the better story behind every tragedyPosted: 2006/10/21
this past thursday, i woke up around 5:30ish to do my early morning run. the longer days were almost wearing out, but i was still greeting this transitioning pitch black morning with a persistent eagerness to do my workout. wearing thicker clothes on a 50-degree weather, i noticed some of the neighbors have already laid out their carved pumpkins for the upcoming holiday. their kids must have insisted on putting them out just to start on early with the holiday spirit. halloween is just right around the corner, and this 430-acre community is going to have its usual activities for the kids to enjoy. if this were p.i., i would have already seen christmas decor up in the ying yang by early september. as remarkable as it seems, people always have their ways of looking at things, and i absolutely respect that.
nevertheless, if i thought that this hullabaloo was too early for these kids to celebrate, the petty thought would have gotten into me while running that same morning. or if i had shut someone off because i disagreed with their opinion, i would have wasted more time delving into someone else’s errors. or if i had superseded an individual’s action even though it was unintentional in the first place, i would have had lost my focus on what i should actually be doing on the days ahead. i would have been down for the count if i had thought otherwise. but luckily, the preceding persona isn’t me these days. the only person who is apparently creating my own world up to now has always been and will always be me. besides, the pumpkins never bothered me anyhow.
it’s easy to blame others for all the errors around us. i once had a roommate in sf who had a slight sense of paranoia. one late monday over drinks, he told me out of the blue about his harrowing life story. he said that he had a serious lifestyle problem: that he had trouble finding a decent part-time job or internship because of his past. worse, he believed that someone has always been after him. i wasn’t sure if he meant the feds or any of those three-letter agencies, but he claimed that he’s being followed while walking around campus. not only that, he had always assumed that people all around him thought he was some kind of nut case, and he’s talking about perfect strangers here. i know he’s been through tough times: going through rehab three times since he was thirteen, getting into trouble during highschool, delaying his education, suffering from a mild case of insomnia due to his sensitivity to noise, and dealing with people socially. i don’t blame his confession even if he had to shoot it up at least twice a week, although i would have definitely beat the bejesus out of him if he tried to jump off the window of our eleventh floor unit. luckily, nothing like that happened during his episodes. he would get his fix, pick his electric guitar up, prop the bedroom windows open, and played his jimi hendrix licks during friday evenings. the music got so loud to a point that our female roommates had to ask him to stop playing. i would pull up on the lot eleven stories below and could already tell what was going on. his stints already smelled from a thousand miles away.
i, out of all people he laid his cards out to, would have already thought that i already had him figured out. with that kind of baggage, everybody and their grandma would have already dismissed him as one of those burnouts who’d eventually go nowhere. but on that same monday, my roommate told me that he was definitely ready to change his habits because the world he was creating was coming from the way he thought. his tragic past left him a huge thorn that he was ready to drop everything and start from scratch. during the next few months, he had a steady girlfriend, graduated magna cum laude with a degree in accounting, and thought of going back to his hometown in south lake tahoe to start his own business. he had managed to pull it off that same moment he told me that he had changed his way of thinking. we parted ways after he walked with a degree and a new sense of pride in him.
that was five years ago.
during that one-year acquaintance, life taught me a very great lesson: that i can change my life because i can change the way i think. besides learning not to follow my former roommate’s past lifestyle, i have come to realize that everything i see in this world is created by the way i see them. the people around me, my social and political surroundings, my financial situation, my lifestyle, and my goals and aspirations are all caused by me. there is no stone left unturned here and i don’t even need to re-invent the wheel. i only need to resolve to become responsible for everything happening in my life and that i alone can change things around myself. thus, i constantly do the things that turn my beliefs into reality; and because i believe in my thoughts completely, i act accordingly. it all boils down to how i can change the unpleasant thoughts inside my head to better ones. my thoughts are the mirror images of my outside world. law of correspondence (again): as within, so without.
in as much as how many places one has been to, there will always be different facets for every story. various ways of interpreting events and prejudging people. hundreds of opinions for one single idea. but in the end, it’s not how one perceives the world that makes the difference. it is the way his or her thoughts work that reflect the world around him (or her… i’m trying to be pc as much as i can here).
when this pumpkin patch shindig is over, i will fly back to cali for the rest of the holidays (or before that if another transaction needs my presence). then i might just visit my former roommate in tahoe and see how he’s doing. a good friend already agreed to rent a cabin when we go snowboarding. i’m sure mm is doing well, successful with his consulting business, helping people with their annual tax questions, and probably still with the same girlfriend (fiancee, wife, or whatever floated his boat). but until i get to catch up with him, everything good that i saw in him back then will always be my same point of view. the same point of view when he decided to change the way he thought…
…that same monday evening.