What I learned from “The Great Gatsby”

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At some point in your life, you were probably forced to read The Great Gatsby in high school or college, and while you may have thought it was a waste of time to read because you may not enjoy reading, it had some good lessons to learn from. What F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby taught me:

1. You can’t repeat the past.
“Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!”
No matter what Jay Gatsby may think, you cannot repeat the past. While he was a firm believer in being able to repeat the past in order to change decisions and circumstances that took place, it wasn’t a realistic outlook. Though you cannot repeat and change the past, you can essentially start over and leave the past in a trail of dust behind you.

2. Money is a disguise.
Many elaborate parties, excess amounts of alcohol, classy dinners, shimmering dresses, bright cars, large houses… the list goes on. While money may resemble happiness on the outside, it’s a mask for what’s really hiding on the inside.
-Jay Gatsby can throw as many parties as he wants and put on a sophisticated smile, but Daisy is not there… he is not happy.
-Daisy has more than most young wives yet she is absolutely miserable.

3. You cannot hide the details of your personal life from others forever.
Sugar-coated on the outside, dark on the inside… everybody has their secrets. Daisy’s husband is having an affair with a lower class woman, Nick Carraway is becoming an alcoholic, Jay Gatsby is running an interesting operation in his free time and tends to have anger issues deep down.

4. Your lies will often lead you to be alone.
Twisting the truth to sound better, richer, and more intelligent may sound nice in the moment but the repercussions may not be as nice. Gatsby elaborated a lot of his life story to impress the crowd and in the end, he was found out. When Gatsby died… he was left alone, no one came to visit him and this has a lot to do with the media thinking he had done criminal acts but also because of the lies he became tangled in throughout his lifetime.

In retrospect, The Great Gatsby is an enchanting, yet tragic tale of love, heartbreak, young money, and social upheaval during the roaring twenties. While it all sounds so beautiful and fun, like any story there are obstacles everyone must attempt to get around.
The past is the past.
Money does not bring happiness.
You can’t hide your secrets forever.
Lies unfortunately equal loneliness.

Life is a beautiful struggle, old sport.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

25 “Must Read” Books for Your Summer Reading List!

Whether you are a writer, a business man or woman, a scientific genius, or a professional couch potato, this list of “must read” books is sure to make a mark on your life, and summer reading list! These are dearly loved books that have been read by millions of individuals over the years, add yourself to that number!

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
“You have bewitched me body and soul.” – Mr. Darcy

2. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” – Cathy

3. The Plague – Albert Camus
“But what does it mean, the plague? It’s life, that’s all.”

4. My Ántonia – Willa Cather
“That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.”

5. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
“The mind of a man is capable of anything!”

6. The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”

7. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (“Gasp, there is a book!?’ You ask. Why of course there is old sport, sometime before the ever so popular new release of the movie, try 1925!)
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

8. The Scarlet Letter – Nathanial Hawthorne (Unfortunately, “Easy A” only touched the surface… there’s nothing like being called a harlot!)
“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.”

9. The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Malcolm X (History at its finest.)

10. Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller (Sure, maybe marrying Marilyn Monroe wasn’t one of his best ideas, but he wrote phenomenal plays!)
“The jungle is dark but full of diamonds, Willy.”

11. The Horror and Mystery Tales – Edgar Allan Poe (Is that a heartbeat I hear thumping underneath the floorboards?)

12. Call It Sleep – Henry Roth (The struggle for Jewish immigrants in America.)

13. Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
“If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she’s late?”

14. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”

15. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain (or Samuel Clemens if you will…)
“Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.”

16. The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
“It was not well to drive men into final corners; at those moments they could all develop teeth and claws.”

17. Lord of the Flies – William Golding (Who has the conch?)
“The thing is- fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.”

18. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (Smoke a little Peyote Cactus and you’re good to go…)

19. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
“I am no bird, and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

20. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller (Is your life full of “Catch-22’s?”)

21. Emma – Jane Austen
“I may have lost my heart, but not my self-control.”

22. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”

23. Steppenwolf – Hermann Hesse
“Solitude is independence.”

24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
“Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of an intelligent woman.”

25. Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse (You may need to look to Buddha for this one!)
“Your soul is the whole world.”

Replace “fear of the unknown” with curiosity…

fear of the unknown

“Our fears are more numerous than our dangers, and we suffer more in our imagination than in reality.” – Seneca

Fear is a powerful human emotion that keeps some from taking chances in life that will be extremely beneficial. When we perceive something as “dangerous” our idea of fear takes the leading position in the actions and choices we make. Though this may be helpful in some instances, what our mind may perceive as dangerous doesn’t actually mean it’s physically harmful. While fear is a common survival mechanism, it’s also a demon that can bring you down when you have no trust.

Fear is a personal battle in my life because it has completely pushed me away in the past from what I desperately needed the most. I spent too long thinking about the negative results that could surface if I let a certain person into my life. Instead of looking at the positive aspects, the future, and the happiness that could surround my life, I focused all my attention on the “what ifs?”Β I plagued my mind with being hurt, used, and betrayed even though deep in my heart I knew this person wouldn’t treat me like that.

Fear is attached to other emotions and memories that you may have experienced in the past, which is what led me to push myself away from the positive in my life due to my fear that things could end wrong… I could be hurt… I could be lost. Trust was the huge missing piece to why I let fear take over my mind; I HAD NONE.

It was only about 4 weeks ago that I realized what I had been pushing into the dark abyss of mind in order to keep from thinking about it… love drives out fear. I was constantly grasping for things and people I could not reach because fear kept me from taking that small extra step. Once I took it, and drove fear out by letting love in I was living in a totally different world.

Fear was the prison that led my heart to believe there was no hope. Now that’s a sorry and sad thought. My heart, which has always been ready to love unconditionally was rattling the chains on the door of fear, wanting out but too blind to see the key was right there.

Life is always full of uncertainty and that cannot stop us from loving and simply existing.

Here the world spins, people live, move, breathe, love, die. Beautiful and terrible things will happen here. Do not be afraid.

Masquerading Hypocrites

Masquerading Hypocrites

“The polite culture demanded SINCERE consideration for others. The project of self-improvement was supposed to produce TRUE gentleman and ladies, NOT hypocrites masquerading as respectable.”

Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson hit it right on the spot… but what happened to striving for this kind of “polite culture” in the world today? Though some seek this, others do not. I wish to someday see a majority striving for this kind of life. It sounds so splendid, so pleasant.