My last post had something weird happen to it, not really sure what, but I know that I can't recreate it. My thoughts change too much from minute to minute to try to recreate the ones I was having yesterday morning. I had a nice Thanksgiving, spent as usual, with someone else's family. I hope that when I have a family of my own, they will want to be with me, rather than half way across the country, feeling like it is too much effort to put in to see me. I talked to my mom and brothers yesterday, and that was nice. My dad didn't call. It has been so nice to have a few days off and see my friends. For a while, I was beginning to feel like I had lost my friends to being so busy. I am now really looking forward to reconnecting with everyone over winter break. I really am blessed. Thank you Hashem.
Friday, November 28, 2003
Thursday, November 27, 2003
Yea! I have a day off! Of course, I am going to spend it doing school work, big surprise. I have a paper that needs lots and lots of work that I will hopefully be very proud of when it is done and a extremely large amount of reading for next week. The authors who said that you learn everything you need to know in kindergarten obviously didn't go to college. Shakespeare has a lot of respect from me these days. My professor has been telling me since the beginning of the semester that the things we are reading are important because they are so relevant today, that human nature does not change, and the authors of our great literature had deep insight into how human minds work. I totally buy it now. While reading Othello, I thought it was so sad that everyone in the story misjudged everyone else, that no one had any idea what was going on in the other people's minds. No one in the play ever lied, but there was definitely some deceit going on. I now think it is amazing how little we really can see someone else. You can have an experience with a person, and have extremely similar feelings about that experience.
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Because I won't have the opportunity to spend the holiday with my family, I have been trying to convince myself that it is nothing more than a few days off for me. But the truth is, I have a lot to be thankful for and I thought I would enumerate some of those things here. 1. I have a roof over my head, plenty of food to eat and clothes to wear. I know these sound basic, but I know that there are plenty of people out there who don't have these things. 2. I have family and friends who truly do care about me. While I may not see or speak to these people as often as I would like, I know that they are there for me and it makes a huge difference knowing that I have them to back me up. 3. I have my health. Thank G-d, I really am incredibly healthy. Every time I have a cold, and think that I can no longer function, I need to remind myself that I have to deal with so much less than so many others. 4. I have my mind. Hashem has given me a good brain, and being in school this year has made me realize how lucky I am that it works so well and I am able to use it to easily. 5. I have the capacity to care about others and do chesed. It helps mold me into a better person day by day. These are only a few of the many, many things that I am fortunate enough to have in my life. I hope everyone can be so lucky as to be able to step back and count the numerous blessings that Hashem has given us.
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
The new topic that we are discussing in one of my classes is emotional intelligence. I am not sure I buy the concept so much, but I am beginning to worry, I think mine might be fairly low. If you base it on the criteria of knowing what your emotions are, why you are having them, and dealing with them on a constructive basis, I am not sure I would score so high. I have to delve very deeply to try to figure out what I feel about stuff, and even when I do, I am not always sure where my emotions are coming from. Of course, I don't have too much to compare to either, I haven't read enough of the book yet to see where most people are, maybe I am totally normal and being hard on myself. If I am low in emotional intelligence, I might have to come up with some way to compensate. Maybe my cookie-baking skill can make up for it.
Monday, November 24, 2003
Back to work. Had a good weekend, though I have been feeling a bit lonely these days. A bunch of my friends were out of town for the weekend so that could definitely have contributed to the feeling. Have decided that I must get back into the routine of working out. I took a two-mile walk yesterday in this gorgeous park and I really enjoyed myself. It felt good to be out in the fresh air and walking around, getting a bit of exercise. Of course, today my leg is hurting, but you know what? It is worth it. Not much else to report. I am looking forward to having a three-day work week. The benefits of Thanksgiving without having to deal with family. But I kind of miss them too.
Friday, November 21, 2003
I am in a better mood today. I have decided that I don't need to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life yet. My new philosophy on school is that it is less important to finish and more important to learn about the things I am interested in. So I am going to take some classes that I just think I will enjoy even if it means that it will be a longer road towards getting my degree. It's already been eight years, what difference does an extra one make? I hate my job, but I am going to make the best of it until I can practically do something else. If it means that I spend a lot of time at work doing homework or whatever, oh well. I would rather be happy and not worry about it than be miserable. Is ignorance bliss? That is my new question to ponder. Would I be happier without the information that I am gaining? I am writing a paper which kind of revolves around this topic. I think the answer is that ultimately, we are better off with knowledge, that our world is more clear and we gain a lot more from it. Though ignorance might be easier in a lot of ways, we benefit and can benefit others, through knowledge. I don't think I can ethically allow myself to bury my head in the sand, even if I think it would help me sleep at night. My plans for the weekend are extremely nebulous at this point, though grocery shopping would certainly be a good start. It is amazing how creative you can be when the only things you have in your kitchen are a potato, onion, eggs, cheese, tomato sauce and puff pastry. That was my equation for figuring out dinner last night. And it actually turned out pretty good. Go me! Have a good Shabbos!
