INTO THE UNKNOWN: WHAT OUR TRUE FEARS ARE ABOUT LIVING

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“What will tomorrow bring is always scary.”


Growing up as a child, we have all these different places we see ourselves in life. We see ourselves being the top person in our career field. We see ourselves happily married with children. We see ourselves living this all-around great life, that sometimes doesn’t quite pan out that way. We see ourselves in all these positions, yet when it comes time to actually step into society, we have a hard time coming to grips with the real world. In the real world, things don’t turn out how we always plan them. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and how you deal with the adversity says a lot about who are you as a person. How will you respond if life doesn’t turn out how you thought it would turn out?

Life is not this straight path that leads to this pot of gold. You might go to school, get out, get a good job, and in a matter of months have no place of employment and no place to live. How do you deal with this when it comes your way? What do you do when face with no job and no means of survival? There is no playbook when dealing in life, this is something that happens on the fly. We have all these theories on how to deal until it happens. That’s when panic sets in, and you start to make decisions that could worsen your situation. And at that point you realize what true adulthood is all about. Your biggest fears are right in front of you. Life has eaten you up and spit you out.

It’s tough because you look at all those people around you who never work as hard as you, yet you are the one who manages to go through so much. And then you’ll find yourself asking questions as to why you have to deal with such adversity, yet the people who don’t work as hard get to coast through life. But that you don’t want, what you never want to do, is make your disdain at your situation make you angry at another person’s life. Number one, never make the assumption that their life is going well. And number two, your life could actually worsen from where it currently is because you are so focused on them. Yet it’s hard to do so when you’re going through so much.

See, in the end, that unknown that you’re entering that is life can be petrifying. Even when you are prepared to live your life, you still have fears about each and every day. You don’t know when the supervisor will come in and say, “We had to let you go.” You don’t know when a simple hospital visit could be a longer stay that reveals a terminal situation. Yet thinking about it daily will also drive you crazy. So you live, going to sleep waking up, not knowing what will come of each day. But it is also that unknown that strangely enough makes you feel alive. That makes us appreciate everyday, because after all, it could be your last: last in a relationship, last on a job, last in life.


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Nothing Personal, Just Busyness

Great view of the New York City (NYC) skyline with a few high buildings and sun in the background.

“Feeling the New York City rush is rough.”


The month was August, and I was new to New York City. Up until this point, my only insight into Manhattan was the idea of what I thought I knew. My first experience of the big city was walking through the revolving glass doors into the Time Warner building located in Columbus Circle. With my exceptional Midwest courtesy, I figured I’d mosey my way through the doors. A tall gentleman about six feet five in height and rather stocky, barged in front of me. Thinking back to this instance, the experience made me highly upset. Who does that? Who muscles their way into a building without acknowledging the patron entering first? He gave me a slight smirk, as he turned his back to me. Once inside the building, I saw the sign which read, “Whole Foods.” The escalator led downstairs into the grocery store. The whole time on the escalator, all I could think about was how rude this guy was for pushing his way into the building. But then I realized, it wasn’t personal, just the busy movement of the city.

As I ascended on Whole Foods, the grocery store consisted of a plethora of selections. The prices were out of my range of affordability, coming from Southeastern Wisconsin, but I chose to purchase lunch nonetheless. Choosing from the variety of hot dishes, I waited patiently for the patrons to scoop their food into containers. I quickly learned my kindness was a weakness, as one-by-one people walked ahead of me. Wow, how could you not see me standing here? You saw me allow the lady to go first, being the gentleman that I am. Now be courteous to me, and allow me to retrieve my meal. Yet no one even made eye contact with me as they forged ahead. Once again, it was a feeling of nothing personal, just in a hurry. Eventually, I was able to choose my meal, and walked to the queuing system, which was colored coded to maintain order. This system was fair yet lengthy, as the television screen showed my color and register available. After paying for my $20 lunch, (yes, that’s right, for lunch, way more than I’m used to) I made my way out of the grocery store back into the Manhattan city streets.

Standing near the crosswalk, the light turned red. My attention shifted vertically as I became transfixed on the rich architectural structures. Next thing I knew, a wall of people came crashing from behind me, as well as in front of me. I felt as if I were caught in the middle of one of the occasional tornadoes I’ve experienced in small town Wisconsin. To keep from being a victim of the moving traffic, I crossed the street along with the pack. Once across the street, I thought to myself, “I’m pretty sure that light was red; who crosses on red?” No one acknowledged me, nor each other, as cars and bicyclist sped past who had the right away. But observing the scene, it was yet another case of, hey, nothing personal, just in a hurry.

Walking these mean streets, made me retreat to the underground. So I purchased my ticket from the metro machines in the subway system. Holding my single ticket, I walked through the turnstile and threw my ticket in the garbage. Standing near the yellow caution line, the train came barreling through the station. As the train came to a stop, I didn’t realized the barrage of people who emerged behind me. The train doors opened, feeling my body involuntarily move forward, I could tell it wasn’t all my bodily force. People were behind me, forging forward, for a chance at a spot on the train. I managed to get a seat, yet allowed an elderly woman the opportunity to rest her feet. She sat down, but there was no acknowledgement of me showing her courtesy. She sat down, without any regard for my kindness. The train ride left me flustered, as I rode the three train headed toward the Upper West Side, on my way home. Yet once again, none of the behavior was personal, just people getting where they had to go.

