The Value Of Everyday Kindness As Told By "The Lord Of The Rings"

The Value Of Everyday Kindness As Told By "The Lord Of The Rings"

It doesn't take a grand gesture to change the world.
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“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" series has been among my favorite pieces of literature ever since I read the trilogy as a fourth grader. I love that it features a world and characters that are simultaneously wildly foreign while being strikingly familiar. I also love the level of detail that shines throughout the series.

But I think what I love most of all is the theme highlighted by this quote, spoken by Gandalf to Galadriel concerning Bilbo Baggins. For those that are unfamiliar with this series or these characters it may not be obvious why this is so important, so here's a little summary. Gandalf is a powerful wizard. Galadriel is an immortal elf queen. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit. Hobbits are described as being about the size of human children and are known for their love of things like food and gardens and their disdain for adventure or even leaving their home communities (incidentally it would appear that I am actually a very tall hobbit).

So, here we have one of the most powerful characters in the series telling another of the most influential characters in the series how a child sized homebody gives him courage in dark times. And in the conclusion of the series it is not the power of wizards or elves, the skill of dwarves or the strength of men that wins the day. Instead, it is the dedication and courage of two little hobbits.

In our world today we do not face orcs, goblins, power crazed wizards or giant talking eyeballs. But we still face monsters and darkness. Racial and political tensions rage. Conflicts between and within nations kill and destroy. Diseases and accidents cut lives short. I can't stand to watch the news anymore because every time I do it seems that another terrible thing has happened. At moments it feels hopeless. I still make someone else kill the spiders. I nearly flooded my kitchen with bubbles when I confused dishwasher soap and dish soap. I can't make the hate stop, I can't put an end to war, I can't stop car accidents from happening and I can't cure cancer. And if those are my goals I believe that it truly is hopeless.

But I don't think I have to do any of those things to make the world a better place. I can be kind. I can lend a hand. I can make someone smile. I can show love to everyone I meet. And like Bilbo, and so many others, I can do my part every single day to "keep the darkness at bay...".

And so can you.

Cover Image Credit: The Rest is History

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9 Eligible Princes You Need To Know About Now That Prince Harry Is Off The Market

You too could have a Meghan Markle fairytale
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Prince Harry's royal wedding is officially over and there won't be another British royal wedding for quite some time now, as Prince George is way too young to start thinking about that. Fortunately, there are plenty of other countries with plenty of other princes that are still eligible bachelors at the moment. Lucky for you, I did my research and compiled a list of all the eligible princes you need to know about know that Prince Harry has tied the knot with Meghan Markle.

1. Prince Louis of Luxembourg (31)

Prince Louis is the third son of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg. He has recently become a bachelor again after his separation with his wife of 10 years, Princess Tessy.

Fun Fact: He graduated from Richmond, The American International University of London with a BA in Communications. He can also speak Luxembourgish (the fact that's even a language is fun fact by itself), French, German, and English fluently.

2. Prince Sebastien of Luxembourg (26)

Prince Sebastien is the youngest child of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg, so if you marry him, you'll probably never actually be queen because he's pretty far removed from the throne. However, he's relatively young and single, so best of luck.

Fun Fact: For some bizarre reason, this prince actually went to college in Ohio. He played rugby and graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2015. Now, he is back in his home country and is an officer in the Luxembourg Army.

3. Prince Phillipos of Greece and Denmark (34)

You read that correctly, Prince Phillipos is the prince of not one, but two countries. He is the youngest son of King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie of Greece and Denmark. Unfortunately, Greece abolished their monarchy, so he's a prince in name only there.

Fun Fact: Like Prince Sebastien, Prince Phillipos also went to college in the United States. He earned his B.A. in foreign relations from Georgetown University in 2008. Fortunately, for us American girls, he is actually still living in the US and he works in New York City as an analyst at Ortelius Capital.

4. Prince Albert of Thurn and Taxis (34)

Ever heard of Thurn and Taxis? No? Me neither. Anyways, Prince Albert is from the House of Thurn and Taxis, which is essentially a very old German aristocratic family. He is the son of Prince Johannes XI of Thurn and Taxis and Countess Gloria of Schonburg Glauchau. His family is well known for their breweries and castles, so unless you're gluten-free, you can't really complain.

Fun Fact: He's not just a prince. He's also a racecar driver and 10 years ago he was ranked 11th on Forbes Magazine's List of The 20 Hottest Young Royals.

5. Prince Mateen of Brunei (26)

Prince Mateen is basically like all the guys you already know, except he's royalty. He's the prince of Brunei, which is a small country on the island of Borneo, south of Vietnam. He is one of the five sons of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, and he also has seven sisters. Maybe that's a little different than the guys you know, but one thing he takes very seriously, just like most frat guys, is his Instagram.

