Thursday, June 25, 2009

Trust what you believe

Today is a most astounding day. Michael Jackson has passed away. Born in 1958. He was 50 years old and known as the King of Pop.

I never met Michael Jackson. I didn’t see him perform live. Not once did I get a chance to know what he was like as a person, and not an artist.

When a public figure of Jackson’s magnitude dies, it is a notion too hard to grasp at first. Who, one asks. Michael Jackson? Are you sure? One automatically assumes it could be a mistake or a hoax. We may deny it, but as the inevitable truth slowly begins to seep through, astonishment kicks in. Your mind pulls out a file on all you know about the singer - the images you’ve seen of him in pictures and concerts, the words you’ve heard spoken of him on the radio or T.V, the acts which have distinguished him in the past and in recent years. Suddenly, the face, voice and reputation begin to grow solid. Until the moment comes for you to decide what you do with the information you have. Do you mourn the sad passing of another talented singer? Do you shrug it off and say ‘well, we all gotta go some time’? Or… do you take the time to just appreciate what good Michael Jackson offered to the world?

I think of Michael Jackson as the man who sang about making the world a better place. I think of Michael Jackson as the man who made the world aware of the hunger, the poverty and the hurting of others. I think of Michael Jackson as the man who tried to make a difference in the world.

When the media gets wind of such a “big story”, it seems to me that a heartless procedure usually tends to take shape with instant flare. Michael Jackson, the artist, the singer, the legend is revealed and taken apart piece by piece, until one cannot recognize what was there to begin with. People question his work, his personal life, his words, his actions and everything in between. They inquire about all aspects of his life, they search for every last word accused against him and analyze what they presume were his reasons for behaving the way he did.

But I wonder… do they give respects to the life that is lost today, to the talent that is no more freely given to us except in recording, or to the man that revolutionized the world through his achievements? I know little about Michael Jackson and the man behind his public image (a vague impression sown together by the singer himself and the media). Yet I believe that through his artistic talents he communicated his gift of music, one so rare that it reached further corners of the world than ever before. He influenced the world with his beats, with his dancing, with his songs and with his voice. What’s more, he supported numerous charity organizations that have changed people’s lives. That’s more than a lot of us do in one lifespan.

But what about all the crimes charged against this particular singer?
I don’t know if the accusations against him are true.
I don’t know what would’ve happened if we had found out the truth.
I don’t know a lot of things about this artist/humanitarian’s life.

I do know, I will trust what I believe and not let others opinions rule my judgment.
I do know, that we may never know the truth behind such incriminations.
And I do know, Michael Jackson changed the world, even if it was a little bit, in his own way.

Thank you Michael Jackson, and rest in peace.

By: V.S

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Live everyday as if it were your last

Exasperating advice or inspiring words?

Live everyday as if it were your last… This quote has provoked a well of frustration for me since the first moment I read it. Why? Because if one were to try and follow this instruction they might realize… it’s easier said than done!!! To live each day the way you’d want to if it were your last; to experience all the wonders you’ve always imagined for yourself before leaving this world; to taste life itself the way you’ve dreamed it… it’s a lot to cram into a single day. I mean, since you’re supposed to live today as if it were your last then you have to find a way to fold all these ideas you want to experience into 24 hours. And then tomorrow, you get to stuff yet another set of plans and wishes into 24 hours. My point? It’s a lot harder than this quote implies.

I understand that these words are meant to be encouraging to those who read it. They are meant to inspire people into realizing that life is too short to waste on unimportant things. And it’s true. However, these words in particular are maddening to me. The first time I ever read this motivating message, I thought “Yeah, that’s exactly what I’ll do!” But then as each day dawned in and dusked out, I found out how hard it was to actually live each day as if it were my last. I couldn’t do all the things I wanted to because I was restrained by my daily responsibilities, among other reasons. Whether it was studies, work, family, or financial issues, I could not jump on a cruise to Alaska, I could not go rock-climbing, I could not learn how to horseback ride, I could not travel to exciting destinations… I could not live everyday as if it were my last. And it was frustrating for me at that time.

So then, I’d find myself asking HOW? How do I live each day as if it were my last if I can’t afford it, if I can’t just pack up and leave, if I can’t ignore my current obligations, if I can’t can’t can’t? There was no inspiring quote to answer my question. But slowly, as each day continued to sunrise-in and sunset-out, I gained new perspectives that led me to recognize the importance of patience and encouraged me to widen my understanding. (This does not mean that I am immune to falling into the pit of despair every now and again).

Ultimately, I adjusted the saying (not officially though) to living each day without regrets. It provides a bit more peace to my mind and there is an absence of weighty pressure. It may not be very catchy, but I thought: “Yes, I can try and do that.” I can put my efforts into doing my best and making sure I don’t regret either my actions or my lack of action. If ever I do regret something, I believe I have two choices: learn to live with it or change it myself.

At the end of the day, whichever quote you choose to live by, whatever helps you get you through your day and grants you peace of mind… I suppose the important is that you live your life to the fullest, appreciating each step that takes you through it.

By: V.S