Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Years, everyone! There's something refreshing about today. The thought that tonight at midnight, I can leave whatever baggage I picked up during 2011 behind. As soon as the ball drops in Times Square, NYC tonight, I will be reborn. Every year on the 31st of December, we are given an opportunity to redefine ourselves. A new year brings new beginnings, so the saying goes. So now, with the final hours of 2011 ticking away, is a perfect time to reflect on 2011 and make plans for 2012.

New Year's resolutions are very popular in our society. They can range from broad goals like studying harder and running more, to specific ones like losing a set number of pounds and trying a new sport. Goals give me a sense of purpose, something to work towards.  I am the type of person who's always making goals, even in something as small as making a To-Do list for a busy weekend. There's something satisfying about crossing something off a list, checking off a box.

I find my biggest challenge is in actually following through with these goals. In the hustle-bustle of everyday life, sometimes they get swept aside and then will blow back into our paths periodically throughout the year. Something my cousin told me about several years ago was to take something that will remind you of your goal--a picture, quote, whatever it may be--and hang it somewhere you look every day--above your bed, on your mirror, wherever is most visible. This way, when you wake up every morning, you're reminded of what you want.

It's hard to imagine 2011 is already fading away, another year come and gone. In saying goodbye to 2011, it is also the time to abandon any negative energies or feelings of regret. For 2012, my main goal is to live every moment for the moment, in the moment. There's so much promise with a new year. Tonight is the night to set the stage for what you want the new year to bring. And of course, 2012 is the perfect opportunity to tackle those crazy dreams. Wishing you joy and inspiration in the new year.

xo Megan

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday Traditions

Merry Christmas everyone! Just looking outside it doesn't seem like Christmas due to the lack of snow, but holiday cheer is surely swirling through the air and seeing all the lights and Christmas trees aglow in everyone's homes is reassuring! Everyone has their favorite aspects of the holidays: the gift-giving, the food, the decorations, but my favorite is by far the family.

Last night, like every Christmas Eve, my mom's side of the family all gathered at our house. It was so much fun to see all of the cousins, especially because many of them are off at college now and Christmas is the only time of the year I can usually depend on seeing them. My cousins Sarah and Joe hadn't seen each other for two years because Joe couldn't make it to Christmas last year! It was a bit melancholy as I thought about everyone veering off in their own directions and moving out on their own. Everyone's growing up and going to live their dreams, but it was nice to see everyone coming back together. I feel fortunate that we have such a solid base to return home to every year.

The night was filled with the annual corny traditions, including my uncle dressing up as Santa Clause. There's always some new aspects of his wig to make fun of, and this year we all could've sworn my uncle curled the bangs. We continue the tradition of Santa for the younger cousins, which now only includes little Annie, who's 5, and Grace, who's 2. I'm glad we still have the joy of the younger ones, and it never gets old to see their wide-eyed faces as they anxiously help Santa give out the presents in his bag. It's the same jokes every year, with Santa never being able to read our names properly--"Sug? Sug? Is there a 'Sug' here? Oh! 'Gus'!"--, but somehow we still laugh every time. There are some things that never get old.

What are your holiday traditions? I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday filled with lots of joy and laughter! Maybe we'll get a little bit of snow by the end of the day so we can have a white Christmas.

Sweet Dreams,

Megan ;)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just Between You and Me

This past week in World Lit., we've been working on our position papers. Everyone really seems to have gotten into them, considering we all had to choose topics that we felt passionate arguing about. This week, I have had the pleasure of peer-edited multiple papers on controversial topics like gay marriage, the death penalty, abortion, and police lying during interrogations. It has been really interesting to read my classmate's opinions, and has certainly given me some food for thought.

For our assignment, we didn't necessarily have to do any research; our paper could be based soley on moral values. For my position paper, I chose to write about where the responsibility of a friend lies when told a potentially dangerous secret. My target audience was fellow teenagers, and I think the topic is really relevant to the issues that many teenagers either have already or evidently will face in the years to come, as their world fades to shades of gray, versus the clean-cut black and white of good and bad from our childhood. Therefore, I have decided to share my paper with you. Please feel free to argue or challenge me on any of the points that I make, ask me questions, respond with a personal experience, anything you'd like!

