The Complacent Generation

I’ve debated this post for a while, but I am going to say whatever I want today. I’m part of what seems to be the most self centered, egotistical, prideful generation to ever walk this earth. We are more caught up in followers on social media than the men and women we encounter every day. We are more concerned with our own opinions and being right than truly educating ourselves. We disguise our hate in subtweets and comments rather than hearing another person’s point of views and learning something about them, and us. We are more enthralled with saying which presidential candidates are horrible and whose followers are stupid than figuring out and explaining why we believe the candidate we support should be president. I mean, there was a time when people didn’t say who they voted for out of respect for others beliefs. My own grandparents still won’t tell me who they voted for. Now, we gloat about who we voted for. We attack others who voted for someone else. We think our own comfortability is more important than the future of the country we live in. We think every issue we have opinions on is more important than starving kids in our own back yard. I don’t know political discussion so I keep my mouth shut. If you want to talk, talk but don’t be an overly defensive prick when someone doesn’t share those same opinions. Stop begging for handouts and acceptance. Stop parading your opinions as truth. Stop shoving your religions down people’s throats. Yes there’s a time and place for sharing your beliefs but airing your laundry on social media is not the platform. Social media has become the new age soapbox for ignorant, under educated, and uppity people to feel like they matter. You’re one of billions of people on earth, you. don’t. matter. Not that much. Can you use it as a chance to help educate? Yes, but you aren’t doing that. And maybe that’s your purpose but you fall embarrassingly short in your inadequate attempt at educating people. We follow a generation of selfless people who would have done anything for each other and rather live as a group too afraid to pullover and ask if someone needs help changing a tire. We think “pay it forward” is a fantastic thing like paying for someone’s meal needs a title and a pat on the back. How about letting the fact that you can be a decent person be all that you need. Our parents babied us into believing we were special. Our sports gave us trophies just for trying like giving effort in anything deserves praise. It doesn’t. I want to be known as a generation worth more than the Kardashians or the Bachelor(ette). Those who came before us innovated and invented. They built their minds before their ego. They pushed the walls of thinking and knowledge to pave a path to greatness. A path we are too proud to walk down like blazing our own trail is how it has to be done.  Sure when we reach the limits of where they left us we will need to begin “blazing our trail” but why move back in intelligence to do that? I want to be a part of something bigger than myself but my generation is so self absorbed they’d rather mock a cause then join one they believe in. Tweeting and posting about how “my thoughts and prayers go out to…” does not make you a good person because any jackwad with a phone can do that. Give of yourself and really make a difference. We always hear people say “it feels so good doing something for someone else” like its a new thing. Maybe it’s the way I was raised or my Christian belief but doing something for someone should seem natural, not a task. I realize posting this isn’t solving the issue and you know what, I’m not arrogant enough to say I have a solution but they say admitting you have a problem is the first step in solving it. So, I’m a millennial, and we have a problem.

 

-Justin

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Forget Me Not

Often times I write about ideas or things so embedded in my brain that I just need to get them out and this topic is no different. This won’t be a long post but it is one I hope you all read. A lot of times you hear people talk about “how will you be remembered?” But today an idea popped in my head, how will you remember?

As I was sitting at work I heard a story about someone who was starting to have memory loss. Most people hear that and kind of shrug it off because it does happen to a lot of people. But I began to think, what happens when/if I start to lose my memory. Like, these moments right now, this moment of me sitting on my couch typing, may one day never be in my mind again. That…is…INSANE! I mean I had never thought about it in depth. My grandfather battled dementia towards the end of his life and this never went through my mind. And so I thought more about our generation as a whole and how we are so mesmerized by our technology that we miss out on so much. And I’m not talking just life events and living life to the fullest, I mean making memories while we still can remember them. I mean, what did you do today? Did you do something today that you’re glad you’ll have that memory. Maybe you looked at the stars, played in the snow, froze you tush off, whatever it is remember the things you do. Too often people are looking down at their phone that life just cruises by them. I am not perfect sometimes I get caught staring at my phone but right now, I feel guilty for that. Do you? Do you ever look back and think, ‘I should have paid more attention to this moment.’ Often times we don’t because it is so culturally acceptable. As I begin this 2016 I’m trying to think of ways to make my year memorable and not for the sake of doing things but for the idea that I may one day forget these things so I want make the memories while I can. I don’t buy into the NEW YEAR NEW ME!! crap but I want to enjoy each year of my life. You and I will not live forever (that’s a different topic for a different day) but what we do in this life is not only how we will be remembered but how we will look back and remember our lives. I truly hope you all do something this year to remember for as long as you can. Put your technology away for just a few hours a day and enjoy yourself. Good luck in 2016!

