the joy of an okay day

We aren’t sure yet what tomorrow will bring. We have our best guesses, context clues, and past experiences to rely off of. Yet, these things are not inherently accurate. We could be thrown for a loop! However, for better or worse, tomorrow will probably be ordinary. And you know the most amazing thing? That’s okay. Your day doesn’t have to be spectacularly good or bad.

Perhaps the worst part of life is the uncertainty, and yet we must live with it. We don’t know what sort of day it will be, or what sort of day the next day will be either! While it would be nice to have everything planned out perfectly, many times, it’s out of our hands. We have to wait and see what comes. We need to be patient with both ourselves and others because people don’t change overnight! Rather, they are constantly growing.

Even if it’s an ordinary day, “ordinary” doesn’t automatically translate to bland. We should absolutely work hard and try to make the most out of what we are given! Yet we also need to remember that making the most out of our days doesn’t have to be flashy. If we focus on the little things, we can be more grateful. If we can be more grateful, ordinary becomes something special all on it’s own. So enjoy a warm blanket! Enjoy stretching! Enjoy shoes that fit well! Even if its cold, enjoy how it wakes you up! You don’t have to love everything, but rather as much as you can.

poof! there goes my pride

It’s practically magical how you never seem to realize how prideful you are until you see other people with the same problem. You think you must absolutely, 100% be right! And then poof! You see how much you’ve been building yourself up when you could have been more respectful and ready to learn. It’s like stubbing your toe, except the thing that suffers isn’t an extremity but a core part of your self-esteem.

The fact is, as much as we like to think of ourselves as objective viewers of our lives, we aren’t. We have emotions and experiences that add filters of meaning upon what we see. The same situation could make two people react in vastly different ways! It’s our culture, our habits, our hobbies, our values: it’s us. When we are forced to take a step back, it hurts because it makes us question the rest of the experiences we had overlooked. We begin to doubt ourselves and can become entangled in a mess of emotions.

We need confidence in ourselves. We need to have that positivity bias that encourages us to take risks. We need to be able to do our own thing and be autonomous. Especially in American culture, that individualism is so critical to our way of life and the ways we tend to think. However! There’s a reason we stub our metaphorical toe. It’s a helpful reminder that we need to listen. It keeps us centered around that important detail of life: we aren’t always right. As horrible and embarrassing as it is, we mess up. We make mistake after mistake. However, what we can also do is work through that and use those mistakes to grow into better people. Shattered pride can hurt, but it will heal and hopefully can be remade to something less inflated. It’s something we all go through! And it’s something we can all learn from.

romantic love isn’t the only kind of love

Valentine’s Day is a corporate holiday. It was made to make money by selling chocolates and heart cards and stuffed bears holding heart cards or chocolates. The trope is to have some romantic time with candles and express your love for the “special person” in your life. The thing is, when they say “special person”, they usually always imply it to be a girlfriend or boyfriend. If we take Valentine’s Day and the abstract concept of love out of the frills however, who says that special person has to be someone you’re romantically involved with?

Love comes in all shapes and sizes, that’s clear if you’ve watched enough Disney movies. Still, we tend to fixate on romantic relationships because we’re the sort of creatures who like lifelong partners. Familial relationships and friendships usually don’t become as close as a romantic couple might become, at least in the West. What we need is support emotionally, and oftentimes that role is played by a romantic partner. Valentine’s Day is thus important for those relationships because it reaffirms, “Yeah, we do the boring routine stuff, but while you know I love you, let me remind you how much I genuinely like you and your company”.

HOWEVER, there is a huge missing element there. Just because Valentine’s Day is traditionally for romantic partners doesn’t mean you have to follow tradition. It’s designed to get you to appreciate those closest, and those closest aren’t always involved with you romantically. And that’s okay! Actually, most couples have anniversaries and so they already have a designated time to adore each other. On birthdays, an individual get crowded with friends and family. Valentine’s Day could offer a time to celebrate those individual friendships that get left out of the celebration loop!

In any case, even if you think you have no one special, you can always show appreciation and love for those around it. Love is not monopolized by romantic relationships, and seeing it like that will only limit the beauty of your life. We are never alone, so let’s thank those who have supported us, who have been with us! It matters. Stuffed bears and plastic hearts? Eh. Maybe not so much.

the long haul

“Love at first sight” isn’t real because love means putting others first, sacrificing and compromising selflessly, and we aren’t prone to giving up important things for pretty strangers just because of something that could be there. Faith, trust, love, paitence– some of the greatest virtues human kind has are things that are built. Many times we make lots of snap judgements and live our lives operating on those initial intuitions . However, the things that drive us to be greater than our selfish-selves, they have more substance. If we want to become better people, we need to give ourselves more practice.

Change is a long-term project. Becoming our greatest self, fulfilling our potential, these are goals that take the rest of our lives. The reason they take the rest of our lives is because each day holds the capability of making us just a tad more kind, more loving, more paying, more wise, etc. The change is real and beautiful, but it’s really hard to see when you’re staring at the progress from two inches away. We have to step back and look at our lives as a work of art, with each addition bringing it closer to fruition.

