Saturday, March 19, 2011

On the Road

I'm back from one trip, and on to the next! Let me just fill you in on the details from my trip to Vegas last weekend.

The idea formed collectively among me, Perla, & Misty. When Misty suggested a weekend trip, we knew it was meant to be. We had felt the Vegas vibe. Note: the Vegas vibe should not be ignored.

I'd been to Vegas a few times in the past. I was excited to go, especially with the peeps I was going with, but I had no idea just how much fun I was in for.

We invited our friend Kent to come. He was down! Then he got sick the day before the trip, but at the last minute, he grabbed his things and came! We're so glad he did.

So Friday we drove to Flagstaff and stayed at Misty's. She had a theme party planned. The theme: Hot. That meant hot-tubbing, hot pizza, hot tamales, the movie Hot Rod... a solid theme for a guaranteed fun night.

Saturday, we headed west, Vegas-bound.
Here are the highlights:

The Bellagio water show! I could've stayed there all night and watched it! So incredible, you've just got to see it.

The Venetian! How have I never seen the inside of this place in all the times I've been to Vegas? I am a little obsessed with the atmosphere they created in there.

The Phantom of the Opera! I am SO GLAD we [Kent] decided on this show! It was outstanding. I wish I could've taken photos of the interior of the theater. If you've seen the movie, it's a pretty equivalently spectacular theater as the one in the movie, except it's not a movie set! It's really breath-taking.

We stayed at the Hilton (thanks, Priceline ...or should I be thanking William Shatner?). They had a little dance club downstairs with no cover-charge, so we ended the night getting groovy on the dance floor.

We had some pretty awesome interaction with random strangers on this trip. And if you know the people I went with, you can understand that even if we weren't in Vegas, we'd still be having a blast! I love my friends! It was fun to renew our bond after a few years of absence.

In 2 days, I'm off again to California with some other fun people (grandma & great Ju-Ju) to California.
I've got Vegas pictures, but I can't post them to blogger from my phone, so that'll have to wait 'til I'm back in Queen Creek.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Thing Called Purpose

I am in a room full of light.
Sounds weird, I know. I'll explain.
I am at a point in life where, for a few months, I've been offered freedom like I haven't experienced in years.
The pressures and pace of school are packaged away in Rubbermaid bins. I've been free to completely shift focus onto other things.
And in the midst of the warm rays of the bright Arizona sun, I've found a renewed perspective.

I haven't drifted off into a meditation-induced Nirvana. But I've been able to gather my thoughts about some aspects of life. Ready?

First, as I contemplate the direction of my life path for the future, I keep asking myself, "to what end"? I am surrounded by numerous examples of people who have chosen as their life's purpose to perpetuate their own existence and to provide all the joys and comforts that life can possibly hold for them.

I wonder, isn't there more to this grand existence?
Then I have to stop myself and point the finger of blame inward. How much of my efforts are focused entirely on my own self-supporting endeavors?
I think it's good to learn the skills of survival and how to succeed in society. But there has to be more.
There has to be contribution. I've thought a lot about this. School has been such a justifiable time-consumer for me for the past half-decade of my life. When it ends, I will have a paper to show my academic accomplishment. And then, what? How will I contribute?
I know this can be over-analyzed to the point where it gets really depressing. I don't want to go that far. I'm just wondering. What, Steven Hansen, are you going to do with this life?

I've got ideas. I've got plans. Will they pan out? I don't know. But this I do know: people need to give, not just live.

So here's my challenge to you. How are you contributing? What are you doing (or trying to do) to reach beyond your own needs/wants and contribute? Find a way. It can be simple. It can be small. But it should be.

New subject. A small, heartfelt thank-you.
I am driving my own car again. I know I write a lot about my car, but it holds a lot of meaning for me.
I've learned so many invaluable lessons from it.
I decided to swap engines. Once I really got into "the neety greety" of the job, I kept thinking to myself, "what on earth did you do?" That was followed by the thought of Cogsworth's voice saying, "As I always say, if it's not Baroque, don't fix it!"
This task challenged me. I can handle quite a lot of frustration with cars, but this job kept me working long hours and facing some surprising challenges every day, right up until the last hour when I realized I needed yet another parts before I could drive it again.

But as I look back, it was all worth it. The car runs like new. I feel renewed satisfaction as I accelerate through an intersection and hear the tires chirp off the line. My efforts were all worth it.

Now the thanks goes to my family. Every one of them helped in little ways (and some in big ways) to help me through the challenge. I deeply appreciate the way they help in their own ways. I've often thought that with the combined skills of my immediate family we could run a small country. No joke. Anyway, thanks for your help, your care, your food, your knowledge, your sweat, your swearing, your laughs, your patience, and your love. I learned quite a bit through that challenge. Some about my car, more about my family.

Next topic: Have you dug a trench with a pick-axe lately? I highly recommend it. I dug a trench to lay sprinkler line last week and it was one of the best workouts I've had in a long time. Muscles throughout my body were feeling the burn and my forearms were on fire. Besides all those obvious benefits, it's also a time-tested sleeping aid.

That should do it for now.
Remember my challenge. Reach out. Give. It can be something as small as a listening ear or a smile. It can be a strong hand to help someone through a challenge. It can be thoughtful words of kindness not left unshared because of fear or timidity. I'm going to try too.