-Justin

The Truth in it All

Today I have decided to open up on a level I’ve hesitated on for months because it’s scary to open up like this. The idea honestly got thrown on the back burner until earlier this evening when pictures from middle school began to surface on Facebook. So here we go, deeper into my brain then you’re all ready to hear.

A friend once told me “friends grow apart.” When they said that I got angry because that’s not the truth. It doesn’t just happen naturally. It happens when we aren’t willing to fight for those in our lives. It’s a product of laziness. And I, I am no different. So here’s some background information. I went to Liberty to escape Mishawaka. Escape what happened with my brother and to escape my fears. You see, I spent all of my years in school feeling like everybody who was part of my life only tolerated me because they were all too nice to tell me they couldn’t stand me. They’d be nice simply because they didn’t want to be rude. I mean, is it that crazy to think? It’s high school, people will talk behind your back all the time. Why would I be any different? So I left. I got away. I walked away from every friendship I had built over the last 12 years. I mean, yeah people tried to keep in touch but I was too lazy to try anymore. Recently I’ve been feeling like I should try to reconnect with all those I’ve lost touch with since high school but each time I thought about it, that fear just came back. They wouldn’t want to talk to me and if they did, they’d say something. But that’s the lazy way out. I’m not saying I’ll wake up tomorrow and message every person I lost touch with over the years. That fear is still there, it’s just something I’ll learn to work through. It got so bad in college that I deleted every number from every person I met in high school. It made it easier. But I have to thank those friends I made at Liberty because they truly showed me what it meant to be a friend. Have I kept in complete touch with them? Well, no. But that fear I have with my friends from high school, I don’t have with friends from Liberty. Sometimes I truly miss dorms and sometimes I miss having a prayer group. What’s not to like about 5 guys sitting in my dorm room at night sharing life together? So to those I was in prayer groups with, I miss you all and I think about you often. Now, to those from high school this next part is for you. I imagine only a few of you are actually reading this but if you are, I hope you pass this on.

I walked halls with you all, I shared classes with you all, I got to know you. You were my first look at friendship. I laughed with you, I hurt with you, I shared locker rooms with you, I cried at mid-field at Penn after our track careers ended, and all the while deep down I figured you all hated me. I’m not sure if that’s the case, I’m sure some of you couldn’t care less about where I’m at in life. But that’s not the point. The point is, I care. That’s why I didn’t shut down sooner, I care so much. I don’t think I was depressed, just a kid scared of the realities that lay behind every corner of those halls. So terrified of what you said about me when I wasn’t around. It truly was crippling. But I’ve grown, you’ve grown, life has moved on. And from the bottom of my heart, I am sorry. I’m sorry that I didn’t try harder when we graduated. I’m sorry that I’ve gone this long without talking to you. It’s been 2 years since I had an actual conversation with someone from my graduating class. When I think back to everything that happened those years I think of how I felt like a tagalong, and not the delicious Girl Scout Cookie. And so every single time I go back to Mishawaka I am terrified of seeing someone from high school. Because I don’t know what I’d say to you. I’m not sure how to interact with you. And I’m sorry for that. As I type this, my hands are shaking from the sheer fear of you reading this and laughing but in the end, I know that I’m being honest with you and most importantly, I’m being honest with myself. You never think it will happen to you. You never think, in the moment, that the friends you make won’t be your closest friends anymore. Those days come, that is a part of growing up. But it doesn’t mean we should have lost touch. We live in an age where we can contact people across the world with a click of a button. Why does our 10 year class reunion have to be the first time we talk in years? I know life keeps us busy and moving, I just wonder sometimes. Wonder what it would look like if we all cared enough to reach out to one person we haven’t talked to in a while. What a world that would be. So I need you all to know, if you’ve made it this far, that I wonder how you’re all doing. I’m honestly just too scared to ask. Maybe one day I won’t carry that fear anymore but for now it is my weight to bare. I think of you all fondly and smile at the memories we made.

