delays and de-lazy

I apologize for the delay in posts, I had a draft that I forgot to publish two days ago. That in and of itself is a bit symbolic for how my head has been. I’m lucky enough to be so supported by a good circle of family and friends, but my mind has been struggling to focus. The issue is that I have a significant amount of work that I need to do.

So here is my advice on the topic: get back up. Even if you’re late responding to an email, respond. Even if you’re late to class, still show up. If you made mistakes, if you couldn’t get the things done you wanted to, jump back in. Do what you can.

“Do what you can”, is incredibly vague. I realize that. Some things we can physically do, but we really shouldn’t or we’ll screw ourselves over in the future. In the most technical semantic sense, you probably could kill someone (it’s what you can do), but that doesn’t mean you should.

When I mutter to myself, “Do what you can”, I’m referring to those specific tasks on my to-do list. Aim for accomplishing as much as the list as possible, and by the end of the day, try to be okay with the fact you only were able to accomplish half.

Some days we are more productive than others. I’m beginning to learn this, although the trick is learning how to be consistently on top of your productivity game.

Some of those tricks include sleeping well, eating well, and staying consistent with your schedule. You can live a fun, novel, and flexible life while still going to bed at 11pm and waking up at 7am. You can enjoy the deliciousness of a good meal while remaining relatively healthy.

Structure isn’t the enemy. When it comes to being free to live your life, there is a certain level of limitation that actually serves us. Limiting our intake of alcohol, decadent food, media, etc., are all ways that improve our ability to be happy and available to do many things.

The issue with structure is that it’s sometimes difficult to implement in our own lives. Sleeping in feels great, even if it ruins the rest of your day.

Furthermore, there are some mistakes we can’t avoid making. Sometimes you forget to publish your post, for example, and there comes a shame because you failed yourself. We wake up late. We miss important emails. The random errors of life will always complicate things.

But so what if it’s difficult? Everything is difficult. The choice is what kind of problems we face for the outcome we want. Again, if you miss the email, respond anyways. If you make a mistake, try to fix it. Misery is comfortable at times, so make yourself uncomfortable.

spacetime is bread and sensation can be surprisingly scary

Sensation is an interesting experience, partly because it’s one of our only experiences. If we want to, we can become aware of our entire body. We can become aware of the noises occurring around us. Our skin, our eyes, it can feel the temperature of the air around us, in different waves. Spacetime is such an incredible concept because the more we think about temporality and spatial reality as a giant loaf that encompasses our existence, the more we think of ourselves as a point in that amorphous blob.

Awareness of sensation is so revolutionary for the mind to experience because it forces us to flip our orientation: we are not the center of the universe. We are a part in a much greater whole. People can differ on what sort of whole it is, or the medium in which it exists, but besides the solipsists, most people agree that we are not the only thing that exists. As terrifying as this may be, it can also be comforting.

If you mess up, life will go on. If you’re awkward and fumble in a social situation, the people you fumble in front of will probably forget about it within the next five minutes. No one obsesses at night about someone else’s social faux pas, they obsess about their own. For most individuals, other people will generally respect you and not wish ill upon you. If someone is unusually cruel and prejudiced based upon your basic attributes (things that you can’t change or don’t have an influence on the kind of person you are, morally), their judgment is irrational.

Generally, people don’t care. It’s the default. However, the actions you take have an influence on others, and you can make people care. You are here right now. Your decisions are your own. We make mistakes and then we try to fix them and avoid doing the same in the future. You are here right now, and you, this point in spacetime, are pretty amazing.

working with other people

Humans typically operate in families and/or groups of friends is because we don’t like be alone. We also tend to group up because we have flaws as individuals that lead us to be less than what we’d like. There is always something that you as an individual will fail in, but in the right group, that failing won’t matter.

We balance each other out. Emotional people may end up wasting their energy fruitlessly, but people who rely on logic may be too hesistant to give tasks their all. We need both the emotional motivation and the clear logical plan. Or, perhaps you can’t provide support creatively, but you have the will and ability to carry tasks out to their completion. Or maybe you can help others emotionally and give good advice, but you’re out of your comfort zone when people talk about the technical details. Each of our strengths and weaknesses, they mean something. Like puzzle pieces, when we work together, we don’t all have to be brilliant at everything. All we need is to give what we can to help things run smoothly.

No one is perfect. No one is a genius in all areas without suffering in something. There is a cost to the actions we take throughout our lives and the subsequent skills we gain because no matter what we do, we could always be doing something else. Yet, that’s okay! We each have our groups: our work, our families, our friends. We may be on our own for certain bits of our lives, but those periods of time are often short. For all of our weaknesses, we each have our strengths to offer.

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.

to Gen Z

Technology has such a psychological impact on us because we can compare so much information and so many people consistently and constantly. No matter how fast you go, someone is faster. No matter how smart you are, someone is more intelligent. No matter how hardworking you are, someone else is doing more. But it doesn’t end there! the expectation has shifted so that the pressure is on to be the most intelligent, athletic, social, and hardworking individual all at once. Or at least, that’s what the pressure feels like and seems to say.

