The Same Road

“Did you do anything fun over break?”
–“I mostly stayed at home and studied. I had to read and answer questions for an entire chapter of history, and I also finished two projects.”

“So, how was your weekend?”
–“It was alright. I’ve been studying and doing homework so far…”

“Thanks for coming to my birthday bonfire today guys! I hope you all had a fun time. What are you guys gonna do after you get home?”
–“I’m gonna get back to homework.”
–“Yeah, I have to study for the AP Euro test.”
–“Me too…”
–“Same. When I get home I’m gonna work on my project, too. It’s due on Monday.”

If you think about it, Dorothy wouldn’t have had an adventure if she had stayed on the yellow brick roadsunbeam-1031201_1920

For some reason, teenagers are having a lot less fun in high school. We have less fun, less time, less freedom, but more stress, more worries, and more work. Being a teenager is supposed to be one of the most memorable times of a person’s life, but why do I feel like I want the years to go by quicker?

“Youth is wasted on the young.”-George Bernard Shaw

I’m sixteen right now, and I imagined it to be a super fun time. Instead, most of my friends and I stay inside all week to do homework. You would expect a teenager who stays up all night to be partying, but instead they were either finishing homework or preparing for a test the next day. We’re so busy to the point that my chemistry teacher makes our homework assignment: “Have fun over break and tell your story to the class when we get back.” Very few teachers notice the problem that we students are facing. (This is why I really appreciate the teachers who ask the students when a good time the assignment should be do or those who measure the workload they give us.)

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Very few parents notice either. They still think as if the amount of work we have is the same as when they were high school students. However, the amount of work has increased dramatically. Because our academic privileges have increased, our generation has been offered AP classes and more extracurriculars. Most parents find these opportunities and sign their kids up for so many activities that they have no time to hang out–only time to study in their free time. (Of course, we feel grateful for all these opportunities, but we should have a choice in what we want to do.) Some parents encourage their kids to take so many advanced classes with so much work. Because the amount of work we’re given is so great that we only retain the information for a short time until the test, or until the AP exam. All that time studying, and it goes right out the window.

“What a weary time those years were — to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability.”- Charles Bukowski

I really want to hang out on weekends or Friday nights, but the only answer I can give is: Sorry, I can’t. I have to study…  But I’m not the only person who has this problem. The majority of my friends want to hang out too but we can never find a time because of all the schoolwork and projects that we’re given. We mostly only see each other on the weekends to work on projects. But even if I hang out over the weekend, I still think: I should really be studying right now. What if I don’t have enough time to finish my project? What if I don’t have time to study?

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Our youth should be treasured and valued more. It’s a special time being a teenager, and there is no way to go back and experience it again. This should be a time of freedom, fun, and adventure, not stress, boredom, and restriction. Instead of telling people I spent my weekend studying, I want to tell them that I actually had fun hanging out with friends/hiking/going to the beach. But right now, it’s sad how we are not able to cherish our time. It’s sad how our dreams are lost in homework. It’s sad how we are staying on the yellow brick road.

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~Tam

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what am I doing?

When people are asked what their life’s purpose is, they usually say love or happiness. But I read this amazing blog post and it states an entirely different thing. It illustrates the importance of peace and how the only way to accomplish any feeling of happiness or joy is through peace. The author of this post begins her posts beautifully and analyzes some topics very interestingly. I just wanted to share this with you all to give some inspiration and show how life isn’t only about money or success, but about your mental health and calmness. Of course, we cannot live in a world without stress or worries, but if you reach a point in life where you achieve peace, it is an accomplishment. Even though it may only be for a few years, months, days, or even minutes, we all need a moment of peace sometime in our lives.

Although some of you may still be unsure of what the future holds, everything will be alright. Believe it or not, life is very short. It takes a while for one to find what they need. However, the true way of living is through peace.

You cannot find peace by avoiding life.“-Virginia Woolf

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pink chrysanthemums

Sometimes, I feel really lost in the whirlwind that is life. Everything around me seems to be moving so quickly. My friend just took the SAT and got a score over 2100. My teammate signed up for a R.O.P class in dentistry because she’s so sure that’s what she wants to do. I just sat here and procrastinated on my homework. “What am I doing?” seems to run through my head a lot. Everyone around me has a path they want to take in life. I lost the purpose of my life; I can’t find the reason why every breathe I take is important.

