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Spring 2017

David Li
March 20th, 2017 · 5 min read

Oops, this is the first update in almost three months - and exactly 6 months from the first post ever. As good a place as any to pick things back up.

Today also marks the first day of spring. A great day for new beginnings.


Life

The past months have been very… different. Not to complain constantly, but the feelings of loneliness and meaninglessness were prevalent. But I think it’s getting better.

I’ve had to deal with the feelings that I’m wasting my time and potential, that I’m much too good for this. But that’s changing too. I still do feel that I could have done more with the past months, such that I could be smarter and better now, but that regret isn’t realistic. I have grown in these months, even if I had not realized it at the time.

Part of it is the loneliness - any problems I had, I had to overcome on my own. It’s left a lot of time for thinking and trying new things, without the perspective, judgment or support of others. Sure, I was never more than a call away from friends, but it gave me the opportunity to grow on my own and understand myself better.

I’m still uncertain about many things, but that’s natural. What I do know better are many of the qualities (and negatives about myself). I think I’m more patient, more willing to work hard, and perhaps more dedicated. I believe that I’m more genuinely happy now, rather than the extreme highs and lows of a party lifestyle. I’ve recognized (and have been working on) some of my imperfections, from my fear of trying new things to listening to others.

Hey, that had to change somehow.


The Future

In the ‘normal’ view of society, the 20’s are some of the last opportunities to really explore and have fun. There’s so many expectations - that you start your career, start a family, settle down into something ‘respectable’.

In many ways, this view is so disappointing. It’s the idea of conformity, that there’s a set path to follow, and that happiness is something so socially defined. We’re expected to do as society details, go into something comfortable, do things for the sake of respect, and so on. All the while sacrificing any of your own dreams that don’t align.

Not to say that this is an invalid dream. For many, family, or monetary success, etc., is something they value highly, and something that will bring fulfillment. Truthfully, I’d be quite jealous of that.

But knowing that, as someone who is very unhappy with the prospect of settling for things that he doesn’t love, that seems like the greatest risk of all. I think that, with a few more application cycles, I could’ve made it to medicine. Would I have been ultimately happy? Maybe. But that was a risk that I decided not to take, and one that, looking back, I’m glad to have not taken.

This is the time to try for love, to try for passion. Pushing that search back further won’t result in a better day, ten, twenty, thirty years for now. There won’t be a better opportunity, no magical revelation waiting, without an honest and wholehearted attempt.

So why not now? And if not now, when?


Passion

I revisited one of my oldest hobbies and interests, that of computer science and technology.

Before undergrad, my two main choices were between Medicine and Computer Science, and I ultimately decided to go with Medicine.

I sort of regret that choice now, but so many of the great memories I’ve had, lessons I’ve learned, would not have existed had I chose the other path. Perhaps if I had, I would be in the same position now, reconsidering the other side. Or perhaps I’d be a completely different person, and perhaps better, but also perhaps worse.

But regardless, idle fancies.

I’ve been throwing myself completely into the field of computer science.

From reading about the latest developments and technologies, to being able to directly see results, and the sweet joy of overcoming a difficult problem, it’s been incredibly rewarding so far. I feel like this is something that makes me want to learn more, constantly. It’s something that’s ever changing, a field with an amazing diversity in problems and solutions. It’s something that’s so challenging, yet creative and so innately applicable to our lives.

I’m very certain that this is the future of our world. Even in the life sciences, technology is making a strong impact. And I wish to be a part of that.

It’s something so powerful, affecting so many across the entire planet. And what we’ve seen is only the beginning. Many have called it the Information Age, the Digital Revolution, and so forth, and its impact will only grow.

To be perfectly honest, I’m still a bit scared. What if I get bored in a few months or years? What if I’m not good enough? What if this isn’t the right path for me?

But I think those are just little-deaths, the fears that plague us no matter what we do. I do feel strongly about this field, and I have an excitement about learning and applying, and about the future, that has definitely made me happier.

Now is the time to quell my self-doubts, to risk, and to try.


The Blog

In case you haven’t noticed, this blog and website has undergone a complete redesign and rebuild, and for now I’m content with this v3. When v4 is finalized (and it’s a matter of when, not if), it’ll probably be more design changes rather than structural and code ones. There is something I do want to add in regards to blogging, but I’m most importantly looking for feedback regarding design.

In terms of content - I’m very concerned about professionalism and appearances. I really enjoyed the writing process, and some of the things I’ve heard from my friends in response to my posts. Nonetheless, I fear that they may leave a poor impression, and self-censoring to the point where posts are no longer genuine defeats the entire purpose. I may choose to write more non-personal things, but for now it’s okay.


Recommendations

Disclaimer that I’m in a very confusing and formative part of my life right now, so these may have affected me much more strongly. Also extremely cheesy. Spoilers! One recommendation I have on my mind:

Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom

Recommended by a Jessica Zheng, this book has really told me to dream. To me, it was about making our own values and paths, and finding our own meanings. It’s an acceptance of love, a reminder of the importance of reflection, and a call to live vividly.

I know, for myself, detachment has been one of my core values. And, much like the protagonist in the book, Mitch, I valued an artificial ‘success’ far too strongly. But this was a call to greater things - to live with love and meaning. Perhaps it’s something that I’ve been missing, perhaps it’s something I need to grow towards.


I’m very excited what the next months and years will bring. I hope happiness, fulfillment, a cute girl (maybe), and learning. I’m still worried that I am going on the wrong path, but I think it’s time to take a leap of faith, take some risks, and dive in wholeheartedly.

With love.

More articles from David Li

A Reflection on 2016

Looking back on an exciting year, and looking forward to a better one.

December 27th, 2016 · 5 min read

Memories

Reminiscing about the last few years

November 29th, 2016 · 3 min read
© 2016 David Li
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