school

365 Challenge: Day 123 – Learned

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Learned: connected or involved with the pursuit of knowledge; erudite, scholarly

learned

I’ve spent my last twenty-four hours pondering the various ways in which people learn new things, subjects or topics. As a child, it’s relatively easy to find methods for learning, particularly because in most cultures you are either being schooled at home or attending public or private school. Though it certainly varies from country to country, children and young adults generally attend grammar and secondary schools until they are 18; often, it’s followed by anywhere from 2 to 8 years of undergraduate colleges and graduate universities. Sometimes you take a break, re-enroll or return for additional degrees and certifications throughout your life. Ultimately, your education is generally formulated during those first 25 years of your life before you are more than likely forced to focus on a career and/or earning money to support yourself and/or a family.

In those first 25 years, a majority of the learning process or time is directed by a teacher or professor who has done the research, or been told by the school district, department chair or board of directors what methods to use and which books to read. My point, though it can be interpreted in many different ways, is that someone else “above/before” you is driving the education you are receiving. You might have selected the school, teacher, course, or some independent study components within the overall program, but you aren’t doing a majority of the planning and decision-making on how the entire learning experience will play out. Yes, you certainly pick a lot of the things you focus on within that course or degree, but you rarely can make up a majority of the requirements for your own education. While that seems like an obvious statement, I felt the need to establish it as a baseline understanding before I chat a little bit about what’s going on in my head these days…

It’s easy to rely on someone else to set the boundaries or parameters of your learning experience. And when you let them, you are able to focus on the actual reading, research and experimenting to gain the knowledge in preparation for your future. But what happens when you’re done with your formal education and you still want to learn. What are your options? A few ideas:

  • Read books, journals and magazines
  • Find a seminar or course
  • Research via the Internet
  • Talk to people in that field

All are good options, but they require you as the individual to drive that piece of your education. If you want to learn pottery, you have to find and take a course, choose what books you want to read, travel the world to look at different artistry elements… you are left with an endless supply of information, but not always certain on how to proceed with so much at your fingertips and so little in a comprehensive overview. No longer do you have a documented itinerary or list of requirements that directs you towards gaining the knowledge you need. And for many people, that can be overwhelming. As I look at the things I’d like to accomplish in my future, I find myself thinking about who will help guide me through all the vast and open paths. While I’m confident I can navigate a big piece of the puzzle, am I really qualified or prepared to figure this out on my own?

The answer, at least for me or in my opinion, is NO. Or at least it isn’t specifically right now. Let’s take the option I’m considering for self-publishing my novel. While I continue to draft and send queries to literary agents, we all know it’s a big piece of luck and chance that will bolster my success, no matter how talented I am. And so I am excited about looking at all the options out there for self-publishing as an alternative. As I began writing my project plan over the last week, I found myself having to research topics on the Internet, talk to other writers and bloggers, look for already written summaries, etc. And it dawned on me, while there may be a class or video blog out there to help, it’s still 100% up to me to figure this out. There’s no advisor, professor, parent, boss, chairperson… whatever the appropriate person is for the field I’m looking at… and in reality, I actually first need to figure out what my educational plan is going to be before I just randomly go research it.

So… to bring some perspective back here… this post isn’t me saying “anyone have thought on self-publishing?” as I have already begun to prepare my own comprehensive plan on how to go about doing this, given all the materials at my disposal. But this post is saying… how does the rest of the world handle this? And doesn’t it seem silly that we spend so much of our early years “planning and learning,” only to find ourselves truly needing to be in a place of constant learning and growing without the right tools? Isn’t that one of the major points of life in any religion, culture or calling? To educate one’s self so that you can be a productive member of society and enhance the world for our future. But how do we do that if we end our formal learning process by 20 to 25 and leave it up to everyone to individually find time in our busy schedules to keep the momentum growing without these processes and tools.

In a way, it’s almost like suggesting we should have a “Life Skills” course that is taught by people who focus on these things day in and day out. Now that’s a job I think I would be tremendously strong at! I spend so much of my time thinking about all aspects of life, how to be a better person, how to be open-minded and fair… it seems like that we all would benefit from a regular educational experience about how to grow as people, move the world forward and become more highly intelligent beings. Many of us do this already… often inconsistently… usually on our own. But what if there were learning facilities with people (almost like the concept of a life coach) focused on helping make this a prominent component of everyone’s life. Forget about whether it’s required or optional. Start with just having something that actually offers the ability to connect and talk with other people about these things in a regular forum.

It’s along the same path as teaching life skills courses during the early years to help people have a 360 view of what the world has to offer and what we should be doing as human beings. It’s something I try to push myself to think about every day when I write the 365 Daily Challenge post. It was suggested I turn these into a book at one point, and I’m seriously wondering whether this is something that needs to be more of a focus in my life. It shouldn’t be 3 minutes of someone’s thoughts whenever they have time. I feel like maybe this should be part of a Life Skills & Learning Platform that becomes part of our post-degree or post-school educational experiences. Inclusive across the board on gardening, cooking, problem solving, genealogy, overview of sports, religion, cultures, blogging, buying a house, having a child, volunteering, car maintenance, travel planning, meditating, accepting failure, etc.

All these things have books, seminars, blogs, videos… but it’s so decentralized. No one-stop shop or place to truly have a place to turn in life to keep on that continuous educational wheel. Am I crazy? Am I just ignorant of something existing already out there? Or are there other people like me who realize we’re not placing enough importance on these things in our own life at the right frequency, and we really need to make this change? I’d love to hear what others think of this topic and how you handle it in your own life. Let’s make this one a big share everyone…

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Valerie @ Valerie’s Musings. Valerie and I have been chatting for about 3 months. We first bonded over our love of cozy mystery fiction, sharing different authors and book series with one another. And when we read the same ones, we have so much fun chatting about the characters, settings and plots. We moved on to other genres and will be doing a buddy read later this month of “The Bear and the Nightingale.” But once we started chatting about general life musings between my 365 Daily Challenge posts and her focus on making positive changes in her life, we bonded over lots of great ideas and thoughts for the future. She is a very smart, friendly and open-minded woman who deserves great things in life. I look forward to her feedback and comments each week. And for those reasons, Valerie should be on your watch list, too. Go check out her site from the link above and poke around the site. Make the most out of her musings!

 

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.

Review: Fire Sale

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Fire Sale Book Review
3+ out of 5 stars for Fire Sale, the 12th book in the mystery and thriller “VI Warshawski” series, written in 2005 by Sara Paretsky. I really enjoy this series, and Paretsky’s style is quite conducive to my reading habits and approach. I love the characters, the plot and the setting. The voice is strong. The mystery is always good, sometimes too complex. While I normally give most of her books a 4, this one was a little less for me — purely because of the topic. Whenever a book involves school sports, I tend to find it a tad boring. I’m all for team spirit, and hope that the money falls in the right hands, but like with parts of the book Beartown, I struggled. That said, it’s written well and will appeal to many people. VI is fantastic and I always root for her. I also enjoy when the bad guys/girls get their just desserts. Paretsky does an exemplary job covering yet another great social topic in this one — big business, school sports, young guys approach to pressuring girls and what’s really important in the school district? A definite read for fans.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: A Separate Peace

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A Separate Peace Book Review
3 of 5 stars to A Separate Peace, a novel written in 1959 by John Knowles. I suspect if I were to re-read this “classic” again now, it has a chance of getting a higher rating; however, I’m not in a rush to prove the theory. I have a few good memories of the story, some a bit “blah,” but overall… it was a decent book. When I read The Secret History last year, I had vague recollections of this being somewhat similar, though the topics are quite different.