Thursday, November 20, 2003
Confused again, what's new?
I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I keep changing my mind, basically on a daily basis, about what I love and what I want to fill my life with. I thought that I was going to college to get on track to do something I care about, but everything I learn keeps confusing me and makes me wonder if I will ever figure any of it out. I thought I really loved Psychology, but I don't feel like I am learning very much in my Psychology class. I am good at math, and I enjoy figuring out problems, but if that is what I decide to do with my life, I might as well quit college and let my boss pay for the actuarial classes she wants me to take. I love my Arts and Ideas class, it makes me think like crazy, but what on earth can I do with it? I could read a lot and drive myself insane thinking about big issues all the time. But I can do that without a degree and it doesn't exactly pay the rent to sit around and read great authors all day. Anyway, we talked about Othello last night in class. The book is full of characters who have no idea who the others are. We were discussing how people can determine who other people really are. I feel like you really can't know who anyone else truly is, and it is hard to really even know yourself. This is for a number of reasons. First of all, who you are changes constantly. I am definitely not the same person that I was five years ago, or even one year ago. Best case scenario, you are constantly working on yourself and improving yourself, learning from all the experiences that happen in your life. Worst case scenario being that you are going downhill. No one can stay the same forever, life has to have some effect. A friend of mine likened life to a fish swimming upstream, if you are not working hard to make progress, you are flying backwards. But I think it is hard to know who someone really is for another reason. We play different roles depending on what setting we are in. When I am with my family, I am a totally different person than when I am with my friends. And when I am with my friends, I am a completely different person than when I am at school. In a lot of ways, this is unconscious. Throughout life, we teach ourselves that different people expect different things from us, and we play to those expectations. When I was younger, I learned that smart girls intimidate guys, so I taught myself to act dumb when I was on dates. Today, that is not the image that I necessarily want to project, but because I ingrained it in myself, I have a very hard time letting my intellect show through when I am around a guy that I like. How do we figure out which persona is our real self? I don't know. I guess that is why I am having so much trouble figuring out what I really want to do with my life. Depending on the setting I am in, and the focus I have at the moment, I enjoy different things and want different things to be the center of my life. How do I find out what really cuts to the core of who I am, what I really want to focus on for the rest of my life, what will really give me satisfaction? If you can help me out on this one, let me know, because right now I sure am confused.
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
goes the clock. The day has been creeping by, I am about to go crazy and I still have an hour left. Probably due in part to the fact that I feel I have done extremely little productive work today. Oh, but I managed to complete a personal project for my boss. It is raining cats and dogs out, they are talking about floods and tornadoes. Ahh, reminds me of Alabama. Not too much deep thinking going on today, but at least I am not driving myself crazy. I am not looking forward to my class tonight, I think the discussion is going to be a bit dark and on the depressing side. 64 minutes before I can leave. Oh wait, 63 minutes now...
Monday, November 17, 2003
Back to Work
I had a fairly uneventful weekend. Determined to rid myself of the cold that has been plaguing me for the past week, I spent much of the weekend in bed. I think I slept more in the past weekend than I have during an average two weeks since I started school. Though I am very sneezy today (which is odd, since this is a new addition to my cold symptoms), I am feeling much better in the congestion, coughing, and running-a-fever departments. I did take the time to read Othello this weekend. Okay, don't get excited, it was an assignment of course, I didn't choose to read it of my own volition. I am already dreading the class discussion of this play. It was depressing, as I guess tragedies usually are. I was a bit upset at the portrayal of the character of the main players. Othello is initially described as being trusting and being positive about human nature. But he turns on his own wife extremely easily, while trusting the evil Iago. Iago is believed by everyone in the play to be honest, it is said over and over how honest he is, while he is truly despicable, plotting against everyone. And Desdemona, the truly tragic character in the play, is the one person who really, truly cannot even imagine someone being sneaky or anything less than loyal, gets turned against and tricked, and eventually killed by her own husband who won't believe anything she says. This idealistic, trusting soul (could I possibly be connecting to a character in the play) is played the fool, is not trusted, is killed for someone else's rotten scheming. What is Shakespeare saying here?
Friday, November 14, 2003
Being an Idealist
I have to work on a paper that is due on Monday. The topic is my personality type, which is an Idealist. This is how my personality type is described: Idealists, as a temperament, are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. Idealists strive to discover who they are and how they can become their best possible self -- always this quest for self-knowledge and self-improvement drives their imagination. And they want to help others make the journey. Idealists are naturally drawn to working with people, and whether in education or counseling, in social services or personnel work, in journalism or the ministry, they are gifted at helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potentials. Idealists are rare, making up no more than 8 to 10 percent of the population. But their ability to inspire people with their enthusiasm and their idealism has given them influence far beyond their numbers. Yep, that about sums me up. If you want to know what you are, go here.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
We spoke about leadership in my class last night. I wasn't feeling very well so I didn't chime in as much as I usually do, but as has become the habit, my class disagrees with most of what I believe. You can blame me for being an idealist. Here is what I came home and wrote: When I look at the great Jewish leaders throughout history, there are leaders that people respected and listened to and followed. The leaders whose opinions and advice has endured throughout the years are distinguished by having sterling characters. Most of these leaders did not seek out leadership; they were pushed into their positions by virtue of the qualities that they possessed. They were admired for their integrity, piety, dignity and the respect that they showed others. Moses was the ultimate example of this. Moses did not want to be the leader of the Jewish people; he pleaded with God to be kept out of the limelight. Moses was known as the most humble person who ever lived. However, this humility did not mean that he was unable to utilize the gifts that God gave him for the benefit of other people. Because he recognized that the attributes that allowed him to lead his people were a gift from God, he did not feel he was above the rules that applied to everyone else. In contrast, Moses was held to an even higher standard than everyone else and even minor mistakes that he made were punished very harshly. It is said that attitude is a reflection of leadership. If a leader lies and cheats and steals, the attitude of that leader’s nation will be one of moral decay. But if a leader treats each person with respect and decency and makes his decisions with uprightness, then the attitude of his followers will be a reflection of those ideals. Does it matter what leaders do in their private lives as opposed to their public lives? Only in that it is very hard to hide what is at the core, and if the core (private life) is rotten then the rest of the fruit (the public life) will not follow far behind. In contrast, I also believe that the more you practice doing the right or good thing, the more it becomes a part of you and you end up becoming that good thing. Do the ends justify any means? I don’t think so. I think a lot of times the path you take to get somewhere is more important than where you actually end up. The lessons learned along the way can be of greater value than the final reward. If you choose to take a path of integrity and respect for others, it can sometimes lead you far astray of where you initially are headed. But even if you don’t end up at your original destination, you may find that you have profited much more than if you had followed the direct route. So, I guess what I am saying is, first of all, I don’t agree with Machiavelli on much (I’m sure that is not much of a shock). But second, I think we should look more to the leaders who are in their positions because of their merits and deeds, rather than those leaders that have campaigned to be on top. The former might be hard to find, but I think we will learn a lot more from them and ultimately, they will inspire us to be better people.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Okay, I will admit that yesterday's post was a bit overly dramatic. I have calmed down quite a bit since yesterday and am in a better mood today (I have a feeling that a slight monthly hormone imbalance was wreaking havoc on my brain yesterday). However, I am sicker today with some kind of annoying cold/cough thing. I told it to wait for two weeks until I have a long weekend to pay attention to it, but it didn't listen and decided to descend upon me immediately. I do not appreciate my instructions being ignored, but I don't seem to have much power over this one. You can't win them all I guess. I decided to chastise my body by cutting my bangs this morning. I have a tendency of cutting my bangs when I am fairly irrational and overly tired, and it is something that I am working on, but not succeeding at, avoiding. Luckily, my scissors took pity on me and didn't allow me to mangle myself too much. Can you tell I am under the influence of high-alcohol content cold medication? Amazing what two teaspoons every four hours will do to you. Hope everyone is having a good day.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
I always liked the Counting Crows a lot. Today, my life can be summed up using a quote from Round Here: "She says, 'I'm sick and tired of life' - Well, everyone is tired of something." I am sick (even to the point of running a fever) and tired (of dealing with everyone else's junk). Help.
