Game 6

Many of you may be familiar with my infamous “Game 6″ story, so roll your eyes accordingly. Others that are unfamiliar, brace yourselves. Sports fans might connect this phrase with a game that allowed their favorite team to win a championship. I however connect it with a loss. As sore of a subject as it may be, I am referring to
Game 6/7 in 2016’s World Series between the Indians & Cubs. Yes, I realize Game 7 was the game of devastation, but I’d like to take some time to reflect upon Game 6 since Baseball post-season is in the air (Go Tribe!).

It was a crazy Tuesday night and I’d go as far as to say that it was a turning point in my life. I was working at my internship downtown and I felt so cool being in the crazy, fan-driven crowd that swarmed every corner. With work letting out at 5 and my attendance back at JCU needed for a meeting at 6:30, I knew I needed to hurry back. Immediately after the meeting, I hopped back on the RTA and fled downtown as fast as possible (this time, with my squad…you know who you are). Now, any reasonable person would have thought…”You just came from downtown, you have homework to do, an 8am class tomorrow…do not go.” So naturally, I went anyway.

Something about this train ride was different. I couldn’t sit still, I was shaking uncontrollably, and I felt the need to jump out of the window because I could not contain myself. Yes, I tend to make everything an adventure, but something about this felt different. I was ready to take on anything life threw at me and I felt—untouchable, infinite, and perhaps a little crazy. I was ready to see my team win the World Series (yeah, yeah, we know how it ended no need to bring it up, but it’s okay, we are ready this year!).

Fast forward through a night filled with tacos and crowds, before I knew it, the entire night had passed and we had stayed downtown until the first train left at 5:30am to get back to school. Something about the crisp, fall air while being surrounded by a community of people that share your same love…even though we were disappointed in the game, provided a since of security for the future. Security in a sense that everyone here is in the same boat. “We are all in this together” and we might as well bond over it. We all think we are unique and so different from everyone else, but when you take a step back, you see we really aren’t so different and we should use that as fuel to support each other.  Yes, I realize that is cheesy and I got all of this out of a baseball game…but that’s the thing about life: you can make it anything you want it to be.

That night was the first time in a long time that I felt freedom. Freedom to live the life I’ve always wanted to live, through the adventures I had been craving, while following any and all of my passions. Part of me wishes I had had this realization in a more glorious story (perhaps this story ending with a win), but if you know me at all, you know that unconventional and awkward is how I roll. I have since used this as motivation to chase my dreams and I encourage you all to find your “game 6.”

On that note, I wish the Indians best of luck during this post-season! You best believe I’ll be cheering you on from Florida!

PS: I still went to my 8am that next morning if you were curious. Talk about living on the edge! Everything that happened that night was worth it.

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Hall of Fame

Each summer, with the help of a couple close friends, we create a music video to a song of our choosing with footage we’ve complied from various locations. This started as a fun little project back in the summer of 2014 with the song “Crazy World” by Boys Like Girls. After realizing how fun it was to make, we decided to continue the trend with “I Lived” by OneRepublic in 2015, “Be Okay” by Oh Honey in 2016 and now this year, we decided to use the song “Hall of Fame” by The Script.

Of course, I hope you’ll take the time to watch our latest music video (trust me, it won’t disappoint & I’ll link it down below), but I also wanted to take this time to explain to you the vision behind the video and why we do what we do. Sure, we may look silly prancing in Downtown Cleveland with our sub-par dance moves and camera capturing our every move. But the use of creative energy to come together to create something we can cherish forever is what makes it worthwhile.

When I hear the song, “Hall of Fame,” I get a chill in my bones because it sends a sense of empowerment down my spine. Is it because I’ve suddenly developed impeccable sports abilities (or any remarkable skill for that matter that could pass for talent…) while endlessly praying for my chance of obtaining fame? Awe heck to the no.

It’s because when I think about my own legacy (or my Hall of Fame so-to-speak) I think about filling my life with as much adventure as possible that not only has the initiative to satisfy my goals, but can encourage others to do the same. We don’t have to be a celebrity to make our claim to fame. We have the power to make our lives as full as they can be and that’s all we need to “be the greatest” or “be the best.” I think The Script would agree with me on this one, thus their song was the perfect summer video soundtrack.

This all comes full circle because when I think back to when I wanted to start a blog, my biggest hesitation was that “I didn’t have anything monumental to write about.” I’m so thankful that I made it past that speed bump because I’ve come to realize that every thing we do in life can be monumental if we so choose. You don’t need to hike the largest mountain or find a cure for a disease to see the work that you do as valuable (but of course, if you do those things, major kudos to you!). Every encounter you have, every relationship you form, every trip to the grocery store you have can be impactful and worth sharing. After all, it’s your life, so make it as exhilarating as possible.

Thanks for reading! Check out our video & let me know what you think! With that being said, I can’t wait to see your legacy as you enter your own Hall of Fame.

WATCH HALL OF FAME (CLEVELAND TRIBUTE) HERE!

reSOLUTIONS

New Year, new you, right? Well, at least what people used to say–I know I certainly have utilized it in my new year’s vernacular. However, I’ve noticed that this phrase has actually gained a negative connotation recently. People roll their eyes or look down on others that set these big expectations for the new year because they think they are wise enough to know that most people never actually reach their resolutions and fizzle out towards the end of January. That may be true for some, and I’m sure we are all guilty of setting resolutions we never follow up on, but for others, is the ever-so-easy eye roll or degrading Twitter meme stifling to those looking to make big changes or dream big dreams in the new year? Maybe it’s time we rethink the way we see resolutions because being on either end of this spectrum isn’t going to help anyone this new year.

I’m a huge advocate for setting goals and making lists, so planning new year’s resolutions is a field day for me. I’ve always been the type to make large goals and plans because it seems to give the tradition more meaning. I recently came across my 2011 list of resolutions (in which I had 11 to be exact). Now you’re probably wondering, did you actually achieve all 11? Of course not. That’s because I did it wrong. I listed all of the things I wanted to do, but in no way did I indicate how I was going to do them. They were all quality initiatives with great intentions; however, without a real plan of execution, there truly was no way to gauge the success of the goal.

Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to roll our eyes at those that say these big changes they want to make…because we are basing it solely on the words we hear and not actions we witness, which may be rightfully so. Also, it may be attributed to the fact that people that want change to come with the new year are seeing the previous year as bad and coming out of it with a salty perspective. Okay, who am I to dictate who had a good and bad year…clearly I can’t do that. But I can encourage those that feel that way to truly dig deep and find just one positive thing that happened in the previous year and use that as fuel to set fire to the new year. You’d be surprised…positivity is actually more flammable than negativity. So, if you are actually looking to enact the change you’ve been desiring, pour positivity in your tank and get going. That is what’s going to make your new year the year you need it to be.

Now, if resolutions aren’t your thing, that’s completely okay. You do you, my friend. I would never say that you have to have resolutions to have a meaningful year. However, let this thought simmer: if we all work together as a support system for each other (particularly for those that get in to the resolution business), imagine the increase in success rates for new year’s resolutions. If you use positivity to plan your resolutions, imagine the greater depths you can reach. If we set goals designed to improve instead of setting unrealistic ideas with no substance to back it up, imagine the growth you can achieve. You can make this year anything you want it to be.

So next time you hear someone talk about their resolutions, smile and hold their hand along the way. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big–after all, maybe that can be the solution to our resolutions.

 

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Have You Lived Today?

So, we may not have made it to Hollywood. We may not have surfaced on Ellentube. We may not be YouTube sensations.If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our videos! (linked below) But if you’ve seen any of our video creations, you know that my friends and I genuinely enjoy being silly and living life to the fullest.

Summer is supposed to be a time full of rest and recuperation. Ironically, I have found that many of us actually use it as a time to jam pack as much as humanly possible into just a short few months. Without classes and homework taking up excessive amounts of time (typically), we tend to absorb as much work, work, and well, work as we possibly can. This summer has definitely tested my limits. Working 60+ hours each week having to decline many social activities and blissful sleep time was certainly no picnic in the park.

If I stopped right there, this narrative would have taken a downward spiral. But friends, even when there isn’t any time…even when we feel alone…even when we are exhausted beyond comprehension, we still need to live.

Katherine, Karalyn & I have been making fun, silly videos for 3 summers now. The only difference was that this summer, it was nearly impossible to find time to hangout and make the movie magic happen. Free time never added up like it had in the past, but we did not give up. I can honestly say that it is all the more satisfying that we were able to make this happen given the circumstances this summer had in store for us.

As I sit here reminiscing about our video history, I am so proud that we have come this far. Our themes have come full circle and we didn’t even realize it. Our first video depicts the “Crazy World” we live in. The second video emphasizes the importance of living life to the fullest with “I Lived.” Our most recent video illustrates that no matter what life throws at you, you are going to “Be Okay.”

Even in this “Crazy World”, waking up with a positive attitude with the goal of saying “I Lived” at the end of each day when you look at yourself in the mirror will ultimately be the ideal plan to ensure that you, my friend will “Be Okay.”

Be Okay

I Lived

Crazy World

Peace Be With You (and Me)

My Catholic friends will surely know what I mean when I say that it’s so easy to give the sign of peace. It’s the one moment during mass that seems to spontaneously burst out into conversation and then miraculously dwindle down so the mass can continue. Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re doing? You’re taking the initiative to wish God’s love and peace upon another individual. How incredible is that?

Now tell me, when was the last time you wished peace upon yourself? Sometimes it seems so easy to seek peace for others, while inner feelings of shame, doubt, and guilt encompass every inch of your being. Why does it have to be that way? It seems as though negativity is effortless, while optimism yields exhaustion.

I like to think positivity is one of my strengths that I can exhibit on a daly basis (haha, daly…get it?) However, I must stress that it certainly does not come easily. Being happy is a choice–a choice that requires dedication just as any other commitment demands. Life has all sorts of ups and downs and the only way to hang on for the ride is to sit back, hang tight, and choose to be happy. Much of the time, being happy with yourself is one of the most challenging areas to maintain.

Okay, so where am I going with this? I tend to ask myself that question as I am in the midst of writing on a semi-regular basis. In this case, I want to relate the uneasiness one feels with themselves to perspectives on modern-day relationships because they tend to be emotionally consuming for individuals my age. We are at that stage in life where we aren’t quite kids…but we aren’t quite “real adults”–yet somehow, we are now permitted to make the transition to “serious” relationships. Engagements are becoming common and before we know it, our mailboxes will be filled to the brim with wedding invitations–crazy, isn’t it?

And with relationships comes the lack of relationships as well. It’s quite common to discuss the desire for said relationship as we fantasize about our weddings, futures, etc. However, I recently had an epiphany regarding the matter: how can we expect someone else to love us if we aren’t completely head over heels in love with ourselves? This isn’t directed at any one group in particular: both those in relationships and those with their heads in the clouds. Either way, are you in love with yourself? Are you truly happy with where you are and where you are going? If the answer is no, that’s okay. We are all works in progress. As Hannah Montana would say, “Nobody’s perfect”. But I must challenge you to love yourself before you wish for someone else to do it for you.

You were made in God’s image and that, my friend is pretty darn cool. So stop hating the flaws you work so hard to find. It’s okay to want to make changes (don’t worry, I have my laundry list as well), but putting your own well-being on hold while searching for a relationship you may or may not be meant to have at this time is pure silliness.

It’s okay to fantasize about a relationship. It’s okay to be in a serious relationship. But it’s also okay to use this time in life to focus on you. Stop dwelling on the pressure to be in a relationship. Do what you need to do to live a fulfilling life, while loving yourself for all that you are worth. It’s not fair to yourself or The Creator Himself if you hold back on celebrating you. If life is a sundae, you are the sprinkles. Embrace yourself for all of your colors, textures, and varieties.

So next time you wish peace upon another…make sure you pray for that peace to be with you too. You are worth it. You deserve it.

Mismatched Socks

Let me begin by saying, I like socks more than the average person. Fun fact: I cannot sleep without socks (I know that appalls some folks, but barefoot is just risky business). You know what else is somewhat concerning? My socks typically do not match. They only match if they are a brand new pair or they are the the super tiny below-the-ankle socks that you wear with Converse, or the like. My grandparents and the children I work with consistently enjoy asking “why” I feel the need to have mismatched socks. Is it because I’m lazy? Because I’m artistically starved and need to use my socks as an outlet? Nah, it’s not that clear-cut. It’s a philosophy I’ve developed over time that I hope to share with you.

Life is short. Yes, we all know that and unfortunately, we are reminded of this concept anytime something negative happens in the world. But think about it. Why should we spend the time looking for matches to socks when we can be out there in the world, living life in those socks? Okay okay, maybe that is justification for laundry laziness, but hear me out.

We’ve been raised to believe that everything has to be perfect. Our Starbucks order has to be perfect or else our morning is ruined. Our clothes have to be perfectly pristine or else it’s just not worth it. Our bodies have to be perfect or else we can’t wear the clothes we want to wear. Our social media posts need to have perfect captions or else the existence of whatever we are posting about is questioned (“If I don’t have a perfect caption, did I even go here?”).

OH COME ON. Is this really how we want to live? Since when does your coffee dictate your entire morning? Remember, you woke up. You are alive. You are beautiful and you are YOU. If your clothes have a wild tendency, OWN IT. WHO CARES IF IT DOESN’T FIT THE MOLD OF NORMAL CLOTHING. Rock those polka dots or llama-herder ponchos! So you aren’t 100% confident about some part of your body? Well, guess what? Most of us are in that same boat with you. Should you hide the clothes you want to wear but you don’t think you should? No. Absolutely not. WEAR THEM! So, you’re going some place exotic for vacation? Well, guess what? Whether you post about it or not, YOU STILL WENT THERE. You will always have those memories even if everyone else doesn’t know.

Life doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, most times it’s not even close. Some of the best drinks I’ve had from Starbucks have been mistakes. Most of my best memories never even made it to the social media platform and most of my witty captions come way after the fact anyways. So be bold. Stop trying to be perfect! Wear those mismatched socks and embrace life’s imperfections.

 

As I Am

For most of you, it’s no secret that Hannah Montana played a pretty significant role in my life circa 2006. Those were the times of being the “top dog” of the elementary school (or so I thought)–where the style was showcasing tank tops on top of long sleeve shirts and obtaining sparkly everything was your ultimate goal in life. For some, you may read this and think that Hannah Montana is completely irrelevant; however, I am not ashamed to admit that I have 59 episodes currently recorded on my DVR and just for kicks, I’ve been listening to the “Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus” album on my hour-long daily commute to work for the last week.

So why is this worth mentioning? Is it a desperate attempt to initiate comic relief in hopes that you’ll continue reading? Perhaps. However, I like to see it as taking a moment to reflect on the progression of my priorities since my preadolescent phase of pretending I was an undercover rockstar. Back then, my priorities were simple: learning to maneuver a flat iron to transform that caveman hair into something suitable for vicious middle school peers judging your every move and finding a soundtrack to accompany my random dance parties around my room as I sang into my hairbrush and jumped on my bed (okay, maybe that was embellished to be as cliché as possible, but you get the idea). Song lyrics did not resonate with me beyond their lip-sync-ability. It’s funny because listening to that album now, I cringe at some of the lyrics because #awkward. Did I really just use a hashtag in a blogpost? I suppose I did. Let’s move on and pretend it never happened.

One of the songs on the “Meet Miley Cyrus” album is called, “As I Am.” As you may guess (unless of course you can recall the song…then you certainly wouldn’t have to guess because you know every lyric just like I do, am I right?)…the song essentially suggests that your significant other will accept you for who you are despite your quirks. As important as this concept is, the song now has a new meaning for me as I review it 9 years after its release. They say college is the time that you truly find yourself. Yeah, yeah, it’s so cheesy to say that, but after completing 3 years of it, I can attest to its truth. You learn a lot of different facts that you’ll hopefully use in your future career, but you ultimately use that time to discover who you truly are.

What I have found is that for the most part, we have Miley’s concept of finding other people that respects our unique attributes down to a tee. BUT the problem we’ve created is that we no longer accept ourselves for the way we are. Grades, credentials, successes, all play a huge role in how we establish our self-esteem. One rejection, one mistake, one mishap is enough for us to tear ourselves down and forget about our incredible potential.

You, yes you, reading this right now. There is something in your life holding you back from entirely accepting yourself the way you are. I don’t know what that is, but I know that you know. It isn’t easy, trust me…I’m right there with you. But that’s the beauty of it. We are all in this together (#blessed, gotta have those HSM references…dang, I just used another hashtag). The Good Lord made each and every one of us in His image; however, we mustn’t forget that His image is too grand to fully comprehend–making each of us different with unique strengths, weaknesses, and talents. Embrace all that you’ve been blessed with, for it truly is a blessing. Stop the self-hate. Take that leap of faith and annihilate that hostility you have lingering within some part of you.

I accept you for the way that you are. I hope that you will too.