At the core, this is a coming-of-age story focused on Gene and Finny, two polar opposite boys at a prep school around the time of WW2. An accident occurs which may have been deliberate, thus becoming the focus of the story. As a result of the accident, one of the characters suffers an injury that prevents him from continuing on his path to the Olympics. Friends take sides. Families wonder. But the friends try not to question it. Until other people force them to. And in the end, there is pain, death, forgiveness and unexpected consequences.

The book is a good juxtaposition of lifestyles and choices. It makes you think about what you’d do in such a situation. How far can one person be pushed? And when you do something wrong, do you tell anyone, especially if you can get away with it? Lots to teach young adults, learning to make their own decisions and set a path for their life.

I enjoyed the story, but I would have preferred a more modern setting. I’m not a fan of excessive sports or war, and these were two central themes in the book, which ultimately led me to feel partially disconnected. But the parts inside the character’s head, questioning motives, being psychological in their analysis, were the ones worth reading.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. 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.

View all my reviews

Review: The Glass Menagerie

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The Glass Menagerie Book Review
4 of 5 stars to The Glass Menagerie, written in 1945 by Tennessee Williams. The play is told from the perspective of Tom, the son of Amanda and brother of Laura, three members of the Wingfield family living in Missouri in the 1930s. Amanda’s husband, the and kids father, left years ago and has not been heard from. Both Laura and Tom are in their early twenties. Amanda wants to marry off her daughter, convincing Tom to bring home a friend from work to create a set-up. It fails, as he’s already involved with another girl, and the story ends basically where it begins. It’s a powerful tale about the relationships between parents and children and siblings. It’s about women’s rights and their place in a 1930s world. It’s about fighting versus talking. It’s about dating versus falling in love. It’s about poverty and money. The story has a lot of mini-arcs, all about the different parts of their lives… who did what, where, when, how and why. It’s a good read, especially as a play and has been produced in probably every high school across the country. What I liked about it was the harsh and raw reality of life for some people, especially young girls who needed to be married off… it’s a “classic” and should be read by all… especially if you know a little bit about Tennessee Williams – and his own thoughts and actions in the world!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. 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.

View all my reviews

Review: The Cereal Murders

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The Cereal Murders Book Review
3 of 5 stars to The Cereal Murders, the third book in the “Goldy Bear Culinary” mystery series, published in 1993 and written by Diane Mott Davidson. I’m a fan of this series, enjoying the charming antics of the cozy little town, the delicious-sounding recipes and the mystery fun each book includes. Another good installment in the series, it falls somewhere in the middle range of best and worst, nothing to extraordinary but nothing much of fault.

Focused on the intensity of college preparation, the students at Elk Prep, where Goldy’s son, Arch, goes to school, are preparing for college. Goldy’s sort of adopted son, Julian, is a senior there and is suddenly suspected when the school valedictorian is found murdered at a dinner. He wasn’t well liked, but Goldy discovers a web of secrets he was hiding. Then a teacher is murdered and Goldy’s starting to fear for her own life, especially when she’s uncovering more and more unexpected dirt. Her relationship with Tom Schultz moves forward as they investigate the case. The highlight: Julian. He’s always been my favorite character, and I admit, I might have a small crush on him. Ha!

Usual cozy fun. A few red herrings. A town connected underneath the surface. Marla looks out for Julian at some point. Even Arch is glad to be part of the process. Plus, who doesn’t love some cereal for a meal?

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. 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.

View all my reviews

365 Challenge: Day 33 – Strong

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Strong: having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks, or able to withstand great pressure

I wonder if we have mis-used the word ‘strong’ during everyday conversation, or perhaps it is just me. I often use the word strong to mean mentally capable of handling a lot. I suppose that would fall under “great pressure,” but it makes me wonder how words change their meaning over the years… but not to get too far off topic, I did intend today’s word to meet the definition I used above. And I plan to cover both the physical aspects and the “pressure” aspects of it, especially since I said I would several posts ago.

