Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ten ways to stay positive

Staying positive is something that I personally have an issue with sometimes.  When ever I feel negative thoughts forming in my head, I trying to think of things that are positive.  Hopefully, a few of these points will help you stay positive when the going gets tough.

Ten ways to stay positive: 

  1. Take a deep breath and look around .  
  2. Don't worry about the things you can't control.
  3. If you make a mistake, don't worry; each day is another chance to set things right. 
  4. Hangout with people who always have something good to say. 
  5. Speak with encouraging words.
  6. Surround yourself with positive things. 
  7. Tell yourself that you can do it, even if it is physically impossible. 
  8. Expect great things to happen each and every day. 
  9. Spend time with family members. 
  10. Trust in God. 

The power of invisibility

If I had one wish, I would wish for the ability to be invisible. Why choose invisibility? Being invisible means that I can hear what people think about mean behind closed doors.  On the few days I had to take a sick day from school, I always wondered what people were saying about me.  I would ask myself this question because kids would talk about a person if they weren't at school on any given day.  The power of invisibility would allow me to really determine who my real friends are and I would then be able to tell if someone was lying to me if I asked them to give their honest opinion of me.  I guess people are just too polite to say to your face how they really feel about you.           

Monday, May 2, 2016

My experience with a semester blog

At the beginning of the semester, I had to start a blog for my second semester writing class.  At first I was a little unsure of how it would go.  I never blogged before and took to the semester long assignment without much enthusiasm.  As time went by, I would occasionally add to it.  Most of the semester, I would tell myself that I would blog a few times during the week to catch up on the blogs I missed.  As the semester came to a close, I told myself that i would blog and try to find some meaning behind it.  I have been blogging for about 6 straight hours now.  Yes, some of you probably think that I am crazy.  Others may think that I am lazy.  The truth is, I never originally wanted to blog. I asked myself, "What good will my blogs do for someone else who reads them?"  I am a private person and I do not like to put out my personal information for everyone to see.  I struggled coming up with ideas for good blogs worthy to be seen by eyes other than my own.  Today, something changed.  As I began to type up my early blogs today, I couldn't help but notice the excitement that came with telling a story.  I wanted to do nothing else during that moment other than tell my story.  I don't want this feeling of excitement when writing to go away.  It keeps me focused and motivated to get more accomplished.  If only I would have felt this feeling earlier in the semester.  

Ending my first year of college

Well, another year has come and gone.  The only difference is that this year was my first year of college.  A lot has changed in the past year.  For one thing, I have grown more mature in light of having to schedule appointments for myself.  My parents have never met my teachers, so it is up to me to effectively communicate with my teachers if I have any questions or concerns.  Overall, I can say that I am quite satisfied with my first year as a college student.  Yes, there were hard times when I was slammed with school work like I never had been before and yes there were times when I just wanted to give up.  The thing is, that's all part of growing up and becoming an adult member of society.  If things were really easy, then everybody would do it.  College is not for everyone.  Some people would rather begin to work straight out of high school and others, like me, would rather go to college and sacrifice on a few things now and hopefully become successful later on and live a much more comfortable lifestyle according to today's standards.  I look forward to the beginning of my first semester as a college sophomore and cannot wait to see what the future of my college career has in store. 

Still waiting to move

I have been living with my grandparents for about a year and a half.  Although we have gotten along quite well, there are times when I wish I could snap my fingers and make our (my parents and sister) new house ready to move into.  One couldn't imagine the excitement that I feel right now as the final weeks of work approach.  What a great time of the year to move into a new home!

The last few months have been difficult at times.  Trying to balance my home life and college life has been the greatest challenge I have faced yet.  Sometimes I want to stay at school until the house is complete to prevent me from becoming distracted from my studies.  Other times, I wish I could work around the house all day and help out as much as I can.  Unfortunately, life is not that simple and I must suck it up and balance both my personal and academic lives.  It's hard to do this, however.  i don't really know anyone whom I can talk to about my struggle to stay focused when I am around so much chaos.

As I have learned through this journey, patience and perseverance are a must. If you don't have patience, the process will feel like it is going ten times slower.  Without perseverance, nothing will be accomplished.  To close, I want to tell those who may be in my current situation to never give up hope, welcome every new day as one day closer to achieving your goal (which in my case, is moving out of my grandparents), and stick close to your loved ones and encourage one another.        

Time Travel

If time machines existed and you could go anywhere you wanted where would you go?  Would you take a trip to the past and visit your relatives or would you journey into the future and see how your decisions played out? As for myself, I would travel to the past and the future.

I would travel forward in time for the chance to see what my future holds.  While there, I would be able to see myself and determine whether I made good decisions or not.  It's crucial to never rush into anything, especially important life changing decisions.

