Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One Of Those Days. Or Two.

The past few days have all qualified as "one of those days." Between having to take care of every aspect of my life (someone normal to date, for one thing, since I don't think I've ever had a good date and the last guy I went out with was a horror story. And a place to live this coming year. And a job so I can pay for the place I'm hopefully living in. Etc.) and having to take care of more immediate things (how am I getting to Lakewood for a good friend's wedding? How am I getting back? Where am I sleeping? Etc.), it was just about the last straw when I had to get fingerprinted for a small summer job I have in July and, after being told to wait half an hour yesterday because everyone was out to lunch, and then being told to come back today because only one person was working there, I was then told today that I have to wait about half an hour to an hour because, again, "I'm the only one working here." Geez. You DO know it takes about two minutes to fingerprint someone, right?

(Phew! Long run on. Everyone take a moment and catch your breath.)

Anyway, while I was waiting, an Indian man came in - also to be fingerprinted - and he was also told to wait. So we talked a little bit. He was very nice. I forgot his name though - something like...Isal? Something like that. Anyway, he asked me if I was interested in business and finance because that's where he works. I said no. He told me he's licensed in 42 states and he's getting fingerprinted to be licensed in another one. I told him that was cool.

Anyway, I'm sure you're all fascinated by our small conversation. Point is, after about 50 minutes of waiting, they finally fingerprinted me. They kept asking me if I wanted to go and come back later, but I decided the only way they'd actually do it is if I sat there waiting for them. So I did.

After getting fingerprinted (again, which took only two minutes), I went to the parking lot of the police station to get my car. I got in the car. Then I started to pull out of the spot.

Now, this has never happened to me before. Ever. So it's just my luck that it would happen, suddenly, in a police station parking lot with a bunch of actual policemen milling around talking. I backed up a bit too far into someone else's car.

I could see the expressions on the policemen's faces. They cringed, as if saying, "whoa boy."

"You want to take this?" one said to the other with a tiny smirk.

The other grinned and said, "sure."

I got out of my car and saw that there was no damage at all to the car I had backed into. Just to mine (my dad's, really). It wasn't even so terrible, but it would have to be fixed.

"Hang on a minute, we're just going to find out whose car this is," the policeman told me. I said okay.

Moments later, a tall, good-looking, intimidating, uniformed man came over to me.

"Hi. That's my car."

I swallowed.


Figures it would belong to a police officer. I must have looked terrified - gosh, I felt terrified - like I was going to be arrested or something. But somehow, I think the officer was even more nervous than I was.

"This your car?"

"N-no, it's my dad's... I'm really, really sorry!"

"Oh, don't worry about my car! My car's good - it's perfect! It's just your car...you're not going to file a report, are you?"

"I...don't think so?"

"Why don't you call your dad and find out. I can talk to him if you want."


So I called my dad, but his phone was off. I called my mom and she said to get the officer's information just in case.

"So, um, my mom said probably not but I have to check with my dad, so can I, um, have your phone number...?"

"Oh, sure!" He handed me his card and I dropped it onto the seat beside me. "I'm working here the next two days, too, so feel free to drop by if there are any problems."

"Okay...thank you."

He left. And then I left. (Very Carefully.)

When I turned out of the parking lot and stopped at a stop sign, I glanced over at the card he left.

It said Detective.

...No way. An actual detective?!

Great. So I backed into a detective's car. And he was worried about me?

Anyway...it's been a stressful two days (/summer, because of all the bigger stuff weighing on my mind). I think I need a hug.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Time And Self

(Hat tip: Ezzie)

  • "Lost time is never found again." --Benjamin Franklin
  • "Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." --Carl Sandburg
  • "Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it." --M. Scott Peck

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bringing Creativity Back

I think this is the most extraordinary video. I absolutely love it. You should all watch it - it's well worth the twenty minutes.

I believe we should really work towards a world where creativity is fostered in children and remains with them when they become adults.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Am Me

One of the worst feelings is to be dissatisfied with yourself because of an opinion someone else professed about you. Opinions are always buzzing around. You may not even realize it, but every intonation of your voice when speaking about something, every little micro-expression that someone picks up gives off an opinion. Sometimes you may not even be thinking anything near what the person is picking up, but a person is constantly forming conclusions based on what is happening around her.

