Skip to content

Old, Old Fashioned

This post should be short and simple.  I say that because it is against the very point I am trying to make to even be spending time at this computer typing away.  We’ll see how I do.

There is a song that I love called “Old Fashioned.”  It is by the band Frightened Rabbit, who is a group I was introduced to through a very good friend of mine and I have really come to enjoy.  This song talks about an idea of sorts.  That is, to be old fashioned every once in a while.  We as a society have become so wrapped up in our televisions, cell phones, computers, and all other forms of technology that we are losing touch with one another.  There are some amazing things that would be considered old fashioned in today’s world.  Namely, not using anything that requires electricity in the evening.  I would imagine most families wouldn’t know what to do if all of the electricity went out and the internet didn’t work.  Would we still remember how to dance in the dark to songs on the radio?  Would we know to light a fire and play games until the fire turns to embers?

I myself am wrapped up in the technology of today.  Night after night I stay up late because I want to catch this show or that show, or I want to spend some time talking with friends online.  Every time I hear that song come on though, I remember how much fun life can be if those things are left out of it for a while.  I want to have more nights the ‘old fashioned way.’ No tv, no cell phones, just the company of friends or family, good conversation, and memories that are real that we can share.

My hope is to share more old fashioned nights with friends soon.  I challenge you to do the same.  Have people over, take away phones and cameras, pull out the plugs on everything, and make great memories.  Disengage yourself from the world, and reengage yourself with those who are currently present in it.

Have fun!

D

Who Knows?

Have you ever tried to explain to someone who you are?  This task probably isn’t as difficult for others as it is for me, but it is honestly something I think is a real challenge.  It doesn’t seem to make much sense.  After all, shouldn’t I be the person to know the most about myself?  Over the last few days I have realized that the reason I have a hard time with this is that I spend most of my life telling the world that I am something I’m not.

This post is inspired by what is a good example of what I am talking about.  Every day I work with people who have sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren.  Day in and day out I hear these people talk about their parenting/mentoring experiences.  My reaction to every story is so scripted I feel like I am just going through the motions when I say it.  “I’ll never have kids.  No how, no way.” I am so convinced that I will never have kids.  People never tell stories about awesome things their kids are doing, it is always about how they were being a little shit and having to deal with it.  Who would ever want to put up with that every single day?

Now, I know that there are many joys in having kids.  I also know that it is always easier (and usually more funny) to talk about the stressful things kids do.  Is not wanting them because they can be stressful sometimes really the reason then?  Not really.  If you really asked me why I would tell you it’s because I just don’t think I am “Dad Material.”  I’m impatient. I am not very strong in the mentoring department.  I fear the outcome on the psyche of any small child.  It just doesn’t seem like a smart path to me, and thus I don’t think I would be a good dad.  Here’s the kicker.  There are many people out there who would completely disagree.  They would say that the person they know, combined with the great father I have in my life, would be the recipe for a great dad.  That I would excel at being a parent and that I definitely should be some day.  So who’s right?  Do I know myself the best or do you know me better?

This same thing happens time and time again in my life.  I say I’m an active person: For the most part I go to work and come home every day and don’t do anything adventurous.  I say I am a straight-forward person: When it comes to sensitive issues I beat around the bush all day.  I say I am an extrovert: Take me to a public setting and I will be perfectly content keeping to myself.  I say I am an engineer: Let’s not even go there, I have a piece of paper that says I’m an “engineer.” I say all of these things, but the reality of the situation is that no matter how much I believe I am who I say I am, who I really am comes from how I live day to day.  When the day comes to a close, it may really be you who knows me better.  You see me without the filter in my mind that sees me for who I think I am rather than who I truly am.

To me, this whole post reminds me that I am still in the process of growing up and better understanding who I am.  We all get the opportunity to make what we want out of ourselves, that much cannot be denied.  However, we also have things that we excel at, and things we don’t.  With those comes some definition of who we are at this very moment.  Moving forward I will make an effort to listen more when others give their perceptions of who I am rather than disregarding them because I think I am something different.  It is those perceptions that give us an idea of how our own thoughts on who we are differ from our day to day actions.

This post feels very confusing to me as I write it.  It is a bit of an abstract idea that I am struggling to explain in words.  Hopefully it has meant something and hopefully I am not the only person who struggles with this internal dilemma of sorts.

Have a great day!

