The Skyline Destiny

Flying in, I could feel the electricity in the air, the constant state of unrest, and the love of productivity balanced with longing for the life of the party. Outside the small plane window, buildings so tall that they could scrape the underbelly of the plane were lit up, bright and perpetually awake. Everyone was out on the town from the paupers, to the wealthy, to the college kids, to the happy families from Brooklyn and Queens. New York City looked alive, as it did almost every night. From the moment we disembarked, the air was muggy and warm, even at that late hour.

The city of love welcomed us with open arms. That night, I too fell in love, not with a person, but rather, with New York City itself. It was that night when I finally felt everything that I had worked for truly come to fruition. All my work and long hours had led up to this trip, to this city.

You know how people say that they saw this one person, they locked eyes, and it was love at first sight? That’s exactly what I experienced that night. The moment I laid eyes on New York City, I fell instantly, completely, and hopelessly in love. I felt like I belonged there- like it was meant to be- like I was already at home in that beautifully-foreign oasis.

One of the best things about New York City is the incredible diversity of people, lives, landscapes, and personalities. Each street is a new neighborhood, each area full of a very different set of people. Every street is more glamourous and lovely than the last. But it is also as historic as any museum and as modern as the empire it represents. Everyone is so unique in New York, but many of them remind me of myself- dreaming always, working constantly, staying up late every single night, bitchy as ever on a regular basis, and opinionated about everything.

Maybe one day I’ll call New York home. And maybe one day I’ll get tired of all the hustle and bustle. But for today, that’s all still in the future. Today, all I can do is dream, work, and wait to see what my future holds. For now, I hope it’s a skyline destiny, and I think it will be. The city is as diverse as I am, and love is love. I made a promise to myself and the city that night that one day I would make it there and I will find it hard to renege on that. I belong in New York and I always have. One day at a time, one little step at a time, one day closer to my skyline destiny.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Someday We’ll Be Smarter

Source: lovethispic.com

Source: lovethispic.com

We wake, consumed in the fleeting bliss of dreamland. But soon, reality sets in and we realize that we are back in the drowning layers of despair. We long for the days when everything was perfect, when our lives were simple, when nothing really mattered much; because now, it does. We loathe ourselves for the mistakes of the past, knowing full well that this is pointless – the past is gone, unchangeable, and starkly painful. We miss the love we used to have but know that logically, it could not last. Love lasts only as long as it need to, and then life moves on. We are left, as quickly as we’ve fallen in love, with nothing but the words “Goodbye; Thank you for loving me.” And then they are gone.

Someday, we’ll be smarter; we’ll realize that happiness and love never last and are only ephemeral- this being the only reason that they matter at all. We’ll love more honestly someday- we’ll try harder and stay longer.

Someday, our lives will have meaning, we’ll love each other, and we’ll be ourselves. I dream, as I’m sure you do, of a world where hatred is nonexistent and injustice is rectified.

But this is today. We are delusional in thinking that one day the world will be better- that we will be smarter- because we are human- incorrigible and inherently imperfect. We love one another transiently, wandering towards our future loves rather than focusing the moment, finding joy in all that we possess now. Too quick to fall into sullen depravity, we push away even those whom we are closest to. We deride each other for the sheer joy, finding the pain of others conciliatory to our own morose depression. We are capricious when it comes to relationships, surprising even ourselves with our lack of empathy and quickness to leave. Recognizing and controlling even the simplest joys in our lives becomes routine and innately pedestrian. And for what, so at least we can fall asleep knowing we’re in control?

We are beings of habit, fearful when confronted with change. Constraining our feelings, we hope to deter pain; although it still reaches all of us in its way.

Someday, we’ll be smarter. We won’t let ourselves get hurt. But because of that, we won’t live. Pain and sorrow allow us to live, to learn, and to grow. We are all infantile without the complexities of our own mistakes, and in turn, the lessons we learn. Our past and the subsequent hindsight allow us to look back and be grateful while also moving on with our lives. All we can hope for is that one day, we’ll wake up and say “Thank you. I love you. I always will, but my life moves on and so will yours. I will never forget you.”

Only on that day, will we truly be smarter.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

The Way We Live

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The way we live is the way that the world is. We live for the beauty in everything that we see. We live to become better, to become brighter, and to become more alive.

