your guys' love.
But still, you shouldn't ditch me, ahem ahem.
thanks guys! haha and to Christy: thanks for being optimistic even though i know you aren't at all!! hahaha... and yes ill try not to ditch you!! (ill probably end up ditching you as always!) hehehe..
Wow Michelle amazing post! It was touching in my opinion because you were so down to earth and personal. Good job!
“Henry Hamilton was worth thousands of years. He could practically live forever. You expect me to believe that he was immortal and he wanted to die?”
--Raymond Leon, In Time
People are afraid of death. At least that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s perfectly normal to fear the unknown. We can talk all day about the different possibilities that can happen right after death – whether the soul and body are separable, or whether there is another form of existence that we will experience. The truth is that we don’t know which possibilities are the actual ones, until we die ourselves. The best we can do to ease the fear of death is to convince ourselves that our assumptions about death are correct.
I am leaning towards the belief that we have souls, and that our souls and physical bodies are separable after death. However, until my heart stops beating, I will not be completely convinced that those assumptions are true. I tend to think of ideas realistically. I am often skeptical about assertions that do not have solid proof. I know that some people reported having out-of-body experiences when they were on the verge of death, such as during a coma or heart attack, but I do not consider their claims to be solid evidence. Their out-of-body experiences might be purely mental, similar to a dream.
Something I find interesting about near death experiences, or NDEs, is that people who had them are often less afraid of death. Scientific research has shown that near death experiences are incredibly real to the people who have them. Those NDEs may involve spiritual or religious elements, and they are often pleasant. As a result, people who had these experiences are convinced that nothing horrifying will occur after they die.
People who have trouble accepting the inevitability of death are attracted to the concept of immortality. This concept has been brought up in many ways, such as in movies and Chinese folklore. Usually, immortality is portrayed as something that should be undesirable. The characters in the movie In Time use time as a form of currency. Time is literally money. The basic idea is that people stop aging at the age of 25, and they are engineered to live for only one more year. In order to live longer, they must earn more time. Some people earn so much time that they are practically immortal. One such person, Henry Hamilton, has lived so long that life is no longer meaningful to him, so he commits suicide by giving away all his time to the protagonist of the movie, Will Salas.
Henry is similar to Izzi, because he accepts his own death. Both In Time and The Fountain demonstrate that death is necessary for life to gain meaning. Knowing that we will eventually die can motivate us to pursue goals and to make the most of our lives. Also, it can influence us to treasure every moment we spend with the people around us. I agree with the idea that the inevitability of death gives life meaning, but I would like to point out that accepting death should not be taken to extremes.
If the entire world wholeheartedly accepts the idea of death, doctors would abandon hospitals to let their patients die. Medical research would cease to exist. I plan to pursue a career similar to Tommy’s (minus the surgery on primates). Saving lives is important to me. Even though death gives life meaning, the ending of medical advancement would be appalling. People should not be overly accepting of their own deaths. Progress, such as medical advancement, should continue to shape and improve our lives. We should learn to accept only when we failed after trying our best.
I enjoyed reading your blog, it was well written. Good job
As you state, accepting death should not be taken to the extreme. My take is that a life should be saved only when there is a life left worthy to live afterwards. In some ways, I don't think extending a life through surgery in the latter years of life is a worthy investment. There is only so much need for time of final goodbyes.
Hearing the sound of an alarm clock go off, I turn my head to look over. 7:00 am flashed at the same pulsating pace as the alarm. As I forced myself to get out of bed, I shut off the alarm clock, and just sat there for a minute thinking. After thinking for a minute or two I let out a sigh and got up to go brush my teeth. It’s another day of school.
In some parallel universe, I went back to sleep.
I have always had these small “what if” thoughts in my head:
What if I kept my mouth shut and didn't say anything? Would the person I made mad still be friends with me?
What if I actually did say the things I wanted to say? Would the person still be my friend even if our opinions were completely different?
What if I actually said all the things I bottled up inside me? Would the person who I screamed at still accept me?
What if I took the chance to study abroad after middle school? Would I be living a completely different life than now?
What if I did “this” other than “that”? Would my life have been better than it is now?
Going through life I had so many choices, so many opportunities, so many chances, and so many things to do for such a small period of time. These “what if” questions have always boggled my mind making me think about the choices I have just made or a choice I made a while ago. Thinking back, those chances and opportunities would have seem better to have done “this” other than “that” almost all the time. There were a lot of times where I wished I had the ability to rewind time and redo what I had just done. But I started to slowly accept all the things I had done and have accepted the path I have chosen.
In some parallel universe, I never had these “what if” questions.
Walking down this path I have made many choices I have been proud of and glad I took the opportunity to do “this” and “that”. During seventh grade, I took the chance of learning how to breakdance with my friend, because he kept on bugging me about how cool and awesome it would be if we learned together. After a few days of practice, I was hooked into breakdancing; any spare time I had would be to practice the moves that the 8th graders had taught me. Even though my moves back then weren't that great I still had fun just by doing the simple moves. Dancing became a part of my life. It is one of those things that made me feel happy while doing it and is one hobby that I won’t ever stop doing. Without dance, I would have never have earned the confidence of stepping on a stage and perform in front of a large crowd. I am glad that I took the opportunity of learning how to breakdance.
In some parallel universe, I didn't take the chance of learning how to breakdance.
Unlike you, sometimes I would snooze for about 5 minutes while the alarm is ringing. I wouldn't mind the music that my alarm plays. Sometimes I would sleep through the alarm is playing and wake 40 minutes later, realizing that I overslept.
In some parallel universe, I set my alarm 30 minutes early, and have the same wake up procedure as yours.
I never have your kind of "what if" questions. My "what if" assumptions are regularly if the situation, or the result, happened in some other way. What if I actually won a hundred bucks during that fundraiser lottery we had in middle school? I do not make "what if" questions based on my choices because I know the type of person I am and I know what choices I would make. But spinning a wheel of fortune is a different matter, since the pointer lands on a random prize.
In some parallel universe, I won a hundred bucks in that wheel of fortune, instead of five bucks.
But to me, parallel universes do not exist, because if they do, we would not be named Jacky or Brandon, no, we would not even be there at all. This Jacky does not exist in some other universe since he is unique and can not be the same Jacky as the other Jacky in some other parallel universe. I would not have the same experiences with the other Jacky's.
In some parallel universe, I never existed. And... you're blog is pretty parallel to a certain someone's blog...as my reply is too...
Hey Brandon. Honestly, I can say the same for myself. What would have happened if you or I didn't learn to dance. It is a strange thought to have. I wonder how much of a difference it would of had.
Overall, it was a great read. It got me to really think of the choices people make and how much of a difference it can make.
How do you feel about The Fountain’s central hypothesis: that life gains meaning because it ends, because these moments of ours are all we have? Is life, in fact, beautiful because we cannot enjoy it forever?
For some reason, these questions are the easiest for me to relate to. The Fountain’s central hypothesis really made me look at life at a different perspective. I already knew that living life is important and each moment that passes by we can never get a hold of again. But the hypothesis is more clear and understandable after I had seen the movie. Because we only have so much time to spend with our loved ones, that is what makes every single moment special. I know that the meaning of life is to live life to the fullest and as cliché as this sounds, to have meaning is to make life limited so that we know how to enjoy it and appreciate things we are given. The tree of eternal life will never give eternal life even if it is found because to live forever we must die first. Indeed life is a big tradeoff with the angel, the devil, God. If you want to live a happy full life then it is limited; living forever will defeat the whole purpose of enjoying it because let’s be honest, who will enjoy life if we can have everything we want and never feel sick, never die? In the long run, enjoy life just the way it is. We can only live forever if we make memories and leave a lasting trace for our future generation to remember.
How would your life have been different if you hadn’t enrolled in this class, if you and I had never met, if you’d never had the chance to meet and work with your former Housemates?
The year 2012-2013 has been a year of struggle for me. It’s nothing new but my writing has always sucked and to be honest I had never revised my work until the first day of school when I took a step in inside Feraco’s class. When Feraco stood outside the door shaking everyone’s hand, I knew from the start that my handshake will leave a first impression of me so I had to be good. As the months roll by, I had boosted my communication level and body language by a big margin. Taking this class had expanded my vocabulary and brought new ideas in my writing. Feraco has also taught me how to think openly and bring other ideas in consideration to increase my creative writing essays. For my former housemates, they are great for support and help when I need them most. Not only do we help each other with reading between the lines, but we introduce each other and that also increases our communication skills. This class has allowed me to make new friends. If I had never been enrolled in this class, I would still be sitting there typing papers that should be revised and looked over again.
This school year has been the best one out of my high school career, not only have I made new friends but I have been revising my work, communicate with others, expand ideas to write creative essays and opening a new perspective about the world we live in. This class has been useful. My senior project is done, I have opened myself and had conversations with Feraco that I would never have with any other teacher; for once in my life I am proud that I am on top of my work. I feel that my writing has been improved and this shows that I have matured this year, I have learned something useful. Senior year has not been a waste of time for me; it only made me proud of my own writing. Taking this class had made me proud about the choices I made throughout the school year.
Hours of Wealth
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!
~“Immigrant Song” Led Zeppelin
Svein was walking along the mountain stream that had split the rugged rock in half. His boots, which had crunched the new-born snow on the face of the mountain, produced the only sounds coming from him. The stream roared with energy that seemed as if Ægir was swimming through the waters. Svein had been walking almost aimlessly for quite some time now, not getting lost because the spirit of the stream had guided him throughout his travel. He was silent and lifeless—seldom did he look up to glance at his surroundings, always looking down at his feet and the short ground that lied ahead. In the dead of winter, with the snow flurrying quietly to reach the Earth, it was brutally silent and life was void. Even with the presence of a man.
He had returned recently from the annual raids to a new mysterious land west of Scandinavia—“England,” the traveling merchants say. Many bountiful treasures were plundered in this newly discovered land and Svein, among many who partook in this perilous journey to previously uncharted waters and lands, returned as a man of glory to his village. Svein had slain many to pry the gold and silver from the hands of the Angles and it ultimately gave him his glory. It did not however come without a price: during battle he had lost both his brothers and a friend of many years. Svein himself had received a mortal wound that the healers could not heal. Death was now inevitable, but for Svein, death was not arriving soon enough. What was once a mortal wound is now a blistering spot of pain; a festering parasite that drained the life slowly out of the glorious warrior. Now Svein had traveled many days up the mountain to reach to the temple at its summit and seek console from the gods.
