Expect Magic In Every Encounter.
Photo by Elliott Pak (@elliottpak)
Written by Elliott Pak
What Would 50-Year-Old You Think?
Hi. First post.
I’m not sure how to format any of this, nor will I try to. I’m just going word-soup-brain-throw-up style.
It’s fucking crazy when you realize how little you know at every turn of your life. Every time you got a little bit older, whether you made it to the next grade, or to the next school, or got that next job, how empowered and more mature you felt. But every time you looked back at your past, guaranteed you felt like a fucking moron for something you did.
You guys ever hear the phrase “I wish I knew that the good times are now?” Great phrase. Very insightful. But not my point. I personally wish I could know all the dumbass immature things I’m doing right now. Not particularly because I would want to change what I do; fucking up and making mistakes is super valuable. It’s how you learn, yada yada yada. More so I want to know when I’m fucking up so that I can be a bit more humbled when it comes to interacting with the world and with other people.
For example, when I was in the eighth grade and I was a cocky little asshole – if I could have viewed myself then, the way I do now – maybe I would have been nicer to people. Taken more advantage of situations. Listened more to the advice of elders. Or right now, while I sit in the middle of a rainforest on the other side of the world from my home – If fifty year old me was looking back at me right now (I hope everyone is following which me’s I’m talking about), would I tell me to run around fitting more activities in? or try harder to learn the local language? Or would I tell me to chill the fuck out and smell the roses a bit more?
I guess what I’m trying to say is I want to be doing RIGHT NOW correctly. But so does everyone right. What I’ve been asking myself a lot recently: what would fifty year old Elliott think I should have done right now? (By the way if you think I’m trying to make some cool new philosophy, I would take what I say with a grain of salt cause I have no fucking idea what I’m saying. I’m just brain farting). Will it EVER be possible to live your life RIGHT NOW in a way that will make fifty-year-old you say “wow. I did that correctly. Good fucking job, me.” The more and more I write about this, the more I think it’s probably impossible.
But then again I don’t regret how I turned out. I always think about that weird paradox, where if you stepped on a bug in the past, if you ended up kissing that girl you were too much of a pussy to kiss, if you had made that last three pointer that ONE fucking time that haunts you to this day, maybe you wouldn’t be who you are today.
This brings me to the main point that had me writing today. Thanks for staying with me if you did. I’ve only been away from home for about 2 and a half weeks…and the variety of people I’ve met on this side of the world is ridiculous. Everyone is so different, and has so many different experiences. And it led me to a different conclusion. Instead of asking myself what I would have or should have done, why don’t I just listen to other people. I mean ALL people. There is something valuable you can learn from literally every single fucking person on the planet, no matter how old they are, what religion, race, whatever – they’ve done something you haven’t. They’ve accomplished something you haven’t. They’ve been hurt in a way you didn’t know existed.
So learn from them. Put your ego away for like five fucking seconds.
The beautiful part is, even with all these differences that we have from each other, it’s amazing how there are still universal signs that we’re all the same thing. Biggest and easiest example is a simple smile. Doesn’t matter what language or where you are.
You smile, they smile back, k ya’ll are cool.
Can’t even count how many times I’ve been walking alone in a foreign place, kinda in that freaked out mode, with locals all staring at me. Then I force myself to shoot them a quick smile. And that huge moment of relief when they shoot it back and say hello. Like literally in my head, I just went from “I’m pretty sure these people want to fucking scalp me” to “oh this person is a nice guy, with hopes and aspirations and fears and shit, just like me.”
Wow that got corny quick! Hope you enjoyed that. Anyway, I’m just going to leave it with one last quote (So sorry, can’t remember who it was that originally said the quote, it was a guest on one of Tim Ferriss’ podcasts, so probably someone insanely intelligent and successful. If anyone knows, please tell me so we can give him credit).
“Expect magic in every encounter.”
(edit: We found out it was Adam Robinson who said the quote, author, chess master, and co-founder of The Princeton Review. aka fucking genius. thank you Tyler Escudero)
Yeah, sounds like simple shit but it blew my fucking mind. Like what a positive way to look at life. I think the guy who said it compared it to being a happy puppy. Just so excited and ready for happiness every time it meets a new person.
I never would have thought of that on my own.
Like seriously think about all the times you or people you see on the street just go through the motions of your day. Go to work. Leave work. Do your chores. Go to sleep. Like fuck, doesn’t that make your skin itch? I’m not talking about having a normal job or anything. I’m talking about not expecting or being ready for something new and amazing to happen to you from someone ordinary on the street. Or even people that go in the opposite direction of empathy, like getting all pissed off at the fast food worker who didn’t add extra onion rings to your burger like you asked. Maybe that guy is going through a really rough patch in his life. or maybe he’s really shitty at his job, i don’t know.
Go to the grocery store, and maybe there’s something special about the person bagging up your groceries. Or the homeless person you just gave a quarter to, you have no idea how that will affect his life. Or you’re traveling, and you share something about your homeland that completely blows them away that they had never heard about.
When I was a kid, before I started playing guitar, I remember this guy. Literally just some guy I didn’t know. He told me I had long, skinny, fingers; that I had guitarist fingers. That’s it. The guy was out of my life forever. But holy shit did that stick with me. He very well may have started one of the biggest passions of my life.
Some small compliment you give to some kid, or anybody, might stick with them for the rest of their lives. You just gotta look for it. and smile more. and compliment more. and get out of your comfort zone more.
Honestly, if you’re feeling a bit purposeless or low on passion, I would say that is one, small, tiny, cool little thing you can do today. See where it leads you. If it leads you nowhere, then sorry, shit. Feel free to go back to what you were doing.
Ok first post down. A little background info, I’m sitting in a rainforest in Indonesia right now, extremely secluded. You never know when these thoughts are gonna smack you in the head, so I had to write it down, as there aren’t many people to talk to at the current moment.
If you actually read this whole thing, thank you so much. Seriously. Shoot me a message or something or…I actually don’t know how blogs work. Subscribe? Whatever. Let’s talk.