We follow our dreams because it is the only thing we know how to do. We follow the people we hope to become, living each day, hoping that it will matter. Every day we wish for the life we want to live, but it is a long way off. We dream because we must have hope, we must will ourselves to live on.

We work tirelessly day-in and day-out, pushing forward into the unknown, groping for the future we so desperately wish to possess. Work becomes us because work is the final frontier; work is the path to our dreams. When we are young, we believe that dreams just come true, that one day we will simply wake up, and our aspirations will have become reality overnight. But soon we realize that the world is so much more intelligent and complex than that. To see a dream realized without contemplation and magnificent labor is to have created a volatile and unsustainable dream. We find out that in order to maintain happiness and to sustain that dream, we must work every day for it.

We live to work, to learn, and to help the world become a more beautiful place. The world is our canvas and we have to paint a more beautiful picture, leaving our own unique mark on history.

Our own unique perspective fuels us; we charge on, moving towards an unknown, but unexpectedly spectacular goal far off in the future. And we are successful, not because of outside influences, but because of our on interior drive for success. We change the world because of the way we live, the way we choose to live each and every day of our lives.

We are the ones who’s light’s stay on many hours past dusk as we work on into the night. We are the ones who are up at dawn and ready to change our lives, our careers and the entire planet each moment.

We are not alone, we are living together and for each other; our purpose on this planet is to love one another and make the world a more equal, loving, and prosperous planet overall.

This is the way we live, and it’s the way we should be living. Because this is the life we were meant to live and these are things we are supposed to be doing. And we must continue on, learning, living, thriving, working, loving, and thinking every day. That’s the way we live.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Why Do We Fear Change?

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I fear that which I cannot predict yet I also fear the truth.

Why is it that we fear change so much? Life moves on around us constantly and it would seem that we are rooted firmly in the past, knowing not what the future holds and resenting ourselves immensely for that. We like stability and security, and so change scares us.

I have always felt like a person who’s prepared for whatever comes my way. But recently I have feeling substantially more fearful of the future. I will be moving not only towns soon, but also to a new state and region entirely, and I will be doing that alone. I think we fear change in this way because it is a loss of security, a loss of basic comforts that we must face alone. When we embrace change, we are going out on a limb and becoming someone new; we are doing that entirely on our own, and that frightens us.

In our everyday lives, although we may not realize it, we are constantly met by things that are normal for us and thus subconsciously comforting. And so when life changes, we are then forced to acquire new comforts and create new normalcy in our new lives. Newness is what scares us; we are afraid of the unknown future. But we must travel on in our lives, or we will never go anywhere.

Change is often the best thing for us, but it is also one of the scariest things. We fear change mainly because it means that all we have known will not be the same anymore which is undeniably terrifying for everyone on this earth.

As I look back at my life thus far, there have not been many changes of magnitude. But as I look forward, my career, my location, and my personal life are all uncertain which alarms me. I am a person who likes to be in control and the fact that I am not and will not be for a least a little while horrifies me.

What we all need to realize though is that we are the sole creators of our future and we have the power to change our destiny any way we want to. In my own life, I have realized that while I make the transition from rural Colorado to Long Island, New York, I must be willing to sacrifice some control for the benefits that the change will generate. And I must also be willing to step up and take control of my life to change my life the way I want to change it.

I was talking to someone the other day who was describing how she was close to retirement and scared of both a change in her future financial security and a change in her purpose in life. And the primary emotion I heard was fear, fear for the future and of things she could not control. And what I thought to myself was that this woman had a right to be scared. I understood her fear, because I have those same types of concerns for my future.

I think people are remarkably similar and vulnerable too, when it comes to their fears for the future. But what we all must realize is that fear of change is okay, but we must embrace change in order to move forward. Change is a piece of life and it’s the reason that life is interesting.

So accept your justified concerns as a way of comprehending your options. And overall, embrace your future and live your life the way you want to live it; change is just part of the journey.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Dead, Hopefully

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It was late January and as I drove my Honda along the long, dark highway, all I could think about was the all-encompassing death I was heading towards faster and faster every day. My career was in the toilet, my love-life was on its way to its death, my hope was dead, and worst of all, my ambitions were dead-and-gone. Death had swallowed my life whole, and now it was simply spitting out the bones one by one, leading me into the dark alleyways of despair. I breathed- in…out…in…out- the simple task of breathing seeming somehow more difficult than living another day on this earth.

