365 Daily Challenge

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.

365 Challenge: Day 73 – Gardener

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Gardener: a person who tends and cultivates a garden as a pastime or for a living

Let me be clear right at the beginning: Gardening is not the way I make my living! And while it’s a bit of a pastime, it’s not something I have a lot of opportunity to do right now for two primary reasons: (1) I am blogging and reading in all my spare time and (2) I live in NYC. But let’s do a quick re-cap on why I chose gardener.

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As a child, I helped my mom with all the gardening. We had a 150 square foot raised patch in the back corner of the property where we planted vegetables. We also had a fairly large piece of property in the suburbs situated on a corner lot, about 1/3 of an acre. We spent a lot of time on the weekends mowing the lawn, trimming trees, cleaning up weeds and leaves, and planting flowers. If I had to count, I’d say we had about 40 flower beds between the front, back and sides. I learned a lot about gardening! When I moved into my own house, I tried to re-create a lot of those memories, and my mom would help, but I worked a lot and couldn’t keep up. But I always had a few beautiful flower beds I could maintain in the front yards. Then I moved into the city… and on to the 12th floor of a building. So what was I suppose to do when I wanted to garden?

I love to garden. I enjoy planting seeds, watching things sprout, watering, checking the growth and seeing the pretty colors. It makes me happy. It’s calming. It’s a pretty scene to look at when you live in a concrete jungle. And while I do live in a major urban area, there are tons of parks and lots of small corner flower beds to admire, so it’s not all brick and mortar. But, when the significant other and I bought this apartment, we carefully chose a place with a large terrace for a few reasons: (1) Ryder needed some space to run around, (2) We needed an escape outside of the apartment without having to travel far and (3) We were giving up our summer beach share and wanted some connection with nature in our new place. So… our apartment has a 600 square foot terrace. It’s about 8 feet wide and 75 feet long. That said… to bring this back to today’s post… and to share a little about me… and to give us all something to look forward to, I’m going to post pictures every few weeks of everything we’re doing with the flowers, bushes and trees on the terrace.

We spent about 5 hours last Sunday, with my mom’s help of course, planting a bunch of flower pots, moving around some trees (yes, we moved 8 foot trees in pots from one side to the other… very heavy!) and deciding how much more we’d need to purchase. Knowing it’s way too expensive to buy things in NYC, we take the train out east to Long Island, buy everything much cheaper at a huge nursery, and then my parents drive us all back in with the flowers to the apartment. It takes about 3 to 4 hours for that part, then I make lunch while they start prepping outside. And we plant for a few hours, relax with coffee and some dessert I cooked… they head home and we crash from exhaustion!

Without further ado, below are the photos I took this morning at the beginning of the season. Please remember these were just planted, have very little color at this point and aren’t picture-perfect; however, they will be in the coming weeks and months.

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Three pots with roses on the East corner. The bright pink one is new, the other two we put in last year. They are already starting to flower. This will be a collection of varying heights and pinks.

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Both larger pots are new. We bought a bunch of flats with different colors. One is a pot full of yellow and orange flowers, and one is a pot full of purple and red flowers. I can’t wait until they grow together and cascade over the sides. The smaller green bush might not make it, but we removed it from another place and wanted to see how it would do.

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Another pair of new pots, both full of various yellows, whites and greens that grow tall and will cascade down the planter sides.

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On the left is a hydrangea that we trimmed to the base last year. It’s already grown back and starting to get some buds. On the right is a new wisteria vine we will train to grow on the railing once it’s bigger. A few small colors in the base, too.

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We have 5 huge planter boxes full of ivy. In #1 above, we added purples and reds, and a strawberry bush.

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In #2, we have a few bushes, including a very fragrant jasmine tree and some impatiens.

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In #3, we have petunias and foxglove that’s still fairly small and needs to grow.

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In #4, we have a few bushes, heather and a bleeding heart.

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And in #5, we have more colorful perennials.

We’ll need to buy a few more flats with colors for the window boxes and these planters, as well as think about the herb garden… but that’s next weekend. I’ll post new pictures in about 3 weeks when there is enough growth and change!

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 71 – Dark

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Dark: absence of, or very little, light

dark

When I chose the word “dark” for today, I thought readers may assume I was going macabre and evil. And while that may be a good topic for the future, as there is a little sinister part of me that is dark (in the books I read), today, dark refers to the brightness of a light. So… now you’re probably thinking I’m a little peculiar to choose this as a personality-type trait. But it’s true, I prefer to be in dark, or less bright, environments. Perhaps I should explain…

I’ve mentioned before that eyesight isn’t one of my strengths, which has always meant I’ve felt ‘in the dark’ over a great deal of things. It also means my eyes are very sensitive to bright lights. As a result, I tend to keep the lights on a lower setting than most others. Whether I’m watching TV, resting, or even having a casual conversation, I prefer a dim light… sort of mood-inducing lighting. Even when I’m reading, the lights are on only as high as necessary to not strain my vision while reading the words. It feels more calming and relaxing, rather than as though I’m under a microscope being observed by everyone around me.

