Thursday, November 28, 2013

Say Something...

Incoming Sappy Post About Thanksgiving Ahead

There. I warned you. 

Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite holidays (Have I said that already?). I like the Fourth of July because I get to blow stuff up. I like New Years because it marks a time for me to start over and start writing a new chapter of my life.

I really like Thanksgiving because it's a time for me to reflect on what I'm thankful for... and to conceive another food baby. 

Yes, I know I said pretty much the exact same thing in my post earlier this week. I'm not going to repeat myself and talk about how thankful I am for the things I'm lucky enough to have in my life. 

I actually want to talk about the antithesis of Thanksgiving... Black Friday. I'm kidding... well, not really. Black Friday is arguably the antithesis of Thanksgiving. I mean... you spend a whole day being thankful and then not even 24 hours later you're out buying more stuff that you're probably not going to mention 364 days from now when it's time to stuff your face again.

I really want to talk about the antithesis to the concept of Thanksgiving: taking things for granted. 

I think it's safe to say that everyone and their mother has taken something for granted before. It's practically the unwritten American way. 

I personally take the fact that I have the freedom to write all of this down for granted, because not everyone is at the liberty to say whatever they want. 

I think one thing that a large portion of people take for granted though is other people. 

Take a minute to think. Is there a person in your life that you are close to or used to be close to? Do you talk to that person often? If not, why? 

There could be an endless reasons why, I suppose. Distance. Lack of time. It may not even cross your mind. 

I think that's the problem, though. We, as humans, are very social creatures capable of forming deep and intimate bonds with others. 

Yet at the same time I think we too easily neglect the bonds that we once so gently fostered. 

Why do two best friends just stop talking? When there was no fight, no falling out? Why do we let life so often get in the way? Something as trivial as school or work shouldn't get in the way of something as significant as friendship. I don't talk to my best friend every day. Do I wish I did? Oh hell yeah. And it shouldn't be that difficult. 

A lot of people say that today's technology inhibits social interaction. They say that it's not as "real" as face to face conversation. They might be right. But when face to face conversation isn't always an available option wouldn't it be better to fall back on " less real" interaction with important people than to just not interact with them at all?

In this day and age it's so easy to pick up your phone and tell someone "Hey, bud, have a great day." Boom. Easy. If the conversation progresses from there then great. Converse. If they reply back with "Thanks, you too!" then at least you interacted with them, and chances are you don't make someone's day worse by wishing them a good day. Ya know? 

It confuses me, really, how willingly people let their connections with other falter and eventually become severed. 

It just kind of seems like a lot of time was wasted, ya know?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Good Life...

I won’t say Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (holla’ at me Fourth of July and New Years Eve) but I can’t deny that I do appreciate the premise of the day. 

I’m a little confused about it, though. Why do we have a holiday dedicated to being thankful? Shouldn’t we be thankful for anything and everything we have every day? 
Regardless, I like to dedicate a day out of my typically busy year to just reflect on everything I’ve been blessed with. So I figured hey, why not write about it? Ha. It’s my blog. I can write what I want.

Things Tyler is Thankful For
By: Tyler, conveniently 
My musical ability. It sounds snotty, I know. And I know I often complain about the fact that I’m not athletic (I just want a hot bod), but I truly love being so in tune with music (pun completely intended). It makes me unique and gives me a way to relieve stress and express myself in a creative way. Do I want to make a career out of it? Not necessarily, but I don’t know who I’d be without my ability to make music. 
My family. I don’t express my appreciation towards them enough, but they’re truly incredible (and slightly crazy) people. I don’t think I could ask for a better support system during my adventure through college. Nobody else in the world pushes me to succeed as much as they do.
My friends and family from MASC. I don’t think I could have asked for better people to be in my life. MASC has had an impact on my life that I can’t even hope to put its entirety into words. I went to a summer camp hosted by these incredible people and as a result I’ve met my best friend, my energetic Council E, my krazy Kouncil K, and 52 of the most inspirational teenagers I’ve ever been lucky enough to become friends with, all while getting to work with hundreds of the most influential student leaders in the state of Missouri. 
The ability to empathize with others. Simply put, I know I want to use this ability to help people in whatever way I can.
My school. I love being a tiger… I hate paying to be a tiger… but I guess I’ll deal with it. I get to go to school with some people who are going to be the next great movers and shakers of the world, and it’s so incredibly exciting. I know I’m at the right place to make a better life for myself and, by extent, work on bettering the lives of others. 
All of the people in my life. Everyone I’ve met has proven to be a friend for life or a lesson for life, and they’ve all shaped who I am. So if you’ve put in the effort to be my friend, thank you. I’m a better person because of you If you’ve screwed me over, thank you. I’m a wiser person because of you.

There’s my list. Short, sweet, and simple. Have a happy Thanksgiving everybody, and eat lots of food and get really fat!

Just don’t forget your stretchy pants. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

I Will Not Cry For You...

In my last post I talked about a test I took to discover what my strengths were as a leader. My highest rated strength was empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of another person. I want to express the difference between empathy and sympathy, because they are two very different things. If somebody can empathize it means they understand what a person is feeling. They understand a person's struggles because they too have struggled or they can imagine to some degree what another individual is experiencing. Sympathy, on the other hand, requires no understanding. Sympathy is feeling pity in regards to another person's misfortune.

I do not sympathize often, especially when someone's sorrow is self-inflicted. I don't believe that sympathy is constructive in most scenarios. Especially in college. 

You got drunk and were issued an MIP? Too bad. Don't drink. 

You failed a test because you went out every night this week and didn't study? Ouch. You could have avoided that one.

You have a million things going on and you feel like you don't have time to accomplish everything? I totally get what you're going through. I've found that if I block out my time it allows me to be way more on top of all of the assignments I need to complete. Want any help?

I think a major problem with society is that people crave sympathy. Something in their life sucks and they want the world to sit down and cry with them. Sometimes that's helpful. Most of the time it's not. 

I'm a strong advocate of the theory that it's better to tell people the painful truth than it is to tell them a numbing lie. Antibiotics may sting but they kill the infection. A band-aid will just cover it up. 

I pride myself on being able to be blunt with people. That makes me sound like an asshole, I know, and maybe I am. But I'd rather be the asshole that tells someone what they need to hear so they can have a better future than be the person that tells a lie so as to temporarily fix the present. 

I like to call it tough love. 

College is full of people that need tough love, myself included. This is a time where we make mistakes, and we're supposed to learn from them, not a place for us to expect people to feel bad for our mistakes and then go make the same mistakes again.

I really like the way my viola professor explained it to me in a lesson a few weeks ago. She said that it's perfectly okay to make mistakes, as long as the mistake is made one time. After that it's up to you to notice the mistake, learn from it, and fix it. If you make a mistake a second time and you made it the same way you did the first time it's not a mistake. 

It's a choice.