The other half of the pressure is the force to become your own individual, to have clear characteristics and quirks, as long as they within some acceptable range. It’s bland to be uncertain. We want to be able to quantify our traits, in order to feel like we have traits to begin with. The problem arises because we aren’t going to react the same in every situation. The mood, the environment, how much sleep we’ve gotten, our health, etc., to say we are one thing a near blatant lie.

Overall, both of these pressures turn into an assumption that we need to be figured out.  Whoever we are, we need to be established, going for gold in all areas of our lives. The problem is, we aren’t. Age is a factor, but it’s not a defining one: our identities are dynamic things. They flow, they change, they develop into new and beautiful patterns. So we aren’t going to be amazing at everything. We are going to mess up, and we are going to be lazy. We might very well be living train wrecks, but the important thing is that we are alive. Even if the progress doesn’t seem fast enough, we’re moving forward anyways. We’re pushing through and learning more about ourselves. Sometimes we’ll have to make new labels and new boxes, and that’s okay! It’s okay to be uncertain.

 

stuff those feelings back where they came from, or so help me-!

Logically, you can know that A is A, and B is B. In your head, you know certain facts and can truly believe them. Reason can tell you it wasn’t your fault, or that it doesn’t matter. However, sometimes the emotions don’t fit. We want to move on and yet our hearts don’t want to go along with it.

Emotions are hard to handle. They surround us in a medium of our existence. They guide us more than we would sometimes like to admit. However, a basic part of being a human is dealing with and expressing feelings. When we don’t talk about how we feel, it tends to get clogged up inside of us. Making a habit of stuffing things down inside of us makes us get stuck on what to say when we really do need to express ourselves. Communication is a skill after all! And practice is the key to any skill. Not dealing with emotions is like being an emotional couch-potato: very unhealthy in the long run.

Even we know what we need to do logically, we can still get stuck on the feeling parts of things. Ignoring the emotions or trying to kill them off somehow doesn’t fix things; if anything, it makes them stronger. Instead, if we want to move past things, we need to face them. We need to admit to ourselves our faults and our current state of mind. It’s hard, and it’s not easy to even know what to do once you’ve acknowledged it. Still, it’s a necessary step to moving past things.

read this if you’ve had a horrible day

In our worst moments, it’s easy to get caught up in yourself and your own problems. If there’s something horrible happening to you, it seems massive after all! It takes up your time and energy, and consumes your day. However, one of the wisest courses of action we can take is trying to back away from it all for a moment. As surprising and unfortunate as it is, an individual human is not the center of the universe, and if all we happen to know about the cosmos is wrong, it’s at least not you.

Other people suffer. This can sometimes be taken as discouraging, since it tends to indicate, “Other people are worse off, therefore you don’t have a right to be upset or hurt.” That’s not necessarily true. The fact is, everyone struggles, and this is beautiful solely because it means you’re not alone. In the most challenging times, we come together as humans, not seperate and bicker about whose situation is worse. The reason is because the distinctions are not that important at a certain level.

Some people suffer worse than you. This is a fact. But that doesn’t mean you can’t feel pain or be upset. What we can learn from others, however, is that our situations are survivable. Even in the most terrifying circumstances, we can grow and we can live. Everything can still be overwhelming! So make connections, and standing together, it’ll be easier to see how big the problem is compared to the rest of life.

picking a reasonable amount of battles

To Do lists are helpful for keeping yourself organized and directing your priorities. The problem is that it always seems impossible to get everything on them done! Even if you make a list with seventeen items and cross all seventeen off, as soon as you lay down your head, there’s the other task you forgot, bothering you before you go to sleep.

One of the strange parts of life is that we sometimes don’t see the opportunities given to us. Even stranger, it can be even more overwhelming to have too many opportunities. In one situation, you feel like there’s no way out, you’re stagnant m. In the other, it feels like you can’t split yourself into enough people to get it all done. By virtue of our limited energy and time, we can only do so much. Therefore, we have to pick a few things we really care about. For some, this selection is harder than others; what if you don’t know what you want to do? What if you want to keep your options open? What happens if you end up hating it and waste all this time?

Forcing yourself to do everything will make you miserable. You’ll be exhausted and end up hating all the things you are doing because they are what’s draining you. Even if you somehow managed to handle all seventeen seperate parts of your life, it would still be infuriating because you couldn’t give everything to every part. It is far better to commit yourself to something. You don’t even have to adore this thing, just like it enough to want to genuinely continue doing it. If you made the wrong choice, give yourself at least a month to make sure it really was the wrong choice. “Keeping your options open” sounds nice, but realistically, it means not putting in the effort that big goals require. Your options are open. If you are truly unsure about where to go, just go someplace! If it turns out to be a “wrong” turn, you can still learn and grow from that place. Life seems to offer either too many opportunities or nothing at all. All that you can do is whatever you can. Sometimes you have to make your own option, and that’s okay. Just cut down those To Do lists down to size and remind yourself that you’re doing your best. It is far better to do a little something every day, considering you can’t binge-study for every aspect of life.

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.

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.