When he had reached the summit and walked through the black wooden doors, Svein immediately fell to his knees at the sight of Odin. The Lord of Lords, the Father, the god of all creation; he towered over Svein, regal in his robust wooden form. Svein, his head bowed, cried out in lament. How could the bold display of courage and strength be rewarded by such pain and suffering? How could a man of glory and prowess be stripped of his pride and vigor? He wanted to die, but in battle’s glory, like all Norsemen do. Not like this however—a rotting, lifeless shell of a man that once had a warrior’s spirit. Svein raised his head, and dared to lock eyes with Odin. Odin looked back but gave no reply. The temple was silent. He who walks among the gods is sure to be doused in their blessings, but for the Viking, only misfortune. Svein stood up and proceeded to leave the temple. On the old creaking floor was a ceremonial dagger haphazardly placed, and it beckoned Svein. A quick thought entered his mind—
Oh how the relief would be, to end such pain and misery; to climb from the bottom of the pit; to rid the world and the gods a man of no use!
But alas, Valhalla would bar him of his entry! Svein shuddered in realization and he shook his head in his own disbelief and disappointment. He was not a coward, nor was he a griever. His brothers were no longer of this Earth, but were eternal warriors feasting in the great halls of Asgard and battling in glory alongside Odin. He should be happy (and a bit jealous) for his brothers! Svein left the temple, his head high above his shoulders. The sky was still grey and snow was still flurrying from the heavens, quietly falling to meet the face of the Earth. But as he looked up to the heavens, the skies opened and Valhalla, in all of its majesty, was descended upon to the rugged, white rock. So close in his grasp, the lone former warrior on the cusp of eternal glory with Valhalla hovering above him. He wanted to be escorted by valkyries and be taken to the Great Hall. He wanted to feast heartedly along side fallen warriors with Odin, the Father, until he was plump with delight. He wanted to shine in battle alongside Thor and fight his brothers in Valhalla, slay hundreds and be slain gloriously only to be resurrected the next morning to fight again.
All hail Odin; Lord of Lords, the Father.
All hail Thor and Mjölnir, his mighty hammer.
All hail Frigg, Mother of Mothers.
All hail Freyr.
All hail Ægir.
All hail Loki.
All hail to all the Æsir and the riches of Asgard.
Valhalla was so close, yet so far away; in his grasp, but not to be touched. Valhalla was slowly ascending up into the heavens and to Svein’s dismay, it could not be his—at least not for now. There was too much to accomplish in Midgard to leave this Earth; waters to be sailed, lands to plunder, foes to be slain. Conquer what is now, O fierce brave Norsemen, and you shall be lifted by valkyries to your awaiting glory. Death will come, not now, but surely it will come.
Valhalla was gone. He looked to the heavens once more, hoping to gaze into Valhalla once more, but only the grey skies remained. The snow still flurried and the stream still roared. He glanced at his wound. The parasite of a wound had agitated him to the point of madness, but now it did not matter. Svein knew what needed to be done. The wound was just a mark of misfortune. It would be a testament of the spirit of a man deciding how fragile or sturdy it really was. It was his day to seize, his time to shine in battle once more—excelsior. Conquer what is now, and let the gods decide upon your judgment.
Svein climbed down the rugged rock of a mountain. The Summer Raids was far, but upon him and his redemption. He knew what to do.
In the dead of winter, with the snow flurrying quietly to reach the Earth, it was brutally silent, but life was abundant with the presence of a warrior.
The idea of an afterlife has always driven people of different cultures to lead good, virtuous lives. The Scandinavians of the eight century A.D. had Valhalla-- a great festive hall in the realm of Asgard where fallen warriors would feast with Odin and battle each other for glory. Other than being a good honest man to his family and brethren there was only one qualification needed to enter the Great Hall of Odin: to die heroically in battle. Because of the priceless treasures granted by Valhalla, all Norsemen embraced death, and often were seen smiling in their last moments of death, their souls lifted by valkyries to eternal glory. A life not ending at Valhalla, is a life wasted.
Now it is a new age. A new age of reason; a new age of science and technology; a new age of believing what is seen. Technology and a modern society would render a Norseman useless. Valhalla is no longer a reason to lead a human life. We have our own personal gods and idols that we worship and tend to. Whether it is the technology that enslaves us, or some shallow idea set by society or sub-culture we follow, we are bound to our earthly objects-- concrete or abstract. We are so caught up in such a fast-paced world, and we invest so much in our futures, that we forget what lies right ahead of us, and we spend so little in the present. Relatives pass, friends are forgotten-- days and events pass one day and we forget.
I cannot say that I have seen what lies in Asgard, or any celestial or other-worldly place for that matter, nor can I prove that there is one, but I do believe that in the farthest corners of my heart, I believe that this life is worth living. There is a reward to be given when we finish our lives with merit and honor, and is granted by taking one step at a time. There's so much to live for, so much to fight, and even if you cannot be convinced that there is no afterlife for you or anyone else, you at the very least enjoy this life that you have now. Each minute is gold, each second is precious; when we put that together, we have hours of wealth.
All days are in darkness
And I'm binding my time
Once I am sure of my task I will rise again.
"Hours of Wealth" Opeth
Sup March, I knew your blog was going to be brutal when I saw the sheets of paper you were holding onto during lunch that would become your blog; I liked the short story and your "analysis" of it afterward...although I'm still sad that your short story/blog is still better quality than the short story I wrote for Speculative Fiction last semester.
Haha! Thanks Calvin! You know, I'd love to read that story from Speculative Fiction.
I was actually going to make this particular story MUCH longer than it already is, but my frickin' four year old sister was playing games for three hours straight and I couldn't get on... My initial plan was to make THREE stories in one and bind them together through a central, mutual idea. But, I imagined that would be too long for others to read. I'll probably just use the the other two for future blogs. And as always, I used Opeth to be quoted in my blog.
ALL HAIL MIKAEL AKERFELDT!!!!
ALL HAIL ODIN!
ALL HAIL THOR!
ALL HAIL FRYER!
ALL HAIL FRIGGA!
ALL HAIL AEGIR!
ALL HAIL TO ALL THE AESIR!
Nice Zeppelin quote. Awesome way to start out a narrative. Overall great post!
Epic post. Norse mythology seems deeper and more complicated than the Greek mythology we studied in 9th grade. This write-up was definitely original and I enjoyed reading through it. Nice work!
That was a remarkable post. I always like to read stories that pertained to myths, and Norse mythology is one of my favorites. And being a comic geek, Marvel help made the Nordic tales stick into my brain and I was honestly shocked to see it in your post.
Although, I want to ask: Was this an actual story?
If you're asking if this actually happened in real life or if I simply retold someone else's story, then the answer is "no" for both questions.
I am just purely fascinated with Norse culture and mythology, and I pride myself in my knowledge of them, so I decided to make a novel short story of what I knew about Norse culture and mythology.
Wow, March. I remember not reading the "Norse Mythology" section of the Greek myth book freshman year (sorry Feraco). But your incorporation is so powerful regardless of the fact I haven't read it. It's an awesome post and a cool interpretation of how you feel. Great work!
I’m going to take a guess and say that most other students would say things along the lines of “I would feel empty with this class” or “I would not be who I am without this class”, but that’s not the person I am.
I have always had a strong disconnect with other students throughout my years here at Arcadia, and very rarely do I ever meet someone that I genuinely am fond of, not romantically, but simply appreciative to be around and here their perspective on different topics. Most often times I hear others coming off as pretentious, saying things in hopes of catching other people’s ears just to impress them- not staying true to themselves. I believe that these same people would be those that would overreact and dreadfully believe that their lives would be “nothing” or “empty” without some of the lessons that you teach, Mr. Feraco.
But that is not the person I am.
To be frank, I came into this class with unreasonably high-hopes that have yet to be met and I doubt they will. That’s not to say it’s anything against you, instead it is completely my fault. I heard stories and talk of how “one of his lectures will blow your mind, you will be enlightened” thinking that I might hear some life-changing words, but most of what I have experienced so far this semester has not done so for me.
I still constantly hear about your impression on other people, but I doubt their actual reaction to your class. I have come to believe that many other students say that your lectures are mind-blowing for the sake of doing so; as in these students don’t want to be ostracized by not acknowledging the well-established fact that you are amongst the better teachers at this school, that I have no doubt in my mind about. Still, this class has yet to really hit home for me.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that not everything is for everyone.
As I mentioned before, I have a really difficult time letting myself connect with others (I also wrote this in the “Great Expectations” assignment) and that includes teachers as well. I have no doubt in my mind that there are some students that are deeply impacted and moved by you, some of these students are even friends of mine, alas, I am not one of them. From this, I believe I can say that without having taken this class, my life would not have been changed much- I would be in another English class simply “going through the motions” and doing what is required of me, but for a much easier, less challenging mark. As of right now, I have yet to have any life-changing epiphanies, so I doubt I would be setback if I had not have taken this class.
The one thing that I will say this class has done for me is challenged me. In every other English class I could get away with writing dribble as long as I made it sound intelligent, but I know that I can’t in here. I know that what I say has to actually be meaningful and true. What I write and have written so far this semester has been complete and utter truth. If not for being a high-degree of difficulty, then at least these assignments have brought out a stronger, albeit more blunt, voice within my writing, and for that I must thank you.
Hey Brandon, It's always nice to read something from a completely different perspective. There's no way any teacher can affect every single one of his/her students. But I think the difference between Mr. Feraco and other teachers is that Mr. Feraco tries. Reading your post, I started to notice how so many students that sleep through Feraco's lectures continue to tell me how his lectures are amazing.
Thanks for the feedback, Kevin. I feel that it's always refreshing to read a different opinion, so I completely agree. And for the latter part of your comment, I see this trend too.
In another universe, your expectations of the class are not over-hyped, and you go in and come out amazed. Even though you are slightly disappointed, I find your expectations are still beneficial, making you immerse yourself throughout the semester(s) to come to a reasonable conclusion.
I really admire your bravery by bluntly revealing how you felt. I feel the same way about the fact that many people claim Feraco's class to be enlightening or interesting, but most of them doze off during his lectures. I appreciate your post very much, because you are truthful to yourself.
+ How would your life have been different if you hadn’t enrolled in this class, if you and I had never met, if you’d never had the chance to meet and work with your former Housemates? (If you jokingly say, “Well, I would have had a lot less homework,” I will be forever displeased with you.)
Life would be just the same old boring life that it was, which is simply going to school to pass.
I would not be as ambitious as I am now, mentality and physically.