Is it love? Some people might say that love is the ultimate goal in life. They say that when you find someone you love, your purpose in life becomes them. You do anything to make sure that they’re happy and comfortable, but no one wants to…

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Luck of the Unlucky

Every day I wake up from my comfortable bed. Every day I get dressed with a new outfit. Every day I brush my teeth in my bathroom. Every day I get to school by car. Every day I have lunch. Every day I have dinner. Every day I have my family with me. One day I wonder, what if I had none of this?

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I’m given everything I need to live nicely, and I didn’t have to work for any of it. My parents provided everything for me. I always know I’ll be safe in my home at the end of the day. But I’ve never known what it’d be like without any of it.

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I’ve never been in a situation where I’m so desperate for something that I need it in order to survive. This goes the same for most people who are in first world countries. Sometimes we take everything for granted. People don’t actually try until they’re in a critical situation. It gets surprising when those who are born with nothing surpass those who are born with everything. It’s because they know they need to get better. They strive to have better lives, because they need it. Nothing will change unless they do something about their situation. My parents came to America from Viet Nam without knowing a speck of English. They literally had nothing. But because they knew they had to do something, they worked even harder. And because of this mindset, they came out more successful than others who were actually born in America.

“Only desperate men make good conquerors.” —Theodor Herzl

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Instead of waiting for someone to save you, try to save yourself first.

Those who are born with everything tend to believe that since they are born with so many opportunities, they don’t need to work harder because everything is already handed to them. We feel as though we don’t need to work harder, because we’ve never known what it’s like to starve, what it’s like to be dirty, what it’s like to be thirsty, what it’s like to be desperate. Those who have experienced this feeling of “need” know they have to do something about it.

So, am I saying that we need to have all our precious materials taken away? No. I’m saying that we need to start making more use of what we have. We have computers, we have education, we have homes, we have modes of transportation, we have opportunities. We can use these to our advantage and move forward to help those who don’t have anything.

“Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted… but to weigh and consider.” —Francis Bacon

Not only that, but we need to have a mentality that makes us work harder. Some people refuse to work because they believe their luck will carry their lives. Because we believe so much in our luck, we start to rely on it. We try less and less. Just believe that you are unlucky.

Those who are “lucky” feel it’s unnecessary to work harder. There are no “lucky” people in this world. You have to believe that you are unlucky and strive to work better. Make your own luck.

~Tam(:

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Am I Greedy?

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.

-Socrates

Are we selfish? Being selfish is an issue that everyone says to avoid. But is it even possible to avoid selfishness? We all want something and want good things to happen to us. The fact that there is something that benefits us makes us want to do it. If there is nothing good is a result, we don’t want to do it. In the end, it’s every man for himself.

One might say, “If I die for someone else, how is that selfish?” Yes, that is not a ‘selfish’ action, but if you let them die then you would live with the shame of not saving them for the rest of your life. Although it’s not a good result of dying, you avoid the guilt of letting them die. If you look at it this way, it can be considered a way of being selfish.

A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.

 -Richard Wately

The best thing we can do is choose when to be selfish and our intentions in being selfish. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes. If you worry about others all the time, you can’t take care of yourself. But if you’re selfish all the time, it can harm others or even yourself. Of course we can do things for ourselves, but if we don’t think about how it affects others, it’ll only bring pain.

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It’s a contradicting matter of whether or not something is selfish. But what influences the most about our viewing something as generous or greedy is society. We’ve been taught that certain things are good and certain things are bad.

The science behind media affecting us.

Selfishness is one of the ‘bad things’. People say it’s immoral to think only of yourself and helping others is better. Obviously, these are true in certain situations, but selfishness isn’t always a bad thing. We’ve been manipulated into thinking there is only greed (helping yourself at the expense of others) and selflessness (helping others at the expense of yourself). Of course people would view it as a bad thing if they’re only given two choices. But we can make our own choices. It’s hard to see through what we’ve been believing all our lives. It’s hard to change our viewpoint on something we’ve thought has always been true. It’s hard to change the ‘facts’.

Selfishness is a concept that allows people to be their own hero and experience their own happiness. We all want to be proud of ourselves and feel those emotions that bring us pleasure in life. Selfishness doesn’t have to be a bad thing. People view it as a bad thing because they don’t feel happy with what they have.

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However, there is indeed a ‘bad’ kind of selfishness. It’s when we do something that harms others or affects them badly just to meet our ends.

