Growing older, an unavoidable occurrence which we must all face. Is it to be feared, welcomed, or avoided? Perhaps none of these truly describe the deep feelings associated with aging. For it is something that everyone must accept, from a toddler turning into a teenager, or someone celebrating their 90th birthday. Does each year have the same significance as the one prior, or are there really certain birthdays that matter more than others?
The answers to these questions remain somewhat unclear to me- a recently turned 19 year old. In some ways I have been very excited about the additional responsibilities I carry. But there is also the part of me that thinks fondly of simpler times when I was younger. Most people describe being younger as “simpler times” and I can’t disagree. Our main worries, for the majority of us, were things like what was for dinner that night, what game we were going to play next, etc. And I loved that. But then I started thinking to myself- that hasn’t changed a whole lot for me. Sure, I have more aspects of life that take up my time now, but I haven’t lost that childhood spirit. I still look forward to life’s next adventure and now those adventures are on an even larger scale. Maybe a road trip across country with friends, moving into my own place, choosing the paths I will follow in life. It’s these thoughts that made me realize growing older doesn’t have to be a nuisance.
I really believe that my thoughts on aging can be applied to someone of any age, not just a teenager becoming an adult. The “next adventure” is just something different at each stage of life. What is there to be ashamed of in being at the age where you can pass on wisdom to those who are younger? Or share your thoughts and ideas with the world after gaining experience simply through living. Aging only makes us experts in the knowledge of what life has to offer. The old adage “age is just a number” is true beyond belief! Time, when referring to years and hours and months and days, is all basically made up anyway. We could have said a day is when the Earth rotates one and a half times around its axis. Or that a year is when a certain comet passes by. So yes, we do grow older, but if time in this sense is made up anyway, why not think of age in your own terms. In other words, you are as old as you consider yourself to be. And your answer shouldn’t be based on appearance, but rather how young you feel in your spirit, your being, and your mind.
We do not know what comes after death, and those who say they do are only certain in their own beliefs. I say death is not to be dismayed. For we do not really know what all death is. Could it be that dying is only the act of our spirit, our essence as a being, outgrowing our body here on Earth? I do not know, nor do I claim to know, what exactly happens when we pass away. But I am certain that there is more to it than many think, and that it should just be left to happen when it happens. Think of it occasionally when your mind drifts, for it is almost unavoidable to never have the thought of dying pass through your head. And then just go on living and living- the way YOU feel inside.
Starting something new and possibly time consuming can be hard to do. It’s easy to dream and think about how great things would be if you could do this or that. But when it comes to actually doing “this or that” we usually don’t even give ourselves a chance.
What keeps us from trying out something new? I don’t believe in most cases it is fear. Or if it is based around fear, it’s the fear of wasting time and not being successful. But simply by not trying- you are guaranteeing that you won’t be successful! You are certainly saving yourself from wasting time if you never start. However, what if starting is actually not wasting time, and continuing to do what you always do is the bigger waste of time? I think the latter.
Thoughts of starting new businesses, investing in stocks, writing books and blog posts fill my head on a daily basis. I seem to have this sense inside of me that “Oh yeah I’ll do something that’ll make me really wealthy one day.” But it’s this thought that used to trap me. For if I always tell myself one day things will just magically work out for me- someday I’ll have lost all the opportunity to actually do the thing that makes me successful. So, while it is important to be confident in your future success, you can’t just keep the idea of success in the back of your mind. Tell yourself, “Today I’m going to start that one thing I always think about.”
Let’s say you do try that something out, and it just so happens it was a total failure. Well what did you really waste? Maybe a couple months, but not the entirety of those months because it’s unlikely you dropped everything just to try out your idea. (P.S. I do not recommend dropping everything to try out your ideas- keep them on the side at first and allow them to grow.) And you learned from your failures, so now you can either improve upon your last idea, or come up with something entirely different. It’s even okay to take some time off your new ideas for a little while in between. Get back to your regular schedule for a couple of months and then give it another go. I’ll put money on the fact that you’ll be drawn back to trying out your ideas, because it is really exciting.
Doing work that we can be excited about is truly the end goal of any occupation. If we are doing something we even somewhat enjoy and are making enough money to get the material things in life we want, then we can be truly satisfied with our line of work. Don’t wait any longer- go out and give it a try, because you’ll either learn something or you’ll become successful. And I don’t see anything wrong with either of those outcomes.
