A Plea for Logic

I’ve got a lot of frustration & angst coursing through my veins right now, so I will forewarn you that today’s post will not be the most optimistic or warm & fuzzy thing you’ll read today.  Nor will it be particularly organized or coherent (at least at times).  But I do promise that it will be inspirational; it’s just that inspiration sometimes has to come in the form of a swift kick in the rear.frustration 1

In case you should find yourself becoming offended at any point while reading this post, please remember the following things:

  1. These are just my opinions, & no one is under any obligation to agree with me.
  2. I write these posts as much to myself as to anyone else.
  3. I really do care about people, & my goal is to inspire others to achieve their fullest potential in life, but I’m slowly becoming more & more aware of the fact that doing so sometimes means being very blunt & risking offending a few folks.

Anyhow, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts & hearing a lot of things lately that just grind my gears to no end.  Everywhere I look I feel like the world is running completely counter to what is logical & sane (at least in my mind).  I like to think of myself as someone who is capable of balancing both logic & emotion to live a fulfilling & enjoyable life; that is certainly one of my greatest goals in life which I seek to pursue daily.  While I learned long ago to stop expecting the world around me to be logical, it still irks me to see how completely illogical so many folks are in our world today.  To be fair, I seriously doubt society in general is any more illogical now than it ever was, but all I know is the world as it is now, so that’s all I can truly address at this time.

logic cartoon

Anyhow, here are some of the things that have been particularly irksome to me lately:

  • College students begging for/demanding free education
    • Ok, I’ll be the first to admit that college tuition has risen drastically in the past few years & is clearly out of control. However, expecting college education to be free is just ludicrous.  Unless you want to pay well over 50% of your income in taxes, expecting to pay zero tuition is just absurd.  There is no such thing as free healthcare or free education anyway.  It’s all paid for in taxes.  Duh!  Is it fair that so many college graduates end up in loads of debt that they can’t afford to pay off because they can’t find a job that pays more than minimum wage?    No!  But life’s not fair, & no one forced you to get that liberal arts degree that you should have known from day one wasn’t worth the paper on which it was printed.  Sorry.  This isn’t the 1950s anymore.  I know when we were kids we were told we’d be sold for life if we just got a college degree, regardless of what the degree was.  That was a lie.  It might have been true 40 or 50 years ago, but it isn’t true now & really hasn’t been for quite some time.  If you aren’t willing to put in the extra years in school to get an advanced degree that actually makes your undergrad years useful, then don’t even bother getting some kind of worthless psych or sociology or women’s studies degree.  Just go to technical school & learn a trade that allows you to actually have a decent career & won’t land you in loads of debt for the rest of your life.  You’ll be far better off in the long run.  Another great way to avoid massive student debt is to work your butt off so you can get a scholarship(s).  You can also strategically apply to schools to which you know you’ll be an outstanding candidate which further increases your odds of obtaining a scholarship.  (P.S. That’s exactly what I did, & it worked.)nothing is free
  • People who either demonize all police officers or worship them all as heroes
    • I don’t see why it’s so difficult to admit that there are plenty of good police officers while there are also plenty of corrupt ones. I think it’s pretty obvious that we do have a problem with police brutality in this country, much of which is directed at minorities.  However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to treat every cop I meet as if he’s some deranged psycho.  Why is it so difficult for people to understand that you can support justice by demanding that police officers be held responsible for the actions they take & prosecuted if they truly act outside the lines of duty without hating all police officers everywhere?  This isn’t a black or white issue, guys.  We need to take each case on a case by case basis, rather than making blanket judgments about all cops everywhere based on one or two sensational cases that wind up in the news.police brutality
  • Our society’s continued acceptance & even promotion of obesity
    • As a nurse I’m continually confronted with the horrible health consequences of obesity, from diabetes to heart disease & so much more, so this is a subject that has a lot of personal value to me. Once again, I don’t see why it’s so difficult for people to understand that I can speak out against obesity without hating or being rude to all obese people I meet.  Would I ever treat an obese patient as somehow less than human just because of their obesity?  Absolutely not.  That should go without saying.  But does that mean I have to support the continued acceptance & even promotion of obesity within our society?  Absolutely not.  While I’ll gladly admit that the average fashion model is scarily skinny & likely unhealthy because of that, I don’t think that means we need to swing the pendulum the other way & demand that current models be replaced with truly plus size models who are easily 50-100 lbs overweight.  I don’t know why moderation is such a difficult concept for Americans (& people in general) to grasp.  To me it seems obvious that men & women can be healthy at various sizes, & some folks are going to be naturally a bit skinnier while others are naturally a bit plumper.  But it all has to be WITHIN REASON.  Trust me, I’m not some paragon of fitness virtue.  I recently got my body fat tested, & it was 26.9%.  That places me squarely within the healthy range for a woman my age, but my goal is to get down to 22%-25% so that I can be even healthier.  I’ve lost 3.5 inches off my waist since August, & my goal is to lose 1-2 more inches in the next few months.  I’m not perfect, but I do hold myself to certain standards, & I take action when I see that I’ve gained a few pounds/inches & don’t look or feel as good as I’d like.  What no one wants to talk about is that no one has ever become obese overnight.  No one has ever gained 50 lbs while they slept!  These things happen gradually.  And, yes, I know that is why some people say it’s so easy not to notice, but that has never made sense to me.  No one goes from a size 8 to a size 14 overnight.  When your clothes get tight or no longer fit & you have to buy new ones, how do you not notice that?  It is always possible that I am just an asshole, but those who know me in real life can attest that my actions speak otherwise . . . My point is I’m really not trying to make anyone feel bad about themselves here.  I’m just trying to be a voice of reason in a world that seems to have lost all sense of logic.  The truth is I really do care about people, & when I see how many of us are quite literally killing ourselves with obesity, I cannot be silent about that.  I want people to be healthy & happy & feel good about themselves.  I certainly don’t expect everyone to be a size 2 or a size 6 or to look like a VS model.  I’m not any of those things myself.  But when I see that 2/3 of Americans are overweight & 1/3 are obese, I know that this is a problem I/we cannot just ignore.

      Graph showing world obesity rates by country.

      We’re lying to ourselves if we say we don’t have a problem.

  • People who stereotype all Muslims as terrorists
    • Since I’m being blunt today, I’ll just say it exactly how I see it. ISIS sucks.  They are a true personification of evil.  HOWEVER, just because a small group of radical Muslims has acted in such astoundingly inhumane ways does not mean that all Muslims everywhere are terrorists or potential terrorists.  Throughout history, horrible injustices have been carried out in the name of every major religion.  Fundamentalists & radicals of all religions can become dangerous terrorists.  It just so happens that at this point in history a lot of them are Islamic.  A thousand years ago, it was a different story.  And a thousand years from now (if we haven’t all killed each other off), it will once again probably be a different story.  The point is we need to stop making assumptions about people based solely on race or religion or any such factor.  As I said earlier about police officers, we need to take each individual on a case by case basis.  I don’t know why that is so hard for some folks to grasp.terrorism
  • People who refuse to accept the consequences of their actions
    • I think this is the bottom line of what really annoys me about so much of modern society. So many people refuse to accept the consequences of their actions.  I know it sucks to admit that you might be to blame for certain bad things that have happened in your life (not all bad things because obviously some things are beyond anyone’s control), but until you accept that, you’re not going to have the power to overcome the obstacles you face.  You’ll constantly be stuck playing the victim.  As one of my favorite high school teachers said, “Life’s not fair.  I’m not nice.  Get used to it.”  It sounds harsh, but it’s true.  Life ISN’T fair.  But there’s nothing to be gained by harping about it forever & ever.  This absolutely does not mean we should not work to repair some of the injustices in the world.  Of course not.  But if there is anything I hope to teach my future children, it’s this: you alone are ultimately responsible for the actions you take & thus you must accept any & all consequences of those actions.  If you have unprotected sex, you might get pregnant or contract an STI.  If you do poorly in school, you won’t get accepted to college.  If you choose a worthless major, you probably won’t get a good job out of college & you’ll end up in debt up to your eyeballs.  If you drink & drive, you might get a DUI & worse yet you might injure or kill yourself or others.  If you try cocaine or heroin or any other such drugs, you will probably get addicted & run your life into the ground.  If you choose to hang out with people who have no life goals & generally make bad decisions, you’ll probably end up doing the same crappy things with your life; you’ll still be responsible for those choices, but both positive & negative influences are real & should not be ignored.  The list goes on & on, but I think you get the point.choices

If there’s anything I hope to convey in this post it’s this: stop blaming others for the mistakes you’ve made or for the bad things that have happened in your life.  Own up to your failures & realize the power that lies within you to improve your own life.  To be clear, there’s nothing to be gained in self-flagellation, for none of is perfect & we’ve all had our fair share of screw-ups.  But until we accept that each of us is ultimately responsible for our own lives, we’ll be forever stuck in the cycle of victimhood & we’ll never reach our full potential.  It’s scary to realize how much power we have over our own lives, but it’s also invigorating & exciting & the best thing any of us can ever do for ourselves.lamb of god

I’ll end this post with a link to a song I found last night that helped inspire this post.  My husband is a big fan of the Richmond, VA-based metal band lamb of god.  Thanks to my husband playing their albums over & over in the car, I’ve slowly started to like some of their music as well.  When I came across this song last night, the lyrics struck such a chord that I felt I must share it with y’all today.  Listen, enjoy, & be inspired.

In case heavy metal isn’t your thing, I’ll share my favorite lyrics below which are spoken towards the end of the song:

“Now is the moment when everything can change

You are completely responsible for your own life

And no one is coming to save you from yourself

So stop blaming your problems on any & everything else

It does not matter one tiny f—ing bit

How unfair you think the world is

It’s only what you do right here, right now,

Right this f—ing instant that matters

It’s your choice to sink or swim”randy blythe prison

(Just for some background, Randy Blythe, the vocalist & lyricist of lamb of god, spent over thirty days in prison in the Czech Republic in 2012 for a crime for which he was eventually found innocent & acquitted.  Despite knowing that he could face up to 10 years in prison, he chose to return to that country to stand trial because he felt that it was his responsibility to do so.  He has also overcome a long history of severe alcoholism.  The point is this is a man who definitely has the right to say these words to us because he has lived them out over & over again.)


10 Reasons Why Growing Up Doesn’t Actually Suck

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that our modern society values youth very highly.  Turn on the TV or flip through any magazine & you will be greeted with a veritable host of ads showcasing products that proclaim they can “erase wrinkles,” “cover up greys,” or “give you the energy of youth,” etc, etc.  In the media we are constantly assaulted with pictures of young hot celebrities & on a more day-to-day level we inevitably hear people making comments about how much getting old & growing up sucks.  Since graduating from college I have even noticed a difference in the things I see on Facebook.  I now see a lot of statuses about how much “real life” sucks & there seems to be a ridiculous amount of nostalgia going around for the innocence & simplicity of childhood.  Now I for one spent a great deal of my childhood & adolescence pining for adulthood & the freedoms it would bring.  Perhaps in some ways it’s sad that I didn’t just enjoy my life to the fullest at those stages as I suppose most kids/teens do.  But I have to say that even though being an adult is hard, I for one am not disappointed at all.  I am happier now than I’ve ever been.  One of my greatest goals in life is to always retain the energy & vibrancy of youth while balancing this with the wisdom & serenity of getting older.  So today I thought I’d compile a list of reasons why growing up doesn’t actually suck.  In truth there are a lot of things I LOVE about getting older & I think our society could certainly use a reminder of these things from time to time, so here we go:

growing up

  1. Growing up means no longer having to obsess over every facet of your appearance.  I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but when I was a teenager I spent entirely too much time worrying about every tiny bit of my appearance.  If even one hair was out of line, I was sure I looked horrible & that everyone was secretly laughing at me.  Though I’ve never been the type to really follow fashion trends, I still felt the need to be as “in style” as possible.  Well, one of the great things about getting older is the ability to just not give a crap about such things.  And to know that you are better off because of it.  I don’t mean that I don’t care about looking my best; I certainly do.  But if I have a “bad hair day” or a day when my acne is acting up & making my face look like a teenager’s all over again, I have the maturity to know that this too shall pass.  I also know that if anyone thinks less of me for not wearing the trendiest clothes or not having perfect skin or anything superficial like that, then those people aren’t worth worrying about anyway.  I’m far from the confident person I hope to be someday but I’ve also come a long way from the girl I used to be, & I’m proud of that.
  2. Growing up means realizing that your mom was right when she said it was more important to be respected than to be liked.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m a born people-pleaser.  It just comes naturally to me to want to make others happy & to be well-liked by everyone.  But I have learned to temper that when necessary because I have discovered that it truly is impossible to please everyone all the time.  And that’s ok.  It’s just life.
  3. Stemming from the last point, getting older means having the courage to say no to people who are just trying to use you to their own advantage.  It means having enough self-respect to not waste your valuable time on people who don’t actually care about you.  Getting older means realizing that your worth is not diminished by those who do not recognize or appreciate you.  This gives you the confidence to say no to those who do not actually have your best interests at heart.
  4. Getting older means not having to panic every time something doesn’t go “your way.”  It means realizing that just because you’ve had a bad day or even a bad week, month, or year, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to have a bad life.  And getting older means realizing that your attitude is the greatest determinant in your own happiness.  (This is both scary & enlightening.  I could write a whole blog post on this subject & I probably will soon.)
  5. Getting older means learning how to agree to disagree.  It means building friendships with people who are vastly different from you & instead of trying to “convert” them you are content to learn from each other & use your differences to build a stronger relationship.
  6. Getting older means independence.  Ah, what a glorious word!  This is what I longed for so much as a child.  I know most people end up regretting such longings because they say the price of freedom is too great.  But I disagree.  I think if you make good decisions in life, you will set yourself up for success & you’ll be able to reap the rewards of independence to the fullest.  I love that as an adult I can choose my career, my spouse, where I live, what house to buy, what to wear, who to be friends with, where to go to school, what to eat, basically everything!
  7. Growing up means realizing that there is no one right way for everyone in life.  There’s nothing more freeing than understanding that there is no exact prescription for success that every person must follow.  Growing up means having the freedom to make mistakes & learn from them.
  8. Growing up means realizing that sometimes life sucks.  It means looking evil in the face & realizing that this world is a cold & scary place.  (That wasn’t supposed to rhyme…)  I know this must seem like a bad thing.  And it’s this loss of innocence that so many people mourn so greatly.  But I’ve never understood why people celebrate innocence so much.  It’s nothing more than an illusion.  For of what value is happiness if it’s based on something that is fake?  To me that’s what “innocence” is.  It’s the happiness that comes from not realizing how bad the world can really be.  I think the happiness we can experience as adults is all the greater because we have had to see so many of the dark sides of life too.  Which is of greater value: the happiness of a child who does not yet understand the world or the happiness of an adult who has looked into the pit of hell, faced the monsters of the world, & come out alive?  Maybe I was a weird child (ok, who am I kidding, I was DEFINITELY a weird child for a number of reasons), but I don’t ever remember feeling the type of blissfully ignorant happiness that people always talk about children experiencing.  In any case, I believe the happiness & love we can experience as adults is all the greater because it’s a real choice.  We have chosen to seek joy even though we have seen that life is often cruel & unfair.  We have chosen to seek peace even though we know that life can be violent to even the meekest of us.  This thought process requires a bit of mental gymnastics at times but I truly believe I am happier now than I’ve ever been.  Yes, I have days when I look at the world & feel like there’s no hope.  But those days aren’t the norm & when they do happen I have the wisdom to know those feelings will pass.  Whew, that was a deep one.
  9. Growing up means realizing that the journey is as important as the destination.  It means understanding that life is short & we truly must live every day like it’s our last, as cliché as that may be.
  10. Getting older means realizing that just because your life isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it isn’t great.  It’s so easy to look in the mirror & think “I’d be so much prettier if my nose were just a little straighter” or “I’d be so much happier if I could afford that fancy car I’ve always wanted” or any number of such things.  It’s so easy to compare yourself to your friends, coworkers, or even celebrities & feel like your life just doesn’t measure up.  But growing up means realizing that everyone’s life isn’t measured against the same yardstick.  We all have our own meter for success & happiness & that’s the only one that really matters.

 As an addendum, if anyone wants to help me create better titles for my blog posts, that would be awesome.  I like to think I’m a pretty decent writer but when it comes to creating titles for papers, essays, poems, or blog posts, I’m always at a loss, as you can clearly see by the super clever title of this post.  😉