Travelling back in time would of serve the purpose of seeing what was and what has developed because of something that happened.  In the past, I could see family members that died before I was born. I could also experience life before the use of addicting types of technology such as cell phones or computers.  Life was simple, period.  Travelling to the past would allow me to relax and see real events and talk to real people; not like today where everyone is on their phones, becoming more anti social despite the fact that they are communicating with other people continuously.  If only technology could make time travel possible!

Getting Stronger

I was always a skinny person growing up.  Being a skinny person, I was often and still am embarrassed to go to a pool party or run with my shirt off because of my rather thin-like appearance. In high school, I was an athlete and I took weightlifting classes for gym.  As I began to focus more on weightlifting, I saw my body becoming bigger and stronger in appearance.  After graduating and having no where to go lift, I slowly fell back into my rather skinny and weaker state.  At the beginning of the spring semester of my first year of college, I made the move to get back in shape and become stronger than ever before. In a fourteen week period, I have seen my body become stronger and I feel better about my appearance.  It really does affect me to see people my age who are twice as big as me.  I don't want to be seen as the weak guy or the guy who looks like a stick any longer.  So, this summer, I plan on taking my weightlifting to the next level with the help of supplements that will give my body the nutrients I may not be giving it when I'm working out. With a strong mind and will power, I will enter the new school year feeling like a new improved person. As the saying goes, "Out with the old and in with the new".

Is there Life on Other Planets?

For many decades and even centuries, scientists have asked the question as to whether life actually exists on other planets.  In recent years, new discoveries have shown that there are planets just like earth that have the ability to sustain life.  Now whether intelligent life would develop and evolve like it did on earth is another question however.  I think that there may be other life in the universe.  The universe is immense and expanding.  It would be foolish to think that there is only one planet out of trillions of planets that actually has life on it.  What do you think? It is just coincidence that life on earth can into existence? Is there a supernatural force controlling everything?  maybe someday, humans will develop the technology to travel to these remote worlds and discover things that humankind has only dreamed of.  

My success with running

Running has been a big part of my life in recent years.  In grade school, I was always one of the fastest kids in the class.  As high school began to approach, I tried to think of a sport that would best suit my talent.  I chose to run as a sprinter on the track and field team the following year. After one season of sprinting, my track coaches encouraged me to run cross country in the fall to keep my body conditioned for the following spring.  At first, I was hesitant but I soon understood that if I wanted to improve my performance, I had to put in some effort during the off season.  I joined the cross country team and ran a time of 22:21 for my first ever three mile race.  I immediately fell in love with cross country and distance running.  As I improved my times one race after another, I began to question as to whether I wanted to run distance or stay with the sprinters in the spring. I made the decision to stay a distance runner and over the next three years, I would improve my three mile time to 17:17.  Of course, as I improved my running, I became a weekly competitor for the top seven team and eventually made it as an alternate for the state cross country meet my senior season.  As a senior, I was also chosen to represent my team as co captain, a position I held with honor.  When the end of my senior track season came to a close, I thought that I would be running cross country in college. I made the decision to focus on my academics. I told myself that I would still run for fun.  That promise was like a New Year's resolution, you do it for a while but then you stop doing it. This summer, I would like to get back into running.  It taught me what patience, perseverance and hard work was all about. I would be a fool to give something like that up.

What I want to do this summer

Summer is the time to have fun and do the things that you normally couldn't do during the school year.  This summer, I plan on working for the most part, at least during the week.  I also plan on going to the drag races and maybe watching a race at the Joliet autobahn.  Camping at Starved Rock for a weekend with buddies who are home from school would be awesome.  It would feel like going on vacation in a way. Speaking of vacation, I don't think that my family and i will make the trip up north this year.  However, my parents do plan on taking my sister and I on a weekend trip maybe sometime around Labor Day.  In all, the things I plan on doing this summer can probably match that of many other college students my age.  I guess it isn't really what you do that matters, it's what you make of it. 


Favorite Movies

Everyone has their favorite movie.  What makes a movie your favorite? Is it the characters, the actors, the music, the plot, the places or the overall message if there is one?

Some of my favorite older movies include:

  • Star Wars: The Original trilogy (1977-1983)
  • Indiana Jones trilogy (1981-1989)
  • Harry Potter movies (2001-2011)
  • Jaws (1975)
  • Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
  • The Searchers (1956)
  • Grumpy Old Men (1993, 1995)
  • Uncle Buck (1989)
  • Dennis the Menace (1993)
  • Twister (1996)
  • The Fugitive (1993)
  • Back To The Future trilogy (1985-1990)
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
  • The Great Outdoors (1988)
  • Caddy Shack (1980)
  • Kindergarten Cop (1990)
What makes these movies fun to watch is the people in them and the story that is told.  Of course these movies are considered old by today's younger generation but are in my opinion, much better because they are original and not a remake of a dying series or a quick way to make a fast buck.  

A Close Encounter in the Dark

At night, the area around my new home is full of nocturnal activity.  Raccoons climb up the trees, frogs croak near the creek, deer walk through the woods and coyotes howl every time a nearby train blows its horn.  One night, about two weeks ago, I was sitting by a fire I had lit about an hour before. By this time, the fire started dying down and the darkness began to creep over the yard again. Something told me that I wasn't alone. I thought I saw something come out of the woods across the street but what ever it was vanished.  Once it passed under a nearby street light, I identified my stalker.  Out of nowhere, a coyote came within at least 25 feet of where I was sitting.  I have seen coyotes all of my life and have grown to appreciate their high yips and howls late at night.  However, this experience was unlike any other I had witnessed. Shocked and somewhat frightened, I stood up to make my presence known. It looked at me and I looked at it for what seemed like the longest time. Then, it kept walking toward the trees to my right.  Knowing that it was coming closer with no sign of fear, I clapped and yelled.  It ran off and I never saw it again.

Most people would think that I am a wimp for reacting the way I did.  What sent a chill up my spine was that it wasn't afraid of me initially.  In all, at least my story provided entertainment for my parents.  Good thing it wasn't a mountain lion. I have heard people in the area saying that they have seen paw prints by the nearby creek that match those of mountain lions.   

If I had one million dollars

Imagine: I just won one million dollars! I'm so happy, I can't believe that I actually won something for once in my life.

Lets pretend that taxes don't exist and I had a million dollars cash in my hand. I have to ask myself what would I do with a million dollars?  

Here are a few things I would do with a million dollars: 

Image result for a million dollars
  • Distribute equal portions to my family members
  • Invest some of it in stocks or mutual funds
  • Donate some to charity
  • Take a nice vacation
  • Buy a nice car that I can still afford even if I spent all of the money later on
  • Pay off any debts I have
  • Pay for all of my college
  • Buy a four wheeler or dirt bike. Better yet, buy a dune buggy
  • Get a lawyer
  • Save the rest

My Italian Background

If I could pick any language to learn, I'd probably pick Italian.  Why would I pick Italian? Italian was the language spoken by some of my great great grandparents.  Growing up, I always remember my my dad telling me stories of his grandma speaking Italian with her friends at church when they didn't want the younger kids hearing what they were saying.  My grandfather grew up in an Italian American household and can understand most Italian.  The Italian spoken around my grandpa was not standard Italian, however.  I'm not sure if it was Sicilian because people from Calabria didn't like Sicilians, but it had southern roots. He told me that a waiter in Italy said that the southern dialect was the truest form of Italian.

Switching sides or locations, my grandmother's father was born in Asiago, Italy in 1908.  Asiago, famous for their cheese, is located about sixty miles northwest of Venice in the province of Vicenza. Asiago was also a site of a World War 1 conflict launched by the Austro-Hungarians.  I have asked my grandma if her father or uncles ever spoke Italian.  She said that they really didn't. I began to wonder why this was so.

If anything, I can assume that northern Italians looked more Western than southern Italians and therefore didn't have to live close to each other in small neighborhoods like the one my grandpa grew up in.  If anything I am curious to find out what traditions my great grandpa's did keep and I would like to visit the village he was born in one day.

It's very important to find our roots and discover something about our past. If we don't know how we got here, we won't know how to move on.


What do you love and what do you want to do?

I love the feeling of accomplishing something great, whether it be a tough assignment for school or reaching a new max in the weight room.  As a young adult, I feel that I need to be a competitive person to gain an advantage against my peers.  Without putting any effort towards achieving difficult goals, I believe that I will never become the successful person I want to be.

I want to make an impact on the unknown future career that I will someday have.  I want to be the person in my family that people talk about (in a positive way).  I want to learn how to become the person I am destined to be.  I know a lot of people who are doing things in their career that they never thought that they would be doing when they were in my position.  That being said, to reinforce my goals and ambitions, I need to take a look in the mirror each morning and tell myself that each new day is a fresh start and another chance to achieving my goals and become the person that I want to be. One day, I will take a look back and ask myself if I made it to the life I wanted. Then, I will know whether I succeeded or not.    

Living far from home

Sometimes I wish I could just get away from the area I grew up in and start my own life in a different place.  It's not like I don't like my family or anything ridiculous like that, it's just that I want to see new places people and things.  After growing up in the same area that my parents, grandparents and great grandparents grew up in, I believe that it is time for me to start a new chapter in my family's history.  For myself, I want to live in Chicago at least for a little while after I graduate college and begin to start a career. To ask myself if an hour drive away from home is worth it, I've thought of some pros and cons of  moving to another area. Here are a few:

  • The area may be a better fit for me 
  • Can start a great career 
  • Gain a sense of adventure  
  • You can meet new people
  • All alone with no help
  • You must adapt to your new surroundings
  • Harder to see family when you want to 
  • Family emergency