Dear Future, I’m ready…

"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

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the house that built me

Dear Mom,

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.

Love,
Lauren

Death is nothing at all…

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.

That’s all for now.
Peace out cub scouts.

I Quit My Job!!!

“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.

That’s all for now.
Peace out cub scouts.

13 Highlights from 2013

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.

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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.

20140104-104217.jpg4 – 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.

20140104-104801.jpg5 – 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.

20140104-102711.jpg7 – 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.

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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).

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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 🙂

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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.

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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.

That’s all for now.
Peace out cub scouts.

2010 Thus Far…

>

So this morning I read my friend Katelyn‘s latest blog entry — 2010- the year of the road trips? That’s travel — and I’m totally stealing this post idea from her, really cause as soon as I replied to her post, I realized that I was doing the exact same thing…
I keep poking fun that my two “big” trips this year were to the mid-west — Indiana and Ohio. Truth is, just as Katelyn’s year was full of weekend getaways, so was mine — I was fortunate to have a year full of exciting adventures. My year so far in review looked a bit like this:
January: a one-day road trip to drive Tim back to school in Virginia — I hit eight states that day; Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia — and went to a Rangers game
February: two weekends in Waltham/Boston, MA — one for Mike’s birthday and one to be Alexa’s family for Family weekend back at Bentley
March: saw a screening of The Human Experience in NYC (I recommend to anyone who has not seen it), partook in the first ever NYC Pilgrimage, in a span of 7 days, I went to Springfield, MA two nights in a row for the Elite Eight and Final Four Division II Basketball Championships (drove home to go to work in Manhattan in the morning), went to Foxwoods that Saturday morning with my college roommate, followed by the rest of the weekend in Providence said roommate, and then headed up to Waltham after work on Tuesday night to ring in Alexa’s 21st with her
April: retreat in upstate NY with the youth group I used to work with
May: a long weekend in Philly to see my little sis graduate from Villanova, followed by flying to Indiana the following weekend for Jenna & Kevin’s wedding, went to the Dave Matthews Band concert in Hartford, opening weekend, and then spent the weekend in Poughkeepsie, NY with the other camp counselors
June: Brooklyn & Queens for Ela & Karol’s wedding
JulyLady Antebellum & Tim McGraw concert followed by a Rascal Flatts concert two weeks later, plus the weekend in between I was at my mom’s family reunion
August: I worked a grand total of 10 days! I had a long weekend in Kent, CT with Mary, went to Camp Veritas as a counselor and hit up the Dutchess County Fair
September: spent the weekend before my birthday celebrating it in with my college friends in Waltham/Boston and on my first Booze Cruise on the Boston Harbor and then rang in my birthday weekend at the Trace Adkins & Toby Keith concert
October: road tripped to Ohio with Courtney & Sharmila — we also visited West Virginia & Pittsburgh while we were out there — and this weekend I am yet again off to Waltham/Boston for Bentley’s Homecoming
I should also point out that this does not include any of my nights out in Manhattan, my gallivanting around the state of Connecticut and random day trips to Hoboken and Long Island to hang out with some of my innumerable cousins. Plus, there’s still two more months worth of extravaganzas to plan before 2010 is done.
So really, my point is, even though my biggest trips this year were to the midwest, I am grateful that I have been able to spend so much quality time bonding with my friends. I may have only boarded a plane bound for Indiana for a weekend, not a private plane bound for a week in the Bahamas with 600 of my closest friends, but all is good. My friends are awesome, and I got to see so many of them this year. Not only am I grateful because I spent so much time with my friends, but as my parents have pointed out to me, I have done a lot more this year than other people have, including themselves. In this economy, plenty of people do not even have the chance to go on a simple car ride to spend the weekend 3 hours away, whether they don’t have the time off from work, or the money for gas and other expenses. In short, I will do my best to stop complaining about my lack of a real vacation as today I realized that I think a bunch of little ones are better anyways — instead of going on say one or two vacations spread out this year, I get to go on little ones every few weeks.


That’s all for now. 

Peace out cub scout.

The Monster Under My Bed

>When I was a little girl, I used to think that there were creatures living under my bed. Not only did I think that, but there was a way to be sure that they didn’t get a hold of me. You see, they lived under the bed and didn’t leave there. So long as I was completely on top of my bed, they couldn’t get me. If my arm or leg were hanging off the bed, well then, then the creature could get me. I’m not sure that anyone knows about the fact that I thought this, well that is until now when I put it online for the world to see… Thing is, I haven’t believed this since I was 6 or 7. I know there are no such things as monsters that live under the bed, and I especially know there’s none under mine as I need to retrieve the remote or my phone or keys from under there nearly daily, plus, I’m sure the clothes I store under the bed take up too much room for a monster to co-habitat with them.
So you probably ask why if I don’t believe in the monster under my bed anymore, why in the world am I writing a post about them? Because tonite I’ve learned that this belief as a kid has caused an interesting habit for me now today, and probably something I’ve done the last 18 years. It’s finally that time of year that it is cool enough to keep the AC off, but for me, it’s still a bit too warm some nights, tonight which us one if them. I like being able to sleep with my comforter on my bed year round, especially the new one I got this summer. Being as how my room is slightly too hot for me to sleep under the layers on my bed, I figure keeping my leg curled above my blanket with the fan blowing on it could cool me off. So I stuck my leg out from the sheets and my foot was dangling off the edge of the bed. Almost immediately I pulled it back and made sure my leg was securely on my bed and not hanging off.
As I’m currently wide awake, this struck me as a bit odd of an instinct. Thinking about it, I cannot recall anytime when I’ve laid in bed with a limb hanging out, nor can I ever recall waking up without being smack in the middle of my bed. Perhaps it’s the hour of the night, but somehow I realized that I obviously don’t sleep with my limbs off the bed because of the monsters that live under the bed. In the same half second that I had that thought, I also decided I must be delirious. It was in the next thought that I realized that my fear as a kid caused me to have an interesting habit 18 years later. And now, as I lie here not able to sleep, I wonder how many other habits were brought about through random thoughts from our past…
That’s all for now.
Peace out cub scout.

some random facts about me

>So a friend of mine has her own blog, which you should definately check out at Who Know the Title of My Life?. Today she wrote a post about two random facts about her and asked people to comment in reply but I really do like this idea, and I’ve got three random facts of my own…

I say “I love you” to everyone.
OK, maybe I don’t say it to everyone, but I say it to plenty of people. In case you haven’t heard, there are three types of love, eros, philos and agape — meaning erotic, brotherly and unconditionally, respectively. I tell my friends all the time that I love them because I truly do. I may not be in love with them, but I learned the hard way when I was little that you need to tell people you care for them before it’s too late. So please, don’t be offended by my over use of the word love.

I have anxiety about almost everything. 
Many people who know me don’t believe me when I tell them I have anxiety. I’m an outgoing person who loves (see I use the word a lot) to jump in and get involved in almost anything. That said, I still get anxiety almost daily. If I am going somewhere new, I have anxiety. If I’m really excited or nervous about anything, I have anxiety. If things aren’t going how I expected or planned, you guessed it, I have anxiety. But what gets people the most, when I’m in a group of people I’m not very close to, I have the worst anxiety of all. That’s right, even extroverts can have social anxiety.

I don’t believe in hating people or regrets.
I know this is sort of two, but it’s really one rule I try to live by. Hate is a very strong word and you can hate some things, but I don’t believe in hating people. You might strongly dislike a person, but I don’t think you can truly hate someone, it takes too much to hate a person and people can change (both the other person, and YOU). And as for regrets, dude, the past happened, it’s done, you can’t change it so move on and get over it! While there are definitely things in my life I would do differently now if I had the chance to, I wouldn’t say I regret anything I’ve done. I have had an amazing life and I am glad that everyone who has been a part of it was there, even if that time was short lived. I think that if you regret something, you are living in the past. Life isn’t supposed to be about the what ifs?, why didn’t I? and what would have been?

