Camera: iPhone 12
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
The Life and Times of Ben Weinberg
Entrepreneur, ESL Teacher, Traveler, and Writer
Camera: iPhone 12
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
“The good work we do whether it’s volunteering, donating, or contributing to society in our job or a non-paid effort can not only improve the state of the world in a measurable way but also make us feel good in the process.”
It can be disconcerting to make sense of how little is within our control and how much we would like to have the world be different than it is. Whether its politics, culture, the environment, or society in general, our lack of control over these forces that have a massive impact on our lives can be difficult to make sense of. Even when we do our best to make positive change in the world, it may only cause what I have previously referred to as a ‘ripple effect.’ However, we don’t realize that not only does the good we do ripple out in the world in a small yet powerful way, but we become the better for it as a result.
The good work we do whether it’s volunteering, donating, or contributing to society in our job or a non-paid effort can not only improve the state of the world in a measurable way but also make us feel good in the process. Other people in our lives may or may not know about these contributions that we make whether it’s with our physical labor, our financial resources, or just a caring thought or gesture but if we are the ones making the effort, we should take the time to recognize its significance and the beauty of the act itself.
It does not hurt to pat yourself on the back metaphorically for showing up and doing your part. I don’t believe it is egotistical or detrimental to your self-esteem to recognize that you are taking time or money to do something good in the world. While you should not expect others to be so forthcoming in their adulation or praise of what your contribution means, you should feel good about helping others or helping nature or just being kind and caring towards your fellow man or woman.
If you feel like you’re in a rut, I truly believe volunteering some time out of your busy schedule and working towards a goal in that kind of volunteer work can really cheer you up and make you feel a bit better about the world. So much these days is out of our own control in an increasingly technologically driven, lightning-fast world where we do not have as much time to slow down and focus on what really matters, which is to leave the world better than you found it.
The work can be hard, disappointing, and even cause you to question whether it is worth your time or money but hold true to the reason why you got into doing work for the betterment of others in the first place. While it is considered a selfless act to volunteer or to donate or to work for others, do not let yourself forget that it feels good to do good and you’ll often be better off for having done that work even if it was difficult, thankless, or draining to you mentally or physically.
Having that sense of control, to work hard towards a specific goal, and to feel better for having stuck with your good work to its end are all ways that can make us feel good about doing good. People all need to feel that sense of self-worth and to have that self-esteem be boosted a bit and that can come with taking the time or money or both to contribute to the betterment of the world around you. While time and money are precious resources for which we tightly hold onto at times, perhaps too much so, it is without question a good use of time and/or money to help those people out who are less fortunate than you are.
Only you can decide how much of either precious resource, time or money, that you would like to contribute as a volunteer but I promise that whatever you decide to take upon you in terms of doing good, you can guarantee that whatever effort or work you put in will pay you back in the most beautiful way in that sense of satisfaction and contentedness you can get from healing the world or helping a person or contributing to a social cause you care about a lot.
The work involved will be difficult and you will need to put in hours, days, and sometimes months or years to see the fruit of your labor lead to the good you sought to come about as a result. The blood, sweat, and the tears you put in may not seem worth it but if you work in a group or a team with other committed people who care about the same good work that you do, not only will it be easier, but it will be done quicker.
During the good work you do, make sure to keep reminding yourself that results will take time, that you have your goals clearly in mind as to why you’re contributing to do good in the first place, and to remember that you may not get praise from others but that your own satisfaction and happiness from contributing will be most powerful as it comes from within you. We only have so much time to volunteer and to do some good on our own terms so make sure you think deeply about how you want to contribute and why you’re contributing to that cause.
Other people, even friends and family, may question why you are dedicating your time and/or your money to the good work you’re doing, but you do not need their approval to go forward with reaching your goals. You only need to deeply internalize that doing good will make not only you feel good about it but the people or environment or our world, which will be better off as a result. If you have to justify why you did the work you did, don’t look to other people to confirm your righteousness but rather look within yourself in your heart to see what you contributed was needed, that you had the skills or the knowledge to help out, and that the impact you made was measurable and that it could ‘ripple’ out through the society and the entire world.
Camera: iPhone 12
Location: Caleb Smith State Park; Long Island, New York, United States
“Man or woman was not meant to spend all day under fluorescent lighting in an indoor place without windows, natural light, or sun.”
Man or woman was not meant to spend all day under fluorescent lighting in an indoor place without windows, natural light, or sun. While modern life often forces us to work and live in less-than-ideal conditions, we often have to spend our time away from nature and where we feel most comfortable. Whether it is a factory, an office, a clothing store, a mall, or a movie theater, we spend somewhere between 80% – 90% of our lives indoors. While many people consider this to be a normal part of life, I would argue that while it may be ‘normal’ in our modern age, it is far from healthy for all of us.
