Running Away With Me

At one point, I thought that when I had kids of my own, I would try to make sure that they grew up with a strong foundation in truth and rational thinking. Maybe I wouldn’t tell them about Santa Claus, or about the Tooth Fairy, or other (potentially) made up things. The more I thought about it, the more I thought what an injustice that would be. For me personally growing up, my imagination enriched my life. The world was more exciting when you could create your own.

Denying that at a young age won’t make the kid any smarter or logical, that’s what growing up is for. What it may do is stifle creative processes and development. (Coincidentally, I started this draft long before I read the following; this is me picking up where I left off, and it just happened to fit perfectly). For my Child Life class, I just read about how important play is for development. It’s away for kids to experiment and problem-solve in ways they can understand and control, in their own “language.” There was a quote from the textbook that I really liked that described play as figuring out “[h]ow close to reality can I portray the separation experience before I feel anxious” (Thompson et al, 148). The separation experience referring to actually parent-child separation in hospitals, but also being representative of any real world dilemma that a child faces. In other words, play is a form of acting out problems, that spares the child the need to directly confront the psychological burden of the actual problem.

Different developmental theorists have different opinions on what play should look like, or whether or not it is beneficial, but it seems like much of the research points to it being a good thing intellectually and psychologically (especially with guidance). And there’s evidence that the ability to suspend reality may be an important part of that.

So I’ll let my kid be a kid, and I’ll probably join in on the fantasies with her. And to be honest, I think we all could probably use a lil more unreality in our lives.



Thompson, R. H. (2018). The handbook of child life: A guide for pediatric psychosocial care. Charles C Thomas Publisher.


Fight On

The day I was *supposed* to get the call from USC after my interview I was at work. I was nervous. My phone ring was set to loud, but even so I couldn’t help but check it every few minutes to make sure I didn’t miss anything. That afternoon, while I was roaming the floors of the museum, I saw a bit of trash on the ground. It was a small strip of white paper. I bent over to pick it up and realized it was a fortune cookie fortune. It read, “A dream you have will come true soon.” Being in the state of mind I was in, I naturally took this as a super good omen. I became so confident that I was going to get the call on that day. Five o’clock came and went, and still nothing. To clear my head, and perhaps in a desperate hope that I would still get a call, sparing me the inevitable inquiry-turned-pity by my family, I decided to walk home. But as surely as the sun rose and set, so had my spirit. A week later I got the email that I had been placed on the “alternative” list. Even so, I held on to that little strip of paper, despite it’s betrayal, as if it was the last sliver of hope I had for acceptance.

Days, weeks, months passed and the only news hitting my inbox was rejections. Eventually, I resigned to the fact that medical school wasn’t going to happen for me this year. I edited and submitted my re-application and I started planning out my year. One of my mentors and friends had suggested to me getting my certification as a child life specialist. It sounded interesting and after looking into the coursework required I thought it would be good fit for me and I decided to go for it. I am currently enrolled in my first of 5 classes.

I also applied to work visit and work with an organization I heard about earlier this spring called Health in Harmony. The work of this organization is really amazing. They are working currently working to reduce deforestation in Borneo by increasing access and quality of healthcare to the local communities, and they have been wildly successful. The numbers that they are reporting for both conservation and health are almost unbelievable. The solutions being applied by Health in Harmony is exactly the type of problem-solving I think our world needs RIGHT NOW. About two weeks ago now they reached out to me approving a visit for next summer to work in their clinic in Borneo.

All the while I’ve continued my work with the Museum of Exploration and Innovation (MOXI) and Doctors Without Walls (DWW). I plan to continue volunteering with DWW throughout the year, though I am no longer the Companion Care Coordinator. With MOXI I’ve been planning a departure pending alternative employment, but I still want to volunteer with them every once in a while (all the fun of working there, without the responsibility of being a paid employee).

Last Friday, at 10:05 AM I received a call while going through my morning routine. It was a 323 number which I recognized as an LA number. Everytime I would see LA area codes my heart would jump a little bit, in hopes it would be some medical school admissions person. However, I have been conditioned by telemarketers and scam callers not to answer any foreign numbers regardless of area code, so I let it ring. Minutes later I got a voicemail notification. Scammers leave messages too though, so my expectations were stilled tempered. I started to the voicemail legitimately expecting the ol’ ~~YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER HAS BEEN REVEALED TO EVERYONE IN THE WORLD TYPE IN NOW TO KEEP YOU SAFE~~. It was the dean of Keck asking me to call her back… I wasn’t sure what to think. I doubt she would call me at this point to tell me to give up hope, but you never know, my mind wanted to prepare me for maximum emotional pain, even though I had every right to assume good news. I watched an episode of Seven Deadly Sins on Netflix (in Spanish, another thing I’m trying to do this year) to mentally prepare myself and as to not cause suspicion that I ignored her call on purpose.

