We were in a Mexican restaurant along California Ave, one we’ve wanted to try since we noticed it about a month ago. Last Friday was a fairly lively night, though the rest of the day was a weird one for me. The restaurant was dimly lit and a majority of the customers were families; we were seated at the far corner, away from the ruckus.
“Ever since I was young, I’ve always believed I am meant for something bigger. Always something bigger, greater… you know?”
She looked at me, puzzled, and her immediate response was, “What is bigger?”
I laughed. “Exactly. What is bigger? These days I think about it and realize I don’t even know. All this while I’m chasing after something that I thought would validate my existence and purpose, only to realize I’m not even clear about what it is. The other day I thought about my mum and realized that her life is small, kinda – not per the definition I had about going global and living life away from home – but it’s meaningful, the stuff she does. She’s directly involved with dental public health improvements in Malaysia and even now, post-retirement, she’s actually busier than ever. I thought about it, and realize that her life isn’t larger-than-life in a way that I’ve always thought equates to ‘great’, but she’s part of the movement. She’s doing great things on a small-scale. So the other day I thought, what is it that I’m chasing after? What does it mean to make it big?”
She gave me a hard look, not flinching even once.
“Maybe you need to redefine your scope. Redefine big.”
These are the pieces of my youth,
the small secrets and the not so great expectations,
that defined my coming of age.
– Tablo of Epik High
Three weekends ago, I finally bike across the Golden Gate Bridge.
It’s surprising to realize it was just last summer that I attempted to complete this task with Housemate #1, except I could hardly balance myself on a bicycle. I kept falling down and within an hour was frustrated, embarrassed, and near-tears. These days, I bike to class daily, and greatly enjoy the cool wind. That particular summer day was gorgeous – sunny skies, high visibility and fair wind in contrast to this particular day; cloudy and foggy. Yet, the details mattered little – it was about being in the moment, and realizing that there’s still so much to live for.
This was the view that greeted me, and it is moments like this that reminds me what a blessing it is, being here. It is views like this which reassure me I did make the right decision to continue to graduate school, and that the past five years have indeed been soul-searchingly amazing. When it hit me just how my life has turned out and the many, many amazing views I’ve had the opportunity to glimpse firsthand, I chuckled at the thought of my seventeen year-old self – she hardly knew anything back then, but had enough sense to chase after horizons beyond her limits.
You know what I’d really like to do the most right now?
Climb up to the top of some high place like the pyramids.
The highest place I can find.
Where you can see forever.
Stand on the very top, look all around the world, see all the scenery,
and see with my own eyes what’s been lost from the world.
– Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart
What does it mean to live big?
“Redefine your scope. Redefine big.”