-Justin

Moving Ever Forward

During our lives we will all come to moments that try us. Moments that define who we are and who we will be. They push our minds, bodies, and souls to limits not even we could fathom. I am no different. Sure out moments might be different and our pressures and stresses reach different levels. But never undermine, degrade, or belittle someone’s “mountain.” If you would have told me a few years ago I’d be right here, I wouldn’t have believed you. I mean, I hate planning five years ahead. Remember? But the last month has been unreal! So let’s dive in:

2 years ago I left the chance at a steady job to pursue what I believe, and still believe, to be my calling in life. I was questioned, doubted, made to feel ostracized, and even told I had walked away from the Lord. Bitterness took hold. I struggled daily not to completely despise those who didn’t believe in me.  I mean daily. It made me sick to my stomach, made me angry, and made me feel like more of a failure. There were days I saw no reason to get out of bed. Days I seriously contemplated packing a bag and just leaving. Grabbing the essentials, leaving a note for my family, and just walking until the roads ended. Why should my parents have to continue carrying me if all I proved to be was a burden, or at least that’s what I thought, daily. But I didn’t. My parents showed me love and support I hand’t even known existed. Through some of my dad’s toughest days he always supported me. Always gave me a glimmer of hope. It took a while but we’ve made it.

A month ago I posted about my parents moving to Virginia and me being in a new situation. Well, here I am. I still have an amazing job. I have finally gotten my own place. My first real apartment. Which I will move into once they’ve finished cleaning the floors to Saint Judy’s approval. I’ve made incredible strides towards my calling. And through it all I look back and smile. A song released recently says:

Sometimes things will bend you, but trust me you’ll be fine. I’ve been moving mountains that I once had to climb.”

And it is amazing how true that has been for me. I struggled, I scraped, I clawed, and I made it to the top of this “mountain.” I’m at the top and I just want to look back at all those doubters and questioners and just stick my tongue out at them. Nobody can tell you how to live your life. Nobody can tell you what you’re meant to do. So here I stand (or rather sit behind a computer) to tell you to please, never give up. The road is treacherous and the storms are rough. But the destination is bright. Smooth seas don’t make a sailor. The destination is the hope we all need. So no matter the mountain you climb, press on. Never stop fighting. And always, ALWAYS believe in yourself. You’re only as strong as you believe you are. And in the words of Winnie the Pooh, “Always remember you are braver than you believe, strong than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Those words are true for each and every one of you. So always move forward, never fear what’s ahead. There are brighter days for us all.

-Justin

A Fast Track To New Beginnings

Well, today is one of the most bittersweet days of my life. Today I start a new chapter in life and so too, do my parents. Due to unbelievably unforeseen circumstances my dad (Big Daddy) was able to take a job in Virginia. For those of you close to us you know this will take them just an hour away from Katie. I wish I could say at 24 I’m fine without them but in all honesty the last week has been stressful and unexpectedly hard. After years of having them right here for me I now move forward and begin to forge my own path in life. They are, have been, and will always be the best influences on my life and I honestly thought that they’d move and I’d be just fine. But the truth is it’s extremely hard to be so separated from your family. However, I’ve been so blessed these last few months. I’ve been able to secure an unbelievably wonderful job, I’m close to having a place of my own, and I’ve begun the process of starting something MASSIVE (stay tuned for more in the coming days). Adulthood comes up fast. For some it offers a smooth and relatively easy transitions and for others, like myself, it’s a long and treacherous  road. It takes work. But I’m starting to see the light. I’m starting to feel at home. And I’m finally feeling free in myself. No longer hindered by past experiences and decision. This life is my own and today I embark by myself. It’s scary, it’s exciting, and it’s sad. Hence the bittersweet comment earlier. So to you, my faithful and loving readers I offer you this advice. It’s impossible to see the finish line with your eyes on the ground. Keep your head up. Never stop chasing your passion. People will come along and discourage you and in those moments, lift your chin high and press on. Because nobody can discourage you when you’re on top of the mountain you’ve been climbing. I’ve been climbing this mountain since 2013 and here I am, rising above it. I love you all. To my parents, I’m so proud of your willingness and commitment to chase what you love. I’ll miss you everyday and just know everything I do is an attempt to make you proud.

-Justin

I’ll Stand By Liberty

So it’s been so long since my last post because I’ve been so concerned that my thoughts and speech may offend so many of you. But today I woke up and saw something so disturbing, so frustrating, and so infuriating that I can no long remain silent. All my Liberty friends know exactly what I am talking about. Let’s dive in:

Josh Feuerstein is a ‘well-known’ internet Christian decided it was his place to ‘attack’ Liberty University. Why? Because Liberty had invited Bernie Sanders to speak at Convocation. Now, I would show you his videos but both have been taken down. So here were some of his complaints: 1. Sanders is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage and how dare Liberty, a world class Christian institution invite such a man to their ‘chapel.’ 2. He got a raucous cheer when he claimed his beliefs. So, before I unload on how wrong he is for this, let me first express the fact that for about 6 months now I have begun to have issues with his tactics, his comments, and his actions. It really started back in late March or early April. Mr. Feuerstein decided to call a cake company in Florida, when he lives in Arizona, and asked the company for a cake that read “We do not support gay marriage.” The company refused to do so, their first reason was probably because they have caller ID and when an Arizona number came on they realized the gas to get that cake their wasn’t going to be worth their time. Based on his actions the company literally got threats because of this. So he led an angry mob after a bakery that is ~2,000 miles away. This rubbed me the wrong way. Why? Because whether you support gay marriage or not, whether you want a cake or not, if you’re a believer you should NEVER want believers to attack non-believers. This man just burned thousands of bridges because everyone who read that story now thinks all Christians are like that. I don’t care how many views your video gets if you burn bridges, you have failed. So, when I woke up this morning and saw his newest video I decided that I had had enough. People will know where I stand with this. So first he’s made about Mr. Sanders being allowed on campus, on a stage, and allowed to speak, because of his beliefs. Here is where he is wrong:

  1. It’s Convocation, not chapel.- Every Liberty student has probably heard this 100+ times. I remember Johnny Moore saying “we call this convocation not chapel because we want you to hear from people from all walks of life, not just pastors.” Wow. Look at that.
  2. Bernie Sanders- Building off that last point, to speak at Liberty, you don’t have to be a pastor. Do his beliefs align with Liberty’s, heck no techno! But had you listened and watched the entire video you’d have noticed that he talks about how important it is to ‘agree to disagree.’ And that while we don’t agree we can still work together to seek to make America a better place. Not to mention, wouldn’t you think it would be great if a non-believer was surrounded by 10,000+ believers? It’s like Liberty did that.
  3. I’ve heard louder cheers when a speaker says New Hampshire- Yeah people cheered when he claimed to be pro-choice and pro-gay marriage. But once again had you watched the whole thing, considering that happened in the first 2 minutes, you’d have seen a different picture. When a big name speaker gets to speak at Liberty they literally get a massive section with which to fill with friends, family, and supporters. So while the cheers may have contained a few Liberty kids, considering not every kid at Liberty is a robot who believes the exact same things, the majority most likely came from his cheer block. Once again had you watched the whole thing and not only shown your viewer a 10 second clip you would have heard/seen a standing ovation for a question asking Mr. Sanders how he justifies the killing of babies. It literally makes me laugh how clever you think you are with this one. You don’t want people to pick and choose parts of the bible to believer, you can’t pick and choose what parts of videos you can show when trying to tear down a Christian school. I literally considered taking clips of your videos to make you say something like “‘I’m’ ‘a’ ‘homosexual'” to show you how that type of action can be used in a deceptive way. But I didn’t.

So here are my final thoughts on Mr. Feuerstein. Let me first say, I am not a fan of the way you talk. I’m not a fan of how you act. I’m not a fan of how prideful you appear. I’m not a fan of how arrogant you come off. I’m not a fan of the way you plaster your face on the internet trying to gain followers and shares. I’m not a fan of the way you use Jesus as a way to boost your social media pull. However, I am a fan of your beliefs and that is the only reason I ever even learned your name. But it didn’t take me long to realize that your message, while proclaiming the name of Jesus, comes off as prideful and like a cover to make yourself feel more famous than you actually are. Today you took on Liberty University. Today you made the claim that “Jesus takes his name off of Liberty University.” At first I wanted to laugh, but not anymore. The people you share your videos with have been so deceived by your eloquent speech. But not on this topic. You made the claim that Liberty faculty “begged” you to take down the first video because it would “hurt their image.” Bro, get off your high horse. Please show me all the facility that said that because I doubt your little video would do anything to Liberty’s reputation. They’ve spent the better part of the last 50 years building the world’s largest Christian Evangelical University. So you can continue to throw you face 2-inches away from your phone and scream about whatever you want but you have lost my attention. Today you refused to apologizes. Today you showed me how overly-prideful you are. I don’t care if you apologize to Liberty or if you even read this. At least the 4 people who read this will know how I feel about it and I won’t have to hold it in anymore.  Deuces.

-Justin

Updates and Previews

Wow, it has been a while since I have written anything. I guess I haven’t felt strongly about anything in a while to take time writing about it. But recently I became struck with an idea that I am super stoked on and wanted to give you, my readers, a little heads up on what’s coming in the near future.

So often during life I have heard people talk about how music ‘effects your outlook.’ And to be honest it has never been something I’ve paid too much attention to. So I am now going to dive head first into this topic. I will take 5 music genres and spend 2 weeks listening to only that genre. An example would be, taking 2 weeks straight to only listen to Pop Punk. When I get ready, that’s the genre playing. When I am doing work on my computer, that’s what I’ll listen to. When I drive, that’s all I’ll listen to. So for 2 weeks I will be immersed in a genre and I will document my thoughts throughout. We will see if a given period of time leads to a change in my demeanor or my outlook in life. I’m really interested to see how this goes and of course I would like to ask for your help. What genres do you think would elicit the greatest changes? Feel free to message me, text me, or whatever and I’ll pick a few that you choose. I will start this in a few days, once I have all my genres lined up and ready to go.

-Justin

Big Bad Bracket Blunders

So, like many of you reading this, I tuned in to CBS (radio) to hear the unveiling of the bracket for this years NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Now, I love basketball. I love March Madness. I love this tournament. But it never fails that the selection committee messes up and this year has no shortage. So here is my disclaimer: THIS IS PURELY MY OPINION. YES, MY OPINION MAY VARY FROM YOURS. NO, I’M NOT INTERESTED IN ARGUING. NO, YOU WILL NOT CHANGE MY MIND. YES, YOU CAN DISAGREE. YES, WE CAN STILL ENJOY THIS TOURNAMENT EVEN THOUGH WE DISAGREE.

Seriously though, if you try to argue with anything I say I will ignore you. It’s not worth it, but that’s a blog post for another time. So here we go my BIG BAD BRACKET BLUNDERS!!! (Great alliteration Justin. Thanks guys!)

LOCATION:

So, as I listened to the bracket show while driving to Virginia from Indiana I heard that several of my home state teams were all located in the Midwest Region. Now, I have seen people complain about this but I will defend the committee here! Indiana is in the Midwest. We kept all our boys near home. That’s a good thing. Should any of our favorite teams make it to the Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight they’ll be playing in Columbus which gives us a chance to pour into the arena and issue our own ‘homecourt advantage’ at a neutral site. Needless to say I’m not terribly beat up about that. I think the committee stuck to keeping teams close to their home region….IN THE MIDWEST. Then it was like they gave up on that because maps are hard. Trust me, I didn’t take geography in college for this reason but I think there’s a few mistakes in the region seeding of the tournament. Now, I KNOW REGION ISN’T EVERYTHING! But, I have a problem with them trying to stick close with one region and saying “SCREW ‘EM” in the other three. So for those of you scratching your belly buttons and saying “What do you mean?” Lemme break it down for you:

Gonzaga: For those of you who aren’t sure, Gonzaga is from Washington…state. Like the state, not the District by Maryland and Virginia. So considering they are in one of the furthest states West and North and what some call the Northwest what region should they be in? Probably the West Region! Nope, they are in the South Region. Should they make it to the Sweet Sixteen, they must travel to Texas instead of California. Kind of a far hike for a 2-seed.

North Dakota State: Uh, yeah that’s a state. In the North. Once again in the South Region. While they most likely won’t make the Sweet Sixteen and it’s not a terrible trip to Texas, North Dakota is by no means in the Southern Part of America. At this rate they should just let the teams from Alaska join the SEC…

Ole Miss and UCLA: Both 11 seeds. Now, should UCLA be in? That’s another issue. Let’s break it down. UCLA is in California and Ole Miss is in Mississippi. Most people would say “UCLA is in the West and Ole Miss is in the South!” and you’d be right. But not according to our committee! UCLA travels to the South, Houston, Texas. While Ole Miss would have to go to Cali. Just sayin, since they are both 11-seeds and UCLA was on the bubble couldn’t you just have switched them?

UNC: That’s the University of North Carolina. In North Carolina. Like, the East Coast. Duke is in the South Region and I accept that because North Carolina could be considered in the South. But NC State is in the East Region. Sooooooo…..are you catching on? GEOGRAPHY!

St. John’s and LSU: Both 9 seeds. If you’re catching a trend, you know what’s coming. St. John’s out of New York was placed in the South Region and LSU gets the East. A little flip flop and I wouldn’t bat an eye.

Now, you get it. I KNOW LOCATION ISN’T THE FINAL FACTOR. Just something I noticed.

SEED:

Every year someone feels ‘snubbed’ because they got a 7-seed instead of the 6-seed they wanted. So here are my personal teams that I feel got seeded incorrectly. If you’re a fan of these teams I would like to remind you of my disclaimer earlier. Please go read it. It’s in bold and underlined and you should read it a few times because you’re probably the ones who’ll complain but….

Wichita St: Last years ‘Pursuit of Perfection’ had another good season. I love Ron Baker and the way he plays the game. Fred VanVleet is a star. Great player. Tekele Cotton is impressive as well. This is a good team. And they got saddled with a 7-seed. They take on the 10-seed Indiana (yes, I think Indiana should have gotten in). This sucks for Wichita State. Now, did they deserve a 3 or 4 seed? I don’t think so but I think their constant success (the last 3 years) proves they’re the real deal. I could have seen them as a 5 or 6-seed. But that’s my OPINION!

Oklahoma State: Uhh….. Seriously? No. No way. Nope. Nah. <- Me when I heard this. (click the link. NOW). Overall record of 18-13. Back in the early 2000’s you needed a 20 win season to make the tournament for sure, otherwise you were on the bubble. And that was when they only played 25ish games. Now we are well over 30 games and 20 wins usually gets most teams sitting on the bubble. And an 18 win season shouldn’t get you into the tournament. Sorry Cowboy fans. Not to mention they are in 7th in the Big 12. In my opinion, the Big 12 is an incredibly weak conference and they’ve shown their weakness with the fact that Kansas has 11 STRAIGHT REGULAR SEASON TITLES. Somebody beat them! GOSH! Now, Kansas has been historically good but in a good conference the same team doesn’t win every year. Ok State also had losses to: Texas Tech (13-19), Kansas State (15-17), and have lost 6 of their last 7. I like the way Phil Forte plays and respect his game but he should be playing in the NIT.

Baylor: Yeah, I’m not done hating on Big 12 teams. Baylor is a 3-seed? Are they good? Yeah. Should they be in? Absolutely! But a 3-seed? I’ve already vocalized my distain for the Big 12. They lost the Illinois, and NIT bound team, an 8th place team in the Big Ten. They lost to Texas, who’s an 11-seed. They lost to Kansas State (15-17) and not even in the NIT. They lost to Oklahoma State TWICE, who I already said shouldn’t even be in. Does this team really deserve a 3-seed. NAHHHH.

UCLA: I’ve been back and forth with the Bruins all day and they weren’t in my notes but I’m adding them anyway because I want to share my feelings. They got to the ever important 20 wins! But they also road a 5 game losing streak during the year which included losses to NIT Bound Alabama (18-14, 8-10 SEC) and CBI Bound Colorado (15-17, 7-11 Pac-12). But they did finish 4th in their conference. But their best win was against Utah who they also lost to 71-39 earlier in the year. But John Wooden. But…okay, they’re in I’m over it.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Don’t be offended. I just wanted to get all my thoughts out so I don’t get asked 3 whole times via text. If you have a problem with my thoughts, I’m not going to change my mind. I’m pretty set here. I did enough research for myself. But with every bracket comes the picks. Will Kentucky run the table? No. I think they get beat by Wisconsin in the Final Four. The fundamentals of Wisconsin, the ball security, the veteran leadership, and the hunger to avenge last years defeat propel the Badgers all the way to Bo Ryan’s first championship. But, nevertheless BOILER UP!

-Justin

Birthdays and Such

When you’re a kid the best moments in your life are moments when you’re the center of attention or receiving gifts, Christmas and birthdays. But the older you get, the less weight these seem to carry. I recently celebrated my 24th birthday, March 6th. Several of you reading this may have just realized you didn’t wish me a happy birthday, please note this isn’t a cry for birthday wishes. I’m content with the wishes I did get and I don’t at all feel sorry for myself nor should any of you feel guilty if you forgot. I took my birthday off of Facebook for one simple reason, those who don’t know my birthday don’t need to wish me a happy birthday. Why? Well, here we go:

When you’re young and have a birthday during the school year your classmates celebrate and if you had a mother like mine, LONG LIVE SAINT JUDY, you were sent to school with cupcakes and goodies so everybody could celebrate with you. It was a wonderful day. Then at the end of the week you had a birthday party for all of your friends and loved ones to shower you with compliments and it’s marvelous. But the older I’ve gotten the less interested in parties and gifts I’ve become. I don’t want to be the center of attention. I don’t feel the need. Is there something wrong with me? The jury is still out on that one. The one thing I long for is to spend this time with my family. I didn’t feel a longing to be with friends I was completely content sitting at home and watching a movie with my parents. I didn’t want gifts. I just wanted time. And that’s what I got. I honestly would have felt guilty if people had spent money on me, I don’t think I deserve that. So why take it off Facebook? To be completely honest with you, if you don’t know my birthday then I don’t want you to wish me a happy birthday. I’ve realized that technology has hindered our ability to connect with people in a personal way. Think about it. How many birthdays did you know as a kid? Friends, family, teachers. We knew them all. What about phone numbers? Remember when you had to remember phone numbers? Now we save them in our phone and never have to memorize another phone number. Social networks have truly blessed us with saving all of this valuable information and I’m so thankful for it but deep down I feel guilty when Facebook has to remind me that it’s someones birthday. Is that real friendship? When an online database has to remind you of someones birthday? Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to say that we should all be memorizing birthdays and numbers. I’m aware that the older we get, the more people we meet and the harder it is to remember these things but am I the only one who thinks that using Facebook as a way to be reminded of peoples birthdays and then wishing them a happy birthday with just a click of a button. What happened to heartfelt birthday wishes? This is also why I have tried to avoid using Facebook to wish people happy birthdays because it feels like a cop out for me. I’m not bettering myself as a person by clicking a button and typing ‘happy birthday man.’ It feels the same as mass ‘Merry Christmas’ texts we all used to receive. And I know I wasn’t the only one who was semi-annoyed when I got them. I wasn’t special by receiving that message I was just part of a mass. I remember people complaining about it. Yet wishing someone a happy birthday in the same way as everybody else on Facebook is acceptable. Well, not for me. Neither receiving nor sending birthday wishes. We have grown so far apart that there’s nothing special about it. I know many of you reading don’t know my birthday by heart and that’s fine. So do me a favor and don’t pretend you do. The last thing I want is to be lied to on my birthday. I really hope this doesn’t sound bitter and angry, I’m really not. I’m currently sitting in bed with my pillow pets by my side, the least angry spot in my house. I just had to let you know why many of you didn’t see “TODAY IS Justin Danaher’s BIRTHDAY” on Facebook.

