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January 24, 2012 / Kalehli

How Do You Know?

One of my pet peeves is when someone says to you, “I know how you feel” or “I know what you’re going through.”

How, I wonder, do they know what someone else is feeling? It’s not their life that the person is living, it is their own.

Two people could walk down the street. Both have just gotten a new job in their field, and both are thrilled. But their happiness is not identical! Imagine that the first person is a recent college graduate, living in a tiny apartment and surviving on ramen. Now imagine that the second person is an experience professional with years under her belt in her career; this new job is just another step towards her overall goal.

Their happiness is not the same.

The college student is (in this scenario) ecstatic that she’s found a job that doesn’t involve waiting tables or making coffee. She’s relieved that she’ll be able to pay her rent on time. And looking forward to the luxury of having dinner at the greasy spoon diner, the one with the flickering neon sign, down the street. She’s finally able to make a stand as someone who matters and has a voice. Her education has been justified and her future finally looks brighter than the dingy apartment complexes that she’s been surviving in.

The experienced professional is excited to begin a new job with new opportunities. She’s given her two weeks notice at the job that she’s leaving for this one and her apartment is a brightly lit and comfortable home. She still rents because she’s always looking for the big-ticket job that will rocket her to a senior position in a company. She is comfortable in her life and well aware of where she is going.

This is just an example of how no two situations, no matter how similar, are alike. Yes, there are situations that can be compared more closely, but nothing is exactly the same because everything is dependent on the person’s experiences.

And yet people still offer up (sometime unsolicited) advice about a situation that they’re removed from. That they can’t truly understand. People are happy to tell you what to do, it’s human nature to meddle after all. The worst offenders are those who are happy to offer up relationship advice. Everyone is guilty of it. I am too.

It’s easy to see a situation from the outside and say to yourself, or others, “if that was me I’d ______.” But you’re not inside the situation. You don’t know the history or the experiences of each individual that affects the relationship. You only know what you see. You’re just someone walking by a house and looking in the window and catching a glimpse of what has happened.

It’s especially easy, in view of what may seem like a hopeless situation, to tell your friend to move on and forget about the other person. If it’s just some person they met at the bar it’s a lot easier for them to agree with you than if you’re telling them to forget someone who they have months or years of history with. By that point there has been an impact on their life, they have made choices for or regarding that person that directs them one way or another.

It’s also a lot easier to make a decision for someone, since you probably won’t be directly affected by it. It’s easier to say that someone or something is bad, when you haven’t seen the good.

It’s easy to warn a friend away from someone, even in genuine concern, when you are just a third-party. It’s easy to tell a friend not to fall in love with someone when you’re not the one falling.

So no matter how much a person thinks that they can sympathize with you, their experiences–no matter how similar– have given them a different outlook on the situation at hand.

In the end, the only person who can decide what is right or wrong is you. You can take the advice of other if you choose, follow it or disregard it… that is your choice. No one can make a decision for you, nor should they.

No matter how difficult or easy, confusing or clear, painful or painless, the choice is yours because you are the one who has to live with your decision in the end.

January 18, 2012 / Kalehli

Be Selfish… Put Yourself First…

Henry Ward Beecher says, “Selfishness is that detestable vice which no one will forgive in others, and no one is without himself.” and William E. Gladstone said that “Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race.”

I don’t disagree with them, but I think that, sometimes it’s OK to be selfish.

No, really. It is.

Humans are hardwired to survive. It’s built into our genetic makeup. It’s a natural instinct to consider ourselves first, and the rare person who thinks first of others. This is a difficult idea for anyone who first tries to ensure the happiness of others.

As someone who is a self-realized people pleaser, I know how difficult it is to make a decision that has the potential to hurt even one person. However, in some situations it can be unavoidable. This is especially true when you’re faced with a difficult choice, one in which there are people pulling for one outcome over another.

If this is a situation in which your future, or your own happiness, is at stake; it is at that moment imperative to make the selfish choice.

Instead of weighing what each person has to say, take a moment and consider what will make you happy. Because it is you that has to live with the decision. While that can seem like having the weight of the world on your shoulders… it’s not.

If you make a choice because you think it’s the answer that someone wants to hear, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Sometime decisions are easy to make and sometimes they’re not.

“What’s called a difficult decision is a difficult decision because either way you go there are penalties.” (attributed to Elia Kazan)

That is so true. No matter what, there will be consequences. The question that you have to answer (and it has to be you, it can’t be anyone else) is which outcome will make you the happiest. The knowledge that your choice could cause another pain is not a pleasant thought.

As Westley says in The Princess Bride, “Life is pain… anyone who says otherwise is selling something.”

If life is pain, take what happiness you can and hold onto it. No matter how selfish it may seem.

And no matter what… appreciate what you already have.

