Social Disconnect

Lets go back.  To a time when we didn’t spend more than half of our days on a computer or phone.  To when we actually had real conversations with our family and friends.  To when, instead of sending someone a text, we would stop at their house just to say hey–to when it wasn’t socially strange to do so.  To when we actually remembered the birthdays of our family and friends.  To writing letters to the people we love instead of a Facebook message (there’s something about a letter that’s so much more personal and exciting to receive than a message on Facebook–but that’s a whole other topic).

There are times when I wish that I lived in a day without all of this technology. In a world that wasn’t so “connected” as we are.  In a time when we had to talk to and get to know people to become friends, not just click confirm on a computer screen.  I wish I lived in a world that was more personal than this world has become.  Where people didn’t need Facebook to remind them of birthdays, but instead, cared enough to remember and give those people a phone call.  To let them know that they care, that they’re still here.

In my opinion (though it might not mean much), we are too connected.  Everything is at our fingertips.  No effort required.  We can have face to face conversations with people half way around the world over a computer or phone.  We can buy things with the click of a button.  We have the ability to contact anyone, anywhere, in the palm of our hand.  Yeah, that technology might be cool, but we rely on it so much.  We are so dependent on these devices that we wouldn’t know what to do without them.  We as a society wouldn’t be able to function.  It’s sad.

Let’s go back to when things were simpler.  More personal.  Let’s spend time with the people we love and not be tempted to take out our phone and talk to someone else.  Let’s cherish the time that we get to be in the presence of the people we care about.  Let’s stop taking for granted the people that are right here right now.

We’ve forgotten the power of a conversation in person with those that we love.  We forget to look at the beauty that exists outside of a computer screen.  We’ve stopped taking in the incredible sights that we pass everyday.  It’s like we’re stuck living in this virtual world when the real world is right there in front of us.

I’ve recently been noticing how much time I waste–yes, waste–on the computer and my phone everyday.  And doing what?  Nothing.  Scrolling through looking at Facebook statuses,  Tweets, and Instagram pictures of people I haven’t talked to in years or celebrities I’ve never met when I have family and friends that I could be spending time with.  Making memories with.  What memories are you going to make with your computer or phone?  None.  It’s the people in our lives that make experiences memorable.  I’ve wasted too much time being distracted from the things that really matter.

It’s not easy to give these things up.  It’s not even that we need to completely give them up.  I guess this technology has become a part of our identities in a way.  But it is important to remember that it’s not everything.  To take a step back and realize that it’s not worth it to have these things take over our lives as they so often do.  It shouldn’t come to the point where we don’t know what to do with ourselves when our phone breaks.  Or when we spend hours a day on Facebook or Twitter.  Or when we happen to be somewhere where there’s no phone service.  It’s not the end of the world.  There is so much more to life.  There is so much more to see.  To experience.  But when we’re so distracted with these things, we don’t take the time to look.

If you feel the way I do and want to spend your time living your life instead of wasting the time that you have, I encourage you to try it.  We’ve lost sight of what’s really important.  The people in our lives.  They matter more than we may realize.  When you’re with friends or family, have everyone put their phones in a bowl or a box or on a counter so that they’re not tempted to use them while you’re spending time together.   Cut down on the time you spend on the computer everyday.  Be around people.  Call up a friend or stop by a friends house just to say hey.  Write a letter.  Learn something new. Read a book. Journal.  Go for a walk.  Look at this beautiful world that we live in.  There is so much beauty to be seen if we just open our eyes to see it.  Life is short.  We need to stop wasting it.

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Slow Down, This Part of Your Life Will Be Over Before You Know It.

I took a drive around my city tonight. I’ve lived here my whole life and I feel like I’ve never really taken a drive just to drive. To actually look at the city in which I grew up. To take a trip down memory lane.

So I did that. I drove just to drive. Passed my elementary school, middle school, and high school. Passed the soccer fields I grew up playing at. Passed the house that I spent most of my childhood living in. And I realized that there are so, so many places that hold memories for me. The different places I would ride bikes or go for walks with friends. The block that we walked down every morning to get to the bus stop in elementary school. I can remember which cracks in that sidewalk are just uneven enough that you would be able to trip on them. The morning that German Shepherd jumped over the fence and just about attacked us. There are so many memories in that neighborhood I grew up in. Playing football and soccer through three different backyards. So many summer nights of capture the flag and kick the can. The friends that lived close enough to walk over whenever to ask if you could come outside and play. Before cellphones and the internet were such a big part of our lives. When all we had was each other and our bikes.

