Leave Katy Alone!

Before I start today, I should preface by saying that I have gotten inspiration for this post from a number of other sources–first from my sister, a fellow blogger who recently defended Keira Knightly; and second from a psychotic androgynous person who couldn’t stand all the hate Britney Spears was receiving a few years ago.

Does everybody remember this guy?

tumblr_lnrhzrBtw61qc9z2jo1_400

I was seriously shocked, frightened, and concerned after seeing this the first time because it reminded me just how much raw anger there is in this world. But that is neither here nor there.

Today I will be defending the likes of Katy Perry. If anyone doesn’t know who that is, I would be very shocked because the very fact that you have internet and can read this blog suggests to me that you should know who Katy Perry is. Anyone who doesn’t know who she is has probably been living under a rock and/or has not had internet access in the past three years.

And perhaps that is one of the reasons why she gets so much flack. I have heard a lot of mean things about my dear friend Katy.

She’s a slut!
Her songs are
annoying!
She’s overrated!

Indeed, the best way to put it is that Katy Perry gets a lot of crap.

tumblr_m3limdiNfN1roarllo1_500

How dare you, sirs. Don’t you know that the whole slut issue is just a matter of perspective?

So what, she lied on a cotton candy cloud naked? We have all thought about doing that at one point or another. 

OK, maybe not…

But the truth is that we’ve all done ridiculous things. Committing a single murder might make you a murderer, but for the most part, I don’t think things we’ve done in the past should define us. So you say naked cotton candy frolicking makes Katy Perry a slut? OK. Well, I jumped out of a moving golf cart once and broke my foot… which means I did a stupid thing. And I’ve done many other stupid things in addition to that. Does that make me a stupid person?

tumblr_m9ygyzr3jY1r4uwjpo1_r1_500

Wait… Don’t answer that.

Are some of her songs a tad on the risque side? Sure. But whether we’d like to admit it or not, we all have risque thoughts. Katy’s just singing what’s on her mind! And not all of her songs are about tasting a girl’s cherry chapstick or having a ménage à trois on a Friday night.

Sometimes Katy has a softer, even inspirational side. Do you remember Firework? Do you remember Wide Awake? And what about the recently released Roar? All inspirational songs, in my not-so-humble-opinion.

tumblr_lrlo8wLjsg1qkjurbo1_500

You shouldn’t dismiss a singer based on a few of their songs. You are not expected to like every song, just like you are not expected to like every food, book, or movie. And if all of Katy Perry’s songs have just grated on you, perhaps you should open your heart and mind to the possibility that ONE DAY she will release a song that you enjoy. Closing yourself to an artist could prevent you from a song that you can relate to, be inspired by, or even just sing along with.

Plus, let’s not forget something of utmost importance. Katy Perry is hot! Looks aren’t everything, sure, but come on… just look at her!

ibcnn3BGJWKi6H

Think what you want about her music, but I will say one thing: I wouldn’t kick her out of bed! I mean… um… I’m just saying, if she needed a bed to sleep in–that wasn’t mine–I wouldn’t kick her out of it. That’s all I meant by that.

Also, if she came to my door and asked me to marry her, this would be my response:

jennifer-lawrence-oscars

But, barring the possibility that Katy Perry will just randomly show up at my door to propose, I’ll just have to support her from afar.

As for her being overrated, what does that even mean? Everyone is overrated because everyone is the worst. Have any of you gotten five number one singles from a single CD? Unless you are Michael Jackson reading this from the beyond, then I am confident in saying that no, you have not done this. But Katy has!

1284123475_katy-perry-making-fun-behind-back

Some people also use the argument that Katy isn’t even a good singer because her live performances leave something to be desired. My defense to this? Try singing and dancing at the same time and still sound perfect! Try singing in front of thousands of thousands of people without missing a note or two. And if you do enough internet snooping, you will find that Katy has had good performances in addition to the bad ones. Oh no, she’s human! How dare she have bad performances?!!! Also, her most recent performances have shown massive improvements, which goes to show that she’s doing what we’d expect from any person: improving! Let the past stay in the past. There’s no need to judge someone based on where they were. It is better to judge them based on where they’re going.

