Monday, May 27, 2013

Love Somebody by Maroon 5

Remembering Those Before Us

I have been really focused on myself lately and for that I feel ashamed.  I think of only my own problems and the state of life that I am in.  I was talking to a few people earlier this weekend discussing what their plans were and suddenly I was reminded that today was Memorial Day.  Memorial Day weekend is a fun time for most where we go out and BBQ and spend time on the lake and enjoy the time we have off from work but there used to be a reason for this time to reflect.

So today I made time to reflect on family, friends, and any other people who have done so much for me who may not have ever known me.  I thought about my future and how I want to make a difference.  I'm not the strongest or the most talented but I do have a lot of love I can share and I am willing to do anything I can to help.  Part of me hopes I am worth remembering and that I can do something good with my life even though I make so many mistakes.  I know so many people who are suffering whether it is complications in life or the pain that comes with death.  Either way, I pray for these people, knowing what it must be that they are dealing with, hoping that my friendship and my shoulders can help them if I can.

Within my faith, one of the things we emphasize is "remembering." Remembering the sacrifices that have been made for us, the promises we have made to make the world a better place and to strive to be better each and every day, and remembering to be grateful for the blessings we have in our life. Remembering those who have come before and those who will come after us in the future. I hope that we don't forget... Thank you to all those who have served us, bled for us, and sacrificed for our freedoms. Thank you.

If I Only Had 25 Words...

We had a few really good lessons this Sunday about appreciating the people we have in our lives.  First and foremost, the women we have to hold and cherish who make us better and help us have the desire to be as well.  I don't know if I will ever be able to really express my appreciation for the wonderful examples in my life.  But I love and appreciate every moment with a tenderness that is hard for me to express.  But the next thing that really struck me hard this last Sunday was an exercise that dealt with the following experience:
President Thomas S. Monson shared the experience of Jay Hess, an airman who was shot down over North Vietnam in the 1960s: “For two years his family had no idea whether he was dead or alive. His captors in Hanoi eventually allowed him to write home but limited his message to less than 25 words.” President Monson asks: “What would you and I say to our families if we were in the same situation—not having seen them for over two years and not knowing if we would ever see them again? Wanting to provide something his family could recognize as having come from him and also wanting to give them valuable counsel, Brother Hess wrote [the following words]: ‘These things are important: temple marriage, mission, college. Press on, set goals, write history, take pictures twice a year.’”
What words would you write to your children if you had 25 words or less?
I thought long and hard about this assignment and each time I tried to determine what I would have done for my family, I always found myself writing something new.  The first two came out something like this:
  • Conversion
  • Covenants
  • Personal scripture study and prayer
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Becoming Better
  • Overcoming weaknesses and temptation
  • Worthiness
  • Temple attendance/worship
  • Continual Improvement
  • Honesty of Character
  • Patience
"Who am I?  How do my actions reflect my convictions?  Do I justify my actions?  How do I see others and treat others?  I Am."
It is a truly difficult exercise to find the right words to use and how I would be able to express my love and remaining words of wisdom to those that I cared most dearly for.  I don't think I would be able to know how to do it.  I am glad that isn't my cross to bear.  But I guess I will have to just live it instead... "Have faith. Never let love leave you. You are never alone. Temple marriage, smile daily, laugh often, give selflessly. Be yourself. Remember who you are."

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Two Epiphanies in One Day

One thing that I am good at is knowing myself.  For the most part, I can clearly see my strengths and my weaknesses and I either choose to do something about them or just not care one way or the other.  It is kind of sad but it is my choice and some day I may grow up a bit more and work my way through these things.  I really don't know if they are technically a bad thing so for the moment I have chosen to embrace them as part of who I am choosing to be.

I am currently choosing to work on being better with taking care of my car.  I have these nice little Saturn sedan I bought from my grandparents a while ago and they took care of that car like it was a baby.  It was so pampered and clean and well kept.  I decided that I needed to learn how to take care of it a bit more.  So today I went and bought some more windshield wiper and steering wheel fluid for it and that wasn't so bad to figure out.  I added way too much steering wheel fluid but I was able to soak some of it up and get it back to the right levels but the sad thing was how incompetent I was when I replaced my actual windshield wipers.  I felt completely helpless and retarded as I struggled to get the old ones off and replace them.  It should of taken all of 5 minutes but I was probably in the parking lot of AutoZone for at least 20 to 30 minutes plunking around on my car.  That is NOT okay.  So I need to fix my lack of knowledge in cars and I need to do it soon.

