May is here, which means summer is just around the corner! Up to this point you have probably been braving the diminishing grip of Old Man Winter’s icy grasp, and preparing the grill, swimsuit, and golf clubs for the fun months that are just around the corner. There has been much other preparations and organization also in the past four months, however, to fully ensure that 2013 will be successful for you. This first third of the year has consisted in closing the envelope on last year (filing taxes), making year goals (New Year’s resolutions), and maybe even the beginning of a new hobby (cross-fit training perhaps?). Whatever you have done or not done, I believe that May is the most crucial month of the year, and what you accomplish during it may well determine how good you feel looking back on December 31st. This first third of 2013 is over, and this month is a good time to reevaluate. Are you accomplishing what you have set out to do? What needs adjusting in your life? It is time to get down to business. Summer is coming and there will be no excuses. Flu season is over. It is probably beautiful outside. Evryone is out and about, making the perfect opportunity to expand your social network. Maybe your year is going great, and I hope that it is, but you can be doing more to bring increased success and happiness to your life. This month is a turning point in the weather outside, and it can easily be a turning point for the weather “inside.” We are already a week in, but all is not lost. I would start by sitting down and making some lists (finances, fitness & health, relationships, goals, etc.), or updating the ones you have already made. Start working the components of these lists into your daily routine so that by June they will happen automatically. Let yourself shine with the summer sun these next four months! Because we are all in this together. 8)
As I have stated before, my main purpose of creating this blog, was to explore, learn, and disperse what I learn starting out as an adult in this crazy world. I by no means think myself an expert on any of the topics, at least on a formal level, but rather want to share what I find out about different areas of life as I live through my 20s. I believe many of the challenges I face are shared among my peers, and may just be shared by you, whichever age you may be. Approaching Metanoia started because I believe I possess strengths in my view of the world, and the observations I make as I travel through it. Of these observations, one of the greatest concepts I believe we need to memorize, live by, and ultimately thrive on is perseverance. Being the single greatest component on the path to success and happiness, I have a few comments to make:
When I was young, I had an uncle I didn’t see that much of, since he was always traveling and creating team-building camps and challenging ropes courses. Though I did not see much of him, he was one of my greatest role models. I wanted to be him, and I believe that many of my qualities are attributed to what I saw in him at that young age when I started to pay attention to him. He gave me several of those motivational posters, one being the picture of a kayaker paddling into the sunset.
Now that is a pretty powerful statement. It is one that is working every single day of our lives. We are constantly tested, stressed, and exhausted by people we meet, events we undergo, and effects of the choices we make. Being a recent grad (well pretty much, anyway), there is no harder time than the several months after leaving college life behind, as we do with all chapters of our lives eventually. Problems with identity, direction, and merely sustaining ourselves combine into an almost insurmountable obstacle, or so it seems. To keep pushing on, while trying our best to keep our social networks, avoid bankruptcy (financially and/or esteem-wise) proves to be a very difficult task, at the very minimum. However, as there have been similar tests in our past, and will be more and more tests in our future, sometimes increasing in complexity, we must never falter. There is no other option but to move forward, or risk all the progress we have made up to this point in our lives. If we never forget this vital point, we will succeed. Sure there will be deep pitfalls, frustrating dead-ends, and near insurmountable odds, there is no getting around that fact. But if we treat each of these as an opportunity rather than to give in, then every part of our being wins. We win by strengthening, resisting, and PERSEVERING. There is always an end to sorrow. There is always an end to hardship. There is always an end to being depressed. Stubbornness is a virtue in regard to facing challenges. And we will succeed. No matter what the cost.
Nearly all success comes from failure. Don’t dwell on these failures. Use them as an advantage. The unknowns in our life will soon become “knowns.” Keep on plugging. Because we are all in this together.
“Civilize the mind, make savage the body.”
I hate reading. A phrase I have heard variations of by tens of people I have met in my life, including the younger me. I just didn’t enjoy it, and would much rather be watching a new release or playing the latest first-person shooter in my living room. Often, books were just boring gibberish from some stranger’s mind whom I have never met, that I was forced to read. Furthermore, many of the words were foreign to me, and I didn’t want to take the time or effort traveling to Dictionary.com every five minutes, distracting me from learning the purpose or concept the author was trying to convey. Textbooks were the primary culprit I believe, which bred this perpetual torture, burdening me with hundreds of pages merely to keep up with the several classes I was taking. College amplified this process, further burdening me, while sinking its fingers into my free, “fun” time. Wasn’t going to class enough?
As you can probably tell, I wasn’t necessarily a model student. I guess you good go as far as saying I didn’t really want to learn the material at all. I had no passion. Why did I even bother with college?
I asked myself this question many times during my attendance at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Faced with personal events and issues prior to college, I tended to fall behind in my classes. Test-days were more of a guessing match than a recital of my memorization from the assigned readings, and a look at my transcript can attest to that. However, I did start to turn it around after I realized that something needed to change in my life, and I confronted a friend and later mentor to help me figure this problem out.
The most important part of this transition was my realization that a change needed to be made. I was unhappy with myself, and had some pretty unhealthy habits, though many of the people around me could see no problem with my personality or demeanor. Anyway, this mentor of mine recommended to me a couple of books to start with. They were a couple of his favorites on personal development. I was hesitant. Self-help? Am I that bad off? Isn’t most of this stuff just junk that people put out to make a bunch of money, at the expense of people like me? Had I not had extreme trust in my mentor friend, then I never would have cracked the first page. However I did, and boy was it ground breaking. The words seemed to beam through my eyes and deep into my soul. They really spoke to me, my situation, and the direction I wanted to head. I went on to read several other books in the same genre, and really enjoyed the message they had for me.
I still did not like reading that much, however. I needed entertainment, and was entranced by quick, intense, active means of having fun, the movies, the video games, and the internet. It seemed like I had no time to read. My opinion at that time was that fiction was a waste of time, being just another form of entertainment, nonfiction was often hard to get through, and newspapers were just depressing, relaying the perpetual stream of bad news from around the world.
As time went on, I gradually started to gain more interest about certain areas of history and current events, as well as learning about things I had interest in, but new basically nothing about. After taking a car, train, and bus to Portland, Oregon, my passion and excitement about national and world travel reached its maximum. I picked up a copy of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, and just ate it up. After speaking with people later, I learned that many people think this book is incredibly boring, but it spoke to me, just like those motivational books I read a couple of years prior. I started to read more travel books, and I noticed my speed and focus increased. Shortly after, I began to gain interest in the art of writing, and developed a passion for how people can construct sentences, and use interesting words. I began to bore of using the same language, day after day, with the same words, and similarly, the same form. I downloaded an app to my iTouch called GRE Smart: Vocab by the company High Five Labs, in which I was given a set of about 200 words. The word set was assigned a belt, similar to the one that is assigned to people in martial arts. There were 10 belts, and each one represented a progressively more difficult word set. My confidence and efficiency at reading started to increase pretty rapidly at this point, and I was beginning to understand more of what I read. This ignited and then exploded my interest in reading about a variety of different topics, and I began to read fiction as well.
Now, I am at the library several times a week, and blaze through a book every couple of days. I am becoming a more intelligent, less ignorant, and more aware human being. My thoughts are more cohesive, and my focus is sharp. This is also increasing my intense joy and zest for life as well. I’m happier, healthier, and more outgoing. I have learned that reading needs to be a vital part of my daily routine, and I maintain this in a variety of ways. Sometimes, I don’t have time to read during the day, so I have downloaded some free applications on my iTouch that I read before bed. It took some getting used to, as I like actually turning the pages, but I have grown quite fond of it, and it is incredibly convenient and handy to whip out of my pocket or grab off the counter. Also, I do not need a light to see the pages, as they are glowing up at me from the screen.
