Three Things Harry Potter Taught Me That Changed My Life Forever (7/3/19)

[Originally published on 7/3/19 on my previous site, Bright-blood.com]

Three Things Harry Potter Taught Me That Changed My Life Forever

My first memory of reading dates all the way back to 2001, when my mom handed third grade me The Prisoner of Azkaban for the first time. I know it’s super unconventional to start a series on the third book, but I don’t think my mom ever really thought I would fall head over heels in love with the series in the first place. But, that’s exactly what I did, and a few weeks later I was begging her to buy me the rest of the books. When she finally caved, I read the first book over the course of a weekend and dove into the second. Even eighteen years later I often find myself reminiscing about those days and all the life lessons J.K Rowling taught me.

I have always been a reserved person, so making new friends isn’t always the easiest. But over the years I’ve realized I don’t need hundreds of people surrounding me to be happy, and that by keeping fewer people around I can focus more on the relationships that truly matter. The friendship that Harry, Ron, and Hermione have reminds me a lot of some of my closest friends. We’ve been through so much that we are practically family, and we all know we would do everything in our power to help one another. We would sacrifice something important to our individual selves to get something done for our friends. And we will always do what’s right for one another whether good or bad, just like when Hermione reports Harry’s Firebolt to McGonagall in book three. I’d like to think that these books molded my opinions on friendship all those years ago, and that because of them I have been able to have amazing relationships with my closest friends.

Happiness is not always easy to come by, and many of us struggle daily to remember that it all stems from our own minds. As Albus Dumbledore said in The Prisoner of Azkaban, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” This is one of my favorite quotes from not only the Harry Potter series, but of all the books I’ve read in my entire life. If I were dissecting this statement, I’d say the true meaning is that we are always in control of our own happiness and we just need to remember that in order to be happy, we simply need to be happy. Now, I realize that may be easier said than done for some of us but just think how much easier life could be if we remembered small things like this a little more often.

The final life lesson I took HP is that people aren’t always who they say they are or who they are portrayed to be, (whether by the media, friends, family, etc.) so we shouldn’t be so quick to judge one another. J.K. Rowling had plenty of examples throughout the series where this applied. We see Sirius Black portrayed as the depraved escapee of Azkaban who actually ends up being wrongfully accused of Peter Pettigrew’s crimes. A case could even be argued for Peter that he himself was misjudged as a vile creature acting on the commands of He who must not be named, but in reality he was a lonely man dying for the affection and recognition of his master. And I know all of our minds instantly go to Snape when we think of characters that we had all wrong, and for a good reason. The Potions (and Defense against the Dark Arts) professor was made to be one of Harry’s biggest nemeses for the first six books, and then in the seventh we find out he has been protecting Harry all along. We find out that he loved Lily so much his Patronus transformed into hers, and that he was the one who has been helping Harry and his companions this whole time. Obviously, Severus is the greatest example of why we shouldn’t be quick to judge as he has the largest swing of any of the aforementioned characters. But all of these examples by J.K. show us that in judging we can make things much more difficult for others as well as ourselves, and that is why we should take more time to get to know one another.

Of course, there are countless lessons to be learned and hundreds of other examples as to how this series ties directly to our lives. No matter how you look at J.K. Rowling’s work though, it’s clear that she wants us all to take something away from her characters and live our best lives. As Dumbledore says, “You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be”, and that is why in following the footsteps of Harry, Ron, and Hermione we can all grow to be amazing.

My Weekly Review (#6) – J. Cole

My Weekly Review (#6) – J Cole

Welcome back! This week’s recommendation is based off one of my all-time favorite artists, J Cole. I know that a lot of people aren’t the biggest Hip-Hop/R&B fans, but what Cole does is out of this world. Notice how I said he was one of my favorite artists… that is because I truly see him as an artist and not only a musician. He is one of the most talented rappers and has a way with words unlike any other person in the game today. His music is poetry in my opinion, and there is always a meaning behind every word he says. He is one of those artists that I cannot bring myself to skip when he pops up on a playlist. I find everything about him and his story so interesting. So even if you aren’t a Hip-Hop/R&B fan I suggest giving J. Cole a chance. You never know, his lyricism may surprise you just enough to actually enjoy his music!

Thanks again for reading my weekly recommendation. As always, please leave some feedback and give my page a follow so you can experience all of my content. I’d love to hear from all of my wonderful readers, so be sure to rate/comment often!

