What’s Your Prescription?

I have worn glasses since my sophomore year in college. At first it took some time getting used to them framing my everyday life. They would fog up during the winter. They would smudge whenever Christina gave me a big fat kiss. They would distinguish me from my Mom, Dad, and Sister who all had great vision. After awhile though, I became use to them and I actually embraced them as a new identity. In time, I would realize that we all wear glasses in some shape or form. All the things that we have experienced in life – personal encounters, adversities,  blessings, life lessons – frame the way we view our world. That is why there are so many different viewpoints. Everyone has a different prescription and their proverbial glasses are crafted by their unique existence. These “glasses” make some people view life in a optimistic manner while a different pair makes the world appear very gloomy. One person could have a prescription that makes them campaign for Trump while another person could have a prescription that makes them campaign for Hillary. Now, there is nothing wrong with wearing glasses, and everyone, no matter how wise they are, has a prescription.

There is however a point at which a person’s eyesight is so bad and their glasses so bulky that they are unable to see very much at all. These are the people who many would call ignorant. Some ignorance is good and some is bad. Good ignorance, in my opinion, is not knowing the daily depression that always inundates the news. Bad ignorance is thinking that you know all the answers, that your way of doing things is the best, and that you are better than other people. Having a limited perspective makes life very difficult – there are few frames of reference for the range of emotions and thoughts experienced on a daily basis. For example, if I had no understanding of the suffering that takes place in the slums of India, I may feel apt to dramatize my own menial discomforts. Alternatively, I would be quick to rage if all I knew in life was the continual cycle of revenge and the coping mechanism of blame. For these reasons, it is imperative that we all improve our prescriptions – from the bulky thick lenses of our myopic desires – to the sleek frames of farsighted sagaciousness. So how do we go about improving our world perspective? First and foremost we must read things that take us out of our normal-intellectual circle. If you love Fox News pick up a book written by a liberal professor. If you love The Huffington Post, read a book by Bill O’Reilly. Read often because as Theodore Roosevelt said, “I am part of everything that I have read.” Second, travel as much as you can. See places in the world that make you appreciative of your own life and more respectful towards cultural differences. Thirdly, give your time to others. Giving to others is one of the greatest ways of looking at life through another person’s glasses. The better your prescription gets, the more you will realize how far you can see past your previous level of ignorance. Remember one important fact. Getting a better prescription is not a passive experience. Gaining years is not a free pass to wisdom. To truly see the background and the foreground one must consciously step out of their crisp-comfort zone and take a step forward into a  blurry-quagmire of endless opportunity.

3 books that helped improve my prescription:

  1. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  2. The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
  3. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

Why I don’t like Mother’s Day

13124550_10101383816542751_6286878037789998188_n

Am I a bad son for not liking Mother’s Day? I love my Mom and appreciate all the sacrifices she has taken in raising me. I also enjoy treating her to food, cards, and flowers because she deserves all the recognition in the world. The problem is, I don’t like the obligatory “Mother’s Day” celebration because it doesn’t seem natural. Yesterday, I went to the store to buy my Mom a card and there was an actual line of people waiting to pick out a overpriced piece of paper. Were these patient customers really waiting to buy this card out of an act of love or an act of cultural obligation? A similar holiday that I dislike is Valentine’s Day. Is it really romantic to buy flowers for someone because you have to? My point is that showing love and affection on these days seems more like a routine then a actual portrayal of appreciation. Of course this sounds like blasphemy to most but hear me out. I think Mother’s Day should be a random day of the year. Why a random day? Two reasons, the first being that it shows your Mom that she was on your mind. Secondly, the time and money that you spent for her is by your own choosing-not because it is was a prescribed day on a calendar. I have an even more radical idea. Mother’s Day should be on your birthday. Why do we celebrate our birthdays when we did absolutely nothing but bring extreme amounts of pain to our mothers? Every mom suffered to some degree on that day and we should really celebrate their heroic effort to remove a human being from their body. No one deserves birthday cake more than a woman who had to push a human head through a tiny hole. So this Mother’s Day say “I Love You to your Mom” but remember that random acts of kindness throughout the year mean so much more. Pick a day out the blue, make a homemade card, and take your Mom out to get pancakes-she may remember that more than any previous Mother’s Day. To really make a memory, buy her a cake on your birthday and thank her for all the things she had to go through to become your beloved Mom.

-I love you Mom and I will say that today and everyday.