Monday, March 27, 2017

The Hiatus

I stepped away from writing here for a while. I have been spending my time completing a master's degree, looking for opportunities to teach online, and taking care of my mother. Caring for my mother has become increasingly more significant as her health has continued to decline. This is one of the main reasons for my desire to teach online. Working from home would allow me to be there for her. Also, I have learned to love online learning. I have found it to be the best format for me and my learning style. Working from home allows me much more control over my environment, which enables me to minimize distractions. And the asynchronous nature of the courses allows for life's unavoidable interruptions to happen without added stress.

In attempting to make the best of this situation, in addition to pursuing teaching online, I have realized that there is no time like the present to pursue another one of my passions. I have always enjoyed writing, though I have been limited to mostly writing essays for my degree programs. I would like to try my hand at writing for magazines, something I have been thinking about since I was a kid, propped up on my bed, flipping through Seventeen. Reading magazines has always felt indulgent to me. It's easy reading, unlike many of my textbooks over the years, and it allows me to choose content that is tailored to my interests, even those outside academia. As a writer, I would be able to tailor my pieces to my interests as well. This would feel incredibly decadent as the topics for my academic essays have always been limited by the courses I have taken and the professors who oversaw them.

I hope to carve out more time for blogging too, as life allows. I am looking forward to seeing how things progress, and where this journey ultimately takes me. It feels as though this chapter of my life is coming to an end, and I can't wait for the next one. I think it's going to be a really good one.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Universe and The Mind

When I got to college, I thought that my professors would hand me the keys to the universe. I expected them to be able to definitively answer my questions. I thought that we knew so much more than we do. In my opinion, we have not advanced very far beyond the ancient Greeks in terms of what we know about our universe, at least not as far as I think we should have in the expanse of time since then.

Since I graduated, I have continued to seek the answers to my questions. One question, which I believe that many of us share, has to do with why we are here. The closest thing to a definitive answer that I have found for that question is that we are the manifestation of the universe's attempt to understand itself. Consider the following image:

While I am not at all suggesting that our universe fits neatly among many others within the brain of some random organism in an alternate universe somewhere, I do think that it is interesting to contemplate the similarities.

The more I learn, the more questions I have. Is our universe just an illusion? Could it be a hologram of some sort? Is it all just information? These questions seem to fit more readily within the realm of metaphysics rather than astrophysics. That's one of the interesting things about my experience. I always seem to be teetering on the edge, between the physical and the metaphysical, and between the universe and the mind. It is an interesting vantage point from which to contemplate our existence and I am looking forward to seeing where my search will lead me in future.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Making the Best of the Detour

The one thing that I have done for myself, while taking care of my mother, is to work toward a master's degree in educational psychology. While my bachelor's degree is in astronomy and I intend to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics, I chose this particular master's program because I want to be the best teacher that I can be as a future university professor.

Looking back, I can remember sitting in an undergraduate physics course in a large lecture hall observing my professor and thinking that he looked as though he clearly would rather be doing his research instead of teaching the mass of students in that space. It was at that moment that I realized that I did not want to be like him in that regard. While I do want to do research and write, I also enjoy teaching. I want to be the best that I can be at all three. So, before heading off to work on my Ph.D. in astrophysics, I decided to go for this master's degree in education.

There was another motivation for choosing this program in learning, cognition, and development, though. In addition to being the best teacher that I can be, I also want to be a better student. It is really important to me to not only be able to effectively deliver content to my students as an instructor, but also to be able to share with them what I have learned along the way as a fellow student. In addition to showing them what we know about the universe, I want to show them how they can maximize their academic performance and guide them in the direction of their dreams. In other words, I want to be for them the professor that I needed when I was where they are.

I was once told that one of the keys to happiness is to have a flexible path with regard to reaching for your goals. The lesson here is that when something like family responsibilities takes you on a detour, no matter how long, you can still keep heading in the same general direction. The important thing to remember is to keep taking steps in that direction every day. Persistence will get you there, no matter what the obstacles are. You just have to figure out how to go around them, or as in my case, through them.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Longest Detour

As you may have noticed, it has been a long time since I have written here. Since my father passed away, I have been serving as a full-time family caregiver for my mother. She has a constellation of health problems, the most challenging of which is vascular dementia. Since her diagnosis, she has continued to decline, though the process has been very slow. I have put my entire life on hold to take care of her, but I still cling to the hope of someday being able to return to my career path and fulfill my destiny. Until then, I will remain by her side. She gave me life. This is the least I can do for her.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Fascinating Universe

What is it about the universe that I find so fascinating? It is its structure. I often find myself wondering what spacetime is made out of, but that question doesn't seem to make sense, and yet the curiosity remains. At very least, it is a personal reminder of how little we know about the universe.

