KAABOO

BEEP BEEP.

“Enjoy your day at KAABOO!” an employee warmly greets as I enter the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Walking beneath a massive turquoise, orange and red archway I catch up to my fast-moving friends, Jasmit and Kristen. Together, we pace down a paved road, catching glimpses of vendors selling food, distributing alcohol, raffling off prizes and giving away free samples between throngs of energetic bodies. As we round a corner, music tickles our ears and a stage comes into sight. Our pace quickens as we weave between groups dancing to the beat. The song concludes, the crowd claps and the band transitions into their next hit. Over the next three days, more music and friends will factor into the equation for an amazing weekend. One that provided countless laughs, music discoveries, memorable moments and valuable lessons. Here’s a few things I learned from KAABOO.

  1. Awkward dancing (a specialty of mine) not only is incredibly fun but also fashions a necessary personal bubble amid a sardine-like crowd. Do people really want to stand next to the weirdo flailing his body back and forth not in rhythm with the song (though he desperately tries)? No. Go ahead and dance awkwardly to make space for oneself. Even better, grab fellow awkward dancers to create a space so large one can inhale fresh air during that really popular set.
  2. Friends, both old and new, make one feel glad to be alive. From screaming that chorus everyone knows together to reveling in a newfound common interest to discovering that someone has changed for the better, sharing experiences, words and moments with friends ultimately validates our own existence and happiness. Take the risk of branching out to someone unknown. Be honest and open with those already in your life. Surround oneself with individuals who make you glad you’re alive.
  3. Passion is both infectious and attractive. It’s the fuel that propelled men and women to perform at KAABOO. It’s the reason why thousands and thousands attended the Del Mar Fairgrounds this past weekend. For these artists, creating music and sharing it with the world is their passion. Grasping the joy these individuals receive from pursuing their life’s work as well as sharing it with others was simple. During any given set, I turned around in every direction only to see a sea of smiles, all emanating from the stage to pour over those awaiting a chance for happiness. Noticing this has been a wake up call. A chance to refocus my passions, develop them and share them with others.
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On the Joy of Traveling with Friends

The following is a true event. Any similarities to actual persons are entirely purposeful.

Nina and Mike: CONTACT! 1, 2, 3…Boogatoo!

Me: No

Jason: Boogaroo

Me: Nah

Mike: Booga Booga

Me: Guys…

Jason: Boogaloo?

Me: YESSSSS

Eight hour drives involve silly word games, ice cream-fueled pit stops and off key singing. 24 hours in a beautiful city involve breathtaking hikes, mouthwatering meals, bottomless beverages, delicious delicacies and insightful conversations late into the night. Then, 36 hours after departure, traveling with others involves hitting a brick wall. A brick wall founded on lack of sleep, built high with time spent away from home and mortared together by constant social proximity. That is, usually. Break through this wall. Be in the present. Relish one’s company while traveling. In doing so, one will pave new roads to joy. Avenues that frame the beauty of discovery. Boulevards that expose similarities and differences. Circles that come back to favorite topics of discussion. Highways that satisfy a common sense of adventure. Freeways that reveal common held frustrations. Routes that connect memories to time and place. Streets that allow friends to become family, even if for just a weekend.

 

Five Quotes

I struggled to title this post. Thoughts ricocheted around my head. Phrases plopped out of my mouth. Cliches fell deaf on my ears. Nothing felt quite right. “Five Quotes Every Runner Will Understand” was too specific. “Five Quotes for a Meaningful Life” was too vague. Surely, all quotes contain meaning. But why should these five be the only set to guide one’s life? Why should this set target only a small portion of individuals? Ironic that a post about quotes, the encapsulation of so much meaning with so few words, is taking me so long to unravel to you. At the same time, that’s exactly my point. Quotes astound with immediate connections and clarity. No one needs to deconstruct a quote. The words speak for themselves and directly to you. As such, here are five quotes you may or may not have stumbled upon in your time stumbling through life.

Five Quotes

“The best way out is always through.” —Robert Frost

“The more you know, the less you need.” —Yvon Chouinard

“Always do what you are afraid to do.” —George Bernard Shaw

“Don’t work towards freedom, but allow the work itself to be freedom.” —Dōgen Zenji

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” —Ernest Hemingway

On Weekends

“Thank God it’s Friday” — Restaurant and phrase expressing gratitude for the end of the week

“Working for the Weekend” — An anthem to Saturday and Sunday sung by Loverboy

“Ready for the weekend” — A verbal shrug and common sentiment shared by millions

Including myself. Why are weekends held in such high praise? More importantly, how does this perception affect our understanding of the week? Hopefully, reflecting upon these questions will yield a healthy discussion on the nature of weekends as well as insight into how to positively change perceptions of the week.

An Extended Metaphor 

As of late, weekends have been the light at the end of the tunnel. Distant yet within sight. Holding promises of excitement and joy. Bright opportunities with friends and loved ones. Entirely framed by the damp and restrictive walls of the week. Stumbling through darkness with head held low a puddle comes into sight. Catching just enough light to create a reflection. Revealing a face. A fatigued face weighed down by engulfing shadows cast by Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. This face and its owner trek the dark tunnel towards the light each and every week. Hoping that a brief stint outside will rejuvenate, reinvigorate and inspire change in this cycle. Yet, as Sunday bleeds into Monday, this face reenters the tunnel once again. Quickly consumed and lost within the darkness…desperately looking for itself in the light of the weekend.

This face belongs to me. Perhaps to you as well.

Guiding Light 

Running, hiking, writing, reading, exploring, volunteering, family and friends. All parts of my identity guiding me through five days of work. All parts of my identity that brighten my day and put a smile on my face. All parts of my identity primarily reserved for weekends. Weekends are amazing periods of time when we can invest in things that truly make us happy and feel alive. Time away from heavy responsibilities and pressures. Time away from school. Time away from work. Time to act on the light within ourselves while enjoying sunshine outside. It’s time well spent. And all too short.

