I’d been thinking about what to do for my project for many weeks now, but it was only recently that I was able to come up with a more concrete idea based on the things I’ve explored related to love. The professor had explained to me that I needed to be more specific about my final statement about love, because the idea I’d pitched was too broad and vague. And when I was asked to articulate about my idea/statement, I realized that I still had difficulty explaining it, because my statement lacked details. And so, everyday for many weeks, I would think of my statement and tried to narrow it down to a more specific topic.
Since our professor wanted us to stick to our original idea, I tried to explore more about the concept of a journey—its nature, and the things usually related/involved with it. Again, I tried to organize my ideas using a mindmap (a tool which I never realized could be so useful), which I drew by hand on a sketchpad. I’ve attached a photo of the mindmap so you can see what I came up with so far (click on the image to see the original size). A few weeks after I drew this mindmap, I realized that I wanted to focus on the nature of a journey, because I think love is just like a journey that we undertake throughout our lifetime.
Considering that each person’s understanding and meaning of love is unique, and that love is very much unpredictable, I began thinking of how a journey could be represented/applicable in real-life situations. And then I remembered the Monopoly board game (which I was fond of playing when I was younger), whose gameplay is indeed unpredictable because of the rolling of dice. The dice signify the concept of “chance” or “fate,” which then contributes to a varying or uncertain journey around the game board.
The title of “Collect 200” was then developed as a diminutive of the name of the starting box in Monopoly–which is “Collect $200 Salary As You Pass Go.” I’d chosen this part of the game board as a title because it represents the starting and ending point of a journey, in addition to being a place that provides free money. For anyone who has experience playing the game, “Collect 200” is a phrase often said by players throughout a game session, because players are eager to collect money. In a sense, reaching or passing through “Collect 200” is each player’s goal—something that keeps them going. But getting to that box is not easy, especially when all the properties on the board have been bought by players, and you are required to pay rent when you land on a property you don’t own. Suddenly, the free money is no longer just that, it becomes a form of “reward” for completing the circuit and surviving the game.
Indeed, there are many aspects of the board game that can describe love even further, but I’ve only summarized the most important ones in the short draft of the narrative I’ve written during the weekend. Hopefully I can develop more ideas as I go along, but for now I just wanted to introduce what I’ve worked out so far.
How you define love is similar to how you define life. It’s how you see the world and how you react to whatever life throws at you. You have the option of holding on to life or letting go. Whichever you choose tells a little bit of your values, and what you hold dear.
A lot of things won’t make sense, and you don’t know why things happen. At first you think you know what you’re doing, but later on you realize that you totally had no idea on how to go on. And so you experiment. But you’re not 100% sure if things will work your way or not. And then you learn from mistakes.
Be prepared to feel baffled, disappointed, frustrated, ecstatic, intrigued, impressed, and a whole lot more of crazy emotions. Life wasn’t meant to be always easy. Sometimes we have to experience pain and grief to be able to fully grasp the idea of happiness, however fleeting it might be.
There’s bound to be conflicts between people, because each person’s definition of life is different. How you make use of your time and resources throughout your lifetime speaks loudly of what you want from it. Of course, we may be cautious occasionally, especially when we’re comparing our investments and dividends/returns. No one wants to be on the losing side, unless you’re the type of person who is content with giving rather than taking.
Love is not always the happily-ever-after that we think it is. We would surely have moments of disappointments, anger, irritation, and whole lot more different (and negative) emotions when we love a person. But these negative feelings sometimes stem from our own wishes and expectations from life. When we begin to weave dreams and wishes for what we thought was love, and then things don’t happen the way we envisioned it to be, that’s when we feel disappointments. Disappointments because something or someone did not live up to a certain standards. Then we start to beat ourselves up emotionally, wondering what just happened, what we did wrong, what should we do next. Or we find someone to blame for these disappointments.
