365 – May Posts

365 Challenge: Day 80 – Flashback

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Flashback: remembrance of an event from the past

Today’s word is “flashback,” and while it could be interpreted in so many ways, there is only one (1) for the purpose of the 365 Daily Challenge. One month ago, on the 48th day of the challenge, I posted about being generous and noted that we’d re-visit it at the end of May. You can see the post here — 365 Challenge: Day 48 – Generous. Can you believe it’s already the end of May?  Well it is… and I’m having a flashback!

My commitment was to practice what I preached in the post, by taking on two new suggestions that I blogged about that day. The list of suggestions covered pushing yourself to confront the four (4) areas of what was stopping you from being more generous: fear, laziness, unknowing and exhaustion.  From that list of 14 suggestions, the two I’ve followed through on were:

  1. Put a reminder in my calendar for 15 minutes every week to do something for someone else, not for me.
  2. Find something you love to do and share it with someone else who can’t easily do it on their own.

One is an action where I can do something physically and the other is blocking time on my calendar to remember to focus on being more generous. I opted for one in each category to give myself the opportunity to be open-minded and selective in however I follow through. So here’s my plan for starting in the month of June:

  1. Reminder is on my calendar for Thursday evenings from 7:30 until 7:45 PM. My assumption is once I’m done working and complete errands or working out that day, I’ll be home, showered and ready to do something that evening. I’ve got 15 minutes to think about how to be generous to someone on the upcoming weekend, whether it’s calling someone to catch up who maybe needs a positive memory, or scheduling an upcoming volunteer session. I picked Thursdays because it’s the end of the week and about to turn into a weekend where I have more free time. I avoided Friday, as after a full week of work, I need to go out or want to relax. And I picked the time because it’s when my day is over, right before I either order food for dinner, begin cooking or head out to a restaurant. 15 minutes for someone else before I focus on myself again.

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  1. I’ve picked two items to volunteer for… and waiting on my significant other’s input so it is something we can do together… although I know what will be picked:
    • Volunteer a couple of hours a month at a hospital or elder care facility to spend time with folks who maybe don’t have a lot of visitors. Either have a good conversation with them, play cards or board games… something to make their day a little bit different.  I’m open to suggestions on places in NYC if anyone knows of any?
    • Volunteer at a pet shelter to spend time with animals who don’t have anyone to take care of them. Or, maybe participate in a program where I can bring a dog home with me on a weekend to get them out every so often, but I’m not sure Ryder wants his space invaded (even tho he should be generous too!)… so… need to think this one thru.

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The goal is to pick one of those in June after some research and start it in July. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please share.

I’d love to hear from you if you took on any of the suggestions or started your own way to be generous.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 79 – Authentic

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Authentic: of undisputed origin; genuine; real

When I picture the word “authentic” in my mind, for some reason, it tends to be cultural or based on one’s heritage and ethnicity. I understand how food can be authentic with proper tastes and ingredients. I recognize people want authenticity when buying original paintings and books. I see objects as being from older civilizations as authentic. But I’ve not ever delved into what makes an individual authentic. I’ve said someone is a genuine person or that they feel real, but what exactly does that mean?

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As always, when I’m looking for a general consensus, I search the Interwebs. I stumbled upon a list of 11 signs that a person is truly authentic and provided the link below. I cannot vouch for who this person is, or whether they are qualified to provide such input; however, in general, from a quick read, I thought it was a good explanation. But as always, I have a few things to add, which will come towards the end of the post. Before diving into this little exercise, I would have said I’m a very authentic person, basing this purely on some key facts:

(a) I always do what I say I am going to do,

(b) I am open, honest and fair with everyone,

(c) I hopefully come across as genuine and real — never a fake attitude or action,

(d) what you see is what you get with me.

