The Beauty of Being Lost

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After moving to a new apartment last week, I had a moment sitting on my new couch where I just felt lost. It was not that I did not know who I was or what I was doing, but rather, I felt that I lost who I was in relation to the world. This happens to me every few months when I have a huge change in my life, such as a new apartment.

This feeling of being lost and not knowing my purpose with the world is something that I welcome in my life. I take the times when I feel lost to figure out why I am feeling lost and re-identify what is truly important to me. Even though it puts me in some distress during the days where I feel this feeling, looking back, I feel that there is great beauty in the feeling.

I truly feel that without these few days of being lost in the world and not knowing your specific purpose is important for personal development – without it, I think that we can lose ourselves even more. I know that after I finished a huge project last fall, I felt lost for weeks because I did not know my purpose in life without that project. Looking back, I now see the importance of feeling lost for so long – I was able to really figure out what the world meant to me and how I could continue to contribute to the betterment of the world.

One of my favorite lyrics right now is by Coldplay where they say “I’d rather be a comma, than a full stop” from the song, Every Teardrop is a Waterfall. I think that that quote is the perfect way to describe the beauty of life and the clarity that being lost can provide an individual.

Music and Memories

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My absolute favorite thing to do is listen to a band nonstop for a full month or so. Then when I know the songs well enough and have listened to them dozens of times, I go to a new band or a new album. I do this because when I find a song that I like, I want to listen to it over and over again. And I want to see if that same band can create even more songs that make me that excited.

But what I love even more is when I have shuffle on my iTunes on and one of the songs that I listened to nonstop for a month comes on and I remember vivid memories from that month. I have it with almost every band on my iTunes that I listen to and the days when my it is on shuffle are my absolute favorite.

I remember thoughts and feelings that I had when I listened to Jukebox the Ghost nonstop last fall. I remember reading the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson as I listened to Switchfoot’s The Beautiful Letdown album. I remember my excitement at the beginning of junior year of high school when I listen to Death Cab for Cutie. I remember last summer when I listen to OneRepublic when I realized that I am an adult and I was excited for the awareness. I listened to Sherwood at the end of freshman year of college when I decided I wanted to change my priorities and focus on academics and student involvement while in college.

Most recently, I rediscovered one of my favorite bands when I was just fifteen. I listened to The Format my sophomore year of high school when I had a crush on this boy. And last week, I discovered that Nate Ruess of The Format created a new band and that they were still making music. The band, Fun, has been the most wonderful band to listen to because it is a new sound and feeling that I get from when I listened to The Format, but I can personally tell how much I have grown since that time. Five years after I discovered that band, Nate’s voice brings me back to memories of hope and butterflies in the stomach, but I feel so much stronger and wiser now. The music of the band Fun has created a wonderful reminiscent feel without knowing what the music is about yet.

I am a very reflective person, and so listening to music that reminds me of any particular time in my life makes me extremely happy. Even if I make conclusions about my past and figure out what I learned from the moment, listening to the music helps me to see my motivation, my reasoning, my thought process before making a decision. And I think that helps me to be an even more reflective person.

I am also able to see personal growth. And I absolutely love the feeling of knowing that I am a better and stronger person than I was previously. I can even tell how my perspective has changed, through the music that I have loved and have listened to. It is a great feeling and I will continue this for the rest of my life.

My quote for the day

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Life is all about risks and it requires you to jump. Do not be a person who has to look back and wonder what they would have or could have had. No one waits forever.

A comfortable life is not a life at all. Living is all in the moment and taking risks. Putting yourself in new and challenging situations is how we grow. Even if it is not by choice, if you are taking the world as it comes to you, then you are growing. And life is about growth. Regrets are one thing, but not taking chances is even worse. I want to live a life where I am challenged and where I jump into a pool of uncertainty. I have not gone in too deep yet, so I am going to continue to jump in. Everyday and in everyway.

It’s a great day to take a chance and grow!

Thought for the day: All the Difference..

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A smile can make all the difference.

I experienced this yesterday in a few different instances and each time, I felt better afterward. It is amazing that someone that you know nothing about can change a feeling or an emotion that you have (even if only for an instance) and can completely impact your day.

I have a theory about smiling at strangers. Providing the warmth that a smile contributes to a complete stranger is something that is rare but yet powerful. I tried my theory out one day walking down the pedestrian mall. The majority of people who I smiled at, smiled back at me. And receiving such positive feedback from people who have no idea who you are or what you are about is an excellent feeling.

My theory then is to pay it forward. I like receiving smiles from strangers. I like making a connection with a person that I do not know now but that might have a big impact in my future. Even if I never see the person ever again, why not have a positive interaction with them, rather than an adequate stare? Smiling is easy and smiling is effective.

And so, I smile when I can. I smile to people I make eye contact with and with people that i might just glance at. Who knows how their day is going or what they are feeling. Sometimes, a smile can make all the difference.

Quote for the week

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Sometimes there are things in our life that aren’t meant to stay. Sometimes change may not be what we want. Somtimes change is what we really need. And sometimes saying goodbye is the hardest thing you think you’ll ever have to do, but sometimes it’s saying ‘hello again’ that breaks you dwon and makes you the most vulnerable person you’ll ever know. Sometimes change is too much to bear, but most of the time change is the only thing saving your life.

My advisor once said that change is growth. It was simple and yet a perfect representation of what change is in my life. I have never been a fan of change because I like routines. I have found that I thrive when things are in my control and when I have the opportunity to choose where I am going.

But this is not realistic. The world changes without our approval on a second by second basis and so, we have to accept the fact that we are not in control. And once we accept change, then we can embrace it and thrive on the change.

It is quite simple. Sometimes, change is everything.

Band of Choice: Switchfoot

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The very first band that I ever listened to and loved was Switchfoot. I remember being in seventh grade and sitting in the computer room in the basement and listening to the same CD over and over again. I was obsessed that these strangers that knew absolutely nothing about me were able to grab my emotions and change my perspective of the world. They were able to do it when I was 12 and they continue to this day. Here’s my top ten Switchfoot Songs:

Something More (Augustine’s Confession) (1999) “In a quiet desperation of the emptiness he says… ‘There’s got to be something more; Than what I’m living for; I’m crying out to You'”

  • I found this song in the past few years and I loved it because it’s a story about Augustine and how he was not happy with his life and so he decided to change it. It’s a song about how if you are unhappy or not pleased with how you are living, you make those changes to be better. I love what this song is about.

Meant to Live (2003) “We were meant to live for so much more; Have we lost ourselves?

  • This was my very first song that I started listening to with Switchfoot and am still obsessed with it. I listened to this song as I read the book Speak and I just remember thinking that I needed to be doing more with my life. I just found this song so inspiring to be the best that I can be and it still reminds me of that feeling to this day, and I love it!

Dare you to Move (2003) “I dare you to move, Like today never happened, Today never happened before”

  • Before the time of youtube, I used to wake up quite early and watch MTV/VH1 music videos in the morning, just to see this music video. I remember having some of the best days after listening to this song, and so I made it a point to try to see it every morning before school.

Stars (2005)“I’ve been thinking ’bout everyone, everyone you look so lonely … When I look at the stars, the stars, I feel like myself”

  • I remember listening to this song for the very first time and being shocked that this band captured how I felt about stargazing. Living in a small town with farm communities surrounding my town, stargazing was and still is one of my favorite activities. There is something so special about looking up at the stars, and listening to this song gives me the same feeling, even during the day.

The Shadow Proves the Sunshine (2005) “Two scared little runaways, Hold fast to the break of day light were, The shadow proves the sunshine

  • This song was released right after I stopped hanging out with a few people and I was feeling lonely and upset. This song provided me the understanding that even though I was sad and upset, there were still positive things going on and positive things in my life. It’s always about your attitude.

Yesterdays (2006) “I remember you like yesterday, yesterday; I still can’t believe you’re gone, oh..

  • This was the first song I listened to after I found out that my Grandfather died. My iPod was on shuffle and it just so happened that this song was just beginning. My father always told me that when I cried, it should be happy tears. This song helps me so that when I think about my Grandpa, they are only happy tears.

Faust, Midas and Myself (2006) “You’ve one life, You’ve one life. You’ve one life left to lead.”

  • This song is excellent to look at where you have been and where you are going. Later in the song, the simple lyrics “What direction?” continue to play over and over again and I feel like that is a perfect representation of where some people are. It all depends how they answer the question.

Hello Hurricane (2009) “Hello hurricane, You’re not enough; Hello hurricane, You can’t silence my love.

  • My brother and I went to a Switchfoot concert at a time when I was having a hard time with things. This one song gave me motivation and a spirit to keep fighting. The way that the band preformed this song inspired me to try again and it still motivates me to this day.

Blinding Light (2011) “Hey girl, you’re a strong one, But none of us are bulletproof

  • This song came on my shuffle one day when I was working on a paper and I was feeling defeated. This song identifies the defeated feeling without giving into it. This song makes me feel strong.

Thrive (2011) “No, I’m not alright, I know that I’m not right, Feel like I travel but I never arrive, I wanna thrive not just survive”

  • I traveling home after the past Spring break and this song starts playing and I remember just being engulfed with the lyrics and the meaning of the song. I do want to thrive, not just survive. It’s a powerful message!

And so… Switchfoot was my first band and it is the band that I listen to when I feel off-centered in my life. After my grandfather died, this band helped me gain perspective and understanding that I was going to be alright. I listen to this band when I need to be motivated or when I feel like the world is falling in on me. I know it is not, and Switchfoot sometimes provides the assistance that I need to pick myself up and carry on.

The Resources of Champions: Evernote

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What would you say to have a personal electronic inbox for yourself? A program where you could organize any and all thoughts into one program and for it to be user friendly? You have to try Evernote! The phrase entering you into the website, “Remember Everything” is correct. This program has increased my personal efficiency and puts all my notes, thoughts, ideas and goals into one place. Go to Evernote to check it out! Here are some of my favorite parts of Evernote:

  • First, you can organize all of your thoughts into notebooks. Personally, I have a school notebook, To Do notebook that I update every Sunday and a Personal Development notebook where I write down good advice that I find in blogs. This just organizes all the different aspects of your life into simple notebooks.
  • You can add a new note, a new picture, an audio clip and share your information with others. The best part about the new picture is that it automatically flips the picture so if it is text, then you can read it later.
  • There are different preview options but my favorite is a column to the left of the main content because it shows a small preview into the information in that note. But it can change to fit your needs.
  • You are able to tag your notes so that you can organize them how you want. Basically, anything that has any educational benefit to what I am currently learning, I tag as education and then I can pull up all of those notes, even if they are not in the same notebook.
  • I have found that this is the most efficient way for me to take notes. Personally, when a professor is talking, I sometimes drift in my thoughts and so when I do, I can add that information to a different note (such as a grocery item or a task that I need to complete). Then I can return to my note for that class and pick up where I was.

I just love how convenient this program is to someone who loves to multitask and who takes a large amount of notes.

I still take written notes during classes. Then, I type up my notes and add additions from the textbook. And then when I have a comprehensive set of notes, I print them out (did I mention that this program is pdf friendly?). Every student, especially college or graduate student, needs this program because of the immense benefits that it can provide.

I am organized. I am compiled. And I am efficient. Everything I need to be a successful college student!