risks and ladders

Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t done what you want yet. It doesn’t matter if you’re a wreck right now. It doesn’t matter, because it’s not the end. Every moment doesn’t feel like a new chance, but it is. Most of the time, the bars and limits we have are those we put on ourselves. If you want to do something more, you can achieve that.

It’s easy to think that couldn’t be the case. We think that if we want to go see a new movie in theaters, we have to go with friends. You don’t, you could go yourself. We think we can’t switch careers, because we wouldn’t even know where to start. Fine, you don’t know where to start, but knowing that means your first step is finding out what the steps are. We think that if we don’t stay or become a certain way, we’ll be alone forever. Surely, there is an importance to listening to what others have to say and heeding their advice, but at the end of the day, there is a line between listening to others and letting them rule your life.

Everything to this point matters in that it has built you up into who you are right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to play your hand out exactly like it’s expected. We are in a processing of growing, and its going to take a while to get to where we want to go. It’s terrifying to abruptly change, and there are many things that seem way beyond us– and that’s okay! Changing overnight is a difficult and natural thing. What is good is teaching yourself, step by step, to creep towards those goals of yours, pushing what’s comfortable for you. This moment is a chance. This moment too. If you don’t take it now, seriously ask yourself if you ever will.

thankful for an abacus

My brother got me an abacus for Christmas, this massive nicely painted black one from the thrift store. It was a symbolic gift more than anything else. But it was interesting that out of anything he could have found in an antique thrift store, he felt this abacus was the thing that represented me the best. I can’t help but think that I must come across as calculating.

It’s interesting to get those glimpses into other’s perspectives on you. Parts of your personality that you view as dominant might not be so to others. Who we are is dynamic, fluid, yet constant in some ways. That’s why is so very important for us to be thankful. In the changing seas of life, having people by you is something really amazing once you think about it. Being able to grow together, or even being able to open yourself up to new sorts of people, these are all incredible events.

It can be frustrating because we may work hard and not get acknowledged. We may go through times of great change and no one may notice. But those changes will be obvious in how we act, and over time, the right people will take stock of it. But it is our opportunity and joy that we get to help other people. If we want to be acknowledged, we should help turn the spotlight on others. As counterintuitive as it may feel, we are more ourselves when we’re focused on others. Our relationships are so important; we should be thankful for every gift we’re given, physical or not.

vy for your own attention

Breathe. Seriously. Right now, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. The world is a noisy, frustrating, emotional mess. You often have to shout over the din, trying to get out an opinion It might feel like giving in to some animal nature.

Afterall, its the competition for attention that we engage in. It’s important because we learn how to deal with other people and speak their language. By gaining other people’s attention, we may end up doing amazing things! However, more often then not, we don’t need their attention– they need ours. We always assume that we have something valuable and important to say. If we assume we do, then we cannot pretend that that is an exception. As annoying and horrible as other people may come across, they may have a point, and you’ll never know that point without stopping for a moment.

Stopping to breathe is important because it takes You out of that comptetition. You’re vying only for our own attention. Then, breathing and being focused on it, we give in a little. We may compete for applause but life itself isn’t a battle against other people. We’re all on our own tracks, doing our best, even as those efforts look different. So breathe. If you mess up, try again. If you mess up again, you try again. Let the world do what it wants for a time and don’t forget to step back and get perspective.

friends are beds

Plenty of psychologists, economists, philosphers, and random individuals have tried to quantify relationships. There’s a MinMax principle that describes how we view relationships as what we give and what we get. Then you get poets and humanities based professionals who see relationships as immeasurable. Our actions and emotions are complex, afterall, and it seems to reductionist to judge all bonds off of what we directly get from the other person. However, most everyone agrees that friends are vital to living a full life.

Friends are like beds. You rest on them when you need the support, and you take care of your bed back. Afterall, we provide cushions and pillows and fancy sheets for our bed. However, the easiest test of how dear a friend is, is to see so effortless it is to trust them. It’s about feeling safe when the rest of life may not be. It’s about comfort when the conflicts of the day to day are uncomfortable. Things aren’t always easy, and the bed may prick you from time to time, but a friend is where you need them to be.

