Hello again! This week has been a pretty tough one, as we expended our efforts in bringing our project to completion. Zhao Tong and I have been working on xCode, designing the app, and we’re proud to say that we managed to complete it just two days ago! We tested it on an actual iPad and it works just as intended. It’s also thanks to our meeting with our prof and TA earlier this week that sped up the process of removing bugs or putting in some QoL improvements. This coming week is focused on finishing the poster, video and thesis for submission!

I’m really glad I took up the task to build the app. I’ve always wanted to make video games, and learning how to use xCode and Swift is like a big step forward towards that. As much as I am grateful to this opportunity to develop an app and develop these skills, it makes me reflect on what I “truly want” to do. You see, I probably could have learnt all this on my free time if I truly wanted to. After all, most, if not all of what Zhao Tong and I know about xCode and Swift were obtained from the internet and watching tutorials online. The difference between success or failure, then, lied in the pressure and expectation of achieving it. On my own, without the pressure or expectation by others in achieving it, I slackened and didn’t take steps to self-learn something I “wanted” to learn, probably because I was lazy, or that I indulged in other activities other than learning.

Over the past year from 2017 until now, I spent a lot of conscious effort on two things – Learning Music and Japanese. Conscious effort requiring some level of self-discipline. I picked up the violin at the start of 2017, and I feel that I have just reached a level where I can enjoy the instrument more, and worry less about making disgusting and squeaking sounds. This wouldn’t have been made possible if I did not “want” to learn the violin. If it were more of a “It’d be nice if I could learn to play the violin” and less of a “I want to learn the violin because…” then I would have probably quit at some point, or perhaps be much slower in my progress. I started learning Japanese somewhere in the middle of 2017, and it’s a huge challenge as well. I have yet to reach a level where I am satisfied with the things I am able to say in Japanese. Despite struggling, I am still searching for new methods to learn, and I feel that that brings me closer to “wanting to learn” than simply “it’d be nice if I could .

I still have not quantified or have been specific on what it means to “want” something. Is “want” even the right word to use? Are there any adjectives that could quantify and specify the level of “wanting” that I was referring to? “Desperately want”? “Truly want”? “Sincerely want”? “Need”? “Desire”? Perhaps it does not matter – language is just a means to communicate. Everyone’s understanding of each word are probably different. We may perceive the same words slightly differently from each other. What matters is what you think about your own feelings towards the things or goals that you “think” are important to you. How important are they to you relative to the other things you deem important? How much would you do, and how far would you go, for them? Those feelings don’t need words to describe them.

I spoke of learning music and Japanese as if they were the most important things to me, as if they were goals I “truly want” to achieve. But I fear as I contemplate on what future me will feel. Knowing me, I fear of losing this “want eventually. The fear of giving up due to whatever circumstance or whatever thought that life brings me to. One day I might stop playing the violin, thinking that it would just be a long-term break. But as time passes, I realize I haven’t picked it up for few years, and at some point realize that that was the last time I touched it in my life.

Yet I must question, does it matter? Does it matter if we pursue something with utmost discipline and dedication for a period of time in our lives, and reach a point where we never use that skill or knowledge again? Some might argue that such an endeavor would be useless. But perhaps such a situation is inevitable. People change as time passes, after all. Our interests and what we are “passionate” about change.

As such, perhaps it does not matter. It does not matter if we lose interest at some point and stop. Because it will probably happen no matter what we do anyway. And because doing these things now is what makes our life, ours. We should do the things we “want”, and we should do them to the best of our abilities now, when we still have the gift of life.

Nobody asked to be born, and that makes me inclined to believe that we are obliged not to view our ability to live as a gift. However, there is nothing wrong in seeing life as a gift rather than a bane, just because you want to.

Well.. These are just my humble opinions. Some statements are facts, but the majority of it are but my own opinions that hold only as much water as your opinions do.

It’s awkward to suddenly have a post this long. Perhaps you can look forward to a shorter post next week! またね!

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