She began with expected pleasantries, and then went to say that there has been no movement on the waitlist, but assuring me that if a seat opened up that she would offer it to me. In that moment I was disheartened, but still hopeful; she wouldn’t call me just to tell me that. Then it came, she offered me a seat in next year’s class. It took every ounce of my will not to immediately accept it right then and there. And maybe a more confident me would have, but I was partially in disbelief and partially skeptical. Thankfully, she didn’t put me on the spot and asked me to get back to her once I had made my decision.

My mind was pretty much made up, but I felt like it wasn’t culturally acceptable to just say yes to such something so important to me without any deliberation. I wanted to be sure. It didn’t take much though. I mean this worked out pretty much perfectly. I was secured a spot for medical school without having to worry about going through another round of secondaries and interviews, and all the anxiety that comes with it, all while being able to maintain the plans I had already made for the coming year. I eagerly called her back the following Monday and accepted the offer.

If you’ve been following my recent posts you know I’m not a huge believer in destiny or higher powers determining our fate, but some of this stuff gets me thinking. I know all likelihood says that the whole thing with the fortune cookie fortune that picked-up is pure coincidence, but what are the chances that I would pick-up a fortune with that message (granted many fortunes say similar things, but they also say many, many other things), on the day I was expecting to get news from specific school, and then months later, getting in to that specific school (Keck of all places).

I recently rediscovered that prophetic fortune. It actually reads, A dream of yours will come true. That’s it. I had been misquoting it this whole time… the soon was all in my head. Funny how that works. I imposed my own timeline on this stupid piece of paper, and it decided to teach me a lesson. Even if it had said soon, that means next to nothing. My insecurity not only inserted that word, but assumed that it meant within the week or sooner. I know this all sounds silly, and it is, but it’s fun to think about. I don’t actually believe universe was trying to communicate to me through garbage…or do I?

Whatever the case, this is all a good reminder that the world doesn’t stop when things don’t go the way I expect and to be thankful for the goodTM, and learn from badTM . Just gotta keep moving and fighting on 😉 . I am thankful to everyone who supported me throughout all of this, and if you’ve made it this far chances are you are one of them. None of this would be possible without you. Sorry if this (whole thing) is cheesy, but I gotta put somewhere.



Every Villain Is Lemons

What makes something good? What makes another thing bad? Are there such things? It depends on what you believe. If you believe in the existence of something outside of physical existence, there is a possibility there for some form of absolute “goodness.” If you don’t, it’s hard to make a case against complete relativism.

From my understanding, the apparent facts and evidence seem to say there is little to no indication that anything exists outside of existence. But, that is also kind of the nature of extra-existential forces; you can never prove they exist.

However, just because I believe that if we zoom way outside ourselves and our communities that good and evil is relative, still maintain my own beliefs as to what is good and evil. The source of that morality is my own feelings and emotions, which stem from a combination of my genetic/ human nature and my experiences. I admit that my morality is completely relative, but many aspects of it are shared by billions. Not to mention, from an economics perspective, it would be better to assume, and live as if there is heaven and hell.

All this being said I feel like there is a statistical objectivity to what societies determine to be good and evil. Many moral codes/ laws/ whatever they may be didn’t pop out of thin air. The undergo trial and error, and evolution of sorts in which they are subject to their own form of natural selection. The ideas that are conducive to self-propagation survived and are passed, on while others die off. And with that you can make all sorts of comparisons to biology and life and what is life etc. Everything that occurs in living things is the result of stochastic/ random processes, and yet those random molecule collisions somehow resulted in life and consciousness because of the inherent favorability of certain collisions, which is based on the nature of our reality. The comparison being — what makes something alive : what makes something good — both are based on arbitrary “foundations” but yet there is some force that drives things away from complete randomness/ relativity.

Anyways that what I have on this for now. Probably will revisit some of these ideas in the future. Hope some of that made sense.

Devil’s Advocate

It’s easy to talk about ideas with like-minded individuals. Right now I’m in a class where we have to participate in online discussions. We are graded on posting a discussion and we are graded on responding to two other discussions. I’m not sure if its the topic that people choose to write about, or if it’s just the culture we live in, but the responses are pretty predictable. They are often affirming what the person said or asking some clarifying or expanding question. All of us students elected to take this class so it’s very likely we share similar perspectives, and while that is affirming in some ways, it can be quite boring in others (just for discussion purposes, the class itself is interesting).

Anyways, I was listening to a discussion today about whether or not there is any objectivity in the world, especially with respect to good and bad. I think it’s is important to be challenged; to put your beliefs to the test. I think it’s important to be able to engage in respectful discourse. In this case, both sides strongly maintained their beliefs. While I think genuine debate is valuable, I also think that sometimes disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing can also lead to fruitful outcomes.

My thoughts on objective truths and good vs evil in my next post, I promise.


What really is integrity and what is it worth? My understanding for a long time been has been that integrity is one commitment to their ideals, morals, and values, especially when no one is looking and/ or there is nothing to be gained. Some may have different definitions, but in general it is seen as a overall positive thing.

We all make decisions for our lives based on available information in one way or another. What happens when we are faced with information that works against our own values and morals? Do we change our values or do we deny the information? I feel like some form of the latter is a common choice, at least initially. Is that considered integrity? Of course we have to take into account the source of the information, but if it turns out the overwhelming evidence says the way I have been living my life and the way I understand the world is “wrong” what do I do?

