Tag Archives: life

What a difference a day makes

What if you only had a day left to live? How would you spend your last 24 hours? What would be the items on your bucket list that you could tackle in a day? Would you be concerned with regrets or qualms that have weighed you down? How difficult would it be to resolve some of these issues? Who would miss you the next day? Who would you want to know that you love them?

These are all questions that have crossed our minds in some format or another. For even while we live, we are aware that we are mortal and death is inextricably connected to all living things. Even if one day in our lives may seem uneventful or insignificant, it is one more day that we have at our disposal. We do not live in the past or in the future; we live in the moment, and each moment is precious. Although breathing is an involuntary function that is most often taken for granted, we should in fact be grateful for each breath we take. We need to take time out of every day to revel in the fact that we are alive, that someone cares about us, that our presence has made a difference to someone today.

It has been said that the three hardest things in life to say are: “I love you”, “I’m sorry”, and “Help me.” We shouldn’t let our regrets or fears plague us. If there are relationships in our lives that are toxic or unresolved, they need to be dealt with rather than swept under the rug for tomorrow. If you were wrong, apologize; if you were hurt, allow yourself to accept it so that you can heal;  if you need help, ask for support; if you want to tell someone how you feel, do it. Put yourself out there, no matter how vulnerable, because each moment is precious, and you don’t know if you will get another chance to express yourself. How would you feel if the person is gone the next day, and never got to know how you felt? Fear of rejection and pride often stop us from having fulfilling relationships. But you may be surprised (although you shouldn’t be) to learn that other people have the same kind of fears, problems, and hopes as you. Reaching out may be easier than you think, and saying things out loud to someone puts you on the path to acquiring what you are feeling. The point is, unless you try, you won’t know, and the road not taken can haunt your subconscious and manifest itself in the most unexpected ways.

We have today, and that is all we know. So today, say what you mean and mean what you say, because life is too short to leave things for tomorrow.

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Creating crowds out the negative space

Love is the opposite of hate. Courage is the opposite of fear. Life is the opposite of death. Creation is the opposite of destruction. More than that, creating is the antithesis of every negative state. When people create, they transcend the limits of time and space, and breathe life into the previously inanimate and uninhabited.

Creating is the ultimate purpose of life, because life breeds life, or Omne vivum ex vivo (Latin). It gives our lives meaning, it lets us interpret life and express it in our own way. It gives an outlet to our deepest, most intimate feelings. In Greek, there is a word for this: meraki. When we create, we share with the world a part of us, but no one can judge our creation. It is a legacy that lives on long after we are gone.

But people don’t do it for the fame, or the glory, or the money – none of that is even guaranteed. People that create do so because they don’t have another option. They don’t wait until they have the time, or the space, or the money, or the studio… They don’t make up excuses. They just create, no matter the circumstances or setting, because that is part of their existence. It is as essential as breathing, and it bubbles its way to the surface one way or another. It is a rush, a high, an adrenaline boost that gives them a reason to continue forward. This burning passion drives them to create and express their ideas, but it comes at a high price. Other things in life take a back seat; sacrifices are made in social life, family, and loved ones. It is a lonely journey, and it is not for everyone. Dreams have to take priority, while something’s gotta give.

But why are some people more apt in the creative process than others? Why do some people have more ideas than they know what to do with, while others draw a blank? Perhaps our brains are wired differently, or perhaps we develop our creativity based on our upbringing. Some people are more drawn to the careers of their parents. Artists, musicians, and sportsmen usually come from families where the craft has already been practiced. This gives them a system of support and understanding when they need their space, as well as the encouragement to follow their dreams in the face of adversity.

Whatever the case is, everyone can participate in the creative process. You don’t have to be an artist, musician, photographer, choreographer, world-class chef or Olympic competitor to express yourself. Cooking your meals, setting the table, decorating your home, and playing games with your kids (or your peers), or writing in your journal or blog, are all ways to get out there and get your creative juices flowing. Creating something, no matter how small, can make a big difference in your self-awareness and brighten up your daily routine. It is the best gift you can give to yourself and others, because it is a piece of you, and from it new life can be born.

I have a Reputation

I am by no means a mind reader, but I imagine that people judge me without getting to know me. I think most of us are predisposed to prejudice based on superficial perceptions. No one can truly gaze into another person’s soul and see the depth of all that is hidden within the infinitely complex layers inside. We can only see what a person projects outward with our most basic senses, and maybe a little something extra for those of us attuned to our intuition.

I imagine (more like dread, but have a feeling that it’s true) that people see my worst qualities first. Although I don’t mean to be, I’ve been told that I am difficult to approach and intimidating. I am a perfectionist, and I think that plagues me in terms of social networking (and I mean the physical social scene, not the virtual). I read an article recently that explained this phenomenon. People feel like they can relate to people when they see that they are flawed and make mistakes, which makes them more human, evokes sympathy/empathy and therefore makes them more likeable. I, like many perfectionists, have always tried to overcome or hide my flaws, always wanted to excel in all aspects of my life – not to rub anyone’s nose in it or appear better than anyone, but simply to try to be the best version of myself. I thought that that is what would make me more likeable and attract positive attention.

In my teenage years (cringe, glad that’s over!), I was probably seen as a goody-two shoes/nerd/teacher’s pet. Then in college/grad school, I was mostly a loner/outcast. I placed the most emphasis on my studies, most likely due to the fact that I was brainwashed by my parents that school should be number one. And I know where they were coming from, and that they always wanted the best for me. I appreciate all the values they instilled in me, and I love them very much. But I think a lot of people (in my own culture and in America) miss the big picture. We study hard, then work hard, to make money for our boss and the industry we are working in. We spend such a big proportion of our time working to make just enough to survive and save a bit for a rainy day, and are too tired at the end of the day/week for any real, good-quality downtime. And life takes on such a whirlwind pace that we barely have enough time to pause and look around us, or self-reflect, or enjoy the moment.

In the end, what do I want to say? That reputations are only a scratch on the surface. Who we are on the inside is usually a very private, vulnerable self, and it takes time and effort to project that true self (in most cases, only a handful of special people will go the effort and get that opportunity). We should stop and think, and reevaluate what we are doing and why, and if it’s worth it. We inherently need to have a meaning and purpose to our life in order to continue wanting to live. Feeling needed and useful inspires us to move forward. That’s what is important, and that, kiddies, is not really taught in school.

ZeroToHero DailyPrompt

No excuses

I didn’t post last night. I am in the process of moving into a  new place, and just got internet today! So no more excuses from now on. And in general, no more excuses, period. If a person does something, there must be a reason at that time and those circumstances for that particular action. Whether it is an irrefutable extreme situation, or maybe just a gut feeling, there is a reason for everything. And though it may seem like a mistake at the time, it may actually be a blessing in disguise that we may never realize. For it is always the road not taken that seems more glorious. So instead of questioning and worrying, a little faith in ourselves and intuition goes a long way. Trust that everything is meant to be, and it will work out in the end.

Of course, it is always easier said than done, and always easier to see from someone else’s shoes. It is always easier to give advice than to take your own advice. But we must try to be our own adviser, and learn to follow your own words. If we don’t practice what we preach, how can we expect others to? Actions speak louder than words, and the best way to lead is by example. We can only prove the value of our words by living up to them in our own behavior.

Happiness

DailyPrompt

Happiness. That thing we all strive for, the end goal to live, what we wish each other on birthdays and holidays. But what is the definition, really?

Wikipedia defines it as “a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.” But the concept of happiness has a lot of connotations depending on the context, and can mean different things to different people. Some view it as an emotional “high” or intense feeling of pleasure, that can only be achieved from time to time (some attempt to hold on to it longer by recreating it via drugs/behavior). Others view it as a long-term state of being, that which gives us a deep satisfaction with the way we have led our lives.

I read somewhere that happiness is a general state of mind, that will more or less stay the same throughout a person’s lifetime. Sure, levels will fluctuate during periods of intense joy, or horrible tragedy – but, on average, every person will have a certain homeostatic happiness level. Some people are depressed even though all objective characteristics are favorable. Others may suffer from being crippled and still maintain a positive outlook and happiness level. I forgot the source of this theory, but this article has some really good explanations and pointers as well.

Happiness is different for everyone. Happiness is seeing someone you love smile. Happiness is feeling lucky to be exactly where you are. Happiness is feeling comfortable to be in your skin, and reluctant to give it up for anything. Happiness is dancing in the rain. Happiness is laughing your heart out. Happiness is realizing you can snooze for an extra 10 minutes today. Happiness is going to sleep and waking up next to someone you love. Happiness is having support when you need it most. Happiness is feeling like you are constantly moving forward and progressing in life. Happiness is being grateful for what you have while striving to become a better version of yourself. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

John Lennon once said, “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life” (GoodReads).

Who am I?

This is a question I can only hope to begin scratching the surface of using this blog post, and coincidentally is my first prompt of the Zero To Hero challenge that promises to help bloggers become better at, well, blogging.

So who am I and why am I here? I am a very confused individual that has a lot of questions and less answers at this point in time. Everything I have been taught prior to this point, everything that has made me who I am, does not seem as absolute anymore. To use a cliche (and a pop culture reference), I see shades of gray where I used to see black and white before. The most pressing question that keeps coming up in my head is “why.” Why are we all here? Why should I do something and not the other? Why should I live this way? What does it all mean? It must have some grand scheme, some grand purpose. There must be something out there that makes it all worthwhile, that satisfies that deep craving within, that proves our self-worth, that assures us that our life has made a difference and left the world a better place than before.

So, to answer the original question: I am a person hoping to discover these answers within myself. I have a lot of ideas but was always too busy doing what was expected of me, without ever stopping to question “why.” I am ready now, to find answers for myself. And I am hoping to help others, if they let me. I intend to use this blog as an outlet for my thoughts, almost like a personal journal (without the nitty-gritty details that will expose my true identity). I hope that at the end of this month, or even year, I will find a way to organize my thoughts and find my strengths. I’d like to focus in on things that really matter to me so that I can eventually become an expert on them and share them with people on a large scale. Until then, I’m hoping to provide some food for thought to those that wander across my blog and entice readers, one at a time.Image