Outside of that, I really have a lack of desire in getting to know some of the guys here in Utah.  I know I should be focusing on the girls in the first place but it is nice to have some friends to hang out with or to go on group dates with.  But lately, the guys I have met that I am new to are really tools in my opinion.  I am sure that really isn't the case and I just don't like doing the same things as them but I can't help it.  These shirtless wonders have their macho personalities and really it is just a fake persona.  If nothing else, I feel totally incapable of carrying on a real conversation with these guys because the things they talk about make me feel uncomfortable.  It isn't just because we are in these big group settings but the whole pool and lake scene that is huge in Utah is just not me.  It is not my style.  I guess what I am saying is that I realized that I don't have to get along with everyone and it is unlikely that I ever will.  I don't know if it is a problem with me or that I shouldn't have these negative feelings but I really don't know what to do or say.  I can't figure out how to relate to these people who don't know what real work is, have any goals, or any real sense of a long-term perspective.  They seem to live for the moment, the rush, and personal pleasure but the real issue is how it feels like it is all about them and it just a bit repulsive to me and I don't know why I am thinking like this.  I don't think that I am typically so judgmental of people but lately it has just been the trend.  It is like the Jersey Shore moved to the valley for the summer.

I found some real nice people too though.  I am making new friends and I found a nice place to move to if I decide to come back to Provo for the summer.  The rent will save me $200 a month and I am still looking for work.  But I honestly still feel a bit lost and confused and a bit of an outsider with the crowds that have moved in for the summer.  The people I relate to are working and moved out for internships and then the party crowds moved in and they don't seem to have the slightest bit of initiative in their entire bodies.  And speaking of their bodies, I think that is the only thing they really care about anyways.  I hate to cynical but I am not really feeling like I found anywhere that I fit in lately and my frustration with the whole thing is starting to make me unwind.  Anyways, I am going to be here for the rest of the weekend and church tomorrow and then back to Salt Lake I go.  This transient needs to figure out where "home" is because right now I feel removed from the world I live in.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Great Gatsby

Last night I watched the remake of The Great Gatsby.  It was a bit of a random impromptu decision because I had been at a dinner at the Olive Garden for a friend's birthday and we all decided to go while at dinner.  I had already seen the new Star Trek movie earlier that day (which was phenomenal and I actually ended up crying for a little bit) but I decided that I had heard really good things about Gatsby so far and so I thought, what the heck!  Why not?  So here I was at the theater again wondering how this movie was going to go.  I had read the book when I was younger and that was a long time ago so I knew the basic logistics of the story but I had forgotten key elements here and there.  The reason I thought to write about this movie was because of how I feel like I can relate to Gatsby as a character and how much the world then has become the world today.  The timing to produce and make this film was perfect.

The Great Gatsby at its core is a love story as well as a story of hope and friendship in a hopeless and friendless world.  Gatsby is this wondrous character who is unknown to almost everyone but is this mecca living a life that is above even the wealthiest of individuals.  His real story is so much simpler and humbler than that and in living this dream, Gatsby lives in fear and lives in a lie, waiting and hoping to never be found out.  He has embraced a world that needs to be entertained in order to escape the horrors of its reality because times were hard and opportunities were bleak but out of all the dust and ashes there is hope that this man Gatsby will be able to change his past and be with his soul mate once again to love forever and ever.

"I love her and that's the beginning and end of everything."

For me, I used to believe in a world like this.  I used to believe that love was something that could pull you through almost anything.  I at times would look at the hopeless case of the world around me in sometimes cynical eyes but hold onto a single hope that love would stay or the bad would pass and things would be good again.  All I needed was that single dream and I would continue to fight against innumerable odds.  I have been forgotten over time and great distance.  I have been called out to being less than I am.  I have been scared as a school boy to talk to a girl that I love.  I have traveled the world and am fiercely loyal to my friends, willing to be a confidant and take the blame for their shortcomings and mistakes.  I love because I am able to take a person as a whole, the good with the bad.  And I am better person for the people that I love because of the sacrifices I am willing and many times do make.  I feel like I am Gatsby for his goodness but I do my best to not live the lie.  There are times where I am a afraid.  There are times when I don't do the right thing.  But I have hidden behind those fears in my past and for years I have lived a free life being who I am and embracing myself in all its imperfection.  Change is inevitable in relationships and life.  It is what helps us progress and find new purpose.  But if you have to change who you are so much that you are no longer yourself, than that relationship is not a true one.  Happiness can be found in our progression in life and that progression is a necessity.  However, happiness is not always found in the extravagant as much as it is often found in the simply beautiful.  Through it all, the message we still get from Gatsby is this unwavering and endless hopefulness.  It is that hope which we need and desire.  I want something or someone to have hope in again.

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . .And one fine morning —— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

 "He smiled understandingly–much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistable prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey."

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ups and Downs of Being "Grown Up"

Really in this post, I am just here to catch up on my life and give a little update on how the big move from college to graduate school is going.  I hate to admit it... LOATHE ENTIRELY... that I am missing Provo.  And it isn't just my friends either.  I miss Provo.  I miss the fact that I had more than just a handful of friends but I could really reach out to almost anyone.  I miss the fact that I had friends that were girls!  Not just girls I could date or ask out on dates but honestly any person of the opposite sex.  In Salt Lake, I am getting to know a few people here and there but when you are putting in about 10 applications daily for internships and you are concentrating on work when you aren't physically working... well all work and no play makes Jordan a grumpy, tired, boring, boy.  Not really though.  I manage.

I figure with enough time, I will find a lot more friends up here in Salt Lake.  I have one right now that I actually met on a double blind date (no joke... neither of us knew the other person because the brother and sister were setting each other up).  I will never do that again because in all honesty I knew better in the first place... Something about the blind leading the blind.  Anyways, his date was cute and I decided that I know pretty much NO ONE up here so I found her on Facebook and we reconnected one night.  We will have to try again soon but I am slowly becoming more and more desperate.  I even have begun considering online dating just to meet people!

But back to my transition from BYU to University of Utah... The nice thing about BYU was pick up games when it came to sports were EVERYWHERE and not just that but I knew the routines.  I knew when and where were best to check.  Up in Salt Lake City, I am still flying blind.  I navigate pretty much every day with my GPS in my car, even if it is just to find groceries or gas.  It is REALLY bad!  I think this is where patience comes into play because just like the social aspects this will all come in time and by continuing to step outside my comfort zone.

On the flip side,  I am realizing that a MBA isn't exactly what it is cracked up to be.  Within a week, I should be done with my math refresher course.  And by math, they aren't meaning math as in what I am used to in engineering with derivatives and integrals that give the common man the shakes or interpolating to approximate answers.  They are talking finance, economics, statistics, and accounting... Out of all of those I remember the very basics from high school and minimally if anything from my statistics class so it has been different to say the least.  But again give it a week and $100 spent and it may just have been worthwhile. Don't even get me started on Week Zero of the MBA... More to come on that one and crossing my fingers that it will be resolved relatively painlessly in about a week as well.

Back to the talk of spending money though, I am also considering purchasing a new laptop because this one I have been using, I think I purchased 4-5 years ago and it has been through A LOT.  I have to wrap my power cord around the screen to get the right angle and tension with the plug to make it charge.  I have a few pixels wide line going down the length of my screen just a tad off center.  And the battery life and speed of the computer in general have both degraded.  So what is a new graduate student to do but buy a new machine!  So if things go according to plan, soon I will have a brand new touch screen monitor Dell Inspiron 15R with Windows 8 and to put it bluntly, a functioning machine!

I really have been running the current one through the ringer with the amount of time I spend on it.  For the last week or two I have been on it non-stop since I have been to Salt Lake.  I haven't spent all of my time up here because I have been applying to the MTC in Provo and spent a few days and nights down there bumping around and applying to things online and looking for employment agencies to drop resumes at.  In what free time I had down in Provo, I ended up seeing a bunch of movies, playing games with friends, caught up with a few people and slept over with some awesome guys.  But back to the worksearch, online has been more fruitful than anything in person because apparently the employment agencies should be looking for employment.  They all either moved out of their offices or closed.  The best decision I made was to check in on a connection I had made through LinkedIn about a year ago with this faculty member at BYU.

This man works to create a BYU Alumni Networking Site where recent graduates can reach out and connect to alumni from BYU to seek advice, find employment, etc.  And surprisingly and by some miracle, IT ACTUALLY WORKS!  Last night, I was contacted by two different individuals from companies that I had applied to online where I had an Executive of one of the world's largest PC manufacturers and vendors call me and ask me to email him my resume so he could personally deliver it to the proper person's desk and I got an email from a VP of a multinational investment banking firm wanting to schedule a phone call for tomorrow to discuss my application to his local branch.  Honestly, I am not sure why I am surprised because every job I have gotten has been through networking but I didn't know that "blind" networking through college alum did the trick.  I thought it was going to just be a shot in the dark honestly!  But still, I haven't gotten an interview with some in the position to hire me yet so really all it has done is get me excited and put someone else with name and a face attached to my application but it is a definite start.

Since I don't know where I am working yet, I haven't really unpacked either.  I unpacked my clothes and my hygiene necessities and my laptop so I could work... But really everything else is just a bunch of bins stacked all over my small room waiting for me to purchase a desk to put stuff on and organize all of my junk.  I was talking to one of my roommates today and I think he said it best because this apartment for how nice it is... It is relatively small and it costs more than any place I have ever lived before and probably costs more than it should.  Sugar house is a nice area in Salt Lake so I will give it that but really I should try and see what other options are available because thank goodness my contract is on a month-to-month basis.  My roommates are nice!  Don't get me wrong.  We can have conversations and communicate and they are clean and respectful.  But I guess it is the whole grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and I don't know really what else is out there.

So this is what grown up life is like for me at the moment.  Alone most of the time, working to find work, waiting for college to start so it can finish, and still trying to make time to date (or find women to date in this particular case).  I have books I would love to read.  I have a ring I still would like to sell.  I have girls that live too far away to pursue so I have to be patient and see what happens there.  But all in all, I am still alive, healthy, and really without debt and financially stable for the situation I am in.  If there is a plan, I would love to see it because right now I am just doing what I can on what I can see that is in front of me but to be honest... There really isn't much.  But who knows?  Maybe something will fall into my lap.  Here is to hoping and praying for it!  And before I forget to mention it, yes... The goatee is back.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Personality Results

I know I am an engineer and soon I will have a MBA but that aspect of my life could not ever be considered a label for me.  I am definitely a lot more than that and sometimes I find it hard to really describe who I am or what I am looking for socially.  One of my other passions is psychology and sociology.  I find that relationships are fascinating to understand and people and their tendencies and how those all intertwine.  I see them almost as a puzzle of people that is continually changing and adapting so that two pieces don't have to be a match at the start but the foundational aspects need to be there.

Anyways, I took a personality test that produced some of the most interesting results I have seen lately.   The reason why I was amazed was because of how accurate they seemed to describe me and my social habits.  I know that like those puzzle pieces that I will change but still I felt like I could identify with it entirely.  There were four basic types that we were identified as and my results were that I was:

Builder 23% Director 25%
Explorer 23% Negotiator 29%

with negotiator as your primary type,
you can be:
  • Big picture
  • Empathetic
  • Imaginative
  • Trusting
  • Intuitive
  • Introspective
  • Skilled verbally
with director as your secondary type,
you can be:
  • Decisive
  • Competitive
  • Focused
  • Disciplined
  • Analytical
  • Independent
  • Logical

You have a broad overview of reality. You like to tackle large, complex issues and weigh all the variables involved. And you can be innovative and bold, generating new perspectives and providing imaginative solutions to ambiguous social, political, intellectual or technical problems.

You have fine tuned social skills, easily picking up the gestures, facial expressions and speech patterns of others and expressing yourself clearly and vividly. You are intuitive, too; you understand people, and genuinely sympathize with them. Because you are also flexible and cooperative, you are also good at working in teams.

Yet despite your poise in social situations, you often prefer solitude or informed and detailed conversations with just one individual or a few close friends. You try to avoid routine meetings and social engagements. You prize your independence.

You like to focus deeply and thoroughly on your interests. You can be exacting, tough-minded, analytical and strategic in your approach, too. You leave no stone unturned.

Relating To Others
You seek an authentic connection with just about everyone you meet, and you want to have in-depth discussions with friends and colleagues about ideas and feelings. You do not suffer fools gladly; "small talk" leaves you cold.

Love And Relationships
You are idealistic and romantic. You want to bond in a spiritual sense, communicate your innermost feelings and sustain an intense and meaningful relationship. You have a rich fantasy life. And, for you, sex must be mixed with romance and meaning. When you find true love, you focus your attention on your beloved. You give thoughtful gifts, are sensitive to your mate's feelings and communicate your emotions clearly. You are capable of unconditional love. You can be irreverent about traditional marriage, however. You feel your personal commitment is the true marriage vow. In fact, you may be inclined to write your own vows and create a non-traditional wedding ceremony. You unconsciously gravitate to those who are imaginative and playful with ideas. You also like those with an unruffled calm and decisiveness, those who are ambitious, and those who can focus on their goals-individuals who complement your restless soul-searching.

Things negotiator need to be aware of:
  1. Because you can see so many angles to an issue or decision, you can be indecisive.
  2. You wrestle with the contradictory feelings of being too eager to please and being tough minded.
  3. When you feel betrayed you can be unforgiving and hold a grudge too long.
Overall, I thought this was a very interesting test because the format of the questions was both rating on a scale, selecting pictures that best represented your taste on different topics, etc.  In the end, I thought that it was a very accurate representation of me in a positive way that also talked about the different things I desired.  It won't change me or the way I approach relationships or life but the results I thought were in the very least, interesting.