A Blue Monday!

Well, it’s Monday so let me see…

Who actually likes Mondays, like for real?

I know I don’t, and that’s why I’m going to share these few short stories with you – these are supposedly true stories stolen – *cough* – I mean, taken from http://www.fmylife.com/

  • Today, I went to see a therapist for the first time because I’ve been feeling depressed lately. I opened up and said everything that was on my mind. I really spilled my guts. After a good 30 minutes, her first question was, “Do you always talk this much?” FML
  • Today, I was talking to my girlfriend on Facebook. She’s in the forces, and it was her birthday. I asked her if she liked the flowers I sent her. She thanked me, then asked if she could remove our relationship status. When I asked why, she said, “It’s not like we’re really going out anymore.” FML
  • Today, my five year old daughter came up to me and asked, “Mom, why are we so poor?” I replied, in a sweet motherly tone “Honey, we’re not poor.” She then asked, “Then why do you dress like we are poor?” FML
  • Today, my friends took me out to the most expensive restaurant in town to celebrate my promotion, we ordered everything with expensive drinks too. They ‘took a smoke break’ and left me with the bill. FML
  • Today, I was lost in a new town, so I asked a woman for directions. For some reason, she seemed to avoid me. About halfway down the block, she quickly turned around, and the next thing I remember is my eyes stinging like hell. Apparently she thought I was a mugger and maced me. FML
  • Today, I was sitting at home when I remembered that I desperately needed gas for my car. On my way there, I prayed that my car would make it the whole way, and was thankful when I pulled up to the pump, because I knew my car wouldn’t go any further. Then I realized I left my wallet at my house. FML
  • Today, I hit a car while trying to answer a phone call from my mom. I quickly answered the phone and shouted “What!?”. To which she replied, “I just had a bad feeling in my gut about you so I wanted to make sure you were ok.” FML
  • Today, I was showing my Mom how to use the Internet on her phone. As there was bad reception, it said “Unexpected Failure.” Seeing it, she muttered under her breath, “Just like you, then…” FML
  • Today, as a means of getting over my abusive ex, I decided to write his name on a piece of paper and light it on fire. As I lit the paper up, I noticed the marker ink had bled through it. The paper is gone, but his name is forever engraved on my desk. FML
  • Today, my iPod dropped out of my pocket while I was walking. Trying to be cool, I attempted to kick it back into the air to catch it before it hit the ground. Upon making contact with my foot, It ended up detaching from my headphones and flying 10 feet. Right into a sewer grate. FML

Did that help cheer you up? It sure cheered me up!

We have it gooooooooood!

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The Essentials to Happiness


Late last night, I got the topic for today’s blog article. No, an angel did not come to visit me with prophetic visions of my own happiness. Rather – and this is pretty predictable – I found myself making a mental checklist of the things I aim to achieve in the next year and a half before my twenty-first birthday. The items that found themselves on my mental checklist were huge, monumental things that I did not think I could ever achieve. Instead, I began breaking them down and dissecting the very idea of happiness itself as it means to me.


What follows is my list of Essentials to Happiness:

1.        Companionship

This is the first most important thing when it comes to achieving happiness. Human Beings are social creatures, and yes – this does explain social networks (it had to happen sooner or later, I often laugh at the idiots back in the 80’s when the computers first came out and nobody suspected that such a thing would happen). More so, this means that you need some kind of a social life. How small or big is up to you and your preferences. A social life, and (more importantly) a social circle, is essential to a person’s mental well-being. Everybody needs a support system made of real people outside of their own minds, people to catch up with and share news with, basically just a reliable close collection of people with whom to share things.

For me, my social life is mostly my girlfriend, my family, and a handful of friends that I see about four or five times a year. I prefer it this way.

Tips:

  • Make sure they are your real friends and that they like you for you. This is the good thing about choosing friends in your own social class. Lower, and there’s a chance that they are using you; higher, and there’s a chance you may be using them.
  • Keep it reasonable: a smaller group of best friends is better than a large group of loose-knit acquaintances.

 Warning:

  • Friends come and go, don’t hang onto them and if they want to go, let them.

2.        Leaving The Past Behind You

A decision to be happy has just been made, if you’ve read this far. One of the most important parts of this whole exercise is to leave the past behind you and forget about it. You can never really look forward to the future if you’re always looking back, you don’t have a pair of eyes at the back of your head.

This includes forgiving both yourself and others for what has happened in the past. If you can, tell them in person that you forgive them and attempt to quench any qualms that may be bothering either of you.

Just remember, there’s no way to change what happened. But you can change your whole future, and that’s what you should be focusing on.

Tip:

  • Do it sincerely. There is no point in saying you forgive someone if you don’t. It should come from your heart, not your mind. The only thing your mind should do is help you make the decision.

