2021 Annual Review

Blade Runner, Ridley Scott (1982)

“The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man! Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
  1. What went well this year?
  2. What didn’t go so well this year?
  3. What did I learn?

I. What went well this year?

Last year, I married the love of my life and achieved my childhood dream of a big house in a nice neighborhood. This year, I achieved another financial landmark.

II. What didn’t go so well this year?

2021 was really painful for me.

I was reviewing my wedding guest list yesterday. I saw Jamie’s name and it hit me that not only would Jamie not be able to come to my wedding, but that I wouldn’t ever be able to see her again.

I feel like a lot of people were struggling and it just kind of started showing this year- and the burden and collateral damage was heavy.

I don’t think I did a good job of taking care of myself this year. I think I did a great job in helping take care of others but at a cost to myself. I knew I could carry the weight, that I was used to this heaviness, and if a little bit more suffering meant that I could help take some weight off someone else, just for a little bit, help them breathe a little bit easier, that I could do it- and I did.

I don’t know whether it was worth it. I don’t know if my sacrifices will pay off. It makes me a little sad. I’d feel better if I knew it was worth it. But at the end of the day, I think it was the right thing to do. I think I made the right decisions and sacrifices. I’ll heal but I wasn’t sure if the people I sacrificed for could heal as easily.

At the same time, I’m also really grateful for the people who supported me this year. Bless the people who helped carry our burdens together. ❤️🙏

III. What did I learn?

I’ve been chewing on the problems of the pandemic, economic inequality, and climate change this year- and at first, it seemed impossible, but now I realize it’s not something that only one person can solve, I think it might be something that will need multiple generations.

I don’t live for myself. I live for my grandfather and what he taught me, what he learned from his grandfather, and thus my ancestors. I live to uphold my family traditions and to try to pass them forward. My mission is to protect my family, not only the ones breathing now, or my future children, but their future grandchildren, and so on. And this does not only apply to my family but to my community and humanity and kind of everything.

When I was a kid, I thought this “filial piety” was heavy and gross from an American individualist perspective. But now I realize its importance and what gets lost in an individualist society. You lose the ability to solve multi-generational problems.

When you can only think for yourself, and not care for another, especially your mother or child, you rob not only from yourself, your mother, or your child, but from your future generations.

Eventually, your lineage will end and it will end in incredible destruction amidst generations of increasing pain.

I don’t know whether it’s possible to protect your future from this destruction but I can only imagine one of the keys to success is what I learned from my grandfather and my family, and also what I’ve learned from the wisdom of thousands of years, passed through the ages.

So while 2021 was dark for me, I do have hope for the future.

I think it’s beautiful that we live in a technologically advanced world where communication is so easy, the youth are getting smarter and more moralistic.

Dark times birth bright fires to light the way. I’m excited to see the sparks, to birth some fires of my own, and to help tend the hearth.

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