Month: November 2014

Thanks for giving

Though in some places it looks due to the snow more like tomorrow’s Christmas, it’s actually Thanksgiving. The weather report says that a winter storm will target the East coast. Flights might get canceled or delayed and even people who will head home by car might need even more time than usually. But it’s worth all the travel.

What Christmas and Thanksgiving have in common is the family time. Both holidays are spent with the loved ones. Historically, Thanksgiving has been a celebration of the blessings of the year, including the harvest. People thanked God that they had something to eat. This was nothing they took for granted a few hundred years ago. People could not just go to a supermarket and buy their food. Agriculture was important.

But it is not only the food people can be grateful for. It’s the people in someone’s life, the family, the spouse, the kids, the friends, who make it special. Though it is often rough and not quite easy, there is so much everyone can be thankful for. Thanksgiving reminds people to focus on the good things, to celebrate what they do have instead of complaining about what they don’t have.

I wish you all a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. May you’ll arrive safe and sound if you have to travel. Appreciate the time with your family. Thanksgiving is more than eating a delicious turkey. It’ a thank-you to God for your life, and that He blessed you to spend your time together with your loved ones.

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picture by julesandjoe, Flickr

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The illusion of a perfect world

Once there were two universes: the TV and the internet. They were both expanding rapidly and they now move closer and closer to each other. But what will happen when they collide? Will only one of them survive? Will they both burst and create something new? Maybe something that no one can even imagine yet?

Back in the 1980s a TV show was just that. But nowadays it’s more. TV stars now use Twitter and Instagram to personally connect with their fans and to do PR for their shows. For most of them it is part of their contracts, part of their job. The time that a star only went to the studios for a taping and get thousands of Dollars, like most fans imagine, isn’t like that at all anymore. The stars have to represent their shows even when they are not on the set. But this also gives them the chance to promote their work and get feedback from their fans directly. The amount of followers shows a star’s popularity which can be good when it comes to negotiating new endorsement deals. When they reach more people they maybe can ask for more money than stars being less popular.

A bird and a camera to represent Twitter and Instagram  - pic by Ed Sweeney
A bird and a camera represent Twitter and Instagram
pic by Ed Sweeney

Fans love when their favorite celebrity uses social media. He seems to be like one of their friends as they have a chance to write to him and see his pictures or tweets. Then they love to re-share the star’s posts with their actual friends. This causes that the show gets more personal because it is not only a TV show anymore. It is a show in which their ‚friends‘ appear.

But this also causes another change. Fans get in touch with other fans too and want to get their attention. So instead of posting a picture holding an autograph, they prefer to take a selfie with the star. This make them look like they actually know each other, and that is what fans want. Well, most of them only do this for attention, making others jealous and wanting this picture to get them more likes and followers. And that seems to be the new trend on the internet. Everyone wants to be a star somehow. For some guys it seems that they care more about their web-personalities than their real lives. They just can’t spend a single day without being online.

Max and Nev, Catfish
Max and Nev on the TV show ‘Catfish’

Some people do quite a lot for being popular on the web. When watching the TV show ‚Catfish‘ the viewer soon realizes how many guys pretend to be someone else on the internet. Most of them do that only because they want to be loved and are afraid other people won’t like the actual person. On the internet only that one can be famous who is extraordinary in some way. But everyone shows only his best sides, and only that one person posting knows if it’s real or not. The other people have to believe it or not. A big advantage of the internet. But it also creates the illusion of a perfect world. Even more than the TV and Hollywood. Mostly teenagers simply believe all is really like how they see it, and that can cause a low self-esteem.

The internet is a vast wonderland. It is a big part in people’s lives whether they are a celebrity or not. It gives everyone the chance to connect with people worldwide. Everyone can decide if they are themselves on the internet or only care about numbers. I have never been a big maths’ fan, and I learned being true to myself and simply me, that’s the only way finding true people in life. And that’s all that actually matters.

Pursue what matters

What if everything changes in one brief moment? Dreams and hopes, like having a child, vanish, becoming impossible. When there are only a few days left, and the day of letting go comes closer. After only this one moment, nothing is what it used to be.

Brittany Maynard, 1985 - 2014
Brittany Maynard, 1985 – 2014

Brittany Maynard was only 29 years old. Her story went viral on the internet very quickly. She gave interviews, talked about something no one wants to talk about. She was diagnosed with brain cancer in January 2014. The doctors only gave her a few more months to live. Brittany decided to enjoy her last days with her loving family, her husband and her best friend.

She was given a terminal diagnosis. There was no cure, no life saving measures available. She got seizures more and more often which caused that she was unable to speak. She felt that she was getting sicker and that there was no way to stop the tumor. So she moved with her family from her home state California to Oregon. One of five states within the US that authorize death with dignity. Last weekend Brittany Maynard passed away.

Not only that Brittany had to suffer. How hard must it be for her parents, husband and friends to go through this? It’s hard to let go, but this is not like a kid leaving the parents’ house for college. It can’t be compared to that. After New Years Eve she got the diagnosis and sure everyone hoped it was the wrong X-ray. Where did all the years go she was supposed to have?

Brittany received a Masters in Education, she traveled a lot, and was a regular volunteer at a local animal rescue organization. Her videos were watched by millions of people. Brittany wanted that all terminally ill Americans have the option to die with dignity. That was the reason she made the videos and talked about her cancer.

BrittanyMaynardFundShe didn’t want to suffer, she wanted to die peacefully. Some might say that only the Lord can decide when we go, others might think that everyone should live as long as possible. But is it still a real life when someone is in so much pain all the time? This is definitely something no one wants to talk about, but Brittany Maynard also showed that it can happen to everyone, at any time and age.

Her story reminds me of how limited our time on earth is. I thank her for having this incredible strength to talk about her cancer. That she told us how she felt. We all know that we will die one day, but how must it be like when you know when it’s gonna happen and that you only have a few days left to live? How hard must it be to take such a decision? I think it is worth to spread her word.

This can not be compared to a patient like on Grey’s Anatomy. This is not a TV show, this is the real life. And there might be a movie one day inspired by Brittany’s story to reach even more people and let them think about life more intensively. A life lived to its fullest. A smart and brave young woman taking the hardest decision of her life. A story of letting go. A story about life.

“It is people who pause to appreciate life and give thanks who are happiest. If we change our thoughts, we change our world! Love and peace to you all.” – Brittany Maynard

Please also have a look at The Brittany Maynard Fund for more information and her videos to watch.