The 5 Love Languages

love languages
“Love Languages” by Leon Chan

The 5 Love Languages | Gary Chapman – I finally decided to read The 5 Languages after taking the quiz more than a year ago. The book was a quick read and I finished it in a week. There were no surprises with the main points of the book. You can find the five love languages and their descriptions by searching the internet. The book illustrates each language with stories from Gary Chapman’s career. These were helpful in discerning the different ways to express and receive love.

My two main takeaways from the book doesn’t deal with the love languages. It comes from the themes that Gary Chapman weaves throughout the chapters.


Love is more than a feeling that springs from the chemicals firing in your brain. Love is the actions you take to show appreciation for your loved one. You choose to love your partner by filling their “love tank” with acts in their love language.


This point perfectly ties in with the previous idea. In love and in life, you waste time and energy by worrying about things outside of your control. You can’t make someone love you. You can give them the opportunity to show their love by making requests. It’s their choice to respond and show their love for you.



“31” by Leon Chan

A little late on the update from last week, but it’s better later than never, right? There’s a bunch of pretty insightful links in this update. My favorite of the bunch is the short podcast from On Being. It’s a quick reminder to examine your own mind and not be so hard on yourself.

What I’ve Read:

3.1 Lessons Learned on the Way to 31 | Thought Catalog – The title seems like total click bait but I read and respect the author, Ryan Holiday, so I looked past it. I also just turned 31, so I thought this piece was especially relevant. The lesson that hit home the hardest was, “It Always Takes Longer Than You Want Or Think.” I’ve always prided myself as someone who is persistent and tries his hardest to get what he wants. But recently, I’ve learned to let go of things that are out of my control. To be patient and, to quote Mary Oliver (again), “let things take the times they take.”

Bluets: Maggie Nelson on the Color Blue as a Lens on Memory, Loneliness, and the Paradoxes of Love | Brian Pickings – In typical Mary Popova fashion, she pulls excerpts from a book while reflecting and connecting thoughts to other authors and ideas. From the samples provided in the piece, this books meditates on the feelings of love through the color blue. The paragraph that really stuck with me is where Maria contemplates where does the love go when time has passed and feelings fade. After much thought, my answer would that it goes back to where it first came from, whether that be nature, the universe, or some other divine source. Because where do those intense feelings of love and passion come from in the first place?

What I’ve Heard:

Living the Questions: How can we embrace vulnerability in ourselves and our culture? | On Being – Krista Tippett has started a new segment called Living the Question within On Being. In this series, Krista answers questions from the viewers that deal with the spirit in every day life. The episodes are pretty short, each one is around ten minutes long. In this episode, she gets asked how we embrace our vulnerabilities. As expected from Krista Tippett, her answer is very profound. She says to acknowledge the feelings that vulnerability bring up. Then to give yourself grace and acceptance for those feelings and ask why do you feel that way. This response reminds me of the self awareness onion from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.


NBA Breakups

broken basketball
“Broken Basketball” by Leon Chan

This past week, one of the weirdest NBA story lines came to a conclusion with the trade of two All-Star players. One of my favorite players, Kawhi Leonard, was traded for DeMar DeRozen. Kawhi only played 9 games this year due to injury. However, there were rumors of his discontent while he was on his former team, the San Antonio Spurs. After the season, he demanded a trade. He didn’t want to be in San Antonio anymore and preferred to play in his home state of California.

When the trade finally happened, the reporters with ESPN, The Ringer, Bleach Report, and all the various blogs were ablaze with their “hot” takes. They talked about which team won the trade, how the players would fit into their new teams, and whether the teams got better. Some writers noted how weird this entire NBA season was for the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard. They made the comparison to a bad breakup. Kawhi didn’t want to be there but the Spurs didn’t want to just let him go. And who could blame them? How do you just let a top 3 talent walk away for nothing? But once they knew the relationship couldn’t be reconciled, the Spurs accepted their fate. They looked for a way to get something in return for their best player.

If the analogy to this whole situation is a breakup, then I care more about how the people in the relationship were dealing with it over how it affected their careers. So this week, I’m sharing articles with reactions from the coaches and fans of the Spurs.

What I’ve Read:

Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs coach, says with Kawhi Leonard traded it’s ‘time to move on’ | ESPN – Coach Popovich’s comments on the situation feel like they were pulled straight out of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. They ooze with the tenets of Stoicism, particularly the beliefs of control and perception. One of the main thoughts in Stoic philosophy is that we should only focus on what we can control and let go of the rest. Popovich can’t change the past, so he’s choosing to move on and focus on integrating the new players on his team. He also practices perspective by viewing basketball as a child’s game and acknowledging that there are much bigger issues in the world. His reactions to this unfortunate situation provides an example on how to act like a person with good character.

