23

I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I would write about for my birthday blogpost.  I did “20 Reflections on 20 Years of Living” when I left my adolescent years behind me and started the brave journey on the road of adulthood.  I wanted to come up with something really catchy and memorable but twenty-three does not lend itself to catch phrases.

Eventually I started thinking about a song by Coldplay that I cannot stop listening to called “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.”  My favorite section is as follows:

I turn the music up, I got my records on
From underneath the rubble sing a rebel song
Don’t want to see another generation drop
I’d rather be a comma than a full stop

Maybe I’m in the black, maybe I’m on my knees
Maybe I’m in the gap between the two trapezes
But my heart is beating and my pulses start
Cathedrals in my heart

I love the imagery of being “in the gap between the two trapezes.”  It captures the idea of being suspended between two secure things and not knowing what you are going to grasp onto next.  I have felt that way a lot this past year with many parts of my life in flux.

But I think I am starting to accept all of it and be okay with it.  I have realized that a lot of life is being suspended between what is secure and what is the exact opposite of secure and learning to be okay with it.

There are some things in life that are absolutely certain.  For me those things are God, friendship, family, and love.  For the most part, there is a lot of uncertainty in life.  We do not know what work will be like today. We do not know what job we will have next year.  We do not know when we are going to get married or have kids. We do not know if we are going to live for many more years or if we will die tomorrow.

But I do know that my friends and family love me.  I know that I am where I am supposed to be even though it is not necessarily where I want to be.  I know that I am a writer, a musician, a massive geek, and a passionate liver of life.

And I know that today, I am grateful for twenty-three years of an amazing life and I am hopeful about the next twenty-three years.

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How We Remember

I did not watch Singapore’s National Day Parade and I nearly forgot about 9/11.  I can be considered a bad citizen of both countries for which I hold a passport.

Please do not get me wrong; 9/11 was absolutely horrific and one of the greatest tragedies and injustices of our time.

But it is now twelve years after the fact and I live in a different country then where the event occurred.

I was only about twelve years old when 9/11 happened.  I could in no way comprehend the magnitude of what that day meant. I knew something bad had happened and I knew a lot of people were dying.  But what I remember more is that my classmate Travis Cochrum walked into class that day and sheepishly said that it was his birthday.

If you, like myself, were not directly affected by the events of 9/11, (no one you know died, none of your friends family members or loved ones died) I think it is much harder to remember this day as a day of tragedy.  I am in any way trying to belittle to the pain of those who have lost people and whose lives have been a living hell for the past twelve years.

What I am saying is that everyone–American or otherwise–was and continues to be affected by 9/11 in completely different ways.

And I do not think there is anything wrong with this.

22

I read this article the other day and it made me very sad (http://music-mix.ew.com/2013/09/02/miley-cyrus-and-the-rise-of-yolo-pop/).

The overall point of the article was that the reason why crazy Miley Cyrus performances and inappropriate songs like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” are so popular is because there is a market for them in this generation.

As a person who has never been a party girl, gone wild, or done anything else that I consider to be relatively stupid, this fact makes me very sad.

I am starting to feel like the only 22 year-old who is trying to be responsible and actually get into this whole adult thing.  Sure, I spend a lot of time thinking about how being an adult is not all I thought it was going to be when I was five.  But overall, I think I am doing a pretty good job of navigating the murky waters of young adulthood.

I am not trying to put down every twenty-something person who is out there having a good time and living for the now–or as this generation is supposed to say: YOLO-you only live once.  There is nothing wrong with having a good time and living life to the fullest.

But if we let that motto define our lives, what are we going to think of ourselves ten years down the line?  Yes, we had a good time and made some great memories.  But I am willing to bet that nine times out of ten, we will think, “Wow was I being stupid. What the hell was I thinking?”

For their sake, I hope people my age who are out partying all night find something better to do with their time and their lives.  I hope they find a true purpose to why they are here and what they should do with these amazing years.

So here’s to all my twenty-something friends who are being responsible, working hard, and trying to be grown up.  Remember, we all have a long road ahead of us but we have come so far already.  

And please do not ever forget to be a kid every once in awhile.  Run in the rain, get ridiculously excited about the new Hunger Games movie when it comes out.  Never loose that spark and life will still be full of those moments where you really were thinking, “You only live once.”

Transcendence

Music is a language that transcends time, space, and differences.  

Yesterday, I went to a Piano Guys concert.  It was beautiful.  I sat there listening to one of the most amazing pianists I’ve heard and the deep and melancholic tones of a cello played by one of the most creative musicians I encountered.  

If there is such a thing as heaven meeting earth, I believe music is one of the most common places it happens.

The Piano Guys opened with a cover of an Adele song and then a mash-up of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” and Coldplay’s Viva La Vida (for those of you who are skeptical of such a combination, go to YouTube and watch it before you make any judgments).  

At the end of Viva La Vida, there is a section of “Ohs” which are perfect for crowd sing-along.  I sat there with chills from the beauty of the music and the wave of emotion and joy and togetherness of the crowd.

It was as if time and space stopped and we could have gone on singing Viva La Vida for the whole night.  The problems of the world and of our individual lives did not matter because in that moment, life was absolutely perfect.

“And in that moment, I swear, we were infinite.”*

I pray for more moments like these.  Whether it is in the unity of traditionally opposed groups or the simple joys of being with family and friends, we need moments like these.  

We need moments that remind us that humanity is not completely gone.  We need moments that remind us that good still exists. 

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*Quoted from The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky