Michael Battalio

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This I Believe (part 6)

This is part six of my “This I Believe” series. I’m going to be spending most of the time delving into my struggles in deciding what it is I actually believe. I have had trouble over the last several years defining exactly what it is I prescribe to as a worldview. I consider myself a man of science, but I also consider myself a man of faith. So, where am I exactly? I hope to figure some of it out here.

Call this “What I actually Believe”
Special thanks to --jam for getting me to do this.

When I first sat down to do this (figure out what I actually believed in), I wasn’t sure I believed anything. Then I realized I was forcing it, and I wasn’t looking at a large enough scope. I do believe in several things, most of them concepts. Here are a couple.

I believe there is a purpose to me. Whether or not that purpose is to be self determined or whether it comes from some other entity I cannot say. I can say what purpose I have given myself, and that purpose is three fold. One, my first purpose is to be happy, not a just a physical happy, but a psychological happy as well. Part of that happiness is doing what I like to do and being around who I like enjoy being around. Two, a purpose of thought, to be self aware and constantly questioning what it is I believe and do, and if this questioning leads me away or towards religion then so be it. Three, to return what I have been given (whether by divinity or chance or fate) to the people around me, that can be through my talents, actions, personality, and words - to make other people around me better off and happier than they were.

To sum this up: I believe in the Pursuit of Happiness, the Enjoyment of Life, the Ability to Question, and the spread of those Ideas.

Second, I believe in the connection between humanity. For whatever reason, we are self aware; we can learn; we can grow. We can only do these things when we interact with others. Except for some, we need companionship. We need friends with whom we can share our joys and our sorrows. Life is empty without others to share it with. Conversation with a good friend is hard to beat.

I hope there is something much greater than this tiny little existence I have, but there is no way to know. But I can say with absolute certainty that those things above exist to me. They are important: happiness, enjoyment, thought, friendship. They are the something bigger to me that I believe in.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Seventh Annual Christmas Mass e-mail

For those of you that somehow didn't get this (I had a lot of e-mails bounce back this year; update your facebook e-mail address, people.), here is the Seventh Annual Christmas Mass e-mail.

Greetings and salutations,
Welcome those old and new to the Seventh Annual Christmas Mass e-mail.
I've been sick the last several days, so this will be short-only a thought or two. Firstly, let's do some math. As I get older and sort of wiser, I have noticed one thing in particular, that time goes faster and faster the older I get. The average life span of an American male is about 70. I'm 23 so 47 years left. Forty-seven times 365 is 17,155 days, times 24 is 411,720 hours, times 60 is 24,703, 200 minutes. I could go on, but 24 million is a lot, or is it? I'm already a third of the way done with my life on average. What have I done or accomplished? Quite a bit I hope, but there is always more I can do. Here is my first thought: don't give in to boredom and laziness. Use the time wisely. I can't say how many times I've gone through a day where I could have done a lot, but I never actually got anything accomplished. What a waste of time and space. There is always something to do. Learn a new hobby, make a new friend, read a good book. Not all of us can win the Nobel Prize or become president, but we can all use our time wisely. And that means savoring every fleeting moment.
Secondly, I don't know about the rest of you, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel that is school. That light happens to be the freight train of real life though. I've done and am currently doing a good job of putting it off, but I know the real world is coming eventually. To those less successful than me in avoiding the real world, good luck; I will be joining you at some point, maybe. A lot of you are getting jobs, going to grad school, and even starting families. (Congratulations to everyone that is getting married.) May you find contentment, personal accomplishment, and a bit of joy.
And that's all I've got this year. Enjoy the season, appreciate the little things, and take the time to give yourself some credit for making it as far as you have. Let me know how you're doing; it's half the reason I send this every year.

And the required bad joke...
During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director how do you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.
"Well," said the Director, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup, and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."
"Oh, I understand," said the visitor, "A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup."
"No," said the Director, "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"

Merry Christmas,
2003-2016 Michael Battalio (michael[at]battalio.com)