While I was snapping away taking pictures of an upcoming full moon last night, a friend started musing about a favorite element of American films, books, and television shows. However interestingly spooky these stories might sound, my mind was already made up as to what the full moon means to me.
As a fundamental part of the Chinese culture, we philosophize over all things in nature, great and small, and most customarily over the perfect darling of the night sky, its fullness and “all is well” closure. We enjoy contemplating how the moon elapses like clockwork in a crescent and then a new moon every 27 days, with the full moon appearing on the 15th day of every Chinese lunar month.
The full moon will reappear precisely at 7:22:22 PM Mountain Standard Time on July 1, promising as much uncertainty as hope for the future, all depending on what you and I are going through in our lives at the time. As was beautifully portrayed by China’s beloved poet Su Shi (苏轼) and his contemporaries in Song Dynasty a millennium ago, the moon waxes and wanes, and so does the urging rhythm of life and its seemingly unpredictable events and changing circumstances.
With the full moon in view I think not of what it represents in the American pop culture, but of a thoughtful 26-year-old college student and soccer team captain. He and his young family of four just sold off all their possessions to pay for food and accommodation on a budget world travel adventure. It turns out that they did not really have to sell off anything, even to go on a lavish round-the-world tour, having recently amassed a three-way split (with two other business partners) of a $54 million-fortune from the sale of the world’s most popular paid cell phone shopping application with over 40 million users. So why would anyone bother to continue leading a frugal lifestyle when all is well in his career as a successful entrepreneur, with the added option of multiple job offers?
Some may think it likely for the nouveaux riches to exhibit out-of-character behavior upon hitting a “full moon” in riches and fame, such as living life on the edge and wasting their substance with riotous living by keeping luxury homes and driving Porsches, Ferraris, or Lamborghinis. One would at least be tempted to do so… Not Brigham Young University’s favorite son, Garrett Gee, who finds it a no-brainer to make long-term investments, create more family time, stay away from flash and show, carry on an understated style of life with his signature flip flops, and do just about anything to abstain from all things harmful.
The truth is, I am tempted to imagine the promising young man and role model to be part Chinese. Chinese he is not but part Latino. I say “Chinese” because for every $10 made, the average Chinese would put away four for the rainy days. My suspicion is that Gee puts away more than the average Chinese, and is thus more prepared for the future too, come what may. After all, he seems to have gotten the Chinese strategic thinking down that “successes are predictably interspersed with downtimes and setbacks, just like the moon phases” or yue you yin qing yuan que (月有阴晴圆缺), as expressed by Su shi in one of his most famous poems. Life’s turn of events, however dramatic or unexpected, only catch us off-guard when we make no contingency plan.
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