Category: Life


Imperfect Images

Sometimes we have expectations of things we have not seen or experienced and when it happens, it is nothing like you expect. Sometimes, they are full of imperfections and flaws that you never pictured before. I felt this the first time I saw the Colosseum in Rome. I had this beautiful image of a gigantic structure that was so architecturally intricate and intact. I pictured it like the images of it in the movie Gladiator. Even though I knew it was aged and weathered by the climates of many centuries, I still thought of it as that beautiful art of work. As I stood there in the light rain shower, I stared up at the structure, much smaller than I had thought.
It was very little of what I had imagined. However, there was beauty in the ruins of what was left behind. It contained a history, a story one could never remove from the boulders of stone that occupied the small Colosseum center.
It was then that I discovered something. The things that are truly beautiful are never how we picture them to be. Young women grow up hoping to meet their prince charming; many of us hope for this strong handsome man with a perfect job, resembling much of the stories we were read to as children. In reality, we grow up searching for this and we end up finding love in the imperfections of a man. This man may be similar to our prince from our childhood but full of beautiful imperfections that you would have never imagined in your prince. They come with a story that makes them who they are. That is beautiful.

There has been a rise in the idea of a quarter-life crisis: it typically occurs between the ages of 17 to 30 in which someone begins to panic about their life and starts questioning their choices due to fear of becoming an adult.

The early 20s really are full of confusion and choices and this is why I feel that the choice paradox plays such an important role in the stress caused by this crisis.

Throughout history we have been given more options and choices of decisions we can make that were not available many years ago. Women before only had the option of staying home and raising a family. Men often worked blue collar jobs unless they were of high socioeconomic class they had the options of going to universities and becoming working professionals.

Years and social rights movements promoting equality have given us choices; women can now become engineers and doctors which used to be (and still is although it is changing) male only careers. Men are now staying home and raising families. Individuals of any socioeconomic background can now attend universities and become working professionals unlike many of their ancestors.

This all sounds wonderful. So what is the problem?

Too many choices. Think about it this way: You go into a supermarket to buy a product for the first time so we will use peanut butter as an example (sorry, to anyone with allergies). You never bought peanut butter before. You don’t know which brands are good, which stay fresh longer or even which is the best bang for your buck. You enter the aisle where it is located and there are 5 rows of peanut butter with over 30 different options. How do you go about making a decision? Deciding causes you stress and sometimes you may regret the choice you make if you don’t make comparisons or research. If there was only two kinds of peanut butter, your choice would have been much easier and much less stressful.

The period from high school graduation on is very stressful in the same way. Choosing to go to college or immediately join the work force is one option. What major to choose is another. Actually, about 70% of college students change their majors in college at least once and many change them much more often from this chunk of people. Before college graduation, you have to decide whether or not you want to continue furthering your education or joining the workforce. What if you end up falling in love and starting a family? This affects you life decisions too. Becoming an adult is a stressful period now that things have changed.

This all leaves a ton of young adults feeling lost and confused. So keep in mind that this crisis can be very real to many. The more choices people have, the more likely they may enter a similar crisis.

 

When I was a child, I wanted to be a ballerina. Later on, I decided I wanted to be Miss Universe when I used to see it annually with my mother. Then, she told me those weren’t realistic so I said I wanted to be a scientist when I was gifted a microscope. (I clearly didn’t know how to use it but I sent most of my time trying to figure it out and “examining” red ants in a Petri dish). After that, my mind changed several times annually but it was fine because I wasn’t even old enough to work yet anyway so who cared?

I don’t come from a family of wealth and as I grew older, my mother reiterated daily the importance of education and getting a good career so that I can live independently and not have to go through the struggles she went through. I was a straight A student for the most part, with honors and AP courses and tons of club participation in high school. I wasn’t the valedictorian but I was really darn close. I wanted to be good at everything and for that reason, I didn’t know what I wanted to study when I applied to college. I set my mind to be a doctor because of my fascination with the sciences until my guidance counselor told me that I wasn’t good enough.

Those words resounded so loudly in my ears. “Not good enough” was something I would never thought to hear considering how involved I was and how much I tried. So, instead of following my hope to be a doctor, I changed my mind and studied psychology instead.

Went to school only to find out that psychology wasn’t intellectually challenging and then after graduating (magna cum laude), switched to biology. Now, I still don’t know what I want to be at the age of 23.

I started to notice that this isn’t uncommon in my generation. Many have become perpetual students, who are still searching to become something. Some are lost because they didn’t get into the program they desired, some were forced to take on a major their families wanted them to take and aren’t fond of it, while others because their degree cannot provide them with the job they desired in this tough job market.

After much thought, I decided that it was okay. I will find what I am meant to be in this life because I know that I am skillful and talented. Soon, I will know what I want to be and in the meantime, I will function as a member of society in some way and that is okay.

Best Rewards Programs

We all love free stuff. You would be considered crazy if you didn’t enjoy getting free stuff. So, this is a list of what I consider are the best free rewards programs that don’t involve having a credit card to use to earn points.

Beauty

Sephora’s rewards program is great because of the quality samples and occasional free products you get for every $100 you spend. You also get a birthday product every year. If you like quality beauty products, this is definitely the place to go.

Shoes

I may be a bit biased because I worked here many years ago but DSW has a great rewards program. For every $150 you spend on already discounted shoes, you get a $10 rewards certificate that has no spending requirement to use. You can combine up to 3 certificates in a transaction and although they have an expiration date, the store always takes expired certificates (with the exception of the birthday and special promotion ones).

Food

TGI Fridays gives you points for every dollar you spend earning you free appetizers, entrees or desserts. I can’t ever say no to free food either.

Health Care

CVS lets you earn points on everything purchased in store, including prescriptions. You can use these points for discounts on many items in store.

Hotels

Intercontinental’s program which includes Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, gives you a  free night for every $1000 you spend. This is so far the lowest spend amount needed out of all the major hotel chains.

What does love mean to me?

What does love mean to me? Love means sacrifice; religiously, it means God. It is an emotion that binds two people together inseparably no matter the distance or the time. Love to me is when you find that person who makes you happy no matter what goes on in your life. It isn’t easily defined due to being such an abstract concept. I just know it exists when it is there. It goes beyond an emotion; it is more a physical sensation that alters your perception on life.

The Dream

This is a great poem I found online called The Dream.

I dreamed that you had ceased to love me—
not that you had come from other beds
back to mine, or gone from mine to others,
just that something in your heart had stopped.

I willed myself awake to find you still
beside me. It was just a dream, I thought,
yet when I turned to kiss you, in your eyes
I saw that you had ceased to love me.

I willed myself awake a second time
to find myself alone, as I have been
these many months, but did not know if it
was terror or relief I felt, and whether

dreams unfold the past or make the future
plain. I dreamed that you had ceased to love me,
and know when I see nothing in your eyes
I can’t dream myself awake a third time.

David Solway

Fear and Death

With the recent school shooting in CT that left 20 children dead, I cannot help but think about the fear those children faced, and what the families of those who lost a loved one are going through. Many years ago, I was a victim of an armed robbery which for the first time in my life I felt the fear of death. I was 15 years old; however at that age, one understands malice, hate, crime, and all the evil things of this world. What does a 7 year old know about fear or death? What does he know about murder? I can relate in terms of that fear, but I will never understand fully the horror they went through.

What about the survivors? Those children heard their classmates have their lives taken away as well as the lives of the teachers they saw every weekday. Some of them lost their best friend or their childhood crush. These are children who have lost a large part of their innocence at such a young age. One can only hope that they can be as unaffected as possible by this tragedy as they grow.

Those parents now have to spend a Christmas with one less child as well as the families of the employees who passed-all of them having to bury their loved ones a week before the holiday.

I hope that this inspires change in our mental health system and protection of our youth. These tragedies are occurring way too frequently for a nation that is considered to be so advanced. Our prayers are insufficient where action must be taken.

Family and Career

History has reflected a change on the priorities we have in life. The past shows that the priority for us as humans was to find someone to spend the rest of our lives with and create a family-this family was our legacy, our print we left on the world. Throughout history, there were also the remarkable few that left their mark on the world with their inventions and  discoveries. However, as time progressed we have become so consumed by our personal success that the fundamental purpose of our evolutionary existence-reproduction-has degraded in importance. People focus more on their careers now than their families. People have changed their priorities to the point that many no longer believe building a family is of any necessity anymore. We have become focused on trying to achieve things like fame, money, and power and forgetting about love, friendship, and care. Society has turned selfish. We have been consumed by our personal wants and needs-we all want to be that remarkable few that leave their mark on the world without realizing how often normal people leave impacts on the lives of others that love them.

Does money and success give you more happiness than the love and friendship of your family? I don’t say one must give up on their personal dreams and become factories of children. I just say that one must take a look at what we will leave behind in this world. Are you just going to be remembered by the success you had in your career or are you also going to be remembered by the role you played in raising your family?

Einstein was married and had children too.

Love of Your Life?

How do I know who is the love of my life?

Is it a feeling of never possibly being able to let go?

Is it something determined by destiny if such concept exists?

What differentiates someone from being the love of your life or just someone you love?

Are they only the love of your life if they feel the same way too?

“The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along” – Rumi

 

Being Yourself

As life goes on, one begins to develop character and discovers one’s wants and needs. You discover your personality, what ticks you off as well as what makes you happy. It is important to discover one’s strengths as well as weaknesses-we need weaknesses because they are part of what makes us who we are. Situations in life help you discover different parts of yourself, whether it be high school and college experiences, your relationship with family and friends, as well as romantic relationships.

Every situation you have been through shapes who you are. Humans are malleable creatures-evolutionary made for adaptation. However, not all aspects of ourselves are malleable and this is what is our personality. Personality is that aspect of yourself that remains semi-consistent as we grow.

“An individual’s self-concept is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human behavior: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change. A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life.”-Dr.  Joyce Brothers

It’s important to be proud of who you are. If you don’t like a certain aspect of yourself then change it. Above all, it is important to embrace your differences.

When you finally discover who you are, you need to remember to keeping being you. I’ve made the mistake of not being who I am when with someone else, just because I thought they would find the real me strange and immature. If someone can’t accept you for who you are, then it is not worth being with them. It means they love you for who you have pretended to be rather than who you really are.

Now, go discover yourself and when you do, be happy and don’t let anyone change you, unless it is for the better. We are all beautiful beings.