Thursday, November 06, 2003
Okay, more topics from class that have been making me think way too much. I have to credit my Professor, who I still have a huge crush on, with depressing me last night. But he also gave me a thesaurus, which I really like. We were talking last night about Machiavelli's The Prince. Machiavelli feels that in order to rule you must be good at one thing - war. I have a huge problem with that. What if you are good at peacekeeping? Wouldn't that keep you out of a lot more trouble than being good at war? He says that in order to have good laws, you must have good arms, and if you have good arms, then you will have good laws. That doesn't make sense to me. Why must you have punishment to keep people in line? Why can't people do things because they are the right thing to do, rather than not do things out of fear of punishment? Before class ended, we spoke incredibly briefly about Machiavelli's notion that the only principality that works well on its own is one of religion. I have to say that I agree with Machiavelli that a society in which religion is the focus will run itself well, because if you feel that there is a "watcher" who you can never hide from, then you won't break the law. But, I still feel that people should, and hopefully do, act out of concern for what is right and good rather than from fear of punishment. Maybe it is a hard level to strive for, and if we can't reach it, it is better to act from fear than nothing else. But I like to think that people do strive to do the right thing because it is right.
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
There is some kind of weird aura around me that apparently inspires people to give me things. I am not really sure what it is about me that makes people decide randomly to add to my collection of belongings. I am the kind of person who is not so comfortable being given things by people that I don't know that well, or even people that I do know well. I feel like I do fairly well for myself, and if I need something, Thank G-d, I can usually buy it for myself or else I decide that I don't really need it. My parents are always wanting to buy me stuff, dates that I go on give or buy me stuff. My professor has now decided to give me books. Maybe it is because I am not the type to ask for things from others on a regular basis. I don't know. Other people I talk to can not relate to this, everyone seems to think it is kind of weird. But I go through life, and people give me clothes, CDs, flowers, books, knick knacks, candles, etc. I am not complaining, on the contrary I am flattered that someone would think enough about me to want to give me something. I only hope that they are not doing it out of my seeming to need things or value objects. I don't think that is the case. I would love to know if there is anyone out there who has this same experience. I hope I am not completely unique in this. Anyone?
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Okay, I want to blog about my trip to Atlanta a bit, because some interesting stuff happened while I was there. First of all, it was so nice to see all of my old friends. I really miss them. While there, I felt extremely fortunate to know that I have friends in different places, that I am welcomed in more than one city. My hosts, who are very close friends of mine, were absolutely wonderful. They made me feel incredibly comfortable and it was great to catch up with them and to get to sit and really spend time with them. They really care about others and it shines through. Friday night, an older woman who I have a real kesher with came for dinner. She is really such a special lady, and even with the separation of years between us, I feel we have a lot in common. It was interesting, she was widowed quite a few years ago, and she was talking about the fact that she would still like to find someone to share her life with, and how difficult that is, because people don't think about her as "single." She was saying that it would be nice to even have a single female friend that she could spend time with, because all of her friends are married and can't just get up and go without worrying about their spouses the way she can. What she was saying sounded very familiar to me. It is essentially why I left Atlanta in the first place, so I could really empathize with her. The other really interesting thing that happened was that my roommate from college came to see me. We had not seen in each other in over five years, and just recently got in touch with other after a very long interval of non-communication. We come from extremely different backgrounds. She grew up in a trailer in rural Alabama. Her family does value education very much, and she is currently working on her Master's degree. She lives in a trailer park with her two cats, she has a boyfriend who is in his 50's and she works for a fishing magazine. I am not sure if I realized in college how different the two of us are, but I realized it this time around. I could tell from things that she and her boyfriend said that our college years were ones that she looks back on with a lot of pride, while for me those years were the most miserable of my life and I have gone way uphill since then. She told me how much she wanted me to see her trailer and cats and her life in Montgomery. I responded honestly that I did not see it happening anytime soon, that the time I spend in Alabama these days is almost completely nonexistent. It was interesting to see how two people whose lives connected for a short period of time, could separate so much from each other. I have to say I am glad that I am in my shoes rather than hers.
Monday, November 03, 2003
Back from Hotlanta
I was in Atlanta this past weekend and I had such a nice time visiting with my friends and seeing family. I want to write more, but after having vacation from work, I of course have a lot of catching up to do. Hope to write more soon.