I’d seen a romantic-comedy movie recently about a guy who was deemed “unloveable” because of his problematic personality. Portrayed to be someone who wanted to prove to his family that he was a capable leader for the company, the guy is mean and extremely strict towards his employees, and sometimes doesn’t realize how much he has hurt other people’s feelings. Later in the story, the guy is revealed to be the illegitimate youngest son of the company owner, and the reason that he is so driven to succeed is because he just wanted to be accepted by his half-siblings. The guy wanted to please his family, thinking that was the only way to “deserve” their love. And when the project he was handling fell through, he distanced himself from the girl who loves him (even though he had developed feelings for her). He told her to have pity on herself, because she will only get tired of hoping, wishing, and waiting for the love to be returned. As the guy said it, I couldn’t help but realize that his words mainly referred to the guy’s hope of being accepted by his father’s family. He was seeking for an affirmation of love, and upon finding none, decided to give up altogether.
I think experiencing negative emotions is inevitable for everyone; there’s no such thing as a “perfect” life. But how we react to the struggles and sufferings we face is what we can control. We have the choice to approach these negative emotions in either an optimistic or pessimistic manner. When we treat these struggles in a positive manner, we can think of them as a challenge meant to make us stronger. It is when we find ourselves vulnerable that we learn to discover our limitations and work with that. Sometimes we just need to find our motivation to live—something to keep us going when things get tough. For the guy in the movie, his motivation was to get his family to accept him. But when he made the decision to give up the fight (for his job and employees), he also lost the one person who accepted and loved him despite being “unloveable.”
So whenever you think that you don’t “deserve” love, think about the people you know (family, friends, colleagues, even remote acquaintances). There’s bound to be at least one who care about you and what you do. If things get tough, remember that it’s much better to continue the fight (even if it’s hard) than to give up so easily, because you’ll never know when things will suddenly look up and get better. When you give up, you lose your opportunity to change things.
If there’s anything that is more valuable than money that you can offer to the people/things you love, it would be time. Once time is spent, you can’t get it back. Great artists honed their skills by spending tremendous amount of time on their craft. Day in, day out, they would make something everyday, or try out a new technique until they get the hang of it. And when they’ve mastered the technique, they would make more products in order to stretch the limits of their skill and knowledge. As for people, we spend time with family and friends to strengthen our bond with them. We talk and hang out with them to know more about their daily lives, and from there we maintain the emotional connection. The more time we spend with them, the more we value our relationships.
Spending time doing things you love, whether it’s a simple task like reading, cooking, or cleaning the house, is very important—not only for others, but also for yourself. It is when you’ve accepted that you like doing a certain routine, activity, or people, that you realize what kind of person you are. You also discover your values, ideals, and priorities. After you’ve spent time with someone or something, memories will be what you will mostly remember, not precisely the amount of time you spent. Yes, occasionally you would remember how long you’ve talked on the phone with your family, but the fact that you did something with someone/something you love is what really matters. In relationships, other people will remember you for what good (or bad) you’ve done for them, no matter how small a gesture it is.
It’s also when you spend time with things or people you love that you feel a little bit of happiness, even momentarily. We may not feel happy all day every single day, but I think it’s also good to do something for yourself that makes you happy—whether it’s chatting with high school friends you haven’t talked to for months, reading a fiction novel in two hours, or having dinner and movie date with the occasionally annoying siblings. Even doing things that may not necessarily cause immediate happiness (i.e. doing house chores or going to work)—we should also do it. It gives us a sense of accomplishment, and keeps us going everyday. It’s a reminder that we’re alive, and we still have a purpose in this world.
Indeed, I believe that we’re living in the world for a certain purpose—it’s just that we don’t know that exact purpose. So we live on… struggling with life, living with family and friends, coping with work stress…. it definitely has something to do with finding out the purpose of our life.
The end of life doesn’t necessarily mean the end of love. Seeing life slip away from someone makes you realize that all your past conversations, activities—memories, really–have suddenly become so precious. Despite not having spent so much time with the person for long periods each time, you will always remember those short moments you’ve spent in their company. The scolding, the advising, the dry humor, the plain silence….everything you’ve grown up to, have unconsciously earned its place in your heart. You can’t imagine what life would be without them, even though you’ve known for a long time that no one lives forever–that it’s just a matter of time before they go away for good.
The end of life means a new beginning for the person who has gone. While death generally means loss and mourning, it could also mean freedom and second life—freedom from the limitations of a weak body, and another life that will never end. The knowledge that the person would be happier and more at peace in the next life brings comfort to those they leave behind.
It’s times like these that makes a person realize one’s mortality and the value of the life they’ve lived. All of a sudden you think back on your memories, your dreams, your present situation, your plans for the future, your intended legacy. When you’ve discovered what you want in life, you become more focused on living life to the fullest. And living amongst the family whom you love and loves you back is the most rewarding experience. Now life cannot be measured by how many days, months, or years you’ve lived, but rather by how you choose to spend it. Because the most important legacy we can leave behind for people we love is the memories we make with them.
I love watching films, especially ones about romance, comedy, and self-discovery. I’ve compiled the best lines/quotes from the films that I really like, primarily because I wanted to know what love meant to people (at least in the fictional world). We may not realize it, but we sometimes tend to use films as a reference or basis for what love might be, could be. Even when writers and filmmakers delivered stories that are too-good-to-be-true, we still hope that love can happen to us in a similar manner. Movies, then, have established the “ideal” love stories; perhaps that’s why we have the phrase “like the movies.” I also included some inspiring quotes related to passion for a profession or dreams, because sometimes it’s that passion that makes them want to keep on going with life.
“Jaime saved my life. She taught me everything–about life, hope and the long journey ahead. I’ll always miss her. But our love is like the wind; I can’t see it, but I can feel it.” – Landon Carter (A Walk to Remember, 2002)
“What really happened may not have a happy ending. But love just doesn’t happen to girls like me–girls who built their hopes on an intricate web of daydreams. The truth is, is that everyone has issues, and maybe building up a fake, perfect man in my mind was my biggest issue of all. I’ve been walking around with the ghost of my ‘magic man.’ He’s been haunting me, keeping me from recognizing a world of opportunities that were right in front of me. But there’s no such thing as perfection. …Love is for people who are realistic, and smart enough to open their hearts and minds, and to realize that a real relationship is the ultimate fantasy. I haven’t found that relationship yet, but I’ve shaken off the shadow of my ‘magic man’ and I’m finding myself.” -Lane Daniels (Beauty and the Briefcase, 2010)
“The streets are supposed to be about different people coming together. We call this a battle, but what are we fighting for? We’re all here because we have this thing we do–we dance, right? Being a part of the streets means much more than turf or power, it was about bringing something new to the floor. And it shouldn’t matter what we wear, what school, or what neighborhood we’re from, because the best part about the streets is that it’s not about what you’ve got—it’s what you make of what you’ve got.” -Andie West (Step Up 2: The Streets, 2008)
“You never asked me why I love to dance. Do you want to know why? I dance because dance can change things. One move, can set a whole generation for you, like Elvis. One move can make you believe like you’re something more. And some moves, can give a skinny, curly-haired kid that just wants to dance some hope.” -Robert Alexander the Third a.k.a Moose (Step Up 3D, 2010)
“Passion makes people go on to do exceptional things.” -Guy interviewing Casey Carlyle (Ice Princess, 2005)
“I know I upset you when I said being with you was a risk, but the truth is, nothing is really worthwhile in life unless you do take a risk. That’s why I took the risk with continuing the wedding with Kirsten. I thought it would provide me with a cover I need to find a loophole in the law. But unfortunately, we failed. So if this means I have to give up the throne, then so be it.” -Prince Edvard (The Prince and Me 2: The Royal Wedding, 2006)
Music has been part of my life ever since I was young. No, I’m not a talented musician, songwriter, or vocalist, if that’s what you’re thinking. But I did grow up in a family who is fond of music. My dad and his siblings, being second-generation Christians, are familiar with church hymns and Christmas songs. As for my generation, I do have some siblings and cousins who were in the music ministry of the church, so I grew up knowing mostly contemporary Christian music (CCM).
Now that I think about it, not every song I’ve heard (whether secular or Christian music) has appealed to me. There are simply some songs that really speak to me and touch my heart, while some are not so good. The songs I like are usually those that I can easily relate to because of my past experiences, my faith in God, or it’s simply the good lyrics and tunes.
For today, I’d like to share several of my favorite songs. Some are about faith, life, a parent’s love, romantic love.