I go into your class asking myself “what will be new today, what new things does Mr. Feraco have that will surprise me and take me off guard”. My prospective for things would also be much different then what it is now. [...] I would not be in the same growth rate as I am now which is you persuading me to become the best person I can be and stand for my beliefs and myself.
Your attitude and serious approach to schoolwork and learning about the metaphorical meanings have created a deeper complexity for the considerations of the people around. You changed my attitude and point of view for the better as well as my ability to see clearer and imagine life in someone else’s shoes I wish I could fully answer my questions for continuing to make bad decisions that influence my character in every way.
I was once that kid that did not personally care about the teachers and believed that they are just stepping-stones to the bigger picture. With a tremendous amount of respect I now look up to you everyday that I go to class praising you like an ancient Greek God that has suddenly appeared into our existence. Like a gladiator in the coliseum defending and preparing yourself for a battle of rowdy students and the overall fatigue of running along with your Cross-Country girls. S
I have to be honest with you, Sometimes on the days that we are supposed to be working on a certain projects, I just think and imagine myself becoming someone someday, that has the ability to define great expectations and put others before myself like you said in your own lecture just a few days ago.
If being switched into having a different teacher for myth/sci-fi were the option I had, I would not have done it because I wouldn’t have been able to grow as the way I am growing now. Life would have headed into a way different prospective that would have ended up just partying and having a great but not so productive lifestyle in high school. I most likely would have gone to school just to get by and meet the bare minimum requirements for things just to say that I went to school.
But I don’t, you have developed an older version of myself that I would not have seen myself conquering on my own. You put my ignorance in place and made me realize that life is just more than a single opinion, and gave me a better reason to understand why god gave me one mouth and cursed me with two big ears because of my incapability to listen. You metaphorically kicked me off my behind and forced me to understand the real world and predict that will have to become a man someday. While doing this you have planted a seed and with intent, guided me onto the path to the long road of life that awaits in my near future.
I have found a purpose for everything that I do in your class, as well as in life. I seek out goals and a purpose for minor things in life as well as major ones as well. I try not to go about my day feeling apathetic and just wondering off into space not trying to make the best of the day.
HONESTY RIGHT HERE….
Not ever meeting KT Qui would have been horrible because I would have been in limbo with my thoughts and reasoning and would not have been able to develop a clear and complex simple reason to solve the brain riddling questions that you throw into our minds. I would not have developed such a straight-forward perception towards things without the mental support she bestowed upon me.
William P, and William S, from my first semester class have also contributed to my minor development by creating a more considerable person and influenced me to understand that other people rather then myself also have issues that they can not solve for themselves. Them both in my first semester class were similar to a Batman and Robin type of scenario on how one of them always has something smart t say back to each other always in the intention to find the better reasoning for one things but in a very competitive way that has a tremendous amount of tension. (LOL)
Thank you Mr. Feraco for all that you do~!
CHILD OF YOURS, Adrian Barrios
I am honored you included me in this week''s blog!
I laughed at this sentence, "With a tremendous amount of respect I now look up to you everyday that I go to class praising you like an ancient Greek God that has suddenly appeared into our existence. Like a gladiator in the coliseum defending and preparing yourself for a battle of rowdy students and the overall fatigue of running along with your Cross-Country girls. "
I am sure Feraco is flattered. And I am glad that I have helped you somehow, someway. For one, I am always willing to help though if I have to risk my own life, my own grades, my own project. That's also the reason I try to finish my stuff before everyone else so I can have the time wander into other people's life.
Thank you for the Great read. Adrian!
Death is something I have contemplate for a long time. The story goes back to middle school, when I became aware of the feeling that I could really die. I was mortal. My life can end at any moment, so what happens next? What would I experience after dying? Those questions haunted my mind for days on end and continue to do so today, but I understand now that death is necessary.
My grim search began in religion, I would search through a few religions to try and gain some point, some lifeline to this haunting reality. My viewpoint was fogged by fear through these searches and I could not and still have not found a suitable religion. Each one was mold to fit the times they needed to fit, and it seemed to me that everyone simply created a religion for a sense of safety, never fully believing in the religion they picked. Even to those who handpicked their religion it seemed that they pick it simply because friends were there. I could not accept a simple answer as that in my search for what happens after death, but more importantly my search for life.
I continued this search of mines through many places and looked at many ways of thinking. I’d thought to use science, but the quick thought of not being able to bring the dead back to life and prove that they went to the afterlife stopped me. I looked around and tried magick, but failed to find anything tangible. I have looked for so long, I’ve forgotten what I was looking for, not just awe like Buddha and Lizzy have found, but something more, a purpose of living. A reason to go through suffering and challenge life. It always seems so much easy just to surrender to awe and live in a complete state of bliss, but it’s not a reason for living.
That is what caused my search that greatly influence what I believe to happen after death, an eternity. An eternity of nothingness, no matter if you are in heaven, hell or somewhere in between death always appears timeless in many religions. Time is something that allows us to change and experience. Without time, it appears as if we would just simply spend an eternity doing one thing until we’ve forgotten who we are. Death is a trap for me for that reason. The variety of life that gives you limitless options, but only a limited about of time to accomplish those options helps create and remind us who we are.
There is a flaw to this though, for those of us who feels they’ve experienced everything because they've done everything, life has been completed so it needs an ending point. For the most of us who has not completed life, but are simply too broken from facing the “truth” and the “facts” all too often in life, we need a reset point. If death is what I think of it is, then death is the end and reset point. It is what happens to us so we may forget who we are and start life anew with a somewhat clean slate.
I really connected with your message and idea behind death, but try not to ramble and repeat the same ideas. Also, watch out for grammatical errors, but all-in-all it was a good read!
A hundred dollars to a billionaire barely dents the savings they have stored. A house is just another property. A hundred dollars to a man living in poverty, because of student debts and an underemployed job, means living for the next couple of weeks. With bills and taxes it may mean only having one major meal a day for shelter.
A hundred years to a man who will live forever, is nothing but time that will wasted doing a century of something he has experienced. He will only be cautious of those who cannot live along his side. Life will turn into a projection, a viewing of events passing him, filling his mind with memories, emptying memories of years past.
Connecting the two give a real grasp of how dismal something can become to someone with an abundance of a necessity. Time is not given out to those who ask, it is just given the day we have been assigned with our destiny. Taking life day by day is the way our lives are meant to be lived. My grandmother tried to establish as much faith in me about the Catholic bible but only few lessons remain with me. One is the few set of stories about admiring what you are already given. I enjoy every single moment I have to spend with my family laughing and smiling and being content with ourselves. Not many of these moments will be there when I start my own journey to reach my version of success. Just as the ending to The Fountain, these thoughts are hard to swallow.
With so much hate and the burning of so many bridges, I genuinely enjoy every event spent with my friends. Even something simple as going off campus for lunch still is another adventure to share with the same great group of friends. In the back of my head I fear the day where we will all slowly depart and offend one another too much that a friend decides to have their company met with others. The group as it is seems so perfect but there have been many who have come and gone. I fear that too many will come to leave.
Finally the prime reason why I am glad to be a witness to the future, is the News. On often nights the stories of lives lost are read from a teleprompter.
mike, i really love what you did there, i can really relate to this to enjoying every moment off life, and also, i hope the heat win.
I would let myself fall in love even if the relationship mirrors Tommy’s. Love is something important and necessary. There is a reason why love is a part of the star. We shouldn’t try to avoid love even if it ends early and painful. I learned that everything has an end in this world. We lose things, people, or anything that is valuable to us. After realizing that I could lose anything at an unsuspected time, I tried to enjoy those little things in the present time. Love is a strong affection that makes us so vulnerable that could shape and change a person. It is very easy to distinguish someone who has been loved, and someone who has not been loved. Love gives us positive outlook. There is no reason not to love and be loved even if it could end up painful.
If I lost a loved one I would have pain and sorrow. But I would try to move on, thinking positively. I think it wouldn’t be healthy to live a depressed life so I will probably move on. My life would be different after losing a loved one; I would probably see things differently and act different. Everything would be different. Losing something valuable makes us feel like there is a hole in our hearts. It makes us feel like we are missing something.
If I passed away before my partner, I wouldn’t mind if she falls in love again. I would understand her; I wouldn’t want my partner to suffer. Love is something she would need. I would be happy if my partner is happy. If falling in love is something she needs or will make her happy, then I would want her to fall in love.
I like what you wrote and the emotion behind your post, but maybe some further details to really paint a more vivid picture of what you're trying to say would be nice! Still, good job!
Life is a real mystery.
So much depth, yet surprisingly shallow, where the bottom is much closer than it appears. So much opportunity, yet it’s so easy to miss out on any which one. So much trouble, yet so much glory. So much darkness, yet so much beauty. There’s just so much.
Then there’s death.
After all the trouble, the pain, the wonder, the adventure, the happiness and fulfillment, it ends. Everything just ends.
So what happens next? After all the craziness we go through in all these lives were living in, it just… stops? It can’t. There has got to be something else, something more, something out there that’s bigger than all of this, all of me, and every other thing. There is. I know it.
Life, in all its beauty and disaster has to have meaning. Meaning that matters, not the futile kind that just happens for no reason. Even if a life stops living, it still goes on. Whether the legacy they leave still lingers, or even the soul they possess goes on to where it belongs, back to its home.
Life has so much to it, but there’s got to be more.
When it’s time to leave, to walk across our stages for the last time, we walk. We keep walking. Even though there is an end to all this, we should never stop truly living so long as we have the chance. We shouldn’t even strive to just make ourselves “whole”, though that is a wonderful start, but we should also attempt to make everything around us whole as well. To leave our marks on a fast-moving and unfortunately forgetful world, where leaving behind a lingering legacy is no easy task, but a challenge accepted to everyone who has searched, found, and exercised their own human potential.
No one can ever remember us long enough if all we strived to do was make ourselves perfect. There are a lot more things in this world that can use a little more fixing.
At the end of this road, I really don’t know what will happen. But for now, it’s okay. I don’t need to know what’s going to happen, but for now I just need to live. When it comes to leaving gracefully and quietly or leaving with a ruckus, I’d say it wouldn’t even matter if we left this place kicking and screaming, as sometimes we may not “give” our lives for a certain cause we believe in, but may have our lives ripped from us, while still standing and holding on to our beliefs.
There is great beauty in life, and the beauty is much easier seen when we’re faced with the fact that life really is so very brief. These moments truly are all we have, these last two months of the last year in high school when most of us will never post on a blog every again, and our final thoughts on life and time are said in these very moments on these graded paragraphs. This is all that’s left. And there is great beauty in this moment.
