There’s this writing faux pas that we’ve all done in our lives: starting an essay, a paper, a blog post, a toast, a speech with a quote. (Or captioning a sunset Instagram pic with one. #basic) But screw it, this one is important. Theodore Roosevelt said my favorite series of words:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
“…If he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”.
Anything done via technology is easier. Generally, anyway. Your taxes can be done in a matter of 30 minutes with the right software. You can order a new dress for a wedding without having to get out of bed. You can explore an entire dating pool without setting foot in a bar. Heck, you can order Dominos now with two clicks of a button. You can also call a stranger struggling with weight gain and self-esteem issues fat, bully a frienemy in a 140-character tweet, and spread rumors via your blog faster than you can get through the Starbuck’s morning drive through line. Technology isn’t 100 percent to blame for any of those interactions taking place, (yes, unfortunately people were bullied and harassed before Facebook existed and there was time you’d have to go to a restaurant if you wanted to place a pizza order to go) and there’s debate whether technology has caused a significant increase in harassment; however, we cannot deny that technology has brought us face to face with more stories, evidence, and experiences of such harassment than ever before. Maybe ignorance is bliss, but ignorance isn’t a magic wand that makes any of these stories disappear from existence.
I always wanted a big dog. Not medium-sized, huge. (YUGE, if you will.) The kind of dog that if they tried to sit in your lap, their legs would overflow causing them to constantly re-adjust to avoid falling off and sacrificing their sacred sitting place. They’d be blissfully unaware of the 100+ pounds of furry mammal they’d be trying to cramp into less than 20 sq inches of space. Color didn’t matter, nor did breed. Growing up we always had the best dog breed: mutts. They’d roam around the farm blissfully and nap between the trees in the shade from the grove surrounding the property. My fondest memories growing up with dogs being anytime I’d go for a run; they’d run loyally beside me down the empty gravel road, without prompting, leashes or training, for miles. If you were having fun, they sure as heck made sure they were coming along. Who needs to run with music when you have three dogs sprinting from ditch to ditch, chasing each other, playing with child-like abandon then looking up at you with their best tongue-out grin? Yes, my love affair with big ol’ goons-of-a-dog started young. I always wanted a dog that fit my checklist: big, athletic, able to run at least 8 miles at a time, guard dog, etc. etc.
It’s on coffee mugs, notebooks, t-shirts, and splashed across the pages of Etsy and Pinterest. It’s made an appearance in far too many Instagram captions and motivation speeches in movies about an underdog sports team. “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” Even writing those words right now causes me to cringe a bit (Especially at the thought someone will type it into a google search and among the false citations and posters for sale they’d see this blog post. Petty, I know.). A dream can mean different things to many people; a complex word that’s difficult to unpack in a single sentence. Dreams vary from pie-in-the-sky to compact enough to pull you out of bed in the morning. From owning a vintage car to running a marathon in every state, quitting your job and moving to a foreign country to starting your own company. We all have dreams, or goals if you will, for every aspect of our lives.
Ask someone what their dream is, actually ask a few. Some will reply back with great enthusiasm and a list of dreams. Others are reluctant to share; afraid they’ve dreamed too big or too small or that maybe you’d laugh. Continue reading
Farmer’s Daughter in the Big City
It’s a strange phenomenon; despite working in the tech industry, without fail in every interview I have gone on the highlight has been discussion around the first job listed on my resume. “Field Inspector for Remington Seed Company – Holland, Iowa”. As we dive into a conversation regarding what that means (in case you wanted to know, it involves corn fields, lots of walking, lots of counting, lots of recording and some knowledge around corn growth and population), it inevitably leads to a conversation about my upbringing. I grew up on a farm about 10 miles from the closest town of Dike, Iowa, (population: ~1,200) in the Midwest; my dad is a corn and soybean farmer, as is my grandfather and a handful of relatives. From a young age, I spent my summers derouging or detasseling, walking beans, doing general farm chores. My siblings and I were always outside playing Pickle or 500, working on projects for the county fair, chasing feral farm cats with our dogs, participating in 4-H, and helping out with chores. (Oh, and like any good redneck, one of my front teeth is fake. Four wheeling accident.) Continue reading
Rom Com Reality
Giving up on love. It’s a typical starting point for almost any rom com. This lovable character at the start of the movie is a hopeless romantic/mess/workaholic with whom we can relate. The kind of person you meet and feel instantly connected with. (I mean, who doesn’t love & root for Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshal.) This lovable, hopeless mess has either just given up on love, been crushed by it or has never believed in it. That’s the moment you know in the movie that they’re about to find their soulmate. Their one true love. And while watching the movie, you start to believe that yes, the love of their life exists. It’s them. They’ve met them! …But life isn’t a rom com and the beliefs we hold last longer than 90 minutes. Continue reading