Ok, I’ll make this brief. I wanted to make sure to post something today due to the fact that it is the last day of the year AND it’s also my 100th post. I’ve become so much more comfortable with blogging and have even come to enjoy this random expression of my thoughts. This year has been full of ups and downs. Some highs and some really low lows. I can honestly say that I’m happy to see it go. Definitely some of the great times this year involved going to Miami twice–although I went once with my mother so I don’t know how much that counts. Traveling is something that I always want to do more of. I also had the chance to go to some pretty good concerts and hear some of my favorite artists. Had a few earth shattering moments that forced me to re-evaluate my life. Additionally, I made an effort to become more social and pushed myself out of my comfort zone. As a result, I met some great people. Finishing my post-graduate program on time was also a big victory for me–especially since I moved out here for the sheer purpose of starting and completing the program. I survived and continue to survive the snow and ice. And more importantly, I learned more about myself and what I want to accomplish in my life. I’ve made hard decisions that I didn’t want to make but made anyway that forced me to prioritize my goals. 2014 represents another opportunity to learn and grow and (hopefully) travel and have more fun. It’s been a long long LONG year but it also flew by really fast. So long 2013…..I won’t miss you.
One of the highlights of my year was going to Tori Kelly’s concert when she was out here. If you’ve never heard of her I definitely encourage you to check her out. She’s a phenomenal artist who is extremely talented. She did her entire concert with just her voice and a guitar. With all the artists out there who have absolutely no talent, she’s a breath of fresh air. Her songs aren’t over-run by too much instrumentation and her vocals are crisp and clear. And the added bonus is that she writes her own songs and they’re really good. I first heard this song when she did it at her concert and I really liked it. It’s optimistic but not over the top. Just a great articulation of where she is in her life. I can relate.
I love cars. I don’t necessarily always concern myself with all the details of the engine strength and how many horsepower they have, but I definitely love the style, speed, and sleekness of certain cars. This appreciation comes by way of my dad who likes cars as well. Growing up, we took hundreds of road trips and car-watching was one of the many pastimes we did in order to use up time. Many a time my dad would say “look at that car, it’s sharp,” as we would be speeding past it–courtesy of his heavy foot and a really good radar detector.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve developed an appreciation for guys that drive decent cars. I’ve had to remind myself many times that I need to care more about what drives the man than what the man drives. Easier said than done, but possible. There’s just something to be said about a nice looking person driving a nice looking car.
When I see these absolutely gorgeous cars I always ask myself if I would buy one. The spontaneous part of my definitely would because it would be nice to actually enjoy driving and to be comfortable while going from point A to point B. However, the reasonable and logical side of me argues that a car is a liability. Period. You never make money off of buying a car. A house can increase in value, but a car doesn’t. However, there’s the added bonus of the fact that I drive a car with a manual transmission so that skill would make the experience of owning a manual transmission luxury vehicle even that much more amazing. But I have to remember that buying a car means that the money for its upkeep and maintenance is coming out of my own pocket. Therefore, buying a nice, stylish, decent car without having all my ducks lined up in a row may not be the smartest decision ever made.
So, I’ve put my car buying dreams on hold until I can both afford and enjoy it without mentally kicking myself about the monthly payments I agreed to. All in good time….
This article has been making its way around the social media outlets and I thought it was very very thought provoking. The writer basically asserts that the black church today has a similar mindset to those of the slaves hundreds of years ago. There’s no substance or teaching in the preaching and people easily get caught up in emotions (screaming and shouting) without actually learning anything and they leave on a euphoric high that only carries them through Monday. The writer states that in slavery days, the pastors did the same things. They didn’t teach but they whooped and hollered. He then compares them to their Caucasian counterparts who he says sat and learned how to manage money and how to actually be successful. I respectfully disagree because I think that money management and success aren’t necessarily something that traditionally is taught in church. Many times these skills and knowledge are passed down from older generations. The writer also refers to “hero worship” by the black church of their pastors. I think that he makes a very valid point. Something to think about
As some of you may know, I made the (somewhat) dumb decision of continuing my education after my post-graduate program. So now I’m doing a doctorate. I’m a little over a year in and while I’m not crazy about school, I’m doing it for a variety of reasons related to increasing my credibility as a professional. Getting married would have a similar effect but I don’t believe in counting eggs before they hatch so a doctorate it is. Schoolwork up to this point has been ok. I decided that after finishing college with a 3.7 cumulative GPA and finishing graduate school with a 3.9, I wasn’t going to worry as much about grades in this program. I don’t know of one person who brags on their doctorate program GPA. People just care that you finished. Plus, a 70 is a passing score. The biggest part of doing a doctorate is starting and completing a dissertation. Basically a huge research project where you study a topic in depth. Who hasn’t figured out a topic yet? Me. I would love to study something fun but getting a decent sample for qualitative research would be incredibly time consuming. I’m considering the quick and dirty route where I pick something fairly easy that does the trick without me having to overextend myself. But doing this would mean that I would do a fun dissertation on my next doctorate or masters in some off the wall random topic. So I’ve given myself a deadline of February next year to figure out a topic. I know it will have something to do with couples, relationships, therapy, consultation, and effectiveness but I’m not sure of all the details. A topic that I could write a book on might also be something worth considering. But that being said, I need to figure it out. Soon.