I wouldn’t choose to end this year in any other English class. I hoped exactly for this moment when I was a wee freshman and now I got it. So this moment is precious. Life is precious. And in moments like these, the beauty shines its brightest.
I forgot to mention, the accompanying soundtrack from The Fountain was totally epic and amazing and fitting for this blog, and when reading other people's entries while listening to the music, I got shivers... And then fell asleep.
Growing up in a Christian family, I have always believed in God and an eternal life after our death on this planet. After our corporeal form expires, those who believe in God will go to heaven, and those who don’t will not. Even though I have a strong belief in my religion, I have
sometimes daydreamed and fantasized about things that could possibly happen after death that are not part of my religion's teachings.
Once, after coming home from a horrible day, I took a shower and went straight to bed. While I was lying in bed that night and thinking about all the horrific things that had happened to me that
day, I began fantasizing that I could just erase all the awful memories of the day and wake up a brand new person. One thought led to another, and the deeper my thoughts got, I eventually came up with my own theory of what happens after we die.
Maybe none of us humans are or ever have been our true selves in actuality, but instead just figures in a dream... God's dream. Every movement we make and thought we produce is controlled by God. We have all grown up thinking that there are 24 hours in a day, and 365 days in a year, but what if that is not true? In the Bible, a passage in the book of Peter states that “With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day” (2 Peter 3:8). So perhaps while God is sleeping, we are in his dreams, and everything that is happening to us right now is just a dream that God is going through. Even while God is dreaming, there will be tragic events that cause people to die, which explains the death among us. But once God wakes up, we will all die out completely, which will cause our mass extinction.
After our deaths, we will wake up in awe at being in heaven, where we will no longer have our corporeal form but instead be in the form of God, one who knows and senses everything in the universe. We will feel every emotion all at once, joy and sorrow, happiness and anger, ecstasy and agony. And every feeling and attitude that is experienced would be savored as pure perfection because of its completeness. From the past to the present, I would know everything that had ever happened and the purpose for each action. I would be the butterfly that got stomped on by a dinosaur, Moses who split the Red Sea, and Jesus who fed 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. I would be able to sense the leaf that glides gently towards the floor, the
transformation and excitement a caterpillar feels before turning into a beautiful butterfly. I would be the baby who sees and listens to its first image and voice. I would be all of that, and me, one with God and home in heaven. Though not in my body, my memory of having been in corporeal form would allow me to step on lush green meadows with my bare feet while comforted by the softness of each leaf. I would be able to view the magnificent planets and the monumental glaciers that surrounded me. The appearances would change according to each mood, and my "days" would be filled with the feelings of ecstasy and bliss.
If this is what life and death are really all about, I will enjoy the dream I'm living in and be happy, too, when it's over
Nice one James. I really liked how you depicted your "awe". Coming from a christian family too, it definitely has influenced my version of an afterlife. Good job!
For most people, this class is another struggle; they fight to do
the best they can, to please you and much as possible, and to desperately
attempt for that A everyone wants. I, on the other hand, have the same
general idea as everyone else, but that A everyone strives for is, at this
moment, virtually impossible for me to achieve. For me, this class is more
than a struggle for a good grade, this class is a struggle for graduation.
Each project recieved was procrastinated on. And towards the due
date, I wait ever so slowly until a night or two before to even start. It is
a habit unwilling to break. As the clock ticks into the night, I succumb to
My thoughts for the assignment gets jumbled up with my thoughts of
wanting to get over this, wanting to go to sleep and be done. Any idea that
arrives in my mind get put on paper. I start spitting out sentences off the
top of my head only to find out they barely make sense the next day. It is
when my B.S. level reaches its maximum.
At this rate, Feraco's class doesn't ensure a passing grade. I see
very little change in my future even if I know I may not succeed. For some
reason, I don't want to change, and just like Captain Sisko, " [The] most
damning of all... I think I can live with it..."
You're blog really describes the general classes very well, except I'm striving for a B on this class because, like you, I wait to do many things until the last minute. I also have assignments that I do not have time to do because my world just randomly gets wrapped up to do other mandatory work for my family. I can also relate to your experience of randomly making sentences for some essay, I do it when I'm limited with time like the in-class essays we do in this class. I don't have the time to think up sentences to link up with the other past sentences I wrote in that situation. It's great to just express your experience in "thisarchofthesky2013." Keep it up!
There are times where I think about life and what the future might look like for me. These thoughts always occur some time before I go to bed. Sometimes I even think about death and how I would die.
Dreams, or should I say nightmares, seldom occur sporadically hours after I close my eyes.
I am endlessly falling into the darkness. There is no wedge or spot to hold on to. I look down, trying to find where I will land, but there is nothing. I can neither scream nor call for help. When I wake up, my whole body is sweaty from the nightmare. It feels as if I have escaped death, even though I was just imagining it sedentarily.
This one is the worst of all. It has no beginnings.
It is nighttime, and for some reason, I am awake. I open my bedroom door, hoping to see if my family members are awake at this time of the night. However, what I see instead is red. It is red everywhere. Something horrible has happened. They are lying there, still, surrounded by red. A man comes back in my house, takes one look at me, and then I am gone. I fall down, feeling the pain in my stomach. Then, everything is black. I can’t feel anymore. There are no thoughts in my head about what just happened.
I lie in my bed, getting ready to sleep. Then, the thoughts come back to me. Would anyone care if I suddenly died? How would they react? Would I even be able to see their reactions when I am gone?
I know the answer. All I will see is nothing. My body will slowly decay, and all the memories I have hoarded and stored in my brain will slowly fade into nothing.
In some parallel universe, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
In some parallel universe, I am remembered.
I can relate to your blog this week. I really don't like nightmares. A lot of times, I wake up thinking, "thank goodness it was only a dream." But what if one day we cannot wake up from our nightmares? This thought really frightens me so right now I need to cherish every moment of my life while I still can.
Sorry, I forgot to mention that your blog was really descriptive. Nice use of imagery! Nice post!
Your nightmare is very descriptive and it is haunting to imagine what you saw. I like your realistic point of view about death.
I enjoyed reading your blog because it stood out from everyone else's and it was different. I liked how dark and mysterious your post was. It had me thinking in the end how we all yearn for that light at the end of the tunnel
Life will always be too short for us. It will always end before we want it to end. Yet even with life being to short for we are given so many beautiful moments to be apart of. We cherish all of these moments because when our life is about to run out these are the moments that we look back upon and remember. They are the things that we remember made our lives so beautiful. They are the things that made our lives worth living. Our memories help us look back on the short time that we are given to see the beauty in our life.
No matter what we know might happen in the end if feel that we should always allow ourselves to find love. Even if we know that our love might not last we should still be given the chance to be with someone we love. Life is too short to go through it alone. We should be able to spend it with loved ones every chance we are given. Even if that love might be taken one day that love will always be remembered and when your life is counting down you will always remember that love that you had for someone and the moments you were able to share together.
Even if I was to die before my loved ones I would still want them to be able to fall in love again. They can’t end their life because another has truly ended. They must move on and create new memories. They must go out and create happy memories and find new love in another person. They don’t deserve to be stuck on the painful memory of losing someone they loved. When it is their time to die one day I would want them to be able to remember all of the happy times they had with me and the ones hat cam after me. I would never want them to go through their life with the sadness of losing the one they loved.
Very beautiful blog, it really touched me, i agree that, life will always be full of beautiful moments that should be appreciated. Very nice blog. I loved it.
Ever since my uncle died, I have always asked myself, “What happens to us after we die? Does everything just stop…or will be just like falling asleep…only permanent?” This question has plagued my mind for the past 11 years, and I don’t think that my question will ever go answered…not until I die of course. I won’t know until it happens, but I believe reincarnation lies after existence. No afterlife…no heaven or hell (if you are a believer don't bash me)…we just become someone or something else. Perhaps I will become a poor starving child in Africa…perhaps I will become a dictator…perhaps I will become a housefly who gets to enjoy just a few days of glorious existence before getting my brains smashed into the wall; all completely oblivious to my past lives.
My biggest fear is that I have lived this life, all these wasted years; all for nothing.
I have always thought that life was just a waste of time; you slave yourself to get into college, you go to college to get a job so you can slave yourself to support your family, and by the time you can finally enjoy it all, you have become old and physically weakened…and you leave the world in the same way that you came in; kicking and screaming. I have always been trying to find meaning in my life, but so far I haven’t yet. Everyday I go home, nap until 8, shower, eat dinner, procrastinate, do homework, and sleep. Everyday. I constantly ask myself, “What am I doing this for?” I suspect the reason that I don’t find any meaning in life is because I am too unmotivated to get off my  and make it meaningful. If we could all live forever, we would all be too unmotivated to make it meaningful as well. Heck, life will never end, so why bother? If you had something that you knew you would never lose, why bother to protect it? Our motivation lies in the fact that we know that our time here is limited, and we strive to do everything we can and want in the time that we are provided.
My biggest fear is that I have lived this life, all these wasted years; all for nothing.
I have always wondered how my life would be different if I had done things differently. What if I had actually tried in school? How different would the next 60 years of my life be if I did? How different would things be if I never checked the box for “Myth to Science Fiction” last year when signing up for classes, and I never ended up in B2 with Supreme Leader Michael Feraco-Eberle?
Before I had Feraco, English always topped the list as my least favorite class…from middle school all the way to high school; I always felt like it was a waste of time…plus I was a pretty poor writer. I would never proofread my work because when I do I often cringe at the atrocity that I have just written (I still cringe at my work from time to time). English was (and probably still is) my worst subject; I have never gotten an A in English before in my life.
You read Book A, took a test on Book A, and wrote an essay for Book A. Then you did the same for Book B and Book C; that was the standard template that all English teachers followed…all except Mr. Feraco. When I walked into B2 for the first time I looked at the walls which were covered with posters and I knew that this wasn’t going to be a typical vanilla English class. Myth to Science Fiction with Feraco was very different from what I had expected; for the first time there were assignments that I actually looked forward to doing; this has never happened before in any English class prior to Myth. Feraco made me enjoy English and writing far more than any other English teacher that I have had (despite the workload). If I was never placed into B2, English would still be my least favorite subject (Economics takes that spot now…sorry Mr. Walker). If I was never placed into B2, I would have never “awoken” and realize that there is far more to English than just sparknoting a book and taking a test on it.
My biggest fear is that I have lived this life, all these wasted years; all for nothing.
