carpe diem?

Fortunately for me, I’ve had the chance to reconnect with various friends throughout the past few months. One of the comments that I wasn’t expecting was people asking me what happened to my blog, if I was still updating, because I haven’t updated in a while. That touched me, because I didn’t know people actually read my blog.

It’s been a wild few months since I last updated, so here’s the SparkNotes summary of significant events in my life from then:

1) I graduated pharmacy school.

2) I passed my board licensing exams, and am now a full-fledged pharmacist.

3) I am 5 months into my residency, and absolutely loving it. It’s hard work, but it’s good work.

4) I recently upgraded my snowboard boots to the new Empire limited edition Lash by 32:

They use fancy words like heat-molded, but it DOES feel better if not by virtue that they are actually size 9 (whereas my old boots were a bit too big for me at size 9.5).

5) I fell out with EDM music in general (with a few exceptions), and am really feeling ‘chillstep’ type of music.

So it’s definitely been a big few months for me, growing up and figuring out what life is like now that I am finally done school.

I think one of the things I’ve really been thinking about these past few days is the concept of carpe diem, or seizing the day.

On an intellectual level, everyone knows what it means: don’t let opportunities pass by – take advantage of every one of them. We often use it in conversation when we try to tell someone – hey, you should do this! Don’t miss out!

But on a practical level, it is often hard to implement.

I think one of the most common tactics we use to counter our own attempts at carpe diem is the phenomenon of self-justification. I’ve blogged about it before, and it has definitely helped me be more aware of when I am clearly trying to self-justify myself. But essentially, self-justification would be you trying to convince yourself of something. Usually that’s not an issue, but when you’re essentially trying to convince yourself of an excuse for why you’re not trying something new, then that self-justification is definitely hindering your progress.

A lot of times, an opportunity presents itself, and even though we have good intentions of carpe dieming the heck out of that opportunity, our ‘rational’ mind reminds us that maybe we don’t have the time, or the know-how, or the capability, or WHATEVER it is that we need to do it.

We are literally paralyzed with inaction – paralysis by analysis – and next thing you know, the opportunity has passed us by.

literally paralyzed with inaction

One way I’ve been trying to counter this is to say yes to every opportunity. I think there’s a good movie with this premise, where the main character is forced to say yes to everything? I don’t remember.

But for me, I think to myself – life is short. Too short to let opportunities pass me by. Given an opportunity, I probably have the tools to handle it. And even if I don’t have the right tools right now, it doesn’t mean I will never have the right tools: I have a support system – a way to get the right tools. I’m not worried – all of that will come; there is always a way. But this opportunity, it may never come again. Better to say yes, to seize it, and then figure out the rest later because we always figure things out. Better that, than to let this opportunity pass by.

carpe diem, ladies and gentlemen.




simple life

Today I realized I like simple.

happy! =)

I have an ongoing list of things that I enjoy, that make me happy:

– Tearing down a tough double black mountain on my snowboard, and making it through perfectly (Blue Mountain’s Elevator Shaft run on an icey day, I’m looking at you!) with no stumbles or flails

– Spending a day snowboarding (lining up through the singles line) with nothing but me, the mountain and my music

– Hitting the gym after a long hiatus, and feeling that sweet sweat and pain

– Sharing a joke with my parents, everyone laughing

– Driving on the 401 late at night with nothing but the empty road, the wind, and AVB’s A State of Trance podcast harmonies filtering through the car – simplicity defined

– The ending of a 5 hour hike

– Crossing the finish line of the Tough Mudder

– Hitting up an AYCE sushi place with friends after an amazing work-out or run (that spicy salmon sushi doe!)

– Bro-talk with the boys after a night out

– When my friend’s cat sits on my lap, willingly

– Those pharmacy study sessions with the boys, late at night, struggling through the material together (extra-articular features of rheumatoid arthritis, no way we need to know that…)

– Watching old cartoons and shows together with my brother; playing through and beating co-op video games together (Borderlands!)

The list goes on and on, but what I realized tonight while doing #5 (the drive back to London) was that what makes me happy really are the simple things. Things that make me happy, really happy, tend to be random moments with people, or days spent snowboarding.

cats and snowboarding: my favorite things juxtaposed together.

