Posts tagged stuff I wrote
Posts tagged stuff I wrote
Hello. For those that don’t know me, I’m Zack Gilbert, Brett’s younger brother. Whether he liked it or not, I’ve know Brett my whole life. Being that he was four years older, I often played the role of annoying tagalong. Always trying to join in on the older kids’ fun. I remember sitting on our staircase in Gloversville while Brett and his friends watched movies in our basement. Movies that were probably well above my privileges and maturity level. I’d sit there and watch and try to grasp all that was going on. And eventually, despite his objections, one of his friends would inevitably invite me down to join them. And that’s exactly what older brothers are for. To unknowingly and reluctantly help pave the way for the rest of us. I’m sure Ryan and Kate had similar experiences.
But family is interesting in that way. You don’t really get to choose who your family will be. Except with marriage. I like to think of marriage as that one chance we have to define how our family will grow.
And because of that, I think it’s very telling that you two chose to be with each other. You’re two of the kindest and most genuine people I know. It’s only fitting that you both have chosen each other to spend the rest of your lives together.
So, now for some unsolicited advice…
There’s been a lot written and philosophized about what it takes to have a happy and successful marriage. I’m obviously no expert on the subject, but I’d like to think that the author Kurt Vonnegut was right when he wrote, “There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’” If that’s truly any indication of what it takes to be successful in this world, and/or in love, then I think you guys are, and will continue to be, worlds ahead of the rest of us.
To everyone here, I’d like to thank you all for joining Brett and Kate today to share in this special day.
Brett, I can’t thank you enough for all the wisdom and guidance you’ve provided me over the years. You’ve been an amazing big brother. I’m so glad you were able to find someone that makes you as happy as Kate does.
Kate, and the rest of the Peterson family, welcome. We’re so happy to have you joining our family.
Kate, I’ve enjoyed sharing and exchanging so many things over these last few years. Books, recipes, music and even Brett. I suppose, you can finally have him full time, though.
So here’s to the new Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert. I can’t express how truly happy and excited I am for the two of you. I wish you both a long and happy life together. Oh, and to help keep our loving Mother and Father off my back to get married, please feel free to start having kids anytime you want.
Today marks the halfway point of my “vacation” to visit my family in Western NY. Aside from the increased sleeping and reading I’ve been doing, most people probably wouldn’t even call it a vacation. Actually, more than a few people have asked, “Aren’t you on vacation? Why are you working?” I’ve been working pretty consistently on a various assortment (read: 4 or 5) of projects. I’ve been having a lot of fun working on them and would really like get a few of them into some people’s hands real soon. But the thing is, vacation (at least to me) just means that I get to do exactly what I want. No stress. No obligations (aside from the occasional wedding… but those are just fun). I wake up and ask myself, “What do I want to do today?” And I go from there. If I happen to come out of this with a few new projects to show? Great. If not, well at least I had fun and got some ideas out of my head. And at least I had fun and did what I wanted. Now I just need to figure out how to make this sustainable once “vacation” is over.
by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D.
“Men resemble the times more than they resemble their fathers.” - Ancient Arab proverb
There’s been a lot of talk recently about people of my generation. Often referred to as Millenials, GenX or GenY, Jean Twenge calls us: Generation Me (GenMe). Those of us born after 1971 (though I personally think post-1980 is more accurate), for the most part, we are the children and grandchildren of the Boomers. We are too young to have really experienced any part of the Cold War or remember a time before the Internet. We grew up with sesame street and most of us were still in school when 9/11 happened.
At the beginning of the last chapter, Twenge sums up GenMe as follows:
So here’s how it looks: Generation Me has the highest self-esteem of any generation, but also the most depression. We are more free and equal, but also more cynical. We expect to follow our dreams, but are anxious about making that happen.
From the rest of the book, it appears GenMe has a pretty steady dichotomy of traits. On average, we have higher self-esteem and we are more free and accepting of other cultures and lifestyles. We are for greater equality and are more confident and assertive. The flip side is that we also have higher anxiety and depression, take criticism poorly and are easily disheartened and cynical (especially with politics). We feel entitled and are generally more narcissistic than those that came before.