Let’s dive into the article’s eleven key points to determine if my initial views were accurate or off base. You can read the full article at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-twardowski/11-signs-of-a-truly-authentic-person_b_9462220.html

  1. Recognize emptiness in material things
    • I love materials things, and I recognize how bad that sounds. What I mean is that I truly enjoy having books, art, clothes, culinary items, furniture, etc. They make me happy to look at or use, share with others or just be around. It’s not a reflection on how I value them above/below people. It’s purely that I do find an importance in having them in my life. I understand how that can appear empty or insufficient; they are inanimate objects, whereas people and animals can share an emotional experience. But I believe you can have an authentic experience with someone else via a material object that brings you both positive feelings and memories, e.g. buying a book and reading it together. I’d say 50/50 on this one for me, since I absolutely do need material things, but I know enough to say people are more important.
  2. Recognize experiences make things richer
    • Yes, I agree with this one, as it is one thing to read a book about going on a first date versus going on a first date. Forgetting about social awkwardness or finding the person to go on a date with… once it happens, that is a powerful experience, hopefully for the better and not the worse. To be authentic tho, it has to be something special between the people involved — not ordinary and repetitive. I have had lots of positive and rewarding experiences and fit this one well. As I’ve settled down into a committed relationship, it’s more moment-in-time rather than large group of constant new things. A moment early in the morning over a cup of coffee watching the sunrise, or a quick look at each other while playing with the dog together in the park.
  3. Truly listen to others
    • I’m a really strong listener. I try to understand everything from words to expressions, both physical and emotional. I tend to ask deeper and more probing questions, not usually content with surface discussions, especially when someone wants to talk with me about something important. I’m very strong with this element.
  4. Express true thoughts, feelings and views unapologetically
    • For the most part, I’d agree with this statement. I definitely express all of this, but I often choose not to share my thoughts and feelings — not because I don’t want to stir up trouble, but because I wouldn’t be adding any value or difference to whatever is already being discussed. If I think someone is doing something wrong, and there is an impact, I will definitely bring it up. But if someone says blue is the best color, I’m not going to argue why I think grey is. So… I’m probably 50/50 on this one since it contains the word unapologetically, as my opinion isn’t necessary in every occasion.
  5. Not out to please people
    • Major fail here for me. I am a people-pleaser. I know it. I accept it. However, on big things, I am not. I will say what I want and push my agenda or opinion. I tend to prefer collaboration and agreement over confrontation. I go with the flow if something isn’t important enough to me to fight over it. I can see how this is important to being authentic, as if you do things just because you feel like you have to please someone, you are not being authentic. Unless you say aloud, “I don’t want to do this, but I will because you want me to do it.” Then maybe you are authentic.
  6. See value in giving love to others
    • I’m probably 50/50 on this one, too. I absolutely see the value and respect the value; however, I’m very distant in some respects when it comes to love. I have different levels or versions of love. There are people whom you see regularly that you enjoy being around, but it doesn’t mean you “love” them. We’d need to agree on a proper definition of love. I’m not talking about a religious believe of “love thy neighbor.” To me, love is something you share with people you are extremely close with… could be family, friends or significant others. I reserve those deep connections for very few; however, I am a much closer friend to my friends, as I don’t believe in “surface-level” friendships — those are just acquaintances you see from time to time, even if you’re out at a bar having a drink to catch-up once a year. To be authentic, you have to acknowledge these different types of relationships.
  7. Love themselves
    • Depends on the day! As I grow older, I learn to love myself more and more. This 365 Daily Challenge has had an interesting impact on how I feel about myself. In general, I think I fit this example pretty well; however, there are parts of me I do not like and would want to change. I accept it, don’t fight it, nor do I let myself get upset over it. This is important to being authentic, but not necessary. You can be a jerk and not like yourself, but admit that to people. You are authentic even when you are not a good person if you acknowledge it.
  8. Willing to see and acknowledge their own faults
    • Yes, I’m good with this. I acknowledge and admit everything I do incorrectly. I embrace faults as it is an opportunity for me to learn and change. This is critical to being authentic in my opinion. If you can’t look at yourself and admit what it is good or right or wrong or bad, then you aren’t being fair to yourself or anyone in your immediate circle of relationships.
  9. Understand that we’re all unique and it’s OK
    • Yes. I think this is important to being authentic. You need to be you and no one else in order to be authentic. You can be similar to others, and that’s OK. I am definitely unique — and average — all at the same time. I believe I fit this one well and think it’s important to being authentic.
  10. Take responsibility for their lives
    • I definitely line up here. I rely on myself too much — always thinking everything should be 50/50 split so that I am 100% taking care of myself whether it’s in splitting responsibilities, costs, time, etc.  I make my own choices and do not ever blame anyone else. I am my own keeper and I choose how and when to let others take the lead. And if I let someone else take the lead, and it’s the wrong decision, I also made that wrong decision because I allowed and/or wanted the other person to take the lead.
  11. Connected to their own inner guide
    • I fall in the middle here… I do have a connection that is quite strong with my internal body and mind; however, my guide is still deciding what should happen for the rest of my life… so the connection is working overtime and sometimes doesn’t want me too close — as it needs time to figure it out on its own, I believe.  For the most part, it’s a continuous cycle, but I have some work to accomplish in this area.

