BREAKING FREE: MOVING AWAY TO GROW

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“Get away to grow up.”


In the year 2011, right after undergraduate school, I moved to New York City. Coming here for graduate school from Kenosha, Wisconsin was a new experience. You go from living on a rural campus to a major metropolitan hub. Yet graduate school wasn’t the only reason I decided to make the leap out on the East Coast. Another reason I chose to move to the East was because I needed to also be in a city where I could pursue my goals the best way I knew how to do so. And I also wanted to shape my identification. Growing up for me in a household where I was not only the only boy among siblings, but male in the house. And there are certain aspects of being a man that my mom and sisters don’t quite understand. So in my mind, it made perfect sense to create a whole new identity for myself and pursue my goals.

So I ask you, is there ever a moment in your life where feel you need to getaway to grow in life. Now don’t get me wrong, you are suppose to leave an environment in search of something better. Not run away from problems that you perceive to be external, but are really internal. Because internal problems only follow you wherever you go. I am referring to you having to leave because what the world has to offer you elsewhere is far too great to stay where you currently reside. And that could mean better schools, a better job, and overall better existence. For example, I come from a small city with a population of about 75,000 people. And now living in New York city, there are three to four times that many people in my Harlem neighborhood. So it has been a major leap in me getting acclimated to the city. But luckily for me, I have been here almost six years.

As for me taking the leap and living in a more open and conscious city, my mind has grown with it. So my writing has improved since leaving my small town. Now, does that mean I encourage everyone else to do the same; no. I just feel for me, the borough of Manhattan has an energy that inspires me to write everyday. Some days I will just walk around the high populated areas just to get in a mode and come back to the computer lab and write. So for you, a small town might be the place for you to push out the greatness that is inside of you. But moving away gives you a different perspective on how other people live their lives. You are given an open door into how others different from you think and feel. This may aid in your endeavors whatever they may be, to propel yourself forward in life.

In the end, moving away forces you to mature at a quicker rate than if you were at home. Because even  with a support system back home, you have to step up to the learning curve quick. For me, coming from small town Midwest and now in the Big Apple, you grow fast. If you don’t, you sink fast. The city will swallow you up and spit you out. And it is a true testament to how resilient you are in life.


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FAST FORWARD: WHY WE WANT TO SPEED UP TIME TO SUCCESS

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“No one wants to wait, we just want to be there.”


Success takes a lot of time; sometimes more time than we are willing to wait. Don’t you wish sometimes you could just fast forward your way through time. Well, at least until you’re in a more comfortable position in life. Yet, when we fast forward, there are other non-controllable things that can happen as well. Are we willing to deal with those as well? You may be successful, but people around you might die. Your loved ones could perish without you being able to say your last good-byes. So why not just let time tick as time ticks? It’s that long arduous road to where you want to be that’s why.

When we start out in life, it’s usually at the bottom. At the bottom financially, at the bottom socially. And we all have this place where we would like to be. But the time it takes to get there is so long, we wish we could fast forward to success. Well, what happens if we could? But your success you want is at the age of 60. You click forward at age 25 and now you just missed out on nearly 40 years of life. You will miss out on so much on that road to success that your end result is not even worth the time moving forward. You want to enjoy all the time it took to get you where you want to go. If not, once you reach success, you may not appreciate it. Yet we still want to keep moving forward nonetheless.

Unless that is, you get a certain level of success at a young age. Then, no one wants to push the time forward. You want to live in every moment of the time you are in. But people around you may not want to push the time forward. And all of these people not willing to wait comes from a lack of guarantee. Who want to put in so much work and then nothing formulates in the end. What if you fast forward years and still nothing? What did your life really mean? Just because you say fast forward until I am successful, doesn’t mean there is success in your life. Your life might actually be failure after failure after failure. Can you stomach your existence on Earth boiling down to nothing?

In the end, people don’t want to live in the moment especially when the moment is so awful. We don’t want to grind it out to get nothing in the end. On the other hand, if you don’t do anything there is nothing in itself. In today’s society, we are currently in a strange time as it pertains to success. There is no real path to take in life. Years ago the path lead to somewhere, now the path can go up, down, side to side, and reverse. It’s whatever you make the path out to be. And that’s what it comes down to, making life what you want it to be. Because in the end, it’s your life.


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THE FORGOTTEN ONES: THE LONESOME POPULATION OF ELDERLY IN AMERICA

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“Everybody has to get old; who will care for you?”

As we age in society most of us contemplate what will come of ourselves as we get older. Will we be able enough to care for ourselves or will we need assisted living? Will there be someone there to check in on us like a friend or family or will we be placed in a care facility? For most people, no one wants to be placed in an elderly facility. We call them, “Old Folks Homes,” and they carry so many negative connotations. From the neglect of no one coming to see them or the physical and mental abuse some endure while they are there at the hands of staff members. But what I am writing about is not just living in an assistant living facility, but the loneliness elderly people face.

Walking the streets of New York City, you see elderly men and women who have no friends and no family. And for the ones who do have loved ones, the close relatives don’t even bother coming around to visit them. So the elderly sit around bored and alone. Some who are physically unable to leave confines of their homes, so they just wither away. I read in the newspaper or even watch the news about how elderly men and women in the housing projects never leave their apartments; especially during the winter months. It’s no wonder a lot of them face mental issues or their memories diminish. There is nothing around them to keep their minds sharp. I had a grandmother (my mother’s mother) who passed away, but it was a physical ailment. Outside of that, she was an able bodied woman. As for other people her age, a lot weren’t.

But why, why do we leave the older generations not cared for, even though we ourselves have to get old one day? Do we do it because we don’t care? Or is it because we have to make a living for ourselves in today’s society? A lot of it has to do with having to live in society yourself. If you are the everyday working man or woman, you have to be out earning in society. So trying to care for a parent or other relative is tough. And with a lack of jobs, people are forced to work more now than ever. So the idea of working multiple jobs is a reality. Now you’re going to have even more people aging and left alone. I don’t think people are careless, it’s just you have to work so hard at yourself it’s tough to care for another close to you.

In the end, the aging population of men and women in America is growing because due to modern medicine people are living longer. Does that mean even more lonely and shutout citizens? The upside to all this is that we have more able bodied elderly. As a matter of fact, my mother and her sisters are considered elderly, but by their ability to be mobile they are far from it. You wouldn’t know that these are women who have officially become the elderly. Because 60 years old in the past was old, it’s still young in the world today. So maybe there is some good that could come from the new aging population.