Monthly Archives: May 2013

Learning to let you in

There will only be a few people in my life that have the ability to keep me on my feet. This past year I’ve been working towards my Master’s degree while juggling 2-3 jobs, internships, assistantships, playing in a band, and coaching hockey. I didn’t leave a lot of time for myself, let alone anyone else.

But you were there, through it all. Even when I ignored me, you were there to make sure I ate; you gave me motivation to finish close to 250 pages of research papers and 25 books; you made sure I had stability for the few hours I spent home each day even if it meant I was asleep.

I can’t think of any way to say thank you. I can just hope you need me the way that I never knew I could need someone.

For whatever reason, words escape me to explain how I feel. So here are words that someone else wrote accompanied by some minor piano and guitar chords that make my tummy feel weird and this strange liquid to form around the windows into the place where my brain should be.

I love you.

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The Allegory of the Cave

As I’m reading through this philosophy book, 50 Philosophy Ideas You Should Really Know, I came across Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave.” It took me a while to fully understand the concept of what Plato was trying to say, but it soon made sense to me:

– The cave was the world, or at least the only world that you have known.
– The prisoners are people who let others tell them the “truth.”
– The shadows cast upon the walls are the “truths” being told to the prisoners.
– The sun is the “truth.”
– The journey out of the cave the prisoner is taken on shows him the sun, the truth

In a classroom, where teachers and professors will claim to have the knowledge to pass on to you, the information they have is their interpretation. Plato would say that these educators are simply describing the shadows on the wall, for you have not seen the real thing. What students, and frankly all people, need to do is go find out the truth for themselves. People have become intellectually lazy by allowing others to tell them the apparent truth about what is going on in the world, what has happened, and the consequences of those past actions.

For me, as a historian, having your own subjective viewpoint is essential to good writing and analysis of the past. Allowing someone else to give you an interpretation without coming up with one yourself is detrimental to your studying of a particular subject. As for my own life, this will hopefully allow me to make sure I’m learning everything for myself. It doesn’t mean I won’t take advice about things from others, it just means I will take it with a grain of salt. Double check my sources. And create my own Forms.

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"Learning isn’t about knowledge, it’s about awareness."

Recently I have been getting more and more into philosophy. My only goal of reading these books is to get different perspectives on life; to be more aware of the possibilities. The video in this post puts it into better words than I ever could, and has some amazingly simple ways to think about day to day life. It is,  like many inspirational speeches, a commencement speech at a University.

Even after four years of college, roughly spanning the 17-23 age bracket, students have become somewhat dependent on what these speakers have to say. For many of these graduates, this will be the last thing anyone will teach them in a college setting. It is the piece of information that will allow them to feel some extraordinary quality bestowed upon them by this other person with experience and a large vocabulary. It all sounds nice, great even. However, the most important part of the speech is not always the content itself. Like this video will show, it’s about what it will inspire you to do.

Ted Winkworth, someone who has become what I’ll call a close acquaintance of mine, embodies these words, though he is more than adept of putting it on paper as well. Ted is going on a motorcycle trip of somewhat epic proportions. His goal is to inspire people by showing them what is capable of human drive, will, and desire to be a better “you.” He quit his job, sold his stuff (some of which I bought. Thanks, Ted. The record player is awesome!), and plans to one day reach Seattle while writing a book and documenting his travels. This is not a, “Hey! Quit your job like me and be free, man” type of trip. It’s an adventure that he hopes will show other people that if you put all of yourself into something, the process and the result will make you feel whole. This is something he wants to do; something that is good for him. That cannot be stressed enough.

It is a journey that will teach people how to be aware of what they can be. 

The following video was posted on his trip’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/tedineverydirection, and it, much like what I have been reading lately, has inspired me to be a better, well — me. Follow Ted’s journey at http://www.TedWinkworth.com. Watch the following video. And hey, go be a better you — for you.

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Moving forward

I wrote this almost 2 years ago to the day when I was on Long Island. I was in a weird spot, but it’s amazing what has changed since then. I feel like I’m on the track that I said I wanted to be on then and it’s great to see I followed through on it. I’ve grown and learned so much about who I am since that time. Got a degree. Started another. Met amazing people, specifically Leah. Now it’s time I remember how I got here…

Right now I’m at a crossroads. A moment where I can chose to dwell on my past, or cut my loses and  use my successes to move on. I feel disconnected from a place that I never thought I would: Long Island. I love it to death, it makes me a lot of who I am. At the same time I haven’t been around in the past few years and other than 4 close friends and family, everything else that keeps me close to my roots went in different directions. I want to start a career, move to a new city, have my own place and just have a somewhere that I can call, home. Something that I built for myself and somewhere that I need to keep working hard to maintain. The support of my family and friends can’t be replaced by moving on and starting new things and I’ll always remember what people have done for me, but I want more than anything else to use what I know and take the reigns from here. I don’t want to leave people behind, either. It would be nice to always have my close friends there by my side even if we lived hundreds of miles away from each other. I want my family to know I’m not running away, I’m just doing what I need to do to make sure I’m happy. I know I still have a long way to go. I need to start having better habits and continue to be on top of things I need to do so I don’t fall off track. It won’t be easy, but I’ve gotten this far. Where I am now doesn’t feel right, but I’ll wait for that moment where I get pushed out of this intersection and I can truly be happy.” – April 23rd, 2011. Long Island, NY

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