Quotes from The Book of Joy

Sometimes I can get incredibly shy at DG/cell group. I don’t know why, I think I am still uncomfortable with the fact that I am the youngest there and my age is the awkward age where everyone else has a job and has been employed at least 3-4 years, and I am the inexperienced person who has never held a full-time job. Plus, everyone has known each other for about two years and the new cell members who joined, they either know others in cell already, or they only came maybe once or twice and never really continued. It is not that I feel like an interloper, because I am one, but the fact that I somehow get very nervous when I have to read the bible passage aloud. We all take turns reading and I normally don’t have an issue, it’s just sometimes I get so apprehensive that my pronunciation will suck etc, and it does end up sucking- only because I am nervous and stumble over my words. Bleurgh.

Plus, I am pretty sure I am the only one there who is trying to believe in God, and if I were to say out loud that I might not be fully heterosexual (but am not attracted to females yet), or that I am only here for four years, pending a detailed review at the end, I think I would just…cringe and then be really awkward. Even though cell is supposed to be an all-inclusive thing, for all age groups and vocations, it’s difficult to feel genuine when this particular cell is made up of people from a few categories.

Sometimes I wish I got allocated a different cell. One that is further one, but one that is really heterogenous. But hey this is ten minutes away from my house. Sigh. I just have to deal with the shyness. A while back there was a cell mate who was asking if anyone wanted to buy plane tix up to KL for church camp, and I realised earlier today that the dude who was asking already listed everyone who was going to church camp as buying tix but me. Which means that the question posted on the group chat is just meant for me, but he didn’t want to DM me. Anyway I can’t afford it because it’s about 250+ on top of the usual camp fees that I’ve already paid, and I don’t have extra cash for flight tix. Also, I indicated that I would be taking coach on the online application a while ago, and am too lazy to change. I would like the bus ride up though, it will be bumpy and I will see the scenery. It must be good to be a working adult (doctor) and not worry about expenses ): The same dude who wanted to buy a sports car, and all I can afford is like roast pork rice. No there’s no connection between the two.

There will always be people who have more than we do, or who are more successful, or who are more talented or smarter or better-looking. 

Usually, we don’t actually compare ourselves to the hedge fund billionaire or to the genius scientist or to the supermodel. We tend to compare ourselves to those who are in our social circle. As the old saying goes, “If you want to be poor, find some rich friends. If you want to be rich, find some poor friends.” Keeping up with the Joneses happens within a peer group. 

Sigh. Maybe I just want time to pass by and I will grow out of my insecurities about how I am not independent enough and have to live with my parents, and maybe my job will assure me that I have an identity. But I don’t think a job can do that for me, I have a feeling that the next few years will be me doing things for myself. Can you imagine if I got skipped over for promotions when in the big 4 everyone gets promoted? The horror. Can I imagine staying single for my whole life? That’s even scarier. But true. Everything I fear might come to pass.

Envy toward the above, competitiveness toward the equal, and contempt toward the lower.

The thing about modern life now is that it doesn’t allow for a lot of slow movement or thinking. There is a lot of celebrating of the moments of joy on Instagram, or sharing it with your friends, but there’s one sentence that rings true. That humans have gotten more active, but not wiser or happier as the centuries pass.

“Stress and anxiety often come from too much expectation and too much ambition”, the Dalai Lama said. “Then when we don’t fulfil that expectation or achieve that ambition, we experience frustration. Right from the beginning, it is a self-centred attitude. I want this, I want that. Often we are not being realistic about our own ability or about objective reality.

I was reading another book, I can’t remember which it was. But there was a quote about how glass sometimes glitters more than diamond because it has more to prove. Because I am not born to a particularly wealthy family, neither am I particularly anything- it is this lack of outstanding qualities that makes me want to improve. The book (I think it’s a fiction novel) didn’t extrapolate further but a word of caution to myself- glass shatters on impact, diamond doesn’t. What is shiny and superficial might not stand up to further inspection. And glass can be beautiful and useful too.