Glory, built on selfish principles, is shame and guilt.

-William Cowper.

But there’s always the good selfishness that helps ourselves and others. It brings us pleasure and makes us feel better about ourselves. It also builds us into who we are and what defines us as individuals. You develop a better relationship with yourself as well as others. Being selfish is a requirement to being happy.

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~Tam(:

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Living in the Now

An interesting concept that people seem to ponder on is if there is an afterlife. It seems to be a subject that is discussed over and over, but there’s never an answer. Then again, how can anyone truly have an answer for that? Because it’s left unanswered, we don’t know what to do with our lives in the now, in the present. What’s going to happen after we die? If we have an afterlife, should we just focus on what’s going to happen then? But if we live like that, then what’s the purpose of life supposed to be???

It’s a recurring question that appears in every religion. How should we live our lives? How should we get ready for the afterlife? Most religions say there is an afterlife. People follow all the rituals, practices, and believe the concepts, using their life years in “preparing for survival in the next world.” Taoism, Buddhism, even the Egyptian religion, all state how to live and have a satisfactory time after death. Some of their religious followers believe that “they could only reach their full potential after death.” But… is there even an afterlife?

Photo by Phil Platt "Light at the end of the tunnel"

Photo by Phil Platt
“Light at the end of the tunnel”

We’re so intrigued about a mystery that can never be solved. Why try to please the Anonymous Life when we already have the Known Life? What’s important is living in the now. We know what’s happening right now in our lives, so why worry about the unknown universe after death?

Life is a puzzle.

Life is a puzzle. Focus on the pieces you know before trying to solve the unknown picture. (Photo by Mike Kniec on Flickr)

I think our purpose, as special, individual, human beings is to choose our own path. Not to follow someone else, not to live in the shadows, not to worry about what’ll happen, but to embrace ourselves, right here, right now. Embrace our opinions. our goals, our ideas.

(Just a song that’s close to my heart. (: Just remember anyone can be a hero, whether it’s to other people or to yourself.)

“If we only defend, we lose the war…”

Kambei Shimada, The Seven Samurai

We control our own lives. We can take action. We shouldn’t live just worrying about something we’ll never know. It’s important to know what we want, because time goes by fast. Before you know it, ten-twenty-thirty years will pass, but we’ll feel as though our lives are incomplete.

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(Photo by N. Feans on Flickr, Quote added in by me)

Each and every person in this world has their own potential, goals, and skills. However, it takes time to realize what you want to be or what you choose to do. I mean, high school is nearly halfway over for me and I have no idea what to do with my life yet. But it’s okay. It takes time. As long as we eventually realize our dreams and achieve them before death, we’ll be okay. But even if we never realize our dreams and live happily, it’ll still be okay.

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Enjoying our lives is what we’re supposed to do. In doing so, we might even take risks. We actually experience new things instead of staying in the shadows of the unknown. In the process, we can overcome our fears, our uncertainties, our griefs.

“Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”

Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Living is experiencing. The only way we satisfy our life’s purpose is through knowing the feelings of despair, grace, fear, comfort, maturity, immaturity, stupidity, intelligence, sadness, and happiness. You don’t know anything until you experience it. It’s like how telling a person how fun zip-lining is is not the same as actually experiencing it firsthand. Telling someone about the feeling of adrenaline, exhilaration, and excitement when zip-lining is not as effective as when they do it themselves. (FYI this is totally off-topic, but if you’re interested in zip-lining, I highly recommend going in Costa Rica because the scenery is just amazingly beautiful and there are also a lot of other activities too.)

Our preferences, personalities, and memories are what define and distinguish us from others. If we all work the same way, worrying about the enigma of death and not even attempting to live, how would we be content with ourselves? It’s important to live in the present and make ourselves happy, because only you can save yourself–no one else can teach you how.

~Tam(:

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Winter Sites!

Hi friends! The holidays are coming closer, which means break time! Time to spend with family, time to spend with friends, time to travel. There are so many beautiful locations during the wintertime, so this post is going to be about some vacation suggestions if you’re looking for a place to go.

An incredible place to visit would be Utah. There are fantastic sites to see there–such as the Ice Castles in Midway, Utah!

Photo by Eric Kllby on Flickr

Photo by Eric Kllby on Flickr

This is the place where many celebrities film their videos. For example, Lindsey Stirling!