Warnings:

  • There is a possibility that the people you choose to forgive won’t forgive you in return. Grudges are hard to bury, and some people never manage to do it. Take pleasure in the fact that you are able to forgive them, as that is what really matters. You are, after all, trying to make yourself happy – not anybody else.
  • Sometimes the past can sneak up on you. In these cases, become a ninja and bitch slap the shit out of your past. Beat that mofo into submission.

3.        Your Career – Keep It or Change It?

Yes, contrary to popular belief, changing your career can have a major influence on your happiness. If you’re stuck in a job you do not feel you are good at it, if there is something you would much rather do, if you’ve gotten bored and the excitement has gone out of your original field of interest, then you might want to consider quitting. Before you quit, however, take some time to explore and line up another job. In today’s times, quitting a job without lining up another one is a move you shouldn’t consider. Unemployment rates are going up, and job opportunities are going down.

Tips:

  • Choosing the right job is integral. The best jobs are often in the field of your greatest interest. Mine is English, so naturally Journalism is my main career choice, being a writer my second.
  • If the job you have now isn’t the problem, but you’re not enjoying it, think about whether or not relocating would be an option for you.

Warning:

  • Do not expect your new job to be moonshine and roses. There will be days when things get tough and you don’t like your job, but if you made the right decision there will be far more enjoyable days.

4.        Money; it’s not as trivial an issue as you think.

Some people are naturally more inclined towards thinking that luxury will make them happy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this thought. If you don’t earn enough, consider working harder to get a bonus or promotion, or relocating to a higher-paying firm/establishment/business. Want or need a higher qualification? Go study for one! There’s no shame at all in going back to high school or graduate school even years after you’ve given up or didn’t have the chance.

Tip:

  • There are opportunities everywhere. Want that new television or a Nintendo Wii? Then consider getting a better job (see Essential No.3), investing in stocks and bonds, or perhaps starting a new venture.

Warnings:

  • Never, ever put your Pursuit for Money above the feelings of others, your own moral standards, or the law.
  • Do not expect money to make you happy. For some, it really is just a luxury and won’t improve your happiness at all. First consider how happy an increase in your monthly income has made you in the past before you consider pursuing more money. Sometimes, your quest may be in vain.

5.        Security and Health

These two almost slipped my mind, and had to come back and edit this post before it went live. Security and health are important aspects of a happy life, and cannot be done without. If you live in an unsafe neighborhood, hurtful relationship or you have regular ailments, you might want to consider fixing these problems. No, actually, I recommend you do.

The problem with security is that it’s a loose term. What is it, exactly? It’s the freedom to feel safe. This includes: security at home in the sense of an alarm system, guard dog, or locks on your doors; security in your relationships (if you’re unsure over whether or not it’s going to last or if you’re being treated right, you need to rectify this problem and alleviate this stress from your life); and, of course, health security.

Your health is undoubtedly the most important part of your happiness. I’ve been there, the whole sickness thing. I was walking around with a permanent headache and body pains. It wasn’t much fun, and it was bringing down the degree of my happiness. Finally, I had it checked out at a doctor and I was told it was because of stress. And stress from what, might you ask? Security.

It’s different for everybody, but I highly recommend reinforcing your life and seeing a general practitioner. Regularly!

Tips:

  • It really is true that you should see a general practitioner whenever you feel out of sorts. You could be catching something or developing something, and a “just in case” trip to the doctor could nip something bad in the butt before it gets too bad.
  • The more security you can install into your life, the better. Don’t hesitate to make yourself more safe.

Warning:

  • Don’t go overboard and turn your house into a bunker. Also, don’t harden your heart.

6.        And, finally, the sex.

There will undoubtedly be some people who disagree with this statement, and that’s okay. I’m trying to help people here, not win a popularity contest. The fact of the matter is that if your sex life isn’t up to standards, you’re pretty much screwed. And not in that sense.

Sex releases all sorts of hormones (will not bother you with which ones, this isn’t a thesis), most of which relieve stress and cause happiness. A lack of sex can increase your anxiety and cause mood swings, depression, and all sorts of unwanted emotions. If you are single, consider getting a girlfriend/boyfriend, or (if you’re okay with it) have a one night stand or a friend with benefits. These are all viable options for the single person. However, if you’re in a relationship, then I suggest you sit down with your partner and have an honest heart-to-heart about the lack of sex in your relationship and try to resolve these problems.

A lack of sex is often a major contributor towards lack of self-esteem and perceived value. If nobody wants you, then something must be wrong with you, right? Often, however, that’s not the case and you’re simply unreasonable or not good at what you do. These things, however, can be fixed, so don’t fret too much about them.

