Writing From the Heart: Question #15 (Time or Money?)

time or money question_marcandangel blog

Alright, people. I’m back with the Writing From the Heart blog post series! It’s time to put your thinking caps on ;)

You may have noticed that a lot of guest posts have been going up on Your Daily Dose lately. Life’s been hectic, I’ve grown quite un-fond of computer screens, and … well, I’ve had a bit of blogger’s block to top it all off.

But I feel like it’s during these times when life just seems to be passing by in a tired blur that we have to refocus and re-spark our love for life! So as I was scrolling through some inspirational questions for this post, my eye landed on this one: Time or money?

I feel like most people’s gut reaction would be to say: “Time!”

I know that for me, it is. That’s because I have spent much of my life without time — and when I say “time”, I mean time outside of work and school. It was only a few months ago that my life finally consisted of having just one full-time job. That’s it. No school. No second or third part-time job. Free evenings. Free weekends.

I just didn’t know what to do with myself.

Well, I quickly figured it out. After the first Saturday of sitting on the couch staring at the TV and asking myself if there was some work that I should be doing, I smacked myself across the face and yelled: “There is no work to do! Enjoy your free time!” (I think this conversation was happening in my head).

Once it had sunk in, I started going all out. I could pick up some hobbies! Singing! Playing guitar! Writing! I had time for it all! I could visit my friends and family more often! I could sit on the couch on Sunday and watch football all day! I could also just *gasp* do nothing at all! My God, this was what I had been missing out on all these years. This was how other people were living.

Now, that may sound like the conclusion of the story, but alas, it is not. During this time of activity and exuberance, I had still thought about getting a part-time job to be able to pay off my student loan faster and save more for the future. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it after having gotten a taste of the good life. But while I by no means consider myself to be a greedy, materialistic person, I do recognize that there are certain things that could add to the quality of my life right now that do require money over time.

So, I don’t know. Maybe the question isn’t so easy to answer. Maybe now is (still) the time to put in that extra work in order for me to feel more settled and secure a little ways down the road. And to also be able to continue going on trips around the world and drinking fine scotch guilt-free! Those things make me happy too ;)

Take a few minutes to ask yourself: Time or money? Write a post about it, share it in the comment box below, or just keep it to yourself ;)

- Cafe

Photo Credit: Question 15

What Is Your Passion?

My name’s Bernard Abarquez and I like drawing. I draw as an exercise. It’s meditative. It’s focus, concentration. Sometimes I think I have ADD, but when I draw, it kind of disappears.

I think creating something is one of the most fulfilling things. I remember as a kid, instead of going outside to play, my brother and I would take hockey cards, spread them all out and then choose six or seven cards each, and we’d spend the whole day just drawing them.

I always used life drawing and photo realism as exercices for precision of colour and likeness studies. The whole portrait commission business naturally came along with it and just spread through word of mouth from customers.

At first, commissions would feel just like another colour study — I would judge the final product on pure asthetics and its likeness to the photo with no emotion to the work. But once I started delivering and seeing the responses from each customer, I began to realize and appreciate the subjects that I was drawing. The photos given to me had sentiments and were special to whomever the work was being presented to — this realization changed my perspective and my mindset while drawing. I began to put more heart into it. I was creating gifts, rather then mere reproductions.

While time and compensation for that time is what allows me continue this work, it’s the reward of creating a gift for someone that fuels me to continue and not look at it as a business and exchange for money.

- Bernard Abarquez

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Working the Night Shift

So for the past few days I’ve been back to my old routine of working the night shift. (Gotta pay the bills, ya know what I’m sayin’?)

Okay, okay, before the wheels in your over-imaginative minds start turning any faster, I’m simply talking about my part-time job. The task I’ve been assigned to work on recently is transcribing interviews for an evaluation study of a youth gang intervention/prevention program. If you’ve never transcribed an interview before, let me give you a piece of advice that will greatly aid you in retaining your sanity: Don’t.

The last interview I transcribed had to be done in installments over a couple of days lest someone find me at home, rocking myself in the corner and mumbling: “You know what I’m saying?” (that’s what the interviewee said at the end of every sentence).

The look of traumatization from the question that’s not really a question, “You know what I’m saying?”

Anyways, two things have happened as a result of having to work my full-time job and part-time job as of late: 1) I’ve been going insane; 2) I’ve found little time to keep up with reading my favourite blogs.

Regarding point number one, the full-time plus part-time work schedule has actually been the defining feature of my life for many, many years. When I was in school, the full-time part of the schedule was replaced with my studies. Aside from trying to be a shining academic star throughout high school (except for my last year when I was either sleeping in at home during the day, or at school but asleep on my desk), I also worked, at minimum, one part-time job. I think there was a point where I was working three part-time jobs at once.

Dammit. No bullets in my finger.

This continued throughout my university years and when I finally got to my Master’s year, I was working two jobs while attempting to maintain a 4.0 GPA. That year saw one of the worst episodes of my insomnia. I would spend countless nights passed out on the couch at the Centre (the building on campus where I had my classes and which I later nicknamed “the Island”). For awhile, I was alone in my nighttime stays but for the caretaker who became my loyal friend. Later on, I was joined by a couple of classmates who would indulge in $5 footlong subs and Red Bull with me. I ate those $5 footlongs for the last two months of my Master’s year — half for lunch, half for dinner. I now shake a little inside whenever I happen to be near a Subway restaurant.

Photobooth on Macbook likes to do things backwards.

Cafe, last seen on the Island May 7, 2009 …

Anyways, back to what I was saying. Sometimes I really felt like I would never be able to crawl out of the hole that I felt I was in. There were so many days I just wanted to break down, except I knew that if I did I really wouldn’t get to crawl out of the hole. Plus, crying always makes me exhausted and if I was exhausted there was no way I’d be finishing that 20-page essay that was due the next day.

Since starting my new job, I have finally gotten a taste of what it’s like to have time to do everything else I’ve wanted to do in my life. You don’t have to finish your day shift and come home to more work. I’ve never felt so damn happy in my life. Seriously. And now that I’m back to working the night shift, I feel the same exhaustion, back aches, frustration. But I try to keep the bigger picture in mind whenever I hear another “You know what I’m saying?” and remember that I’m doing this to save up for my vacation and do something that not everyone even gets the opportunity to. There are so many people hurting for a job right now that I can’t find it in my heart to complain about having two.

So that being said, I took some time today to catch up on my blogroll and I got to thinking about “blogger etiquette.” I don’t really like to use the word etiquette in this respect, because I don’t read people’s blogs just out of courtesy. I truly enjoy the posts I read on the blogs that I visit. However, I feel like there are some undefined blogging rules out there in our little world and I’m curious to know your take on them.

For instance, I don’t really get it when bloggers don’t reply to comments that readers leave them. I do understand it when I know that person is insanely busy and they only reply to comments that aren’t in the mere form of “I love this post!” Or maybe they get like 100 or more comments on every post they write. Replying to comments can be very time-consuming. So I get that. But what if this is not the case? What’s your views on responding to comments left on your blog?

Also, do you feel obligated to “follow” the blog of someone who has just “followed” yours? Do you feel insulted if a person who you are following doesn’t follow you back? Or if you always leave comments on their blog, are you put off if they don’t ever comment on yours? (I don’t get offended by this, personally, but I’m curious to know what others think about this.)

Are there any other “blogging rules” or “etiquette” that you find are out there? Or is it all just nonsense to you?

- Cafe