The Importance Of Being In The Present

The Importance Of Being In The Present

A reflection on moving forward.
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It seems like an easy concept to follow and yes, it's important for us. But how many of us actually end up doing it? I’m not saying there’s no one, but a good percentage of us always have something else covering up the present. There are two, and only two, things that can mask your present–your past, and future. To be precise, it's nearly impossible to live a life without being haunted by some elements of your past, or without worrying about the future that’s a Utopian vision. But what I’m proposing is that you clear up your mind a teeny bit and live in the present, or at least a part of it.

Living in the moment might seem like a cue line from movies, which says let’s get drunk and forget everything. Well, that can be one of the different interpretations, but the one I’m focusing on deals more about the time when you're conscious of what's happening. Most of the time, when you're about to start something new, there’s a voice that haunts you with memories of failure. It says that you can’t do it.

Another block to the initiative would be our predictions about the future. We have an interesting way of thinking, and we come up with “all” possible endings in which the odds are never in our favor. And by the way, the quotes on "all" was intentional. Though we might think through a dozen different possibilities, it's hard to consider all the factors at the same time, kind of the like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. So what’s the best alternative to all the hassle? It's easy on paper, just do it. But unless you actually execute what you have in mind, you never achieve the actual scenario. I do agree that you need to plan out things beforehand, but have hope that things can actually turn out well.

I can dedicate this whole paragraph to historical figures who did what they wanted to do, despite the predictions. But you’ve probably heard a lot of that already from a lot of places. So let’s focus on the present. What can be done and what can you expect when doing something that you want to do? Do expect a positive outcome, that’s rule number one. But this rule comes with a clause, which is that you also need to accept the fact that things can turn around, as well.

I just remembered a story someone told me a long time ago. A person was scared that getting out into the world is gonna kill him because a car might hit him, the street sign may drop on him, so on and so forth. So he locked himself up in a room and still ended up dead. Earthquake. Wait... that’s not how the story goes, but you get the point. You can stay inside and do nothing and still be scared, so why not face the problem and get on with your life? If you expect the worst possible scenario, the actual scenario might disappoint you. The present may seem scary, but most of the time, it’s just our predictive nature. Have a sense of judgment and prediction, but know also that it’s hard to predict everything unless you have some magical powers.

It’s easy to be distracted by thinking about your past or being so focused on the future. We do need to look at the past and learn, and we need to have some goal for the future. But if you get fixated, you end up losing the pathway to your future, which is the present. It's scary when you realize that time doesn’t actually stop. It knows only one way, and that's forward. A moment lost is lost forever (not my words, but some other great soul said it). But does that mean we shouldn't waste a single moment? That seems impossible. What I’m trying to say here is that you can plan and mourn the future and the past, but you don’t get anywhere near either. You can’t change the past, but use the present and correct the wrongs. Nor can you predict everything. You can merely hope and use the present to reach your goal. The key is the present.

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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Educate Yourself And Spread Facts, Not Bias

Do you know the truth? Or are you allowing rumors to cloud your judgement of the political arena?

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In our society, the government has grown to be a capitalistic effort. Payout, backroom deals, we are unaware of many actions those that represent us take behind closed doors. The transparency we think we see is unrealistic and just not the way that politics actually work. In the entire world, governance has become essential to the survival and future of society. No two governments are the same, and they are essentially ever changing as many people of power change constantly.

This being said influence from these individuals rule the political sphere. Whether it be a local councilperson, senator, governor, or even the president.IN the U.S. our daily lives and wellbeing rest in the hands of the few. Some of these politicians are honest and work genuinely for the people. However, agenda frequently takes over the arena and leaves the decisions of our livelihood to the gains of politicians.

Our generation has the lowest voter turnout, leaving the decisions that we do have to older generations. Some of those hold ideologies that are not relevant nor acceptable to the climate we live in today. This is not a call to action but more of a thought. As someone who was incredibly uninvolved in politics, I wanted to look at why I lacked the care that other people my age held so passionately. I believe it starts with my distaste of conflict, which many people my age also agree with. Politics can lead to confrontation and negative conversation.

Therefore, who would want to make friendships and interactions awkward with an avoidable subject. I found myself straying from these conversations and becoming uncomfortable when friends assert opinions that I do not agree with. However, in taking classes where this environment hinges the change in industries I study. I was forced to form some type of opinion in the matter.

From here I decided to change the lens on how I looked at politics. Instead of shying away, I really listened to what my professors felt about it and their assertions. I then did my own research, looking into the history of matters that my peers and professors talked about. Educating myself on what the facts were, versus believing in rumors that I heard through the grapevine.

I started engaging friends in a positive manner, as opposing opinions are valuable in a holistic situational viewpoint. I became comfortable in the discomfort of politics and worked to learn what may be in store for our world. My point for this is to educate yourself on genuine fact. Do not assert opinions based on information that your friend or even a professor gives you, keep your knowledge on the subject relevant.

You never know when legislation may come out that seriously effects your way of life. Most importantly, knowledge is power and power is what those that leave us in ignorance have over us.

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