So appreciate your bed! Spend lots of money on blankets! Like our bed, friends are also not always acknowledged for how much they do. Its easy to take advantage of a comfy resting place. However, unlike a bed, people have feelings. No matter how friendship works, it matters. Friendship goes both ways, so think of yourself as some place that can be of solace them. Beds are amazing! But friends are even more so, don’t forget to hold them dear.

friendship as the gold standard

Having good friends is like being treated to a five star meal. Being able to relate to another person’s struggles, being able to support one another: these things make such a massive impact on our lives! There needs to be people who we can be causal with, but can also be there for you emotionally. While expressing emotions can be taboo in certain social customs, being able to rely upon a friend and express those feelings is the key to not breaking down.

However, if we want to have good friends, we first have to be good friends ourselves. The first step to being a good friend is being sincere; if we want to have high quality interactions, we need to find people who we truly care about and can relate to. We can become friends and be friendly with most people, but having a deeper relationship requires a stronger basis of interaction. The second step is being compassionate and loving. Romantic relationships aren’t the only relationships that need care. Platonic love may seem counter intuitive, but it is incredibly important and a potent force. Sex doesn’t have to be involved to have a strong bond with someone, nor should it replace a strong bond.

The third step to being a good friend is listening. As shocking as it may seem, sometimes the world does not revolve around us. It’s easy to say and hard to follow, but truly we are better people when we aren’t so concerned with ourselves. If someone talks to you, they have a reason for doing so. If it’s a friend, you should care about what they say because that reason was enough to motivate them to confide in you. Granted, some reasons matter more than others. But listening is a skill, and motivations are complicated things. How can you know them and how can you help them if you don’t listen to what they say?

Good friends are more precious than silver and gold. When we are sincere, loving, and ready to listen, we can be supportive to those we care about.

how do you like your coffee?

We best understand things when we understand the context. An abstract work to a mideval peasant is meaningless; they have no reference to know if it’s composition is well balanced, or to know the details of the materials. Two people can watch the same like, with only one person “getting it”. They both saw the movie, the same events and imagery were shown. Yet when we “get” something, we have a set of expectations and criteria to compare it to, thus feel we can form an educated opinion about it. The difference in appreciation is largely due to the situation and frame of reference the person has.

When we communicate with someone, we are building a mental picture of them. They hate Elvis, drink their coffee with a good amount of sugar but no milk, adore history but hate physics, joke about their physical apperance: these are all basic, rather meaningless facts. And yet, when we learn those meaningless facts, when all put together, it doesn’t seem so meaningless. The more you know about the person, the higher chance you have of relating to them.

That’s why they say the opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference. The apathetic friend isn’t a friend at all. We don’t often reveal our deepest fears and desires to people who don’t care about our opinions on chocolate cake. Communication and connection, these things are vital to us social creatures. That’s why small talk isn’t as pointless as some might assume. Learning what other people desire and hate and are bothered by, these are evident when you are there for the smaller interactions. That’s why spending time with people is so important. You build up the frame of reference when you communicate with those you adore, and then can understand where they are coming from. It makes a difference.

It’s the most stressful time of the year 

With the holiday season ramping up, things are becoming more stressful and it’s only going to get worse from here on in. Money is tight and yet each day you remember some other family member or friend that you need to be kind to and buy a thoughtful gift for. While others may claim it’s best time of the year, the so-called “happiest time of the year” can be miserable for a lot of people.

In a time and place where close ones are celebrated, it makes a lack of intimacy seem even more apparent. Like the saying goes, we never really seem to know what we have until it’s gone. It may be easy, therefore, to think that holidays don’t matter, or that the stress isn’t worth it, or overall, that you are alone. But you’d be wrong.

Holidays matter because it’s important to take a break and be grateful for what we have. The stress can be overwhelming, so take care of yourself, it’s okay to lean on others, as long as they know they can lean on you. Most of all, you are never as lonely as you think. Or rather, you are never as alone as you think. Talk. Be awkward and deal with the strangeness of making new friends. Catch up with old buddies, deal with the stress of not being as far along or successful as them. Do something, communicate in some form! It’s hard to socialize, but it’s worse to not. It’s true, this season is hard, but it’s also a challenge. It’s representative of our lives. Take care of yourself and push through! The best gift of all will be getting to the end of it, if nothing else. 

Halloween isn’t about death in practice, but you can use it to kill off the problems between you and those you care about

Happy Halloween! For a holiday associated with death, dark creatures, and general wickedness, the majority of people have a fondness for halloween. It’s like horror movies- you don’t like the vicious creature that’s slowly hunting everyone down, you like the thrill. And Halloween is a thrill! Operating at night, talking strangers out of their candy, masking your identity: these are all pleasurable activites because they are customs that we take part in as a community. 