I am not here to market any of the books or apps I have read or used, but I am pushing you to start reading more. If any of you were like me at the beginning of my journey, then I know how difficult and tedious it may seem to you. However, I am a strong proponent of ridding our society of labels like ignorant, lazy, and out-of-touch. Education may be debated until the end of time. It IS time to take learning and awareness into our own hands. Raising intelligence means attracting success into our lives. WE need to keep improving, keep getting stronger, and keep adapting to this rapidly changing world. Living in the past means eventual doom. We are in a new age. Information is at our fingertips. So go and get your free library card, or download some free books onto your mobile device. Because we are all in this together. Let’s get smart!
So it has been quite a while since my last post, and I can attribute it to a number of issues. I moved to Denver, CO after doing a bit of traveling last year (about 7000 miles of it, actually), and have been in the job hunt since early January. My MacBook Pro had a logic board failure soon after, so my online access has been limited. This limited time I have used mainly to job search and network, making this old blog take a backseat, unfortunately. I have been writing quite a bit, however, including a novel, which I might post an excerpt of once I have made some more progress on it. No details now though, sorry. 😉
Anyway, I want to continue with the reason I have created this post, which stems from the title. In past submissions I have written about the ups and downs, and twists and turns of this crazy thing called life. There is a theory that states no matter how bad things can get in your life, there will always be events and people to counterbalance them. I have witnessed this proven in my life time after time. Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter how many happy, motivational, or energetic sources we seek to boost our mood, sometimes, when things are tough, life can get pretty miserable. The key to getting past these times, I have found, is not losing sight of the fact that there is an end in sight, and everything will get better.
Going back to my opening statement about the difficulty I have had in finding a job:
I knew going into this traveling excursion that moving to a new city would prevent many challenges for me. The main one was finding a source of income to keep up with the costs of living, debts, and enjoying these early-mid 20s the best that I possibly could. Not being able to become employed after some time started to take a toll on me. I was exerting all my energy for the reward of attaining a job and starting my career, only to be disappointed time after time, for several months. However, finally I attained a position that I really enjoy, and things are looking brighter once again.
I never gave up hope that things would turn out, eventually at least, and they did. And they have. Time after time, it has never failed. Now I have endured many life events that you have not, and I bet you can say the same thing. We all encounter hardship, trauma, disappointment, and failure. It is simply a part of life. And a major part it plays.
I treated my bout of unemployment as a chance to do a number of things. First, after applying to many jobs, and failing to attain any of them, I decided to go back to the drawing board. I started going to my community library and researching all that I could about the current job market. I started networking more and applying to online job postings less. I started to read more (approximately a book every two days). I started writing. I revived my passion for learning, and for living. It was like a reset button, and I think that is the single greatest thing I learned about the whole experience: that when things take a turn for the worst, it is usually because we are lacking something in our lives. That it is time to take a step back, and view our lives from a bigger perspective, and start to make adjustments.
We live in a constantly changing world, and now more than ever, if we are resilient to these changes we will be left in the dust. It is a cruel, and incredibly tough situation to be in, but it is a matter of fact. Adaptability and flexibility are not just important these days, they are required.
I hope all of you are doing well in this wonderful year of 2013. Because we are all in this together. 😀
It is a sick feeling really. The rock in the stomach, the dull headache in the front of your brain, the inability to catch your breath. I’m talking about battling the sneaky little guy that lurks behind the money you make, or don’t make. Debt.
I recently had one of those realizations where you come to terms with your habits, and how they affect your circumstances. Financially, my wisdom is on the lower end of the totem pole. Spending what I want, when I want, and why I want has been a trait of mine since I was old enough to know what a dollar bill was. I have always operated under the philosophy of spending it if I have it, with money always burning a hole in my pocket as soon as I earn it. I’m not materialistic. I don’t pride myself on having “things.” I do however, take much pride and ambition to accomplish activities and have experiences. Most of these come at a price. If you could track my financial activity over the past half-decade, you will notice that sums of money go into my checking account, rapidly diminish, making the balance near zero until next month comes. The whole process repeats. Half of every month I am forced to live frugally and well within my means, and it doesn’t really affect me. However, I get some cash in my hand and I go hog wild. It’s insanity, to the fullest meaning of the term. Time after time it has been the same result, much to my dismay.
