All things vast & minuscule.

Ahhhh, the Grand Canyon.

So beautiful. So enveloping. So vast.

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I mean seriously, this thing is so big you can see it from space.

 

& me in front of the Grand Canyon.

So small. So irrelevant. So minuscule.

& yet, so very very at peace.

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The GC has this crazy effect that makes you turn into a philosopher. Instantly. I actually think it’s impossible to see the canyon without contemplating all of existence & time at one point during your visit.

The thing about this that blows my mind is how irrelevant the details of life are. Now, don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not saying that our lives are meaningless, & I don’t mean that anyone is in anyway unimportant. However, that test I failed last week, the rude customer at work that I had to be nice to, the interview I didn’t kill? I might even go so far as to include my irritation with the presidential race among the list. These things are all relative, & when I stood there looking out at the Grand Canyon I finally remembered that it’s pretty much irrelevant in the course of this universe.

Truly, I (we) get so caught up in the day to day nuisances of life that I forget about the big picture. I take for granted this magnificent & beautiful world that was crafted for us. These adventures & journeys in the world are at my fingertips; to explore & cherish with those that I love & sometimes on my own. Some journeys are near, like my back yard as a child; some adventures are far away in other states, countries, & continents; some are above me in the night sky; & yet, some of these journeys take place within me.

I forget that there is a very large world out there. A very large adventure always, always waiting for me.

See that grayish figure in the middle? That’s me. Sitting at the edge of a cliff. Sitting on the edge of the World. 

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See the grayish figure at the point? Yup, still me. Same cliff; different view. Pretty terrifying huh?

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Well here is my father. Sitting in the exact same spot, a little under 5 years ago. 

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I included this photo because it made me think about how many other people have sat in this exact spot over the years. Perhaps having the same thoughts that I have & perhaps thinking very different things. Millions of people visit the Grand Canyon annually, & while it may affect us all in different ways it impacts us all none-the-less. It’s so important to remember that we are all on a journey. Many of us walk different paths & are heading towards different destinations, but we are all on journeys.

I need to remind myself not to allow all of the small stressors in life to get in the way of the big journeys I have ahead of me. I forget that it doesn’t really matter that I don’t have it all figured out. No one really does, & if you think you do, you’re either lying to yourself, or lying to everyone else.

I forget that my failures are temporary, while my journey is everlasting.

& Even when things are going really really well for me I forget that there is a very large world out there. A very large world that knows nothing of me, & that while my success’s may be great, they are no more-or-less important than the rest of the world’s people and their accomplishments.

Sometimes all it takes to humble me is a random act of kindness from a stranger & some days it takes a bit more than that. Last year I was immensely humbled by the joy of the people in Costa Rica, & today it happened to be the vastness of my view at the Grand Canyon.

The important parts of life are not how much money I can accumulate, it’s not how many friends I can find, & it’s not how perfect my grades or body could be.

What is really magical in life, are the ways the world impacts me & the ways that I leave an impact on others in the world.

The rest of it? It’s just minuscule noise.

 

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Peeks of Memories

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Most students at UMD have spent a night driving along Skyline Parkway enjoying the view, and it is a past time I particularly enjoy. However, sometimes instead of looking at the beautiful lights along the lake bay I like to turn my attention to all of the houses along the road. If you go at the right time of night most families will have a couple lights on in their house and you can catch them eating dinner at the table or catching up on their favorite show on Netflix.

My mom is currently trying to sell my childhood home; it brings back a lot of memories that my little house in Milaca, MN holds. Good and bad memories, significant and insignificant, but all memories that built my family’s life together and made me who I am today.

When I drive on Skyline looking at the houses, I get to peek into these families lives one after another in an instantaneous moment. A moment that they may never remember, or perhaps a moment that will be engraved in their minds forever. Houses absorb these memories as if they are watching us grow, and in my beat up old car I like to imagine all the history that is wrapped up in the house, and the families inside it making their own histories that flash before me as I drive down the road.

