An Intentional Life

I’ve always wanted to live on my own, at least for a little while. I want to travel the world. I want to see all of the wonderful places that I have only read or heard about. If I were completely free to go live the life I wanted, I would leave. I would burn all of my school work, fill my bag with the basic necessities and leave mid semester.

Even now, I feel the pull to go and see the world. I want to meet people and experience so many different cultures that they mix around in my brain till they muddle into one giant memory. That’s how I want to see the world.

Sadly though, we live in a world of countries divided by borders. There is the hassle of visas, passports, identification, and everything else that makes traveling difficult. On top of all this there is that ever present, thorn in the side, and major hindrance to travel: money. Why does travel have to be so expensive? Plus there is absolutely no way my parents would let me quit school, pack my bags, and leave. I’m actually quite sure they’d take me to get my head checked out!

The more I think about it though, the more I realize all of these obstacles may not be a bad thing. If people were always able to do what they wanted to do, they might never do what they needed to do. If I were able to do whatever I wanted, I probably wouldn’t finish my education. By being kept from doing what I want, I am forced to do what I need to do, which is getting an education. Sometimes we’re kept places, not necessarily because we want to be there, but because at that time or in that moment, it is somewhere we need to be. If life were all about following whims, I have a feeling it would get rather chaotic.

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Research

I’ve never enjoyed research, because what typically follows is some sort of paper. I love learning about people and the world around me though. I will spend hours online looking up various topics trying to find out everything I can. This has never really seemed like research to me, because I normally associate research with collecting facts for some sort of purpose, like a paper, but in several ways it is.  I would argue though, that the type of research I do alone for general knowledge is not the type of research that would be good for an education purpose, or to try and inform others on that topic. This kind of research is effective for obtaining general knowledge on a topic, but not for trying to educate others on a topic. There has to be legitimate sources to back up arguments and information shared to educate the public, because you are presenting that information as facts. If statements are made from a source that is a journal or blog, the information in those sources could be opinion based rather than factual based. It is the obligation of someone, when passing along information, to find out whether or not that information is factual.

The credibility of sources is super important. Information that is passed on now a days has been often times distorted due to people just not being careful with where information is coming from. With the availability of the internet, now pretty much anyone can write down and share their thoughts on any topic. This has made trying to find reliable and truth based sources like trying to find a needle in a haystack. As a result of the growing difficulty in finding reliable sources, it has become even more important to make sure that information that we are passing along is truthful. If not, we just become part of the cycle of false information and confusion.

Exploring Poetry

 

Life, by Andy Cave

As the sun does rise your life begins.

As you grow older it slowly descends,

and when it sets, your life does end.

 

When I started this assignment I began looking at all different kinds of poetry trying to find something that sparked my interest. This poem by Andy Cave caught my attention. The poem is short and simple and the author does not use complex diction or big words. He does not give the reader elaborate description or really very much detail at all. Even without all of these things, there is still a unique beauty to this poem. The simple rhyme scheme and the passing of time that are described in the poem are what captivated me. In three simple lines, he captured everything he wanted; he captured life.  I do not believe the author would have been able to get his message across any other way. The simplicity of the length and rhyme scheme make what the author is talking about; life, also seem simple. He compares life to the passing of a day, with the sunrise and sunset representing new life and death. He displays the simplicity and shortness of life by comparing it to something that is familiar and comes only for a number of hours and then leaves. Another interesting thing that the author does is his word choice at the end of each line. He used the words, begins, descends, and end. All three of these words summarize what was being talked about in each line.

This poem captures the beauty of life in a rather simplistic way, but sometimes a short and simple poem can express more meaning than an entire novel.

A Meeting of Years

A year ago, I would never have thought I’d have seen all the changes that I did in 2015, or have been able to predict the impacts they would have on my life. I have learned a lot in the past year, through advice of trusted friends and even through a lot of messy, agitating and overall difficult situations. I have compiled a list of lessons I’ve learned and that have changed me in the past year:

  1. I have never met a New Year’s resolution. I’ve never even lasted a month. Setting goals that last shorter periods of time make goals more achievable, because they don’t seem as difficult and unattainable.
  2. Having people you can trust and rely on is a beautiful and valuable thing and is something that should be protected, invest in, and never taken for granted.
  3. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
  4. The most difficult tasks can often be the most rewarding. It’s better to push through those difficulties, rather than to quit and wonder what would have happened if you’d kept going.
  5. Naps are beautiful, amazing, wonderful things and should be including in the high school schedule.
  6. The older you get, the more amazing breaks from school are.
  7. There is always room for improvement, which can be exciting and can also be quite daunting.
  8. Negativity has a way of  taking away a person’s joy.