Utah also has really great Ski Resorts, such as Park City Mountain Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort. These are fun places to spend with family and friends, because of all the additional recreation activities and delicious dining areas.

Sunset of Park City Mountain Resort.  Photo by msabbath on Flickr

Sunset of Park City Mountain Resort.
Photo by msabbath on Flickr

Solitude Mountain Resort

Even though Utah has many winter sites, so does Finland!

The Hotel Kakslauttanen Igloo West Village provides an jaw-dropping view of the Northern lights as well as a fun experience with your friends and family living in an igloo.

Igloo Rooms of Kakslauttanen Hotal (Greenland Travel on Flickr)

Igloo Rooms of Kakslauttanen Hotal
(Greenland Travel on Flickr)

View of the Northern Lights in Kakslauttanen, Finland.  Photo by Kelvin Lim on Flickr

View of the Northern Lights in Kakslauttanen, Finland.
Photo by Kelvin Lim on Flickr

Although skiing and snowboarding are fun activities, attending festivals in Asian countries are something to look forward to this time of year(:

The famous Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan and the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival in South Korea attract thousands of tourists in the winter.

The Snow Festival, which is held for a week in February, has giant snow slides and sculptures made of snow. Tourists can enjoy the ice maze and snow sculptures made by the citizens of Sapporo. The Ice Festival in January has fishing competitions, barbecues, and wonderful ice sculptures. You can try to catch fish with your bare hands and then cook it for your friends and family!

One of the unbelievably gorgeous sculptures from the Ice Festival in Japan. (Photo by iyoupapa on Flickr)

One of the unbelievably gorgeous sculptures from the Ice Festival in Japan. (Photo by iyoupapa on Flickr)

Ice fishing during the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival.

These are all interesting places everyone should visit one day! It’ll be definitely one of the most memorable trips of your life. Happy Holidays everyone! ‘Til next time!

~Tam(:

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Our Littleness

So does a whole world, with all its greatness and littlenesses, lie in a twinkling star…

-Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

A small poem sent out to the universe alone

Is a speck of dust in a sea of galaxies

Who can see or hear or feel it?

When the Light is done

And the Darkness takes over all

It too will not be heard.

By Shalom Freedman

 

Once you think about it, we are small. We are humans. A single species on a planet. A planet part of a galaxy. A galaxy part of a never-ending universe. This never-ending universe has endless unknown space that has yet to be explored, but we’ll never be able to learn or discover all of it. This universe is so big, yet we are so small.

Photo by Jared Smith on Flickr

Photo by Jared Smith on Flickr

We are minuscule compared to everything else. Just a speck of dust. Some people think that our minisculity is a weakness, a burden that hinders our creative ideas. But size doesn’t affect our minds. How are we able to make a difference in the world despite our smallness?

It all begins with an idea. An idea could be big or small. An idea leads to action. An action could be good or bad. A single action could change something even greater than what you could imagine.

Our mind contains an unlimited amount of ideas. Photo by Andres Nieto Porras on Flickr

Our mind contains an unlimited amount of ideas. (Photo by Andres Nieto Porras on Flickr)

Yes, we are small. But if we work together to make something, it could end up doing a lot more than what we expected. Sometimes a life-changing event doesn’t even need a lot of people. Just a single person (you) are capable of greatness. Size doesn’t have anything to do with what is happening in the universe now.

There was a time when my teacher from middle school had told us a story about her high school life. She was always such a sweet, caring, sociable person. Everyday she would greet people with a smile and a ‘hello’, or compliment them. She never thought it was a big deal just being nice to others. But one day she got a call from a person who went to her high school. He said she saved his life. That person was someone she always said ‘hi’ to. He was about to commit suicide, but her kindness and positive attitude prevented it. It was such a small action, but it amazingly saved a life. How could she have known that one word could leave such an empowering effect on someone else? The thing is, she didn’t.

Sometimes we don’t even think about our actions. It just comes naturally. A small wave, a small laugh, a small smile can do a lot.

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Our personalities and actions determine who we are, and this affects others around us as well as our community. Our smallness doesn’t hinder our abilities. You don’t need to worry about making a difference in the world when you could change a person’s life right now. We need to make the best out of our lives, because everything, even the little details, are important. You might not believe that such a small deed will change anything, but it might just change an entire course of events.

Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.

-Ernest Hemingway

~Tam(:

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