While we do have limited choice on where we live, where we work, where we eat, etc., I would encourage everyone reading this to remember that we as human being are most comfortable, free, and healthy when we are in a natural environment. In nature whether it is a beach, a jungle, a mountainside, or a forest, while intimidating at first, once you get used to being in the great outdoors, it is hard to get used to being inside or routinely indoors again. You never lose that yearning to be breathing fresh air, swimming in fresh air, and cooking fresh food over an open flame.
I truly believe that this is kind of environment is what is best for our health and well-being. When we are in a natural environment, the stress is less for all involved, we tend to be more social especially if we must cooperate to fish, to hunt, or to cook food together, and there is a great sense of satisfaction achieved from climbing, hiking, fishing, swimming, or starting a fire that you can’t get in other environments.
If you do not have the great outdoors near you, at least make the effort to get outside on your balcony, your rooftop, or even your garden if you have one. I promise that you will feel refreshed from getting out of the florescent light and into real sunlight. While being indoors is not a bad thing, I do think that we have overindulged in modern life in an effort to keep ourselves comfortable rather than challenging ourselves by dealing with the outdoor elements.
No matter where we come from, all our ancient ancestors had to deal with the elements. That is why being out in nature is most rewarding because that is what our ancestors had to deal with for thousands of years. Modern agriculture and industry have been around for maybe a few hundred years in terms of its adoption by most of humanity. We are still more accustomed to being out in the jungle, savannah, or forest rather than inside a city or a factory farm. It is unfortunate that most of our time at work or at home is indoors because there is a lot that can be done outdoors and for which we can socialize with each other in different ways.
If you cannot get outdoors as much as you want, try to at least take 10-15 minutes out of your day to go for a walk or to get lunch and sit outside. If you are having a bad day, I can guarantee that having the sun shining down and the breeze hitting you can really improve how you feel, if only for a short while. Instead of going to a bar or a movie on a warm, spring day, encourage your friends to go hiking or to go hang out at the park instead. You can also make use in some places of an outdoor gym where you can lift weights, do calisthenics, or even practice Yoga with the wind at your back.
When you’re at work, see if you can’t encourage your colleagues to do a working lunch outdoors one day a week when the weather’s nice or to do an event outdoors if possible. A team building event, as cliché as it sounds, can be a good idea to spend more time outdoors if you can ask your boss to do a retreat somewhere where you can be outdoors part of the time or to maybe go hiking, try out kayaking, or walk around the city together to boost your comradery or teamwork.
Society may be pulling you to go from your car to your office to your home and to do it all over again each day but that is no way to live. Try to find the time to get out of unnatural environments and be in nature again, whatever kind of nature that is. You are not meant to be indoors for 90% of your life. Instead of being in your car, walk or bike to work if you can or try to have a work meeting outdoors if you’re remote or can ask your colleagues to do it there.
Taking a trip or vacation where you’re mostly outdoors, exploring new environments, and trying different activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, bungee jumping, skydiving, etc. are ways that you can broaden your horizons and enjoy what the wide world has to offer. Life will get very boring and repetitive if you are constantly going from one indoor environment to another indoor environment without mixing it up. You should remember that it is no way to live and especially no way to live healthily.
Remember to get yourself outside at least 30 minutes to an hour each day. You owe it to your mind and body to put yourself in a natural environment, whichever one is most comfortable to you. A change of scenery can do a world of good. If you’re feeling like you have no energy, are going through the motions, and are just plain bored, getting outdoors and into nature may be the closest thing to a cure. Try to encourage others to do the same as it is healthier, and you’ll feel better from having involved others to be in nature with you. Man or woman was not meant to be indoors for most of our lives and I hope that you all will spend more of your lives outdoors in natural environments and less time indoors under fluorescent lighting.
Camera: iPhone 12
Location: United States National Arboretum; Washington, District of Columbia, United States
“My philosophy on enjoying what life has to offer and its libations such as food, drink, or gambling is ‘Everything in Moderation.’”
I find that it is very important to find balance in life whenever possible whether that’s between work and play, relaxation, and exertion, and even abstaining and indulging. My philosophy on enjoying what life has to offer and its libations such as food, drink, or gambling is ‘Everything in Moderation.’ I mean that kind of balance for adults who I usually write for when it comes to being of the legal age for these types of indulgence and regarding what is legally allowed to put as a disclaimer up front. Life should be enjoyed responsibly especially if you’re hoping to find pleasure out of it.