With the start of a new year, I hope to learn even more and to grow and change into a person who constantly looks for the light in the darkest moments.

The Semester’s End

As the semester comes to a close, I look back over my shoulder

At the path I have walked to reach this breaking time.

 

I am on a hazy, narrow road that seems to never end,

Stretching far beyond my reach and blending into the horizon.

 

Along this long and exhausting road, that has worn the shoes bellow my feet,

I have many a time paused to ask, Why Continue?

 

Could I not build myself a nice home from all the papers and notes

I have already received and will never again read?

 

Success seems to be innate it does not seem come at the end

Of the complex and never ending road that I am on.

 

But then there are those moments, like a switch has been turned on.

It is in those moments that I realize, why I must continue down the long road.

 

The moments when I write and my hand does not move fast enough

To catch the thoughts that burst from me down my frantic hand.

 

The moments when I am able to see the world in a whole new light.

To see everything through someone else’s eyes.

 

The moments when characters in a story told a thousand times,

Become real and exciting, and takes me through their journeys.

 

The moments when I get lost in a required yet thrilling book

that I would have never thought could capture me the way it did

 

The beautiful moments when literature excites me.

 

The Spread of Fear (The Crucible)

Whenever the topic of the Salem Witch Trials comes up there is always the head shake and a role of the eyes that says, “man, those people were dumb.” For a long time I have looked at that time in history that way. I looked at it as a time with poor leaders who let everything get out of control and allowed chaos to arise…but I realize I’ve been looking at it all wrong. The scary thing about the witch trials wasn’t poor leadership during the time, although it is a bit frightening how leaders handled the situation, but the fact that fear caused an entire group of people to encourage the madness.

Fear is like a disease, if gone unchecked it will spread through a person’s entire body and move from one person to the next. In Salem, fear spread like a wildfire. Author Miller captures this atmosphere perfectly in The Crucible.

There is a lot to be learned from The Crucible, but I think the most important part is the danger that fear possesses. There is some sort of this mentality that what happened with the witch trials could never happen now, but if fear is still given the opportunity to consume us, then it’s hard to say what will happen. Most of the people involved in the trials of witches truly thought that the people they were eventually executing were witches. Fear kept the people of Salem from seeing reason. Everyone is at some point afraid. I’m not saying that being afraid of something is wrong, it’s actually completely normal. I’m saying that what people choose to do with that fear is what is important and in some cases dangerous.

The characters of The Crucible blamed others to remove blame from themselves, rather than verbalizing how ridiculous some of the accusations were. None of the characters realized that the people standing next to them were just as afraid of what was to come as they were. Had they all been open and honest instead of acting on their fear and lying to protect themselves, they might have been able to group together and put a stop to the madness before it started.

Fear is a completely normal and human emotion, but when it is fed and encouraged it can become an unpredictable monster. It can cause sane people to do seemingly insane things. It can cause a village to execute twenty people for being witches with no more proof than someone else’s word.

 

Thanksgiving

This being the season of thankfulness, I have compiled a list of thing that I am extremely grateful for: (Note that these are not in any particular order).

  1. God. Life gets crazy, and it is absolutely wonderful to have God to rely on and know that I never have to worry about who I am putting my faith and trust in.
  2. Family. I think we can all say that family has drove us crazy at one point or another and mine is no exception, but where my family is has truly become where my home is.
  3. Technology and internet. Honestly, I have no idea how papers, especially research papers were written before modern technology and the internet.
  4. Seasons. Although I live in a country that does not have the traditional four seasons, I have learned to love the sound of rain pounding the dry ground after a time of drought.
  5. Friends. It’s crazy how people come in and out of our lives and can cause huge changes and become like family.
  6. Chocolate. I felt like chocolate deserved it’s own number and do not feel that I need to explain why.
  7. Social media. After having moved around enough times, I have begun to appreciate social media and being able to connect with people who are sometimes thousands of miles away.
  8. Education. As much as I may gripe and complain, I am very appreciative of the opportunities I have been given in life to learn and be instructed.
  9. Music. There is such a huge chunk of my life that is centered around music and I am confident I would go crazy without it.
  10. The ability to travel. Had travel been what it used to be hundreds of years ago, most of my life would have turned out very different and I literally would not be where I am today.
  11. All you can eat buffets. Enough said.
  12. Running water and electricity. Often these two things are luxuries that I expect rather than am grateful for. I realize that many of the people on this earth go without water completely and that some items that I view as basic necessities and not that to others.
  13. Books. One of the best feelings in the world is curling up in bed with a cup of coffee and your favorite book. Actually it doesn’t really matter where you are, the book is the important part.
  14. Christmas music. In my family November 1st marks the day that Christmas music can be played openly and freely throughout the house, and it’s wonderful.
  15. Clothes. I often complain that my closet is not big enough for all my clothes rather than being thankful for the clothes I have, or maybe realizing I have too many clothes.
  16. Thanksgiving. Nothing beats turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato casserole, and of course family. 🙂

The Scarlet Letter

I think I can safely say that I have never read a book quite like The Scarlet Letter. Reading the book has been a new and exciting experience for me. Before I started it I received a variety of other people’s opinions and thoughts on the book that lead me to believe that the book would be difficult to understand and even boring. Thankfully I did not find this to be the case and actually quite enjoyed the book.