It is far to easy to find ourselves tired of the routines of life. Our minds gradually grow accustomed to the negative reactions we have associated with our day to day activities. I have found but one true solution.
We must seek out positive interaction. When you think about it, doesn’t your day brighten up when you find yourself having a positive interaction with another person? And maybe that good feeling continues for a few minutes after the interaction. And then you think back about how awesome it was to feel that way purely from the existence of another person who shared some joy with you that day. By the time all of this interaction wears off, usually you can have found or created yet another positive interaction.
So why not go out and be the person who creates positive interaction for other people? You know, from past experience, that the interaction will benefit you just as much. As my arguments often have come to this same conclusion, it still holds true- there is no downside. The simplest of scenarios can make another person go off on the rest of their day with a much better outlook. Making conversation with the cashier at the groceries, shaking the hand of someone new you just met, it can be almost anything! The benefits come from the very interaction in itself.
Give what you seek- perhaps the favor will be returned.
All to me, all to mine
The Earth with sun and moon divine.
From heavens fall gifts but of what we know not
Only in our heads, our prayers begot.
Wind whispers in anxiousness-
to our excavation of lands.
Telling the sea and the mother of our wondrous plans,
To fill this planet with people, up to the brim
whilst nature takes to hide in the ever growing dim.
We must appreciate the true wonderments of mother earth,
she remain forever our sacred center hearth.
No more will waste be found in the seas,
wind no longer carrying disease.
The people are happy, the earth has recovered.
The earth, one woman, our sacred mother.
Being a long-time sufferer of procrastination, I’m here to show you how I’ve (mostly) overcome it.
High school was when I procrastinated the most. I would almost never, and I mean like pretty much never, study for any tests or exams. I wouldn’t study at all. And if I felt like I needed to, the studying would consist of about ten minutes the night before or the day of. But that’s because I felt like I didn’t need to. For the most part I either knew the material or I could live with whatever grade my unprepared self received. I would almost always write my papers the night before or even the class before the one it was due in. I rarely read books we were supposed to read and if I did it would be a quick skim to simply get the main idea of the text. And now that I’m in college I’ve realized I could very, very easily, get away with my same practices. But here’s why I’ve started my college career off differently despite the enticement of procrastination:
For one, as soon as I get an assignment- I get it done that day. And usually even before I leave campus. It gives me the rest of the day to get other work done, or do whatever I want.
Secondly, I realize my old thought that I did my best work under pressure was wrong. I do much better work if I do my assignments right away. I believe I owe this better performance to the thought in the back of my mind that I’ll have extra time to come back and go over my work- even though I rarely do this. The thought itself motivates me to do better work the first time, even if I don’t act on the actual re-checking process.
The other parts of my life, besides school, suddenly became more organized as well. My room is magically no longer a complete mess. I do my household chores, and get way more laundry done than I ever have before.
My appearance, and hygiene, have improved tremendously. It no longer feels like a chore to shave, brush my teeth, pick out clothes, etc. And I believe this is because of all my extra, more managed time. I feel as if I dress nicer and feel better overall because of it.
I now have more time to pick up other hobbies and more importantly, ones that are good for my physical and mental health. Working out, hiking, fishing, writing, spending time with friends and family, etc. It feels great to be able to do these things without a task I haven’t yet done weighing on me in the back of my mind.
I can sum it all down to this for you- get what you know you have to get done finished as soon as you know it is going to need completed. Whether it gets assigned today and is due tomorrow, or if it is assigned today and due next week. Do it that day, and have the rest of that time to do whatever it is you want. You will see tremendous benefits come your way. Working ahead is never a bad idea. Do next weeks assignments- that might mean your schoolwork, your report for work, laundry for the family, whatever it may be. Pack your lunch the night before and give yourself more time the next morning. This concept of doing before it’s due is a huge key in having a better and more managed life.
Most people will hear the word philosophy and have images of famous people come to mind. Gandhi, Socrates, and countless others that are lost in time. But what truly is philosophy?
It’s not a field that is only for the critical deep thinkers, although they tend to thrive in it. Rather, everyone has practiced the art of philosophical thinking at one time or another. Likely it was unintentional- perhaps a passing thought before you went to sleep one night. Maybe you’ve thought to yourself, “What is existence? How do I exist and why?” I cannot give one certain answer to these questions that the people of the Earth have pondered for their entire existence. I CAN tell you this- it doesn’t matter.
