Tuesday, August 1, 2017

On Ganas (the Passion to Live)

On my thirty first day of my sabbatical (the day I was scheduled to come back, that is - until I cancelled my ticket back home) I decided that I needed to show myself and the world what it means to live a beautiful life. On this day, the young guy at the front desk of my hotel turned up his Latino music in the morning and was singing to it.

It woke me. I would usually have been annoyed to be woken up from my restful sleep, but he sang well, and I started liking the song too.

I went to the front desk and asked him in Spanish, "What was the name of the song?"

He said, "I don't understand."

I said, "What's the song called?"

"What song?"

"The song you were singing."

"Ah," he said. Then, he told me.

I started listening to it. After listening to this song, which seemed to say to not care about anything and live in the moment and fall in love every chance you get, I realized how fortunate I was.

Although it's been a hard year for me in my profession, and at the higher court I lost my cases (incorrectly by the way, from all perspectives and angles), I was truly grateful for all that went well this year too.

I paid off my student loans, all of it, which freed me from all debt. I lost 15 pounds and was around or below 10% body fat - something I have never achieved in my life. My Spanish was getting better and improving quickly and happily and fluidly and proficiently. I was on an indefinite sabbatical.

My life, indeed, felt like one large celebration.

And I missed my family and friends and animalitos. And they missed me too. And I've been constantly asked when I'm coming home. Although I feel sad to say: "I don't know," our separation and desire to see each other again is a beautiful thing; for it's nice to be loved and to love others.

In fact, on my thirty first day of sabbatical, my friend texted me and said to come to Korea, immediately. He would pick me up from an airport and set me up with a job. Though I didn't care to work yet, I  knew I was fortunate to have friends all over the world - who wanted to see me.

He says I should make a lot of money. I tell him, "I think God made me an artist - not a businessman. It's probably not in my future to make tons of money." He responded by saying that what I said was funny and also nonsense.

I also listened to a talk on passion by the most-read Spanish author - Chilean writer - Isabelle Allende. And in her talk, she says this: "Heart is what drives us and determines our fate. That is what I need for my characters in my books: a passionate heart. I need mavericks, dissidents, adventurers, outsiders and rebels, who ask questions, bend the rules and take risks."

And with wit, she adds: "Nice people with common sense do not make interesting characters. They only make good former spouses."

(That made me think, I certainly don't have commonsense, as commonsense would demand that I work, save money, buy a house, start a family, and get back into a debt - which would take 30 years to pay off. Not right now. No thanks. Just been there. Just done that.)

When I heard Allende's talk, I hope I had paid that price of ganas, the passionate spirit inside of us that calls us to show the world what extraordinary things we can do and calls us to endure through all that pain needed to achieve it. This is so my life, and not my words, could speak the importance of living a beautiful life. And in that spirit, although I gave up a lot to fight against those who abuse their power, and do it with impunity, only time will tell what I actually gained and inherited too.

I guess the big takeaway from all this, if there is one, is to remind myself of this Jewish proverb. "What is truer than truth?"

Answer: "A story."

And want to know what's truer than that? "A beautiful life" - Me. 

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