Monthly Archives: September 2011

Sing a Song

In the deepest of all the deep jungles of exams, there I was. All the ontological and epistemological theories and perspectives in the world kept me company for the last couple of days (as if there was nothing more exiting in this world, than figuring out how the world really looks like, and how we get knowledge… Now, I know how I prefer to get knowledge: using empiric research. Aka. Living life rather than to read about it, but that’s not how to get an academic degree, is it?)

Anyway, I’m not sure how you work… but I know how I do. And when studying for an exam I have a tendency to focus on everything else (!), except my exam. And that was the case even this time I was supposed to study. Suddenly I had this awesome (?) idea that instead of putting dishes in the dishwasher, I should wash plates and glasses by hand (they do get “so” much cleaner when I do it by hand, right?) and when doing dishes, I needed to have something to listen to, so I simply tuned in the radio. And yes, I know… radio stations have approximately 10 songs in total that they play over and over and (shuffle) over again…  Then, randomly, a song tuned in. And I could not hamper my excitement.

After not listening to the song for years and years. Not hearing it on radio nor in any shop in town (I already fear the christmas-carols being played over and over and (…) over again.. bad taste in my mouth just thinking about how they abuse all the christmas-songs nowadays. And me, being all Grinch (female version), I can’t wait to january gets here to get it all over with).

Back to the song that suddenly was played on the radio, it sure caught me off guard. To my very own surprised I still knew the lyrics (I am a person who listens to lyrics rather than to the acoustics). So, there I was. Doing dishes and singing, every single word just came to me as if I never listened to any other song in my life. (I am just going to mention that the song I refer to is really not one you listen to every day, it’s really, really old, and never became a huge hit. But I suppose that I should mention that the artist was my very favorite one when I was a young child. And this is where I am going to stop, because if you knew who that was, you’d be astonish, and I am not sure in what way!) And it struck me… how is it possible to remember lyrics (note: I do know more than one song by heart) But when it comes to things that you actually (!) need to know, i.e. studying for an exam, it just refuses to lodge in my head like lyrics seem to do without me even trying, at all, compare to the hours and days I have my nose in the books trying to get a grib over the data I try to knock into my head?

Can we choose what we want to remember? I mean, how come I remember so many lyrics but I cannot remember what my first course at uni was about – even if my life was depending on it! (Maybe I should try to make a living out of remembering lyrics… whatever that would be like. Hmm… Put this on a business card: Authorized lyric-rememberer. (I just made that up)) Darn you Google for depriving me my opportunity to make a living.

For sure, if I could babble useful information instead of lyrics I would probably make better on my exams, so maybe one should start to accompany when reading and studying? Would that really be just as fun? Most probably not, but maybe worth a try?

End note: I did write me exam, maybe I would have done better if I would hum a song to it, but all in all, I am high-five’ing myself and moving on with life. On to the next exam!

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Filed under Every day life

City of Memories

I suppose that we all have a memories. Good and bad ones. But they are there. Reminding us about what we’ve been through, people we’ve met, situations we’ve been in, dilemmas, adventures, problems… everything. Whatever the memory is, it’s not going to be erased from the past (maybe from your memory, but the fact that it happened, is stuck. As in; forever)

What strikes me is how strongly one (read; I) associate certain things, places and words to other people. Preferably people who are close to me. We create insider-jokes that only we laugh about (and no one really know’s what so funny the move, the word, look or whatever it might be), we have some specific expressions, phrases and terms… And even though, the jokes and phrases fade away, the memory of them are still there.

To make more sense about this post, lately I have found myself surrounded with places that all bring out memories from my past. A part of history in my presence, one might say. The city where I live in, buildings, places, sounds, smells, a lot of them are connected to (or more accurately; I connect them to) memories, from the past. And most of the time, I can’t prevent myself from smiling.

Just the other day, passing by a regular spot in the city, a memory-flashback suddenly hit me, and I bursted out laughing. (There was absolutely nothing I could do about it, and I was not surprised that the people around me gave me a strange look, since the day was rather grey and dull, nothing to be happy about someone might say). But there I was, simply walking from one place to another when the sweet memory from the past filled me with joy. And it was amazing. Even if it only lasted for a moment, my memory was so strong that it felt very present, even though the situation was nothing like it was when the memory was created.

At the same time, I think that it goes both ways, for better and for worse. (I mean, sure, it’s nice to be reminded of good times, memories that makes my dimples show, but then there are places (read; memories) I rather not be reminded about). And for that simple reason one could try to avoid certain spots, places, neighbourhoods and even cities. The memories are simply that strongly connected to the memory that one chooses not to be reminded of them, and a way of making sure not to think about it, is to avoid the place (clever, right?).

But my point is that if you stay at one place long enough, you will eventually fill the city up with memories. And talking a walk through the city, might end up walking on Memory Lane. But in some cases, I believe it’s a good thing. Because, those memories are your life. And you do know that:

Life is not made out of those days that passes you by… it’s the days you remember.

