Friday, January 22, 2010

Do You See What I See?

Do you want to know why I haven't updated my blog for so long? I'll tell you.

I have nothing to say.

No, seriously. NOTHING. (If you know me personally, this comes as quite the surprise, I'm sure)

I've drafted numerous posts, but left them unfinished. And then yesterday, something in my head clicked. I literally thought to myself, "Andrew, you're an idiot."

I realized that the reason I've had no ideas or inspiration for writing for the past few months is because I've fallen into a routine. A monotonous, self-serving routine.

Here's the breakdown: wake up (usually later rather than sooner), skip breakfast, caffeine fix from Starbucks, work at the magazine from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. (lunch in between usually), quick trip home to change, work at The Melting Pot until ... late. Then, bed.

And I'm sure you can guess what happens next. Wake up and do it again.

You can see how that would get boring. And when the boredom hit, I tried to fix it by investing in myself: playing video games for too long, going out with friends and spending too much, staying up too late. My life turned into a process of transcending my boredom through means that became unhealthy (physically or otherwise) after a while. (Don't misunderstand -- none of the things I listed are bad in their own right)

So rewind (or fast forward?) back to yesterday when everything "clicked." I was driving home, and asking myself why I couldn't finish a single post. I was frustrated. And I blamed it on all the factors outside of myself. I thought I was stuck in a routine, so I didn't have the inspiration or the new experiences I needed to keep my blog and its posts fresh and interesting.

And here's what clicked: I thought of a post I made on this very blog two summers ago. I realized this:

Life is defined by the perspective you view it through.

My real-life application to that principle materializes in the fact that if I think my life is dull and repetitive, it will be. So rather than continuing to search for ways to distract myself from my boring life (through pastime overload), I decided to look for the life that is here--I'm just not seeing it.

And do you know what happened? Suddenly, my life doesn't seem so dull anymore (even though I still go to the same two jobs everyday!).

I thought about the people in my life, and realized how much I appreciate them--how different my life would be without them. And then I made my first change. I asked one of those people to have lunch with me, because, while we see each other every day, we never get to talk or spend time together (and I'm missing out on something great because of that!).

This is a change I'm trying to make in my life every day: seeing what's not always readily visible, appreciating everything I have and looking for the value in the areas that seem old and tired. It's not an instant fix; it's a life change that will hopefully become habit and transform the way I see the world (and those involved) around me.

So here's the challenge for you. Re-read the steps above--the ones I implemented in my life--and transform your tired, monotonous life into one where you are able to appreciate the small (and huge) things you never saw before (or never viewed clearly), even though they were right below your nose the whole time.

And hopefully, with this new perspective on life, I'll always have something to say.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Reinventing the Wheel

So this is my first post since I graduated from college.

Yes, it's true! I am now the proud owner of a bachelor of arts degree in print journalism! Oh, and I have a minor in English. What a pairing! Right?

In any event, with this change in my life comes a change to this blog. It's former self reflected too much of last summer and not enough of my progressive life.

I've titled it "A Conservative Perspective (on politics and life in general)." Perhaps it's cliche. Maybe something better will hit me soon. Let's hope so! But I've named it thus for very specific reasons:

I'm a conservative, first and foremost. No, that doesn't mean that I put my political standings and opinions above all else in my life (i.e. my friends, family, and fun, of course). What it implies is that my conservative values color my entire life, shaping my decisions and actions. If I held values differing from those I currently retain, I'd be a completely different person, and that's what I want to capture through this blog--that conservative or otherwise, I'm a person with a life aside from politics. And that's where the second half of my blog's title emerges from: there's so much more to life than politics (mainly my friends, family, and writing, of course. I love to write).

So maybe I'm not reinventing the wheel. I'm just refocusing my blog. But I thought a title like that would draw readers, so I went with it.