Paradise lost, a beautiful wreck
And to you I solemnly swear
All I ever wanted was away from here
All that for nothing, what a  waste of time
Lamb of God - Desolation
Supreme Leader? Is this an Iran government reference? Anyway, I feel the same about previous English classes and their predictable nature (it's what I wrote about too). Writing in this class certainly is different; I don't think I've ever seen so many people quote music so freely and so well. Nice work for both the content and readability of your post!
Supreme Leader wasn't meant to be a Iran reference, or a North Korean reference...but I thought it would be a funny title to give him considering he rules over B2 and he "leads" us through the class. I already called him Sir Michael Feraco-Eberle in my Artium Magister, so it was down to either Supreme Leader or Chairman...(or king...or emperor...)
And yes, writing in Feraco's class is very different because he is not big on format, so you can go wild and be creative, which is hard to do in 5 paragraph essay form. And even though my song dropped an f-bomb on the last line, I thought it went well with my blog so I decided to put it anyway.
Thanks for commenting!
forgive me, this is the first time i saw your blog,
you don't believe in afterlife suggested me that you are a realistic person, but i doubted it,
Because you, in my eyes, is someone who diverged from the normal yet still have a chance to go back.
every of your behavior, every words you said, gives me a strong impression that you believe in something you don't even trust, and speak about it out aloud to make you think your believe is right,
if you truly believe that you are afraid of life, then why are you keeping yourself alive?(this is an evident not suggestion!! You still have chance to go back.)
Form those word, i see fear, a true fear behind the darkness outside(your cloth) as well as inside.
perhaps you do fear of life, but that is only the consequences, what you fear is you
you are afraid of destruction of your secret world by the pressure and threaten from the outside; therefore you built a giant wall as wall to protect you, weakening attack that other people subconsciously give you.
but what if you give up avoiding and stand to fight?
it will be like some tiny dots of light surrounding by everlasting darkness,
but it is far better than nothing,
don't be so negative,
because i know that feeling like the back of my hand
I completely agree with what you wrote about. I have days where I ask myself, "What's the point of anything anymore?" I constantly search for meaning in life too. And having Feraco as a teacher is such an eye-opening experience because he is a truly passionate teacher.
Live and learn........Love and Learn......
When you're in a situation where, there is nothing you can do to help, or your stuck because you’re unable to make any actions, it's difficult to let go. You try to tell them that everything is going to be okay, but they deny it, they keep telling you that it will be for the best if they go or leave. When you are certain that your loved one is fire sure going to leave your life, I think it would be time to let go. It might be difficult, but, your loved one leaving might want you to continue a happy life without them. In peace and in harmony with someone else. What good is life if you live it in agony and misery, by just sitting there at home all alone, thinking of them.
When you see your loved one pass away, you have to learn to accept their passing. You feel this tremendous pain, and its unbearable. You feel as if someone is stomping down onto your heart. And it might last for days, or maybe even weeks. But you think to yourself. Would my loved one want me to be sad about them? They are in a better place, a place with no suffering. A place of peace and paradise. They would want you to continue on with life. Because nothing is more worse than knowing you alive loved one in suffering from your death. They wouldn't be able to rest in peace about that. Tommy was able to accept his loved one passing. Because in the end she told him that everything was going to be okay, that she wasn’t scared anymore. She wanted this to happen. If I had a loved one that kept on telling me that, I'd be continuously frustrated with them telling me that, but do you really want to shut them down with not accepting their own fate? If I was Tommy id learn to accept that, she is going to leave and, I can't do anything about it.
We live life loving. You meet special people that you end up falling in love with. But, life comes by, and takes that love away from us. You love someone for so long, for a huge chunk of your life, and for what? So you can just see them disappear. But it's better to have loved and lost, then to have never loved at all.
Amazing blog dude. It is a good insightful thought on loss
Nice blog! Well written and really insightful. I felt a very real connection. Good job!
Myth/Sci-Fi - 2
25 April 2013
… But Not in This Lifetime: One Day I'll Pay It Back
In some parallel universe, I would know how to handle it.
Cancer has been a risk in my family for a while. My grandma had it, and while I sit here thinking about how we all feared for her life, the thought of losing my own mom comes to mind.
It's no secret that I'm still extremely attached to my mom. When we talk I realize that the way I act and think about things is just a copy of hers. From the sarcasm to the laughter, I'm definitely my mom's son.
Some days, I think about what would happen if she were torn away from my life. Never to return. Who would I be then? Would I be an empty shell? There are days where I lay with my mom to watch television and think about how great it is to have both parents bundled up in one. I smile at her sometimes, whispering like a stupid little kid how much I love her.
Other days, I wonder what it would be like if we were rich? Would my mom be here more? Less? Would she be caught up in the world of business? Would she be behind a computer succeeding safe and sound.
We struggle. There have been months where my mom has been stressed out of her mind for how much she worried about making sure the month's rent is dealt with. I tend to ask her now how she's doing in work. I smile at her and tell her good job when she's content with how her day went. I smile at her and tell her that she'll do better tomorrow if she's bothered with how her day went.
In some parallel universe, you would be prouder of me.
I'm sorry, mom. I walked into your room today and you made a joke about how you're going to miss me being rude to you. That you're going to miss me being disobedient and a jerk. I laughed to hide the embarrassment.
I'm sorry for never doing well in school until it was too late. Maybe I would've received a scholarship. I could have gotten into a better school. I wouldn't be putting myself into debt going into what the other people at school call “just a Cal State.”
One day soon, I'll repay you. I'll give you the love and effort you deserve. When I come back at break we'll spend whole days together talking about my adventures. I promise to call you, and never forget you. You're the most stable person to ever exist in my life. Thank you for dealing with me. Since the days from when I would force you to stay with me in Kindergarten, to the days where I'd make you take me home during your lunch hour in middle school, to last year when I made you fly all the way back to LA from Atlanta because I put myself in a hospital. I love you so much.
In some parallel universe, you die, and I accept it. That's the most obscure one of all.
This seems to be very personal and intimate. Hah, stating the obvious. But I really liked this. I've been in your position before, I absolutely hate the feeling that I can lose one of my parents to something as lame as health. Honestly, I seriously believe that health is something no one deserves to fall to. But everyone still does. But, anyway, it's a terrible feeling. I can't bear to think of it. And honestly learning that one quote first semester helped a whole lot, "The best way to love something is to realize that it might be lost."
I realize things way too late sometimes, and I pay for it. It's in the little moments that we should find the beauty in things, and appreciate what we have. Especially when it's family. Family deserves our everything, because no matter how much we can be jerks to them and act like we dislike them when they're around (I speak for my own actions), when they're gone, it brings the worst feelings I've ever felt. We're such kids sometimes; receiving love from our family numbers and never really reciprocating that love properly. But now that we're older, we can reciprocate that love properly. Or as properly as we can.
I encourage you to take every chance you get to express your love to your mom; you noticed it now when you wrote this blog, which is great. But seriously, from a NICE FRIEND who's legit been there, don't waste any time or opportunity being a jerk to your Ma, but take every chance to show her the love she deserves. Every chance. You won't regret doing that.
Had I never enrolled in Mr. Feraco’s Myth and Science Fiction class this year, I would probably never approach the books we’ve read the same way. In Feraco’s class, we learn to analyze our books. We make connections that one would normally miss upon first read.
With that said, if I knew one day that I would share the same destiny as Tommy from the movie, the fountain, I would still accept it. I think it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. The happiness experienced, even if it’s for a brief period of time, is still happiness. I wouldn’t miss out on happiness and love in to free myself of sadness in the future. I find that cowardice.
Had I been in Tommy’s position, I would have probably done the same. The only thing I would change, however, is that I would be happy for the one I loved. If the one I loved was as accepting and welcoming of death as the woman from the movie, I wouldn’t be as distraught as Tommy. She found her peace. Death is an act of creation. Without death, life would have no meaning. Without death, we would have nothing to fear, making life unbearably dull.
I believe there is somewhere we go after death. I don’t believe that death is simply termination. My “awe” would be at home with my family. To be surrounded by loved ones is the happiest things in my opinion. That feeling of home and belonging, for me, is the ultimate peace. Were I to die, I wouldn’t kick and scream. I would welcome it. What use is there in fighting the inevitable? I would enjoy my last moments, rather then filling them with fear and sadness. Its your last moments alive after all, you should enjoy them.
Thumbs up for a great post this week. My favorite part was how you viewed death as an act of creation and that life would have no meaning without it. I also enjoyed reading about how your "awe" would be with your family. Great Job.
I agree with you completely, you should always for at least once in your life to love, to have felt that feeling. I really connected with your blog, good job.
Allow the null hypothesis H0 to be “Life is not beautiful because it comes to an end” and our alternate hypothesis HA to be “Life is beautiful because it comes to an end.” Assume that our null is true and life is an ugly thing because it only lasts for so long.
In the epic of Gilgamesh, our protagonist Gilgamesh becomes obsessed with conquering death after the lost of his new and only friend Enkidu. Through his meeting with Utnapishtim and the loss of some magical plant that would have granted eternal life, Gilagmesh is able to come to terms his loss of Enkidu. More importantly, he realizes that life is about making good use of one’s time – achieving heights worthy of awe – and not trying to prevent the inevitable.
Similarly in The Fountain, Tommy becomes obsessed with “curing the disease called death” and loses precious time with his dying wife Izzi. By finishing Izzi’s story and realizing that their memories would always connect them, Tommy is also able to accept the death of a loved one. He too sees that to live is to actually eat, move, and learn and not about prolonging the time that one has to do the things that they wish.
Thus, because there is compelling evidence against the null, we can at the very least reject it. We may even venture to say that the alternate is true.
Prior to this class, English was a strict training regiment of worksheets, novel, analysis write-ups, and tests all to beat down certain messages. Junior English, for example, focuses on the idea of the “American Dream.” Simply absorbing the materials my instructor presented shaped a solid opinion of the Dream for me. An assignment that was meant to force me to think critically came up short as the bulk of the supporting evidence we were given screamed that such a dream could only be real when one is safely tucked away under a blanket.
Another generic quality of English classes is that essays in the format of thesis, evidence, and conclusion were written all year every year. These essays could almost be fit into a generic template, with the only thing changing between each one being the novel at hand. There were other miscellaneous writing assignments along the way that deviated from this pattern, but they were drowned out by these larger essays.
