Posted tagged ‘Life’

Make the most of the present

June 24, 2011

Have you ever not pursued a friendship because the person was leaving town in a few weeks? Or not been especially nice to someone because you thought you’d never see them again? I’ve certainly been guilty of these things, but the older I get the more I realize these are big mistakes. Life has a way of repeating itself.  I mean, things don’t happen the same exact way twice (obviously). But elements of your past return in ways you’d never expect them to. For instance:

  • I knew a girl for just a couple days in France, but a couple years later unexpectedly drove her 10 hours to a wedding in Indiana (and 10 hours back).
  • I met a guy for just a few hours in Boston, but ended up going out with him 10 years later (and getting engaged).
  • A friend I briefly studied abroad with had me in her wedding eight years later and I’m going to have her in my wedding in September.
  • A town official I covered for a daily newspaper gave me French translation work several years later.

These are just a few of the many examples of people coming back into my life. I’ve been thinking about this lately because a new friend of mine (from my French conversation group) is moving to California in a month or so. It’s sad she’ll be leaving but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t make the most of being her friend for the next month. We might end up in the same place at another point in our lives, and even if we don’t, it’s still worth hanging out.

You never know what might happen tomorrow (you could get struck by a lightning bolt and die), so you need to make the most of the present. Enjoy people while they’re with you, and don’t worry about whether or not you’ll see them tomorrow.

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Some thoughts on how the Internet has shaped my life

February 15, 2011

It’s so weird to think that the Internet didn’t exist (at least on a mass scale) when my friends and I were born. With the onset of this technology, we’ve truly witnessed a revolution in how people get information and communicate. Facebook posts, Twitter updates, and Google searches have become second nature for many people. Today I was thinking about the excitement with which I first greeted the Internet. I remember in ninth grade my parents bought America Online for my sister and I to use.

America Online guy

I had heard about this novel World Wide Web idea, and even had some friends who used the Prodigy online service provider (including my sixth-grade crush who used it to communicate with another girl in our class…I was so jealous of this chica!). I installed the AOL CD-ROM, created my username (I can’t remember the first one but know that at one point it was “Amalthea66.” Amalthea after the “Last Unicorn” character, and 66 because my favorite number was 6.), filled out my profile, and started visiting chat rooms. To me, chat rooms were the coolest thing about the Internet.

I remember visiting some rooms that were game-based (e.g. users played anagrams together), others specifically for teenagers, and others promoting “general conversation.” Each time, I had a blast. I would ask people where they lived, what they did for fun, and whether they had siblings. Not only did I think it was awesome you could converse with multiple people simultaneously, and meet people from all over the country, but I also liked how the Internet made everyone equal. It didn’t matter what you looked like, what you had done in the past, or whether you were shy in real life. You started each conversation with a blank slate. (more…)

Two indispensable items in my life: My GPS and my daily planner

March 10, 2010

I don’t know what I would do without my GPS or my daily planner.

Let’s start with the GPS. As a relative newcomer to Boston, it’s easy to get lost. My first few months here I did not have a GPS, and had to go to various new places for my job.

I would end up on the Massachusetts Turnpike for no reason (and in turn have to pay tolls), driving in circles to find a hard-t0-spot road, or in a random town south of the city.

The worst was at night. Trying to find a particular street sign in the dark while not even having a vague idea of where it might be was no fun. And it certainly wasn’t fun for those driving behind me.

Anyway, things changed when that year I got a GPS for Christmas.

While sometimes it doesn’t give me the best directions (e.g. when it gave me roundabout directions for getting to a particular Baltimore neighborhood that included driving through a slum where I saw men carrying weapons), it always somehow gets me to where I need to be.

The other indispensable item in my life, the daily planner, is something I’ve used for years. In high school and part of college I always bought a Winnie-the-Pooh-themed planner (Staples carried new designs each year). I loved the planner’s relatively small size, its durable yet flexible front and back cover pages, and the generous amount of space it provided for each day of the week.


There was a time I wanted to spend the rest of my life in France

February 22, 2010

Me in southern France

There was a time when I was pretty sure I was going to spend the rest of my life in France.

I was largely drawn there for personal reasons, but I also thought I liked life better over there.

My first year over there was sublime– definitely the most stimulating year of my life thus far. Every day was an adventure. What new words would I learn, what new foods would I try, what new people would I meet? What new fashions would I see, what new cities would I visit, what new philosophies would I encounter?

Friday nights I played bridge with elderly French women. Every day I biked several miles to and from my university past palm trees, fountains, and the smell of freshly made baguettes. My host mom made food I had never heard of, but that melted so deliciously in my mouth.

I went on dates, took salsa dancing lessons, and read poems by Paul Verlaine and Charles Baudelaire.

I remember my first time feeling truly comfortable speaking French. I was on a train home from meeting up with my good friend Michelle in Venice. I began speaking with a 40-something-year-old man sitting across from me about I don’t even know what. (more…)

Refuse, refuse, refuse (so you can get what you want)

February 19, 2010

I recently came across this quote:

“Remember that in giving any reason at all for refusing, you lay some foundation for a future request.”

It is from Arthur Helps’ 1890 book “Essays Written in the Intervals of Business,” a sort of self help book of its time.

This statement really spoke to me. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that saying “no” is key to getting what you want and need.

It took some time to realize this, though. When I was young, I wanted to please everyone. I would join a club because friends were doing so, go out with someone because he liked me, or accept every babysitting job because it felt like the right thing to do.

Maybe a lot of young people are this way.

As the years went by, I realized I was doing things for others and not for me. And the thing is, I don’t know that saying “yes” all the time actually benefited others.

I mean, on the surface it may have. But I think eventually this behavior hurt people. When I realized I was in a relationship or job that actually wasn’t right for me, I ended things abruptly.

While it’s good I was honest about how I felt, I wasted some people’s time in the process. They would have wanted someone around who was committed to the relationship or project at hand. (more…)