Personal Notes

“A 50% Chance”

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So, no matter how hard I tried to stop her from growing up, our baby girl turned 2 this past week.  In two years, she’s come a long way: she’s mastered the word ‘no’ ; she role plays and does impersonations; and when she really wants me to work for it, she’ll refer to me only by my first name.  Jiya is never too shy to tell a stranger in public about how big her poop is, and when I promised one afternoon to let her watch TV later in the evening, she insisted we shake on it and called it “a deal.”

The bad news, they say, is that time flies.
The good news is that we’re the pilots.

As fast as time goes by, sometimes the best medicine is to live in the moment and to let things just happen. I’ve come to realize that in two big ways recently.

The first was this past December, when the family and I went to Hawaii for a week-long getaway. In anticipation, I did what I always do – I checked the 10 day weather forecast.  And without exaggerating — each day was the exact same prediction.  Rain.  50% chance.  And it wasn’t like that just for our stay — it’s just like that all the time.  In reality, the predictions are meaningless because some days it rains all day and some days the rain never falls.  But the forecast remained constantly fixed.  I asked some of the locals about this.  How do you plan around this?  The answer was simple, “We don’t.”

Over there, unpredictability is a fixed part of life.  Plans change really fast.  One minute you’re out in the water, the next you’re under a cabana drinking a Mai Tai and watching a heavy deluge.  The uncertainty keeps you honest and on your toes.  It forces you to remain open minded.  You can make plans, but you need to stay mindful of your hubris.  As a visitor, I liked that.

Because quite frankly, I’m a helpless Yelp addict.  Before I watch it, purchase it, eat it, or visit it, I read all about it.  I don’t get the people who don’t want to know.  Yet, I struggle with it because a large part of me misses just walking into a new restaurant for the very first time and not having the slightest clue whether I’m going to like a dish or not.  The days of tolerating surprises are long gone.


The second realization set in when I bought a record player earlier last year (I have collected about 100 vinyls over the past couple decades…I guess it did better than my old collection of baseball cards and my series 1 and 2 Garbage Pail Kids).  One of the limitations (read: charms) of listening to records is not being able to skip a song in the middle of a track or not impulsively hitting repeat at the end of your favorite song.  It’s the idea of hearing something wonderful, and then just accepting the fact of letting it go, and allowing something entirely new to occupy you — whether you like it or not.  I’ve come to like it a lot – locking myself up in my study, turning up the vinyl and letting the music take you wherever it wants, albeit a short 22-minute journey around the needle Omakase style (a term in Japan for surrendering any decisions of what to eat to the chef (“I leave it up to you”)).

Spotify recently did a study where it was revealed, based on user statistics, that there is a 50% chance that we will never make it through a song — all thanks to our trigger-happy fingers which can simply choose to skip to the next track.  That’s pretty scary when you think of how little of the song you need to hear before you realize it’s not meant for you to experience.  I tend to think we do this a lot, not just with our music unfortunately but also with the people we meet, the attitudes we carry, the judgments we reach.

As long as there remains one button on our IPOD to skip to the future, and another button to repeat the past, I feel it’s nearly impossible to ever give the present an equally fair shot.  We should be higher than 50%.

To your family’s success,

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