Hey, you

Yeah, you! I’m talking to you. The fact that you’re reading this is awesome. And I mean that in the original meaning of the word – inspiring awe, not just something really cool. You’re my target audience. I always say that I write for myself, but the reason that I write on a blog instead of a journal is because I hope that in writing myself, I will somehow be able to touch another human’s life in some way. Even if it’s a slight nudge that doesn’t really affect you, I’ve altered the course of your life in some way.

I don’t know you and we could have very little in common, but that’s the magic of a blog! Writing through an electronic platform allows me to connect with you, whoever you are. That inspires awe for me. If you’ve read any of my old posts, you know that I believe that art, be it writing or painting or photography or music, gives us the power to show off how similar and different we are at the same time. It lets us display ourselves and connect with others in ways we never even could begin to think of before. It lets us inspire others to do the same and find themselves in their own art.

I hope that this inspires you just a little bit. That maybe this will make you want to write a blog post of your own or a poem or take a cool picture or write a song and just draw a cool stick figure dude in your notebook. Because if I could have that impact on someone, if I could be indirectly responsible for the creation of something that’s never existed before in the history of time and space, well, that’s awe-inspiring.

Who I am and Why I’m here

As a part of WordPress’s very own Blogging 101 class, our first task is to write an introductory post. Despite the fact that I’ve been blogging for a while, I feel that it’s important for me to get involved with this class in order to motivate myself to write more and achieve my goal of writing more posts than I did last year. I’ve recently been feeling lost since I haven’t been writing as much as I used to, so hopefully this will help to ground me.

My name is Nikhil Sethi and I’m a first-year CS major at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I love to write, take pictures, read and think. I want to return to blogging instead of just sticking to my journal, since blogs allow me to have a more concrete focus on a specific topic. My journal entries are filled with tons of different ideas, a true contrast to my blog posts which tend to focus on a particular idea I’m grappling with and just wanna write out about.

I will probably just talk about whatever topics enter my life, especially related to the future and life in college, since I’m still getting used to that. I also foresee a great amount of content related to Stoicism and Art, since those are some of my current obsessions right now. I just want to connect with anyone through my work. I have this belief that art has an incredible power to connect people and I’m sure that anyone who has my writing resonate with them can benefit from it and helps to confirm my ideas that writing publicly is worth something. I’ll detail my philosophy about art in another post, but it relates to this idea heavily.

If I continue to blog throughout the year, I hope to continue to progress as a writer and gain a greater readership. I have a few followers on this blog, but I would love to interact with the people who read my posts a little more, since they seem to have something in common with me or have ideas similar to my own.

What do I want to do?

I think the reason that college is really tough for me at times is because I want to have clear priorities and completely dedicate myself to one thing or another. The only problem is that there are too many things that I want to do. In a given day, I’m worrying about school, writing, photography, singing, spirituality, friendships and many more things that I can’t even think of right now. I keep reading articles about self-help in hopes that will give me the answers to all of my questions, but there’s not a single article that will save me, but the underlying message in all of them is to focus one specific thing if you want to get good at it.

The thing is, I can’t drop all of these things. Each things is fairly important, and I don’t want to let it go. I might try to do a timelog this week to see where all of my time goes and really get a better idea of what I can do to improve my general use of time. All I know is that I feel the best when I get a lot done, but when I feel shitty it’s because I can’t get a lot done and that same feeling keeps me from getting things done. It’s a vicious cycle.

I can get through this.

Equilibrium

Over the past few weeks, I’ve felt like I’ve moved to an overall better place mentally. My resting state has less anxiety, less sadness and less frustration. In all honesty, I don’t think I’ve been this good in a long time.

Despite this, I know that this isn’t the best state I can be. My emotions are still incredibly volatile. In the span of a few hours, I can go from feeling like I’m on the top of the world, sauntering along to the drumbeats of a joyous Jack Johnson to feeling anxious and hiding under my covers listening to Drake. Of course, the best part of my new state is that this happens less than before, but I just wish I could minimize it further.

In discussion yesterday with my religious group, we got onto the topic of how it may be better to find an equilibrium, and instead of getting too attached to the highs and lows, to focus on an equilibrium of the two and try to stay balanced. That way, it won’t hurt when we fall as much. I’m torn by this concept.

On one hand, this level of equilibrium in my emotions sounds like it would help me to leave myself and become more associated with a higher power as I detach myself from the world. On the other hand, detachment has always been one of the concepts of spirituality that I’ve struggled with. I’ve been a huge advocate of melancholy and sadness in the past because I fell in love with it and the depth and vibrancy of the emotions, especially when they helped me to connect with art. I don’t know if I can completely abandon that part of me that loves to feel so strongly. If we are meant to detach ourselves from everything, why do strong emotions feel so right? Why does sobbing in my bed over breakup feel so real compared to emotionlessness in the face of a small loss?

Friendships?

I’m two weeks into my second semester of college. Normally that would mean I’ve had 10 days of class, but I’ve had more like 8.5, because of MLK day + a snow-induced half day. Aw yeah, that means that after 12pm yesterday, I had the freedom to play an unfulfilling game of Cards of Humanity before napping for 2 hours. The snow didn’t really start until the evening, but Georgia’s previous failures with handling inclement weather has made them extra cautious. I’m not complaining. The night of snow was awesome, with a snowball fight between any and every student outside.

