Thankfully it appears this campaign has succeeded 🙂
College is a crazy atmosphere full of hectic schedules, millions of responsibilities, and a lot of stress. It’s quite difficult to get everything done, especially when you are blessed (and cursed) with high standards. In the past this has caused me to struggle, especially when I get busy and begin to feel overrun. But my semester abroad really helped me learn a lot about myself, and what I learned is I need Me Time.
Me Time can be anything. It can be reading a novel. It can be playing Xbox. It can be blogging. Like tonight, it can be watching Jon Stewart. Me Time is anything that is all about me and my interests, hobbies, and passions, but it is never working towards a goal. I am never trying to get hired. I am never trying to perform. I am simply forgetting all those things and doing something pleasurable. This semester I am attempting to set aside at least an hour of Me Time every night before bed. It’s not much, but when things begin piling up that hour might be all that keeps me sane.
Along with other lessons learned through introspection, Me Time actually makes me more productive despite “wasting” and hour every day. It keeps me happy, it relieves some stress, and it lets my mind take a break. I strongly advise anyone who is feeling overburdened, college student or not, to put time aside for themselves every day. What will Your Time be?
I find it interesting that this is really the ultimate question of my life, and has been for years. These three simple words rival all those other weighty three words combos: I love you. I miss you. I am sorry. If you stop and think about it, What is Important? defines how we use those other admissions. They simple act of relatively valuing the things in our life completely defines everything that is and will ever be. Is success more important than love? Will it always be this way, or just while we are young and flexible? Actually, if you think about it shouldn’t we dedicate more of youth’s flexibility and vigor to love? After all, I hear it gets harder and harder to meet people when you begin to leave the institutions that make finding people so easy (college).
I spend so much time fretting about what I need to do that a lot of time I forget that I don’t need to do any of it. Hell, I don’t even need to finish college. These are only things I want to do because I believe they will help me pursue a better life. Now, when you put it in terms of quality of life, suddenly things become more complicated. I could work really hard and maybe be rewarded for my endeavors, or I could take a more relaxed approach to college and immerse myself in the unique social atmosphere that exists in no other institution on this Earth. Essentially, I could be the irresponsible kid/teen/guy I never was. Wow, why is life so complicated?
Our live are only as complicated as we make them, and sometimes we need to be reminded just how silly we are. Luckily I have a lot of support when it comes to telling me how I’m screwing up, and someone is always around to steer me in the right direction. I mean that in the most positive way though, and just last night someone special made me realize that the way I live, with all my commitments and my meticulously planned schedule, is about as far from my ideal as I could ever be.
If you ask me my ideal lifestyle you will undoubtedly get a mix of purposeful work and meaningful relationships. What you might not hear me say is freedom and introspection, yet these are two things I hold dear. When I am free to move and grow as I please I am most happy. And when I can reflect on my life and the world around me I can feel the weight of ages pass over me. It is as if I am making a connection with the past; a connection to that fundamental human spirit that lives in us all. It is cloaked in the folds of manufactured purpose, but under the veil we can all relate to the need to feel satisfied.
You know, above all else I think that is the word. Satisfaction. Are you satisfied with your life? Are you satisfied when you give up something fun and important to do something you think you need to do? Or are you satisfied living a life of mediocre productivity? Everyone knows the feeling of satisfaction. Look for it. Pursue it. Find it. When you’re satisfied those important things will come easy. You will confess your love. You will show your appreciation. You will admit your wrongs.
And you definitely won’t be wasting your time trying to figure our what you’re doing with your life 😉
Tears fall from the sky, leaves brown and curling
Death still looms in the air
Water, like those poor souls, falls to unseen depths below
Never again to be seen.
“And her unborn child.”
It is all I can ask.
Names everywhere, they crowd my vision
The tunnel gets smaller
I must focus to stay in control.
Did I know these people?
Yet smiling faces abound, faces too young to remember
They do not know the horror.
Is that my face?
I fear it is.
