"Accidents are unexpected, undesired, unpredicted, anomalies that happen in our systems. They happen without warning," Todd Conklin talks in his podcast episode, Accidents Will Happen. "And what's amazing to me is that we built an entire mythology, and entire focal. I mean a big industry out of this under the belief that every accident is preventable."
Good and bad accidents occur. I never know when they will occur. Because I can't read the future.
When I was a kid, I was taught to always be careful and aware of my surroundings.
What did it mean?
Because I realized I can't escape death.
One of my Bumble dates lost her father from a car accident in 1995. She was only 6 years old at the time.
My tennis and basketball coach dropped dead on his living room carpet on November 2018. His dog barked at him. And was terrified.
I lost my sister from a tragedy on May 17, 2003.
I have never witnessed an accidental death in front of my eyes yet. But I have experienced accidents from personal injuries throughout my life.
It is an offering.
Many means and ways of giving.
When I was a kid, I was taught to never talk to strangers. Because I might get kidnapped, molested, or killed. (They never said that. But you can see why.) I avoided beggars asking for help. (It made me look down upon them.) I only earned money through gifts, chores, and allowances from family, friends, and relatives.
And received any brand new material goods, like toys, given to me from family, friends, and relatives. (Brand new material goods were purchased from money too.) I witnessed this way and mean of giving and receiving based on my childhood experience.
I became what I saw and heard.
"I think money is important. And I do really want to hear your reasons for that," Travis talks about it with his friend, Brandon, in their podcast episode, The Importance of Giving. "But maybe to just keep in mind as we move forward. You also can give up your time, effort, attention, love, and talent as well."
I was told to give more than receive. Every time, I was offered a gift. I was taught to not accept it right away.
I insert my debit card's chip facing up into ATM machine. And I leave it until machine tells me to remove it.
Because the machine is processing its transaction.
I observe a man being frustrated. His phone is loading slow as he surfs the web. (I remember dialup connection was slow. It started from the 1980s to 1990s. We are used to high speed internet.) He keeps refreshing it. But his phone is not able to load the page.
Because his phone is processing.
My friend tells me a story of how he met a cute lady in Asia. It's similar to a romantic comedy movie. They both like each other. But time and distance are in the way. Because she is already seeing somebody. Relationships do come unexpectedly. He respects the lady. He'll be leaving. And he can't do anything. My friend will talk to me more about his story later.
Because he is processing.
I deadlift a career high at 275 pounds at only one rep. (I weigh 144 pounds.) I prevail it with an ugly form. After I finish the rep, I stop for a moment.
Because my mind (and body) is processing.
A friend sends me pictures of his delicious food in Malaysia. The number, 22:01, appears on my phone. I tell him you are only sending me videos. Because it is a duration time. I open the message. But 22:01 is when he sends it on my phone. (I set my phone as military time or 24-hour clock.)
Because my mind is processing.
During a hike, I like to stop and explore my surroundings. I also like to contemplate and ponder about life.
Because my mind is processing.
Uncle Romel took my sister's life on Saturday, May 17, 2003.
He was 31 years old while my sister was 18 years old.
(I am 32 years old writing this to you.)
A year and a half later, he wrote a letter to my 17-year-old self and my parents. We each had a letter from him. (That was 3 letters total.)
And we were surprised.
At the time, I was in denial. I was grieving and mourning. I was not able to function. I had no sense of purpose in life anymore. I could not accept my sister's death.
I hated my Uncle. I wanted him dead. I wished somebody would torture and kill him. I expected him to feel the same pain and agony as how he stabbed my sister multiple times using a kitchen knife.
"What do you want now?" I asked myself to his letter while my parents heard me. "What else do you want from us?"
I didn't open his letter right away. Because anger took over my mind. I was swearing and cussing at his letter.
Finally, it took me about 15 minutes to open his letter.
I was curious. Because I wondered what exactly was his message to me and my parents.
It was an apology letter.
(Picture of his envelope and letter shown below. Dated on December 27, 2004.)
I sleep about 8 hours every night. I take a nap for about an hour or two every day.
One day is 24 hours. About 10 hours of my time is from sleeping. My body needs to rest, recover, and recharge in order to function and perform. And I am left with 14 hours in day.