I was conviced that by studying physics and astronomy I would be presented with the keys to the universe by my professors, but it seems that they don't know as much as I had hoped. Granted, their understanding is far greater than that of the lay person, but I am still disappointed. I thought that we were so much more advanced than we are. Some would argue that civilization has advanced by great leaps and bounds since the time of the Ancient Greeks, but I would counter that we have been too caught up in the day-to-day to make tremendous progress in our collective understanding of the universe.

I have this sense that the atmosphere is primed for a grand new discovery, something that will change how we see the entire universe and our place in it. It is just a matter of time. My hope is that the greatest minds will be freed from ordinary every day concerns so that they can concentrate their potential on the questions that will lead us to greater understanding of this fascinating universe.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


The first snow storm I remember happened when I was about four years old. We were living in New York City, in a brick red house on the side of a cliff. I don't remember the snow falling, just the way it piled up on the deck and the snow woman that my father made for me. Oh how I miss him.

It has been almost eight months since he passed away. I still feel as though I'm in shock. Life feels normal for a moment, and then there comes a sudden realization that he is gone. The pain is sharp, and I force myself to think of other things. My mother still cries often. I can hear her whimpering through the walls. She's getting better, but she wants nothing more than to be with him. Who could blame her? They were married for 52 years. I wonder how she'll do on Valentine's Day.


It has been snowing now for days. The first storm brought with it over two feet of snow. The second brought another foot. I'm not used to spending so much time indoors. I wish I could say that I've been productive, but I have not accomplished as much as I had hoped. Still, there is progress. There's so much time to think, which is good in that my plans for the future are becoming more clear. I hope that I will live long enough to accomplish my goals.

At times, my inner child forces me to go outside, unable to resist the temptation to play. Only as an adult, play is not the same. I bring my camera and take snapshots of the neighborhood, the trees blanketed in white. It is magical.

When the snow melts, it will be back to reality. I must go back to the task of building my life from this relatively new location. New Jersey still has a certain feeling about it, just as it did when we lived here when I was about ten years old. There's something comfortable about it, but not the same sense of comfort that I get from New York City. New York is like my best friend, while New Jersey is more like family. I hope that I find my way from here, that I can continue on my path uninterrupted and ultimately fulfill my destiny. There is still a long way to go...

Friday, August 21, 2009

It Comes in Threes

When I woke up this morning I was focused on my plan to visit Princeton today, distracted only by the ache in my heart from missing my father and the sense of dread in anticipation of my next encounter with my brother. I got my mother into the car and went to my uncle's house to pick him up as he wanted to come along for the ride. When we got there, he informed us that my great aunt Lucy had died. My mother went right into the bedroom to see how my grandmother was doing after having just lost her sister only two months after losing her eldest son, my father. I sat in the living room with my uncle, wondering what it all means. Why did we lose three close family members inside of a year, two of them to cancer? What are we supposed to learn from this? I realize that death is inevitable, but I feel strongly that there is something to be learned, whether it's how we can take better care of ourselves or some greater message from the universe.

On the way to Princeton, I felt some relief in knowing that I was fulfilling one of my father's last dreams. From his death bed he told me that he wanted to go to Princeton, walk around, and have lunch. So that's what we did. It was the first major thing that I've done for myself since I left Columbia. Almost all of my time has been spent handling my father's affairs and caring for my mother. I had always told them that I would be here for them. And here I am. I am proud of that.

Now, though, I think it's time to start shifting some of the focus back on myself. My best friend is getting married next month, and I want to be there for that. I should be there. I want to get things settled here to some degree before I make that trip, though. I also need to get myself more firmly on the track toward grad school. There's so much to do. All I can do is take it day by day, though, and hope that more days are productive than not. Wish me luck...