Jan
8
2012

A Letter to a Friend, an Insight to My Heart and Thoughts

Preface
From this day until now, I have started to bend my stress and again live life with a completely new mentality.
This is the exact letter I wrote to my friend the night I felt everything changed for me mentally and emotionally. I knew that from this moment on, I was back, and this time, I would be more ready than ever…
 
 
 
 
“You know, my good friend…”
 
I began to wonder. All this stress. All this uncertainty. How I became so stressed out over the months.
The anxiety. The fear. Why?
And then it donned on me. What was I thinking?
“I am a scientist. I should know better than this.”
(To all of the readers, this is the point where you roll your eyes and say, “oh please Kevin,  but you are still human”).
But yes, the scientist.
That is the Kevin you knew when you met me…
… And that is the same Kevin that exists today.
Bottom line. Science is beautiful over anything else and I take great pleasure from doing science.
I should have pride that I can appreciate science while others stress about getting into school.
But was I guilty of that lately? Guilty as charged, no argument. Everyone stresses. Not everyone deals with them equally.

“But no longer will I walk with stress, as I take pleasure not from success or accomplishments, but from the sheer knowledge of science and the beauty of learning.”

To me, obtaining knowledge gives great satisfaction, like a woman would to a man (and vice versa), given a heterosexual relationship.
I am a nerd. You know that. Someone who pursues greatly in intellectual activities and fields.
But why is it that I feel so driven lately by success and accomplishment? The greed and anger that can make any man fall.
Why was time for me, running out, when in reality, I had plenty?
Why was there a rush, when really, I should have been gliding through the clouds?
Why did I allow my eyes to shed tears when in reality, the pleasure of the struggle was beneath everything all along?
Why did I believe that life was stress, when in reality, life is full of beauty and knowledge?
Why did I stress when I should have instead taken the time to appreciate the lessons learned from mistakes?
But the ultimate question is not why it happened but  when. And the most important thing is that it did. And when it happened was in the past. -ed is what would follow every painful word from now on. Stressed. Depressed. The change is in the mentality. The mind is the ultimate device for you to control.
But I am not a machine. As a mortal man, I have my limitations. Even a well-oiled machine breaks down from time to time.

My mother always told me that the initiation and process of any event is the hardest part.

In reality, the destination is not clear. If you think you have the destination in mind, trust me, it is not a true destination. Life takes you on many journeys and the closest thing we can do is work hard in the direction we want in order to get a closer and closer to the approximation of the “ultimate goal.”
But even if you do, is it really over? It is really hard to fathom it during the process. It’s like saying, “yes, this idea will succeed,” but you can and will never know until the destination is met? There is no standard to judge upon until you know the conclusion. Failure can be a true success in disguise and success can merely be a short-lived placebo. It is only during the process that one can be a master prophet; one who can see the future clearer than a calm lake.

“The truth is, there is never an ultimate goal to life. Life is full of small little goals that one can completely miss if not paying absolute attention to it.”

 

Sure, you think the “World May Be Yours,” but what is the point? Get it all to lose everything…

The beauty comes from the details of the journey, not the destination.

“I am given to believe more and more each day that success is a process, not an event.”

One does not become successful by becoming a doctor or by becoming an engineer. How many patients must a doctor save before he or she can be considered “successful?” How many bridges must an engineer design before he can say “I have finally made it?”
But again, never underestimate the power of satisfaction. Hunger is great, but eventually, your resources will run out. One day, you feel like you can take on the world. The next, you feel like it will take over you…

Money, fame, recognition, respect, and pride. These are all but a shadow that comes with the hard work invested and success obtained. It is something that we should not really care about, nor should we let it drive our lives. Remind you, a shadow only follows what you do, and follows your every move.

“Still, you can never get rid of your shadow, unless you enter a life of total darkness…”

The term success is all but relative to the individual. To one man, $1000 dollars can mean the difference between starvation or a meal. To another, $1000 would mean that he couldn’t pay the rent for his business. If this is so, why is there any reason to compare yourself to others?
But don’t take this lightheartedly. I strive to be as humble as a blade of wheat bowing its head as it matures over time, but in reality, I have the belief that I can do anything that the other person does. “If you can do it, why the f*** can’t I?”
But then again, even Clint Eastwood once said that “Man’s got to know his limitations.”
But my friend, even with all that said, 2nd place is difficult to accept for me. Not because it means that some other human being beat me, but because it feels like I let myself down. But then again, if you are the only one in the competition, doesn’t that always make you always come in first place? I mean, if you are the only one in the race, then does it matter if you finish the race in a minute or a year?
No. With that mentality, you always come in first…
I remember going to the shower every day for years, thinking, “when am I going to cure cancer?” Seriously, I went to the shower and thought about that for 3 years… (I still do). Is this futile?
I mean, is it my academic foolishness that allows my conscious mind to hold onto these goals? Or is it my perseverance and hunger to help others through science?
That, I can not know. I will never know during the process.
At times, it seems like it is a useless goal to have in mind. “What can you do Kevin? You do not have funding, you do not have a research facility, and you do not have the experience.” But thankfully (but regrettably at times) I never let that voice win.