For me, I’ve realized the big ceremonies, the large parties, the busy busy life filled with important events and gatherings are nice, great even. But sometimes I feel it’s too much.

I’ve always kind of felt that way subconsciously, but this is probably one of the big drives as to why I am always adamant about expanding further, working and living beyond the GTA. Having lived in downtown Toronto for a co-op, I can definitely attest that it is, indeed, awesome. I felt like I was living the life, hopping around downtown Toronto and hitting up cool establishments and eating good food. I was a busy guy, always with something to do or see or eat, because truth be told, downtown Toronto is a hub with lots to explore. But the times that made me really happy wasn’t the eventful days I had while living downtown; it was the small things, like going for a run around Toronto while listening to Zedd. I guess that’s when I realized the downtown life wasn’t for me.

Obviously my experiences are moulded by the fact that I spent my high-school years in downtown Toronto, and then the formative years of my university career at McGill, which is smack-dab in downtown Montreal. In a way, it can be likened to the immune system creating antibodies after exposure to an antigen – perhaps my early and consistent exposure to the downtown life made me resistant to it.

dat post-exposure antibody development doe

I can definitely see the appeal of staying and living and working in the GTA – for sure. I just realized it isn’t for me.

Today’s blog wasn’t anything earth-shattering or revelation of particular insights – just a random blog from a random mind.

Maybe PEBC studying is making me crazy? lol.

Music Mondays!

Holy cow I love this song. The combination of vocals and chillstep, with that drop and those trance overtones in the middle. Repeat for DAYS.

pz out for now.

worth your while

“Some people come into our lives and then leave, ephemerally. Some stay for a while, and leave footprints on our hearts. But either way, we are never, ever the same again”

When talking about friendships and relationships, this has never held more truth. I’ve had friends come and go, whether it was undergrad badminton friends where the only thing we shared was varsity badminton, or going-out friends that only ever called me up to go out. Or it could be the relationship you had that lasted 5 years and was getting stale near the end, or the one that only lasted a month but was one of the best times you’ve ever shared with someone.

People come and go, but too often we attribute their impact on us based on how long we’ve known them. Today, I want to say it isn’t about that. Today, I want to say it’s about the quality of the experiences we had.

Granted, statistically it does make sense that the longer you know someone and interact with them, the higher your chances of having the kind of experiences (not just the Special Sundays, but also the Boring Wednesdays) that add to your sense of self and teach you about life.

But all too often, we attribute quality purely based on quantity – how long you’ve known each other.

I know some friends that I have known half my life, but are acquaintances, whereas some people I have only known for a short amount of time comparatively, but can call life-long friends.

Likewise, I’ve known of relationships that lasted years and were as stale as they come, and some that lasted months and were some of the most fulfilling and learning experiences.

Of course, this is not to say that long relationships can’t be fulfilling and learning (and statistically speaking, as mentioned before, they should be the ones most likely to be fulfilling and learning); I’m saying don’t discount the short stuff.

who your sig other should be for you

shown: your significant other

Someone once told me: just because it’s over doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while. And I agree completely.

Regardless of if it’s a friendship that ended all too soon because of geographical reasons, or a relationship that didn’t pan out because of timing issues, just because it’s over doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth what you invested into it.

Because regardless of how long or short it was, your lives intersected for some length of time, and you gained/learned/LIVED. And we are never, ever the same again.

Definitely one I could frame

Definitely one I could frame

Tune of the week: the new ‘Falling Back’ by Cosmic Gate and Eric Lumiere.

Lyrics, the beat, the drop, the singing. Perfection. I’ve definitely repeated it enough that I know most of the lyrics LOL.

this one’s a dedication – to you – you all know who you are.

pz out for now.

it’s raining outside

It’s 2 AM and it’s raining heavily outside, so apologies in advance if any of the above factors affect the mood of this post. I’m sitting on my bed hammering this post out (so much for proper sleep hygiene, the bed is reserved for only sleep and sex right?), and it’s all over the place so bear with me.

There are conversations, and then there are the 6 am conversations that happen just because, and make you really THINK.

There are conversations, and then there are the 6 AM conversations that happen just because, and make you really THINK.

This blog is always about what I’m thinking about, and what interests me today is a stark realization of the huge difference between KNOWING, and DOING.

