Me

There’s a man I need to find.
He’s hiding in the darkness,
lurking in the safety of shadows.
Never noticed, never called on,
never rejected.
What if this man didn’t fear things that may never happen?
What if this man embraced the fear of change?
Maybe then, this man that could change the world,
would finally stop avoiding it. 
Maybe, this man I need to find,
would finally want to be found.

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2am (almost) and all I see are app icons. 

If you’re reading this on a smartphone, or have a smart phone, stop reading this post and look at your smartphone for like, 20-30 seconds.

Okay. You should be back now.

There was likely a time in your life when smartphones didn’t exist. Unless you’re like crazy young and I can’t imagine why you’d be reading this if you were. If you’re young enough to have always had a smartphone in your life, you probably should be sending Snaps or planning your next Instagram post or worrying about what Tara is gonna do if you post a pic on Facebook wearing the same shirt she is in her profile pic. So go do that!

For those of us who remember the days when us kids had no phones and called each other on land lines, please keep reading.

So that device. The one I made you look at. It’s incredible isn’t it? I mean it probably doesn’t seem so anymore, since they’ve been around a bit and have gotten to the point where improvements mostly can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Really look at it though. It’s incredible! It can play almost any song in existence for you. It can keep track of your life. It remembers your phone numbers so you don’t have to write them on your hand. It wakes you up in the morning and tucks you in at night. It’s pretty much the first and last thing you interact with every day.

What’s my point? I don’t know honestly. I started writing this post because I was browsing Facebook at almost 2am because I wasn’t tired. Most likely due to the coffee I drank about an hour ago. I guess my point is, we take these phones for granted now, which is fine, because that’s what happens when technology that enchances our live becomes as common as toilet paper and bottled water.

Maybe, we should stop letting them be such an enormous part of our life though? I spend a lot of time on my phone. Hell, I’m writing this post on it, but, maybe we should look up more often? Take pictures less. Enjoy life more?

I know I know. You’re not like that. You hate people who are buried in their phones in public. The reality though, is that you’ve been one of those people before. At least once. Maybe you needed a distraction. Maybe you were bored or maybe you just needed to do something and it took awhile. We’ve all been on our phones (doing non-phone related tasks) for longer than probably necessary at least once.

So here’s my challenege. One day soon, not today since its Mother’s Day and you HAVE to wish your mom well by posting an old photo on Facebook, but one day, soon, look up.

Don’t check social media for a day. If you’re bored, write it down. Think about why you’re bored and what you could be doing with that time. We all say we’re so busy, but our social media begs to differ. We have time to Snap, post to our timelines, like a thousand photos and pin a bunch of ideas that will never see the light of day. Let’s take our time back.

For one day:

  • No social media
  • Don’t take any photos
  • Use your phone ONLY for phone calls, texts and if necessary instant messages.
  • No candy crush
  • No Googling questions you don’t know the answer to

Write down at the end of the day what it was like. Not being able to find the answer to any question that pops up in your head. Not being able to see if Cynthia enjoyed her vacation. Not being able to see what Fred had for dinner.

The reality of it is, smartphones and technology are never going away and they shouldn’t. Smartphones can foster eternal learning and keep people connected no matter the distance and that’s a fantastic thing! Sometimes though, you just need to watch the clouds go by, listen to the sounds around you or do something that doesn’t involve a screen.

I think it’s about time I wrap this up as I’ll likely ramble on in a “half-asleep” stupor for an excessive amount of time.

IN CONCLUSION:

Love your smart devices. Appreciate them for all they add to your life, but enjoy the parts of life you can experience without them. Enjoy human connection. Enjoy nature. And let your phone have a little break now and again 🙂

Peace

JNog

My favorite acce$$ory

The other night, I went out to eat with some friends, love me some Mexican food, and we met up with a friend of theirs for drinks after. Let’s call him Devin. One of the topics our conversation moved toward was how myself, and the friends I had dinner with, are extremely passionate about our automobiles.

Devin didn’t understand. His claim was that cars are just machines that move you between two points. We went back and forth a bit trying to explain our views, but it wasn’t going to satisfy Devin who couldn’t imagine spending upwards of $30k on one.

Let me explain our rationale. For us, cars are accessories. They are extensions of us. They transport us from point to point yes, but they are more than that. They are spaces we live in for sometimes significant portions of our day, or at least it feels that way every morning and afternoon in rush hour.

To us, the amenities and materials we pay extra for aren’t just pieces of these machines. They all have benefits and purpose. The leather heated seats keep us warm, and the high watt, multi speaker sound systems let us hear our music in a way we might otherwise not. The automatic headlights and rain sensing windshield wipers help keep us safe in shitty weather and the high quality materials not only help dampen outside noises but feel nice to the touch.

We are in these machines typically everyday. We appreciate having a space that is comfortable, inviting and full of the amenities we expect anywhere else we live during the course of our days. That is why we love cars so much and are willing to spend more money than the average person. Do you not pick paint colors and furniture and amenities for your home? Our cars are mobile spaces that we like to personalize and fill with quality materials and amenities.

I know not everyone feels the same way, but I hope maybe you can all understand our thought process.

JNog

Making the right choices.

28 years. That’s how long I’ve been on planet Earth. Well, at least as a human. We could get into the whole sperm, egg, and stork situation, but for now, let’s just move on. I’ve been alive for 28 years.

For 28 years I’ve been making choices. Some of them conscious. Some not so conscious. I like to think most of my sub-conscious decision making occurred as a baby and really those were more reflex and feeling based reactions to stimuli. These days, most of my sub-conscious decisions are things like, taking the long way home, eating too much, and binge watching TV. Most of the time, I don’t even realize I’m making the decision to do these things until after I’ve done them. I’m just going through motions without any sort of real focus.

Then there are some of my conscious decisions. Going to college, studying business, hiding behind my anxieties and fears, and letting others tell me what I am good at. These are choices that have led me down a path that while mildly successful, is not the path I would’ve chosen had my heart been choosing instead of my head. I would’ve waited to go to college. I would’ve studied music or writing. I would’ve played gigs out on weekends or spent that time writing instead of staying home watching TV, or going out to eat for the 4th time in a week. I let my mind, society and everyone around me affect my decision making.

Hindsight is a wonderful, torturous thing. It doesn’t matter what I would’ve done anymore. It just matters what I do now.

Now, I am choosing to write. I am choosing my creativity over my sound judgement, or perhaps, using my creativity to influence my sound judgement.

I want to branch off this path I’m on. While I can’t double back and change what I’ve already done, I can meet up with the path I wanted to be on at this point in time.

What does that mean for me? It means exploring myself, the things I love and how I can incorporate them into my life and work, because I believe you can love your work if its something you’re passionate about.

Thank you to everyone who has read even one post on this so-called blog. I hope you stick along for the ride as I begin to post more frequently and about a variety of different things.

I renamed this blog JNog.gin, because my nickname at my last job was JNog and these words have all come from my head (and my heart). I want you all to get in my noggin and maybe it’ll help you make a conscious decision that affects your current path in life. I hope I can inspire at least one of you.

Peace and love,

JNog

Insecurity and Reckless Optimism

So today I was watching a video by Hannah Hart on YouTube (view here) and it really stuck with me. Hannah was talking about how she’s a naturally insecure person, and how she’s the type of person who wonders if people are mad at her or just what people think in general. 

There are so many similarities between her words and myself. I am an insecure person, to myself. To the world, I probably appear reasonably confident. I always try to put the face of bravery and carelessness when inside, all I can think about is “what do they think of me?” and “Am I good enough?” The most interesting part of this is, I know I’m insecure. Just like Hannah did and thought she’d worked through it. 

So I guess this is something new to work on. Being an insecure adult can seriously hold you back from reaching your potential in all aspects of your life. I may not be in school anymore, but I’m learning about myself and the world everyday. This cynical, social media driven, perfection obsessed culture we live in.

Which brings me to my next topic. Reckless optimism. Hannah defines it in an interview I found on Publishers Weekly as “the idea that it’s hip and cool to hope for the best and try your hardest, even though the odds might be against you.” 

I think we could all stand to be a bit more hopeful and optimistic. What do we have to lose? Being cynical and doubtful just makes it that much harder to motivate ourselves and each other!

So hope for the best, believe in yourself and others and don’t give a damn what anyone thinks about it. Just encourage them to do the same. 

JNog

Relax. 

Have you ever pushed yourself so hard in your work and personal life that you forget how simple things, like quiet and sunshine can help you release all of your stress? I have. 

The last few weeks have just flown by. Between work and constant plans with friends and family, I have forgotten to takes day to myself to go to the park and read a book or take a walk on a woodsy trail on my own just to clear my head. 

This weekend I’m in Allentown Pennsylvania for the DCI Eastern Classic (More Info)

  
I’m enjoying my time away from home, watching performances by the greatest groups around. 

Today we visited a farmers market and I had my fair share of free samples. 

   
   
and picked up a few things along the way! 

We followed up our farmers market adventure with a trip to some local wineries to indulge ourselves a bit more.

   
    
 
We visited Vynecrest Vineyard and are now at Clover Hill Vineyard. I’m sitting on a bench outside just enjoying the sunshine, the sound of the wind through the leaves and most of all, letting my stomache make sense of all those free samples of food and wine I consumed. I’m so relaxed. I’m so empty of stress and negativity and it’s the best feeling. I hope all of you out there reading this take some time to yourselves today or tomorrow to just stop and relax. Enjoy the sunshine and maybe a glass of wine, or some cheese or other favorite snack. Just take a break and relax. 
-JNog

Thoughtful Thursday

Look at all these people
sitting on the bus.
Reading their books and
checking their phones.

What am I missing?
Why am I not satisfied doing the same?
Why do I feel better than them
while I write these honest words?

I sit on the bus
writing, thinking about my life,
wondering how I could force myself
to be happy with a habitual existence.

But isn’t that my truth already?
Haven’t I already created a life of habit?
A track on repeat with no climax.
My habits are holding me back. 

I want everyone to happy,
even at my own expense.
Yet I don’t know what I really want,
And I ignore what it is I need. 

Patterns, rhythms, rules. 
Following them brings normality
in a society of insanity
where happiness is just a facade.

Maybe it’s time I take a step. 
Maybe it’s time I make a change. 
Maybe it’s time I do for me,
What I do for everyone else.