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.
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.”
People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
I have to start by saying nobody knows everything, but this quote still holds true in certain situations. I know that when I was a youngster, I was a bit of a “know it all,” I would confidently express my opinions on an issue without even considering the errors of my statements. As I have grown and learned to taper my expression, I am learning that it is extremely annoying when a person tries to chime in and even lead in a conversation that they clearly don’t understand. The expression “ignorance is bliss” comes to mind when I think about this quote, because when I was young and made an incorrect statement without correction, I would just continue to imagine I was an expert on topics I knew very little about. Now that I am much more knowledgeable on many topics, I generally prefer to correct those who are ignorantly expressing their “knowledge” before they go too far, but must people are not too keen on correction. In my opinion, the best stance to take in a discussion is a position of humility, it is easier to wisely chime in at points of knowledge than to foolishly trumpet ignorance. Everybody has witnessed a person unwittingly broadcasting their foolishness, and while it is never fun to be the person to correct them, the correction is always beneficial to the speaker and to everyone who has to partake in a conversation with them.
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.
Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes you never know how far you can go until you have another person pushing you. Even when you set a goal for yourself the biggest obstacle to overcome is your own doubt. In my opinion, this quote hits the nail on the head when it comes to speaking about human nature and motivation. We all have goals, hopes, and dreams, but often times we don’t know where to begin or if we can even start. We like to know that it is possible to reach our goals, that is why we speak to others about our ambitions in hopes that we will be inspired to proceed. To illustrate the importance of having outside inspiration I will refer to the job of a personal trainer, these individuals push their clients far past their “limits” in order to prove that they can do much more than expected. It is not always easy to have someone push you, but it is always more beneficial than quitting a task far too early. I understand that everyone would prefer to be self motivated, but it is important to surround yourself with people who are willing to push you harder than you thought you can go, in order to reach the higher levels that you know you deserve.
One of the greatest things I have attained from growing up in the Bronx is a great understanding of multiple different cultures. Since the United States is called a melting pot, New York City should be characterized as the area with the most flavor. Many people who have only seen the Bronx on television may not know what this borough is like, but I as a life long resident, can attest that the Bronx is much more diverse than what is shown on television. What I loved about growing up in the Bronx, was being able to meet and mingle with people of many different cultures and share our inherent similarities in peace. This weekend I was privileged enough to attended, and be a part of two weddings of a couple of friends that I have known for quite some time. The weddings I attended this weekend reminded of the diversity of the Bronx. One of the weddings was an Italian wedding, and the other wedding was a Dominican wedding. Both weddings had traditional American wedding elements, and both even shared some of the same rituals, but where they differed the most was the receptions. While I had a blast at each wedding, I was intrigued by how small differences in culture, can make a seemingly generic wedding much more unique. This weekend was emotional, fun, and very tiring, weddings are stressful events but overall they are probably one of the most awarding of life’s many achievements. I love a good wedding, and I am grateful that I was able to be part of two of them in one weekend, hopefully my wedding can be just as fun for the guests, and memorable for myself and my future bride.
Today is Labor Day, the day made to celebrate the hard work of “laborers” all over America. Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September, at a time that is perfect for anyone needing a rest from their busy summer schedule. I love having the ability to enjoy a national day off, but unfortunately there are many people who have to work on this great holiday. There are some jobs that are completely essential to running this society correctly, so I understand the idea of having them work today, but many people in non essential jobs should definitely have this day as a break. The class of job that I am referring to is the dreaded retail job. Retail work is the way of life for almost 1/4th of Americans, and this number seems to be growing exponentially. There was a time that I worked retail for a while, and I can honestly say that retail work, while it does pay, may be the thing I actually detest the most. I remember working a few retail jobs while I was in college, and just enjoying the fact that I had some spending money, but when I worked a bit of retail after graduation, I knew that it was definitely not for me. There was a time when retail work was seen as a temporary solution, or as a job for teenagers, but in this economy it has become a staple for many people and families. I understand that many need to work retail, I just wish retail companies wouldn’t exploit their employees. On this day that marks the necessity of our country’s labor force, many people have to work extended hours in order to satisfy company goals. Retail workers today are not always treated very fairly, and they have very little job security. I know that all companies are not the same, and that retail was not built to be a long term career, but I find it absurd that so little has changed in the world of retail over the years. I have never been one to call for unionization, and I don’t think retail workers should even be in a union, I just think that more changes should be made to make work more fair for retail workers. Labor Day celebrates the work of our country’s citizens, hopefully one day, retail will be more regulated to allow for better treatment of their overworked workforce.
Labor Day weekend is the unofficial last weekend of the summer. While summer actually ends on September 22nd, this weekend it is definitely the beginning of the end of summer fun. With college students already back to school, and everyone else soon to follow, everywhere you go seems much less like summer in spite of the still tepid temperatures. Many people use Labor Day weekend as a time to barbecue and spend time with family, I on the other hand like to just sit back, relax, and reflect on the summer fun that has come and gone. I know I have stated before that I don’t like extreme temperatures, hot or cold, so I really enjoy the transitional periods between New York’s most extreme seasons. As the city transforms from a tropical play land into a more mellow fall gallery, I love to remember the adventures of the summer past. This summer was quite eventful and definitely enjoyable, but somehow it always seems like it was not long enough. When I look back on the activities of summer, I realize that while they all lasted a perfect amount of time, the memory can never truly recreate the enjoyment of each moment. Memories are always great, but it is most important to make sure that each moment is given an adequate amount of time to be cherished. Summer is just about gone, hopefully everyone had an enjoyable time, and took the time to actually enjoy it since, much like summer, moments come and go, but the memory is never the same as enjoying a moment in the present.
There is something that has always bothered me about the phrase, “at least you tried.” It is the ultimate false consolation prize for failing to reach a goal. I know that it is nearly impossible to succeed at everything you attempt, but I find it far less helpful to hear those words than to hear actual encouragement after a tough loss. The thing that bothers me about the phrase is the assumption that this obstacle that was being faced is too big to actually get over. This term basically denotes the notion that one has been utterly defeated. I guess I generally dislike this term because, to me, it means you will never try again, or ever be successful in that endeavor. I understand that there are certain obstacles that we are only given one chance to overcome, but with things like that I rarely ever hear the words, “at least you tried.” I respect anybody who is working towards a goal, and if they fail, I prefer to encourage them to keep going for it, or to continue working hard to get back on track. At least you tried, is not an encouraging phrase, it is actually quite disparaging when you think about it. I know I have used this term in the past, but I am committed to remove it from my vocabulary, since encouragement is the best way to help anyone through a moment of failure.
The world needs more genuinely nice people. Yesterday, as I was riding the subway home I witnessed an act that is quite uncommon in The City. I know that many people think New Yorkers are all callous, inconsiderate people who are only concerned with getting from point a to point b, but that is not always the case. I have to admit, I too have had reservations about how tactless New Yorkers could be, but after seeing what I saw on the train, it reminded me that we are all just humans, briefly meeting as we head to our destinations. The uncommon sight that I witnessed last night was of a man helping a complete stranger keep his balance as he stood on the train with his hands full. The train wasn’t crowded, so it wasn’t out of sheer closeness that this gentleman held this individual up, this guy actually stuck his arm out to hold the other up as the train sped, and rocked back and forth. I know a sight like this isn’t especially noteworthy, but considering the standard train interactions that I have witnessed over my many years riding the subway, this was a very welcomed change of pace. It is not hard to be helpful, but many people make it seem like a chore. When I think about this planet and about all of its inhabitants, I realize that we are best served by working together, rather than squabbling or keeping to ourselves. It all comes down to understanding the significance of a single life. I am glad that I witness this act of kindness, and I hope to see many more like it in New York. When we, as a species, can start to look at everybody as a single significant person, and not as another annoyance, I’m sure this city, this country, and even this planet will be a much more enjoyable place to live for all.