And besides… Katy Perry just released a new CD, so she’s not going anywhere anytime soon. My guess is that her songs will continue to dominate the radio stations whether you like it or not! So you’d best start being nice to Katy Perry, lest you suffer her wrath!

katy-perry-growl

I kid, of course. We are all free to choose who we like and don’t like, especially when it comes to the music industry. I just thought it would be fun to post about my love for Katy Perry, and it was!

But in a last-ditch effort to convince you to give Katy a chance, I invite you to listen to this new song of hers, in which she sings about struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts:

Looks like Katy Perry has a deep, vulnerable, meaningful side. Hmmm…

Not to mention these lyrics from other songs:

You know who I, who I think will win? Are the ones that let love in…

Acceptance is the key to be, to be truly free. Will you do the same for me?

I’ll be the one defining who I’m gonna be…

These are real feelings of someone just trying to get by in life, just like the rest of us. So I ask you, please, please leave poor Katy Perry alone! Am I the only straight man who openly supports Katy Perry and admits to liking her music? Perhaps. Even so, I think there is something to be said about cutting someone a little bit of slack.

So the next time you want to judge Katy Perry, do something more productive instead. Run a mile or two. Eat a vegetable. Read a good book. Stop wasting your time on hating someone for being risque, annoying, or too popular when there are much worse things happening in the world. For crying out loud, people are dying. Children are starving. The economy is collapsing. Right this moment, someone somewhere in the world is having to wake up before the sun even rises to go do hard labor for a meager salary that barely supports their family. A couple is cuddling and expressing love to one another–this, above all things, is definitely something much more disgusting and deserving of criticism than anything Katy Perry has ever said or done.

Advertisements

Meanwhile, Back in Reality…

Every once in a while, there comes a point where we have to wake up and smell the rancid manure that is real life.

Recently I have found myself in an awkward position. I am less than eight months from graduating college, and I have no idea what I want to do once I graduate.

Should I go to graduate school or just start looking for a job right away? Should I stay in Provo, move back to Arizona, or find somewhere else completely different to live?

Maybe I should just find a random woman on the street and demand that we get married at once! After all, everyone around me is literally getting married and having babies. The other day, I was talking to a girl who was sitting behind me in class. I turned back to the front of the classroom to listen to the lecture, and the next time I looked back, the girl all of a sudden had a baby in her arms! Where did that baby come from? Did she give birth in class while I was turned the other way??? Why are people so obsessed with getting married and having babies????! Admittedly, I guess it’s all a part of religious culture. Even I have been known to make a joke or two or six thousand about being pregnant. As a result, people often claim that I’m baby hungry. But I in fact have absolutely no desire to eat any babies!!!

I think the best thing to do in such a time of uncertainty is to make a plan and then go for it. I for one like to seek God’s approval after making a plan. Other people might not take that route: that’s completely up to them! But religious or not, it is best to work toward something, even if it ends up falling through. And who knows? Maybe in the process you will be taken down another, better path.

Unfortunately, no matter how much you plan, many aspects of your life are simply out of your control. I have learned that the hard way throughout the years. Sometimes there is a distinct and even painful difference between what we expect life to be and what it actually turns out to be.

Les-Miserables

That’s pretty much the tune I was singing last year. (No, I did not literally go around singing like Fantine. Even though I can relate to Fantine–remember that one time I went into prostitution to support my child???–I do not feel the need to walk around singing about how difficult life can be. That would be a tad melodramatic.) There were a bunch of crappy things going on that were completely out of my control, and my life pretty much fell apart at the seams. It was awesome!