It can drive a person crazy to always be noticing negative points of view in regards to herself. And many times, those negative opinions exist only in the person's head. For instance, someone might not comment on a post and the writer might then worry that it means the person didn't like the post, or thought the post was stupid. (This is just an example, of course :P). Another example: someone might express displeasure with herself and the listener might not know what to respond. The lack of response does not mean the listener agrees with the worrier's worry, but the worrier might take it as affirmation of what she is worried about.

So many times, people worry about what other people think of them to the point where they assume people think the worst. But the truth is, the person's opinion you should care about more than anyone else's in the world is your own. If there was a totem pole of opinions, yours should be at the top.

That is why I decided to share one of my philosophies of life. It's not an especially novel philosophy, but it's one I find people need reminding of anyway. It's called the "I'm not letting other people define who I am" philosophy. With it comes an understanding that you are who you are, not who other people say that you are. No one has any right to make you feel like someone who you're not.

There are two quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt that I love:

1. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

2. Friendship with one's self is all-important, for without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.

About a year ago, I wrote a post on SerandEz about choice that I still love. Everyone has different abilities and, more importantly, different goals and paths in life. What works for one person may not work for another. Each human being approaches every situation a little bit differently. If we didn't have such different points of view, our world would not be able to run. So how can we judge others against ourselves? And on the flip side, how can you judge yourself against others? There is no single frame of reference with which to judge everyone by. You can only judge yourself against yourself, and you shouldn't really be judging others at all.

I don't know who said it, but there's a quote out there that goes:

"Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind, but in the end the race is only with yourself."

There's no reason to let other people make you feel badly about yourself, just like it's foolish to let others praise you into thinking you're better than you actually are. Self-knowledge is the most important kind of wisdom there is, for once you know yourself, you have the groundwork with which to face everyone else.

One of the most important things anyone has said to me are two simple sentences:

"Be yourself" and "Have fun."

Hand in hand, what better approach is there to life? Know yourself and be that person. And never forget to have fun, for I don't believe we were put on this earth to feel miserable. I know the only times I feel miserable about myself are when I let other people influence how I feel about myself.

So have a good night and I hope you all wake up tomorrow ready to be who you really are. And have fun doing it. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

One Step Forward

It feels like the end of this year signifies a step forward for most people I know. Of my own peer group, we've graduated college. A close friend of mine just got a job. Another close friend of mine is going to have her first baby. Two good friends are getting married this month. My brother is starting YU in the fall. And my sister graduated high school today.

A huge mazel tov goes to Trademark and my cousins Tree and F1 all on their high school graduations.

Trademark graduated from my old high school and it was kind of funny to notice how not much had changed. The girls were different. Hair styles were different. One of the assistant principals was different. But...that was about it.

When Trademark wanted to take a picture with the principal afterward, the principal asked me to be in the picture, too. She wished me luck in figuring out what my next step in life will be, as though not a day had passed since I had been one of her students.

It seems a lot of people get mazel tovs this summer. So mazel tov to you all.

It also seems as though lots of people are taking one distinctive step forward in life. I wish all of you much hatzlacha in all that you will face and, knowing you guys, I know you'll all handle everything with poise, grace, firmness, seriousness, and humor (yes, all of those together). I believe that if you smile at the world, the world will smile back at you. And yet none of you are too frivolous. You take your lives seriously, but with a smile all the same. Kol hakavod and may you continue to be wonderful people and excel at life.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Calling Landlords - Take One

One of the first things you realize upon leaving school is that you suddenly need a place to live. Oh sure, you can live at home. But wouldn't that be, as they say in pre-teen movies, like, total and complete "social suicide?" [/uptalk]

And that's only if you're lucky enough to live in New York. Some people really do need a place to live if they don't want to go back home to a different state.

But pre-college, most people have never had to deal with living anywhere on their own. Sure, sometimes people get apartments for college. But for a lot of people, they either live at home during college or they dorm.