So for those of you who texted me and wrote on my wall and tweeted me, thank you so much. I do appreciate it. I just wanted to challenge you to better yourself as a person. Do you think writing on someone’s wall when prompted by Facebook is a cop out? Then do something about it. Do you disagree? Then don’t worry about it. This is my opinion and it’s not like you should change your life based on my opinion. Now, if Saint Judy agrees, then you should change your life because her opinion outweighs everybody’s! Thanks again for the birthday wishes and I hope this 24th year brings us greater friendship and more blog posts!

-Justin

Valentine’s Thoughts

So yesterday was Valentine’s Day and as Valentine’s Day approaches I see so many ‘singles awareness day’ posts on various social media sites. And that’s always sort of rubbed me the wrong way. So I’m just gonna throw out some thoughts on this. If this post frustrates you, I probably don’t care.

Let’s start at a young age. When we were kids we celebrated Valentine’s Day. We had classroom parties. We got and gave out candy and I’m willing to bet none of us were in lifelong relationships. I’m willing to bet the majority of us were wallowing in self-pity either. It was a day of candy to be completely honest. Outside of Halloween, Valentine’s day was the best day to get some candy. Then as we grew the day became more about ‘love’ then just making sure everyone in your class got a cheesy card and some candy. Suddenly we had to have a date, we had to go out with someone, we had to be in love. But who says you can’t celebrate the love you do have? Who says it’s wrong to spend another day enjoying the fact that there are people in your life that genuinely care about you and love you? I understand that I have been unbelievably blessed with the parents and siblings I have. I know that not everybody has the same family relationship we do. But there’s also friends. You don’t have to be in a relationship to experience love. It annoys me so much that people throw pity parties like “single again on valentine’s day. Spending it with bae (insert picture of wine) #singlesawarenessday” Boy that’s really attractive and that’s probably going to end up helping you find a date before the end of the night. I know that most likely isn’t the goal but it’s so annoying. It makes me miss the days when people wrote their love drama in journals and diaries and not on the internet.

Here’s my final thought on this matter. As I was thinking about how people complain about being alone on Valentine’s Day I thought of what Dumbledore tells Harry in the Deathly Hallows. “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.” We all have love somewhere in our lives. Whether that be friends, family, a significant other, or whatever. It bothers me when people get so overdramatic about it on Valentine’s Day. Like were you not aware that you were single on the 13th? Since it’s not the 15th do you think you’re in a relationship? Yeah, I’m making fun of you. That being said, you are loved somewhere. How about instead of focusing on the fact that you’re not on a date you take time and call or text or go visit the people you love. Take for example, my mom. She sends stuff to my brother and nephews (in Minnesota) and my sister (in Virginia). She sent me stuff when I was in school. Sure, her and my dad do their own things but she still makes sure that we all know that she loves us. We can all learn largely from my mom on every matter of life, this is just one I’m hitting on. So how about next year you focus on living with love. Send out a bunch of personalized letters or cards or texts. Make Valentine’s Day special by doing something unique and special for others.

-Justin