Ofcourse, one should perhaps not live life constantly thinking about the past. But once in a while, when you’re bored or having a bad (hair) day, close your eyes and remember a situation that made you smile. And who knows, if you remember it strong and good enough, the situation might actually force you into having another laugh. (‘Recycling memories ?) For you never know, when you need a good memory to make your day (again).

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My Lucky Charm

It was two days before my final semester was about to begin at the university. The excitement was on top and I have been looking forward to the semester for a long time (since I began to study I guess. Trying to see the end of the tunnel, just to get things over with…) Not saying that I dislike studying, in fact I like it (very much indeed)

I really like the challenge you get when learning something completely new to you (Even though some of my friends, you know who you are, get the typical phone calls from me, just as I walk out from the very first class when starting a new course (and this has happened every new class I have attended, for the past three years), saying that I am really frustrated, calling myself bird-brained since I don’t understand what the professor was going on about for the past three hours. My friends of course reply with the same standard phrase, after a long laugh, they tell me that I am not ALL that empty-headed… after all, I was attending classes to learn. What would the point be if I already knew what they were teaching at the university? This is where I realize that I am definitely always in a rush, and that maybe (!) I should not pressure my self ALL that much)

Anyway, as I was getting ready and prepared for my final semester I had another two days to go and get the course literature and everything that one needs before a new semester… I got all sentimental and did a mental flash-back to my very first day in the academic world. I can still recall the day as if it was yesterday (I assure you that it was not) and I remembered how I was sitting outside, it was a sunny day in august, and for some reason my eyes caught the grass. It was really green, (like ridiculously green), and I for some reason simply leaned down to pick up what I was not sure was really, but turned out to be, in fact, a four-leaf clover!

Now, I do not know if you are aware of the tradition behind a four-leaf clover? It is said that the person who finds one will be lucky or fortunate. And as I remembered that day, first day at the university and the day I found my four-leaf clover, I recalled always having it in my wallet. Since the very day I found it, it has always been with me.
So, I just wanted to make sure that I still had it with me before entering my final semester (Something I don’t check very often, since I never move it around, unless I change wallet), and to my surprise, IT WAS GONE!

I freaked out! Where could it be? I had not seen it for a while, since I simply assume that it is on its usual place, not to be removed or replaced. Ever! But it was not where I remembered it to be. In its ordinary place in the wallet. What to do?

After turning my place up-and-down in the search for the clover, I gave up.

Not that I am superstitious kind of person, but the though of getting myself into some kind of trouble now that I had lost my lucky charm (I might not need to lose my lucky charm for that to happen… no comments on that one) did cross my mind.
Was something bad going to happen now that I lost my clover? Should I watch my back extra carefully from now on?

As I went on with all the questions, I realized that maybe I would get in some trouble for thinking too much about it!
Have you ever heard some quote saying that from Henry Ford:

Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right

This was one of the quotes that I suddenly came to think about. And realized, that maybe I should stop believe that the four-leaf clover had anything to do with me having a lot of fun, and joy, and above all, luck for the past three years? Maybe the four-leaf clover had nothing to do with all the wonderful things that had happened to me in my life from the moment I found it? Maybe it was just me and myself, simply the path that my life would have taken with or without a lucky charm by my side wherever I go did not depend on the clover?

Come to think about it, I figured (after a day of light paranoia without my clover) I decided that my life would have been the same without it, and now that it was gone, I should not put all my luck, or believe in luck, in a lucky charm that I found on a sunny day on campus. (Guess someone reading this would find it ridiculous that I put any faith in the four-leaf clover in the first case).

So, there I was. Without a clover. Still happy. Believing in my own luck. Deciding that whether or not I would be lucky, should not be decided by a lucky charm. No matter what the tradition says about four-leaf clovers. And I felt really good about my decision. “From now on, my luck would only depend on me”. And nothing else. I could make a simple choice, to be lucky. And that was exactly what I was going to do from this day and forward.

The day came, that my final semester was beginning. As I walked out the door from home, to go to campus, I checked if I had everything with me, keys, cellphone, books… and as I checked my wallet… Tada! There it was. Three years on the very same day, first day of the new semester, I found my four-leaf clover for the second time. All the numerous times I checked the very same place for that specific clover and I could not see it there. I thought that my eyes must have played a trick on me, just to make me realize what I already decided, the day before. That I was the one, and only one, to decide about my own luck. (No four-leaf clover in the world could ever make my dreams come true, if I didn’t believe in it. Or more importantly, if I didn’t believe in myself).

So here I am today. Believing in creating my own fortune.
(As for the four-leaf clover, I still keep it in my wallet. As a back-up. Just in case).

Why do we need a lucky charm? Are we not suppose to be in charge of creating our own luck?

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Filed under Encouragment, Unknown future

Seize the Day

And I am definitely back in business.

Begin final semester at the university: Check!
Working way too much and too late hours: Check!
Cutting down on dance-classes: Check!
Having no time left over to hang out with friends and family: Check!
Mental five to all of this and see you in February 2012!

