My (surprisingly unfiltered) feelings after the presidential election

For those of you who read my previous blog about the motorcycle trip, I just want to let you know that I still plan to upload the rest of my logs! Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to get around to typing up my handwritten entries, but I’ll get there soon.

So, last night, I got this compelling urge to write. It was such a strange, overwhelming feeling. Here’s what came out. I hope you enjoy reading it!

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I’ve had a looong week. To top it all off, I just tipped over into a full fledged fever (runny nose, shivers, the whole shi-bang), after completely burning myself out. It’s funny how I do this to myself about once or twice a year. Looking back over the past week, it’s so obvious that I would end up in this (not super pleasant) state. I averaged less than 6 hours of sleep, put in long hours in the office, and pushed myself through endurance workouts – mindlessly adhering to my routine. When I was about to get my third cup of coffee this afternoon, trying to push through the day, my body almost literally got up and away from me, and pointed straight at me like a second grade teacher about to …  

(Sorry, scratch that last bit about the teacher)… Hmm, like that better half who once said, “*@&^ this, you never listen to anything I say. I’m sick of you, and how you never think of what I want. It’s always you you you! I’m outta here **door slams shut**. This is then followed by your brief concern (or a complete lack of concerns – yes, you know who you are) about this poor door, who has absolutely nothing to do with this whole mess…

Did I just drift way off track… ? Well you know what, I’m just tired. I decided to leave work early and use all the remaining reserves of energy at my disposal to get back home. I imagined myself going straight to bed, and hopefully waking up at least 10 hours later. But, it’s not just any other day, it’s election day.

Earlier today, I had planned to reconnect with one of my really close friends from university. Considering my current condition, I had decided to get in touch with him as soon as i felt a bit better. Anyway, I usually don’t like b****ing around like this, yet alone writing about it – and irreversably posting it on the internet, but in light of what I felt after experiencing this presidential election, I just felt a strong urge to simply express how it made me feel. You know? Just put it out into the world, like everything else swirling around. I’m in this drunken/half-conscious/barely-functioning frame of mind, and you’re probably getting all my thoughts, just the way there are, completely unfiltered. 

I kindly ask you lovely readers (yes, all two of you; Mom & Dad), to read the brief disclosure copied below. My lawyer, Raul, would not have cleared this any other way.

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Legal disclosure: If anything I write, is, at some undetermined point in the future, deemed to be ‘crazy’ (as defined in article 13.2), kindly consider the fact that I writing this under the impaired influence of ‘brain fog’, as defined in the following resource: 

Brain Fog Symptoms

Article 13.2

The word ‘crazy’, as hereby used in the initial statement of this legal disclose on the 9th of November, 2016, 19:00, can be used to encompass in of the following words, or words even slightly related to the group of following words:

foolish, absurd, preposterous, ridiculous, ludicrous, farcical, laughable, and risible. 

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(Okay… all jokes and sarcasism aside…) 
First things first, let me give you some context… How did I ‘experience’ this election?

Social media. Actually, that may be misleading. More specifically; WhatsApp. I just went over all messages, saw some of the videos, and slid through some of the memes (none of which I found funny, but I’ll get to that later). On a side note, I’ve gradually weaned myself off almost all other forms of social media (as long as FaceTime & blogging don’t count), and feel like I have regained control of my life. It’s been… what’s the right word? … ah, yes: liberating.

So not all that much, I probably sped through less than 15 mins of accumulated content, mainly from groups that include dear family and friends. I got the big picture, and felt that it was more than enough.

Out of the hundreds of messages about the election, which were not limited to condolences, jokes, applause, the whole spectrum of emojis, utter senses of disbelief, widespread horror / border-line doomsday hysteria, credit given to those who called it right, and so on.

I felt a theme … a powerful and disturbing theme forcefully barrakading it’s way across our world; Hopelessness.

And then, in the midst of all this, I found one message that I could resonate with. “I am not sure how I am feeling about this … I would have felt the same way if it had gone the other way.”

“Same here…”, I responded. That was the only message I sent out. 
How do I feel about the election?

Honestly, I just feel indifferent. That’s why I don’t think I would have felt any different is the election had gone the other way. In fact, I don’t even want to mention their names, that not at all what I want to write about.

And here’s why I don’t find the memes amusing… (I’m deliberately not posting an example, but you’ve probably seen quite a few.)

At first, I really wasn’t sure what it was. I usually appreciate the use of comic relief (as you may have inferred), and I also think comedy, particularly satire, can definitely be an engaging and powerful medium to deliver a message. One of the best examples I can think of are the incredibly popular Saudi TV shows; ‘Tash ma Tash’ and ‘Selfie’.