Tip:

  • Don’t just expect to receive. Not getting enough oral action? Consider giving a bit more, and hope to get some in return. Pleasuring your partner should be a pleasure, not a chore.

Warnings:

  • Be kind and thoughtful about it. If you act like an asshole/bitch, chances are you won’t be getting any action at all. Now, wouldn’t that be a shame?
  • Furthermore, don’t expect your partner to conform to your sexual standards. It’s a relationship, meaning the street goes both ways. If he/she wants sex once a week, and you want it thrice a week, consider settling for twice.

So there it is, my five essentials to a happy life. Not one of these things was simply written down for the fun of it, and all of them are entirely essential to being happy. These are things I am going to be aiming for in my own life, and I hope you will, too.

Top 10 Inspirational Songs

For my first official post, I’m going to give you all a run-down of my Top 10 Inspirational Songs. This isn’t going to be a long post, but it’s not going to be a short one either. The songs on this list are primarily “feel-good” and, at least in my case, induce some sort of happy trance.

1. 30 Seconds to Mars – Closer to the Edge

A classic rock hit, enough to get anybody’s blood pumping for individuality and some recognition. In many ways, this is not so much an inspirational song as it is a push to get off your sorry ass and start standing up for yourself. If you, like me, find yourself oppressed, then this track will be a great relief.

Tomo Miličević, the lead guitarist of 30 Seconds to Mars, said about the song, “A really interesting track. We call it our ‘pop’ song, but when you really listen to it, you realize that it has a lot of rock glory in it. It’s a song that fools you, and I like that. Jared really pushed himself as a songwriter here in that he was trying to reach for a new way of presenting music that was very accessible but not spoon-feed it to the audience. He has a lot of respect for the fans in that way. The guy’s a trip – very inspiring to be around and work with.”

2. LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem ft. Lauren Bennett, GoonRock

This one was pretty big a while ago, and while it seems to have been overtaken in popularity by their newer, Sexy and I Know It, I prefer this one. Sure, you might think you are sexy. And maybe you are. Everybody is sexy to someone, I admit. But somehow that song doesn’t sit too well with me. Maybe it’s because it seems to promote random sex and I’m not a supporter of that, or perhaps it’s the images of dudes dancing in their underwear that freaks me out. This one tops my recommendation list of dance tracks, because while it is important to feel sexy, I think it’s more important not to give a shit about how you look and enjoy yourself anyway.

Or maybe it’s the killer “Party Rock” shoes, I don’t know.

3. Afroman – Crazy Rap

A list of tracks to listen to wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of rap. And crudeness. I stumbled upon this song a few years ago when I was high, and while I don’t approve wholeheartedly of the encouragement of random sex, I appreciate the song and hope you will too. It’s a very witty and smart song, and somehow it gets you in a happy mood.

Colt 45 and two zig zags, baby that’s all we need.”

4. Dolly Parton – Nine To Five (Remix by Mike Myers, A.K.A. “The Guru Pitka”)

I looked on YouTube for the original, but I couldn’t find a VEVO version. Then it occurred to me that the version in The Love Guru was much more inspirational (to me, at least). This song is a definite morning track, something to listen to as you get ready for work or school or just about anything, actually. Puts a spring in your step that lasts you until lunchtime, and then you realize you’re already halfway through the day and the excitement kicks in of going home. If it doesn’t, might I recommend buying the single from iTunes?

5. Flo Rida – Club Can’t Handle Me

A favorite of mine ever since it first came out. Popularized to an extent through Step Up 3D, it seems to have faded with the movie. I, however, got it straight off the Billboard Top 100 and went and bought the single (I do this with all the top 100, once a month) and fell instantly in love with it. If you want some confidence, if you want to feel happy, then close your eyes and picture yourself as Flo Rida in the music video. Or, well, watch it and then do that. I guarantee you’ll feel better and more confident about being unique.

6. Lady Gaga – Yoü and I

Although Lady Gaga – the Queen of Being Unique – has been getting a lot of flack in the media lately regarding her supposed “Illuminati” membership (and while I don’t believe that even for a second), this song seems to contain no satanic messages whatsoever. It’s a ridiculously upbeat song about Nebraska, or her lover, or something. Either way, it’s one of those tracks that nobody can deny is a masterpiece. The music video, however, some may not like. But the song? 

Good stuff!

7. Nickelback – Rockstar

Nickelback‘s music is, to be honest, pretty damned redundant. It all sounds the same. This song, however, remains my mother’s favorite song. It always gets her in a good mood, which is good ’cause then I can get away with just about anything.

So this definitely qualifies to be on the list!

Rockstar has sold over 3,000,000 downloads in the U.S. as of May 2009 and it is the best selling rock single of the 21st century before How You Remind Me.”

