Sunday, February 21, 2010

The sad thing aboot insomnia...

So I've decided to break that hefty barrier of 'first post of the year', mostly because my insomnia this evening (err, morning) has allowed me to do little but read and re-read some blogs to soothe the synaptial soreness that accompanies thinking. I've decided that I've been on the receiving end of the graces of authored creativity wrought in pen without being a contributor for too long, a spectator of the sport that crafted our history, and has left its indelible genetics on our expectations, ideas, and perceptions.

I think my truancy comes from the special lack of 'things' happening in my life. I'm not complaining about a boring life, I've got plenty going on, but I would say at the moment I'm working towards those delectable moments of one's life that are exciting to share, rather than in the midst of them. Remember when Cowdery penned, "These were days never to be forgotten..."? Those days these aren't. So, unfortunately, I only have thoughts to share, as those tend to be abundant even when experiences ain't.

Lets talk about perceptions of security. Or better yet, I'll write about it and you read. I've been thinking aboot this one due to a number of recent experiences, of which I present two:
  1. A good friend of mine had her car stolen
  2. Another friend (and his wife) had their laptop (among other things) stolen from their apartment
To tie these together, I reluctantly present a common thread (reluctantly because I do not want to issue fault in association with the crime. These were cases of tragic robbery, not bad Karma, naïvete, or ignorance). The car was left running while the driver went inside to finish a task. The apartment door was unlocked while they were away. Unfortunately, this is not the end of my list, but it's the two accessible cases on which I choose to write.

I believe that our perception of security is a heuristic that we use in order that we not live in crippling fear. Unfortunately, most heuristics are built on our aspired notions and experience, not necessarily statistical data or even relevant information. In both cases the aspired ideal met dissonance in reality. I've pondered a great deal on both cases, and how safe I feel in my own neighborhood. And my ideals. I've always heard of those farming communities where no one locks their doors and everyone leaves their car keys on the visor of the vehicle. But I've never lived in those communities and, of more concern to myself, I've never aspired to. There's been many mentions of the irony that temples have locker room with actual locks on each locker. But I fear that inherent distrust is my instinct. The commonality of necessary security brings it to the obligatory mundane and, I feel, natural sequence. It would not surprise me if my mansion in heaven had a lock on the door. Agreeably, not because it would require it, but because of the ingrained notion that the only way to feel secure is to be secure.

It is for this reason that I feel at a loss. It's not the state of living in a place where locks weren't necessary, it's the state of idealistic bliss that such a place exists, and the mindset to feel at home in such a place. If I could illustrate more clearly, I've been learning a new keyboard layout for the last year plus some. It's paid off to the point that I'm at least as fast typing in Dvorak as I ever was in Qwerty. But there was a learning curve to that. The plasticity of my brain allowed me to learn a different way of doing the same thing - type - even though the process was the same (push certain keys in a certain pattern). My fear is that I've adapted the heuristic that is irreversible. I will never feel that my stuff is secure unless it is secure. There is no new keyboard layout that I can learn other than physically locking my stuff up, and it will always be so. Or maybe, as I said before, it is so because I've never had the desire for it to be otherwise. But now I wonder if it's enough now that I have the desire to have the desire for it to be so. Kind of like how I go on some dates just because I want to want to go on dates. Anyhow, It's 4:00, and right now I want to want to get some sleep, which will probably be better accomplished without continued synaptic stimulation. Good night, idealists.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The line

I enjoy my work, I really do. People always get a chuckle when they ask if I like my job, to which I reply, "I love my work. I've been applying around for a new job." Which I only kinda have been - I call it passively looking. I'll get on monster or craigslist and see if there's anything really cool, and apply for those. These are few and far between, but since I have a job, I get to be picky.

That said, I came across an uncomfortable situation at work. We've all been excited about using social networking sites to further our marketing position. The great thing about these sites is they're free, hence the millions of people that use them. I was happy to create the corporation's facebook page, which we use for hiring and whatnot. But the boss decided that he wanted a page for every entity in the corporation. Fine. Not too hard. Once those were up, the idea was that we would all become fans (not a problem, I'm a fan of our restaurants. Actually, I only became a fan of one to show that I had received the invites. I don't like having too many fan pages. If I'm a fan of something on facebook, I'm REALLY a fan, otherwise I don't care to load everybody else's facebook timeline with inane chatter), and then invite all our friends to become fans. Whoa, wait, that's not kosher.

I probably stated it a little strong. As everyone in the department was going around sending invites to all of their friends, the boss asked if I had done so yet. I was feeling a little annoyed at the idea, so I had (too much) time to think about what I was going to reply when I hadn't sent invites yet. No, I'm afraid that I won't be sending invites. Why? "I don't feel that my social life is a marketing venue". Yeah, a little strong. Awkward silence. Of course I was right, most everyone would agree that there's an ethical line there. I know that those there were thinking of ways to justify the action to make me reconsider. Anyhow, I think I'll be trying a little less passively to find a job. I still love what I do.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Every Day IV

Every Day this blog isn't. Thanks for checking, though.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Every Day (Ultimatum)

Faith is Every Day

Elder Oaks gave a talk in 2005 titled "The Dedication of a Lifetime". While this talk is notoriously referenced as the call-out talk for dating (The three p's of a dating qualifier came from this talk: Planned, Paired Off, and Paid For). While this certainly was an interesting portion of the talk, it wasn't the primary focus. The theme for his talk came from a presidential candidate. I now quote from Elder Oak's Talk (accessible here).

I have titled my talk “The Dedication of a Lifetime.” I borrowed this title from something said by Governor Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois, who was the Democratic Party candidate for president of the United States in 1952 and 1956. He was a fine man and would have been president if he had not been running against a very popular opponent, Dwight D. Eisenhower. [editor's note: Elder Oaks looks like Dwight. That should count for something. And no, it's not just the audacious baldness.]

In speaking to an American Legion Convention, Stevenson gave a wise statement about patriotism. He said that what we need “is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime” (speech given Aug. 27, 1952, quoted in John Bartlett, comp., Familiar Quotations, 13th ed. [1955], 986). I like that—“not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” I will use this description of patriotism as a formula for how we should live the gospel.
Elder Oaks continued to state that gospel extremism isn't appropriate. I would like to take the discussion a different direction, related more to my theme. Another quote, this time by President Harold B. Lee: “Testimony isn’t something you have today, and you are going to have always. A testimony is fragile. It is as hard to hold as a moonbeam. It is something you have to recapture every day of your life” (“President Harold B. Lee Directs Church; Led By The Spirit,” Church News, 15 July 1972, 4).

In my last post I talked about the cost of maintenance. I think that it's applicable here as well. Especially considering my favorite Elder Maxwell quote, given when he spoke at the institute: "Be a high yield, low maintenance member of the church, we have ample supply of the other kind." Here, the cost of maintenance is again a daily dedication (recapture every day). If we don't pay the maintenance costs now, the consequences will me much more expensive to repair.

So faith is every day. It doesn't come in spurts, although it can be more concentrated at moments. And it isn't an intense celestial elation to accompany every moment. It's fighting every day, even when you don't need to.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Every Day (2)

Love is Every Day
Sorry, time to get a little cheesy
I hate 'chick flick movies' where some guy sweeps some girl off her feet just as she's about to get married. Let's list a few:
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • Runaway Bride
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • The Notebook
  • The Wedding Planner
  • The Wedding Singer (ok, not entirely a chick flick)
  • Meet Joe Black
  • Serendipity
  • On and on and on
How are these romantic? It's not the guy sweeping the girl that's the problem for me, sure that'd be great for any of us. It's the engagement part, and one reason I see that people can quickly get in over their heads with what they think is a textbook movie romance (a paradox, I realize - 'textbook movie'?).

For me, love is every day. It's more than a heart fluttering impression. I guess my hope would be that anyone who gets married has an idea of what every day with the other person is going to be like. Say, pick day 1,206 of their marriage and let them ponder that. Love doesn't come in spurts, although it can be more concentrated at moments. And it isn't intense elation to accompany every moment. Sometimes it's just holding on to everyday with someone. And, I'm sure, that just like happiness, you have to work everyday to maintain it, it isn't just a given that love will endure forever. If happiness didn't fade I wouldn't have to work at it. But just like maintaining happiness is necessary at times and redundant at others, the reward of proper maintenance far outweighs the cost of time and effort.

Doesn't that make my outlook a little ... pessimistic? As Maybe Fünke would challenge, "Marry me!"

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Every Day.

So today I thought about how important every day is. This isn't a "Live every week like it was shark week" feeling, but the idea that if something right needs to happen, it's got to happen every day, otherwise it quickly falls off the radar.

Point in case: this summer I picked up running. I got to be quite good at it. I finished my second 10k in under 50 minutes. But about mid August I just stopped practicing after it rained one day. And now I probably couldn't do a 10k in under an hour (we'll see, I'm signed up for another at the end of this month). I've noticed how easy it is to miss scripture study if I miss it for whatever reason for one day. Somehow it's able to slip the mind exponentially quicker.

So I wanted to post a few things that I think are every day.

Happiness is every day.

I have pondered T.R.'s "Journey" posts lately. I have been fortunate enough not to have suffered a lingering depression. I do at times get fits of depression. When my grandmother passed away in 1998 my grandfather suffered through some depression. What I remember from that time is the hours he would spend with his eyes closed (not sleeping, just sitting on the couch with his eyes closed). I don't know why that stuck in my mind, but the most cathartic feeling for me when I'm overwhelmed is to envelope myself in darkness like I imagine my grandfather was doing. Sometimes I think the feelings of sadness (or anxiety) that occur are the most piercing to the soul, and admittedly there are times when I can feel sadness coming and choose to focus on it just to feel those strong emotions stir around.

One thing that I resonated with in the posts was "I wouldn’t say that it just lifted, but rather that it very slowly and imperceptibly dissipated." I find that true of many of these fits of sadness. For me, they lift slowly as though a haze is breaking. Not all at once, but every day.

After such experiences, I set up certain perimeters in my life that I try to follow every day. I try to read more comic strips than news articles, I picked up running (for as long as it lasted), I try to balance reading for class with reading for enjoyment. I have certain art projects that I keep mostly finished - I find that I'm not terribly creative when I'm depressed, but my attention to detail increases, so I don't start anything new, just work on something fun. In the end, I fight every day to stay happy, whether I need it or not. And I find that when I do that consistently, I need it less often.

So for me, happiness is every day. It doesn't come in spurts, although it can be more concentrated at moments. And it isn't intense elation to accompany every moment. It's fighting every day, even when you don't need to.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Haiku, too?

Wow, Saturday already. I was going to try and stay ahead of the trend on this one:

Happy to cheer on
my Alma Mater to be.
Let's go Utah Utes!

Although not needed,
I purchased a new cell phone.
Will it survive wear?

Messages in space?
Everything's amazing,
Nobody's happy

And if your thirst for haiku is not yet satiated, I've discovered Twitter Haiku. As MLBee said, "I say its pure fun/Perhaps its more a challenge/It's twitter haiku!".