Once I got home, which at the time was a dorm room, I felt safe and secure. I had my television, my food, and my bed. The roommate was gone, and the room was all to myself. Contemplating about my first day experience in New York City, I thought to myself, “What a rude city?” At that moment, I turned to the local news. A fire broke out at a home in another borough, but the firefighting team risked their lives to extinguish it. Another story involved a car accident in which bystanders stepped in to assist the injured person. There was also a news story about how a child went missing from an elementary school, yet people quickly stepped in to find the missing child.

Then it dawned on me, New Yorkers are not any less compassionate than the rest of their fellow Americans; it’s just a busy city. I thought back to September 11, 2001, when citizens stepped in to help one another proceeding the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers, or even the helping hand from citizens to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Complete strangers risked their own lives to save people they didn’t even know. Yet on any other day they might have walked passed these same individuals. It made me realize, it’s not because New Yorkers are rude or hateful; nothing personal, just busy. Busy with their jobs, busy caring for their children, busy in their marriages, busy in your personal lives. Don’t take it to heart because in the end, when faced with adversity and widespread disaster, the city is there for its fellow New Yorkers. 


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VICES: HOW THIS ACHILLES HILL CAN RUIN OUR LIVES

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“How does it affect your life?”


Everyone has a vice in life that may or may not keep them from performing their daily duties in life. These vices can be something as simple as snacking on unhealthy food throughout the day or more severe like drugs. Where these vices come from, who really knows, but they are there. A lot of the time we can talk through these problems, then there are the times we have vices that are flat out impossible to have conversations around. Well, why, why is it so hard to have a conversation about that thing that is keeping you from living a life of morality? And a lot of it has to do with the shame associated with the vice.

That’s right shame, the shame that comes with the vice is so hard to talk about. Well, why is that? It’s because we have so many taboos associated with certain things that we can’t have conversations around the vice. For instance, what if the vice is watching porn. Who wants to say they indulge in watching pornography. No one wants to admit it, but we all know the names of some famous porn stars. We all watch, yet we are afraid of how others may receive it. But it is that same group of people who watch themselves. It’s almost as if we are all waiting to be judge by ourselves. We’re worried others may say, “That is wrong or that is immoral.” Yet they do it on some level as well. How about other vices we have as people that make it difficult to talk about.

Another common vice in society is drug use. And when I say drug use, I am not only referring to the narcotics such as Crack Cocaine, Cocaine, Heroin, and Marijuana. I am also referring to the more used prescription medicine. This is in use more than the heavy narcotics, but why. The reasons can be broad as to why. Some do it because it eases any physical pain, some do it to suppress some hidden emotion. And the reason behind the heavy use of the prescription is because there is also less taboo associated with prescription than heavy narcotics. Popping a Vicodin or drinking Oxycontin, people automatically think you are ill and need the drug. It’s a lot better than openly snorting Cocaine or shooting Heroin.

Now, we know the vice and why so many people have them. But what is it about the vice that makes it detrimental? And the detriment of the vice is when it starts to effect your daily life. Now consuming over the counter medicine can be a tricky one, but using heavier street narcotics is a no go. Watching porn is not immoral unless you’re watching underage or it gets in the way of your daily progress. Even alcohol consumption is fine until you decide to get in a car after drinking or you start to develop an illness from the alcohol. You see, in the end, what I’m trying to say is it’s all in moderation. Like I said before, prescription medicine is tricky, but street narcotics is never good in moderation. Other activities are fine in moderation as well. It’s all about balance, but when you’re out of balance, and the vice takes over your life. Then you’re going to start to develop problems that could effect your productivity.


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THE AARON HERNANDEZ EFFECTS: HOW LEAVING A LIFE BEHIND IS HARDER FOR SOME

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“Why some can’t adjust to change.”


Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez has been talked about in the news as well as the sports world since his conviction on murder charges. But this past week, Hernandez committed suicide in his prison cell. Now questions linger as to what was going through his mind toward the end of his life. He had just the day prior was found not guilty two separate murders in other states. But the suicide came out of nowhere. But more than the suicide or even his murder charges, everyone want to know, how did he lose it all? What was it about the NFL that he couldn’t adjust to his knew life.

To the dominant society, it seems odd that a multimillionaire can’t just fly straight. But when you grow up a certain way, some people just cannot adjust. Meaning, just because you have a lot of money does not mean you’re going to change who you are internally. If anything, money just magnifies who you really are as a person. So whatever you were prior to the money, you’re more now. But still, the average Joe feels like Hernandez had life in his hands. Big NFL contract, married with a child, nice home; everything seemed right. So what was it about the street life he couldn’t shake loose.

Well, if you didn’t grow up in the street or knew someone that deep in the street, then you won’t understand how Aaron could become who he was in life. There is aspect of the street lifestyle that is within you already. Just as there are some people who can’t take part in the activities in the street. Not everyone is cut out for that life, but some are cut out. Hernandez was lured in after the death of his father. When a boy loses his dad, it’s much easier to pull him into the street because he is now looking for guidance. And if there is no one who can tell him in the street he’s headed down a wrong path, then the flower blooms how it wants to bloom.

So in the end, Aaron Hernandez is not the first pro athlete to fall victim to himself. A lot of guys have not been able to change their ways. Some men have even turned to abusing narcotics and alcohol because they can’t adjust to the new life they have. What’s sad is that more young men each and every year are suspended from professional sports leagues. And until they learn to leave old ways behind they will always have problems in life.


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