What I really want to talk about in this post is friendship. Last night was one of the most fun nights here at Tech, and the thing is that I wasn’t hanging out with my usual group who I spent nearly weekend and meal with. Instead, I was with a group of people I had talked to only a few times in my life. They were all nice and it was just a great time. The reason this is so disconcerting to me is the fact that I spent most of last semester trying to join and be included in this one friend group. However, the more time that I spend with them, the more I realize I don’t feel like I belong. Beyond that basic feeling, I don’t even know if I feel like that these people are my friends. There are a few of people I’ve met in school that I completely trust to have my back, but I don’t feel like that exists with any of the group. Everyone seems to have their own person to talk to within the group and everyone seems to talk shit about other people int he group. It’s all so dramatic and unnecessary. Maybe I’m not the type of person who can deal with chilling in a group.

I’m just trying to figure it out man.

Create Something Every Day

For the past few days, I’ve been involved in one of the least entertaining activities in the world, one that never seems to end and consumes your very existence, bringing inconvenience to every facet of your life. Yup, I’m talking about moving. I’m definitely not being melodramatic when I say that moving from an apartment into a new house is one of the most frustrating things to ever happen to me.

In reality, this isn’t that big of a deal, but it has caused me to become extremely restless. It’s not because of the inconvenience of manual labor or sleeping on the floor or having to eat ice cream with a fork since all the spoons are at the house and not the apartment. All of those things are fine and can easily be overcome. What’s been irking me about the whole thing is my difficulty in creating anything. I’ve failed to complete several blog posts due to my brain not working properly, I’ve been unable to continue learning how to draw due tot the lack of tables, I’ve been unable to make my small Flask have any functionality due to my incompetence and, worst of all, I’ve been unable to wear any clothes that weren’t sweatpants and a sweatshirt due to having to move things.

My mind is so used to doing anything productive that going several days without doing anything that really uses my brain has left me feeling terrible about myself. Sure, moving boxes and carrying heavy stuff is productive in a way, but it fails to satisfy me in any way. Because of the mental unrest, I’ve been feeling terrible about myself and just have struggled to stay positive in the recent days. I had never realized how much creating things, be it CS homework or blog posts, has such a positive impact on my life and the lack of it can have such a negative impact. When I read this article about the health benefits of art, it all made sense.

As the year comes to a close, I’ve decided that one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try to create something every day. I don’t mean I need to write a 500 word blog post or draw an amazing portrait or design something really cool. No, that’s nearly impossible. At the very least, I want to be make anything that leaves a unique impact on the world, however small. This could be a small drawing of a potato on the side of my homework if I’m feeling lame or an awesome photo or even just a bombass photo.

I needed to write this post in order to create something after all of these days. Now, it also serves to keep me accountable in terms of what I want to do in the future. It’s a New Year’s Resolution, so therefore the odds are already against me, but even the intention to create more is better than what I’m doing right now.

Peace, Love, Ukulele

This past Friday night, I had the unique opportunity to see the ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro. As I was walking back from class at the end of the day, I saw that the arts center was selling $10 tickets to see him and decided to go, just for the hell of it.

After 2 hours of watching him jam out, I was speechless. It’s hard to explain what made the concert so special. Individual parts stick out to me, like Jake’s near-constant goofy grin whenever he was playing something that he knew sounded awesome, or when he would headbang to his music as his hands flew back and forth along his strings.

His composition was incredible, especially his ability to capture emotions of what each piece was inspired by. One piece stuck out to me in particular, leaving me on the brink of tears. It was called “Ichigo Ichie,” which is an Japanese idiom referring to the idea that every single time we meet someone, that individual moment is something that will only occur once-in-a-lifetime and thus must be treasured. The piece somehow captures the beauty of each moment we spend with each other. It was difficult to keep myself from tearing up – the emotions were as visible on his face as they were audible in the music.

I was awestruck by every piece, as the tiny four-stringed instrument from Hawai’i filled the air with beautiful vibrations. After ending with a tribute to the recent loss of life with Schubert’s Ave Maria, I had the opportunity meet Jake. My legs were shaking while waiting in the line to get a picture and an autograph. I had loved his music for years and had always felt like I knew him through his music. In the meeting that was less than a minute, I was touched. He didn’t get my name, but I had never met someone so genuine and felt like someone cared for me in such a short time. He truly lived the idea of ichi-go ichi-e.

Beyond his music and just the incredible genuineness he showed in a fleeting moment, Jake Shimabukuro’s entire journey is unique. As someone who fell in love with the ukulele at age 4, Jake never let go of his passion for the instrument, instead allowing it to become his livelihood.

Before Jake, the ukulele was rarely considered a serious instrument. Many just thought of it as a “toy guitar” or a gimmicky beach-style instrument at best. Jake was unaffected, releasing albums and just doing his best to make his best stuff. Eventually he got a big break when a video of him playing went viral.

Jake’s dedication to his craft is inspirational. Nothing in his life stops him from following his love of the ukulele, not even the fact that there had never been a successful touring ukulele player. Each and everyone of us could learn something from him. Each and everyone of us should try to love as Jake does.