Many fear darkness. I do not. I’m not saying I’d be happy to be locked in a room with no lights, nor would I want to roam a dangerous place without any way to see what’s around me. I simply mean it feels natural to have a bit of shade, a way to hide a little, from the surroundings. Bright lights tend to make me feel like I should be up jumping around, being very active, almost on stage for all to see. My quiet nature likes remaining in the background, so this makes sense based on what I’ve noted before in the 365 posts.

But darkness is also a place to go when I need to think. I’m easily distracted by noise or moving objects. If I ever need to mull over an important decision, let my emotions control me, or absorb serenity, I need to be in the dark. To me, darkness is like that stage before life begins. It’s a moment of silence to ponder all that could happen… all that you want to experience. It’s the few minutes before the world consumes your innocence, your opinions and your actions.

Darkness, not bright light, is the initiation of something for me. And that seems a bit odd to say it aloud, but it’s how I associate change or transition. Darkness is that period between two situations, two people, two answers, two of anything… like bookends, leaving what happens in between as a place for all to see. And when I need to re-boot, darkness is the source of “new” for me. I see this as a healthy mindset. It’s not a fear. It’s not a way to avoid something. It’s how I can process growth. It’s that opportunity to reflect on what needs to transition.

Think about how you feel after an intense emotional situation. You’re drained. You feel winded. Your body might even hurt. You need to re-group. You need to find energy. Some people rush to the gym or a sport to revitalize. I search for darkness. I listen to the vacuum around me. My eyes search for the patterns or lines, drawing me towards things I could not see when I was distracted by everything the light had shown me. {I’m not being figurative here… I’m purely talking about true absence or presence of light}

Few often think about these things, from anytime I’ve mentioned it to others. How about you? Do you prefer light or dark lights? Which gives you more energy? What about the brightness of light propels or detracts how you behave?

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 68 – Unique

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Unique: being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else

I’m in a very contemplative mood today. It set upon me last night, as I had dinner with my better half and a friend of ours. Although it was a bit too warm for me, we had an al fresco Italian meal on the terrace under the Sunbrella awning. As the sun set and we enjoyed a glass of wine, I received an email, one which distracted me for much of the evening and again this morning. It’s nothing bad, nor anything at all to worry over; however, it made me realize how difficult it can be to reach a success point on your journey towards a goal. And when I awoke this morning, I asked myself: “What makes me unique?”

It’s a difficult question to answer. There are billions of people on our planet. Is it even possible to be unique? By it’s very definition, there is only one (1) unique item in a bunch; most of us interpret the word to mean “stand out above the rest,” rather than believe the word actually means a “single instance or occurrence.” I’m certainly not unique under the “by the book definition,” and I don’t really believe I’m unique per the commonly accepted “everyday definition.”

But in order to sell something… to convince someone… to get a “yes” to whatever the question is, you often need to be unique — that is, both stand out and be the only one with those qualifications. And so, not only is the question difficult, but being unique is also difficult. I suppose you really need to know yourself well to determine what makes you as “unique” as possible. I’d like to think I know myself well, but I’m not convinced I do, at least not today. I know the things I’m good at, but not what makes me top of my game. I sense the things I love doing, but not whether people want to listen to me because of them.

When I choose to read a book, it’s not often about what makes it a unique book. It’s whether the author has previously impressed me. It’s if the book cover or title truly capture my attention. It’s when the jacket description or online summary speak to me. Sometimes it’s when a friend recommends it. Other times, it falls into my lap. But there are millions of books…. they can’t all be unique. So how does one go about meeting that expectation when trying to write a novel, seek an agent or get published?

For those on a job search, you often hear “show why you’re the best candidate for the position,” either on the application, in the interview or as a follow-up review. Do we really know our own strengths? Are we savvy enough on the employer’s needs or the hiring manager’s thoughts to be able to highlight the right matching skills or words? It’s a balance of all these things… and I’m not necessarily looking for input or feedback on this… just noting how many times the question comes up: “How are you a unique fit or individual?” Perhaps it’s a bit too direct, egotistical or Pollyanna of me… but at times, I simply want to say:

I’m not a unique individual, nor do I want to be one. But what I am is a very capable, intelligent, strong, persistent, creative, open-minded and efficient guy. And you’d be lucky to have me as part of your team, whether I’m your next big writer or the one to re-organize your department to finally meet customer expectations. Some of us… are good at many things… and qualifying every piece of it won’t convince you why to select me. But knowing that there is no one more dependable than me, you should take this chance.

I’m not special, and I am OK with that. But it’s what others seem to expect when they are looking for the answer to the question. But then again, people’s natural instincts are also to be a bit doubtful or hesitant, to search for the absolute best, and to seek something that will bring in the money. Part luck, part game, it’s not always about talent. Nor is always about fitting in a prescribed box.