Why am I physically strong?

I am not a bodybuilder. I am not a sports guy. I do go to the gym, but I don’t always know what I’m doing. I’ve had a personal trainer. I am persistent. Somehow, through all these things, I have actually been able to stay in fairly good shape.

I debated whether to post of a recent photo of me at the gym or the beach, where there’d be some proof that I actually am in good shape. Then I thought about it… that might be a little too vain… a little too cocky… a little too over-selling it. 😛 If necessary, I believe there are a few pictures on my social media accounts where you’d be able to see for yourself. And that’s assuming you even care.

But my point here… is that I feel I am strong. No, I’m not counting how much I can bench press. No, I don’t know the names of each of the muscles and which ones are my best features. But I am proud of myself for working out as much as I have over the years. Someone needs to be! And since I do eat all those desserts and drink a bit more than I should from time to time, and I’m now 40, I gotta do something to at least balance it all out. I’ll never be the perfect prime conditioned body model (is that what they’re called?) but I look good.

I didn’t always workout.  I played some baseball and soccer in grammar and middle school. I bowled in high school. I started taking a few classes when I went off to Moravian College in 1995, where they required 1 physical activity course for each semester. This was a fantastic idea: required physical education courses. Not everyone would agree, but I think it makes for a more balanced lifestyle. Nonetheless, I didn’t play sports, so I went for the classes where I could do things on my own and still ask questions if I wanted to. I hated those group activities. 🙂

And ever since then, I’ve pushed myself to workout.  There have been a few years where I only went to the gym once or twice a month. When I lived in the suburbs, I bought all the equipment for a spare room and used it almost daily. For one year, I took all the extra supplements. (Legal and healthy ones… don’t get any bad ideas… I know how YOU think!) Now that I live in NYC, and I have a gym in my building, it’s a lot easier. I get there at least 4 times per week, alternating between weights and cardio.

And in the end, I feel strong. I feel great when I have a powerful workout. (Not that it gives me the energy to go do more, as in a previous post, I said it didn’t…) It makes me feel like I could defend myself if I needed to. I could keep up with the young ones. I might even get a second, third and fourth look at the beach. Woo Hoo! Goals in life have been met. Ha! I’m amusing this morning.

But the strength I am talking about is being in touch with my body, knowing my limits, understanding my capabilities. Being able to look at a set of weights and challenge myself to add 5 pounds extra the next time. Upping the level by one on the cardio machine or extending an extra three minutes to really push myself. I am strong and I know it… except for those two annoying spots called mini-love handles, which won’t go away. And all because I won’t cut the fat out of my diet. Grr…

Why am I mentally strong?

Life is hard. People hurt you. Things don’t go your way. But I’ve been blessed with the ability to control my thoughts and actions with enough strength that I can lead a healthy, happy and open life. Not everyone wakes up each day and feels good about themselves. Whether it’s an awful prior experience, a chemical or blood issue, or even just depression, a large part of the population struggles to get through life. I’ve certainly had some moments where I wasn’t too keen on myself or what was going on, but in general, I’m pretty blessed with a strong mind and the will to go on. And I’m thankful for it.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t had days where I watched sappy movies and cried to a friend. Or that I didn’t sit in the dark for hours, wishing it all to go away. We all have moments like that, but it’s important to find your way out of it… and towards something better. Maybe that’s part of the goal of this 365 Daily Challenge: to help provide more strength for my future, and perhaps anyone reading it, too.

An unusual post for me today… but I feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. Demonstrate why I am strong, saving why I am weak for another day. 😛

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and 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.

 

Review: Where the Wild Things Are

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Where the Wild Things Are
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this so much, I begged to star in it in an elementary school play. I won the lead role but had to share it with another classmate as we were doing 8 performances and couldn’t be out of classes for rehearsals that often! I got to be rowdy… even though I was the quietest child possible.

View all my reviews