Gold On The Concrete

Gold On The Concrete

Break the monotony of thought and spark the curiosity you lost

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I watched a little baby run back and forth from the sand to about six inches into the ocean. This lasted for twenty minutes and I sat there amused at the monotony of his act yet how blissful he was each and every time he touched that water. It is funny how kids are perfectly happy doing the same thing over and over, following a routine, and become obsessed with a toy or movie for months at a time; meanwhile, when you become an adult this type of lifestyle starts to weigh down the soul, creates a cycle of unhappiness, and altogether lessens the purpose to life itself. Too often we believe this cycle and resulting unhappiness results from remaining in the same job, city, relationship, or routine. However, I think it comes to down to laziness. Somewhere along the line we lose our curiosity and our thoughts become redundant.

Our mind easily wanders to a current crush, unrequited love, hookup, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, complicated friendship and often it can feel like that is the most important part of living.

Love is essential to life

but not necessarily romantic love.

A love for your friends, for food, for animals, for nature, for cinema, for words, for architecture, or anything that fills your heart and reminds you what gives purpose to humanity.

Last week a man on the subway saw I had insufficient fare and swiped me in. Sure, I'd have been fine and refilled my card but since he did that I caught the E right on time and his small gesture made me consider the kindness of strangers. Falling into a trap of disconnection, "not my problem," "don't get involved," "tough luck" may seem like the unimpeded path to a convenient, better life; however, how great does it feel when someone say-- gives you a swipe, bums you a cig, tells you they love your face earrings that you got at little boutique in Greenpoint, or gives you directions to this elusive restaurant your friends told you to meet them at.

The world might seem easier to live in when you just mind to yourself and ignore nuisances, but it is also a lot colder.

Rather than stare at the concrete as you walk, listening to the same playlist for the millionth time, take out your earbuds and look around. I did this one day and happened to watch a man drop about fifteen oranges from a ripped bag onto the street and under his truck. I started laughing then started picking them up. Clearly surprised, he insisted I did not need to do that, he was sure I had better things to do and in fact I was running a little late for work, but I finished picking them up. Regardless of his gratitude, the interaction left me with a strange contentment for the rest of the morning. The inconvenience of an act can prevent us from doing it, but if we choose to act, the unanticipated positivity we can get from helping another person or from gratitude will more often than not outweigh the disruption to our plans or routine.

Most people's careers- in one way or another, do this. A doctor might cure my strep throat, a garbage man picks up the trash before New York smells like a giant dumpster, the super fixes your clogged drain, etc. My point is the world is dependent on helpfulness and love, so broaden your tunnel vision of the person who might feel like a soulmate slipping away to include the rainbow of light from other types of human love and people in your life. Instead spend that effort on appreciating your friends, analyzing art, contemplating a novel, petting a dog, watercoloring in the park, or whatever it is that fills your heart.

You can find something worth considering in even the most redundant of settings like happening upon gold tokens on the sidewalk of Bushwick. Diversifying your thoughts, searching for new curiosities, but also occasionally revisiting some old sentiments can cut the cycle of monotony. It makes surviving heartbreak easier, it gives a greater sense of our purpose on this earth, and it perpetuates happenstance opportunities that could shift your life for the better. Great, now take your newfound outlook and radiate it. Ever see that Coke commercial?

Get a coke then pass it on.

Same concept. To the point of human interconnectedness, your seemingly small contribution to a person's day - maybe just a smile, could put in motion the chain affect that shifts the mood of several other people that same day.

xx.

colleen

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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