February 12, 2013

Post #4: Home

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."

-George Moore

I can't even count how many times I've looked through our wedding pictures at this point. I thought I wouldn't care about our pictures because I usually don't care much about any pictures. I also don't think I'm particularly photogenic, so I tend to avoid photos all together. I've been loving these ones, though, because I've been reliving one of the best days of my life. I feel so lucky to be able to say that about my wedding day. We were surrounded by family and friends, and I really feel like there was this amazing convergence of happiness and joy, this connection between everyone, that developed in the last few weeks leading up to our wedding. When I think about how much fun I had and how grateful I feel for everyone in my life, I literally feel overwhelmed. I usually read stuff like this on blogs and want to yak at how sappy and fake people sound when they say all this stuff, but I really, really mean it. I feel like there was this absolute perfection I caught a glimpse of, and I hope I can have that again sometime.

Unfortunately, I realize that nothing in life is perfect and that there are always loose ends on everything. There's one particular loose end that comes up in my thoughts more frequently than I would like. I don't know that this cloth was ever intact to begin with, but there were at least days I can recall when it looked much more put-together than it does now. Why do I feel my personal losses so much more intensely than my personal wins? Why do we all do that? Why do we give the negative in life so much more attention than the positive? Do we just take the positive for granted because we expect that to be a given in life?

Anyway, I want peace in my life. I want to be a good person. I want to think good thoughts and speak kind words. I want harmony. I want friends. I want family. I want time with the people whom I love. I'm thankful for the ones I love and who love me in return while simultaneously sorrowful about those friendships I have lost. I want to be focused on others and not myself. I want to be genuine. But I want my genuine self to be my ideal self. I don't know if that can ever happen, but I sure as hell am going to try.

Post #3: Figuring Things Out

"You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need."

-Jerry Gillies

Working in marketing, I spend a lot of my time reading and researching blogs. I know what people are looking for...consistency, branding, your name, what your blog is about, your contact information, etc. It leaves me with a hankering to create an amazing blog that is interesting for people to read. It makes me yearn for the days back in high school when I had a blog that was so genuine and thoughtful. It was a place where friends and friends of friends could learn about me, and I could learn about them. We shared stories, ideas, experiences, wisdom, and creativity. We waxed philosophic about our dreams and aspirations, and we offered support and words of encouragement.

Today I overheard someone say, "For technical writing, I would go to Cate. She's good at that. Creative writing? I'd say [insert name other than Cate here]." Well this was certainly a punch in the gut for me. I'm the youngest child, the creative one, the one with the active imagination. I've always fancied myself a creative person. "Technical." How boring. How passionless. How...insulting. Sure, I'll take the compliment because I know it's my fastidiousness over grammar that led to this assessment of my skills in technical writing. It was just a blow to my ego to hear that someone thought I was somehow not capable of writing creatively. Are you serious? But that's always been my "thing."

This led me to face the impending quarter-life crisis that I have felt bubbling up beneath the surface of my soul for at least a year now. I've always been pretty good at a lot of things: singing, writing, problem-solving. I've just never been the best at anything. I'm interested in a million and one things, though: French, sign language, traveling, cooking, crafting, drawing, organizing, playing piano, writing songs, and the list goes on and on. I've always been okay with that, but there's this lack of follow-through that I suffer from ("from which I suffer," I know, I know).

I read these blogs day in and day out, and there are these people with extraordinary skills when it comes to crafting, sewing, cooking, writing, photography, and so on and so forth. They have so much to offer and such an abundance of knowledge and expertise in their areas of interest. I'm nothing but a jack of all trades and a master of none. I can't even come up with my own phrases to describe myself. I have to stick to worn-out cliches to describe my plight, my rut.

I just want to find something I'm passionate about and run with it. I guess that's what we're all looking to do. I suppose we all fall victim to the day-to-day of doing laundry, catching up on bills, cooking dinner, running errands. The small things in life are what take up the majority of our time. I want to change that. I want to fit in some yoga, some pleasure reading, some sketching, some video tutorials on how to play piano or learn sign language.

I want to become an interesting person. I want to have something to offer. I want to contribute. But how?

25 Things I've Learned from My Parents in 25 Years

25 Things I've Learned from My Parents in 25 Years
December 25, 2012

1. Treat others how you would like to be treated, and always pay it forward.

"If you get, give. If you learn, teach."
Maya Angelou

2. You teach people how to treat you.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Eleanor Roosevelt

3. The way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, so don't allow yourself to be
overwhelmed by any challenge life
may present you with or any dream you may wish to follow.

"It always seems impossible until is done."
Nelson Mandela

4. You are whomever you hang out with.
(And try not to end sentences with prepositions unless absolutely necessary.)

"Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher."
Oprah Winfrey

5. Always be honest about everything, including who you are.
If you hope to be understood and accepted,
then learn to accept others for who they are as well.

“To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you
everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight;
and never stop fighting.”
e.e. cummings

6. Always humble yourself to apologize when you've been wrong,
and always be open to forgiving others who have wronged you.

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."
Mahatma Gandhi

7. The right thing to do is not only often the hardest thing to do
but also the only thing to do.
Always take the high road, even if you're the only person
who will ever know that you did.

"The measure of a man's character is what he would do
if he knew he would never be found out."
Thomas Babington Macauley

8. Always call people back and never burn bridges.

"Live in such a way that if anyone should speak badly of you, no one would believe it."

9. Give people second chances.

"When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves."
William Arthur Ward

10. Always be willing to look at yourself to see what you can improve,
and then take whatever steps are necessary in order to do so.

"Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have
little time to criticize others."
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

11. Take responsibility for your own actions.

"We are what we repeatedly do."

12. Never be afraid to speak up for others.

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies
but the silence of our friends."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

13. Trust in your own abilities, and never fall into the trap of believing
that being different is the same thing as being wrong.

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,
it will live its whole life believing it is stupid."
Albert Einstein

14. Follow what you love to do, and everything else will fall into place.

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray."

15. True beauty comes from within.

"Everything is beautiful, but beautiful isn't everything."

16. Don't let fear of the future keep you from traveling down the right path.

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
T.S. Eliot

17. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,
so think ahead before you make a decision.

“Before you act, listen. Before you react, think. Before you spend, earn.
Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try.”
Ernest Hemingway

18. Always do your best to help those in need without any expectation of being repaid.

"Do small things with great love."
Mother Teresa

19. Education is not about landing a well-paying job;
it's about making you a well-rounded person.
Never stop wondering, learning, and growing.

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.
Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

20. Ask other people questions about themselves and genuinely listen to their responses.

"The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass,
it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
Henry Miller

21. Always do your best to make other people feel
welcome and comfortable in any situation.

"People will forget what you said; people will forget what you did;
but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Maya Angelou

22. Don't be afraid to admit if you don't know the answer.
Never stop questioning what is true.

"The universe is wider than our views of it."
Henry David Thoreau

23. The most important things in life are the experiences
you share with the people you love.
"If you want your children to turn out well,
spend twice as much time with them and half as much money."
Abigail Van Buren

24. Think of others first, but know when to stand up for yourself.

"When you say 'yes' to others, make sure you are not saying 'no' to yourself."
Paulo Coehlo

25. Lead a balanced life by alternating between the big picture and the small picture.
It may not seem entirely normal to switch from laughter to tears
and then back to laughter again within minutes,
but it keeps you honest and makes life interesting.

"So, this is my life.
And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad
and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be."
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower