With only three events, one project and one final exam to get over, I have a lot of time now. What a difference it is from a month ago (sometimes, I spend 33 hours non-stop working without sleep). Having all this time is liberating, but I don’t like just sitting around and doing nothing. So, these days I’m doing a lot of R & R. Not time for Rest and Relax, but time for a much-needed Read and Reflect session.
I like reading a variety of books. It is not reflected in my academic transcripts, but I love reading history (I’m simultaneously reading J.A.G. Robert’s “A History of China” after watching the 2010 Chinese drama “Three Kingdoms”, and Julie Anderson’s beautiful book on “The Art of Medicine”); science (I found out in my early university years that I love reading science, just not studying it in campus. Textbooks make them dull. I wonder why.); current affairs (usually about the environment); and my favourites, sociology and psychology. My interest in how we think would then lead me to read books on Buddhism because in my opinion, Buddhist teachings teach a lot about the mind and more importantly, about how to control it. Ironically, I prefer lack of depth in fiction. That would be the dent in my reading history. This is not something I am proud of, but who can resist a feel-good romance novel once in a while?
These days, I’m also reading more food blogs and recipes. Maybe it’s because I now can afford the time to shop for groceries and cook. Or maybe it’s because I find myself losing my appetite when I visit campus canteens or fast food joints. I like my home-cooked meals as I find them exciting (I tend to sway towards the adventurous side when exploring food recipes). I admit that it’s boring and lonely to cook for one, but at the same time, I find it therapeutic. And, oh, I also fear others might not share my taste for food.
This week, I caught myself on several occasions, persistently persuading another to see my point of view. I reflected on how I behave on those moments and decided that I need to learn how to (1) know when it is right to defend something and (2) know when to stop defending and just let it go.
The activist in me gets riled up to action when I see a message that needs to be sent across isn’t being sent across. I will then take it upon myself to try to broadcast it. For example, when I meet someone talking passionately about eating beef or shark-fins, all I want to do is say, “No, no, that is not right. You should not eat that. It’s (a) not healthy to eat so much meat – scientifically proven, (b) not good for the environment – even more scientifically proven, or (c) an act of animal cruelty – it depends on your moral priorities.”
But, I learned that whether to pursue a discussion or not depends on whether we believe that we can influence the person we are talking to. If the other person simply isn’t ready to listen to other opinions, we should just stop and let it go. Why bother, really? We can wait for another suitable time to revive the topic.
It’s raining here now. A most excellent time to continue my R&R.