Fast Life

Every time I come back to Tokyo it puts me back into kids year when they ate their first lollipop, took the first rollercoaster ride, and watched their favorite anime character in real life, in Disney, for the first time. There’s a definite affection I have towards Tokyo, particularly due to the fact that I left the city not out of hate, but of career moves that I thought was particularly important to me. It’s something that I reminiscent the most about other than the high school years where there were more worries about whether the girl in the bus would want to talk to me than about getting into college.

Yet, things continues to move faster and faster as we progress through life. The visit to Tokyo this week came with the realization that we really don’t have enough time in our lives to waste on indecisions and hardships that would otherwise compromise living a compassionate life.

I briefly caught up with one of the co-worker that I met in Tokyo 4 years ago. Before she moved to Japan, she meant to spend a couple years in San Francisco, and maybe eventually settle down there. Life sets its course and she got an opportunity in Japan, continued her career here, and even found a guy to marry to. Now she’s moved from her own apartment near Roppongi to Saitama with her husband. Nothing short of expectation if you’re looking at the beauty of love, but at the same time, it should keeps us to our grounds when it comes to what we want. We shouldn’t base our life on hopes.

Yes, of course we all know the societal value that’s being placed upon our decisions; how we spend our time, with who we spend our time, and to what effect do we use our time to “succeed”. There’s a framework, an anchor that’s being placed upon our generation that tells us what is expected of us, what is not expected of us, to the point that we become frustrated and tired of trying to explore this so called “life”. To many, life is “fixed’, and that’s the card that you’re going to play with.

My negotiation class today has taught me to re-think and apply more science than “gut” as we’re negotiating; it was a practical and valuable course for anyone to do a sanity check against how we’re creating value for the other person versus just trying to get the deal through.

If we bring it back to how we may apply to every day life, we shouldn’t, and are in fact not, just going through with life. Life isn’t “fixed” as we thought. There’s a lot more that we can uncover on a day to day basis about what we’re striving for, the value that we can help each other to progress, than trying to advance oneself based on pure selfishness. That success, regardless of how victorious the fight was, wouldn’t be deemed as glorious, because at the end of the day, we’re not admitting to the fact that these so called goals are simply a reflection of our insecurity and what we think we ought to do in order to stay within the system, to stay in the status quo.

To that end, the quote from David Foster Wallace speaks wisdom.

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.”
David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life