Now getting back to my “enlightenment.” Student loans are finally becoming due, and after being unemployed for a few months, my tank is basically at zero. What a stressful situation, being in debt and not being able to see a way out. Never will I wish upon anybody the extent of the situation I am in. However, no matter how deep the hole, life always provides a shovel. There is no such thing as a permanent descent into a lifetime of debt and regret. That is unless we keep banging our head against the same old wall.
To the fullest spirit of my being, I never want to be in this position again. I have made up my mind that I won’t. Also I have set some major, concrete goals. Anything is possible, and no matter how extreme it is, and no matter what people will say, I am going to decrease my debt by 75% by this time, 2016. Mark my words. That’s $30,000 vanishing off my record. Physically and emotional that is a load of money of my back. I won’t have to bear that load anymore. The nightmares, haunts and harassment from debt collectors and credit card companies will be no more. I am dead set upon it. So why am I telling you this?
Currently, Americans are approximately $11.31 trillion dollars in debt. More than 50% of the people in this country are dealing with the stresses, disasters, and misery associated with debt. We spend money we don’t have, on things we don’t need. But that’s just the same old tune. We’ve heard it thousands of times. Never have I regarded those words with any sense of actually changing my habits. “I will do what I want to do. Don’t tell me any different.” And you should and probably do feel the same way. I was thinking about getting on a soap box, but how hypocritical would that be? However, think about your situation, right now. Are you happy financially? I hope so.
I’m not. It’s time to make some changes, so I can be living free once again. I believe that with that freedom will come a sense of wisdom, but also innocence, that I haven’t felt since I was a little kid. That carefree, and stress-free life. Because what stresses were there? Life can be like that. You make your destiny in many areas of this time you’ve been given. How do you want it to play out? Make it happen. Because we are all in this together. I’m looking forward to sharing some positive, debt-free and stress-free vibes to our world. I hope you can join me. 😀
I have found that writing can’t be forced.
I have gotten down on myself since I created this blog…at least the months that I haven’t created very many posts. I have gotten down on myself that I haven’t created….haven’t maintained my goal….but I have realized something: if I don’t have anything to say, I won’t say it.
I’m a genuine person, at least I try to be. I don’t fake things. And writing is no different. There have been times in my life that I have an abundance to say to you. But I have noticed that other times I do not. That is one thing I promise. Never anything artificial.
However, as of right now I have a lot to say. There isn’t any combination of words that will explain exactly how I feel, but I will try and tell you parts at least:
2012: I left my town I went to college in for 5 years, packed what I could on my back, and traveled. I traveled to an unknown city with unknown expectations. And I loved it. I spent a lot of time on my own, thinking, figuring, and planning. There were times I confronted the side of me that was submerged into my subconscious, and I know that I really needed it.
Towards the end of 2012, I realized that where I needed to be was Denver, Colorado. I chose this spot on the earth because this is where my best friends currently reside, and I know that nothing is permanent and this opportunity would show itself rather briefly.
I moved to Denver in December, and have been there ever since, searching for jobs, enjoying the company, and figuring out where my life is going to go. It’s a pretty beautiful thing, once you set aside the external pressures, expectations, and assumptions that people have placed upon me. I have figured one vital point to my life in the past several months:
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE EXPECTATIONS.
Now along with that I have realized that I am not always going to make the #1 choice. I’m not always going to make the cash. I will need resources from other people from time to time, including those people themselves.