According to Twenge, it appears most of GenMe’s biggest problems (being directionless, loneliness, narcissism, anxiety/depression, apathy, lack of community) stem from one common place: the meritless “self-esteem” programs we took part in as children. From very early on, we are taught that “everyone is special” and that “we can be anything we want to be.” But these ideas are fed to us without teaching us WHY we are special and how we can be better. There isn’t an emphasis on teaching self control or hard work, but merely that we are all “unique snowflakes.” As a result, we have become increasingly more narcissistic and selfish than previous generations. We put a great deal of focus on our own needs, resulting in older generations often perceiving us as spoiled. And it’s because of this increased emphasis on self, and always being told we are special, that we tend to look down upon conformity, and value personal expression and individuality (this might help explain why so many of us are so appearance obsessed and why trends like tattoos and piercings have increased in popularity).
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Granted, you could probably save yourself a lot of time and just read the last chapter and get a pretty decent overview of what was talked about and what the author thinks we should do to better deal with members of “Generation Me” as well as what changes we should make to prevent some of the negative traits in future generations. I’m not entirely sold that Twenge is totally accurate in her depiction of my generation, but I realize that I’m biased and I’ve really only had a limited and probably sheltered experience with my own generation. That being said, I think she was pretty spot on with a vast majority of her points, so it’s definitely worth a read if this type of thing interests you.
The story of how I got my profile picture starts back in 2009. My friend Morty was working on a Facebook application for Bally’s Total Fitness, which required a couple models. I’ve had experience modeling for friends before, so she naturally thought of me when she needed to cast the male characters. There were about 5 or 6 different characters in all — each one was a stereotypical personality of the various types of people you may (or may not) see at the gym. After answering a couple questions in the Facebook app, you’d be presented with one of these characters that most accurately fits your gym habits.
So for a couple hours, Morty and Marta (the photographer) proceeded to dress me up as each various character. Out of all the photos taken, it was the Chatlete (Chat-Leet) that I felt came out the best. It was only meant to be used as my personal avatar until the next good photo of me came along, but it stuck and became part of my personal brand. Plus it was just too funny not to use.
Feel free to checkout the final Bally’s Facebook Gym Quiz and see some of the other characters. But for the entire set of photos, I’m going to make you work for it. It’ll be more satisfying that way.
I was raised in a very religious Catholic family. Church every Sunday, followed by Sunday School. Like many Catholics I know, I am now an atheist. This has been challenging for my mother and she likes to ask me questions about my lack of faith. Recently over the holiday while in the car with my parents, my mother asked me, “If someone doesn’t believe in God, where do they draw strength from when they experience adversity and difficulty?” Below is a paraphrased summary of my answer.
Truth. And self.
Truth, because I know science doesn’t have all the answers, but there’s at least logic and reason behind it. I can see the answers and how they are derived. They follow rules and that’s comforting. I don’t need to blindly accept just because someone told me to. I’m okay with not having all the answers. I’d rather have holes that can be filled-in in the future when satisfactory answers arise than try to plug those holes with false and imaginary truths.
Self, because I am responsible for my path. If I fail, it’s because I failed, not because someone willed it or conspired again me. Sure, I am affected by my environment and helped/hurt by the people around me, but in the end, I fail because I failed and I succeed because I succeeded. My path isn’t predetermined or omnipotently laid out for me. I am the master of my fate. If bad things happen (and they will), it’s up to me to over come them, not rely on some unknown force. I know I’m capable of so much. Far more than “God” has ever shown me capable of.
We no longer live in a world where we are more or less restricted to the same type of life we were born into. We can just as easily transcend class and status with hard work and a little luck. This may be blasphemy in your eyes, but I refuse to give credit for my successes (or pass blame for my failures) on someone or something other than myself. To me, that’s just a copout. It’s an easy and dishonest copout. I am my maker. I deserve the credit for all my successes and the blame for all my failures. I can’t expect anyone else to take responsibility for my actions.
Truth and self. They are incredibly powerful things. Both are what I put my faith in and where I get my strength.