Hey guys! It’s that time of the year again! No, it’s not quite Christmas. It’s autumn. Fall has always been my favorite season and October my favorite month. Is it because my birthday is exactly one week before Halloween? Possibly. But I love the cool weather that accompanies the fall (and especially October) where it’s comfortable enough to just need a sweater and a pair of jeans.
Some people started to complain when the weather began to change over the past week or so. Some don’t want the summer to end and others are not looking forward to what is most likely bound to be a frigid winter (if it’s anything like last year). I embraced it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the freedom that summer brings (although I haven’t been able to go on a vacation or take full advantage of it for years), it’s just not my thing.
When I was much younger, I, like all kids, loved the winter. Loved playing in the snow, making forts, snow angels and snowmen. Now, I loathe having to shovel the driveway and worrying about getting sick in the process. Who enjoys the bitter cold? I’m sure there’s a lot of people who love getting cozy in the winter, but I’d much rather stick to the autumn.
If I could move somewhere and live where it’s always 65-75 degrees year round, I would in a heartbeat. This place doesn’t seem to exist, at least not in the East Coast. I love being in such close proximity to the City (that’s New York City to all of you South Jersey/non-tri state area people) but if I had the option of being in eternal fall, I would. Apparently, Seattle has a climate similar to the one I described, although it’s very cloudy there. Santa Barbara, California is almost identical to being 65-75 all year. Maybe I’ll move there.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change… Most people are familiar with the serenity prayer but do most people embrace the message behind it? I’ll venture to say no. What does it really mean to ask to be more serene? Images of a Japanese koi pond with a soft breeze hitting the water come to mind (well, at least my mind) when thinking “serenity.” But in this case, serenity has less to do with Far Eastern décor and more to do with inner stability and patience.
Patience is also said to be a virtue (AKA moral excellence; goodness; righteousness). In other words, patience is something people should strive to obtain. When I was younger, I never quite understood why so much focus was put on being patient. I distinctly recall my father saying “patience, son, patience.” But I don’t ever remember being so impatient.
Many of us have jobs that require us to exhibit the utmost patience. Let’s face it; if your work entails dealing with other people at all, you need to be patient. Working with others means dealing with their quirks and idiosyncrasies. That quickly can become extremely frustrating.
What makes being patient with others so difficult, I think, is that very few people pay attention nowadays. Most people are so consumed with what is going on in their own bubble and focused on their own concerns that very few people listen to others at all. Then, when we don’t fully understand the situation we are placed (because we didn’t pay attention to what was going on in the first place) our natural first reaction is to become angry and defensive toward the undesired, unexpected outcome.
I guess then to be patient, with ourselves or with others, we need to listen more. Listening and being open to what’s going on around us is definitely a key step in being patient. If we listen more, we can at least understand where other people are coming from better. If we listen more, we might learn more about ourselves in the process. I know, it sounds very much like a clichéd elementary school motivational poster, but it’s the truth.
So now we have a chainlike network going on. To be happy (serene) we need to be patient, to be patient we need to listen, to listen we need to…have ears? Listening unfortunately isn’t as easy as being able to hear, but it really isn’t that hard if we just take some time to really pay attention and focus on the bigger picture for a moment. Being patient really does affect many aspects of our lives.
A couple of years ago, my sisters came across this great quote. I think it sums up what patience really means, quite nicely:
“Patience with others is love, patience with self is hope, patience with God is Faith.” Adel Bestavros
When I was younger, I used to daydream about being responsible for a company I own. I was fascinated with the idea of how amazing it would be to own a company, be in charge of everyone and everything and to be able to come and go as I please.
However, I never anticipated the amount of time I would spend at the office working. There are nights where I would come to the office and never leave. Especially starting up a brand new company requires a lot of man-hours to really make sure everything takes off. Being in charge of an already established or existing company is somewhat easier in at least you don’t have to worry about getting people aware of the name and product offered.
Being the big cheese really does have some great, amazing perks. The satisfaction alone of seeing something I created with my own hands succeeding is a tremendous honor in of itself. But overall, it’s been an enormous responsibility.
I’ll Never Forget Where I Was
It’s been 10 years.
On September 11, 2001, the world changed. I’m not saying that to be dramatic; it really did change. The events at the World Trade Center and Pennsylvania impacted global relations, socio-economic policy, airport security, overall morale and much more for many people.
When I was younger, I used to hear people all the time recalling major events leading with “I’ll never forget where I was…” “I’ll never forget where I was when JFK was assassinated.” “I’ll never forget what I was doing when I heard the Berlin Wall came down.” I never thought that I would have lived to utter similar words.
On September 11, 2001, I was in the Eighth grade. In the middle of second period (I had Spanish class with Señora Solimano), our principal went on the loud speaker to announce that an airplane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers shortly before. He then asked we maintained a moment of silence for all those who lost their lives.
School was pandemonium that day. After the principal’s announcement on the PA system, some parents came to pick up their children hearing of the terroristic threats and fearful of losing their loved ones. The entire atmosphere was a strange mix of fear, panic, heaviness and confusion. My mother came to take me home but I said I wanted to stay because I hated missing school. My friends at lunch talked about whether terrorists would bomb us, or a nearby mall possibly, as we were so close to New York. Looking back on it, it was a much scarier scenario than I realized as I was living it.
When I did get home from school that day, my parents were sitting around the television watching the horrifying news of all the poor victims that lost their lives. We were distraught as we had two relatives who worked at the WTC and couldn’t get in touch with them right away. My uncle had called us desperately trying to figure out if his daughter had been able to make it out and had been able to contact us in some way. Thank God, she made it out alright, however it was terrifying not knowing for so long (Her cell phone, along with purse and other belongings were all left and destroyed in the 40th story of one of the towers).
A lot has happened since 9/11. Personal triumphs and tribulations. Global triumphs and tribulations. It’s really bizarre how one action can have such a tremendous impact on so many people. It’s even more bizarre how each of us have such a different tale and different experiences from this event. I’m not saying that I necessarily think about September 11 every single day, but the ramifications of it taking place are evident in all that I do.
It’s been 10 years. A lot has happened since then. I’ve grown and changed in so many ways. America has changed. The world continues to change and take different shape, whether in the Middle East or elsewhere. It’s been 10 years, I may not know where I’m going but I’ll never forget where I was.
Parables & Books continues to grow faster than Pinocchio’s nose!
You can be overwhelmed. You can be underwhelmed. Can you be just whelmed? As a linguist, I love this sort of situation. Words and mere parts of words become associated or bound within certain contexts. Take the word cranberry. You have blackberries which are, well, black berries. You have strawberries which aren’t berries made of straw, but at least “straw” can stand as its own word. What is a cran? It has no meaning and serves only in the context of cranberry. But I digress.
In this case, whelm and feeling whelmed actually mean the same thing as overwhelm and being overwhelmed. This is an archaism and the majority of people don’t really talk this way anymore, but the effect is still the same.
I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed lately. As I mentioned in my last blog, I am a workoholic. And there is a lot of work involved with well, my work. Taking on the position as editor-in-chief was an unexpected but highly welcomed turn in my life. As Parables & Books continues to expand, so do my duties and role here. I cannot begin to explain just how exciting it is to see the company grow. We’ve been receiving so many manuscripts from authors in the past few days alone-it has been really daunting!!!!
The sheer magnitude of some of our submissions has been incredible. We’ve had an outpouring of really diverse ideas all from very different people. Sitting down and going through them all is actually really intimidating. From children’s stories to much more adult stories, Christian to Jewish spirituality, historical to very contemporary, Parables & Books is very excited for the output we will be able to share with you in the near future!
One of my favorite movies is Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. While it’s a hilarious movie, one scene has always stuck with me since the very first time I had seen it. When the main character was confronted with a plethora of assignments above her capabilities, her boss told her to not be intimated and to just to “do one thing at a time.” When she later shirks her responsibilities to another coworker she repeats the advice of just taking “one thing at a time.”
So, I’m just going to do one thing at a time, too. Hmm. I don’t feel so whelmed anymore.
Confessions of a workaholic
All right everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. I’m sure many of you went on quiet vacations or at least took advantage of the 4-day weekend and beached it up a little or something.
I worked everyday of Labor Day weekend.
Not that I’m complaining at all. Not by any means. All right, maybe just a little.
In addition to having the honor of being Editor-in-Chief of Parables & Books, I also work a second job. I don’t want to go into the specifics of my night job other than the fact that I need to average 25 hours a week there to maintain some awesome benefits.
Normally, I work at Parables & Books HQ Monday-Friday and then my night job Friday-Monday evenings. In other words, I never have a single day off. Well, due to the terror that was Hurricane Irene I was unable to work some of my scheduled shifts for that week. I subsequently did not reach the 25 hours required for my night job.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. “So what? Who cares if you didn’t make it one week. You probably need a vacation anyway. You most likely have averaged well above 25 hours all the other weeks you’ve worked, etc.” You all are right on all counts; I’ve been averaging well over 35 hours a week and often go into overtime (over 40 hours). However, and this is really important, I am extremely neurotic.
So neurotic, in fact, that I cannot stand looking at my time slip and seeing a number such as 19 hours worked for a week. Even if I’ve still worked my day job (and I love being the editor-in-chief of Parables & Books, mind you) I feel like I have not accomplished as much as I could have. Or should have.
I guess I’m a workaholic. I just get antsy when I’m not active. At the same time, sometimes I feel like I need to step back and relax. Everyone needs a nice, long vacation once in a while. But then I feel bad for not having fulfilled my “obligations.” Besides, everyone says that this is the time to work hard while we’re still young.
This is Psalm 127:
A Song of Ascents, of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
I guess it’s all about balance.