That is until I went through this English class. The focus of writing is no longer a matter of taking your opinion on someone else’s ideas and another person’s thoughts and putting them together. We now are being asked to answer deep philosophical questions about abstract concepts like meaning of life and value of love. Evidence is still pulled from other works but the evidence is presented in way that leaves students with a something ponder and chew on before they develop an argument to defend.
In addition, writing was re-invented as an art form that is meant to communicate the writer’s thoughts towards a given audience. While there may be other intentions and motives at work, class is class and work equals grades. Thus being able to write the way our hearts tell us to instead of the way that a formulaic worksheet has laid out for us is rather liberating. Structure has not simply melted away, but it has softened to a point where it can be molded to fit the needs of the writer.
Take the first part of this entry. Anyone who has taken a statistics class (and paid at least half attention) can tell you that a null and alternate are ways to help establish significance. Methods of statistics and one student’s take on the beauty of life are rather different subjects, but this class has shown me to look for connections in odd places. In a typical thesis based paper, I might still incorporate such a metaphor but it would only be a short snippet to “funnel” my way into my main argument. Having been given many opportunities this year to experiment with language, structure, layout, and content, I can confidently write the way I want because I get rewarded more for creativity and originality than I do for regurgitating a worksheet.
Tim, your sample size is not large enough. I do appreciate the stats reference though! I enjoy many of your posts and am glad that you feel comfortable writing as you please.
There’s that one day that everyone has when they feel very, very depressed. I have many of these days, and the deepest desolated feeling I have felt in one of those days made me think about leaving this world so I would not have to face the everyday of cruel reality like that. So, like a neglected child who wants attention, I planned out all my options to get away from my family. But, for some forgetful reason, I stumbled on to a video about a dog named Skeeter who had narcolepsy. He would involuntarily fall asleep whenever he gets excited. Skeeter made me think that of all the worst scenarios in the world; it would be better off to have my everyday life than to being a hobo. But this led me to start thinking whether suicide is an option and if religious beliefs and all those afterlife myths from those various religions were really true.
My parents believe in Chinese Buddhism and other various Chinese religions. Naturally I’d be considered as a follower of Chinese Buddhism as my parents introduced me to its rituals, but they never really gave me enough detail to why this type of religion is meaningful. They never boasted on how Chinese religions are better than European religions and whatnot. On one day during post-Chinese New Year, my cousin asked me, “So, what religion do you believe in?” I didn't reply back. My brother answered instead, “Buddhism.” Then the question went back to me, but the banned words “I don’t know” came out of my mouth. I really did not know what to believe in at the time, but the random memories of me getting lucky for no reason appeared in my head. On that day, I did not say it confidently as I did not know the word, but today, I can proudly say that I am agnostic.
Because I am agnostic, I don’t even know if there is an afterlife at all. Whenever I imagine that I am in the brink of death, the result from that thinking process just stops. I feel like I just had a case of crimestop. I don’t even think my spirit can just emerge from my body; after all, people can develop amnesia due to brain damage (I would not even know who I am if my spirit emerges from my body). And just from this little piece of information, its best to think that everyone lives only through their brain. And from our brains, there this little static of lightning in it that provides what we call consciousness. But now I develop crimestop because there’s nothing spiritual about this, just little flickers of electricity in the brain that stop during the time of death; into nothingness.
Through this hypothesis, life is greater than death because it contains negative and positive situations that the world creates, as death has nothing. Although life can bring you to death, the ultimate end of all things no matter what, life is precious because it’s easy to throw it away, but hard to take back. Like throwing away a precious gift into the trashcan because of betrayal, but the realization that these measures were taken under prejudice, and the clarity behind it, gives the desperation of looking for that gift in the garbage bin. This is also the reason why I play video games: when I die in them, I can always reset back to my save point and try again, but in the real world, this feature does not exist. Because you can only live once, life is precious.
Hi Jacky. I like the way you used examples from your own life to develop your ideas. I can relate to your experience of not knowing which religion to follow. This post is descriptive and well-written. Keep up the good work.
Life is meaningful because…
we can only live life once
we can only have a certain amount of time to live our life
we can accomplish goals that add meaning to our life
we can meet different people
we can experience sadness and happiness
we can’t relive any moments of our life
we live, we laugh, we love
In the movie, The Fountain, it projected the idea of finding the meaning of life near its end. It is near the end that we reflect on what we have accomplished in our lifetime. We will value things much more when they come to an end because we know that those memorable times of our life will forever become history.
Time flies. Life will end before we know it. In reality, we don’t know when we will die but one thing we know for sure is that life will ultimately end with death. The thought of disappearing from this world horrifies me. Where will I be? What will I be doing? What will be remembered of me? Loneliness would be what is left of me because I will no longer be able to live again with my loved ones.
Life is beautiful because we cannot enjoy it forever.
If we were to live forever, we would not be motivated to do complete any tasks. There will be no reasons to accomplish goals. Most importantly, there will be no reasons to live.
When the last chapter of our life completes, the cherishing moments of our life will forever become memories. These memories are what make life more meaningful.
I can’t predict what death is like.
What I can relate to as of now:
This upcoming June marks the end of our high school career. While some of us can’t wait to move onto the next chapter of their life, some of us might want to treasure our time in this last two months of school. For me, all of my memories will be presented like a slideshow, one slide after another, in my head. Tears of joy will be running down my face, signifying the end of an important stage of my life’s journey.
I liked your blog this week. It was really easy to read. I can relate to what you were saying about life. We should all cherish the moments we have before it is gone.
A roll of a dice. A random outcome. A random number. Yet the final decision is still mine. If I’m happy with the number, I’ll keep the dice as is. If I prefer another number, I can simply pick up the dice look for the number I wanted to see and set it back down with my number facing up.
Now I’m sitting here playing monopoly with my friends. I roll the dices and I count the number shown. Eight. I count the eight tiles to where I land. As my eyes rolled up the board, “GO TO JAIL.” “ARE YOU- DAMN MAN. *more profanity*!” As if I was held against my will, I moved my piece to Jail. There were fifteen other possibilities, yet I ended with the one that put me in Jail. The dices; they represent everything this world/society can throw at me with every choice I make. But in life, the possibilities aren't limited to sixteen; no, the possibilities are infinite. Within the infinite possibilities, at least one is negative, and every once in a while, I wind up with a negative possibility. But I only wind up with the negative because I allow these possibilities dictate my life; only because I allow this world/society to dictate my final decision.
When I let the dices roll off my palm onto the table, I watch, helplessly, waiting for them to come to a stop. I see that the dices tell me eight so I move eight tiles forward. Just because the dices landed with an outcome of eight doesn't mean I have to comply. If I wanted to, I could just pick the dices back up and choose the numbers I want to face upward. Right? But I don’t. I never do. I know that if I did the other three people I’m playing with would do everything in their power to tell me I can’t do that. That’s cheating. That’s against the rules. I’m restricted to what I can do because this world has rules and everybody is conditioned to following the rules.
Rules; It takes so much away from life. So many people are bullied into the negatives of the dices. So many people leave this world achieving “some measure of grace,” giving up. Death plays such a huge role that it overshadows everything I do in life. It’s the influence of Death that makes life so beautiful and meaningful. Grace should be present throughout life, not bottled up till the last minutes of life.
I enjoyed the dice metaphor very much! I've never thought about breaking the rules of a dice game like Monopoly so it was definitely an interesting idea.
As you moved into your message about death, I was slightly confused. I'm not quite sure how the two connect, but the flow of the writing sure does make it seem like they do. I know I personally struggle with choppy writing so good job!
It was a seat that is not near the front and not near the back. It was a seat in the midst of the beginning and the end. You climb into that seat and fasten your seatbelt, checking every few minutes if each button on the seatbelt is still safely secured, as if the seatbelt might break loose by itself. Then, you look to your left where your friend gleams with excitement as she giggle and scream with glee. You laugh with her. The cart starts to move, slowly at first at a constant rate then slowed down even more. The cart starts to tilt as it climbs up the hill, slowly at a constant rate.
It has been approximately fifteen seconds.
Just when you thought the cart has stopped moving, it quickly accelerates into a plunge downwards, forcing a gush of wind to your face. Screams screech from both ends of the carts. You smiled in excitement, even letting out a little scream yourself. The wind rushes by your face, the adrenaline rises, and the excitement heightens. Once in a while you close your eyes, believing that it will shield you from being scared. You look to your left, where your friend’s mouth is wide opened shaping into a continuous scream. You giggled in your head as the cart starts to slow down. You look to your left again, this time smiling and giggling with your friend.
Most people would consider the most memorable part of the roller coast ride to be the quick plunges downward that causes your heart to accelerate uncontrollably. We expect life to be the same way; we consider big events such as birth, anniversary, dates, job interviews, college admissions, or death to be memorable. We never thought about the little things that make life memorable just like how the little turns, small bumps, and speed enhances the experience on the roller coaster. Waking up every morning seeing the sun shining brightly outside your window, walking home every day after school during those hot summer days, or even just waiting in line every morning for your daily dose of Starbucks coffee are daily tasks that we would never have expected it to be important until we lose the ability to do these various tasks.
“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.” ― Thomas Fuller
Life gains its meaning because cannot last forever. The beautiful aspects of life cannot be obtained and stored away. The only things that can last are memories and familiarity. The ups and downs of life can only be stored away in our memories; therefore we have live every second of our lives to the fullest.
I like how descriptive your post was about the roller coaster. I can relate to the excitement of the whole experience. Good post!
Great quote! It's incredible how true it is. I find that the converse is true too that if we have too much of something, then it actually loses value. Your comparison of life to a roller coaster also worked out very well because it's so true that people tend to only remember the special or "adrenaline" events in their lives. In addition, your imagery was spot on. Keep up the good work.
Nice job Mary! This is one of the first post of yours that I have read and I was really happy with it! Nice job with your analogies and comparisons!
Small Time = Big Dreams
The only reason that life is valuable is because there is death to limit it.
Life is like inflation in our economy. If money keeps being printed, the value of it drops down.
Gold is a valuable element on this planet for one reason only: it is difficult to obtain. If gold covered the entire planet, why would we use “easy-to-find” materials to mold our wedding rings? Life is valuable because there is ONLY one way to be born. There are an infinite number of ways to die. Life is also valued greatly, because time of death is impossible to predict. We strive to make our lives meaningful as soon as possible knowing that our lives could end at any moment.
If I were immortal, I would not value life at all. There would be no time limit. If my dream were to become a millionaire, I would be able to become one while working at McDonalds. Because I’d have all the time in the world, I would eventually obtain this money even with an annual net profit of a hundred dollars. It would take ten thousand years, but who cares, I’d have the time. Death adds challenge to the equation. Not everyone becomes successful in their lifetimes so it pressures us to make something of ourselves.
