The Importance of Taking a Chance

Active Chances vs. Passive Resolutions

The new year usually brings resolutions, both the standard and the exotic. I think we should continually develop our habits, our views, and our lives, but I’m not as keen on the idea of new year resolutions as I used to be. It’s the word ‘resolution’ that bothers me. A resolution can be viewed as a commitment to a thing and/or as the conclusion to a thing but it doesn’t really convey the action of a thing. Resolutions feel passive. Maybe that’s why so many people (myself included before I changed my viewpoint) give up on them. Where resolutions are passive, taking a chance is active.

“Collins Street Mural”

Instead of having resolutions let’s take more chances. Taking a chance raises the stakes and adds a sense of adventure. A chance is the beginning of a thing not just a commitment to a thing. Taking a chance requires both a decision and an action. If we follow through on the action it should lead to a conclusion. Resolutions are easy to give up because we don’t have to invest much to make them. When we take a chance we are putting ourselves out there, we are investing time, effort, resources, or something else that we value. Whether you desire the standard or the exotic don’t resolve to obtain it, take a chance and go for it.

-K-

Walking Alone v. Being Lonely

and Knowing Which is Which

Life can be difficult, and sometimes we need a moment or few to ourselves. Sometimes a bit of peace and quiet away from the general difficulties of life can be a respite, a relief, and a requirement if we want to establish some balance and order during these not so normal times. A walk alone can be beneficial in many ways and it is not the same as being lonely (unfortunately some do have difficulty with the distinction between the two).

“Man in Parking Lot”

A walk alone can distance us from the difficult people we often find ourselves dealing with on the daily. A walk alone can make our daily difficulties a little less so. A walk alone can offer perspective and possible solutions. A walk alone is a decision made with care and deliberation. Don’t be afraid to walk alone (we choose to walk alone). It is not the same as being lonely (loneliness chooses us).

-K-

Holidays, Winter, and Solitude

It’s Déjà vu…again

I started feeling a strong sense of déjà vu when I began tapping out the title of this post. After a quick look at some of my previous posts, I realized I started this month in much the same vein as I ended November of last year (and now I’m thinking of a William Faulkner quote about how the past is never really past). Before I lose the thread and wander off topic let’s get back to the title and purpose of this post (even if it’s an old topic).

“Chair and Snow”

I’ve written about the topics of being alone, loneliness, and solitary confinement at some length in previous posts. This time of year has me thinking about those topics and posts, and I want to send out a friendly message to remind ourselves that this is a difficult time for many of us. The holiday season is difficult enough but combine that with winter weather and all the long term problems associated with the pandemic and there is the possibility of a perfect storms of sorts. The holidays along with the weather and the pandemic can create a solitary confinement (actual and/or psychological) that can be a challenge for the strongest individuals. During this season lets keep an eye, ear, and heart open for each other and make certain that the pressures of this time of year don’t push those we care about too far.

-K-

Time is a Rate

We Spend Time to Buy Time

We spend our time at various jobs to make money in order to spend our time somewhere else. We spend time doing one thing so that we can spend time doing something else. Time is one of, if not the, most valuable commodity that we own. It is vital to think about how we earn it and how we spend it.

“Weekly Rate”

Individuals and institutions scheme and scramble for our time. They plot and present a wide variety of distractions designed to develop a desire for the novel and a need to conform. The more time we spend on things we don’t want at places we don’t want to be leaves us with less time to bank and more time individuals and institutions have to hold over us. Guard your time. Invest it wisely. Spend your time on what your heart truly desires not on what others try so hard to con you into believing you desire and/or need.

-K-

Time Vampires

It Sounds Like a Bad 80s Flick

Unfortunately it’s not as cool as that. Time has been on my mind lately and I find myself in the mood to tap out a few lines concerning the people and things that eat up our time like a vampires sucking away our life blood.

“Hayride Clown”

More than a fair share of us have whiled away our time on various endeavors and inactions, but if it was time enjoyed then it was not time wasted (I’ve covered this topic in a couple of posts). Choosing how we spend our time is not the same as losing our time to time vampires. Time vampires are those individuals, institutions, and ideologies whose implicit purpose is to drain time from us, to weaken us by taking something we can’t get back, time. Time vampires are those individuals who value their time but show no respect for ours. They are the institutions that demand our time but don’t adequately compensate us for it. Time vampires are all those ideologies we dedicate ourselves to, spend so much time following, only to realize our time was conned away from us like money invested in some well structured pyramid scheme.

Time vampires often appear in the guise of friends, organizations, and causes worthy of our time. These vampires are alluring, but beware of how and who you spend or give your time. Time vampires exist to drain us of one of the few things we can’t get back or get more of, time.