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After a review and reflection on my responses, it appears I meet approximately 2/3 of these guidelines. I admit, it’s lower than I expected. But I also just picked an article off the Interwebs based on a ten-minute search, so I’m not too worried. For the most part, I’m definitely in the authentic category, but I have a few areas to consider improving. And I’m OK with that… after all, isn’t accepting improvement one of those guidelines?

What do you think of when you see the word “authentic,” specific to people and not things? Would you consider yourself authentic?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 78 – Lazy

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Lazy: unwilling to work or use energy

It’s Monday 5/29 at 2:37pm EST and my daily 365 Challenge post is only just beginning right now. Let’s set the stage even further. It’s Memorial Day and I am officially not working today. It was a 3-day weekend. I’ve done nothing so far today except catch up on writing book reviews, interacting on social media with all of my e-friends and new e-friends. I’ve completed all but one outstanding tag/award/meme, which only just arrived in the last hour. But I still haven’t written the 365 Daily post. But it gets worse. I have not left my apartment. I’ve barely gotten off the couch. I haven’t gone to the gym. I haven’t even yet showered. Sure, you probably didn’t care to know that, but I’m just creating a little ambiance here…

At first, I thought to myself… you are worse than lazy. It’s Memorial Day and you’ve done nothing to support this important day. But… I did, as one of my posts earlier this week was thanking our veterans, active duty  armed forces (all branches) and anyone involved in this type of a role. So at least I don’t feel too guilty about being completely neglectful, as I’ve properly extended my humble appreciation via the blog; however, even if this were a regular normal day, it’s half-over and I’ve done nothing by normal standards. So…I am officially lazy today. Not everyday. It’s just today and I can accept it. I’ll be back on track with my schedule tomorrow. Actually, after I finish this post, I do plan on hitting the gym, then showering (thankfully), and I will pickup food to cook for dinner this evening.

But since we’re on the topic… is it OK to be lazy every once in a while? Do you feel wasteful when you sit on your a$$ and “play on the computer.” How often do you find yourself engaging in such a behavior? Up until about 3 years ago, I still had a flip phone. I did not have any social media accounts except for Facebook. I wasn’t big on searching the internet or reading any news or blog sites. I had other hobbies. But in the last few years, social media continues to take up more of my time. In some ways, it’s great, as I meet new people, learn new things and am connected across the world. In others, how do I measure this as true productivity of my discretionary time?

I’m not referring to it as a professional or business-oriented metric, but as a personal one. Many of us have families, children or parents to care for. Some of us work a lot more than the “standard” 40 hours, or have second and third jobs. Lots don’t have a personal computer and use their phone or at the library / work, when time permits, which is usually minimal. I’m sure there is a wide range of usage even across those of us who have blogs on WordPress (or other sites). It’s got me thinking more than usual today… about personal productivity versus laziness, when it comes to the art of just “surfing the internet.” How much is too much?

Many have asked this question before. Many have answered this question before. There are different answers as there are different kinds of bloggers. I would say I “work” about 40 to 50 hours per week on a normal schedule. I do not have children, which gives me more available free time. My parents are in good health, and although I visit with them each week, I’m not a caretaker at the moment. I exercise in my building’s gym, so no traveling around to work out or participate in sports. Basically, I’ve got a lot of “extra available” time for hobbies and pastimes, when compared to other people. It hasn’t always been this way, as I’ve had the 100 hour weeks and caring for others, so this is just a point in time contemplation over my own laziness. A few thoughts on my mind:

  • How much time on average do people spend doing this stuff?
    • A few hours a day, if I added it all up. Between the daily 365 post, reading other comments, an extra post or two depending on tags/memes/awards/summaries/updates, 5 past book reviews to catch up on for the next month or so, then syncing between all the different sites and social media accounts. That’s a lot of time. But I do enjoy it. I feel productive on some levels. I’m meeting fantastic people. {Aside: YEAH – YOU!!!}
  • How much time do I think we should spend doing this stuff?
    • I feel like 1 hour per day is sufficient, but using time wisely. Maybe a few checks thru-out the day during a quick free moment, but then back to the normal tasks at hand. I’d like to strive for accomplishing my blogging goals within a one-hour limit.
  • Is it important to consider “quality” versus “quantity?”
    • The more followers you have, the more people you follow, the more you want to engage. Today, I kept hopping from blog to blog, finding great new people and posts. And then I kept seeing “20 new posts in WP Reader” all the time. It was a bit of a rabbit hold, arguably a good one. Part of me thinks I could do this all day, but that might be unhealthy, unless it were my full-time job.
  • Are response times important on social media and blogging?
    • Even when I think about my work email, I am restless if something sits in my Inbox for more than two minutes without me reading it. And then I get nutty if I haven’t responded within 30 minutes to the sender. I’m now feeling that way about the blog! It’s definitely not a complaint — as I love blogging — but is there any “response time” that one would consider appropriate or inappropriate? It is probably subjective by person, as well as if you’ve setup expectations with someone in the past. Maybe that’s 30 minutes twice a day to keep up?

I could probably go on and on with thoughts and questions, but I think this is good enough for a daily post about feeling lazy versus productive on this specific day when speaking directly about blogging. How about you? Any thoughts on the questions above? I end with one last realization for today:

I’m not actually lazy. I have accomplished a lot since I awoke this morning. It was just all done while sitting on my couch, as part of a hobby where I’m not being paid, so… that’s why I felt lazy — because it was time where I focused on what I wanted instead of the things I thought I was supposed to do with an extra day on the weekend. So… where do I end up if not lazy… Superficial? Selfish? Silly? Oh no, another rabbit hole — and this one doesn’t sound as pleasant.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 77 – Grey (Color)

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Grey: (a) of a color intermediate between black and white, as of ashes or an overcast sky, or (b) dull and nondescript; without interest or character

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5). In the first set of five, we explored my primary ethnicity groups and nationalities. In the second set of five, we had the AtoZ Challenges for various favorite things in our lives. And so… I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. Only this time, I’m going with colors that are important to who we are. For the next five Sundays, I will select a color that has some significance to my life and explore it in my post.

{Aside: Thank you to Valerie at Valerie’s Musings for convincing me to go this route… she had lots of good ideas we tossed around, but I’ve settled on this one and have other thoughts for future posts, too.}

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Color: Grey. Or is it Gray? That’s the first thing we need to discuss, even before I explain why this is the initial color I’ve chosen. And if you’re perceptive, you may have noticed I used “grey” in the subject’s caption, which means that’s my preference. At its simplest, “grey” is the UK spelling while “gray” is the American version. I’m American. I should use “gray,” but I feel like “grey” is the more appealing way to spell the word. It has a little bit of flair, ambiance and intrigue. And I like leaning towards my British roots, whenever I easily can, without confusion. I choose the British spelling for other words, too. That settled, why “grey?”

It is a beautiful color. It’s a middle ground between black and white, two polar opposite colors that are striking, each in its own way. But when you bring them together, you can create the most amazing of shades that highlight anything else you choose to go with it. I searched the Interwebs for the first article I could find (no science here!) explaining the color grey in terms of people’s personalities and choices. Below is the link, but the gist reveals, like the definition I posted above, that grey is an “emotionless, moody color… typically associated with meanings of dull, dirty, and dingy, as well as formal, conservative, and sophisticated.”

http://www.bourncreative.com/meaning-of-the-color-grey/

I disagree. Grey to me… is power — though, not in a typical way. I believe purple is reserved for royal or powerful. But in my world… Grey is a shade. It can be darker or lighter. It can hide, yet it can be visible. It can mean quiet, or it can be strong. Grey is neutral, goes with anything, almost like the Switzerland of colors. That’s who I am. I am torn between two extremes in all that I do. I find something I like in everything. I can be around anyone and figure out how to connect, if necessary, even for a short time. Grey feels like the color of my personality.