Farewell, Kawhi: A Spurs Fan Reflects on a Star’s Inevitable Departure | The RingerShea Serrano has quickly become one of my favorite writers. I admire his ability to pull in references from pop culture and apply it seamlessly to basketball. His use of The Beach and how it related to his feelings about Kawhi’s departure was a fantastic analogy. It gave me the inspiration to use the same event to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned. And the lesson from this article is that there’s relief in doing what needs to be done. So instead of “hanging around and pissing people off”, it’s better to just do the action.



“Postscript” by Leon Chan

This week’s theme on the update is postscripts. Postscripts are written, usually as P.S., at the end of a letter to provide further information or append something forgotten in the body of the letter. All the things shared this week either contain an actual postscript or are adding to an idea brought up in previous updates. The Feynman letter has a pretty witty postscript, the C.S. Lewis quote adds to my collection of desktop wallpapers, and the Youtube video would have gone perfectly in the update disclosing my break up.

What I’ve Read:

Love After Life: Nobel-Winning Physicist Richard Feynman’s Extraordinary Letter to His Departed Wife | Brain Pickings – I recently returned to Brain Pickings because I needed inspiration in writing and in life. While clicking though the site, I stumbled across this essay about the physicist, Richard Feynman’s letter to his wife. If you just want to get to the point, scroll to the bottom and just read the letter itself. It tugged at my heartstrings and brought me joy; Feynman captured the concept of unconditional love and honoring past memories perfectly. I also enjoyed the P.S. at the end of the letter, it forced out a small chuckle from me. I recommend reading the whole piece if you have the time because Maria Popopva, Brain Picking’s author, does an excellent job building up the story and offering background to their relationship.

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis | Quotefancy – I recently finished two nonfiction books and decided to update my notecard library. This was sorely needed as I started the system last year but haven’t touched it since. As I was going through my old notes, I pulled up the card containing the quote above from C.S. Lewis (I know the Quotefancy wallpapers misquoted him). I found myself stopping and staring at the quote for a good minute. I can’t predict the future but it’s nice to believe there are far better things ahead because, after some reflection, there were some pretty awesome things left behind.

What I’ve Watched:

We Broke Up | David Dobrik – Two popular YouTube stars shared this video announcing their break up. The video was recorded about six months after the relationship ended. They explain their break up with humor and a genuine respect for each other. I thought this was going to be hard to watch given my current situation but found myself smiling throughout the entire video. I know every person and relationship is different but I wonder if I’ll have this kind of openness and humor about the past in about four months.


Modern Romance

modern romance
“Modern Romance” by Leon Chan

This week’s read is sort of like a book recommendation. Most of the update was done before my hiatus from writing but I couldn’t find a good way to conclude it. As you might have noticed, the latest updates have been focused on my most recent relationship. As a result, I thought about how that relationship fit into the scope of “modern romance.” It provided a way for me to connect to the book and offer a conclusion to the update.

What I Read:

Modern Romance | Aziz Ansari – As mentioned in the introduction, I didn’t pick up this book because of my recent break up. I read this book in the beginning of the year, about the time when allegations against Aziz Ansari came out. My first reaction was to take a break from the book and read a couple of short stories. I eventually decided to continue reading the book to completion.

The title of this book explains its premise pretty well. This book is about dating and relationships in the current environment. From my friends’ summaries of the book, I thought this book would mostly focus on online dating and the current slew of dating apps. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the book covers more than that. It gives a bit of historical context on romance. It also goes beyond just dating and looks at how technology has transformed long-term relationships and marriage.

Since it’s been over two years since the book has come out, I was already familiar with some of the material. I feel like a few of the episodes in Ansari’s show, Master of None, pulls its theme straight out of the book. I can understand why Aziz wanted to do the television series. He could get his message out to more people by presenting it in another medium.

I could relate to the book in many ways because my last relationship was heavily influenced by current technology. I wouldn’t have gotten my former girlfriend’s number if it wasn’t for Facebook. And I’m positive the long distance part of our relationship would have been much harder without FaceTime and Snapchat. These services helped shrink the distance and made me feel more connected to her.

However, I’m also currently experiencing the downside of being so easily connected. I dread logging onto social media and seeing her pictures pop up. However, this may be an unfounded fear because I haven’t seen too many posts about her. Additionally, I hate to admit it but I have gone through Instagram to see if she deleted our pictures together or, even worse, blocked me from her feed. These are inconveniences that past generations didn’t have to face but they also didn’t have the benefits I described earlier. I haven’t decided if it’s better or worst, it’s just different and what I have to deal with now.


From Water to Wine… to Smoothies?