D

The Gift of Giving

Giving is such a powerful thing.  To give to someone is probably one of the best feelings I know.  Whether that is time, talent, or treasure, giving has always been one of my favorite things to do.  There is one area of giving that I am particularly awful though.  That is actually gifting something to someone.  I am shockingly poor at gift giving.  I don’t know if it is just the way I am, or the way I think, or that I am just too lazy.  The fact still remains, I wasn’t born to be a gift giver.

This probably goes without saying, but I notice my lack of gift giving skills most at special events in people lives.  Birthdays, Christmas, important life celebrations: you get the idea.  I always find myself out performed in the gift giving area.  Without a doubt, my gift will be the most obvious, and likely most underwhelming gift given.  Don’t get me wrong, I certainly try.  There seems to be a knack for the process that I just don’t have though.  First I try to think of something clever that will play to your tastes and interests.  In all of my infinite wisdom, this usually turns into me picking out the most obvious things about you and not being able to think about anything other than those.  My brain says, ‘oh, you drink coffee, you definitely need a new coffee mug to go with the other 700 you own because everyone knows you like coffee.’  At the end of the day, my gift doesn’t really end up being that original or useful, strike numero uno for me.

My next debate is always on how much to spend.  Take the classic girlfriend example.  What is appropriate to get in that situation? You don’t want to overspend, but underspending is bad too.  How much are they going to spend? Please understand that I am a firm believer that value of a gift is not the indicator to go by, but rather value to the person receiving it.  Regardless, my acute gift giving skills usually lands me sunk between two options.  One that seems so easy and cheap that I feel like I need to start finding add-ons to make it seem like I actually tried, or one that is going to require me to cut back on my ramen diet to save a little extra cash.  Strike two for yours truly.

The final swing at the plate for me is something that I never think I will master.  It is the one thing that continues to blow my mind about the people I would consider in the “Gift Giving Elite.”  Those who are fantastic gift givers have a propensity for hearing you talk about something that you really want in your life and capturing that material for use at a later time.  Somehow these gifting machines manage to surprise you with things that you never had a clue that they actually knew you wanted.  It is always astonishing to me, and baffles me to my core.  There aren’t many gift giving opportunities in the year, where does that information get kept? How do you do it giver extraordinaire? No matter how it is done, I never seem to remember these little details, and thus I am forced to take strike three and head back to the bench for the gifting team.

These ideas sum up what I would consider the perfect gift.  It is something based on the passions or interests of the receiver, it has a value beyond its price, and it fulfills a need or desire in someone’s life.  I can’t think of many gifts I have given in my day that come close to adequately fulfilling these criteria.  In fact, I’m not even sure how to.  My hope is that this is something that people just get naturally better at with time, and that I start learning sometime very soon.  Until then, to all those who receive gifts from me, know that I tried my very best.  Despite what lies inside that neatly wrapped paper, I actually spent serious time trying to overcome my ineptitude for gift giving and sincerely hope that my time spent in agony may help mitigate the disappointment of what you are receiving.  Stick around long enough and I might just figure it out for you some day!  And to all those out there who have given me such awesome and thoughtful gifts over the years, I envy you and your prowess at the art of giving.  I also appreciate all of the thought you have put in to the giving; I understand how hard that can be.

Have a great day!

D

Oh Captain! My Captain!

Robin_Williams-Esquire

 

I don’t often write something and post it right away.  I give things time to sit on my mind before I share them with the world.  However, this post has to do with a current event, so I think it warrants posting tonight.  I am not sure there is a sole out there who hasn’t heard about the passing of the great entertainer Robin Williams.  The loss of an icon is always shocking news, particularly when it is unexpected.  I feel that there is a great lesson that I have learned from the life of Robin Williams though, and it really sank in as I watched him perform as Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting.  That is that a happy man without a happy heart may not be the happy man he seems to be.

There is no doubt in my mind that all of us know someone who outwardly is a happy person, but in reality is not happy at all.  To the contrary, I have known people in very tough situations who are still truly joyful people.  What is the difference?  A truly happy person has a happy heart.  They have filled it with the things they care about most.  To some it may be family, to others, friends.  For adventurous people it may be being in new places or pushing their bodies’ limits.  We all have something that gives us that fulfilled feeling in our heart.  The key to real happiness is finding that something, and surrounding yourself with it.  Make it a part of your life day in and day out.  Never sacrifice it for anything else.  Without it, we may go through the motions and appear to be happy, but we are missing the most important part of our happiness.