It takes courage to stand by your beliefs in the face of opposition. But is that integrity? It also takes courage to admit you were wrong and it’s important to put your beliefs to the test from time to time to see how they hold up as we gain new information. I think there’s “integrity” in that; in checking yourself for cracks, and in pruning away the excess.

My current understanding of integrity is more of a commitment to myself rather than to my beliefs or my ideals. The question is how much of myself (if any) is tied to those beliefs, and how do I know when it’s time to let some of them go.

Enemy of the Good

“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.” This was a phrase I heard recently in a podcast. I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a perfectionist; I’m particular about the way I think things should be done and want things to be just right. There’s nothing wrong with being careful and precise, but at a certain point, this becomes somewhat of a detriment. The pursuit of perfection means I don’t hit submit, I don’t press send. In some cases this identity becomes an excuse. In some cases I don’t even get started because I’m waiting for “perfect conditions.” In reality I’m just scared of what might happen next. If I fail, that hurts my pride. If I succeed that builds pressure for the future.

If I can stay somewhere in the middle, perpetually “in-progress,” then I can say “I’m working on it,” without facing the consequences. The problem with that is there is no progress, I’m stuck in developmental purgatory.

Both failure and success result in growth of their own kind. Waiting for perfect results in stagnation. Things don’t need to be perfect in order for them to be good. Perfection (whatever that is) can’t happen over night, and I won’t get there without scraping my knees along the way. I just gotta suck it up and do the work.

Re: Resistance

Talking about change or asking people to change can be a sensitive issue. Everyone behaves the way they do for a reason, usually based on their life experiences or their values (with a few notable exceptions). I can’t speak for everyone (though experience tells me humans are more alike than we think) but I know if someone directly asks me to change in some way I feel like a part of myself is being rejected. I’m sure that’s not the intention of the other person, but that’s how it can feel.

Being open to change requires vision. Vision to see possible alternatives. I have to be humble enough to believe there is a better way. I have to realize that the suggestion of change (even if ill-advised) in not a rejection of who I am, but a belief in my potential. At least that’s how I should try to see it. That said no matter how receptive to feedback I get, there’s always that little voice whispering the worst. The goal isn’t to get that voice to shut up, its being able to tell the voice why it’s wrong.

What if?

This comic really captures my thoughts on the reasoning for environmental conservation/ protection/ whatever and why I think arguments against it are so stupid. Right now though I wanna talk about one of the things I’ve struggled with in terms of doing good for Mother Earth; the efficacy of environmentally-conscious habits.

Is it worth changing to these habits? What am I really accomplishing?

We make excuses to convince ourselves not to change. I tell myself that I, a singular person, not using straws or not eating meat won’t the fix the environment. And that’s probably true, but doing either of those things, or any conversion to environmentally-conscious habits, are about way more than their physical impact. For one, there’s the whole tragedy-of-the-commons-esque notion that if everyone is thinking the same thing and is changing their habits (or not) then that can have a substantial effect on the environment.

To me though, the bigger aspect is the community aspect. The times I’ve been most successful in changing my habits for environmental reasons happen when part of the community around me is trying to change. That part could be as small as a friend or family member who wants to incorporate less (or no) meat in their diet. Or it could be a campus or city-wide movement to stop using plastic straws. I will also say that all the times that I have failed to change, is because the community around me, often the larger part, chooses not to change.

If I change my habits and am dedicated about it, maybe that will at least get people around me thinking about their habits. Those small thoughts floating around in our head affect the culture of the community, and when culture changes communities change, and as smaller communities change that affects the culture of the larger community, etc. The small stuff scales, we just have to buy into that.

Are their any habit changes, environmentally-focused or otherwise, that you’d like to make? How can we grow a community around that?


I did a report on Alexander Graham Bell back in Junior High. There was a quote that was attributed to him that really struck a chord with me, especially because when I was little I wanted to be an inventor, “The inventor… looks upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees, he wants to benefit the world.” This was kinda my mindset for a long time. There’s a lot of messed up stuff going on and humans need to get their shit together.

Where I am now though I can’t help but think about the restlessness of the quote; particularly in “not contented” and “improve whatever he sees.” It can be easy to get caught up in the fixing part that we forget to stop and appreciate some of the good. And we need to make sure that our “fixes” are backed by evidence and careful science (I’m using the term science here relatively broadly). Kinda harkening back to the book Factfullness, we need to be able to see the good in the world as a model for the future. Action for the sake of action can be wasteful, and wastefulness is the last thing the world needs more of.


I’m not really in the mood to write tonight, but I will anyway ’cause it’s been too long. My lack of motivation isn’t tied to anything one thing in particular, but kinda a bunch of different things. I guess much of it can be linked to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. What’s makes it worse is that I don’t feel like I have a good reason for feeling these things, but yet here they are. It’s not a consistent, all the time thing, and I don’t consider myself depressed (obligatory not-that-there-would-be-anything-wrong-with-that), but when it does happen I end up in a bit of a vicious cycle.