Living Anew

I have just started living. Every moment I catch myself with a renewed sense of wonder. I want to continue catching myself all of my days.

Brief recap on end of December and beginning of January:

2011 has begun. The holidays have come and gone and provided much time for reflection and contemplation. It’s good to let things settle in the mind before swirling them up again.

Finals ended, for the most part, well. I came home to Jupiter Florida and traveled with my family to St. Augustine Florida where we spent Christmas in a small cottage a block from the historic district. The cottage itself was quaint, two bedrooms, a fire place, a christmas tree, a small bar and kitchen. It was definitely a dated home. There was a bed and breakfast adjacent to the cottage where we indulged in home made breakfast every morning. It was great. I felt spoiled this year. I am blessed.

St. Augustine is a great little town chocked full of interesting things to do and see.  It was founded in 1565 by the Spanish and is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United States. Cool little fact.

After Christmas I swung back into Jupiter and had the opportunity to spend new years with a lot of my old friends, which was nice. I went out a good deal. Drank a lot. It was good.  New years was great. I need to call some people and thank them for hanging out with me and showing me such a good time.

On January 1st, the afternoon of new years day, I got in my car with my sister and continuously traveled fourteen hours back to Nashville to convene with my Alternative Winter Break group. I arrived at 8:30, packed my bags, and met up with all twelve of them at 10:00am. The next eight hours I slept until I arrived in Natchez Mississippi.

I believe in volunteer work. I believe in giving yourself freely to people. Sharing yourself is so important. If we don’t give, we become too attached- to our time, to our things, to our money. You are not free if you cannot part with things and become attached. The more things you own, the more those things own you. Anyway.

In Natchez we woke at 830am and began work at the Sunshine Shelter, a place for children of abuse to reside between foster homes and what not. Its a safe haven where rehabilitation can begin taking place. We painted walls, cleaned up the yard and garden, did repairs, and talked with some of the children and teens there. It was extremely rewarding. As anyone can imagine, the shelter wasn’t exactly the finest of facilities. Most shelters and places like this struggle with funding and maintenance. They barely get by with state support. Yet, they place such a crucial role for rehabilitating victims within a community.

Anyway. We also worked at the Boys and Girls Club and Kyle’s House by painting and doing repairs. Kyle’s House was a day care facility for toddlers and children with special needs such as downs syndrome and cerebral palsy. It was a wonderful experience seeing those children and knowing that laying tile, applying fresh paint to grimy walls, and cleaning the yard was making a direct impact on their lives.

Natchez was a great little town with a ton of history. The weather hovered in the mid to upper sixties throughout the entirety of the week so we did a great deal of exploring the historic and more picturesque landscapes of the town.

The twelve students comprising the site were a phenomenal group. I don’t think I could have asked for a more dynamic, funny, and caring group. It was amazing how close we all became by the end of the trip. I sincerely hope we keep in touch throughout our time at Vandy. They are all incredible people, and brilliant in each their own way. Big things in their future.

One of the best aspects of the AWB trip is the relationships that are made within the group. This is facilitated by the life maps which are shared each night. A life map is the story of your life, from birth until present, that details every conceivable detail and event that have shaped you and the world view you have today. It offers a unique glimpse into the inner workings of your mind in a way that not many people have the priviledge of hearing despite how close they seem. The life map takes anywhere from one to two hours, but some last even longer. They are surprisingly emotional and usually deeply moving as you implore your depths and share the findings with this group of strangers. The vulnerability is exactly what brings the group together in such a unique way.

Although its not exactly realistic, I almost wish that life maps were a standard convention of our culture. It’d be cool to share your life story with every new acquaintance. We’d have such a greater appreciation for those around us. It really shows that appearances are deceiving and that we should always withhold superficial judgements about people until we hear their story and walk in their shoes.

Anyway.

Classes begin on Wednesday. I will be taking the following classes this semester, and I can barely wait!:

  • Philosophy of Knowledge (Epistemology)
  • Philosophy and the Natural Sciences
  • Philosophy of Psychology (Advanced Philosophy of Mind)
  • Existential Philosophy
  • Modern Philosophy
  • History of Economic Thought

Eighteen credits right there, and worth every one. I decided that I like school, and that I want it bad enough. That I am done being inactive. I need to be busy. Beyond busy.

History of Economic Thought is the only economics class I’ll be taking this semester. It deals with  the evolution of economic ideas from the ancient Greeks to the contemporary world with attention to the seminal thoughts of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, J. S. Mill, Alfred Marshall, and J. M. Keynes.

I’m not exactly keen on resolutions, but I do like renewing commitments and redefining goals according to priorities. These include:

  • Eat better
  • Work out 4 days a week
  • Lose fat/ gain muscle
  • Be positive and optimistic
  • Smile more
  • Promptly answer phone calls and return messages
  • Budget my money/ spend less!
  • Read more! Diversify!
  • Schedule time efficiently
  • 4.0 GPA -> Study: 1 hour in class=2 hours outside of class
  • Eliminate distractions!-> no procrastination!
  • Develop “Do it now!” philosophy of action
  • Blog minimum of one page per week.
  • Finish book additions, revisions.
  • Wake up/ go to bed early: Never sleep in or stay up late!
  • No more drinking (Can I? Yes. Should I? Hm…)
  • No smoking
  • Look at goals daily
  • Create a purpose: long term, mid and short term.
  • Stay organized and clean

These are just a handful, but extremely important nonetheless. I’ve thought or struggled with one of these recently and need to make a point to stick to it. Anyway. Sleepy. More thoughts tomorrow.

“When you want something bad enough, you make the time – regardless of your other obligations. The truth is most people just don’t want it enough. Then they protect their ego with the excuse of time.” – Rework

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