What a difference a year can make. About a year ago, I decided to write a blog post daily. While it has not always been easy to think up topics, I have definitely learned and expanded my interests during this exercise. I am not sure if I will continue this blog next year or start a new one, but I will definitely continue writing. Often times people wonder about tomorrow, but they never actually think about how long it takes to actually get to tomorrow. Our days can be broken down into hours, minutes, and seconds, and with each second we have a chance to make a change that we want to see for tomorrow. In order to make the future we want to see tomorrow, we must take a minute to begin working on the hour that will become the day of tomorrow. Each day of this year, as short as they seemed, added up to make the year that we are currently ending. As I look back on this year, I can see plans that blossomed well and others that fizzled out, and I have realized that the only difference between the two is the time that was put into preparation and execution. The plans that turned out well were well prepared and the others were thrown together foolishly. In the year 2016, I am going to make sure that I use the time that I have much more wisely, every second counts and I will treat every second like a fraction of my day rather than time to be wasted. This year went by quickly, as does every year, but that is no reason to let another second pass on working towards your goals and dreams. I am excited for this new year, not because it is new, but because I get another year to grow and improve the world that I live in. Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for reading along throughout the year.
Today is Christmas Eve, and as I think about this day I often remember the old poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas. The poem is about Santa’s arrival at the home of a child on the night before Christmas. A Visit from St. Nicholas is an extremely charming poem, however I often wonder how it is possible for children to still believe in Santa Claus. With all of the technology available today, I find it odd that kids are not as jaded as their teen counterparts, but many of them still believe in good old Santa. When I was a kid I never had a chance to believe in Santa Claus, because I had older siblings who didn’t allow for much childishness, and also I may have been too clever to think an old man would climb into my window to give me gifts on Christmas. These days, more and more people seem to be against telling their kids about Santa Claus, and while I am not generally in favor of kids believing in Santa, I feel like part of childhood should be exploring and figuring things out. I don’t plan to tell my future children that Santa exists, but if they want to believe he does, I would rather not tarnish their beliefs unless it is completely necessary. When I think about Christmas, I don’t think about presents, or about a jolly old man spreading joy, Christmas is a time to spread the joy of the life we have been given to those who feel they have no reason to be joyful. Try to be nice this Christmas, it isn’t about getting the last toy or pie on the shelf, tell everyone you see Merry Christmas, you would be surprised by how much those simple words mean to a person who is down. Merry Christmas everyone.
I love the Christmas season, and that surprisingly hasn’t changed since my post elementary school adulthood has kicked in. As a child I believed that the best thing about Christmas was a combination of gifts and time off from school, but as an adult I have seen that there is much more to this holiday season. There are millions of reasons to enjoy the holidays but I will keep this post to my top 5 favorite things about Christmas and the holiday season in general.
Christmas Carols – I love those tunes, some of them can be a bit sketchy and all of them are quite dated, but I love having them blasting from my computer or radio. I especially enjoy modern versions of old classics that are done in a sensible fashion.
Christmas Cartoons – I know that I am an adult, but I will never stop watching my favorite Christmas cartoons. I particularly enjoy The Little Drummer Boy and Frosty the Snowman, since they remind me of my childhood and of all things Christmas. I know that some may categorize television Christmas specials with the cartoons, but I can’t stand cheesy and often disconnected holiday episodes of tv shows.
Holiday Light Displays – I love a great lighting display, one of my favorite things about this season is just driving around on a cool winter evening and checking out some of the lighting displays of my neighbors and of the city.
Christmas food – I love holiday foods but I especially love Christmas themed cakes, cookies, snacks, and meals. The holidays are a time when many people put on extra weight, and with all of these amazing treats available, I’m sure there will be several new members to each gym once the new year rolls around.
Family Time – As we grow older and move away from our families and homes, the holidays become much more important for catching up with family and old friends. Family is extremely important, I love that at least once in a year, I have a chance to reconnect in person with loved ones that I no longer see on a daily basis.