In all aspects of life.

It’s very easy to know things; all you have to do is read! In our generation, with the Internet at our disposal, reading up about something just simply requires you to have the interest, have access to Google, and have the attention to read what comes up.

You can actually read about anything: pharmacy, medicine, love, relationships, how to change tires, how to tie a tie, do cats really always fall on their feet (yes, but only if they fallen from at least a certain height!), what is loose leaf tea (I’ve read so much about tea…XD), how to lead a more fulfilling life, how to be happy, who’s a good fantasy basketball pick up, what REALLY happened with the Malaysian flight, who is Taylor Swift singing about now, how to shoot a jump shot, how to cross-over defenders, actually ANYTHING!

Patrick Beverly – I’ve actually been reading a lot about playing good defence lately, and I’m hoping to incorporate it into my game ASAP. Let’s go PharmaBeasts, next semester is our last chance to win a championship!

I read a lot – anyone that knows me knows this. I’m also quite indiscriminate about what I read too, so I read a lot of random things – so overtime, things stick. Yet, I’ve found that I am not very good at translating what I read into actual practice. I mean, this seems obvious, but upon closer introspection, I realize how hard it actually is.

I mean, gosh, if I could translate even 5% of what I read into practice, I’d be a basketball star with the knowledge of journals at my fingertips, and also know how to tie at least 5 different types of knots while effortlessly (and stylishly) wearing my scarf in over 35 different ways.

SCARVES! Please come back winter =(

I’ve read a couple of pretty insightful things recently, and they’ve made me think a lot.

First up is an article about asking the right questions

I always ask people how was your day, or what’s new, or update me on your life. But if you really care, or you really want to know someone, then we need to ask them better questions and then really listen to their answers. If you don’t want throwaway answers, then you really can’t ask throwaway questions. I don’t want people to think I’m just asking them questions because I have to or because it’s polite; it’s because I actually want to talk to you, because I care about what you have to say and how that makes you feel.

So after reading this article, I decided to put it into practice. For about a week or so, I carefully watched the questions I asked, and tried to live this philosophy. I got a couple of weird stares, someone asked me why I was asking weird questions, and so a week later I abandoned this one. But the thing is, I truly believe in it – and yet despite reading all about it and reading it several times, I couldn’t put it into practice.

And another one I read, and this one is a HUGE article, absolutely amazing, insightful and bookmarked for ages to come – an article on relationships and life partners:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Please, if I ever tell you anything and you ever decide to follow through, let it be my recommendation for you to read these 2 amazing pieces.


One thing in these articles that just struck me – I mean it’s pretty obvious, but it’s one of those things people don’t think about usually so that when you read it, it just strikes you so strongly because it’s so true:

A good relationship isn’t about the epic love story or the poetic romanticism or the grand gestures and the cliche lines. It isn’t about the flowers or the amazing trips or the butterflies or the awesome social excursions…

It’s about having lunch together for the 1047th time, it’s about that quiet Sunday night where she watched TV and you read a book, but you were together, on the couch. It’s about getting stuck in a traffic jam on the 401, about the routine good morning texts you both send and receive.

A good relationship is 20,000 Forgettable Wednesdays, together

There is just so much in these 2 articles, and I absolutely find myself agreeing with their bottom-lines. Yet, even though I KNOW these fallacies, I still find myself unable to get out of them. Why is that?

Even in pharmacy and medicine, I see this disconnect between literature and practice. So there’s a drug, metformin, which is basically the best drug for diabetics, PERIOD.

Who’s a good drug, yes you are!

One of the rare side-effects that pharmacists always counsel on or mention is lactic acidosis (long story short, its basically a build up of lactic acid in the body and it’s pretty bad for your health, you might even die).

Yet, we have learnt that from a meta-analysis on the topic (what is the incidence of lactic acidosis in metformin users) that compared to placebo, metformin actually does not statistically significantly increase your risk of lactic acidosis. That this myth is actually perpetuated by the fact that metformin’s precursor (phenformin) was the one that was actually associated with lactic acidosis, and was pulled off the shelves.

So even though we know this, why do we – as practitioners of evidence-based medicine – continue to remind people of lactic acidosis?

One reason that comes to mind is that it’s the safe thing to do – I mean, what harm is there in adding on an extra complication to our monitoring plan? Or counselling patients on it? Isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?