Hopefully, I'll do a better job of recording my life via this blog now that I'm out of school. If you're coming along for the ride, welcome. But my life is crazy and random sometimes, so do so at your own risk. For those of you who are already my friends (most, if not all, of my readers), hopefully this will keep us in contact--after all, that's why I read all of your blogs!

Well, I'm at a loss for words now. What do I say? Ready. Set. Go! Not so much.

Just sit back and enjoy my typing. And if you don't, that's okay. Because I like it, and that matters too. Right?

Come on. Humor me!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Senior Thoughts

So it's my last semester of college. And I'm supposed to write a column about my feelings on the issue. The problem is...

I don't know what to write.

It's hard to sum up all your feelings about certain topics in a few paragraphs. Yet I think, at the same time, devoting a book to what I'm feeling right now may be a little ambitious. So maybe I'll proceed in the most logical fashion I can based on my current state of mind.


You had to know this was coming. Because, honestly, how could I not be excited? I'm GRADUATING! Did you hear me? GRA - DU - AT - ING! Okay, so maybe that was a little over the top. But think about it: my hard work for the past four years is about to culminate in one single ceremony in a few months -- that's exciting!

And if that weren't enough, I'm going to officially join the ranks of these mysterious "adults." The people we've (we can probably be best summed up as me and my siblings and close friends) lived with and relied on for so long. Every day has brought us progressively closer to this transcendence. It's only a matter of time before I throw off the title of full-time student, and evolve into an "adults."

Lastly under excitement, after studying journalism and writing (and the liberal arts) for four years, I'm finally going to be able to devote all of that studying and learning to a full-time job. And guess what -- I'll be paid to do so! It doesn't get much better than that, I'd say.


I almost titled this section as "fear." But I realized that deaming this emotion as such would be innaccurate. Or imprecise, rather.

So, yes, anxiety. I'm not suffering from depression, and I do live a fulfilling life. But at the same time, I'm about to move into a new stage of life. And while I can't wait to become self-dependent, it's a little nerve-wracking. I've always had someone to rely on -- my parents, my teachers, my parents, my grandparents ... my parents. And while my parents won't be going away or forgetting about me, I plan on moving out of state. I can't yell down the stairs to my mom if I need something washed and don't have time to do it myself. My dad won't be right there, ready to spend some time with me over coffee, sharing his wisdom with me so I can have an easier time living. And, honestly, while my mind can grasp that concept, just writing about it right now is emotionally taxing -- it really hurts.

And then there's the question of whether or not I'll actually land a job when I graduate. The economy isn't looking like it wants to do me any favors, and while I'm excited that the president has big plans, I'm not sure non-capitalistic ideals will necessarily help me. Also: will I be able to pay rent? Buy food? Afford clothes when necessary? Have insurance?

Lots of questions and uncertainty.


Aside from everything else -- the goods and the bads -- I think perspective is key. Because if you don't have perspective, you open up the potential of letting any of the previously mentioned variables take over your mind.

So here's my perspective:

Excitement -- Sure I'm excited to graduate -- and that's not going to change -- but I could never forgive myself if I let the experiences that are still left for me this last semester to slip by because I was too busy looking forward to graduating.

Anxiety -- Sure it'll be hard, but would life be fulfilling if it wasn't? I can truly say that I'm the type of person that thrives on challenge. I want it to be hard for me -- because that's what keeps life interesting. Also, my parents will always be there for me -- and I'll always be there for them. And wouldn't it be the bigger tragedy if I never left home and became dependent on myself (because that's what parents do: raise their kids so they can become adults).

And ultimately, with my faith and trust in God, there's no way I can go wrong. As long as I'm in his will, I don't have to worry about "screwing up." Or making bad decisions.

And maybe, just maybe, this is an outlook that should encompass our entire lives -- not just college.

Because afterall, I hope this won't be the last time I'm excited for change. I know it won't be the last time I'm anxious about something. And perspective (and God) may just be quintessential to leading a balanced life.

Graduation, here I come!