* Jedd Thoughts

Tsunami, Avatar, and Lent

The Oscars have come and gone. Avatar didn’t win the big prize (I was hoping that UP was going to win 🙂 ) and life is relatively the same as it was yesterday, yet recently, nothing has seemed very normal.

About a week or so ago I traveled home to Hawaii to celebrate my mom’s birthday (love you, Mom. She reads this blog and my twitter updates) and as you know we were a bit on edge as we waited for the tsunami (mind you, we have become very accustomed to warnings but this one seemed different). Of course, the strange thing was that there was some disappointment that the hype, the great expectation of a large tsunami reaching the islands, fizzled as nothing really happened (which was definitely a blessing). While there was definitely relief that there wasn’t any danger, most people wanted to see something incredible and even something frighting come ashore (I was one of these people, happy that we were safe, disappointed that it wasn’t epic).  Isn’t that strange? On the other side of the world in Chile, I can only imagine the panic, the suffering, and the sadness.  At home it was just another day and by night we had already forgotten what had transpired earlier. Kind of like how I read an article online recently about Haiti. The media and our attentions have long forgotten the tragedy there. I know for me personally, I get so wrapped up in work or my own life, that I have pushed the thoughts of Haiti and Chile to the back of my mind, only to be reminded of it once in awhile. A part of me knows that those there right now do not have that luxury. I wonder now if they think of a world outside of their own. Would they think that my frustrations of long days at work, daily commutes, my neighbor’s dog barking 24/7, and my complaints of the weather to be strange? How do they go back to normal?

Maybe that’s why I liked Avatar so much. Don’t get me wrong, the story was predictable (think Fern Gully with guns, a remake of Dances with Wolves, etc…) but there was something very compelling about what I think the main point of the movie was, which could be summed up in one question: What are you living for?  As you know, Michelle and I have recently done a lot of thinking about things like work, intentional living (like eating healthy and p90x), and living simply. Some days, the purpose seems very clear, and others, not so much. But it seems to always boil down to this question: what am I living for? I kind of liked (warning* Avatar movie spoiler) that the main character in Avatar was willing to learn about others (even if it was for misguided reasons in the beginning). I liked that his original purpose for what he was doing changed, that he allowed himself to change. I know the ideas of the Avatar and its pseudo Matrix-like living (being someone else) seem far fetched, yet I can’t help to think that we do things similar to that everyday. No matter what the circumstances, it seems that we can all choose to be who we want to be in this life with others. I was so good at being different around so many people that I had no consistency, no core to myself, and though I know it’s cliche, I was lost. Yet like the protagonist in the movie, when you start to truly live, to stand up for things that you truly believe in, things so important to you that it resonates so strongly with who you want to be, you can’t help but to be authentically real.

Which leads me to Lent. I’ve never been good about Lent. I’ve always made big promises and pronouncements to give up something leading up to Easter only to fail miserably. In fact, failure became so normal that I stopped the practice altogether until recently (partly because Michelle has encouraged me not to give up when I do fail, kind of like me becoming a runner). So this year I have given up excessive use of the internet (thus why I haven’t posted in awhile). I gave this up because I spend a lot of time allowing my computer to control me. One of the first things I do is check my email. While that loads, I go through a sequence of checking in with some of my favorite sites such as CNN, Honolulu Advertiser, ESPN, Engadget, Lifehacker, Facebook, Eugene Cho’s Blog, Dealz, and Macrumors (for all my Apple news). And of course like any true surfer, even though I look through these pages once, I usually go back again or get lead to another page. This has been challenging for me as I love being in the know. I miss reading random sports stories, knowing exactly what the latest world news is and telling people about the latest tech or Apple product coming out. But the absence has made me realize that I have spent a lot of time on the internet, so much that I realized by not being on the internet, I have become bored. Yet this process has taught me to really question my value being “plugged in” to the internet. I remember one of the first things Michelle said in our relationships was that, “whatever we spend our time on, there you will find what it is you value or care about”. If time = money/value then I hope “What I am living for” is worth my time. If the tsunami, earthquakes, Avatar, and Lent has taught me anything, its that I can control somethings, I can’t control a lot of things, but what I can control, I want to make the best of it.

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