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Let’s Talk of Lofty Aspirations

What you aspired to be when you were a child, has it changed? – Sarai

No—it hasn’t changed.

As a child, I aspired to learn, to improve. I never hoped to establish a career in any particular vocation. People, of course, asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And sometimes my aspiration to improve my environment and myself manifested itself in words like “(aerospace) engineer” or “lawyer.” But becoming an engineer was never the point. Improving was.

I am still a near-to-bursting bundle of ambition. I want to do this, and that, and that, and that too … and I want to do it better. I still love languages, history, mathematics, music, helping others, &c. I still frustrate and berate myself for not working hard enough, for not knowing enough about what I love.

My core is very much the same, but details have changed. For instance, when I was a toddler, I liked violins. As a child, I liked (shiny new) violins. As a teen, I fell in love with (old) violins and fantasized about playing the instrument well. I still fantasize about playing the violin well. Now, though, I don’t practice. I also don’t go to museums and stare at Stradivarius violins. In the future, I’ll probably still love the violin. There may even come a time when I practice for several hours everyday. I probably won’t practice with a shiny new violin crafted for elementary students or one of those Balestrieri violins that I drooled over as a teen. However, if my fortune is of extraordinary proportions, then just maybe I can play one of Samuel Zygmuntowicz’s violins. (oh, the ambition is ridiculous. XD)

Violin isn’t the point, though. What I really love is music. I may never play the violin again, but the idea of never playing anything again is too much.

When it comes to aspirations, an unfortunate thing is that they tend to stem from discontent. Aspiring to improve and to learn is particularly disastrous as the amount of things that can be learned and improved upon is infinite or thereabouts. And even though it’s already infinite, it’s somehow infinitely worse when huge areas of things are beloved—I love languages, history, mathematics, music, &c! There’s so much to learn—I think that I will always be slightly dissatisfied.

Anyway, I am realistic, kind of. I love music, but I don’t aspire to play every instrument. I love languages and words and writing and etymology…, but I don’t wish to learn every language. Now, I’m only trying to learn one. Sadly, though, progress is slow. I get frustrated because I want to improve quickly, because I want to do other things, because the quality of my work isn’t good enough, &c. Sometimes, the frustration takes away my words and causes me to partake in emoticons and keyboard barf.


But!—Progress is progress. At this rate, I think that I will, eventually, become bilingual, just not soon, but I will get there. And even though the false “Oh, your Korean is so good! ^^” compliments are still forthcoming, every once in a while, there’s “Oh, you’re Korean, sorry. I thought you were foreign.” That’s new. That’s better. It’s a sign of improvement, but my Korean still sucks.

As a child, I aspired to learn a foreign language. Then, it was French. Somehow my aim shifted to Korean. Details, details. Now, French must wait, but the refrain with languages and music and pretty much everything else is the same.

“I still suck. I should work harder. This is unacceptable.”

I’ve been writing sentences similar to those above since I could write. My journals, diaries, and blogs have such sprinkled throughout them in a well-documented trail of overwhelming ambition.

Honestly, I haven’t quite figured this one out. If I always write that I should work harder, then I must never actually be working harder? Perhaps, that’s the case, but “work harder” seems to mean the following.

Hurry up! You have other aspirations. [There are violins and there’s French to get back to.]

Patience isn’t really one of my strong points.
Regardless, I learn and improve.


March 1st: Another Renaissance

I want this month to be a sort of renaissance for me. I hope to focus on two things: productivity and fun. You know, work and play hard.

One thing I noticed reading past entries is that they often read like I downed 30 pixie sticks and a few Red Bulls (i.e. a pound of sugar) while writing them. I also noticed that I was addicted to ellipses and exclamation marks. The exclamation marks and ellipses can stay in the past, but I want to bring some of that energy, that ebullience if you will, into the present.

I’ll share the past with you now, brought to you by me as a freshman and taken from a friends-only LiveJournal entry written on February 13, 2004 at 05:40AM.

Today (yesterday) I had the best dinner. In the dinning hall, I ran into a random group of pseudo-strangers. All were great people with huge personalities. In the “real world” I probably wouldn’t ever run into such a __________ group of people—ever. (Just pick a positive adjective and put it in the blank.) It was fun, so fun that my 15 minute dinner (I had a tight schedule to follow) turned into a 90 minute affair. Oh well, I was only 1 hour and 15 minutes later to my physics session than I wanted to be…あの…

My companions were a group of girls and a really interesting!!! Polish guy with a cool accent. His friends described him as neurotic. While shaking hands, he wouldn’t release mine until I repeated his name correctly. I only had to say it once. But, supposedly, others had to say it four or five times. Heh.

At any rate, when I’m in Europe, they’re going to be in Europe. And when I’m going to be in Paris, they’re going to be in Paris. So, we can hang out together, ne? ne? ne?

I hate problem sets. It’s like 6…in the morning. I’m going to go. Bye. ^^!!!!

Note: I used about 20 ellipses in the above. I had to remove some of them.

March 20, 2004 at 5:48PM:

and so this is the compressed version of what happened:
walking & more walking & even more walking… louvre at night. the metro. champs elysees. moules et frites. ran into another [-edited out for privacy-] (yay~) at louis vitton. arc de triomphe. fnac. smart cars are cool. notre dame. prisons. churches. cooking. watched asian dramas ^^;. bastille. kids with boats. kids with ponies. monuments. eiffel tower. tgv. chenonceau. chinon. paparazzi-esque. >_<. 1,387+ photos. ran through the louvre. biked through versailles' gardens. versailles. patisseries! gave directions to american tourists struggling with their french - in french ^^;. missed the flight back to the usa ^^;. anthropology homework (reading). spoke japanese on flight to new york with people who couldn't speak english (i can't exactly speak japanese - that was great!)...

I should begin traveling again. I’m starting to feel wanderlust. ♥