Last Song Syndrome

There are songs that stay with you the moment you hear them. Sometimes, the way the song is sung gets to that part of us that needed soothing. In other cases, the words that we hear connects to our emotions at that moment.

In this case, the visuals of this song’s music video touched a corner of my heart that longed to venture of living on the road with my loved one. Of course, there is a question of practicality and being actually able to survive the uncertainty of such an adventure, but for a moment, that sense of adventure and romanticism was awakened.

In today’s world, sometimes that moment is all you need to feel real.
Continue reading “Last Song Syndrome”

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on mothers, on mother’s day.

today is a day that gives us, children of our mothers, an opportunity for reflection. this does not mean that we don’t contemplate about these things on any given day – i really don’t on most days but i do find myself thinking about it from time to time, mostly in passing.

my mother, just like Kevin Durant said in his NBA MVP award acceptance speech, is the real MVP. i feel that i got the shots in life that i deserved because my mother set me up well for it – she made her sacrifices, leaving little for herself and dug herself deep into a lot of financially compromising decisions to give us the best possible chances to live a good life. it took a lot of discipline to deprive herself of a lot of comforts to give us the basics, and gave up a little more to extend a few luxuries here and there.

i wouldn’t know if this was the case for other children, but to be honest, when i got to that point where i felt a little accomplished enough to feel empowered to start living my life in my own terms, i made the mistake of not treating her right. i became somewhat overly assertive and defensive at different points in time. i began to be more critical and in some case outright harsh. disrespectful even. at this point, i knew i was ready to just live on my own and truly in my own terms, not even thinking about what it means for her or what problems living on her own may present.

i guess what sorted everything out in the end was having a family that cared to listen to both sides and work it out together. we talked and sorted things out – cleared up expectations and set boundaries. things got better, and though other rough patches showed up after i got married, the worst was through and we just rolled with the punches and got them sorted out.

i’ve been blessed to have had a lot of loving mother figures in my life, and while i’m thankful for having them at various points that i needed them, i will never be more thankful for what my mother has done for us, for all the physical and emotional pain that she has endured, which can only be driven by love. i pray that i am able to show that love and reflect it back, even if thousands of miles away separate us physically now.

happy mother’s day mom. you the real MVP.

Playoffs

It’s that time of year again, but honestly, I still am not over last year’s Golden State Warriors’ collapse and loss to the Cavaliers – I’ve never been this invested in a team before, maybe because I’ve only had to root for those teams without living in those cities. We’ve been blessed to have been given an opportunity to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, which has a bustling sports scene – two baseball teams (Oakland A’s, San Francisco Giants), two football teams (Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers), one basketball team (Golden State Warriors) one hockey team (San Jose Sharks) and a soccer team (San Jose Earthquakes).

2016 was tough on our teams – Warriors and Sharks lost their finals series, the Giants magical run of winning the World Series every even year since 2010 ended with a loss to eventual champion Chicago Cubs. The 49ers hit rock bottom and the Raiders lost their franchise QB to a broken leg two weeks before the NFL post season started and lost in their first playoff game without the leader that helped take them there.

Anyway, I guess it’s just time to buckle down and enjoy the playoffs – our home team is enjoying an unprecedentedly successful three year run, and hopefully this year will end on the highest of high notes.

It’s a new year.

2016 had it’s share of ups and downs. Some of us had it good. Most of us had it bad.

Nothing really changes at the turn of the year. Mostly the same, the morning after New Year’s Eve. Nothing dramatic. Nothing ground breaking.

But that isn’t what the new year is about.

It’s about hope. Every new year brings about hope that things will get better. Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. Some of us don’t bother with hope. A lot of us drinks it in vociferously, mostly because it’s free.

We lost a lot of people. A lot of things. Some of us found faith. A lot of us stopped believing.

2017 may or may not be much different. But I highly doubt it’ll be exactly the same. So there’s no shame in hoping.

+++

“To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due.” – Hob Gadling to Morpheus in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, Vol. 4 – Season of Mists

Sides of a Coin

It’s 11:22PM. It’s been two hours since I’ve witnessed an epic meltdown of the 2016 San Francisco Giants in Game 4 of the NLDS, something I knew was coming but I guess I wasn’t prepared to accept until it really happened.

I’ll try not to make this sound like a eulogy for this year’s Giants team. I’ll try not to second guess all that went down in the loss. Instead, I’ll look at the positives and try to picture what this team should look forward to next season.

The Giants had three successful runs this decade, all on even years. The last one that came in 2014 – we had no business winning that, but we did, coming from the NL wild card spot. Since 2016 was an even year, a lot of us were relying on that same magic that put them over the top two years ago. Quick reality check – magic, most people would say, isn’t real. In my opinion, magic exists in those hearts and minds that believe in it. With the Giants losing this year, everyone will say that our share of magic ran out. But I disagree.

We swept the Dodgers at home on the last three games of the year to book a playoff spot, after a difficult second half of the year post All-Star Break. The first half of the year could have been easily as bad as the second half, as we won more close games at that point than any other team in the big league, so it can be said that it took a lot of magic to pull out those close ones. We had magical games from Matt Moore in that near no-hitter in Los Angeles and in the 8-inning 2-hit, 2-run gem in Game 4 of the 2016 NLDS. We had Conor Gillaspie’s magical hot streak, saving our team in two critical games to keep the October dream alive – coming out of nowhere, in true Giant postseason tradition of obscure fringe rotation players rising to the occasion.

So this year, it’s over. No, the magic didn’t run out. Simply put, other teams might be due their time in the spotlight. The coin just landed on the other side, one that we did not hedge our hopes it would land on. And winning won’t mean anything at all, if we have not felt, at one point or another, the pain of losing.

And that is the difference, because winning can easily be taken for granted. It’s much tougher to take the stench off of a loss – but it can be transformative – some uses it as a chip on their shoulder, the others a reminder to drive them to go faster, push harder and scratch or claw deeper next time.

And like a coin, when you love sports, it’s only one or the other – a win or a loss. No matter how much you prepare yourself for the outcome, you’re never really ready to face it. And that’s the beauty of it – the joys of celebration or the pain of defeat can never be scripted – you’ll never know what to feel until you are in that moment.

So thank you, 2016 San Francisco Giants. Keep flipping the coin. We’ll be there every time.