“Drinks” by Leon Chan

We’re back to our regularly scheduled writing this week after going out of the box the last two weeks. My favorite thing about the NBA is obviously the game of basketball itself. I love watching high stakes playoff games, where a miss or make determines the team’s entire season. A close second is the culture surrounding the NBA. I enjoy reading the petty comments players make, looking at all the memes that come from Reddit and Twitter, and learning about how these world class athletes take care of their bodies. Last year, I shared a story about the NBA’s love of PB&J. It seems that story caught fire because more articles have been featuring the relationship between the NBA and food.

What I Read:

The NBA’s Secret Wine Society| ESPN The Magazine – This story takes an esoteric look into the culture within the NBA culture. I’m not a huge wine drinker myself but reading this article made me download the app Vivino. I appreciate the deep thought and knowledge that NBA players take into the wine world. Their obsessive and competitive instincts seem perfectly in line with what it takes to become a wine aficionado.

The Bottled Water Obsession Taking over NBA Locker Rooms | Bleacher Report – We go from what the players drink when they unwind to what they drink when they are on the court. I don’t personally believe the hype that alkaline water is significantly better than any other water. But then again, these athletes are looking for any edge they can get. And as the article states, the best benefit might just be the placebo effect.

Looking at this from a wider perspective, I’m glad that NBA players are pushing water over soda and other sugary drinks. There are millions of kids around the world that watch these games and admire these players. If they learn that their favorite players prefer to drink water over soda, they might do the same. This leads to healthier children and better overall human health. I might be overly optimistic but I’d like to think that the NBA makes a wider impact on the world than just a form of entertainment.

Rajon Rondo’s Secret Stuff | The Ringer – This article came out right around the first round of the playoffs, when Rajon Rondo’s team swept their opponents. All the NBA talking heads were praising “Playoff Rondo” and his ability to weave incredible passes to his teammates. Could it be because of the smoothies and change in diet? Unfortunately, his team ran into the defending champions in the second round and got bounced in five games. So maybe not?

What I Heard:

Rom-Com | This American Life – This year’s Valentine’s Day episode of This American Life centers around the typical plot development of a romantic comedy. There’s the meet cute, the run, and some happily ever afters. I thought the overall theme of the episode was exceptionally clever. The stories themselves are also terrific and I can see why they were chosen to be included in this episode.


AP Psych

AP Psych
“AP Psych” by Leon Chan

​So the following reads for this week will make it obvious that when I mentioned I was dealing with personal issues last week, I was referring to a break up. I mostly write these updates for myself and have used it as a bookmark of sorts when I want to revisit a story or idea. Additionally, this update has always been about what I found interesting at the time of writing. The concepts that currently interest me are break ups and what make relationships work or don’t work. Not every article I read during my research was insightful but I’ll be sharing the handful that helped me.

What I’ve Read:

10 Relationship Questions for Accessing Compatilibity | Stylelife Academy – One of the questions I’ve been trying to answer is: what makes a couple compatible? Is there a line where two people are just too different for each other? Although the title of this article make it seem like click bait, there is solid information in the piece. I especially like the use of the acronym FACES and how they contribute to the components of compatibility.

5 Factors to Evaluate Before Choosing a Life Partner | Linda Carroll – This blog repeats some of the material from the first piece. However, the different phrasing and key words offer more ways to evaluate each of the factors for compatibility.

Reading these articles brings back a memory from my AP Psychology class in high school. During our lesson on romantic relationships, our teacher had all the students write down five things they want in their ideal relationship. Almost the entire class wrote down love as their number one choice. I distinctly remember that I was one of the outliers because I was laughed at by my classmates. To be fair, love was somewhere in the list of five and I wasn’t the only one who didn’t have it at the top. I can’t remember what was number one, it might have been someone who is a good cook or something else practical.

Without playing too much armchair psychologist on myself, I think the above vignette has to do with my family background. I don’t think I ever witnessed my parents being affectionate with each other, doings things such as holding hands, kissing, or saying, “I love you”. But I somehow always knew they cared for each other and our family. They would ensure that the other person was comfortable and make time to go out for meals and run errands together.

I also know that people change and just because I was raised in that environment, it doesn’t mean I can’t do affectionate gestures. I guess it just doesn’t come natural to me and it’s something I have to work at if it’s the top love language for my (future?) partner.

What I’ve Tried:

Love Languages Personal Profile – After hearing the news, a surprising number of friends asked if I’ve read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I haven’t read the book but was given a seminar on it as part of teacher development day during my time in Teach For America. Basically, the author states that there are five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. And to have a lasting relationship, one must be able to find his partner’s love language and fill their “love tank”.

I had an idea on what my two main love languages were but was curious enough to search for a quiz. The one I found and shared is from the book’s official website. The results showed that my top two languages were quality time and physical touch. And my lowest one was receiving gifts. I always knew I valued quality time but the other two results were a bit surprising. I’ll leave it at that because I don’t want to dive too deep into my past relationship on the open web.

What I’ve Heard:

Beak-Up | This American Life – It’s been a while since I listened to the smooth voice of Ira Glass. This episode popped up in my feed and I thought it was the perfect way to dive back in. After about five minutes, I realized I already heard this episode. However, the stories were engrossing enough that it grabbed my attention through the entire sitting. It made me feel better knowing that I’m not the only one experiencing these emotions. I found solace in the fact that if these people sharing their voices on the radio can make it, then hopefully so can I.


Dirty Laundry

“Laundry” by Leon Chan

One of this week’s reads is a continuation of my thoughts from last week. After finishing that update, I got curious about the difference between “electric” watches and the more sophisticated mechanical ones. I googled the topic and came onto the article below. The other read was something I stumbled on from Pocket’s recommended articles. Both articles are fairly long but I figured that’s okay since I had to make up for last week.

What I Read:

Still ticking: The improbable survival of the luxury watch business | The Guardian – This article is a great summary of everything I’ve read on watches this past week. After last week’s decision to not buy the Activite, I’ve been scouring the internet for information about mechanical watches. I’ve always wanted to get one and thought they were “better” than a quartz watch but did not fully understand why until this past week. Quartz watches are actually more accurate than mechanical watches while having less moving parts. The magic and cost of a mechanical watch lies in the fact that a tiny device on your wrist can tell time just by winding it and nothing else.

I admire that these watches can last for decades if serviced and cared for. That’s not something you can say with modern devices. New and better technology makes your current television, computer, and cellphone obsolete and feeling old within five years.

1500 People Give All the Relationship Advice You’ll Ever Need | Mark Manson – The title of this post makes it sound like a cheesy click bait piece. However, once you dig into it and get past the first item, you notice that there’s substance in the writing. Also, being able to discern trends and pull tangible characteristics from 1500 responses gives this article credibility. The one that hit home for me was item #12 on being practical and creating relationship rules. When I first moved in with my girlfriend, I was a little irked that it seemed like I was always doing the laundry. But I came to realize that since I have more free time in the evenings, it makes more sense for me to handle it. Also, I can write between washing and drying loads (that’s how this post is being put together).


Fluffy Writing

fluff balls
“Fluff Balls” by Leon Chan

I was praised on my writing today while at dinner with friends. My friend used the word fluffy to describe the invitation I wrote for our annual Christmas party. I wasn’t sure how to take it at first because writing isn’t supposed to be fluffy like scrambled eggs or clouds; it’s supposed to be compelling, full of vivid imagery, and put the reader into someone else’s shoes. However, she followed up with that it’s fluffy in a way that’s inviting and made her want to go to the party. I’m not sure if that was a clever cover up or a true compliment but I’m taking it as the latter. So I hope my readers enjoy my fluffy descriptions of this week’s links.

What I’ve Read:

Melvin Gordon remains hopeful for a breakout rookie season in San Diego | ESPN – This profiles details the struggles of the rookie running back for the San Diego Chargers. For me, this article puts into perspective the human element of football. I’ve been entrenched in daily fantasy since the start of the season and as a side effect have been looking at players through the number they put up. It’s nice to step back and look at the game from a different angle.

What I’ve Heard:

571: The Heart Wants What It Wants | This American Life – I’m sucker for love stories and the ones on this episode of TAL do not disappoint, although they might be your conventional tales of kisses and sweet nothings. I enjoyed the story in the first act and, in true TAL fashion, the twists and turns as the story unfolded.


Snowing in August

I’ve been reading and listening to podcasts more lately and, as a result, have more compelling tales to share. I think there’s a snowball effect; after reading a great story, I can’t wait to read another article in the hopes of finding another fascinating piece.

What I’ve Read:

The Cheater’s Guide to Love | The New Yorker – This story is so well written that I believed it was part of a memoir. The blend of personal details, emotions, and Spanish culture created a world that appeared realistic albeit quite dramatic. Once I started reading, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen and had to get to the end.

A Millennial’s Guide to Kissing | NYTimes – I guess I’m a sucker for love stories, this must be the third or fourth time I’ve shared a Modern Love essay. I enjoy these pieces because they are more than just your ordinary happily ever afters. For this particular essay, I appreciated the author’s metaphor involving air travel, insecurity, and relationships.

Compared to… | Seth’s Blog – Seth Godin constantly reminds me that less is more with his blog posts. This short read was a timely reminder to be kinder to myself. Just because there are numbers and data everywhere, it doesn’t mean I have to pay attention to them.

What I’ve Listened To:

562: The Problem We All Live With | This American Life – Nikole Hannah-Jones reports on educational inequality and how desegregation looks in 2015. The audio form the town hall meeting felt like it was from a History Channel program about the 1950’s. This is a very engaging listen about education and race.