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In some ways, I am also boring, bland and dull. I offer little in terms of being able to clearly articulate who I am, meaning I’m not known for my passion over a sports team or my exceptional knowledge of any one topic. And, as I’ve said before in my posts, being average to me is a good thing — it’s not something I think of as a negative quality about myself. It’s an ability to fit into my surroundings without being noticed, but reliable and consistent in all that I do. That is the color grey. That is me.

Let’s chat about famous examples of the color grey… And yes, there are probably more, but these are the ones that come to mind or I have familiarity with:

  • Gray Matter: Our Brains
  • Grey’s Anatomy: A famous TV show, and I believe a book on the human body
  • Fifty Shades of Grey: a famous series of books and movies
  • Grey Hair: Divisive – people either hate it or embrace it
  • Gandalf the Grey: “Lord of the Rings”
  • Greyhound: the bus company, dog and drink
  • Earl Grey Tea: most common flavor, I think (To my “TEA” friends — yes/no?)
  • Grey Poupon: remember those mustard commercials?
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray: Classic book
  • Grey Gardens: Hamptons House in disarray of Jackie O’s family

Many feel depressed with the color grey, as though it is so dull, it offers nothing to the eye. To me, it offers Calm. Relaxation. Mood. Grey is in every room in my home. It’s on the walls in three different shades between the hallways, bedroom and living room. My couch is grey.  My bathroom towels are grey. My bed comforter is grey. It may seem bland, but it’s not. It’s a beautiful base that allows other colors to shine in their own way.

Grey is almost monotone (though by it’s definition, it is not). Think of black and white photographs. Your eyes don’t see the black or the white. They interpret grey. At least mine do. And it feels historic. Antique. Important. Valuable. Memorable. Like the grey wolf — another beautiful image:

How do you feel about the color grey? Does it stand out or hide among your life? Is it a neutral base of an item you avoid? And which way do you spell it?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 76 – Courageous

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Courageous: not deterred by danger or pain; brave

When I first thought about the word courageous, images of people who protect others from danger flooded my mind. I imagined all our armed forces (navy, military, air, et al) around the world, doctors and nurses who travel the globe to treat the sick, cops and firemen who keep us safe from our own disasters and criminals, civil rights activists trying to achieve equality and fairness for everyone… all the people who knowingly take a job or volunteer position in which they have a strong chance of dying or being hurt as a result of such a choice. I was not surprised with the results when I searched for an official definition and picture for today’s 365 Challenge post. Those are courageous people.

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Although it is only a mere daily blog, and has little impact on anyone other than a few of us, I’d like to take a moment to remind all of us to be thankful for these individuals. Without them, our lives would be very different: less safe, more sickly and full of risk. The world grows more dangerous each day, but with the careful dedication of these groups, we have a fighting change to live full and healthy lives. So… Thank you… to anyone who falls into the category I’ve described above. I appreciate all that you do for me, and I simply wanted to take a moment to say it without it being prompted to by some event that caused me to think about it, e.g. newscast or article, natural disaster, seeing a member of this community.

By this definition, I am not what I would consider a courageous person. I have not embarked on a profession or become a volunteer in any area where I protect and serve the people of our country and this world. I have not been on the front-line watching my friends being shot at. I have not taken any risks studying a disease I could catch, in the hopes I can find a cure. I have not fought for a cause to protect all the freedoms for people who have been denied the basic rights every human should unquestionably hold. And I have not put on a uniform to keep our streets and homes safe and clean from things that could harm them.

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But underneath this prominent definition of the word “courageous” lives a more subtle meaning, one we apply to situations when someone takes a risk or goes above and beyond the expectation, knowing it will potentially have a negative outcome. We call these people courageous and brave for doing something different, for pushing the envelope, for standing out in a situation.

I applaud these people, too. Not nearly as much as those who serve and protect us, as noted at the beginning, but those who find a way to be courageous in their every day lives. When I look at myself, I have been brave in a few areas of my life. I’ve been courageous under such a definition or explanation. I quickly searched for a few commons components of this type of courage… more than the Wizard of Oz’s cowardly lion but less than Mother Theresa. A link is below to the full article, but the 6 key items I found were:

  1. Feeling Fear Yet Choosing To Act
  2. Following Your Heart
  3. Persevering in the Face of Adversity
  4. Standing Up For What is Right
  5. Expanding Your Horizons; Letting Go of the Familiar
  6. Facing Suffering with Dignity or Faith

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201208/the-six-attributes-courage

