If you’re between the ages of 25 and 35, just tray to pull your eyes away from this:
A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.
Thomas Carlyle, 19th Century Scottish philosopher
I disagree. There are no little men.
I believe a great man shows his greatness by the way he treats all men.
And I remember a little joke and the joke is that Little Johnny comes home from school with a note from the teacher that said Little Johnny stole a pencil from the kid who’s sitting next to him and Johnny’s father is furious and said, “Johnny I can’t believe it. I’m disappointed. I’m humiliated. You never never steal a pencil from the kid who’s sitting next to you and besides Johnny, if you need a pencil you could just say something. You could just ask, you could mention it and I could bring you dozens of pencils from work.”
Sometimes we don’t realize the things we rationalize. Sometimes it’s difficult to grasp how the little things we say or do contradict the message we hope to deliver. We are all teachers. All of our words count towards making a difference.
in the cupboard sits my bottle
like a dwarf waiting to scratch out my prayers.
I drink and cough like some idiot at a symphony,
sunlight and maddened birds are everywhere,
the phone rings gamboling its sound
against the odds of the crooked sea;
I drink deeply and evenly now,
I drink to paradise
and the lie of love.
Charles Bukowski, “Soirée”
It’s Saturday night. Have a beer. Maybe two. But not as many as Mr. Bukowski, unless you can write like him.
Pleasepleaseplease remember that, despite every Pinterest board you’ve ever set your eyes on: Your life is not actually measured by the number of breaths you take, or (WAIT FOR IT) “by the moments that take your breath away.”… But, rather, your life is measured by—surprise!—absolutely nothing at all.
(And that incredibly optimistic message is the one I wanted to shower you with today.)
Look. Nobody’s grading you. Nobody’s keeping score. Nobody’s sitting behind the curtain, waiting to reveal you as some evil fraud. And if we’re being honest? You’ve been so busy that you don’t even know what your life is measured by, either.
All you’ve been thinking about lately are the things your business is measured by. Subscribers. Sales numbers. Profit margins. Stats.
But what about the number of inside jokes you have with your lover? Have you been measuring those? Or the number of times “Achy Breaky Heart” came on the radio and you belted out every single (godawful) word? How about the number of minutes you actually spent admiring the Christmas tree this year? Did you even spend any? Or the days when—shocker—you didn’t open the computer?
I call this the curse of what could I have done or what should I have done with my time? And I am as guilty of it as anyone.
We don’t have to measure everything we do. Not all activities need to be productive. So what if you want to spend a Saturday afternoon immersed alone with a book. Who cares if you want to write a short story for your friends’ entertainment or play rounds of video games with your son. These moments count. They count for ourselves, our sanity, and our friendships.
I urge everyone to make time for yourself. Make time for your loved ones. Let it be “unproductive,” whatever that means. Be a kid again.
Reminds me of what Ferris Bueller said: “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
I suppose I’ve always done my share of crying, especially when there’s no other way to contain my feelings. I know that men ain’t supposed to cry, but I think that’s wrong. Crying’s always been a way for me to get things out which are buried deep, deep down. When I sing, I often cry. Crying is feeling, and feeling is being human. Oh yes, I cry.
Ray Charles, in Brother Ray
I cry. Anyone that knows me knows this. I’ve written of the value of crying in this blog, too. At the risk of sounding trite, a day spent engulfed in the embrace of emotions experienced to their fullest is a day worth smiling about when our heads rest on the pillow to sleep. To me, tears represent that threshold when we relinquish ourselves so completely to the passion of a moment that we have only one outlet for what we feel.
Tears are joyful and they’re sad. Tears are frustrating and they’re reassuring. Tears can bind us to others and they can uplift. As Ray said, “crying is feeling, and feeling is human.”
Keep reading and never lose that habit even when others don’t understand.
Mr. Jeff McNutt, one of my 7th grade teachers and friends
I found this in my 7th grade yearbook, which I happened to see over the holidays.
It turns out that encouraging words from friends, even if they arrived over 15 years ago, still give the soul a warm blanket to curl inside and find comfort.
Once a day. Every day. For 365 days in 2014, I will post a quote from something I read that day. With the quote, I’ll add a sentence or short nugget of thinking about why I included it.
My motivation here is straightforward and two-fold.
First, reading for me exists on a pedestal with few other things (even better than a magazine I found once in 7th grade). I read for information, education, and amusement. I read to escape reality and immerse myself in a world of imagination. I read to be inspired by other’s stories, both real and not real, and to challenge how I write by learning from those more masterful with words than I could dream to be.
The second reason is that I want to challenge myself to read interesting things. When I look back every few weeks and observe my posts, what will I find? Is everything I’ve shared from the books I read? Am I visiting the same websites, relying on them for information, instead of seeking out my own? Can I avoid repeating the same subjects? Am I boring?
To read is to explore what is interesting. I hope to read more and read with more diversity in 2014. I read this thing today… is my plan to act on it.