But you know what? Things change. And I’m doing much much better now. I still have a long way to go, but at least I’m in a better place now. That’s not to say I have died and am blogging from heaven–I mean a better place emotionally. In fact, if I were to pick a song to describe my transition from last school year to now, it would be this:

Is it embarrassing that I feel empowered by a Katy Perry song? Perhaps. But it doesn’t matter because it definitely captures my change in attitude over the past year. So even though life didn’t go exactly as expected, I can’t say that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Another example of unexpected outcomes was from my study abroad trip. (I know I said I’m done blogging about that, but I promise it’s relevant). I went on the study abroad just expecting to see new places and, I admit, to possibly… find love. Don’t mock me!!! There were eleven girls and two boys, OK?! The odds were definitely in my favor (like the Hunger Games)!

Instead, I left Europe with some unexpected outcomes, most of which had to do with connections. The first type of connections have to do with possible future jobs. In an economy where who you know is so important, it’s exciting to have a couple ins with employment opportunities. Even if those connections don’t amount to anything, I feel like the application process will provide me with valuable experience. And if these connections do amount to something, even better!

Of course, the main type of connection I was referring to earlier was that of interpersonal connections. I certainly have experienced that as a result of my study abroad. Even though the closest thing I got to finding love was a CONTROVERSIAL fake engagement, I established many close friendships–especially with my beloved study abroad roommate Jacob. I went to Europe looking for romance, but I ended up finding a BROMANCE! We are quite hilarious… like two peas in a pod! He is the Marcie to my Peppermint Patty… you know, minus the thick glasses and strong lesbian vibe. *

In fact, here’s a picture of us!

JD-Turk-jd-and-turk-24924126-400-300

Can you tell we’re best friends? Anyway, part of why I’ve been doing so great lately is because I have someone who I can talk to and just be my complete, unfiltered self around. That is really refreshing. So although I didn’t go on the study abroad expecting to find a brother, a brother I got, and I am very grateful!

That just goes to show you that our preconceived notions of life can be quite different from what ends up actually happening. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

What does the future hold?

So what lies in my future? Well, if I were to choose, it would go something like this:

I will be a psychologist specializing in the study of child stars… but not in a creepy way. Instead, I will have won the Nobel Peace Prize for discovering what it is that causes child stars to eventually ride wrecking balls naked and set their dogs on fire. I will of course have come up with the solution. That combined with the prize money will enable my wife Emma Watson Gilliland and I to live in a beautiful mansion in Wales. My close friends and family will of course be living in our guest homes.

"Matthew Gilliland is the love of my life. I want to marry him IMMEDIATELY!"--Emma Watson, My Dreams, 1 October 2013

“Matthew Gilliland is the love of my life. I want to marry him IMMEDIATELY!”–Emma Watson, My Dreams, 1 October 2013

Assuming all that doesn’t happen, however, I’m willing to accept whatever the future has in store for me… come what may!

*This is a quote from an episode of Scrubs, as much as I’d like to claim it!

The World We Live In

2011

In light of the recent tragedy at the Boston Marathon, I can’t help but take some time to reflect on the state of our world.

One of my major goals in blogging is to uplift (hence the blog’s theme of turning life’s lemons into delicious, thirst-quenching lemonade), but while I come off as generally optimistic in most of my posts, there is something I must admit: I am a closet pessimist.

used to be optimistic… when I was little. But then I was introduced to something called the world. Unfortunately, it was as soon as I went out and saw the world that I started losing faith in it. The church mission I served in the Philippines was a great learning experience, not to mention a character-builder, but unfortunately it opened my eyes to the frightening state of this world we call home.

While looking through some of the emails I sent home while on my mission, I came across a letter I had sent during what was undoubtedly the most difficult time of my mission. Something I wrote stuck out to me:

“Working in this area has really opened my eyes to the state of the world right now, which in some ways is hard to accept. Even in the lives of [those I love], I’m seeing this harsh reality. A woman… showed up to church late yesterday saying that she was late because her husband had attacked her…. But the harshest reality hits us when we’re out and about trying to [help people]. The other day, we [met] a… family whose father was stoned to death two years ago by twelve men who were drunk…”

And therein lies the answer to my pessimism.