“I never want anyone or anything to tell me I cannot do anything.”

And they wont. Hard work and good health will triumph over all!

To have other people covet you, you have to become an asset. A person of value.
Perhaps you can truly understand the sheer roots and tubules of my stress. My life is devoted to science, and I never want to have my heart broken because of it.
But do you know what? It never can. It will never yell at you, or tell you that you are stupid. It will never cheat on you and it will never blame you for your faults. The answers are out there, and it is our life-long journey to find the answer.
Think about this for a moment. What goes up, must come down, right? The laws of physics say yes. Well, it says “sort of.” In theory, a rocket traveling at approximately 7 miles per second has enough velocity to pass the escape velocity and thus, continue going up without ever coming down.  I mean, man has been able to launch a spacecraft into space and reach the moon, but how is it that we cannot even understand the many ailments and illnesses that plague the human race?
We potentially have every machine, every tool and every piece of equipment that we can use to analyze diseases and illnesses. But yet, we cannot have the cure to cancer? Again, perhaps it is my academic foolishness that is kicking in again. Perhaps there is no end to cancer nor a cure. Perhaps, like the destinations that we have for us, cancer is not an event, but instead, a process. A process that happens to control humans beyond reasons that our minds can comprehend. Even though an atheist, I wonder, is this where the much spoken “god” comes in? Perhaps questions like this, we may never know the answer.

Why does this happen? Or better yet,why does this have to happen? Or even better yet, how can we sit down and allow this to continue happening?

 

We can send man to space… but why is knowledge that is so close to us (illnesses and diseases) still seem so distant?

But if there is one thing, then it means to never give up.
So whether it be science, or the humanities, knowledge will be mine to gain!
And with that, my friend, how can I ever really lose?
And on the note of random events and thoughts, I begin to wonder, “what is the point of life?”
I mean, what is it’s meaning?
Surely, although I cannot say I fear death, I have no desire for it. Thus, I deduce that there must be some reason to live.
The free will of a human being is something really difficult to understand. I do not think that we ever can for an individual. The malleability of the human mind and the delicacy of the body makes working on metaphysics as if the best sculptor look like he is trying to build David from grains of sand.
But still, death is the only thing that every human in this world can say they share in life. Every goal is different and as mentioned before, “success” is relative.
But then again, you only die once.
I really think that the meaning of life is to appreciate it in the way that you can appreciate life. For some people, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants and reading books to gain immense understanding of knowledge each and every day. For others, it is to lead a risky inhibition-free life that may or may not include promiscuity and sexual intercourse with various individuals.
I cannot say that I fall in the latter.
Life and death, really a questionable topic. Some people deserve to live, and some do not.
But then, who are we to judge?
BUT then again once more, what is wrong with judgement? I tell you, if I did not have the ability to judge others, I would have easily fallen into the traps that these individuals have placed and succumbed greatly.
Let’s go back to the topic of knowledge. Isn’t knowledge beautiful?
For every textbook ever written, I have always admired the various scientists of the past and today in which I study.
This letter feels like it has so many contradictions, right? Do this, wait, do that. Don’t stress ever again. But wait, you will stress soon. But I assure you, the intention is far from hypocritical. It seems as if sometimes, life cannot make up its mind. Perhaps it is life itself that is ultimately contradictory. You want a red bike, but you find out they ran out so you buy black. You decide to become a doctor, but then change to accountant. You love someone and devote your energy to him/her but you find there is a knife in the back with his/her name on it. Life is full of contradictions. But nonetheless, it is time to take out the sifter to collect your desires and let all of the bullshit pass through.
To mention again, the mind is extremely powerful.
There is nothing more powerful than a person with hunger and a determined mind. Why? Because nothing can stop it, not even stress.
Well guess what? I am hungry, so it is time to feed the beast with knowledge.
So with the suaveness of Bond, and the perseverance of Edison, I shall fight on…

So one day, I could truly Fight On!

 

“Not because the destination will make me of any more of an excellent character, but because the journey and the struggles I face will ultimately shape my destination.”

January 8, 2012.
-Kevin Kim

Working Hard to Bend My Stress Daily

About the Author: Kevin Kim

I have devoted my life to science and rational thinking. As a student in life's classroom, I am striving to learn something new every day. Graduate of UC Riverside, Class of 2012. Graduate Student at Keck Graduate Institute, part of the Claremont Colleges. Class of 2014 with a Masters in Bioscience. The track is pharmaceutical design and development with the ultimate goal of becoming a pharmacist who can also contribute scientifically through research. I hope that through my postings, people will no longer be crippled by stress and anxiety. Fight on! Fight Strong!

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