Just Between You and Me

“Hey, I have a secret. But first you have to promise not to tell anybody.” Between friends, there is an unspoken understanding of trust. When we tell our friends a secret, we assume we can tell them in confidence. We don’t have to worry about it becoming a Facebook status or the next hot topic at the lunch table. However, as we grow older, it can become more challenging to keep such promises of an untold secret.  The friends we thought we knew may start to become involved in risky activities like drinking, smoking, or sex, and the secrets they tell us turn into difficult predicaments rather than innocent sleepover gossip as we struggle with what to do with the information. It was their secret to tell, but now that we have it, its ours to protect. Or is it? Rather, should it be? This is the place where we must question our responsibility as a good friend. Do we maintain our friend’s trust and keep their secret? For some, this may be an easy answer of, “My friend told me not to tell, so I’m not going to.” However, in life there are situations that require us to use our best judgement, take a leap of faith, and break our friend’s trust.
For anyone who has ever had a friend, a friend’s life is often one we treasure as dearly as our own. I want what’s best for my friends. Therefore, when one of my friends makes a decision that negatively impacts them, they hurt me too. Their success, their happiness and their well-being take priority over all other things, and God help the person who hurts them. But what happens when they begin to put themselves in danger? What happens, for example, when my friend confides in me she got drunk at a party last weekend?
One may argue that my friend’s poor behavior is between my friend and her parents; I am not her parent.  However, isn’t my job as a friend similar? Don’t I also have a responsibility to love my friend unconditionally? To support her? To do what’s best for her? When a friend confides in me, I believe she is asking me for reassurance, to tell her that everything is going to be okay. Or she may be using me as a sounding board to relieve herself of the stress of carrying it on her shoulders. Almost as if saying, “Can you take this from me?” Therefore, I may have to make a decision she is unable to.
Parents sometimes have to make difficult decisions. Think of all the times you argued with your parents over going out with your friends. Most likely, your parents knew their decision would result in your unhappiness towards them, but they made it anyway. Sometimes, the best decision isn’t always the easiest one, and while it may be difficult to see at the time, they do have your best interest at heart. This is not to say you must alert an adult if your friend gets a detention or skips class. However, if your friend tells you she has an eating disorder, you would not be helping her by not telling anyone. In the end, you must weigh out which is more important. Your friend’s secret, or their ability to lead a happy, healthy life?
To spend time listing possible scenarios that warrant telling an adult could both drag on and also still not leave one feeling anymore confident about the situations that require adult assistance. This is because there is no set rubric to check off when assessing what to do with a friend’s secret; no “If you chose mostly A’s, then this.” When it comes down to it, you have to know your friend and what behaviors are abnormal or alarm-worthy for them.
As we grow older, the decisions we are forced to make in life become more difficult. We can’t always confide in our parents. There are situations where all we can do is self-assess, and use our best judgement to come to a conclusion. The decisions our friends make may unsettle us at times and we may not want to keep their secret. There are situations where we unfortunately may have to break our friend’s trust to alert somebody of their dangerous behavior. However, if your friend knows you, all you can do is hope that they will trust you have their best interest at heart because, as Arnold H. Glasow wrote, “A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Newspaper Nails

When I was at my friend's house over the weekend, I came across a new kind of nail art...newspaper nails! You don't need to go out and buy any fancy nail polish or stickers or gems; in fact, you should be able to find all of the necessary materials around your house! What I love most about these nails is that they're unique and subtle. They don't jump out an blink red lights. But, they are intriguing enough that someone may say, "Hey, what's that?" So, when my friend from Tennessee came over yesterday, I thought I'd give it a try! Here's the run-down of how to glam up your nails with this scholarly new twist!

The supplies you need are really simple:
  • base coat & top coat (We forgot to use a base coat, and it still turned out alright. However, a base coat may produce better results.
  • light color nail polish (white or cream works best)
  • newspaper
  • scissors
  • rubbing alcohol
  • small glass dish/container
  • Optional: 
    • cotton balls
    • Q-tips
    • nail file, clippers, etc.
First, above all things, cut up your newspaper! Small, rectangular shapes work best. Don't cut them to fit your nail; they should be slightly bigger. You'll need a minimum of 10, but cut out more just in case. Feel free to search for fun fonts or small graphics that you like (like a star), but make sure it's black text on a white background. Also, as we learned, it is a waste of time to search for specific words that you want to appear on your nails because 1) They'll come out backwards and 2) They most likely won't all fit. Plus, the surprises are always the best!

Now comes the painting! If you're feeling fancy, take out your cute polka-dot nail file or clippers and shape your nails as you desire! Then, follow this brief video tutorial for instructions on painting: 

Here are some tips we discovered while painting our nails that they don't include in the video:
  1. Use a cotton ball to press the newspaper on your nail. This will apply more pressure. Hold for 30-40 seconds.
  2. The results come out best when you press the newspaper on your nails so the text is in a linear line.
  3. In the video, they say to use gray nail polish. However, any light color nail polish will work. White, creams, grays, etc.
It may take a couple tries to master, but once you get it down, the result is really satisfying! Have fun!

Sweet Dreams,

Megan ;)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Finding Time

"Can't do this, can't do that. Owen, please! I just don't have time," I found myself yelling to my brother the other night. Time is the one thing we never seem to have enough of. Rather, it seems to be the one thing we always tell ourselves we don't have enough of. Like my mom says about money, no matter how much you have, if you're always telling yourself you don't have enough, you never will.

Easier said than done, though, when you have homework, friends, sports, drama, family, and a million other things pulling you in a million and one directions. I often find myself struggling to enjoy being in the moment, because I am constantly thinking about what I have to do later. It's sometimes hard to enjoy hanging out with my friends when I know that I have a huge history paper to do later   that night. I need to put myself in a box, blind and deaf and unaware of anything else around me so I can just focus on being right there, right then, in the moment. Because, as the cliché goes, life is too short, so we must live every moment for what it's worth. And if I'm constantly thinking about the next thing on my agenda, no matter how much I accomplish at the end of the day, it will never be enough. As Emerson wrote, "It is not length of life, but depth of life." I would much rather die young knowing that I made every second count, then live to be 100 with nothing accomplished. 

So I must make the time for what matters to me most, because if something's important enough, I should be able to find the time. This blog is important to me. It's a way of expressing myself, a way of reflecting, and serves as a good self-check. And, it's a way for me to share my stories with you and hopefully a place where you can share yours with me, too. So when you go to sleep tonight, think about what you accomplished today. If you find yourself struggling to find something, then make a pledge to make tomorrow count. Find substance in whatever you do. 

Sweet Dreams,

Megan ;)