The Beauty of Things

After reading this post by livelytwist on A Holistic Journey, talking about the beauty of things and being enlightened by many of the comments left after the article was published, I was inspired to write a post of my own. Obviously, my perspective is from a somewhat inexperienced (most likely a kidult or someone still seemingly going through an extended adolescence) mind and eyes.

So what exactly is beauty?

Picnic. Pretty ugly.

“It’s supposed to be about inner beauty,” one of my friends in middle school chimed.

I chuckled.

Well, she had a point you know. That gooey caramel, nuts and wafer all mixed together. Simply delicious.

The Picnic wrapper, though shiny and inviting is useless to me without containing the goods. In fact, if you gave me an empty Picnic wrapper, I’d look at you quizzically and wonder what you meant by that. It’s empty.

Everything is just packaging. Wrappers with pretty lettering. Of course, some people are blessed with being full of delicious caramel, nuts and wrapped in a shiny red and yellow wrapper. Others are just empty wrappers. Some are empty Coke bottles. Some are half full and half empty. And some, are just ‘ugly’ Picnic bars.

A comment I left on the piece: true beauty radiates. You cannot filter true beauty. The things you choose to do and the things you choose to say aren’t always direct reflections of you, but they do make up a lot of how people perceive you. It’s more like the things you think, don’t do or the things you don’t say that are probably more accurate in describing your character.

A person that abuses a child is not beautiful. A bully that shows no remorse for their actions is ugly. A boy that struggles to make a living, yet looks after ailing animals, has not only done a beautiful thing but is full of compassion. A lady that smiles at you and genuinely wishes you well is a beauty.

They say eyes are the windows to one’s soul. I believe that to be true. If you look closely into a person’s eyes, you can tell whether they harbor good or bad intentions. Kindness glows. When was compassion the new black?

Take a bite and you will understand true beauty.

So Money Can Buy You Happiness

Having money doesn’t make you happy. Remember this? The conversation with the jovial taxi driver and how he was looking to leave the country because of rising taxes and costs of living?

And this TED talk: money can buy you happiness.

They’re both right.

But how? The reason is simple. Having lots of money (i.e. hoarding it like the infamous tightwad, Mr. Scrooge from A Christmas Carol) absolutely does not make you happy. How could it? A lot of money doesn’t have any real value. Sure, you could fold it up into a paper crane or you could melt the nickel in coins and mould it into a small figure. Yet, money can’t hug you. It’s inanimate. Your bank balance is really just a number on a sheet or screen until you do something with it.

It’s what you can do with the money that can make you happy. You can buy nice things (depending on what nice means to you). So money has the ability to make you happy by being a mode of exchange for goods and services. But you will be most happy when you are able to impart some of that happiness onto others. That’s right. I’m talking about the warm, fuzzy feeling.

One day, you may come to realize that you will die. And you don’t need to be a statistician to work out the probability of dying is 100%. Nothing more certain than death and taxation, they say. So whether you go to Heaven or Hell, you’re not really going to take all that money with you.

Take a look at this graph:

And now inserting some of my general geek authority on how money and happiness are correlated – why isn’t it a straight line? Why does it bend a little? Well, that’s because there are other factors.

Perhaps the Hollywood caricature of the rich, lonely heiress in the Britney Spears’ music video, Lucky isn’t too far from the truth. That’s not to say that all rich people are lonely and unhappy. There are probably far more who are poor and unhappy, because of the increased exposure to crime, illness and other negative socioeconomic factors that are tied to having fewer resources.

Other factors like your experiences growing up, social relationships, and traumatic events shape your happiness. You can’t possibly expect someone with AIDS as a result of rape and winning compensation to always be smiling. It’s just not that simple.

What we do know though, is that there is inequality with the way money is distributed. We can’t really change that as an individual on a global basis, but eventually with enough drops, a bucket can be full of water. And don’t you just like that warm, fuzzy feeling you get inside from helping someone? Well bud, you’re selfish. But that’s okay. If, by being selfish, you end up helping someone along the way then that’s okay.

As long as you’re happy, I’m happy.

Poetry Jam: St. Patrick’s Day

Image Credit: Charles Rondeau at publicdomainpictures.net

Pick a four-leafed clover,
Win a pot of gold!
Just ride over the rainbow,
Get off at the terminal.

There you will find a shorter-than-average fellow.
Some call him a leprechaun, but I just say,
“Top of the morning to you, friend!”
He seems to like that.

What do you mean he wasn’t there?
You did bring the clover didn’t you?
Oh well! Shamrock!
Bring me some more Irish cream and
You’re lucky you didn’t forget the potatoes.

P.S. May you all find your pot of gold and ride the rainbow… at least once. 

I Want to Know What Love Is

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

Because I’m pressed for ideas (actually they’re there but they’re fighting amongst themselves right now) and a little rusty at regular blog posts, I shall answer the daily prompt in the words of the great Olaf:

“True love is putting someone else’s needs before yourself.”

I don’t know why it took an animated, magical snowman from a Disney movie to describe what love is in less than 10 words, but I don’t see any objections.

Poetry Jam: Remind Me to Visit You

It’s been weeks, perhaps months now.
Please ask me to come by!
Why don’t you remind me of the times that I’d stop by,
Bewildered by the drawings and scribblings on your walls—
The words that would ignite past events, a chuckle or watery eyes?

Have you met anyone new that you think I should meet?
Do their words spark something inside you too?
Allow me to pay them a visit.

Or ask them to stop by here. Whatever works best.

Anyway, I’ll stop by again soon.

P.S. Okay, so not really a real poetry jam jam. But! Free for all to share anything you want with me— reblogs, original posts, thoughts… or even the story of the time that you plain out forgot to do your homework and blamed the dog.

You Will Never Be Me

And I will never be you. Please do not compare yourself to me, or anyone for that matter. It is true that in this world, we are always constantly comparing ourselves to others – is she prettier than me? Could I ever be someone like that? I wish I was as rich as that guy. A lot of the time, it’s necessary for commercial competition, but in terms of personal success, there is simply no reason to.

Because you will never be me.

Well, actually there is one person that you should compare yourself to and it isn’t some deity or some celebrity. It is you. It only makes sense to gauge your current failures and successes with those of your past. That’s not to say you can’t learn from others – but you will never own their personal stories.

Yes, I am Asian. I am female. I struggled as an unemployed graduate. But I’m not representative of every other Asian female who has struggled with being an unemployed graduate. Nor am I trying to be. I’m just one person.

Regardless of how well you write and what critics say, you will never be the Harper Lee or even Stephen King. You could get plastic surgery to look like your favorite popstar, but you did not live through their tears, laughter and fears. In the graphic novel, Battle Angel Alita, the female protagonist sees to restoring her friend, but comes to learn that it is futile since she is no longer the friend that she once knew without her memories.

So what if that guy earns a million dollars a year and you earn $30k? You were never that guy. And everything is relative. Remember you were a broke college student a few months ago? I’d say you were doing quite well for yourself.

Being caught up in someone else’s web is something that impedes personal growth. So how are you doing?