The introduction of the book, or The Custom House, often falls under the descriptions of difficult to understand and boring.  Truth be told I found it challenging to get through this part and was tempted to skip it all together. I think as a reader I have this mentality that if something doesn’t automatically draw my attention and keep me entertained, then it’s not worth reading. Sadly this causes me to miss out on different genres of literature that I would not normally read, because they do not automatically appeal to me. The Scarlet letter challenged me to open up and learn to appreciate a style of writing that was not something I would usually choose.

I find that I can often times be a lazy reader. I enjoy sitting back relaxing while reading a book that says exactly what it means and I don’t have to put much thought into. This was most certainly not the case for The Scarlet Letter. I can’t tell you the number of times I had to read and then re-read a passage, because of the complexity of meaning that was being displayed there. Hawthorne, the author of The Scarlet letter, rarely stuck to the same comparisons and descriptions for his characters. Pearl for example, is sometimes described as this beautiful little girl, and other times is this elf/witch/creepy child who seems to know the other character’s innermost secrets. It is difficult to take anything in the story at face value, because opposing descriptions of things and people are woven all throughout the book. Reading this book has taught me that I need to put more thought into different books I read or I could miss all that the writer intended to be taken out of their book.

Where Group Projects Have Gone all Wrong

Group Project. From these two words comes a flood of emotions. On one hand, in a group, you have the opportunity to do less work for a more elaborate presentation that one might be able on their own. Sadly, most of the time this just does not happen. 

We all know those one or two kids who contribute absolutely nothing in the group project. Yeah the ones that do nothing, and yet somehow manage to walk away with and equal grade to those in the group who did their parts and then some. Then on top of that they have the audacity to say, when the presentation over and the grade comes back, “Great job guys! We did great!” We? Who’s we?? I know I’m guilty of thinking this at once or twice in a group project. The real question is though, was there an effort made to include them and let them contribute? These people act as a kind of scapegoat. If the whole project fails, then the person that contributed nothing is to blame. This idea actually makes no sense. Everyone’s mad at them, because they contributed nothing to the project, but then they’re to blame for a project failing…that they contributed nothing to.

From the moment that the list of people in each group are read, each person in split up into separate lists; someone who will work and someone who won’t. They didn’t even have a chance. Everyone has a gift, and the beauty of a group project is that each member of the group can bring their gift and bring them together to achieve the assignment. Where the idea of group projects have gone all wrong is when it becomes about the grade rather than finding each person’s gift. The truly sad thing is that those people who were not given the chance to contribute, may also not have been given the chance to find what they’re good at. These groups projects need to be approached by having each person say where they are skilled and for the project to shaped around that. When one person starts by giving the plan without consulting everyone, then there is no place for those people who did not get to contribute to the plan and their gifts are not being used. I know I’ve been guilty of this one more than one occasion. It’s a big problem, but this new perspective could change the that initial reaction to group projects.

My Canvas

I have spent a number of years, half my life actually, immersed in cultures that are very different from the one I grew up in. In fact I would say that I have walked through life rather like a blank canvas, and everywhere that I visit or live, leaves a new color splattered across its surface. The blank canvas now is a mess of colors and I hope to add many more in my lifetime.

These different colors have shaped me and changed who I am. I have been blessed to live in a community full of people with colorful canvases and have not had to worry about finding a way to fit in. I have never had to hide the things that make me different, because the in community I am a party of, the difference we have only serve to make our stories unique.

The only place I have truly felt the weight of my difference is when I return home, to the place I was born. Now don’t get me wrong, that place holds its own special piece of my heart and has its own color on my canvas, but it is not a place that I truly belong. The truth is that I no longer belong anywhere. Multiple countries have a hold of my heart, so it does not belong to one single place.

All of the vibrant colors of these places have changed the way I see life and people as well. Every time I meet someone from somewhere new, my world grows even larger. Countries then become more than just a place on a map. they become real and precious to me. The flavors, sights, and sounds around me hold remarkable secrets of the cultures to which they belong. I hope that one day I will be able to taste, see, and hear them all.