Take a Chill Pill

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2012 by cklaslan

Yesterday I experienced  my first transportation disruption since moving to NYC.  A fire in a subway station caused shutdown of 2 major lines, the N/Q/R and the B/D/F/M lines, specifically cutting off Brooklyn from Manhattan.  It occurred during rush hour as many were trying to get home.

For me it was just a minor inconvenience as I was trying to get from Hells Kitchen down to 23rd so I simply had to take another train (a 1) and do some extra walking across town.

But for many it turned their 30 minute commute home into 2+ hours.

For entertainment I read Twitter and #MTA tags and realized that some people have a knack for over reacting and a flare for drama.

Here is a very small sampling :

  • #MTA absolute disaster the worth organization EVER I hope that MTA rots in hell
  • Just walked 40 something blocks in my dress shoes before I caught a less crowded bus. There’s sweat where swear should not be. Fuck the #MTA
  • what kind of world do we live in where D,Q,N and R trains are suspended between 34th and Dekalb due to debris on the track?#mta
  • Please don’t do this to me when my fall semester starts or else I will seriously curse you out #MTA
  • Hey #mta workers, I know you get shit on all the time, but that does not give you license to be a raging asshole

And then my favorite :

  • who makes the decisions to reroute trains? If I were this incompetent @ my job I’d been fired long ago. #mta

Now I know there are some devious people in the world, and yes even in NYC.  But I think it’s a pretty sure bet that there is not an MTA employee who sits behind some console monitors, eating Pringles, drinking coffee, randomly pressing buttons to reroute trains at a whim just to piss off riders.

At least here you have the option of taking a bus or another train.  In Atlanta, it’s a common occurrence for the connector (where I75 and I85 combine downtown) to be shut down for hours due to jumpers, accidents, or just plain congestion.  You could be stuck there for hours.  No alternate train to take.  No bus to catch.  Just you in your car waiting for it to reopen or traffic to move another 3 feet.  Take a look at the photo to the right, and that’s the connector on a good night.

Get a grip people.  Shit happens.  Accidents occur.  Mistakes are made.  Parts fail.  People disappoint.  So Chill!

But yelling, screaming, blaming, and worrying do nothing for you, others, or the problem at hand.  It accomplishes nothing.  It resolves nothing.  It contributes nothing.  You have absolutely no control over MTA or the schedule of trains so why worry about it?

I’ve always lived by the motto “If you don’t control it don’t worry about it”.  If you do, it’s simply a waste of your time and effort.

Then if something IS in your control, you still shouldn’t spend time worrying about it — You should spend time doing something about it.  If you’re unhappy with your weight, do something about it.  If you’re unhappy with your financial situation, do something about it.  If you’re unhappy with your job, commute, or relationship, then do something about.  Moaning, whining, complaining, and worrying about things doesn’t alter the reality of the situation.

So if it’s out of your control, then forget about it.  If it’s in your control, make a change and do something about it.  Just don’t freak out, fret, and make a scene.  It’s just a waste of time when you do.

But I do admire reading the Tweets about it 🙂


Better Late Than Never

Posted in Comfort Zone, Community, Fun, Relationships, Self Improvement, Social on August 14, 2012 by cklaslan

Ok, so it’s been a while since I posted to my blog… a long while.  I am definitely due.

Wow, it’s been 9 months and a lot has happened, so let me give you the Cliff Notes version.

1) The subject of the last blog turned out to be a liar, flake, and a complete fake who stomped all over my feelings and heart and has yet to even offer a single word of sorrow, regret, explanation, or made any attempt at anything close to an apology

2) I got a new job!

3) I moved to New York City!  Yup this Southern boy has transplanted to the Northeast.  Check back later to see how I survive winter.

I got a great job offer and moved up here in Apr and settled into Hell’s Kitchen in June.  I live on 42nd street just 3 blocks from Times Square!  NYC is an amazing city and I love it here.  My affection for coffee has increased since moving as there is obviously an abundance of Starbucks but also tons of quaint, local, coffeehouses as well.

I’ve been here only  4 months and I’ve already learned a few things :

1) There are fakes and flakes everywhere.  It’s not the city, it’s the human race, and in 4 short months I’ve already met my fair share of them!

2) NYC is very cliquish!! There are so many groups, cliques, and circles of friends that are already well established and they seem to resist new people.  Oh they will tweet you out the ass, but God forbid you actually want to meet them.  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve added and have even added me on Twitter and Facebook and will tweet me daily and/or weekly but make no effort to put a real person to it.  I absolutely do not understand that.  I’d much rather meet someone for real.  That being said in a few cases, I have managed to break through the “no new people” walls and met a couple of cool people that are “keepers”.