Robin Williams was unfortunately a living proof of this.  He brought so much happiness to the world, and yet could never find his own.  There is always more to the story, and I don’t pretend to know about his life.  What I do know is that with a happy, healthy heart, nothing can bring you down.  If you haven’t found what makes your heart happy, you haven’t looked hard or long enough.  There is something for everyone out there.  Find it.  Revel in it.  Be truly happy.

Smile 🙂

D

RIP Robin Williams – August 11, 2014

I Should Know Better

My roommate and I sat for a couple of hours after dinner reminiscing on high school and college and all the things that have happened.  The evening made me think about all of the learning I have done over the last few years.   I decided to spend the rest of tonight reading through my past posts and reflecting on life in general.  So many things have happened and so many lessons learned.  As I read and thought about everything, one major thought started running through my head.  I kept thinking about my present life and the things I am doing now and realizing, I should know better.

 

I should know better than to not make efforts to reach out to friends new and old.  They are a huge part of what has made me who I am and I have done a terrible job at staying in contact with them.  After moving out of state following high school, I really didn’t do well at staying in touch with people from home.  My friends and mentors alike.  I should know better than to let those relationships fade out and to lose touch with those people who have had such a great influence on me.  The same goes for the people I knew in college.  I already feel the gap starting to grow.  Of course, we all have new things in life to be concerned with.  New jobs, new expenses, new cities, new families, new friends.  But I should know better.  With the technology of today there is no reason that we can’t keep in touch, and I should know better than to let those relationships fade as well.

 

I should know better than to not commit myself to continuous learning and growth.  This world is full of knowledge and wisdom that would be foolish to not take advantage of.  Every new day is an opportunity to educate ourselves on new thoughts and ideas that help us to continue to grow as a person.  As an engineer, I know that there is so much more I could learn in my field to make myself more and more technically proficient.  Reading should take a forefront in my daily activities, not a back seat.

 

I should know better than to not be vulnerable day in and day out.  It is a lesson that hits me constantly and still I continue to not exercise vulnerability in my life.  My fear of judgment supersedes my desire to be vulnerable on a daily basis.  I should know better.  I know the power of vulnerability and the potential it has to make influences on not only my life, but the lives of those around me.  Vulnerability is, in my mind, one of the most powerful things we can exercise as people, and I should know better than to let my fears be the barrier to accomplishing it.

 

I should know better than to chase a girl.  No matter what I think, this one will always be a downfall for me.  There will always be the one that got away, and I will never forget her.  Perhaps I am showing my lack of maturity and insight on life when I say it, but as I sit today, it is how life has played out.  I should know better than to be the one who keeps coming back around.  I absolutely know that great things are ahead for her and should know that my role in doing what is best for her happiness now is to step away and remove myself from her life no matter how much I hate to do it.  I should know that no matter how much I want to give it an opportunity to be something, it probably isn’t going to work out, and that is all there is to it.  I should know how to say goodbye.  I should know better than to write this here period, for her sake and mine.

 

I should know better than to think I am writing this for anyone but myself.  Some days I get on here thinking my thoughts and ideas and life experiences are going to mean something.  Other days I realize that if I never posted this anywhere, it would likely never get read.  I am not a wordsmith or an inspiration.  I am a 22 year old, young adult without much to go on as far as life is related.  It isn’t a shot at myself or a lack of confidence, more a realization that I have a lot of learning to do before I have the wisdom to provide sound compositions that have true meaning to anyone who might read them.

 

I should know to hold myself to a higher standard.  To give anything less than my best isn’t enough.  I should also know what I am capable of doing.  I should know better than to think I am incapable of any task, but rather that I just need to prepare myself better.  I should know better than to not be confident in myself and what I have to offer to this world.  There are a great many things that I am good at, and some that I might even say I am great at.  I should have the confidence to believe in those things, and not take them for granted.

 

I should know better than to waste any minute of this life.  Life holds so many amazing opportunities that there wouldn’t be time to capture them all using every moment we have on this earth.  I have written about wasted time and not living life to its fullest in this moment.  Yet, I find myself wasting away days as if they will never run out.  We all should know better.  We am so often caught in the past and future that we don’t allow ourselves to keep living for right now.  There is so much to be done and so little time.  Wasting any of it is hard to justify.  We should know better.

 

These are the things that have hit me just tonight.  Over the next few days I may add more.  Thank you for letting me get them off my mind and out to the world.  It makes me feel better about falling short on so many things. 

