Nevertheless, We Persist

 

earth-from-space-1Human beings are so incredibly resilient.

To end this week on a lazy Saturday night, I began to channel surf between the three hundred or so channels in our cable package before the new episode of Saturday Night Life airs at 11:30. The pickings are quite slim with nothing to watch but old Hallmark movies and reruns as most networks assume people actually go out and do things on the weekend. As I don’t have a life, I scanned through the various channels in vain before giving up. I put on NBC, assuming I would end up sitting through an SNL re-run and the local news before the new episode would air. Instead of a cut version of the sketch comedy show, the screen displayed a concert with musical artist Jennifer Lopez signing and dancing with a phone number displayed underneath the screen.

It was a benefit for the hurricane victims of Puerto Rico.

First of all, before I get into a more deep discussion, let me just say one thing. All the praise in all the world needs to go to whoever is able to arrange and set up all of these benefit concerts so quickly. A tragedy happens, and it seems like a benefit concert and event is set up in a matter of a day or two. Seriously, concert organizers, you all deserve an award for your efficiency.

Now, back to the real discussion.

It is an incredibly dark time in the world right now. It seems like each and every day brings with it a new tragic event that devastates a particular place or group of people beyond belief. Violent acts and acts of nature continuously attack the peace we all, hopefully, desperately want, and we are constantly in need of funds to rebuild our shattered reality. Pictures and news stories of the victims of these tragedies flood our newsfeed as we scroll social media, and we begin to wonder how we are going to rebuild after so much destruction and devastation. The funny thing is, there is one thing we never seem to be willing to day in the midst of tragedy no matter how bad the world may seem to us.

We are done.

Like I said, human beings are incredibly resilient. While we may question how we can recover from events that seem to destroy it, we never seem be willing to throw in the towel and give up on the world. We keep trying to move forward no matter what happens. Though it may seem like all is lost, we keep trying to make the world a better place because somehow we know it can be if we just keep fighting for it.

That is why these benefits concerts and events are so important.

We need to help people believe that hope is always alive somehow.

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Master of My Own Fate

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Another day, another football upset.

Tonight’s twist of fate? The unranked college team Syracuse beats the number two team in the country Clemson in a nail biting four quarters. Players, coaches, staff, and fans storm the field in waves of loud, boisterous celebration. I find myself swelling with pride as another football giant is taken down by a little engine that could and did, even though I am not a fan of either team in any way, shape, or form.

So, how does this win over a top ranked team affect me?

Well, I am a lifelong fan of the currently ranked number three college football team in the country, Penn State. With this Syracuse win, or more importantly, with this Clemson loss, Penn State has the possibility to push itself into the second place position in the college football rankings behind the number one Alabama. In the upcoming week,  Alabama has the possibility to lose against its opponent, which will better Penn State’s chances of reaching the championships and potentially winning it all. It should be an exciting time for fans of the Nittany Lions, but I am not really feel as much joy as one might think.

While all of this is good news, we should not be relying on other teams to improve our own success.

Speaking of football, you will hear it all of the time. Unless your favorite team is the undefeated champion of the league, you often have to cheer for other teams to win or lose so your own team’s chances of success improve. If this team wins and this teams lose, your team’s chances of making the playoffs will become more certain. It is basically football mathematics…

…and I hate math.

We do it in our normal day to day life as well. As much as we would like to believe we only rely on ourselves, we also thrive on how offers affect our lives. Well, what I mean to say is that sometimes we subconsciously place our faith in the actions of others and how those actions affect our own lives. If this person does this, maybe that means your own life will improve based on their success or failure.

We should be the masters of our own fate.

At the end of the day, the only things that is out of our control when it comes to how our lives will succeed or fail are the forces of nature and the universe. Everything else is up to us to decide. The more we rely on others to create our success, the less our lives become our own. What is the point of success if it is bought by the failure of others? It is only when we push forward to improve our own lives that we can truly appreciate or hate the way in which our lives turn out. In either case, we can live more comfortably when we know that every way our lives turned out occurred because of us.

I did it my way.

Loyalty, Life, and Liberty

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What does it mean to have free speech?

Well, if you are a citizen of the United States, it is supposed to mean that you have the right to peaceful speak and write whatever you want to as long as it does not cause devastating harm to another person. Even if your own government should not be able to censor you so long as you do so peacefully.

The key word here is should.

I don’t even know where to start with all of what is going on with the world right now, particularly in the United States. Growing up, I learned that we as Americans have a right to free speech. We can say what we want without fear of being censored or persecuted because of our beliefs. It seemed like for most of my life that we as a country stuck to that constitutional law for the most part. However, recent events and other situations that are going on in the United States and in the world in general have called the right to free speech and people’s ability to speak their minds into question.

Let’s start with the NFL and Donald Trump.

So, unless you have been living in some sort of anti-technological bubble, you will likely have heard about the tension between Donald Trump and the NFL players protesting during the national anthem before their football games.  Basically, players of the NFL are choosing to either kneel, sit, or stand with linked arms in protest to the police brutality against black individuals in this country. To the players, they are choosing to advocate for what they belief is an injustice being committed in this country. To Donald Trump and other conservative individuals, this protest is disrespectful to the flag and those who have served in this country. These two sides have caused a great divide in this country.

Where do I begin with this?

Without getting political, I have as a writer side with the right to free speech, especially since it is a peaceful, non-violent protest. To me, it doesn’t matter whether you agree with what the NFL players are protesting or not. Per the constitutional right to peaceful free speech, they have a right to say it. You may not agree, but soldiers fought to the death for their right to say it.

That is as far as I will go with that particular free speech, free protest issue. Now, onto the issues with free speech and social media.

Social media has greatly affected the idea of free speech. Anyone can jump on a digital device and create a social media profile to say whatever they feel like with very few consequences. Sure, these various sites do have rules, but they are rarely enforced unless the powers that be want to silence someone who is making a lot of noise that make shake up the status quo. Recently, a celebrity was censored for speaking up against a harmful individual who had hurt countless others. They were not in the wrong, but social media found a way to shut them down.

This is incredibly frustrating.

Comfort Food to the Soul

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It has been a long week, and there are still three full days to get through in order to complete the week.

I am tired. I am really tired.

Part of it is due to the bipolar nature of the weather in Northeastern Pennsylvania. A few days ago, it was in the eighties, and I was walking around in a tank top and shots. Today, it barely reached sixty degrees, and I had to bundle up in a sweater and boots while I dodged random rain drops falling from a dull gray sky. It will be barely in the sixties for the next two days before it will shoot up to eighty for the weekend as we head into the middle of October.

I swear these sudden weather shifts screw with my mood and physical health in the absolute worst way.

To add to this, I’ve just been in a bit of a funk. I mean it could be still due to the weather, but I feel like other factors might be involved. Work has been rough. There is so much that needs to be completed, and I have been staying later in order help get caught up to things that our department may be behind on. The stress is getting to me a bit, if I’m being completely honest. In addition, I haven’t really had the luck in finding any jobs in my field or out of the area, and that is getting quite frustrating as I’m so ready to move forward in my life to something new, better, and different. I’m really feeling stuck.

When I get home with all of this stress and depression on my shoulders, I sometimes wonder how I will get through it.

Today, I walked into my home with that little black rain cloud over my head. I tried to alleviate the stress by listening to my iPhone music while I drove home, but the stress of traffic just added to my stress. I drove home and got out of my car with my shoulders slumped and my head hung. The stress of the day made me lethargic and unmotivated. I dropped my keys in the basket by the door, kicked off my shoes, cracked open a bottle of hard cider, and crawled into my bed as I turned on my bedroom television to unwind in a mature, adult fashion.

I put on a cartoon.

Nostalgia, for me at least, is a great comfort food for when I am really overwhelmed and stressed. Most nineties cartoons, particularly the ones that aired on Nickelodeon, will usually do the trick. I know it is not healthy to live in the past, but it can be quite beneficial to visit it every one and a while. However, there is one cartoon in particular that I turn to when I get so stressed I can barely stand. Sailor Moon. This is my all-time favorite show and can bring me so much joy when I cannot stand.

What’s you comfort food for the soul?

Hitting the Wall

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My face hurts a lot.

My face hurts from hitting the same wall every single day, my friends.

I’m in such a rut these days. I see people my age getting married, having kids, moving out, moving on, and I am still in the same exact spot I have been for the last twenty-seven years of my life. Sure, I’ve worked a few different jobs over the years, gone to a few different schools, and made and lost friends over the years, but life has not moved beyond my front door in a good long while. There have not been a lot of negative things that have pushed me down too far, but I have not tasted the sweetness of success very often.

I’m not drowning. I’m not swimming. I’m just floating.

That’s probably the worst part of it.

Listen; I know I am extremely lucky in my life and should be grateful for the ways my life has not failed in. I have a full-time job that I believe I do a decent job at, and I’d like to think I am a reliable employee. I am nowhere near in as much debt as any of my friends are. Going to a state school and getting a good leasing deal on my car, I only have a few monthly monetary obligations that leave my bank account looking fairly decent. I am in peak physical health and only get sick once a year if I get sick at all. I’m really lucky that my family and friends are generally safe, healthy, and happy in their own lives in the world. I have a lot of things that are really stable right now. However, that is also the problem. Life is stable and secure, but it is not hopeful and exciting.

It’s like my sky isn’t pouring down rain, nor is it bright and sunny. It’s just grey and cloudy.

Life has not moved an inch for me in years. I’ve been applying for jobs in my field since I graduated with my undergraduate degree, but nothing has panned out. Don’t get me wrong; I like my job now, but after learning so many specific skills in a particular field, wouldn’t you want to eventually use the skills you learned in the industries where they would be the most effective. I’m still living at home too as a result as simply uprooting and moving out of the area would only be an option if a good job offer or opportunity came my way as I would gladly pay my way across the globe in order to do what I love to do in this world.

Pushing through the rut has proved to be a difficult challenge to overcome somedays. There are days when I get a rejection notice for a job I applied to that pushes me to tears and to the point of giving up. Sometimes, it’s just the mundane that wears away at me until I want to quit.

Yeah, I’m hitting a wall…

…and I’m going to hit that wall so hard it breaks.

Let Me Introduce Myself

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I hate icebreakers.

Let me set a scenario for you all: you are at the first meeting of a club, support group, or church function. Everyone sits down on folding chairs in a circle like you are all in grade school. Soft murmurs fill the air as the more sociable try to make friends before everything starts while the introverts fiddle around with the apps on their phones. Suddenly, every noise falls silents as if you all collectively know the meeting is about to begin.

“Everyone,” the leader of the group remarks,”let’s go around the room and share a little about yourself.

Your mind goes blank.

Sure, you know you are an interesting enough person. You know you already have a memoir’s worth of stories and facts about yourself. Who knows your story better than you do? You have several weird personality traits and quirky interests and hobbies. You also have fun and exiting ideas about the way the world works. However, when push comes to shove and someone asks you for one unique, defining fact about yourself, mental stage fright sets in.

Your mind goes blank, and you hear yourself providing the most bland and generic facts about yourself as quickly as possible so the conversation will shift to the next person who somehow provides a much better narrative than the brief ramble that manages to escape your lips in your fifteen-seconds of small fame.

Like I said, I hate ice breakers.

You run into a similar scenario when job hunting. When you are composing your resume, also known as your list of academic, professional, and personal accomplishments, how do you promote everything you are on a page or two that makes you stand out from each and every applicant that tries to apply to the same job? I know I struggle with trying to highlight the skills that the particular job poster is looking for while maintaining your everyday self.

Then, there’s the cover letter.

In a slightly more free form setting, a cover letter gives the applicant the opportunity to directly address the job poster in a more organic way. However, this freedom greatly echoes how an icebreaker at a club meeting would go. You know how skilled and how interesting you are, but when you are pressed to explain exactly why your are interesting and how this uniqueness will fit into your qualifications as an employee of your potential company, you freeze and start spouting generic information that vaguely sounds like what you think they want to hear about you.

It’s infuriating because this generic-ness is what keeps you from getting the job in the first place.

By A Leg

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With the straightest of kicks to a football, the Indianapolis Colts win this week’s match-up against the San Francisco 49ers in sudden death overtime. After an intercepted pass of the Colts led to the 49ers tying the game. All seemed lost, especially for the less than stellar Colts team who has consistently played at a lower standard for the franchise than they have in years. After a little back and forth with no score, the Colts finally reached the point where they were able to bring out the GOAT (greatest of all time) to kick the game winning field goal to end the day with an unexpected win for Indianapolis Colts. Really, it was kicker Adam Vinatieri, currently the oldest player in the National Football League, that won the game today. Most games played by the Colts over the last few years have been won by this old man’s leg.

Sorry for another football post, but it’s the weekend so that is what is to watch on television for most of us.

Dear God, it is hard to be a Colts fans right now and has been for a few years. I’ve only ever lived through the Colts reaching two championships and only winning one, but they were never a team that led to a lot of disappointment. In 1998, football legend Peyton Manning was drafted as the franchise quarterback and kept the Colts on a constantly well-performing track before injury forced him to the sidelines and eventually to another team and retirement. They drafted another promising quarterback Andrew Luck who brought hope to a franchise that seem like it was in trouble. He played well and consistent even as his offensive line began to weaken their protection of him until some major and bizarre injuries forced him off of the field and forced his back-up, who was the reliable Matt Hasselbeck, to take over for a large part of that season. He eventually came back only to be forced out by injury again. Luck is not that lucky.

Seriously, how hard do you have be hit and at what angle to get a lacerated kidney?

More injuries, retirements, and poor coaching staff have painted the team in faded colors, not shining as brilliant as they did in my youth.

Right now, we are holding on but not by much. Right now, we have two wins and three losses, and one of those wins is against the Cleveland Browns which really isn’t an impressive win as they are arguably one of the worst teams in the league. Our first back up to the still injured Luck played so poorly that we eventually drafted another quarterback to see if something would work better, and it actually has worked out. This new guy isn’t perfect, but he’s holding his own and has helped the Colts win with a less than stellar offense and a non-exinsistant defense. To make things better, Luck is practicing again, and this may be an indicator that he is close to taking the field again.

We may not have Luck right now, but we have hope.