I have no easy answer for this, but again this is another example of where it’s easy to know what you read, but hard to put it into practice.

I guess the whole point of this post is that I recently read something else that really resonated, and something I also want to put into practice. But at this point, I have these doubts as to whether I can really do it.

Courtesy of reddit:

You are in control of your own happiness. Stop for a second when you feel offended or hurt and ask yourself these questions:

1. Why does this bother me?

2. Was it intentional?

3. Is there a solution?

4. Do I really want to be mad about this?

Then make a CHOICE to ALLOW it to bother you or not, it’s up to you. But don’t waste sweet precious moments of your life. Forgive and forget and you will absolutely be happier.

All we can do is try. 

Alfred to Batman: Why do we fall, sir? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.

Music time:

I’ve been moving away from EDM lately – and maybe even trance – and into music like this kind of genre. I’m not exactly sure what genre it is (I think colloquially it’s been referred to as chillstep?), but all I know is the things uploaded by Fluidified – Best Serve Chilled has been just amazing for me, and I can’t stop listening to it.

pz out for now.

lately I’ve been I’ve been losing sleep

Recently, I was asked about some of my personal interests, and I mentioned that I was a blogger. After giving them the URL to this blog, the interviewer immediately asked – how often do you update? I told them the truth – it really depends on whenever something strikes my fancy. If something interests me or happens in my life and I want to blog about it, then that’s when I blog. Fortunately, I had blogged very recently (2 weeks ago?) so if the interviewers ever decided to visit my blog (which I highly doubt they will), then at least they would be treated to a fresh corner of Victor’s mind.

pictured: victor's mind.

pictured: victor’s mind – cluttered mess as always.

Lately, I’ve been I’ve been feeling rather unmotivated and lethargic – complacent is the word. And so this blog is going to be about complacency.

I need to frame this and put it where I can see it everyday when I wake up.

I need to frame this and put it where I can see it everyday when I wake up.

Complacency is my worst enemy.

It’s that feeling of ‘good enough’, of being comfortable, of losing ambition and fire. It’s defined as staying in the comfort zone. And complacency is so dangerous – not just in my academic life, but also in relationships, my experiences, heck the way I approach life.

I know I’ve definitely been complacent with regards to my academic life lately.

I remember I used to be so fired up about trying to know EVERYTHING; even things that I could look up, I would want that knowledge to be in my brain and on the tip of my tongue, ready to be recalled at a moment’s notice.

Every co-op, I would review previous IPFC notes and make Anki flash cards out of them, and then review those flash cards whenever I had a spare moment.

Yeah I'd say I was a bit of a keener

Yeah I’d say I could be a bit of a keener at times

Then something happened.

I got complacent.

I was pretty happy with my current knowledge base (even though it is anything but broad), and secure knowing that anything I didn’t know, I knew where to easily look it up (UpToDate, you are my bible).

UpToDate: Waterloo, y u no hav UpToDate???

(Props to SY for being my UpToDate supplier!!!)

I must say, this co-op has been my laziest yet.

# of IPFCs reviewed: 0

# of Anki decks created: 0

# of Anki decks reviewed: 3/7

Complacency: 100%.

Funny thing is that I actually seem to be doing pretty well on co-op, making therapeutic interventions left and right. And that only further feeds my complacency – the illusion that I am alright where I am right now. Clearly, this whole academic complacency thing needs to change, and fast.

Complacency is so dangerous because it is so insidious – sneaking up on you and keeping you stuck in your comfort zone. I hope writing my thoughts down here in this post will motivate me to break free of my academic complacency in the upcoming term.

Escaping is just the beginning

Escaping is just the beginning

Complacency isn’t only apparent in academics – but also in relationships too.

How many times have you seen a relationship that just seems so stale and listless :(?

Of course, a relationship doesn’t always have to be passion and fire 24/7, but I’m sure you know of some relationships that just seem like there’s nothing going on. At that point, it seems like one or both parties are hanging on just for the sake of hanging on; because it’s already been such a long relationship, it’s easy to go for familiarity and comfort even though it’s stagnant and complacent.

