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.
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.
As an eighteen year old son about to embark on my new life in college, I sit here reflecting on my life and I find myself more and more grateful for my parents. My father works all week and my mother keeps the house in great condition. We have a great relationship, but as I look around me, I find that my peers as well as the general public have quite a distorted view on what a family is supposed to be. For proof, merely turn on the television and watch a simple kid’s show. You will notice that in almost every program, the father is the one that is funniest, but not in the way that a father would like to be portrayed. In the show, the father is usually the stupid one that always messes things up, leaving the mother or the children to fix everything. This implies to the audience (usually children) that the father is an inadequate leader in the family and that the mother should supply the income and support. The mother and father should have an equal partnership in the marriage, but obviously they should have different roles. In a nutshell, the father is the leader, protector, and provider. The mother is the supporter, nurturer, and homemaker. When the father position is forfeited by the man, this adds unneeded pressure on the mother, causing resentment between them. As this tension builds between husband and wife, the children are forced to watch this escalate, which engrains in their mind that this is how a marriage works, therefore dooming them to repeat the process in their adult life, causing a chain reaction throughout the generations. This process can be eliminated by merely balancing the roles in the marriage and setting a good example for children to follow.
After developing a proper relationship between husband and wife, one must not fall into the trap of the classic “parent and children vs parent” situation. In some cases, the mother and children are pitted against the father, and others it is the father and children against the mother. In either case, it is usually because the father or mother want to be the “favorite” parent, especially if the other parent is a step-parent. This is easily resolved when the favored parent realizes that his/her primary role is not as best friend, but as the parent and disciplinarian. The husband and wife should be best friends with each other before they join sides with their children, because it is our human nature as children to take advantage of one parent and pit them against the other to sustain our own personal gain.
Personally, my parents have done quite well the past eight or so years, and I am very grateful for them. So as you look back on your past experiences, realize that it was your parents or parent figures that have molded you into the person you are. This does not mean that you will turn out just like your parents, but it does mean that your upbringing has had a major impact on the way your life is going. This being said, do NOT blame your parents for your life not turning out the way you would have preferred. Perhaps your father or mother left you at a young age or you experienced some other kind of traumatic situation; this does not give you or anyone else an excuse for mistakes in life. We are merely influenced by our past, but we are not defined by it.
My name is Kyle Payne and I started this blog mainly as a hobby. I enjoy voicing my opinion as well as being receptive to others. I hope to cover the issues presented in today’s society.