One of the things that I occasionally do is call my really good single guy friend and complain about being single. TOTALLY ironic I know, but it always helps to put my life into perspective and it’s actually quite therapeutic. In doing this, I avoid the inevitable cliche’s and words of sympathy that others give me and I get a cold hard dose of reality. Much needed and well deserved. One thing that happens around this time of year is what I call “The Winter Feeling (TWF).” The Winter Feeling is similar to Seasonal Affective Disorder in that it’s seasonal. In my experience it goes from about mid-October to early-March. Now, The Winter Feeling is almost totally the opposite of the Summer Feeling–which I’ll dedicate another blog post to. The Winter Feeling tends to become more prominent as temperatures in the environment start dipping lower. You start thinking about how cold your bed is, you buy an electric blanket and name it, you look for alternative sources of heat such as a cat or dog. Some people even have a Winter Feeling designated individual who they would never see themselves with long term, but who could serve as a “filler-person” for the time being. The Winter Feeling involves increased levels of self awareness as you get colder. The trick is to not let it get to you because before you know it, you’ll just appear thirsty, desperate, and somewhat mentally unstable. The Winter Feeling will have you seeking companionship of any type because it’s cold outside and it gets dark early. Plus, loads of people get engaged in order to plan awesome spring and summer weddings. It’s the time of year when being alone is not the cool thing to be. There’s some unspoken expectation that everyone needs to have SOMEONE around this time of year. However, that’s not the case. The Winter Feeling can take a lot of people by surprise but when you know it’s coming it can be similar to the difference between riding a roller coaster with your eyes closed and your teeth clenched or just enjoying the ride because you know that it won’t last forever but will have ups and downs. One thing I like to remember is to not take myself too seriously. After all, it’s just the winter feeling. Spring will be here soon.
This song is one of my favorite Christmas songs. I usually only listen to Christmas music during the appropriate times (between Thanksgiving and New Years) but I think this one is good all year round. Growing up Christmas was a special day. We would semi-decorate the house and have a tree with presents. As I’ve grown older, those traditions have ceased and now are only distant memories. This has definitely cut down on the stress and the expectations that usually accompany the holiday season. For the past two or three Christmases (is that a word?) I’ve ended up working at my job. Now, working is definitely not a bad thing but it takes away from the “holiday” feel of having a day off. However, I’m not complaining. However, for next year, I want to be relaxing and someplace warm on Christmas.
I’ve been rather busy these past few days. However, one of the things that I’ve noticed that has come up in a lot of conversations is the challenge of having children and raising them in the world we live in today. Usually in the course of these conversations I get asked how many children that I’d like to have. I don’t necessarily have a set answer because I usually tailor it to the personality of the person who is asking me. Being in the field that I’m in and working in the place that I work, I have seen a wide spectrum of parenting skills. Some great and others that make you want to take the child home with you. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that parenting is hard work. Being a good parent is even harder. Firstly, having a child requires a lot of physical pain. And then from that point on, your life is wracked by highs and lows directly related to the creature you brought into the world. I firmly believe that some people should not and don’t deserve to be parents. They don’t have the skills needed to raise a child. It always is nice to see parents that have good relationships with their children because it’s rare. I recently met a lady who was in her 70’s and she explained to me that she never got married or had kids because it would not have worked for her. As a result, she doesn’t have anyone to take care of her and check on her as most of her friends are her age. This is a great example of how not having kids can mess up the cycle of life and leave you alone. However, having children and being estranged from them has pretty much the same effect.That being said, being a good parent requires a large amount of self-control and patience. And while I think that I might possibly be able to raise a child without inflicting lasting psychological trauma, it’s still a responsibility I’m not crazy about acquiring. But you know what they say. Never say never.
So lately I’ve been working a lot of overnight shifts and it’s somewhat funny how cut off I feel from the rest of the “regular” world. And yet, I still have the same amount of obligations outside of work that I did when I worked during the day. One thing I’ve learned is that a lot of overnight shifts tend to test my sanity. I use so much more self control than I would if I was working during the day. The introverted side of me comes out in a huge way and all of a sudden I just want to sleep. Kind of like right now. Sleep takes precedence over pretty much everything else. Except maybe getting homework done. I really have to prioritize my tasks in order to even be somewhat productive despite feeling like a zombie. My body is furious at me for depriving it of a proper night’s rest and I’m not exactly elated about it. However, some things in life have to be done regardless of whether or not they’re “fun” or even convenient. I have so much respect for people who work third shift for years because I think it takes more discipline and organization than a typical 9-5.
I’m somewhat of a music nerd that occasionally holds personal emotional listening parties in which I listen to music that depicts the emotion that I’m feeling. Happy, sad, angry, content, tired, or even annoyed. I think that most people have a go-to song that they use for motivation. Athletes sometimes even have a certain playlist of songs that they play before they have to go out on the field in order to get them into the mindset they need. This song is my absolute favorite song for when I’m feeling overwhelmed or upset and I want some empathy and also motivation. This song is perfect for me. I think that we’ve all had a “you can’t win” day. It’s a part of life. Whenever I have a day like that, I play this song and I instantly feel better. While the message of the song may not be the most optimistic, it’s a great depiction of how I feel when everything is going wrong. There’s no “everything will be ok” feel to this song but despite this, I still find it to be encouraging. We live in an uncertain world and sometimes life throws us curveballs that require us to regroup and adapt to unexpected changes. I like this song because it doesn’t pull any punches. There’s no rosy assertion that the sun will come out tomorrow. It’s pretty blunt. And sometimes that’s nice to hear when you’re upset or frustrated. It’s just an acknowledgment of how you feel. For me, it’s just a therapeutic intervention that never fails to cheer me up and helps me feel a little better on those days where nothing goes right.