Complacency can also occur in the way we approach new experiences too. In fact, any time we are able to just stand still and bask in what we’ve achieved, in what’s comfortable, that’s when we stop growing. 

This is no time to dwell on how far you’ve come. 

“Luck is the last dying wish for those who believe winning can happen by accident. Sweat, on the other hand, is for those who know it’s a choice.”

This is so tremendously inspirational – I think I might just download it and save it on my laptop lol. 

Old, but I’m not that old // young, but I’m not that bold. 

Said no more counting dollars, we’ll be counting stars.

pz out for now.

the other endings

Well clearly I am long overdue for a blog post.

It’s actually funny because what I’m blogging about today is something I’ve referenced to a while back, and I thought I had gotten it completely out of my system (I swear I did!). But seeing the whole situation happen elsewhere and seeing it end differently can really can make a man think, and so I have to put them down on paper.

Definitely one I could frame

Definitely one I could frame

So for those who know, I’ve been doing a few interviews lately. It’s been an interesting experience, kind of fun but also pretty stressful. One of their favourite questions seems to be: “What is your greatest weakness”.

Girls with attitude. Clearly my one weakness.

Girls with attitude. Clearly my one weakness.

Such a loaded question.

Truthfully, I know my greatest weakness is overconfidence. But I never say that in an interview because it seriously sounds so cliche.

It's funny but I have actually used this exact same image in a past blog to denote my greatest weakness as overconfidence -_-

It’s funny but I have actually used this exact same image in a past blog to denote my greatest weakness as overconfidence -_-

Well, looks like years later, my greatest weakness is still my greatest weakness. Maybe someday I’ll learn…

This time, I just wanted to reflect on a situation where I seriously thought I was doing the right thing, thought I was so clever and had thought out all the possible scenarios and decided upon the best one. I had even talked it over with a very close friend, just to get an outside perspective.

I find that while I am bad at many things, one thing I’m good at is rationalizing things, whether it is to convince myself or other people. So between the two of us feeding off each other, I was ever so convinced I was doing THE RIGHT THING.

my problem isn't a hesitance to do the right thing, but my perception of what the right thing IS.

my problem isn’t a hesitance to do the right thing, but my perception of what the right thing IS.

What ended up happening here was I had overlooked one possible outcome – because in my mind, it was so astronomically unlikely and actually could be perceived as somewhat morally ambiguous IN MY OPINION. And so I completely discounted that scenario and went ahead with my planned course of action.

And I was content with me. I mean, obviously it wasn’t a happy ending or anything, but I perfectly executed what I set out to do so I couldn’t be anything but pleased.



Then I got the unique experience of seeing my whole situation occur to someone else. Obviously there were differences, but more parallels could be drawn than differences. As an observer, it was much easier to be objective, and yet in assessing the situation, I felt that the right thing for that person in that situation was to react like I had.

Fortunately he didn’t. And the situation, which started off so similarly to mine, ended up resolving so differently than mine (much better!).

And then I came to a realization – that I am far from omniscient and that my overconfidence is actually keeping me from maintaining the openest mind that I can. I rationalize my actions well, which ends up causing me to discount things, ultimately making me miss out on important possibilities.



So here’s to keeping an open mind.

Here’s to a year from now, I can blog about my greatest weakness and NOT use that same image.

May the bridges I burn light my way.

pz out for now

how can I // stand here with you

Hopefully, this is going to be one of those posts I write that stay with me forever. The ones that I read 2 years from now and think: wow – I needed this reminder; good thing I wrote it down years ago.

The catalyst for this post kinda came about after I read an excellent article by Pop Chassid. So, some of you may recognize some of his themes in this post, but I’m definitely going to be expanding on it and putting the victor twist on things.

I was listening to Everything – Lifehouse as I wrote this, so click this:


The Happiness Equation.

The Happiness Equation.

What is happiness? I feel like it’s quite simple – it’s reality minus expectations.

If reality > expectations, then you are getting more from life than what you expect, and you are happy.

If reality < expectations, then you expect more than what your life is giving you, and you are unhappy.

The problem with LOVE in our society nowadays is that our reality is not matching up with our expectations – not even close! Think about it – what does society tell us about love? WHAT IS LOVE?

Look on TV, look in the movies, listen to today’s music, and it tells us that love is something that we feel. It is an emotion:

– my fire, my one desire.

– a flippy-floppity feeling I get in my chest when I see you.

– when I can’t go through my day without stopping and staring at you, awestruck in your beauty.

– when I stop sometimes and think about how your day is going, because I’m missing you.

– when all I can think about is you, want to know everything about you, want to share my world with you.

– when I look into your eyes and whisper…I love you.

*eugh that last one was so cheesy I need some lansoprazole for it…har har (:P).

Sounds familiar right? I mean, when you’re brought up in a culture where this ideal of what love is runs rampant, it isn’t surprising that this emotional fire is what we EXPECT when we fall in love.

And this is compounded by the fact that during the dating phase, the excitement of dating someone who seems perfect for you naturally brings out this emotional fire in us. The infatuation, the shared laughs, the quirky things about them that you love – we’ve all felt it. This must be love, right?

The 8 phases of dating.


Some people like to categorize love – that there is a romantic love, and also a familial love. Makes sense right? – that the love you feel for your girlfriend is going to be different from the love you feel for your family.

But right now, I think differently.

I think there is only one concept, and that is love. Dividing love into these 2 categories is feeding into our society’s whole misconception of love, resulting in the ~50% divorce rate in North America.

The root of the problem is that we are taught to believe love is a noun: an emotion – something we feel. This burning fire, this emotional desire – that must be love. Which is why they tell us romantic love is different from familial love – because it’d be weird for you to feel this burning love for your family, right?

But really, what I’ve come to realize these past few weeks is that love is actually a verb. Love isn’t an emotion; the fire that you feel when you’re dating and maybe even when you propose – that’s just that: emotional fire. But that isn’t love.

I believe that love is a verb – better defined as giving. As in: putting someone else’s needs above your own.

They say actions speak louder than words, and that’s what I believe. Love is measured by what you are willing to do for them – what you are willing to sacrifice for their happiness.

Are you willing to put their happiness above yours?

I’m not necessarily talking about grand gestures like jumping in front of a bullet or anything – but sometimes the measure of a man is seen in the small things.

Like when you’re sick, and they remember to bring you something for it (congee? chicken noodle soup?).

Like when they’re stranded somewhere, and you drop everything and take time out to rescue them.

For the married ones, maybe love is when they offer to do the dishes because they see how tired you look.

Or maybe when they offer to pick up the kid even though it’s your turn, because you’ve had a tough day.

My experience is obviously limited, and the possibilities are endless. But what I truly believe is that love is defined by how much of my comfort I am willing to sacrifice for your happiness

And because this is what I believe love to be, then familial love makes sense. Because if you think about it, our parents’ love for us is the ultimate demonstration of this concept. Because parents are willing to sacrifice almost everything for our happiness.

They say a kid costs a million dollars to raise from 0 to 18 years; $1,000,000 could have bought them a lot of material comforts.

As babies, our parents regularly put up with us vomiting everywhere, spitting out food, throwing tantrums.

As kids, our parents give up so much of their time to drive us to all the sports or other extra-curricular things we did.

As teenagers, they put up with all the hurtful and spiteful things we say, the stupid things we do because we want to act grown-up. And they still love us unconditionally.

As young adults, they’re our safety net – ready to catch us when we fall. Who’s the first person you call if you get into a car collision?

To me, parental love is the purest, most ultimate demonstration of love. It is a love that is purely for you – their offspring.

The kind of sham love that is promoted in our society nowadays is a mockery of this concept. Many people get into marriage thinking that swoon-inducing fire from the dating phase will last forever. After all, Disney does promote that. And when the fire inevitably burns out, they get divorced.

Can you really expect to feel that burning, emotional fire throughout your entire marriage? Love as an emotion is selfish – because it isn’t for her. It’s for me – an emotion I have in my chest.

Love is an action – it is giving, without expecting in return. It is what you are willing to do for someone else. It is in facing the grind of everyday practical life, together, that love blossoms.

Being sappy isn’t love. Telling someone you love them doesn’t mean you do.

I can’t imagine a bigger lie. We’re living Disney movies in our minds, and tragedies in our lives.

victor, I hope you don’t forget this.

how can I // stand here with you // and not be moved by you?

would you tell me // how could it be // any better than this?

pz out.

Dated September 29, 2013.