We all see smiling faces surrounded by despair.
Seriously. I always thought it funny when Danes mentioned their country’s problems with obesity, but when you are surrounded by good-looking people you tend to forget just how different home is…
Here are some gorgeous men and women caught on film by the cycle Ambassador of Denmark, Mikael Colville-Anderson, on his wonderful blog Cycle Chic.
Note: they are NOT all blonde, just most of them 😉
|Obama’s new CAFE plan.|
I wanted to do a little writing tonight. Something productive. I wasn’t feeling an essay for internships, so I thought I’d check out the email I got from the Sierra Club asking me to implore Obama to continue fighting for the new 35mpg CAFE standards. I’m sorry Sierra Club, but these new standards are downright BS. I don’t want a band-aid solution, I want a real fix. I’m sure my answer won’t mean a thing, but once I got writing I got a little carried away. This is what I had to say:
Dear President Obama,
I am supposed to be writing you in support of “the strong fuel-efficiency and carbon pollution standards for new cars and trucks” your administration is advocating. While I appreciate your interest in the environmental and economic benefits higher fuel efficiency creates, I cannot endorse this policy. As we have seen in the past, the automotive industry is a fickle and quite capable of circumventing the goals this motion seeks to achieve. Furthermore, the automotive industry really is not the problem here; the problem is consumers are not given the right information. And I don’t mean advertising or sneak deals (these are an entirely different issue). I mean pure economics.
If the Obama Administration truly wants to see the evolution of our fuel efficiency standards it must give consumers the correct information: that the real price of oil, including the negative social externalities it creates, are far higher than the measly price we pay at the pump. The true cost of our gas-guzzling behavior is already being felt in the ever-increasing costs of the natural disasters sweeping our nation and the globe. Obama, please commit to increasing taxes on oil! It is the most direct way we can create the necessary environment for decreased fuel consumption through more intelligent and conservative driving and higher fuel efficiencies.
No doubt anyone reading this will immediately mention political suicide, but is it really? How many blue-collar Americans do you think will oppose increasing taxes on oil if you couple it with an income tax cut? Seriously, do the math. Republicans want tax cuts and less regulation, the budget needs balancing, your average person is struggling, and no one is doing a damn thing to stop our oil addiction. Environmental tax reform is an answer. I won’t even bother to explain how widespread it could be applied because I know my voice here is not heard.
However, consider this: environmental tax reform will win you votes. Hardcore conservatives will never be realistic, but centrists tend to feel the environment is important and, if they are right leaning, will prefer less regulation. The center-lefts will of course jump on board if they would ever consider a fuel-efficiency measure. Radical lefts will support taxing oil, and who doesn’t like having less income taken away? Besides, given you will be facing a Republican candidate I wouldn’t be to concerned with anyone beyond left-of-center.
This might be a simplistic analysis, but the point is moot: Environmental tax reform is the most straightforward way to address our economic and environmental needs through shortening and simplifying the tax code, reducing the burden of income tax, and reconnecting the price of oil with its true cost. This will protect the freedom of our businesses and move people toward improving their own livelihoods with cheaper, healthier, and more sustainable transport. Action must be taken, but our country cannot afford another jumbled attempt to attach a band-aid solution to our greatest problems. Fix this, and fix it now.
Oh, and your economists will surely tell you something quite similar.
Danes aren’t all that different from us. We both live in the developed world and enjoy all the comforts that come with it. We all work to live, and some live to work. We eat, we drink, we love. We just live. It is amazing how often I found the simple connections between what at first appears to be quite different cultures. Laughing while enjoying a night of games and chatter…it doesn’t matter the subject of the game. The feeling of closeness and warmth that draws us to these shared moments spreads across cultures.
Before going to Denmark, my good friend Becky Deffler told me this: “Kevin, don’t be responsible for once.” I did that, and I discovered that when you have great friends like these you don’t always need to be responsible…someone will ALWAYS have your back. That is friendship.