8. Kelly Clarkson – Mr. Know It All

You know it was bound to happen sooner or later. The break-up song! Far be it from the best break-up song on Earth, it is rather upbeat and if you’re going through a break-up, I’m sure this can help you out!

In an interview with MTV News, Kelly Clarkson described herself in the video, “I think there’s that free-spirit side of me, and then there’s that feisty performer in me, Then there’s the funny side of me. I mean, obviously you have to be funny to have a big giant wall of doubt with actual headlines of your life on the wall. It’s a little fun, a little feisty.”

9. Bruno Mars – Just The Way You Are

To balance things out a bit, with regard to Clarkson’s song, here is a love song. I like it, although the fact that a girl once dedicated it to me, and turned out to be a crack whore who kind of disgusted me (don’t ask), kind of brings it down a little for me. Nonetheless, I’m sure most of you (or just a few, at least) will like this one!

Mars’ A&R Aaron Bay-Schuck told HitQuarters that as soon as “Just the Way You Are” was finished they knew they had the first single, saying: “It had a massive chorus, an instantly memorable melody and lyric, and was a natural transition from the B.o.B and Travie McCoy songs … [Also] it didn’t sound like anything else on the radio. It had everything we could want in a first single for Bruno.”

10. Avril Lavigne – Sk8er Boi

And, of course, no list could be complete without the Punk-Rock princess, Avril Lavigne. This is a definitive track that makes you aware of the fact that you should never change for anybody! I don’t give it a shit if it’s for your mom, your dad, your grandmother, or your love interest. Be who you are and rock on for life, do what you want to do and enjoy it while it can!

Life is fleeting and every moment should be spent enjoying yourself!

Introduction (On Doing What You Love)

Testing…

Is this thing working?

Jimmy…? You still there…?

Okay, good! For a second I thought this bloody thing had died!

So, ladies and germs, NonParallel Lines is now up and running. No, there’s nobody here named Jimmy. And yes, I know that “NonParallel” is not a word; but who really cares, right? This is a blog aimed at the Pursuit of Self-Creation, I’m not quite sure what that is right now, but all I can say is I’m pretty damn psyched about having something to occupy my free-time now. I’m going to have a lot of that from now on, seeing as I just dropped out of engineering college yesterday. As I write this, it’s the first day of the finals, and my (ex-) classmates are sitting there sweating their asses off and trying to remember what the hell they had studied. As for me? I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee in my boxer shorts listening to some deadmau5 while my kidneys are going into spasm.

You probably think I’m crazy, and I don’t blame you. Dropping out of engineering college? What am I, fucking insane? No, not really. To be completely honest, I’m a retard at math (at best a retard, at worst a rock – hey, they don’t have any brains, kid), and considering all my subjects and the field itself are packed full of it… You get where I’m going. Sure, I could try to study harder and what-not, but guess what? I tried that, and to no avail. I am just not built to be a mechatronic engineer.

I started this blog, actually, to get a better feel for my real passion in life – journalism. However, getting to this point wasn’t easy. I had to go through numerous hurdles, most of them involving my caretakers (i.e. parents) who wanted with all their fragile little hearts for me to become an engineer. They said it paid good, I didn’t disagree. They said it was a guaranteed job, I didn’t disagree. They said I could do it if I really tried, and I believed them. The only problem was, did I want to?

I pictured myself twenty years down the line, coming home with no enthusiasm and no life force left in my body, carrying a bundle of work that I had to finish. It was a vision of high school all over again. I saw my wife miserable because of my misery, I saw our five year old son with no lust for life having seen his father suffering day-in and day-out. I saw myself as a chronic drinker and smoker, a man living only on dreams of his pension. But when that time came, what will I have done with my life? It was then that the realization hit me: I couldn’t be an engineer if I didn’t want to, if I had no passion for it at all, if cars or motors or machinery in general didn’t interest me.

I couldn’t do what others had planned out for me, the fate they had thrust upon me.

I laid in my bed on Tuesday night, with a decision in front of me. I was at a fork in the road, and one side held riches and job-security, but no enjoyment. The other? Odds beyond belief, a job in a shrinking market and no grand salary to work for, but goddamnit there was so much passion down that road that I couldn’t possibly turn my back on it.

So there’s that, my not-too-distant past that led me up until the creation of this blog. So this is my new little piece of joy in my life, and of course I’ll be getting a job soon (hope to become a librarian – or, wait, that’s a feminine word; what’s the male equivalent?), but this is going to be what lets me vent and come to terms with my life and the decisions I am faced with daily regarding my own Created Fate. I hope I can help you come to terms with yours, too.

NonParallel Lines is a blog aimed at self-creation, that is: not finding yourself (we were not predestined to be anything), but envisioning what you want to be and working towards becoming that person.

It’s the Pursuit of Happiness in its most basic form.