Tag Archives: hope

Throw me out of the side of a plane and I’ll just see where I land

Pandora is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I spend most of my days at work listening to music on it and I stumble upon song after song that I love.

If you haven’t caught the drift yet, the songs are the inspiration and the backbone to anything I ever end up writing on here. The lines play over again and again in my mind like these concepts and ideas about life that fester in the back of this brain of mine. Fester…what a terrible word that sounds exactly like what it describes.

The best parts of my work day are when I can just coast through words about random companies and government agencies and just bob my head. Yeah, this song is a head bobber for me. I wonder what kind of sign that is when it is the highlight of your day…

All I know is change is coming. It is coming in big, big ways. And guess what, I am not as ready for it as I want to be.

These topics I come to seem so repetitive after a while, but that may be because the issues we face on a regular basis are incredibly unoriginal and more similar to other peoples than we would like to admit.

But, change is coming and I feel myself unsteady, unsure, not because I am caught off guard. In fact, I almost think it is worse that I realize what is coming far before it will arrive. You see, there is this thing called security. And when you don’t have it, things begin to deteriorate.

It’s hard to say if surprise changes are any better really. You would think that when you know about something so far in advance, change then becomes a plan instead of a surprise. It could be something you embrace. Embrace it for the spontaneity, the newness and for your own braveness in searching out the unknown.

I know that in life, we are in search of these moments of security. They seem far and few most of the time. It is at the root of every search we have. Jobs, relationships, futures and the like.

I scarcely let myself believe that anything is secure and when I do, I find my feet are gone from beneath me. It’s a sort of unwilling vulnerability.

There are moments when we are just begging and begging that something will come our way. That something will be different from it was before, different in the way we want it be. But I guess that is the point. More often than not, we are dealing with the different that wasn’t what we wanted.

Let’s not be so negative, now. There are times when change comes in the form we most wanted. Those are the moments in life we so shortly applaud and quickly forget as soon as the next bump in the road rises high before our path. Oh and what a pain to have to reach your legs higher, a pain to stride, to sweat, to pant and to gasp for air.

There are times when I have begged for change so religiously that it became unbearable to deal with the present. If there is anything I know, it’s that life is far too short and far too abundant with opportunity to turn yourself into someone always sweating the little things.

So often, I cheesily think about life as I do running. Those of you who run may understand why.

A run never starts and finishes the same way. There are days when the first steps send throbbing pain through every muscle in my legs and then days were there could not be an easier thing to do. Sometimes that hill in the middle of my run seems a lot bigger than it was the day before and it never ever fails that the day you plan to run six miles, you feel like two is a serious stretch.

There is never a day that turns out as I thought it would. And it is incredibly easy to get caught in the currents of the what ifs and the I have nots, but then again, there is reassurance in the fact that both things will change again and that life is not so predictable as you thought.

Let’s be honest here, it is so very easy to get so entrenched in the negativity following dashed hopes and misshapen dreams, but come tomorrow, there will be a new hill, a new course, a new obstacle to lead yourself through and then there is no time to pay attention to the worries of yesterday or worse, tomorrow.

So maybe instead you dwell on these things. You dwell on the change, you dwell on the outcome and you dwell on what you want. Sometimes I think dreams are so very inhibitive. You are forever worried about tomorrow instead of enjoying the right here and right now. At the same time, you have to have that thing guiding you toward making the best of the right now. It is this ever changing (yes, change) and ever evolving thing. It’s a loaded question, a topic on repeat, a sentence without an ending.

We so often have this tendency of crippling ourselves. Sometimes it is because of the mistakes we have made, sometimes it is fear of the future and sometimes it is just because we don’t know who else to pick on.

I think I am done with the crippling for now, the worrying and over analyzing. I think sometimes you just have to let life happen and sometimes you have to just throw yourself into the mess it is.

We can’t be crippled by the past. We can’t be overly concerned for the future. There is hardly sense in worrying over something there is little control in.

At the end of the day, you just have to take comfort in the fact that the only secure thing is that this all will soon change. That should be secure enough.

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no matter how life gets today

Hey Hey Hey by Michael Franti & Spearhead

I’ve been reading a good bit recently, partially because I want to, but mostly because I need an escape. When I begin reading something new, I always wonder how it will be. The first few pages of the chosen book will make it or break it in my mind and I either read on, or move on. So much of this is dependent on my mood. The other day, I finally began reading something a friend had told me read months ago. The moment I began, I couldn’t stop. Everything that was written, each word and each pounding phrase hit me. It was a true moment of feeling as if this author knew exactly how I felt. Here is the puzzle for you.

1. “While there’s no real enemy to be identified, the pain exists nonetheless…”

2. “An intelligent man cannot seriously become anything and that only a fool can become something…a man possessing character, a man of action, is fundamentally a limited character…being overly conscious is a disease”

3. “To reach, by using the most inevitable logical combinations, the most revolting conclusions on the eternal theme that you are somehow or other to blame even for the stone wall, even though it’s absolutely clear once again that you’re in no way to blame, and, as a result of all of this, while silently and impotently gnashing your teeth, you sink voluptuously into inertia, musing on the fact, that as it turns out, there’s no one to be angry with; that an object cannot be found, and perhaps never will be…”

The stone wall we are speaking of acts like a chameleon changing in appearance, but still a chameleon nonetheless. That wall that was there a few months ago is still here now, with different hurdles ahead.

I’ve thought so much about my life, about other people’s lives and where they find their way to get by. I’ve thought about people who absolutely love what they do, and people who dread going to work in the morning. And I’ve been trying to decide where those people that love their jobs succeed. How do they get to where they are?

In no way did school make me feel prepared or as if I truly knew what I wanted to do. I think for now, I have a better idea of what I don’t want to do. What I know is that part of this is attitude and part of it is just straightforward fact. To wake up with the wrong attitude can magnify, can project, can exasperate what is already there.

I have been trying to decide what is worthwhile. Is it worth it to stay where I am? To keep doing what I am doing and constantly feel at odds with myself? So much of how I feel conflicts. I hold guilt for things that are not my fault and stumble in these decisions when I know there will be people that are hurt or harmed or people that will have to work a lot harder than they do now..

Here is my honesty: I allow others to undervalue me because I undervalue myself. I don’t believe anyone to be deserving of anything necessarily because it’s of a mentality that the world revolves around me. Something David Foster Wallace references in his “This is Water” speech (you should read this by the way). Something I try to remind myself of time to time because the world does not revolve around me, my happiness or unhappiness, my job, my life. And while that is the case, it doesn’t make it unfair to seek opportunities that make me happier, but it makes it wrong to constantly dwell on these feelings, this situation.

One thing I have been trying to learn is to not dwell. While many of you may hate “Eat, Pray, Love,” I found something in it that embodied a mindset I have been trying to take on for so long. To think about something, acknowledge the hurt, the pain, the feeling, but to “drop it.”

While people are incredibly resilient, always bouncing back and falling down, do they ever really lick the pain? Do they ever really leave it behind? I wake up with pain in my shoulders and neck. I do it because I carry that pain with me everyday. I might not think about it every second of the day, but it’s there. And I think that more people than none would say the same presence exists in their life in some way. People are broken. I believe that with every bone of my body, every nerve, every ounce in me. But that belief brings nothing, but an acknowledgment that we are somehow the same, somehow connected in this all.

There is no real answer is there. Question or statement, I think the answer varies person to person. We all have some remedy, some way that we make it easier. The days that I come home and feel terrible, I have to make myself forget it somehow. It is much easier, for whatever reason, to just sit there and think about it over and over again. Maybe it’s a character trait mostly, but I know it is much easier to dwell on these negative thoughts, nervousness and discomfort than it is to hold on to the realistic, the positive and the beneficial. Maybe it’s the human condition..

We are so used to being down that it seems an abnormality to be up sometimes. A couple weeks ago, it felt like every single thing was going right. I was on the ball at work, it was doable, and things just seemed like they would work out. Then all of the sudden, it started to go downhill, and, of course, when it did, I began feeling like nothing could ever go right naturally gravitating toward this negative train of thought.

The funny thing is, I was reading the personal statement that I wrote to for school applications and it addressed exactly this. It put me on the spot with myself because the very characteristic that I used to pride myself in is currently waning in this situation.

I wrote about my childhood, which consisted of random and constant sickness. I am beginning to believe that I blocked a majority of it out, but it truly did define much of who I am: my hardheadedness, my hatred for being babied, and my unfailing need to prove everyone wrong.

I was severely allergic to walnut trees, but continued to play in the leaves despite this. That is the way of a child of course. Constantly doing something, taking a chance despite the negative consequences that would ensue. The point of course being that those negative feelings do not outweigh the reward.

I told colleges this about myself and playing in leaves:

“We would make little progress this way, but it allowed us to enjoy things that were normally dreary. Our games were hardly original, but they are something that I still value today as a life philosophy. After spending a day playing tiring games, I would go home feeling sick. However, my short-term illness was incomparable to the day that had just passed. Every day spent playing in the walnut trees was a risk. My allergies were unpredictable and playing in such a dangerous field seems as if I was begging for illness, but my constant experience with sickness allowed me to build an optimistic view of life. I did not spend my time worrying about the hours I would spend tending to my stuffy nose later. I didn’t worry because I recognized that in all choices there are unpredictable outcomes. Since we are unable to control what happens to us, it is our job to take those situations and make the best of them. Playing in leaves, despite the pain it caused later, was one of the best decisions I made as a child. Reflecting on it now, I find a lesson that I hope to utilize in the coming years. As a person and a student, raking leaves and odd sicknesses have taught me to live with optimism and the belief that I can make the best of any situation as well as allow those situations to better me as a person.”

It’s funny, the timing of my going and reading this. I am at an exact point where I am afraid to take a chance because of the consequences. I am exactly in a place where that decision I terrifying and not an easy out, like I wish I had.

Something I have always been amazed by is the way in which poignant moments and realizations are eventually lost or fade. I had so many moments as a child where I realized something immense and of huge gravity to my life, but slowly that information, that change just became a memory and no longer affected me. This moment, reading this, it is proof of that experience and how it will continue to repeat itself throughout my life.

Tell me how, in 12th grade, I had better insight into what I need to do than I do now? The answer I can provide is merely that the decisions you make are harder to make when so close to the situation. The myopic view I have is so hindered by guilt, by inconvenience, by other people, but mostly by myself. I set standards in my mind that are in no rational or beneficial in times like these. While they have made me into a sort of perfectionist, they also allow me to be extremely hard on myself and make me indecisive in times like these.

This is the first time I’ve written in weeks it seems. I told myself when I took this job that I would write, I would find a way, but as things go, the way to write becomes harder to find, harder to maneuver and make the time.

There is no resolution. There is no definite answer because everyone seems to have a different one. I come to that point frequently because to me, if I waited until some universal truth came about, or was found, I may be waiting too long. I am 20. I am 20 years old and this is what my life consists of. Sometimes I forget that I am younger than most people in the same situation as myself.

I think what I need is to take time to give myself some credit, since I have yet to do that so far. I know what I need is to take a chance here. I need to take steps toward making things change. I can’t count how many poems, stories and articles I’ve read encouraging me to seize the day and also how few times I think I’ve truly listened. Here is where I go from here: I make a change. Sometimes a change in attitude is not enough and sometimes being hardheaded to stick a position out just because you said you would is not the best answer.

And, yes, I am still talking myself into my decision. Probably because I never thought I would be here. There is such a glorified picture of what a career is in my head. I don’t know exactly how it got there, but it is there. While I know I may not find that picture, I want to get close. I want to do something I love. In the mean time, I’ll do as the 12th grade me would do. I’ll make the best of what I have because there is no point dwelling on it. I just have to let it go.

Try it some time. It’s worth it.

“Notes From the Underground” by Fyodor Dostoevskey

“Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

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And hold us at the center while the spiral unwinds

Four Winds by Bright Eyes

There’s much to say, but there never seems to be the time to take and say it. Where have I been these past few weeks? Where have I been. It’s hard to say. The places you travel in a day’s time are more than just the physical locations on a map. They’re the things that become home in your mind.

I haven’t felt at home, or at least I haven’t wanted to. There’s always an edge that I’m just barely on and I’ve come to believe a few things as I continually teeter to and fro. What I’m between or leaning to, I never really know and that shouldn’t surprise a person like you. Thank you for taking the time to read.

I think in times like this I wonder what I could have done different. I think we all do. A time where someone is gone that you forget to reach out to from time to time. The thing about life is that you never seem to know when someone will really be gone. So you are gone and I am left with my feverish goodbyes.

Two weeks time and still I don’t know how to compose these thoughts, these words, these ideas I have about my life. I am in this high stress job constantly feeling as if what I do is never good enough. And that is mostly due to my own standards I hold myself to. No one can be as hard on me as I already am on myself. But that is no matter to this. That is just a factor in the work week that I like to forget by the time the clock runs out.

The clock is an imminent theme today. Isn’t it always? Living in fear of it, living in hope that it will pass, living because that is all we can really do. There is so often only one solution when it comes to unsolvable problems: go on.

Jack Johnson’s song is playing in my head now.

“In my rear viewI watch you
And I gave you your life
But you give me mine
I see you slowly swim away
As the light is leaving town
To a place that I can’t be
But there’s no apologies

Just go on
Just go on
There’re still so many things
I want to say to you
But go on
Just go on
We’re bound by blood that’s moving
From the moment that we start”

And maybe I should leave it at that because he’s said everything I feel. In life, we are always struggling with dealing and making due. Yes, we do have joyful moments of time, but behind the joy, somewhere along the way, there is pain. And here is the pain. The pain is excruciating. It makes you doubtful, it makes you disappointed. To think you don’t miss a person until you know they are gone. To think that you’re capable of caring about someone still who has been missing from your life for over a year.

I have no awesome words of wisdom. In fact, I have something to say that I myself hate to hear. Time. That is all we have sometimes. I’ve prayed a thousand times to be lifted of pain, but if you can’t trust in the thing you pray to, then what is the point? What is the point in sitting here constantly unhappy and never feeling a change in the wind, a swift movement in the wind. Sometimes, I honestly believe that the only thing you have to make things better is time.

There is the cliche you hear and know. When something terrible happens, there is this odd feeling that someone has to have the answer. And maybe someone out there does. But for me, a sceptic to say the least, I think the only thing that is always at my back and my front is time. It makes us helpless and morose, but sometimes I want it so badly to just continue as it is. I want it to pass with no hindrance. I want the work week to be over. I want to stop the undying feeling of sadness that throbs in my chest at times. I want there to be a way to help someone, to help myself. I’m not dwelling on some negative energy. What I’m trying is to be sincere and honest about the way in which I’ve learned to go on.

The truth is, that is the only answer. The funeral is on thursday, and guess what- come Monday, you have to be ready to work. We’ll forgive your lack of productively for a week, but beyond that, we have to just move. It’s the way of our world. And while at times we want to dwell a bit longer, get cut a break, and just wander, it’s sometimes better to try to pick up and continue. There will be days where there seems no way to see through this fog of insecurity, pain and ill-happenings. Yes, there will be days where you just want to sit on the bed and stare at that turquoise wall for hours. But just know, that it will get better, it will get easier, and you will be able to go on.

I try to always see hope on that horizon. It seems this blog has become just that, my hope on the horizon. My hope for myself, for others, for life. I have this uncanny need to help people. No, I am not patting myself on the back. What I mean is that when someone is lost, I feel like it is my duty to help. In this off beat time of weirdness, death, and just trying to get by, I’ve learned that maybe there is something in me I am not using as I should. Maybe I have the ability to do things I refuse to try out of fear, or lack of time. Time is a terribly discomforting thing. While I love that it is a healer, it’s always running away from me. Never allowing me to do exactly what I want.