This is my life. I will make mistakes that set me back. But I will also make choices that will benefit me, though I may not see them immediately. Our culture places a heavy burden on its people. It expects them to be successful. That is one of the principles of capitalism. Now I’m not going to delve into ideologies, but I can say for certain that not many people find their way immediately. And I’m not going to be any different. I love living. It is something I strive at. It hasn’t been something that I have taken for granted, rather I have realized this privilege in the past several months.
I have also realized that IT is what you make it. I can easily get up everyday past noon and spend my day playing video games and wasting it in other ways with the assumption that I have a safety net in my relatives and friends. Many people DO live this way. However, it is a quick path to deep depression and hopelessness. Believe me I have already traveled this path. I will add that no one plans this path, but that is just happens.
One day not long ago I woke up from this artificial dream-state. And once I did, nothing fell into place, though I assumed it would. You see, life is hard until you start to be proactive. You have to seek out opportunities, though they are always at the forefront of everyone’s lives. Many opportunities are sitting in the open, waiting to get taken advantage of, but the person that they are offered to is to busy feeling sorry for themselves. This was me.
I do not know where I’m headed. I don’t even know where I will be living next month. I do know however, that I am aware. Aware of the opportunities that are being granted to me. I will stop them from passing me by. You see, the life of a 20 something is pretty grand. But it isn’t until they realize it that it is taken to the full potential. And some never see that potential. That is my goal, and that should be yours. Because it doesn’t matter how old you are, there is always an opportunity. Always a potential. Once you see that it makes everything possible. Everything worthwhile. And everything exciting. Because not only are we all in this together. But we make all of this mess meaningful. All of this mess sortable. It does mean something. But until you and I realize this, we are just living in a chaos, trying to make ends meet, and more importantly, just trying to live. That is not what this is about. We get one shot. Let us use it well. For whatever and whenever you see it, LIVE.
We get one.
Because we are all in this together. 😀
So this is the first year that I have missed hunting season in Wisconsin, and believe me, it is a big deal. And I mean that not because of animals being harvested, but in the great time spent with my brother and dad. It is a time like no other that I have experienced with the two of them. Also, this is the first year I have missed Thanksgiving and I will miss Christmas with my family too. As hunting and Thanksgiving passed, I want to share a bit of my thoughts going into it, and what I found out after it was all said and done…
What I am trying to get at here is once again, you have more control of how you react to life’s circumstances than you think. While I could have been lonesome and sad that I could not make it back to see family, I realized that I had packed my last trip home full of good times with them, and I know that I will do the same when I return. But until then, I will make the best of it, and the best of it I made. Thanksgiving in Portland with my roommates was more like a whole weekend celebration. I was actually invited to numerous events with the families of friends, and it made me feel super good. We ended up going to a neighbors and there was a great feast and really fun times had. Then my roommate, who is a chef at a local restaurant, cooked a turkey and made a Thanksgiving just for our apartment. It was some of the best food I have had, and made me realize to never write something off and make a premature judgment that an event, activity, or experience is going to be bad. There is always an upside, it sometimes is just harder to find. But sometimes, it will give you a wonderful surprise that you were not expecting.
We all find out that life keeps going, regardless of external influence, until it stops indefinitely (hopefully at an old age). We encounter many points in our lives where we just want to pause and catch up, and it is during these times where we learn this tough but valuable lesson. It is that life will keep going booting us and kicking us forward, regardless of our circumstances, and regardless of anything for that matter. The only thing we can control is if we have our feet on the ground, or we are left tumbling and falling. This is what I want to call “Life’s Fluidity Principle.” One moment flows to the next, time just keeps going, infinitely.
What if we tried to mirror this by the choices we make and the responses we have? Many times, we encounter outcomes from the choices we make that we didn’t want or didn’t intend. Once we make a choice, then the outcome is usually out of our hands. We learn what choices tend to yield the outcomes we want, and as we age we become creatures of habit. I bet for most of us, if we had our daily routines secretly mapped by someone else, that person could start to predict our behavior quite accurately after a short amount of time.
The truth is, because we become creatures of habit, we get used to things going right, and some even start to expect them to go right, though they do not always realize it. It is then where some of us run into problems. These might include losing our temper at even the most minute things. We may start to feel that life is out for us, that we can never catch a break, that we are doomed to fail because of some outside force preventing us from ever finding a nut. This is what can happen if we do not adapt to life, and become fluid with it. There will never cease to be a failure, or a devastation, or a “bad time.” Much of life is out of our control, no matter how much we believe we have a grip on it. It is the ability to enjoy oneself while “rolling with the punches,” that will really lead to happiness. And in my opinion happiness is the direct scale of how GOOD one is at life.
Have a good month. I hope that you can enjoy family and/or friends. Because spending time with the ones that you love is what truly makes this all work.
Back and forth
The air surrounds me
As I float into the sky.
Bird’s view of below
Ant’s view of above
Nothing is pressing
Nothing worries me
Just gliding, soaring, swinging…
Butterflies thrive in my stomach
Life should be like this…
Well, can it not?
Something about traveling seems to provoke my writing. I would say that when I’m “on the road” I have the greatest inspiration and creativity. However, I have not put in enough time traveling to consider myself “on the road.” To me, this is a phrase that only the well-traveled can say. The ones who have put in the time. The ones who have taken risks. The ones who have grown up. Maybe I’m too hard on myself. I mean I am just a novice. A child wandering the world. And I don’t mean that in the negative sense. I am loving what I am doing. I love being away. I love roads. I love trains. I love airports. Everything. Some people have a place where they are at peace. I think I can say mine is an airport. Yes, I know, irony. Something calms me about the setting. Maybe it’s being calm when everyone else is stressed, rushed, and occasionally unhappy. I like that. Difference. Uniqueness.
It isn’t just being calm in a rush, but I also enjoy the waiting also. Now normally, though I am a relatively patient person, lines of people and crowds can get on my nerves. The airport is different. I have had layovers and delays, as many people have had, but knowing I have everything with me, including always something to read, think about, or write, keeps me sane and happy. It is sad for me to see so much impatience. Many people have one thing on their mind: getting where THEY need to go. The world revolves around them, and its people serves them. There is something great about going against that, even though it is easy to fall in line with it in this culture. So fast paced. We need to slow it down. Airports remind me of this, and I think it is the main reason I like them so much. The other reasons are because of other reminders:
1. Be Prepared.
Make lists. Double check. Enjoy a stress-free trip.
Definitely transferable to other realms of our lives.
2. Pay Attention.
Look. Listen. LISTEN.
Stop being on autopilot. People everywhere are waiting to speak to us, tell us advice, help us in some way. Yes, everyone thinks they’re an expert, and their ways are the best. You don’t have to take it to heart, but if we aren’t listening we will never have a chance to learn. And learning comes from every person on this planet. That is my belief. Be approachable. Be engaging if someone strikes up a conversation.
3. Slow It Down!
Wake up earlier. Get to the airport earlier. No rush = no stress.
Yes traveling can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Dare to be different than everyone else. Put things in perspective, especially if you are going on vacation. There is no room for negative energy caused by worry and stress about travel modes. Use your preparedness to slow down and enjoy it. All we have is moments. They go by whether we pay attention to them or not.
4. Be Grateful.
You are going on an airplane. Do you realize how few people in this world will never get to experience that? Never get to see the earth from the clouds? How about going back in history? The sample of people who have been lucky enough to do this is too minuscule to even make a comparison. Yet people gripe about it. We take it for granted, as we do with many things. Don’t be that person. Look for the upside. There always is one. Sometimes it’s just cloaked by our impatience and frustrations.
Who knew all of these things could be found in an airport? Truth is, they can be found anywhere. That is why people are attracted to certain places and venues. They find something in these places that others may not. They are special. The airport is one of many on my expanding list of special places. What are yours?