For some, Halloween is just an excuse to party. However, the importance of the holiday isn’t that it’s celebrating creatures of darkness, but that we are celebrating a time together with people we care about in a light hearted manner. The features of the holiday are creepy, but sometimes creepy is fun! It’s an aesthetic that marks it apart from the rest of the year. It has a sort of childlike glee compared to Valentine’s day or Thanksgiving. 

Whatever your views on Halloween, just remember that it’s a holiday. At the end of the day,  it’s not about some costume or summoning demons, but about having an excuse to be with the people you love, sharing in traditions you care about. Even if you hate everything about this night, don’t close yourself off! Sometimes you need to shake things up from the routine.

“I want to die. lol.”

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The most beautiful part of any day is the fact that it exists. Particularly among the younger generations who’ve grown up alongside social media and computer technology, there’s a generally negative culture. Posting something means you are motivated emotionally to do so, and in most instances, we tend to feel more motivated by negative emotions than positive ones. That means what’s going onto our walls and blogs reflects those same emotions. There are jokes about the void, nihilism, and the ‘sweet embrace of death’ because we deal with these heavy feelings through humor. Linguistically, we’ve developed a form of hyperbolic speech contrasted with minor events and appropriated entire concepts into slang like “same”. However, we can get easily overwhelmed by this constant stream and begin to cultivate unhealthy thought processes.

Just take a moment to pause yourself and think about what you see everyday. We like to think of ourselves as unaffected by propaganda compared to the normal population (It’s called the third-person effect) but the truth is that, statistically speaking, you are affected by the media. There’s a whole slew of phenomenon and theories about it, but spending hours on social media has an impact on your psychological health. I am not immune, you are not immune, your friends aren’t immune; it’s just a result of living. It’s not always a bad thing either, but it is always good to be aware of what we are reading.

When you read these jokes and are surrounded with an atmosphere that mocks existence, it can be easy to feel purposeless. However, the existence of existence is important. Some claim that it would be better to not have been born at all. If you weren’t born, after all, then you would’t feel all the pain of living. You also wouldn’t even be able to appreciate nonexistence. Because we are, because we exist, we can feel every emotion. We can feel the positive feelings as well as the negative ones. We can laugh at stupid jokes and feel idiotic for not seeing something obvious. Existence and nonexistence aren’t comparable. Existence means being able to do something and grow past the difficulties. Existence means that you have the opportunity to both screw up your life, and also to fix it.

 

 

Davison, W. (1983). “The third-person effect in communication”. Public Opinion Quarterly. 47 (1): 1–15. doi:10.1086/268763

 

Don’t starve yourself from people

For social beings who by nature need communication and contact, we have a really bad habit of isolating ourselves. We would prefer to hide behind social media, small talk, and our own self-doubts rather than try and make connections. Socialization is hard work, even for extroverts. You are a bubble of experiences, ideas, thoughts, temperament, and genetics and you meet another bubble that has all its own experiences and beliefs. Who knows if youre bubbles overlap? Trying to find similarities is frightening because people don’t always click right away.

Making friends means being vulnerable, and vulnerability is uncomfortable because it means not being able to predict the future as well. Even something as minor as revealing you love dogs: what if they hate dogs and have had traumatic experiences with them? It’s unlikely, but the more personal the topics get, the more risky it is to share them because you don’t know how they’ll react. As much as social anxiety is seen as over reacting in our culture, it’s actually not that unreasonable when you consider how socialization puts identity and sense of self at risk.

We like focusing on the ‘good stuff’, especially in American culture. We like feeling good, looking good, and being happy 100% of the time. When we talk and risk oursleves, we demand and expect payback for that socialization risk. Yet sometimes the result is awkward and embarrassing. It’s not required to be pretty and it usually isn’t  smooth at all. In fact, it can be uncomfortable and unsatisfying.  Talking to other people is hard, that’s proven by how entire college majors are dedicated to simple communication.

It’s okay to be socially awkward, everything gets better with practice. It’s okay to miscommunicate something, you’ll keep at it and they’ll eventually catch on. It’s okay to not know what to say, you’re not a mind-reader. It’s natural to have some difficulties when bridging the gap between two entirely different lives. Keep at it! Keep taking risks and communicating with people. Closing ourselves off socially is starving ourselves of a basic pyschological desire, so stay fed! It might not always seem worth it in the moment but it is in the long run.