Fun Fact: Mateen enjoys playing polo, flying in his private plane, cuddling cute wild animals, and keeping up his Insta game with 890k followers. You can follow him @tmski.

6. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai (35)

Sheikh Hamdan also has a killer Instagram with 6.3 million followers. Anyways, Sheikh Hamdan is the billionaire crown prince of Dubai and the second son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and essentially the king of Dubai (Emir). He's actually next in line for the throne because his older brother died in 2015.

Fun Fact: Hamdan's hobbies include skydiving, zip lining, and diving, just to name a few, so if you're an adrenaline junkie, Sheikh Hamdan is the prince for you.

7. Prince Hussein of Jordan (23)

Prince Hussain is the son of the extremely beautiful, Queen Rania and Abdullah II of Jordan and next in line for the Jordanian throne. At 23, he's already a second lieutenant in the Jordanian Armed Forces and he was the youngest person ever to chair a UN Security Council Meeting


Fun Fact: Like Prince Phillippos, Prince Hussain also graduated from Georgetown University in Washington D.C.. Also, like Prince Mateen and Prince Hamdan, he's Insta famous with 1.3 million followers and you can follow him @alhusseinjo.

8. Prince Constantine-Alexios of Greece and Denmark (19)

Like Prince Phillipos, Prince Constantine-Alexios also has two countries. Lucky for us though, he is also living in the US right now attending Georgetown University in Washington D.C. (like pretty much every other prince, amirite?) He is the oldest son of Crown Princess Marie-Chantal and Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece.

Fun Fact: He's Prince William's godson, so that's pretty neat. However, if that wasn't cool enough, you might like to know that this Greek/Danish prince was actually born in New York. Oh yeah, you can also follow him on Instagram @alexiosgreece where he has 88.7k followers.

9. Prince Joachim of Belgium (26)

Prince Joachim of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este is the third child of Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este and Princess Astrid of Belgium. Although he bears the title, "Prince of Belgium," he is also Archduke of Austria-Este, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, and Prince of Modena. Unfortunately, he'll probably never actually be king in any of these countries as he is ninth in line to the Belgian throne.

Fun Fact: Prince Joachim has degrees in economics, management, and finance, but he decided to join the Nautical School in Brugge after completing college and is currently an officer in the Belgian Navy.

Hope is not lost for all you girls dreaming of finding a Prince Charming that's literally a prince. After reviewing the data, my best advice is to transfer to Georgetown where princes are basically around every corner.

Cover Image Credit: @meghantheduchessofsussexstyle/Instagram

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Summer Depression Is A Real Malady, Just Ask Any Young Adult

Since summer seems analogous to sublime happiness, when you don't feel elated you automatically assume something is wrong.

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Driving from Pasadena to West LA along Beverly Glen, on the eve of summer (for UCLA students) an odd melancholy washed over me. Each year summer rolls around, I can't help but feel this bittersweet anxiety that nestles itself in my chest and pokes its head every once in awhile. As I drove, windows down, radio on, I contemplated the whereabouts of this angst: Where lay its root?

As if by fate (a concept I firmly believe in), "summer depression" by girl in red queued up and I couldn't help but smile to myself, a poetic coincidence.

The song sang my thoughts better than I could have spoken them: "Summer depression, there's so much time to question my life." When you're a student, you're used to never ending deadlines and minimal free time.

When summer resumes, all the youths who are so accustomed to constantly being busy are suddenly struck by no set schedule.

Some fill the time with travel, or work, or other activities, but, for many, the underlying anxiety remains.

This is due in part to the expectation that summertime is meant to be filled with adventure, excitement, happiness and relaxation.

So when one becomes bored or, on the other end, realizes she's working her summer away, "summer depression" kicks in.

It doesn't help that social media makes it seem like everyone and their mother is partying from dusk 'til dawn in Ibiza or building hospitals in Western Africa.

We spend all school year waiting for summer, only to be disappointed when are expectations aren't meant: hence summer depression.

To make matters worse, since summer seems analogous to sublime happiness, when you don't feel elated you automatically assume something is wrong.

The fact of the matter is—summer is just like any other time of year. It's totally fine if it's no more exciting, or less exciting, than every other part of the year. The regular fluctuation of emotions associated with daily life are totally normal as well, even in the summertime.

There's no necessity for fancy excursions or copious amounts of time relaxing. It may be cool to have a kick-ass internship in New York city, but it doesn't mean your summer is any less simply because you're working at a cafe in Westwood.

Summer is what you make it, just like spring, fall, and winter. The only thing of importance is to try to enjoy your time.

Cover Image Credit:

Isabelle Roshko

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