Actually, I’LL Keep the Change

This post is about change (duh), but it’s also so very much about me. Lately, people have voiced their concerns on how I’ve “changed”. This is by no means a jab at any particular person, but that statement has caused quite a bit of pondering on my part in the past few weeks. Especially when it comes from people who have changed just as much, if not more than I have. Let’s get real here. No one is the same person they were yesterday, or the day before, nor will they be the same person tomorrow. Every interruption, interaction in our lives causes just the slightest change in our personalities and values, whether we realize it or not. But that is exactly what we need, what we should want.

Change

Someone asked me to write about this topic a couple of months ago. I’m sure they thought I wasn’t paying attention, or didn’t care, because I hadn’t written it yet. Neither were true. Rather, I wasn’t exactly willing to write about my personal experiences. As of late though, one of my main goals in life is to try to maintain positivity and inspire others, so hopefully this will have that effect on someone.

Nope.

In a few months, my family and I will be making a big move to another state. To some people, a move to a state in the same time zone isn’t really considered a BIG move. For me though, moving to another state might as well be moving to another country. I’m such a creature of habit. I haven’t traveled much (traveled outside of the country last year for the first time – TWICE!), and I’ve never lived anywhere else. But the same person that urged me to write this piece also told me about the importance of experiencing something new, of being able to be a part of something that had never been done before. When I argued about challenges, they told me to view them as opportunities. When I talked about change, they said the synonym was growth. In other words, I was to stop running from experience – I was supposed to run TOWARDS it.

Moving

It’s so much easier to continue living life the same way every day, because it’s comfortable and predictable. It doesn’t require any effort, and it definitely doesn’t enable much growth. Yeah, you are changing ever so slightly every day, but why not maximize that upward development? The whole purpose of experience and growth (obviously, my opinion) is to provide you the tools to be a better version of yourself. So now, when someone tells me I’ve changed, my only response can be “thank you”. Thanks for noticing that I’m a better me.

What Is Going On???

Ok, so, you woke up this morning, and what’s the first thing you did? Reached over and looked at your cell phone…probably checked Twitter and Facebook to see what everyone else is doing with their lives, right? Maybe got a little envious, because it seems like everyone else is doing great things without you. And then you showered (hopefully), got dressed, ate breakfast, and went to that job that you’re always complaining about. You know, not really contributing, just spewing useless negativity. And then you went home, went to bed, and it started all over again the next day.

I’m not throwing stones or judging, because it can get like that for all of us at some point. We stop trying to live our own lives, and instead settle for vicarious living via social media and crappy reality shows. When’s the last time you had a Joe Schmo moment about your life, and just asked, “What is going on???” No, like, honestly. What are you really doing with your life?

Joe Schmo

I’ve been reading a lot of books on leadership lately, so obviously, I’m kind of an expert (I mean, I didn’t get it from the internet, right?). The most valuable takeaway I’ve ascertained from all of these books is whether or not I’ve discovered what my mark on the world is/will be. We are so much more connected than we think we are, kind of like The Butterfly Effect.  Your words, your actions, your beliefs, they all have an impact on those around you, whether you realize it or not. The things you’re complaining about – like public policy, the demise of television, bullying, whatever – are you actually doing something about these things? Are you actively trying to be a positive force? In other words, are you a burden or a blessing?

The Butterfly Effect

I don’t know about you all, but I’m a little sick of being just an observer. I’ve determined that one of my gifts is helping others, and I’ve been trying to live out that life of service ever since. I encourage you, no, I challenge you to be more than just a burden. In Steve Farber’s book, The Radical Edge, he quotes Ronald Perricone of SKATE!, stating, “Act as though every action has a direct impact on the world…you should perform every deed as if it will either improve the world or damage it”. I’d kind of rather you pick the former and work on improving it. Think about the kind of world you’d want to live in; what can you do right now to make that happen? What blessings do you have to offer the world? Wars aren’t won in a day…start small and figure out your purpose.

Warm It Up, Chris

Man. Hearing the news that Chris Kelly of Kris Kross had passed away this past Wednesday of a suspected drug overdose…well, damn (I’m not going to get into a diatribe about the evils of drug use in the entertainment industry, ’cause that’s a completely different post). There just aren’t many words to convey what that loss means to obviously his family and friends, but what it also means to those of us who grew up in the early 90s. I’m talking about us 80s babies, who weren’t really vibing to The Sugar Hill Gang, but who weren’t necessarily going to be caught banging Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” in earshot of our parents’ bedrooms. No, we found purpose when we peeped that “Jump” video for the first time on BET’s Rap City. These dudes were what, all of like, 13, 14, and they were rapping???
With their clothes on BACKWARDS??? Talk about sticking it to the man (a.k.a. the adults). The next day boys and girls alike were wearing their Yankees shirts backwards, and shaving lines in their eyebrows.

My personal favorite was the “Warm it Up” song and video. Grantland’s Rembert Brown breaks down, or excuse me, explains the intricacies of this awesome video here, but my glee was intensified when I realized that one of their “crew” was Kenny/”Bud” from The Cosby Show (I love The Cosby Show, but most of you know that already). As a whole though, the album was pretty good, and us youngsters obviously felt the same way, since it managed to top the Billboard 200, two months after it dropped (Note: This is kind of a big deal, since it was consistently one of the only rap albums in the top 20 for weeks). I seriously let that tape rock ’til that taped popped. 

This may be completely selfish, but every time someone whose music played a significant part in my growing up (whether good or bad), passes away, it’s almost as if a piece of my childhood has perished as well. I know I talk about the 90s a lot, but dammit, I love the music and memories it gave me. I base my life timeline not on years, but on the music that got me through that notoriously rough period of transition from childhood to adolescence. Thank you, Chris Kelly, for being one of many artists that contributed to that time. May you rest in peace.

R.I.P. Mac Daddy

R.I.P. Mac Daddy

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