Friday, January 18, 2013

And this one too!

About a week ago, I posted about my all-time favorite commencement speeches, and I just remembered another one I loved. I'd be remiss if I didn't add this one (see below) to the list!

Like most people, I'm a fan of the show Friends, and my favorite character indeed remains Phoebe Buffay, played by Lisa Kudrow. (Thank goodness for reruns; her comedic timing never disappoints!) During my first post-grad summer, I continued the habit I started in the previous semester, and I scoured various inspirational graduation speeches. (Y'know, for encouragement...hope...laughs, etc.) Lisa Kudrow's address to her alma mater Vassar College in 2010 truly resonated with me. So, enjoy! It's a lengthy one, but worth it.

Favorite line: "I just listened to that inner voice. By the way, I think it's always a good move to listen to that inner voice - if it doesn't lead to a crime!"

Monday, January 14, 2013


I have been earnestly trying for the past hour to focus on these Powerpoint slides for Epidemiology, but I'm sitting in Starbucks, and when I sit in Starbucks, I get inspired to blog. (It's the darnedest thing! I think it's the ambiance...).

Not only that, but I also just figured out the sequence for a degree plan that I can be happy with (even if it changes, this is a feat worthy of celebrating), AND I heard from a friend this morning who is just so completely balanced, it's overwhelmingly inspiring.

And, so I jotted down some thoughts, and this is what came out:

I’m beginning to think most things in life are simple, we just make them more complicated. I think it’s possible for a situation to be complex, with a bunch of intricacies, but not complicated. Complication lends itself to frustration. But, complexity lends itself to appreciation. For example, looking at a remarkable piece of artwork, like the architecture of a grand building, you can appreciate the beauty in all of its complexity. I think life’s experiences are the same way. We can choose to look at them as complicated calculus problems to which we keep failing to find the solution. Or, we can choose to take a step back, admire the complexity (which, by the way, creates our character), and then break it down to be as simple as we can manage. It reminds me of the quote by Albert Eistein, “everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Which also reminds me of the title of one of my favorite songs by Tristan Perryman, “Simple as it should be.” When you strip a situation of all of its melodrama and extreme emotions, you can get a calmer perspective. And, then, and only then can you truly accept that everything happening is truly as simple as it should be. 

So, there you have it! I hope this makes sense. And, I hope it encourages you to take a calmer, more mindful perspective on...well, everything. Oh! And, one last quote this reminds me of:

"The art of simplicity is making peace with your complexity." - India Arie ("Wings of Forgiveness). Couldn't have put it any simpler myself!

Okay, now I'm behind schedule - yikes! But, this impromptu post was SO worth it. Happy Monday! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

warm weather I welcome you with wide open arms!

There's a lot of w's in that title. I think I like alliteration. Anyway, I just HAD to share this thought right quick.

I went outside for a run a while ago and to my pleasant surprise, sunshine hit my face and I felt the 64-degree weather all around me. It. was. amazing. It helped me realize something. Let me explain.

It's not just because I dislike the cold weather. But, don't get me wrong - I do not enjoy the cold weather. I mean, I know this is Texas and weather is extremely variable, but I do not like winters. I don't like my skin feeling so dry all the time, I don't like my hair being damaged by unforgiving wintry winds. I love scarves, but I don't really care for coats. I think you get the point: I'm not a huge fan of Winter.

But, Spring? Springs are my favorite. I just love the burst of warmth and cool breezes the Spring can bring. Again, I know Texas weather constantly goes from one extreme to the other, but generally speaking, I enjoy Spring.

So, why am I blabbering about seasons? This is what I realized on my walk outside (...on my way to that run...): I may not prefer the winter, but they're an excellent metaphor for renewal. I see bundling up in warm clothes and staying in the house as time for hibernation, time for reflection. In a way, it gears you up for a new beginning, for the sunshine.

In fact, the Winter allows me to appreciate the Spring that much more. This idea reminds me of a line from one of my favorite songs by Jason Mraz, 93 Millions Miles. He says, "sometimes it may seem dark, but the absence of the light is a necessary part." I feel this to be absolutely true. How could one even recognize light if not for the dark? Meaning: experiencing those unpleasant situations or circumstances allow you to really appreciate more favorable situations or circumstances. It's like, that's the whole point of growing through rough or less-than-preferred experiences, right?

Just a thought. Enjoy unseasonably nice weather if you get it! Unless, of course, you enjoy the cold - in that case, happy winter!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Compilation: Commencement Speeches

Well, hello there 2013! This means graduation is right around the corner for any and every "Class of 2013"!

Little known fact: Last year, I submitted a speech for the chance be selected as the student speaker at my own graduation. Said speech was rejected by the committee, yet ever since then (sometime around February or March 2012), I have often found myself listening to commencement speeches of old. There are so many available on YouTube from actors, authors, CEOs and even students. There are many lists of what people consider to be The Most Inspirational Speeches and so on and so forth.

So, naturally, I wanted to share my own little list of favorite commencement speeches to date. They're awesome for when you need a pick-me-up during the post-grad years or even just little "life-reminders". Underneath each video, I've highlighted my personal favorite lines from the speeches.

Amy Poehler's Address to Harvard University's Class Day - 2011 

"All I can tell you today is what I've learned, what I have discovered as a person in this world, and that is this: you can't do it alone."

Steve Jobs' Commencement Address to Stanford - 2005

"Don't let the noise of other people's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."

Steve Carrell's Address to Princeton University Class Day - 2012  

"A text does nothing more than protect us. It protexts us, if you will, to keep us safe. It is like a warm blanket that insulates us from the truth."

David Foster Wallace's Commencement Address to Kenyon College - 2005
(audio only in two parts; also see text here)

"The point here is that I think this is one part of what teaching me how to think is really supposed to mean. To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties."

Mitch Thrower's Student Graduation Speech to St. Lawrence University - 1990

"We must seek laughter, friendship, enrichment, health and love because so many think life ends too soon while the real problem is that so many people wait so long to begin it."

And, there you have it! These are my absolute favorites for various reasons. There are plenty more to explore. A little bit of something for everybody!