The Present

I’ve had one terrible week. Let me take you on this journey that I’ve recently, but not willingly, embarked on. First, I got laid off from my high paying job right after I bought my first house. Next day, I get the flu. Next day, (and this is in real chronological order) my dog gets parvovirus. Obviously I have no money for the vet, but I take him anyway because my wife loves this dog. There’s about 90$ out the window. So as I stayed up every night due to the stress, sickness, and nursing my puppy back to health, I looked over at my wife who is fast asleep. I’m 21 and she is 19. I wondered how she falls asleep so soundly. Then it hits me: she trusts in me. She is counting on me to take care of her and her dog. In this life, there is no do over. There are rarely any true second chances. So fast forward ten days to now. I’m sitting here, unemployed, cleaning our house. Today I have come to a realization: you have to be able to enjoy nothing before you can appreciate anything. I don’t know why all this happened to me in the course of a week. Maybe it was time to give me a reality check. Maybe I was about to cross the point where a cheap McDonalds meal with my wife at 2 AM would no longer be that fun anymore. But know I realize that the cheap or free things in life are sometimes the things that make life worth living. Sometimes you have to go to the park late at night and enjoy the vacant swingset before you can really enjoy a weekend at the amusement park. Don’t try to rush life. If you’re young, don’t focus on building a career more than you focus on living your life. The future is important, the past is gone, but the present is now. And now is when you need to remember who you are and what makes you tick. If you have to stay up all night watching Ricky Bobby and Terminator, then do it. If you have to stay in all day with your significant other and watch scary movies or play videogames in order to get your composure back, then that’s OK. Just remember that life is still going on outside, and you have to return to it. But for now, go get some Taco Bell, sit on the couch, watch your guilty pleasure movie or TV show, and get back to your life tomorrow.


Days gone by

Memories. Every memory is a chance to learn and a chance to grow. Whether we learn from our mistakes or we simply enjoy what life gives us, memories are our natural ‘video camera’. We can go over what we’ve experienced and analyze what we did wrong, what we did right, and whether we could change how things turned out or not, because sometimes life just doesn’t go our way. When you think back on your life, are you satisfied with the choices you made? This is a great opportunity for us to change our future. Every action has a reaction, causing a ripple effect in our lives as well as others. Over the course of my relatively short life, I’ve encountered many people that are not quite content with their lives and the direction they are heading. Whether it be financial, spiritual, or social problems, they can all be fixed with the right amount of determination and will power. We can’t change the past, but we can change the overall direction of our life and even how we look at the past. Will we see it as a long conglomeration of regretful decisions/indecisions, or will we see it as lessons that we must take, process, learn from, and eventually apply to our present lives? I for one make it a point to have an outlook similar to the latter. We have a natural tendency to have a pessimistic view of life, some more than others. This is why we must make a conscious effort to look at life in different perspectives, both negatively and positively. It is unhealthy and unwise to be too much of either, therefore we must balance the two in order to have a realistic view on life. This is especially important when we are presented with a big change in our life, like moving to a new state or losing a loved one. If someone dwells on the negatives, this can result in depression and an ‘all is lost’ outlook on life. This attitude can bleed over into the lives of friends and family, causing damaged relationships and weakened friendships. On the other side of this coin, if we deliriously dwell on only the positive in a situation, then we will be greatly disappointed when our unrealistic expectations do not come true. The best thing to do when we face the challenges that life throws at us is to not dwell on the negatives, stay positive but realistic, and show others that even though we are faced with adversities, we are strong enough to make the best out of it.
Memories can also make us appreciate what we have. As the old saying goes, ” you never appreciate something until the first day it’s not there”. This can either mean losing a loved one or simply adapting to a less comfortable lifestyle. A rich man cannot truly appreciate money like a poverty stricken family would. This being said, a poor child may not appreciate his father for loving him like a wealthy child who would give anything to have a good father. We all have things that other people don’t, and other people have things we don’t. This should not be the focus of our thoughts; instead, we should focus on relishing the things we do have, whether it be material possessions, a loving family, or simply our health. I do not mean exalting these things over others, but merely being grateful for the blessings in our life. I, for one, have a problem with overlooking the things in my life that others would love. When I think back on my memories, I find that I am thankful for a loving family, being born in America, and being healthy.
As we further our advances in life, let us recall past events and learn from them. In many people’s lives, memories are avoided and treated like old wounds that must not be reopened. Instead, we should accept those memories and move on with our life. It is quite unhealthy to dwell on a bad situation in our past. For some people, it is very difficult to not hold a grudge on others. No matter what life throws at us, we should learn from our past and focus on the present.