03/13/2017 7:39 PM

Moving to California has been great for me. I think that it could be a very bad decision for some people, in some seasons of life, but for me it has been a blessing.

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake..." Psalm 23.

This Psalm resonates strongly with me. God has lead me to a place of rest. For now.

I was able to get a good hour of reading done at my old school, Azusa Pacific University. My favorite place is down in the basement of the library, where it smells like old books and people rarely go.

I am reading Getting Things Done, by David Allen. I have read most of it, but I need to go through it again. It's one of those books that needs to be read multiple times. I hope to write about it on The Old Wooden Bookshelf. 


12/30/2016 2:53 PM

I am moving to L.A. in a few days. While looking at new job opportunities, I realized that my Chinese might be a desirable skill; more so than in North Carolina, at least. That realization prompted me to get out my old Mandarin textbooks from college and try to get sharp again.

I have always been self-conscious of the fact that I can’t read a Chinese newspaper. I studied hard and was at the top of my class, but I still have a lot to learn (there are over 50,000 different characters, a person needs to know at least 2,000 to read the news). While the college kids in advanced French were writing long papers in French and reading French novels, our advanced Chinese class was still learning basic grammar. Chinese is so different than English that there's a lot of catching up to do.

While bemoaning my illiterate condition (that I can’t read the newspaper in Chinese), it dawned on me that I should set a goal for myself. My goal is to be able to read the news in Mandarin Chinese. I have been practicing every morning. When I achieve my goal, I will be able to say with confidence and in good conscious that I am literate in Mandarin Chinese.

It’s funny how an excellent goal can be right in front of us for so long, and we never realize it. I’ll remember this for the future: if there is something I feel inadequate about or always have to explain, then there may be a goal hidden under the surface. It will be nice to not have to explain what my capabilities in Chinese are. When people ask me if I know Chinese, I will be able to simply answer “yes”.


11/29/2016 10:32 AM

I plan on making this a great day of quitting. I have been feeling completely overwhelmed lately with decisions. I decided it was time to apply the techniques of Gregg McKeown's Essentialism and eliminate some of the non-essentials from my life.

I started taking Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lessons while I was still working my corporate job. I opted to save money by paying for six months. I love Jiu-Jitsu, but since I started this blog it doesn't fit into my schedule. I have been trying to make the most of the lessons, and go to class when I can, but I'm not doing well with it. This is what McKeown describes as "sunk cost theory". I am unwilling to let the lessons go because I already paid for them (also, I don't like the stigma of being a quitter. I want to finish my six months).

I enjoy BJJ a lot. I never realized that being choked, sat on, and having your arms yanked on could be so enjoyable. If I had signed up for this at another time in my life, things would be different. I would give BJJ my full attention and get the most out of it. Unfortunately, trying to juggle all of these activities means that I am not succeeding in any of them. I still have one month left, but I know that I am not going to have time for it. December will be occupied with the holidays and deciding what I will do when my lease is up at the end of the month.

The other thing I am going to quit is online tutoring. Online tutoring makes sense in my mind, it makes sense on paper, and it makes sense when I explain it to people, but in reality, it just doesn't work for me. I don't have internet access at my apartment, which is required to connect with students. I have been using the wifi at coffee shops. I also thought tutoring would be a relatively easy side income, but it is actually very demanding. During a typical session, I connect with a high school or college student and they send me their ten page research paper to "proofread". Here's the trouble, though: these papers often need more than just grammar and spellcheck. My mind goes into research paper writing mode (which is demanding) and I need to thoroughly explain each recommendation I make to the student through instant messenger. The combination of noisy coffee shop, writing a research paper, and communicating over instant messenger makes for tedious work. I could make the same amount of money mindlessly stocking shelves at the grocery store.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it's been a lot of fun. Online tutoring, it's been all right, but I must say goodbye to both for the time being. Now I can focus on the most essential activity in my life.