Due to the fact that life is limited, I believe that no matter what, I’ll establish some measure of grace before I go. As life is short, there will always be a high point in my eyes. Whether it may be that I win a Nobel Peace Prize or simply donate to a charity, there will be a high point. If death came tomorrow, I would some high point in my young life to establish as graceful. No matter what, I’ll always have accomplished some level of grace in the past. As time runs out, I could realistically imagine myself kicking and screaming before death. I’d be screaming “Wait, I’m not finished. I have more to do.” I believe that I would try and stay alive to achieve more before I die.
I really enjoy reading your post. I like how you compare life to gold and money. If we have too much of it, it wouldn't be so valuable. Thank you for the good read.
Panic comes from fear that one can no longer satisfy his or her avaricious desire. All humans panic when they are about to lose someone important in their life, especially the one whom they are deeply in love with. They fear to a point where they are utterly desperate to find a solution that they don't know what is the most important thing to do.
I would probably react the same as Tommy If lost my loved one. Despite the differences among all human races, we all have the same desire of having a meaningful life. It is all these desires that keep us motivated and determine the way how we behave and react to everything that happens in our lives. Tommy refused to go out for a walk with Izzi in the snow because of his desire of curing her tumor and being able to spend more time with her in the future. It doesn't matter how responsible, patient, or logical a person is; once his or her deepest desire has been destroyed, he or she will lose control temporarily. This is why Tommy misbehaved to his coworkers and almost choked the doctor to death when Izzi passed away. Towards the end of the movie, Tommy imagines that he walks with Izzi because he realized that his former desire could not be accomplished so that he changes his desire to remembering the fabulous time he had with Izzi.
Many of the high school seniors realized how close the ending to our lives in AHS are and started doing things that they think are important because they realized that they have not satisfied many of their high school desires. While some of the seniors cannot wait to get out of high school and move on to college because they think that they could get better lives there.
Life is meaningful and beautiful because we can meet our goals and satisfy our desires. Life ends because there is a cycle. Most people have the desire to keep up their beautiful life, but on one can walk out of the cycle. This is a rule that cannot be broken.
It’s devastating every time I lose someone I have become emotionally invested in. When my dog died, I cried at the thought of all I never got the chance to do with him, all the unfulfilled dreams. I loved him, and an accident took him away too soon. In hindsight, do I wish I hadn’t adopted him then?
No, I don’t regret the time. That time is very precious to me, and I’ll cherish my memories of him regardless of the life I could have lead by adopting a different dog. So what if picking a more docile dog that never takes a risk results in never knowing this loss? Freshman year, I was lonely and scared. My dog was scared too. Warning: aggressive. I’ll take him anyways. He started off with boundaries I needed to respect, but we slowly learned to accept and love each other. (“Annabell, why are you so obsessed with dogs?” Because some of them want to love so, so badly. They can be such great companions.) His silly antics were a great source of comfort to me, even if he was loyal and bold to a fault. In this life, with the way I am, I would do the same things over again.
I won’t muck around in regret, or at the other end of the spectrum, dismiss regrets altogether. Forgetting prevents growth. The past is unchangeable. We can only adjust the actions of our present to bring about a different future. I don’t believe in eternal sunshine; I’ll take my mind, spots and all.
We’re all heading towards an ultimately inescapable death. I’ll try to take the advice I like to give: “Change what you cannot accept; accept what you cannot change.” I’ll kick and scream, fighting to live and enjoying every bit of the cantankerous side of myself, as long as I see fit. (Yes, I claim my right to be unhappy!) But when I reach death’s doorstep, I think I’ll be okay with going. I have had to be okay with the coming and going of others in my life. I have been raised as a Christian and taught to be ready to leave this earthly world behind when my time comes. As the classic children’s bedtime prayer goes, “If I shall die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
Loving someone is making oneself vulnerable to another and trusting not to be hurt by that other. It’s not an act of weakness. I admit that I struggle to always show compassion for each of God’s children. I’ll keep certain people at arm’s length for one reason or another. I don’t want to be entrusted with that which I know I won’t take care of.
So when would I let myself fall in love?
I am waiting for someone whose expectations align with mine, and whose personality and lifestyle complement mine. I’m looking for a partner to stick around for the long haul, as long as we can choose to. An early death doesn’t fit into my dreams. I take emotions slowly when I haven’t decided to open up, and would be unlikely to fall in love with someone that I know would be conclusively gone within months, at any time. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t treasure my time with him as a beloved friend. We’re all heading towards death. And essentially, I’ve fallen in love before already, and I’ll probably fall again before I meet the one person I will build a life with.
I cannot build a life with someone who will not be there. Instead, the better question is whether I would simply let myself love and be loved in a relationship like Tommy’s. Maybe I would. I think I could find room in my heart for that.
There is plenty of love to go around between my family, friends, and me. I’ll trust God’s judgement on what is in store for me.
The opening paragraph reminded me of a similar situation that has happen to a friend of mine.
She had just adopted a greyhound. A few days after the greyhound made himself home, he had to go to the animal hospital because it threw up. Turned out, it had an infection and had to go under surgery. Even after it had undergone surgery, the poor fella had been infected right where the stitches were. One night later, he died in it's sleep.
My friend was heartbroken, she had been a part of a greyhound shelter organization for quite sometime and this is one of the first foster that died before even recieving any care. Being one of the ones who helped console her, I did what I could, but I wished I was more of help.
When it comes to death afficlting a loved one, you don't really no what to say or do at that point. So, I am impressed you decided to share a story like that as an opening. Even more impressed, that you are willing to accept death, I assume, in any shape or form it may take. I am glad you were able to move on and you have an abundance of love in your life, which I think many people take for granted, myself included. I thought this was a great post overall.
Ah that's terrible! At least she had people like you to be there for her. I totally agree that much of the time I don't know what to say to or do for those in pain. "They're in a better place now"? Well then what exactly am I still doing here?
I guess I have what may be an atypical view on death (similar to what Nick W. wrote). Life as we know it ends. Fact. Life does not gain meaning simply because it ends. It ends all the same whether or not you do anything with your life.
And don't be mislead by the simplicity of the "plenty of love" line. I recognize that there is love in my life, and I try not to take people for granted, but I can struggle to show my appreciation as well.
Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts in a comment that really made me pause and think!
I’ll Give Up Something Else and Maybe You Won’t See
No one saw me fall. Struggling as I repeatedly tried to reach for a certain tree stump that was miles away from me, I cringed for power. Outraged I couldn’t find anything that was near me. There were these rocks that I stumbled upon and on it had the words faith and laughter. That was all. Just simply faith and laughter…
My voices were making a conversation with each other while I was trying to lead my way out of her. All I could do was to walk in circles as if someone would wonder why a girl was stuck down here. Falling down a hole, well we all know who’s done that before but this time she didn’t chase a rabbit, it was just simple curiosity.
She has voices that she makes into characters. One of them is named Laughter and the other was named Faith. Ironic isn’t it?
“You had to know a person well to make them laugh like that.” Laughter spoke with great enthusiastic. There was a time where she frequently defended her happiness and never let anyone get her guard down.
“But truly, the entire world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust,” Faith bluntly quoted from Peter Pan’s story. “Would you rather give up something that has a past or something that rarely anyone believes in?”
“Even if we give up something that was hard to believe in the first place, Laughter is power. Laughter is not an absence of action; rather it is "timing" it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way. So laughter is something consuming while faith is just a world full of inconsiderate beliefs that was never existed!” Laughter pronounced loud and clears so the whole world could hear.
“If you are saying that faith has no actual beliefs, then that goes the same for laughter. There is no right mind that either exists or the fact that laughter exists. You may not think that faith does not exist, but others out there believe in it,” Faith spoke in a serious tone looking straight at laughter.
“That is because they are trapped. They do not know what to believe in so they create something that hasn’t even been known of existence. Laughter, however, has been created over time. Everyone needs laughter. It is a distraction from everything else in the world. There are jobs just to make people laugh. They are called comedians!” Laughter boasted with fury.
Faith sat there quietly feeling like a complete idiot. He allowed himself to exit the building. Due to that fact, I finally knew what I had to give up. The uncontrollable faith that put me somewhere where I could exit this hole, no one came for me. I sat here for 100 years watching my own self disintegrate. I knew now that it was time to give up. All that was left to write on the wall was to say goodbye and the date that I left was April 26, 2013…
I'm having a little trouble following your post. Are you saying that no one came, and you finally lost faith and died? Why are Faith and Laughter opposed?
faith and laughter are names. Faith is the angel and Laughter is the devil. There is no dad but a conscious mind. Her dad died a long time ago. I forgot to put that in there.
Sometimes I wonder how different my life would be if I had never met you.
If I had joined drama instead of band.
If I had pushed for what I wanted, instead of settling for an activity that would quickly eat up my happiness as my high school years zoomed by.
But…it was worth it, wasn’t it?
If I had never met you, I most likely would not have changed. I would still be quiet, doe-eyed, and unapproachable, the persona I retreated into after my terrible audition for theater 2.
You joke that I deserve better, but it’s not true. You really don’t know how happy you made me, how you made my freshman year. Standing from afar, watching you make others laugh and in turn make me laugh. It was really great.
And you talked to me when no one else would. Such a simple gesture, but it meant so much. You saw something special in me that I didn’t see in myself. And slowly but surely, you made me start to see what you were seeing.
It’s somewhat interesting, how I’ve merged your personality into my own. I’m definitely a lot more corrupted now, but I’m also talkative. Very, very talkative.
If I were to lose you to the forces of death, the confidence you gave me would leave with you.
I, being my melodramatic, selfish self, would wonder why everything turned against me. I would fall into a scary state of hallucination, living life constantly thinking up scenarios in which you had lived.
Only my limited knowledge would prevent me from acting like Tommy. I just wouldn’t have the means to try to resurrect you. Instead, I might wish I’d never met you.
But it was worth it, wasn’t it?
So when I remember you saying that I should move on if you died, it honestly makes me rather mad.
“You can’t expect your lover to keep loving you when you’ve died. That’s not fair to him/her. I’d rather you be happy with someone else.”
But in that situation, it’s not like our love didn’t work out. I don’t want to leave a love I never stopped loving. (Of course, it would take a miracle for us to stay together, but let’s just put that aside for now.)
Even though I’d be unwilling to leave you, the fact that you said what you said must mean you would be willing to move on if I died.
