Answering one reader's many questions: Part 2

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Here's Part 1 and Part 3 of the series. 

1: What was the worst date of your life?

To tell you the truth, I’ve only been on 5 dates (which were with 2 different women) in my 25 years of life, so I don't have a particularly large sample size to base this answer on. I honestly have no negative memories from any of the dates either. By definition of the word “worst” though, there has to be one that technically is the worst.

I guess the “least-good” date was one in which I had dinner with a girl at her mom’s place (with her mom also attending) after which we went to a housewarming party of one of her friends. It was alright; a bit awkward socially because the dynamic of the group was a bit odd/off, but it was fine overall. Unfortunately, that’s the best answer I have for you here. Underwhelming, I know.

2: Can you sing better or dance better?

Sing, but only very, very marginally better (meaning that my skill levels for both are pretty atrocious right now).

3: Which dish can you cook best?

It’s a tie between my homemade pizza (thin crust people, thin crust!) and my jollof rice. Granted, the latter I don’t make in the most traditionally African way but I still very much enjoy it.

4: Is homesickness or wanderlust worse?

The first is a longing for what you once had while the latter is a longing for something you don’t but wish to have. So which is worse? I’ll say that in general homesickness (a longing for what you once had) is probably worse for the general population, but for me it’s probably wanderlust because I’m not very emotionally attached to any one place in the world. Not to say that I have no affection for the places that I’ve lived in (the Netherlands for example, is still very dear to my heart), but it’s just that this affection doesn’t shackle me to the point where I can’t leave the city or country when I want to.

5: What is your biggest burden that you would like to get rid of?

In reference to a blog post I wrote a while ago, I would like to fix my left arm. It’s not depressing me or making me feel insecure or anything like that, it’s just bloody annoying and extremely inconvenient. Also, I have a really awkward relationship with money where I'm almost scared of spending it, as I wrote about here (Quora) in detail. That's quite the burden/annoying character trait that I would like to get rid of.

6: Do you believe in karma?

I mean, yes, but I think that the word “karma” carries a bit of a hippy-dippy connotation to it. I simply believe that if you live your life being deliberately hurtful to people, there’s a very high probability you’re going to, in some form or the other, face retribution for it (the same is true in the reverse case). I guess that constitutes to believing in karma but I generally dislike using labels for these kinds of phenomena (that's such a millennial thing to say, that you hate labels).

7: If you had a tree on which a product would grow (everything but money) what would grow on it?

Abstract answer: time. Time is probably the most valuable resource in the world (maybe the dagger of time would be nice then?). Slightly more literal answer: either renewable energy, a carbon-dioxide absorber device, or a plastic-eating worm (because, you know, there’s the small issue of a floating island of plastic in the ocean).

8: Can you sleep better without a blanket or a pillow?

Sleeping without a pillow can do serious damage to your neck muscles, so I’ll go with sleeping without a blanket. I guess I can just wear layers if it’s cold.

9: Are you a rice kid, a potato kid, or a pasta kid?

Since I grew up in a Nigerian family, my diet was heavily rice-based. Hence, I would say rice, followed by potato, and then pasta. Dietary diversity is important though!

10: Which body part do you like best about you?

Just for the record, this is a question I literally never think about during my waking moments. I’m vain, but not that vain. Anyway, I’ve been taking some group fitness classes at my local gym and I’ve recently gotten a newfound appreciation for my legs. I really, really like how fit my legs are, especially because I used to be a very scrawny, skinny kid. The other day I was like “damn yo, my legs are fucking amazing to look at.” So to answer your question, it has to be my legs.

The vanity in this answer gives me the creeps. Moving swiftly along then!

11: Which sensory organ could you best do without in the long run?

I actually listened to a podcast episode in which Jordan Harbinger interviewed a man by the name of Isaac Lidsky. What’s so special about this episode is that Isaac lost his sight at the age of 22 due a rare blinding disease called retinal pigmentosa. Isaac talks about how him losing his eyesight was one of the best things to ever happen in his life and how his life as a blind person is better than his life when he still had vision. It was an extremely inspiring interview and, because of that, I’ll say that I could do best with my eyes in the long run.

12: What do you have the least patience for?

Adults that cannot control their emotions. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t feel emotions. Of course not, that would be ridiculous. But I have no patience – in fact, I have sheer contempt for – adults that experience frequent and uncontrollable emotional tantrums. If I have to be blunt, it’s the weakness in a lack of emotional restraint that disgusts me. You're a grown ass adult for God's sake, control yourself. Yes, always be in touch with and feel emotions, but never let them overpower you. There's a key difference between feeling emotions and being in absolutely no control of them; the former is crucial in order to remain healthy, while I believe that the latter is destructive in the long-run. This obviously does not apply to people who have experienced trauma in their lives or are struggling with any kind of mental illness. C’mon, I’m not that heartless.

Self-control is the very essence of character. To be able to look a person straight in the eye, calmly and deliberately, without the slightest ruffle of temper under extreme provocation, gives a sense of power which nothing else can give. To feel that you are always, not sometimes, master of yourself gives a dignity and strength to character, buttresses it, supports it on every side as nothing else can.
— Orison Swett Marden (Author of the book "Peace, Power, & Plenty")

13: If you could either change your hair color or your eye color permanently, what would you choose and what color would you like?

