The 2K11 24/7 CCCXXIII: What’s in a Year?

When the new year rolls around and you try to commit to a new resolution, do you really know what you’re in for? Will you be able to stick to it no matter what crosses your path in the 360+ days ahead of you?I don’t think we really think these things through — especially on January 1st, as we’re reeling from the aftermath of having closed out the previous year!A year is a long time to stay committed to something — it’s arguably too long. We don’t have the attention spans that we used to, and our world is filled with more distractions than at any point before in history. Trying to envision what something will look like several months down the road isn’t something that most of us grasp easily.But a month — a month we can do!

The 2K11 24/7 CCCXXII: Superstition

“When you believe in thing that you don’t understand, then you suffer — superstition ain’t the way…”

–Stevie Wonder, “Superstition”

I’m told daily to knock on wood when I talk about bad things happening to prevent them from coming true. I know people who won’t make a decision without first consulting their horoscope, making sure that they’re not setting themselves up for failure. People refuse to test umbrellas when they buy them indoors, later complaining when they’re stuck in the rain with a dud.

When did superstition get such a chokehold on our lives?

What does superstition add to our lives?

The more you believe in superstition, the more likely it is to come true. The more of an effect it has on your life. You might not realize it, but it’s like holding a magnet for things to occur without you even realizing it’s in your hand. What’s the point of superstition? Believing in so many rules, regulations and traditions about every little thing we do can make our lives way more complicated and confusing than they need to be. The more we change our paths to make our way around black cats, hop over cracks (so as not to break our mothers’ backs) and whatever other nonsense gives you some peace of mind, the less time you have to simply enjoy your life. The less control you have over your life. And while too much control is a bad thing, there’s also something to be said about letting your superstitions run your life for you.

I say we stop knocking on wood. I say we stop relying on luck all of the time. It might not seem like it, but unless you have quite the exceptional life, you’re only going to get out of your days what you put into them. Things may seem to come out of the blue, but they’re usually a direct result of past actions and decisions.

It’s time to take a look at what rules your life, and to find out whether it’s worth keeping around — the last I checked, rubbing a bald man’s head didn’t do anything for my luck.

–Casey E. Palmer

322/365

The 2K11 24/7 CCCXIX: Casey-Lite

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Some days you wake up and feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. If you were anything like I was, you probably did!

How you feel plays a large role in your daily performance, your personal relations — hell, your life in general! So which of these seems like it’d make your life easier — carrying around a 20-pound weight all day, or only carrying things you actually need and use?

I went through this thinking of my first day back to the job this morning, recalling the time I’d spent in Boston carrying a weighty SLR camera and two lenses in a tiny backpack along with wearing too many layers of clothing some days to resemble anything near comfortable.

We need to make an effort to remind ourselves to be comfortable in our day-to-day lives, and part of that means trimming down the amount of stuff in our bags!

The 2K11 24/7 CCCXVII: Taking Care of Self

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Logically, we all know that we need to take care of ourselves to get the most out of life. if we’re sick, we won’t have the strength to do the things we normally do; if we’re exhausted, we won’t be able to learn anything new. We’ll only get worse unless we make the decision to make ourselves better.

But you can’t just talk the talk — having a desire to improve yourself without putting the effort out to make some real change in your life is as bad as not caring.
Let me tell you a little tale about how I knew it was time for me to change my act.

The 2K11 24/7 CCCXVI: The Games of Life

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Some games aren’t games at all. I don’t really know how it happened, but many of my Christian friends have adopted Settlers of Catan as their unofficial after-church board game.
Though Sarah and I didn’t play our first game with anyone from church, we were instantly hooked. It’s a game where you’re trying to be the first to get to 10 Victory Points by building settlements and cities, racking up whatever bonuses you can along the way.
But Settlers — as the game is affectionately called — has a far more sinister side. I’ve always said that if there were any game that could ruin friendships and tear families apart, Settlers would be it!
Unlike your typical North American board game where everyone’s racing to a final square on the board, Settlers is far more interactive! With your moves based on the roll of dice and your opportunities for growth based on where your opponents allow you to play, many a fight has broken out over a Settlers game! You can block your opponents. You can steal from your opponents. You can change someone’s game from a near-win to a crushing defeat in a matter of moves.
Which is precisely why after playing a couple of games of the Cities & Knights expansion in Boston, we needed to take a break from playing the game since we were all getting so grumpy at the moves being played and taking things a little too personally!
Sometimes you’re hot, sometimes you’re not. This is the lesson that games teach us.
You win some, you lose some. We can’t be good at everything, but we definitely try! A little while ago, Sarah and I joined some friends to throw down on some board game action, and while I won at a game focused on patterns and strategy with tile placement, when it came to having to convince others or figure out who said what, my performance ranged anywhere from a little less stellar to abysmal. Board games are like an allegory for our skill sets and our standing in life — they’re scarily reflective of who we are and who we can be. We won’t be good at all of them; some of them will really strike a nerve and frustrate us to no end; while with others, they’ll come to us naturally and we’ll find ourselves wondering why others don’t find it as easy as we do.
Some of the games out there are based on systems that’re breakable if one thinks hard enough. In games where you need to get the most points to win, you do whatever you can to score the most points each turn and prevent anyone else from doing the same. If you need to crack a code, you use each turn to eliminate as many possibilities as you can to tip the game in your favour. Much of life is similar to games of chance, which are harder to predict but still have a clearly defined objective — but we can still learn from the games of structure and strategy.
Games prepare us for the world, though the allegories that they give us are often hard to interpret.
  • Monopoly? Wealth often means cheating those close to you out of their hard-earned money by giving them crappy deals; and even if there’re only two of you left, you still win.
  • Scrabble? Even with questionable words, as long as you can count, you can go a long way in life.
  • Clue? If you’re going to do something bad, don’t leave evidence behind.
Next time you find yourself fighting for another win under your belt, try and learn something from it. You never know when knowing the odds of getting out of jail might save your butt sometime in the future!
–Casey E. Palmer
316/365

