Monthly Archives: March 2010

video: connection

these videos have been on the interwebs for a while, so you may have already stubbled across them.  I was introduced to the first one in a music and healing course I took last semester.  playing for change is a project that recorded street musicians around the world, mixed the various parts together, and created unique versions of commonly known songs.

when I showed it to my aunt (AKA sha), she showed me the second video, recalling that it had a similar message.  matt traveled around the world, dancing with whoever showed up, courtesy of stride gum.  both say interesting things about the power of music and movement, as well as the common bonds we share.  enjoy!

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life list

I’ve been feeling old lately.  does this transition from childhood to “adulthood” make everyone feel weird?  and why is that elementary school, junior high, and high school seemed like such a difficult burden at the time, but now is remembered with the nostalgia of carefree days?  as a kid you’re told you’ll “grow up” one day.  you even pretend to be a grown up and then long to grow up and break free of the rules and restrictions of childhood.  but it doesn’t happen in an instant.  you’re not a child one day and a grown up the next.  as much as those new driver’s licenses at 18 and 21 make you feel like it.

I’m becoming more and more convinced that we never really grow out of childhood, and rather, we just learn to color within the lines.  we put on the work-appropriate outfit, pay bills, and buy groceries.  we (well, not me yet) pay mortgages.  we take on great responsibility.  but no matter how old we are, we long for a nap, a hug from our moms, and someone to hold us when we cry.  we still revel in vacations from responsibility.  we still try to make our parents proud.  we look different than our childhood selves, but many of our intentions are the same.

at 23 I’m feeling the brevity and fragility of life.  I used to think I could just jump on the conveyer belt and go, go, go.  bachelors, masters, doctorate.  I’ll check off the second one of those this year.  I started to think outside the box, though.  what is there outside of the rat race that really matters to me?  yes, those accomplishments will fulfill me and set me on a career path, but aside from what I do, what do I want to be? and can I be OK with momentarily stepping off the conveyer belt and later getting back on?

I used to think that I’d graduate college and immediately start medical school.  I planned and plotted for that to happen.  and then I changed my plans.  I decided to go to graduate school instead.  I started to feel like I’d added onto my workload and merely delayed myself.  I worried about graduating from medical school at 28 instead of 26.  well, now I’m on track to graduate at 29, and I can finally appreciate the time I’ve taken.  had I not taken my time, I wouldn’t have a background in public health.  I wouldn’t have discovered the passion I now have for food, wellness, and preventive medicine.  I wouldn’t have become a certified yoga instructor.  instead of being part of the race, I enjoyed the ride.  and now?  26 vs. 29?  feels like nothing.  feels worth it.  feels right.

like I said, though, the schooling relates to what I’ll do.  I’ve also been thinking a lot about what I’ll be. as much as I want to be a doctor, I don’t want to be defined a profession.  I’ve spent so much time planning for school and medicine, but what else should I plan for?  or maybe not plan, but rather intend. so I started making  a list.  using some guidelines.  part inspired by the mighty life list and part inspired by the buried life (AKA my favorite new show), I asked myself, “what do I want to do before I die?”  and I started making a list.  in no particular order.  and with the idea that it will change as I change.  things will be added, and things may be removed.  I thought about just keeping it to myself, but what fun would that be?  so, with some trepidation, here are my intentions:

Save a life.

Make my own kombucha.

Keep a garden.

Safari in Africa.

Speak Spanish fluently.

Add hanumanasana (seated splits) to my yoga practice.

Walk along the Great Wall of China.

Adopt a rescue dog.

Own a convertible.

Knit a sweater.

Record my family history.

See the pyramids in Egypt.

Learn to drive a standard.

Prepare a gourmet meal.

Go to the opera.

Read the Torah.

Learn to surf.

Visit the Taj Mahal.

Assist in the birth of a baby.

Give birth to a baby.

Own a home.

See the Grand Canyon.

Sing karaoke with confidence.

Place a note in the Western Wall.

Change my own oil.

Eat pasta in Italy.

Dance under the Eiffel Tower.

Visit Machu Picchu.

Stomp grapes in Napa.

Say thank you to the teachers who changed my life.

Make my own cleaning supplies.

Restore a piece of furniture.

Paint something to hang in my home.

Drive on the Audubon.

Provide medical care in a third world country.

Give blood with my eyes open.

Send a postcard to PostSecret.

Be a mentor.

Adopt a child.

Run a marathon.

Go on a yoga retreat.

Pay a stranger’s bill at a restaurant.

Write a six-figure check to charity.

Be debt free.

and now I ask you, what have you crossed off your life list?  do you have a life list?  is your life the way the imagined it as a child?  write something down today.  even just one thing that you want to do.  big or small.  what do you want to do before you die?

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thoughts: a real sleeper

I spend a lot of time thinking about earthquakes.  what would I do when it happened?  last summer I was told that the office procedure was to get under your desk.  that seemed do-able until I began to fear that a small earthquake would strike, and I would jump under my desk in a panic, while everyone else went about their work.  then I’d have to crawl out, while pretending that no one saw me.

I think about earthquakes while I’m under overpasses and on big highways.  one of the landlords I spoke with a few months ago proudly told me that his building was built to be earthquake-proof and had make it though all the major quakes with no damage.  I was almost ready to sign the papers based on those words alone.

I wondered if seconds of shaking would feel like an eternity.  or if the bottles on top of the fridge would fall down.  would any dishes would break?  what would I do if I were in my car?  in a movie theatre?  these are the thoughts that go through my head, and yes, I know they’re a little crazy.

my typical approach to fears is to learn everything about them.  in some backwards way I think it will assuage irrational elements of the fear.  as such, my first week here I checked out a book from the library: Living with Earthquakes in California – A Survivor’s Guide.  yes, I’d like to be a survivor, thank you very much, so I devoured it.  I learned a lot from it, and I now tend to cite random earthquake facts when I have a chance.  for instance, did you know that in the early 1900’s CA downplayed the level of destruction from earthquakes in order to attract more people to the region?  as such, appropriate building codes and emergency procedures weren’t developed until decades later.  a more relevant fact: following any earthquake, beach areas should be evacuated because even a small earthquake could be a precursor to a tsunami.  OK, I’ll stop now.

I was prepared.  no, I hadn’t stocked any canned food, water, or flashlights, but I was ready to face an earthquake.  so imagine my surprise tuesday morning, eating breakfast in front of the TV, when suddenly the news reporter mentioned “the earthquake that woke los angeles residents this morning.”  WHAT?  I quickly texted Sam: “Did you know there was an earthquake this morning?????? At 4 AM????”  He quickly rebuffed my astonishment by saying: “Yeah a 4.4.  That’s nothing.”  nothing?  it was an EARTHQUAKE.  and I slept through it.  the event I’d fretted over for months had come and gone.  and suddenly it felt less like a fear and more like an unexpected house guest.  as in, if I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake.  but instead, if I knew you were coming I’d have WOKEN UP.

no one in my family will be surprised by this story.  they all know that I once slept in a dead-bolted hotel room, while various people knocked on the door, banged on the wall from the room next door, called the phone, and yelled through the air vents to wake me.  my lack of response sent my mom into a panic.  hotel staff had to break the dead-bolt to open the door, at which point everyone discovered that I wasn’t unconscious or missing; I was just asleep.  some things never change.

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