I now relate my new-found spontaneity to my optimistic qualities. Life is short, and some opportunities only come knocking once. Circumstances change, and internal debates make us doubt. That is where a heavy dose of optimism comes into to play and hopefully stay. My optimism probably stems from the life I have had so far. It has been good, and while there have been some downer points, life has been peachy.
We all know some negative Nellies and pessimistic Patties, and if you do not know them, you may be them. These are the people who are always needing a pep talk and assurance that something is good enough. I have given my fair share of these, but I have been on the receiving end of them too. It just depends on the day I guess. It sometimes seems like my friends and I take turns having a pity party every once in a while. We are allowed to have those times when we worry and get stuck in our thoughts, but to stay like that and to be known as that person; this is when looking on the bright side needs to be our new perspective.
At times, I have been informed that my optimism can come across as presumptuous. I can see where the two can look similar, but the intentions behind my actions have optimism written all over them. I look for the good in every outcome and roll with the punches as they come. This is when my spontaneous attributes can be a blessing and a curse. I will not go so far in saying I am impulsive but let me just say when I know what I want, I know what I want.
I think it easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that having optimism is like living with your head in the clouds and overreaching for the unattainable. It is safe to say that not all optimism is like that. A person can hope for the ideal life and still be realistic about it. My world would be bleak and gloomy if I did not have the opportunity to see the sparkle or color in the smallest of things compared to the darkness on a large scale. My optimism is what pushes me to step out and follow my dreams. Some of them work out, and others have turned out being better played out in my head. But that is okay. Not everything has to end up the way we want it to, but having a positive outlook goes a long way in life.
I chase after the hopes and dreams of my heart. Even when things go awry, I find even an ounce of something positive in the process or outcome. That is what optimism is to me, and I think being anything but optimistic would do me a great disservice. I do not go around acting like life is a bed of roses because even roses have thorns, but to dwell on everything with negativity slashes the chances of having a fewer worries and doubts.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2018
I will not say I am a hoarder by no means, but I do have some pack-rat tendencies. Getting rid of stuff is hard to do. Whenever there is a sentimental value, letting go of a childhood memory or important item can be a struggle for me. Okay, I will admit, I even have a hard time throwing out ink pens because there may be that slight chance it has one more drop left in it. We all have quirks. This one is mine.
I watch more home and garden shows than I will ever admit to. I am always amazed by the people who are on their quest for tiny living and minimalism. These people who request for the smallest possible livable space makes we wonder how many pairs of shoes they really have because if we were going based on my collection, I would need a little more room. Economically, I think they are onto something, but I just do not know how they do it.
By the end of the summer, I will be stepping out and trying my hand at apartment life. I am still living in my childhood home with my parents and have twenty-two years’ worth of things in the nooks and crannies. Between moving out and needing to go through all of that, I realize the clutter is part of a mind game. It is easier to live with less stuff to be able to spend less time being a slave to housework and more time in my studies and having a little fun on the side.
A conscious effort has been put forth on my part to evaluate the need and use of stuff. Do I need to keep certain clothes just because I wore them one time to a certain event? Do I need to keep stacks and stacks of partially used notebooks? Can I live without this? Will I ever use that? Or my favorite, when did I even buy those?
In my transition between tidying up the room I grew up in and moving into an apartment, I am trying to adopt a tiny living approach. There are only so many places to put things in two closets when I am used to four. Having clutter all around can be a hindrance on thinking clearly and productivity. Clean living and clear thinking go hand-in-hand and let us be real for a second, I am going to need all of the brain power I can get in grad school. So, if I expect to live uncluttered in all areas of life, it starts with freeing up space.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2018
I have been to faraway places and stood in museums that are home to some of the most iconic pieces of art. I was in awe of how masterful colors and brushstrokes came together on canvas to tell a story. From my hometown favorite at the Toledo Art Museum to the Rijks in Amsterdam to the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City, it has been inspiring to see decades-worth and varying styles of art.
In a modern world, art has taken on a different meaning. While there are still great artists and world-famous paintings, ordinary people now have their chance to be contributors. For the longest time, I did not consider myself a creative person or very artistic for that matter. (My days of 4-H proved to be challenging.) I figured that just was not my destined skill in life. Being a good student was going to be as good as it got. My parents both had artistic streaks. Creating something from a pile of fabric is what my mom is good at, and my dad can paint just about anything on anything. I wonder where those genes got lost.
I cannot pinpoint the day of having the epiphany. I realized people’s creativity did not have to fit the typical mold of excelling at arts and crafts or someone’s ability to draw. Being an artist can mean those things, but I am challenging the limitations we put on the parameters of what it means to be an artist.
Maybe my epiphany was not an epiphany after all. It was more of a gradual shift in thinking. I grew into the role of being an artist. My art is not colorful by traditional visual means, nor is it archived in a museum. A pen and paper are my supplies, life experiences are my inspiration, and vocabulary provides my color. I concluded that any means to release self-expression is an artform and is worthy of treating it as such.
Everyone needs a creative outlet. I struggled pinpointing mine because I did not think writing was artsy enough to constitute, but the more I searched, the more I gravitated to writing. It grabbed hold of me, and I could not deny my soul the chance to pour onto a page. A therapeutic feeling washes over me and even on the most stressful days, going to my creative space to write is so calming.
We all have something deep within us that is waiting to be expressed creatively, however we may choose. Each person on this planet looks and acts differently, so that lends itself to accepting that our creativity will too. The sooner we accept that, the better because finding our artform depends on it.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2018
We live in a visual world. Everything needs to look good and be appealing. Unrealistic expectations are put on people to look and act a certain way. Materialistic things matter more to some people than the priceless things we have in life. Life is too short to collect material items when memories and time spent with people mean more, or they should.
Looking in a mirror can serve us a useful purpose, you know, so we do not go out of the house looking like we got dressed in the dark. But, on the flipside to that, it can also be our worst enemy. The reflection can give us false information and bring a dose of self-doubt to our minds.
Keeping up with whoever the Joneses are has created an upheaval in society and encouraged competition between us to be something we are not. Sure, we all like to have nice things, but there has to be limit to that. I love a good clothing sale as good as the next person and have no shame in only spending a fraction compared to what it could have been at full retail price.
I have to reflect on my own tendencies here too. Now that I am not on a strict schedule and my responsibilities do not require business attire, days go by without wearing makeup or doing much with my hair. If I am really honest, there are days where I shower, bypass picking out an outfit, and just swap out for clean pajamas. I am myself regardless of how my appearance is, but I think some people use makeup and designer clothes to transform themselves to fit the mold.
There is nothing wrong getting all gussied up. It just needs to be for the right reasons. Are we doing it because we do not like what we see in the mirror, and the world will not accept us without it? Or are we doing this for ourselves and because it is what we want to do over needing to do it to feel comfortable in our own skin? We should only do those vanity things for the latter. If we are told we have to do something to make our appearance better, whoever is saying that is not worth our time. No one needs that negativity in their life.
When we look in the mirror, we should see nothing else than our genuine self. The reflection should radiate who we are and not what the world thinks we should be. The world is not our mirror.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2018
I am blown away (and not in a good way) by the hatred and belittling taking place in this country right now. It is gob-smacking that people are choosing to ignore the contradictions. My worldview may be vastly different from others, but I am taking my stance with Dr. Seuss in that “a person is a person no matter how small.”
Have we forgotten that America is the home of immigrants? Just recently, I ordered a DNA kit, spit in a vile, mailed it to a lab, and received a glimpse into my ancestral build. It was no shock that it said I was not 100% blood American, because (news flash), there are only a few people who can claim that. My results did share that I am primarily German and Irish. Some time long ago, my family members, whom I have obviously never met or even really heard about, made the journey to a faraway place to eventually call and secure a home for generations to come.
During this Fourth of July and politically charged season, I am once again reflective on the roots of this country and my place in it. Imagine what it could have been like being born into a different country or era of time. Just because some of us were fortunate enough to be born a citizen of the United States of America, it does not warrant us a sense of entitlement.
Quite the opposite should happen. Ellis Island welcomed foreign speakers and people who risked it all to have something better. The same thing is happening still today, but the ports of entry look different. Welcoming arms are not there to greet people as they cross the threshold to a new life. Entitlement is the very obstacle that is showing its ugly face and getting in the way of seeing that people just like our ancestors are knocking at the chance of safety and opportunity.
I try not to get political and try to keep an objective perspective, but at this point in history and its future impact, I cannot morally remain silent. I have no idea what made my family immigrate from Ireland or Germany. I can only speculate that some sort of turmoil struck, and they left everything to have a better life maybe elsewhere. People came in droves then with no formal paperwork and resettled wherever they wanted to. Now, people are still coming. They may be coming from new places compared to the countries my family and your family came from, but we were welcomed, and I believe we should be welcoming to others.
Until you see the fear in another person’s eyes, there is no understanding of the need for entry. I have sat around many tables and shared meals with people who under current conditions would not be allowed here. They were the fortunate ones to make it before the lockdown was set in place. I felt a connection to each of them. Sure, I did not understand every spoken word or remotely recognize what food I was eating, but I did not have to to know they belonged. There was a mutual respect that we shared. I respected the courage and their will to make a better life for them and their families, and they respected me because I acknowledged them for the people they are and welcomed them with open arms. I was as safe with them as I would have been with my own family.
There is more to the story. The debate will continue to have the floor. It will rage on as a point of contention between both sides of the aisle. I cannot stand back and watch this play out with hatred fueling the fire. I do not condone people taking advantage of a religious agenda and using the Bible to condemn when if it were read in its entirety, it would go on to tell about loving our neighbors and feeding the hungry. So, I guess playing the holier than thou card goes both ways if that is someone’s argument.
Lady Liberty has stood tall and become an emblem for this country. Our freedoms were fought for and won. Hoarding freedom with greedy hearts is hurting this country and everything this country has ever stood for. While I am thankful for my citizenship in the great States of America, I am disappointed that the doors that opened to safety and opportunity for my family have been boarded up restricting entry for others. We can do better; we must be better. Hatred and greed have dimmed the torch that once shown so bright. My hope for the future is that the torch which is held by our Lady Liberty returns to be a welcoming beacon of light.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2018