Here I am, working, getting beat down. Hey, it’s been a month and I am already that tired old working person. I’m trying to learn how to appreciate those breaths of fresh air. Trying to learn that stress is not a necessary component to doing well.

What I know is this, life is a balancing act. We are on that edge for so long. Sometimes, it feels like there is no one that truly understands. But what I know is that there is no one to understand as long as I can’t put trust in them. And I hope that at some point, I can help someone see that differentiation before it is too late. I miss the people that have gone from this life, but I have to believe, I have to hope that things are better where they are. And while I am still here, I have to change what I can, do what I can and make what I am doing worth someone’s while.

There’s too much to say and I feel I never say it well. But this is what I believe and this is where I go on.

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Make me sanguine

Sanguine by the Avett Brothers..

paint the picture that I swore I heard

The Avett Brothers gave me a little vocabulary lesson today. Sanguine is to be cheerfully optimistic, hopeful or confident. Allow me to be upfront and say that I need this in every sense of the word, in every avenue of my life it seems. Don’t we all?
If I know one thing, I know that people teeter between stages of confidence and the unnerving bottom. Sometimes we’re neither here nor there. And sometimes, that area of grey is the scarier of the different places we tend to be.
Probably the Avett Brothers and Damien Rice are my two favorite lyricists. Both have this uncanny ability to make me feel like their heart has just fallen in my lap. As if the song gave them the ability to say these things that they wouldn’t normally. I am the type to bottle things up. I have an extremely bad ability to convince myself nearly anything sometimes. Because I think too much. Because I have the time. Because its innate. Because it’s a byproduct of the lifestyle we lead. Whatever it is, it’s a factoid into the makings of me.
I had two interviews this past week. I had such a confidence that my concern was what I would do if I were offered both, not that I’d be offered them at all. It’s funny how much these levels of hope and confidence can wane week to week, even day-to-day. I remember saying that I would be happy just to have a callback. Now what I want has grown, as it should. But it’ so easy to fill myself with doubt.
I have no doubt in my capabilities in getting a job. This whole process is reminiscent of applying to college. It seemed a crap shoot since nothing was definite. That’s what this seems. Arbitrary. The jobs I am actually qualified for seem uninterested. The jobs that I am in no way interested in or qualified for, want me. Tell me, can you explain how this works?
The conclusion you have to arrive at is that there is no order in this madness. There’s no order in looking for a job and certainly it feels like there’s no order to life really. We assign these moments importance or meaning, but do they really mean anything at all? Certain things are taught to us as we grow up. Girls are taught to believe in these inconstant and romantic ideas of love. We’re taught that believing in something is better than not believing at all. We’re taught to rebel and to obey when necessary. And all these things we learn, all these things that become second nature have no form expect what is given. Can you trace the meaning, can you find the reason why you follow these notions, these presets of how things should be? There’s something incredibly hypocritical in even saying this, since it seems to only be a part of what I was taught.
I feel at odds with myself and more often at odds with the settings of our world. Can you really say which is which? Is the world alienating you, or are you alienating it?
At times, I feel that I may never have an absolute in my life. And I have begun to believe it foolish to want that to be true. There is nothing constant. There is nothing that lasts as we wish it to. I think that is the tomfoolery we’ve all bought into. And, yet, I don’t want to give up on that still. There is a comfort in having things a certain way. A comfort in fitting these norms. Sometimes it feels like we’re rushing to these milestones not just because we’re supposed to, but because we believe that in those places we will find a security that gives a new status of growing happiness in our lives.
One mistake I think I’m prone to make is looking ahead much too often and making the little things into big things. A job interview isn’t an excuse to plan my life out and a kiss isn’t a reason to plan a wedding. And, yet, we do it anyway. We take these tiny moments and make them bigger than life. We are hopeful and confident that what we dream will come true. It’s hard to say which is better or worse since we are all striving toward that feeling of wholeness or completeness.
I think that there is only dots at the end of every line in life. There is never a period. What we want is the period. We want that defined ending, that absolute status, the comfort of knowing. I want that comfort on so many levels. But I am finding that in searching for it, it leads into this negative trend when it fails. I think I have to remember that life is three dots, not one.  To be sanguine not because I believe there to be some definite means to an end, but because it will make me see the present, appreciate it, and see the picture I know I heard.
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get over your hill and see

“After the Storm” by Mumford and Sons

Have you ever felt like you are responsible for stifling your own dreams? That perhaps the only thing stopping you from doing what it is you really want, is the person you see in the mirror.

