Sunday, October 23, 2011

White Blank Page (literally)

The fear of staring out into the unknown... the trepidation of starting a fresh new journey... the dread of marking up a pure, clean sheet of paper. Go ahead, look up at that graphic of a white blank page above these words. Let it strike fear into your heart. Have the untarnished whiteness swallow up your whole consciousness. Let it envelope your senses and numb your resolve.

No, it's not a white blank page as in a song by Mumford & Sons. It's an everyday, ordinary, piece of paper that you might grab to start your Math homework or a lined piece of loose leaf you take out to finally write an intro for that English essay you need to do. Or maybe instead it's a new "Document 1" on Microsoft word, the cursor blinking expectantly at you as you think of what to say, or the empty space in the text message box in your phone as you think of how to apologize to your girlfriend.

But get this- it's not actually the page that holds so much weight, that makes it tower like Goliath before you, that freezes you with indecision, but the fear of writing on that page. Writers face this monster all the time. So do artists as they stare at a blank canvas. Or composers who hear melodies in their head but don't know how to transfer it to paper. The reality is that everyone has a seed of doubt in them. Somewhere beneath all the motivation and drive and will, there is an uncertainty that latches onto your mind and stops you from committing to whatever it is you want to accomplish. People are afraid of imperfection, of creating something that is below their level of ability, of failing. They are afraid of the things that could go wrong, the things that won't live up to their perceived ideals. The fear of falling short of expectations is what really makes people hesitate.

It took me a while to get back to posting in this blog. Sure, I could use the excuse that I've been busy with school and sports, but there's not one hundred percent true. There were definitely times I had time but was afraid of taking the chance or afraid of risking the expectations that you, the reader, as well as myself, place on every character that I type here. But it doesn't just apply to writing. Athletes have to learn to pass over this moment of indecision. Freeze for a moment in a game and you're dead. My soccer coaches have told me again and again to not to be afraid of shooting because I might miss. "You'll miss 100% of the shots you never take," the saying goes.

But it never disappears. Every time I see a white, blank page I'm brought back to the brink. It's a moment of fear you have to conquer. Remind yourself that you don't have to be perfect. After all, I still think a page marked up with mistakes, failures, and sub-par material is ultimately more interesting than just a empty blank page.

Friday, October 14, 2011

People are awesome, but God more so

This is both fun to watch and amazing to think about. Can't help but feel a little bit inspired after watching this, huh? You might not be able to do some of the crazy stunts in this video, but every day you are doing amazing things as a human being. Conversing with one another, caring for each other, being able to relate to each other and the other 7 billion people in the world. Every person has amazing potential- just look at all the diverse sports and interests represented in a short 5 minute clip! I personally think that all my talents and abilities were gifts from God- there's no way I would be able to do all that I do on my own. In my mind, this video could just as easily have been titled "God Is Awesome," in the way that He is directly responsible for each and every one of us.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Reunited with eating apples the old fashioned way

There's nothing quite like biting into a crisp, firm, in-season apple. Got the picture in your mind? Sinking your teeth into that first bite, the satisfying snap as you commit and bite through, the slight tartness complimenting the candy-delicious flesh....  I just finished eating a delicious honeycrisp apple and all I can think about is going to get another.

I'm a big fan of eating apples raw, the old fashioned way. It brings you more in contact with the fruit as you consume it, and it's a more personal experience than eating slices off a plate. Maybe it's just the fact that I've missed biting into a solid juicy apple right off the counter- having braces for three and a half years prevented that for a while. But now that I finally have them off, it's a small joy in life that I can enjoy once again. As fall approaches, more and more delectable varieties of apples are coming into season, and in New York it's a wonderful thing to walk into a grocery store and see aisles of green, red, and yellow apples of all kinds and varieties. It's an even better thing to be able to taste them all.

You never really miss something until you can't have it. Apples seem like ordinary, plain fruit to New Yorkers, but in reality we should be enjoying them more than ever. We have the luxury of being able to go apple picking and to go to a store and select the freshest, ripest apples. I mean, I still enjoy eating the other fruit that I love- mangoes, kiwis, asian pear, strawberries.... but nothing beats a good apple.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Ahh yes, our old nemesis and friend. We’ve all been there before… a big project at hand or an essay due tomorrow… it’s nearing midnight and all you seem to be able to do is sift through Youtube videos you’ve watched a hundred times already, resign yourself to stalking your friends’ photos some more, or chatting with anyone that pops online so you can complain about the work you have to do. And of course, reading blogs such as this because you have nothing better to do at the moment.