My Weekly Recommendation (#6) (6/25/19)

[Originally published on 6/25/19 on my previous site, Bright-blood.com]

My Weekly Recommendation (#6) – J. Cole

Welcome back! This week’s recommendation is based off one of my all-time favorite artists, J. Cole. I know that a lot of people aren’t the biggest Hip-Hop/R&B fans, but what Cole does is out of this world. Notice how I said he was one of my favorite artists… that is because I truly see him as an artist and not only a musician. He is one of the most talented rappers and has a way with words unlike any other person in the game today. His music is poetry in my opinion, and there is always a meaning behind every word he says. He is one of those artists that I cannot bring myself to skip when he pops up on a playlist. I find everything about him and his story so interesting. So even if you aren’t a Hip-Hop/R&B fan I suggest giving J. Cole a chance. You never know, his lyricism may surprise you just enough to actually enjoy his music!

My Inspiration Behind Writing

My Inspiration Behind Writing

Over my life, I have encountered numerous things that have inspired me. When I was in high school, being cut from the baseball team was my inspiration to lose weight. When I was cleaning pools after college, I was inspired to score higher on the GRE in order to get into graduate school. The list is almost endless, but as of late my main inspiration has been to write. This is a huge new step in my life, as I am currently a full-time financial analyst who has a psych degree, a master’s in finance, and very little writing experience. However, even though I seem to be behind the eight ball with these new goals of mine I am still beyond excited to begin this journey into the land of writing.

How A Joke About Game of Thrones Inspired Me

The first thing that inspired me to write was actually a small joke I made to my girlfriend. As I’m sure most of you already know, roughly two months ago Game of Thrones was starting back up again. I was beyond excited, but with all that excitement came a substantial amount of worry and panic. I had so many questions on how the season would end, which of my favorite characters would end up dead, and how I would take not having any more Game of Throne Sundays to look forward to ever again. So, I sarcastically said that I was going to create my own GOT-esque realm to ease the pain that I would begin feeling the second the finale ended in mid-May. Two months later, I have five chapters complete, an entire map of my realm drawn and planned, twenty documents filled with detail that will eventually be expanded upon in the book itself, and my own website where a lot of my ideas can be found. Since that idea sprouted in my head, I have done nothing but write in my spare time. And all the time I can’t spend writing just inspires me to write even more.

The Woes of Corporate Life

The next thing that really propelled me off the cliff and into the depths of writing was my job. I have been a financial analyst for two and a half years now, but I haven’t been enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I’ve always been a math guy, and I am great at my job, but I hate the fact that I have to sit behind a desk every day from 9-5. My true career goal is to at some point work remote, and with writing, I can see that happening before I land a remote finance job. The corporate world is beginning to see the benefits of allowing their employees to work from home, but it is happening at an unbearably sluggish pace. Yes, I know there are tons of places that are more innovative and flexible towards remote work or at least having a set number of remote days a year, but those jobs typically aren’t available to people with just under three years of experience. With writing though it feels different. I’ve already made more money in the first two months than I was planning on making in my entire first year, and once you have your name out there with some good pieces getting published it is much easier to land a remote writing gig. But the fact that I still have to go sit behind that desk every day and only get a few to write may be the biggest motivation for me to succeed as a writer.

Inspiration in My Significant Other

My last, but definitely not least, motivation is my girlfriend. She has been there since the initial spark for the book that leads to the blogging, which led to most of my post work time is devoted to writing or research for writing and hasn’t complained once. In fact, she has been so supportive it is unbelievable. She wants to see me succeed just as much as I want myself to succeed in this industry, and I couldn’t love her more for it. She pushes me to be the best that I can be, and that makes this stab at a new career that much more rewarding. I recently read a quote that was very similar to something she told me in the early stages of this journey. The quote by Louis L’Amour reads, “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” When I told her my original idea for a novel and started putting words on paper, she told me to go for it. And that may be the most inspiration I have experienced yet in my entire life.

Thanks for taking a dive into my life and how I draw inspiration for all of my writing. As always, please leave some feedback and give my page a follow so you can experience all of my content. I’d love to hear where all of my wonderful readers draw their inspiration from, so be sure to rate/comment!

Inspirations Behind Writing (6/24/19)

[Originally published on 6/24/19 on my previous site, Bright-blood.com]

Inspirations Behind Writing

Over my life, I have encountered numerous things that have inspired me. When I was in high school, being cut from the baseball team inspired me to lose weight. When I was cleaning pools after college, I was inspired to score higher on the GRE in order to get into graduate school. The list is almost endless, but as of late my main inspiration has been to write. This is a huge new step in my life, as I am currently a full-time financial analyst who has a psych degree, a master’s in finance, and very little writing experience. However, even though I seem to be behind the eight ball with these new goals of mine I am still beyond excited to begin this journey into the land of writing.

A Joke About Game of Thrones

The first thing that inspired me to write was actually a small joke I made to my girlfriend. As I’m sure most of you already know, roughly two months ago Game of Thrones was starting back up again. I was beyond excited, but with all that excitement came a substantial amount of worry and panic. I had so many questions on how the season would end, which of my favorite characters would end up dead, and how I would take not having any more Game of Throne Sundays to look forward to ever again. So, I sarcastically said that I was going to create my own GOT-esque realm to ease the pain that I would begin feeling the second the finale ended in mid-May. Two months later, I have five chapters complete, an entire map of my realm drawn and planned, twenty documents filled with detail that will eventually be expanded upon in the book itself, and my own website where a lot of my ideas can be found. Since that idea sprouted in my head I have done nothing but write in my spare time, and all the time I can’t use to write I still only want to write!

The Woes of Corporate Life

The next thing that really propelled me off the cliff and into the depths of writing was my job. I have been a financial analyst for two and a half years now, but I haven’t been enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I’ve always been a math guy, and I am great at my job, but I hate the fact that I have to sit behind a desk every day from 9-5. My true career goal is to at some point work remote, and with writing, I can see that happening before I land a remote finance job. The corporate world is beginning to see the benefits of allowing their employees to work from home, but it is happening at an unbearably sluggish pace. Yes, I know there are tons of places that are more innovative and flexible towards remote work or at least having a set number of remote days a year, but those jobs typically aren’t available to people with just under three years of experience. With writing though it feels different. I’ve already made more money in the first two months than I was planning on making in my entire first year, and once you have your name out there with some good pieces getting published it is much easier to land a remote writing gig. But the fact that I still have to go sit behind that desk every day and only get a few to write may be the biggest motivation for me to succeed as a writer.

My Significant Other

My last, but definitely not least, motivation is my girlfriend. She has been there since the initial spark for the book that leads to the blogging, which led to most of my post work time is devoted to writing or research for writing and hasn’t complained once. In fact, she has been so supportive it is unbelievable. She wants to see me succeed just as much as I want myself to succeed in this industry, and I couldn’t love her more for it. She pushes me to be the best that I can be, and that makes this stab at a new career that much more rewarding. I recently read a quote that was very similar to something she told me in the early stages of this journey. The quote by Louis L’Amour reads, “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” When I told her my original idea for a novel and started putting words on paper, she told me to go for it. And that may be the most inspirational thing I have experienced yet in my entire life.

Anxiety: Supporting Your Significant Other

Anxiety: Supporting Your Significant Other

Everywhere you look today it seems as if someone, somewhere is struggling with anxiety. Nearly 40 million adults over the age of 18 in the United States, or 18% of our population, has been diagnosed with anxiety. I’m sure there are hundreds of thousands of others who have not even been diagnosed, not to mention that of those 40 million only about 36% of them are receiving some sort of treatment for their symptoms. Not everyone experiences anxiety the same way, and there are countless symptoms that could determine which type of anxiety an individual may have. Even with all of the variations however, it is fairly common to lump all of those different types of anxiety into three main categories: Panic Disorders, Phobia-based Anxieties, and General Anxiety Disorders.

