Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Life is a Buffet

I’m no genius but I think I just might have discovered a way to people figure out.

I’ve realized that the way I approach life is pretty much how I would carry myself when I’m at a buffet. I could be wrong about this, but it kind of feels right.

First off, I just love a good buffet. The variety of choices, the sensory overload and just the thought of all that food gets me excited in ways that most people would find weird. You would think I would indulge and stuff myself silly (I would if I could, actually), but surprisingly, that’s just not the case.

At first I thought it was because I didn’t have a good “battle” plan. I thought maybe I should eat the light stuff first before going for the main dishes (which will backfire if you start with the salads, because all that fiber will make you feel full faster), or maybe that I should try all the desserts first (this tactic won’t make you full, but the sugar crash-and-burn effect later is so not worth it). I keep looking at all these foods and end up stumped because everything becomes overwhelming. I never zero in on anything (except maybe steamed dimsum. You can’t go wrong with dimsum.). But I am excited by all the possibilities.

So what ends up happening? I get a little bit of everything. I try my darnedest to taste test everything unfamiliar. I rationalize that even if I didn’t eat the buffet’s worth in quantity, I did get to taste a week’s menu of this and that. Both my mind and my tummy end up feeling equally full. I got my mental satisfaction, which to me, makes the trip more worth it than anything. It’s a new experience of sorts. To now have the authority to have an opinion on that-which-was-not-tasted-ever-before.

Applied to life, I think I am the same way. I enjoy doing different things, changing it up every so often. But doing and learning are different. I can keep doing things, but not really learn from them (like how to stop mourning over failed friendships that are supposedly not worth it). or I can go through the whole alien process of discovery and add a new talent, skill, knowledge or trivia under my belt. I hate to say it, but it’s always important to learn something new. Even if that something new proves to be worthless info to you.

I used to think I was a creature of habit. That I can wake up, go to work, go home, curl up in my cozy bed with a good read and be thankful for another uneventful day. But I was wrong. It is nice to have someone to reach out to out of the blue to meet up after work. It is fun to get a little bit lost and try a new route going home every once in a while. It is fun to have other options of things to do. Even if you never end up doing them...

If I would be asked if I liked meeting new people, I think I would hesitate before eventually answering yes. Because yes sounds like the right answer. But is it my real answer? I’m not really sure. Because when you meet someone new, that person could be a potential friend or a potential hurt waiting to happen. But I’ve also learned that it always pays to see it through. To not deny cultivating relationships out of fear.

Some people approach a buffet and will make a beeline for their favorite dish and be perfectly happy just eating that. I admire these folks. They know that it doesn’t take much decision-making for them to be happy and they stick to that. They keep their life simple. They won’t feel like they could’ve tried more, eaten more or less than what they had. Simple can be boring, but it can be safe too. And feeling safe is hard to achieve, I think.

Some people will try to eat as much as they can, take in everything, regardless what their tummy says. They are admirable in a sense that they are making the most out of the experience. They are living it up in that short span of time that it takes to enjoy a full meal. But I could never do that. I’d feel like crap afterwards and all it takes is a quick trip back to that memory lane I like to call "Episodes in the Boulevard of Traumatic Overeating"and that’s enough to stop me from making another round. These people, I can imagine, go through life just doing everything and anything, even if it changes them, hardens them or even worse, destroys their inner core. These are those who have definitely been there and done that, But I don’t feel the need to go to that extreme. I will push my limits, but I refuse to stand at its edge.

So there, maybe Life isn't exactly like a buffet. But sometimes it is. You just watch and learn from it (if you can find the time to stop eating).

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