There are so many times when I long to have those days back. To go back to when life was simple. To go back to being a kid who’s biggest responsibilities were to keep my room clean and to eat my vegetables. To go back to being that innocent little kid who’s biggest fear was the monsters under the bed.

When you’re a kid, all you want is to grow up. To be able to feel the freedom of being older. To outgrow your bedtime. You want to be able to drive and get a job and graduate high school. To be able to make your own rules. And even then, when you get to that point. When you get to the point where you’re the adult you’ve been waiting to be, there are times when you would give anything to be able to hide under the comfort of your parents rules. To go back to being that innocent little kid who had absolutely no idea how scary this world could be.

So slow down, because this part of your life will be over before you know it.

You don’t expect time to go by so fast. You don’t expect life to hit you so hard. And when you realize that you’ve grown up. That you’re not that innocent little kid anymore. It can just about break your heart.

Family Walk

So today, my parents told me and my brothers that they wanted to go for a walk. All of us together. It’s the last day of “nice” weather for the next week or so. And yeah, I would call mid-40’s in January in Wisconsin nice weather, but it’s supposed to get down to single digits tomorrow so they wanted to take advantage of this nice weather. Completely understandable. To me at least.

My brothers and I tend to spend a lot of time in our rooms working on music and school stuff or whatever else is going on at the time, so we don’t all hang out as much as I think we should. Although recently, I have been making an effort to hang out with my family more. The past two years or so, the importance of family has begun to sink in more and more. I’m sure graduating high school has something to do with that, life has changed so much the past two years. Family seems to be the one thing that’s constant. The one thing that’s always there and is always going to be there no matter what. These are the people I’ve known my entire life. The people who know me and my strangeness and who’s strangeness I hold so dear. The people who I adore so incredibly much.

Since graduating high school, I have come to realize how important family is. How much my family means to me and how much they have done for me and how they have helped me grow into the person I am today. So when my brothers were so reluctant to take a half hour out of their day to take a walk with the fam, it got to me. It frustrates me that they can’t see how incredible our family is and how lucky we are to have parents that want to go on a walk with us and spend time with us. How incredibly lucky we are to have parents who are active in our lives. I know that when I was their ages, I would have reacted the same exact way, not wanting to leave whatever unimportant thing I was doing to spend time with my parents and brothers, but I just pray that they realize how important family time is. One day we’re going to wish that we could go on a “family walk” as my dad called it. We’re going to wish that we could have more time to spend with each other.

I guess it comes with growing up. And I know that I have a lot more growing up to do. But if there’s one thing that I’ve come to understand completely since graduation, it’s that friends will come and go, but family is forever. No matter what.

Fifteen

Yesterday at work, a familiar song came on. A song that I have sung along with many a time. I hadn’t heard it in a while, and I’m not sure why, but hearing it really got to me.

Taylor Swift’s Fifteen. I know that there are a lot of people out there that don’t particularly like T-Swift. She may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s hard to deny how relatable some of her songs are. On so many different levels. And I think this is one of them.

Hearing this song brought me back to my freshman year of high school. Being so young and not knowing what to expect with the next four years. Not realizing how those years would fly by faster than I could ever imagine. Feeling so small in such a big school with so many people I’ve never met. Mostly keeping to myself for the duration of high school. Not knowing how I fit into such a big place.

I didn’t realize how much more there was to life than the time that is spent in high school. That there is a whole world out here to be explored. But with that world comes so much responsibility. So much to do. So much to remember. I wish I could go back and tell myself to cherish those four years more than I did. I went blindly through high school and didn’t take advantage of the time that I had. I didn’t go to any of the games. I didn’t do the things that, looking back now, I wish I could go back and do.

Now I’m here. In the real world. A new person. A much, much happier person than I was. And I wish I could have been this happier person through high school. So I could experience what I missed.

But if there’s something that I’ve learned since graduating, it’s that everything happens for a reason. Despite being who I was in high school. Sad. Lonely. Kept to myself. I learned a lot through those four years. And I will keep those things with me for the rest of my life. I can share what I experienced in high school with those who are currently there, feeling the way that I felt. Try to help them break out of their shells. And I can try my hardest to help them to make the most of those years like I wish that I did.