Thus, a call for change is necessary. A change that undermines weekends as the be-all and-end all of the week-weekend cycle. This change, of course, involves math. Conducted by an expert such as myself with the utmost qualifications.

Math by a History Major

Math has never been my strong suit. Numbers are strange. Beyond analyzing charts, calculating rent payments and figuring out Venmo charges, I’ve had very little interaction with anything resembling math in the last four years. Despite this, I’m able to do some basic arithmetic that supports framing the week in a more positive light.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday = the week = five days

Saturday, Sunday = the weekend = two days

5 > 2

More days. More time. More life. Chock-full of opportunities, the week should be cherished rather than endured. This, however, is rarely the perception adopted by many in life. The length of the week often becomes its greatest hindrance rather than its best feature. Yet, as indicated by the intricate proof above (and some personal experience), I refute this claim and mathematically argue in favor of the week holding incredible potential just waiting to be unleashed. To positively perceive and make the most of the week, consider any (or all) of the following:

  1. Forty Hours. Dedicated to work, studies or skipping either of the former, forty hours a week generally contribute to professional or educational development. Almost matching the length of an entire weekend, these forty hours preciously shape who we become and how we experience life. Spending forty hours on the weekend (leaving only four hours of sleep per night) on things related to your current job or area of study? Most likely not. So why invest such a hefty amount of time during the week to such things? Use the freedom of the weekend to discover your light. From there, let it radiate your week through aligning it with the forty hours you already dedicate to self-development in its various forms.
  2. Five Sunrises. Millions despise mornings. Mornings involve cold showers after late nights, only to arrive late to an 8 A.M. class with an unknown quiz thrown in one’s face…again. Or to sit through unwanted traffic on the way to an equally unwanted job bound to produce unwanted results by day’s end. Break the cycle. Wake up early. View the sunrise. See beauty begin each of the five days of the week. Visually understand the importance of starting anew with limitless possibilities. Refresh the mind, body and soul. Watch five sunrises each week.
  3. One Life. The simple truth that binds all humans together. We all have one go at this lovely, beautiful, chaotic, mundane and paradoxical experience called life. A majority of this life will be lived during the week. Make the most of the week and one makes the most of life. That’s it. Start now, champion life during the week and live to the fullest.

On New Year’s Resolutions

New year. Fresh start. Resolutions abound. Endless possibilities. All to begin on the first of January. And surely to end before the close of the month. Why are resolutions difficult to keep? More importantly, why do so many wait such a long period of time to better their lives? Hopefully, reflecting upon the questions posed will yield a healthy discussion on the nature of resolutions as well as insight into how to best set resolutions for oneself.

The Difficulty of Keeping a Resolution

Waking up at 6 A.M. to stumble out of bed and go for an hour-long run. Squeezing breakfast in between a cold shower and a traffic-heavy drive to work. Teaching kindergartners addition while doing some math of my own to figure out rent payment. Writing for hours on end to publish an article to an invisible audience. Scarf down some leftover pasta, drink a chilled beer, sneak that extra oatmeal raisin cookie, brush teeth (don’t forget to floss!) and crash. Now repeat.

Life is busy. An enjoyable busy full of enjoyably busy moments. Creating time and finding energy to accomplish resolutions in between these busy moments often is challenging. This challenge is where most resolutions unravel into a general compliance with the norm of life. And the point at which a resolution is ironically made to make next New Year’s resolutions truly stick. How can the difficulty of keeping a resolution be overcome ensuring that the now, not next year, will yield results?

Take a deep breath. Clear the clutter from your mind and travel back to the origin of your resolution. Remember that spry smile that crossed your face when the first fleeting images of your goal appeared in your brilliant head? Good. Now, recall how that smile instantly deflated into a frown accompanied by a furrowed brow when obstacles on the way to your goal became apparent? Better. Switch things up and jump forward in time. Visualize successfully keeping your resolution. Take notice of the arrangement of muscles on your face. A wide smile reflective of accomplishing your goal, perhaps? Best. These manifestations of inner emotions guide or dissuade individuals from completing their resolutions. Two are positive and one is negative. Focus on the two positive. For in them one can find the proper motivation, the desire to make time and find energy, necessary to traverse inevitable obstacles on the enjoyable journey to success.

But even with the proper motivation, keeping resolutions can be difficult. Fear of failure and exposure of flaws compound making the process of beginning an experience unfortunately brushed off until the start of the new year. To best keep resolutions, consider these three key elements while making new resolutions.

The Three Key Elements 

Write. Put pen to paper or finger to computer key. Make the resolution real through inscribing it in one form or another. With precision. Rather than writing “Run a marathon” relate something personal like my own resolution to “Run the LA marathon in under three hours and five minutes.” This makes the resolution tangible, feasible and obtainable.

Form. Invest in the necessary materials. Gather supportive friends. Reach out to like-minded strangers (who will become friends). Cut out those distracting things and people that are more hindrance than help. Form the person you need to be and the groups you need to be involved with to ultimately keep the resolution you desire.

Act. Now. Don’t wait until the start of the new year. Or the beginning of the following year or even the year after that. Act upon the desire for improvement and change in your life through creating a new resolution in the here and the now. Millions will wait until New Year’s Day to begin anew. Why wait and deny yourself (as well as those in your surroundings) the incredible person you are resolved to become?

A Final Note 

To any who may need more encouragement to begin, or simply to continue, with their new resolutions before New Year’s Day, be sure to check out this video (and look at its date of publication): An Invocation for Beginnings.