Coming November 2017!
“A beautiful day begins with a beautiful mindset. When you wake up, take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy. The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you it will start to feel like one. Time spent appreciating is time worth living.” — unknown
February 9, 2017 – 6 months ago, my life changed forever. August 10, 2016, nearly an exact six months earlier, I already thought my life had changed forever.
First, I lost my job in August of 2016. I had not been unemployed since the 8th grade and next thing I know, I find myself unemployed with a mortgage and student loan bills coming in. This was not something I was prepared for but I survived it and came out of the predicament only better for it. Then, once I thought my life was back to normal, I got hit with a brick from left field — mom was diagnosed with cancer. But the real curveball, she passed away 10 weeks later. Living through both of these events (without getting any grey hair 😊) have taught me some immensely important lessons that will be with me the rest of my life.
The first lesson came shortly after getting over the shock of being unemployed — there are more important things in life than a job. Sure, we’ve all heard this, but to what extent do we listen and understand it? One week into my unemployment, Tom’s grandmother was in the hospital with a ruptured appendix, being unemployed allowed us time to spend with her and listen to stories about her and her family. It also allowed me to be there for Tom’s sister when she tore her ACL and needed rides to and from appointments, or just someone to keep her company. Getting rid of a 60+ work week allowed me to remember how important it is to spend time with family and friends.
My lack of work also enabled me to enjoy our vacation to New Hampshire last fall to ring in my 30th, without working through it (which is what I did days before loosing my job when I was on vacation celebrating my friend’s 30th). And fortunately I was able to land a job offer about two months later (and then still have six weeks before my start date due to background checks and such to actually relax). Having this time to finally enjoy life again, to even have a life outside of work was big. I forgot what it was like to have free time, to prioritize myself and my family. I learned it quick enough to ensure that my current job allows me a separation and balance between work and the rest of my life. I’m very fortunate to be at a company that values personal time; it allows me to work from home two to three days a week and to be home every evening with Tom to take care of our house and spend time with our friends.
Another lesson I have learned is that people will surprise you — people you think will be there and people you didn’t expect to come pouring out of the woodwork in your time of need. You find out who your true friends are. You remember who is there when you really need it – not the person who shows up for a party, but the person who drops everything any hour of the day to be a listening ear, or the person who hops on a plane to fly halfway across the country to be with you for 36 hours.
There so many others lessons I have learned and it’s hard to put it all into words. While I have, what I hope is the hardest year of my life, behind me, I think I’ve come out the side in a much better place. I am happy and relaxed. I spend time with people that really matter. I spend time in the quiet of my own home alone with no one but the cats. I have learned to take a break and really detached from work — to enjoy vacation, and to take them more frequently. But it all boils down to putting your self and your values first and foremost in everything you do. I know that my family, whether by blood or friends who have become family, is the most important thing to me and I will do everything to make sure my relationship with these people does not take a backseat to any establishment.
I knew that turning 30 last fall was a sure sign that I was truly an adult — no more claiming that “oh I’m only in my 20s, I’m not really an adult”… I knew that would somehow click and make me feel older, but I never thought I would learn those lessons the way I did. Life has sure handed me some lemons, and I hope the lemonade I made tastes sweet. 🍋
So lesson learned, and take it from me, YOU are what is important. Your own happiness is the upmost priority. And no one has the right to stand in the way of you living your life in a way that leaves you proud and satisfied. This past year has impacted me in a way I didn’t know possible and I am forever changed from it. I hope these lessons don’t stray far from my mind and that I continue each day forward being the best me and doing what’s best for me and those I love.
“Dear Past, thank you for all the lessons. Dear Future, I am ready.” — unknown
It’s only been a few months but I find myself wanting to call or text you nearly daily about simple things — like the sunrise on the way to work or how often we see cardinals. There was the one time I walked out of the front door at your house and saw a cardinal perched in the pine tree in front of my old bedroom, it was as if the bird was just watching Tom and I as we moved all of the items we were donating our front to be picked up. Was that you? Were you trying to tell me you were pleased that we were donating so much and threw so little out?
Then there was the time I wanted to tell you who is buying your house. You always loved to here about reconnecting with people and finding out about people from our childhood. Well here’s a good one, mom, one of my high school classmates is buying your house with her husband. You would have loved to know that.
And with that, I said goodbye to your house today; the house you raised me in. My childhood memories are rooted in that white ranch. I’ve been here often this year, more times since Thanksgiving than I have probably been here since I moved out almost four years ago. You always made sure to have time for me when I came to town to go to the dentist or to get an oil change, but I left today not only knowing that 70 Flat Rock is no longer somewhere I can go home to, but not even knowing when I may be back in this town.
I know this hasn’t been my home for a while but it will always be the home I think of when remembering my childhood. It felt like I had to say farewell to the final piece of you today. I promise I’ll still visit you and think of you often, just because I won’t be going home again doesn’t mean I’ll be thinking of you any less.
eu-lo-gy (yo͞oləjē), noun, a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, typically someone who has just died.
Writing my mother’s eulogy was never something I thought I would have to do. After my mother’s passing, we asked an uncle if he would give it, he responded asking if my sister or I had thought about giving it ourselves. My answer was no, I didn’t even contemplate I would or should be the one to speak. After discerning and discussing with other family members, I decided it should be me. That’s when the hard part began.
Based on a eulogy someone shared with me I knew only two things. One, keep it short and sweet. Two, I wanted to start with a powerful and meaning quote and end with a poem. That took 10 minutes to find and put onto paper, but for the next 36 hours, there I sat, looking at a paper with nothing in the middle.
How do you sum up a life in a brief speech? A life full of love and joy. A live full of ups and downs. A life full of friends and family. A life full of laughter and tears. I began to feel inadequate. There was certainly no way I could do my mother any justice in a matter of moments. What if I forgot something important?
While attempting to complete the speech, I was driving down an old country road. It was a picturesque winter scene of New England and I completely lost it. I was crying, sobbing really. It just hit me out of no where. A few moments later, the tears calmed down, much less but they just dribbled down my cheeks. That’s when the wave of emotion clarified my restless mind. The speech came to me. So many ideas, all at once; I felt overwhelmed but it all made sense. When I finally sat down at my computer, the words flowed and this is what I had…
It has been said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
My mom was a great teacher and a teacher to all – whether she was our mother, sister, daughter, friend or actually your math teacher. She inspired many and taught lessons both in and out of the classroom. We will miss these lessons immensely.
One lesson she taught us was to do what makes us happy. Something that made my mom happy was going on long drives. Normally these drives took us north, usually up Route 7 to Massachusetts and sometimes, if we were feeling adventurous, we’d hit the Vermont border. One thing we never did was drive south to New Jersey.
Often, we’d go to Kent Falls, the old covered bridge, Stockbridge, Mass or go shopping at the outlets in Lee. Some of my favorite memories with mom were these drives. We would stop in Stockbridge at the General Store so I could stock up on 10 cent candies and Sarah and I would plead to stop at Catherine’s, a chocolate store along the route, to get a treat.
She loved taking drives so much, we would drive over 2 hours away to go apple picking every fall. And during the summers, we would always drive a few hours down here to hit up Jones Beach so mom could work on her tan, a trait I did not inherit from her.
Car rides weren’t the only thing our mom enjoyed. Mom loved to play cards; though I’m pretty sure that is a requirement to be in the Donnellan family. There are many fond memories in the family of playing Michigan Rummy or hearts around our Grandmother’s dining room table.
Sarah’s favorite memory of mom is staying home on snowdays only to sit by the fire, play pokeno and feast on artichoke dip. And mom did enjoy artichoke dip; she always volunteered to make some for get togethers.
Another lesson we were taught by mom was to be good people. However that may be. Her rule of thumb was to always start by taking care of your family, and then those around you.
When I was preparing this, I asked some of mom’s friends if they had any good memories I could incorporate, Lourdes shared with me one of her memories. A few years ago, mom, along with other teachers, took up a collection to buy Christmas presents for one of the students whose family couldn’t afford them. Mom and Lourdes went out to buy 19 gifts for the students. This was also something that mom was proud to have done.
My mother loved her students. She was so fiercely passionate about ensuring they succeeded and would keep tabs on her former students; I can’t even imagine how many there were, but mom sure seemed to know whenever one of them had a big achievement.
She was very proud to be a teacher. In fact, over the past few months she would very proudly share that she was still a middle school math teacher and had not retired.
As a friend and former neighbor said the other day, “I hope one day to be half the teacher she was.”
Sarah and I want to thank our cousins, Kate, Kevin, and Kailyn, along with our friend Amaka, for their help going through the family photo albums and creating the picture boards and slideshow that brought back many memories of our mother; some of which are pictures from long before we were born, when our mom was a little girl with long blonde curls.
So let me end with some stanzas of a poem shared with our family by a friend:
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
On behalf of our entire family, I would like to thank you all for being here to support us. Through all of this, you have all shown our family love, compassion and support. It has meant the world to us.
Rest in Peace, Mom. You are missed and forever loved.
Tonight many of us are feeling uneasy, nervous, worried. We thought we would be waking up knowing America elected our first female president. We assumed an inexperienced man would not be elected to the highest position in our government. We could go on for hours about this being unjust or fixed or a hoax. We could list millions of reasons why this happened. We could spend days asking questions….
Sixteen years ago we had a very strenuous outcome in an election, we survived it. We can survive it again. Regardless of how you voted, it’s time to continue. This is America. This is a result of democracy. We need to come together as one nation. We need to support our neighbors. We need to make sure that we, the people of the United States, are heard from and not dismissed. We must come together to ensure all of our freedoms remain intact and that the future of our nation allows generations to come to flourish.
Trump supporters, don’t gloat, it doesn’t look good on you. Hillary supporters, spend a few days mourning, but don’t wallow in it, it will only suck you dry. We all have one duty now: Be an adult. Respect those around you; don’t bully others. Let’s show the world what America can do. We are one nation, we are strong, we will not let this get us down.
I am just as shocked and saddened as you. I have my doubts and fears of what all of this means. I only ask that we all please remember that we already have enough inequalities and injustices in our lives, we don’t need more. We, as one, can work to ensure the future of our country. We still have the power to prove #lovetrumpshate
“I QUIT MY JOB!”…a year ago. (I gotcha on that one, didn’t I?)
No, I’m not crazy, I did not just quit my job (I now have a mortgage to pay, remember?), but I did quit my job a year ago (389 days ago to be precise. On January 3, 2013, I walked into my office with a knot in my stomach and my purse felt like it weighed a million pounds. (My purse is usually packed full and on many occasions others might have thought I was carrying bricks, but this day, my purse even felt super heavy to me.) What no one knew, was I had a letter giving my two weeks notice folded up inside of it, but I wasn’t sure I was going to give it to anyone that day. Now, I had made up my mind to quit my job, I just didn’t know when.
Let’s rewind a little bit to get the story here. Less than five months beforehand (August 2013), I accepted this job and the next day I told my boss that I had accepted a new position and would be leaving my first real job. Putting in my two weeks notice at my first job had been hard. It was the first job I took after college, I had job security, I loved the team of people I worked with, and I knew I had people who always had my back. So why did I quit you ask? Well we all know the saying “money talks”, and in this story, that seems to be the problem. I had been looking to leave my first job for another one with room for growth, more pay, and preferably closer to home. While that search seemed to lead nowhere, there was this one person who reached out to me on multiple occasions, and each time I replied that I wasn’t looking for another job in Manhattan, but finally I gave in. I e-mailed him back and asked what he had open, told him I changed my outlook and had decide I would be willing to continue my commute into the city for work. It seemed I sent that e-mail at the perfect day. This company just found out they had a manager who was going to be leaving to go back to school, it seemed too good to be true.
Back to January of 2013…. I walked into work that morning shaking. My purse felt like it was so heavy that it would topple me. The knot in my stomach was growing and my anxiety was hitting an all time high. Around 9AM, the boss yelled (this was a common occurrence) and I started shaking. My hands were shaking and I couldn’t calm down. I have no idea why he yelled but I do know that was all I needed. At 9AM I knew what I needed to do. I used our office IM to message the GM and President. I knew they both had meetings and conference calls, so I just let them know that I wanted to talk to them when they were free. I texted my family, they knew it was coming. But when I had made the decision the night before to write my letter, all we knew was I had had enough. It had become obvious to me that I had not made the best decision back in August, and I needed out. I had hoped that knowing my time was limited would allow me to get through another month or so and save some money up for my voluntary unemployment. The best advice I was given was to know when enough was enough and that’s exactly what I listened to.
As soon as enough was enough, I left. To say I was unhappy is rather an understatement. Remember earlier when I said that this job seemed too good to be true? That should have been my first clue, it was too good to be true. I thought it was fate; I wanted a new job and there was one for the taking. I was getting a promotion, a hefty raise and a department of my own to run. It was just what I wanted, right? That’s what I thought too. While my stint at this company was brief, I learned a lot. Things really are clear in hindsight; I should have asked more questions when I was interviewing. An interview is just as much you interviewing the company as it is them interviewing you. You really do need to mesh with the organization and people you work with. I was working two and a half hours from home, with people that lived a very different lifestyle, for a company that made me question my morals and ethics. While it was not an opportune time to be unemployed, it was something I needed to do. I believe in living the life you love and I didn’t love the live I was living then. I was becoming a shell of a person. I didn’t have time to spend with friends. I came home and just wanted to go to bed, I didn’t want to have a a social life at all. I lost who I was, the only thing I had left was work and it wasn’t work that made me happy.
That afternoon I walked into the President’s office and they asked what was up. I said I wanted to let them know I was putting in my two weeks notice. As soon as the letter left my hand, a weight left me. I could breathe again, there was no knot in my stomach, I knew I had done the right thing. I was fortunate enough to have a family that supported my decision, I had limited financial responsibilities (they could be taken care of by finding some interim work), I didn’t have a mortgage to worry about, no kids to support, my car was paid off. I handed over my letter and I took back my life.
While it wasn’t the right job for me to be at, I do believe that it was a good thing for me to experience. For one, I never would have quit my first job to become unemployed (and therefore not qualifying for unemployment). I wasn’t happy at my first job either, but I was content. Quitting this job allowed me to find the one I have right now. I again work with a great team, but this time I am closer to home. I was able to get my life back. I have the opportunity to do my own errands, I can cook dinner during the week, I have even been able to focus enough to buy my own house (one that I can now enjoy, whereas if I were still commuting, I would never have had the time). A second great thing that happened was that I learned about myself during that time; I was able to find that my morals and ethics are strong. I was able to really evaluate what mattered in my life and I was able to find myself.
In the end, I gambled, and it paid off. The economy sucked, but I found myself a great job at the end of my journey. But in the meantime, I found me. And there is nothing more valuable than finding yourself. I struggled while I worked at this job. I allowed it to define me, I allowed it to take over. Now I know when enough is enough. Now I know that I am a lot more than just what I do from 9 to 5. I now know that when I put my mind to it, it can be done. I can’t say I recommend quitting a job for no reason, but I will always say now that I support those who do what they need to do. I was able to make an educated decision and calculated all of the financial implications beforehand. While I didn’t know until the day I handed in my letter when the end would be, I had already made that decision and had a back up plan in place. What I will say is, if you want out and you feel it is necessary, don’t make a rash decision, weigh out the options and come up with a plan for afterwards….remember as soon as you put in your notice, they are not obligated to keep you that long.
So I know I’m a few days late, but here are my top 13 highlights from 2013, in chronological order:
1 – I quit my job! On January 3rd, I turned in my two weeks notice. I didn’t have a new job lined up, that would be too simple, right? No, I was not happy and I had determined that my unhappiness was due largely to my job and work environment, so I decided to head to unemployment for a while as I figured out what I wanted to be doing and where I wanted to do it. January 16th was, very thankfully, my last day commuting from Connecticut to Manhattan.
2 – I got a new job! After about seven weeks of unemployment (which wasn’t really unemployment as I substitute taught during this time) and job hunting, I found a new job. This job was much closer and in Connecticut, two things I wanted. Now that’s its 10 months later, I can very positively say that this was a very very good change.
3 – Completing the 4th Pilgrimage of New York! On the Saturday of Palm Sunday weekend, three of my girlfriends and I walked from Washington Heights to Battery Park by way of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This was the 4th PONY and the 4th I’ve completed. Every year there’s a new theme, and a new group of friends participating, but it’s always a great day to spend with the girls and walk some more life back into our faith.
4 – Had my 5 year reunion from Bentley! It’s hard to admit, but I have no choice but to live with the fact that I’m an adult now, there’s no more getting around that. And in June, we drove up to Waltham to visit with college friends and relive college life for one more weekend.
5 – Attended my friends Deaconate Ordination. In June one of my friends, who helped bring me back to the Church after graduating from college, was ordained a Deacon and I was blessed to be among our friends and witness his ordination.
6 – Went on vacation to Colorado! We took an extended July 4th weekend plus the whole week after, and flew out to Colorado to explore Vail, Breckenridge and Boulder while admiring the Rocky Mountains through many new adventures.
7 – Saw one of my best friends get married to the love of her life! The reason we went to Colorado was to see my best friends get married. Her wedding was beautiful (the ceremony was on the top of Vail Mountain, need I say more?) and it was great to spend the 4th of July weekend with them in such a great location.
8 – We made 30 gallons of white wine! The process started back in October of 2012, but after many racks and aging, our Muscat was ready and we bottled 30 gallons of white wine to keep our wine rack stocked for the next couple of years (we have taken a break from making some this year due to our move).
9 – I completed my first 5k! In October I drove up to Providence, RI to partake in the Color Run 5K with my friend from college! We’ve vowed to do another one next fall too 🙂
10 – Bike road for over 30 straight weeks! One of my new favorite hobbies is road riding (bike riding on the road). For more than 30 weeks, I successfully went on at least one ride a week.
11 – We bought a house! On our 3rd anniversary! That’s right, we are homeowners! We bought a house in a quiet little town in Connecticut. Call me a country girl, but I love living in quaint little towns; the city is better of as a destination location.
12 – Took Christmas/New Year’s vacation! Well, it was more of a stay-cation, I didn’t actually to anywhere (other than Grandma’s house for Christmas Day), but it was the first time as an adult that I have truly enjoyed the holidays. Instead of working until 5PM in Manhattan on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, I not only was able to enjoy having those days off, but I had a whole 11 days off to relax, enjoy time with our families and prepare to move.
13- We moved in to our new house! Nothing like a last minute addition, we moved into our new house on New Year’s Eve. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s our home and now we can be there everyday to enjoy it.
Priorities. Where are people’s priorities?
We all want life back to normal, like yesterday. We want power, water, Internet, cable, phones, heat, the ability to cook in our ovens, etc…. But how do we get there? Prioritize. First, let’s make sure everyone is safe, then we can get to the luxuries we are accustomed to.
First, people need to check in to reality. Let’s not harp on the vocabulary Rudy is using in our emergency update calls. Yes, you can’t actually postpone Halloween since it is a fixed date, but we all know he meant the activities, i.e.; trick-or-treating, since you know it’s DANGEROUS for kids to be walking around most of town right now. (Remember, priorities, people’s safety.) Or how about the fact that most of town seems to forget that the non-working lights on Main Street equate to a four-way stop sign? It seems people are in more of a hurry these days than normal…I drove to Stop & Shop today and witnessed more people cutting others off and doing things that are definitely illegal at any time, but maybe they don’t care if they get in an accident and land someone in the hospital, at least they’d have heat and power then… And let’s all drop the “woo is me” attitude. Most of town is in the same boat, or a worse one than you. And many other communities are far worse off than us, let’s just be glad our whole town wasn’t under water. We need perspective here, we’re all spoiled and used to having a lot of luxuries in life. Let’s be adults and realize this could be a lot worse!
But now, to why I’m really pissed. Last I knew, Ridgefield had 80 blocked roads. And 64% of us don’t have power. My house has no phone, cable, power and the road is blocked, sort of. Thanks to a good neighbor, I don’t know which, the branches on the pine tree blocking my road were sawed off. My neighbors and I are able to drive under the tree (I say a quick prayer each time hoping the tree doesn’t decide to give way) to get off of our dead end at the edge of town. But when I was driving to town to use the Internet and try to get some work done, what did I see? The town and a tree crew at the Little Red Schoolhouse – removing the tree that fell on the roof and caused minor damage to the roof and chimney. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about preserving the history of our town and I want the Little Red Schoolhouse to remain open after storm relief, but, I’m more interested in having fire trucks and ambulances able to get to my neighbors and my houses before first. I’m not even asking for power yet, how about just enabling emergency services to get to all of us? The town might be able to send in an ATV instead of an ambulance (yes, they do it, they did last year after Irene when a neighbor needed to be taken to the hospital, but tell me, how is clearing the Little Red Schoolhouse supposed to help anyone on my block, or any of the other blocked roads, when God forbid, someone’s house catches fire?
Now, before you decide to criticize my bluntness, or the lack of grammatical editing that I couldn’t be bothered to do, think about the things that really matter. Why don’t you use that negative energy of yours to go help everyone who needs it? Cause guess what, most of the region could find something productive for you to do.