Later on in my mission, I remember getting wind one night of a man who had held several tourists hostage on a bus. The man ended up killing many of the tourists before the police were able to stop him and rescue the survivors. As I walked home with my mission companion (side note: a mission companion is comparable to a business partner, though neither of us got paid), he was uncharacteristically quiet. Eventually he said to me, “Nakakatakot ang Pilipinas, ano?” Which is to say, “The Philippines is a scary place, isn’t it?” My response to him was this: “Nakakatakot ang mundo“–meaning, simply, “The world is a scary place.”

Who can forget September 11th? I was only 11 at the time, but I will never forget. It seems like the world has taken a drastic downturn since then, and in light of the Boston Marathon, the shootings in Connecticut and Colorado, and other terrible events, it doesn’t seem like the world is looking to improve anytime soon.

It seems that I am not the only one who realizes the tragic state of things. The entertainment industry–which admittedly can be the cause of the world’s problems at times–also seems to be calling for a solution. Here are a few quotes (some more inspirational than others) that have come to my mind over these past few days:

“Sometimes everything is just the worst.”–Liz Lemon, 30 Rock

I decided to start with the least inspirational quote of all. This quote is not exactly what you’d call uplifting, but it certainly is true at times. Luckily, the key word in this quote is sometimes. Not always. So that’s definitely something.

“How we deal with tragedy defines who we are.”–Chris Traeger, Parks and Recreation

Though the world as a whole may be taking a turn for the worst, we as individuals are not defined by the world we live in. We can rise above all the negativity that surrounds us… Admittedly, I’m still working on that myself. Any advice on how to go about doing that?

“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.”–Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

This post would not have been complete without a few words from our favorite vampire slayer. The girl died twice, for crying out loud! If anyone knows how to overcome the odds, she does. Granted, she’s a fictitious character (but is she, really? There’s a little bit of Buffy in all of us), but the lesson remains the same: it might not be easy to live in this world, but it’s definitely possible.

So how do we stay sane in a crazy world? There’s no sure-fire answer, unfortunately, but peace can be found amidst all the chaos. I personally find peace through writing, listening to music, communicating with God, and being with those I love. Other people may have different ways of coping, and that’s completely fine–the important thing is that we cope somehow.

While the world falls apart around us, we have to ask ourselves: Are we simply surviving in this harsh world, or are we actually living? It’s all terribly cliche, yes, but it’s true. And while I may have lost my faith in mankind as a whole, I still have just a smidgen of faith in the individual.

I’m sorry, did you want some macaroni with all that cheese? Sorry if this post was too cheesy. It’s just something that came to my mind when I was about to go to sleep, and I knew I had to write about it right away. I probably should have slept instead, seeing as I’m starting to work full-time tomorrow and have a number of finals coming up, but I’ll have plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead. And on that depressing note, I’ll end this depressing post.

23 Goals While I’m 23

I’m happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time.  It’s miserable and magical…

Those are the feelings that, according to Taylor Swift, come with “feeling 22.”

And I must say, I’d have to agree.  That is exactly how 22 felt.

But as of today, I am done feeling 22.

So what does that mean?  Well… nothing, really.  Honestly, how different can 23 be from 22?  On the other hand, a new year marks new beginnings, and since I “forgot” to make new year’s resolutions at the start of 2013, I thought I’d take this opportunity to come up with 23 goals I have while I’m 23.

23

  1. Tell people what I want, and do what I can to get it!  I’m tired of being that passive guy who never lets his opinion be heard because he doesn’t want to step on anyone’s toes.  Over the years I have had a difficult time getting people to read my mind, so it’s about time I’m more forthright with people in expressing my opinions.  If I don’t like the way you’re treating me, then I’m going to tell you.  This may cause some people to be offended, but as a wise man once said: “Are you offended?  I don’t care.”  I’m not going to let people walk all over me anymore.  And that brings me to my second goal.
  2.  Be more direct.  I tend to beat around the bush like no other when I’m trying to express something that might qualify as being even slightly uncomfortable.  But there was one glorious night a couple of years ago when I was able to be direct and to-the-point, and it was awesome.  I would like to be able to do that all the time from now on.images
  3. Enjoy my alone time.  This year, I want to reacquaint with an old friend.  He’s someone I’ve known my whole life, and when he’s at his best, he’s pretty cool.  His name?  Matthew Gilliland.  When I was little, I loved to be alone.  I could entertain myself for hours and hours using just my imagination.  In recent years, however, I have found it more difficult to get along with myself.  But since nobody likes you when you’re 23, I need to learn to like myself better in preparation for turning 24, when people will start liking me again.  (I’m aware that this last paragraph must sound really depressing, but it’s all in good fun, I promise.)
  4. Keep up with my blog more.  I have already kind of started this one.  I think I must have already written more blogs in the first two months of this year than I did all last year combined.  And if I had planned things a little bit better, this could have easily been my 23rd post, which would have brought things together quite nicely.  Anyway, I hope to continue my consistent blogging as the year continues, especially considering major upcoming events like my Europe study abroad and my wedding.  OK, I’m not really planning on getting married.  I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.
  5.  Catch up with old friends.  I want to be better at keeping in contact with my friends, especially my friends from home as well as those from my mission… even if it is just through Facebook.  
  6. Go to Europe.  Even if something freaky happens and I end up not continuing with the study abroad program, I am determined to go to Europe this year!  Even if it means losing a ton of money, which makes me anxious just thinking about it.
  7. Simpsons_couch-1-Spend quality time with my family.  Ugh, I wish there was a less cheesy way to say that.  Cue the Full House music, please.  I’m in somewhat of a difficult position to do this right now, seeing as I’m living in Utah and my whole family is currently in Arizona, but I will definitely go back as much as circumstances allow… even if that’s just a couple weeks in the summer and then the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays.  I see my family as one of my most reliable support groups, and I will do anything to maintain that… even if we are actually not so much like the Tanners from Full House but more like the Simpsons: violent and dysfunctional.
  8. Give myself to the Lord.  This is kind of broad, but honestly this is as specific as I feel I can get at the moment.  I have tried most of my life to just do things my own way, but after almost 23 years of doing it, I must say that I understand what Taylor Swift means when she says “This is exhausting.”  It’s time to quit trying to drive myself down the highway of life and let Jesus take the wheel!
  9. Keep my Taylor Swift blog references to a minimum.  As of this post, I have decided that I have quoted/mentioned Taylor Swift far too often in my blog.  It has to stop.  I think I need serious help… an intervention, maybe.
  10. Serve the crap out of everyone.  Not literally, of course… that would be awkward and gross.  But all stupid jokes aside, I really do want to serve more.  Maybe then I can stop focusing so much on my own problems.
  11. Exercise… all year this time.  It seems like I’m always good at exercising during the summertime.  But then the winter comes along and my exercising comes to an end.  But since I will be living much closer to my school’s free gym next year, maybe I can actually motivate myself to exercise during all four seasons while I’m 23.
  12. Write in my journal at least once a week.  Whether my future kids like it or not, they will be able to read a detailed account of what their dad was like at the age of 23.
  13. Use my disappointments to my advantage.  I will not let myself be affected by the disappointments in life.  Instead, I will turn those disappointments into opportunities.  For example, in the not-too-unlikely scenario that I get a C in one of my classes this semester, I will celebrate my first-ever C by having a C-party.  Included will be C-shaped cake and foods that start with a C (chicken, carrots).  And then I will hang a banner that reads: “C’s get degrees!”  Actually, that sounds like too much effort… effort that would probably be better used trying to make sure I don’t get a C in that class.  But you get the idea.
  14. 100_5710Work, work, work.  No two-month breaks from work this year.  If I want to survive the financial toll this study abroad trip is going to take on me, I need to work as much as I can (and maybe even take a second job).  Also I need to do an internship or two before I graduate if I want to impress prospective future employers.  If I were to adopt a motto for this year, it would be this: work hard and play hard.
  15. Make a bucket list.  This may sound morbid, but for a while I’ve been wanting to make a list of things to do before I die.  After all, I’m not getting any younger!  Literally… I actually just recently aged a whole year.
  16. Maintain/improve my Tagalog.  Once upon a time, I lived in the Philippines and spoke Tagalog every day.  Now that I live in America, I rarely speak Tagalog more than once a week.  I am finding that my Tagalog skills are suffering as a result.  So I am going to do everything I can do to use my beloved second language, including speaking, writing, and praying in Tagalog.  I also want to finish reading my Tagalog Book of Mormon.    Ayaw kong makalimutan kasi ang aking pangalawang linguwahe.
  17. Go on another camping trip.  My twelve-year-old self would have literally thrown up at such a suggestion, but I actually like camping now as long as it doesn’t last for more than a night or two.  And as long as it’s nice outside.IMG_0261
  18. Quit hiding my true self from others.  I once had a companion point out that I was “good at hiding.”  He was not talking about physically hiding, and I think anyone who has played hide and seek with me could attest to that.  What he meant is that I put up a front so convincing that it is difficult for other people to see the real me.  Well, I’m tired of doing that.  I need to start being who I am and not caring how other people react.   If other people don’t like it, they can leave me alone.   I’m done hiding.  After all, I’m getting a bit too old to play hide and seek.  Actually, if I’m being honest with myself, I’d kill for a game of hide and seek right now…
  19. Get back into photography.  As I touched on briefly in my last post, I finally have a camera again, which gives me the perfect chance to take some legit pictures… especially when I go to Europe!
  20. Go on a road trip with friends.  I fully expect to go on at least one road trip with my family this year because we have already planned one (we’re going to Disneyland!!!  No, seriously.)  But there is just something about taking road trips with friends.  So I feel like I need to go on at least one this year.  Even if it means that one of those friends will inevitably end up married in the near future.  Confused?  Stay tuned for my not-too-distant-future post about how everyone around me tends to get married.
  21. Stress management.  I want to be more optimistic this year.  I want to allow just a small part of the day to let myself be stressed, then spend the rest of my time thinking positive thoughts.  I want to not worry so much and allow myself to be happy.  It won’t be easy, but since I would like to actually live another 23 years, I think it will be worth it to better handle the everyday stresses of life.
  22. Make mistakes.  This should be easy!  So maybe I should say that I want to become more comfortable making mistakes.  After all, it is trohugh our mstiakes taht we lraen, rghit?
  23. Move on.  Last but not least, it is the simplest goal to say and yet the hardest to do.  I feel like I’m still hung up a lot on the past, but I will work this year to move past all that.

moving_on

And that’s it.  I’m glad I did this, even if it is ridiculously long.  I feel really hopeful about my 23rd year now.  This is going to be the year of Matthew!

12 Things I Liked About 2012

Well, we made it.  2013–the year that was supposedly never supposed to happen. The new year is always a good time for reflection, a time to think about everything that happened the previous year.

new year 2012I remember hearing everything about how the world was supposed to end in 2012.  When I heard these rumors, I thought to myself, “You know what?  Since everyone is predicting an apocalypse this year, I bet 2012 is going to be the best year ever.”

Now, to say that 2012 was the best year ever would be stretching it more than just a little.  There have been so many years in the history of time that it is impossible to pinpoint which year was the best ever (though 1990 would be a good contender, as that was the year I was born).

Plus the fact is that some seriously bad stuff went down during the year of 2012.  More than one shooting made national news, the economy continued to struggle, and Ke$ha released another album.  But despite all that misery and heartache, I still enjoyed 2012… not quite as much as 2008, but definitely more than 2011.

Here are 12 things that I loved about 2012:

  1. Music got good again–Despite my harsh and slightly hurtful quip on Ke$ha’s new album, there was a lot about 2012’s music that I actually liked.  In past years, it seemed like the same generic garbage was filling the airwaves, but in 2012 some more unique tunes were given a chance to shine.  From Imagine Dragons’ It’s Time to Train’s 50 Ways to Say Goodbye (both of which just played on my Pandora, which is part of the reason they get the honor of being mentioned in this post), there truly were some classics this year.  Also, let’s not forget to mention that two of my favorite artists released inspiring and uplifting albums, one of those being The Killers’ Battle Born, which has gotten me through many a difficult time this past year. 
  2. My first concerts–Speaking of good music, it wouldn’t be an ode to 2012 if I didn’t mention the two concerts I went to this year.  I have mentioned both concerts in previous posts… first, the Fun. concert in Boston, which was my first ever concert.  Then there was The Killers concert toward the end of the year.  Both were amazing and helped me gain a new appreciation for music.
  3. Legit movies–I’ll admit it, I’m pretty picky when it comes to movies.  I have a pretty short attention span, so it’s pretty rare for me to find a movie that I’d be willing to watch more than once.  However, this year provided a fair few movies that I wouldn’t mind adding to my collection… The Hunger GamesThe Avengers, and more recently, Les Miserables.  In fact, as of Christmas 2012 I am the proud owner of the former two movies, and the only reason I don’t own the latter is because that would be impossible without some serious bootlegging.
  4. A regained faith in TV–I must admit, I kind of thought that the world had seen the end of good television a few years ago.  In fact, I had pretty much given up on watching TV altogether.  But thanks to an unexpected twist at my job and some helpful references from family members, I was given the opportunity to discover new TV shows that helped me realize that, if nothing else, TV has gotten considerably funnier over the years.  Some of my favorite shows nowadays are Community, 30 Rock, and Happy Endings.  Granted, none of these shows actually started in 2012, but 2012 is definitely when I started watching them.
  5. Traveling adventures–I may not have gone halfway across the world this year, but that didn’t keep me from going to new and exciting places.  This year  I added Boston, Connecticut, the Bahamas, and even New Mexico to my list of places I have been.  I also returned to old favorites like New York and Florida.
  6. Overcoming obstacles–Trials and hardships are never fun, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of overcoming a particularly difficult obstacle in life.  This year provided me with a number of unexpected twists and turns, but with some divine intervention, I was able to navigate myself through the highway stretch of 2012.
  7. An increased appreciation for loved ones–Warning:  Things are about to get all cheesy and Full House up in here.   As much as I hate to do this, I must say that  I gained a much greater appreciation for my family and friends over the course of this year.  I guess I just realized how important they are to me.  I learned to open up to people and in so doing was able to strengthen old friendships and forge new ones.  Where would we be in life without those people who help us along the way?600230_10151525702729409_921984123_n
  8. Seeing God’s hand in my life–We all have different beliefs, and I definitely respect that.  But for me there is no doubting that God has played an integral role in my life.  2012 provided me the opportunity to witness firsthand God’s hand in my life.  He guided me to where I needed to be, presented me with challenges to help make me a better person, and provided the tools I needed to overcome said trials.  I noticed this so much during the year 2012 (especially the latter half) that I honestly couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by it sometimes.
  9. New years resolutions realized–This was one year where I actually successfully kept my new years resolutions… to an extent.  Granted, I did not really start them until the end of the year, but I say it’s better late than never.
  10. Fake apocalypses–How cool is it that we can say we survived December 21st, 2012–the day that the world was supposed to end?  What was more, the weather here in Arizona was actually really nice that day.  Who knew the end of the world would be so peaceful?  Fake apocalypses are the best.
  11. Spring semester–For the first time, I experienced a spring semester up in Utah, where I go to school.  This meant that I was enrolled in classes from April to June, after the regular winter semester was over.  Despite the fact that I worked full-time and had classes on top of that, I still managed to have a good time… no, a great time.  The weather was nice, the social scene was fun, and I paid less for rent even though I got my own room.  This is seriously making me consider doing another spring semester this year…
  12. It’s over.  Now it’s nothing but a memory.  As much as I loved 2012, it had to come to an end.  It has been an incredible journey, but I’m ready for whatever 2013 brings!

Life According to the Killers

Music is one of my favorite things in this world.  I can’t really imagine what my life would be like without music.  If nothing else, life would be much more silent if music were not in it.  I listen to music while I exercise, when I’m in the car, to motivate myself while I’m working.  I connect music to memories ranging from family vacations to my first ever car crash, which actually took place earlier this week… but that is neither here nor there.

