Running and Chasing

Whenever I get into my over-analytical, over-philosophical, over-exaggerated mindset of trying to find the meaning of life, I always somehow relate everything to running. I’ve always attributed my reasons for running to the problems that I’m usually running away from. To me, running is just one big metaphor for life. Whether it be figurative or literal, I’m always running to or from something or someone.

I’m inside my head a lot. I tend to constantly read too much into things and repeatedly go over it in my mind. Whenever I find it too overwhelming being inside my head, I run. I run because it’s the only thing that can suppress my thoughts. At first, when I start to run, a million thoughts are also running inside my head. Eventually, my thoughts dissipate and my mind goes blank. Then, I’m at peace.

I wish it was that easy for me to be at peace without having to physically go for a run.

I’ve been running for my entire life. I should really say chasing.

Ever since I was young, I’ve always been impatient. I still am. I’ve always wanted things to happen right away. I’ve always wanted fast results. I guess that’s what drew me to running. The concept of time and being in control of your time.

I’ve always chased after the things I wanted because I figured that if you wanted something bad enough, you have to go after it yourself. Having that mindset has definitely helped my success in life. Being a “go-getter” is typically a good thing. However, my Mother always told me that I need to learn patience. As I’m getting older, I’ve found that to be more and more true.

There are some things that you can’t chase after. There are some things that you can’t control. There are some things that just come in time. This is a concept that has been difficult for me to wrap my head around because I’ve always attained the things I wanted by going after it. However, some of the things worth having come to you by being patient.

I don’t know how or when it’s going to happen, but I need to learn to stop running so much. And when I say running, I mean it figuratively. I need to stop chasing after the things that can’t be chased.

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The Science of Success

It may be ridiculous to say, but I’ve been inspired by a book that I haven’t even read yet. I’ve been intending on reading “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell ever since I first picked it up at the Barnes & Noble store where I worked while I was in college.

When I read the back of the book, I was instantly fascinated and intrigued to learn about the science of success. Is there a methodology? A pattern? Or just pure dumb luck and timing? Without ever having read the book, I can only hope that my theories align with that of Malcolm Gladwell’s.

Based on personal experience, I can proclaim the theory that the science of success is based on a compilation of factors that include Methodology, Pattern, and timing. Here is why:

Below, I provide you with a breakdown of the series of events that caused the interpretation of my own success.

I.) Methodology –

I’m a firm believer in destiny. However, I also believe that destiny is determined by our actions and the decisions that we make on a daily basis. Essentially, we are in control of our own destiny. Similar to the movie, “Back to the Future”, I think that alternate lives can be created depending solely on a single choice or occurrence. Our approach to the methodology in our daily lives such as the courses that we take in college going all the way back to our decision between playing a sport or playing an instrument determines the kind of life we’ll lead. Of course, this is not set in stone, but it sure does map out some sort of direction.

In all honesty, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I first entered college. I didn’t even figure it out until the very end of my sophomore year, in which case, I still had to apply to get into my major.

My methodology?

First, I asked myself, “What do I like?”

What do I care enough about to the point where I’d voluntarily sit through numerous days of hour long classes and actually enjoy it? What have I been doing with my life up until this day?

At first, my answers seemed silly to me.

It was simple. I liked to run. I liked to write. I liked showcasing my love for these things. I wanted to be in an environment that supported my love for these things.

I chose Exercise Science, concentrated in Sport Management, because I could be in a field where I was able to be involved in the realm of Sports and Exercise, without actively participating as an athlete. I wanted to be behind the scenes.

Entering my Senior year, I knew that I was required to apply for an internship in order to graduate.

Similar to when I first entered college, I had no idea where I wanted to intern when I reached my Senior year of college. I didn’t even find an internship until after the deadline had already passed. Fortunately, thanks to good timing (which I’ll discuss in my third point) I found one that suited me perfectly.

Pattern, though, was the other factor that aided me a great deal towards landing the job that I currently have job.

II.) Pattern –

Pattern, or routine, is necessary in ensuring that you are on the right track. After all, practice makes perfect (as long as your practicing correctly)

In many previous posts, I’ve discussed how time management and the ability to balance the many areas of my life was a very significant skill set that I learned. Being able to maintain a daily pattern in my schedule helped me stay focused.

I juggled between part-time work, full-time school, a boyfriend, a social life, and relaxation time all throughout college. Figuring out a way to incorporate all of these things into my life without completely losing my mind wasn’t an easy task. Fortunately, I was able to develop a routine and stick to it.

I devoted certain hours of the day and certain days to schoolwork, my part-time job, spending time with my boyfriend, my friends, and myself.

Once that foundation was established, it was easy for me to go about my days without being stressed out all the time.

It’s imperative that one establishes some basis of routine or structure. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for spontaneity and randomness, however, spontaneity and randomness in excess leads to chaos. And chaos leads to destruction. We need to be in control of our lives, but still be open to the idea that life throws curveballs at us.

Some like to call those curveballs “conflicts” or “struggles”, but I like to call them life lessons. And we need to take those life lessons and learn from them in order to grow. Life is all about timing. Everything happens in our lives as it should. As the saying goes, “God never gives us more than we can handle” (or something along those lines)

Anyways, this brings me to my third and last point, timing.

III.) Timing –

Have you ever been somewhere at exactly the right place or time? Well, this happens to me a lot.

My family and friends have always told me that I’m a lucky person. I always tend to find money on the ground, run into some sort of wild event, or win things.

Instead, I’d say that I just have really good timing.

There have been many times where extremely unfortunate occurrences have happened to me. In High School, I suffered a serious eye injury while playing soccer just weeks before attending Junior Prom. In college, I caught Mono and Strep Throat in the same year and then the following year, was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I partied my way into Academic Warning during the first semester of transferring to Rutgers University from Montclair University. Somehow, I miraculously overcame all of these obstacles and managed to avoid major life events that could have collided with these unfortunate circumstances.

My eye was fully healed in less than the time predicted by my Doctor and I was able to attend Junior Prom. I caught Mono and Strep Throat in between the Fall and Spring Semester, in which I didn’t have to miss any classes. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease during the semester prior to my Senior Year, in which I again didn’t have to miss any classes. I bounced back from Academic Warning the following semester and was able to graduate college with a 3.0 GPA.

I can label all of these things as pure dumb luck, but I won’t.

It was a combined effort of good timing and willpower.

All of the tragic events that have happened to me happened during the best timing and I’m eternally grateful for that.

This series of ups and downs throughout my college career were the building blocks for the type of future that I was going to have. More importantly, how I reacted to this series of ups and downs determined my success.

In life, we must learn that endless waves of good and bad happen to us. Our methodology of approach, daily patterns, and timing all contribute to our direction. Ultimately, the science of success is in our hands. We have to play the hand that we are dealt, whether it be good or bad.

The 20-somethings: Adult Puberty

A good friend of mine is now a middle school teacher, teaching 6th grade. She started this past Winter and I always look forward to catching up with her to hear about how work is going. I’m fascinated by her stories because her job’s responsibilities are on the complete opposite side of spectrum from what I do on a day-to-day basis. I’ve always heard that teaching middle school is the most difficult and frustrating grade to deal with. It’s the same reasoning for everyone I’ve received feedback from; middle school houses the most difficult age group- The “Tweens”. The pre-pubescent. The awkward, uncomfortable, not-so much children, but not quite yet teenagers age group. They’re still trying to grow into their own skin and don’t really know what they’re doing or who they want to be.

I’ve always found this age group to be the most irritating. They’re witty, yet irrational. They think outside of the box, but only see things from their point of view. They think they know it all, but are still trying to figure it all out. It’s an ongoing chain of contradictions. It’s annoying.

Now that I’m older, I look back on my earlier years and laugh at how ridiculous I was. I, too, was once in that age group and behaved the exact same way as my friend’s middle school students behave.

When I talk to my friends now, I’ve began to notice a similar pattern. Being in this age group is not so different from those awkward tween years. A lot of people I know are all on the same boat of trying to figure themselves out, find what they want to do for a living, and understand who they really are as a person. It seems to me that a lot of my friends are more lost than ever. We just got better at hiding it.

The 20’s are a time of self-discovery and paving the way to later adulthood. However, we still want to have fun and experience life. This is the time for us to be selfish before even thinking of settling down and getting married, having kids, and being responsible for lives other than our own. Similar to those tweens, people in their 20’s are trying to grow into their own skin.

The 20-somethings are the adult version of puberty. We’re almost at adulthood, but not quite yet.

Same mistakes

I was in Princeton, New Jersey on Friday night with my sister and her boyfriend when we passed a large, wooden caricature of Albert Einstein with a hole cut out big enough for people to put their face through. I had my sister’s boyfriend take a picture of me with my face in it and posted it on Instagram for a laugh.

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I kept checking the photo for “likes” that night and later on at dinner, Albert Einstein became a topic of conversation.

Over the span of the weekend, my thoughts condensed to more serious matters about my life when I kept thinking about Albert Einstein.

Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

If this is true, then we must all be insane; or at least I am.

As I was running through the campus of my Alma Matar the other day, Rutgers University, I was observing all of the changes being made on College Avenue. The great landmark food trucks known as the “Greasetrucks” have been moved, new buildings were being built, and old buildings were being constructed. Everything looked so different in the short amount of time since I’ve left.

I, then, reflected on the times that I spent walking down that street, rushing to class, going out with friends, and started thinking about how much I’ve grown since college. I’ve already accomplished so much and have made it so far, yet there are still parts of me that remain the same.

I’d like to think that I’ve grown and matured a great deal since I’ve graduated, but I know I still have many years of change left. Even though I’ve managed to accomplish many things that I set out to, some of my behaviorisms haven’t changed at all.

I wonder, if mistakes are made in life in order to learn from, then what does it mean if we keep making the same mistake multiple times? Does it mean we’re not learning?

Why do I insist on making the same mistakes when I already know the outcome? I must be insane.

However, I’m fully aware of the mistakes I’m making when I’m making them. I already know what the results will be. Yet, deep down, I’m hoping that something different will happen the next time around.

Maybe a part of me hopes that things will magically change; that people will magically change. But change never happens by using the same methodology over and over again.

Some people believe that things are different the second time around. As I’ve grown older, I’m not so confident in that mindset.

Looking back on my experiences, I’ve learned that life yields the same consequences when we make the same mistakes.

The thing that baffles me is this: If I already know, then why do I continue to do the same things?

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