Still though, it can be hard to find a balance of enjoying something too much or not at all. I have nothing against people who abstain entirely from food, drink, gambling, or other risky yet fun activities nor do I think it’s harmful to indulge a bit too much on the rare occasion where someone can go a bit overboard as long as they’re not hurting themselves or others from that kind of overindulgence. However, I don’t think it’s right to deny someone entirely when they would like to enjoy something in moderation nor is it right to indulge their vices so much that they end up either getting addicted to the vice or abusing it when those around them know that it’s become a problem.
You have to be looking out for your own health and well-being especially as you get older and age out of certain pleasures. However, if you have the self-awareness to realize which vice(s) you should stay away from or be extra cautious about, you should work to make sure you don’t indulge as much as you want to. Self-control around different pleasures can be difficult so if you need help from people around you to temper your indulgences or need to stay away from it entirely, there is no shame in doing so. Certain people can enjoy something moderately like a glass of wine or a cigar every now and then without becoming dependent on it. There are those people who are unable to do so at the same time when they play poker, go to the dinner buffet, or bet on a sporting event though.
Certain indulgences hold sway over the individual person more than others, so you must be aware of which vices or pleasures you really enjoy and learn to temper your use or consumption of them. It’s good to be self-aware and exercise self-control so that one glass of wine each night doesn’t become three or four glasses each night or that when you bet money on Fantasy Football once a year with friends, you don’t end up betting multiple times on different Fantasy Sports leagues where you’re losing a lot more money without controlling how much you’re betting.
If an obsession becomes an unhealthy addiction, I think that is cause enough to abstain entirely from that vice or indulgence. If you are being harmed by it or others around you are hurting cause of the addiction, you need to abstain entirely because moderation won’t be able to cut it then. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to give up a cigar or some wine because of you have a gambling or betting addiction, but you just need to recognize what pleasurable activities you can take too far and which moderation does not work. If you like to gamble too much, it doesn’t mean you need to give up alcohol or fast food entirely too as a result.
Part of being a healthy, mature, and responsible adult is recognizing that life is to be enjoyed but to do so responsibly by knowing your own limits both mentally and physically. If your health, money, or relationships are being affected by the fact that you’re indulging too much or abstaining entirely, you may need to rethink your relationship to that pleasurable activity that you enjoy. I do believe that ‘everything in moderation’ can be done for most people who know their limits, who understand what they are doing is legal yet must be consumed or done responsibly and legally and are able to recognize when others are going too far or may need to tone it back a lot.
It’s good to learn about moderation when you’re first in college or in your 20s so as you get older, you form those healthy habits around vices, indulgences, or fun activities that you know require you to be responsible and mature about them but for which you know what is moderate and what is excessive.
Regarding prohibition or having people forced to be abstinent, banning alcohol and making it illegal to obtain, buy, or sell liquor in the United States during that 1920s era failed miserably. Partly as a result, bootlegging and organized crime came about to help fill the supply for alcohol because demand did not go away even when alcohol was illegal. Responsible adults of legal drinking age had to go to ‘speakeasies’ and ‘backroom bars’ to drink, dance, and enjoy their free time after work.
I would argue that during prohibition, the average adult American wasn’t looking to abuse alcohol even when it was illegal, but that they enjoyed having a drink or two with work colleagues, friends, or family after a hard day’s work and were denied that pleasure. It didn’t work for long as that amendment was repealed, and people were trusted by the larger society and government again to drink alcohol moderately and responsibly without issue.
When it comes to alcohol, gambling, and even smoking, adults should be allowed to make their own decisions about their consumption or taking part in those activities. Of course, it is vital to be aware of the negative health consequences or issues that come as a result, but to forcibly make abstaining the only way forward would not make it go away. Rather, it’s important to educate about how to enjoy these ‘vices or pleasures’ moderately and responsibly, while helping those people who overindulge or get addicted to these pleasures, and may need help, support, rehabilitation, instead of judgment, neglect, and punishment.
At the end of the day, adulthood comes with responsibilities in our society including gaining wisdom, judgment, and acting responsibly. Acting responsibly includes enjoying life’s pleasures but to do so in moderation because abstaining or overindulging should be avoided as much as possible, and we should do well to know our own limits and know what a vice is, how to manage it, and what to do when we need to rethink our relationship around one. ‘Everything In Moderation’ is a good start in terms of that relationship but if you want to abstain entirely, you should also be free to do so but be careful as well to avoid overindulgence but if it is to happen once or twice, it is not the end of the world as they say. Be careful, be safe, be responsible, and remember to enjoy life, because we only get one life to live.