As I’ve done on past posts, a quick exploration on these six items:

  1. I’ve felt fear and still acted. I once thought someone had broken into my home, so I grabbed a weapon and carefully checked the house. I was prepared to confront rather than escape and call the police (probably the wiser thing to do in that situation).
  2. I left a very strong, profitable and dependable career to take a chance on writing, which has always been my passion.
  3. I’ve faced little adversity in my life and wouldn’t dare try to show that I have. I have been privileged. I know it and am grateful. I need to do more here for others.
  4. I have stood up for a few things in my life, but not always. I should do better here, too.
  5. I have expanded my thoughts and taken chances. I am probably right about where I should be for this one.
  6. I’ve never been placed in a situation with major suffering. I have been privileged. And I am grateful. But if I were, I am more apt to have a dignified reaction in person. I may post and complain a little in writing, but that’s just creative expression. In reality, I would be much more admirable.

Courage is not easy. Some days, it feels like something we can easily attain. Others, it’s as far away as Oz. But it’s important to know that we should never forget about it.

Are you courageous? Do you have a story about someone with courage? Let’s share…

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 75 – Patient

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Patient: able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious

Patience is not something innately arriving at my doorstep, exquisitely wrapped within a lovely basket, a brilliant bow and all the rest of the pomp-and-circumstance trimmings. It’s more like the tragic, nagging reminder in the back of my head, warning me to be good and to let things happen naturally — or I’ll grow warts and hairy moles. And when those are the measures at stake, who the hell wants warts and moles? Or wants more warts and moles… cause you know we all have one at some point in our life… don’t even try to hide from this one, my friends!

We’re told at a young age to allow whatever situation you’re waiting to occur… to happen naturally. Naturally. Does anything happen naturally anymore? So many things in our lives are artificially triggered or engineered, it’s hard to know what’s occurring on its own or happening due to a gentle [read: massive] push from some other force. And the energy behind those “other” forces often leave you unable to determine what should have happened on its own in the first place.

I am very much driven by accomplishments and checking things off the “To Do” list. I always have a bit of anxiety just beneath the surface of my skin when there is something I need to do, but haven’t yet gotten to it. I remembered this morning that I also have the same little aggravating pulse, throbbing beneath my skin when it comes to my control over the art of patience. It’s painful, annoying and itchy. And I want it to balance itself out, so I don’t have to think about it. But it’s always been a battle of wills that I struggle to win on a regular basis.

I want something. It’s within inches of my grasp. But I have to wait. Why? Perhaps it’s not my turn. Could be that it’s not yet ready. Maybe it’s not meant for me. Eh… too many things fall into that category… yet I let them control my actions. When I push myself to think about why it’s so frustrating, I believe it boils down to the mere fact that I have way too much to do. And unfortunately, I also believe we’re all on that same boat treading water in a very deep and wide ocean. There is never enough time to do the things we want to do, and failing to accept that reality can have major consequences.

My lack of patience isn’t over something specific today. No grandiose situation perforated my life (other than the usual ones we all face). It’s simply a moment in time reflection that we are all way too busy, yet sometimes finding ourselves with nothing we want to do, and trying to patiently wait for whatever it is that’s supposed to come next. When I reflect on this behavior over the years, I recognize that it’s been a fairly consistent one: lack of patience for most anything going on in my life.

It’s not an outward manifestation, but an internal one. Consuming. Niggling. Yes, sometimes it causes a bit of eye-twitching, teeth-grinding or is lack of sleep-inducing, but I’m fortunate enough to take the brunt of it myself, saving others from feeling my undeserved wrath. I’m sure you’re familiar… we all are at some point: very few of us are just comfortable 24/7 with whatever happens when it happens.

Patience is a virtue. Patience is rewarded. Patience is honorable. We hear these little sayings all the time. And yes, I’m sure to a large extent, they are quite true. But it is also an art that needs to be practiced — if we ever want to achieve it as a natural and normal state of our reactions to situations. Some people find patience in religion, exercise or spirituality. Others find it elsewhere. I’m not looking to understand how to become a more patient person, as I kinda know what I need to do. I think I may just be too old to change it. You know what they say about old dogs…

And it got me thinking… what if we had a chance to scrap it all over and start fresh? A re-start or new beginning to our life. Forget about the implications and the things you’d lose by engaging in such a marvelous re-boot to your days. I’m not getting philosophical in my daily post, but what if you could keep an on-going journal of all the things you wish you’d learned how to do the proper way when you first entered this world. And then you could share it with yourself and watch from a distance to see how it all turned out — a second time around. Would you do it? Would you have the patience to watch yourself make the same mistakes? Or new ones? Or witness the improvements?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 74 – Mechanical

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Mechanical: (a) not having or showing thought or spontaneity; automatic or (b) working or produced by machines or machinery

Two definitions; two polarizing meanings and impacts. Should I get deep and introspective, or just cover the perimeter of both… What’s a guy to do on a very rainy morning? Think about pasta… seriously, look at that photo below. Did you know that’s how they shaped and created spiral noodles? I’d never thought about it before, and when I found this GIF, I stared at it for over a minute, fascinated by the ingenuity and simplicity all wrapped in one little machine. I suppose it’s baked afterwards, or maybe it hardens on its own. Very curious now… OK, back to the topic at hand… mechanical… I fit one definition perfectly, but I’m quite far from the other one. I’m sure you know by now which is which.

My father is a very handy jack-of-all-trades. He can build motors, repair most anything and understands exactly how any piece of machinery works. I, unfortunately, did not inherit any of those abilities. On the rare occasion, I understand enough to get by, but there are many things out there that still confuse me. I laugh about it, but part of me is disappointed in myself for not being able to grasp what seems like a simple concept. A few examples:

  • Toilet Bowls
    • Occasionally the lever or internal parts will stop working. Plastic breaks every few years. It’s often a simple and direct replacement. I sorta get how it works and if I really applied myself, I could probably fix it. But I’ve had a few times where I just stared, willing it to fix itself. It’s not about doing the work; I’m happy to fix and repair things. But trying to figure out which piece to hold up while you push the other down… or how to get the water level just right for the flush. Ugh… for a smart math guy, I’m pretty dumb when it comes to something like fixing a toilet tank.
  • Cars
    • I was once taught how to change a tire. I’ve never had to do it myself because I’ve never had a flat tire when I was a driver (haven’t had a car in the city in 5+ years). I had a nail in the tire once, but it was not causing any real immediate damage. I had an inspection coming up, so I dropped the car off for both to be handled. I probably could have attempted it myself. But it’s not a strength in my wheelhouse, so I avoided it. One would think I’d look at it as an opportunity to learn something new, but I don’t. It’s not laziness, as I am fine spending 4 hours cleaning every nook and cranny of the kitchen and bathrooms. I’m good with building bookshelves and planters. But I couldn’t tell a carburetor from a muffler if my life depended on it. Pretty sad.
  • Door Knobs
    • I once tried to replace a door knob and lock on my own. I thought it would be a simple task. But my brain struggles to grasp the whole concept of which direction something turns, how the gears wind or work, what loosens or tightens. In the end, I installed it, but it was still a bit loose, and I was glad it was an inside door as I’m sure anyone could have easily broken in to the place if it were the outside door. From that point on, I won’t touch door knobs or locks.

So… my point being… I can calculate numbers and advanced mathematical equations in my head. I can write a character description or scene setting you’ll fall in love with. I can grow flowers, cook and clean. I can lift heavy weights and do intense exercise routines. But I have little to no mechanical skills whatsoever. While not life-threatening, I’d not want to be stuck in a life or death situation on my own, where I needed these skills.

The only saving grace I feel in this situation comes from what other people think of me, or what they’ve told me on past occasions. A large group of friends and I once played something called “The Voting Game” during one of our monthly game nights. We found it at Barnes and Noble, and it’s basically a bunch of cards with sayings or quotes, and then you vote which person in the group is most like that card. It’s semi-anonymous, but you could play it either way. A card came up basically saying the person who you would most trust to help you get off a remote island and survive any complication thrown at you while stuck somewhere. My friends all voted for me, so that helps offset the lack of mechanical skills. At least people know I’m persistent and always find a solution to a problem.

On the flip side, I am often mechanical in my approach to things, thus meeting the first definition. I am very consistent. I follow routines. I have a linear and organized approach to planning. I often have automatic responses to questions or situations without even thinking about or interpreting what I’ve heard. So at least I fit one of the definitions. Any mechanical folks out there, either definition?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.