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“If you love two people at the same time, choose the second one, because if you really loved the first one you wouldnt have fallen for the second.”
January 5, 2012 / Kalehli

Starting Over…

As you may have noticed, I disappeared off the face of the earth for what ended up being all of fall semester. Oops. I’m hoping that this time around I’ll have more opportunities to keep this going on a regular basis. For one, I have developed (what will be) a detrimental habit of staying up until all hours of the night and wait for the sun rising to tell me to go to bed. No… I’m not a vampire. I promise.

So, new plan: When the inspiration strikes, I will write about whatever it is and try to throw an insightful, relevant-to-life light on the subject.

Like this quote: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

Like the title may suggest, this post is about starting over. A lot of things have changed since my last post in July (really?! That long… I am a horrible blogger!) and I’m noticing them as I go back through my profile on here to edit it. Some of those changes are somewhat painful to notice.

I am once again pursuing a four-year degree instead of trying to kill myself by cutting out the fourth year in an accelerated degree. The degree is still Journalism and I’ve decided to pursue Magazine Journalism after my fall News Reporting class. (As a result of that class I got two articles published in the local papers!)

I am now an officer in the Honors Congress at my university and am developing new goals and ambitions to go along with these two changes. Executive Board 2013? I think so!

I’m starting this year out single. The guy that I was dating at this time last year is no more. We went our separate ways in October after almost a year. So now I’m starting 2012 out on my own two feet; a little jaded but still a romantic at heart.

I have not one, but two jobs. One as a tour guide at my school and the other as a waitress at the sports bar on campus.

I’ve made, and lost, friends in the past  year. No matter how sad it is to lose touch with friends, there is always good memories to remember them with and the feeling of discovery as you make new friends can help to disguise the hurt.

One of my best friends is getting married in a year and has asked me to be her Maid of Honor (bring on the bridal magazines, questionable bridesmaid dresses, and a whole lot of teal!).

These are all just changes that I’ve thought of off the top of my head and as I was writing them down I was thinking about the quote. It really is true, you don’t find who you are, you have to create it. The important changes in my life are because I took the initiative to go and get those opportunities. I ran for office, I applied for those jobs, I decided what I wanted to do with my life. I’m creating the path my life will take as I go.

I’m not hunting under rocks trying to find myself, I’m creating myself as I go. Yes, I’m learning a lot about myself in the process, but that can only serve to direct me; act as a compass.

I don’t believe that we all have a predetermined route to take in our lives, if that were the case then we would have to find ourselves. But our lives are up to our own interpretation and the path we will take is up to us.

It is the choices that we make that will decide who we become, not the things in our lives that are handed to us. Those are a result of who we are.

So this year, I still have no resolutions, just a determination to make the best of the year and not only accept what I am given, but to take what I want from life and get myself started on the right track for the future.

Yes, it’s time to create myself.

January 3, 2012 / Kalehli

It’s The Final Countdown…

Admit it.

That song is now running through your head on repeat… 

According to the Mayans… and those who belief that the calender warns about the end of the world (and not just that they ran out of room!), 2012 is leading up to the end of the world.

Mostly, it’s just a joke to many people.. still it brings attention to the thought that life is fleeting.

The beginning of each year leads to lists of resolutions, packed gyms and running paths, a few weeks of healthier eating, and good intentions.

I took a different approach this year. I decided not to make a list of resolutions that will soon be broken or forgotten. Instead I decided to just try to make the best of 2012. No lists. No promises. Just the plan to take life a day at a time and see what life hands me.

The first of the year is viewed as a new start. A time to make improvements. To right wrongs.

Why wait? Why wait for a specific date to turn your life around? Just start.

People always say that they’ll do something tomorrow, next week, next month, after their birthday, after Christmas, etc. I procrastinate just as much as the next person, I’m aware of it and I admit it freely. For me, having a list of resolutions just gives me more things to procrastinate about. I hope that just deciding to try to do better in all aspects will lead to success.

Maybe if people just decided to take life with all the ups and downs and be thankful for what they have, instead of wishing that they had more or better, everyone would be a little happier.

So at the beginning of this year, the year the “world will end,” I think it’s time to take a step back and just enjoy the year. No worrying about certain points that could be improved upon, just make an effort to be better. Period.

July 26, 2011 / Kalehli

Friends With Benefits

One night stands. Hook ups. Casual encounters. Friends with benefits. Our society has become extremely sexualized to the point where sex has become a normal interaction. It’s gone from something private and special between two individuals to an act that is almost becoming currency in today’s society. In the dating world women are advised to wait until the third date to sleep with their suitor, but it is not uncommon for the first date to be enough to decide that the other person is worth sleeping with.

WHAT?!

Call me a romantic, but sex is something between two people that know and trust each other. One or three dates is not enough to know or trust each other. While I am all for thinking the best of people, deciding that you want to bare all for someone you’ve just met and texted, emailed, and Facebook stalked a few weeks before strikes me as crazy.

The movie Friends With Benefits showcased this societal shift. I’m not saying that it was a terrible movie because of the message it presented, I liked the movie very much. It was an enjoyable way to spend an evening with friends, cracking inappropriate jokes through the whole thing, and referencing inside jokes. It was a funny movie and the actor’s had good chemistry together; some parts of it were also bittersweet, (HERE BE SPOILERS) such as Dylan’s (Justin Timberlake) father with his Alzheimer’s and Dylan’s struggle with that, as well as Jamie (Mila Kunis) and her flighty mother’s eccentric relationship.

Although the movie was a romantic comedy and the focus was on the two friends with benefits the scene that I found the most touching and poignant was when Dylan and his father are sitting in the airport and his father takes off his pants and sits down and asks if Dylan is going to join him; and Dylan, who has struggled with what he views as his father’s embarrassing behavior, smiles and says yes as he also removes his pants and takes a seat. Although it is a small part of the movie and the conversation that follows is the part important to the plot, I thought that small moment was the kind of relationship that we should strive for (NO MORE SPOILERS).

That moment of love and solidarity carries a greater lesson than the thought that sex must come before love can follow. Love is not about sex, or because of sex, love is when you will do something for someone without any thought for yourself. And that love is universal. It is not only for boyfriends and girlfriends or spouses. It is for family too, for mothers and fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, and significant others. Love is not what you feel after dinner and a movie, no matter how secure you feel or what society has told you.

Again, I say that I am a romantic, and feel free to agree or disagree, but until you can be comfortable with yourself and your significant other and your relationship… some things are just better left a mystery.

 

July 21, 2011 / Kalehli

Wednesday Whimsies: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…

Human curiosity is something that has gotten our race from rubbing sticks together to leaving footprints on the moon.

There are many different children’s lullabies and songs, but Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is my favorite because it references this curiosity:

“Twinkle twinkle little star,

How I wonder what you are.”

Wonder is an amazing thing, it caused Ancient Egyptians to develop a complicated system of gods and goddesses to explain why the sun rises and sets, why the river flows, and many other things. It sent explorers out from their homes to see what else was out there, and it is, for all intents and purposes what keeps humans going.

Curiosity and wonder in the hands of scientists and adventurers have given us many advancements and wonders in the hundreds of years that we have continued to advance, and will no doubt continue to do so. Here are some images of some of these wonders…

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Goose Pagoda in China

The Sphinx in Egypt

Shuttle Launch

The Taj Mahal

Chichen Itza in Mexico

July 15, 2011 / Kalehli

Friday Findings and the Deathly Hallows

Last night, Thursday the 14th, at 11:00 p.m. I was sitting in a theatre waiting for the end of my childhood to end. First published when I was six-years-old the books consumed my time as I eagerly read them all. The last few books I read within two days each, ignoring everything but the books for 24-48 hours straight. The movies began when I was 10 and I saw every one in theaters, waiting to be visually catapulted into the wizarding world. These are the books that convinced me that I wanted to write, to share my stories with the world. And now, 14 years later, the legacy has come to a close. My childhood is officially ending.

The movie surpassed everything that I expected, without a doubt it was the best movie of the series and to watch the final movie was bittersweet. From when Snape died until the end of the movie my best friend and I sat holding hands, her sobbing and me slightly misty eyed. It was sad to bid goodbye to the characters that I have grown up with. I think that is what made the end so bittersweet: we grew up alongside these characters and went through their trials and challenges with them.

Harry Potter is more than just a fantasy story, it is about growing up and becoming yourself. It is about friendship and love and loyalty. Good vs. evil. Despite all the criticism that it faced when the series first came out, it is about more than magic and witchcraft. The idea that someone can be protected because of someone’s love for them is something that I grew up believing in. And continue to believe in.

The things that make up our childhood can be the same as someone else, but it is what you take from these things that define your childhood. From Harry Potter I learned that courage is perseverance in the face of fear, that love is unconditional, that friends are a treasure, that sometimes faith and trust are how it’s done, that you can do whatever you set your mind to, and that evil cannot persevere forever.

No matter how fantastical the Harry Potter world is, the themes are universal and ephemeral; they will last forever. Harry Potter sacrificed himself for his friends at Hogwarts and protected them with his love. While that magic only works in a little magical corner of Scotland, perhaps we should take some wisdom from his sacrifice: if we love enough we can put those we love before ourselves and no matter the sacrifice required of us, we can protect them..

Imagine the world if everyone followed that philosophy and put their neighbors before themselves. Wouldn’t that be a thing to see?

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