I hate to say that, for I am a lover of philosophy, but when it comes to the great question, “What is the meaning of life?”, I say to you it matters not. Sure, it is an interesting question to think about at random times throughout life. But surely, the answer would be different for every individual. Or maybe there are multiple people out there with the same purposes in life, for our Earth is highly populated and the probability of this seems almost certain.
Do you remember when you were a child and it seemed you changed what you wanted to do when you “grew up” countless times? First a firefighter, then a lawyer, then a musician, and so on. The purpose of one’s life is much like that nostalgic thought-it is ever-changing. You may think that your purpose in the early stages of life is to get a good job and raise a family. I mean, it is the natural instinct within almost every being to reproduce. But some people don’t ever even have the idea of having offspring or finding a partner. Later on you may think you have some great deed you must give to the world- write your memoir or invent a scientific masterpiece. But mustn’t we first reverse the question to find the real answer to the meaning of our lives?
What is the purpose of life? To live it. That’s all I have for you. You could make your purpose finding out another more complex and universal answer to the big question. You could have multiple purposes throughout your life occurring simultaneously. But to wonder at the question to the point where your mind starts to feel confused at how one can even exist is a waste of time. We are here now, in this moment that you are reading these words. Are you not? Where else could you be? Forget exactly how you came to be in this exact position of time and space and focus on the fact that you are actually here. And that means you exist, you are as real as it gets. There is no more need for ceaseless contemplation. Go out and live and let your purpose(s) come to you.
I know it can be a challenge not to let your mind wander from time to time. As is the case with most people’s thoughts. But consider the fact that you are, right this moment, deriving your own thoughts in the first place. More so, consider the feelings you have experienced in your life. Have some of them not had such an impact on you that you must be certain that our existence is authentic? I have, and I know countless others have experienced the same.
Live and let live my friends.
Do you go out of your way for others? Do you feel like you’re always trying to do what’s best for people besides yourself? And when you do so, do you feel like no one is genuinely thankful?
It’s more common than you think. In fact, I’d say almost every person has at some point felt underappreciated in their life at one time or another. We use up our valuable resources- time, money, feelings- all for someone else who doesn’t even seem to care. So why do we do it?
Well for one, it’s sort of instinct. We often do for others what we wish someone would do for ourselves. Whether it’s someone close to us, or a total stranger- we’ve all encountered a situation where we feel like we need to help someone out. We do it because, believe it or not, giving to others makes us feel good inside. The bad only comes when the person you helped doesn’t appear to be as thankful as you would have hoped- sometimes not thankful at all. But what we have to understand is that some people don’t respond to kind deeds in the same way you would. There’s a reason why you act happy when you open up a present you don’t actually like or have a use for. You want to show the person who gave it to you that you appreciate their kindness.
What I believe is that the world we live in lacks greatly in appreciation. Why should people continue to help others when they hardly receive a thank you in return? It’s a tough question to answer in any other way besides “We shouldn’t.” But think about it like this- if you know you did the right thing in helping someone else, doesn’t it make you feel good about yourself anyway? Even if they don’t appear thankful, you still know that according to your morals you did a good deed. And that’s why we must continue to give even without appreciation.
The other day I was in some backed up traffic and was thinking “this sucks.” I look to my right at the intersection beside me and see a few cars stuck there. I realize they have it a bit rougher than me at the moment and probably have no chance of turning anytime in the near future. So what do I do? I keep my foot on the break for a moment longer so one of the guys had a chance to get on the road. The man didn’t wave or anything to show any indication of appreciation for the time I had just saved him. But hey, I still felt like I had assisted another individual and by doing so I felt better about myself. And that was enough for me.
Obviously there are more examples on a larger scale with what I’m talking about. But the point remains the same- continue to do the small, and big, things for other people. And when someone does something they had to go out of there way to do for your benefit- show some appreciation. They’ll be more likely to do it again for you or someone else, and you might be inspired to perform your own acts of kindness in the future. It’ll make the world a better place- and what’s the downside in that?
When it comes to the topic of goals people often get insecure. Take, for example, one guy’s goal may be to graduate high school to proceed into the workforce. Another, however, may want to get his PhD and then continue into groundbreaking scientific research. Should the wannabe high school graduate think any less of his goals, just because another man has chose a different path in life? I’m here to tell you he shouldn’t.