Fear

If I wasn’t so afraid, things would be better.

If I wasn’t so afraid, I wouldn’t spend each day thinking about all of the terrible things that go on in this world.  I wouldn’t spend every single day scared and letting fear hold me back from just being happy and living my life.  I know that I need to let God take control.  Well.  He already has control, always has.  But I need to let myself rest in knowing that fact. I need to find peace in knowing that God has me in the palm of His hand.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

This verse is one that I have been holding very close lately.  There are so many things in this world that we don’t understand.  That we are unable to understand.  It’s frustrating.  It’s scary.  It’s hard to live in a world that you don’t understand.  A world that you don’t necessarily trust.  There are so many terrible things that happen.  So many terrible people.  So many things to be scared of.  To be paranoid about.

Fear has held me back so much lately.  It’s probably the most frustrating thing that I’ve dealt with in a while.  I need to trust God with my whole heart.  Not focus on what I know or what I think I know, but have faith in Him and that He knows what He’s doing.

Life

There are three things that we all have in common; we’re born, we lie, and we die.

We’re remembered by the way we live our lives.

By the people that we are.

By the way we carry ourselves.

By the way we handle hard times.

By the passions that we have.

By our stories.

These things make us who we are.

Death is inevitable, but life is something that we can make the most of.

Your life is yours and only yours.

You have a say in where it goes.

You dream your own dreams.

You take your own chances.

You make your own mistakes.

You make your own friends.

You live your own life.

When you’re gone, you’re gone, there’s no coming back to do the things you wish you’d done.

There’s no coming back to apologize to the people you’ve hurt.

There’s no coming back to ask forgiveness for the things you’ve done wrong.

There’s no second chance, once you’re gone.

There’s no promise of tomorrow.

Life is way too short for worrying, so live knowing that everything will work out eventually.

Life is way too short for regrets, so don’t dwell on your mistakes, learn from them.

Life is way too short for hate, so love everyone.

There are lots of reasons that people have for hating people.

They did this. They did that. He stole my car. She stole my boyfriend.

But one that really gets to me is people hating people because they’re not like them.

For whatever reason.

The way that they live.

The color of their skin.

They have different views on different things.

They’re not pretty enough.

They’re not skinny enough.

They did absolutely nothing to you personally.

But they’re not “normal”.

They’re different.

We’re all different.

What is normal?

There’s no such thing.

Each person leads a different life.

Each life has different obstacles.

Each obstacle leads to different choices.

Each person on this earth has a different story and a different perspective.

How can you find normality in that?

You can’t.

We were made to be different.

Embrace it.

You’re going to do things in your life that others will see as weird.

Don’t let that stop you.

Be weird.

I’d rather be weird than normal any day.

Don’t spend years and years trying to fit in with the “popular” or the “cool” people at school or wherever you are.

Chances are, they’re not all they’re cracked up to be.

The friends that you make by being yourself are the only ones that you need.

The people that accept you for who you are and aren’t trying to change you, the way that you think, or the way that you live your life, those are the friends worth making and keeping.

Even with these friends, there are still ups and downs.

You just have to know who the people are in your life that are worth fighting for, and who are the ones that you should just let go of.

Don’t let people tear you down.

And never tear yourself down.

Don’t believe the people telling you that you’re not good enough.

Don’t believe the people telling you that you’re not beautiful, because you are.

Don’t take any of the negative comments seriously, because the person dishing them out is probably more insecure than you.

Of course, it’s not going to be easy.

But in the end, it will all be worth it.

Live your life as someone that people will want to remember.

Someone whose life people will look at and say, “I want to be like her,” or “I want to be like him.”

Someone whose life the generation after us will look at and strive to model their own lives after.

Live a life that you will be proud to say was yours.

That’s The Beauty of It

That’s the beauty of it.

Of life, of course…

It goes by.

Not giving a care if we’re ready or not.

It drags us with it.

Despite the fact that we want to stay there in the moment.

It keeps going.

Even when we’re not sure we’re strong enough to move on.

It doesn’t give us a choice.

It messes with our heads.

But through all these things…

It makes us stronger even through the obstacles it at throws us.