I’ve been lucky enough throughout my life to have only experienced anxiety a handful of times, yet that is not the case for my girlfriend. For the most part, she has lived with anxiety her entire life. It typically comes and goes, but over the last few months it has ramped back up again just due to daily stresses from work, our puppy, etc. It tends to start small with something like a slight headache, restlessness, or silence. We typically never shut up (we could legitimately talk until our voices were gone), so when she goes silent I know the anxiety is brewing. I would like to think I am getting fairly good at noticing these signs now, and this is typically when I go into overdrive. I start doing everything in my power to distract her or to make her laugh, in hopes that I can get that nanoscopic seed out of her brain before it sprouts into a massive redwood of worry. That doesn’t always work though, and before too long the uncomfortableness of that awful, on setting uneasiness turns into full blown anxiety. Anxiety is, after all, a mental disorder. It causes its victim’s brain to lose all sense of judgement, and hundred upon thousands of thoughts flood their mind. Most of these thoughts are worry or fear based, and usually about things that they have no control over or things that are out in the future. From here the panic and fear really dig in, and that is when we as significant others MUST be there for them. No matter what we have going on, they need us to stop and be there with them. They need to be held and comforted. They need to be reassured that everything will be okay. Even the littlest things can go a long way for someone having an anxiety attack.

After watching her battle through this over the last few months, I’ve noticed how strong she truly is. I couldn’t imagine how hard it would be to live with something like that. Having a cloud of doubt or worry constantly looming, waiting to strike when all seems well would be absolute hell. But, I’m glad I’ve been able to experience this with her. It has made our relationship even stronger than it already was, and it makes me that much more grateful that I can be here with her whenever she is in need. So that’s why I am writing this, to let all of you with significant others out there know how important it is to not let them go through anxiety alone. No matter how rough, or if it doesn’t seem like it’s helping at the time, they are more than appreciative. They deserve our support at all times, and we should give it whenever so that they don’t have to constantly live on the edge of anxiety alone.

Thanks for reading Anxiety: Supporting Your Significant Other. As always, please leave some feedback and give my page a follow so you can experience all of my content. I’d love to hear from all of my wonderful readers, so be sure to rate/comment often!

Living with Anxiety: Supporting Your Significant Other in Their Time of Need

Living with Anxiety: Supporting Your Significant Other in Their Time of Need

Everywhere you look today it seems as if someone, somewhere is struggling with anxiety. Nearly 40 million adults over the age of 18 in the United States, or 18% of our population, has been diagnosed with anxiety. I’m sure there are hundreds of thousands of others who have not even been diagnosed, not to mention that of those 40 million only about 36% of them are receiving some sort of treatment for their symptoms. Not everyone experiences anxiety the same way, and there are countless symptoms that could determine which type of anxiety an individual may have. Even with all of the variations however, it is fairly common to lump all of those different types of anxiety into three main categories: Panic Disorders, Phobia-based Anxieties, and General Anxiety Disorders.

I’ve been lucky enough throughout my life to have only experienced anxiety a handful of times, yet that is not the case for my girlfriend. For the most part, she has lived with anxiety her entire life. It typically comes and goes, but over the last few months it has ramped back up again just due to daily stresses from work, our puppy, etc. It tends to start small with something like a slight headache, restlessness, or silence. We typically never shut up (we could legitimately talk until our voices were gone), so when she goes silent I know the anxiety is brewing. I would like to think I am getting fairly good at noticing these signs now, and this is typically when I go into overdrive. I start doing everything in my power to distract her or to make her laugh, in hopes that I can get that nanoscopic seed out of her brain before it sprouts into a massive redwood of worry. That doesn’t always work though, and before too long the uncomfortableness of that awful, onsetting uneasiness turns into full blown anxiety. Anxiety is, after all, a mental disorder. It causes its victim’s brain to lose all sense of judgement, and hundred upon thousands of thoughts flood their mind. Most of these thoughts are worry or fear based, and usually about things that they have no control over or things that are out in the future. From here the panic and fear really dig in, and that is when we as significant others MUST be there for them. No matter what we have going on, they need us to stop and be there with them. They need to be held and comforted. They need to be reassured that everything will be ok. Even the littlest things can go a long way for someone having an anxiety attack.

After watching her battle through this over the last few months, I’ve noticed how strong she truly is. I couldn’t imagine how hard it would be to live with something like that. Having a cloud of doubt or worry constantly looming, waiting to strike when all seems well would be absolute hell. But, I’m glad I’ve been able to experience this with her. It has made our relationship even stronger than it already was, and it makes me that much more grateful that I can be here with her whenever she is in need. So that’s why I am writing this, to let all of you with significant others out there know how important it is to not let them go through anxiety alone. No matter how rough, or if it doesn’t seem like it’s helping at the time, they are more than appreciative. They deserve our support at all times, and we should give it whenever so that they don’t have to constantly live on the edge of anxiety alone.