All posts tagged: Life

Discourse on Fate and Free Will

Some ten years ago, Nathan and I were sitting on the floor of our college dorm in St. Louis, waxing poetic about nothing and everything at 3 AM. On this particular night, which I remember vividly, we were focused on the topic of fate, destiny, and free will. Over the years, I kept thinking about what I described and my thoughts have changed much on the subject. Personally, fate, destiny, and free will all fit together as pieces to the greater whole of life. So how do they fit together? The idea is really quite simple, despite debating all night about it. Fate is generally the idea of things happening as preordained by some higher power. Destiny is that specific or necessary events will happen – set points in life like having three kids. An apt analogy would be a book. Fate is the existence of that book while destiny is the chapters of that book. Free will, then, is the unwritten or forgotten details in between the chapters. This seems contradictory, because is free …

This is Not the End

You die at sunrise; you died in your sleep. Every night, you dream. Every time, you fall in a little bit. Six inches under, six inches deep. Just as the sun is below the horizon, your destiny is in the East. Rise from the last day’s ashes; you find yourself sweating, unable to breathe. Is that fear I see? Yesterday’s knowledge congeals into baggage. Today is another day for mistakes. Tomorrow, you know nothing. So you died in your dream, over and over again, chasing what you want to believe. What you want to believe is the gravity holding you down, the air above. What you want to believe is tomorrow. Tomorrow, the sun will rise. Yet, at sunrise you are dead. You see nothing in the light. You see nothing as the night fades from your blinds. There is only one thing you see. One person you actually see. Who am I seeing? Who I am seeing? The one person you see, staring back blindly, blinking. The face is familiar, the smile is peculiar. …

Letters on Tues(Thurs)days – Departures

Dear Wilton, The shift in delivery from Tuesday to Thursday has been unintentional. With the holidays coming up, my schedule has been packed full, both inside and outside of work. In many ways holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, are about reunions and returns, however I wish to take up the topic of departures. It is the opposite side of the same coin; to return and reunite means that you are departing from somewhere, some place you currently are. Therefore, it is not necessarily an unrelated or opposing topic. Finally, I am sure it is a poignant topic for you, as our family returns to Taiwan after 20 years abroad. It is always hard to imagine leaving a place for good, or even for a few years. You might not know it, but bonds are easily developed and can quickly thicken. Like roots, they hold you in place and they want to hold you in place. Yet, you will find as you approach and finally go into your twenties, departures become more frequent. The bonds you develop …

The Bus (in America)

It’s always darker in here. There are days without light. Even those loud colors are subdued on the upholstery. Then there are the bangs, shocks and impacts, direct hits of the road rattling up backs and spines. Rain dampens the floor with sun baked crumbs, gums and who knows what left behind, left forgotten. — The morning swell through the doors of untold routines and responsibilities. These weary eyes and ears time for signs to disembark. Yes, all is trapped, on routes dictated by stops. Outside the window, single passengers throttle by. It struggles to navigate the sea of more nimble cars. It struggles to maintain a timely pace. — Waiting could mean five minutes or twenty, with a near miss. Sometimes, a short sprint is required. It doesn’t wait. A suit and tie is rare among sweaters and hoodies, just as an unwashed shirt always lingers in the corners. It’s a decisive non-decision, collectively by those whose only way to get somewhere, is trapped together with some bodies. – Fu Lien Hsu Oct 27, 2016

Letters on Tuesdays – Defining Success

Image used cause my friend, pictured above, is a very successful man. I am sure you remember him. Dear Wilton, Last week I wrote about failure and accepting failure. In light of the previous discussion, it would make sense to discuss success. Yet, I do not believe we ever talked about how you defined success or what you saw as success. I remember when I was your age, thirteen years ago, I believed that success consisted of a few things: the best grades in class, the most friends, and the most athletic. Some of my friends, if they knew what I thought, would probably laugh at how absurdly unsuccessful I was and, to be honest, I am chuckling to myself right now at how absurd  my definition of success was. Yet, this might very well be how you are seeing success right now: getting that A in class, getting into that boarding school. You see, like failure with its internal and external components, success can either be defined by you or by people other than you. …

Letters on Tuesdays – Failure is Inevitable

Dear Wilton, Today, I want to write to you about failure. This is related to the first letter I wrote you two weeks ago, but this time I want to directly tackle your fear of failure. The timing is, perhaps, impeccable as you make your way with our parents to interview at various boarding schools. You have mentioned how you feared that you are not good enough, that you are going to fail to impress the admissions at the various boarding schools. Well, the truth is, we all face failures throughout our lives. Whether it be failing to convince our parents to buy us that toy when we were a kid, to failing to be accepted by our dream school when we were in high school, to failing to land that “perfect” job when we graduated, or to failing to complete a project to satisfaction when we are worked. You see, failure comes from having expectations. Expectations are standards of achievements we set for ourselves and sometimes for others. Not that there is anything wrong …


Goes by hand Hand that used to be sand. It goes to a dozen numbers Around. Watching it Slowly. Turning away Quickly. Yet It brings everything. The one thing that matters. To be suddenly caught Standstill. Like the wind it knocks Over. Or, pull the metaphorical rug Under.

Letters on Tuesdays – That Thing Called Passion

Dear Wilton, Remember our conversation about what you really wanted to do and what you really enjoyed doing? Though you had your reservations and concerns, you suggested that you, perhaps, wanted to become a writer. Having seen you disappear into books and having read your writing, I am not surprised. Your writing is mature beyond your years. The logic and creativity within your words and sentences are at a level higher than mine at the same age. So with regards to that, I believe you will go on to achieve great things if you truly put your mind to it. At the same time, you expressed the fact that you were unsure if that is what you truly wanted to pursue. You felt as if you had no direction or sense of purpose. That is okay. If we look around, we all have friends who know what their passions and dreams are from a young age. They will likely accomplish things we can only hope to achieve at the same age. Again, that is okay. You and I, …

Headwinds of Life

They come, resistance. Pressure shifts, moving from high to low. Sometimes, a breeze. Other times, a tempest. How did the pressure build? Have you experienced the winds in a storm? It blows you back. If you try to fly a kite, the string may snap. Even trees bow or crack. So do you hide? You can turn around and make them tailwinds. If you are ok with moving in a different direction? For now. Or just wait. For how long? Either way, you will arrive. They say, “All roads lead to Rome.”

Words about Life

Are you nervous? Yes. Are you scared? Yes. So why? I don’t know. Why what? Why do you keep going? There is hope. There is change. Do things really change? Always. In this second, you already are not who you were. So that’s hope? No. Hope is believing in and building for that change. If you believe, then why are you nervous and scared? There is the unknown. We all fear the unknown. What is unknown? You never know what the future holds. Then what do you do? You hope.