Thursday, January 28, 2010

I should probably be in bed right now, but I had some thoughts that I really wanted to share and hopefully get some feedback on. I have a lot of pet peeves in life, things that just rub me wrong for whatever reason, but one of the bigger pet peeves I have is in church when RMs share "The Mission Story." I wouldn't say that the story is necessarily bad, or I dislike it, but the few guys who share it to grab attention as to how great a missionary they were or how righteous they are have ruined it for me for good. I had an unbelievable two years serving in Ukraine, and I would never, EVER, trade that experience for anything, but at the same time, I have realized that my mission was different from so many others. I was a first counselor in a small branch in Nikolayev, Ukraine, for nine months. There were times when the only priesthood holders at sacrament meeting were the missionaries and when we had to share impromtu talks for about half an hour because whatever member that was supposed to speak didn't show up, or we simply didn't have anyone left to speak. These oddities or rarities led me to learn a great deal about HOW the church is run, proper order and procedure, and in turn I think has ruined so much of Mormon society for me. I was reading a blog tonight where the female writer was perturbed that the Home Teachers had not asked her to assign someone to pray. I can relate to being the unnoticed one in life, despite being abnormally large in size for all my life, people, and more notably girls, have ignored me all my life, but I disagree with her on this instance. Men were set as the head of the household for a reason, and women were given to them to assist in the decision-making process. It has nothing to do with holding women back or anti-feminism, but it has to do with following the natural order God has set forth. I'm not good at keeping commandments, but that is more because I lack discipline as opposed to me being defiant to commandments. I do, however, understand that God has an order, and upsetting that order leads to confusion and disarray. Any of the recent Gay marriage debates or the rise in divorce rates are strong indicators of this, in my opinion. It is this lack of understanding of how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints works that I have a hard time overlooking. So many people make commentary or negative remarks about a certain principle or technique, and really miss what the point of what we are doing is, and that is learning. God doesn't need everything to be perfect, he needs us to learn, and part of learning includes making mistakes, but also knowing what the proper response or procedure is in a given situation. I have a major pride issue, i.e. I'm overly prideful, and I have seen myself over and over make these same sorts of assumptions. Realization of this has caused me some pain, but in turn, has helped me to better understand that everything has a reason and just because we don't know it doesn't make it wrong. Its late, so I'm not sure that makes sense, but I at least know what I am trying to say.

As long as I am ranting, another thing that bothers me is how so many people make church into their social life. Religion at its core was developed to provide people with support, but I think too many people abuse it as their primary means and support. I know not everyone is the social butterfly that I am, but it may surprise some people to learn that being social and open and conversational is actually hard for me to do, and that at my very core I am a shy person. I am seriously grateful for what I have been given in life because of my membership in the church, but I see these things happening, and it makes me sad because I feel like the true spirit of the gospel is being lost here. It shouldn't be something hard to fix, either. I'm not saying I'm the one to fix it, but I won't be the guy that pipes up in Elder's quorum to say, "I remember back on my mission..."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

If I were to chart my time in the shape of a pie, or in other words, a pie chart, there would probably be two slices that everyone would want, and then the "donate to charity" sized remainders to what I do. The two big pieces would be work and internet, and I think with me going back to school this semester there will soon be a third piece. I usually spend most of my internet time reading other blogs, reading about sports, reading draft charts and short stories, and facebook. I can't lie about the facebook thing because anyone with half a brain can tell that, but I actually do spend a lot of time reading, because reading is what inspires me to write this, but the more that I read, the more I've started realizing how hard it is to find entertaining things to write about and how hard it is to stay motivated and fresh. I've given this a lot of thought lately due to my recent urge to actually develop either one of my movie ideas or one of my reality shows. It seems that almost everyone has a good idea for a reality show, I know I've claimed several, but instead of just thinking, yeah that would make a great show, I've started asking more critical questions. Why would people want to watch this? Is it duplicatable? How much could the production company make off of product placement? How do you keep it interesting? What about this show is unique and would convince someone to give you the money to produce it? This has led to a refinement of a lot of my ideas, mostly to the point that I end up throwing them away, which I'm not super depressed about, because if they really were that good, I'd be putting them to use. I feel like I have developed the skills lately that would make me good at this kind of thing, but at the same time, I'm not the kind of person who could do it alone, and typically my wingman at some point would be Jay, but he is in Salt Lake and our schedules rarely allow for us to talk and plan things, so for now I'll go it alone. I have no idea how you go about something like this, but I plan on spending a fair amount of time in it, because, and this is my segway to my second point for this little rant, I am losing the fire at work. I have a pretty great job for college, decent enough money, it isn't difficult by any means, flexible hours, but I'm still poor and it is BORING, and holding my attention to one task that holds zero interest REALLY sucks for me. Almost to the point that I think I have adult ADD.

(I looked up the symptoms online, and I have a lot of them, i.e. being forgetful, easily distracted, being late, which EVERYONE knows I have a huge problem with, anyway...)

In addition, we have a new manager, and like every new manager, this one is out to prove that he/she can change all the bad habits at the store and make things better, because the last three managers just didn't have the tools that he/she does, etc, which basically leads to firing half the staff and trying to tell all the current employees how to do their job. This bugs me to no end, because I've seen this happen three times now, and the outcome is almost always the same, manager gets burned out and the employees slack again. The whole process is getting frustrating. So I came home tonight to look at jobs, and honestly, it was bleak. I mean, really bleak. Like less than a hundred jobs TOTAL. That is pretty scary. I'm chalking some of that up to the fact that the new year just started, and some of it to the fact that a good portion of the jobs that might be open aren't listed in the places that I looked for them, but that may be a little hopeful. I want to say that I feel the same enthusiasm that everyone else does, that 2010 will be better, and I think that a lot of it will be for me because of my changes that I've made since last year, but there is still so much beyond my control that I'm unsure about. I guess in times of doubt you just need to buckle down and do what you can, and hope that things turn out for the best, because they almost inevitably do.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I think one of my biggest assets in this blog, and possibly in life, also tends to be one of my biggest faults. Most of the time when I write things down in the blog, it stems from some emotional moment I've had or something that pushes me, or motivates me to put my thoughts online. The more I thought about this, the more I started realizing that emotion drives so much of what I do. Common sense and level-headed decision making are almost the opposite of what I find to be interesting in my life, but recently I've begun to notice the beauty of calculation and of obedience and self control, again. My independence and need for freedom drove me in a different direction than what I think I really wanted to go in, because I felt like I was being forced to do things. In reality, and I think this fact has been played to death for all of us, it is mastery of self-control and the ability to adapt quickly to unexpected situations or, if you are lucky enough, to be over-prepared, that really lead people to successful lives and happiness. I guess if I were to make a new years resolution, that would be it. That I would continually strive for the self-control now that will unlock opportunities and blessings in the future, and hope that as it will be difficult for the first few months, that I can find the strength to continue and see some early reward for making the sacrifices now that I need to in order to succeed. That, and get my ass to the gym. I miss my muscles.