A little background: About a month-and-a-half ago, Seo Sundays nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. After doing some research, I learned that this award is similar to one of those chain mail letters you used to get back when you first got your email, but with actual substance! I thought responding to it would be a good way for me to reflect on the end of my first year of school.
1. What is love to you?
Wow. Starting out with a tough one. I suppose there are many kinds of love. There’s romantic love, familial love, brotherly love… Of course, that’s not really what’s being asked in this question. Personally, I see love as an action rather than an emotion. It’s the sacrificial dedication of oneself to a particular object, idea or person. For example, we can all think of people who love their house, or justice, or a particular individual, even if that person is themself. I think my year at college has shown me just how deeply I’ve been loved, and how much work I have to do to get better at loving.
2. What is your story?
My story seems to change with every passing day; there’s something about the end of the school year that brings out the teenage, existential angst that inspired this blog. I suppose I could start with the basics: I was that kid that got along with everybody, was liked by his teachers, did well in class, and found some interests (music, writing, theater) to pursue. I’m the son who has done his best to live up to his parents’ expectations and the brother who tries to be there to support his sisters. I’m a “lifelong” Christian who is starting to get a grasp of the depth, meaning, and work that comes with that identity. And I’m realizing that regardless of how well I think I’ve done or how good I think I am, I won’t find security in arrogance.
Tl;dr: Secretly arrogant guy is humbled by life
If I had to choose a living person, it would have to be the Dalai Lama. He is universally respected for his wisdom, but as a Buddhist, he comes from a very different spiritual and cultural background than me. If I could choose some one from history, it would probably be Marcel Proust. I think it would be interesting to see the world through his eyes.
5. Underwater exploring or space navigating?
Space navigating, without question. I’m all about that space. Besides, if we warm up the Earth enough, we can just make the oceans evaporate!
6. Where do you think you’ll be in the next five years?
There are so many possibilities. One is grad school, for chemistry or for English. I could end up in medical school, despite my protestations that I am anything but pre-med. I could be working towards getting my teaching credential or sending manuscripts to publishing houses. I might even be in a relationship. One of the factors weighing heavily on my mind is my college degree. I’ve been given a great opportunity to study at Harvard, and it seems like it would be a waste if my future made that degree superfluous. On the other hand, maybe my experience in college is more important than the diploma I’ll receive at the end of my time here.
7. What’s your favorite pastime?
Wandering aimlessly. First, for the time to think, and second, for it’s ability to remove me from the screens that haunt my life. However, playing and listening to music would be a close second.
8. Who or what’s your life’s inspiration?
So an “inspiration” is something which motivates someone to do something or create something (thank you Merriam-Webster’s). In this case, the thing I’m creating is my life. I suppose I’m inspired by two main ideas. The first is the idea of a “Renaissance Man” or polymath. I find so much of the world intriguing, and I want to learn about it. The second is the idea of a selfless person. A great nerdy, pop culture example would be Sam from Lord of the Rings.
9. What’s your spirit animal?
I would have to go with the octopus. It’s great at camouflaging itself, can squeeze itself into and out of tight situations, has eight arms (twice the number of human limbs for those of you scoring at home), and it’s crazy smart. It’s almost everything I aspire to be. It does have a penchant for strangling rival octopi. That part is maybe not so admirable.
10. What’s your life worth living for?
Christ. I’m pretty sure everybody has heard or read David Foster Wallace’s speech “This is Water,” so it may be cliched to make a reference to it here. But I’ve found that there’s really nothing on the Earth worth living for. Material wealth, respect, fame, social contributions, experiences, relationships, intelligence – they are all fleeting. If Christianity is truly a delusion, it’s just as disingenuous to claim that we can escape our existential despair by clinging to the things we create and control. Christianity offers something beyond ourselves.
11. Best advice you’ve ever received.
I’m not sure if it’s the best advice that I’ve ever received, but the best and most applicable advice I’ve gotten so far is, “Never let school get in the way of your education.” This quote has been attributed to both Mark Twain and Grant Allen. Since Mark Twain already has so many quotes to his name, I’m giving this one to Grant Allen.
Now it’s time for me to nominate another blogger. I’m not very active in the blog scene, but I know theangstystagehand recently saw the amazing power of internet readers, so I’m tossing her a few questions:
- In a rap battle between Hobbes of “Calvin and Hobbes” and Simba of “The Lion King,” who would win?
- What is the biggest misconception people have about you?
- What do you look for in a friend?
- What do you like about learning?
- Where would you go to study abroad?
- Deserted Island or Mountain Cabin?
- Who is your least favorite author, and why?
- If you could change one rule in one sport, what would it be?
- When will you consider yourself an adult?
- What gives your life meaning?
- Why do you write?