These memes were pretty different, though. And I asked myself, “Why do we think this is funny?”. The conclusion that I came to was that we seemed to laughing at the helplessness of the situation we are in. I guess I didn’t like that. 

Am I over-thinking this? .. Probably!


Finally, to address the title of this blog post… How do I feel after the election?

Truth be told, I still feel exactly how I felt when I started writing this blog post. I’m just exhausted, sick, and I want to sleep. I’m ready to wake up re–charged tomorrow morning, and get on with my life. I’m extremely fortunate to be in an incredible place right now. It’s actually a bit ironic now that I think about it. At work, a lot of us are part of a project, which is defining our collective values. We’re trying to define this force that brought more than a hundred people, from all walks of life, to a place kinda in the middle-of-nowhere, to make our dreams a reality. Here are a few of those values.

1. Strive to the make the world a happier place, filled with love and hope for all humanity

2. Aspire to always think deeply and logically, and challenge existing paradigms

3. Create radical value with incredible efficiency

4. Have great courage and creativity to act, especially under duress

….

The list goes on. These are values that brought us together. Value we share. Values that drive us forward.

And, of course, it’s not that simple. We have elaborate and sometimes unique explanations for what these values mean to us – but I just want to give you a sense of our current vibe. Somethings definitely can’t be put into words… you just have to feel them. This is one of those things.

Also, I just recalled one of the many words of wisdom that my father shared with me as I was growing up, which left a strong impression. To paraphrase, “Try to determine things over which you have control, and the things which you can’t control. Focus on the things you have control over, and don’t worry about everything else. Has worrying about something ever helped you before. Do you think it ever will?”

So yeah, of course, the other “side” might have a different worldview and perspective that causes them to vote/act in a certain way that might be different to you. But, underneath all of that, I really think we all have the same good will and fundamental intentions. By finding this common ground, I think we can reconnect in a compassionate way.

As a final note, I’ll leave you with this quote that, I think, couldn’t have described this day any better.

“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.” A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh.

From the heart, 

Fahad Lee

Motorbike Journal Entry #1

As a long weekend came about, I couldn’t let this chance slip by. I packed my stuff (the bare minimum) and set out to explore as much of Japan as I could during the next 4.5 days. I wrote some journal entries during this trip, which I’ll share just as the way they were written down originally, over the course of the next few blog posts. My goal was to write an entry a day.

Here’s what the basic travel route looked like:

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Questions that will change your life.

Self-reflection is a powerful tool. All it takes is a few minutes every now and then to stop whatever it is you’re doing and really think.

self-re·flec·tion (noun): meditation or serious thought about one’s character, actions, and motives.

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To run, or not to run.

Picture yourself running. You’re not going anywhere, and (hopefully) not running away from anything. You’re simply running… Running for the sake of running. Finally, imagine yourself loving it – captivated by each passing moment.

For some people, that last bit may not seem plausible.

I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before from passionate runners. The simplistic beauty of this rudimentary locomotion. Nothing exists but you and your surroundings, and there’s something medicinal about that rhythmic contact with the ground beneath, as all your stress melts away, freeing your mind. Whether you’re running solo, with friends, or in a race, there’s always only two elements at play: distance and time. What you do with those two elements is completely in your hands (hands? completely in your feet!). Personally I’m more like a diesel engine, not too concerned about time but love having the ability to run for miles and miles without boundaries. I marvel at the prospect of being able to run a 100km ultra-marathon – a goal for the near future. Endurance running completely fascinates me. Sometimes I lose myself on long runs, fall into a trance, and then snap out of it only to realise miles have just zipped by – an incredible feeling. Like a fish back jumping back into the water. But it wasn’t always so serene…

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The next chapter begins.

Am I nervous, anxious, and fearful? Absolutely.
Is there anywhere else I’d rather be? Not a chance!

Flashing back to last May (one month prior to my graduation), during a seemingly usual afternoon, a thought popped into my head. I decided to ask myself a question. What is the single company, world-wide, which I’d dream of working working with?

Here’s a rough outline of what I’m interested in… First of all, I’m highly attracted to start-ups that are innovative & trying something different (the more seemingly impossible – the better!). Secondly, I love experiences and challenges that provide steep learning curves and massive potential. Last but surely not least, I’m motivated by a strong sense of purpose and ethical values.

Time to sum that up for google… I typed in, “Start-ups that are changing the world.”

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The end of a chapter.

This week is special. It marks the last week of my bachelors degree studies. The exams are finally over, and they went really well. (At least, that’s what I want my parents to think). To commemorate this milestone, I’m going to write a continuation to the first blog post I wrote.

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