All this said, I’m not turning this into an advice column or a “help me understand” pitch. I’m not unique enough to warrant that kind of attention…  did you laugh over that? Yikes, I guess I’m not funny enough to be a comedian either. 😛  Even as I choose what to write in my reviews, or in the 365 Daily posts, I know I am not offering unique quality with a unique voice in a unique method. It’s been done by others, hundreds of times before and will continue to be thousands more into the future. I’m simply offering my opinion and thoughts, for whatever it may be worth at that time to that reader for a specific reason.

I’m purely reflecting on the things we face every day and how we choose to navigate that path. If I never found the perfect job or published a book, I’d still be a very happy guy. I’m simply being my inner two-year-old, questioning “Why, Why, Why” until I feel it’s time to move on to the next topic. And so I throw it back out to readers today. Pick one or more questions below and tell me what you think… or add your own question with an answer, too:

  1. What makes a book unique for you?
  2. How are you unique in your job or role?
  3. As a friend and general person, what types of unique qualities do you search for in others?
  4. Is unique important to you?

 

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 66 – Card-Shark

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Card-Shark: a person who is skilled in card games

I am a card-shark. I admit this. I am happy about this. It brings me much joy. Now let’s set the record straight on a few things:

  1. Card-Shark also means someone who plays cards professionally or cheats at card games. Neither of those describe me. I am not a cheater. And I am not sure I’m good enough to be a professional player.
  2. In Britain, it’s called Card-Sharp… an interesting little twist. I prefer the American saying.

OK, that said… yes, it’s a noun, but when I thought about things people clearly identify with me, being a card-shark is one of them. Playing cards has run in my family for many generations. As a child, I watched my grandparents and parents play card games nearly every weekend. They watched their grandparents play as children. And their parents watched them play on the boats coming over from Germany. When I went away for college, I setup all the games among my fraternity brothers and friends. {Oh yeah, not sure I ever told you I was in a fraternity for 3 1/2 years… was also its Historian one year, and its President the next… I’ve got some stories, perhaps I’ll find one I can share in a 365 Challenge!}

I love everything about the concept of cards: Two colors, red and black. Four suits, diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs. 52 cards, 2 thru 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace.Wild cards. Jokers. Pairs and Straights. Royals and Flushes. These are magical words to me, ever since I was old enough to understand the different games. When I stayed home sick from school (ahem, cough cough), I’d watch the TV Game show “Card Sharks” and dream of the day when I could be a contestant. But sadly, it went off the air by the time I was old enough to legally play it.

My family played games such as Poker, BlackJack, Follow the Lead, 4 of a Kind, Sevens, Criss-Cross. As I grew older, we learned Solitaire, Hearts and Spades. With each new skill, I became a very strong player. And I was never a happy loser. But we’ve talked about that in the past! It’s a game of skill, math, risk, chance, perception, bluffing, psychology… all things that build our brainpower… you know, good stuff.

When I turned 21, my family took me to Connecticut for my first legal gambling experience. I say “legal,” because as a kid, I’d often accompany my mom to Bingo, go with my dad to the lotto store or play betting games on vacation in the Catskill resorts we visited. But at 21, I gave the slot machines a chance and won $1k that night. It seemed I had a knack for this thing they call gambling. For my college graduation trip, some friends and I went to Las Vegas. When they all went to bed at midnight (ha, I say!), I hit the BlackJack tables… found myself a friendly dealer with hardly anyone else at the table, and I put my card playing skills to the test. After a few hours, I walked out of there with another $1K. Call it skill, call it luck, I loved it!

I’ve also said my personality is not all that addictive, so I luckily am content to go to casinos maybe once per year and give it a shot. But playing cards on the weekends is a fairly regular thing. Lately, it’s Spades. My father and I team up against my mother and my better half. I don’t believe any of them read this blog, so I can comfortably say my father and I usually win without them chiming in or being embarrassed. And we did win this last Mother’s Day when we played for a few hours in the afternoon. It was a close one, but Dad and I kept our lead in the final hand and won the game. Some might think I should have let my mom win on Mother’s Day, but a real card-shark couldn’t do that, could he? HaHaHa! (I’m just being funny with my little note of sarcasm here… but I did win…)

I keep track of the cards, so I generally know which ones are still left in the deck. Go ahead… call me a card counter… nothing wrong with it. And I am good at math, so I apply some statistics to decide what my chances are, before making any risky moves.  It’s one of the few things I excel at… so I let myself brag just a little bit. But at the same time, it’s also one of those natural talents I’ve always had — not something I really had to learn. That’s what makes it special to me. It’s a bit of a gift, and I am grateful for it. Bring me a deck of cards (if there aren’t any books available, that is), and I am in total bliss.

How about you? Anyone play cards? Bridge? Pinochle? I’ll even take a Go-Fish!

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.