I’ve always found it very intriguing the disconnect that we all seem to have between the person we think we are and the person we really are. We all would like to believe that we will jump in to stop a bully, but in reality, when push comes to shovel, very few people have the courage to act. I don’t think that makes us (the by-standers that we all have been at some point or another) bad persons. In any case, it makes us sane…that self-preservation instinct, fight or flight, right?
However, what it’s admirable are those people who, despite their fears and their disadvantages, still choose to stand up for and stand by with those who need it.
This was an interesting reading to me because I can identified with how she was feeling. I too have found myself overly attached to a job, only to find that in the end a job is a job and nothing more. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong in loving what you do; the problem is loving the job itself. Recently, I too have come to the acceptance that I should not let myself love a job again.
As individuals who form part of a community, where ever we may be, we inherently have certain responsibilities to do no harm and to respect others. Really most of our civic duties could be summarized to never do anything that would purposely harm others. And while following these do-not-harm responsibilities should be more than enough to keep the peace and promote a safe environment to live in, I believe we also have a civic responsibility to actively and positively impact others.
It may be because I have lived abroad—in a country where people actively engage in their communities—that I believe we have a civic duty, to actively contribute to the betterment of our own specific communities. I believe we should care about raising the living conditions of those around us. I believe we should care about issues that do not necessarily affect us specifically. I believe we should be considerate of other people’s struggles, and more importantly, we should do whatever is in our power to fix them.
This week, I was touched by two examples of selfless people acting on behalf of others in their communities. Kelly Jensen is someone that I initially began following on Instagram because of her Utah-famous “Live Lists.” But in the 5+ years that I have followed her, I have been humbled by her courage and initiative to change the world, one small action at a time. This week, she rallied people to stop Jordan’s school district from cutting special needs programs in their high schools. People from all over the world, signed a petition—not particularly because it affected them, but because they understood that there are things that make our communities as a whole better (heck, I signed the petition 3000 miles away! fully knowing it would not change a thing in my life but because it was the right thing to do)—to voice their disagreement with this decision and ask Utah’s education system to keep in place these programs that are vital to some families. I was in awe at how quickly Jordan’s school district retracted from cutting these programs, all because people stood by each other in camaraderie.
The second act that I was deeply touched by was the story about two pianos between a wall. Two neighbors that shared more than a wall. Through the power of music, two neighbors connected and helped heal each other. Emil, a 78 year old, had lost his wife in December and had been alone in his temporary accommodation while his house was being sold. Giorgo was his neighbor, and while they never had met each other, they started to play music through the wall. Though the story has a bittersweet end, it totally portraits my point of selflessly looking to support people in your community.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
To act and not be acted upon. To be a force of change. To purposefully walk the path of improvement.
Of all the things for which we should feel responsible, I believe the most important one (and really the only one responsibility that will have a transcendental impact once we leave this earth) is to positively impact the lives we touch. So above all of the responsibilities we may have, let changing the lives we come in contact with for the better be the most important one.
Oxford Dictionaries define outgrowing as “grow too big for (something).” // “leave behind as one matures.” Lately, I’ve been thinking about outgrowing, about the painful experience that outgrowing implies.
We outgrow seasons of life.
We outgrow friends.
We outgrow jobs.
We outgrow places.
I’ve outgrown my college years. Happy as I was then, I wouldn’t go back to them. Because I now see the bubble that college is. I now know the realities of living a more mature lifestyle just as much as I know the joys of it. I’ve outgrown friends, due to one’s fault really. Because life is like that… kind enough to connect you with people who resonate with you in a specific way for a specific period of your life, but cruel enough to take each of you onto different paths. And that’s okay. I’ve outgrown jobs; jobs that were right for a specific time in my life: some gave me the warm comfort that came from the longevity and familiarity of it, some pushed me to be brave, to believe I could do hard things, some made me humble, some enhanced abilities for which I am grateful today. But at some point, in all of them, I reached a point where I needed to move on for reasons as different as day and night; but all with the shared reason that I had already learned the lesson(s) I needed to learn. I’ve outgrown places too. I outgrew my one-bedroom rental in Texas. I outgrew my apartment in D.C. I outgrew apartments in Mexico City. And, though hard to accept, perhaps I have also outgrown the apartment that I have loved the absolute most: the apartment that for four years held me in my solitude and brokenness, the apartment that carried me through many disappointments, the apartment that celebrated a few major, life-changing milestones, but also many—perhaps mundane, but just as necessary—minor daily wins. Perhaps I’ve outgrown Cornerstone #55 too.
But also implicit with outgrowing, comes the (sometimes unknown) blessing of starting new seasons of life, of making new friends, of findings new jobs, of filling up new spaces. Maybe even the opportunity to start all over again, just with the big difference of now being a better, stronger, and hopefully, a kinder version of yourself.
One of the things I hate about watching the Super Bowl in Mexico is that I don’t get to see all the commercials. Because who am I kidding? I am there only of the commercials and the food. I have not seen all of the 2021 commercials, but I don’t have to because THIS takes the cake.
Like what a brilliant idea was it to change the lyrics of 9 to 5 (the iconic hymn of the working class!) to not only promote, but even encourage entrepreneurship. I remember reading in Outliers by Malcom Gladwell, that entrepreneurs are influenced by the constraints and events of their times. Additionally, children are influenced by their parent’s success in their careers/jobs (frustratingly, I cannot remember where I read this). I find it interesting to see many people starting new businesses while this pandemic has been going on. In fact, in March 2020, there were 804,398 businesses that were less than 1 year old, an increase on the March 2019 figure of 770,609. If starting a new business and materializing an idea requires such bravery and courage, I cannot image the additional amount that it requires to start a new business that starting a new business take.
Recently I have seen so many people starting a new business and it has been so refreshing, even contagious. I believe that at some point we all think about starting a new business, and maybe we all should try, in as much as possible, to make it happen. Even if it fails, I think there are many valuable lessons that can be learned from building something from the ground up.
Okay, I have rambled for too long now. Conclusion 1) Dolly is a queen 2) this commercial is gold… just so good!
I am obsessed with Ann Mashburn. She might be the epitome of classiness. I particularly love what a good example she is of aging gracefully. Now, I am not commenting on her appearance/age, but I just love how she embraces her grays, her wrinkles, her age. Such a great example to girls/women all over the world that aging is not something to avoid at all costs (quite literally) rather than owning it and embracing it.
This week was President Biden’s Inauguration. Though I am not an American, I felt the relief and the peace of this Inauguration Day. After all the craziness that has happened since Election Day, I had felt on the edge of my seat holding my breath worrying about towards what side the scale would tip. But the day finally came and oh boy, it was good. But what left an impression on me, as I’m sure it did on the whole U.S., was Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hill We Climb.” It was just what, not only Americans, but the world needed to here for the very times we face.
This is an amazing article that summarizes the research that has been conducted at BYU (proud Alumna over here!) regarding the dynamics of women within groups where male presences is prevalent. Dr. Karpowitz (he was actually a teacher of mine, good ol’ Poli Sci) mentions, “some of my most impressive students have been women here at BYU whose core interest is, How do I simultaneously prioritize my family and my scholarly work? I never hear male students talk like that. Ever. And yet that balance . . . ought to be just as important for men.” I particularly enjoyed the 7 ways to elevate women’s voices. As the article concluded, “…we have lots of learning and unlearning to do.”
This week was just full of exquisitely well-written articles. This article was a needed reminder of what we should be pursuing with our lives. Sometimes we, myself included, get lost on the day-to-day grunt work that we loose sight of what really makes our body tingle with excitement. You really need to read this, and then… do something about it. I know I will!
As we close this chapter called ‘2020,’ I feel like I need to say a proper goodbye.
2020, the truth is that you were a really sucky year. You took away big things… birthday celebrations, family gatherings, coffee with friends and just all-kind of gatherings. You robbed us important moments… from gathering together to mourn our loved ones to gathering to celebrate Christmas. Travel plans along with any hope of vacation and time-off. You took our normality away. No longer were we able to go to the office and leave our work once we stepped out. In a blink of an eye, our lives, our homes and our spaces were invaded. We now had to carry the burden of work within our own homes, our own space.
And you also took away the small thing—small things that now seem the biggest things. Eating chips in the supermarket while grocery shopping, eating out with friends, shopping from street vendors, browsing endlessly the supermarket aisles for hours on end and even smiling random people on the streets. Being able to leave the house without a mask or hand sanitizer. Having very dry and sore hands from disinfecting every single thing thoroughly, groceries, cellphone, pocket change or credit cards.
But I have always believed that how you react to something is more important than that which you are faced with. To be fair, you did give us something for which I am finding myself grateful for, and that is time with ourselves. Having to spend any spare time with only you, has made me come to know myself better. I have realized what it’s essential for me and what is not. I now know where my values are, what are the things that are really important to me . And for this self-knowledge I am very appreciative.
I recently read a reflection from one of my favorite authors, where she traced the good things in her life backwards, and how many of the things were the result of seeds that were unknowingly planted ‘years and months and days before.’ I think that one day we are going to be able to look back to 2020 and understand why it was important to live this year the way we did and hopefully, it will all make sense.
I am happy, even with all of the hardships and challenges that this year brought, for this year. But I am not going to lie, I am also pretty happy for the new year. Though I am certain that our reality will not change when the clock strikes midnight, I am happy for a new year. Hopefully one with more growth and appreciation.
Last week, I heard someone asking about someone’s enneagram. I was intrigued about it so I immediately googled it (on a side note… I find it funny that google is now a verb. How crazy is it?). Any way… where was I? Right! The enneagram is a personality system of nine types of personalities. While it’s uncertain whether this type is genetically determined, many believe it is already in place at birth. The nine types (or “enneatypes”, “ennea” means “nine”) are universally identified by the numbers 1 to 9. These numbers have a standard way of being placed around the Enneagram symbol.
Because I was curious as to what mine would be, I took the test. There were some questions within the test that just “clicked” in the sense that they very eloquently described how I feel/behave in some circumstances. For instance:
I accumulate lots of knowledge to counteract my lack of self-confidence (this one hurt lol)
Change-whether to a new job or a new school makes me more anxious than it does most people
I have been told I am a perfectionist and I suppose it is true (got a comment way to recently about this)
I seldom compromise my principles
I see all points of view when there is a dispute, so it’s hard for me to take a side
Sometimes I am too critical of others but I am much harder on myself than I am on others
and my personal favorite…
It really bothers me when people don’t say thank you 🙂
Initially—without knowing much about each of the type—I thought I would either be a type 3 or a 6. The test results said I am most likely a type 1… The Reformer. After reading the description, I cannot say I am surprised.
The Reformer: Perfectionists, responsible, fixated on improvement.
People of this personality type are essentially looking to make things better, as they think nothing is ever quite good enough. This makes them perfectionists who desire to reform and improve; idealists who strive to make order out of the omnipresent chaos.
Ones have a fine eye for detail. They are always aware of the flaws in themselves, others and the situations in which they find themselves. This triggers their need to improve, which can be beneficial for all concerned, but which can also prove to be burdensome to both the One and those who are on the receiving end of the One’s reform efforts.
The One’s inability to achieve the perfection they desire feeds their feelings of guilt for having fallen short, and fuels their incipient anger against an imperfect world. Ones, however, tend to feel guilty about their anger. Anger is a “bad” emotion, and Ones strive sincerely and wholeheartedly to be “good.” Anger is therefore vigorously repressed from consciousness, bursting forth in occasional fits of temper, but usually manifesting in one of its many less obvious permutations – impatience, frustration, annoyance and judgmental criticality. For this reason, Ones can be difficult to live with, but, on the high side, they tend to be loyal, responsible and capable partners and friends.
Ones are serious people; they tend to be highly principled, competent and uncompromising. They follow the rules and expect others to do so as well. Because they believe so thoroughly in their convictions, they are often excellent leaders who can inspire those who follow them with their own vision of excellence. Reform movements are frequently spearheaded by Ones.
Ones are often driven and ambitious, and are sometimes workaholics. But whatever their professional involvement, they are definitely active, practical people who get things done. They are natural born organizers, listmakers who finish everything on the list, the last one to leave the office, the first one to return, industrious, reliable, honest and dutiful.
The relentlessness of their pursuit of the ideal can make Ones tense people who have a hard time relaxing and who unnecessarily deny themselves many of the harmless pleasures of life. They tend to be emotionally repressed and uncomfortable with expressing tender feelings; they generally see emotionality as a sign of weakness and lack of control. They are seldom spontaneous. They have multiple interests and talents however; they are self-reliant and seldom run out of things to do.
I think that for the most part, the type nailed it on the head. Like… workaholic? count me in! eye for detail? here for it! self-denaying? who? me?
Instagram is a funny place. There have been times when scrolling through Instagram has made me feel not so very good about my life. It’s extremely easy to—unconsciously and unwillingly—fall into the comparison trap. You see people with seemingly better lives, better homes, better friends, better families. But sometimes, some lucky times, you get across some jewels.
This week, I came across this jewel… about the types of loneliness by Mari Andrew. This post resonated with me in a deep way because some of them hit right home. And like the over-thinker that I am, I just kept thinking of the type of loneliness I have experienced and needed to put some of them into words…
Loneliness of failing a test
Loneliness of getting a no for an answer when you were really hoping for a yes
Loneliness of starting over in a new city
Loneliness of being physically present in one a place, but your heart being somewhere else
Loneliness of a missed opportunity
Loneliness of could have’s/should have’s
Loneliness of shouldering financial burdens by yourself
Loneliness of making ends meet
Loneliness of pain
Loneliness of being in a room full of people yet feeling so very alone
Loneliness of not feeling enough
Loneliness of overlooked efforts
Loneliness of an unkind word lingering in your head and worse, in your heart
Loneliness of not being home
Loneliness of spending a birthday alone
Loneliness of sitting in the chapel by yourself while everyone else is surrounded by their families