Recently,  I have been stagnating. The list of things I want to do or should do is growing, but nothing seems to be checked or crossed out. The irony is that in a time where I have the most freedom to do all of this, I find myself not wanting to do a single thing.

This has carried over into most categories of my life. Running is probably the worst of them all. Running has been therapeutic to me in the past, but in the past month that feeling has been dwindling. It’s become a chore that I find more reasons to not do than to do.

Running is chalked full with variables. A single run can be such a feat. Because of wind, because of sleep, because of anything really. The amount of injuries, the tally of days I wanted to quit, the reasons to run, the reasons to not run, the time neglected to be found. To think I’ve been training for several months and all of that could be for nothing just by making one wrong move. One tiny injury.

For running being such a big part of who I am right now, I find it hard to say much about it. Maybe because it is not worth talking about at all, but there is always something to say I suppose. What I don’t want to admit is that I find an obscene amount of parallels between running and this stage in my life.

All of my injuries in running have been completely due to the way in which I run. I find that to be utterly profound. The fact that my ankles roll in on every step, the way in which my hips ache on ten milers, the over rotating, pronating, cramps, trips and falls. My own form cripples me. Certain shoes can fix parts of it, strengthening muscles, reducing miles, but the fact of the matter is that these problems are slightly unfixable. You’re body creates a step that you commit to as long as you walk. A step to break or build.

The trick when you run is to never look too far ahead. You want to focus on something nearby, a mailbox, light post, or house. You stare at it until you pass it, then focus your eyes on the next upcoming landmark. You never let your eyes stray too far from the dark tar beneath your feet because if you watch the horizon, you might not make it.

In Blacksburg, there was this awful hill near my house. It was hidden in some forgotten neighborhood two blocks away. If you haven’t been to Blacksburg, you should know that the are countless hills, the kind worth avoiding when running or riding bikes. Despite the steepness, I found myself mapping runs around  this one hill. Every time, a slacken pace, shallow breathes, and burning legs. But the top, the top made it worthwhile. Sometimes it feels like the hills encase you in Blacksburg, as if these walls were placed around the entire town. You can rarely see much more than the mile in front of you. But, there, at the top of that hill, you could see everything.

Sometimes it helps to look just two steps ahead. It helps to focus on the present, the next two miles, the upcoming hours. But it is so easy to become consumed with this mindset where you can never see anything, but the immediate. So much so that you forget what it’s like to see the whole thing.

All I can see is this hill in front of me, these things I should have done or should be doing. And it makes things seem so impossible, just like the way it feels when I get to the last mile of a run with cramps and aching legs. I would give anything to give up and walk sometimes. I would give anything to have a clear mind and the right view. But those things take time and instead of staring at this hill, dreading it, maybe I should push through it. Maybe I should find the time to do what I love and not forget what it’s like to see the whole view. That list that’s sitting next to my bed. I want to check the things off. I want to look back and think that I did something right.

It’s hard to get it right sometimes. Just like it’s hard to find the words to write or the motivation for that last ten miler before the big race. Sometimes, all you can help to see is those few feet in front of your thumping feet. And maybe there is nothing wrong with that at all, but when you forget. When you forget how to do those things you used to love, when it becomes a chore, when it seems like there is nothing but a list always in front of you. When you find it is just your own weaknesses that allow these things to never be done. It’s a terribly hopeless feeling.

The difference lies in the changes you make and the path you take. My path is structureless and out of focus. Sometimes, all it takes is one good run to reignite the fervor for training. To forget that these injuries are self-induced and that there is more strength in my own stride than I often believe. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

And while I’m struggling to find the words to keep this project afloat, find solace in this song. It’s a hope-builder.

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