Sunday, June 17, 2012

"he didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."

I know I have a lot of posts about my dad, but I thought it was necessary to have one celebrating him on Father's Day! He never ceases to teach me lessons through his never ending faith, strength, and kindness. Just today, my family was in line for brunch and we got to talking to a lady in front of us. As it always does, his brain surgery and subsequent short term memory loss came up in conversation. He explained it all to the lady, and finished the story with "but yeah, I'm really lucky with the way it all turned out". Then, when she asked him how he felt about it all and if it was scary he replied, "no I'm not scared at all. I have my family here with me and I believe that God is always with me, and that everything happens with God there, so I know I'll be okay. I just take it as a lesson and a way to be a better person." This casual conversation reconfirmed just how amazing my dad is. I don't know anyone else who would think that way, especially when the obstacle of cancer was also thrown at him a few years ago. The fact that not remembering anything twenty minutes after it happens does not phase him is a sign of true courage and complete trust in God protecting him. My dad will always be my role model; I hope I can grow to be as strong and selfless as him. Love you, Dad!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

add some spice to your life.

In life, especially in the midst of difficult times, daily inspiration to keep moving forward is essential.  Everyone has different things that inspire them; beauty is purely subjective.  Challenge yourself to find what gives you that extra kick each day to fully take advantage of being alive.  It can be easy to let yourself get into a rut of going through the motions and not feeling motivated by anything.  Don't let yourself get this way; push yourself to get the most out of every moment.  And if you are feeling upset or frustrated, let yourself feel this way, own your emotions.  Once you do that and realize you are never going to be perfect, you can take the next step to reach your full potential and become passionate in every aspect of your life, no matter what you're doing or how you're feeling.

Monday, June 4, 2012

9 things no one wants to regret when they're older.

1.  Not spending enough time smiling with the people you love.You’ve heard the saying, ‘The best things in life are free.’  Well spending quality time with family and friends, enjoying the antics of a pet, seeing your child smile, experiencing intimate and heart-felt moments with your significant other – these times are precious and free.Don’t get so caught up in the rat race, working 50+ hours a week, to the point where you are too stressed and exhausted to enjoy your closest relationships.  Bysimplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to live on less money, and thus work fewer hours and enjoy more of what matters most.As we get older, fun is often underrated.  With all of our responsibilities, fun seems like an indulgence.  It shouldn’t be.  It should be a requirement.  When your work life is busy, and all your energy is focused in that arena, it’s all too easy to find yourself off balance.  While drive and focus is important, if you intend to maintain happiness and peace in your life you still need to balance in the soccer games, the family dinners, the intimate dates with your significant other, etc. 
2.  Holding a grudge and never forgiving someone you care about.We’ve all been hurt by another person at some point – we were treated poorly, trust was broken, hearts were hurt.  And while this pain is normal, sometimes itlingers for too long.  We relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go.This creates problems.  It not only causes us to be unhappy, but it can strain or ruin our relationships, distract us from work and family and other important things, and make us reluctant to open up to new things and people.  We get trapped in a cycle of anger and hurt, and miss out on the beauty of life as it happens.Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness.  If there’s someone in your life who deserves another chance, give it to them.  If you need to apologize, do it.  Give your story together a happy new beginning.  (Read The Mastery of Love.) 
3.  Fulfilling everyone else’s dreams, instead of your own.Unfortunately, just before you take your first step on the righteous journey to pursue your dreams, people around you, even the ones who deeply care for you, will give you awful advice.  It’s not because they have evil intentions.  It’s because they don’t understand the big picture – what your dreams, passions, and life goals mean to you.Have the courage to live a life true to YOU, not the life others expect of you.   Make time to pursue your passion, no matter how busy you are or what anyone else says.As our friend Steve Jobs once said:“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary.” 
4.  Not being honest about how you feel.Say what you need to say, and never apologize for showing your feelings.  Many people suppress their feelings in order to keep peace with others.  As a result, they settle for carrying the weight of their own silence.  Give yourself permission to feel a full range of emotions.  When you’re in touch with what you’re feeling, you’re more likely to understand the situation at hand and resolve it instead of avoiding it.Also, if you want to connect with others, you need to accept and love yourself first, even when your truth feels heavy.  In the end, expressing your feelings will boost your relationships, including your relationship with yourself, to a new healthier level.  And your open honesty will also help you to realize and release unhealthy relationships from your life. 
5.  Being foolish and irresponsible with your finances.When you spend less than you make you buy lifestyle flexibility and freedom.  You are buying the ability to say yes to the things that matter, because you’re saving on the things that don’t.  Money can bring comfort, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying that comfort.  But it’s important to spend money on the things that truly matter to you, and let go of spending that does not add value to your life.Live a comfortable life, not a wasteful one.  Stop buying stuff you do not need.  Do not spend to impress others.  Do not live life trying to fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects.  Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you.  (Read Rich Dad Poor Dad.) 
6.  Getting caught up in needless drama and negativity.Don’t expect to achieve long-term happiness if you surround yourself with negative people.  Don’t give part-time people a full-time position in your life.  Know your value and what you have to offer, stay positive, and never settle for anything less than what you deserve.There comes a time in life when you have to let go of all the pointless drama and the people who create it.  Staying out of other people’s drama is an incredibly effective way to simplify your life and reduce stress.  Surround yourself with positive people who make you laugh so hard that you forget the bad, so you can focus on the good.  Life really is too short to be anything but positive and happy. 
7.  Never making your own happiness a priority.For the average person happiness is a choice, yet numerous people are unhappy.  There are many reasons, but it all boils down to one simple principle:  They choose something else over happiness.  Because it often takes less effort to be unhappy.To find true happiness in life you have to follow your heart and intuition.  You have to be who you are, and design a lifestyle and career that fulfills you – no matter what that entails or what people say about it.  And it is never too late to do so.So be happy; be yourself.  If others don’t like it, then let them be.  Life isn’t about pleasing everybody.  Begin today by taking responsibility for your own happiness.  You are the only one who can create it.  The choice is yours. 
8.  Never making a difference in the lives of others.Every person can make a difference, and every person should try.In life, you get what you put in.  When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life.  Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less.Remember, making a positive difference in one person’s life can change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  (Read The Road Less Traveled.) 
9.  Failing because you were scared to fail.If your fear of failure, or of not being perfect, has driven you to take the safe road of doing nothing, you have already failed.  Accept the fact that everyone fails, but don’t accept the act of not trying as your form of failure.If you find yourself at a point of intense decision making where you’re caught in a spiral of over-analysis and hesitation, and you’re making no progress, take a deep breath, break the spiral, make an educated guess on the next logical step, and take it.  Even if you get it wrong, you will learn something that will help you get it right next time.Your failures along the road to your goals are simply opportunities to learn and grow.  You might not be there yet, but if you keep moving forward, you’ll get there eventually.