It makes us the people we are today and the people we will be years from now.

Everyday, no matter how hard it may be, makes us stronger, whether we realize it or not.

…And somehow, no matter how bad things may get, we always seem to make it through.

Just A Bunch of Random Letters

Think about it, you’re reading a book or writing a paper and you look at a word and after a while, it doesn’t look like a word anymore. Just a bunch of letters thrown randomly together. You start to think. You know that these letters make a word, but when you really look at it, it just looks so weird. Like there’s no way that these letters could mean anything at all.

Sometimes, life can feel that way. Like all we are is just a bunch of random events thrown together with no meaning at all. The things that happen to us in our lives, or the things that we have done are all just separate events. We know that our lives must have some sort of meaning, but everything is so random and thrown together and confusing. Life doesn’t flow together like we think that it should. It all seems so meaningless and separate. Like there’s no point to this day to day life that we’re living. It’s not going to go anywhere. That it will just go on and on and on and on.

Now, when you look back at the letters on the page, you eventually think about it and see the true meaning of the word again. It’s recognizable again. You see the word as a whole, not just all of the random letters. This word really does mean something. The letters may be randomly thrown together, but together, they have meaning.

Same goes with our lives. The things that happen may feel meaningless and random sometimes. You might get caught up in routine so much that you begin to lose focus and find it difficult to even recognize yourself anymore. But through all of that, you’re still there. Your life still has meaning even if you can’t see it. And at some point, you’ll look back at all of these random events you’re living right now and see that it all adds up. They might be a bunch of random events, but if you look at life as a whole, you’ll see that the trials and triumphs of today make you into who you’re going to be tomorrow and for the rest of you life.

Even looking back to where you were a couple of years ago and seeing how much has changed. How much you have changed, how much the way you look at life has changed, how much the people in your lives have changed. You might be in a completely different spot than you were back then. You’re seeing it as a whole, but when you were living in that time, it was all separate and random.

Give it time and a little patience, and someday, you’ll see that while your life might be a bunch of random letters, if you look back at the whole, they spell something beautiful.

The One Thing I Miss About High School

So today, I went to my old high school to watch my brother and his girlfriend do a skit in their homecoming assembly. While I was there watching all of the seniors explain why they should be king or queen, I got to thinking. I do not miss high school.

I do not miss being treated like a child by teachers and security guards. I do not miss not having one ounce of trust or respect from those same teachers and security guards. I do not miss the annoying bells ringing every hour reminding you that you’re late to class. I do not miss the crowded hallways or the slamming lockers. I do not miss peers that do not know how to be respectful to teachers. I do not miss any of those things.

I thoroughly enjoy the freedom that college brings. The fact that you can walk freely around campus, be you without having people left and right tell you that you’re wrong. No more needless rules to follow.

But there is one thing that I do miss about high school.

Time.

Time to spend goofing around and just being you.

Time to make the most of your last few years of being a kid.

Time to spend with people you’ll likely never see again after graduation.

Time to fail miserably and not affect whether or not you graduate.

Time to not do homework because it’s useless and a waste of time.

Time to screw up and not have it totally ruin the rest of your life.

Time to not have to be terrified that you’re doing everything wrong.

Time before sleepless nights thinking about what in the world you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life and wondering whether or not you’re completely moving in the wrong direction begin.

Time to figure things out before you’re thrown into the real world.

Time before having to make the biggest decisions of their lives.

I envy the time that these students have.

You Are Worth It

I’ve never met you,

I don’t know your name,

But I read your words on this screen and my heart breaks,

Just know that my heart goes out to you,

I’ve been where you are,

And I pray that you come to realize, like I did, that there are people who love you,

People who care, people who are crushed, because you do this to yourself,

Next time you think about skipping a meal,

Next time you think about sticking your finger down your throat,

Next time you think about cutting,

Think of your family or your friends,

How would they feel if they saw you like this?

I know that I don’t know you, but I too am crushed at the fact that you do this to yourself,

You don’t deserve it,

I didn’t deserve it,

No one does,

You may think you’re not skinny enough,

You may think you’re not pretty enough,

You may think you’re not worth it,

You may think that the world would be better off without you,

Those are lies that you can’t let yourself believe,

Next time you look in the mirror,

Seek out the truth,

You are beautiful,

You are worth it.