The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do. — Dennis Waitley

That’s all for now.
Peace out cub scout.

books, books and more books

>When I was younger, I always read a lot, especially during the summer. My public library had (and I believe still has) a program that rewarded you for how many books you read during the summer. We got a poster, gift certificates for a slice of pizza and free ice cream, but best of all, once you read 30 books, you got your picture on the wall when you read 30 books in a summer. Summer after summer my sister and I had our pictures on the wall and it was a competition between the two of us to see who could get there first. While looking back on it, you’d think the free pizza or ice cream would be the biggest prize, but no, you really weren’t anyone unless your picture was on the wall. Even after I was too old to participate in the program, I used to bike to the library and volunteer as on of the big kids you got to tell all about your book(s) you read.

Obviously, as with many others, by the time I was in high school, I didn’t want much to do with reading. When Harry Potter came out, I got hooked. I am not embarrassed to say that I own every book (having bought the later books at midnight on the day they were released) and I’m even proud of the fact that I have re-read the entire series more times than I can imagine — the entire series is reread every time a book or movie is released. As much as I was hooked on HP, I didn’t read much else other than my books for English class while I was in high school. Even when college started I wasn’t much of a reader. I began to read more during the summers between years in college as it was a good hobby to kill down time while lifeguarding all summer long. Even though I would realize my love for reading was still within me by the end of every summer, the fall semester would always begin and along with the spare time in the summer, my passion for reading went straight out the window.

By the end of college, my passion for reading was back. It came back when a friend of mine from college was given a book from someone at home, being told to read it and pass it along to someone else to read. It was kind of like chain mail, but a book (and only one). But the whole point was to read a good book, pass it to someone else to read it, have them pass it and so on, so eventually people reading the book had no idea who the person who bought the book was. (I forget what book it was, I’m working on figuring that out…). I don’t know how, but somehow I found the time to read a book for pleasure during the semester and I really enjoyed it and ever since then I have started reading more again.

Ever since I graduated college, it is common for me to be like Rory Gilmore and carry a book in my purse — though, I only carry it with me when heading to/from work, I don’t intentionally bring one with me to parties. The summer after college I was a lifeguard again and found more than enough time to read on breaks and rainy days, along with when I was home. Even now as a member of the “real world”, I have learned to find time to read on my commute or when I’m home in the evenings.

With all the reading I’m doing lately, I am tempted to ask for an e-reader for my birthday this fall as I feel it would save me money instead of buying books all the time. But then, do I really want to spend, or ask someone to spend that much money so I can save money? I mean, then I should just go to the library — it is right on Main Street and not out of the way when I’m home. But there’s something to be said for reading a real book. Having the book in your hands, the first time you crack open a brand new spine, and then there’s always one of my ambitions from when I was little — to have a library in my house (when I’m older and own one) with floor to ceiling bookshelves covered with books that I have read. Right now I have a small bookshelf that is overflowing with books, in addition to many books boxed up in my attic and a few piles of books strewn throughout my room.

So do I get an e-reader or not? It could save me room in my purse (especially when I’m reading HP and those hardcover books are huge…) but I would no longer have the books at my own disposal whenever I want. OK, yes, I would, but I couldn’t pass the books along to others, and sharing is out of the question. Which is what I’ve been doing a lot of lately. I’m currently reading a book which was loaned to me and I will be reading the next two books in the series by borrowing them from my friend. And I just read 7 other borrowed books and have another sitting on my desk waiting for me to read. While I don’t own these books, and won’t be able to add them to my collection unless I go out and buy them, I still get to experience all that I love about reading an actual book. And what’s even better about reading from a book you’ve borrowed, is the broken in spine and wrinkled pages. I don’t know, and maybe it’s just me, but I think there’s still something to be said for reading a well loved book.

That’s all for now.
Peace out cub scout.

Bucket List

>My on-going blog entry titled Bucket List is now it’s own page! By having it as a stand alone page, it make it much easier to constantly update it. I hope you check it out every now and then to see what I’ve been up to…

That’s all for now.
Peace out cub scout.