It is quite crazy how life works. One day can be up and the next day down. It can feel like you are soaring over California and ruling the world and the next moment as if Rome has collapsed into your arms. Life is a rollercoaster. Life is unpredictable. Life is constantly changing.
I have developed a passion for now. A passion to embrace each moment and each day with all that G-d has blessed me with. To make today great! To make goals, work towards them and press onward. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have stumbling days where I crawl into a ball on my bed and sob myself to sleep. It happens. All of it.
Today happens to be a great day. I have also realized how much I have developed a passion for NAO, the robots I program and work with at my job on campus. This year I even trained freshmen to do the programming, marketing and presenting. It is so incredible. Being the coordinator has opened up my eyes to better understand how our professors feel when they give us intense engineering projects. They want us to ask questions but the right ones. They want to help us but they want us to learn. It has been a learning experience alright. I am so grateful that my boss, my dean believed in me enough to make me learn how to program these robots more than a year ago. It has paid off in so many ways and continues to teach me and provide me with opportunities. I am SO grateful!
Today I heard a speaker talk and he talked about not wasting the talents that G-d blesses us with. To do great things. To live our purpose. and to never forget, that each of us individually was blessed to be a blessing. I feel so thankful to G-d for the opportunity to work with the Nao robots. To learn how these robots work. To feel inspired with many ideas and to innovate creative programs. To present with passion, enthusiasm and energy. To love what I do and not dread my hours of work but to desire to make time for it. Now to be teaching others. Leading, guiding and coordinating is requiring new skills but it seems to be the avenue that I can do currently. It is wonderful to share something that I have learned to love, with others. To spread the knowledge and the encouragement that doing amazing things is possible. It may take some hard work, a few tears and many frustrating days. BUT….trust me, it’ll be worth it.
For months. Yes, months. My cousins and I have been talking about selfish. I even tried to read Ayn Ranyd’s Virtue of Selfishness…a book which covered pretty much everything our discussion did. After all this talk here are three main points that I have gotten out of it:
1. to be selfish means to take care of yourself
2. our society has put a bad name to selfishness
3. to care for another is still selfish (it makes you happy–usually)
How does this impact me? That question in itself is selfish. Crazy to think about. I mentioned a few posts back that I have started to serve in this homeless ministry where we bring food to those less fortunate within the gates of our city. It is a wonderful experience and I am actually preparing my mind for the experience this evening. I have come home the past two weeks with my heart full. Full of love and care for these people I do not really know and despair for those who are not working to get out of this situation or who are dealing with difficult stuff. Life is tough. I get it. Trust me (recall the accident, brain injury, etc…). Not everyone is fighting the same battle but we all struggle. That is why it feels so good to help someone out. Because you feel like you are giving back in the way that you are capable, because someone helped you at some point. I’m sure. Unless you like on Jupiter and there is no one else there with you–but even in that case, if you are living on Jupiter than I’m pretty sure you have G-d to thank for that! I know for me it helps to be able to give my time, energy, smiles and evening to people I don’t know because it provides an opportunity to show them how important they are. I had a lady last week who looked amazed after I talked with her and prayed with her. She looked renewed and stunned that someone believed she had worth. Those smiles and moments are what makes it worthwhile to me. That is exactly my point. I am serving others but I am realizing that it may also be, for me. Is this selfish? Is it wrong to help others because it makes me happy? Is it a sin to enjoy giving, but, because it gives me those elevated moments of enlightenment?
The real question is: are we serving others or serving ourselves? And…if our choice is the second, whats so bad about that?
Suddenly out of nowhere my hands feel weak. I dropped my pencil. I feel like it is straining my brain to pick it up. My hands are there. I can feel them. Yet, an odd weakness spell has fallen upon them. I don’t understand. I squeeze my hands tighter. I know they are there. But out of my control I am struggling with each letter I write, each number I calculate. My focus is drawn to those 10 fingers and palm. What is going on?
I recall, I have had this before. But what was it? What did I do to solve it? How did the feeling go away? I can’t remember but I realize I am starting to freak, my thoughts are running rapid and my heart is beating faster. Why are my hands feeling suddenly almost as if paralysis has overcome them.
Then to the doctors. I tell of my story. My simple but strange situation. My neck, I think. My muscles I’m sure. Compression she says. Message is the cure. Nerves are involved. Don’t worry this is soon to be resolved. Weak hands I say. Weak hands today.
It is quite crazy how many people at my university will say that they want to work overseas. I somewhat wish they would do a census to find out specific numbers. All I know is that there are so many who desire to work overseas, or to do mission work out of the country. What kind of baffles me is when people have their whole life planned out and how they want to work in this foreign country doing such great work. Its great and I get it, I would like that too. However, often these peers have not even stepped off American land. I don’t get it. If its something you want, I feel like you should have a quick taste of that culture before you dive right in. The other day I was talking with some girls as we drove to a service project. One of the girls was really set in working overseas. I quickly learned she hadn’t been outside of the US yet. She told me she was ok with being uncomfortable. I am glad to hear that. However, I hope you really are ok with being uncomfortable. Because, here in America, we live probably some of the most luxurious lives and yet we complain about everything. We have air conditioning and heating units every where. We have free public restrooms, for the most part. You can walk up to McDonalds and ask for a cup of water and they will give it to you. In other countries, good luck with that!
I am so thankful to have had the experience to go overseas and study for a short period of time. It was long enough to see so much and really start to feel part of the culture. But, it was also short enough to long for and desire to travel back! I also had the opportunity to go to Argentina with my family a few years back. It was a wonderful trip. However, because I have family down there, the experience was not uncomfortable and in fact it was quite lush. It was freezing cold but yet we had warm jackets, warm heaters and warm food. Going to Germany with a group, but, essentially on my own, I felt out of my comfort zone. It was unbelievably hot, there were no water fountains and the only free bathrooms were at restaurants after you bought a meal or at the University. You simply got used to paying for amenities. You got used to being sweaty. You got used to not looking perfect and wearing the same shirt 5 times. You just accepted the situation. Embraced the differences. And enjoyed the experience. Well….at least I did. So if you are part of everyone else and want to do something great overseas.
1. Start at home. Do great things where you live first. See your town with new eyes.
2. Travel overseas for a short period of time. This is almost like a trial run. Maybe you’ll realize that the particular country you wanted to go to has no edible food according to your taste buds.
3. Then dream. and Dream Big!
4. Work towards a reality in that country. Build your network and friends that live there.
5. Go for it! and Go with G-d!
Since each day is brand new, I have found that finding something new to do, is a great way to embrace the constant change. Today I decided to get a toasted sub sandwich instead of my usual cold turkey sandwich. It tasted delicious and was such a good change. I ended up ordering the same thing for dinner! It was great.
During lunch it was great, I was sitting with two of my usual friends. Then sitting off in the corner, I saw someone I had literally just met on Saturday at lunch so I invited him over. We all got along and had such a hilarious lunch. I am so thankful for friends that make me laugh. I really love to laugh and it helps me forget of all my worries or depression. Laughter is seriously one of the best cures for anything. Laughter puts your in a good mood! Just like smiling. I have forgotten how powerful these small things are!
So smile. Laugh. Enjoy. Embrace. Change. (and eat toasted sandwiches…)
So after two hard days of feeling really blue, it turned to Friday and the sun began to fade away into the horizon. I grabbed my bowl filled with spagetti and hoped in my car. Singing some Shabbat tunes, I drove to the next city. When I arrived at my friends school, I met up with my friend and we walked to another friends apartment. There we sang and ate and laughed. We talked about school and about our weeks craziness and what was to come this week. Towards the end of the evening my friend and I walked back to the other side of campus singing and laughing. Then I drove home and went to bed.
After a long nights sleep, I felt much better after resting up. In the morning I rode my bike and walked around the nearby park. A little bit of sunshine and slowing down my week did me well. It lifted my spirits and hinted at good things to come. After reading some prayers, singing in hebrew and reading some thought provoking books, I felt renewed. I recognized just how human I am and just how amazing and merciful G-d is! It is amazing what Shabbat can do to you, if you let it. Shabbat helps me to refocus and to be mindful of what is important. It helps set me right back on track. Shabbat unlike almost anything else, is ALWAYS reliable. Whether you want it there or not, every Friday at Sunday, it will begin. It will go on whether you recognize it or not. It will comfort, heal and inspire you. Shabbat is divine and if Shabbat is reliable I am pretty sure that says something huge about G-d. He is thee most reliable! Thankful for the renewed spirit and uplifted attitude towards the week ahead. May only good things be to come.
Lately my heart and mind have been in another place and I have been struggling. I try to keep things very transparent on my blog because I am not ashamed and I am pretty sure I am not the only one who goes through these types of situations.
I used to care so much about what everyone else thought about me. I learned that is one of the worse ways to try and be happy. I used to think I had to be in a different place to be happy. I used to think it mattered what I wore or if I had makeup on or not. I used to think I just needed to meet more people. I used to think if only I could do this, or be here, or “what-if” this and “what-if” that. That was back in the day when I was young and silly and didn’t have as much life experience. I have since then grown up a few years and changed my life around.
However, one thing still seems to stick around, I expect too much of others. Just because I would be willing to say “hi” to someone, doesn’t mean they are. I am slowly learning that I cannot and should not expect others to treat me the way I treat them. I cannot expect others to be kind, caring, compassionate, loving, nice, etc…. I just cannot.
My friend once told me that if you expect less, then you’ll be happy. At the time I expected so much of others that I just laughed at what I thought was a joke. All until February of this year and I was preparing to go to a conference. I had no idea what to expect and was nervously excited for that new experience. Then I went to the conference and it was amazing, wonderful and nothing like I could have imagined. I came home happy and changed because I didn’t have expectations. Same thing happened when I went to another conference in April and then when I went to Germany. There is something magical about not expecting or knowing what will happen. Then everything exceeds your expectations.
My problem is not when I am going to try new things, we see that I can succeed at not expecting anything out of those situations; but, rather when I am here at University and living in my day-to-day life. I get stuck in a rut of expecting too much of others. I am not even too sure how. Maybe the difference is that at conferences or studying abroad that is like vacation where as being at University that is just daily routine. That means everyone around you is busy and doing things with their life. And you are too, its just hard to notice. Especially when you go on facebook and see how they are living such an awesome life according to what they post. Are they really? Maybe, maybe not…you’ll never know unless you actually talk to them. Bottom line, invest time into people not things and expect less. Don’t expect anyone to text you, you might just have to text them. Don’t expect anyone to invite you to do something fun, you might have to invite them. Stop waiting for someone to impact your life, you should just go out and impact theirs!
Expect less. You’ll be happy.