3) If someone does say the want or will meet you, don’t you put ounce of stock into that until you actually seem them face to face.

4) Atlanta is hotter but you feel it more in NYC because you’re out in it longer.  Yes in Atlanta it gets
90/100 in Aug/Sept but let’s face it you are only in the heat the 3 minutes it takes to walk from your air conditioned office to your air conditioned car.  NYC may only be 85 in Aug but you have a 10 minute walk to/from the train, not to mention the 10 minute wait in the train station where its 90 degrees and 85% humidity.  Bring on the Fall !!!

5) I do amazingly well on my own.  Having had roommates/partners in house for the previous 13 years I adjusted fairly quickly to being back on my own.  I fill my time exploring the city, running, working out, and taking photos.  Yes, I’ve become an Instagram whore — you can see my photos at http://statigr.am/midtowncoffee.  The TV is hardly ever on.  Oh and I got my website back up too!  It’s at http://www.keithlowry.me/

6) I have a lot to offer someone.  Being back on my own, and having to meet people on my own made me realize I’m a very trusting, caring, enthusiastic, out going, funny, sensitive, romantic, honest, fun, adventurous person!  It’s amazing how all that comes out when you have to meet people on your own merits.  When you already have a circle of friends, it’s easy to meet people thru them (by word of mouth) and not have to do that much.  But when you’re on your own you have to work harder to meet people. and at least for me, that brings out more of my personality

I guess that’s all for now.  I do hope to blog more frequently as I explore the city, learn more about myself, continue to settle into this great and awesome city.

Stay tuned!

Happy is as Happy Does : betterME_2.0

Posted in Encouragement, Fun, Happiness, Relationships, Social on November 16, 2011 by cklaslan
I apologize in advance for the random rambling of this blog, but hey blogs are meant to be random.  While it is all over the place there is one unifying theme behind all of it : Happiness.  Happiness has been on my mind the last few weeks.  If you follow me on Twitter you know that to be the case.  Also lots of things have been tying together and as a result I’ve been happier.
I saw a challenge today that was to identify my commandments for happiness.  The first few were easy and throughout the day I kept added to them and tweeting them as they came up.  I know there are supposed to be 10 commandments but I have 15.. for now.  I think this will be something I will add to over time.  These are not meant to be a series of rules or a to-do list.  I have a “happy list” that lists things I can do or think about to get back to a happy place.   Rather this is more the thoughts and process that guide me and direct me towards happiness.  They each could use their own detailed explanation but for now I will just list them.  Most should be self-explanatory.

  • Chances are temporary but regrets are permanent so remove the “what ifs” and live with no regrets
  • Enjoy the process
  • Be happiness, live happiness, & give happiness
  • Even though life is a journey, there is no road map, so enjoy the scenery
  • Smile, laugh uncontrollably, and have fun no matter who’s watching
  • There are no problems, just opportunities to learn, grow, & experience
  • It’s not the circumstances that matter, but how I choose to respond to them
  • Keep things in perspective and stay focused on what matters
  • Remember anything that made you smile and never, ever regret it
  • There is only love, so kiss slowly, love truly, and be passionate
  • Lighten up and enjoy the moment
  • Forgive, forget, and live as if it never happened
  • To be happier, you have to think about feeling good and feeling right in an atmosphere of growth
  • One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy;  One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
  • Happiness is not a mood, it’s a decision

Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new,
marvelous, intoxicating.
” ~ Simone Weil

All my life I’ve been an optimistic person.  I’ve always been very positive-minded, open, focused, and happy.  Those that know me, know that rare is the time when something gets me down, bothers me, or gets to me.  Does it happen? Sure!  I am human and I am an emotional person.  But it takes a lot, and even when it happens, I am usually over it very quickly.  I just don’t like being sad, or letting something negative get to me.  You see to me, it’s a choice.  Yes, bad things happen.  Yes sad things happen.  Yes things don’t go right.  But to me how I chose to respond is up to me.

Happiness and being happy is contagious.  Smiles are contagious.  I know people says it’s bad to rely on others for your happiness.  I tend to disagree with that on some levels.  I’ve found that I am happier when those around me are happy.  I’m an empathetic being.  I can sense the mood of those around me, and if it’s someone I’m close to my mood/feelings tend to match them almost immediately – it’s how I can tell something’s wrong.  So with me, I am much happier if others are happy.

I’m a caring, loving, giving, nurturing person and it just makes me happy to makes others happy, to make them laugh, and to make them smile.  I’m not saying I can’t be happy on my own.  I can.  There are plenty of times where I am quite happy and enjoyable on my own, alone, reading a book, listening to the rain, napping, thinking, planning, dreaming, etc.  However more often than not, I am most happy when I can share my happiness with others.  Yes, I know that’s a Catch-22, but hey, that’s me.

