Daily Conversation #20 — Jack Hinders

Jack and I (Me in deep thought while also squinting because the sun was right in my eyes)

Day #20

I’m officially 2/3rds through the project even though it’s taken me a month to get here. That’s okay, sometimes it’s difficult to organize a talk for each day.

Today I talked with a guy I’ve only recently met, Jack Hinders. He’s friends with a couple guys from high school that I know and I met him through Mason Forbes (whom I did a talk with the following day).

This project has afforded me opportunities to catch up with a lot of people, but 20 days in, it’s given me a chance to really get to know somebody that I didn’t know all that well.

One of the main reasons I wanted to talk with Jack was because of the first time I met him. I noticed he had two tattoos on the inside of his bicep: the chemical structures of dopamine and serotonin. He said he got these to demonstrate his love for neurochemistry and also how “it’s the small things in life that make us happy, not the big.”

Obviously, because I’m a huge nerd, I was drawn to this. I asked what he is studying at UC. He’s majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry; I majored in chemistry and minored in biology. I thought it was really cool that he shared that same fascination with the sciences of life as I do.

All of this would really set the tone for the conversation and this piece.

I’m always curious to discover why other people are drawn to science. For me, it was CF. I was atracted to understanding the biochemistry of why I wasn’t “healthy.” I figured this would make the battle easier. It’d inspire me to fight harder.

For Jack, he became attracted to science because he wanted answers. Like me, he was raised Catholic. Science provides concrete answers to some questions that religion doesn’t. After a few years deep into his studies, he’s discovered that science has answers, but it doesn’t have all the answers either. This made him feel his faith deeper because of how intricate and complicated seemingly simple things really are.

I share this fascination and obsession with wanting answers, science, and being observant of the world surrounding us. Every morning when I get off the bus at work, it offers an awesome view of the morning sky with the moon hanging in the sky. When I take the time to think that humans have reached that celestial object that’s over 238,000 miles away, I get chills. My mind is overcome with awe. The combination of science and human potential led us to that. Unbelievable.

Jack was originally a pre-medical student. He has since changed paths and now aspires to go to grad school and get a PhD in either chemistry or botany.

Jack is a huge proponent of the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids. In the last couple of years, I’ve done some research of my own and also believe that it’s immensely important that we legalize medical (and recreational, but obviously medical needs to be first and foremost) marijuana. The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the positives of medical marijuana.

Furthermore, Jack believes hemp in general is a dramatically underutilized resource. We both discussed and both believe that the leading reason marijuana isn’t legal is due to stigma. It’s been heavily stigmatized for many reasons, primarily that of it being a potential “gateway drug.”

Oddly enough, this topic was representative of a bigger point of our conversation in whole: perspective.

Jack said his biggest wish is for everybody in the world to be able to travel and experience other cultures. He thinks it’s incredibly important that we see other cultures so that we can develop a deeper, more in-tune worldview for ourselves.

Another perk of traveling that he mentioned is that it offers us the ability to see that our issues are probably far more insignificant than they seem in the moment.

I’m glad he pointed that out. I’ve written this time and time again, but I really struggle with believing that my problems are apocalyptic and worse than the next person.

I didn’t intend to write about this, but I wanted to capitalize on my current thought progress, so I’m going to write a bit of a tangent.

Are our issues ever really worse than the next person’s issues?

I think there’s a better question.

Does it really matter?

Our issues are our own. It’s important that we do whatever we need to do to get through, as long as it’s in the healthiest way possible.

But we also need to always be cognizant that everybody has bad shit going on in their lives. Do you ever really want to be in somebody else’s shoes?

I want to reiterate this point.

Never ever forget that other people have problems going on too. Always be considerate of that.

As I write this, I realize it isn’t really a tangent. Jack said that one thing he wishes was better about the world was that people would just get along.

Part of that is simply being considerate of other people. Their beliefs, their troubles, even their own inconsideration.

A lot of those clichés we’ve heard since we were children are some of the truest pieces of advice ever. Two wrongs never make a right.

Jack’s biggest lesson he’s learned was this:

In the face of adversity, keep going. Push through. Can’t let adversity/hard times win. Everyone has so much potential. Battle adversity.

Just another thing that Jack and I both have in common is that we struggle with anxiety. He’s one of the few people I directly know that struggle with it, so it was nice for us to discuss it a bit.

Anxiety can be crippling. There are moments where no matter what is happening, I feel as though the world is collapsing and that the future offers no hope; the future is a dim pit of despair.

I wish simply thinking positive thoughts in that moment cured it. But positivity is a habit. Anxiety strikes in the worst, most unexpected moments.

Experiencing these bouts with anxiety has made me realize that mental health issues are no joke. It’s important that we never discount someone going through issues we can’t immediately see. Cystic fibrosis is sometimes called an “invisible disease” because there usually aren’t any physical abnormalities. This leads to people discounting its severity, much like mental health issues.

I want to take the time to stress how important it is to reach out to people if you’re going through some truly difficult times. It’s crucial that we reach out. Feeling trapped in our own mind can be terrifying, crippling, and destructive. If anybody feels this way and feels as though they have nobody to talk to, please reach out to me. There have been times where I feel like I can’t reach out to anybody and know how important it is to have somebody to talk to in those moments.

Physics teaches us that the net force is the sum of all forces. Everyone is going to have negative forces, but as long as we think positively and have more positive forces in our life, then the net force is going to be positive.

Jack is a scientist, through and through, so of course his quote was going to be based on that.

But this quote is awesome because it directly relates his passion for science with his passion for life and being a positive influence on those that surround him.

It also demonstrates how negative things are inevitable, but so are positive. The best/worst part about this quote is that we do maintain some control over the result. Jack says that on the positive side, if you have a positive attitude, the net result will be positive. Conversely, we could have a negative attitude, which would net a negative result.

It’s up to us to make that decision.

Thanks for talking, Jack. I had a great time getting to know you better and talking about some deep, interesting topics. I’m excited to read about your research in the future.

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