Last night, Tom and I made our first batch of home made strawberry jam. This past Saturday, we went strawberry picking at Jones Family Farm in Shelton, CT and picked a wonderful basket of berries, weighing in at 10.4 pounds. Is was my first time ever picking strawberries, and I was loving it. It’s so much fun to pick them, we didn’t realize until after we got home just how many strawberries are in 10.4 pounds. So we began to ponder, what to do with all the berries before they spoiled? Make jam!! So we googled and found a recipe that we wanted to try, one that doesn’t call for pectin and white sugar like most recipes do.
We began by prepping the berries. We hulled and halved 2.45 kg strawberries. Then we washed the strawberries and .250 kilos blueberries — we were supposed to use 6 ponds of strawberries for the cope, but we ran a little short, and we had to measure in kills since that’s the only scale that lives in the kitchen, .448 kilos = 1 pound). Once the berries were ready, we put 3 3/4 cups honey, 2 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 small grated apples and all the washed berries in large pot and mixed it all together. > continued to mix the pot together over increasing heat until it reached a low boil. Once it was boiling, we began to mash the berries for 20 min with a hand potato masher. We then continued to boil mixture for 65 more min — it was boiling for a total of 85 minutes.
While boiling the mixture, we sanitized utensils, lids and pots. (We had already sanitized the jars in the dishwasher.) Also, we got another pot of boiling water going for the “processing” phase. Once the jam was done boiling, we laddled (if that’s even a real word) the jam into 6 pint size canning jars with the help of a funnel (which we cut the bottom small neck off of so the jam could pass through with ease). Once the lid was on, Tom “strong finger tightened” the bands on the jars. We then placed the 6 jars into our pot of boiling water for 10 min, all the jars were covered with 2″ water during this process. After 10 min, we took the jars out of the water and placed them on a cutting board on the counter.
While cleaning up, we heard 5 of 6 lids pop within 5 min. We covered jars with towel and blanket and let sit overnight. We will move the jars to a cool, dry location later today once they are sealed.
“You can’t capture it in a picture, you have to be there to see it.” — Tobin Schafer, 12, of Ohio
No truer words have been spoken by the young boy at the end of a clip NBC’s Nightly News aired about the National Parks trying to attract more young people to come and visit them. While Schafer might be younger than Millennials, his sentiment is one that more Millennials need to share in order for our National Parks system to persevere and survive for our grandchildren, and their grandchildren. According to a University of Idaho analysis of Park Service attendance, “back in 1996, at Death Valley National Park, almost a third of visitors were in their 20s. But in the last few years, that number has dropped to just 11% at Yosemite and 6% at Yellowstone”.
The question is why? Perhaps it’s because Millennials and younger generations are addicted to technology (says the one who tried to ‘check-in’ on Foursquare when I reached the summit of Mt. Washington in the White Mountains). Perhaps it’s because beginning with our generations, kids spent more time indoors playing on the computer and with video games than we sent running around outdoors just enjoying the freedom of binging a kid. Perhaps it’s because we take for granted that they have always been there, and assume they always will be (you know what assume means — it makes an @$$ out of me and u…). The problem is no one has yet to figure out the reason why.
The NPCA, National Parks Conservation Association, urges its members of all ages to support the parks and to spread the importance of our parks. Many might take for granted that these parks are National Parks and assume that they will always be parks, but in today’s economy, the parks system faces budget cuts and drastic changes. According to an email from the NPCA President, Thomas C. Kiernan, to NPCA members, “Congress has slashed the National Park Service budget in the last two years — that’s an operations shortfall of $500 to $600 million! And funding is now 14% below where it was 10 years ago. Plus, President Obama’s proposed budget for next year would slash $22 million more from park operations.” A decrease in funding will lead to less staff at the parks to ensure the safety of visitors, less upkeep of the parks to ensure they are clean for new visitors and to protect the environment of the parks along with other cuts.
Funding is not the only issue facing the parks at the moment. Our government is taking actions that will effect the parks and the future visits of those who plan to visit them. Right now, the Manassas National Battlefield in Virginia is facing a highway to be built right in the middle of the battlefield. Who wants to visit a battlefield to see cars flying by? If I wanted to do that, I’d just go sit in a rest stop on I-95. And last month, the House Even passes a bill that could allow hunting in many of the parks. Who wants to go see a recreation at Gettysburg and fear that a hunt fight get caught up in the is and leave someone accidentally injured?
Some Millennials are out there protecting the environment, but is what we’ve done enough to ensure the National Parks stay for generations to come? Or decades from now, will we be viewed at the ones who allowed the parks to disappear? It’s time now for Millennials to decide what legacy we will leave our parks, and to act on it.