Are We Too Occupied to Recognize the Little Things?

I feel I should explain the meaning of my blog’s title, Deliciae. (This was back before I migrated my site.)

It is a Latin noun for what we would call a “delight” or “pleasure”, sometimes even “darling” or “sweetheart”. Some may even recognize its similarity to “delicious” or “delicate”.

All of these words encompass what I’ve wanted this blog to project: life’s little, delicate, and beautiful things.

While listening to an old favorite band, Atreyu, I remembered a quote I came across long ago. It’s from the vocalist, Alexander Varkatzas. It reads:

“I was driving to a friend’s house, kind of daydreaming and the sky was this gorgeous shade of pink.

I just couldn’t take my eyes off it, it felt like I really forgot to breathe, and forgot about life in all its obsessive materialism for just a few seconds.

When I snapped out of it, I almost rammed into the car in front of me.It just made me think of how many perfect sunsets we miss at work or school or how many beautiful starry nights are spent on the Internet or in front of a TV.

We do all these materialistic things and we seem to neglect that each sunset is totally different than the last or the next and that the wind will never blow exactly the same way. It’s always 9-5, better do this, do that, deadlines, excess, bullshit that just isn’t that important.

Now, I am as guilty as the rest, but for a few blissful seconds it was remarkably clear.”

(Alexander Varkatzas)

He mentions beautiful starry nights missed while sitting on the Internet. It struck a sad chord within me. Have you gazed up there lately? On a quiet, dark night, it gives you a feeling like no other.

Unfortunately, I never really hear my cohorts speak of delicate, and beautiful night skies; constellations have lost their meaning and origin, and a lot of us are too occupied to look up and feel the intensity of colors in a morning sky – something little, yes, but so powerful.

In the ebb and flow of the work week and the strong influence of technology, I too forget at times.

I’ve spent, or I should say, wasted an unbelievable amount of time on the internet, social media websites and the vapid, mind numbing games and applications that come with them (read: Facebook). But that was before I decided to overhaul the way I use my “life” time. Before this overhaul, I naively surrounded myself with quotes I never truly followed such as Jane Austen’s:

“Teach us, that we may feel the importance of every day, of every hour, as it passes.”

And I would have tear-outs of old articles such as this one from a Newsweek edition in 2008 entitled, “What Old Age Taught Me” in which 91-year-old actor and film producer, Kirk Douglas, says he truly believes “the best is yet to be.” However, I never gave it a glance or any more thought like I once had.

Now I try to take these once cherished items back to heart. I realized that, after wasting two days of my vacation browsing Facebook, watching “Lost” on Netflix,  and checking my email ten times a day, I had to do something different with my precious time.

I didn’t want to get sucked into the “what’s his status now? …and now? And now?” addiction, so I stopped visiting Facebook for a whole two weeks.


It was difficult at first, but now I don’t feel the need to look at pictures of an acquaintance’s dad’s birthday party or check the status of 300 friends. (And, let me tell you, it is nice!)

I care to read some of these things, but my mind can only store so much information before becoming too cluttered. Whatever Timmy, Janice, and Emily ate for breakfast is not really something I’d care to store in my already crowded memory.

Unless I want to contact and keep up with a few close friends or get in touch with new ones, I try to avoid Facebook altogether. It’s a little scary to think that I was once yearning for this useless information. I was addicted, as many people still are.

My brain is no longer the attention-deficit mess that it used to be. Cutting off Facebook time and other mindless internet browsing has done wonders. I have time (that I never knew I had) to pursue more productive endeavors, and take a breather outside and watch the sun go down. I am so grateful for it.

Of course, I do believe technology has helped us tremendously in being ever-so-convenient. It even helps us spread the appreciation for beautiful sunsets and the little things. There is such a thing as too much, however.

The planet has never been more interconnected, and yet, could technology be taking away from our relationships and our lives?

What do you think, readers?

photo credit: MayrNeil Ritchie | livepine | laurenseagull

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Who, What, When, Where, and Why?: The Benefits of Asking Questions

What is the one thing that drives you to live a better life? One thing that helps you to progress in thought and knowledge? Albert Einstein did it, so did Oscar Wilde, Dr. King, Nietzsche…

Asking questions is the answer. Questioning everything has many benefits and zero disadvantages. While watching home videos, I saw myself as a child asking my dad every single little thing that came to mind. Of course, I had that never-ending, unsatisfiable toddler curiosity, but who says that has to go away?

“What is the hull on a ship?…What is a radiator?… What is this bug called?…  What’s the difference between a fruit and a vegetable?… Why do I have to go to school?”
The answers to my questions stuck to me, and at a very young age, I already had a small bank of knowledge I was able to take into my later years.

Though it’s been proven that it is easier to learn at a younger age, it doesn’t mean that you should give up as you get older.

Surely there has to be something you come across every single day that you are confused about or are interested in.

On the first day of class, my Statistics professor told us flatly,

“I will not guide you through these problems unless you show the drive to want to know. Ask me questions… even when the slightest tinge of confusion pops into your head.”

It makes sense, what he said. If you have the resources and need to know something, why not just ask?

Asking questions:

  • fosters your creativity
  • foster critical thinking skills
  • can help you advance in your field
  • increases your knowledge and aids your memory
  • can help you discover new ideas and information
  • can help you make better decisions
  • and can help you to identify the unknown

Be Careful!

Besides the benefit of learning whatever you want whenever you want, asking questions is a tool we all have in our arsenal to protect ourselves from false claims.

Don’t believe everything that’s fed to you without first questioning it. Any one – and I mean anyone – has the ability to alter stories to however they see fit.

I’m not saying everyone does this, but you should be open to the possibility that it can happen, and does happen, and it can severely alter the way a large number of people think, act, and even live, which leads to greater problems.

It doesn’t just happen in the news. Commercials give false claims, businesses give false claims, magazines, product labels, and even advertising on anything should be questioned.

We can’t always tell what’s true, but here’s what we can do:

  • Always be skeptical about new products, stories, and statistics that haven’t had much time to be researched and analyzed.
  • Know that anyone can be biased or can give out false information.
  • Look for a quoted source for all claims and statistics.
  • Do your own research. My doctor never told me that my medication causes me to sleep eat. Only after doing some searching online, I found out that this is a fairly common symptom!
  • Search for reviews of the product in question or essays and articles of the topic in question. People post reviews of everything on line, from books on Amazon to laptops on Cnet.
  • There are also official statistic websites on many products and services, which display actual results and if products claim to do what they say they do.
  • You don’t have to question literally everything, but you should lay some standards on what or who you feel you can trust and what you feel you should question.
  • Standard administrations like the FDA filter claims, but even they are bypassed. Companies recall products from the shelves every month.
  • It may take a while, but doing research will help you to identify a trusted source in the field of the topic you are researching.

And to close, here’s a small, but handy resource I use daily for those random questions that pop in my head from time to time!

ChaCha answers any questions you send to them (#242242) via text message (or a phone call). It’s a free service, and you can ask for literally anything. You may have seen a similar service,  KGB, on commercials, but this service does cost you.

You can ask for the nearest and cheapest  gas station or you can ask them to send you a joke. ChaCha helps you to name your pets, and even look something up online for you when you don’t have internet!

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

-Albert Einstein

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