The 2K11 24/7 CCCXV: Hindsight’s a Female Dog

It’s a little difficult to sit in the John Harvard bar in Harvard Square, Cambridge (one of the cities in the Boston area) with a bunch of Harvard students, and not think that somewhere along the line I may have made a slight error in judgment.

All along, my parents wanted me to go to Harvard and become a doctor, which didn’t sit well with me for a few reasons:
  • the stubbornness of not wanting to agree with my parents
  • the unwillingness to get the grades to achieve greatness in life, as the outputs of my efforts were intangible and unforeseeable
  • I failed to realize that education isn’t just about the prestige that comes with the name of a school or the things you’ll learn while in your classes; it’s also about the community you form around you and the adventures you have together. When you go to a school where the majority of people commute in and out daily, you don’t get anywhere near a chance to form meaningful bonds with the people around you
But in the end, maybe they were right. We’re told to apply ourselves in school, but as teenagers, we see ourselves as invincible, often not bothering to concern ourselves about the future and where we’re headed.
I know we can’t change the past, but who knows how different we might have been had we made different choices in our past?

The 2K11 24/7 CCCXIV: Getting Older, Not Worse

Deny it all you want, but you’re getting older! The face creams, surgery and wardrobe makeovers will only do so much — at the end of the day, time is on a level higher than any of us and will loose its effects on us all.

That’s a reality that I recently had to face, anyway — and it all started with a video game.

The 2K11 24/7 CCCXIII: I Don’t Know Where I’m Supposed to Be in Life, but I Know it’s Not HERE

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Sometimes life leaves me wondering whether it’s already too late. Have I wandered so far down the rabbit hole that I’ve somehow lost who I am? Have I made myself numb from walking around in a daze for now, trying so hard to be different that I’ve wound up like everybody else?
Ever get that feeling that you’re not unite who you’re supposed to be in life? That there’s a destination, and while you don’t know what it is or what it looks like, something in your gut tells you that you’re not there yet?
Sure you have. Very few of us are completely content with our lives — most of us feel that there’s something in our lives that we could change in order to be happier.
Something doesn’t seem right with this picture, though. What’s on the other side of the fence? What’s in that territory that we might catch the odd glimpse of now and again?
While we might not know, it doesn’t make it impossible to find out!

The 2K11 24/7 CCCXI: I MEANT to.

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There are certain words and phrases that should be omitted from the English language. All the swear words and degrading terms we use for people daily are on that list. A lot of the idiotic slang we’ve come up with? Yeah, that too.

Another one that we always use that rarely see as offensive are three magical words:
“I meant to.”

The 2K11 24/7 CCCX : Sacrifice

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Sooner or later, you’re going to need to sacrifice something for the sake of others. It might be your time, the opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted to do, or maybe something even nearer and dearer to your heart.
Here I sit a little tired and behind by a couple of blog posts. I’m happy with how the year’s turned out so far. I’ve discovered that more people read my daily ramblings than I’d thought, which leaves me thinking about next year.
A lot.
Devoting time daily to writing hasn’t let much room for me to pursue other things that’re often demanded of the typical blogger — constantly finding new blogs to comment on in order to generate new traffic; constantly working at defining an editorial calendar to keep on top of my game; or trying to develop an impressive marketing strategy to get my ideas out to the world — mostly, all I’ve found time to do is write. Even now, the realization has dawned upon me that if I really want to take a vacation this coming weekend, I’d better get my content sorted out pronto.
But there is a point to all of this: How do you keep a blog up and give it your all when your life asks so much of you?