Dorming, I should tell you (though you don't need to be told), is nothing like having your own place. You don't have to pay rent (hopefully your parents pay the dorm fee before school starts). You don't have to pay for utilities. You usually have some sort of meal plan so that you don't have to really pay for food (because it is prepaid. And usually also precooked. And pre-drowned in oil). Basically, you don't really have to worry about your living situation once school starts.

That's why, when I was suddenly faced with the responsibility of calling landlords to look for an apartment for my friends and myself, I wasn't exactly sure what I was doing.

After attempting to figure it out on my own and seeking advice from a few friends, I prepared myself for the first call, which went as such:

Lady: Hi, [Name of place I called]

Me: [Hesitating, unsure how to begin] Hi, two of my friends and I are looking for an apartment starting in the middle of July.

[awkward pause in which I am waiting for her to say something and she seems to be waiting for me to say something]

Me: So, um, could I find out about that?

Lady: [Somewhat patronizingly, as though speaking to a child] Do you have a specific apartment in mind?

Me: Er, no?

Lady: Oh! You just want to find out about apartments. Well, I have one 2-bedroom apartment for this price and one 3-bedroom for the same price. If you want to see them, call Charlie.

[She proceeds to give me Charlie's phone number. The price, by the way, was way out of our price range]

Lady: Okay?

Me: Okay. [Quickly, before she can hang up] Um, do you have any junior fours?

Lady: [Coolly, clearly done talking to me] No. Okay?

Me: Okay.

And that, as they say in children's books, was that.

Better luck next time?

Friday, June 12, 2009

On A Dark And Stormy Night

It's raining and thundering so hard, I can't sleep. Lightening keeps flashing through the blinds on my windows. Often when I sleep during a storm, the sounds and flashes from outside incorporate themselves in my dreams in some way, and that makes me reluctant to fall asleep.

When I was younger, I used to imagine that thunder was the sound of a heavenly bowling alley God was making use of that night. It does sound like some sort of cosmic bowling night, doesn't it?

I also have a distinct memory of opening up an umbrella outside during a particularly windy rainstorm and being nearly carried off Mary-Poppins-style by the wind.

If I wasn't so tired, I would describe these memories more poetically and in greater detail, but I'm really only awake because of the din and commotion outside.

Did any of you ever have any strange notions about thunder and lightening?

I happen to love storms, but not while I'm trying to fall asleep. This old video I dug up on youtube was strangely comforting - if only because it's a clip from one of the best children's movies ever. It makes me sad to think kids don't watch Wee Sing movies anymore (I hope I'm wrong about that!) because they were such quality kid entertainment.

Also, I used to always want a dress like Sally's. :)

...Things seem to be quieting outside. For now, at least. Except I think the wind just knocked against our garbage cans outside because something scraped against the house just now. It had better be the wind, anyway. A little unnerving...

...And now the rain's started again. Wow, I think I'm liveblogging a storm. I am way too tired for this. The rain, if I'm going to start using metaphors for everything, or similes - as the case may be, sounds like the earth is taking a strong shower. Or like a humongous watering can from one of Jack and the Beanstalk's giants being poured down onto the world. Or like the clouds are dumping buckets of water on us. Which is somewhat accurate, anyway. Isn't is funny when your simile is actually what's really going on? The clouds are dumping water on us.

Well...so much for being poetic.

Alright - I'm going to try and let the rain lull me to sleep...

...Though I'm hungry. Have you ever read A Wrinkle in Time? It starts off like this. A storm. Meg, the protagonist, goes downstairs to get something to eat. Charles Wallace, her brother, has already made her a sandwich, intuiting that his sister would be upset by the storm and want something to eat. Their mother comes down and has something to eat, as well. And then they get a surprised visitor and the adventures begin...

Good book. Highly recommended.

I feel like Meg tonight. In fact, I feel like Meg often. Smart, not especially cool, average in looks, high hopes and dreams. And like Meg, I've learned many things this year about myself and my own strengths. I spent time learning about the Happy Medium (aka Balance). And I am still learning how I, an ordinary girl whose succes - until now - has remained only in dreams, can stand firm and grounded on my own two feet and face the world with my chin held high.