-K-

Changing the Clocks

Is Time to Think About Time

It’s that particular time of year. Time to talk about how fast the year has gone. Time to talk about how it gets dark too early. Time to talk about changing the clocks. It’s a time to talk about time. But how much thought do we give to the value of time?

“Filing Time”

We treat time as if it’s a thing, a thing to be earned, bought, borrowed, sold, and stolen. But what real value do we place on this thing we call time? We should think about the true value of time when we change the few clocks that don’t do it automatically an hour back this weekend. Let’s take a moment to think about the value of seconds, minutes, hours, days, and years. What is the value of time and are we getting our money’s worth?

-K-

Some Thoughts on Dancing With the Devil

or The Devil’s Due

Back in 1989 I was mesmerized by the question, “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” That question helped conjure a couple images for me when I read The Crucible a few years later. The first image is of young women dancing in a forest under a pale moon and it was innocent enough. The second image is one of a makeshift courtroom that accuses and condemns these young women of witchcraft, guilty or not

“Jack o’ Lanterns”

There are obvious appeals to dancing with the Devil (upper or lower case) but few consider the Devil’s due. Choices are made, words are spoken, and acts are carried out but consequences are often not considered. We think of the of allure of the pale moonlight but not of the condemnation of the court that follows. We live in a time long since Salem but has much changed? If you choose to dance, innocent or not, be prepared to find yourself in accused of witchcraft (or something of the sort), guilty or not.

-K-

The Coffee Shop Office

One Man’s Cuppa is Another Man’s Grind

I think of all the people who got to work from home during the course of the past year and a half and I get to wondering about those people who officed (yep, turning a noun into a verb) in public places. What happened to all those people who didn’t have an office space to work from to begin with and used coffee shops as their offices? Where did they work during the lockdowns and quarantines?

“Sales Pitch”

I won’t even try to estimate how many times I’ve gone to a local coffee shop for a cuppa and heard or saw somebody using the shop as an office. I’ve overheard and spied many a pitch, deal, hustle, and multi level marketing scheme at work while I drank overpriced, not so good coffee and read Walker Percy (or Lovecraft, or Parker, or O’Connor, or some other writer).

Many people are grumbling about going back to the office for work while others never left. Let’s take a moment to think about those who don’t have a set workplace, who don’t work from home, and who grind away at work where most of us go to relax.

-K-

Whistle While You Work

or Maybe Create a Playlist

The older I get the more things I seem to notice or maybe the more things just come into focus. One of the things I’ve noticed lately (or it has come into focus) is the importance music plays at work. What I mean is being able to listen to the music of my choice while working. I never gave it much thought so I took for granted how important it is.

I’ve worked a variety of jobs over the years. I considered pay, benefits, conditions, and a variety of other factors when searching and selecting work, but I never considered whether or not I could play music while I worked. As I look back at my long list of jobs the ones I liked the most allowed me to play music of my choice. From my first full time job in retail electronics where I brought in my Case Logic binder of Columbia House CDs (if you are of a certain age you know what I’m talking about), to the 5:00 am inventory/pricing job and my IPod Nano packed with all those one penny CDs, or my current job where I can play seven hours of Pandora playlists a day for my clients I’ve come to realize music makes the work day a little more enjoyable.

All those jobs that didn’t allow music made the days a little slower, a little greyer, a little less enjoyable. I’m not saying I’d take twenty-five percent pay cut or give up all my benefits just to be able to listen to music, but I do believe if you have to do a thing for eight hours a day then try to find something that makes those eight hours a little more enjoyable. Whether or not I can listen to music while I work is something that I’ve decided to add to the list of considerations when I make the move to my next job. What about you? Any special considerations?

-K-

Some More Thoughts on Warning Signs

or Knowing When to Stop

It’s hovering around 100 degrees out here in the Midwest, and I’m drinking my second cup of coffee while tapping away at a couple thoughts. It was my Pops who told me hot coffee on a hot day helps regulate the body temperature. I never asked where he picked up that bit of wisdom. Did he learn it growing up in Harlan County, while serving in the Army, or maybe while working as a chemical operator? With his passing the origin of that piece of advice is lost much like the origin of his advice about knowing when to stop.

“Stop Sign”

Pops warned me that there wouldn’t always be clearly posted stop signs throughout life. Sometimes I would have to use my best judgement, to realize that many individuals and institutions do not have my best interests in mind. He told me knowing when to stop, when not to follow, or when to go my own way wouldn’t be an easy skill to master but was one worth learning. Pops’ advice wasn’t unique. Most of us have been taught something similar at some time. But many of us (myself included) need to develop this skill now more than ever. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that warning signs abound and we often ignore them for one reason or another. Maybe we’ve become a little too complacent. Maybe we need to work a little harder at keeping an eye and ear out for those not so clearly posted stop signs.

-K-

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