However, it would be a mistake to think that just because we are growing, we aren’t worth anything right now. It is wonderful and good to have goals, it is fantastic and beautiful to work to see them come true! Yet, trying to attack life like a perfectionist who isn’t done-just-yet will also leave you completely frustrated. Change is a long term project, we build up to amazing heights each day, but wanting success in the future doesn’t mean you are a failure right now; it means that haven’t succeeded your goal yet. It means that while we are messed up right now, the process of growing is as valuable as the end goal. So keep going.

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.

today is your Rubber Soul

The Beatles are the most influential band ever. There have been other, very important, very famous individuals, and individuals who weren’t famous enough, but The Beatles blow them all away. They managed to change the face of rock, change what music could even be! Yet my personal favorite Beatles album isn’t the marvelous Abbey Road, but Rubber Soul.

Rubber Soul was a defining moment in Beatles history. Before, they had been mimicking the rest of the bands at the time, wearing matching uniforms, bowing in unison, and sounding fun but shallow. Rubber Soul began the major experimentation and play with how they sounded. They had managed to cause mass, hysterical love all over the world of their music, and here they decided to start creating things that were sometimes weird. They began messing with the technology of sound and taking risks, doing things people hadn’t really delved into before.

When something works, we want to stick with it. It’s safe, it is an algorithm we begin to depend on. Why fix what isn’t broken? But at the same time, nothing stays the same. Everything moves and changes beyond our control. Yet through that whirlwind of change, what we are challenged to do is grow. Each day we are given the opportunity to either become one-hit wonders, who cling onto old trends and let things pass them by, or take risks and begin something history-altering. The past is past. Rubber Soul isn’t the best Beatles album, but they needed that experimentation to create the amazing things they did later on.

from love to life

People genuinely love different things, it’s truly a fascinating thing. A conversation about cells can either be thrilling or utterly boring, depending on the person. Furthermore, so are talents; an athletic person might actually desire to go out and commit exercise? It’s stunning, frankly.

And yet there is this argument within ourselves: do we pursue what’s easy and fun for us or what’s challenging and grow? There’s a philosophy that if you do what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. However, not everyone has a passion that directly translates into money, and even if it could translate into money, that person might value a more safe option. It’s great to have a purpose and mission, but if you only want to work a dream job, you’ll most likely find yourself poor and out of luck. There has to be a balance between what we love, what we value, and reality.

Humans are lazy. There’s a reason sloth is included in the seven deadly sins; we like to do nothing! I think in our hearts, we know when we are giving up too easily. We need to fill our days with something that has meaning to us, that hopefully is enjoyable and fun. However, we need to pick among the activities we enjoy and pick the ones with “meat”, the ones that we can do a lot with and will impact our lives for the better. We should pick though. We should pick what we want to accomplish in a concrete manner and actually commit to achieving them. Pick something you love, that challenging, meaty thing, and go for it! You’ve got this.

What does your face look like?

We only see the mirror view of ourselves. Others get to see all angles of our faces, but we are limited in seeing how we really look on a daily basis. That’s why seeing a video of yourself is such a peculiar event; you are suddenly the onlooker of your own actions. But what is it like for a stranger? What parts of you are most salient? What aspect of your face do people focus on?  It’s important to think about because perspective because we get really caught up in our own heads sometimes.

The fact is, we dwell on certain things. We get bored and start thinking about tasks that aren’t necessary for survival like the humans we are. However it also means that when anything occurs, we are looking through a subjective lens. The faults we see may not be obvious to other people. The beautiful parts we see might also be hidden. We are used to our own standard of features, people, places, emotions, and we compare everything to it,  but it remains an unquantifiable bar. 

All of this is just to say that it’s easy to forget that not everyone has had the same experiences. Not everyone sees what you see. To some people, our noses might be the first thing they think about. To others it might be our forehead or chin. When frustrations arise, try to look on as an outsider. Try to bend your mind. You don’t have to agree, just get out of your own head for a little bit and you’ll find that it shows the other person a great deal of respect.

Make music but make friends first

As physics has progressed as a field, we’ve gradually realized that basically everything is made of waves. Light, gravity, even physical objects are frequencies in some aspect. So actually, it makes sense that sound waves connect to us, because that’s the nature of our reality. Somehow mixes of rhythms and notes with a variety of volumes can speak volumes to our sense of self. Music is the closest thing we have to magic, and it can be absolutely amazing. The focus word there is “can”. If you’ve ever heard any normal children’s choir, you can attest that not everyone can reach the level of magic through music. 

What’s even more amazing is the parents somehow seeing past the horrid screeching at looking at their child with pride. Here you have something that can move people to tears, inspire billions, convince people to give up higher paying jobs, and instead it’s a wreck. But it doesn’t matter because it’s parents caring about what their children do.

Music is incredibly important, in so many ways. Yet it’s power depends on making us feel connected to other people. Songs are great because the emotions it gives you make you feel less alone in feeling them. As to say, music is great because it means that people have felt the same way you have. We need people. We need annoying people to remind us that patience is a virtue. We need beautiful friends to encourage us. We need authority to keep order and challenge when corrupt. There are lots of marvelous things, topics to delve into and analyze, but we should never forget that things aren’t as important as our relationships with others. 

“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