So, life is back to what is use to look like for me. Every hour I am awake I have my nose in the course literature, and when it’s not there, I get some bad kind of anxiety for not studying (do you recognize that feeling?)

That’s a typical one for me. Not knowing when to say “enough is enough”, and kicking back books, phone calls, “must’s” and “have to’s”… Ah, all the time spent in the library on campus, sitting shoulder to shoulder with other students in the very same situation, living from one exam to another, never being able to ever relax on a saturday since there’s a memo that needs to be handed in on Monday morning, and an oral presentation for Friday evening, in between of all the pages you need to learn and the seminars and classes you have to attend… all the books and all the articles that one has read. All the essays that one has written (that will never be read by anyone else than the supervisor for the course…) Life sure is funny sometimes.

As for me, I had one of those usual days of mine today. Being at the university before 8 am, and back at home at 10 pm. And one says that you should “seize the day”… eh, yeah, great. Thanks mate! Just rub it in.

I am really amazed how students in some respect are taking a chance when entering the academic world. I am not saying that it is not required in order to get a job around here, but when the economy and unemployment looks as it does, one needs to play with the safe card. But what I want to point out here, is that when you are studying, you are really making an investment for life. (Besides all the extra bonus of (hopefully) having a great student-life together with your course-mates on campus, and not having to sit in an office all day (as if the library is any better!)… )

However, you are investing time, a lot of it, time that you could have spent on something else (like seizing the day for example?) or more likely on a job, working 9 to 5, then closing the door behind you and simply forgetting everything that has to do with work. And let’s not fool ourself, being a student is very rarely a walk in a park when it comes to the financial part as well.You check the price tag and think twice before buying something; “Do I really need this?”, “Should I really spoil myself with this?”. It sure does feel as you are putting your life on hold in some way. Because you never feel as if you have studied enough, read a satisfying amount of pages, written all the things you could have written on your thesis… the list is long.

I can’t help but to compare all of this to the saying

Seize the Day

Eh… wait a minute… just. Wait. A. Minute. Here.

What is really meant by this saying? Live as if it was your last day on earth? But don’t forget to plan for the future?
If we are supposed to seize the day, then why do we save for our retirement? Why not use the money now? Who know’s if you’ll even live tomorrow?

I am not saying that one should give up their studies, work or pension funds for that matter, but just what exactly is it about this whole idea of “seizing the day”?

I mean, sure. The quote is nice. Neat. Clean. Easy to remember. But impossible to live by (or is it just me?)

As I once wrote, sometimes something bad, or horrible even, needs to happen for us to stop and reflect on what is really going on in our life. But that rarely means that we are slowing down the pace of our life. Unfortunately.

But another thing that strikes me, is that once you are done with your degree, and you are (finally) ready to face the “real world”, get a job and start to make a living… what if you cannot get a job? Which, is the case for many of the students around the world today.

Did they make a good investment of their time at the university, working on their degree instead of simply taking a job at a café (Sorry to all of you who are working at a café, you are doing a tremendously great job, especially when putting up with me (and all the other people) in the morning when taking our coffee-order (we all know how grumpy some people are before they get their first, second or even third cup of coffee in the morning) so anyway, thank you!) in order to pay their bills just like everyone else? Is it a question about ambitions? Are we studying just to reach some degree and prove to the world that we could do it? Make it happen? Call ourself a Master of Finance or a Doctor?

I sometimes question why people put up with all the pressure (when life is supposed to be simple?) in order to get some kind of knowledge (is that what studying provides you with, anyway?) or a paper to show when applying to a job that says.. well, what does it say really? I know where to look for an answer to a question? I have the capacity to absorb new information and then write it down on paper or tell it to someone else (exam)?

However, I do know why I am a student. For several reasons really, but I’m not going to post them here. I just wanted to post some random thoughts that came into my mind earlier today. So, does seizing the day go against anything that you do, on a daily basis that is? Are you really seizing the day?

For I know that I am not seizing the day. For sure I am not. I mean, if today was my last day (and seizing the day means living your life to the fullest, as if it was you last day) I’d be pretty disappointed with my last day. I am first of all, already thinking about tomorrow (not being able to take things slow, but always being in a hurry and having no patience-skills are my issues) and secondly, just being a student means that I am looking forward to what I will be able to do (apply for some kind of specific job) with the degree I hope to obtain. Which in a way could be seen as looking forward to the future, almost living the future, since that is where I have my focus and the goal I want to reach is in the future, it’s not in this day, today, thus, I am not seizing THIS day. And it’s kinda sad really. Since, let’s be honest. I might not wake up tomorrow. Harsh. But truth is not always pretty now, is it? Yes, so, there we go. I confess. I am really bad at seizing the day. Although it does happen. If only for a moment. And when that happens, it feels amazing. But that could definitely be something to put ont the list called “Things To Become Better At” (Guess this is a good time to start sketch on that list, right?).

So there we have it. Students do things now, in order to live their lives (better) later, in the future. Not seizing their day, here and now. Or, maybe some of them are, just by studying.

If today was your last day… Do you feel as if you seized it?

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Filed under Every day life, Unknown future