Let me tell you how to be content with your goals in life. The main purpose in a goal is to set a future achievement for one’s self that they work to obtain. One could argue the guy in the example above has a lesser goal because the man that wants to get his PhD has a more difficult path ahead of him. But, both of these are choices by individuals about what they want to do with their future. So long as the motivation to reach their goals is relatively the same- one goal is not any lesser nor greater than the other.
This example can apply to you- only on a larger scale. Perhaps you have a friend who is all about money. Making it, spending it- everything revolves around money. And therefor this friend of yours creates goals for himself that revolve around someday making a lot of money. But you, on the other hand, see life in a different perspective. You want only to find the love of your life and do everything in the world for him/her. So your goals reflect that- finding the person and I assume ultimately getting married to them. The actual example I just made is completely irrelevant to the point- it doesn’t matter exactly what your goal is. My point is that you can focus your life’s path toward any direction you wish- so long as the end goal is what you ultimately want!
I, personally, have multiple goals as I’m sure most people do. But they have different levels of importance tied to them. Yes, I want to be wealthy, live in a nice ass house, drive a slick car. But do those goals hold the highest priority in my mind? Not in the slightest. My final goal revolves around what I mentioned before, what I like to call “Living a life of love.” Therefore living my life, and being more than content, with the love of my life. That is all I truly wish for, in the deepest sense anyway. But this doesn’t make me any less determined to crush those other goals I talked about. I still want those things, very badly, it’s just that I can already find myself content with how my life will turn out so long as I’m with the one I love. Does that make me dependent? Of course it does- but humans have depended on one another for centuries. I see nothing wrong with needing another person in your life to feel full inside. But I also can see how there are some people that don’t desire a relationship in the slightest.
Never feel ashamed of what you will one day feel proud of achieving. Sure, your friend might become a millionaire. But look at you- you’re married to the love of your life and get to spend the rest of your days with them. Value is in the eye of the beholder. You may value your relationship as priceless, another person may value their dream car at a million dollars higher than it’s actual value. So get married, get rich, do both! Whatever it is you want, go out and get it, and don’t compare your goals to someone else’s.
When you think of your father what comes to mind? Words like fearless, strong, funny, mentor, and many others likely fill your head. Today I wish to share with you the meaning of my dad to me.
When I was younger I used to see my dad primarily as an entertainer. He was the guy who would play with me and keep me from getting bored at home. I remember for awhile we got really into hiking and went to trails all over Ohio- even took a few trips out of state. And although I don’t recall the specifics of what was held in our conversations during all those hikes through woods and mountains, as I got older I began to see an even more amazing trait in my dad. Wisdom. I could bring up a topic about anything and my dad would carry out a conversation about it with me. I believe I received my mind and intellectual thinking from those conversations and my dad himself. He invited me, even as just a boy, to think about things larger than just my current surroundings. To explore the questions I had about the World and even larger things, and to accept that there is often more than one answer. He has inspired me to create my own answers to life’s questions.
My dad’s inspired me to do a lot more than just that though. He’s taught me to never settle- to reach for things in life that other people may never even think about attaining. He’s given me this state of mind that I truly can do anything in this life I choose to. Sure, there will always be tasks and objects I must get through on the way, but I know I can surpass them all. It’s not even so much determination, it is simply a sense of knowing. And I believe that it is this quality that I am most thankful for my dad passing on to me.
I hold my dad to a higher standard than I do with most anyone else I know and even those I don’t know. Money has never been a problem with my father around. In fact, it’s almost always been there in excess. And while I may appreciate the non-material items my dad has given me more, I still appreciate how my dad’s personal success has given him the opportunity to give to me. Why? Because I want to be able to give the same kind of gifts to my children some day. I will not use the word hope- because I already know I’ll be able to with the mindset I have.
My father gives me the opportunities I need to be successful in whatever it is I want to be successful in. He’s given me a way of thinking that I can guarantee is incredibly rare among the majority of people. And all the while, my dad has been there as someone I always have fun with, no matter what we’re doing.
So Happy Birthday Dad, I love you! And to all my readers- I swear to you this man feels younger today than he did years ago!
Some people have them, some people don’t. At times they can be so vivid we are entirely immersed into them, other times we can’t remember them at all. So for something that varies so much, what exactly is the purpose of dreaming?
