A couple months ago I was standing at the bus stop with several other people, some of them college students. There was also a homeless man sitting on the ground to my right. I just finished grocery shopping and had the bag resting my feet. My ear buds were in, so I couldn’t hear much of what the man was saying. I took them out assuming he was asking me a question, but he wasn’t. The man was giving us advice and warning us about not focusing on our academics. He told us when he was in school, all he did was party and run around with his friends instead of taking school seriously. He said if we didn’t focus and do our best, we could end up like him and we didn’t want that type of life.
I’m not sure if the other students were paying attention or taking his advice seriously, but I was. That man made a great point.
Sometimes we take our situations for granted without realizing how quickly it can turn for the worse. I was humbled by his words. There was something special in his speech. He wasn’t scolding us, he didn’t have to say anything to us. He felt compelled to share his story so we wouldn’t make the same mistakes. Little things like this mean so much. Hen you’re in school there is obviously a goal in mind, but so many distractions in the way. So much stress in the way. He was not implying that the road was easy, but that we should try. Don’t get discouraged and quit. Don’t get distracted and get off track like the man said.
*Individual photos by Jose Murillo and Vladislav Klapin on Unsplash.com, edited by me
School’s out! I’ve been on break for about a week now and let me say it has been wonderful. This quarter was extremely hectic.
So, what now? It’s time to get back to writing. I can focus on more exciting things like writing and my blog. It sounds counterintuitive to give myself work during break, but this is fun. I get to do what I love after spending four months focusing on academics and work. Turn “free time” into personal work time. Never been to Miami? Always wanted to learn how to draw? Need to work on your LinkedIn profile? Want to learn a new recipe?
These ideas can become goals. Put away ten dollars every paycheck for Miami. Take a couple minutes each day to watch short drawing videos on YouTube. Watch a LinkedIn tutorial online. Buy a cookbook or ask a family member for recipe ideas. Some of these will take a couple minutes, hours, or days to accomplish. Others might take longer. This doesn’t mean you can’t relax. I wrote a post about removing yourself from your workload in October. The crucial message I’m trying to convey is use your spare time to improve components of your life.
It doesn’t always have to be about “work”. Play a new board game with your family, go to a concert, take a walk, or attend an art show. Take advantage of the world around you and your resources. Don’t live the same boring or unfulfilling life. Make decorations for your home. Organize your kitchen. Sell your jewelry! Try a new hairstyle. Even if you have five minutes, there is something you can do or learn in that time. Continue to grow, continue to gain more knowledge, continue to succeed in life. People complain about not having enough time to do fun things, but don’t realize they could utilize their short periods of free time. Save an episode of your favorite show for tomorrow and do something exciting. Stop living comfortably and challenge your mind.
*Photo by Loic Djim on Unsplash
The smell of marijuana was in the air mixed with a thundering bass, and staggering people intoxicated with alcohol and emotion...
I went to a Jhené Aiko concert a couple nights ago and it was amazing! It was my first concert ever and it left a great impression on me. My best friend and I sat at the very top, but we could see the stage clearly. Jhené Aiko, who has a beautiful voice, created psychedelic art visuals with colorful lights and even had a harpist with fairy wings playing on stage! The feeling is different when listening to an artist in your home and in person at a concert. It’s as if I crossed the line between time and space. Her message in the music became real when standing there with hundreds of other people singing along with her. When I came home, it felt weird to listen to her music. She was no longer a voice in my ears, but a real human being with a personality, a life, and actual struggles. Her lyrics turned into reality.
Because of that, I am sharing a revised essay I wrote on music in my Music Composition class in high school adding in my experience from the concert. There were three questions we needed to answer, what is music, why is it powerful, and what is the musical experience.
Music was introduced many, many years ago, and it has evolved from various stages to where it is now. It started with Mozart writing "Twinkle Twinkle" at five years old, to Michael Jackson using his active and live dance songs to bring people on their feet. Music can make you feel, help you heal, and tell you a story about someone’s life. It has evolved in terms of sound and production, but the meaning and use has stayed relatively the same. Music is interpreted in many ways, whether it’s by actual instruments or by using the sounds of your mouth. It’s sung by anything and anyone, from birds chirping a song high in the air, to whales belting out, deep in the waters. Music is the tapping of your feet, the snapping of your fingers, music is everywhere, and you can’t avoid it. There are a lot of different genres of music such as Pop, Country, R&B, Hip-hop, Electronica, Techno, Rap, and so on. They are all unique types of music with the same purpose at hand; to bring a melody into your willing ears. Music is a way to escape, flowing out of reality and into the notes and/or beats of a song. Getting lost in the story an artist created with a few drum booms here, or the strike of a violin is a given.
Music brings people together to share their one love despite any differences they might have. It has the ability to inspire you to do great things, or be someone greater. The artists play a major role as well, by reaching out into the world and capturing the hearts of fans by the sound of their voice. They compose something that will attach itself to you in a way that will help you to connect with the artist on a personal level. It can make you happy, or sad, or motivated to do something brave. Experiencing music firsthand is a special thing, feeling the vibes in your body, in your soul, in your mind. It puts you in a mood that is unable to leave you days after you listen to the song. During the concert, so many people were happy. They screamed, laughed, danced, and sang together. We all had her music that banded us together. We weren’t friends, family, or even classmates. The feeling was exhilarating. I felt alive and almost one with the crowd. In that moment, singing along with Jhené, we were one with her.
I’ve been gone for about a month and let me say, November was brutal. It was a busy month and not the best time for Nanowrimo, but I still tried. With that said, I did not win Nano, in fact I didn’t even reach my usual word count of 20,000 words. BUT I STILL TRIED. It was an experience and a challenge. Unfortunately, my lack of planning ahead of time made it different to write. I wasn’t sure what direction the story should go, how my characters should behave around one another, etc. The story I worked on was about a man who believes his dead sister has reincarnated into a sixteen-year-old girl. Within this challenge I created awesome scenes and have the beginning of a remarkable story. With more planning and character development I can turn this into a masterpiece.
Next week, starting on the 16th, business resumes as normal. Posts, short stories, updates, and poems are coming your way so watch out! I’m also editing Our Father this break. I used my last printing quota for it. Super excited to got through it a second time. It’s crazy to see it completed after the ups and downs I had with this story. Five years later and finally I have a finished product. Hard work does pay off.
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