Maybe the title of the post should be renamed to “The Story of My Life.” I procrastinated a ton before I actually logged on and posted this. But don’t worry, I can make up for it because newbie blogger yours truly here has just made another killer realization: that blogs ALWAYS make posts with lists of some sort! So here you are.... “Tips to Fight Procrastination.”

1)     Turn off the TV. Yup, it’s the worst thing you can do if you told yourself you would sit down with your math homework in your lap and you would do it slowly while watching your favorite program. Nope! Believe me, I’ve tried that many times and I always ended up with a blank piece of homework in front of me at the end. (Commercial breaks are far too interesting these days. More interesting than math homework at least).
2)     Log out of Facebook. This one’s an obvious one, but so hard to do. Make sure you log out and not just exit the browser, especially if you have it set to “remember account” like I do. Handy because you don’t have to type in your password every time, but dangerous because an hour of procrastination is just two clicks away.
3)     Don’t Work and Text. Not quite as catchy as “Don’t Drink and Drive,” but it’s solid advice nonetheless. If it’s important, just call the person now. Otherwise you’ll be stealing glances at your phone every five seconds and losing your concentration whenever you hear that familiar buzz. Flirting and chit-chat can wait. Unless, of course, you don’t mind doing it in detention tomorrow for not finishing your homework.
4)     Close the Door. This wonderful tactic works against both annoying siblings and pestering parents. You see, the barrier of solid wood that you put up makes it harder for these annoying creatures to come disturb you while you’re working. If you’re on the computer in the family room, I like to put earbuds or headphones on (without the music) to let others know I’m not in the mood to talk. Or, you can just announce to everyone in the vicinity that you are not to be disturbed until you finish XYZ. (I’ve had varying success with that last one.)
5)     Curb your Hunger. First ask yourself if you really are hungry and not just wanting an excuse to get up and walk around the kitchen. Then ask yourself if you will survive the next task without getting a snack. I find that I tend to want to eat more when I’m working on something I don’t really don’t want to do. If you really are hungry, eat first and then work. Otherwise it’s just another excuse to procrastinate that your subconscious is urging you to do.
6)     Turn Music Off OR Make a Playlist. This one’s particular and varies from person to person and task to task. I like to listen to music when I’m working on math homework, creative projects (English posters), and other busywork (chemistry problems or French translations), but not during other tasks, such as writing essays or reading a textbook chapter. If you choose to listen to music, however, make sure you are doing so from an ipod or Youtube playlist (or radio, if you can switch easily between stations to avoid commercial breaks). Do NOT go Youtube song hunting as I am guilty of a lot of the time, where you open a song you really like, then find another one when it ends. I always find myself drifting away on those Youtube links and then end up watching an episode of CollegeHumor, or just spending way too much time looking for songs. Playlists are the way to go.
7)     Do NOT Listen to the Endless Loop of Nyan Cat.  For obvious reasons. You WILL go insane.
8)     Stop Reading This. I know, this blog is incredibly entertaining and interesting to read but if you’re supposed to be finishing your homework right now, STOP READING and get back to work =D. I’ve even found myself googling “How to Stop Procrastinating” occasionally while procrastinating… the only way to stop procrastinating is to have self-discipline. Lists like these are just entertaining to read.
9)     ADVANCED TIP- Reward Yourself (Sparingly) Do not attempt this until you have mastered the above list. I find myself being more productive when I set a goal and then promise myself a “reward” upon completion of the task. Rewards can range from ice cream to an episode of your favorite TV series to going to a friend’s house. Just make sure it is proportionate to the task. For example, don’t promise yourself an hour-long TV episode for a 10-minute math assignment. But having that goal in mind is sometimes a really good motivator for you to finish that dreaded DBQ or novel you have to read.

That’s it! Happy working, feel free to comment any other tips against procrastination below. One can never be too wary against procrastination.