I’m certainly no scientist and tend to consider myself on the more philosophical side of questions like these- so if you’re looking for answers about REM Sleep, etc, go to Wikipedia or something. If you ask me, and you’re reading this so basically you are, dreams are our subconscious minds way of speaking to the conscious part of our brain. And perhaps it can be said that our subconscious absorbs so much throughout the day, derives so many complex theories and ideas for you using that information, that the only way it can attempt to communicate these ideas to you are when you are most relaxed and free of your own active thoughts during sleep. Not to say that your subconscious thoughts are not your own- they certainly are. The challenging part is gaining access to these thoughts, and only in the right amount.
If we had to think about everything we did, such as breathing, adjusting our internal body temperature, and a million other things you don’t even realize your subconscious does for you- we’d be an absolute mess. Our subconscious mind controls so much of what we do when we are actively living and thinking on our own that it’s no wonder advertisers have preyed on this secluded part of our minds for years. A picture of a Coke can flashes during the screen cuts in the movie you’re seeing and disappears so quickly you don’t even notice it. But that subconscious of yours does. And it starts to implant the idea that hey, maybe you’re feeling a little thirsty, doesn’t a Coke sound nice?
So now I present to you a way to take advantage of your seemingly useless dreaming at night. You still feel just as rested when you wake up, but I believe if you practice what I’m about to describe to you, you’ll be feeling more productive to accomplish whatever it is that you want to accomplish. When you’re laying back in your bed, waiting for those lingering thoughts to fade away into sleep, take control. Start thinking about what it is you want to do the next day. Make it as vague or specific as you wish. “Tomorrow I will get all of my class work for the week done. I will relish in the challenge of it. I will enjoy each and every assignment I finish- because even though the actual work may not be fun, the success in finishing it for the week is invigorating.” Or just try “As I sleep tonight I’m going to focus on being a more positive person. I’m going to have a positive mindset when I wake in the morning.”
So now that you’ve done everything you have to, let your subconscious take care of the rest. Perhaps it will present to you an idea of how you can do what you’ve communicated you want to do in the form of a dream. It will really do what you are telling it you wish to do. And think about it, why wouldn’t it? Your mind is you, and therefore wants the best for you, so this is just a way for it to help you accomplish your goals. Or at least change your mindset a little. It’s not some “ooo mysterious talking to my subconscious mind that controls me.” It’s just like telling yourself what you need to get done- at a time when you are more likely to listen and act on those things.
Allow your mind to flourish and so will you.
Inspiration is something we all seek out at times. Today I offer you a slightly off-the-wall idea for where to find your next form of it. People can be inspired by artwork, music, celebrities, and countless other things. But one place that I’ve been finding myself getting inspired by recently has surprised me- the lack of other people’s success.
At first it sounds a little messed up, but allow me to explain why this can be a beneficial location for you to source your inspiration from. I find myself looking at people around me, mostly ones I know, and thinking to myself- why have you put yourself in this position? You had opportunity, you had chances, why did you mess it up? It makes me seriously wonder- is this the life these people intended to live all along? Or did they have goals that they just couldn’t accomplish? I believe in most cases it is the latter.
I use their failures as an example. I use their lack of being able to provide. I use their nonexistence of abundance. It inspires me to be the exact opposite, to be successful in ways these kinds of people probably cannot even imagine. And in a way, now that I have attained this point of view- these people have begun to disgust me. Do they feel content with themselves? I cannot imagine how they could.
I’d like to put some of your confusion to rest. I do not judge the people in this world who have found happiness with a simple life. I judge those who did not choose that life and are forced to live one they are unhappy in because of their failures. Many of them had the opportunities they needed in order to reach their goals, yet could not follow through. I used to pity them, but no longer. They are lazy in my mind, ignorant above all others. Take the child born into a poverty ravished country- he knows nothing of opportunity, of the goals I and others like me have. This child is different from the people I discussed before. The kid did not miss out on opportunity from his own doing, he was simply born into the circumstance and therefor knows little of nothing else. I will never prosecute someone who was born into a life with little hope of great things. But I will forever applaud those who manage to crawl their way out of it.
I encourage you to take a look around at the people in your life. Ask yourself if they had a chance to do what they wanted and failed to. You don’t have to hate them, you can still get along with them just as you always have before. But now use their failures to drive you to reaching your personal successes.
Never settle. If you don’t consider it settling and you are truly happy then you have won. If you decide you can “live with this” then you have lost.