With no inhibitions, where do you ideally see yourself in 10 years?
Life wise? Fighting to remain a steadfast friend to those I love most. Continuing to fall in love with the simplest things in life, ones that are most accessible to everyone. The perfect cadence after a whirlwind of musical technique, the look on pets’ faces when they see their owners, the brisk awakening after the crisp air of autumn disrupts your daydreams. Those moments that truly make you feel like we’re nothing but visitors on an earth meant for everyone to enjoy.
Thanking the world for bringing me closer to my extraordinary family and friends. My mother’s proud smile, my father’s unparalleled humility, my brother’s ridiculous grit. Leah’s refusal to see the less desirable traits of others, Hana’s ability to dance with grace through some of the most arduous trials in life. I can go on and on about the handful of diamonds who have supported me over the past 25 days, and I think that speaks epics to their character, integrity, and personhood.
Career wise, I would have pursued music composition and (hopefully) become a film score composer. I’d try to learn from the likes of Desplat, Zimmer, Richter, Shore, Djawadi, and some of the legendary newcomers, especially Hurwitz. There’s something magical and transcendental about writing a musical phrase – simple or complicated – and hearing about the endless ways a listener will interpret it. I’m particularly fascinated by minimalist composition, precisely because the simplest writing makes for the most complicated thoughts. I wish I had the courage to submit my audition when I was applying to universities, but I was juggling numerous priorities at the time.
What is a perceived flaw you have, how are you growing?
Throwing in the word perceived is quite generous ... this is a very real flaw. I immerse myself - far too deeply - into situations I cannot control; it takes months of unforgiving introspection for me to let go of the times I’ve felt hurt, upset, or confused. I’ve struggled with brushing things off, chalking things up to reality, and letting things be. Over the years, I’ve tried to counterbalance those feelings by remembering their universality. Everyone deals with these situations, admittedly quite differently, but it helps to know you’re never the only person feeling a specific kind or degree of pain.
Whenever those waves near the horizon, I like to plug into one of my favourite songs, and play it repeatedly while I’m walking outside. I like to watch different groups of people – fathers and daughters biking downhill, a group of adolescents playing tag, stylish middle-aged women strutting down the sidewalk – and imagine how they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, and how they’re living while the music is playing. The same exercise applies to wildlife, with a few more degrees of separation. The interpretations differ every time, and certainly make my daily experiences more meaningful and humbling.
What's something you find miraculous about life?
That very same ability to immerse yourself deeply into every facet of your life, welcoming every externality the universe engraves into your skin, your heart, and your soul.
Someone I wish I could have met in another life, the Philosopher, put it best. While transcribing his meditations, he wrote, “The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, in so far as it stands ready against the accidental and the unforeseen, and is not apt to fall.” The number of human beings, from time immemorial, who buckle their knees to pain, whether for family, for country, for morality, for love, for conviction, only to rise taller and stronger than they once were, astounds me. Life finds ways to shatter your ideas and fantasies just as you’ve come to realize them, and nonetheless, you hike, with newfound resilience, back to where you need to be. Sometimes, your end game changes, for better for worse, but you learn, grow, and smile at how ridiculous and absurd your frustrations really are.
How are you living out the RUMBLE concept?
I’m not sure I’d be even close to living out the Rumble Concept without the profound quality of some of my friendships. So many of these people have found ways to integrate their commitments to equality, social justice, and ultimately their pursuit of the good into their daily routines. Some choreograph thought-provoking contemporary dances, others lobby and research in the highest levels of government. Some volunteer on more crisis hotlines than I can count, others challenge the traditional structures in which they’ve been admitted with the tiniest but most necessary and overdue changes. One big common thread that they’ve all realized early on is that your “career” isn’t the be-all-end-all determinant of your value as a cosmopolitan citizen.
The whole Western reverence towards “successful careers” is fascinating, right? To some, they’re everything. To others, they’re just a means of survival. I think I belong to the latter category and try to prioritize the lives of the people I’ve met more than the accomplishments that frankly anyone can conquer with the right finances, strategies, and opportunities.
The more I’ve learned about the inequalities of opportunities, the harder I find to take the jobs we pursue (or are assigned) *too* seriously. The people we meet along the way are far more worthwhile. There are a handful of people in this world who courageously pursue what they love to pursue, and to them I put my lighters up. You can game your life chances, but keeping real and awesome relationships takes real spirituality and humility.
I guess for what it’s worth, I integrate our responsibilities to society through my non-profit work on a few executive councils, my pitches for inclusive and equitable design when I’ve been lucky enough to advise key military and transportation bodies in the public and private sector, and my commitment to musical education. A few friends and I are trying to bring the now-global Refugee Food Festival to Canada, especially because many of us are first generation students. We wouldn’t be anywhere close to who we are without their extraordinary sacrifices.