Friday, May 25, 2012

Not all those who wander are lost

I often have bouts of panic here where I am suddenly hit with a wave of my intrinsic self-doubt of "what on earth am I doing here?" Sometimes my ultimate goal of going to medical school trudges in the shadows of figuring out my life. The title of this post comes from a poem in JRR Tolkein's Lord Of the Rings, but I actually came across it upon purchasing a print for my room (as I've never read LOTR.) It serves as a nice reminder on my wall that even if sometimes the journey overpowers the destination, it is not in vain. Here is the poem c/o Wikipedia:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king. 

Listen to: B.O.B "Chandelier"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Question of Principle

I went to the Starbucks in Harvard Square a few days ago and was deeply disturbed when I noticed that the display case of pastries contained quite a few flies. I was disgusted when I saw these flies  sitting on the food and promptly notified the barista who was taking an order at the time and her response was simple "yea I know, but I can't do anything about it." I was instantly puzzled by this response. She was the one opening the door, taking food out, and giving it to people. I didn't understand how she couldn't do anything about it. I provided her with a suggestion "you can leave the door open and allow the flies to leave the display." Her response was "yea but then more will come in." Then I confronted her, "aren't you going to do anything about it? This is people's food." Her response was veering on complacent "I know my manager, we're not going to do anything about it." I then asked her "so you are okay with feeding people dirty food, just to be clear, do you not have any principles?" Her response was nothing and I could tell she was getting uncomfortable and was eager to return to the customer whose order was half-finished. Obviously this woman didn't have any principles because, despite what her manager says, it's not okay to serve people dirty food. Her being the one who actually serves the food should at least have the conscience or consideration to do something about it. So why is it, when push-came-to-shove, this woman didn't do the right thing, even after confronted? My conjecture is that she might be afraid to lose her job, but I would assume any higher-up at Starbucks would see serving dirty food as grounds for losing one's job anyway. This brings me to a bigger question: how many of us are willing to always do the right thing or stand up for what's right when it comes into question? I've always been slightly loud-mouthed; when I see an injustice I say something about it and rarely has it caused any trouble for me. I agree, there are shades of grey where it is harder to do something when something else that we find important is also at stake, but why are people so afraid of losing something material instead of fighting for what's right? Isn't a loss of personal principle just as important or worth fighting for? Furthermore, if we don't have our personal values to hold on to, then what do we have? A minimum-waged job? Some old pastries? What would you do if you were this woman? We've all been there, but would we stand up for what's right or simply stand overpowered by our fear? Being a person of value isn't easy, but it's important. If, for nothing else, when we leave this earth we don't bring the things that we think are important to us. Those all stay behind. Our values, however, are what transcend mortality and persist after we're gone. For some of us, it's very clear what they are, but for others it's difficult if you're not even sure what your values are. Hopefully anyone reading this will take a moment and think about what your values are and how much you're willing to fight for them while you enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Yesterday I was walking back from the hospital at the Charles/MGH T station and all of a sudden a lady walked into me so hard that I almost fell backwards, my shoes flew off, and I felt as if the wind was knocked out of me as I yelped out loud from my loss of balance. Although she apologized profusely, I was still annoyed, upset, and embarrassed. The thing is, this lady is like most others I encounter on the streets: way too busy with themselves (or their phones) to acknowledge that anyone or anything else exists in their periphery. No one is a bad person, and I've certainly been guilty of this too, but it has become the cultural normality to ignore everything and everyone currently around us as we are too wrapped up in our own electronic worlds. What strikes me as unusual is that in our eagerness to communicate with those not in the present, we choose to ignore ourselves and those around us in the present moment. By default we miss out on some great things and truth-be-told our ancient predecessors would've been eaten alive by saber toothed-tigers if they carried themselves in the unaware manner as most of us do. It takes a lot to shake us up these days. To keep us in the present moment. We forget to acknowledge that the person next to us is also special, or that the grass has grown to a lovely shade of green, or the water on the river is glistening from the sun. We forget to live and we forget what's important. I recently started going to open meditation practice at the Cambridge meditation center in central square (fabulous, by the way, I highly recommend.) If, for nothing else, I get at least 1 hour per week where I acknowledge the sounds around me, steer clear of anxiety from the past or future, and just sit and stay in the present moment and practice mindfulness. I encourage all of you to maybe take a minute today and look around you. Listen to the sounds, don't think about what you have to do or who you have to meet, and just stay in the moment. You might feel better, I know I do. Perhaps if the lady at the T station practiced some mindfulness this whole incident could've been avoided. Then again, she did give me some good material for my second blog post.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Greetings all!

I'm hoping to use this to write about my interests since I have so many and document the crazy things that happen to me. I will also occasionally include random tid-bits about my life here (just to "keep it real".) My interests include healthcare/medicine, aquatic activities, large marine mammals, sailing, snorkeling, painting, making collages, space, other planets, the moon and stars, large ships, cartography, art, art history, writing/poetry, volunteering, reading, tennis, piano, and philosophy.

I am in Boston now and I'll be sharing my voyages in this city!