I’ve learned that happiness is shared in many ways and I adapt to my friends ways of receiving and giving happiness.  Some like a joke, others encouragement.  Some like a hug, and others just like for me to be a smart-ass with them.  A few just like to swap stories or share things/people that interest them and some just like to talk silly.  I also like my friends to share and show off their talents and creativity because that makes them happy.  Some of them like the little things I do and some just value my honesty.  All of them like a smile, and of course they like to feel important.  All my friends know that I am incredibly loyal, supportive, and always give honest advice.  I feel happy when they feel happy and they know I’ll do whatever I can to spread cheer and joy.

One of my best friends will soon be moving to NYC.  This person has been a great source of happiness for me, for he too is very much like me, very level headed, very loyal, and one of the most even tempered, calming, people I know. We had some similar life experiences that helped us bond and get along well.  While his moving is indeed a sad moment, I choose not to be sad over it as I know its a great opportunity for him so I choose to be happy and to be happy for him.  It would be incredibly easy to be selfish and bitter, but that’s just not me.  Sure, I will miss his sage advice, his calm spirit, and his knack for knowing when I want to talk and when I don’t.  But I’m happy for him and I know he’s happy.

“Do what makes you happy, be with who makes you smile,
laugh as much as you breath, love as long as you live”

I am surrounded by happy, loving, good, kind, positive, open people.  Most of my friends are that way, and well, that’s why they are my friends.  However, in all my life I don’t think I’ve ever encountered someone who was as optimistic, care-free, full of hope, and well, happy, as I am.  Until recently that is.

A few months ago I met an amazing person who’s come into my life who share’s the same outlook, philosophy, and is the most like me of anyone I’ve ever met.  You don’t know how cool that is!!  Words can’t describe how it is to be around someone who emits such a positive, happy energy that you just can’t help but smile in their presence.   Have you ever thought about someone then realized you’ve been smiling the whole time?  This person has been an incredible source of happiness, joy, and positive thoughts.  That in turn has made me even happier and in turn I think I’ve shared and given more happiness in return.  You see how this works now?  This person has become incredibly valuable to me and someone I care deeply about and someone I want to get to know even more.  I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m certainly enjoying the scenery.  The holidays are always a joyous, happy time for me.  But now I know it’s going to be even better!

When I think of the last time someone made me really feel good, made me really laugh, made me really happy… I was with you”  RAWR :3


Posted in Encouragement, Fun, Welcome on August 11, 2011 by cklaslan

So I know it’s been a while since I posted last.  Sorry about that.  I got busy with some out of town business trips and really wanted to re-focus betterME into something I could sustain.   I found that daily challenges are good, but to really be challenged I needed a better structure.  I will continue to do daily challenges as they pop up, but will also do challenges for longer periods of time, most likely for a week.

Here is the first challenge of  bM_2.0 : Someone asked me to tell them something about myself that no one else knows. To be honest this is really hard for me.  I am an open book and I tell pretty much everything to my closest friends.  So this is something I will have to think about for a day or two.  I won’t post the answer but I’ll let you know when I figure out what it is. 🙂

I am going to issue a challenge for the readers and here it is : Make a list of things that make you happy.  They can be small, little things that might seem silly.  Or they can be bigger more complicated things.  Just make a list so that when things don’t go the way you want, you can read your list and smile.

I made a “happy list” a few years ago and here are some of the items on them.  One of goals is to keep adding to the list.

  • Getting caught in the rain
  • Stargazing on a clear night
  • Watching the sunset
  • Picnics
  • Music
  • A broadway show
  • Walks in the park
  • Going hiking or camping
  • Taking a road trip somewhere
  • Skittles
  • Cooking
  • That line in “Princess Brider”… “Mawwridge is whut bwings us together”
  • Making someone laugh
  • Silly movies (Airplane,etc)

I don’t know if I will post daily, but I will at least post once or twice a week to update on the current weekly challenge.

Another reason for the delay in posting was waiting for the right timing and inspiration.  I’m a huge believer in fate and I think the time is right.  So here goes betterME_2.0 — More to follow tomorrow.

betterME Day 31 : Holy Crap, I did it.

Posted in Comfort Zone, Empowerment, Self Improvement, Welcome on June 30, 2011 by cklaslan

30 days, 30 posts, 30 challenges. Some were hard (letting people go), some were easy (a day of rest).  Some where very successful (decluttering my inbox, random acts of kindness), others did not have the level of results I would have wanted (social skydiving, improving weaknesses).  Others led to long term goals (learning sign language, running a half marathon).

