Archives for the month of: December, 2013

Too often the holidays come around and we think it is a time for family. And to many, family means relatives, by blood or by marriage. But does it really stop there?

Over the years I have moved away from my family to reach my own personal goals. All of my family lives a plane ride away. Needless to say, I have made new friends throughout my travels, both in my new home area and on my many journeys’. And I’m proud to say that many of these new friends have become very close friends. We have had amazing adventures together, shared very good times and very bad times together.

Although there have been years that I have not been able to spend the actual holiday with my blood family, I have always been able to get back home to see them “around” the holidays. This year is the first year where I have not been able to get back to them. Even after taking a new position at work afforded my more time off, I found that I accidently planned a foreign trip pretty close to the holiday season. I made the decision to skip going home, after the trip, and for the holidays. It became costly for airfare and was going to be a lot of traveling.

My family was very understanding and thanks to modern conveniences of Facebook, speaker phone, and Skype I was still able to see their shining faces for the holiday. But the wondered what I would spend my holiday doing “all by myself.”

I found that family does not always mean blood. I ended spending my holiday with some very special people, none of which were my relatives. Some of us exchanged gifts – very well thought out gifts I must say! We all came together and made a great meal and shared some laughs. It ended up being an excellent day.

I did miss being with my blood family, but it was wonderful to see how important a close group of friends can be. Family truly does not have to be blood.

Which non-relatives did you reach out to this holiday season? Did you include those special people of your life in your holiday celebrations?

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This world is filled will many different viewpoints and opinions on every topic you can imagine. Some people are very passionate about their beliefs, even when the topic at hand may be mundane to others. Everyone who holds an opinion is convinced they have the “right” one and will try to convince you of that. There isn’t necessarily a problem with that, because it’s important that if you believe in something, you should be able to support with knowledge as to why you feel the way you do. Not only does that make you a good conversationalist, but it adds credit to your beliefs. “Just because” and “because I say so” are lame cop out responses.

More important that being able to defend your stance with facts is to first know where you stand. People form their opinions from a life filled with experiences unique to them. Some of them will be good and some of them will be bad but regardless, they are the foundation of their mindset.

It’s important to know where you stand on certain topics so you can develop your own personality. We often obtain our first opinions from our parents or from people we were close to growing up. When we are under their wing and have not yet had the chance to go out and explore the world on our own we hear their opinions and often assume they are all knowing and right. Sometimes we grow to find out we still agree with the ones we were close to but sometimes we grow and learn we think differently. That’s perfectly ok. It’s healthy to develop your own thoughts based on your own experiences.

Don’t be afraid to be your own man (or woman, for my female readers).

“One of the most difficult things is not to change society – but to change yourself.” -Nelson Mandela

As you have seen in the media recently, Nelson Mandela has passed away this past weekend. I remember his release from prison in Africa after 27 years. And I always associated his name with ending apartheid. Apar…what?

In case you haven’t taken a moment to research it I thought I’d share a quick snippet about it. It’s basically racial segregation sponsored by the state and imbedded into political policy and thus everyday life.

Mandela was imprisoned as a political prisoner for speaking and working against that system. He eventually was released from prison after 27 years and was elected as the president of the very country that imprisoned him.

I’m not here to talk politics. But his mental fortitude is worth some admiration. And some basically knowledge is always good to have when it comes to world news. Share it at a diner party, teach your kids, and just be happy to obtain some new knowledge.

Embrace your world.