I was just thinking recently how, ever since school ended, I haven't written much on my blog. It seems a stormy night is fertile ground for thinking.

Someone said to me today that I ought to consider myself an adult, not a little girl. Well, that person is right. It's high time for me to take the mantle of adulthood, and I guess that begins with not letting a storm keep me up at night.

So I think I shall try going to sleep now. I'm certainly tired enough for it...

Good night!

But perhaps with a lamp on... ;)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Good Morning

I would just like to say good morning to everyone! I got up at seven this morning and it feels as though I have entered back into the fold of those who get up at normal hours in the morning. We shall see how long it lasts - but the truth is, it is quite nice to really have a long day ahead of you without having to stay up past midnight. Hmmm...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Grand Plans

[This post is somewhat immature, but I'd rather disclaim than take it down]

In the summers, people often have these grand plans about how they're going to spend their time.

"I'm going to join a gym!"

"I'm going to learn a musical instrument!"

"I'm going to watch all ten seasons of Friends!"

And so on.

I also have grand plans for this summer. I want to read a number of books, including The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. (And I'd love to read Don Quixote, but who knows if I'll actually do that this summer. And I want to read James Joyce's Ulysses just to prove I can.) I'm actually in the middle of reading Breakfast at Tiffany's, a book that I read a few summers ago and vaguely remember.

I want to start watching Seinfeld (my family owns one or two seasons). I've been told I'll love it.

I want to pick up the flute again. I haven't taken lessons since I was about 12, so that's ten years ago already. A few days ago I started playing again just to see what I could remember and I ended up being able to play (not spectacularly, but I'm extremely out of practice) Part Of Your World, Can You Feel The Love Tonight, and the Bonjour song from Beauty and the Beast. I was even able to play a few bars of Memory from Cats.

Even more importantly, however - I want to write. I want to seriously work on my writing and possibly actually do something with it. But it's hard to concentrate and really lose myself in writing when there is so much going on around me. I think I understand now why writers like to go to isolated cabins in the woods. And most notably, once I start working, it's really going to be a challenge to come home from a long day and then be able to write. And when I say write, I mean really sitting down to write for a number of hours. Not a few snatches here and there.

Right now is my time for that kind of writing, isn't it? If I don't do it now, before the craziness of life actually begins, then when will I? Is my dream of becoming a writer going to end up really being just a dream?

So often when I bemoan the fact that once I start working, I'll be working for the rest of my life, people smile that knowing smile and say, "Welcome to Life." Well, you know what? I hate money. I absolutely loathe it. Because if I can't spend the time doing what I want to do now, then when will I ever be able to? My whole life I'm going to have to spend working in order to make money in order to pay bills in order to live so that I can be able to go to work. What kind of a life is that? When will I have a chance to actually live my life the way I want to live it? My dream right now is to be a stay at home mother and a full time author. But how can I get to be a full time author if I am unable to actually write my first book? Where will I find the time and energy for real writing? And yet if I prolong this time without a job, I'll have no money. So basically my life is about having money so that I can actually have a life? But then, when will I be able to quit that part so I can spend my days writing? When I'm retired?

In the olden days, writers and all artists used to have patrons who would basically provide for them so that they could work on their art, which they would then proceed to dedicate to their patrons who had so generously supported them. Nowadays, I don't think we have such a system. At least, I've never heard of it. So those who wish to pursue the arts have to either be a "starving artist" or have to squeeze in the time before they are good enough and wealthy enough to make it a full time profession. Or their dream of working in the arts remains just that. A dream.

How many dreamers are out there who spend their lives doing something else completely?

When do you get to start becoming who you want to be in this world instead of just focusing on paying the bills?

Why am I 22 years old and already aware that there is real danger in losing my dream completely - that if I want my dream to become a reality, I'm really going to have to fight for it? Because nothing about this world, this life, is going to let me have it.

I just really hope it's not another one of those "grand plans."