Spent some time reading shin's blog, this was showcased yesterday in the little feature on death run by ST on Saturday. There are times I don't know what blogging is for. There are also times where I run out of things to say. So many things have been said anyway. I've also carefully run through my cachet of memories. so i'll clear the stage for others until experiences give me back my old level of creativity.

everytime i read something and i feel what someone else has felt, i feel that little bit less lonely. if i do feel bad anyway, it's only because i think i had something good that was taken away, but i had no right to it to begin with. so, this is just something i connected with, this sensation of peace and floating higher than people. it's strange, i know, but other people have felt it too! and she quoted woody allen too: "the heart is a resilient little muscle."

One of my earliest memories is when I was growing up in Korea. I must have been about seven years old. There was a clearing in the woods across from our house and in that clearing was a stone bench. I remember lying on that stone bench one hot day, my cheek against the cool stone. The sky was blocked by the tree branches above me, but some of the sun rays managed to peek through between the leaves.

For some reason, I have a very clear memory of that scene and of what I was thinking. I was thinking that I knew what life was all about. I felt I understood more than other people and I knew that this was happiness and calm and that this was very important. I felt very peaceful. Now, I wonder what that little kid could possibly have understood about life and happiness, and what could have brought such existential tranquility to such a young child.

For my page in my high school yearbook, I used a cartoon of a penguin who turns on the T.V. and hears nothing but bad news about crime and disasters, then walks outside to sit in the grass among the dandelions. I don't know what I could have found to be so heart-crushing at the age of seventeen to think I needed a break from life, but apparently, I felt overwhelmed by the negative noise around me.

When I was a senior in college, twenty-one years old, I wanted to drop out two weeks before graduation. I felt no connection with any of my classmates who were excited about graduation, planning parties and chattering on about their photos for the official college yearbook. They seemed so silly to me. I felt like I had spent so much time growing up and learning, and that I was finally going to graduate from university and go out into the world. Only there was nothing for me to go to. I had a job lined up as a teacher, but I didn't think of that as a meaningful endeavor, just something I had to do because I was supposed to go out and get a job.

I saw my classmates going on to business school, law school, Wall Street, and it all seemed so meaningless to me. This is what we worked so hard for? This was IT?! I wanted to drop out of school and out of life. If I ever came close to ending my life, it was this moment. Luckily, I happened to walk by a travel agency and saw a poster of an empty beach -- white sand, clear blue water, bright blue sky, and a solitary palm tree. I walked in, bought a ticket, and went off to Caracas for a week. That did the trick and when I returned to school, I got back on the treadmill and did what I was supposed to do without kicking up a fuss about the meaning of life.

I think it's time for another Dandelion Break. Tomorrow, I'm going to a little island off the coast of Thailand to be by myself. I hope to spend the week looking out at the ocean and sky, writing letters, not speaking a word, having no contact with people.

I'm not going to find God, the meaning of life, or even to "find myself". Besides, if I've been looking for God, the meaning of life, or myself all along and haven't found them by now, I think it's a clear sign that either I've already found them or that I don't, in fact, need to find them.

I think we could all use a Dandelion Break once in a while.

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