I drive on without impacting the oblivious people who’s lives I just crossed paths with for a moment and continue on probably to never meet them again. And in a way this singularity is as beautiful as any view from Skyline could ever be.

My brain isn’t made of rotten tomatoes, so why should I care about yours?

I HATE MOVIE CRITICS.

This was an out of the ordinary thought for me to have on my extremely ordinary and not in the least bit special or unique day that I had. I spent almost my entire day at work (the local DQ). I was bored and trying to find something, anything, to stimulate my mind.

My mind was wondering, and eventually landed on the latest rage among my group of 17-25 year old friends. AKA people that make up my twitter feed. American Sniper.

I can appreciate a heart-wrenching movie about war and brotherhood, and by all means I can appreciate a man in uniform. I have yet to hear a bad thing about this movie, and I am definitely up for going (should someone ask me). This is when my mother (of all people) popped into my head.

Flipping to the other side of this story. I haven’t lived with my mom for the past 5 months, since I started the roller coaster people tend to call college.. First you have to understand that I love my mom. In recent years she has become one of my best friends, and I really do value her opinions. I’ve always been independent, but it’s been different for me since she doesn’t know what I do day to day, or for instance what movie I decided to go to last Friday.

We talk about a vast majority of things, and I listen to ALMOST all of the advice she offers, but NEVER DO I EVER ASK HER ABOUT MOVIES. So, why in gods name did my moms opinion pop into my head when I thought about seeing American Sniper?

My mom, bless her heart, went through a phase where she was obsessed with reading reviews of movies online. I’m not really sure what spiked the interest in the critics who’s opinions she lived by, and I’m not really sure what caused her to stop reading them, or if she still does. I stopped asking a while ago, and here’s why:

My mom would tell me she was interested in going to the theater to see a recently released film, and then she would skirt off to check the showing times. Our family is known for being indecisive, and I’ve learned not to take any tentative agendas too seriously, because we rarely ended up following through with our original plans. Sure enough, moments later she would emerge from the room that our computer is in and tell me she wasn’t going to go to the movie anymore.

However, this seemed odd. It wasn’t so much the hectic plans that changed my moms mind as usual, it was the idea of the movie that she almost instantly lost interest in, so I asked her why. All she said was, “it got bad reviews.” Even if her closest friends and colleagues were raving about a movie, she would read the critics opinions, and almost religiously follow what they said.

I’m an opinionated young lady, and this irritated the bageezus out of me. I mean come on, my mom doesn’t even know these people and she was blindly allowing them to dictate what movies she did or didn’t see! It drove me crazy. She even started looking up the reviews for the movies I was going to with my friends, and offered her “insight” usually without me asking for it. So eventually I told her to stop.

I didn’t like the way critics were labeling a movie as good or bad. Black and white. Yes or no. They never say, “a teenage girl would enjoy this”, or “this movie would suit someone who likes corny comedy”. The reviews aren’t just realistic. One person’s opinion simply can not speak for millions of different people who watch movies every day.

So for god’s sake if you are one of these people who will not even consider going to a movie that got bad reviews, stop. Stop now. Next time you see a preview and you find yourself making plans to go to it, JUST DO IT. Don’t look up the reviews, don’t ask other people what they thought. Just take your impulse and run with it. You might like it, you might not, but who cares. Take a chance, and think for yourself. Use that brain that isn’t made of rotten tomatoes, and create your own opinions. You might even be surprised to find that your favorite movie is one recieving more down votes than approving ratings.

Not everyone will agree on which movies are worth taking the time to watch, and which movies will only lead to two hours of disappointment, but that’s why ratings suck so much. They aren’t tailored to you. So if you are one of those people out there religiously reading which movies got how many Rotten Tomatoes, try stoping. If you can’t, keep it to yourself so the rest of us can enjoy a life without brainwash where we can all enjoy our own ability to create opinions, and enjoy our own interests however popular or unpopular they are.