Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's so interesting to be a grown up.

In almost every encouraging or appreciative note my sister has every written to me, she has always said how much she admires my intolerance for the unethical and my vigor to speak out for what is right and good. Being in high school and college, it's so easy to do that (when she we were closer in proximity). High school is the time for teenage rebellion in every context - the immature lashings-out that take place are mostly understood and socially accepted as part of the teenage phase. Talking back and speaking up for your fairly under-processed ideas is seen as just what being a teenager is all about.

College is the perfect atmosphere to question everything. That's the point of a 4 year degree: to teach how to question the efficiency and effectiveness of all aspects of life and to teach the problem solving techniques it takes to reach idealism. Professors are there to make you think, to make you be introspective and to figure out the way the world currently works and how it should be altered. We were taught ideals and to follow those ideals.

But when you get to the real world, to the working world, these ideals aren't quite so welcomed. There is structure and bureaucracy that mandates every organization. Being an adult and speaking out for what you believe within a pre-established form isn't quite as understood and accepted as it was in the about 8 years prior.

So, how do young people these days work within this system when the 8 years in preparation have been teaching them to think outside of the box, to push the envelope, to be creative in approaching "protocols" and organizational structure. How, then, do we uphold those ideals that have started to dictate our character and our approach to the world? Do we lower our standards and work inside the system, never challenging it or questioning? Do we maintain our job security so that we can pay the bills and be comfortable or do we sacrifice our own comfort in pursuit of those ideals?

It becomes survival of the most ideal. I don't know if I'll make it and I wonder if my sister wrote a note these days, if it would be true.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's an interesting concept to live with the people you work with. To become friends with the people you live with. And to work with your friends. It's an interesting teaching method. Thanks, life.

In the last few days I've had a realization about "humility." It's such an integral part of being in relationship with people and it's the source of grace. I am not humble enough and I do not extend enough grace on the people I am with and around. I hold grudges and I internalize anger and frustration that form a giant chip on my shoulder.

It's so weird to me sometimes that these are things that create my faith, whatever my faith is. These are the things that I believe will make the world go round and will soften hearts and eliminate much of the pain that exists in the world. Do I need a source of these characteristics or can I just formulate them on my own, whilst in relationship with others? I think it can't be done alone, but I think humility and grace extend from knowing and loving others. It's not a religion or a spiritual framework which should mandate or inspire these things, but rather an understanding and awareness of how relationships need to be fostered and upheld.

It's also a beautiful feeling that transcends my body when I concentrate on believing in humility and grace. In finding the silver living around people who are frustrating to be around, who are discouraging, who are self-focused.

I need an accountability partner to uphold me to the highest standard. How can I teach something if I don't act myself?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"My family's relative wealth was due not only to my grandparents' social status but also to the fact that they had once lived and prospered in Japan. My grandmother was the first to exile herself there. She was born near the southern tip of the Korean peninsula, on the island of Cheju, famous for its windy weather, its horses, and the strong character of its women. To this day you see them on television wearing wetsuits and diving into the ocean in search of shellfish, while their men stay home minding the children."

Excerpt from The Aquariums of Pyongyang by Chol-Hwan Kang

You can view those women here: