All posts by Kevinatadesk

I am usually a man of few words

For the Decade

Years, months, days
Hours, minutes, seconds  
 The years have come and gone
 People have done the same
 Become dust to dust
 A bittersweet taste in the air
But what can i say?
What would I give for the rewind button?
 Would I want to live through the teenage wasteland?
 What about the wonder years, decadent daydreaming at my desks? 
The kid has grown up but doesn't want to be lost within the world of man.
 I can not say I got here alone
 Arm and arms locked 
 Men gone and done, hidden in the clock
 I set you down, lay to rest
 For years are to come, it’s for the best.  
Now i sit and watch the clocks, waiting for a regeneration.
The regeneration i have felt before
although this one feels different,
i can feel the butterflies in my gut
i guess things will be new this time.
So before i go,
For the decade I say to you
 Goodbye, farewell, amen
 Good riddance, get out!, good bye
 For the decade I say cheers, but you need to pay the tab.  

What i Learned in Year One

Its been almost a month since i ended my first year at my first job Finally working the job that i dreamed about during those late night capstone revisions and early morning red-bull fueled walks to my assistantships. Its hard to believe that i made it here and there are still days where i look on my door and see my name with a masters degree. For those of the readers who don’t know, i am a Residence Hall director, i work as a advisor for a residence hall and have the duties of keeping students safe while also developing them to become better humans. Its been a fast paced couple of months with too many lessons to count. However finally i have the time to process it all.

Now that the summer months are upon me and i finally have time to reflect and start to develop some sort of standards and operating guidelines, or my handbook so to speak i try to write to this page what i believe i have learned and stuck with me for next year. This isn’t a manual that is meant to be published or one that many will follow because, well, its not for them. I write about this to make a digital testament to myself of how far i have come since starting this job. Its sometimes hard to write a list like this, because some of life’s lessons you have learned you want to share with the world and others you want to lock the secrets of success away so you don’t let it go and let anyone else find out. However, i don’t think these are secrets to most, but to me they are new discoveries of myself and my role.

The Things i learned in Year One:

  1. You’re gonna make some dumb mistakes, but it shows you’re human, use it to connect.
  2. Imposter syndrome is fucking legit, but its also a trap, you’re meant to be right where you are.
  3. Don’t compare yourself to your mentors, they were there developing how you could do something, now you have to find your own way to answer everything.
  4. Even when you mess up, it wont change people’s view of how you get your shit done.
  5. Ask a lot of questions instead of sitting around. When you learn you plan, when you plan you know what to do. You’re young in this field might as well take everything and filter it as you go.
  6. Don’t forget about your friends, even with a full time job you should take time to see them, they miss you.
  7. Have patience with stupidity, they may never get smarter but its better than you getting dumber in the process
  8. DON’T EAT AT THE SAME 2 RESTAURANTS, YOU’RE GONNA GET FAT (Unless you work out, then go ahead)
  9. Sometimes you need to put your head down, do your job and go home. Other days, make sure you pick up your head, you might miss something.
  10. You’re gonna have days where the soul and flesh aren’t willing. All you can do is sit, process it whether that is yelling on a car ride in the night or taking a smoke break. Then pick yourself out of the dirt and get on with the day.
  11. Don’t let yourself get personally involved in a conduct case, it clouds your judgement.
  12. Anger gets you no where, be kind but don’t let anyone get in your fucking way.
  13. Remember when you play the game of politics you either win or you make bad enemies
  14. Just remember the ” little people” will be your best foundation and best resources. Keep them on your hip
  15. Support your co workers, they are your only entertainment and its better to not piss them off.
  16. Trust your staff, they trust you and they want that reciprocated.
  17. Stop acting old and talking about experience you had, this isnt story time
  18. The golden rule still goes a long way even when you are 24.
  19. Theory is nice and all but youre gonna make something up on the fly to explain the impossible.
  20. You are only human, and there will be dark days ahead but you can be super human on multiple occasions.
  21. Dont take it personal when a staff member quits, it was never on you and they dont blame you for leaving. Just be supportive.
  22. Enjoy the job, this is what you dreamed about in classes and capstone. As the saying goes, Drive it like you stole it.
  23. They look up to you, even when you are upset they look up to you, take up the mantle and be the leader they need you to be
  24. Dont drink redbull until you are on duty.
  25. Be the RD you know you can be, fun but stern. Dedicated but direct, hard nosed but understanding.

Its a job i take great pride in; i can not thank those who gave me a chance to prove myself in this field. I can’t wait to continue to learn and add to this list with a redux next year about what i learned in year two.

The Lights Go Out; Burnout at Its Finest

Its a go, go go kinda world where we are in the finest of clothes but not the finest of minds. What a world we live in where the deadlines are sometimes the endgame, the only thing that matters after all. We balance our work and our dedication to the individual tasks that we are assigned with the delicate inter-workings of our basic human needs and desires. Our minds go until we tell them to take a breathe and decompress from all the stress we inflict upon them unfortunate for them we rarely do. We tend to go until the light and energy is depleted and we work with our emotions which barely have anything in the tank to operated.

I know in my role, i invest a lot of time and emotion in to the work that i do. As a person who is in higher education, my emotions tend to bleed into the role and it is my job to realize it and to stop the metaphorical bleeding. Its tough, there are long nights and early mornings, long calculated ideas and short off the cuff reactions. It gets to me ever so often. I tell myself to talk it out or not to invest too much into issue past the 4:30 whistle, there is a catch. i have the hooks in too deep, i’m too invested and it takes away from me. I cant always get out my own way and that can break my confidence from time to time and make me second guess if i’m some imposter and shouldn’t even be here. There are just sometimes i feel like a candle, burning the wick away.

Burnout is a real thing we all talk about it but really never do anything until its too late. We want to ignore the fact that the wick is burning too fast and still light our way with it. This hasn’t ever help one soul, if anything by ignoring the burnout you create an accelerant to the issue. To acknowledge the issue is to make the first steps in creating a slower burn. I think we all conceive the notion that we can reverse the damage by burnout and in fact that isn’t how you can solve the issue. We all burnout from time to time, that is inevitable but its what you do when you see it coming that changes the path of the person and there isn’t one correct way to go.

I have seen people ask for time off, change areas or even go to a different job because they felt that would make them happy. In the end, you need to be happy with the things you do that is one of the best ways to prevent burnout. There will always be things that frustrate you in your line of work but what needs to make you happy is the things at your core, what makes you come back for more each and every day for work. If you don’t have it you’ll find it somewhere either where you are now or where you will be going. Happiness is what we try to strive for but we sometimes just need to work a little harder to find it. I will have to take this journey very soon, the one where i can establish my core and figure out if this is what i want to be doing, is this worth all the emotional drainage? Am i even Happy? It will take a while but i think that i will find what i’m looking for very shortly.

If you are burning out, don’t feel like you are alone in this issue. Many of us fellow awkward adults are debating this many a times a day and some have found their answer and some are just starting to look. All you need to do as a start is to think. because i don’t think you should let the light burnout quite yet, you’re gonna need that soon.

I Don’t Think I’m Doing It Right.

You get a moment in time to think about your next action, your next words.

Hear the clock ticking or is that your heart running the Boston Marathon?

For a brief moment you feel as everything stops and all eyes are on you, either in distain or in belief.

Then everything goes black;

Times up! Whats your call?

i feel like when i get in something too deep when i have to be the lead, the person everyone looks to, i always feel like I’m fucking up. i feel that I’m not saying the right words or doing the right things. Even when i have the training and i go over the protocols in my head, i feel as if i fall flat on my face when i try to execute such actions.

I always feel like i’m not doing what i need to right.

i have never felt a time in recent history where i have felt confident in my actions and words and can’t stop the metaphorical train from running off the tracks. Maybe its the pressure getting to me, or the anxiety of letting down people who believe in me, the ones that really make me a better person, or maybe i just don’t want to lose the stable adulting “footing” i have for the first time in my young adult life. i like to think we the people who serve others in leadership roles suffer from the split decisions that stick in our minds and control a tangle like bind on our heart strings. We worry about the decisions we make and the words that make it to our lips because we are young and don’t want to suffer from a mis step that can make us lose our slim, finger tip grasp on what we dreamed we would be in our lives. There will be times where the pressure of making the right call or walking the proverbial line will get to us and we will need a moment here or there to decompress and to process the world and its ways. I can tell you from experience what comes of that can be many things and ways that a human can process things, not to mention that, in my case, there are sleepless nights based solely on a decision or something i said and me trying to get out of my head and into bed.

Thats kinda why this is being written at 1:07 AM on a Thursday morning because i cant sleep quite yet in my own apartment.

The reality is, we will always need to lie in our beds that we make at the end of the day. The thoughts may race through our heads and our heart rates will fly but we need to put it aside as best we can for the next issue, the next big tongue tie. Life’s dogmas and doctrines state that the past is the past but we must either learn from it or remain hurt by it. The best we can do for ourselves is to take a breath, try and talk it out with someone and just gear up for whatever comes our ways next while learning from our experiences. Life is not designed to be a wading pool, life is a fast pace river and we just need to be ready for where the current takes us next.

After all, even if we are not feeling like we are doing our jobs or responsibilities right, we are still trying to do good in this world.

I Hate Being the Nice Guy

It’s all fun and games until you get burnt.

Its not a hard concept to be a nice guy. You do the right thing, try not to let anyone down, and do things for the greater good. A nice guy extends his arm out every time and does what they can to make sure someone can succeed with the rest of the world. There are sometimes when the hand that feeds gets bitten and the nice guy finishes last. In my opinion, i try to get back to the root of why i help people and even when i get burnt in helping someone i still try to come back to my core beliefs.

But what happens when someone gets burnt a little too much?

This is what happens when you’re too much of a nice guy, you get tired of people walking over you. You get annoyed when you’ve done so much for a person and they cant appreciate the things you’ve done; a real “What have you done for me lately?” kinda mindset. You boil over and when you say something you look like the bad guy, the person that gave everything doesn’t get the credit they deserve. It poisons the mind and eats at the soul until you are consumed with the false reality that you were never good in the first place. But thats not true, you’ve just reach a compelling point in your where you are giving up the poison.

i finally reach a point where i realized i cant be the nice guy i have been for a long time. For the first time in a long time i cant play the guy who gives a lot to get a little, who worries about something out of my reach. Its making me lose my mind, and i’m sick and tired of not getting much out of anything. I hate the feeling that people do not see me doing good that i have always strived for and when i step away from my normality of being generous to them, trying to rest, they complain about how i never do anything for them. I give them everything on a silver platter and they complain about the shine.

Its about time i focus on being a nice guy to myself for the long run of things. i don’t want to walk away from helping people entirely but i see that i am not gaining what i thought i would by putting others first, so maybe its time i put the metaphorical book of others needs on the shelf and read a new story. It looks like for a while its gonna be a reflective time for myself to try and be selfish for once in my life and i mean in a good way. Its gonna take time to become adjusted to this new philosophy but hey i got my entire life to figure out myself.

I’m starting at the top of my list with the company i keep. The people i need to stay away from in my case are the ones who ask and really never give anything in return that makes me be a better human in the short life we have. i do not want to put all of myself out to help when they do not defend me in my times of need. But this is no eye . for eye my friends. Its just a simple yet complex action They got to go, it might be awkward at first but i gotta think whats best for me in the end. In the reverse sense i will uncover those who really make me better; at my job, as a person, as a family member, and in the general sense of the term. By stripping away the layers of things that take away from what makes me, me i find the real core of myself. The original layer so to speak.

If you’re in my boat i think you’ll find the first thing on your list may be different from mine and thats ok. To be a selfish person means not to give anything back to hold everything in for yourself. What we are doing is refining what we give and what we get, checking our source of joy and other things that makes us who we are as particular generous, nice people. By doing this we will lose things and people but thats ok, things like this happen naturally but since we are causing the purge so to speak it feels like we are doing it not out of self care but self hate and it looks worse to the people and things we choose to walk away from. They will think the worse of us and remember nothing but the bad even if we help them at their darkest hour. Do not think too much into this and remember that this will change things but you’ll be better on the other side.

Peace & Blessings My Friends

To My High School Teachers


Its been a long time hasnt it?

I haven’t really seen you much. I’ve been on the road lately, from college to my first job, not much time to pop in and see you. I just wanted to write this and say, well thank you, for so much. It seems like a lifetime ago that i was in your class. My mop bucket of a head sitting either right up front, or slightly in the back in the small cramped desks, honestly i think it depended on where the rows ended with my last name. I think i looked more lost than most and i still had that devilish grin on my face basically at all times. You knew if i could blend in if i wanted to or standout, depended on the day i guess. Even with this odd kid in your class, i still cant believe what my life would have been like if i didn’t have you.

I know sometimes it didnt seem like i was learning, maybe it reflected in the papers or test i handed in that was not up to the par that you knew i was capable of and i guess i just didnt know how great i was until you sat down with me and explained it all. I was listening all those classes, listening to every word you had to say or example you had to give. Especially math, even tho i absolutely was abysmal at the subject you always had time for a tutor session here or there. Even in the things i excelled at like public speaking, history or writing; you never stopped pushing me to where i could be even when i felt comfortable. Even today i still take that “Practice makes better” mentality and try to improve something of myself each day i wake up.

I wanted to be a part of sports even with my non athletic talent, you still helped me find a way.

Even when i basically had no athletic talent, you still let me be a part of the team. Even tho i was not on the ice i still felt like i was a part of the team being the manager. Maybe i had to carry sticks to the bench or fill up waters but it taught me a lesson or two lessons. It taught me, one: You need to work in the nitty gritty to earn respect and when you get higher up that hard work will pay off, and the second: You may have a minor part on a team yet you are still a member of the team and it still makes up the identity of who we are. In was able to toughen up and become a man that is respected and hardworking because of the times on the bench and in the classroom.

Even during one of the most pinnacle of times when all students have unease and butterflies in their stomach you were still my MVP. Of course I’m referring to the college process. During that process, i was so nervous that i may not get into the school i wanted or the program i was eyeing or even a . good college at all, but you never lost faith in me. You made sure i was bound for a good education no matter what it took out of your personal time. Summers writing the college essays or the Common Application run through that i think i asked about 1000 times. Look at me now, two degrees in five years and now i’m working at Colleges. Something i may never have dreamed i would do but yet you set me up for success

You don’t always get enough credit for what you do. You sacrifice some days to be at school a little bit earlier or little bit later just to give us the opportunity to bump our grades up. Even when we fell short after that support and we slipped through the crack and come begging for help you never fell flat on your desire to be what great teachers are. Even when we misbehaved i don’t think you ever yelled at us with the intent to wound, a shot across the bow as we deserved.

I cant fully explain what great impact you have had on my life, i think this letter would go off the charts and never end. Mostly because every day i use something you taught me, either from a book or who you were. You taught me what it meant to be a man of poise and class, a standard i have kept myself to for all this time. I act as a gentleman because thats what you taught me to be it, what you knew i should be. That doesn’t mean to be afraid or have too much pride, it was to stand up for what i believe in and who i believe in and to not forget the importance of standing by a good moral compass. Now that i am in charge of people as their supervisor, i stand by the example you set for me and i try to be a good example for them just as you did for me.

Although not all of you can read this right now for what ever reason prevents you, i hope you know i never forget the good teachers. The ones that live forever in our minds are the ones who took care of us but taught us life lessons even when you had giv tough love ones . We have gone on to do so many different and unique things trust me i never thought i see myself where i am today

Ill try to stop in soon, i swear and it will be like the good ole times even if im 24 and the size of a lineman. I cant wait to share that moment with you and tell you all about my journey, its a real page turner. (even if i didn’t really read in school).Until then i hope your current students really learn to appreciate the work you do.

I know we all do now

Till then, Peace & Blessings.

What it means to be Irish-American

Quick history lesson:

Many Irish immigrants came over in due part to the work that was available, the brutal Irish Potato famine, and other numerous groups fleeing the mostly unwelcome British rule over the course of some 300 plus years. Coming to America was not always the easiest of choices to be made, many of the immigrants left everything and everyone to try and have a chance at a new life. There was an old saying when you left for America; the last night everyone saw you, it was basically a “Walking funeral” because many people would not see you ever again. Men, women, and yes even children made the long oceanic journey over the “pond”. Once they got here, didn’t always end well. Irish Americans were demonized and treated with terrible life conditions and anti Irish sentiment, including the infamous signs that read ” No Irish Need apply”. Even with all these issues, the Irish still found a way to thrive, helping build the west, and being one of the major keys to modern America (well at least the good parts). Irish Americans went above the prejudice and still found a way to make a living. So much so there was even and Irish American President elected in 1960.

Now that March has rolled around yet again and that means one thing to many people: Saint Patricks day.

Yes the disgusting green beer is flowing, all the people in the world claim they are .0000001% Irish so its their holiday, and the really dumb drunk people saying they can ” drink soooo much because i got that Irish drinking skill”. Anytime these comments pop up in a conversation, i get absolutely disgusted because they are just reiterating old statements that actually have no relevance. Like congrats you know a stereotype that you don’t even get.

There is so much more to being Irish than just the Americanized binge drinking and other nonsense. First off, drinking in Ireland and in Irish culture is not a way of getting drunk as we plan on doing on St Patricks day. Its a way to socialize, to celebrate and create a welcoming and friendly environment for those to meet new people celebrate life and settle debts. Its not just about the leprechauns running in the hills of four leaf clovers and pots of gold that lay at the end of an imaginary rainbow. These things that have been characterized and created as satirical have now leaked into the truth and have created an alternative back story.

So what am i trying to get at?

The real meaning of being an Irish American.

Being Irish is being prideful of the ancestors who were some of the toughest people history recounts. From fighting the famine to fighting for independence from the British Invasion, the descendants of the Irish immigrants have fight in our blood. It has not always been easy for us, so saying your something without understanding the strife and issue we have tackled makes me sick. I get that you’re trying to play off of a holiday and not being too offensive but at the same time i cant stand when treat this holiday as the sole representation of the entire culture of Irish Americans and the Irish culture as a whole.

Irish Americans are hard working individuals that have been working for all their lives, and in the jobs that might not have been always ideal but made a dollar to support the family. They started from the bottom of the food chain to reach a standard of being considered an average American. Irish Americans may have been beaten and battered but they never broke, and they never will. Sometimes too stubborn for their own good, yet wise beyond their years that sometimes got them in trouble yet would get them out in a heartbeat. Loving and caring that mades its genes giddy with the luck. The Irish American was and will always be a person of great integrity but never cross their way with words you cant back up. The Irish American is much more than one holiday out of the calendar They are a population that is true to who they are. Even as the generations of immigrants have children and grand children, the sentiment has been passed onwards to keep your head down and work, be prideful of who they are and to make sure they are always making things better, never worse for the next guy.

i am an Irish American grand child, grandparents came over in the 1920’s during a lot of the anti irish sentiment and yet i exist because they had the dream to make it in America. They had a dream, came here , and passed down the dream to my father and he passed it down to me.

Being an Irish American descendant has lead me to believe a lot of my personality traits come from. Im stubborn to the point where i get red in the face, i keep a good morale compass and i stick up for who i think deserves it. I think a lot of other things i do, and many of my friends have noted, draws upon my heritage just as many of us do. One of the things that have bothered me over the years of learning about my heritage is seeing all the anti Irish sentiment and hearing about stories. Hearing the things they would do, how the cops use to ’round them up in the “Paddy wagon”. I think even vermin would sometimes be treated better than Irish Americans.

However, dwelling on the past without a plan for the future is fruitless. The stories i have heard encourages me to be welcoming of those looking for a new place here in the United States, amending an injustice in my opinion. What i think today being an Irish American is to be the difference, welcome the new potential citizens and create an environment that is helping them achieve their dreams of starting a new life. We as descendants or Irish immigrants should not beat the next person down the ladder as history shows us, if anything we should be helping them up each rung and breaking the cycle. I know thats what my grandparents would have wanted.

So when you start drinking on St Paddy’s day, take a moment to think about what the Irish in America went through. it doesn’t have to be anything deep or self punishing, but take a moment to remember that this part of America, this party of her heritage is more than the green beer and telling the cute guy at the bar that you’re Irish. Think about all the strong Irish men and women ( trust me the women are a hell of a lot stronger than you think, but thats another post) who added to American culture and had an impact on the world It doesn’t even have to be someone famous, i know i wont thinking about a famous person. Ill be thinking of two other people.

Just two people who make me proud to be Irish.

Going Home

I went home to where it all began

Where i grew up, once nothing more than a kid

Once belonged with a group of kids who accidentally became adults

The joys of growing old and sadness of changes in the wind

We saw the plans for the walls to change over time and wanted to believe they build a gate to let us in

Yet i have come home and everything has changed, the locks are different and the lights are on

The people no longer welcome me to their tables

Conversations seem like i am trying to keep them hostage

No longer am i a made man, no longer a person but a feral animal

i am a legend of the halls, a bronze statue of not so long ago

Sometimes when i see those who i have raised, they raze me

Thrown away like the newspaper but hey, at least i get to go in the recycle .

This home no longer feels like it was ever mine, only a pocket full of time and memories that seem to have slipped through a hole in my jeans

As i leave i can hear the gates closing before i am even out of range

Guess coming home was my going away party

Too bad i never got the invite in the mail

Can i give you some advice?

i like to think that we rely on our friends advice more than we do our own parents and sometimes sound logic. It trends in different directions depending on what we want or what the situation entails, and we always end up asking for advice. i like to think that i give decent advice when someone asks me what to do or what to ask someone, but i cant help but think that sometimes its either gibberish coming from my brain or something actually made sense to someone else (which always pleasantly shocks me).

Its seems like i seek out those who may need assistance all the time time when in fact i tend to find myself at the base of an issue that i may have heard about but never acted upon. Advice can be helpful but when the adviser is over bearing then the knowledge goes down the drain. To be giving advice you have to be in a good place and have a little bit of knowledge. When i give advice, i try to ask questions to make sure i don’t just say something that makes no reference to the conundrum. i have been burnt many a times when giving advice that wasn’t relevant anymore. These questions are critical when it comes to giving advice. The more you know the better luck you have with saying something right.

I just hope when i give advice, i am actually making someones life better and actually assisting them with their worries and quarrels. There will be times where i don’s get it right or the advice is not heeded to the full extent and its a realization that sometimes even with advice, you have to let people solve it themselves. What i have learned in the past is that there have been times where people relied on me for help and i have been at a loss for words, being to afraid to give them the hard truth or the soft lie, indecisive words event with a decisive mind. i try to map my words out in the seconds i have yet they get lost on the way to my vocal chords. I have tried to just say what i think in recent memory with very little thought to how i feel. If someone is asking for my help, the most i can do is give my two cents to their situation.

At the end of the day, i can only give advice and its up to the person receiving it to make the final call. Its hard to give advice that you feel is accurate to the situation but to them it could mean all the difference in their final actions. I just hope that some of my words make it to the proverbial wall of words that create a sense of direction in this crazy world.

Letters i Never Sent

As many of you who have read some of my older post, i like to consider myself old school. Grandpa-ish if you would like to call me so. I like the old ways, things that have value more than 2018 can offer. One of the biggest things is the value of recieveing a hand written letter from someone. It shows that they actually care about you, took the time to write something out and sent it to you via “snail mail”. It always made a difference when i saw a letter show up in my school mailbox or at my home address. What i still like to do is send letters to friends that i havent been in touch with for a while. I sent some to my buddy when he was in boot camp for the Naval Academy all during the summer before college. I sent letters across the sea to cousins that i was surprised i even had in my life. I always make an effort to write to someone i care about.

There are also letters i never sent.

I chose not to send them. The letters to old friends who live half way across the country, or to the ones who live just a quick trip up 95 North. Just something stopped me from sending it. A letter can mean many things but a rejected one has a very clear message. To certain people i was going to send it to, i wouldn’t get a response or honestly it felt as if we grown apart.

Letters on a page wasted away.

The more interesting letters i never sent were the ones i lost. The ones misplaced in a book or drawer that were left to sit and wait. I always read these again, to see what i wrote and what kind of person i was when i wrote them. Love letters, morbid news, a awkward hello, you name it i have written it. These letter i never sent are sometimes hard to swallow the things i wrote down. Its these types of letter i try to get rid of first. Never read those again. Never try to write those again.

i sometimes wish i could re send these letters after re reading them. I sometimes wish i told someone how i felt about them. Now they are just nothing, they are now gone so all i can do is regret the letters i never sent.

A Gift in Vinyl

As everyone does from time to time, we clean out our attics, closets, and forgotten areas to make room for new things and our places are not over flooded with things we never needed in the first place. Yet we always find things in these places that just cant be let go because they have a little bit of magic of olden days and people we never forget. Maybe its a shirt, a photo, a ring or its a random stuffed animal you haven’t played since you were five.

For me, Its my nana’s vinyl collection.

This past Christmas season, my parents cleaned out our attic which had so many things from my nana’s old home. Since her passing in the bone chill of January 2002 we have had her stuff in a corner of our attic, away from view. We put it away as far as we could for both my dad and myself. The sting was still hurting. Many years had passed and we have slowly dug through the possessions of photos jewelry and other worldly possessions. Since these were new to me yet had a memory for others, slowly and carefully i began to ask my father what they meant and uncovering my family as slowly as they discovered the Pharaoh’s tombs so long ago. I always ask questions about who they were because of how little to no time i had with them, feeling as if they were of mythical stories and legendary tales you would see in novels.

My grandparents were of the Irish immigrants who arrived in the great depression looking for a better life from the Irish troubles of that time. They worked hard and made a good life for myself, a second generation immigrant. I always hear stories of them from my father and some kinda make me say “Ok now i know where i get it from” like my stubbornness is from my grandfather who would sit on hours outside his house in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston blasting his horn if his parking spot was taken by a neighbor, or part of my compassion and caring comes from my nana who even at age 80 plus would never forget to have a plate of my favorite cookies ready for my visit. These stories and now the newly rediscovered vinyl records finally connect me to people i never got the true privilege of meeting.

What the vinyl records mean to me, is everything. Its the glimpse i get into who they are and what they loved in life. These simple vinyls i got to have showcase things i never thought of. With all the music of their home in Donegal Ireland, it seems as if they were home sick yet they felt rewarded with their sacrifice to come here. All the times my grandparents were told “No Irish Need Apply” and found the worst jobs to make the money to find a meal and all the times they saw college degrees and marriages and a grandchild, made it worth something. They embraced Americana and her dreams of success while never forgetting their Irish love and where they came from, something i try to embrace when i think of what they gave up to let me live a successful life. We all have that one person or people in our lives that started from nothing yet we have everything that they never had and it just makes their work all the sweeter.

As i write this post, i have one of their records playing in the background of my one bedroom apartment, getting me misty eyed every other song. I missed them everyday, especially after these 17 years, these records to me seem to be a gift stowed away for safe keeping until i needed them. A gift in time. In a world where we sometimes forget where we come from or who have gone on to the great beyond, this is something to remember them by. These records of Ireland dreams seem to give myself a reinvigorated sense of identity. Not just the Irishman i know i have in my blood, but what being me means. My anger, my patience, my love, my flaws everything comes together because of these simple songs that they played decades ago on a small disc to console them yet remind them of who they were.

Photo by Steven Hylands on

So as i listen to these records i say to my ancestors:

Mo aingeal Tá súil agam go bhfuair tú síocháin.

Hello Neighbor

One of the top books trending on Amazon, and was recently named a New York Times Best Seller, is The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King. The book by King is an in depth biography about everyone’s favorite person growing up; Mr. Fred Rogers. Chronicling the life and times of this almost saintly PBS star, we get a really close look into an adult figure that basically shaped the modern times through his unconditional sense of nurturing and embracing the love of helping others grow. Even thou he is gone, that cardigan and simplistic smile still represents so much today.

i was fortunate enough to grow up in the time frame when Fred Rogers was producing the famous PBS show directly day in and day out. Although i was younger and started to watch the show and Mr Rogers in his later part of his legendary broadcasting career, i still loved to rush to the TV back in the day and wait to see the friendly neighbor walk through his door. i feel now that i am 24 i look back and become enthralled with what i learned from the show. Even if we did not know we were learning the skills to be a good human being, Fred Rogers always knew his audience was learning. Through his teachings and time with us, we learned what Fred Roger’s idea of being a good person was and how very simple it could be.

Be Kind.

It has been nearly sixteen years since Fred Rogers left our neighborhood, a new generation of children have come and started to learn of the lessons he gave us, but what if i told you that we need to revisit the episodes of a simple man ourselves?

It seems these days we haven’t been the friendliest of neighbors to each other. Building walls, hurting one another and not simply being kind when we need it the most. We know that this world is not meant to be perfect, nor is meant to be catastrophic in nature, but what we should start as 2019 is in its infantile stages is to be more like Fred Rogers and take up his Good Neighbor mantle he left behind for us. I like to believe that the world could use a good neighbor like Mr. Rogers these days. He was imperfect and that’s the way we all are, he loved unconditionally which we all have the potential to create, and he never created a persona for himself to supply the audience, in short terms he never stopped being who he was a rare, authentic form of a man.

 “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers always tried to bring the best out of people, even adults. In times of hardship and tragedy, we always looked for comfort in the things that are familiar to use and our childhood usually makes an appearance. In recent years, we have had things happen in this world that should never happen to anyone under our sun and stars, unspeakable acts and disasters that have rattled us to our very core, that have changed us in ways we wished we weren’t changed. But even in the 21st century and almost two decades since he passed away Fred Rogers is still helping us even in adulthood. As he said before “look for the helpers”, but i think we can do better than look for them. Lets be the helpers in times where things are not so good. It doesn’t have to be on a cataclysmic scale but we can be the ones that help others day in and day out even on the smallest things. Lets be the ones the next generation looks to in times of strife and say “Yes there they are, the helpers”.

I like to think this will be my goal for not only 2019 but in the years to come as well. We can all use a neighbor during our life, to help us on both our bad days and to help celebrate the good ones. i challenge those who are reading this to be a little more neighborly this year and it doesn’t have to be on a major scale. It can be simple and sweet and still have all the value still to it. If not the most important challenge i ask of those who read this is very simple and honors Fred Rogers the most; be kind.