There seems to be some kind of ridiculous fad going on in the world of football where players are dying their hair blonde/white, which I think looks completely ridiculous. Because of this, I rather change my eye color. I always thought that there was something very mysterious/ominous about people with yellow or green eyes, so it would have to be one of those two colors that I would change it to.

14: Do you believe in God or angels?

I was raised Catholic, so yes to both. I'm not obnoxious about it though, I just believe in them and use this belief to make my life and that of others better.

15: Where do you really feel at home/really safe?

The Netherlands (specifically the Leiden/Leiderdorp region). Emotionally speaking, it’s definitely the closest I have to “home” given that I spent the majority of my life there. I really had the best period of my life while living there. In general though, it’s got to be Europe (mostly Western Europe) given that the lifestyle of the region best aligns with my own values and way of living.

16: Which animal most closely symbolizes your character?

Either the fox or the jaguar. Both are supposedly amongst the most cunning, sly animals in the animal kingdom and I’ve always loved winning battles not through brute force but through intelligence and strategy. Mind over matter!

17: Ski or snowboard?

I’ve only been snowboarding once in my life, which was when I was around 14 or 15yrs old. I had an amazing time doing it, so I would have to go for snowboarding. But who knows, skiing might be fun too.

18: McDonald’s or Burger King?

I very, very rarely eat junkfood or eat out in general but if I had to choose, I would go with Burger King for the following reasons. First, the curly fries are simply brilliant. Second, I have very positive memories associated to Burger King from my time in high school in the Netherlands. Specifically, we had a Burger King at the train station closest to our school and whenever we went out partying in another city, we would take the train to that place and the night-train back (sidenote: damn do you start to appreciate the genius of accessible public transportation as you get older. What an absolute blessing).

As often happens though, we all get “the munchies” after going out, so my friends and I would often go to Burger King after a night out to have a wonderfully unhealthy meal together. I have very warm memories of this because it really was nice to just be together as a bunch of goofy, drunk-ish teenagers eating extremely unhealthy food after a night out. And that’s the thing: we were together. I’ll never forget that.

This message was brought to you by Burger King. I’m kidding. Don’t sue me!

19: Mobile phone or laptop?

Ha, this is a pet peeve of mine. Laptop/desktop for sure. Based on my knowledge of technology trends though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the laptop soon become obsolete in favor of tablets and/or mobile phones. But I just don’t get how people write essays on their phones. It seems so inefficient and uncomfortable to me. I can't ever imagine writing blog posts or doing legitimate work that requires lots of typing on my phone. It would take me weeks to complete my work!

20: Is there something that you really regret?

I was actually thinking about this the other day and I have one big answer to this followed by a sub-answer. The big one that really pains me to this day comes from when I was in Madrid, Spain for my exchange program while I was in university (in the latter half of 2014). I took a few Spanish-language courses and in one of them there was this really wonderful Bolivian girl that I became friends with and who took the same train as I did on the way to class. She was a lovely girl and speaking to her in Spanish on the train rides to class really challenged me to improve my speaking skills in that language.

Anyway, my regret is that I put no effort into nurturing/furthering that relationship. I’m not even talking about romantic interests (although she was extremely beautiful as well); I simply regret that I didn’t do more to genuinely get to know her and am furious that I made no conscious effort to do so. It was such a good opportunity to get into a social circle that was really outside my comfort zone (Spanish isn’t my first language so having a Spanish-language social circle would have been great) but I didn’t do it.

I stayed comfortable and didn’t even think of taking this opportunity. She was so damn nice to me and so pleasant in conversation as well. Why didn’t I do anything? Even if it was just going for lunch one day together, why the hell was I so damn passive?

As I’m typing this, I actually feel the anger of my failure there. I’m genuinely furious with myself. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how pissed I am with myself for my incompetence, nor forgive myself about this ridiculous incompetence of mine.

The second answer is in similar vein. When I moved to the U.S. and started high school, there was a girl in my class that was extremely nice to me in the first few weeks of my arrival. I’ll never forget her. She seemed to genuinely go out of her way to make me feel welcome there and was probably one of the few bright sparks of my difficult 2 years at that school. Unfortunately though, I made the same errors as with the Bolivian girl. Namely, I made no attempt to nurture and cultivate my relationship with this girl (again, I wasn't romantically interested in her).

Eventually, she probably realized that she was wasting her time on someone that wasn’t reciprocating or putting in any effort, so she eventually moved on with her own business and we didn't talk much anymore. We were always on good terms but she simply had her own life and social circle to enjoy. 

Oh well. I wish I had some kind of deeper message to all of this, but I don’t. Basically, don’t screw up like I did.

21: Mayonnaise or ketchup?

Ketchup, without a doubt. Mayonnaise always felt/tasted way too fatty for my liking.

22: If you are invited and you can choose between opera, ballet, theatre or musical, what would you choose?

In order of preference, from most to least preferred: musical, theatre or ballet, and then opera. I really like the combination of a (n acting) performance and music, which is why I put a musical first. Regarding ballet, it depends. I went to this truly fantastic ballet performance a few months ago that mixed in many different genres of music, which made it a stunning, lively performance that almost felt like theatre but just without talking. That was such an amazing show to watch and I really loved it. I would love that type of artistic and musical diversity in every ballet show. So, after a musical, it’s a tie between theatre and ballet, while the opera is my least-preferred option.

Next week the third and final part of this Q&A season will be released, so stay tuned!

See you Space Cowboy.