My brother Tim was special. I know that’s so cliché, but I can’t find any other words that sum him up so concisely and dearly. Happiness was all he ever wanted. And, all that he ever did was in the pursuit of it…

Whenever my brother was with you, even his friends can attest, things became that much more intense. The food tasted better, the movies became funnier, the video game plots/competition became that much more engrossing. That was Timmy magic. His ability, by mere presence alone, to elevate things instantly from a 6 to a 10 just by being around.

It’s ironic that despite first impressions of Timmy being reserved and quick to demur, he was actually full of so much whimsy and hilarity. Everything and anything made him laugh and smile, and I know he wanted to share that fire with everyone around him. I guess, figuratively, he did make the room brighter when he entered, because we all burned that much more intensely because of him.

Some specifics (there are so much more).

Tim made no effort hiding his love of fun food; any food that made him smile. Calories, sodium, nor saturated fat would deter him from satiated happiness. Haute cuisine to him was a combo bowl at Yoshinoya or a burrito in a bowl at Chipotle with sour cream. It was only much later that Tim learned to appreciate fine dining, but he always preferred fun over fuss as evident by his credit card statements.

Shoes. Tim and I share(d) a shoe fetish. I have about 14 pairs, too many for any reasonable male admittedly. Tim, most recently, had about 47. Forty-seven in case you read that wrong. We both separately surmised that our footwear shopping habits stemmed from a childhood in which we didn’t have the things that all the other kids took for granted. Tim and I didn’t starve for food as youths, but our younger years were far from easy due to familial strains. So as adults, we overcompensated to fill a gap that haunted us into adulthood.

Jeans? I didn’t count the pairs out of fear they would would outnumber his shoes. Let’s just leave it at that.

Tim was notorious for getting very little sleep. I think only very few people knew this since he hid it well. But after a full day of work, and after at least four more hours of graduate school homework, Tim would stay up till 3:30 in the morning reading manga daily. Having to wake up bright and early for work, he would repeat the entire vicious cycle over and over again. If you ever wondered why Tim slept in till noon on Sundays, now you know.

For completing his undergrad, I took Tim on his first adventure outside the continent. Aware of his love for Japanese animation, I dragged him to Tokyo. I still remember him being initially overwhelmed by the swarm of human activity buzzing about everywhere. But like sushi, after the first awkward bite, he was hooked. Everything about Tokyo chimed in tune with every cell of his being. I would never guess what a profound effect this trip would have upon my little brother. Overnight, Timmy went from A College Kid to Mr. Too Cool for School Guy. From that moment on, Tim won the award for best dressed at any occasion even if there wasn’t any occasion. He discovered a personal style that reshaped his exterior and most definitely his interior. He began to epitomize “Cool”.

On a much more serious note, Tim was an over achiever and a fierce competitor. He ever downplayed his academic prowess preferring to sandbag his own mathematical acuity. It was more important to Tim to fit in as a peer rather than to boast. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the UCLA School of Electrical Engineering and earned his Masters from Stanford University’s Leland School of Electrical Engineering. He set high goals for himself and wouldn’t let someone else’s record stand unchallenged if it interested him to take it down. If he wasn’t the best at something, it was only because he was too preoccupied with being the best at something else.

My brother was also an accomplished Eagle Scout who left an indelible impression upon his troop leaders. In addition, Tim was an avid runner. He let his overachieving tendencies bleed into what started off as a recreational activity. He ran any race he heard about, continually setting benchmarks for himself to topple. On his final race, the day before he passed, he finished 25th out of a pack of 7000 plus people.

Relationship wise, Timmy only wanted someone to love and for them to love him back. I don’t think he ever realized that there wasn’t enough of him to go around for all that loved him.

ALL these things, ALL OF IT, make up every ounce and fiber of my little brother. And it was ALL the result of his pursuit of happiness. Now ask yourself, has your own chase for bliss caused everyone else to smile along the way? Is the happiness of others a prerequisite for your own too? Do people cheer you on because your victory is also theirs?

If so, then you are much like Tim. And you too are special. So very damn special.