As I said before, there are millions of reasons to enjoy the holidays, and even if these reasons don’t appeal to you, I’m sure everyone can find something to brighten these winter nights. If it is possible, try volunteering during the holidays, it is an extremely rewarding to give to those who are in need of some help and to brighten the holidays for all.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
― Lao Tzu
Professing your love for someone is definitely a courageous action, it takes all of your resolve to be able to lay your heart on the line in hopes that the feelings you have will be reciprocated. It is no easier to profess your love in a wedding setting, as now you have the pressure of the festivities to worry about as well. I have been to three weddings already this year, and this year of weddings will finally come to its conclusion today as I will attend my fourth of the year as a guest. Throughout all of the weddings I have attended, as different as they have been, the one commonality is the love the bride and groom have shared. The new families I have watched forming fully exemplify the words of this quote, they are both strengthened by their love, and given the courage to profess it in front of friends and family. Every one of the couples were different, and some seemed more nervous than others, but all of them were able to show how much they care for their new spouse. I know love can be shown in situations other than in marriage, but being a part of seeing something new form is an incredible experience. I wish all the love and favor to these wonderful marriages, may they be fruitful and everlasting.
Racism is a belief that all people of a certain ethnicity fall into the same role, or are essentially the same. Racist people usually have negative beliefs about those who are different from them, and they allow their lives to revolve around that false belief as truth. It is sad to realize and hard to believe for some, but racism is heavily engrained into society today, it doesn’t really matter where or how but there seems to be no escape from the occasional run in with racism. I can admit that growing up as a child and even as an adult I have encountered racism, but I have never allowed it to have any type of lasting or even poignant effect on my life. In the grand scope of things racism is pretty insignificant, if someone can generalize an entire group based on a false belief, then they are not worth the time it takes to deal with their problems. Not to say that racism can’t be at times hurtful, but I have grown to treat it as the foolishness that it is, you don’t feed foolishness, you ignore it or treat it as it deserves to be treated. It is far too often often these days that people seem to take two extremely polarizing stances on racism, they either think it doesn’t exist, or they think it controls everything, but it is rare that people understand that it is there and actually take time to get around it. I understand that in some places on this planet, racism is so bad that it can be almost debilitating, but I am confident that there is always a way to free yourself from the confines of a terrible situation or belief. It is sad that in the age we live, people still hold on to such foolish beliefs about others, but I am sure that someday soon racism will be a thing of the past.
Younger siblings are great, as kids they are playmates and living action figures, but as adults they can be somewhat annoying at times. I am speaking as a middle child, I know how it feels to be a younger sibling as well as an older one. I don’t necessarily hang out with my older siblings often, but when I am around them I kind of expect them to give me stuff, or pay for me, and as an older sibling I don’t mind doing any of that for the younger ones. It is almost as if we are conditioned to always treat the “babies” like babies even when they are older and doing pretty well for themselves. As a younger sibling, I respect the older ones and use them as a reference, I remember their mistakes and I ask them for advice, even though I rarely heed their advice. I am sure my younger siblings don’t listen to me either, but it is always a treat when they ask me for advice so I can see how their situation ends up when they ignore it. Older siblings can be seen as extra parents who often happen to be more lenient, you can speak to them about more than you feel you can speak to a parent about, and you can expect a more practical approach to life’s many issues. A younger sibling is like a “practice child,” it is almost as if you have a hand in raising them, but are less liable for the mistakes they make. I have the joy of being a middle child, and while there are many negative things said about this birth position, I am happy that I have a chance to take a step back and interact with my family in the many complex ways that are only possible when you are born in the middle.
It has been 107 years since the Chicago Cubs last won a World Series Championship, and despite the team’s persistent futility, they always seem to have enough fans willing to root them on year after year. The Chicago Cubs have the longest drought between championships that any active professional team has ever seen, and whether it is by a curse, by error, or by act of fan, this team has managed to lose in seven World Series since their last. I am a Yankee fan, and I am relatively young, so I honestly don’t know what it feels like to go more than ten years between championships, but I can imagine that Cubs fans are elated to see that their team is literally eight games away from finally winning once again. The Cubs are quite possibly the hottest team in baseball at the moment, I know there are only four teams left, and that all four are playing incredibly inspired baseball, but the Cubs have one thing that all of the other team’s lack, and that is a “mad genius” manager in Joe Madden. Madden has seemed to find a way to galvanize this young and talented Cubs team to a level that has them believing they are not just capable of winning it all, but also into believing that whoever wants to win must go through them. Aside from the talent on the field, the Cubs also now have the general manager who was responsible for breaking the 86 year “curse” on the Red Sox and bringing them a World Series title so I would say history is on their side. If all of the facts about the Cubs don’t quite make the case for their possible World Series Championship, we also have the fact that the movie Back to the Future II predicted that they would finally win it all in this, the year 2015. I am fully on the bandwagon of the Cubs, they are a fun team to watch and a talented bunch. I would be glad to see the misery end in Chicago, and a World Series Championship trophy raised high in the north side of the Windy City.
To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.
-Thomas A. Edison
Thomas Edison was a brilliant inventor back in the late 1800s and the early 1900s. Some of Edison’s greatest inventions include the incandescent light bulb, the movie camera, and the telegraph. In this quote Thomas Edison discuses the simplicity of his invention, he has an idea in mind and he puts the products at his disposal to use. I’m sure he is not using actual junk, but every component to any invention by itself can generally be considered junk. Thomas Edison is an example of true ingenuity, he thought of things that never existed and in spite of his failures, continued to work until his ideas were a reality. Edison is an inspiration, he had many failed inventions in his life, but he never let them define his legacy. When we look back on the life and works of Thomas Edison we never think about the times he failed, we only talk about his many accomplishments. I hope to be able to look back at my own life one day and gladly reminisce on my successes, while completely disregarding my failures. We all have failures, but I like to say, “don’t let your failures derail you, they are meant to be building blocks to success not stumbling blocks.”
A birthday is that wonderful day that comes once a year, a day that we have been conditioned to feel prideful for our successful completion of another year of life. I love birthdays, they are a day in the year in which you can make a complete stranger feel important by simply wishing them a happy birthday. Today is my birthday, and while this year has not quite lived up to my expectations, I am extremely grateful for the life that I have, and that I get to enjoy another year. Birthdays are a great time to celebrate with family and friends, but sometimes birthdays make us start thinking of the many tasks we have set for ourselves to compete by a certain age. I have to admit, I am nowhere near where I thought I would be 10 years ago, but I have experienced and grown far more than I would have ever imagined. It is useless to sit and think if the “should have beens” in life because there are too many variables to our existence, and we can not change the past. Each new year gives new chances to set new goals and complete old ones, this year I am going to make sure that I leave no stone unturned as I march on to my goals and approach my next birthday. It feels good to be a year older, I am going to relax today and prepare for the inevitable celebrations of tonight.
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.- Atticus Finch
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird was one of my favorite books as a child, it was a story of courage in the face of stark opposition. In this quote from the book, Atticus, one of the books protagonists, is explaining his definition of true courage. While I fully agree with the quote, I consider courage to be more than just continuing when the odds are stacked against you. Courage is pressing on in spite of uncertainty, courage is standing firm for your beliefs or convictions no matter who is coming against you. Courage is more than just fighting when you feel you are beaten, courage is fighting to win even when you are outnumbered. I am inspired to write this post today because my younger brother is currently in the hospital fighting courageously against an illness that I know he will defeat. It is never easy seeing a loved one go through pain, but I know by the grace of God, that he will be fully healed of his sickness. I dedicate this post to every person who ever has or ever will fight against an illness. As long as you are willing to fight, you will get better, just be courageous and never give up.