It is being able to train my mind every single day, or else I will not be able to prioritize and minimize my time efficiently. (That is now a top priority in my life.)
Because I choose my time.
Every day is a challenge.
I was first introduced about priorities by reading Greg McKeown's book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. (I read it about a month ago. I am slowly applying it.)
"Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it's about how to get the right things done. It doesn't mean just doing less for the sake of less either," McKeown writes. "It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential."
I continue to declutter my room every day. It is still messy. My room is a work in progress. Decluttering takes time. It is a lifestyle. Because my mind is processing. (FYI, I plan on writing a blog entry about processing.)
In 2017, a movie, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, first introduced me to it. (My friend, Jon, told me about the movie.)
I was astonished by this film, even though I was not ready to declutter at the time.
I was on auto-pilot. I used to keep shopping in a consumerism country. I always bought a material good to fulfill my happiness. (I expected it would happen one day. But it never did.) The material good eventually gets old. I always bought a new one to replace it.
Brand new items boosted my ego and confidence. I bought them to impress others. I was seeking validation and attention to others.
My old items were left somewhere in home. Because I was still attached to them.
Throughout my life, I did not realize I was always collecting "old and new stuff." Call it a cycle of cluttering.
I continue to slowly declutter. And I would find something to remember, like old newspaper articles about my sister's death. She was stabbed multiple times from my uncle on Saturday, May 17, 2003. (I will save these articles.)
I never talked about her death at the time. I was embarrassed. I was scared. I was an insecure kid. I was focused on others more than myself. I believed people will hate me. I assumed people will think I am crazy. I always wanted to be alone. I chose to keep it a secret.
I remember the last day I saw my sister. She looked sad. My sister had a crush on her friend for a long time. But he never expressed his feelings to her. She was hoping he would let her know. My sister did have thoughts about letting him know. But she left it on pause. She had no idea if he liked her. She was clueless by their mixed signals.
"We've all felt it, and we've all probably given in. The urge to post something for the sole reason it may get a lot of likes is powerful indeed," Podcast, Really Really Badly, talk about it in their episode, Social Media Pt. 2: Doing it For the Likes. "But is it something we even really care about? If so, why? If not, then why do we do it so often?"
I admit it. I feel happy whenever I receive many likes on my social media post.
I used to upload a photo or video for the sake of trying to get many likes. (I was only aiming for attractive women to like each post.) I tried to post every day. Because I believed I will get many likes. (It worked sometimes.) I needed instant gratification. (Call it a dopamine-effect.)
I was playing a game of tag during recess in 1993. (I was 6 years old.) I tripped and fell. I lost control of my speed. My head hit the cement. I was unconscious. I suffered from a coma for about 2-3 days.
"WHY?" I asked myself.
I was 16 years old. On Saturday night, May 17, 2003, my uncle killed my sister. My sister was my (first) best friend. My uncle and I always played and watched basketball together. (He loved the game.)
3 years ago, I was jealous. Because my dad always pleased his brother, nephews, and nieces. I was in anger. I decided to shove my uncle. Then I front-kicked my dad. (My dad signed me up for taekwando classes when I was a kid. I hated it.) And I felt guilty. I walked away from them. Then I held a grudge against my dad for a month.
Last November, I received a voicemail from a friend. He told me his father has passed away. His father was my tennis/basketball coach, and friend.
Welcome to life.
My friend, Jon, introduced me to sauna. (This was 2 months ago.) He first heard sauna from Tim Ferriss' book, Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers.
(Ferriss has interviewed many people in his podcast. They have given him advice and told him stories. He decided to share it to a bigger audience by documenting it in his book.)
Ferriss explained about sauna in his book: "'Hypothermic conditioning' can help you to increase growth hormone levels and substantially improve endurance. I now take ~20-minute sauna sessions post-workout or post-stretching at least four times per week, typically at roughly 160 to 170°F. If nothing else, it seems to dramatically decrease DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness)."
He also noted it has "been shown to cause a massive release in prolactin, which plays a role in wound healing."
Sauna may purify body from "built up wastes and harmful toxins."
Like Ferriss, I take 20-minute sauna sessions, after I have finished from lifting weights, exercising my abs, and foam rolling my muscles.
I would join Jon in the sauna. We would usually encounter at least one person in a sauna.