Tag Archives: family

The Confessions of a Washed Up Track Star

In sports, when the buzzer goes, the game ends.

So I guess the most confusing part of my sport is that – when the gun fires, we don’t stop, we go. When the clock starts, we run, we throw, we decide when to start the jump, the throw, the race – and then we decide what line to finish on and whether or not we want to keep our mark – or scratch it.

In my sport, we don’t have a final buzzer. We leave the end open- ended and because of this… well maybe that is why I can’t see an end to what I feel as though I barely started.

I Never Saw It In A Dream – But it Became Real

Five years ago – I didn’t dream of being here. I never imagined that I would be good enough to be where I am. But, I also never thought it would hurt this much to leave.

When your race ends, you walk away. In 5 years I have watched countless people walk away when it was their time to, but I never thought that watching them walk meant losing what it meant to be a part of a true and cohesive team.

One Team – No Longer a Dream

Three years ago I was part of a team, one that cheered and pushed and expected things of one another. Three years ago I was part of something bigger than myself, but today it just feels like I’m chasing that feeling like a dream deferred.


Harlem
BY LANGSTON HUGHES
What happens to a dream deferred?

     Does it dry up
     like a raisin in the sun?
     Or fester like a sore—
     And then run?
     Does it stink like rotten meat?
     Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?

     Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.

      Or does it explode?

PoetryFoundation.org

We all know the feeling of a dream deferred. The feeling of watching something you love slip through your finger tips like the string of a balloon leaving your hand at a crowded park with no one to save it as it flies away.

I never thought of Track and Field as my dream deferred – I never thought of it as something that could turn sour, but today, as I watch something rot and crust and sag – I realize that this love, like all others in my life have blinded me to how broken it is.

I Cannot and Do Not Win Without Them – And THIS is why We Do Not Win at all.

People assume that Track is a solo sport – It isn’t, but then again you cannot spell “Field” without “I” and I often feel that the Field part of Track and Field is forgotten – so maybe it fits. Because some times outside of my squad I feel like an I in a crowd of we’s.

It’s funny though.

The word team doesn’t have “I” in it – but if you re-arrange the letters it can say “ME”. And when I realize that, it gets me thinking how “We” turned into “Me” and “me” turned into a losing battle against myself.

A No Win Situation

Most days I ask questions I shouldn’t, ones that lead my coach to tell me to keep my nose out of it. But I personally cannot sit on my hands and be happy when this is not the team I signed up for.

AND I AM NOT ALONE

These are My Confessions

Today I am stuck. I am stuck watching people suffer because the sport they fell in love with is pushing them away as quickly as it held them close and honestly, I never thought it would be like that because two or three years ago it wasn’t.

Today I’m stuck. Stuck watching some fall to over confidence and others fail by not believing in themselves.

Today I’m waiting for something I used to have. Questioning if it was ever real in the first place and wondering if team is made by bonds among friends or by coaches who refused to take our shit.

Today I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of washed up and irrelevant, but tomorrow everything could change.

In Other Sports

In other sports we are made to stop when the buzzer fades, when the teams walk off the court – but in my sport we decide when to cross the finish line and while I can see mine inching closer, I still have too much to do to admit that it’s over.

In other sports they leave everything on the court, but in my sport I take control and me? I’ve just begun.

To My Future Daddy’s Girl

Dear Sweetheart, Sweetie Pie, Punkin, Daughter,

The day you arrive, I pray your father will have it more together than me. I pray that he looks at you like he looked at me every day we waited for you – minus the fear in his eyes when he brought me the wrong food and I couldn’t help but yell, ‘how do you not know what she wants!’ To which he will reply – ‘I am not a seahorse, she isn’t in me – that’s your…’ and he will stop there because he will know better than to mess with your mother when she’s pregnant.

My sweet baby girl, I am not religious, but when I think about my future – well let’s just say “there’s no atheist in a fox hole” and baby girl you will be the whole damn war.

To my future Daddy’s girl, I pray your father will look at you, like mine did at me. Staring into your eyes and seeing the universe and all its potential – smiling like everything he ever wanted fits in the palms of his hands. And I hope beyond hope that he has enough memories with you to last you three lifetimes over because the time you spend together, brief or long will carry you through your darkest days.

Dear Baby Girl, right now, you and me are AT LEAST 15 years and a loving husband short of meeting one another. You and I are a world and a war away but that doesn’t make me doubt that the family I am dreaming of will be anything less than the greatest adventure of my life.

To my sweet baby girl – one day I will be ready for you. And when that day comes, nothing will keep me away.

A letter to my Father

Dear dad

Yesterday I turned 23 and for the first time in a while my birthday wasn’t a reminder of you getting diagnosed. For the first time in a long time it wasn’t the 3 month mark of hitting another year without you. For the first time in a long time I was able to just be happy and love where I am.

Dear dad,

I miss you. I miss you everyday. But this year I have been making the kinds of choices that you would be proud of. I have been working harder and smarter and taking better care of my body because I want to live a long enough life to give you the journeys you missed by leaving us so young.

Dear dad,

Yesterday I turned 23 and I wish you were there. I wish you could have seen all the love and joy that surrounded me. I wish you could have seen the incredible people I surround myself with because if you could, you would be so proud.

Dear dad,

Today I compete in my last winter track meet and as my college athletic career comes to a close this year, I simply could not be more grateful for all it and you have given me by allowing me to be your daughter.

Dear dad,

Thank you for the best present a person could ask for. Thank you for giving me the strength to be the woman you raised me to be and thanks for showing me that love is earned and deserved rather than simply given.

Dear dad,

I’m 23 – and it’s crazy.

Dear dad, I love you. And I can’t wait to show you what I have left in store for this final stretch of this chapter in my life.

This year I’m gonna make you proud but you know what else? This year I’m gonna make myself proud too.

Family Finds You

I have spent most of my life thinking I wasn’t good enough. That cool was something I could fabricate through looks and pop culture references. That I would never be or understand what it was like to be in the “in crowd”.

This is not to say I didn’t have a army of people who loved me. I did. But in school and outside of my summer escape to Maine I felt completely and utterly alone. During those years I felt hopeless and there was no way out of that darkness but then, 5 years ago I met my tribe.

And while I have never forgotten what it felt like to feel so on the outside you couldn’t breathe through the loneliness I have had the opportunity to find that hope I lost so long ago.

WE ARE NOT ALONE

Often I tend to internalize my fears and insecurities so, for a while, I never imagined I’d meet someone who knew what that feeling was like, but recently I did.

Most of us have that one friend that has no clue how amazing they are. That person that is gorgeous inside and out and is clueless of how rare that quality is. I have a lot of friends like that but for me, those are the best people to surround ourselves with.

MY TRIBE IS YOUR TRIBE

Recently a new person joined my tribe and while she may not know it yet – there are people that come into our lives that save us from ourselves when we need it most. People who care to listen and to help without expecting anything in return. And while she may come to think that we are trying to be that person for her, she is already that person for us.

THANKS FOR SAVING US

Without realizing it, having this new person in my little family has completely changed how we all act and see the world. It has saved us from our monotony added new comedy to old jokes and made us appreciate the simple times that we can spend together.

So to you. The person and people who have no idea how amazing you are, and to all the people brave enough to join me and my tribe on our journey, welcome. And consider this your official letter of acceptance to BDE U.

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 Pexels.com

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

Mo aingeal Tá súil agam go bhfuair tú síocháin.

Family Does Not Last Forever

Thanksgiving is around the corner, many families will gather to celebrate the joyful time of being together. Where the little ones will be watching the parade with Grandma and Grandpa and seeing the big floats go by. Where many will sit around the table, sharing a meal  and recounting the joy of being together and how thankful they are to have that Aunt Susie or Uncle Tom in their life. Life would be so grand.

This is a Hallmark illusion

The fact of the matter is that not all families are perfect. Some have uncles and aunts who don’t know where the line ends and that it doesn’t bend for egotistical ideologies during the holidays. Some grandparents want the holidays to be a catered dinner where they are the star of the show, even tho their isn’t an audience to feed them what they want. The illusion of families being perfect for the holidays where every grudge and nasty deed preformed in the year gets put aside for one day is a dream that only a child could conjure up. I like to think when we start our own families that we aspire to this ideal but do not let it takeaway reality of what goes on in the world.  Families are not perfect.

I can remember from my own personal experiences of how thanksgiving use to be for my family. It was always a rush to eat so everyone could go up to my uncles for desert and drinks. My mother would be so stressed to cook, clean and be up there that it ruined the holidays for her. She catered to some that would never be grateful for her work like i was. Going to my uncles wasn’t that great either; always stuck at the kids table, always the butt of a joke, never an enjoyable time no matter the holiday. This was coming from a 12 year old kid who could see through the stress that was piled up on my parents to put on a meal just so everyone could go get hammered at a house of nightmares. I still cant stand my family, but i decided that family doesn’t have to mean they are a part of my holidays.

Ever since freshman year of college, we have not invited family over to dinner and we have only gone to one place afterwords, but it is nothing that would leave a stress mark on my mind. We hang out at houses and even with the newest trend of “Friendsgiving” we get to be with friends from near and far to celebrate each other during this time for thanks. Holidays have become more enjoyable since we focused more on who really makes up our family. My mother will always take a moment during the dinner to show the fact that she can finally enjoy the holidays once more, something i think should never be overlooked.

In my opinion, family are the ones who stand by you in the good the bad and the ugly, they are the people who lean on you and you lean right back when needed, they never have to be blood but they damn sure feel like it. This is why we still invite people over. We still have a standing invitation for anyone from either work, school or anywhere in between to join us for a holiday meal if they have no place to go. In the years since some have taken up the offer and really add an enjoyable tone to the dinner. Less stress for mom is always a plus as well.

I guess that what i am trying to convey is the fact that even tho you have family members doesn’t mean they are family. The real family you have are those who you deem worthy of having the title of “Uncle”,  “Aunt” or any other title you like to give. People say you cant pick your family, i say different. If anything you cant pick the good ones but you chip away the bad ones.

Holidays are meant for peace on earth and good will towards all.

Its OK to make some man made peace yourself.

 

A Dedication to the Comic Strip

It has been in the Sunday Newspaper for more than a century.

Its part of a daily routine for many people to sit with a cup of coffee, tea, etc and read the funnies to themselves for a good chuckle to begin their day. As recent years has slowly bled the ink out of the newspaper industry, websites have started to develop pages solely dedicated to the art of the comic strip. You can sign up, get a personalized page with all your favorite comics and never really second guess the idea of finding them. Its a nice, relaxing read.

I do not think our generation finds these types of comics to be as entertaining or funny as the older generations have in the past. We want the instant gratification of the laugh without thinking hard into what the comic is really offering to the reader. There are some comic strips that you need to be ready to read between the lines to understand like the comic Dilbert. Others have references that we do not understand because the joke is not meant for us and even after an explanation of the joke, its just lost its touch to us and we keep looking for another comic. Now, why would i want to dedicate this piece to a dying art form? Its because the comic strip has shaped a lot before i was born and in my young life as well.

Comics are my dads pride and joy. Period

He loved reading them on a day off from working in downtown Boston as a FedEx driver. On his weekends, he would not do anything in the morning until he either read the paper for comics or boot up the laptop to read his funnies. He loves these things. To his credit, its how he communicates with a lot of people, including me. We had a family friend named Jack Dillon who got dad’s humor to a tee. While Jack was able, both of them would cut out comics from the newspaper and snail mail it with a ” Hello and you will get a kick out of this” type letter. Basically until jack died in 2011, he still sent a funny or two a month that lifted both his and dads spirits up. What many do not know is Jack was a father figure to my dad for many years, i consider him a grandfather figure to me because i was treated like a grandson for many years. This is one of the reasons my dad loves comic strips, it brings back Jack for at least a moment of joy. My dad will always send comics out to people that he knows either through himself or even some of my aquatints. He will send me a link to send to my guidance counselor or my history professor or even my boss. They are always funny.

I picked up on my dad’s love of comics.

I always enjoy a good comic in the paper or on a website. Its classic humor and never gets old, usually sticks with the times. The first comic i picked up was when i was 10-12 years old. It was a collection of Calvin and Hobbes comics over the years and i never put them down. I collected a lot of books over the years of Calvin and Hobbes adventures, hands down are my favorite comic. A boy who is basically a maniac, his tiger friend Hobbes who is a stuff animal, and his other supporting characters; sounds like me in a nutshell. Even to this day i always read the comic strip, follow the twitter account, and basically love anything associated with it.

Now there is one comic that is basically my life in a nutshell; Zits

No, its not about the skin irritation. Its about a teenage boy living in high school and living with his mom and dad. I kid you not this is basically about me and my parents. We legit always quote it or on every comic say along the lines of ” Yup that’s Kevin alright.” Many things that are exaggerated in the comic strip but i always get a chuckle when dad sends them along to me with the subject line of the email being something witty or at least he tries to be. I have explored on my own to see what other comics i enjoy. One of the predominate ones Pearls Before Swine has become one of my favorite comics. I can relate to the humor that he writes, it seems as if my dad and i write these things.

Essentially, Comics although considered a dying art connects generations.

My father and i share a bond with comics. Since i have grown up into a version of him, i sit on Sundays with my cup of coffee and i read the things he sent me over the week and laugh and give him a call to talk about the comics and laugh and see whats going on. Its a excellent conversation starter especially as he shares a passion of his with me and i have adopted it so well. I can tell you Sunday’s comics take a whole different meaning when you can enjoy them with someone else.

Being Adopted by a Friend’s Family

WE, the young people usually spend our summers on the road traveling from friend to friend getting every second out of summer.

In some instances, instead of driving home we stay the night on whatever, couch, bed or floor we can get to accommodate ourselves for the night. Its nothing we complain about after a night of fun (what ever that may be). We all reach that point where we are seen so much that you COULD be considered part of the family. I mean you spend enough time with them, you talk with their direct family members, hell you are on a first name basis with their second cousin twice removed! ( Yes i am very weird) But what if you REALLY became part of the family? How would you feel about the experience?

What if the family started inviting you to events that normal friends might not be a part of? What if they were treating you like a little brother and busted your chops the same way? How would you react when the niece and nephew of your best friend started asking for you and wondering where you go when you leave their house. How would you feel when they started calling you their Uncle…….

Whoa.

So if you could piece it together, this happened to me this past year. One of my best friends who i roomed with for graduate school brought me home a couple of weekends out of the year and i would hang around, go fishing, eat MARIA’s subs and be legit adopted by these wonderful people. One of his siblings has two wonderful small children that always wait for the day when i show up and get to play and watch Aquanauts and Disney Movies and basically be the best thing since slice bread. (Not that i am but i appreciate it once in a while). In the middle of the summer, their mom yelled out to the kids when i arrived on a warm May afternoon ” Look who’s here, its Uncle Kevin!” WHOA…..

Being called uncle? Being part of the family? It felt unreal, like a pause in time. I had never held a title like that to someone. It felt unnatural yet it fit like a glove.

Being an only child, i will never naturally experience being an Uncle to a sibling’s child.

Ill never get to have the fun uncle experience with my family, ill never get the experience of them growing up, coming to Sunday suppers, seeing them graduate. Its a weird feeling. Of course when i am old and grey and i marry into a family that may have nieces and nephews,  i wont be looking upon this post with much thought.

Its still a great feeling to be called an uncle and part of the family when it comes to my best friend. They legit treat me like family and its one of the best feelings. I don’t know where i would be without the long trips down to the cape to go fish, to eat, and to kick back with such a great family. If you ever find someone who has a family that has this much love to spare, its a good place to stay and become their adoptive son, even if its only for the summer.

Moving Out (College Graduate’s Song)

Yes, the title is a reference to one of my favorite artist Billy Joel.

There is something to say for moving out of the house for the first time, and no I don’t mean going to your dorm room. I mean moving basically everything you own; your entire worldly possessions into a place where mom isn’t cooking dinner, dad isn’t watching College Football in the recliner, or in my case not going home to a queen size bed every night Moving out means you are fending for your own life and trying to make it in this world in a very adult yet confusing way, and boy does it suck. I remember the first time I lived on my own. I loved it for the first few months but living in a big apartment can make you feel small. Being there by myself was one of the worst times in my post grad life as It was a very much a smack in the face reminder that I was no longer living with all my friends on a condensed campus. It took some time to center myself into the grind of earning my Masters Degree in Education but once I felt balanced, living on my own felt like I was riding a bike

Moving out is one of the realizations you are not going to be given a free ride anymore and its time to grow up or get left behind. I consider myself adaptable and actually moving out and living on my own was a challenge I could take on. Our generation wants to take on the challenge too, however it is a terrible move statistically to do so. Stats don’t lie in saying millennial’s are one if not only generations to move back home after college and it is in due part to the housing market, loans and basically anything in between that keeps us financially independent. It’s OK to move back home after college as long as you are doing your share to keep the house in check. I was the runner for my mom’s daycare service for the summer, if she needed something done I was the guy. Eventually we will have to finally leave home and get on where we left off or in other cases continue where we are.

When the day comes that I am truly away from the sweet city of Boston the only thing that worries me isn’t where I am moving to, it’s what I am leaving behind.

Being an only child, I only have mom and dad in the family and as they get older I start to worry about how they will do without me and the checkup calls that I had to make in college transition from my safety  and me to them and their safety. I know they are capable of taking care of themselves but in the back of my head ill always worry about how they are as I move out in this post grad world. It not just me that worries about how their parents are doing but for me when i’m the only one it adds an extra value to the time i spend at home or the time i spend calling them.

So in short: Move up, Move Out but don’t forget who’s waiting at home.

 

“ Mama if that’s moving up then I’m moving out”

On Being a Boulder Brook Mom (and the ramblings of a young poet)

The women around here are not JUST women – they are Titans. They grow up knowing that they have to be brave, fearless even. That they have to have grace and know their own worth – know that they are not cut out to simply be an accessory in their own life. That husbands aren’t guaranteed, because time is not kind and old age and good health is as good a gift as any other.

Women around here wield water skis like swords and dirtied hands like first place prizes. Women here are the reason we believe that there is a future beyond the hateful words we hear anywhere else. Women here are the reason this writer – has a voice that says something other than “like and um” when speaking in front of crowded rooms. Women here are the reason I write.

There’s Something About a Place Like This

I said it once but I will say it again, I grew up around powerful women. Strong women who loved, lived and cried for the future of their families. I grew up around Roxy the riveter types – women who were true heroes in their own right. I grew up around WOMEN – and when I say there is something about a place – I mean, there is something about THIS place that makes being who you are a little less frightening and a lot more possible. And maybe that feeling could be attributed to a mothers touch or maybe it could just be called what it is – this place is love.

It is my father’s heart still beating as the waves crash on the beach that reminds me of him – its my mother’s smile from before she knew what true unending hurt was. It’s dirty feet, sandy carpets and a love for people that are so much more than family.

In a place like this – like home, the wind moves like poetry and the waves crash in such a way that could make a natural disaster pause and watch. In a place like this – drunk thoughts become sobering memories of sunsets that reminded you of a childhood you can’t return to. It’s a place like this that becomes your identity and it is from mothers like ours that we can translate what all this poetic bullshit means.

So How do you Put words to this kind of Music?

Well I guess you don’t… but instead of stopping to correct the music – maybe its better just to sit down, pause and listen.

img_2576-effects

this post is dedicated to all the powerful and influential men and women we have lost this year. thank you for all you have taught me – thank you for being titans among men

Dear Dad

Hey,

Long time no talk. Look I would have called sooner but… yeah – work has been great. Yeah – mom calls all the time. The Boy? Davis? He’s good – he’s definitely you’re son… no doubt about it. Yeah – he’s everything to me these days. What? Haha no – no boyfriend, haven’t found a man like you yet. And don’t worry I don’t plan on settling. What? Sorry? You’re breaking up. No. Dad. No. I’m getting another call I’ll. [the line cuts out]… I’ll call you soon…

or at least that’s what I should have said… but then I woke up.

Long distance living

This morning I slept in, I showed up late to work, I let myself slip because when you make a mistake enough it loses its value – but this doesn’t. The morals I’ve learned have value but somehow – today –  I didn’t seem to care because last nights dream was one that was too good to pass up. And I know you’re close but our visits, well they are few and far between and well … look since I messed up and didn’t say what I should have let me re-start like this. Dear Dad.

Dear Dad,

Hey, you know I could have sworn I saw you last night or eh – this morning? I was dreaming but it felt so… so real? I mean it didn’t because the moment I saw you I looked up and said, you seem shorter than my dad… but you’ll do… I was settling for a vision but suddenly I didn’t mind. Dear Dad.

Don’t worry you looked good.

Your hair was darker than it has been in a while, your face looked as though it had the slightest pixilation, but you looked young and healthy and amazing and then suddenly I woke up feeling like I had just played the best game of my life because I finally found you.

Dear Dad,

Its been – five? years since you’ve shown up in a dream. And in this one I had a step dad – and mom wasn’t happy, the whole world was off and this man – this man in our house – well he clearly didn’t belong. and – I know – I’m rambling I just have a lot I should have said like – dear dad.

Dear Dad,

It’s been eight years? since I’ve seen you, but last night made it feel like yesterday – and I knew t was fake but… I didn’t care. Dear dad.

Dear Dad,

I miss you. And don’t worry, your day dream doppelganger does not compare but I won’t say it wasn’t nice to have you… or him… or umm…?

Dear Dad,

I got a job?

I’m doing well.

Your son acts just like you – it couldn’t make me more proud. and your siblings take care of me as if I were their own – and I think I’m finally getting a hold of this growing up thing. Maybe… ?

Dear Dad,

I’ve visited your ashes three times this year. It’s a new record and I will top it again in the fall.

Dear Dad,

It was nice to see you in my dreams but I forgot to say one thing…

I love you – and of all the things I wish I could have said — I just wish I had said that before I woke up.

 

 

An Open Letter to the Moments I didn’t Plan

is mystery a miracle or a curse?

Some people are impulsive, some can jump in the car down a one way road and not panic five miles down. me? I’m the one that turns back.

Call it anxiety, call it a lack of guts – something has never quite stuck when it came to being impulsive. So you can imagine that, when, in a single week, I maxed out my impulse control and did 9/10 things I knew I probably shouldn’t.

there is a gift that comes with being safe

Those among us who don’t speed, who don’t spend 100 dollars [minimum] every time they go to target [must be nice]. There’s a gift to staying to the status quo, keeping your head down and doing what your told… or is there.

I used to be the good kid [as if it ended… I am still a good person, adult kid? whatever]. I was little miss goody two shoes – don’t get me wrong I defied my parents at home but in public and in the eyes of the law, my biggest fear was becoming a screw up. But I guess life has a funny way of turning that around. My freshman year roommate would have regarded these times as “god gotcha” moments. As if karma had finally come to take  a chunk straight out of my butt.

See the truth is my life is a series of unplanned and often unfortunate events. So for me, being safe isn’t a choice it’s a way to control the controables and keep my head on straight – because if something happens to me… point is something can’t happen to me.

See for me I can’t afford the wrath of Karma so I don’t give reason to be afraid of it. I follow the rules, I work, I study, I learn quickly from mistakes and I fix whatever is broken. But that isn’t how we are meant to live is it?

there is a benefit to taking risks

I never used to be wild. I’m probably still not by most definitions – but recently I hit a point in my life where I realized that being an adult really means that we have no idea what were doing with our lives, yet people look up to us as if we do. For me this made me realize that I should make more mistakes, and so that’s what I told a room full of graduating seniors.

About two maybe three months ago I did the ballsiest thing I have ever done… I followed a speech by Delaware’s own, Christopher Coons – and to be quite honest I am surprised I didn’t pass out. But that unplanned moment is something I will take with me through much of my adult life, and here’s what I said.

paraphrased: Look I never thought I would follow Chris Coons but I used to sit where you did, I’m a little more washed up now but I’ve learned a thing or two since I was here so bear with me.

So first I want to say, you’re going to miss this. You’re going to miss the silence and the people and the feeling and this place so take it in. Some of you may think this has been the best four years or the next four years will be, I hope its not the case – because what comes next will always push you to be better.

I want to say is how unimaginably proud I am of this class. See Matthew McCaughey gave a speech talking about his hero, he said it was always himself ten years from the moment he was in… for me its all of you. The amount of time I have spent in awe of the stories my brother tells me and how much I bragged to all my friends and how you spoke up for those around you… I couldn’t be more impressed and I can’t imagine being more proud than I am of what I know you will accomplish.

so here’s a bit of advice.

one – make mistakes, don’t be perfect its the only way you’ll learn

two – take time to do this to be silent. I meant what I said when I said you would miss it. Take time to find yourself because giving up that time once a week is hard and no one will know what a quaker is – be ready for that

and three remember to come home, because we will always need you here… and honestly there’s no other place like it.

The funny thing is that three years ago I hated going home, I was still scared from high school and I never liked going back. Three years ago I wouldn’t have had the voice or the guts to get up and speak in the middle of a crowded room of parents, but this time I had to and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

My point?

Risks don’t have to be head first dives into the kiddie pool or picking a fight. Risk is just another word for jumping out of your comfort zone and while I have lived outside of my comfort zone since the month I graduated college, I wouldn’t change the choices I’ve made.

See the funny thing about growing up and going through the loss and the triumphs that I have is this – each moment has lead me to the person I am today, and if I like that person [ because of and despite her mistakes ] well then isn’t that what life is about?

Maybe growing up isn’t about being an adult after all, maybe its about finding the inner child that allowed us to jump past obstacles and not let fear control us. Maybe growing up is really just about coming to terms with who we should be, and maybe who we should be – is the person we were all along.

The moments I never planned were a mix

They were filled with little black dresses, cat fights, trips to the precinct to make statements [more than once]. They were sub-tweets, funerals, drunk people at parties and me watching myself fall over and over and over again just to get back up and dust myself off.

The moments I never planned were the ones that made me. And honestly – there aren’t too many that I would write off or wish away.