Over this past week, I found myself playing games from my childhood and wondering why I’d ever stopped. I guess having my family together for Christmas brought on an extreme case of nostalgia, but it was much more than basic nostalgia. The old games are actually much more fun than anything available today. It’s funny that as a child all I wanted was the newest and brightest toys and games around, but as an adult I am fine with dusting off the old Nintendo or playing monopoly. Part of growing up is basically forming a state of contentment with the things you can’t change while changing the things you can, and along with that contentment comes a realization of what makes things enjoyable. When I was a child I always wanted the newer item because I thought it was better than the one I had, but these days I have realized that a shiny new paint job does not make an item better. It’s no great wonder that advertisers target children so often, it is easier to get a child to want a new item every year than it is for an adult, since most adults are accustomed to wearing the same jeans for years. I think the longing people have for the good old toys and shows of their youth is more than just nostalgia, it is the fact that the products of the past had more heart and were actually more fun than the products of today. These days everything is about glamour and pomp, but when it comes down to it, games were just more fun when nobody cared about how pretty they looked.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.
Family is definitely a gift, it is not a simple task to find a group of individuals who have the ability to understand you without much explanation, but family is that group that was made to just get you. The bond of a family can not be mistaken, as these people share more than just genetic material with you, many of our mannerisms and beliefs are forged and fostered by our family traditions. In a sense, you are literally an extension of your family, and all of your descendants will carry something that was part of those who have gone before you. There are times when I wonder about the traits that I have gotten from my great grandparents, and how my ancestors would have handled certain situations, but I know that they probably would have done similarly to me. I am a product of my past and my future descendants will be an aggregation of the gifts I have gained from my parents, and those I’ve learned on my own. I know that family members can sometimes be annoying or upsetting, but when you think about it, they are forever all you have. Family is truly a gift, and while gifts can sometimes be surprising and unexpected, they are always something to be cherished. Be thankful for the family you have, biological or otherwise, and cherish those who care for you, these people are the greatest gifts you may ever receive.
Today, I had an interview with a growing startup company in New York, and since this was not my first interview with a startup, I was able to noticed great similarities in how these companies operate. Everyone is aware of the Internet beast that is Google, and how they treat their employees, but many are unaware of just how many companies try to emulate the “culture” of Google. In a startup company, culture is everything, and that basically starts with who you are. These companies are looking to hire people who they can be friends with outside of work, as well as people who will work well with the team. Aside from culture, history is a big part of getting to know a startup, the employees of these companies have usually grown within the company and watched the company grow. Whenever I asked an interviewer about their time with the company and its changes, they seemed to answer the question with the same vigor and affection one would use when describing their childhood puppy. It is easy to see that the employees of these companies love where they work, and they are intent on making sure everyone who walks into those doors will fit into the family that they have become. I am confident that I did well in the interview, but for those who may have an upcoming interview with a startup, I will leave a few nuggets of advice. The first thing needed to ace an interview is to do your research, this should be a given with any interview, but delve a bit deeper with startup research. The HR managers are looking for someone who fits, and is capable of loving the company as much as they do, so the new hire should at least care enough to check out the company blog. The next bit of advice goes along with researching the company, and it can go a long way in your ability to nail the job, that is to know how to dress for the interview. The best advice I can give is to ask the recruiter or hiring contact what you should wear, there is really no shame in doing so, and you will usually be told to go with a corporate casual or casual look. I understand that common procedure dictates wearing a nice suit or business attire, but many managers may give negative marks for not knowing the culture of the company, purely based on clothing. The best and final advice I can give anyone applying for a startup job is to be yourself. As long as you are genuine and excited to be part of what a company is building, they will generally be glad to allow you to join their work family.
Over the past couple of days my younger brother was home to visit, so we randomly decided to attend every Yankee game of their most recent home series. The proposition of attending a sporting event is always welcomed, but the fact that I find baseball games to be quite tedious made me apprehensive to the idea of watching three games in a row. While I did have plenty of fun watching the Yankees win the first couple of games, I was quickly burnt out while sitting in the heat of the third game and I had to leave early, a decision I am thankful I made since the game went into extra innings. I love the Yankees, but I am really not as big a fan of baseball as I was when I was a child. When I go to baseball games these days, I am only interested in two things, great pitching matchups, and fantastic hitters, I am more of a fan of the individual players’ talents than I am of the actual game. In this series the pitching matchups were not very strong, but the young pitchers on the scheduled did a great job at keeping me entertained and keeping the game competitive. The Yankees and the Rays are two teams that seem to be in a rebuilding phase, so they are not the most exciting teams to watch at the moment, but the ability to get out and watch some baseball reminded me why I love the summer. The Yankees won the first two games of the series, and lost the third in a dreadful extra inning game, but all things considered it was beautiful outside and perfect weather to enjoy spending time with family and friends. With summer on the way and ticket prices relatively low, I definitely recommend a nice baseball game to anyone who interested in “catching some Sun,” and cheering on the home team.
I was or initially going to list 100 things that are most important to me for this my 100th post, but since it would be quite a feat to figure out what to put on the list, and how to rank each individual item, I have decided to go with a topic that involves on of the things that is most important to me. Today is National Siblings Day, I have never actually celebrated it, but I have several siblings and I am extremely grateful for them. I grew up in a rather large nuclear family, with an even bigger extended family, so I have experience living with and getting to know many different personality types. I have five siblings and we are all very different but strangely the same, siblings are like friends you have for life, that you can not break up with, as arguments with siblings are often petty and resolved quickly. While I was growing up, my siblings took on many roles such as, playmate, teacher, guardian, advisor, and confidant. As a younger sibling I always knew I had someone looking out for me, and as an older sibling, I know that no matter what I have to make sure the younger ones know I am always there to help. There is a bond between siblings that is not easily broken because, aside from having the highest probability of genetic similarity with these individuals, they are also the only people beside you parents, who have seen you fully grow and understand what and how you think. I will make an effort to celebrate with my siblings in some way. Today I will contact them and let them know that even when they get on my nerves, I still love them. Call you brothers and sisters today, and have a happy Siblings Day!