I’ve a problem with individuals who says, “what’s the point?” whenever it’s about self-improvement. Look, I’m a firm believer of having the right to live however you want. Even if that means eating junk foods daily, smoking your lungs out, alienating yourself from friends and family, not bothering to exercise to stay healthy, avoiding jobs with high expectations and just barely living day by day until the day you die. Because, as these individuals would say, what’s the point, right? Hey, it’s your choice. It’s your body. It’s your life. And rightfully so!

They’re in their 20s or even 30s and are probably ok with this arrangement. Alright consider now until they’re at the old age of 70. From now til then, they’ll have to face themselves every first minute when they wake up of every single morning. All that junk food, all that poison, all the people they’ve pushed away, all that unrealised potential and all that regret of doing nothing significant in life crashing down the moment they wake up every morning for at least 50 years before they die. Can you imagine how one can just choose to feel astronomically shitty every morning for the rest of their waking lives? Can anyone really choose to live without any purpose and to just wait til death? Remember, this is not because of any other means, but by choice.

Jean-Paul Sartre once said, “we are our choices.” Without going into philosophical existentialism here, the basic idea is that human beings are subjects who must freely choose to create their own meaning. Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Not feeling shitty is a choice. Whatever choice you make, makes your life.

Personal: A Dream

Personal: A Dream

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau.

I don’t usually get personal on my blog. It’s intended to be a place for my existential thoughts and creative writings. But this seems like a story (or dream) worth sharing. Months ago, I had a very foreshadowing dream.

In this dream, I sat beside an old woman, a face that I do not recognize. She rudely commented on my hair, “You need to cut it now! Right now!” while pulling on it from the back. I replied to her politely, “If I may, you are being extremely rude. Don’t worry, I will. I’ve been meaning to anyways. Perhaps, tomorrow or the day after when I have the time.” She just looked at me and smiled in agreement. And then, I woke up.

This must’ve been the most vivid dream I’ve had in ages! So, I was eager to read on this and interpret it right away. There are three key elements here: the old woman, our interaction and wanting to cut my hair. Firstly, I’ve read that the old woman represents wisdom and the desire to seek your inner voice. She represents my best interest and it would be wise to listen to her.

Secondly, my interaction with her represent what I needed to do in the waking world – or essentially, how to handle myself. While she asked for change immediately, I responded calmly and asked for patience. I was still waiting for the final pieces to complete my final puzzle. My calmness showed how I was willing and quite confidently wait for things to come to be. Now, I realized that wait was to see me leave behind my business in my final months and finally solely focus on my academic pursuits.

Finally, I’ve also read that wanting to cut your hair meant that you are going through a lot of stuff and you are ready to move on from it entirely. Usually, when you have a dream like this it is in the aftermath of having just gone through something traumatic. By cutting your own hair, you are trying to change yourself on the outside as a reflection of how you’ve changed on the inside. I think it’s abundantly clear that when you go through something so extreme in your life, you become a new person afterwards. You’ll find that you’ve grown, experienced something deeper and meaningful that has made you who you are now.

The next day, I did cut my hair. And on that very day, I finally acknowledged that I was now a different person, inside and out. I felt and looked different. I could not recognize my former self nor do I ever want to be him ever again. Though, I’ve learned plenty from the harsh lessons. As I fully embraced the change, I forgave myself. When I do look back, I would smile in appreciation. I know now that I’ve become the person that I’m meant to be. When I look at the mirror, I see a matured and well-adjusted person who’s ready to answer to his life’s calling and take on the world. I’ve grown, and will continue to grow.

While it was all business, coming back from Cambodia felt like another watershed moment, and I’ve taken the opportunity to plan the next 16 months. I’ve planned an exciting future from marathons to backpacking trips to hours of intellectual writing. I’ve put real challenges in front of me.

I’m ready to take on new adventures ahead. I’m ready to live the life I’ve imagined.