marc and angel.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

the opposite of loneliness.

The piece below was written by Marina Keegan '12 for a special edition of the News distributed at the class of 2012's commencement exercises last week. Keegan died in a car accident on Saturday. She was 22.
We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life. What I’m grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I’m scared of losing when we wake up tomorrow and leave this place.
It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.
Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers — partner-less, tired, awake. We won’t have those next year. We won’t live on the same block as all our friends. We won’t have a bunch of group-texts.
This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse – I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.
But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York. I plan on having parties when I’m 30. I plan on having fun when I’m old. Any notion of THE BEST years comes from clich├ęd “should haves...” “if I’d...” “wish I’d...”
Of course, there are things we wished we did: our readings, that boy across the hall. We’re our own hardest critics and it’s easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating. Cutting corners. More than once I’ve looked back on my High School self and thought: how did I do that? How did I work so hard? Our private insecurities follow us and will always follow us.
But the thing is, we’re all like that. Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading (except maybe the crazy people who win the prizes…) We have these impossibly high standards and we’ll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that’s okay.
We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lay alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.
When we came to Yale, there was this sense of possibility. This immense and indefinable potential energy – and it’s easy to feel like that’s slipped away. We never had to choose and suddenly we’ve had to. Some of us have focused ourselves. Some of us know exactly what we want and are on the path to get it; already going to med school, working at the perfect NGO, doing research. To you I say both congratulations and you suck.
For most of us, however, we’re somewhat lost in this sea of liberal arts. Not quite sure what road we’re on and whether we should have taken it. If only I had majored in biology…if only I’d gotten involved in journalism as a freshman…if only I’d thought to apply for this or for that…
What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.
In the heart of a winter Friday night my freshman year, I was dazed and confused when I got a call from my friends to meet them at EST EST EST. Dazedly and confusedly, I began trudging to SSS, probably the point on campus farthest away. Remarkably, it wasn’t until I arrived at the door that I questioned how and why exactly my friends were partying in Yale’s administrative building. Of course, they weren’t. But it was cold and my ID somehow worked so I went inside SSS to pull out my phone. It was quiet, the old wood creaking and the snow barely visible outside the stained glass. And I sat down. And I looked up. At this giant room I was in. At this place where thousands of people had sat before me. And alone, at night, in the middle of a New Haven storm, I felt so remarkably, unbelievably safe.
We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I’d say that’s how I feel at Yale. How I feel right now. Here. With all of you. In love, impressed, humbled, scared. And we don’t have to lose that.We’re in this together, 2012. Let’s make something happen to this world.