Monthly Archives: April 2013

Wealth of Opportunity

As someone who loves money and motivation, I’m surprised I haven’t written about these two elements of life yet. As beings, we largely agree that more money = more happiness, and mo’ money = mo’ problems. What’s most intriguing is the analysis of money and happiness when plotted out on a graph. Undoubtedly, there is a positive correlation between the two, and now even the happiness plateau theory is falling to the wayside. The richer countries are, the happier everyone is. Money is the great equalizer; “across language, culture, religion, ethnic background, the same amount of extra money seems to buy the similar amount of extra happiness.” Despite the evidence, I’m not willing to say that my bank account reflects my level of happiness, or even my comfort as a being in the universe; however, money buys time and opportunities to be happy.

 

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When I was a kid, I thought being rich meant going to the mall and buying everything you wanted, regardless of the cost. I had it all wrong. Being rich is really getting other people to do your chores for you, so you can go to the mall and do whatever else you want. When you have money, you can meet your needs easisly. Without wondering about the burden of food, water, and survival, you are free to reach self-actualization; whatever that self-actualization entails is up to you. Survey where you fall on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: How often do you quell your deepest desires after you’ve been hounded all week by unnecessary obligations? After a long week, I usually just get drunk and talk about the world, which are two of my hobbies thankfully, but I wonder how I would spend my time if I had more of it. Most people fall somewhere in the top tiers of the pyramid, wavering between lines when having bouts with others and self-doubts. Maslow argues that we must grapple with morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts to live up to our potential.

You can and should explore your interests and the universe with your privileged freedom to do whatever. Maybe it’s living the glamorous life: diamonds, opera, ballet, philanthropic meals of salmon, and everything else that appeals to your senses and unique sense of class… But I hope it’s more than that. Go cross your legs at the top of a mountain for weeks at a time like Japhy Ryder, or spend an afternoon perfecting your free throw without looking at your watch. Icons are made through self-exploration: the more time spent pushing pencils, the less self-discovery you do.

Economic privilege weighs heavily on self-actualization, thus closing doors on those without the means of their counterparts. The president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York synthesizes this complex issue in a powerful way: “…In the decades ahead, Americans face yet another challenge: how to keep our democracy and our society from being divided not only between rich and poor, but also between those who have access to information and knowledge, and thus, to power—the power of enlightenment, the power of self-improvement and self-assertion, the power to achieve upward mobility, and the power over their own lives and their families’ ability to thrive and succeed—and those who do not.” As a society, we have to consider the impact of our rigid socioeconomic system. Everyone needs to have the ability to ask questions, to solve problems, to get what they need. This is an overwhelming task, but there is progress being made, such as The Digital Public Library of America which gives online access to public holdings of all libraries, archives, and museums to all Americans. You won’t need a college id or hefty tuition to access knowledge. No doubt, more money means more opportunity, but there are ways to share the wealth of knowledge without cost.

Regardless of the money in our bank accounts, we all commonly want to reach this feeling: “Happy. Just in my swim shorts, barefooted, wild-haired, in the red fire dark, singing, swigging wine, spitting, jumping, running—that’s the way to live. All alone and free in the soft sands of the beach by the sigh of the sea out there” –Keroauc, The Dharma Bums

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

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Crocuses are the first flowers to bloom in spring. Not that I’m a flower buff or anything, I just picked up some knowledge here and there when my mom shared her excitement about gardening in the yard. Interestingly enough, I can’t remember these flowers needing any special attention whatsoever. They usually gave the OK signal for other flowers to be planted, appearing just as the grass turns green again and spring sets in. These flowers indicate change; they arrive and flourish amidst the left over debris of fall and winter. As winter ends, I reassess how I made out on the other side. Spring always means new people, new adventures and a revived sense of purpose. And usually after a long winter, I need the symbolic reassurance of change that these flowers bring.

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Do I feel bad?

Nostalgia is a mixture of longing and contentment. The older I get, the more inclined I am to withhold remorse from those who miss their own fleeting moments of feeling alive. These two works encapsulate the surrender to fading eternal happiness.

Blow

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII) by Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,

I have forgotten, and what arms have lain

Under my head till morning; but the rain

Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh

Upon the glass and listen for reply,

And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain

For unremembered lads that not again

Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.

Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,

Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,

Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:

I cannot say what loves have come and gone,

I only know that summer sang in me

A little while, that in me sings no more.

 

George’s last lines in Blow:  

So in the end, was it worth it? Jesus Christ. How irreparably changed my life has become. It’s always the last day of summer and I’ve been left out in the cold with no door to get back in. I’ll grant you I’ve had more than my share of poignant moments. Life passes most people by while they’re making grand plans for it. Throughout my lifetime, I’ve left pieces of my heart here and there. And now, there’s almost not enough to stay alive. But I force a smile, knowing that my ambition far exceeded my talent. There are no more white horses or pretty ladies at my door.

 

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Muses

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The larger meaning behind all the University Crushes pages is actually pretty endearing if you look beyond all of the misogynistic, yet hysterical comments. Peppered amongst uninhibited and profane suggestions, there are actually some people that appear to be seeking real emotional connections through anonymous posts of appreciation. Their proclamations of love are being met with a lash of criticism: you cannot possible know that you love someone that you do not interact with on a regular basis, or have even spoken to in a serious context. Love is the wrong word, but their value in our lives is indispensable. It’s exciting to not know these people that inexplicably appeal to our senses, and it’s comforting to admire them from afar. They remind me of the type of relationship I might possibly want one day through the way they comb their hair and banter with strangers. Crushes are like a commodity; they can be fetishized, and collected, and used for our own personal gains and enjoyment. Though never actualized, secret crushes are my favorite; you can’t ruin them because they are in your control. They don’t have the ability to be uprooted by wandering eyes or self-wallowing fears of commitment because the crush isn’t grounded in anything remotely real. Ideally, secret crushes don’t have a life outside of the world you created for them inside of your head.

Maybe the haters on these pages just don’t have an imagination. Shout-out to the muses that make our worlds just a little bit brighter, just by existing. There are some humans that you just like more than others, not in a stalkery way, in a completely functional, appreciative and distant way. They make the world a prettier place, and if we really knew them, they would likely show us demons that look a lot like ours. If I were to write a post, it would look something like this, only it wouldn’t be to anyone in Albany, or to anyone that even my closest friends would expect:

I couldn’t wait to walk away from something I knew I would miss. He scared me in a fiery, chaotic, wholesome, holistic way. I admired him for the books in his room and the words in his head, but mostly for the questions he asked. He forced me to explore a new metaphysical territory of myself in a mere 12 hours and I knew I had to go; maybe I’ll give him a hug when I see him this summer, but he’ll have no idea the kind of havoc we would bring upon the world if we wanted to.

The best part is the person could read this and not even know it was about him, which is perfect because then it wouldn’t be nearly as magical and ideal as I see it now.

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