Over the last 30 days I learned that if I stretch my limits a little at I time there are many more things I can do — talking to strangers, yoga, making a conscious effort to smile and be happy.

So what next?  I don’t wanna stop.  I’m curious to see what else I can do and make myself better (and those around me).  But how?

The daily challenges were cool.  But I’m not sure doing something for 1 day is too much of a challenge for anyone.  I will finish this week with some random daily challenges but going forward the focus will be on challenges that last for a week.  I will revisit some of the daily challenges and see if I can get the same results when doing it for an entire week.  I also have a list of new challenges that are more appropriate for a weeklong try :

  • no snooze button for a week
  • no coffee for a week
  • go vegetarian for a week
  • take the stairs everyday
  • reduce sarcasm (haha)
  • learn a new word each day

At the end of the next 4-6 challenges I’ll re-evaluate again and perhaps go to month-long challenges.  Who knows?  As long as I feel I’m making myself better I’ll keep this up.  I still may be asking some of you to join and I’d still appreciate any suggestions of your own as well as your comments.

A reminder the challenge for this week is to start going green and I am still researching all the ways thats possible, that make sense.  There are a of “green methods” that arent’ really that beneficial.  On the home front we have purchased a lot of floor fans and upped the thermostat to 73 (used to 68).


betterME Day 30 : GOooooAaaalll !!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2011 by cklaslan

The challenge of the day was to create short term goals. At first I thought that might give me some trouble.  So for inspiration I spent part of the day reviewing the past posts I’ve made.  As I read them I noticed a lot of comments where I said “I’ll keep this up” or “I’ll come back to this later” so I realized that most of the short term goals have been made thru betterME.  So I used that as a starting place and then added a few more to the list.

Here they are in no particular order :

  • continue betterME in some format
  • smile and say “hi” to everyone I pass (week 2 challenge)
  • continue looking at ways to go green and implementing them (week 4 challenge)
  • beef up my training for the half marathon  (challenge 3)
  • expand my comfort zone in talking to strangers thru social skydiving (challenge 5)
  • at random times leave random notes (challenge 7)
  • do more geocaching (challenge 8 )
  • continue learning sign language on my own (challenge 9) : i’ve completed 3 lessons and signed up for a fall class
  • keep fine tuning ad adhering to a budget (challenge 14)
  • seek what needs to be improved and ways to improve it  (challenge 19)
  • practice random acts of kindness (challenge 20)
  • maintain my lists which include things that make me happy (24), things to be thankful and grateful for (25), and things I can’t control (26) : I’ve started using EverNote to keep my lists on.  EverNote has web, desktop, and mobile apps so I can read and add to my lists at my PC at work, laptop at home, and on my cell phone.  I’ll also maintain this list of goals (challenge 30 — LOL)
  • surround myself with people that help me achieve my goals and encourage me
  • get my 3rd tattoo within the next 60 days
  • continue working on relationships improving and reconnecting where needing, moving on where needing, and seeking new people to meet

I think that’s a pretty good start and for short term goals enough to fill my time and energy over the next few months.  What do you think?   What are your goals?  Got em?  If not what are you working towards?  What motivates you?

Go for day 31 is to decide what to do next with betterME!



betterME Day 29 : Service, Please!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2011 by cklaslan

The challenge today was to contact customer service after GOOD service.  Since it was random there was no guarantee that a chance for this would come up.  I’m actually in a customer service oriented job (as most of us are) so the shoe is usually on the other foot, as it’s usually clients calling us to report on good or bad customer service.

However a situation did come up that fit the criteria for this challenge so I took it.

As you know last week I was out of town at a client site completing an 8-month long project.  It was a big project for a big client.  I was fortunate to work with 3 individuals on the project team that went above and beyond what most clients do.  They accommodated every request I made, made sure I had everything I needed and more, and took all the steps necessary to make the project a success.

The night we kicked off the final phase we ran into issue after issue and complication after complication.  Instead of laying blame, panicing, or giving up, they worked together, with me, as a team to focus on the issue and come up with a solution.  That made for an incredibly stress free environment.

They project went well, completed with zero errors or issues and everyone was happy.

So I found out who the Vice President was in charge of the division I was working with.  I wrote her an email praising the individuals I worked with, noting there dedication, effort, and help.

In return I got a message from my boss thanking me for sending the email to the VP and thanking me for my efforts on the project.  It’s true – what goes around comes around.

So when you get good or great service, let someone know!  Email it, call it, blog it, post it, share it.  Let someone know you appreciate service out of the ordinary!

The challenge for day 30 is to create some short term goals.

Coming to wind down and getting ready for the next phase of betterME, but what shall it be?