Sunday, February 26, 2012
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Friday, February 24, 2012
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Staring out into the sea of anguished and tired faces has got me thinking, heart racing, and feet attempting to compensate, I start to absentmindedly observe and analyze the individuals around me. All so different of course, but I there is one notable likeness among them- the hurt and the past in their faces.
The pain that is distinguishable in public situations such as the gym is a uniting factor. Inside, silently cheering these people on to do one more rep or to keep going hard, and in turn, it motivates me to do better.
Scientifically speaking, this would classify as a mutually beneficial relationship.
It's a group situation in which you can see results, feel the benefits, and inspires motivation to continue participating in this activity.
As for those relatively "pain-less" people, I see them as a detriment to progress. Causing no real stirring of thoughts or emotions, it would be a waste of time to get lost in something so inspirational. Like the people lazily lifting the 2lb dumbbells or those who mindlessly meander on the treadmill, these people in my mind, are not sources of strength or inspiration and therefore, must be avoided at all costs as not to slip into their mediocre ways. They are a metaphor for the meaningless distractions and disturbances in our lives.
As Scott Alexander put it, "All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy."
The gym is a strange and wonderful place. The analogies and truths it holds as a metaphor for life could not be more influential.
The gym a place where you gain strength from the strong and you disregard the rest. I carry this motto with me through most things, either you go full-in or you might as well not try. After all, what do you have to lose?
It is just one example of a social situation that holds proof that something that makes you uncomfortable or something that has hurt you in the past, can actually help mould you into a better version of yourself.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Have you ever seen the SNL skit where Kristen Wiig plays a character named Penelope. She's the annoying girl that tries to one-up everything you say? If you say you enjoy looking at the stars, she'll say she lives in a hotel on the moon. The skit is actually quite hilarious, and I think represents an issue going on in today's world: the need to best your fellow man, especially when it comes to comparing kids.
As the father of 5-yr and 2-yr old daughters, I have been guilty of this issue as well, though I've tried hard not to. Seriously, what is with this innate desire to have your child be superior to other children? Does it make you a better person? A better parent? Nope. In my opinion, it makes you a dick. Plain and simple.
My co-worker, Jamie, is a fantastic gal, and a great mother of 2 young boys. Her and I often chat about parenting because it's a common bond we both share, and because her 2-yr old son (Wyatt) and my 2-yr old daughter (Sam) were born within seven days of each other. Thus, you would expect they would develop at virtually the same pace, right?
All kids are different, and our children are no exception. While Wyatt was walking at about 10 months of age, Sam didn't take steps until 15 months. So, for 5 months, I felt like crap about the fact my daughter's feeble legs wouldn't support her chubby frame. Was this a failure on my part as a parent? No, Sam just didn't see the need to walk.
Lately, Jamie and I have been talking about...well...talking. Our children are vastly different when it comes to speech development. Sam probably has about 300 words in her vocabulary, and has even uttered an occasional 5 word sentence, complete with nouns, verbs, and hell, I think I even caught an adverb in there once. It's actually pretty amazing.
Meanwhile, Wyatt struts around like a cave-toddler, pointing at the fridge and saying "UUUHHHHH" when he wants a popsicle. Jamie, of course, feels that she is failing as a mom, when nothing could be further from the truth. Wyatt just hasn't felt the need to speak at this point. Plus, who are we to judge what's going on in this little boy's head? He could be justifying the Pythagorean Theorem, or writing a sequel to "War and Peace."
Parents have always had a desire to live vicariously through their children. We try to avoid whatever failures we experienced in our own lives. If you always wanted to be a professional athlete, but couldn't for one reason or another, I guarantee you'll push your child to fulfill this path. But is this the child's dream, or is it yours?
I don't think there's ever been a time where a childless couple makes love, finishes, and then the man says to his now impregnated wife, "We just made a child, honey. He or she will be the apple of our eye, and with God as my witness, when our child is 2 years old, he or she will speak in 5-word sentences. I'll accept nothing less!"
You non-parents out there might not be buying what I'm selling, but trust me, there are conversations like these happening RIGHT now between braggart parents.
Mom 1: "What are you doing this weekend, Pam?"
Mom 2: "Well, I'm so proud, actually. My 5-yr old raised $50 from her Kindergarten classmates for the cancer walk this weekend, so we'll be bringing a check and walking a few miles to show our support."
Mom 1: "Oh, didn't you hear? My little Johnny cured cancer yesterday. So, the walk's been cancelled."
Why do we do this, parents? Having children is a club to which we all belong. So what if your kid walked early, talked early, smiled early (probably just gas), giggled early, pooped on the potty at a young age (probably dumb luck), or drew a picture of a stick figure with a green head? As long as your kid reads, writes, walks, talks, and becomes a non-murdering member of society, you've done your job.
Can't we all just get along?
Friday, February 17, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Ah Valentine's Day.
The day when couples all over the world nauseate their single counterparts, by doing super cheesy, over-the-top flamboyant acts.
Big red heartshaped boxes of candy appear everywhere.
Teddy bear adoptions skyrocket.
Dinner and a movie becomes expensive dinner and a chick flick.
PDA abounds. (Ick.)
Yep, gotta love this time of the year.
Have you ever noticed that single people kind of try to "explain away" this holiday?
For the weeks leading up to it, you'll hear singles say all kinds of things like:
"It isn't even a real holiday."
"I wouldn't want anyone to do anything for me on Valentine's Day, it's sooo ridiculous."
"Jesus is my Valentine!" (A personal favorite of my own)
"It isn't Valentine's Day, it's really Hagen Dazs appreciation day!"
Really? Really? Come on now single people! Lighten up!
You know that you'd be going right along with the multitude of happy couples if you happened to find yourself in a relationship on this Hallmark holiday! You know that even those heart shaped antacids known as "candy hearts" that say 'hug me', code for "vomit when you eat this", would seem exciting and exotic if you were in love on Valentine's Day. I would too.
Because we humans are fascinated by the idea of love. We go to great lengths to find it. Ever see people in crazy relationships? You wonder why the heck they put up with half the crap they do? That's just "love." Love causes people to scale mountains, travel seas...to share the remote. It's a powerful thing.
So it's quite natural for singles to be jaded and cynical round this time of year. Everyone is sampling a little slice of love for dessert, while we're left to devour gallons of ice cream alone.
Here's the thing though...
Love isn't about candy boxes. It isn't about fancy dates. It's definitely not about warm fuzzy feelings, as crazy as that may seem.
Love is something, even singles can experience.
Because it goes deeper than the superficial labels we use to market it.
Love is what happens when your heart breaks for a friend who's struggling. When you realize that you'd do anything to take their pain away, that's love. Love is what happens when you take that extra time out of your schedule to help a stranger, expecting nothing in return. Love is holding on to a promise, even when everyone else tells you to let it go, because it's easier to break your word than to keep it.
Love is serving another who has never been served.
Love is forgiving someone who doesn't deserve it.
Love is giving what you have, to those who don't.
Love isn't contained within the boundaries of a dating relationship.
And that's my point today.
We have the capacity to love, and the power to choose it today, and every other day of the year.
Valentine's Day may be singles awareness day, but it doesn't mean that those singles are devoid of opportunities to love, and to be loved in return.
It simply means, we may not get a cool teddy bear to prove it. I'm ok with that.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Shoulders slumped, demeanor spiraling down, as dark clouds rolled across her face.
I asked what was wrong. She told me that she had heard, via text, of a health complication with a family member. A family member who meant quite a lot to her.
I could tell that she was putting on a brave face, but the uncertainty, worry and sadness all bled through the calm, nonchalant exterior, as she struggled to hold it together.
I tried so hard to cheer her up. Gave her a hug, tried to tell a joke, but I could tell that my efforts were all in vain.
What is it about sadness that causes us to take up a burden of solitude? Why do we feel the need to carry this weight on our own?
I wished so desperately that I could take my place alongside her in that moment.
I wished that I could share what she was carrying. To let her know that she wasn't alone...
Sometimes I just want to scream, because I'm not able to create peace. Have you ever wished that? What a beautiful thing it'd be, to be able to give peace to another. Only I cant. It's like being in a dream, and you're watching tragic things unfold before your eyes, yet you're powerless to stop them.
I'm not the one who can heal a bleeding heart. It's in those moments that I feel less than significant. I'm reminded of my own inadequacy, and that power alone belongs to one greater than myself.
How I wish I could carry your burden with you my friend, if you'd only let me have the chance I'd do it in a heartbeat. I wouldn't even know where to begin, but I'd try as hard as I know how.
I can't give you peace, but I pray that you find peace in the One who can. I pray that you find refuge in the shelter of Almighty wings...
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012
You mean, people actually read this???
It was crazy to think about. I mean, yeah I made this a public space, but come on, how many people would actually take the time to read a blog.
But, it's largely due to her unsolicited promotion on her space, that I began to acquire a small following here. It also gave me the confidence to actually begin to share my writings in my own social media contexts.
To this day, her URL alone is one of my top reffering URL's. Wow! I was riding high, but I knew that eventually this fun experience would end...after all, it's the internet, and there are quite a lot more interesting sites to look at than my little space. Right?
But, she kept commenting, long comments....wordy comments. Laena, who has a really cool space that you can visit here, taught me the value of a true online community.
Yeah, there's Facebook and Twitter and all that garbage out there, but those are all comprised of threadbare blurbs, nothing really substantial. It's very face value.
Blogs take time to develop. When you write, you share pieces of your life with anyone who will listen, and when someone does listen... when somone follows, reads, and even takes the time to comment on your ideas about life, they're investing themselves in you.
As we continued to comment back and forth, we eventually found each other on Facebook, and talked on the phone a few times. I realized more and more that she is, quite possibly, one of the coolest people I know!
She has a great sense of humor (very sarcastic, so I find myself right at home when conversing with her), she has a quick, whip-snap wit, she thinks about the deeper things rather than remaining in the safety of shallow life. She also has a passion for teaching which, coincidentally, happens to be her profession.
Education is a virtue, and a blessing, and those who pursue the educator's profession are some incredible people! They do it out of sheer love of knowledge, and a desire to help others become all they can be, and that is so inspiring to me.
I told a friend recently, that I'm incredibly blessed to have the friends that I do. I'm big on conversation. Laena is no exception to this, she's very engaging and can hold a great conversation. She listens, challenges your thoughts when necessary, and is always affirming.
Affirmation is easily her best quality. She's an encourager, and very supportive to her friends and family. Affirmation is often over looked when people talk about great qualities they find in others. I don't know why though.
We live in a world that is desperately in need of kind words, and encouragements everyday. Sometimes, when you're at your lowest of lows, the one thing you cling to is a friend who has given you hope in their words. It's the thing that keeps you stepping forward, when all you desire to do is to retreat.
Laena is constantly encouraging me, and I can't tell you how much of an effect it's had on my personal life. We haven't even met in person! So to all you bloggers out here, who underestimate the power of your writing, and words...don't.
I'm highly looking forward to when I get to meet my friend "The Blogger" in person. I have a feeling we'll get along fabulously.