If music is one of my favorite things, then the Killers are one of my favorite providers of said music.  I just feel like I can really relate to their songs in a way that I can’t quite relate to other music.  Other bands may have the occasional catchy tune or inspirational ballad, but for me the Killers have always been consistent in writing songs that are not only catchy but inspirational. About a month ago, on November 30th, I had the opportunity to see the Killers in concert.  Best night ever wouldn’t quite do it justice.  Hearing their music so up close and personal like that really brought their songs to life for me.  Or, in the words of my very own journal entry written just days after the concert took place:

The-Killers-Runaways-608x608-608x400“I remember thinking throughout the concert that I couldn’t believe this was actually happening.  I couldn’t believe I was singing along to all my favorite songs, experiencing them in a way I had never experienced them before.”

As admittedly lame as it is for me to quote myself like that, the point is that I honestly can’t remember ever wanting anything to end less than I did that concert. The week following the concert, I found myself hard pressed to listen to anything besides the Killers.  During this time I gained an even greater appreciation for the lyrics of these songs and how much I could apply them to my life.  Thus this post will be dedicated to listing some of the best Killers lyrics and how those lyrics connect to my life on a personal level.  These will most likely not, however, be lyrics that most people are familiar with.  The two and a half people who read this will notice the absence of famous lyrics like “Somebody told me that you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year” (what does that even mean???) or “Are we human, or are we dancer?”  Instead, I will look at some perhaps lesser known but definitely more poignant lyrics that only a true fan such as myself would catch.


And I’m sick of all my judges
So scared of letting me shine
-Sam’s Town

We all have our judges, people who constantly try to bring us down and keep us from reaching our full potential.  They might not even realize that they’re doing it, but the fact is that some people needlessly criticize and hold others to impossible expectations.  Why do we do that to each other?  Can’t we all just let everybody be themselves?  Why do we want so much for other people to be like us?  Constructive criticism can be good, but when we stop listening to those unnecessary outside voices, that is when we can truly shine bright like a diamond, as Rihanna would say.

And the decades disappear
Like sinking ships but we persevere
God gives us hope, but we still fear what we don’t know.
The mind is poison.
A Dustland Fairytale

Time goes so quickly.  Life is short and full of trials, yet we push forward.  In my life at least, I have come to learn that everything always works out for the best, but that doesn’t stop me from fearing the unknown–that is, the future.  The mind poisons us, creating a fear that does not need to be there.  We can choose to drive away the fear and have faith instead… faith that everything will turn out alright, just like it always does.

No sense in holding grudges
And it’s better to forgive
These are things that I must learn
To practice while I live.
-From Here on Out

Sometimes people are going to hurt us.  That’s just a part of life.  I’ve tried the whole holding grudges thing, and it’s no fun.  It really does just feel so much better to forgive.  That feeling of anger, that tension in my chest like something is about to burst… that is something that I never care to feel again.  So I work every day to forgive others for the pain they cause.  It really is much better than the alternative.  Trust me.

You never know
If you never learn
You never shine
If you never burn
Battle Born

These lyrics are what I like to call simple but powerful, especially the second half.  You never shine if you never burn… what I take from that is that we have to experience the refining fire of trials in order to become stronger, happier people who can also help others in their hardships. There’s really not much more I can say about that, is there?

Last but not least, I want to conclude with an entire song that I think speaks volumes to everybody’s lot in life.  This song has literally gotten me through some difficult times.  I’ll even admit that I actually shed some tears when I first heard it, and that’s a huge deal coming from a person who usually displays the emotional range of a shriveled mushroom.  Here it is, what I consider to be one of the best songs ever written:

May your limits be unknown
And may your efforts be your own
If you ever feel you can’t take it anymore…
Don’t break character
You’ve got a lot of heart.
Be Still

Honestly, I don’t really feel the need to give an explanation on this one.  The song pretty much speaks for itself.

Merry Christmas, everybody.