And that’s part of why I’d leave this world kicking and screaming. I’d quickly be forgotten.
I don’t want to die when I die.
(Thanks for the extension.)
I found your blog post to be very touchy. I like how you made it sound like you were writing directly to a loved one.
Although you and that special someone are no longer together, you should not let the confidence he gave you slip away with him. Because this newly found confidence is now a part of you. It is what makes you the new you.
I know love can penetrate deep into our hearts, but even though it didn't turn out well this time, there will always be another time when the true one appears.
Don't think you'll "quickly be forgotten". If you do everything you can to make your life special and meaningful, if you make life unique, you will leave your mark on earth when you leave.
Love is "worth it", but aren't there other beautiful things you might have missed?
We all take parts of our personality from here and there, and it's great how you "merged [his] personality into [your] own" as I can tell you benefited quite a bit from doing so. But don't let love determine your worth or whether you'll "be forgotten".
Good job on the post.
Hello Victoria! I'm actually still with him, so I'm curious as to where in my post it seemed as though I'm not. Thank you very much for your response regardless. Your words are very comforting and I suppose I should work on seeing the good things in life. Thanks again!
And thanks to Will as well! (Not much to comment on so I apologize)
Wow. That's all I can say. Wow. There is A LOT of emotion funneled through that post and it really made me think about me and my life and how important certain people are to me. I'm not sure if it's because you got an extension but this was a very good post.
So he would choose the lady, and you would choose the tiger?
What is life measured by?
Is it measured by the laughter and the joy and the happiness of the memories that we shared with our friends or family?
Or is it measured by all the times you've wanted to give up and all the struggles that you've faced?
Life is meaningful because it’s unexpected. We never know what will happen next. Life can throw a curve ball at us and everything can change because of that one event. But, sometimes, it’s for the better. Izzi knew that she would die and she accepted it but Tommy was selfish and he refused to believe it. We all have these two traits in all of us. We want to live life to the fullest and regret nothing. But the other part of us wants things to stay the way they are so we can be comfortable.
Life is only worth living when we accept that we don’t have a lot of time in this world so we have to make the best out of every situation and live in every moment. It’s very difficult to live with this kind of mindset. We are prideful, stubborn, and selfish creatures. We always think that there will be another day for us to do the things that we want to do but, in reality, we never know when our time is up. I rarely express my gratitude for my parents or for my little brother because I take them for granted. I assume that they will be there tomorrow and everything will stay the same. But what happens if suddenly they aren't there anymore? I will regret every day of my existence because I didn't say “I love you” to them when they were alive.
Every day is a treasure and we should spend it by living each day to the fullest. This is hard for me to live by but I realize that life is so short. Life is measure by the moments that took our breath away and not the moments that we lived life dreadfully and ordinarily. Life is beautiful and it is never too late to make everyday a little bit brighter and more memorable. Even if it’s little things like thanking your parents for the first time to confessing your love to your crush. It is difficult at first to step out of your comfort zone but it will be worth it in the end and life will have more meaning.
I really enjoyed your post this week. It was very insightful and an overall great read. My favorite part was the ending when you said "it is difficult at first to step out of your comfort zone but it will be worth it in the end..." This is a great philosophy to live by and hopefully I can live by it too. Great Job!
Michaele Francesco Corbisiero
Mythology to Science Fiction
8 May, 2013
1. This is Only The Beginning
I do believe in life after death, in the form of spiritual existence - whether it be in the form of a memory of someone that we loved, or through a behavior of a youth that mimics the individual that entered eternal life.
There is no scientific proof of this belief. However, there are many instances in this short life span of ours that allows us to reflect on the temporary nature of our existence, and it is only then when we fully realize it and embrace this reality that one begins to live at a higher level. By higher living I mean that we begin to live as if it truly would be the last day we had to live. The days where we embrace the gift of the present, and do not allow ourselves to fester on pressures of the future plan’s, or argue of past actions that steal the preciousness of the present moments to enjoy. Tommy does so in The Fountain. He denies the fact that Izzi, his love, will soon pass away, and in doing so he loses track of the present time. Indeed, it is in appreciating the true brevity of the life we have to live that we begin to make wiser decisions. These moments are evident in the people I encounter through my father’s practice as a physician, aiding and listening to individuals with terminal illnesses. These individuals are quite variable in their responses to the news that a cancer may take their life away earlier than they had planned, or even that they may have not even had time to ponder that possibility, as they were very young and naive. The patient, in that situation, is most often fearful, and not intellectually ready to acceptance into death. However, they also enter eternal life with the swiftness that the disease allows, despite my father’s effort to treat and reverse the process. It is in the patients’ simple acceptance of disease that I see more dramatically the fragility and temporal nature of life. It is with the vision of eternal life, through faith, that I intellectualize the remedy of the unfairness seen in pediatric fatalities, and perhaps my adherence to life after death in spiritual forms that brings meaning to existence in my world.
In brief terms, whether I reflect on the very young, or the very old (super centenarians), I remain skeptical of life being devoid of energy beyond that of chemical reactions required for living cells to function. I am a firm believer in life fueled by a higher energy that may be called by many as the Force, the Power, or God. What meaning would “In GOD we trust” have if there was nothing past the physical presence of terrestrial existence.
The Finite Life - A Chance To Create a Legacy
The fact that life is so finite and there are no two individuals alike in time and space, is what makes life so special. Whether they are identical twins, or clones, no one will ever be identical time, this means that the timeline of each person is a work in progress, and as unique and non replicable as one can ever imagine. Our existence on this planet is inexplicable and mysterious, as well as being so improbable. Considering the hostile environments of the galaxies surrounding us, we are a miracle indeed. Consequently, because we have the capacity to err, or to create, at any moment in time. Our ability to leave a legacy is truly our own, and is original by virtue of its existence. No one can copy it and you can only keep time rolling without having a second chance to change the script, as it is constantly moving in whatever direction we lead our life. I always imagine my life as a “coureur des bois” living in the new world traveling in rapids with only enough skill to ride the waters at a fast pace, avoiding, skillfully, the rocks that can catapult you off the canoe at any time. However, that is how life is full of possibilities including the unfortunate possibilities of dangers that constitute serendipitous occurrences, such as life threatening accidents, diseases, or acts of God. Events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, to avalanches can come and alter our story at any given time.
Life is beautiful because it has so many endless decisions. There are countless points that can change one’s trajectory or destination, and we are often partially in control of where we end up, and many times it is totally unpredictable. We make life beautiful when we follow advice of our elders, and even from generations before us. Advice on what to do to obtain a better quality of life. Despite the many changes that have transformed our lives from one millennium to another, some basic ground rules that facilitate peaceful living with our neighbors and keep us in harmony with our planet have not changed. Those elements to a happier living may have been inherited as a Darwinian survival benefit, or from a spiritual guide passed on from one generation to another. I believe that both factors may be in play, but the social intelligence factor, or belief in a higher power, brings a deeper meaning to life. It also subsequently gives us an enriched perspective to our purpose in life, as well as a better understanding of the immensity of the universe we live in . The earlier our minds are allowed to travel in time and space, the more at “awe” we will be of how fortunate we are to be given the gift of life. As a consequence we are left with more appreciation of who we are and what is ours to explore during this wonderful voyage of life that is given to us . Even in the best case scenario of 100 years of life, the segment of time reflected on the timeline of the human race, is so small that one is compelled to live life to its fullest, as the gift has an expiration date.
In a Parallel Universe
In un universo parallelo, io vivo in Napoli, Italia.
Dans un univers parallèle, je vis en Montréal, Québec.
My dad grew up in both Montreal, Quebec and Benevento, Italy, and he never thought that he would have moved to California. My mother also grew up in Montreal, and she never thought that she would move to another province, let alone California. There are so many scenarios where I wouldn’t even be able to speak English. What I’m writing right now would be in Français or Italiano. My mind races all the time, and I think of all the possible lives I could have lived.
I could have been a hockey star in Canada.
I could have been a soccer star in Italy.
I could have been an Italian scholar, studying at a top notch Italian University.
I could have been the first French-Canadian prime minister.
Through all of the possibilities, I ended up here in Arcadia, California. I ended up at Arcadia High School. I ended up taking two classes with you. I ended up slacking off during my second semester senior year, and I ended up turning this assignment in late. Although, in a sense, I’m glad that all of this has happened to me. By living in Arcadia I was lucky enough to go to AHS. By going to AHS, I was lucky enough to get you as an English teacher. By not turning this in on time, I’ve taken the time to write one of my favorite blogs of the year. Ultimately, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and all of this has happened for a reason.
The decisions I’m making today are already eliminating all of the other possible “parallel universes.” The decisions you are making today are chiseling your universe right now. Now I ask you, are you doing what will make your ideal universe? Are you happy with your universe? If not, how will you change that?
Last year, my grand-aunt passed away from cancer.
When I was a baby, I lost my dad, more so in a “out-of-my-life” way.
I haven’t lost as many as others probably have, but I know losing even one person is painful in so many different ways. It hurt when I saw them leaving. I still remember my mom sitting there, crying. She lost two people that meant the world world to her; she lost her loved ones. She responded to the lost quite negatively though.
She didn’t eat for a week.
She didn’t get out of bed.
Most importantly, she didn’t stop crying.
My family was in distraught, what were we going to do? Eventually we came to the conclusion that it would be best if we gave her space and let time heal up. It worked. But I never saw myself the same way. How would I respond to lost? It took me a good few days to think about it, but it hit me hard. I knew how I would respond. Awkwardly, I even pictured it in my head. I saw the scenario.
I won’t cry.
I won’t dwell.
I won’t perform negatively.
That’s what I tell myself how I will react. I’ll understand the situation, the death, the problem. But I won’t live in it or the memories. I’ll be sad, but never desperate or depressed. Not anymore at least. I will react differently from Tommy. I will react differently from my mother. I will appreciate the life that was given and I will continue living. The lost isn’t lost. They will forever stay in your heart and be with you forever. So I understand that in the end, I will move on and I will appreciate what they have bestowed upon me. For I’m sure people want others to be happy and not mourn all day. That’s how I would respond.
I just read this and first off let me say I'm so sorry for all the things you have gone through but I am so proud of you for being strong.
I mean, it's still hard for me to get over my cousin who passed away last year.
I'm really glad how you said "The lost isn’t lost. They will forever stay in your heart and be with you forever."
I got really teary eyed and it helped open up my eyes.
Thank you for sharing something so deep and personal with all of us and if you ever need someone to talk to I'm here.
Thank you for the great read.
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