Lost, desperate, lonely, and hopeless, I drove on through the night, a lone pair of headlights illuminating the suffocating darkness.

What was it that they used to say back in Catholic school?

“When God closes a door, he opens a window.”

What a load of bullshit. When God closes a door, he fucking slams it as hard as he can in your fucking face.

Career: unemployed; spouse: none, twice divorced; kids: none; life: DEAD. The only thing I had to show for twenty-seven long fucking years of life was my old shitty-ass Civic, Marge, as I called her. Marge was my one true companion; she seemed to love me no matter what.

I was driving on the highway towards… well… towards the end, wherever that was. I was finding my new life at the other end of a long, winding highway- how fucking euphemistically cliché. Bitter, that’s how Aunt Lois used to describe me, bitter, resentful, nasty, and her favorite one, fucked-up. I was as far removed from the fucking bitch as I could get; I moved across the country just to finally evade her grasp. Lois was a poised, elegant woman when she wanted to be, but Lois didn’t often want that.

Marge purred along as my mind wandered aimlessly through the dark.

Back in Illinois, I had always believed that it would work out, that I would make it big and never come back to this God-forsaken hellhole. My whole life had been like that, always running away from something. First it was my family, primarily Aunt Lois, and then it was my first marriage, and now, it was my entire God-damned life. Running…

Cities appeared and then flashed by, my destination was unknown, but I was sure that none of this was it. I was ready for death now, nothing could stop me. Happiness had left me. You know what they say; when life gives you lemons- fucking give up. Well, life gave me a whole fucking lemon grove, and guess what, I fucking gave up.

I hated Lois for who she had become, a crotchety, selfish, old cunt who did nothing but bitch all day long. Thank God her poor husband Lester had died so at least he was in a better place now- hopefully a very quiet, peaceful one. I had spent enough years of my life with Lois to realize that death was better than having to put up with that old bat.

I was close now, the road was about to end, one more path ending abruptly in death. Mine was just one life, would it really matter? I longed for death, for only in death was the pain gone, were the voices silenced, was the anguish extinguished.

But death was too fair, suffering was much more realistic. And so I suffered. And I still suffer, and I’m alive. I guess that’s good, being alive. I wouldn’t know if death is any better since I’ve never reached it.

I guess it’s safe to say that the road never ended that night- who knows when it will end. Life’s a bitch as they say, and you know what, so am I. I’m a fucking bitch, and that’s ok, there are lots of us out there.

I hope death is a little less unfortunate, that’s what I fucking hope. Oh well…

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Love Is… A Life Story

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Love knows no boundaries. Love is limitless. It is undiscriminatory. Love is unconditional and blind in its stark equality. Love is both indefinable and definite.

For all that love is, it remains as an underlying context as well as an all too familiar companion in life. But with its numerous virtues aside, love is painful, bitter, and heartbreaking. Love strengthens our resilience while in turn silencing our pride, humbling our very being, and squelching our quasicomfortable facade. We are in love, we are out of it, but the line between the two is existentially undefined as well as inexorably finite. We feel each experience with clarity, we know the journey of life is ephemeral and stern, and we contrive our self-esteem and self-sufficiency every day in preparation for love; but in all reality, not a single one of us isn’t blind-sided by the sheer intensity, the rancor, and the turmoil caused by love and its repercussions.

We cover our pain and sorrows in the scarves, the clothes, the cars, the handbags, the shoes, the alcohol, the makeup, and the hairstyles, but deeply recessed within the impenetrable layers of concealers, we still experience vivid sentiments of hatred, anguish, vengeance, suffering, and most of all, heartbreak.

Love never withers; nor does it succumb to vagrant dormancy. It is seldom forgotten. Love as coincident with passion flames vivaciously in fury. Love is raucous, it is undeserving, it is timid, it is venomous, it is pretentious, it is stubborn, and it is ignorant, but it is paramount to existence. A life without love is purposeless, cruel, and discontent. But incidentally, a life with love seems just as discordant and spiteful.