 

There is so much that I can point to and think, I should know better.  I’m not sure that will ever end.  It is a way for us to reflect on the lessons we have learned and how well we are applying them.  Most of these things are from my view point, but some of them may apply to you as well.  Ideally I am not writing just to point out the things I should know better, but to help you reflect on those things that you can point to in your life and say, “I should know better.”

 

As always, thanks for reading.  I hope that you have a great week and that things are going well for you.  As a challenge, I would say do something different this week.  Something out of the norm for you and your routine.  Mix it up.  After all, variety is the spice of life J

 

D

Let it Go

For all of you avid Frozen fans out there, I hope you remember that there are words attached to this video.  I actually wrote some ideas for this down, but couldn’t seem to make sense of everything.  Then much to my surprise, this song came on the radio.  While it really doesn’t have too much to do with what I want to say, I think we can all be remind that sometimes we just need to “Let it Go.”  **Please don’t judge me too hard for the video**

 D

I seem to have this affinity in life for not being able to let things go.  Once I have realized a problem, I dive into it without regard for myself, for others, or for anything really.  It’s actually something I have a great need to work on.  Ironically, this seems to directly conflict with the idea of always striving to make things happen, no matter what anyone tells you.  But it’s alright, it’s my blog, I’m allowed to be confusing. J

 

Maybe it is just the way I am wired.  Maybe I am genetically predisposed to wanting to always be the one to solve the problem, no matter what it is.  A puzzle?  I have to finish it.  A riddle?  I have to figure it out.  A broken glass on the floor?  I have to pick it up.  A friend who needs help?  I have to find a way to help out.  A woman?  Well…screw that, they are too hard.

 

I feel like we often get caught up in the world trying to solve its problems.  Trying to figure out how our day should go and making plans for what we think our life should be.  We are constantly striving to make the perfect world and be a perfect person in it.  We want to make things right, to decorate the room as we always imagined it.

 

My lesson to learn is to let it go.  To forget the emotion and the stress and the anxiety, and be free to enjoy the moments before they pass.  When I get caught up in a situation or a person, I forget that life is continuing on and that if I become too lost, I’ll forget to enjoy it as it goes.  Sometimes there will be situations and decisions that are out of my control, and that’s okay.  Sometimes there will be people who will leave my life and that is okay too.  Sometimes, I don’t have to fix it.  I don’t have to make it better.  I will grow and carry on. 

 

Remember to let it go as you head into the week.  Be mindful to tackle the challenges that are worth fighting for, and to leave those that aren’t to be solved by someone else. 

 

Have a great day,

 

 

If it’s Meant to Be

There is a phrase that I hear from time to time that has always caused me great confusion.  I have never been able to wrap my mind around it.  Every time I hear it being used, I get the sense that it is meant to inspire hope.  Then I walk away and realize that hope is a false hope.  You tend to hear this phrase when something seems to be going wrong in your life or when you are stuck in a middle ground and not sure which direction to go.  When your life lacks direction and you are searching for something or someone to give it guidance.  When you have a relationship end that you had hopes of carrying on with.  People always say, “If it’s meant to be, it will find a way to work itself out.” (Or some close variation)

 

Someone told me this recently and it sort of smacked me in the face.  I had always believed that if I gave something time, it would work out if it was meant to.  But something about hearing those words recently made me realize how wrong that way of thinking is.  Things don’t just “work themselves out.”  If you walk away from something, it isn’t going to magically come back to you.  You have to work for it.  If you want it, go and get it.  Don’t get lost in a cycle of thinking that clearly it just wasn’t meant to be.  To the contrary, it isn’t going to happen because you didn’t want it enough to make it happen. 

 

I have had things in my life that I could not regret more because I let myself believe if they were meant to be it would find a way to work itself out.  Things that I may never have the chance at having again.  Whether it be aptitude in sports, a relationship with someone, or a chance I should have taken, I will not have the opportunity for those things due to my apathy towards the gravity of the situations in the present and it is something I can honestly say I will regret for a very long time.

 

The point is, don’t let people or opportunities walk out of your life because you believe if it was meant to work out it would.  If you want it, make it happen.  Fight through the setbacks and the failures and the wrongdoings and give whatever it is a chance to thrive in your life.  Give the opportunities in your life the chance they deserve to become successful.  Make the new phrase to go by “If you want it to be, try, try, and try again until you make it so.”

 

Don’t wait to see if things may work out in your life.  Be honest and open with people and fight for what you want.  Be honest with yourself in deciding what you want, and chase it tenaciously.  After all, you deserve it.

 

D