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365 Challenge: Day 97 – Far-Away

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Far-Away: distant from others, as in space or time

In yesterday’s 365 Daily Challenge, there were two definitions for the word distant, but I only covered the first one, meaning reserved or cool; not intimate. Today, we shall explore what I intended in the second meaning of “distant,” relative to being far away from our family and friends, due to either distance or time.

far awy

Life is full of change. People come in and out at different points, usually depending on the circumstances surrounding both of your lives. There’s an old expression that says something along the lines of “You can’t change your family. They’re blood relations.” While we could play word games all day and explore family by marriage or adoption, I’m not looking to find all the hidden meanings in these words. But what I do want to discuss is how important a role family plays in your life. A little background:

As I’ve posted before, I am an only-child, but both of my parents have a bunch of siblings who all grew up on Long Island. I have around 15 first cousins whom I essentially grew up with, each living somewhere between 2 minutes and 20 minutes away from me. Perhaps a story for another day, but I wasn’t aware of 2 of the cousins until my grandfather passed away when I was in high school. I met them for the first time at his funeral, not ever knowing they lived in the same town and I went to high school with one of them. {Aside: Not for nothing, but what if I ended up dating one of them without our families knowing… how crazy would that be!} Nonetheless, apart from that one set of relatives, I saw my family nearly every weekend.

We’d have dinners during the week, holiday parties, summer barbecues, impromptu visits and regular play dates. We were all very close, as my parents were close with their siblings for most of their lives. Over the years, for various circumstances, the family has grown further apart. One aunt passed away, but we still see my uncle and cousins. They are the only ones to remain on Long Island with one other exception. The rest have all moved away to Florida or Pennsylvania. My generation, all the cousins, have scattered even further. We’ve moved to the west coast, all over the country and even to Asia and Eastern Europe. Scattered. The family has scattered. Throughout those years, I’ve been both close and distant with each of my cousins, sometimes dependent on our ages and at others where we lived.

You’re thinking… Captain Obvious again, Jay. Sometimes we’re close, sometimes we’re not. True. But my question is… when it’s family, should we make more of an effort? I love them all. I like them all. Some I probably wouldn’t be friends with if they weren’t relatives. Some I probably would be close with even if we weren’t related. As the 15 of us are now all between 25 and 43, we are the generation having children and beginning to think about the future of our family. We try to keep up with texting and social media, sometimes calls and the occasional visit or get-together. But it’s nothing like we did as children with our parents and grandparents. In one way, it’s sad. In another, it’s an exciting challenge, meaning, as we each see the world, we can grow and expand the knowledge of our family.

But are the days of the close-knit family essentially gone? Is this circumstantial to just my family (and people like us)? Is it due to most of us wanting to get off of Long Island? {Aside: It’s a beautiful place, but very congested and hard to travel anywhere. Minimum 2 hours to get outside of the island and beyond NYC, which makes weekend trips a bit difficult} Is it generational with those of us born from 1975 through current days? Or is it that we are too selfish to purposely keep the family connections intact and intimate?

For me, it’s a bit of a pattern. I had a group of grammar school friends, but I don’t see them anymore. We’ll occasionally exchange a message on Facebook or Instagram, but it’s rare — even with my best friend who lived next door. We spent every day together for 18 years, then every summer together during college years. But nearly 20 years later, it’s quite different. Same with my high school and college friends. We grow further and further apart. I’ve got a small group of close friends that my partner and I see frequently, and there is a lot of substance there, but none have known me for decades like some of my former oldest friends… or my family.

Is this how life is, e.g. transient in the sense you pick up and move, find new friends and go on? Technology makes it easier and harder to stay connected. When you have a smart phone, you can see what everyone is doing. Yet at the same time, you’re less inclined to physically get together. While I’m not upset or depressed by everything I’ve just said, I am curious how this plays out for the next 40 years of my life (or more… since I might just live forever). If my partner and I move outside of NY, will we need to start over and find new friends to regularly see in person? Will I grow further apart from family? We don’t have children now, and probably won’t in the future (never really finished that conversation), what happens to us when we’re in our 60s and 70s… are we the great uncles to our cousins and his siblings kids that randomly visit from time to time?

I’m just thinking aloud. I’m a very happy person, so these are just questions that I ponder. How about you? What relationships do you have with your family today? And how do you see that changing in your future? And your friends? Let’s be honest… we say we will stay connected forever… and at 20, I believed it. At 40, I see reality. Or is it just my perception? Let’s get to the root of this… I look forward to hearing from everyone.

 

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 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.

writer.jpg

  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.

dlg

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.

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 52 – Wasteful

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Wasteful: using or expending something of value carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose

At different points in our lives, we all say aloud (or hear someone else tell us) “that was wasteful,” referring to something just done that we carelessly minimized when others so desperately needed it. Often we should have known better, but we do it anyway without thinking about the consequences because it’s become habitual. That said, as much as it is habitual for many of us, there are several people who work hard not to be wasteful and teach this to children at a young age.

To kick this one off… a few places I recognize I am wasteful — not all the time, but enough that I should call myself out.

  • Water
    • I run the water the entire time I’m washing dishes, rather than try to use only the amount needed and re-use where appropriate until the final rinse.
    • I leave the water running when I brush my teeth when I should leave it off  until the last second.
    • My showers are entirely too long and often run for a minute or two for the water to get hotter before I get inside. I should deal with the cold, stand to the side and wash my hair.

 You don’t care about my bathroom habits?

  •  Energy
    • I tend to leave lights on when I don’t really need them. Sometimes it’s for the dog, but a little goes a long way.
    • My building keeps the heat on from October thru May, and because I get so hot, I open the windows which likely makes the heat work a bit harder since I’m on the top floor. Can’t really change this…
  • Time / Money
    • I spend way too much time watching TV or on the computer when I should be out with people, in nature and learning.
    • Time is money, and therefore I’m wasting earning potential and income.
    • I can be frivolous when spending and should save more or donate more.
  • Food
    • I sometimes eat too much. And we all know how to fix that. (Shh… don’t say it aloud or it may come true)
    • I make too much food when I cook and am not good about eating leftovers.
    • I buy stuff, it expires, and I end up throwing it out. I need to be more pragmatic and plan meals in a better way.

And if they can do it, so can I!

Not so bad admitting faults, is it? I’m sure that only touches the surface of the areas where I’m being wasteful. And quite honestly, some of those are easy fixes that I should be more consistent about in the future.

Sometimes I get caught up realizing how unfortunate it is that I haven’t fixed this sooner, especially knowing the limits of these resources across the world. And while these posts are not meant to make anyone feel guilty or to preach, sometimes a gentle reminder helps implement positive changes. And that’s all I’m intending here… for any reader including myself.

This is me talking to myself right now!

Life is complicated. We should all figure out how to be part of the continuous cycle of improvement. And when we don’t work in jobs or volunteer in roles where we have direct impact on re-cycling, re-use or proper waste disposal, perhaps we should take 5 minutes a day to focus on it as a human being who cares about the world around us.

It begins with learning this as a child, so it feels almost inherent. Good habits will occur and help propagate even better ones with each year and generation. But there’s no time to start like the present if this hasn’t been built into you already. And with that, I’m off to see how to tone down my wasteful usage of time — it took 30 minutes for this post and I’m supposed to be down to 20 minutes a day at this point. Ugh… I hate missing the target.

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. 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 39 – Frustrated

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Frustrated:  feeling or expressing distress and annoyance, especially because of inability to change or achieve something

I usually take about 5 minutes to think of the characteristic or word I want to blog about each day. Today, it was an immediate word… no thinking… no reflecting… just appeared in my head. Then I thought… nah, I’m just exaggerating, I’m not really frustrated these days. But… I think I am.

Frustration occurs over so many things in our lives. Inability to meet our goals, delays, disappointment, worrying, etc. The form of frustration I feel today, and lately, is over response time when it comes to trying to move things forward. Though I’m not always perfect when it comes to responding, I am always timely on something important, especially when I know the recipient is expecting feedback or an update from me.

I have a few areas of frustration right now. One is my job search. For those that don’t know, or haven’t read any of the specifics on my sites, I left a corporate technology position last summer after working with the same family of companies for about 17 years. I needed a break, things were changing, and I thought it was time to look for something new and to focus on some writing. I fully expected to have a long period of time off, but along that path, I found people weren’t as responsive as I have always been.

When I was a hiring manager, I worked closely with our HR department to ensure all candidates got some level of a response. And once I interviewed you, you always got a follow-up, even when you didn’t get the job. Sometimes I wrote it, sometimes it was the generic HR response, sometimes HR called to explain why. Now that I’m on the other end, I expect the same treatment. Perhaps that’s too much, as we know I’ve said my expectations are often too high… remember that post… Ha!

But in all sincerity, this system is really in need of improvement. Hundreds of people thrust resumes and credentials… somehow a handful get picked out… even when you know people at the company, it just doesn’t feel optimal. And so I’m feeling quite frustrated that I want to get back to work, I have many skills, I have a lot of roles I can fill, but I can’t see to find that right angle or hook.

Part of it may be my fault as I’ve split my focus these days on writing and technology, so I’m half in and half out of both worlds. But there should be flexibility for that, right? So while I’m not necessary complaining here, I am just expressing frustration at an inability to make a situation easier — not just for me, but in general.

It’s not all that different from trying to get published. You dream up the idea. You write the book. You get good feedback. And then when you try to find the agent, sometimes you never even hear back. I totally understand that an agent may have 500 query letters to read each week, and that’s an impossible task.

I’m just saying what my frustrations are out loud, knowing I’m not trying to make a difference or even look for sympathy. I’m just expressing what I’m feeling today on this 39th day of the challenge. I’m sure by the end of the day, I’ll be back to “Both will happen… you’re not in a rush… enjoy your day and wait for the next step to occur naturally.” I’m a pretty even-tempered guy, so this is just a slight bump in the meter of my expressions this week.

I tend to get like this over a lot of things. I remember before I met my significant other… dating was a nightmare. It’s not all that different… you try try try… nothing comes along… you get frustrated… and then it happens. What is it people say? “Don’t watch the kettle while it’s boiling?” I think I just totally said that wrong, but I’m not going back to fix it. “Water doesn’t boil while you’re watching it?” LOL  Eh… hopefully you’re laughing at me over this.

All this said…somewhere in my next step, whatever it is, I hope I improve these things… perhaps find a way to create better opportunities or connections. But, in full 360 view, I do need to look at myself. Am I doing everything I can to be successful? Am I creating the right moments to help this along? Am I under the impression “It will happen because I am a good person.”

Yeah, but so are millions of other people. It’s not a matter of who is the luckiest or who works the hardest. Sometimes it’s just the right time and the right place. And so, frustrations will always creep about because you have an expectation. And unless you are absolutely perfect at controlling your feelings and emotions, or just the happiest person on the planet, you will feel disappointment. And I guess it’s about pushing yourself to keep on trucking along. And that’s what we need to do.

Hmmm… random rant today. Little organization around it. Just wrote without thinking or correcting any grammar or punctuation. Let’s go back and see how I did. :}

That looks about right! Not every post can be perfect. See I am learning… and not so frustrated anymore.

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.

365 Challenge: Day 35 – Genealogist

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Genealogist: One who is actively engaged in the study or investigation of ancestry and family histories

We’ve made it through another week and on this fifth Sunday, it’s time to wrap up the first month’s focus on my genealogical heritage. See below for a picture of my Ancestry DNA results.

genealogy

In the last four weeks, I selected the 4 countries where I believe my ancestors hailed from, as well as picked the top stereotypical traits people assumed about the people from those places. A quick summary:

  1. Irish: 20%
  2. English: 33%
  3. German: 33% (Includes the Scandinavian as some of relatives were on the border)
  4. Scottish: 13%
  5. Other: 1% (West Asian – I think everyone gets that!)

While the DNA results and the documentation have a 10% disconnect, it’s a very clear picture of who my people were and where I came from.

Why do I study my genealogy? Take a look at this post on my professional website. It will give you some insight into my historical nature and great big quest for the past.

I often wonder why I’m so persistent on it… do I doubt who I am? Do I need more details about where I came from? Is it trying to understand how it all began?

Ultimately, this interest goes back to more than just people… it’s how did the USA begin. What happened to the dinosaurs? What were the original continents like? How did Earth form? What other galaxies are there? It’s more than being curious. It’s more than dedication or obsession. When I’m researching a family member on my laptop, tons of windows open to compare and contrast records, and I stumble upon a find… my eyes light up, I can’t sit still and my fingers can’t keep up with my mind. The discovery is brilliant and I’m ecstatic.

I’m a linear person. I like to start at the beginning. I have to read the first book in a series. I prefer straight lines. I like to create project plans with a starting point and an ending point. I love watching time pass on a clock, counting down to the re-start of the 60 segment process.

I believe it’s the same orderly structure that drives me to research my roots. I like seeing things improve, gain strength, drive forward. Adding more knowledge with each successive chain or generation. I’m sociological, I suppose.

Seeing a family tree, learning how people survived, how they met… what types of jobs and families they had. What made them move? These are all details I enjoy searching for across the internet.

Can you imagine watching from the sidelines as your ancestors moved through their lives? What if we had a time machine and could go back not to change the past, but to watch it unfold on warp speed? Quick enough not to see the tedious things, but slow enough to watch how each generation changed. To see your 4 times grandparents meet on a boat and decide to marry within days. To know your 6 times great-grandmother suffered so many miscarriages due to the poor conditions of medicine and health, but then she finally gave birth to your 5 times great-grandfather. To know how wars impacted your family. To recognize who touched royalty at some point.

It’s not unlike my interest in mystery fiction. Investigation. Detection. Research. As I draft each of these posts, hitting number 35 today, several themes are starting to appear. I’ve always known about them on a smaller scale, but the picture is becoming more clear.

So now I throw it out there… where do I go next?

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.

365 Challenge: Day 16 – Punctual

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Punctual: happening or doing something at the agreed or proper time; on time

You’re all in for a treat today… well, that may be overselling things. I’ve discovered and decided to add animated graphics and GIFs to my posts. I searched for a few fun ones this morning and will drop ’em in throughout today’s topic. And since I am a voracious reader as you recently learned, and well, this picture is just great, the first one, obviously someone intelligent checking their watch to see who is late and who is on time:

Bbc GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Who doesn’t love Sherlock?  Just started watching this TV show recently and posted a review on here, too! You can find it by clicking here. Back to punctuality.

Ever since I was a small child, I was fascinated by time. But get this, I never wore a watch. I don’t like things dangling on my arm or wrist… distracting… and then you have something else you need to match to whatever you are wearing (and I’m no good at that)… I digress a lot today. Time is so simple yet so complex.  The second hand clicks around 60 times, then the minute hand moves ever so slightly. Once the minute hand moves around 60 times, the hour hand has moved to the next of the 12 hours on the clock. It could be AM or PM. But so many people have such a hard time with being punctual. Forget DST… that could cause some people a trip to the asylum.

Adventure Time GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I have no sense of time when it comes to looking at the sun or the sky. I can’t tell what it means to set in the east or west, what shadows are being cast, et al. For me, being punctual is some internal clock that just knows what time it is.

I rarely use an alarm clock. Unless I’m sick or traveling, meaning time change hasn’t settled in quite yet, I wake up at the same time each day (usually about 7am) and start feeling tired about 10pm each night. I can tell throughout the day what time it is usually within 10 to 15 minutes, even if I haven’t looked at a clock in hours. And for those reasons, being punctual has always been innate in me.

It’s a sign that you care enough not to waste someone else’s time. It’s evidence that what you are showing up for is important. It’s considerate (ah…. remember that post!) by showing you took a few minutes to plan your arrival rather than just show up whenever.

Suits GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s not an option for me to be late. I get nervous and uneasy if I’m going to be late for some unavoidable reason. I get frustrated with train or plane delays because it throws off my timely plans. I feel like it says “he didn’t care enough.”

Happy GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s not about counting the minutes or planning to the moment. It’s about ensuring you are not causing any inconvenience to other people. Punctuality helps things run more smoothly. You can often accomplish more as a result.

That said, I’m not 100% punctual. On occasion, if there’s no impact to someone else, I might arrive a little later than planned. For instance… there’s a party from 8 to 11. I tell the host I expect to arrive around 8:30. If I show up at 8:35, I’m not gonna freak out.

Panic GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

But if I am meeting friends for lunch and we say 12… you bet your ass I’ll be there by 11:55. Unless the person I’m meeting is always late… and I have a few friends like that… then, I… well, no… I show up at 11:55.

Some laughs for you about how punctual I’ve been:

  1. Created an itinerary for a 2-week trip to Italy. Arrival times and departure times were noted on a schedule to the minute. I never made that trip, but when I do re-schedule, I’ll be thrown off if I’m not on schedule. And one of those places was the Amalfi Coast where La Dolce Vita is the way of life: you just enjoy the beauty and forget about time. Ha!
  2. I once kept a log of all my times at the gym, noting when it was scheduled and when I actually worked out — each activity, set, rep. Wanted to see if I was using the time the best way possible. NERD!
  3. I’ve timed it so that I walk around the corner for a restaurant reservation so that I could walk right up to the host or hostess at the precise time. Yes, I am a little obsessive.

How about you frequently late arrivals?  What’s the scoop?