But, we live onward; we love onward. We try to forget; we try to remember; we try to live and laugh and love as best we can. Failure isn’t an option in love and so succeeding becomes the solitary alternative as necessitated by our aspirations for our lives. Our fate is indeterminate and our love is similarly unstipulated, but we live each day hoping the next one will be the day we fall in love. We are imprudent with love, but we are reasonable in our decision to keep trying, to keep hoping, to keep living, because tomorrow could be filled with love, and only time will tell what the future holds.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Balancing Life

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Being a person who is balanced within all aspects of their life is so often taken for granted these days. We all juggle a lot with how busy all of our lives really are nowadays. But it isn’t recognized quite enough when and individual stands out from the crowd as being a balancing artist. Very often, these are the entrepreneurs of our world, busy day and night and always running off to one meeting or another. But what is the real secret behind living a balanced lifestyle, one might ask.

We are constantly stretched thinly between our career, our friends, our love-life and our family-life. And all too often, when one aspect of life gets just a little too busy and a little too taxing, the rest begin to slip through the cracks. When work starts to expend all of our energy and absorb all of our time, our love dies out. And when we spend too much time vacationing or watching TV, our love life and career fall flat almost immediately.

The day we learn to balance our lives impeccably is also, unfortunately, the day we lose something we love or something goes wrong. It’s the day that we get fired, broken up with, feel lonely without friends, or get fed up with the constant state of exhaustion we are lingering in.

Our lives are in constant motion, and so we must learn to keep up if we have any hope of retaining sanity, health, or even happiness. Balance must be reached daily, or life falls apart. Without love, we are lonely; without friends, we are lost; and without our career, we are purposeless and moneyless too.

So too, is it important to balance our imagination with the reality around us. For without one, there is no hope of existence for the other. We must remain grounded while hopeful, joyful while lonesome, and balanced while the world caves in around us. For we are gods in a sea of dying angels and rebels in a world of depressing realities, and we will always be survivors battling life solitarily but perseveringly.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Scotland, The Cutest Place on Earth

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When I arrived two days ago in Edinburgh, Scotland, cute was not the original word I would have used to describe it. Dirty, loud, foreign, these are closer to what I said when I first started walking around the foggy streets. But my thoughts on this place have changed. Scotland is actually pretty adorable. Between the incredible cathedrals and museums, the gorgeous gardens and parks, and the cute Scottish boys, Scotland is cute in the best way possible.

Since the reason that I’m on this trip is that my dad is leading it as a Study Abroad program for the University of Colorado, yesterday we went off in pairs to explore, discover, and get lost in (literally) Edinburgh and Scottish culture. And what I found was that each part of the city was different, incredible and full of beauty in its own unique way. The people were different, the food was different, even the building were very different. And it’s all pretty much gorgeous.

Toady we went off to explore again, this time with specific aims to find out more about a certain piece of Scottish culture. My group went off first to the Scott Monument, a statue and surrounding tower paying tribute to the great author, Sir Walter Scott. Next, we went to the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland, which houses all the portraits of the Scottish Royalty, as well as paintings and photographs of Scottish history, sports, authors, and artists. And last, we went off to the National Gallery of Scotland, which has a collection of other Scottish artwork, landscapes, portraits, and even impressionist paintings. All were beautiful, although one can only look at some many royal portraits before they want to run away screaming. Through the art, we learned not only about the people within the art, but also the painters, the history, and the countless stories told through each and every piece. The thing about being here in Scotland is that every piece of this place, every building and every street has meaning. Every person in each of the paintings was important in Scottish history and helped to make it the country it is today.

But to me at least, the real value of Scotland is that it’s not only historically and culturally relevant, but it also houses a level of beauty and aesthetic importance that brings in the many thousands each year. Scotland’s “cuteness” lies in its ability to captivate and inspire people. It lies in the mountains and glens of the highlands, and in each and every churchyard. Each park that I walk through every day houses a new beauty and “cuteness.” Each person (especially the boys) that I meet here is adorably cute in there own inevitable and very Scottish way.

As I was walking through one of the courtyards of a church today, I saw an adorable boy, apparently on holiday to Scotland. The churchyard was quiet and solemn, so was I, so was the boy. But there were was a hidden exuberance and lovely peacefulness between all of us. There was a shared charm , a living existence, and it was beautiful. That’s why I love Scotland, because its real, because its honest, because it’s cute!

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Destination: Scotland

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As I blog to you today, I sit, looking out the window of my hostel, at the quiet streets of Edinburgh. The past few days and even the past few hours have been anything but quiet. I awoke only a little over a day ago, and began frantically cleaning and packing, preparing any last minute things the I could for the upcoming trip. By noon, we were almost ready, and by 12:20, we were off leaving my beautiful dog Sophie behind. First came the easy part, the car ride down to the bus and then the hour-long bus ride to the airport. Next came the irritating piece, security and boarding. And then the mundane segment, the first flight from Denver to Minneapolis.

Soon, but not soon enough, we were on the ground in Minneapolis, running from one plane to the next, just in time. Here’s where it got fun! The flight was on one of the huge international jets with fancy bathrooms, comfy seats, blankets and pillows, and of course, great food. I was actually starting to get excited and lose the worry at this point. I snuggled in, and after eight hours, two meals, and little sleep, we were finally on the ground in Amsterdam. The airport was beautiful, with fresh smoothy shops, cheese, a museum, a lounge, and even a library. Because of the lack of sleep and the comfy surroundings, the library served as a perfect place for us to rest up and recuperate.

By the time we got on the next flight, we were too tired to even think. I just slumped down in my seat and listened to music while dozing for the entire flight. And then we were there, in Edinburgh! When we exited the airport I almost was a little disappointed by the surroundings, bare grass fields and small buildings. But as soon as the bus hit the edge of town, that all changed.

There were cute little houses arranged with rose gardens and cobblestone driveways out front. And then we saw the castles and the churches and the enormous towering old apartment buildings. When we got off the bus, it was just a short walk up to the hotel. Inside we found the modest, but homey apartment we would be staying in for the next three weeks. The bedrooms were simple, with some artwork and fairly large closets. The living room, dining room, and kitchen were nicer with couches, more art, a couple of tables, a sink, an oven, and even a clothes washer. Overall, the apartment was livable, if in somewhat disrepair. Going out to dinner, we decided to go to a pub, but when we arrived, it turns out that the over-18 rule was strictly enforced, so we headed on to a pizza, burger, and kebab place and got lamb kebab and chips, and felafel. The food was good, and the view of the rain-soaked evening streets was even better. After dinner we walked around for a while, wandering through block after block of restaurants, bars, and apartments.

By the end of the day, we were incredibly tired, and I feel asleep blogging and writing. First impressions: wow, beautiful buildings, beautiful setting, sexy-ass boys. Life is good.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

All Dressed in Love

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I have grown so much in the last couple of weeks. I have lived so much and learned so much and realized so much. But one thing that I have learned which was always there I think, is that you should never forget love. I was watching Sex and the City the other day, and I know this sounds corny, but I got inspired by it. There has always been something very inspiring about the ending to the the movie for me. I think it may be nothing more than Jennifer Hudson’s incredible song “All Dressed in Love,” but I always feel like I want to love more people in my life, and cherish the incredible friendships that I already have. I want to open my heart up more and let in the love from everyone in my life.

In the end of Sex and the City there is such an incredible feeling of lifelong friendship. In that scene, they have realized that their friendship is about more than silly little things and that they will always love each other, through the best and worst of times. That ending seen always reminds me of two things: the incredible relationships that I both love and take for granted and the power of waking up every day and ‘dressing yourself in love,’ so to speak. By living every day the way you want to and making the most out of every minute, you come to realize a new appreciation for the power of happiness and love. You live the way you want to, you love the people that you love, and you make the decision whether to ‘dress yourself in love’ every day.

By ‘dressing yourself all in love,’ you are saying that you will focus more on the love in your life than on the hate. You are saying that you are stronger than most people, and that you will never let yourself feel bad because of someone else’s hate. When you ‘dress yourself in love,’ you are saying that you love yourself so much, that nothing will ever bring you down. You are saying that you love everyone, no matter who they are. You are saying that you will simply write off and forget about anything but pure and true love.

‘Dressing yourself in love’ is about dressing the way you want to, expressing yourself, and being the most honest version of yourself. It means you will never forget your dreams or stop loving the people you fall so hard in love for. It means that you will remember the good times and not the bad. It means that you will live every day as honestly as you can, never being untrue to yourself or others about your feelings.

When I started on my journey to better myself and my life, I told myself that above almost anything else, being ‘all dressed in love’ would be my guiding light. Although I admit that I am sometimes loud and mean, I am always honest. Because I have realized that I love love more than anything else in this world. And love is based on truth and honesty. I have learned to love myself and my life more than anything else. I have learned to love every moment that I spend with my friends, family, and lovers, the good and the bad. Life is all about love. I am always ‘all dressed in love.’ Love is my life.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones